Saturday, September 25, 2010

Decorate - Discover - Delish in San Francisco Blog #2

I think of my partner Dave as Geppetto – a skilled master craftsman with the ability to make the wood pieces he precisely cuts on the bandsaw come to life. This characteristic is enhanced when applying several 3 dimensional layers together to create our wall art plaques. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like these for sale. I love how unique they are.

Many years ago, Michael Vanderbyl, a San Francisco designer, created a logo for Hickory Business Furniture using a profile of Andrew Jackson (aka “old Hickory”). His idea for their North Carolina showroom was to have us make a 5 foot tall silhouette of the 7th president. He knew that Dave was “the person” for this amazing one-of-a-kind project.  Dave took on the challenge. Not only was this to be 5 foot tall but 30 inches thick. Having never done anything like this, it was hard to guess how long it would take to complete. I know we stopped counting labor time after 40 hours. Dave created a masterpiece.  Michael Vanderbyl was so pleased with the finished piece when presenting it to the company president of Hickory; he introduced us as “Andy’s Mom and Dad!”

Dimension 3's wall & table art -
To purchase - Dimension3 shop on

Discover Billy Goat Hill. Welcome to my ‘hood. Even if you live here you may not know this undeveloped natural area at the southern end of Noe Valley. You should check it out. My house sits 2 blocks from here. For years I used to hear “Amazing Grace” and other tunes coming from a bagpipe player who stood atop this 500’ hill. I could hear it so clearly while working in my office. It was so haunting.

Want to know the best rope swing in the city?  The one atop Billy Goat Hill has got to be the scariest thing to try and I suppose that’s why it gets cut down. A 30' rope swing is attached to a tree at the top of the hill.  Sometimes when standing out front of our house, you can see someone taking flight into the sky.

It is located at 30th and Castro. Laidley Street begins here. Hikers and dog walkers can take any of several winding dirt paths up to the peak, from which they have a commanding view of the homes of Noe Valley and downtown skyline in the distance. This area used to be a rock quarry. And the name comes from the goats that used to roam there.

Google Map of Billy Goat Hill

Last year when Julie & Julia came out, it seemed that a lot of food industry people were reluctant to see the movie. Maybe it was because so many knew the real Julia Child. Around that time, I was invited to a party to honor and celebrate Julia. Most everyone invited knew her. The menu, of course, was Julia’s recipes. It was a wonderful evening listening to warm, heartfelt stories by those lucky enough to have worked and dined with her. It was a real treat. Since I did not know her, I made a visual tribute. Using a big art board, I made a collage of great Julia photos and her best quotes.

Julia Child’s kitchen is now in the Smithsonian. How cool is that? I thought you might like to see some of her gadgets. By the way, Julia even had a junk drawer in her kitchen.

Julia's Kitchen at the Smithsonian - At top of page, click “view selected objects”. Double click on first image, then see slide show.

Here is a video of Julia vs. Meryl (as Julia).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Decorate - Discover - Delish in San Francisco Blog #1

I am obsessed with
threesThree of us began a San Francisco sign company. We are master craftsmen of all things 3 dimensional. The name was Dimension III. That was then – this is now.  A new venture and a tweak of the name:

Welcome to Dimension 3 SF - I love simplicity of symbols and color is my thing.  I design and fabricate Limited-Edition Wall Art Plaques.  Of course, they are 3 dimensional. Each hand-made plaque is precisely cut using 3 layers of sustainable birch. 3 whimsical non-toxic paint colors enliven each symbol.  Only 100 of each design will be made. Each piece is signed and numbered and made here in San Francisco. We are a member of SF MADE.

Series One” Limited-Edition Wall Art Plaques - Always inspired by music, I designed these based on 3 songs I love.
  • I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  • When You Wish Upon a Star
  • Autumn Leaves
As a kid, the first art I remember seeing were bright colored geometric “Hex” signs decorating the barns of Pennsylvania Dutch farmers in Lancaster County. Their designs were pretty, plain and simple like their Amish lifestyle. They inspired me as they mean “Good Luck” and they inspire this collection.

I have many more Series of 3 Limited-Edition Wall Art Plaques in the design stages that will be available as soon as these sell. A girl needs to make a living - right?
    I will share more about what we are doing in 3 weeks.

    Read on as there are
    3 sections to this blog.

    San Francisco saved me!  Since the Summer of Love days songs about San Francisco and California inspired me to move west. I wanted to “wear some flowers in my hair”. I cry listening to Tony Bennett’s musical postcard to the city. And of course, “I’ll wander no more. Other places only make me love you best. Tell me you’re the heart of all the golden west. San Francisco welcome me home again; I’m coming home to go roaming no more!”

    These 6 symbols represent the history of this great town. Here’s a little trivia about each one.  San Francisco inspires us in so many ways.  Share your thoughts on how living or visiting here inspires you. I’ll be sharing all kinds of eclectic stuff in this section.
    1. Gold” first discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma in 1848 brought on the Gold Rush of 1849 that transformed San Francisco into a boomtown. Word spread around the world that California was the place to make a fortune. The stampede of treasure seekers known as the forty-niners (1849) flocked to San Francisco and the population increased from 500 in 1847 to 150,000 in 1870. The city became a cultural mecca with theaters, opera and more newspapers than any city but London. Overnight, San Francisco became the envy of the world.
    2. Beatniks” was coined in 1958 by Herb Caen, our famous San Francisco Chronicle columnist, seeing young bohemians roaming Grant Ave. in North Beach. These counterculture kids were listening to poetry readings and folk music in the coffee houses and learning about exotic jazz called “bebop” at the clubs. The Beat Generation began in Greenwich Village but many were inspired to move West and make San Francisco’s North Beach their new home. Allen Ginsburg read “HOWL” for the first time in Oct. 1955 at “The Six Gallery”.
    3. The Beatniks or Hipster’s soon known as “Hippies” made San Francisco home beginning in the late 60’s. Things were happening here - the first Human Be-In was Jan. 1967. Word spread and 100,000 students began arriving in droves from everywhere for the Summer of Love. They were inspired by the psychedelic rock and the “hippie experience” = free food, free drugs and free love happening in Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park.
    4. The Castro is San Francisco’s best known gay neighborhood. After the Summer of Love, the Gay Rights movement came of age here in the ‘70’s with gays buying and renting the wonderful and inexpensive Victorian homes. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in CA, also lived here. Today, the Castro's queer identity inspires gays and tourists from all over the world. The enormous rainbow flag proudly flying at the corner of Castro and Market is like a Statue of Liberty for people coming to San Francisco with its tolerant attitude.
    5. Often shrouded in fog, the Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most famous landmark linking the city of San Francisco and the County of Marin. The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Considered one of the world’s most beautiful bridges, the design and color has made it a global inspiration. The color is not gold but International Orange, selected for the way it blends with natural elements surrounding it. I got to fly under it once in a helicopter!
    6. where little Cable Cars climb halfway to the stars”   Andrew Hallidie
    Listen to “Save Me San Francisco”by Train:

    My favorite quote from Julia!

    My favorite kitchen item is my carrara marble mortar and pestle from Italy.  It took about 12 years to find this. I’ll share all kinds of advice and information on food and cooking – it’s my passion. We love having fun dinner parties at home with good friends and family. I love to treat everyone to a delicious home-made meal  We relax and laugh while enjoying good food, nice wine, a beautifully set table with candles and my eclectic music playlists. Life is good!

    Blog One has to start with our most famous food. San Francisco Sourdough Bread - it’s has been and remains a favorite since the 49er’s arrived with it during the Gold Rush. “Sourdough” was the nickname for the gold prospectors.  In 1864 there were 63 bakeries in the city. It is part of our culture.

    Our sourdough bread has an appealing unique sour taste. A mixture of flour and water is left to sit a few days; then a wild yeast and bacteria create a pancake-like “starter”. This starter is fed and used over and over. The secret ingredient is the wild lactic acid bacteria found in the air called “Lactobacillus Sanfranciscensis”. San Francisco’s humidity and temperature climate create the perfect environment for baking our world-famous sourdough bread.

    My favorite is Acme Sourdough. Enjoy a great afternoon along the waterfront at the Ferry Building. Get a loaf of Acme sourdough and cheese next door at Cowgirl Creamery. Find an outdoor spot and enjoy the crunch of that fresh bread and the view!

    Just in case you are adventurous here are some links for sourdough bread recipes. I’d love to hear if you are successful. Share comments and photos with us.


      I love Christopher Walken and Lidia Bastianich - did you know that they grew up together in Astoria, Queens NY?

      Can you name another famous person born in Astoria?