A Fresh Start For Us All in 2021

A fresh start for us all

Hello My Sweets,


Here I am in my studio in the California Wine Country, with the much needed rain pouring outside.  This blog is very neglected. Yet, I have been busy creating some special stuff for all you painters, for you design obsessed or some of you who just think about color possibly too much. I am creating a YouTube Channel for Painting Techniques from Umbria, Italy and Napa Valley, CA.  Everyone is welcome, world painters unite.  It is quite exciting really. We are going to go on a little journey and I will teach you all some way cool techniques that you can use to paint on your own art, and interiors and furniture.

Also for the last two years and during Covid 2020, I have been creating an online course on Painting Techniques.  It is fun and confidence building and inspirational but also designed with simple processes that any skill level painter can learn to do.  In this way you bring your talent and style and I will teach you the techniques.

I am also creating a free Mini Course on Living the Creative Life.  So check back in and I will update you here once I am live on YouTube and when when the Courses are ready.

We can make 2021 surprisingly different and more fantastical than we expected.



How to Make Home Made Bread

I love to make home made bread, it warms the heart and the home.  When the girls were little, on cold foggy Winter days I used to meet them after school with warm buns of Pain Au Chocolate, wrapped up in a linen napkin.  Now with my littlest in High School, she would be horrified to have Mama waiting with warm bread.  It makes me giggle to think of doing it.  If I were home with my family in California out at the beach house I would be making tons of little "panini" to be served warm with Thanksgiving dinner.

The thing about making bread is you can't really go wrong and you can add whatever you might like to the recipe to make it special.

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Here is my basic recipe:
It only takes about 5 minutes to mix and four hours to rise.
This recipe also works for Pizza dough.

5 to 6 cups of fine white flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup of warm water mixed with half a bag of dry yeast or 1/2 a cube of fresh yeast.
(I think in America it is often called beer yeast.  I like the fresh cubes best and you can get them in the refrigerated section of the market near the yogurt.  In Italy I use Lievital fresco)

Dissolve the yeast with your finger in the warm water
Add to your flour mixture

Then I get another cup of warm water put it to the side and add it as needed to the mound of flour mixture till the consistency looks and feels right.  See photos

Mix the dough into a ball with your hands
You can knead it in the bowl or on a wood cutting board or marble slab, adding flour sprinkled on the board.

Then once the dough seems good I put it in a deep bowl, cover it with a cotton or linen napkin and leave it to rise 3 to 4 hours.

Once the dough has risen you knead it down again and form your rolls or loafs as you choose.

Here is the Fleischmann's dry yeast that I use in the US.

Here is the dough mixed into a ball waiting to rise

The dough covered wit a cotton cloth waiting to rise

Sorry the photo is blurry but you can see how much the dough came up

Here is the fun part, you can add dark chocolate (70% cocoa makes it a super food) a chunk to each roll, push it in the bun and cover with dough.

Glase the top with egg yolks to give a pretty golden effect.

Cut the loaf open on the top and add fresh olive oil and rosemary.

Sky is the limit now.

Have fun Happy Thanksgiving to those of you dear readers in the U.S.

Sette Design Shop

With affection,

Fifth Anniversary Sette Design Blog

It is crazy to think that  5 years ago today I started this blog.  Happy Anniversary Sette Design Blog!  I remember the day clearly, because I was living here in Italy and we had just had the first snow fall on the mountains that surround our city.  Now 5 years later with climate change, it seems there is no snow insight for who knows how long.  My girls were 9 and 13 compared to now 14 and 18, huge difference.

To celebrate today I thought I would give you some advice, this I secretly find funny because if you knew my life more intimately you would say (or quietly think) Nat you really are not in any position to give advice.  But when you hear the advice you will see that actually is is common, simple, pure and obvious.  Plus this way we can look back on some pretty photos I have taken in the years past.

Here we go life advice from Sette Design.

Make home made bread, it will make your friends and family so happy it is ridiculous and strangely it will also make you feel good about yourself.  The house will smell amazing.

Light candles it makes everything look and feel good.

Flowers add color and joy.

The sky is the limit.

Go for walks alone,

and with family.

Change is something we can count on.

Paint something white, it will reflect light into a dark space, of course paint something colored too.  I love colored walls.

Too much at times can be splendid.

Just as simple and empty is pure and lovely.

Paint something it deepens our souls, or play music, cook, write, sing or dance.

Home is where you make it.

If possible make love on vintage Italian sheets.

Embrace whatever kind of creativity you have that makes you purrr.

If something feels wrong run for it.

Rest assured you are not the only one who is crazy.

Drink lots of coffee and remember love is what matters most of all.

Now I will leave you with a good quote and a cool scene I came across years back.

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."

E.B. White

 With affection,

Peace - ramps, docks, alleyways and vicoli

It is interesting how little empty passageways can bring us peace.  A via waiting to be chosen, explored, journeyed through.  Both of these photos are taken in places I know well and have walked through often.

The first is on the docks in Sausalito, CA on the way to my mother's houseboat with Mt. Tamalpais  elegantly tranquil in the distance.  The alleyway (vicolo in Italian) below was passed through for years, day in day out on bicycles on the way to the Elementary School for my girls.

Do you remember a beaten path from your childhood that even now to think of it brings you peace? You may have one now, in the city that you live, cutting behind buildings, a break in a fence.  A secret way to get there faster or to be seen less.  In my childhood we even had a name for our path, "Meet you at the top of the Huckleberry Trail".

Today as the hot summer winds down in Italy and in California and where ever you are.  I encourage you to find a path to travel that brings you peace, name it, walk it, bring someone with you.

With affection,

Graduates and Glass Bottles

June is actually here, the graduates are taking over the world and I am thankful  for that!  I have Lucia my big girl graduating High School and Elisa from 8th Grade.  It is a nice feeling to think of the new one's taking over and possibly doing a better run of it than we have done.

I must confess that I find myself posting to Instagram a lot more than this beloved design blog.  Come join me there also, you can easily find me on Instagram under Sette Design and you can look for the purple blue store front logo - instagram.com/settedesign . What I should do is post to both.

So here now is a quick review of Sette Design’s opinions, desires and work.

I am thrilled with the Glass Bottle Chandelier I made out of chain, wire, and vintage bottles . 
Gorgeous with mixed colored flowers or just white roses, to decorate as you desire.  Available on my shop here Sette Design Shop
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Sette Design Shopn

Happiness note:  A smoothie and flowers for a new garden (in the same pallet of colors no less) helps anyone feel good. Right?  Does anyone have the courage to paint a wall this berry color of the smoothie drink?  I think if the room had enough Southern facing light it could be amazing.

the simple life

Here is the view from a home I have been working on for a wonderful client who feeds me hot American coffee with cream, and a fudgesicle dunked inside, our invention.  You can imagine the job has gone splendidly.

A grouping of Vintage Green Glasses also available on Sette Design Shop.  I do love to create the feeling of a still life, that can be put under happiness note.  Make a Still Life and you don't have to paint it because we are living it.

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On my drive to work - I like this kind of "macho" gazebo in a field of wildflowers, the contrast of delicate flowers and big wooden beams is nice.

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Cheers to all of you.

Get the Summer going right.

With affection,


Houses Covered in Vines - Napa Valley

Structures covered in vines.

Here we are in Vine City.
There is too much going on for this little simple life of mine.

Create Something Pretty- Blue Wall Heaven

Another rainy day in gorgeous Napa Valley, mustard fields glowing day glow yellow, black tar country roads with the white lines polished and wet.  I always believe when life gets crazy and overwhelming it is a good time to take 5 minutes and Create Something Pretty to look at.  Then when the house is a complete mess, like backpacks, dirty Converse sneakers in the middle of the doorway, and even my contribution an electric drills plugged in, sitting on the kitchen floor – ahhgg! It is definitely time to Create Something Pretty

Here all for you I created a glimpse at a fabulous piece of Blue Wall Heaven in my Sister’s home.  The funny thing is, this wall is actually dark Teal Blue, Not Robin’s Egg Blue or Sky Blue as we see here. It is insane how the light changes this color!  Does it make you want to paint something blue?

For this still life  I used, pruned and fading pomegranate branches, daffodils, and a delicate wisteria blossom and a little whiskey.

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Happy Weekend my darlings, go Create Something Pretty.

Mexican Aztec Goddess Coatlicue replica done in styrofoam By Artist David Garden

With affection,