Showing posts with label cool ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cool ideas. Show all posts

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,

Springtime and Vintage Italian Sheets

Now that it is Springtime,  I want to highlight my amazing Vintage Italian Sheets that I have for sale at Sette Design Shop.  They are made of heavy Cotton and some of Cannabis from many years back.  They can have many different uses.  I had a 8 foot long one that I used as a curtain in my paint studio in Italy.  I ran a cable from one wall to the other and use clip curtain rings, then I took the corner behind to fill with junk I didn’t want to see.  It became useful as a backdrop too for styling and photographing my designs. Here is an old post with the backdrop.

Red Italian House - Exterior Color

Wait … is it really a Red Italian House, or is it Deep Pink, Burnt Orange, Rust, Coral?  What color do you see?  I like to argue about color and the funny thing about that, is we always think that we are right because it is what we see!

Inside Winter Garden

I remember when I was young and going to Art and Design School in Brooklyn, I loved to look at the bare black trees reaching for the Winter sky.  Here presently in California the spring flowers are already starting to bloom, even if the Winter rains are still here in force blowing apart the streets and trees and branches falling, rivers rising. It is nice to create a calm sanctuary inside.


Sette Design Shop

See You Next Year!

I love to say "See You Next Year", it is something we said when we were children and it always makes me giggle.  It will be a New Year. I still can’t believe we are now almost in 2017.  Do you remember when it was 1999 and we were moving into a new century, seventeen years have past since then!

Painted Stucco Box -DIY

 Distressing a Box with Stucco Paint and Wax –DIY.

Today I want to try to explain this Do It Yourself project as simple as possible..  This process is not simple, but if you take it in parts, it isn’t hard to complete.  It is a process I invented (although I understand nothing is new) Elvis Costello sings “there is not such thing as an original sin.”  You get my point?

Exciting News!
Hi everyone!

I have really exciting news.  I have been working on a secret for a long time.  I have wanted to tell you all and have held back waiting for the right moment.

DIY - Subtle Blue Sky Wall

I've been painting a brick and beam ceiling white, the work is grueling but the effect is uplifting.

For years here in Umbria I have wanted to paint these Umbrian ceilings white.  I find some of the rooms dark and heavy.  Other clients in the past have wanted me to do it too, but the project is messy, costly (pure labor and lots of paint) and time consuming.  It is hard to live in the space when the ceiling is being painted.  This is the practical part of the work.  If in fact you have a new space to paint I would suggest renting a spraying machine and spraying all the wood and brick, then you could paint the walls with roller or brush. The whitening finished effect is just stunning, to me it looks so much more Northern European.

Espresso con Panna

The Simple Life 

Once the mercury hits 80 degrees (27 Celsius) I feel the need to make espresso with whipped cream.  I even believe in having a spray can of whipped cream for a topping on the hot espresso.  Honestly the cream in a can is gross but the girls love to spray their mouths full.  In our city in Italy it is quite easy to get  homemade whipped cream at the bar and when it is a hot summer night that Panna just magnetically pulls me helplessly toward the bar.

Here in California I use this simple recipe.


It is raining out and I’m drinking peppermint tea and I have just turned on the white lights that are strung high above the garden courtyard.

Sometimes when I’m feeling blue, it is so silly (or desperate?) how one inkling of hope can give me that jolt to the heart.  It is enough to wake me up, at least for that moment and I become utterly certain that-- to quote Prince “joy lives round the corner”.

Rise Early Quotes and Mustard Fields

Good Morning Everyone

I’m on a new plan to try to wake up early and start to work on my business before my girls or the sun has risen. This morning for me the sun rose at 6:56 am so each day there will be a little bit more light in the sky.  Does anyone want to join me and give it a try? I already feel kick-ass and I only began this morning.  Laugh with me not at me o.k.

DIY Wire Heart

Hello my beloved readers
Buon San Valentino

Today I have a quick DIY heart.

Warming our hearts of the Holidays

I love December and the Holidays, it warms my heart.  Tomorrow we leave to go back to Umbria for Natale in Italy with my darling Alfredo and all our friends.  I still haven't packed!  It would be lovely to return dressed elegantly, instead of the painters whites that I usually bicycled around the city in.

Charcoal-Grey Painted Dresser and a Bunya Cone

Here we go another week beginning.  At least it is starting to act a little Autumnal here in the Wine Country.  A few leaves have fallen.  The valley looks amazing with vivid green vineyards, ochre and yellow and golden light spotted with the shadows of the deep clouds above.

Small Spaces

The Simple Life

Now since we live in our little California cottage I need to force myself to think small and organized.  The days of rambling around our huge Gothic Italian apartment are gone. Guests used to actually get lost and not find the way out.  There were a lot of doors!

I like to play with scale and so I set up this pretty scene just for YOU.

A little chest of drawers, a silly tiny ice cream swirl chair and a bunch of flowers.

A big rosemary topiary.

A Starting Place

Hello Sette Design readers,

I found this phrase the other day and it humbled me.  It is so simple and perfect.

Start where you are
Use what you have
Do what you can

I'm sure it has been said before and should be said again.  Wouldn't you just feel better if you followed that advice?


7 Ideas To Make Your Home Pretty

    1.  Open your windows. 

      This is a very Italian action.  Italians love to air out their homes, even in the dead of winter, windows are always opened.  The extended light will make your home glow.

     2.  Cover your couch or a big chair with fresh white linens.

It is amazing how this will lighten up the room.  If you don’t have anything big enough you can use a curtain or sheets taped together in the back.

Want To Make Your Life Easier?

The Simple Life

Want to make your life easier?  I know is that a trick question? 

This last week I created this Vanilla Raisin Brown Bread and believe me it has changed my life.  I’m a single Mom and I work for myself, so it becomes pertinent to have easy snacks for school, something quick to grab to give me enough energy to keep painting a ceiling or having something around incase “someone”(tall, big BF) wants a midnight “mirenda”.

The Details the Simle Life #3

a door within a door

morning espresso for my darling

I love the details in life.  The little things my girls say like “I want to eat that cloud” or  "I made you an egg and now I want a hug, I expect payment!"  Who do you think said that the teenager or the ten year old? The teenager is the answer.  I just realized this week that there is a code of things that you are not supposed to say in front of your teenager’s friends.  I always thought I was a cool mom.  I know we all probably think that.  But I actually blast rap music, love fashion, bake chocolate cakes and let them all come over and scream loudly.  My problem is I don’t know what the code is, we are in Italy so it’s all in Italian (keep that in mind, if you think you’ve cracked the code), the code could also be An Italian Culture Code or it could be some kind world code that all teenagers know (innate or learned?) and that has definitely changed since thirty years ago.

vine and Medieval wall
shades of orange
Anyway (I diverged) was writing about the details.  I believe that sometimes in life when things get tough it is best to concentrate on the details, the little picture.  Then suddenly for that precious moment life is so pretty.

I like to buy flowers,
put them in flower pots I have painted.
give them as gifts

I always love walking past these terraces and dreaming

a kiss? an espresso? or a cigarette?

this city girls is proud of her olive "grove"

getting ready for the party
the Quintana Medieval horse racing sport and Medieval food

A friend sent me this quote this week.  I don’t know who said it.  It makes life feel right and simple and almost easy.  We just need to know what our desire is.

As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed, so is your destiny.

Cheers, look for the details.

Italian Flower Festival

La Infiorata

Oh do I have something special for you today.  It is one of my favorite things about living in Umbria, Italy.  I get to go to the Flower Festival in Spello La Infiorata.  Every year I force my girls (although they love it) to wake up early about 5:30 a.m and we meet up with friends, get on our bikes and bike to Spello for the festival, this way we beat the heat and the crowds.  The people who do the actual laying down of the flowers stay up all night working with tents over the designs so they don’t blow away.  They party into the night, this in Italy means drinking lots of coffee maybe a glass of wine and hanging with friends.

These designs are laid down with templates, they have wooden boards that cross over like little bridges, to work in the middle and they have misters to wet down the designs.  The flowers are picked locally and some are dried and some are fresh and then separated into bins of color.  There are lots of teenagers involved and team spirit is paramount.

Spello Flower Festival

Isn’t it just amazing that all this is done with flowers, the perspective, design, thought, creativity and profuse color is expansive and mind-boggling.

I just love the simple designs best.  They bring me such a sense of peace and joy that is hard to convey here in words.

the simple life

tree of life

I think it is a great idea to take this flower festival idea and bring it to your home for a party.  Think what a splendid impact it could make at a cocktail party, flowers and colored drinks in the back yard.  Spread out in the driveway for a child’s birthday party, a wedding or graduation party.

simple they are so pretty you can't do it wrong

flower hearts
Doing the simple designs could be as easy as collecting shapes from around the house, then outline the objects in chalk and fill them in with fresh petals.  Think about using buckets, kitchen plates for circles, even little baby clothing outlined for a shower could be adorable, irregular hearts and stars.  Have the kids draw the forms and fill them in.  It would even be fun to have a summer party where everyone does it together.

Cheers and love around the world from Umbria.

a view from Spell, Umbria
I'm linking with:
Between Naps on the Porch