Thursday, December 22, 2011

It is Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas



These guys are hold center stage this time of year!


front door villa cantina


The front door wears a magnolia wreath embellished with gathered moss, branches, pine and Manzanita


LOVE Trader Joe’s mini wreaths @$4.99. Add some gathered flora, and hang them on either side of Bossie and Bernie













The Living Room with it’s “faux” tree




Once again local flora & fauna add character to an otherwise “unnatural tree”


Tags are printed on various papers.  You can find the template at Martha Stewart Weddings






These stockings were sewn by the wonderful Katie Baker of Katie Baker Slipcovers.  Katy used leftover fabric remnants (some from me) and crafted these gorgeous stockings.  I can’t sew.  My contribution was adding the vintage brooches, buttons etc.


The garland is from Michaels.  I added moss, live greens, Manzanita etc. to “make it appear natural”




I have had these deer for several years.  They never seemed quite right in my own home.  They seem quite at home on Villa Cantina’s dining table.


The Old Barn Vent on the Stairwell was calling out for some simple embellishment!


Beau seems to think this Restoration Hardware Throw is his new bed.  They are on sale here for $79.00!  What a deal!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day Tripping “The Hacienda” William Randolph Hearst's Hunting Lodge and Jolon Road


Field & Tree & Mountain & Clouds

photo courtesy of karith

Half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles is a little known portion of the original El Camino Real known as the “Valley of the Oaks”.  The road  (popular with cyclists) winds through vineyards and rolling hills .  The landscape is dotted with gnarly old oaks draped in Spanish Moss. Little has changed since the Spanish missionaries discovered it in 1771.  It is a nature lovers dream.  Deer,  multiple species of birds, and even a herd of bison can be seen at dawn or dusk roaming the landscape. The population is less than it was in 1800 when mining ventures resulted in the development of a thriving mining district. The small town of Jolon rapidly grew into a thriving town that served the developing area. Mexican land grants were broken into small homestead parcels.

elk herd.jpg

photo courtesy of mike mcquiggan


Hidden inside of Fort Hunter Liggett (designated as a military reservation in 1941) is William Randolph Heart’s Hacienda. Today it is operated as a hotel.  Before he built his "castle" on the coast, William Randolph Hearst built  The Hacienda . The rambling Spanish Colonial Revival structure was built in 1929 and originally called the Milpitas Ranch House. Designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan, it was a working ranch, drawing inspiration from the nearby Spanish mission for its white stucco walls and Spanish-tiled roof. In 1929, construction of the complex began on the site of the original Milpitas Ranch House that recently had burned. A south wing originally in the designs and intended to be Hearst's private quarters was never completed. Julia Morgan and Hearst correspondence indicates that original Hacienda plans were to house 20 employees; these plans were expanded to house 30 employees. Construction cost reached $200,000. Hearst used the Hacienda as a hunting lodge, and he enjoyed it so much that even after he built his big house at nearby San Simeon, he built a private road to facilitate travel between the two properties.


You can stay at Mr. Hearst's house, which is now a hotel.

photo courtesy of Betsey Malloy

Northwest Tower of “The Hacienda”

File:The Hacienda.jpg

Southeast Tower

File:Milpitas Hacienda1.jpg

photo courtesy Wilkepedia

West Corridor

File:The Hacienda west corridor.jpg

photo courtesy of wilkepedia


The Hacienda once housed a modest restaurant that I believe is presently closed. You might wonder where might one find a bite to eat out in the middle of nowhere? We travel this road on our way to Villa Cantina twice every weekend.  I must confess when we noticed that the Lockwood Store now housed a restaurant it was primarily a source of amusement . Well the joke was on us.  If you love a great burger in a funky 50’s inspired diner you will love this place.  The owners are friendly and the service is spot on.  I believe they are open for dinner Thursday through Sunday .For more information you can call 831- 385-5750, or take a peak at their facebook page for their menu.!/pages/Lockwood-Stores-Hungry-Flats-Diner/104154066331361?sk=info

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring In the Garden



Wisteria spilling over the fence behind the pool



Graham Thomas in all his glory


Golden Celebration ( my absolute favorite Austin Rose)





Sally Holmes





Cecile Brunner on the Arbor leading to the Herb Garden



Francine Austin




Glorious Eden.… Beautiful Blooms and Superior Disease Resistance


Eden and her mystery friend

Anyone know her name?



Here she is from the other side

Happy Spring!  What is blooming in your garden?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Remnants of the Past

I have been dying to attend this show for  some time.  For one reason or another I have never been able to make it.  This year I have it on my calendar and I can’t wait.!! If you live in the area or happen to be game for a road trip to the little town of Nipomo don’t miss it.  It is held at the historic Dana Powers Barn in Nipomo and is the brainchild of Judy Watkins who lives on the property.  At one time Judy had a little shop called LaDeDa.  She later partnered  with a friend and opened CaLa in Old Edna which later expanded again and moved to downtown, San Luis Obispo, California.  Judy now devotes her time to putting on the Bi-Annual show which is held each Spring and Fall.  The theme of this springs’ show is….stylishly green—generously giving. There will be 40 plus hand picked vendors offering up a wide variety of wares.   The best part? A  portion of the proceeds will go to the local Habitat for HumanityRepresentatives from the San Luis Obispo Habitat for Humanity will be on hand to meet and explain all the wonderful things they do to help the community.

Here are some photos from past shows courtesy of Judy Watkins blog


photo courtesy of


Here is the adorable Judy!

8th Bi-Annual
Remnants of the Past
Vintage sale on Saturday,
April 30, 2011

at the Dana-Powers Property
in Nipomo, CA.
Entrance Fee: $7

For more information about the show and all the vendors who will be attending please read Judy’s wonderful blog here:

For directions etc. please visit the website here:

The show was also featured in Country Livings April issue



If you haven’t had a chance to pick it up you can read about it here:

The Dana Powers House and Barn are also wonderful wedding venues.  If there is a wedding in your future you can check it out here:

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We have had a busy Winter and Spring. Our daughter is getting married this summer at our home so we have many projects to complete.  We have had non stop rain the past few weeks.  We really needed it.   It is also wonderful for Villa Cantina because the lake view is really a “full on” lake view for a change! We also have a new puppy.  His name is Beau.  He is adorable.  Have you read the book or seen the movie Marley and Me?



  A couple of years ago we had to put our other yellow lab Bridger down.  It was devastating.  Bridger was a once in a lifetime dog.  We made friends with complete strangers because of him.  He was a wonderful dog who was loved by all who knew him. When he died he was immortalized by our good friend and artist Pat Huber.




We had to think long and hard before deciding to get another dog.  My husband wanted a puppy. He said he would take Beau to work with him a couple days of week.  Steve loves Beau.  Steve leaves really early in the morning and he doesn’t get home until dinner time. He took Beau to work last week.  That night Beau got really sick.  We took Beau to our Vet.  Beau ate something he wasn’t supposed to.  Beau does that a  lot .  Here is Steve with Beau on the Gator.  Beau looks so sweet doesn’t he?


We have two cats.  Their names are Furry and Tiger ( clever I know).  They were feral cats.  For those of you not familiar with feral cats, they are afraid of practically everything because they were raised (or birthed) by a feral mother.  They are afraid of Beau too.


The reason they look scared is because Beau is barking at them AGAIN. 


Beau has lots of beds….



Most of them he doesn’t lay on…



When we take him in the car he rides in this cage.  You probably can guess why. 


When Beau sleeps at night he sleeps here.  Again no need for guessing.



We let him sleep in our bed a couple of nights but that didn’t go well.  He also likes to sleep in this bed.  This is another reason why Furry and Tiger  don’t like him.  



Beau also likes to sleep here.  This is our game room sofa.  He likes lots of pillows.



Or in the wingback chair….



I just brought this chair home from the upholsterer.  I had it covered in sheets (can you guess why?).  He didn’t jump on it until I removed the sheets.



Here is Beau on the console table behind the sofa.   I HAD a bowl filled with shells and coral on  the console.  He kept stealing them out of the bowl.  Apparently he is looking for them….



Beau has lots of toys.  He loves Mr. Skunk. Mr. Skunk has not one but two squeakers.  That might be part of the attraction. Beau especially loves things that aren’t toys at all (peoples’ shoes, toilet paper,  zebra rugs, and things that belong in the bathtub)…




Beau doesn’t have very many friends.  He likes to jump on and bite dogs.  He sometimes  has the same M.O with people.

He loves our gardener Sebastian.  I am not sure the feeling is mutual.

Beau found a friend though…her name is Isabella….she loves Beau


Beau usually wears people out. He was very tired after he played with Isabella.

Beau went to a “puppy reunion” with his litter mates last weekend. Some of the puppies had really nice manners.  I doubt they jump on console tables and sleep on the sofa. Some were friskier than others. Here is Beau playing with the  other “frisky” puppy. That’s Beau on top.



Here is Beau “playing” with another one of his litter mates. Apparently Beau thought he would make a nice chair. 

DSC01540 /rt


Here is Beau again.  He is the one with his teeth around the other dog’s neck.



Here is Beau looking for his next victim



But….who could resist that face?