San Gimignano Marble Eggs


When we lived in Zurich years ago, I took a trip to the Tuscany region of Italy with a friend-between us we had 7 children! We dragged them to San Gimignano to buy the marbled eggs that I cherish every Easter.

Well worth the visit for more than the eggs,here is a brief history:

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form “an unforgettable skyline”. Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant’ Agostino contain frescos, including cycles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The “Historic Centre of San Gimignano”, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town also is known for the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.

Painted Blown Easter Eggs


I have a friend that just moved from Concord. Every year she had a “workshop” to make painted blown eggs. All of us would TRY to make them as nice as hers and NEVER succeeded-she was an incredible artist and so creative.We are going to miss her so much.These are all her eggs…..

Here are some instructions should you want to try:

It all starts with a blown egg — that is, an egg shell with all the gooey insides removed. Although you may never aspire to spend time decorating eggs as an art form, blown eggs are good at helping you preserve any hard work you or your family creates for Easter. Perhaps you’ll want to do just a few so that you can create keepsake ornaments to mark your child’s decorating skills and talent as each year progresses.

Grab some eggs, a straight pin, and bowl and follow these instructions:

Starting at the narrow end of the egg, gently pierce a hole through the shell and membrane with a straight pin.

If you want to dye the egg, be sure to keep the raw egg intact, dye it first, and then blow out the contents. Otherwise, you’ll have floating eggs on dye (nothing like bobbing for eggshells in dye!).

Turn the egg over and pierce a hole through the shell and membrane with a straight pin in the center of the bottom of the egg. Use the pin to gently start removing more bits of the shell and membrane to make a hole approximately 1/16-inch in diameter. Pierce the yolk.

Pressing your lips to the top of the egg, blow the insides of the raw egg out of the bottom of the egg into a bowl.

Try not to touch the raw egg.

Rinse the inside and outside of the shell with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.

Use paints, stamps, colored tissue paper, or whatever you desire to decorate your freshly blown egg.

Blowing an egg means that a raw egg is blown from the insides of the shell. Although this craft has been done for centuries, don’t get careless when handling raw eggs. Be safe to avoid illness.

If you can, blow eggs safely by investing in an egg blowing kit, or at the very least buy an ear syringe used for irrigating and cleaning ears. (You can find them at any drug or discount store.) Use the ear bulb to blow air into the egg, removing the insides, instead of placing the egg to your lips. You can also use the bulb to squirt a vinegar and water cleaning solution inside the egg to clean and remove any remains. Take care to wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap after removing the insides of the egg.

Dedham Pottery


These beautiful bunnies are actually made here in Concord.They are reproductions of Dedham Pottery-here is the history:

In 1876, family member Hugh C. Robertson visited the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia – an early world’s fair – and viewed pottery from China with a blood-red crackled glaze that would inspire him to create his own version. In 1867, the Robertson family founded their first company in Chelsea, Massachusetts on the corner of Marginal and Willow Streets, a prelude to Dedham Pottery, called Chelsea Pottery U.S.. The Boston Daily Globe reported on Monday, July, 30th 1894, that “about 10 acres of land at East Dedham, was sold for $6,500 to the Chelsea Pottery Company” and the pottery company would be moving from Chelsea to Dedham, “just as soon as proper buildings can be erected and other necessary work done.” Chelsea Pottery U.S. closed in 1895 and, just as promised, the company moved on to Dedham, MA where Hugh C. Robertson, a fifth-generation Scottish potter, opened Dedham Pottery in 1896.

The Dedham Historical Society as well as another company in Concord, MA produces reproductions of Dedham pottery. The Dedham Historical Society owns both the name and original trademark of Dedham Pottery.

The White House Easter Egg Hunt


Years ago when we lived in Washington DC, my nephew worked at the White House. One of the special perks of working there was to invite family members to the annual Easter Egg Hunt- you don’t have to wait in the enormous line!
I went with 3 of my little kids.At one point, the Secret Service was clearing the way for President and Mrs. Clinton to get to a small stage to speak. My son Peter disappeared;he was 4 years old. When President Clinton got to the stage he said “does anyone know who this little boy belongs to?” and of course,that was Peter!
The eggs given are wooden-you get one per person. A very special memory.

Santa Barbara Smarts!


I have a sister-in-law who is truly a “jack of all trades”. She is a therapist,an author,a florist,a painter,a singer-you name it,she can do it. When I visited them in Santa Barbara she showed me her inventions for storage- of her scarves(she had my brother make this),her necklaces(two peg boards turned sideways)and her earrings(a piece of fabric on a rod and then hung up).Talk about creative!



One last hike in Big Sur-we went on the Buzzards Roost Trail and then on to Nepenthe for lunch before heading to Santa Barbara. The views from Nepenthe are incredible-well worth the visit!Their Garbanzo and Kidney Bean Salad is highly recommended……

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn


Thanks to my cousin who recommended Deetjen’s we stayed here.It is so charming and you really have the chance to relax-no cell phones,no TV,no internet….here is some history:

Before Highway One was completed in 1937, Castro Canyon was a traditional stopover for travelers along the coastal wagon road. When Helmuth and Helen Deetjen began welcoming guests in the 1930’s, Deetjens Inn was born.Over the years Deetjen built Norwegian-style rooms and gave each of them a name. All work was done by Grandpa Deetjen and friends using locally milled,scavenged redwood.
Today the Big Sur Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places, offering visitors simple luxuries in the rooms and fabulous dining in the award-winning restaurant. Year round, the Inn’s well-tended gardens bloom and the Castro Canyon waterfall splashes into the creek. Their guests often say that a visit to Deetjens feels like coming home-there is a guestbook in each room and it was fun to read the entries in our room! We noticed that many people make a yearly trek to Deetjen’s.

Big Sur to be Sure


The next part of our trip we drove from San Francisco down the coast on Routes 101 and 1(why is the ocean on the right as I go south??-as an east coast person that always surprises me!)to Big Sur.We stopped to get some supplies at the Big Sur General Store and River Inn.I loved the adirondack chairs in the stream-what a way to relax.
We then hiked up to Pfeiffer Falls,and turned the other way to go on the Valley View Trail.The view at both was definitely worth it!