Food and Drink

The Ferry Building

Last week we had some of our favorite out of town guests, a family that we have known forever. In fact we were reminiscing how we used to babysit their oldest son when he was a toddler before we had any of our own. Well, he is off to college this fall. I know this is a total cliche, but I seriously do not know where that time has gone. Poof!

Anyhow, as is our usual, whenever we have friends visiting that share our love of walking and eating.... we go into the city to the Ferry Building. And so we went...


We strolled along the Embarcadero....





With a lot of wind blowing in our hair...







And then we came to the shrine that is the Ferry Building. What else is there to say really.   #weateourwaythroughtherestoftheday 





First up, Miette. A charming little French sweet shoppe.





The General Store and Farm Fresh To You stand....







Anything green is good.





The gourmet bean store, Rancho Gordo. Where the boys spent a good deal of their time playing with the "touching beans".



The ACME bakery. Just the small alone.



Tasting at the Olive Oil shop. I have found a new love and I am addicted. But I have found a slightly more affordable way to do it. Go to Trader Joe's and buy a small bottle of your favorite flavored oil - basil, garlic and chili all work well. Find the little tin of Trader Joe's truffle salt. Combine the two in a little dish. Dip your favorite bread. I dare you to tell me you are doing a carb free diet after that. Just. Not. Possible. #totally addicted





As a committed mushroom forager, I love looking at every nook and cranny of this shop.







The boys enjoyed themselves here at Boccalone too.





Cowgirl Creamery. Sigh.

I could have tasted every single cheese here. Pretty sure we ate nothing but bread and cheese for the next 2 days after spending too much time here.





As for here at McEvoy Ranch, I could have designed a new collection or two if I had stayed here any longer. Heaven for the eyes. One day I will have a garden that yields this. One day pigs will fly too but you know.







Unfortunately now all the goodies are gone and I am 5 lbs. heavier. I guess I should get off the computer and take a walk.  :-)


I have had a full week. A really full week. And I've struggled with its fullness. A lot.

My friend Jana mentioned the other day on twitter that she was having a perfect amount of "whelmedness" that day,not too overwhelmed and not too underwhelmed. What a fabulous idea! It sounded like an absolutely perfect day to me since I seem to have had my fair share of the former kind lately and have been dreaming of the latter.

But really when it comes down to it, what I have been wanting is that perfect balance of "whelmedness" each day. Don't we all? As I descended into one of my internal "balance of life" struggles, I realized however that even though this perfection is a good thing to strive for, achieving a perfect balance of whelmedness each day is a high and lofty goal. Perhaps I should stop thinking that I can do that every day and cut myself at least a little bit of slack. Just maybe.

One of the questions I get asked the most often, which might also be why I think about it so much, is how do I balance a full time, often more than full time design job, and business along with being a "stay at home" mom of my three munchkins. To be fair, I don't really think I am such a good example of either. I have business and production offices next door and a wonderful staff of gals who help me make it all happen on a variety of fronts. They sew, they edit, they process orders and answer emails. They stuff patterns and ship boxes. They do most of the paperwork.


... Gabrielle made new cream bundles up on the website now.....

I have a hub who runs most of the fulfillment side of the business and all 3 of my kids are in school now so the balance is definitely more doable these days than it was when I started all of this craziness. Mr. Fig and I share all child responsibilities since both of our jobs have the luxury of flexing around the kids and I know that I couldn't do it at all without all of these folks and without all of this help.

And yet I still struggle with what I am not doing on any given day. 

In the end, there isn't any good answer to the balance question, other than I take each day as it comes and often feel like I have let one of the two halves down. As I thought about it al again this morning, what I realized was that what I want to strive for is balance in my week and balance in my month. Balance in  my day would be the icing on my cupcake but can't happen most days!

Their will be days like this Wednesday, the first day of school, when one side is clearly more important than the other.


... first day of school photos of the two youngest Figs!

There will be days like this Monday, the final deadline for my newest manuscript, when the other side of my pendulum will win.



... prop shots from the photo shoot, since I can't actually show any of the products just yet....

There will be days like this Tuesday, back to school shopping in the morning/photo shoot in the afternoon, when I will try to do both and feel completely overwhelmed by the end of the day, not sure that I gave either halves of my life all that they needed.

...more props from the other day's shoot.

And there will be days like today when I will sleep in a little, let the hub get the munchkins off to school, let the office gals run the office without me and enjoy a little bit of quiet time with my tea and the homemade zucchini bread that my 13 yr. old boy whipped up this weekend.

There will be evenings like today when our friend will need to take the munchkins out to dinner, while I finish studying the swatches for the next fabric collection I am working on but I will still get to tuck them into bed when the day is done.


Who knows what tomorrow will look like.  But as I look back on the week AS A WHOLE, I think I can be happy about what I accomplished, what I chose to do and what I chose to hold off on. All in all, I think my week has had a perfect balance of whelmedness even if each day felt completely different and perhaps not that perfect in and of itself.

Trying to keep myself focused on the big picture instead of the little one that gets me down and makes me crazy. This balance thing is not that easy. I am sure you all know this already. I am wishing each and every one of you the perfect balance of whelmedness this next week!




Summer's End

I can't even believe that our summer is not so slowly coming to a close. I know its kind of an artificial end and that we could all stay in summer mode for a bit longer but I guess we have to listen to the calendar! And so our SCHEDULED summer is almost over and I don't think I am quite ready.

My tomatoes aren't quite ready yet, either!


In the Kitchen...


This morning our FARM FRESH TO YOU box of goodies arrived as it does every week. Its a wonderful thing and even though we are growing some of our own veggies this summer, the weekly box keeps us stocked with everything we might need. This week the box came at 11:00 and by noon I had sauteed up a few things for a quick staff snack. We all took a break from designing, shipping and cutting to eat some sauteed pattypan squash with onions, garlic and herbs. Yum!




On vacation...

Last weekend we were also able to squeeze in one more long weekend vaca to Monterey. What a beautiful and restful place!

Vacationing with 3 munchkins ages 6 to 13 in one car and one room is not always what its cracked up to be but with some good "divide and conquer parenting" all the interested parties were able to: go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, go window shopping in Carmel, return to the laser and mirror maze place 4 times, eat ALOT of shrimp at Bubba Gump's, do a little back to school shopping for kids and mommy too, eat some yummy French food which included some amazing Sonoma coast wine and a giant bowl of mussels and clams in a garlic and herb wine sauce, watching a couple of in room movies, having French Crepes with strawberries and Nutella, kicking my son's butt at pool, eating Lasagna for the first time in 10 years because we were trying to be like Garfield the cat [that last one will only make sense to you if you read the Garfield comics like my boys do], stopping at the best roadside veggie stand in Castroville, CA [home of the artichoke] I had seen in ages and buying 20 baby artichokes and 10 baby avocados that we are still eating, walking through the Strawberry Festival in Watsonville, CA.... okay I think I will stop for fear of boring you with more food stories. It does sound like we did nothing but eat all day long, doesn't it?




I guess its time for back to school haircuts too, huh? I'm keeping that lazy summer look going as long as I can on them. Unfortunately Ben's school has a haircut code. Bummer.


In the office...

For those of you who have fallen in love with some of our newest bundles, you might want to go take a look here for some new fun ones.



And just because we thought they were irresistible, we added some of these to the site. Isn't that just the cutest twine you have ever seen? 




More soon.

xoxoxo Joanna

Paris, my friend

Now I have to tell you that Paris, although still completely intoxicating, spellbinding, breathtaking, mysterious, and a whole group of other adjectives, has become somewhat of a friend over these last couple of trips. Mon ami as they say.

I now have a "regular" place I like to stay. On "my little island". A regular place I have my morning tea and croissant. Sometimes they even recognize me there. A regular afternoon crepe with nutella to snack on, couldn't think of anything other I would rather eat when strolling around Paris. A regular corner florist where I buy the flowers for my hotel room. My own metro stop. A favorite place to walk along the Seine. My favorite market and even a cheese shop that i can't resist.

And yet the city is full of idiosyncracies that I love to observe and a million things that I don't understand... like how to use a foreign credit card on one of those cool city rent bikes that you can pick up anywhere and drop off anywhere else for pennies! Anyone?

To me, Paris is still full of contradictions and things that you dont' expect. Its one of the things I love most about it. 

Like this,

 ...the Notre Dame.


right across the street from this...

 ... a popular cafe that stays open all night with French and tourist alike.


Or this,

 A cafe mixed right into our view of Sacre Couer.


Or like color at every turn,


...right next to a neutral that is just as beautiful.


Like this older French gentleman shopping at the outdoor vegetable market who couldn't feel more "french" to me, with his classic profile, his expression and of course, his cane,


... just a few streets down from this little boy we met at the park that, to me, epitomizes what I think a little French boy ought to look like. Right down to his shoes. And his little red truck.




And the little courtyards. The old entryways and covered walkways. The quiet spots away from the bustle and the cars. The softer side of Paris. So unexpected when you are walking on a major boulevard. But suddenly there it is.




And the menus. Don't let me forget about the menus. The little menus in every shape color and style. The little menus that have come to communicate something to me about Paris, its simplicity, its people, its love of food. These little boards have become somewhat of an obsession for me. I think I have probably photographed at least a hundred of them by now. I just can't seem to get them out of my system. I love them. How silly is that?








Or what about the fact that here, this is what the salt aisle at the store looks like.... yes, that's right, the salt aisle. Nothing but salts.



Or the fact that almost every Brasserie you pass has its doors open and feels this inviting. Like you've been there before... but you haven't.


... this has absolutely nothing to do with Paris, but you gotta love a husband who is willing to carry a "merse" [man purse] with embroidery on it all around the city!  



... A place that feels like my friend.


Talk to you soon.  


Fresh Vintage #16 has hit the stores!

Our latest edition of Fresh Vintage went out last week! Halleluiah! Why halleluiah you might ask? Well, because its a quarterly pattern series that we do and this one was supposed to be the "MAY/JUNE" edition and it went out in the middle of July instead.... 

I can come up with some good excuses, I really can. One of them starts with Paris and ends with the Russian River, another one of them starts with Ben and ends with Ella, another one starts with my latest fabric collection designs and ends with a few new patterns in the works...


Dresden Fancy

Anyway, this issue is chalk full of goodies, starting with a Dresden Plate quilt, "DRESDEN FANCY". For those of you who are not seasoned or traditional quilters, a Dresden Plate block is one of those old traditional blocks that every quilter wants to make or at least own a vintage version of. They are beautiful and graphic and delicate all at once and over the years my desire to make one has grown until it finally dawned on me one day that I could make one without using any sewing templates! That's all I needed to get started...


In a method similiar to our Papillion pattern, the block comes together like a beauty!


or maybe this version... told you we are in love with this block!! 


The single applique block was added in for fun and interest but of course you can leave it out entirely if you prefer!

Le Figs

In this same issue of Fresh Vintage, we made these fun little pincushions for you... we thought it was time to add a new fig into the pincushion family. A long skinny greenish fig made with some of our snuggly soft Snuggle™ fabrics by MODA included in our Whimsy fabric collection. If you are interested in a simple kit of these little Le Fig figlets, email us at [the kit will have the Snuggle fabric, leaf & stem fabric and a couple of buttons along with the Fresh Vintage #16 issue for $15 plus standard shipping]. 





The issue also has one of my favorite summer salads/meals and something we make around these parts often in the summer months. Its basically our version of the Greek Tabouli salad but with all of our favorite summer veggies and a ton of great flavor including feta, pinenuts, peppers, tomatoes and more!


Click here if you want to purchase your copy.

Click here if you are interested in an auto subscription to this quarterly pattern series.


Talk to you soon. More Paris tomorrow!


Paris: A little more

When most people go to Paris, they go see landmarks and take pictures that might look something like this.


Well, when we go to Paris, we get looked at a bit funny because we are seen mostly taking pictures of things like this...


in fact we seem to have a real thing for fencing...


And we seem to spend a lot of our time looking up...



 When our necks hurt from looking up, we would stop in for one or both of these...


So we could spend some more time looking at these...


When we got our fill of the beautiful blooms that seemed to be on every street corner, we reveled some more in, well, in food... just looking though...






Usually that would make us hungry enough to sit down and have a snack, or two. Its good that we were walking about 10 miles a day because otherwise I would have to be at the gym and not here!


 More yummies tomorrow. Making me nostalgic just looking at it all.


Talk to you soon.

A beautiful Saturday

The place: Sonoma


...wandering around abandoned vineyards.


When: Definitely Spring. This past Saturday to be more specific.


...cherry trees in bloom.


Sonoma fig

... baby figs.


What: an afternoon of relaxation & a bit of fun.


...realized I am hardly ever in the pics of where we go.


Destination: The Girl & the Fig


...can you even believe that there is a such a place an hour from my home and I have never been there??


My drink: A Fig Royale

Sonoma fig royale

... my new favorite drink.


My date: My husband

Sonoma eric


Our dinner: Flounder in a brown butter & fried caper sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes and spinach.

Sonoma food

...uummmm, do I really need to say anything else?


Skirt Steak with a wine and veal reduction with fingerling potatoes and spring greens

Sonoma food2

...eric had a hard time parting with more than one bite of this one.


The occasion: 15th wedding anniversary

Sonoma bracelet

.... Apparently 15 years is crystal. Who knew? 


We'll definitely be back... sooner than is probably expected.

Sonoma restaurant

It was a perfect afternoon.

Love you honey.