Yesterday I got yelled at by a NYC stranger on the phone claiming I, as “Loretta Jewelry” sold her $100 earrings in Queens that turned black, and when this stranger brought them to local jewelers she found they were not sterling silver.

{the perils of Google + an unusual first name!}

Excuse me? I don’t live near Queens and have never sold my jewelry in Queens and don’t have any galleries that sell my work in Queens. I live upstate, in Albany. Surely, lady you must be mistaken…

Oh no, she rants, her credit card company gave her my name. She paid in cash, but her credit card company looked me up as a courtesy for her.

Now, I have a very unique name. I think naming a girl Loretta peaked in 1910. So when you Google the words “Loretta Jewelry” which was on her receipt, my web site pops up.

I’m Loretta Fontaine Jewelry, not Loretta Jewelry. She wouldn’t buy it, she yelled. She’s going to get a lawyer and sue me.

Loretta

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Bowl Giveaway! I’m drawing three winners on July 4!

{in my mailbox}
Yes, we all coveted the cool New Zealand beach house on the cover of the latest issue of dwell magazine
{Jody’s foot stepping down the stairs of dwell’s cover house… photo: Jody Brettkelly}
…but my friend Jody Brettkelly, the beautiful and quick-witted blogger behind About Last Weekend got her manicured foot in the door and scooped dwell with her post “Corker Kiwi Bach” early this year!
{Jed, and Jody expertly dressed to match his tractor}
Jody visited with her friends Kate and Jed last January on the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand and gave us her take on the gorgeous modern home Jed designed…
{photo: Jody Brettkelly}
Of course, being a Kiwi herself, Jody throws us all the proper lingo too. The place is a small beach house, or Bach (pronounced “batch”), where you can throw off your jandals, and join your rellies round a chilly bin on the lawn. 
{photo: Jody Brettkelly}

Isn’t the kitchen fabulous! The house has pops of orange and blue throughout. And look how it still looks fantastic on an average day without the team of magazine stylists…

{a wonderful axis, source}

I admire the use of materials – wood, fiber cement and stone framing the views of sky and sea. Masterful architecture. More on Jed’s amazing architecture practice here.

{how could she ever leave? source}

Read Jody’s About Last Weekend post on the house here, and next visit bring me along, please!

Loretta

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Bowl Giveaway! I’m drawing three winners on July 4!

{prepping a volumetrics recipe- lots of veggies!}
We’ve been trying to eat healthier here at home, and have been using a lot of recipes from Dr. Barbara Roll’s The Volumetrics Eating Plan. It focuses on food with low energy density – or low calories per gram. Lots and lots of vegetables and whole grains! 
So far we’ve loved the Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich, Chicken and Avocado Pita Pockets, and Bulgur & Vegetable Stuffed Peppers. Husband requested the Buffalo Chicken Wraps for Father’s Day. He loved them, but as I’m not such a fan of hot sauce and blue cheese dressing so not a hit for me!
Have you ever tried Volumetrics recipes? And I wish I could say our kids loved these meals, but they for the most part don’t.
Loretta
p.s. Don’t forget to enter my Wow Bow Acquabol Portable Pet Bowl Giveaway! I’m drawing three winners on July 4!
{happy dog!}

When I visited my awesome inventor brother-in-law Ryan in Portland, Oregon last April he gave me some of his products to giveaway. Wanda already won the Travelite luggage scale last month, and this month we’ll be giving away three of his Wow Bow Credit Card Sized Acquabol Pet Water Bowls

Part of the fun of having an inventor as a brother-in-law is I get to “help” at wholesale trade shows, which basically means I watch my cute nephews as my sister and brother-in-law work their booth. At a Pet Show in downtown Los Angeles we all stayed in the historic Biltmore Hotel, where the Oscars were held from 1929-1943. The concierge let us into the empty grand ballroom where the ceremonies took place, and we swam in a gilded pool where Shirley Temple dipped her toes. Such is the life when you know someone who invents such cool products…
{faux crocodile print with silver logo}
 The stylish, convenient and portable Acquabowl folds to the size of a credit card and fits right into your wallet. When your thirsty pet needs a drink, unfold and this durable, reusable waterproof bowl will do the trick!

It comes in three colors and I have three Acquabols to giveaway!

To win, be a follower or email subscriber of this blog, and and tell me about your pet (or pet who will be getting the bowl!) in the comments below. Get up to four more extra chances if you share this on your Blog, Facebook or Twitter, or become a follower of Loretta Fontaine Jewelry on Facebook! Leave a new comment for each. Good Luck! I’ll draw a random winner at 12:00 noon EST on Monday, July 4. Shipping in the U.S. is on me!

Loretta

I was interviewed by Jack Williams last April on “Three Tips for Creative Blogging”

{Jack Williams}

It felt a little nervous in front of a microphone (it was a recorded interview and will come out as an audio file), but can’t wait to hear the final interview which should be out very soon!

Loretta

Remember my post that mentioned the progress of Lauren Liess’s room in the DC Design House? Here’s the finished room! What an amazing difference!

{“The Hideaway” at the DC Design House, photo:Helen Norman}
Now, how did I ever find Lauren’s wonderful blog Pure Style Home in the first place? 
It was back in Spring of 2010 when I was using Google Images to search the words “Beautiful Window Seat” as I was doing research to design my own window seat. I came upon an image of a  window seat in an old April 2009 post by Lauren called “Icons of Home” describing how she had just bought a home, and was using photographs to illustrate what would be in her dream home. 
Of course, her home was so similar to the one I had just bought, ( a ’70s home with a walk-out basement, creek in the back and a so-similar first floor plan) that I had to keep reading a year’s worth of past Pure Style Home posts to catch up.

{so charming! photo: Helen Norman}

So I have to sigh with happiness when I see this room in the DC Design House. Let’s just focus on this new “beautiful window seat,” shall we? There’s the Peter Dunham Fig Leaf fabric on the pillows. Luscious! As well as two pillows with fabric from Lauren’s new collection Lauren Liess TextilesWild Chicory in black, and Magnolia in true. Don’t you want to curl up and spend the day?

{photo: Helen Norman}
With a Princess and the Pea fairy tale twist, Lauren has three real mattresses stacked up. Heavenly! Such an innovative and creative space. Even though the room is dismantled as the showhouse is over, I know the photographs of this room will live on and be referenced time and time and time again, happily ever after.  Congratulations, Lauren!
{my sketch – construction has been delayed yet again – will start late this month}

Here’s the latest drawings of my windowseat project…

{interior – pillows will be added, promise. This is a “working” drawing!}

…and did you know that I always invisioned a cozy “real mattress” in it, not just a thin piece of covered foam? A real mattress in a window seat is something I rarely see, so I was SO excited to see it in Lauren’s project!

{from Pure Style Home, image from Cottage Living}

…let’s go back to that image I pulled out of Google Images so long ago, and you can read Lauren’s April 2009 post “Icons of Home” here. One of my favorites!

Loretta

p.s. For an update on my own “beautiful windowseat” click here!

{sterling silver Maria earrings with Reaching Flower in Plum and freshwater pearls}
I’ve been working on new summer jewelry for the amazing Mimosa Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York. (So worth a visit during horse racing season or any season!) This earring features a photograph of one of my favorite garden flowers, tinted violet.
{pardon the “jewelers hands” – polish and long nails don’t mix well with bench work!}
This style is reversible – you can thread the earring off the handmade earwire and thread it back reversed. Here’s the back – I did the etching in silver based on a William Morris wallpaper.

 More work to send to Mimosa Gallery. The earrings here are the same style, but with a different photograph of the same flower – this time in classic black and white.

{beautiful – I love to photograph this one!}

 The flower is a “perennial sunflower” that I started from seed years ago. Such a beautiful muse, this garden plant. About 2″ blooms in yellow, with tiny sunflower seeds that form later. She reminds me of a ballerina!


Here the plant is today growing behind some hosta in front of the house. It looks very weedy,  doesn’t it. Part of it’s charm! I’ll cut it back once before it blooms this Fall. What’s your favorite garden flower?

Loretta

p.s. I’m still interested in your opinions on my which of my three Master Plans I drew up for my house is your favorite! Click here to see them. Thanks!

 Do you know what this mystery vegetable is? I got them at a neighborhood plant swap and the name started with an “s”. Something like shallots or scallions. We pulled them all up and cooked (bulb, stems and all) them in early Spring, but left two to “mature” and this is what we got.

These look like little baby mystery “s” plants that would probably fall to the ground and root eventually, do you think? Should I separate and plant them?

Here’s the mystery plant in the garden bed.
..and here’s the stem.  Any guesses on this plant? When do you harvest it and what parts do you eat? 

UPDATE: Mystery solved! Egyptian Walking Onion! Thank you Kathy!
Loretta
p.s. I’m still interested in your opinions on my which of my three Master Plans I drew up for my house is your favorite! Click here to see them. Thanks!

I have three “Master Plans” for the back of my house. Which do you like the most?

As promised here’s the first, the “Master Plan” I was working on in my last post:

{Master Plan #1}

 Of course, I’ve been gleaning advice from all my architect friends (thank you all!) on this little project. During one of these “charettes” my good friend Michael really REALLY pushed me to explore a bit more. And a conversation with the fabulous Ian (a Professor of mine way back) made me want to do some tinkering too!

So, Ian and Michael, here’s what I came up with:

{Master Plan #2}

{Master Plan #3}

Which is your favorite? Let me know!

More on my windowseat project here. Remember, right now the rear of the house looks like this:

Loretta

{The fireplace chase is rotting so I’m making lemonade from lemons}
 I’m working on a “Master Plan” for my home! Here’s a photo of the back of my house before our renovations start. It’s a 70’s house with gray painted “T1-11” grooved plywood siding. You pronounce it “Texture One – Eleven” It’s the stuff they clad sheds and barns with, and in my case, a house.
{The back is a bit of a mish-mash of windows- eventually I’ll replace them all!}

Here’s the elevation I showed earlier of the new windowseat that will be built soon where the fireplace chase is now. And we are rerouting the deck stairs. (The steep narrow staircase will be gone and we’ll have five foot wide stairs and landings to the side)

{Love my blue Staedler drafting pencils – a set of tweleve from the soft 6H to the hard 4H}
I’m working on tweaking the final exterior materials for the windowseat and developing a “Master Plan” for the whole house. Here’s my original drawing and I’m adding a new piece of tracing paper over it…

…to sketch out some new dreams for the future. 

{In this plan I’m using T1-11 on the new windowseat- see the 8″ apart vertical grooves?}
See the pencil on tracing paper over the  old drawing?

 Then I photocopied the whole thing and whipped out the watercolors…

{Evie got mad I “muddied” the colors in her set!}

 Of course, I haven’t made a trip to the art store lately, so I’ll make do with the kid’s Crayola set and the sad brush that came with it.

Coming next… The finished Master Plan!

Loretta

p.s I’ve just lined up an APPLESandRUBIES guest post on seating heights from the talented Ashley Spath! Thank you Ashley, I can’t wait to see what you write!