Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Irresistible Ice Cream

Birthday confetti announces a decorative cake is sure to be savored. And this delicious confection is not complete without a scoop of ice cream along side, whose line blurs as the cream absorbs into a dense chocolate layer.

Why can’t wedding cakes be accompanied by such a delight? It isn’t uncommon to be served a multi-tier liqueur-saturated slice adorned with a tartlet, macaroon or petaled flower. Close your eyes and envision the most beautiful raspberry or orchid, then imagine it as a frozen piece of edible art! St. Clair ( has mastered such molded ice creations that shine with a hand painted glaze, and make your wedding cake presentation complete.

Long before the two were paired, ice cream commanded its own stage in the limelight. Frosted cream boasting of a multitude of flavors, traces back to the rule of Emperor Nero of Rome (A.D. 37-68). He ordered ice be retrieved from the Italian Alps, an innovative mix of snow and nectar, plus fruit pulp and honey became his served dessert for honored guests.

Credit for pouring milk into the saccharine concoction is given to King Tang (A.D. 618-97) of Shang, China. And history was made as the mark of prestigious high fashion in Italian and French royal courts was not the icing on the cake, but a perfectly poised pedestal with frost rimmed glass, heroing a dollop of ice cream.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson may have begun America’s introduction to ice cream, but today it is a mark of entrepreneurial originality with unique variation of ingredients and preparation illustrating the spirit of each small town.

Cincinnati rivals the very definition of ice cream with our local churn.
Graeter's ice cream is made in a French pot process. The ice cream mix is placed into a chilled, spinning French pot. As the liquid freezes, a worker scrapes down the sides of the pot with a blade. For flavors that include chocolate chips, liquid chocolate is poured into the pot, and freezes into a thin shell on top of the ice cream. A worker uses a blade to break up this shell and mix it into the ice cream, resulting in Graeter's' famous huge dark chocolate chips.'s
Aglamesi's Brothers premium ice creams have been made with fresh cream, sugar, milk, honey and eggs, using old world recipes developed by the Aglamesi brothers in 1908.
United Dairy Farmers Homemade Brand, founded over 20 years ago, offers a thicker, more buttery ice cream than the regular UDF brand, and has the finest Cookies & Cream you'll find.
Madisono’s Gelato ….but Italian ice is another topic for a future blog!

It’s not unusual to look over your shoulder and see a friend or two gathered on the eastern hilltop of Ault Park ( ). Settling into the lush grass, watching airplanes silently glide to a peaceful landing in the distance at Lunken airport, ( ) while entranced by each delicious lick of ice cream.

If seaside ice cream destinations are a favorite past time, or a present tradition with your family, capture this memory with a watercolor painting from The Painted Memory ( ), an essence of your lifestyle that should never be forgotten!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Outside Oasis

What better way to enjoy pixie dust dancing, nearly suspended in the evening air than through the thin rice paper of Chinese lanterns. Outdoor entertaining becomes magical when its ambiance is cast with glowing warmth.

It’s not surprising, party entertaining and weddings now shimmer with such adornments as Chinese lanterns in an array of luscious sorbets. More recently, these paper luminaries have enjoyed increasing popularity.

Dating back to 230BC, scribes document early creations of paper lanterns in China, which made their impression on history when gathered in honor of the first full moon of the new year. This celebration became known as the Chinese Lantern Festival. Typically fastened to young bamboo, the decorative, hand painted oiled paper, gauze or silk fabric is assembled to the spherical scaffolding which holds a votive. The Chinese lantern symbolizes long life, and is the cat’s meow for good fortune.

Color and placement of these lanterns is very choiceful in China. They represent wires of communication to neighbors and the outside world. Shades of red announce vitality and energy, and if dangled over the threshold birth or marriage is publicized to passersby.’

When the Chinese Empire was divided into warring kingdoms during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD220) each military relied upon Chinese lanterns for strategic correspondence. Zhu Geliang quickly rose in power after establishing a warning system by way of the custom design on the lantern itself to neighboring ally communities.

Chinese tradition enthusiastically survives as scripted riddles glow forth on the lantern screen and decorators from across the globe appreciate their voguish.

Whether you’re embellishing an affair with Chinese lanterns, enjoy your favorite picture of the event as a whimsical watercolor painting from The Painted Memory, ( or the beauty of hand calligraphy, inked in gold on rice paper envelopes. Visit

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Creative Cottaging

Lost among 30,000 islands and never wanting to come home!

Recently back from a week's vacation with my family in Canada's Georgian Bay, cottaging in Pointe au Baril.

And to think, it all began in the early 1900s when my great-grandparents traveled North by steamer and came across the most majestic cluster of islands, smooth and rough granite rocks popping up across Lake Huron's glass surface. Each island dotting the skyline silhouetted in windblown pine trees as far as the eye could see. Immediately they fell in love, an island was claimed and generations later, family members still travel many miles north just for a brief encounter with paradise.

Pointe au Baril was named after the barrel on the point that originally (1870s) marked the treacherous entry to the main channel from the open water of Georgian Bay. As the story goes, early fur traders from Penetanguishene lost a canoe near the point. Their canoe included a barrel of whiskey that was found by stranded traders the next spring. After a drinking spree the barrel was left on the point as a beacon. French mariners were soon calling it Pointe au Baril.


My parents have continued this vacation tradition with my sister, brother and me. And this year after crossing the Ambassador Bridge, we were dowsed by a rainstorm revealing a vibrant rainbow reaching across the sky, hugging what seemed to be opposite ends of the globe.

Yahoo Answers indicates: Rainbows are formed because of the process of bending light known as Refraction. Different colors of light bend at different angles when they refract. When light from the sun enters a droplet of rain, it refracts a tiny bit causing the colors of light to spread apart, the light then bounces, or reflects, off of the back of the droplet and refracts once again as it leave the droplet on the same side it entered. By the time the light reaches your eyes the refraction is so noticeable that you see all the colors of sunlight spread apart - creating a Rainbow

Every time I see a rainbow in the sky, I'm reminded of God's tenderness and love. Genesis chapters 6-9 document the story of the great flood and Noah's faith in God and obedience to build an ark. God was saddened because the earth was corrupt and filled with violence. He opened the floodgates of the sky for forty days and forty nights. After the earth was cleansed and the waters receded, God painted a rainbow in the sky as an everlasting covenant with man and every single living creature that never again should there be a flood to destroy the earth.

The beauty of a rainbow and the Georgian Bay setting is like no other. Every August, I am still amazed by the peaceful glory of Ontario's untouched natural wonder. The boating, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and exploration from island to island (what we like to call "Island Hopping") are the adventure and renewal I work all year-round to experience!

Nature's color pallets are absolutely stunning, the perfectly refreshing getaway for an artist, and stimulation for the wedding maps section of The Painted Memory.
The countdown has already begun till next summer arrives and daydreaming of Pointe au Baril begins!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Southern Chic

With Atlanta being a hotbed for interior design and exuding such welcoming southern graces, I headed down in search of wonderful things.

From Miami Circle to Lamp Arts ( and Boxwoods (, enjoy sensorial overload!!! Then be sure to visit Lush Life ( and Erika Reade ( And end your day at Piece of Cake ( for a sweet treat.

Host city of one of the countries biggest apparel marts, my sister and mom (fellow design consultants!), and I browsed for the latest trends and fashions, which might compliment The Painted Memory ( My sister, Page, has an eye for mixing and matching unusual things which have unexpected allure. In no time at all, she had arranged natural stone baubles into stunning necklaces. The latest featured necklace within the jewelry accessories ( is the hand selected African Opal. Each individual stone measures about two-inches in length, and is flat with beautifully polished facets highlighting the deep caramel and cream colored veins that run throughout. An absolute ‘must have’ for Fall! “Kiss of Maple” is only available for a limited time. Enjoy with casual sweaters or simple elegance, your perfect Fall accessory.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Allure of Queen Anne's Lace

I love summertime and one of its many glorious signals is Queen Anne’s Lace. One can’t help but appreciate its delicate, tiny white petals that make up clusters of miniature flowers to form the broader shape from a distance.

A few weekends ago, it was a cool, overcast day in Cincinnati, so we hit the road and headed to Williamstown Lake in Kentucky for The Painted Memory inspiration.( Here I was captivated by watching the wind dance through a field of Queen Anne’s lace as horses grazed nearby. It was so enchanting that you didn’t even miss the sun!

Legend has it that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I, was challenged by her friends to create lace as beautiful as a flower. While making the lace, she pricked her finger, and it’s said that the purple-red flower in the center of Queen Anne’s Lace represents a droplet of her blood. Also called Wild Carrot (since Queen Anne’s Lace is the wild progenitor of today’s carrot), Bishop’s Lace or Bird’s Nest (for the nest-like appearance of the bright white and rounded flower in full bloom), in the language of flowers, Queen Anne’s Lace represents sanctuary.
Lace is an essential accessory of the wedding day. It adorns nearly every bridal gown in some form or fashion, but even if it is not present on her dress or veil, it’s sure to be found on the garter, hidden underneath petticoats!

Recently, my sister and I found ourselves lost in a bye-gone era. We were very quickly whisked away to another time as we looked through our grandmother’s clothes. Among the long, flower patterned dresses, tea-length silk shifts, and feather bob-hats, we discovered a box noticeably older than the rest. When we removed its lid, we were in awe of discovering amazingly ornate lace from the late 1800’s. The handcrafted detailing was unbelievable. I can’t even imagine the hours dedicated to creating such perfection!

This quickly reminded me of my travels to Europe when I studied at the Miami University Dolibois European Centre, Luxembourg campus.
A weekend jaunt took my friend, Christine, and me to the pristine town of Brugge, Belgium. Not yet touched by tourism, it was here that we stumbled upon the original Lace Museum.

The origin of lace is difficult to locate in both time and place. Some authors assume that the manufacturing of lace started during Ancient Rome, based on the discovery of small bone cylinders in the shape of bobbins. The Middle-Ages is a period of history where little is known about the manufacture of lace. For firm evidence we have to look back to the fifteenth century when Charles the Fifth decreed that lace making was to be taught in the schools and convents of the Belgian provinces. During this period of renaissance and enlightenment, the making of lace was firmly based within the domain of fashion. To be precise, it was designed to replace embroidery in a manner that could with ease transform dresses to follow different styles of fashion.

Since these earlier times, many styles and techniques of lace-making have been developed, almost all of them in the Belgian provinces, which thus deserve to be named the cradle of lace. Today, two main techniques are practiced in the Flemish provinces of Belgium. The first, a needle lace, is still manufactured in the region of Aalst. It is called Renaissance or Brussels lace because it is mostly sold in Brussels. The second type, the Bobbin Lace, is a specialty of Brugge, a magnificent city located in the west of Belgium.

If you ever find yourself in Belgium, be sure to take a detour to Brugge. It has the charm of what one thinks of as the quintessential European town. And be sure to indulge in a genuine Belgium waffle! With your first bite, your taste buds will be in heaven as you savor each nugget of crystallized sugar cane folded into the center. Mmmm, I can still taste it when I close my eyes!