Norton Factory Studios, Oakland

Last night, I went to the open studios at Norton Factory Studios in Oakland to see my friend, Pablo Manga’s work.  You can check out the open studios this, and next weekend.  I was really impressed with all of the artists and loved that they let you into their space.  Below are some photos and information about some of my favorites.

There is such a fine line (literally and figuratively) between what makes abstract art aesthetically pleasing, and failing miserably.  I think Heather Day is totally aware of this line, even noting it on the wall next to her works in progress.  I tried to talk to her about this idea in an attempt to compliment her work, and likely miserably failed.  Sorry, Heather!

Lara Hoke’s delicate, and flowing pen strokes of people, animals, and objects, successfully capture the same movement that is in the accordion Moleskin Japanese Albums that she draws in.

Pablo Manga’s vibrant layered semi-transparent tape “paintings” project the same infectious happiness as he does.

Below are some photos of additional artists’ works I liked, with links to their websites.

Julia Marchand.

Katherine Meyer.

Elizabeth Zanzinger.

Kelly DeFayette.

Anna Valdez.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Filoli Gardens, Woodside

I finally made it to the Filoli Gardens, which are about 25-miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California.  From the outside, the house looks like a villa in Europe, and the grounds are equally beautiful.  Most of the fruit trees are in full bloom, and Spanish moss flows from some of the others.  As you leave the visitors’ entrance, you walk through a field of dandelions, which abuts the house.  I’ve never seen so many tulips — and such large ones at that!  The tulips are seasonal, and definitely worth making the trip for.  Although it seems like the absolute perfect place for a picnic, you’re not allowed to bring food on the grounds, because apparently when they close the gates at 3 every day, the mountain lions and deer come out to play, and keeping them at bay becomes more difficult with food around.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Public Glass, San Francisco

I took the Introduction to Hot Glass class at Public Glass today, and will never look at another glass the same again.  I made an ugly paperweight, a deformed glass, and one glass that I’m actually proud of, and may actually use for drinking one day.  I had no idea how hot glass needs to be to work with.  When it’s malleable, it has the consistency of honey, and demands that you rotate it constantly or else it turns into a lopsided blob.  Below are some photos, and oversimplified directions.  I would not try this at home, but definitely recommend trying it.

Step 1.  Dip the metal rod into the pot furnace filled with molten glass, while rotating the rod constantly.

Step 2.  Place the rod in water to cool the handle, while rotating the rod constantly.

Step 3.  Carry the rod to the next station (either the bench or marver to begin shaping, or to the glory hole to reheat).

Step 4.  To create an opening, you blow through the rod and a small air bubble forms.

Step 5.  Finally, you transfer the glass to another rod called the punty, and then create a new opening from the side where the air bubble formed.  Continue reheating, rotating and shaping, and then release.  Voila!

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Carmel, California

On our way to Carmel, we stopped at Point Lobos and wandered through the trees and along the coastline.  We were told there would be whales, but they were apparently gone for the day.  We did however see a deer, which prompted the singing of “Do a deer, a female deer. . .”  So that happened.

In Carmel, we walked along the beach towards one of the golf courses at Pebble Beach, and also drove along 17-mile drive.  Although there are 21 “points of interest,” I was really only interested in Point 16—“The Lone Cyprus,” where I took a bunch of photographs.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur

Greg and I “hiked” in Big Sur, both to McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and to Pfeiffer Falls in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  McWay Falls is beautiful, and easy to get to without even breaking a sweat.  I’d recommend parking on the street, and not in the parking lot, which is practically the same width as the trail.  Pfeiffer Falls 11 miles to the north isn’t nearly as majestic (at least during a drought), but it’s a good 2-mile round trip hike through redwood trees.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

San Simeon to Big Sur

Greg and I went on a road trip up Highway 1, passing through San Simeon, where we saw elephant seals, including some newborn pups (as in born that day!), and we made it to Nepenthe in Big Sur just in time to see the sunset.

Due to the large amount of photographs I took, I’m going to split our road trip into several posts.  Photographs of McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, redwood trees in Big Sur State Park, Carmel and Pebble Beach to follow.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Clau in San Fran

My friend Clau visited me from Buenos Aires last week.  Even though she uses a Nikon, and we can’t share lenses, we share a love of photography, cheese, and dancing, and somehow have the same ridiculous sense of humor.  Saturday, we started our day with delicious Gouda Tarts at the Mill, and then headed past Chrissy Field to take photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge, and then to the Sutro Baths.  Pretty much, it was a perfect day!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Renegade Craft Fair, San Francisco

Lots of cool stuff at the Renegade Craft Fair in Fort Mason this weekend.  There was a lot of beautiful hand painted pottery, prints, cards, posters, and clothing.  They’re taking the show on the road, so if you’re in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, or Austin, you can still check it out!  Here are photos of some of the things that caught my eye.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Jellies and Skelies, California Academy of Sciences

We went to Creatures of the NightLife at California Academy of Sciences on Thursday for the Halloween-themed NightLife event, replete with costume-clad patrons and a Zombie Drag Show.  Aside from peoples’ costumes, I loved the jellyfish, giant skeletons, and the skulls exhibit.

California Academy of Sciences is located in Golden Gate Park at 55 Music Concourse Dr., San Francisco, CA, 94118

© Sarah Milstein 2014

#OrangeOctober Pumpkin Soup

In honor of #OrangeOctober and Halloween, I made pumpkin soup this weekend.  I first made pumpkin soup a few years ago after not getting around to carving my rather large pumpkin.  I later learned that it is much easier (and safer) to cut into and clean out a pumpkin after roasting it in the oven.

Here’s my recipe:


  • 1 pumpkin, roasted and gutted
  • 32 oz. carton of chicken stock
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped and sautéed
  • 3 celery stalks chopped and sautéed
  • 1 potato cut into large chunks
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt

Preparation and Cooking

  • Pumpkin.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Wash the pumpkin, and place it in the oven on a baking sheet or foil for approximately an hour and 10 minutes.  You may have to cook it longer depending on how large your pumpkin is.  I used a small pumpkin this time and actually think the soup comes out better using a larger pumpkin.  After removing the pumpkin from the oven, wait at least 10 minutes for it to cool before cutting it in half and removing the seeds and guts.

  • Other vegetables.  While the pumpkin is cooling, chop the onions and celery and cut the potato into large chunks.  You can peel the potato if you wish, but it works either way.  Sauté the onions in olive oil on low heat in a large pot.  Once the onions are almost brown, add the celery and sauté for 5 minutes or so.
  • Soup.  Pour the entire carton of chicken stock into the pot over the onions and celery.  Add the cooked pumpkin and potato chunks.  Let everything boil until the potatoes are tender.  Place everything in a food processor and purée until everything is blended.  Then add the cumin, curry powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and sea salt to taste.  I never measure the spices, so have no idea how much I end up putting in.  However, I ended up sprinkling extra cumin on when I was ready to eat it.

© Sarah Milstein 2014