Luc Leestemaker

The masthead of the Fancifull Blog has three paintings by artist Luc Leestemaker.
We chose these painting for many reasons. Leestemaker is a Dutch born artist, living in Los Angeles, who has enjoyed much commercial success over the last twenty years. We have been admirers of his for years – both the person and the paintings. The reason for my admiration became apparent when I read his essay, “The Ideal Artist” from the eponymous book of his paintings.

Here is an excerpt from “The Ideal Artist”:

“The artist can be anyone, and any equipment can be the artist’s tool. It may be the gardener’s shovel, the astronomer’s telescope, the accountant’s pen, or the doctor’s scalpel. Living one’s life is an art, if you think about it that way.
The Ideal Artist therefore, could be you.”

That sums up our philosophy beautifully.
Thanks Luc!

Luc’s paintings are on display in Los Angeles at Skylark Fine Art Gallery
8574 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
The book Luc Leestemaker can be purchased at the gallery or online at

If you are in LA, come to the Gallery tomorrow night, Friday, Feb 22, from 6 – 10 for the Grand opening! You’ll get a chance to meet Luc and see more of his work.
I’ll be there with my husband Wally and some of our staff and we’ll be pouring wine and champagne! Hope to see you.

Terry August

Why A Fanciful Blog?

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I always have a lot to say.
I often feel a bit contained by people who think Fancifull is just about baskets.
My mission in life goes far beyond just putting together nice gifts. I want a forum to expand, expose, expound, and generally make known the beauties of life. I find myself exuberant (sorry, I’m on a roll with ex’s) when I find artisan products and want to introduce the world to them. I am the kind of person who can tear up at a beautiful garden.

It comes down to create. We need to create our life daily. Whether it comes down to how we dress in the morning or what we make for dinner, we have the ability day to day to take in aesthetics and to convey them. I don’t mean to make this arduous. It comes down to appreciation of life. The definition of appreciation is:
1. To recongnize the worth or quality of; value or regard highly.
2. Another def: to perceive the full nature or effect of; be fully conscious of.
Isn’t that great?
To quote Frank Lloyd Wright:
The measure of a man’s culture is the measure of his appreciation.
We are ourselves what we appreciate and no more.

My intention with this blog is not dissimilar to a hostess at a great party. I want to introduce you to artisans who paint, sculpt, write, cook, decorate, sing, and add aesthetics to everyday life. I don’t limit this discussion to just “professional artists.” Oh no. That is way to limiting and this is all about expansion. I often think of my sister in law who knitted me the most incredible pair of slippers for Christmas (I wear them daily and treat them better than any other piece of clothing I own). Everything she does is touched by a bit of grace. She would probably protest and say she is “just a housewife.” Ha! A housewife and mom creates the home and the family. Pretty important as far as I am concerned. And that is exactly what I am after. We aren’t snobs here. Life is a feast and we all get to partake.

This blog is about lively conversation, bits of knowledge, great tips on where to find things. It is about finding the beauty in life and celebrating it.
Have you ever left a great gathering and felt a bit excited, like you met an interesting person or found out about a great shop you can’t wait to visit? That is the general idea behind all of this. I want to invite you to the party, make introductions, serve great food (of course!), and hope that future adventures arise. It may be a recommendation of a great restaurant, a recipe that is sure to delight or an essay that might wake you up a bit.

This isn’t about just me. I want contributions. I want essays I can post, photos to look at, recipes to make our mouth water, potters who make the kind of bowls that make you excited to eat your cereal every morning. This is ever evolving, as life should be. Let’s recognize the quality of life, regard it highly – appreciate it. Ready to join me?

Terry August

Ground-breaking wine maker Sylvain Fadat visits Fancifull

Feb 9, 2008

What do you do when you find out that a ground-breaking French wine maker is in town for only two days and he especially wants to see you? Well, if you’re us, you throw a party!

Fortunately we already had a Valentine Wine Tasting planned, so we just turned it into a Meet Sylvain Fadat party instead.
Sylvain is one of a handful of wine makers who is making the wines of the Languedoc something to be sought after rather than scorned. We first met him last year when we made a pilgrimage to his winery in the small town of Montpeyroux in the south of France.Wally August and Sylvain Fadat
Wally August and Sylvain Fadat

We already knew he made great wine. We, and our customers, had fallen in love with his Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux Rouge. We were selling lots of it in our shop and gift baskets. What we didn’t expect, upon meeting him, was to find someone so warm and gracious and so willing to share his knowledge. And his wines.

So here he was last night in our shop talking with everyone in the eager crowd about the wines he had brought with him. The Domain d’Aupilhac Rouge, of course, but we were also treated to his Carignan and two wines from his new vineyard Les Cocalieres, both a white and a red. Ooh la la la la. All so good. All so different from one another. The Domaine d’Aupilhac strong and muscled with dark red fruit, the Carignan dark, smokey and deep, Les Cocalieres Rouge refined and elegant – suitable for an aperitif!
Sylvain answers questions about wine.
The story of how he created the Cocalieres vineyard tells a lot about the man. He wanted a vineyard at a higher elevation and north facing so the grapes would mature more slowly. An isolated location would also make it easier to farm organically – being separated from neighboring vineyards where some still use pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

200,000 years ago, Les Cocalieres was a lake and underneath the current soil was a bed of volcanic rock and limestone. This would be great for his wines. Unfortunately that bed was now like solid cement and would provide bad drainage and make it impossible for the roots to go deep. So he drilled down and dynamited the old bed! When you walk there today you see the larger chunks of the lake bed all around the vineyard. Then he hands you a glass of his wine and smiles. And you do too.

Well, we hated to see him go, but he had to quickly see some old friends and then get on a plane back to France. We hope to be able to meet up with him in San Diego in May when he returns to the US.

Kermit Lynch is now importing the Carignan and Les Cocalieres Blanc and Rouge. We’re told that we’ll have some in about two weeks. We have the Domaine d’Aupilhac now. You will also find it being poured at Campanile and Bastide.

You can read more about our visit with Sylvain at his vineyard here: Meet Sylvain Fadat.

Wally August