Creating Contemplative and Sacred Art

 Regina Coeli by Sean Kramer

Regina Coeli by Sean Kramer

 Yantra Mandala by Sean Kramer

Yantra Mandala by Sean Kramer

 Madonna in Blue by Sean Kramer

Madonna in Blue by Sean Kramer

 Sean creating a Mandala on the side of a wooden barn in New Hampshire

Sean creating a Mandala on the side of a wooden barn in New Hampshire

 Jesus in Blue by Sean Kramer

Jesus in Blue by Sean Kramer

Please join us for a very special week at Villa Vigneto Texas!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 - SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018  

Sean Kramer, accomplished Artist and Iconographer will lead our week-long series where Contemplative and Sacred Art instruction, meditation, and the quiet of nature come together under the oaks in the beautiful Hill Country setting of Villa Vigneto Texas.   

No art experience or skill required, just the desire to take "a little pause in life" to express your creative and spiritual heart!

One-Day Workshop/Retreats

Yantra Mandalas                                                           Tues., Sept. 25th , 8:30 am to 6 pm

Learn about the symbolism and practice of Yantra making, an ancient art used in meditation and worship.  You will design and create your own Yantra to enhance your meditation practice.

Contemplative Art                                                           Wed., Sept. 26th, 8:30 am to 6 pm

A workshop of intuitive art making and meditation; a contemplative practice and process of creating art from your intuitive heart-mind.

Three-Day Workshop/Retreat

Creating Sacred Art - Holy Face                          Thurs. Sat., Sept. 27 - Sat., Sept. 29, 8:30 am to 6 pm

Drawing from the medieval traditions of egg-tempera panel painting and icon painting, each day will consist of time creating your Sacred Art masterpiece using the geometry of the human face, gold leaf gilding, and making our own paints.  There will also be time for meditation, practice and contemplation.   

General Daily Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  - Gathering Time - Coffee/Tea/Pastry

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.  - Morning Guided Meditation

9:30 - Noon - Art instruction and discussion, design and draw 

Noon to 1:00 - Lunch Served at the Villa 

1:00 - 5:00 - Paint, Draw, Completion of Work

5:00 - 6:00 Guided Meditation and Persona Reflection Time/Close  

Details, Pricing and Accommodations if Desired

All workshops includes art supplies, morning and afternoon beverages, snacks, and lunch.  The Sacred Art Workshop/Retreat will include a dinner-on-your-own group excursion to Dripping springs or Wimberley and a return to the Villa for a nightly treat at the Firepot if staying at our BnB.

One Day Yantra Mandalas OR Contemplative Art Workshop - $175 per person

Three Day Sacred Art Workshop - $600 for all three days per person

Overnight accommodations for the Sacred Art Workshop are available for an additional $100 per person for 2 nights for either single or double occupancy and include a shared bath.  Please call for details on accommodations.

Reservations, Deposit, Cancellations and More  

To make a reservation for one of the Workshops, please call Suzin at Villa Vigneto Texas at 512-270-8186 or email her at ciao@villavignetotexas.com. 

A workshop deposit of $50.00 by credit card is required for the one day workshops and a deposit of $200.00 is required for the three day workshop as well as full payment for any overnight accommodations at the time of reservation.  Full payment is due for all workshops by credit card at least 48 hours prior to arrival. 

Cancellations with full refund is available up to 2 weeks in advance, after that deposits and any payment for accommodations are non-refundable. 

Our house masseuse, Sharon Clark is also available for individual massage with aromatherapy during your visit.  Call for details and pricing. 

We hope you will join us for either some or all of this special week at Villa Vigneto Texas.  The workshops will be limited to a small group to ensure adequate one-on-one art instruction is provided.  So make your reservation soon!  

We look forward to hearing from you and please call if you have any questions,  

Suzin Sciabarasi

Proprietor, Villa Vigneto Texas   

 

 

Remembering Spring During Summer

Since the dog days of Summer are upon us here in Texas, it is refreshing to remember the beauty of  our Spring.....the cooler mornings, the robustness of our wildflowers and the floral smell of new buds on the lemon tree.  The small bed of lavender we have on the property was in full bloom and it was stunning in the evening light.   

 

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The most joyous part of Spring as it moves into Summer is the birth of our baby deer.  Villa Vigneto Texas has become a safe haven for these little ones as we had 3, then 4 and up to 5 being born right before our eyes! 

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Our flowering cactus sat majestically on the front stoop and I dared any deer to take a bite!  What a pleasant surprise when they heeded my glare and allowed it to cycle through its full bloom.

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So since we get a little warm here in the Hill Country as we roll into Summer, we'll garden a little earlier and find a shady spot to "sit for a spell", then with a cold glass of iced tea in our hand.... we reminisce of our lovely Spring.

The Christmas Gift of Two Artists

It is wonderful how gift giving and receiving changes throughout your life.  As young children, we look for packages wrapped in Christmas paper under the tree.  But as we get older, Christmas gifts that are non-traditional and cause us to be inspired or open new windows in our world can bring tremendous joy. 

Two artists from New Hampshire provided me such a gift through their unexpected visit recently and for that, I am thankful to them.  Amanda Sisk and Sean Kramer had come to Dripping Springs to give a talk at New Life Lutheran Church about their work and their church community.  They found their way to Villa Vigneto Texas for an overnight respite after their travels and hours of work on a sculpture commission at the Padre Island National Seashore.  

 Six Geese A-Laying Ornament by Amanda Sisk

Six Geese A-Laying Ornament by Amanda Sisk

Amanda, an Artist, Sculptor, and Founder of AtelierSisk and Sean, an Artist of religious icon paintings and beautiful frescoes, brought their gentle spirits and shared with me their love of art and the journey of their artistic endeavors.  It was a wonderful visit as we talked about the art that inspires us and the desire to share it with others.   

 Saint Anthony of Egypt by Sean Kramer

Saint Anthony of Egypt by Sean Kramer

As my thanks, I would like to share the beauty of their talents with our "Friends of Villa Vigneto Texas".  Please see their fine work at www.ateliersisk.com and seandominickramer.com for viewing or purchase and maybe one day they will return to give a talk or teach their craft to others! 

A Blessed Christmas to all who have visited Villa Vigneto Texas this year.  May your journey through 2018 be filled with Good Health and a Happy Heart.   

Buon Natale!        Suzin Sciabarasi

 

 

 

   

   

Spring Has Sprung at Villa Vigneto Texas!

 Bluebonnets at the Gate

Bluebonnets at the Gate

Moments like this make us realize how lovely nature is as it renews itself whether as fauna or flower.  And, we feel blessed to be the caretakers of this small parcel of earth called Villa Vigneto Texas.  A place where the wildlife feel safe enough to nest and birth their babies, yet close enough for us to enjoy them, quietly.  In June, we will see our deer babies arrive so we hope you'll come see us and enjoy our wildlife babies as they explore their new home.      

Our beloved Texas Bluebonnets surrounding the front gate at Villa Vigneto Texas made an early appearance this year due to the good Fall rains and warm winter.  We are glad to see them anytime they decide to arrive as it marks the start of the most beautiful time of year in The Hill Country.  With each new year, more Bluebonnets arrive as they drop their seeds easily and embed themselves in the soil by the end of May to get ready for the following Spring.  Another sign of Spring we are enjoying is the birth of new wildlife.

While taking an Easter Sunday stroll on the trails, one of our visitors exclaimed, "A Baby Rabbit!"  We thought this was a joke:  A real Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday???  A quick look down and there in the grass was the tiniest little bunny we had ever seen.  Eyes wide open, curled up as small as he could be, and oh so still.  We didn't dare get too close or touch him for fear his mama might abandon him, so we took a few pictures on zoom and quietly walked away.  

 Our Baby "Easter Rabbit" snuggles in the grass on Easter Sunday

Our Baby "Easter Rabbit" snuggles in the grass on Easter Sunday

Making Music at Villa Vigneto Texas

 A Night of Great Sax at Villa Vigneto Texas with Daryl Eason, October 2016

A Night of Great Sax at Villa Vigneto Texas with Daryl Eason, October 2016

Villa Vigneto Texas has long heard the sound of music playing within its walls, but now with the landscaping of the property complete, we are enjoying music throughout the grounds.  In April of this year we heard two-time Grammy nominated folk artist Eliza Gilkyson and guitar virtuoso, Jon Inman play in the Oak Grove for our Opening Launch Party.  They were joined by violinist Ian Stewart and were all just stellar. More recently, Daryl Eason, Saxaphonist Extraordinaire played for a private party in the Courtyard Trellis.  

 Eliza Gilkyson Plays the Villa Vigneto Texas Launch Party, April 2016

Eliza Gilkyson Plays the Villa Vigneto Texas Launch Party, April 2016

Not sure whether it was the beautiful Fall evening, the dramatic lights of the Courtyard Trellis, the firepot glowing in the eves or just Daryl's gift wafting through the air, but when music is made at Villa Vigneto Texas it seems to open your heart, relax your mind, and soften the memory of a stressful day. If you enjoy music as much as we do, go to our Facebook page and listen to the video of the sweet sounds of sax on the post "A Night of Great SAX".  It will be a moment to sit back in your chair and let your shoulders relax......ENJOY! 

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Transporting Your Taste Buds to Italia

When one of my guests advised that he was a former New Yorker raised in an Italian neighborhood, I just had to give our continental breakfast that morning a little Italian flair. What better way to do that than with some prosciutto wrapped around the honeydew!   

 A European Style Continental Breakfast at Villa Vigneto Texas

A European Style Continental Breakfast at Villa Vigneto Texas

Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced.  It is often served as an antipasto or accompanied with melon for that delicious sweet/salty combination.   For just a couple of dollars, you can go to the deli counter and ask for a few slices of prosciutto rather than buy the more costly pre-packaged slices.  Because it is a cured meat, a little goes a long way. 

With a little fruit added to the plate for color, my guests arrived to their table Sunday morning with something that looked lovingly prepared just for them......because it was!   Thank you my dear guests, for reminding me that with a little prosciutto on the table, we transport our taste buds to Italia.   

        

  

Lemoncello Anyone?

As mentioned in the last post, the fondness we have for our lemon trees has expanded to the making of a favorite Italian liqueur ~  Lemoncello!  Any European Style Country House worth its salt must have a signature liqueur, so we now produce:  Villa Vigneto Lemoncello.   What else should one do with 64 lemons coming off of one tree and another 64 blossoms about to pop, ready to morph into beautiful lemons? 

Make Lemoncello......and so we did! 

 For this batch we used Dripping Springs Vodka, the only American Vodka to win the Vodka Purity Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition

For this batch we used Dripping Springs Vodka, the only American Vodka to win the Vodka Purity Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition

The little 5 oz. bottles we make of Villa Vigneto Lemoncello have graced our guest rooms as gifts and make a fabulous surprise in a Christmas basket arranged with lemon cookies and other lemon-y delights.  The recipe comes from my “Hero of Home Renovation” and the “Bard of Tuscany” as the New York Times calls her; the author of the best-selling book, Under The Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes.   

In her book, Recipes From Our Italian Kitchen:  The Tuscan Sun Cookbook, Frances outlines the joys of sitting around the table after dinner and under the stars in Tuscany sipping their “digestivi” and lemoncello.  She shares her recipe:

"Riccardo's Lemoncello" 

8 organic lemons

1 quart alcohol, 90 proof, or vodka

2 cups sugar

1 quart bottled “still” water (distilled as opposed to sparkling water)

Peel the lemons, leaving a little pith attached to the peel.  Reserve the lemons for another use.  Put the peels and alcohol in a large sterilized jar with a lid.  Close it tightly and leave it in a cool place for four to seven days.  Gently shake it a couple of times a day.  The peels will lose their brilliant yellow color.

On the fifth day, or later, in a large saucepan, heat the sugar and water almost to the boiling point but not quite.  Reduce the heat, and simmer and stir for 5 minutes.  Allow the syrup to cool.

Strain the lemon-scented alcohol through gauze or a strainer into the sugar syrup.  Discard the peels.  Whisk the mixture well and pour into 4 sterilized pint bottles.  Let the lemoncello sit for two days.  Later, you can store it indefinitely in the freezer, so it will be frosty-cold when you serve it in small glasses. 

 Our bottling production line......a labor of love!

Our bottling production line......a labor of love!

Should you decide to try your hand at making lemoncello, don't let these photos scare you.  Frances' recipe was doubled in these pictures in preparation for the Villa Vigneto Texas Launch Party in April, 2016.  As with most things I enjoy, I always want more to share and I'm sure you will also once you try it.

 A frosty cold bottle of lemoncello and as the label says, "Harvested and Handcrafted from The Tiniest Little Orchard at Villa Vigneto"

A frosty cold bottle of lemoncello and as the label says, "Harvested and Handcrafted from The Tiniest Little Orchard at Villa Vigneto"

When Life Gives You Lemons.......Make Lemoncello!

For the Love of Lemons

One of the pleasures of the climate in this part of the country is that it is similar to the climate of Italy where olives, lavender and citrus can grow well with proper care.  When my son was a little boy, he decided we needed a few lemon and lime trees after spotting them at local nursery. Having seen them grow in humongous pots at a beautiful villa in Italy, I had to agree, we needed to try our hand at this despite his mother not having a green thumb.

 The tiniest little orchard at Villa Vigneto Texas

The tiniest little orchard at Villa Vigneto Texas

Over the years and much to my surprise, my two lemon trees and one lime tree have become my pride and joy and the only “hobby” I can claim due to a hectic work life. 

Certain traditions have been established at Villa Vigneto Texas to include the giving of the “The Bull” (the biggest lemon...synonymous with “The Bull” of a litter) to a dear friend each year as a birthday gift.  We tie a ribbon around The Bull and whoever is the lucky birthday person that year cuts the largest lemon off its limb to take home as a gift, marking the start of the lemon harvest.  

After the harvest, the lemons will get packed in cellophane bags tied with ribbon and fresh lemon leaves or boxed with a straw bedding and shipped across the US to dear friends and family. 

While our 7-year drought sometimes hindered the size of our lemons, oftentimes the harvest completely fills a picnic basket! 

 A portion of the harvest from one tree!

A portion of the harvest from one tree!

When you stay at Villa Vigneto Texas and as you enter the Trellis Courtyard, look to the left and you will see our lemon and lime trees.  Or, you may see them in their portable greenhouse (that they love) in the winter.  If they are blooming, be sure to put your nose up to the blossom and take a big sniff….it is the most delightful, light, and lovely smell you can imagine.  In my next post, I step up my love of lemons and try my hand at Lemoncello liqueur....yum!      

 The sweet smelling blooms of our lemon trees

The sweet smelling blooms of our lemon trees

We hope you like deer!

A trip to the Texas Hill Country, no matter the time of year is always filled with wonderful wildlife to enjoy:  Rabbits, Roadrunners, Jackalopes (just kidding, old Texas joke), and deer..... and more deer...... and did I mention deer?  

Considered one of the most densely populated areas of white tail deer in the country, Central Texas boasts greater than 45 deer per square mile according to the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).  That means you get to be up front and personal with white tail deer around and on the property of Villa Vigneto Texas. 

 A Big Buck Stops By To Say Hello

A Big Buck Stops By To Say Hello

It is actually a delight to live around so many deer and amazing that you come to recognize the same bucks and does that can hang out for months!  While the one downside of living with deer is their prolific desire to eat any sort of vegetation (aka landscaping), the upside outweighs the down as the babies start birthing in June.  It is not unusual for Villa Vigneto to have twins born in the yard and it is wonderful that they stay in the yard for several months so you can watch them grow.  

 The Twins Right Outside The Window

The Twins Right Outside The Window

This year, a particular "Momma" was a little more than curious about my white furry friend Toby.  Here you see how she comes to the window as if to say, "What is that????!!!" 

 Momma Deer peering in at little Toby and Toby peering back!

Momma Deer peering in at little Toby and Toby peering back!

So, welcome to the Deer Country of Texas!  While they won't get close enough for you to pet, they do get close enough to enjoy their beautiful brown eyes and precious little "Bambies".  

        

The New Logo and the Garden Gate

 

A logo is a stamp, it's a way to brand who you are and what you represent.  In designing the Villa Vigneto Texas logo, we thought it was important that the logo have meaning, something special and unique to this home.  

We found that meaning in the Garden Gate.  Imported from France, the Garden Gate was found at Discovery Architectural Antiques in Gonzales, Texas.  The center of the gate has a very old grate, a beautiful piece of ironwork that allows the visitor to peak into the Trellis Courtyard and enjoy the view.  

Thanks to Web Designer Simeon Kartov of Bulgaria, the ironwork became the focal point of the logo that allowed us to display our name and describe the home perfectly:  

Villa Vigneto Texas - A European Style Country House

We hope you will come and visit Villa Vigneto and see the Garden Gate.  It is one of the pleasures of the Trellis Courtyard, a place to enter and exit as you take your morning walk or evening stroll around the property.

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Launch a Website, Unveil A Dream!

Sixteen years ago, when we first set eyes on this home and 3 acre parcel of Hill Country, we saw a home that had seen better days.  While most who toured the home couldn't get past the incredible stench left by 20 dogs being raised in the home, we saw huge possibilities.  The lay of the land, the view, and the good bones of the home itself told us we had found the perfect "fixer upper".  

Little did we know it would be 16 years before the final touches were complete.  To say that Villa Vigneto Texas has been a labor of love or a medium for creativity would be an understatement.  For anyone who has renovated a home to any great extent, you understand the joys and horrors involved in home renovation.  Yet, you continue as if you had never seen the movie, "The Money Pit" in order to make your ugly duckling turn into the beautiful swan you envisioned.  

So, it is with great pleasure that we launch Villa Vigneto Texas after all these years.  It has become a home that seems as if it was meant to be shared all along. A place that brings friends and families together to create long lasting memories.  

We hope you enjoy your stay as much as we have enjoyed crafting it into a space where rest, relaxation, and good times is part of the journey for those who come to visit.