Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Inspiration

As we welcome the Spring 2010 Experience, I am inspired by the explosion of new energy that it brings! It calls for bursts of COLOR and design elements that SURPRISE, like these colorful leather envelope cases.
LEATHER is hardly new, but when hot spring colors are combined with vibrant botanicals, an invitation or acknowledgment can go from KEEPSAKE to fun ACCESSORY in a heartbeat.
A LEATHER ENVELOPE CASE is a presentation option suitable for 5 x 7 inch cards or smaller. Or wouldn't they be great for presenting members of your bridal party with a collection of PHOTO MEMORIES and a handwritten expression of gratitude? We carry more than a dozen dazzling color combinations that promote the SUNNY spirit of SPRING.

My hope is that you are already enjoying the wonders of the season as much as I am.  I look forward to sharing more fun ideas from the garden and studio of Petalos di Pauli.


Paula Estes
Botanical Artist and
Object of Spring Fever

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Madame Chocolat Greeting Card

What is more luxurious than fine chocolate? This Petalos di Pauli handcrafted greeting card was designed especially for Madame Chocolat after owner chocolatier Chef Hasty Torres raved about an invitation design in my portfolio. Hasty wished for a similar design but one that would bring chocolate to mind.

We made this card hers by bringing in Celadon Green that colors the walls of her Beverly Hills chocolate factory and boutique. We layered papers of the same metallic cream and brown hues that her fans will recognize as signature Madame Chocolate packaging. Finally, we used designs from Hasty's exquisite truffles as our inspiration for the cover and interior design.

This card will remind the recipient that chocolate is wonderful… in any language! “Chocolat” is adorned with hand calligraphy, the word chocolate translated into a baker’s dozen different languages. The finishing touches included the elements that Hasty loved about my original design, a variety of real garden flowers, Swarovski crystals and other 3-dimensional ornamentation. I think Hasty's card turned out Delightfully Sweet!

I became a true fan of Madame Chocolat after attending one of Hasty's chocolate workshops. Words cannot begin to express the pleasure of that hands-on experience. There is so much to learn and love about chocolate. Her place is filled with chocolate delicacies I hadn't known existed and it turned out to be perfect for gift shopping just before the holidays.  If you love chocolate or just want to learn more about it, I recommend you attend her upcoming workshop this Sunday March 21st,  in celebration of American Chocolate Week. Let her know Paula sent you.

This CHOCOLAT card and other handcrafted stationery are available for purchase at the Petalos di Pauli On-line Boutique.

Happy American Chocolate Week!

Paula Estes
Botanical Artist and
Lover of Chocolate

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating American Chocolate Week

We have already received many wonderful stories about Chocolate from our readers.  Thanks for responding to our request!  Here is one of our favorite submissions:

"When I'm really seeking Chocolate I take my time and choose my poisons wisely; because calories are at stake and I aint waisting my time on just any kind of chocolate. I can usually satisfy my sweet tooth with a simple butter cream from Sees. When I go hard; I usually end up at the Grand Lux with a slice of the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.. This is best when shared with someone who is equally fond of chocolate and is equally fond of you. Sooo tasty.  I use a spoon because you're given a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, personally I don't indulge ice cream often (lactose intolerant) but it kicks it up a notch, especially when the ice cream melts perfectly around the plate, which is drizzled with a combination of white and dark chocolate sauce. It's something about using a spoon that makes you feel like a kid again. It's like when your grandma or Nano would bake a cake and give you permission to lick the bowl or spoon Hmmm Hmmm good.  I like to follow my Molten Cake experience with a dry red; A Merlot or Cabby is the perfect ending."

Thank you for sharing those delicious details, Crystal!

So now you might be wondering... "Where is the Grand Lux Cafe?"  Read on! "The idea for Grand Lux Cafe came to life when The Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas asked David Overton, Founder of The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, to create an upscale casual restaurant concept for their property.  Blending the grandeur and luxury of European cafes with the sensibilities and spirit of an all-American restaurant, 'Grand Lux Cafe' was born. Today, with locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston, Grand Lux Cafe is proud to offer our guests unique, casual global cuisine in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere."

If you would like to make your own molten chocolate cake at home, try:
Martha Stewart's Molten Chocolate Cupcakes
(Makes 16 cupcakes)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Make ganache: Place 4 ounces chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm cream until it begins to boil. Pour cream over chocolate. Let stand a few minutes, then mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Use 1-inch ice cream scoop to make balls; place on parchment-lined tray, close but not touching. Freeze 1 hour, or airtight up to 3 days.

2. Make batter: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat remaining 8 ounces chocolate with butter until melted. Meanwhile, with a mixer, whisk together eggs, yolks, and sugar until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Quickly fold egg mixture into chocolate until almost completely incorporated. Sift flour and salt over mixture, and fold in.

3. Divide batter among liners, filling halfway. Add ganache ball to each. Cover with batter, almost to top.

4. Bake until just set, 8 minutes. Transfer tin to rack to cool for 10 minutes (cakes will fall). With a small offset spatula, gently remove from tin. Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

American Chocolate Week

Did you know that St. Patrick's Day is not the only holiday in March?  The third week of March is American Chocolate Week!  Although it may not have the tradition that St. Patrick's Day has, this can be a fun way to show your friends and family that you are thinking of them.  Some more good news is that it lasts an entire week!  So for those that lead busy lives, you have a week to give a gift.  Here are a couple of ideas to help you celebrate the week:

Buy chocolate from a special vendor
Any major city has it's specialty chocolate shops and American Chocolate Week can be a great "excuse" to indulge in a special treat.  You can surprise your spouse or a friend with something extra special, maybe they will even share it with you!

In the Los Angeles area, where the Petalos di Pauli studio is located, we love Compartes Chocolatier   for their delicious handmade confections as well as their whimsical modern artistry.

Chocolatier, Jonathan Grahm says his unique and eclectic creations are made "from our heart to yours," which reminds us at Petalos di Pauli of our design and business philosophies.  Each element of the design treated as important, results in an experience that delights more than just one of your senses. Which leads us to....

Stationery to go with your Chocolate Gift
So, with your unique chocolate gift chosen for your "Chocophile," we suggest a unique stationery item to present with your gift.  Petalos di Pauli created just the thing; a card highlighting the wonders of chocolate. 

The perfect card for American Chocolate Week, or anytime!
A handmade card that expresses how we really feel about chocolate!

In honor of American Chocolate Week we would like to ask our readers to email us their stories about how chocolate has been special in your life.  The first five responders will receive one of the handmade original cards pictured above as a thank you for joining our celebration!  Next week's Blog will feature our favorites.  Email us at

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Brother-in-law's wedding invitation

Here are pictures of the invitation I created recently for my brother-in-law's wedding. His bride wanted gold, burgundy and real flowers incorporated into the invitation design. The groom wanted whatever would make her happy. Isn't he wonderful!