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A History: Lundeen Caramels of California

Caramel pour #2. #lundeencaramelsofcalifornia

A video posted by Patty Hume (@pattyhume) on

A Family Tradition

My great-grandmother Rachel Lundeen (aka GG) and her cousin started making holiday caramels for their friends and family in Bloomington, Illinois during the depression (early 1930’s). The caramel recipe they perfected was particularly addicting and yummy. Their friends and family kept demanding they make more caramels, and it quickly turned into a family Christmas tradition that is still going strong eight decades later.

A big thanks to Andrea, Bas, Abby, Ella, Stacey, SueAnn, Angela, Lily & Rob for helping us wrap all the caramels this year! <3

Some of my favorite childhood memories are wrapping caramels with my great-grandmother Rachel (she lived to be 98, passing away in 1999) and the rest of our extended family around my grandparents dining room table. I was in charge of cutting wax paper, but I also ate a lot of caramels. “Wrap one, eat one”, my grandpa used to say.

Four years ago Jonathan and I got brave and decided to try out hand at candy making. We bought a lot of commercial kitchen gear. We bought huge pots,  3′ long stirring spoons, oven mitts that go up to our shoulders, high tech laboratory thermometers, a dozen extra deep cookie sheets, etc. And then we got busy making test batches. There was a bit of a learning curve. We had some failures. Some of the early batches were too soft and stuck to the waxed paper. Some were too hard or just didn’t taste right. Eventually we started getting better at it. We now keep a detailed caramel log of every batch we make, so we can keep improving the recipe. This year we turned out 1600+ candies to share with friends and family.

We stick to the original family recipe for the most part, but we now sprinkle the plain caramels with sea salt (#seasaltisthenewplain). We also make small batches of specialty caramels each year. The flavored caramels for 2015 are: pecans, and chocolate/hazelnut. Based of feedback we may make more of one flavor the next year.

And to answer the million dollar question… No, I can’t give you the recipe. It’s top secret; I’ve been sworn to secrecy by my dad and grandpa Ed (Rachel’s son). We have relatives in different parts of the country who make the caramels each year so there is a little bit of a family competition to see who makes them and how they come out.

Enjoying your caramels? Instagram us a photo! Hashtag your photos #lundeencaramelsofcalifornia and they will automatically show up in the grid below!


Happy Holidays from Echo Park!




December 11, 2015 0
See more: back kitchen, diary, history

My Gratitude List | 2015


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. You get to be with people you care about, cook delicious winter foods and reflecting on the meaning of life. For me, this beats candy, presents and confetti.

I try to make a gratitude list everyday (usually in my head), in the morning when I do my affirmations. But I’m usually in a rush and it often doesn’t happen. Thanksgiving offer a reminder and an opportunity to sit down and reflect on these things. It is kind of a catch up day, for the things we should be grateful for everyday.

My Gratitude List  | 2015

That no one was hurt in the fender bender I was in this week 

Shelter & heat

That I have shoes to protect my feet

Time to watching my garden grow

For always meeting new people

For clients who have become friends

Home made veggie soup

That my blonde hair hides my gray hairs

For living in Los Angeles, with exciting things happening around me

Grocery delivery

Farmer’s Market

For Bear who takes great care of me and indulges me in countless ways

For being allowed to sleep on the couch all night

For the old age of youth

For our National Parks

For water that flows out of taps

For living in a city where there are no bombs going off

For being 41 years old and still having 3 living grandparents

For feeling safe

For having seen enough of the world, that my wanderlust is satisfied

For my old friends who have known me since I was 14

For blogging

For helping people make their lives and homes more the way they want them to be

For plants, who are my friends

For the friends and family we have sadly lost this year

For having some extra time to live

For my books, even though I don’t have time to read them

For Brussel Sprouts, which used to be my least favorite

For being ok with failure

For forgiving myself when things don’t work out as planned

For space exploration






What are you grateful for this year?

November 18, 2015
See more: diary, entertaining & parties

5 Years Ago Today – Our Balinese Blessing Ceremony

Jonathan and I eloped and were married 5 years ago today, at the the Indus restaurant in Ubud, Bali. They have a really beautiful terraced garden behind the restaurant that has views down to a large valley. We found the location online and arranged the wedding via email. It turned out to be the perfect secluded spot for our little wedding.

A lot of people have asked what our ceremony was like so I thought I would give you the play by play breakdown of a traditional Balinese blessing ceremony.

The Balinese Blessing Ceremony

1. The Mangku (priest) rings a small bell to speak to the God (in Sanskrit mantra) that today a sacred wedding is about to be performed. He rings the bell for a couple of minutes.

2. The bride and groom receive this Balinese dadap leaf, holy water, and burnt rice, which means purification and cleansing of the body and the spirit. The assistant priest then burns 3 stalks of bamboo on fire to symbolize the burning of any sinful past as individuals by the God Brahma (Batara Brahma).

3. The bride and groom receive holy water on their chests to purify and prepare their hearts for a blessed marriage.

4. The bride and groom receives coconut water on their heads using a palm leaf (3 times), and their hands to drink (3 times), and then on their hand to wipe on top of their heads (1 time). Disclaimer: Patty only pretended to “wash” her face so she didn’t mess up her make-up.

5. Muspa- The bride and groom pray:

a. Putting both hands together and raise between eyebrows.
b. Muspa Puyung: Praying without holding flowers. This is to concentrate and centralize all the senses to ask Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the highest God) for purity of the soul.
c. The first Muspa: Holding flowers between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask Dewa Surya (the God of the Sun) to share with us His compassionate radiance to the people of the world.
d. The second Muspa: Holding Kwangenâ (little flower arrangement) between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask the specific God of the Padmasana (this small tower/temple protecting the hotel) so that we will always be protected and safe.
e. The third Muspa: Using similar Kwangenâ to pray to all the holy Gods and Goddesses to always give us happiness and health.
f. Muspa Puyung (similar to point b above): To show gratitude for everything that we have, every blessing of life that we have received until now.

6. The assistant priest takes floral water using a coconut shell and pours on a bamboo cylinder, symbolizing straining all the past shadows of wrongdoings. The bride and groom then drink this water.

7. The groom and bride receive rice on their foreheads.

8. The bride and groom then eat treats from the offerings.

And that’s it. That is the ceremony.

Then headed upstairs to our private terrace and had out wedding feast. The menu we pre-selected consisted of tofu curry, chicken satay, corn cakes, braised red bean & young papaya in Balinese spices, fragrant yellow rice and coconut crepes with banana filling and gula merah. The food was excellent, but I think we were kind of too excited to eat much.

My head and neck was throbbing from the weight of my head decorations. I think it was at least 20 lbs. So I had to cut the evening short and start dismantling the hair ornaments. I’ll post photos of that process sometime.

We are planning to go back to Ubud for our 10th anniversary, in 2020. 5 years down, 5 years to go!



May 20, 2015 0
See more: diary, on the road

A Day at Fountainebleau – Miami Beach

At long last, the Fountainebleu!

The Fountaineblau hotel is one of the most historic and architecturally significant buildings on Miami Beach. It was designed by Morris Lapidus and opened in 1954. It was completely fabulous in a way that horrified the architectural establishment at the time – but the public got it and loved it. Plus, over the years it has been featured in a number of films, including Scarface and Goldfinger.

Morris Lapidus is a maximalist modernist through and through (in Europe they call this style “googie”). His autobiography published in 1996 is called Too Much is Never Enough.

Brass seahorse door handles on the main lobby of the Fountainebleau. The seahorse also represents the “F” of Fountainebleau. Also note the signature bow tie marble paving in the lobby. The bow tie form was a signature of Lapidus, and he used the shape in a variety of ways in different buildings.

If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part. – Morris Lapidus

A field of circular windows on the front facade of the hotel create an under sea/under water feeling of floating in light bubbles in the dappled light of the convention center lobby. I found it irresistible, even as an adult, to dart about and play within the light “bubbles”. Note: I called them “bubbles” but Lapidus called them “woggles” and “cheeseholes“.

In 2008 the hotel re-opened after a two-year, 1 BILLION dollar renovation. The original paving remains in the lobby. A new chandelier echos the”woggles” and “cheeseholes” in the adjacent space. And a new tryptic of James Turrell pieces can be seen behind the front desk.

My friend, Brant Ritter of Thoreen&Ritter installed the series of light pieces for James Turrell at the Fountainebleau. An artist, furniture designer, restaurant designer, etc. he has a cool side gig of being one of the very few people James Turrell trusts to install his work. So Brant gets to jet off to fabulous places like Tokyo or the Fountainebleau to play with light.

There are three light sculptures behind the front desk, and several more groups of them along the hall to the main lobby. In the main lobby there are additional light pieces behind the concierge.

Jonathan checking out one of the Turrell pieces. It is hard to capture the color. It slowly morphs from one color palette to another.

This is a detail of the light sculpture and the color in this photo is more accurate to how it looks in real life.

More light sculptures. I love how the light reflects off the marble floors and makes the whole space change color.

Jonathan luxuriating. The famous “stairway to nowhere” is in the background.

“My whole success is I’ve always been designing for people, first because I wanted to sell them merchandise. Then when I got into hotels, I had to rethink, what am I selling now? You’re selling a good time.” – Lapidus

People watching in the main lobby. I love the custom carpets.

The iconic curved shaped facade from the beach side. The huge new pool was part of the renovation and is shaped like a bow tie in honor of Lapidus.

On the boardwalk at the Fountainebleau, soaking up Miami Beach. + Can’t wait to visit more Lapidus hotels!

 I had a good time. Thanks a million Morris.


April 8, 2015
See more: art, buildings & places, design, diary, home & interiors, on the road

Snaps from Yellowstone National Park


Last summer Jonathan and I took a road trip and ended up driving 6300 miles, hitting 11 states and 9 national park in 3 weeks. It was a crazy whirlwind, and we had an amazing time. But when we get home I was so swamped catching up on real estate and landscape projects that I didn’t get around to posting photos of the trip. But I have so many great photos and videos I want to share, so I’m going to I’m going back through my photos this summer and picking out some of the highlights for the blog.

P1010714 P1010534 IMG_9975 P1010521 P1010577 P1010578 P1010616 P1010617 P1010632 P1010659 P1010681 P1010682 P1010685IMG_0032

If you get a chance go to Yellowstone. You won’t regret it.





Also, I kind of fell in love with Montana…

March 16, 2015
See more: diary, landscape & garden, on the road, week in pictures