Sunday, December 22, 2013
CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK
We are so lucky to live very close to Manhattan, so I thought I would share some sights of the season with you. It's my favorite time of year in "the City." This is a garland from the Essex Hotel on Central Park South.
Not upside down. Windows on 5th Avenue.
For me, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without at least one trip to New York City. I know Katherine feels the same way. She is becoming a true city girl. I love our trips to NY together.
This time, we made it an overnight "girls weekend." It was so special. In a little more than a year she will be off to college. I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she goes. But when she comes back, I know I will always be able to talk her into a "girls' trip to the city."
A horse, a dog AND sparkle. You just knew I would love this one, mais oui!
Ho Ho HO!!
A magical Christmas in Town.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
THIS YEAR'S CHRISTMAS TREE SURPRISE
I had hopes of cutting down our own Christmas tree this year, but time got away from me. Which turned out to be just fine, because"someone" surprised me with a trip to the most beautiful nursery instead.
Even though I insist on a real tree, this "not so real" one was right up my alley. All white, with just a little linen and burlap, and the perfect amount of silver and gold shine. Every Christmas tree needs just the right amount of sparkle.
Linen and sequins. The perfect sparkle for a French Country kind of tree.
This would look so perfect with all my antique Swedish and French Country furniture.
I just love how the shine of the silver bird contrasts with the rough of the burlap. I could see the same look being created with, say, a French grain sack or some homespun. Come to think of it, any antique French fabric could look beautiful on a Christmas tree.
Look at the way the light reflects. The ornament looks like ice on snow.
I would love to see some pictures of all your favorite tree ornaments and decorations. Would you send me some? Just post them in the comments section.
Nothing ever turns out the way I planned. But most of the time things turn out even better. Thank you to my "someone" who gave me this year's tree. It was a very special beginning to a beautiful Christmas.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I would like to dedicate this blog article to my very dear, very creative friend Gina. I also promised you another article on antique German grain sacks, so here we are. Gina helped me create the Amstetten pillow pair above. She also re-created the fabulous wing chair. And together we designed the black Gothic style antique chair pair.
The genuine antique grain sacks (there have been many reproductions, but none could replicate the beauty of the true originals) were created by carving wooden blocks with painstaking detail, then dipping these blocks in hot tar and burnishing these tar stamps into hand woven homespun linen. From those, we made the pillow pair you see. Next to that, the pair of chairs were antiques from a friend. Gina refinished them in black, and then we covered the seats in antique European homespun. The tops are backed in pearlescent leather. WOW!
I added just a touch of "bling." Do you see the little square crystal? It's all in the details... and I am the "bling" part of our duo.
Our pillow is filled with soft and crunchy feather down. This particular example has a very, very rare blue stripe.
Gina upholstered the back of this antique wing chair in such a fantastic rough and textural weave, and then outlined it in braided jute.
This is a throw I created from an antique European grain sack that was in pristine condition. I love that the grain sacks were so pain-stakingly created. The finest examples must have taken dozens of hours to create, and are intricately detailed, beautifully stylized, balanced and graphic works of art. I also love the textures. Most are nubby, and they range from the very soft to much more coarse. This one is a fine, soft texture.
Here, we sewed the antique grain sack onto another antique European textile: an antique French sheet made of the softest homespun linen. Let's not forget that all this homespun was also hand made. First the flax was grown in the field, then it was woven into herringbone, twill or other patterns.
The fine detail of yesteryear.
A French woman from the 19th century cross stitched her initials in red. I always incorporate these details into my pieces. They add such an authenticity. Gina hand stitched the vintage leather border onto this throw. Gina has carried on the centuries-old art of fine stitching and hand work. The women of the 18th and 19th centuries hand made everything with such finesse. I love to work with women of today who are equally as talented, creative and attentive to detail.
A welted border completes the blend between the antique French sheet and the antique German grain sack... hand woven by women more than 100 years ago, and re-created and hand-stitched into a beautiful throw by today's talented and creative women.
I am thankful for my many wonderful and dear friends. Gina, Barbara, Katherine, Francesca, Lisa, Linda, Doreen. I love you all. Have a beautiful and thankful Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
PARIS MEETS TEXAS COWGIRL CHIC
This is one of my all time favorite pillow pairs. I call this my Paris meets Texas cowgirl look. It started with an antique German Grain sack dating from 1889.
The German grain sacks coordinate so beautifully with the antique European Duvets that are stacked in the back. Some of our European duvets are virtually unused even though they date from the turn of the last century. I love placing them on top of a bed, or on my couch to cuddle up in.
My Paris part is the "bling" I added around the edges. I just love the girliness of the dangly crystal beads.
The other pillow of the pair adds the Texas cowgirl part... Distressed leather buckles. The black leather is all vintage. It is super buttery soft.
Do you see the patch on the bottom? You can tell this is an original patch because it is stitched from the inside of the sack, not the outside.
I know I promised you a follow-up to my piece on antique German grain sacks. That will come next post. And, I also told you I had some news.... I am in the process of acquiring a home to renovate. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this all works out. If it does, I will be bringing you plenty of before, during and after photos. It should be lots of fun...
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GIVEAWAY WINNER, KATE!
ANTIQUE EUROPEAN DUVET
These duvet covers were hand-woven in Europe in the late 1800s. European duvets are made to top a bed instead of hanging over the sides, so they are the perfect size for cuddling up on the sofa with a good book and a cup of coffee on a chilly Autumn night. They can easily be stuffed with a fluffy twin size comforter. I love them filled with plumpy down.
If you take a look at my website, you will see that two top a queen or king size bed nicely, and one is perfect for a twin. I love keeping them at the foot of my bed to pull up when I am extra cold.
These duvets are very, very rare, and they are also quite durable. They can even be washed in cold in the machine!. I have a nice collection, which I will feature in the upcoming (chilly) months. Kate has her choice of red or blue.
Kate, shoot me an email with your information, to
Oh.... and the answer was Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Recently, we took a trip to a beautiful seaside village. This coastal town is very historic, and when we took a little walking tour, I was just loving how all the home owners took such pride in their antique entryways.
They all seemed so historically accurate. I love the simplicity. The beauty of the antique architecture really stands out. Of course, we all know I'm a sucker for historical architecture.
I have a secret I'll be sharing with all of you soon... I'm very excited. And I'm loving this black front door. It's having a big influence on me. I might just go in that direction... you'll see... soon :)
Look at all the black and red. The combination can be bold like this façade....
Or more subdued, like the chippy old paint on this historic beauty.
I couldn't help but notice all the great textures, and in such variety. The smooth, hardness of the stone, the great patina on the worn paints, and lots of iron accents. The roughness of the twig wreath really stands out on the first door, doesn't it?
This one reminds me of New Orleans. The fantastic wrought iron wraps around such a romantic entry way. But this is far from New Orleans. Does anyone know where these historic homes are located? If you can tell me in a comment, I just might have a surprise gift waiting for you! I'm itching to give away a creation of mine.
So here's a hint... Here's a window of a wonderful restaurant in the town. I hope you liked your visit to your mystery historic seaside village. And I can't wait to share more secrets with you soon.
Remember if you know the answer, send me a comment, and I'll share a creation with you!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
My Antique German Grain Sacks
Hand-created textile works of art
I have had a lot of questions recently about my antique German Grain sacks. These woven works of art which have become so popular in the last few years are becoming more and more rare. They are on the verge of extinction, antique-speaking.
The finest examples have beautifully stylized writing, or hand-drawn animals or other farming and country-life themes. Other very rare ones have motifs of wreaths or crowns. Of course, my personal favorite are the horses.
There is something very special about these antique linens. I'm not sure if it's partly because they started out as utilitarian objects. It's incredible to me that people would put so much care and effort into creating something that carried grain to the market.
In the past I had maybe ten or so horse and equestrian pieces. Now I have only a few, and I cannot get any more. I may never give up the few I have left.
In Part II of this blog I will talk about how these fine textiles were made....