Sunday, November 29, 2009


My favorite find of the season from Reddoll on Etsy. A military-style, double-breasted wool coat with a high collar, circle metal buttons, and black satin lining throughout the coat. The skirt is a full cut circle. Custom-made to fit you!

photo from Reddoll

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wendy Addison's Theatre of Dreams

No shopping at malls for me on Black Friday. Yesterday was Wendy Addison's first open house of the season...something you don't want to miss! If you haven't heard of Wendy, she is a gifted artist with an interest in art and antiques, whose work connects the magic from times past in her amazing creations.

I'll talk more about Wendy later... now it's time to enter the magical world of "Theatre of Dreams," Wendy's very special shop. Come on... let's go in...

The doors opened at 10:00 am sharp, and a crowd of anxious people entered. I was peering through the window, my heart racing with excitement. These stylish ladies were raring to go!

Being in Theatre of Dreams is sort of like being inside of a snow globe, with magical wonders everywhere you look. Almost like Alice In Wonderland.

Using antique materials found at flea markets, including old sheet music, tarnished tinsel, vintage crepe paper, Victorian scrap, and silver glass glitter, Wendy makes extraordinary pieces such as these beautiful handmade prize ribbons attached to a vintage dress form.

When I saw this custom made ribbon, I made a B line right across the shop. That's all I'm saying, because one of you may be getting one of these for Christmas. They are all printed by Wendy on vintage ribbon. Oh my...

The title of Wendy's 2009 Christmas line is "Tinsel and Sawdust." This phrase is an old way of describing the circus. I asked Wendy what inspired her to create the line. She loves animals and theatre, so the circus is a place of fantasy for Wendy.

These circus animals knocked my socks off! Created with vintage screen prints attached to cardboard die-cuts and adorned with antique and vintage trim. Amazing...

A parade of fanciful dressed animals, ready to adorn your tree or table for the holidays! Dogs and elephants, dromedaries and lions, horses and tigers, all form a peaceful kingdom in the shop.

Whimsical die-cut elephants in a glass case...

Lots of gift tags and boxes all using vintage images and a printing press. Love the vintage box they're in...

An old image of a Phrenology head that Wendy made into a fabulous prop...

Santos figures adorned with antique clothing...

I'm sure that many of you have seen Wendy's glitter creations made of German glass glitter. These are fun holiday-shaped ornaments...

glitter cones with vintage and antique accoutrements...

Wendy sells a colorful variety of glass glitter in these cute little containers...

Wendy is fascinated by hands this year, and they are appearing many ways, on gilded wreaths, covered with mirrors, and even sea shells.

These large crowns made of paper leaves sold quickly. I think this was the last one left.

So much magic at Theatre of Dreams, such as this mechanical theatre made by Wendy with all antique materials.

Everywhere you look in the shop, there are vintage pieces mixed in...

The light fixtures are beautiful...

The original Theatre of Dreams built by Wendy in 1994. Read below...

This amazing shadow-like fairy gleams from behind the counter...

Theatre of Dreams is located in the little town of Port Costa. Once a major shipping town, it is now a secluded area. Love this old Wheat Dock building next door to Theatre of Dreams.

Cute little building across the street.

Hope you enjoyed Wendy's Theatre of Dreams. If you are in the Bay Area, the open house continues today from 10:00 to 4:00, and the following:

December 4-5th from 10:00-4:00
December 11-12th from 10:00-4:00

Theatre of Dreams
#11 Canyon Lake Dr.
Port Costa, CA 94569
(510) 787-2164

While you're there, take a tour at Wendy's workshop and get a glimpse the magic in progress. If you can't make it, you can find some of Wendy's creations here, and make sure and visit her blog here for her latest updates.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I was pondering what I have to be thankful for.

Losing my grandmother recently has been an awakening for me. The days aren't as bright and the nights are sadly quiet. Yes it is different, and I feel empty inside, but there is still so much to be thankful for. I am so very thankful that I had this special woman in my life for almost 50 years. Thankful to be surrounded by supportive and loving friends & family that have always been there through good and bad times. Thankful for a loving and caring husband. Thankful to cuddle my little Vito every day. Good health, a job I love, a comfortable home. That's a lot to be thankful for.

Wishing all of you in the States and beyond a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you have a beautiful day surrounded by the ones you love. And I thank you for being ever-so-supportive and encouraging.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Design Legends Entertaining Tips

The ever-s0-talented Jennifer Boles at The Peak of Chic never has a shortage of the most informative and fun posts on her blog. I'm a huge fan. Jennifer has done numerous posts about entertaining, many about table settings from the vintage Tiffany's entertaining books, which are some of her favorites.

There are so many wonderful posts of Jennifer's, that I couldn't help myself from plagiarizing one of my favorites from July 2008, "Entertaining with the Pros."

Let's go back in time and see what tips some of the design legends have to offer. And, thanks Jennifer. Love your commentary!

"Elsie de Wolfe had a lot to say about entertaining. So much so that she wrote Elsie de Wolfe's Recipes for Successful Dining. De Wolfe believed that "the perfect meal is the short meal." Remember, De Wolfe wrote the book at a time when dining was a bit more elaborate than today. A few other tidbits: Never have high flower vases on your table. Keep your table decorations "low, low, low."And "Curried Veal Kidneys" is a recipe for successful dining."

"Dorothy Draper, the merriest of decorators, once wrote that a "delighted hostess is a delightful hostess" (this from Entertaining is Fun!). Dorothy had a point-- who wants to be around a harried hostess? She also wrote that she never held up a dinner party for more than half an hour waiting for a tardy guest. And canned turtle soup with sherry is something that one should always have in his pantry. (Do they still make canned turtle soup?)"

"Dorothy Rodgers thought (and wrote) a great deal about entertaining. The woman certainly was attuned to the details and planning of dinner parties, weekend house parties, and casual affairs. Rodgers' advice included using cloths on small tables as opposed to place mats, using matching crystal stemware, and passing crackers with the first course. Oh, "The Game." "Improbable Conversations," and "Botticelli" are all FUN parlor games, at least according to Rodgers."

"Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, the late directrice of Nina Ricci couture house, wrote all about Entertaining with Elegance. Did you know that yellow asters and orange chrysanthemums in a copper container make a chic floral arrangement? Or that asparagus tips with a bit of mayonnaise rolled up in thinly sliced white bread makes a tasty tea sandwich? And that wine glasses should be filled one half to two-thirds full? You do now, thanks to Ms. Dariaux."

"Mark Hampton was not a fan of table linens made of polyester. He also thought one should avoid using colored candles (unless it was a Christmas celebration) as well as narcissus and lilies- too odoriferous for the dinner table.

"Bunny Williams liked to have a drinks tray set up on a table so that guests could help themselves to libations. She also used Pepperidge Farm thin sliced bread for tea sandwiches and Duncan Hines brownies for dessert."

If you want to read some additional posts of Jennifer's on entertaining, visit here, here, here and here. Or just go over and add The Peak of Chic to your Google Reader to keep up on the latest and greatest.

Now, hurry up and get that turtle soup ready for Thanksgiving!

vintage photos and content from The Peak of Chic

Sunday, November 22, 2009


photo from duet letterpress

I wanted to give a big "shout out" to the fabulous Anh-Minh Le. I met Anh-Minh some time ago via the blogosphere and she is delightful. In addition to having a full-time job and blogging regularly, Anh-Minh is a freelance writer and contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. I was so flattered when she contacted me to be featured in the Chronicle's "Stylemaker Spotlight." What an honor to be in my hometown paper.

Anh-Minh and I finally met in person and chattered over tea and scones... quite fun. Such a charming and talented gal!

Today the article came out in the San Francisco Chronicle and I thought I'd share it with you. So happy that little Vito got his 15 minutes of fame!

You can read the whole article here. Many, many thanks dear Anh-Minh! You are amazing. AND, be sure and check out Anh-Minh's blog here. It is quite a fun read. and...she is also a jewelry designer...uh oh...we're in trouble!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Wonderland at Anthropologie

There's nothing like brightening your spirits with a little trip to Anthropologie. Yesterday I thought I'd take a drive downtown to check out one of my favorite San Francisco haunts. Lucky for me, they were in the process of decorating the shop, and it was amazing to see all of the hard work that goes into it.

I spoke with the employees and the theme for the San Francisco shop is "15 inches of snow." And snowy it was. They were in the process of assembling this huge polar bear.

Made of a chicken wire frame, the employees (there was a team of 3) meticulously folded each little crepe paper tissue and placed them one-by-one into the frame. Can you imagine?

They had already worked on it for three days and estimated another few days until completion. The hardest part was going to be the head. The shop also wants to incorporate saving the polar bears into their theme.
Everything Anthropologie does tickles my fancy. They are masters at incorporating vintage with new. I love these old metal drawers filled with faux snow.

Lots of snowballs...everything covered in snow...perfect for a city that never gets snow!

What a charming vignette. An old steel cabinet filled with crocheted baskets of ornaments. The back of the cabinet is handpainted with a bird and floral motif.

some vintage portraits...even the wood paneling is vintage. Love the remnants of blue paint...

I'm crazy over their Royal Animal candles. Finely detailed wax busts casts resting atop curvy resin pillars. Look like chess pieces, don't they?

So, what did I buy? A few gifts for my assistant Dianna, who I hope isn't reading this!

Visiting Anthropologie is always a treat. I love how each store has their own unique decor. If you have an Anthropologie near you, what is their holiday window? I'd love to hear...even see photos. If you don't, you can get lost perusing their amazing website here. Believe me, I've done that for hours too.

Have a wonderful weekend!