Friday, February 27, 2009

Come to my Party & Giveaway!

Let's be kids for a day! I usually don't post about my birthdays, but I just had to share the wonderful surprises I received today from my best friend Janet at FrenchBlue. AND, to make this day even more fun, Janet is having a birthday "giveaway" on her new blog, FrenchBlue. Come celebrate, open the presents with me (below), and then mosey over to FrenchBlue to enter the giveaway and you too can receive one of her wonderful gifts...

My husband displayed the presents in a Dorothy Draper chest. Cute, huh?

Janet and I love candy. Here are some delicious treats; watermelon sour balls, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, Laduree candies in a carriage and a glittery faux cupcake!

Vito had to get in on the fun!

I am going crazy over this custom stationary that Janet made for me using images from Paris Hotel Boutique. Love it!

How clever is this? Janet took a box of leopard-printed stationary and added an "I Married Adventure" sticker to make it look like the image of the vintage book that we're all so fond of. She is so creative.

Amazing large, lavender-scented candle in a lavender-colored bisque jar from my favorite, Bergdorf Goodman! (hint, hint...there is one in the giveaway!)

For the sweet lover...Juicy Couture candies in pink plastic cupcake holders. Actually you can use these plastic cupcake holders in the oven.

You can't take the 80's out of me. Love the glitz on this softest cotton shirt with faux jeweled embellishments.

Not one, but two pairs of metallic sandals from Steve Madden. Janet, you're crazy, but I love them!

This unusual silver-coated horn can actually hang on the wall. So unique!

Thanks to all of you for sharing my birthday with me and to you Janet for the most special birthday gifts! You are a treasure!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Waldorf Goes "Mod"

There is nothing more fun than thumbing through old magazines. This spread in the November 1970 issue of House Beautiful features a custom-designed celebrity suite at the Waldorf in New York City. Is history repeating itself? Of course it is. Note the candy-colored and mod furnishings that we see so much of now. (Please click on the images for detailed, enlarged views).

(above) "This suite was created for special visitors; entertainers appearing in the hotel's Empire room, State Department guests, U.N. dignitaries. Peggy Lee might relax with old friends, or Diana Ross give an interview from a silk sofa." (18-century furnishings blend with the steel and plastic of the 70's). The background of neutral shell tones is punctuated with sharp, pure color contrasts in the mode of Matisse."

The foyer has a stenciled floor design executed by Cile Lord. To quieten the sound of lively greetings, a Wallscape of Verel modacrylic carpeting-texturing a soft background for the Wendy Vanderbilt painting over the shell-motif table. (Love the chrome benches)

"By day, the dining room is an airy pastoral, mellow, timeless, as if the basketed flowers had grown just beyond the hotel windows. At night, the room becomes a vibrant art-filled cloister behind silk curtains inspired by a Truman Egleston painting. Albrizzi candlesticks and shells from Karl Springer, Ltd." (Interesting...there are the faux bamboo chairs that have made a huge comeback)

"A Flowered Retreat for Private Hours." Bright 1970's florals. Do you remember those? I think I had a set of those exact sheets. Note the zig-zag curtains. Back in style again.

Well, I don't think that celebrity suites look quite like this now, but it's fun to see what was "in vogue" in the 70's.

Photos from House Beautiful, November 1970

Displaying Treasured Calligraphy

In this photo Martha groups 19th century calligraphy in all white frames. Makes a nice display, doesn't it? (Photo from Martha Stewart Living)

I was thumbing through my February issue of Martha Stewart Living and enjoyed her feature on calligraphy and some nice ways to display it. Sad that penmanship is slowly being replaced by the computer, but the good news is that penmanship classes are in demand again. I've posted about calligraphy before, but thought I'd share some photos from "Living," as well as some recent calligraphy acquisitions on my website.

Pages from student's copybooks with images, calligraphic scrolls and ornamental swirls are now appreciated as art. (Photo from Martha Stewart Living)

This 19th century hand calligraphy is from Paris Hotel Boutique. I love the detailed birds.

19th century French calligraphy pens from Paris Hotel Boutique look great on a desk or stack of books

Interesting fonts from this 19th century French calligraphy print from Paris Hotel Boutique

Masterpieces and Doodles --"Penmanship reflects a dynamism and wit far beyond the alphabet. Birds, including eagles, falcons, peacock, and doves, were a favorite subject, as were mythological figures." (from Martha Stewart Living)

Pages from calligraphy manuals and antique copybooks are treasures worthy of framing (from Martha Stewart Living)

A grouping of antique calligraphic sketches can add a charming accent to a room...small works of art. You can find antique calligraphy from $5 for a printed calling card, to thousands of dollars for a detailed mid-19th century animal signed by the penman. Purchase an inexpensive frame, and walla! You have a unique piece of art that is not mass-produced.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Just in at Paris Hotel Boutique...

  • 19th Century French Calligraphy Prints &

  • Antique French Mannequins

  • Vintage Dog Paintings

  • English & American Bus Signs

  • Vintage Eye Charts

  • Dorothy Draper Style Chest

  • 1940's Leather Library Chairs and much

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Please Join Us!

Paris Hotel Boutique is now on Facebook. We would love to have you join us! Just click here and you can add comments, get updates of our latest additions, and network with friends with common interests. Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Victorian Tokens of Love

Victorians were exceptionally sentimental and romantic, and were fond of showing it in special ways. Items of apparel such as fans, gloves and handkerchiefs were given meaning as were objects given called 'love tokens' which included flowers, painted miniatures and jewelry. The Victorians romanticized love as well as tragedy. They revered courtship and love, despite their strict moral code and rules of etiquette.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, coins were used as love tokens. They were handmade by men to give to their sweethearts, and in some instances, were given by soldiers and sailors before they went abroad in case they were to die.

In Victorian times a variety of love tokens were introduced. One would rub down one side of the coin and engrave the other side. The engravings varied from finely designed examples, down to very crude ones. They included symbols of romance, such as hearts pierced with arrows, Cupid's bow and arrow, flowers, love birds and lovers' knots, with either the initials or name of a loved one.

This necklace shown in the photos is a masterpiece designed by my friend Karen. It consists of 22 solid silver love token coins that Karen collected over a year's time. Some have special meaning to her with names or initials that happen to coincide with a friend or relative, or simply a cute token that says "1st Prize." Karen had her jeweler custom design a chain--each a separate link--and add the coins on. It is really stunning in person!

Love tokens bring us back to a bygone era of symbolic love, demonstrated by the gifting of such small and simple coins, yet, with great meaning. You can read more about Victorian love tokens, customs and etiquette here and here. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cire Trudon

Cire Trudon is the oldest candlemaking company, dating back to 1643. Candlemakers to the kings of France, the Trudon candlemaking process was considered the most exclusive, using solid beeswax.

Trudon has a rich history and is still in existence today. Founded by merchant Claude Trudon, the company has built a solid reputation dating back to the time of Napoleon and throughout the revolution and final hours of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. There are so many delicious fragrances to choose from.

The 'Trianon' candle, which was inspired by Marie Antoinette is described as follows, "The picking of jacinth, roses, white flowers, wild herbs from the meadows and graminaeceous plants, this bunch of flowers reminds us of an ideal nature, that of the Nouvelle Heloise and the country life dreams of Marie Antoinette. Vibrating with the memory of a summer evening and the warm musk scent of torches, this candle is a homage to the Queen of taste who inspired so many candles to Maison de Cire Trudon."

What a beautiful Bergdorf Goodman ad showing the bust and pillar candles, with weathered papers, a top hat and antique candleholders. Such a dramatic look!

I love the "Les Bustes de Cire" molded wax bust candles of those who marked the history of France, such as Napoleon, Marie Antoinette and L'esclave. Expensive? Yes, but beautiful with a rich history.

Visit the Cire Trudon website here. Candles are available in the US, here and here.

Photos courtesy of Cire Trudon

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poodle Party!

Ever since I got my poodle Vito, I always wanted to have a "poodle party." Imagine all of these silly French poodles dancing around (Can-can style)! I was so jealous when I saw the Dauschund meetup group at the park a couple of weeks ago that I had to start a San Francisco Poodle Meetup group.

Maxie, Vito & KoKo meet

Today was our first "meetup." Unfortunately it was cold and rainy, but the doggies endured. Vito met his first two Poodle friends, KoKo the Cockapoo and Maxie, who is a teacup. They had lots of fun at the park. If you live in the Bay Area and have a poodle, please come to one of our meetups. Hopefully we'll have better weather next month. You can join here.

Jeany & Rie holding Maxie

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Favorite: The Perfumed Court

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, a lot of us are thinking of flowers and perfume. I couldn’t think of a better time to blog about my one of my favorite online discoveries, The Perfumed Court. Its proprietresses, Diane, Lisa and Patty, specialize in offering samples and decants of just about every fragrance you could imagine, from vintage and discontinued, to limited editions and classics.

How many times have you purchased a perfume, worn it once or twice to find that you don’t care for it? Well, these gals have made it easy for us to test and try. I recently purchased about 9 different samples and am having fun trying them out!

I had so many questions about the decanting process that I was thrilled when Lisa and Patty let me ask them a barrage of questions. Read on for some fascinating info…

How did you start? (your love of perfume, decanting, eBay, then The Perfumed Court)

Lisa - I’ve always loved fragrance. For as long as I remember I sniffed my mother’s fragrances, which she kept on a tray on her dresser. I purchased my first real fragrance (not counting Love’s Baby Soft Musky Jasmine or Avon’s Sweet Honesty) when I was 19 and it was Molyneux Quartz.

I started decanting while on Make up Alley (I became a member in the beginning of 2003) and could not believe what a wonderful idea it was to be able to try so many fragrances without having to invest in full bottles which were difficult to use up as I never was a “signature scent” kind of person. I then moved onto eBay and did that for a number of years before it was stopped by eBay. The Perfumed Court was Diane’s vision and she asked me to be a part of it and I gladly agreed.

Patty – I’ve always loved fragrance as well. Growing up on a farm, it was part of my life, the rich smells that surrounded me, and smell has always been a powerful pull on my emotion – from the way my daddy’s pillow smelled of him, to hanging out with my friends at the drugstore and trying on all the perfumes. Eventually my perfume habit became very expensive, so I started decanting and selling on eBay until Diane asked me to join her also in a website.

What was your first perfume?

Lisa - Avon Sweet Honesty – it was a Christmas present and I felt very grown up!! Charlie followed soon after along with Jontue, Babe and Jovan Musk. My sister and I shared a room and shared our fragrances too.

Patty – Stephen B was my first. My friend tracked down a bottle of this discontinued fragrance for me a while back, and it takes me right back to being 17 again.

What fragrance did your mother wear?

Lisa - She wore Chantilly, Youth Dew and Chanel No. 5 when I was growing up. As I got older, I remember my father buying her one bottle a year (at Christmastime).

Patty - My mom really didn’t wear perfume, she just always smelled of soap and Jergen’s lotion.

How do you decide what to wear every day?

Lisa - It’s based on my mood and the weather. Sometimes I lie in bed and decide and other times it’s a quick decision out the door. I actually work at a garage (our local government) and I’m the only woman. It’s amazing how many of the guys will comment on what I wear (and I never would have expected that).

Patty – It’s always a mood thing. I just stand in front of the collection and think of what sounds good, and something always occurs to me. If it doesn’t, I wear nothing.

What’s the process for decanting?

Lisa- (for all of us) - I decant from the original bottle either by spraying, pouring or using sterile pipettes into whatever size sample or decant that has been purchased. Pouring and pipettes are the easiest way to decant. Spraying can be quite an exacting science as it can splash back out of the decant bottle and make it difficult to get small items (like the 1ml vials) filled exactly. Then labels are made for each decant.

How do you smell all of the different scents? Coffee in between?

Lisa (for all of us) - I always test on the skin; never on a paper tester. I use coffee in between which works wonderfully for me (and has been scientifically proven). I have also heard that you can also inhale into fabric such as wool but I’ve never tried that.

The Perfumed Court Team: (left to right) Lisa, Patty, Diane and Shirl

How often do you travel and what’s the last trip you took?

Lisa - I usually travel outside the US two to three times a year. I go to Chicago once a year and New York once a year for perfume shopping as well. I just got back from Paris. I traveled with one of my partners and met the other partner and our customer service rep while in Paris.

Patty – I usually travel outside the country 1 or 2 times a year. I try to get to New York once a year, if possible and another place or two, if I can.

If you had to pick the most requested scent or perfume, what would it be?

(for all of us) - Consistently it is Andy Tauer’s, L’air du Desert Marocain. Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower runs a close second.

How many of your scents are not available in the US?

Lisa - To the best of our knowledge, we carry about 350 fragrances not available in the US.

About how many perfumes does the Perfumed Court carry?

Lisa (for all of us) -I would estimate somewhere around 3,000. We currently have well over 4,000 individual listings but that includes all of our samplers, our decanting supplies and large decant specials on fragrances that are already individually listed.


Thanks to Lisa and Patty for taking the time to share this great information with us. It's been quite enlightening!

For all of you reading, please visit The Perfumed Court here. You'll have fun perusing through their thousands of fragrances!

Monday, February 02, 2009

So Fancy!

I am thrilled to share the beautiful creations of Noel Solomon, the daughter of my dear friend Janet of FrenchBlue & Co. Noel is a talented artist (based in Southern California) and has recently launched her online business, Fanciful Designs, selling her unique, one-of-a-kind French-inspired pieces.

Noel’s number books consist of old book pages combined with a unique matte cover and modern number, completely handmade using recycled materials and art.

One of Noel’s passions is working with paper. “Finding exact freedom in this material through sculpting allows me to create with an unrestrained imagination. A transparent lightness, so delicate in appearance, combined with a fanciful inner-laced imagination, turns into a piece of art.”

These whimsical shoes (sculpted from paper) are the most beautiful creations!

Such talent! Some of Noel’s latest creations are books, handmade shoes, dress forms and fine accessories, all sculpted from paper. You can see some of her amazing pieces here on her Etsy shop, and please be sure and visit her new blog, Fanciful.

Decorative dress forms made of paper…Noel gets a lot of her inspiration from her travels—France being at the top of the list!

Photos courtesy of Fanciful Designs