Thursday, July 30, 2009

So Many Choices!

Yesterday morning I woke up to my long list of favorite blogs in my Google Reader. Seems my "favorite reads" keep growing and growing and growing. One blog leads you to another great one, and so on. You know the story. It's sensory overload! So much to read and absorb, so many wonderful stories, images...hardly time to leave comments.

I would have completely missed these whimsical paintings (yes, paintings!) by artist, Will Cotton, via Lisa Golightly's blog, had I not spent a great portion of the day going through each blog on my list, careful not to miss a thing -- something I usually don't have the luxury of.

With the millions of wonderful blogs in the "blogosphere," how do we edit our selections with so many favorites? How do we juggle blogging with our jobs? Do any of you have the same issues?

Friends, please stop coming up with these incredible blogs!!

photo credit Will Cotton

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do you know Melissa?

Melissa at her wedding in a Wearkstatt gown, vintage rhinestone earrings and alternated between two pairs of shoes, rhinestoned Vera Wangs and her favorite pink Prada peep toe pumps!

Melissa Davis is the creative mind behind the PR agency, Ruby Press in Northern California. I’m thrilled to call her a friend, and felt that it was about time to share some fun facts with you!

Melissa was a fashion editor in New York (at Harper's Bazaar and Mademoiselle) for 8 years before moving to California in 2000 and starting her own PR agency.

Melissa & Sam's first dance

Melissa and husband Sam’s magical wedding was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. The talented Melissa planned every detail of the wedding herself, although the “Martha team” helped with some extra details, such as stylists (we all could use those, right?), extra flowers, and their own photographer. Be sure and check out Melissa & Sam’s wedding spread here. It’s amazing.

The menu card was tied atop a box of sweets...

Guest sign in- with John Derian paperweights and an antique turquoise vessel.

A vintage Rolls Royce (with a turquoise interior) that they used to leave the reception!

Ruby Press represents style-related companies, from fashion designers & boutique shops, to the hippest restaurants and spas. Melissa is one of the most talented publicists around, a delight to work with, and has an amazing client list!

Hand-lacquered cupcake boxes – Viv & Ingrid

Custom stationery – iomoi

Melissa loves vintage. She frequents flea markets, antique shops and used bookstores for eclectic treasures. "My day trip to Brimfield was one of the best days of my life, hands down!" -Melissa

Melissa’s fun-filled blog is brimming with the latest trends, what Melissa and her team is currently obsessing over, what’s happening in their office, and what their clients are up to.

And speaking of offices, I’m crazy over Melissa’s. Perhaps a bit envious. (You know I am Melissa.) Impeccable taste with touches of fancy stationery & candles.

Melissa has a sweet tooth. Cakes, candies, cotton candy, ice cream... Guess we have that in common!

Ruby Press Bridal Soiree

Ruby Press’s events are the best ever. Not a detail overlooked!

If you're looking for a top notch publicist, you need to check out the Ruby Press website and blog. Plus, Melissa's such a fun gal to follow!

Melissa Davis

photos from Ruby Press

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bastille Café & Bar

This clock (above) once adorned a Paris metro station

Gosh, I love Seattle! Charming neighborhoods brimming with eclectic shops & restaurants.

I was thrilled to hear from the folks at the Bastille Café & Bar. Proprietors, Deming Maclise and James Weimann, recently opened up this "gem" of a café in the historic Ballard District of Seattle. Inspired by their favorite places in Paris, they scoured flea markets & shops from France to the Pacific Northwest to find the marvelous fixtures that now adorn the Bastille Café & Bar.

These fabulous Art Deco sconces were salvaged from a Seattle mansion, circa 1930.

This c. 1903 bar was made by French craftsman who came to Washington in late 1800's. The large capsule pendants are from a church in the south of France, circa early 1900's.

The Back Bar is painted a rich dark chocolate. Above it all are two paintings recreated from the originals by French symbolist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavennes, figures representing both the terror and inspiration of the French Revolution.

A crystal chandelier hangs from an arch, salvaged from a French church

I love the fact that the owners used their combined restaurant experience and savvy to give these salvaged items a new life, while creating a vintage-modern feel. They maintained the integrity of the historic 1914 building in which the Bastille Café resides.

Between the gorgeous decor and the delicious-looking menu selections, I can't wait to make a trip up to Seattle to try this charming neighborhood café!

Bastille Café & Bar
5307 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98117


All photos ©Bob Peterson

Monday, July 27, 2009

Casting Call!

Porter (above) all dressed up for casting

Anyone a fan of AMC's Mad Men? Well, AMC and Banana Republic are holding a cyber casting call for a walk-on role on the show, and fellow blogger/photographer, Porter Hovey wants to win badly! The stylish Porter is currently in second place! Doesn't she look amazing? Totally deserving of this.

To vote for Porter, click on this link, and under Porter's photo, click on the 5th star. Walla!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Have a Fun Weekend!

fashionable ladies in Paris during the occupation, photo from here

Hope you have a glorious weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jewelry for the Home

I've always loved turquoise, and summer makes me want to wear it and decorate with it.

You may have seen this fabulous turquoise Empire chandelier before by designer, Marjorie Skouras. Made of authentic turquoise beads draped in a classic southern style, it retails for $6,900. It may not be vintage, but I'm crazy for it!!

Check out more of Marjorie's fabulous creations and her beautiful portfolio here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vintage or Repro?

French street signs (above) Do you know which one is vintage?

Before I go into my "Buyer Beware" banter, let me preface this by saying I don't mind reproductions. In fact, some are done quite well and are more affordable than their vintage counterparts. You can still get the look without paying the higher price tag of the real thing.

With that said, now I'm going to rant...

One of my first mistakes many years ago was purchasing a Royal Dux Art Nouveau vase, similar to this one above. I was at a flea market and ecstatic to find the vase. I listed in on eBay with great anticipation, only to be notified from a fellow eBayer, that it was a reproduction. I was devastated. Knowledge is power in this business, and I had know idea what I was doing. Had I known how to identify the correct Royal Dux markings on the bottom, as well as the quality of the porcelain, I would have not purchased it.

Reproductions have been done for centuries, ie; a vintage Louis XVI chair made in the 1940's is still considered "vintage" even though modeled after a piece from the 18th Century.

There are so many reproductions, that I just wanted to focus on some that I've been seeing a lot of lately.

antique French crowns

French crowns: I have been collecting and selling these for 14 years now. They were once used to adorn saints in churches and sometimes used in the theatre. The originals are brilliant in person with fine detail and a nice weight to the metal. There are reproductions being made now that you can purchase for about $80. Some are passing these off as vintage, but they are not. They are manufactured in China. As long as you're paying a reasonable price for a repro, that's fine... you can get the look. An authentic French crown will run from $250 and up. Sometimes in the thousands.

This is an antique French crown. Note the detail in the metal work and brilliant stones.

More detail on this close-up view...

This is a reproduction crown (above). Made from a mold, it is very "tinny" in person, lightweight and the stones are dull.

c. 1860-90 mercury glass chalice with applied glass "jewels"

Mercury glass: This glass was hand blown, double-walled, then silvered between the layers with a liquid silvering solution, and sealed. "Mercury" silvered glass was produced originally from around 1840 until at least 1930 in Bohemia, Germany, and England from 1849-55. Companies in the United States, including the Boston and Sandwich Glass Co., New England Glass Co. and the Boston Silver Glass Company, made silvered glass from about 1852-80. Vases, goblets and all form of tableware were decorated with a variety of techniques including painting, enameling, etching, and engraving.

These antique mercury glass chalice has ornate detail, aging, and painting.

These are modern reproductions. Note the "ribbing" and the one-layered glass. These can be purchased for as little as $10 and up. Just make sure that you know what you're buying and that the price reflects it. The antique pieces generally sell from $75 and upwards into the hundreds. Look closely!

Antique Santos - Italy circa 1860-1870
Reproduction Santos

Vintage and antique items have a rich history. The patina, nicks and bangs on antiques reveal a full life of use and allow you to imagine where the piece was and who had it. The quality and workmanship is detailed. Whether you choose to purchase an antique or a reproduction, that's up to you. Just be sure and know who you're purchasing it from and look at the price. Make sure the price reflects the age and authenticity. Ask questions. If you're at an antique show, know your seller. Make sure if you're paying $500 for that jeweled crown, that it's a real one!
Have fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Estate Sale Friday

I headed out early this morning to attend an estate sale in the Sea Cliff area of San Francisco, eventually heading down the Peninsula to hit a few more...

Meet Bob. Bob is in charge of letting people into the house. You want to be Bob's friend. You want to get into that house ASAP and find the goodies before someone else beats you to the punch! Usually estate liquidators only let in about 20 people, and as they exit, more are let in. The houses are not large and they get crowded. It's best to arrive several hours early to get a good spot in line.

Meet Ernie. He is a veteran of estate sales. Ernie's the friendly guy that shows you the jewelry in the cases, and more importantly, rings up your purchases, so you can be on your way. We love Ernie.

Anything on the table of interest to you?

Perhaps a pair of chairs?

I purchased this unique iron lion's head embosser. Really nice in person.

I also bought this very old award ribbon "For Valor." Love old ribbons. In addition, a couple of books and some jewelry. Other than that, a few odds and ends at the other estates. Didn't find any "jaw-dropping" furniture or lighting today. Well, that's the nature of this biz!

Thanks for joining me in my "estate sale" travels. Wishing you all a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Carleton Varney on HSN

Carleton Varney, the legendary decorator & President/CEO of Dorothy Draper & Co., is making his first live appearance on the Home Shopping Network tomorrow with his new line of bedding and rugs. Fellow blogger, Jennifer at the Peak of Chic, is heading out there to peek behind the scenes and meet Varney in person! Can't wait to hear what she reports back!

I'm looking forward to hearing Varney talk about his new line, as well as seeing what he has created. Hmmm...will it be of high quality as we hope? Check HSN for a complete schedule.

photo from

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Arrivals at Paris Hotel Boutique!

Today we're celebrating Bastille Day with an array of new arrivals. Please check them out here. You'll find many items from France!

And to our French friends... Bonne Fête !