Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Root - Fashion and Aura, and Philanthropic

One of my favorite shops in Fredericksburg is Root, owned by my friend, Cassell. It has been so much fun watching Cassell grow from a cute girl working for another creative soul years ago, to the mature and extremely creative, talented young woman she is today.

Cassell sells great clothing, accessories and some home furnishings. She also sells Toms, the ever so trendy and comfy shoes created by American traveler, Blake Mycoski, whose mission is to give a pair of shoes to a child in need, every time a pair of Toms are purchased. Read about this amazing concept and company here .

Currently, Root is sponsoring a silent auction full of custom decorated Toms. The proceeds will benefit Friends of Toms, a non profit organization that helps coordinate the shoe drops to the children receiving the shoes.

The auction ends on June 5th and you can read about it here.

Local artists and creative business owners have each decorated a pair of Toms for the auction.

I have included just a few of the incredibly decorated shoes. What little jewels of art they are. I might buy some to hang on the wall or place on a bookshelf.

I won't tell you here who created each one or which I would choose. I am fortunate to know most of the artists and I certainly can't choose favorites! This is just a sample, though, so you must go to the website to get the full scoop and see all of these amazing shoes.

Isn't this one of the most fun ideas ever! Great taste and philanthropy - shopping with a conscience. Count me in!

I am heading over today to see them in person.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Check this out!

You may think I just did a post on my friend, Alice. Well, you are right, but I guess great minds think alike! This time you get to see her cute husband, Byron, who I am afraid I slighted in my post - sorry Byron! You also get to see their cute puppies, Layla, Sophia and Bella!

Check out some different shots of their cool house and the way they used great finds from RED in FRED to spice up their hill country house!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

My baby will be TWENTY on Thursday! She is home from college and she is having the best time just cooking up a storm in our kitchen. Tonight she made an angel food cake. When it didn't turn out quite like she had planned, she sliced it, layered it with whipped cream (the real deal) and sliced strawberries. Voila! "A strawberry trifle" she called it.

On another note, I posted on my friend, Alice's, house, tonight. However, since I began loading the photos last week, it published as of May 6..........so, even though it is a new post, it does not appear so on my blog. It comes before the May 10 post on shells and Maine - very frustrating.

If anyone knows how to remedy this little challenge, I would love to hear about it. I can't find anywhere on blogger.com to set the date for a current post.

Meanwhile, I guess I will just go have a piece of strawberry trifle!

P.S. THANK YOU TO SEVERAL WONDERFUL BLOGGERS who sent me directions on fixing the date of my post. I feel so stupid! So glad to know it is so easy!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Friend, Alice - Part 2

A few months back I posted about my friend, Alice, and her home outside of Fredericksburg. I helped her decorate her bedroom and posted photos of the finished room. Today I took a trip out to her house to help her rearrange some furniture.

As you can see, the drive up appeal is wonderful. The house sits in the country on acreage with views all around of rolling hills, wildflowers, and other great houses in the distance.

Alice shares my love of bright color and of Mexican haciendas. She has slowly been adding color to the outside of the house, as often seen in the courtyards and entry foyers of Mexican houses. I love the grape trim around the windows and doors.

This burst of brilliant yellow on the back wall of the courtyard is just happy - that is all there is to it. With the old blue paint on the hanging container, and the red of the geraniums, it creates a bold and striking composition of color.

These two little funny birds are by local hill country painter, Tissa Fitzhugh Osborne, and the heart in the center was a find in San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico.

For the time being, Alice has kept her interior walls soft and neutral. She loves art, both fine and folk, and her house is full of great textiles, paintings, pottery and other treasures from her travels around the world. All of these furnishings and accessories are colorful and graphic and she displays them in a "gathered over time", simple way. There is a sense of spontaneity one feels upon entering this home.

Say what you will about Suzanis being a tired trend, but, Alice has one of the prettiest old ones I have ever seen. The backing on it is a brilliant gold silk and the stitching is tight and detailed. It is usually draped across the back of the sofa. In the same room she hangs an antique American quilt of great graphic design.

Alice loves ethnic design and is a lover of pattern and personality in the things she finds attractive. She is great fun to shop with on trips, and if I am not with her, she almost always brings home the best gifts! I got a Suzani from her trip to Turkey where she and her husband looked at multiple examples before choosing one for themselves, as well as one for me and one for another mutual friend.

We had to make some furniture changes as we swapped rugs and moved the leather chair from the small study to the living room. Here is that great graphic quilt.

We share a love of Santa Fe and Alice and her husband bought this wonderful painting by artist Tom Noble quite a few years ago. It has lived in several houses and Alice and her husband still love it.

There is a richness of information contained in this small and beautiful house. The blue dog painting featured above, by artist, Melinda K. Hall, was also found at a Santa Fe gallery,Patricia Carlisle Fine Art. The piece below the blue dog was a gift to Alice many years ago from a dear friend. It was created by textile artist Chris Roberts-Antieau.

This folk art dog was actually found at an antique show. He is covered in beans - yes, I said beans, and while not antique, certainly vintage. He has an equally funny and charming back side, and Alice just fell in love with him at the show!

I love this heart painting, also done by Melinda K. Hall.

You have seen the bedroom before, but we have added lamps since I posted about this room and Bella has found her spot on the ottoman!

Although guest rooms often get the leftovers and are the last to decorate, Alice has done a wonderful job of creating a warm and cozy spot for her guests. She wants to find a headboard for the bed and add a few more finishing touches. I think she has done a lovely job using what she has to make this red room wonderful! The antique floral prints above the bed are framed in old painted wood frames and hold a dear spot in Alice's heart. They add a softness to this already comfy room.

Stay tuned for more pictures of Alice's house as the courtyard takes shape with more color and outdoor furniture, and the Texas wildflowers really start to bloom!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shell Season and Maine Artist Brian White

It's that time of year when I start thinking of the ocean and the beach and reminiscing about past vacations. Texas beaches are easy to get to, relatively speaking, and I have very fond memories of family and friend trips to Port Aransas and South Padre beach. I have collections of shells, like so many of us do,which evoke all kinds of memories and serve to decorate parts of my house in jars and vases and atop stacks of books and on bookshelves.

However, I have a "shell story" like no other. Here it is......................

Ten High Street in Camden Maine

A few years ago my husband and I were vacationing in Maine. We stayed in the charming town of Wiscasset and each morning I would get out the map and my guide books and we would determine which direction we would drive that day .

Typically, it was either north or south - one way or the other, up and down the coast. One day we headed north up the coastline and found ourselves in Camden, Maine. We pulled in to the most charming looking gallery - a lovely complex of old buildings, all freshly painted and the grounds landscaped perfectly. We had stumbled upon "Ten High Street" .

Now, Mike is a great sport, and he likes galleries and antique shops to a point..........but eventually he opens up the sun roof of the car, reclines his seat and pulls out whatever book he is reading and tells me "You go ahead - have a great time"!

If someplace is really special, I will come back to the car and get him to share it with him.

This particular day, I think I began to hyperventilate the minute I stepped in to Ten High Street. The gallery was full of the most fabulous mix of new and vintage folk art, country antiques and great contemporary art that I had ever seen! Being one who likes a lot of different things, I was crazy about the beautiful way the owners had combined this collection.

However, the thing that literally took my breath away was an exhibition by an artist named Brian White. He had created both small framed collages of shells, as well as shoes and dresses and shirts of shells! Brian uses a few other materials, often to actually hold a piece together, but his main material is shells. I cannot even begin to describe exactly how they look - you must see the photographs.

Brian White with two of his works of art (Photo from Ten High Street)

Photo from www.sailorvalentinesofmaine.com

After running back to the car to get Mike, I tried to compose myself and walk casually back into the gallery. I was having fits over a lot of the things there ( I still remember the most fabulous pie safe with original old crusty green paint).
He agreed........this place was like no other!

"Lobsterman's" shirt of shells

We met the very charming Sarah Ames, married to John, owners of the gallery. She told us of John's "discovery" of Brian White. The gist of the story was about John visiting Brian to buy some antiques from him and the two having a conversation about art. Brian casually mentioned that he "makes stuff" and then proceeded to show John his works of art. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sarah explained that they had just had an opening for the exhibit and that most of the pieces were sold. There were a few pieces still available, and if ever there was anything in this world I wish I had bought, it would have been a shell sculpture of Brian White's.

Exquisite shell wedding dress, shoes and veil made of shells
Photo from Yankee Magazine

Brian is a local artist who lives in Union, Maine. His work was acquired by the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine shortly after the show at Ten High Street. The ensemble shown above was to be shown at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts in 2008.

Another absolutely stunning dress made of shells
Photo from Ten High Street

Dress in the permanent collection of the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine

Brian is currently part of an exhibit at the Farnsworth called Four in Maine , running from March 7 through May 24. If you are even close to the area you should really try to see this exhibit - I would give anything to get there!

I have seen a lot of shell art over the years, some fine and some not so fine, but I am not sure I have ever seen any sculpture that captured my heart so, and was so exquisitely crafted as the work of Brian White's. Seeing this show was the highlight of our trip to Maine that year and I can only hope that I get to see some of his unique work again some day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Texas Hill Country Antique Shows

The Comfort, Texas (population: about 3,000) Spring antique show was this past weekend. I am an antique dealer and set up at this show as well as two others managed by the same show promoters.

As much as I love the Round Top show and have participated in it, these shows are one weekend only and I get to sleep in my own bed at the end of each day - there is a lot to be said for those factors when you still have kids at home!

The Comfort show is the quintessential country antique show, drawing visitors from surrounding areas and some people, spontaneously, right off the highway as they are passing through.

The dealers come from all over Texas, and some from Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The show is held in the spring, usually in May, and again, at the end of October. This show, as well as one in Boerne and one in Fredericksburg, are managed by Lori and Tommy Titsworth, of Texas Presentations.

Like all good shows, you see a variety of goods, some truly antique and some vintage at best, but often curious, or quaint or pretty, nevertheless. You know what they say - "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

In the past these particular shows specialized in true early American furniture, folk art, textiles, baskets, tole ware , glass and wooden ware. Over the years the merchandise has broadened and a lot of very nice old imported items have been thrown in the mix.

Realize that these are country shows in several ways - they are primarily dealers who love country antiques, and the shows are held in small towns at fair grounds and park pavilions. Rain, wind, florescent lighting, and not so pretty industrial fans are just part of the deal. So are breakfast tacos, barbecue, peach cobbler and lots of nice people, too, so it all evens out!

There are some exquisite things to be found.............

and clever and colorful things, too.

country bins and old firkins.............

folk art puppets, and vintage clothing and hats.

Wonderful old quilts and hooked rugs..........
painted furniture from Hungary..........

great old basket bottles............

tramp art and transferware..............

......wonderful textiles - pillows, rugs, European grain sacks (seen all over the design world made into pillows, used for upholstery, etc.)............and beautifully painted European chests.......
and even some great patriotic memorabilia.
Check out the shows the next time you are in the Texas Hill Country. The next Comfort show is October 17 and 18, and the Fredericksburg Fall show is November 14 and 15. The Boerne show will be in the spring of 2010. (I can't even believe I am saying "2010"- wasn't it just 2000?) All three shows are within an hour of San Antonio and Austin, so when you tire of the hectic city pace, come on over for an old fashioned country antique show - you will love it.


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