Thursday, September 30, 2010

A mixed bag of treasures...


handbag pronunciation" /[hand-bag]  –noun
1.a bag or box of leather, fabric, plastic, or the like, held in the hand or carried by means of a handle or strap, commonly used by women for holding money, toilet articles, small purchases, etc.
I can't believe that in all my time blogging - I've never really highlighted my real obsession.  The handbag.  
I know that women love shoes and jewellery and clothes.  However the carry-all handbag is the ultimate statement piece.  As much as I love shoes, I've finally relented, and admit yes -  that most people don't notice shoes.  Clothes and handbags - yes.  I've got so many handbags it's a crime.  I've got a few favourite brands - but not obvious brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, Coach.  I like the brands that have unique craftmanship like Jamin Puech, Bottega Veneta and some of the indie brands in the US.

My friend is bringing me back a handbag from Anthropologie (a truly unique emporium of lots of goodies) in the US which is not expensive but it's beautiful. 
Calling for Rain handbag - Anthropologie
 Another two bags from Anthropologie I love are these, but I can't be too greedy!

Petal Pouf Bag - Anthropologie
Million Elephants Bag - Anthropologie

Two of the Jamin Puech handbag styles I have...the french couple who began this company are so innovative.  They now have stores all over the world.
This green bobble bag I bought in NY

Saddle bag - I've got this in lime green
My friend Hanh also has the same bag above in silver (I was a little jealous that day because I got the green one and she got the slinky silver...what can a girl do?
When I was in New York I took my friends Liz and Harriet to the Jamin Puech store in Soho.  Both of them said "we're not buying anything".  They were having an end of season half price sale - they were pulled into the heady smell of leather and boho chic.  They were like greedy step sisters fighting over the same style of bag.  They both chose the 'Kim' bag - Liz got the tan and Harriet got the grey.  Both were lovely bags - and now they're both JP devotees!

Kim Bag - Jamin Puech

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Windows in frame

Stained glass or bevelled, windows seem to hold some kind of attraction.  You just have to look at my blog background!  It says it all. I like the way windows provide an optical point to a room, and can change lighting in rooms.  These are just a few snapshots of some of the windows I like.

Antique glass window

Stained glass at its best!

Arched windows are beautiful and give a majestic feel to a room

Stained glass window - Canterbury Cathedral

Window?  Glass roof really Galleries Lafayette, Paris

The frames that make up this window give the room order

Arched window - is there anything more to say?

Peace at last.  Arched window, pink & green decor. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Green - the new hue

Green with envy, he's green in experience...why is so much negativity attributed to the beautiful colour green?  For me green is peaceful and fresh, and it just plain makes me feel good.  From apple, aquamarine, beryl, bice, blue-green, chartreuse, fir, forest, grass, greenish-blue, jade, kelly, lime, malachite, mint, moss, olive, pea, peacock, pine, sage, sap, sea, spinach, verdigris, vert, viridian and willow.  I'll take it all!

Green Pagoda Toile Source: Verandah House

The ever stylish Marie Antoinette obviously loved green and all that whooshing silk.  This beautiful french set of drawers is also a twist on the kelly green theme. 

I don't think I can ever look at wallpaper the same way after I'd seen deGournay silk panels.  This old french company excels in silken chinoiserie walls at nearly criminal costs - but how beautiful are they?
I'm sorry this 8 carat Emerald (below) one can get lost in!
Green & blue vignette of old frames & candle holders
Green goblets from Black & Spiro

Monday, September 27, 2010

Diamonds...are they forever?

I was speaking about diamonds recently with a friend, and I raised the point that apart from being the hardest stone it is a commodity purchase - there's rarely a second hand market for diamonds.  I mean really.  Try selling a diamond ring.  Most folks in the diamond trade will tell you, it's like driving a new car out of the car dealers, you lose 40% of the value.

This is all down to the sheer brilliance of deBeers and their marketing.  They control supply and the market price is driven up.  Since the beginning of the 20th century DeBeers and South African diamonds dominated supply in the market.  Just think of it - before WWII, diamonds weren't popular as engagement rings at all.  Then, the famous campaign was launched "A diamond is forever".  However the diamond trade controlled by DeBeers didn't count on Australia being a rich source of rare (and coloured) diamonds and in the 1990s when Russian diamonds swamped the market in the 90s.  So what did they do?  DeBeers began to market eternity rings - comprising of the smaller diamonds exported from Russia.  Now to keep diamond sales dropping off, they are marketed to independent career women - who deserve to give the best to themselves in the form of "celebration rings" which is best showcased by Tiffany's.  If the truth be told, we've now learned how to manufacture man-made diamonds - even DeBeers is in the action!  Do you think the public wants to buy them?  No way!  The greatest clients for industrial man made diamonds are the super-wealthy, because they get away with wearing them, and their valuables are protected.  The market for making money for real diamonds stays with the average middle class right across the world.

Regardless we still love them right?  The Diamond Exchange is a great site for looking at different sizes of diamonds.  My favourite cut is the Asscher cut which was originally developed in London - their brilliance is due in part to their depth. A well-cut Asscher diamond delivers more brilliance and dispersion than most fine-cut modern cuts.  My favourite colour diamond would have to be blue *dreamy* followed of course by the clear and sparkling original!

Blue Diamond
Ascher Cut Diamond

Argyle Pink Diamond
Canary Yellow Diamond

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opal, Onyx & Diamond Ring
 It's Sunday afternoon, and I have the Sunday blues.  It doesn't matter how old you are there is a feeling of dread on Sunday afternoon that you haven't quite done everything and a new week is looming with new pressures and stresses.  However I've decided to do a post on things that I like RIGHT NOW that make me feel good.  I mean - we all find beauty in different things.  Like this Opal ring I saw on 1st dibs.  What a site!
Painted spoon installation
 I'd love to do a display like this one!  My difficulty would be in finding all the lovely tones of paint for a single use!

 Chinese Shadow Box
 Again with the chinoiserie!  I know, I know - but this packs a double whammy.  Green (favourite colour), Chinese (favourite influence) and shadow box (just plain whimsical)
Botanical wallpaper
This is just because I love prussian blue velvet and the lovely botanicals!

Friday, September 24, 2010


My dear friend Diane told me today about a beautiful antique shop in London that she is a devotee of - Alexia Amato Antiques   I don't know much about Opaline glass, so I endeavoured to find out more about it.
Perfume bottles

Green opaline decanters

This article about Opaline Glass was written by Alexia Amato for House Beautiful Magazine in 2001. 

Fabric acquisitions for upholstery ...a new obsession

Firstly, this droolingly fabulous Scalamandre Hydrangea print is to die for.  I see this on my two main living room chairs surrounded by green, pink, cream.

 This Jeffersonian toile in the beautiful hues of duck egg blue and beige.  Features colonial American scenes.  I love the used washed out look of this fabric.

 This is a fabulous Chippendale pattern in the Tingara green colour, which I'm going to cover a faux Chippendale style.
 This beautiful olive green silk I see for a lovely single cushion.
Look at this fabulous denim coloured toile with French Court characters!  The colour of blue, mint green and lemon and cream are such a new take on the old fashioned toile.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today I was looking through a vintage clothing website and found the most delightful embroidered coat from the 1950s.  We don't really have the same attention to detail, except in the haute couture spheres.  However some lady wore this and looked fabulous somewhere in New York or I'd like to think on the Continent.  At $180 this is a steal.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alain de Botton - The Architecture of Happiness

Alain de Botton is currently my favourite author and philospher.  He speaks to truths about how our environment indeed our own HOMES affect us.  I've long been a believer in this.  My home is my sanctuary and my great leveller, a reflection of my 'many' personalities.

One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings and streets we’re surrounded by.

And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influenced by who we can be - and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.

Whereas many architects are wary of openly discussing the word beauty, the book has at its centre the large and naïve question: ‘What is a beautiful building?’ It amounts to a tour through the philosophy and psychology of architecture, which aims to change the way we think about our homes, streets and ourselves.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lonny Magazine

I am a compulsive buyer of decorating magazines.  However I may have found a way around it!  The wonderful Lonny Magazine is now my new addiction.  Short for London & New York it is a design and decorating must read!

August September 2010 Issue


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