Monday, January 16, 2017


Civil rights are our rights. They are God-given. It is our duty to stand up, be counted and not go silently into the night--it is our solemn responsibility to defend our rights--the rights of women, minorities, black Americans, the gay community, the impoverished, the sick and weak, those that differ (but only superficially) from us. Today let's all stand up and say no to bigotry, no to greed, no to discrimination, no to hatred, no to militarism, no to the extreme right. No to the powers that strive to destroy our rights.
...........We will say YES to Dr. King's vision for America.

Sunday, January 15, 2017



I think that the tails of woe of this gorgeous Robsjohn-Gibbings for Widdicomb chest and its restoration/lacquering journey could fill two spiral bound notebooks.....but I'll make it short and sweet: I sent the chest back to the restorer twice and it took a total of 7 months to get this piece to the level of lacquer work that it called for. I can be extremely patient, but when I discovered that the restorer had taken off for Costa Rica without  finishing my chest, I nearly lost it with him. Fortunately, phone reception was really bad in Costa Rica; so the communication of my extreme displeasure went by text and was a bit toned down, considered and measured. I am more than convinced that the wait was worth the outcome. People are ooing and ahhhhhing over him. To protect him, I have encircled the chest with other pieces and marked him "DO NOT TOUCH, PLEASE".

And now for the restored Northern Italian games Table

Roberto and I worked diligently to get this little girl completed. She has been taken apart, put back together, fumigated (see prior post), and finally, Roberto restored the marquetry and gave her a beautiful hard paste wax finish. Just look at those sexy legs and the beautiful marquetry and penwork..... 

She appears to retain most of her original finish which is the reason for leaving her unstripped and with the blemishes that can only be removed if the surface were to be "skinned"--a no-no.
Despite the many ups and downs and miles of patience for both of these restorations, I am very grateful. I love the feeling of seeing a job well-done.

The inauguration (all in small sad letters) is Friday and I will follow the lead of John Lewis and Barbara Lee and others: I will not be attending or watching any of it on TV. There is a lot of work to be done to return our country to the spirit of good governance and I fully intend to be a part of that effort.
Ivanka Trump boasted that her father had confidence in her because she made decisions "in a considered manner"--phhleeeease, I think most of us make decision in that manner. Does that qualify me to be a presidential advisor? I think not. Nepotism anyone?

Well, Jones is calling, time for bed.

Blessings for the week.
Mary & Jones & Colee

Monday, January 9, 2017


I listened to Michelle Obama's last speech with a heavy heart and tears cascading. I am so grateful for the example that she and President Obama have set for us and our children. Courage, hope and love of country are just a few of the descriptions that apply to this amazing partnership that has blessed the last eight years. Certainly, there were decisions made that would not have been mine; however, The Obamas honored us by representing our country with grace, integrity, forthrightness and courage. Michelle's last speech was a call for us to honor our country, never loosing hope in the future that can be won by embracing strength of character, courage and integrity.
When I read Seth Godin's blog post of this morning I realized that Seth had outlined the path and mindset that are needed to achieve the goals proposed in Michelle Obama's Last Speech. I'm quoting Seth's post below:

More creating
less consuming

More leading
less following

More contributing
less taking

More patience
less intolerance

More connecting
less isolating

More writing
less watching

More optimism
less false realism

My aim is to wake up every morning with these guide lines running in my head. Reminding me that I can set my intentions for the day with the goal of contributing to the creation of a world where every individual truly has the rights given to us by The Constitution--a world in which we bring into existence, what is now simply an aspiration, true equality. We live in a world where the simple act of changing a personal mindset to a more positive stance can have an impact on the outcome of any situation.

Thank you for reading this blog and allowing me to voice my hope for all of us.

Mary, Jones & Cole

Friday, January 6, 2017


It looks like 2017 is starting off just the way I want it--a very good auction day on Thursday. I brought home the desk.....

And the feet.......

And surprise!! Another pair of barrel back Louis XV style chairs (the last pair that I spiffed up sold in one week).

I already have linen fabric for these guys. Unfortunately, the cane on the other chair is in poor condition; so I will upholster them like this pair

One of the tricks of this business is to find a niche and fill it.........this will be the fourth pair of French barrel back bergeres that I have had in under twelve months. To find the antique chair frames with which to work is also a challenge: barrel backs are not common and I don't want frou-frou frames as I want to give the chairs a slight masculine edge.
I stepped outside my perfectionist pattern and bought this late 19th c. Empire style chest of drawers. I bought it without previewing and on a whim.....and was not happy when I saw it close-up. But a second look had me thinking that it was not that bad

I love the green marble top and this little chest would make a great bathroom vanity or a chest for a gentleman's dressing room. Roberto will wax it up on Tuesday and it won't be too bad--best part? It was almost free.
Our many years of drought seem to have officially ended. I'm so grateful for the rain that we've had the past couple of months and the forecast is for rain every day next week. Our local mountains are covered with snow (they're breathtakingly beautiful on my drive to Pasadena every morning) and the slopes are all open for skiing for the first time in years.
We have become very conscious of the immense quantity of water that we consume directly and also of the water cost of raising cattle and bringing only a single pound of beef to market--approximately 2,500 gallons/lb. Quite a few of us have cut down on our red meat consumption dramatically. I'm not ready to go vegetarian, but my produce consumption has definitely gone up. Most lawns will return to green, but quite a few desert-scapes will remain. It's hard to believe, but the artificial turf/grass business is booming. I hope that the lessons of conscious conservation "stick"; Southern Californians did come together to conserve water--all except for Beverly Hills--where I think it might have gone up in a few sections. HUGE FINES ANYONE?
(OK--Time for me to get off my soap box and head to bed--Jones is waiting)

Have a wonderful week-end!
Mary, Jones & Cole

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


The Christmas holidays were great!! Sales were good; I didn't do much Christmas shopping (and everyone was contented); I got to plan and cook lots of meals; took a week off just to chill; didn't gain a single pound (amazing); it rained!!!; best of all--everyone was healthy. And I am so gratefl for this special season.
However, I was so ready to get back to business that I went to preview my auction on Monday..........I forgot that it was "New Year's Day Observed" and the auction was closed up tight as a clam. But today I was at my auction for preview bright and early. The parking lot was full as there is going to be a "special" auction of an old-time Hollywood (Not Hollyweed) star. There are some nice pieces of furniture and art--not really me. But right at the beginning of the auction line-up I spotted this desk

Inside was this mark

Jay Spectre is a well-respected furniture designer who worked for several manufacturers during the 3rd quarter of the 20th c. His pieces are just beginning to acquire a following. I'm not too about the specific design of this desk, but I'm going to make an attempt to buy it--nothing ventured/nothing gained.

And then there were feet

I've had a few example of marble feet--these are either plaster or composition, but are very decorative. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that some people actually love castings of feet?? But who am I to judge another's pleasure.
This swan is an example of just the opposite type of decoration

--I got her a couple of months ago and she will look wonderful on my black lacquered Robbingsjon-Gibbings chest. I allowed myself to buy another animal since I sold a bronze cobra and a bronze alligator last week.

Jones is calling.
Have a wonderful day tomorrow!!
Mary, Jones & Cole

Monday, January 2, 2017


Over the Christmas-New Year's break I took some time to indulge in one of my most favorite pastimes: cooking. I love to fiddle with recipes or just invent my own. A few years ago, I conjured this super easy and fail safe salmon recipe. It is nearly impossible to overcook the salmon using this method and it can sit in a warm oven for a while without becoming dry.
I buy an entire fresh fillet (skinned and boned) of salmon. Wild salmon is best, but it is now possible to acquire farmed salmon that is raised without antibiotics or hormones (Costco carries this variety).

-2lb. salmon fillet(increase other ingredients if larger)
-2 very large Roma tomatoes
-1 small SWEET onion
-1 stalk organic celery
-2 large cloves garlic
-Lemon juice
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 lb. baby spinach
-Grated Pecorino Romano cheese as garnish

Dice the tomatoes, onion, celery and garlic very fine;
simmer in olive oil til well-cooked and slightly reduced.

-Grease a large oven-proof baking dish
-Place salmon in dish, skin side down
-Squeeze lemon juice over salmon (not too much)
-Cover salmon with tomatoe mixture, spread evenly
-Mound baby spinach over salmon
-Seal dish tightly with foil
-Place in 425* preheated oven and reduce heat to  350* immediately

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until salmon is just cooked through--spinach will have wilted and released its water into bottom of pan. Turn oven down to 200* --salmon will remain warm and just right until ready to serve (no more than 1/2 hour)
To serve: slice salmon into desired portions and serve with the Pecorino Roma on the side. Yummy and you can feed a crowd without too much of a timing issue.
**This salmon is good served cold with a dribble of Caesar dressing.

I made black eyed peas with ham (added those greens for a bit more good luck) and corn bread for New Year's Day.
And split pea soup for Christmas Day.
I'm not sure what I'll make next--our rainy (Yeah!! The Drought is over) and chilly days are inspiring me....maybe Indian lentils with homemade chutney?

So glad to be back to normal tomorrow. The Christmas Holidays are great, but I love to work. In Pasadena, almost everything shuts down during the days surrounding the Rose Parade as traffic is next to impossible to avoid--tomorrow I'll be driving past the amazing floats from today's parade.

Wishing ya'll (must have caught that from the black eyed peas--I did live in the South for 6 years) a prosperous loved-filled 2017.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, December 31, 2016


This is Jones at work: giving me the "I'm ready to go home" look.........but this is also the look that I'll be getting all night plus his attempts (in vain) to sit in my lap. Jones has become terrified of fireworks and we are going to have a lot tonight. (Jones measures 28" at his shoulder and about 33" at the top of his head so sitting in my lap definitely poses structural challenges--he has already had his doggie downers--not working)
Leaving Jones' neurotic behavior aside, 2016 was a good year (excepting The Trump (liar, liar) disaster) for me and MJH DesignArts. I am immensely grateful--my buying patterns have become more spontaneous and I am definitely seeing the results. The move in November was another good decision and sales have definitely benefitted.
Looking to 2017? Well, my top priority will be to work towards removing Trump from office. I'm not exactly sure what format my actions will take, but I cannot allow our nation to be taken down standing on the sidelines. As far as I know, Russia is still our greatest threat; we did not elect the Trumpettes (Donald's children); we need to actively support the United Nations and NATO; Presidents are prohibited from taking any form of renumeration from foreign entities because of possible conflict of interests undue influence; Social Security/Medicare are not entitlements (we have paid for these budget items) and the list goes on and on and on. Our country needs us to stand up and say NO.

But I also need to BUY!! So, for the first purchase of the year:

These Elk (?) antlers measure a large 37" in height and 26" wide.....I loved them at first sight. My Thursday auction house has been closed for three I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Well, the fireworks have started up I must take care of my big baby.

Sending blessings for the New Year.

Mary, Jones & Cole