Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I usually take New Year's Eve and Day rather seriously...it is a time for me to take stock of the past year and reorder myself for the coming months.....
That said, I did my homework early this year. It has been a different type of year for me, definitely letting go of expectations and learning not to plan too very tightly so that the unexpected can break through.

So today I'm cooking. I'm making a humble attempt to honor some of the countries in which I have been blessed to have lived and celebrated New Year's Days.
My childhood memories in Mexico of course include pozole and tamales....I'm not very experienced at making tamales--but we live in Southern California and the corner (and excellent) taco restaurant makes great tamales.
Then there are my five years living in the South--North Carolina and Texas; so I'm making black-eyed peas and ham with biscuits and corn bread.
And of course, my most beloved years in Spain--we'll be celebrating with grapes and Spanish sparkling wine. To ring in the new year and bring luck for all of the coming 12 months, Spaniards eat one grape for each time the clock strikes at midnight. Note: they are really good if you soak them for a while in wine!!
And to finish off, I think that I'll experiment with some almond cookies.
What traditions are you honoring this year? Do your plans include a few hours apart? Celebrating with family or friends? A trip to The Big Apple for sheer joy and madness?
Jones is staying home (sigh)--he gets too excited at New Years.
Sending Blessings for a fantastically prosperous 2014.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER.......(Remember the "A Team?")

This is just a teaser. These guys are pretty fantastic (I do need to sound my own horn)--even the detailing of the bronze finial is top notch:

But there is more. A lot more.

And more.

And more.

And more.

And more.

And here they are.

These boys were many months in the creating. First, I missed the bid on them, but Richard bought them and they were hiding in his garage for months until I spotted them. Deciding on the best fabric to reupholster these beauties (and they looked quite awful before their spiffing up) took a while. Just about the time that Andrew returned from Thailand (he is my best polisher), I found the perfect fabric. I needed something that would be a neutral, but that would also be a great contrast to the polished bronze detailing. (The bronze was super dark and it was a little tough visualizing the end result) Andrew spent almost two days polishing the bronze and when the RALPH LAUREN MOHAIR VELVET arrived, I knew that we had a winner (just look at that silvery-sage tone). Alex (my fantastic upholsterer) brought back the chairs on Saturday afternoon....I had an offer as soon as the chairs walked in....but it was a bit low.

******Now to the best part: 
                   THIS IS A SET OF FOUR !!******

The "Savonarola" or "Dante" Chair  appeared during the Italian Middle Ages, but had its design roots in antiquity. This X-form carved wood (and most commonly folding) chair design spread throughout Europe during the Renaissance. These iron mid-20th century chairs clearly show their Renaissance roots with the highly detailed bronze finials and seat construction identical to the construction of wooden Renaissance Savonarola chairs.
I'm offering the chairs as a set of 4, but will sell as pairs, if desired. Just contact me for pricing. (Alessandra Branca has a single chair (not as detailed as these) listed for $3200---these guys are much lower.
Thank you so much for reading this blog over the past year...I'm approaching my SECOND anniversary of blogging. The time has zoomed by. Thank you for all of your support (that's you Karena and Loi, especially).
Sending blessings for a wonderful growth-filled 2014.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CHRISTMAS EVE 2013--So many reasons to be thankful

The happy face of a little girl who has overcome so much. I am reminded daily of what a miracle it is to have her here, with us. There are still so many hills to climb. Grace and Mia leave for St. Jude's Children's Hospital (Tennessee) just after New Year's Day for another consultation. Hopefully, the decision will be that no further surgery is needed at this point and that the cyst has decided to simply go away.
Here is another shining photo of a very excited little one (Kaia) with her FIRST present of Christmas.

And Sam, trying to figure out his Mom's camera.... My oldest, James, and Cole are in the background. Jones had to stay home.

I just can't help it....here's another one of Mia wearing just about everything that she could possibly put on her little body. She must have been really hot as it hit 81* here in "Sunny California"......... Ethan--the brilliant skater dude is in the background with Cole checking for crumbs....

Sending love and blessings to all.

Mary & Jones & Cole 

Monday, December 23, 2013


This is the condition of my fantastic pair of c. 1950-70's terra cotta dolphins from my prior post. Super as found condition, but with the major exception of the broken off top plateau on both dolphins. I was pretty sure that the tops could not be restored--I considered fitting a marble piece to the bases, perhaps a faux marble......but just look at what my amazing ceramic and glass restorer magically did to my guys-----

Restorations at this level of perfection are not cheap, but are definitely worth their weight in gold. I will point out the fact that the tops have been restored when selling; but I'll also explain that the tops are now stronger than the original tops as they have been recreated using steel wire dowels and mesh which will make them super strong and able to withstand being picked up by the tops, instead of properly picked up by the bases. 
Couple of detail shots.......

Christmas did come early!!

And while we are on the subject of Christmas, I STILL HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING.

I know, I know..... Perhaps, I just won't. It has been a very unusual year. Move to new location (just up the street); Mia's illness; my son Andrew returning from his latest quest; new partner; no new partner; braces for Ethan; "Morning Mom" for many months, etc., etc., etc.
I am incredibly grateful for this amazing year--enormous personal growth; revisiting so many situations of the past, but not making the same (stuck) decisions; even relinquishing my love of Christmas at my house (just this year) to my daughter without guilt or sadness. The simple joy of just being with what is. 
Well, I do need to get busy baking pies, need to get to grocery store (oops--will there be any food left?)...
But Monday is here and it's off to the shop to meet with 3 designers who made appointments with me yesterday!!! We'll see what arrives in Santa's sleigh today.
Jones says "hi"--he had donuts for breakfast yesterday. He loves donuts and knows exactly where the donut shop is and points to it every time we drive by. What's a mom to do?
Sending Christmas blessings for a joyous time surrounded by love and gratitude.

Mary & Jones (and Cole)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


This is what I opened my eyes to after some quiet meditation time.......the most wondrous gift imaginable. My heart felt like it would burst in awe and joy.
A few minutes later, my gift shifted......

And then, a minute or so later.....

Christmas has come early for me. I am so grateful.
Have a wonderful last week before Christmas--hopefully we will all make time to witness the glory that surrounds us even at this most busy of times.
Mary & Jones (& Cole) 

Friday, December 13, 2013


I've been working with my new camera---boy do I like it. Look at the photos of my Fortuny pillows.......

Crisp and clear with all of the detail. And the software does all of the focusing.

Over the past few weeks I've been on a quest to become more open and accepting of what is offered, perhaps it is simply to be more aware of the abundance that surrounds me. This is not some new quest--but this time something clicked. And things have indeed been opening up. I WON ONE OF "LITTLE AUGURY'S" GIVE AWAYS OF HOWARD SLATKIN'S NEW BOOK...Thank you Gaye and Howard!!! Plus the $700 camera for $200 and Amazon double shipped my order of water filters for my coffee maker!! (They do not want the extra shipment back)
My college room mate called me after many, many, many years of silence (not of my making). But all is not just peachy. I've also been given MANY opportunities to revisit decisions from the past. I would classify them as very counterproductive negative decision or ways in which I dealt with various circumstances. It's as if some one were checking to see if I were able to make more fruitful positive choices....I definitely am, finally, making some progress. Life is such a crazy journey.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings, as I have been dealing with the absolutely most difficult client of my 25 years in business. I'm just waiting for the breakthrough. We'll see. This one difficult transaction has made me so grateful for all of the many, many wonderful people I have met in this business and the ease with which most sales have been completed.

Jones can't wait to get to work tomorrow either.......
Be well.
Mary & Jones (& Cole)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I had wanted a new camera for quite a while. I searched, researched and finally made the plunge on Cyber Monday. I chose to buy from Amazon-their inclusion of a camera bag and memory flash sealed the deal. I expected the camera to arrive on Wednesday, but it arrived a day early. When I got to the shop and opened the box, I immediately noticed that the camera bag and memory card were missing.........
AMAZON WAS BEYOND FANTASTIC regarding their error. I had the choice of returning the camera for a full refund or a 50% rebate on the camera--I think that my decision was a no-brainer. I ended up with a $700 camera for the grand total of $200 + tax....I did have to buy a memory card; will get the bag later.
So here are the first photos with my new toy. Richard and I bought these great terra cotta dolphins last week. 

I'm not quite sure why the second photo is so much better than the others.........in the first one: no flash.
And in the last two photos, the terra cotta seems a bit washed out. I'll keep working on getting up to speed with my new friend. (I used to be photo-phobic??)

Since we just acquired dolphins, I thought that I'd look into the symbolism of dolphins (love Google)....besides the obvious symbol of the French Heir Apparent "Le Dauphin"--the dolphin came to symbolized Christ. In ancient times the dolphin was considered to be the king of all fish, hence Jesus king of all men. The dolphin also symbolizes valor, freedom, protection, good luck, intelligence, resurrection and a host of other desirable attributes--I need to learn playfulness from my new dolphins friends--next year's goal.

Hope that everyone's Christmas preparations are going smoothly. As for me, I haven't even started. But I'll catch up in the next few days.

Mary & Jones (& Cole) 

Friday, December 6, 2013


Grace and Mia have been back in Tennessee this week. And we have had some disheartening news. Little Mia has to have surgery once again and for the third time this year. The tumor's growth has been halted, but the cyst has reformed and the shunt moved so that the cyst is not draining.
Because it's Christmas time, Grace and James have decided to postpone the surgery until the 1st of January.
Please put us back on your prayer lists. I know that prayer heals and community heals.
Thank you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I meant to post this yummy cranberry chutney recipe before Thanksgiving, but.......
I've been making this chutney for the past few years and this year I decided to really figure out exactly what ingredients and proportions I actually use....I'm one of those cooks that flies by the seat of her pants and then when something turns out really yummy, has a hard time recreating the exact recipe. So here goes:

Cranberry Chutney
-1 can jellied cranberry sauce
-1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries (washed)
-3 med-sized tangy oranges, peeled & seeded, sectioned and chopped into 1/2" chunks
-3 med-sized tangy apples, peeled, cut into 1/2" chunks
-1/3 C. raisins
-2 Tbsp. (or more) very finely julienned fresh ginger
-1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cloves (to taste)
-1 Tbsp. (or to taste) very finely julienned orange peel
-1/3 to 1/2 C. raw turbinado sugar (to taste)
----- 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar----

Put all ingredients (except balsamic vinegar) into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a strong simmer. Lower heat to very low and continue cooking until cranberries "pop" and the apples are soft.
Remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
Let cool and then refrigerate.

I love this as an appetizer over cream cheese, even goat cheese. But it is also yummy over plain yogurt as a "healthy" snack with a kick. Best of all--with turkey, chicken or even roast port.

I'm off to Auction Thursday........let's see what turns up. I didn't spy too much at Preview, but you just never know.

Mary and Jones (& Cole)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Here is a photo of the very large vintage (c. 1960) carved Italian bunch of grapes that I purchased last week--even better than I had imagined. The carved granite stem has lost a bit of length (I'll have it restored). 
And here is a similar bunch that I pulled off 1stdibs.  
Not that far apart and my price point is way, way lower----I'm just saying. Granted, I do not pay The Big Apple rent.....but still. I like my color better.

It's hard to believe that today marks the start of the last month of 2013--where did the months fly off to??
I'm giving thanks for another year of huge growth and that not so pleasant stretching that goes along.
Wishing everyone a fantastic December. 

Mary & Jones (and Cole)