Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Tonight I went on an unscheduled date with Jimmi Hendrix.  That's Jimmi in the photo----Ethan is my first born grandson who is a singer/song writer, surfer, skater, and who just turned 16. Ethan adores Jimmi Hendrix (who doesn't?)--there he is in San Francisco all dressed to the nines. So Jimmi took me out to eat and then we went to the jumping spot at the Huntington Harbor Tree. Ethan sneaked a forbidden after dark jump into Huntington Harbor while I prayed that the police didn't decide to drive by. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience---thank you Ethan for making me live dangerously. 
There is nothing quite like being 16-- halfway between adulthood and childhood and taking your Nana on a date.
Isn't he handsome?? And super smart, too.
Be well.

Mary, Jones & Cole

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I pulled out my magnifying glass and really studied these paintings when I got to the shop yesterday.........They look like late 17th/early 18th c. decorative paintings, but I think that they actually date to the late 19th/early 20th c.
I still love them, but the price point will definitely be a lot lower......maybe I'll feel justified in keeping them?
As far as I'm concerned: "Nothing ventured/nothing gained."

Stay cool and dry.
Mary, Jones & Cole

17th c./18th c. IMAGINARY BIRDS & FLORA

These guys are definitely making me happy. I bought them last week at auction sight unseen (I didn't preview them); just went with my gut. And I love them. I suspected that they were 17th c., but really didn't know as the backs looked new from a distance. But they had simply been relined. (If I were to have them relined, the cost would be around $500--so I was given a gift)
I love interjecting animals and flora into a room--they add so much life and positive energy. I think that these paintings would look good in a modern room, as they are very angular and the black background adds just the needed counterpoint.
Here are a few detail shots

The original heavily oxidized stretcher is further indication of the age of the paintings--love it. I will be sad when these guys are sold (but hopefully the new owner will show up ASAP)

Sending blessing for a fantastic week with play time, and lazy summer days. I hope that the Northeast cools down pretty soon--you guys are not used to all that heat.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Contrary to the popular saying and despite the fact that I'm not very materialistic or consumer oriented, some times "stuff" does make me happy. The stuff that makes me the happiest is to see a project that I envisioned FINALLY materialize. Like the leather clad tables above. I've been blogging about this adventure for at least a year and then some. I found 4 c. 1980s (1970s ?) brass frames and immediately saw that I could copy (or find inspiration in) Jacques Adnet tables. The first pair were completed and sold last year

I had envisioned covering only the top bars and the leather straps--this is a photo of the tables taken from 1stdibs. I was happy with the results and with the fact that the tables sold quite quickly (cash flow is a challenge). When I took the second pair of frames to my leather person, the new employee came up with this that is what I call taking an idea and running with it. There has been one problem (and it has taken months and many trips back to leather guy to resolve): the new employee is creative, but the details were never right (all stitching must be the same, the seams must be all going in the same direction, the brads and strapping must be equal, etc., etc., etc.,). This week was the week that everything came together and eureka. I am so grateful that the owners of the leather fabricating company didn't kick me out the door (they have multi-generational contract (for at least the last 30-40 years) to fabricate all of the specialty shoes for Disneylands every where--they do not need my little projects!). When I get back to normal after my hip surgery, I will design a similar table and THE Leather Guy will figure out the leather. Now, to make the iron guy understand that everything rests on the details. (Surgery has been delayed--don't ask....)
This week at my auction I continued my quest for more soulful objects......I bought three paintings. One is a little 19th c. seascape which I didn't even preview, but the other two are a pair of 17th or 18th c. panels of a "Nature Mort" type with a black background. I didn't take a photo of the paintings...I'll post photos next week when I go pick everything up. But I did take a photo of the pair of French Walnut Louis XIII style corner cabinets that mysteriously ended up on my invoice (no mystery--I just couldn't keep my hand down).

Right now French (or English or American....) antique furniture is not selling too well, but these were too good to pass up and they fit the soulful category. Although these cabinets are not the period (ie. late 17th/early 18th c.) that I really love, they do date to the last half of the 19th c.; are solid walnut; are beautifully carved; have a superb natural deep patina; don't need too much restoration work; have a "look"; and are a matched opposing pair--not that common. These cabinets are the perfect Santa Barbara pieces--could work with a Spanish Colonial inspired house, a French house, a Mediterranean house, a Tuscan Villa, a great kitchen, wine cellar--etc.

And finally look at this frittata that my daughter made--meat free and gluten free (maybe it has a tiny bit of gluten?? in the chorizo) and delicious. It is made with Trader Joe's soy chorizo, kale, grated cheese, eggs and half & half. So easy and so yummy. I think that the prep time was about 10 min. She chopped the kale super fine, which took up the most prep time.

IT RAINED YESTERDAY AND TODAY. NEED I SAY MORE? AND IT WAS A GOOD HEAVY AND LONG SOAKING RAIN. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. This will not relieve the drought, but it will definitely help. And it looks like we will have a strong El Nino this year. We desperately need several years of normal rainfall to break the back of these years of drought with dried up lawns and severe water restrictions.

Have a blessed week.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Jones went to the groomer yesterday--doesn't he look handsome? And, best of all, he is almost fully recovered from vestibular desease. It is hard to believe that my boy had his 9th birthday earlier this month.
And now for an update shot of Cole who pretends to be not too smart.

And finally an update on Mia

That's Mia in back with her older sister, Lauren, trying to brush Jones before he went to the groomer. As you can see, Jones is much bigger than Mia, but she managed to overcome her fear of him and took him on a walk "all by myself"--Jones loves the girls and will just about let them do anything to him (within reason and within about 2 hours of their coming to visit. After that, he's done with the show). Mia continues to flourish. You would never imagine the 1.5 years that she went through with the brain tumor. She's just a normal 4 year old. Yes, she must be on heavy supplemental hormones and constant monitoring at Children's Hospital Orange County and St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Tennessee and her parents do receive $90,000 dollar healthcare bills (Oh, Yes!). But her Dad was fortunately to have excellent insurance and there have been many blessings. Mia has started to grow with the start of replacement growth hormones and she's catching up with her sisters. We are all so grateful for all of the prayers that were offered for Mia's healing. Thank you.
Have a wonderful summer week-end.

Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, July 16, 2015


As I explained in my last post, I have decided to start acquiring objects and furniture with a less-refined, more soulful aesthetic. Last week I found this charming small Ashanti Stool from Ghana (I think). I spent quite a bit of time on the internet trying to find one similar, but no luck. This cutie, that dates to either the early 20th c. or late 19th c. is adorned with a carved snail on one side and a carved turtle on the other. The seat is supported by a roughly carved human figure. I did learn that these stools were highly prized by their owners and were carried with them--this poor guy looks as if he had been dropped and shows an old rough restoration with a reinforcement created with a strip of tin. I love folk art pieces that have this type of rough restoration with the original natural patina.
Apparently, it is believed that when the owner dies, his soul goes to reside in the stool. That being the case, I sprinkled salt on this guy and touched him with bergamot oil (a cleansing oil) in several spots--I really do not need any (additional) unhappy spirits wandering around. And, just for good measure, I have the stool sitting next to a large polished gypsum sphere..........

Business (internet only) has picked up a bit and, as usual, most everything is going to the East Coast. COME ON CALIFORNIA--let's get with the program.

I'm drifting off as I write this--so it's off to bed for Jones and me. 

Sending love,
Mary & Jones & Cole

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I love to study and acquire soulful pieces of furniture and decorative elements.....and I think that is what I'm heading towards bringing in more of. I also dearly love "chic" design, but my heart is now taking me other places. 
I just acquired this beautiful antique African example of tribal art. It is a Kenyan (Awamba ?) incised gourd bottle that dates to the 19th c.

The incising is beautifully elaborated with figures of giraffes, humans, snakes and other symbols. What is most intriguing to me is the braided leather strips that were used to repair the vessel and that were integrated into the overall decoration of the piece--the work of a true artist.
Buying this piece of folk art lead me to go over photos of some items that I had acquired over the last couple of years and to which I am drawn today to see if there were a thread to where I think I want to go-- and sure enough there was--everything that I was drawn to had a underlying "soul" or spirit that seemed to be peeking through and this is just the confirmation that I needed.

This Renzo Rutilli cabinet seems to straddle "chic" and soul-based

It hasn't been restored yet and shows its experiences on the black lacquer surface. The gold leafed doors reference antique Japanese screens like the example shown at top.
This large carved glass sculpture by a listed artist also straddles chic and soulful---but is clearly more soul-base: a very strong Native American woman with presence. The type of strength that I have sought to acquuire for many years.

Of course, 16th and 17th and 18th century pieces go into the soulful category

I did not acquire the Vargueno, but I love these examples of Spanish furniture (maybe someday I will get one)--it has soul stashed in every little drawer. The table beneath the Spanish Colonial painting is 16th century English and the bible box sitting on it is 17th century.........I love these pieces. Their strength of character makes me feel secure. The painting by Miguel Cabrera (or his studio) adds joy to any room and THAT IS WHAT I AM SHOOTING FOR---JOYFUL SPACES. Of course, the little flemish/Dutch 17th c. side table is just bursting with soul and strutting his stuff.
Pieces don't have to have much age to have soul, but age helps. Here are a couple more decorative elements with age and patina:
A 19th c. English Chinoiserie Lantern

And a very early English Regency (c. 1810-1820) wine cooler

And to prove my point, there could be nothing more soulful than these mid-century flame carved alabaster lamps
And last, but not to be ignored, animals in design--I must be the only one that feels this way. Every space needs life. Only things or representations of living things can accomplish this (my humble opinion)--other wise it all become too stuffy and stiff. (Well, color helps, too)
This pair of French Art Deco Bronze Tigers would do the trick (although they are a bit stuffy)

Well, it's late and I've got to get to work tomorrow. Jones says "HI"---he's a little intimidated (ALREADY?) by 4th fireworks that are already going off sporadically. Not to worry, I have the doggy-downers for both Jones and Cole.

HAPPY 4th of July to all--just in case I do not squeeze off another post.

Blessing for our nation. I am so grateful to be able to live here in safety and freedom. Please add some prayers for relief from California's drought.

Mary & Jones & Cole