Monday, January 27, 2014

I GOT NOTHIN'.......

Well, that's really not quite true. But it seems like it.
January 2014 is the month destined to resolve "stuff" from 2013......
About six months ago I had the head gasket replaced on my wonderful (am I attched to this vehicle is an unhealthy way?) Explorer. But he just never worked right afterwards--sometimes he'd over heat, sometimes, not. Finally, I took my boy to the dealership where I bought him (not where I had the head gasket replaced) and guess what?? It's still the HEAD GASKET.
I'm under waranty, but the repair takes about a week....yuck. Oh well, at least Ford washed my boy as a courtesy and he really needed it.
Also, about 6 months ago I entered into a relationship (which was supposed to be a partnership), but the "partner" turned into a PUMPKIN. Worst of all we had been friends for over 10 years---and then to turn into a PUMPKIN?????  But I'm taking this experience as simply an opportunity for me to recapture parts of me that I had given away in a previous business relationship--and best of all, I'm not even emotionally bent out of shape. And I promise--no more pumpkins, ever. (Pumpkins are in the "night shade" family, I'm allergic/highly sensitive to them.)
But the bottom line is that growth, no matter the benefits to be derived is costly and painful. I wish that growth could be accomplished some other way, but it seems as if we have to get to just the perfect tipping point before reaching the summits of mountains we've been climbing.....and then down hill looks like a piece of cake. AAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!
Change is the inevitable rythm of life--the more I resist, the more I suffer. And being stuck is not an option---so, bring it on!
Be well.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Friday, January 17, 2014


As I promised myself, this is the year that I return to designing unique lighting--taking elements from tables, sculptures, vases, animals, etc. and converting these elements into unique lamps or sconces. These are the first of 2014--(I still have a pair of Japanese Imari vases that are in line for charcoal custom lucite bases...)
These carved scrolling s-curves are still attached to their late 19th c. table. Flavio will pick the table up next week; remove these supports; fabricate 3" pyramid-shaped plinths and apply several coats of black lacquer to the plinths. He will then lacquer the carved elements in ivory and attach the ivory lacquered carvings to the black lacquered plinths. Then the lamp bases will go to Carlos Castaneda to be fitted with top quality electrical fittings. I'll probably use ivory canted rectangular shades to finish them off. I think that the ivory lacquer carvings with the black lacquer deco-style plinths will bridge the divide between antique design and modern aesthetics. Any thoughts?? Wish me luck. These projects are not for the feint hearted--pretty pricey and time-intensive.
I've learned through trial and error that it's important to create a lamp base that is at least 19"--20" high so that the total height of the lamp including electrical fittings and shade measures at least 29"-30" inches. Lighting creates interest and bigger is usually better.

How is everyone else doing with their New Year's resolutions??

Family updates: Jones found the bones, skin etc. of two chickens that I used for chicken soup last, Sunday was not pretty.

And Maddy (tiny hissy cat) disappeared on Sunday......I finally checked the Animal Shelter website and there she was, fourth down from the top of the list. My neighbor (directly behind me---jerk!) had set traps for stray cats---but caught Maddy. $300 later Maddy is home and still under my bed. I do not think that she'll be appearing for a couple of days. On the website she was listed as a two year old cat.....that girl is 14; so I guess that love works.

Hopefully, this coming week will be less eventful, but with tons of sales......I needed a couple of big ones very badly.
Sending blessing.

Mary & Jones & Maddy

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE VAULT--Antique Fortuny Fabric

I just sold my last antique c. 1920 Fortuny pillow to one of my favorite clients.
Which means that I GET TO DESIGN SOME NEW ONES. I need to search out just the right silk for the backs and teeny tiny welts that I insist on. Perhaps a fine Italian silk velvet? Or pop it up with a more contemporary silk faille?
Here are the two lengths of c. 1920 Fortuny that I have in "The Vault"
The first was once a drapery panel. You can see the wear to one edge that was exposed to sunlight (the opposing side is in excellent condition)--I will trim the damaged edge and measure the width from the center of the textile to each side. Unfortunately, I will loose a few inches on the right side--but that seems to be a reflection of life--retain the core of one's being (enough of my philosophy).

The pillow at top was fabricated from the deep hem and headers of the drapery panel that had never been exposed to sunlight--you can see how the sun has faded the panel, but it is still gorgeous and will make gorgeous pillows measuring approximately 18"w x 15" to 17" high.
Next up is the fragment of a 1920's wide Fortuny border that came directly from the estate of an intimate friend of Mariano and his wife. The border measures 15" wide--I'll design pillow fronts with the border, framing the sides with a three inch silk border and with the connecting seams overlaid with antique French gilt metallic trim (more hunting).

I love the fact that the carved wood printing blocks were lightly pressed in certain areas and with more pressure in others. The unique qualities and rarity of this textile makes it very desirable. The fact that it retains its original color intensity after almost 100 years is also very unusual. I'll make a trip to see Pam in the next week or so--just need to pull in the silk and the antique trim.
Usually the hunt for vintage and antique Fortuny textiles is arduous, but this fragment simply walked in the door and right to me. Perhaps I am learning to let go??
Mia and Grace are home. I see the cyst dissolving and Mia happy, running and well. Thank you for all of your prayers and love.

Be well,

Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Mia's surgery was postponed!!  THANK YOU. An emergency arose with another child at St. Judes, Tennessee; so My Mia's surgery has been postponed. She is rescheduled for the end of January.
I am so grateful: I am convinced that Mia's little body is going to take care of the cyst and that Mia just needs a little bit more time to heal.
Please keep praying as I am sure that all will be well and healed and whole.
Thank you so much for all of your support.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I wish it were not to be----Mia is scheduled for yet another surgery on Thursday. She is a trooper and bounces back from every surgery and all of the radiation in flying colors. But my heart aches. She is getting the best medical attention available. 
So I will leave her in God's hands and will. Please cover her and James and Grace in prayers.
Be well.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Back to Business
We are now officially into 2014 with a full work week ahead of us and so.... let's ring in the New Year with passion and design and joy and creativity. 

I designed and my wonderful friend and painter, Sharon Hutchison, painted these pairs of large chinoiserie** pagoda sconces a few years ago. And then the market for all things beautiful came to a screeching halt. Which caused me to put my designing desires on hold until the economy became healthy and vibrant.  As we know, things are better--but not quite where we would like. NEVERTHELESS---I'm putting my design hat back on for the new year. And it feels good.
Michele Nussbaumer used these sconces in her design for the Greystone Manor Design House sponsored by Veranda a few years ago. 

These sconces are quite large with a lot of bells and whistles (those are 2" rough cut rock crystal pendants at the bottom), with a different craftsman creating each elements of the sconces--making them a little pricey. I still love them. I also created a pair in a Chinese cinnabar red that is more subdued in theme--but that red really makes them stand out. And I love red (AND BLACK).

I pulled the Cinnabar pair from storage to take photos for a web client--and thought....I bet that chinoiserie is going to make a come back.....I had noticed that did a write-up of chinoiserie items and had pulled many items from the site to showcase. With a New York inquiry coming through....why not pull these guys out and list them on and go for it. (I also sold a large Chinese black lacquer 20th c. screen just last month)
I have a few more items that qualify as Chinoiserie.... This is a pair of c. 1950-70's Chinese painted and lacquered storage trunks that were made in Hong Kong. I love the fact that they have acquired just the right amount of patina over the years, yet are still in excellent condition. Amazingly, I bought the trunks individually, about 15 months apart and they both have an identical maker's mark in the interior. Serendipity--I love it when that happens.

And then there is this table that just jumps up and down. I bought this highly detailed 1940's Chippendale-style Mahogany pedestal table with the intent of doing a white washed finish, but this little guy seemed to be calling for something more......and here he is

The table was given 12 coats of cinnabar red lacquer.
Saucy. Unfortunately, he has been waiting for just the right time for chinoiserie to make a resurgence....
I'm ready for more richness in design, a little more character and a lot more COLOR.
Check out the 1stdibs' chinoiserie selections--they are varied, providing a good sampling of Chinoiserie decorative elements.
Hmmmmmmm....I just remembered that I have a set of 8 early 19th century hand colored engravings of Chinese architectural views....I'll get those framed this week in pairs and in the vintage gold leaf frames that I just found. 

I think that these will work......Now what color mats?? Ivory with a black liner? 1`09mm------'? Maddy (small hissy cat) just sauntered across my keyboard--oh well, her signature can stay.

Have a great week.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

** Chinoiserie (also known as Japonisme) is the term given to decorative items designed in the European interpretation of Chinese furniture or other decorative elements. The European decorative art of Chinoiserie dates to the 17th century. During the Baroque period Chinoiserie pieces were in very high favor and demand throughout Europe, with the most refined pieces originating in France and Germany. Chinese Chippendale is one example of the Orientalist influence that has remained in favor through the 20th century and into the 21st. European artists found inspiration in traditional Chinese design elements and lacquered pieces such as coromandel lacquered screens and furniture and the highly desirable painted papers. Often, actual Chinese or Japanese elements would be incorporated into European made furnishings.