Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pillow Talk

One of the most affordable ways to create a new look for your space is throw pillows. I like to think of them as jewelry for the home. And who doesn't love jewelry? Below are some of my favorites.

One of the enduring icons of mid-1960s Pop Art, Robert Indiana's "LOVE" design has been used for everything but the kitchen sink. This interpretation is $95 at Ashland & Hill in Santa Monica.

Areaware Fauna pillows approximately $45 at They have a veritable Noah's ark of options.

Jonathon Adler's fruit needlepoint pillows $98 to $178 at are delicious and good for you! I especially love the banana.

The hand woven Aubusson tapestry Union Jack pillow by Vivienne Westwood for the rug company is my dream pillow. I love the steam punk cool of the faded union jack. Looooove it! At $495 it's for those with a posh budget. Available at The Rug Company and Barney's New York.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The diva of deco and decadence

Tamara de Lempicka's distinctive artistic style was a sensual mix of soft cubism and art deco. Her paintings are clean, smoothly metallic, precise and elegant. As summed up by the magazine Auto-Journal in 1974, "the self-portrait of Tamara de Lempicka is a real image of the independent woman who asserts herself. Her hands are gloved, she is helmeted, and inaccessible; a cold and disturbing beauty pierces a formidable being—this woman is free!" Her portraits, nudes and still lifes encapsulate the spirit of art deco and the jazz age.

I highly recommend reading one of the many biographies about Ms. de Lempicka as she lived a scandalous life for the time.  A hedonistic swirl of high society and affairs with men and women. Love it!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Joyeux Anniversaire Victor Hugo!

Victor-Marie Hugo the French novelist, poet and dramatist was born on March 26, 1802 in Besançon, France. Every once in a great while if you are very lucky you come across something that profoundly changes the way you perceive life. For me Victor's novel Les Misérables was one of those life changing events. It is at heart a tale of redemption and I happened upon it at a time in life when I needed to know that no matter how far down the road we have traveled everyone is worthy of salvation. My much loved and well worn copy sits on my coffee table and I pick it up whenever I feel the need to contemplate grandeur. Below is one of my favorite passages.

He contemplated the grandeur, and the presence of God; the eternity of the future, strange mystery; the eternity of the past, mystery yet more strange; all the infinities deep hidden in every incomprehensible, he saw it. he did not study God, he was dazzled by the thought. He reflected upon these magnificent forces in establishing them, creating individualities in unity, proportions in extension, the innumerable in the infinite, and through light producing beauty. These unions are forming and dissolving continually; thence life and death.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mobile, a word that in French, other than meaning something that moves, also means moving force.

Alexander Calder (1898- 1976) was an American sculptur and artist most famous for inventing the mobile.

John Paul Sartre wrote about the Calder Mobiles: “A mobile is a sort of private party, an object defined by its own movement, the sculpture suggests movement, the painting suggests the profundity of the light. A mobile does not “suggest” anything: it captures authentic movements and shapes them. The mobiles do not have any meaning, they do not instil thoughts of anything other than themselves. They are, that is it, they are absolute."  Sarte is very eloquent.  I just really love the pure primary colors and the perfect balance.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Style Icon #1 Slim Keith

"God blessed me with a happy spirit and many other gifts. What I was not blessed with I went out and got. Sometimes the price was too high, but I've never been much of a bargain hunter."

Words to live by from Slim Keith. Nancy "Slim" Gross Hawks Hayword Keith, Lady Keith (July 1917 - April 1990) was born in Salinas, California.  Keith was a New York socialite and fashion icon during the 50's and 60's. She epitomized elegance, grace, poise and was the quintessential American jet setter. Some women are born into their fortunes, others earn them the old fashion way: they marry them. Slim Keith fell into the latter category. I guess when you're from Salinas you've got to do something!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

esprit d'escalier

A French phrase which literally means the wit of the staircase, and usually refers to the perfect witty response you think up after the conversation or argument is ended.

I love architectural accessories. Miniature staircases were produced by architects and furniture makers mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. They were also made for staircase manufacturers as models and salesman’s samples.

The collecting of staircase models was popularized in the late 20th century by the publisher Carter Burden. Burden was a descendant of Commodore Vanderbilt, and an huge collector of books and decorative objects. He owned the Village Voice and New York Magazine. The late fashion designer Bill Blass was also a prolific collector.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A rose is a rose is a rose...

Unless it's a tuberose in which case it isn't really a rose at all.  The tuberose is used traditionally in Hawaii to create Leis and was considered a funeral flower in Victorian times. Its scent is heady, exotic, sweet and floral.

The tuberose grows in elongated spikes up to 18 inches long that produce clusters of fragrant waxy white flowers that bloom from the bottom towards the top of the spike. It has long, bright green leaves clustered at the base of the plant and smaller leaves along the stem. I usually just place several stems in tall clear glass vases. Tuberoses aren't the most beautiful flower, with them it's all about the scent.

Perfumes dominated by tuberose include Robert Piquet Fracas, Chanel Gardénia, Guerlain Jardins de Bagatelle, Chloé, Christian Dior Poison, Givenchy Amarige, White Shoulders, Joe Malone Tuberose, Creed Tubereuse Indiana and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The face that launched a thousand prints.

Muse of David Hockney and partner of Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell was the most important textile designer of the 60's. Her bold, colorful, feminine designs epitomized the hippie look. Her collaborations with Clark defined the era and together they dressed Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger, Verushka, Talitha Getty and numerous others. More recently, she designed a line for the high street chain Topshop and for Express in the US.

Stop all the clocks...

W.H.  Auden was born on this day in 1907. 

Funeral Blues (Song IX)

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Never put more than two waves in a picture; it's fussy.

If I could have own any painting in the world, it would be Winslow Homer's Summer Night. For now, I have to satisfy my love by visiting it as often as possible at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Winslow Homer was an American guilded age artist with a personal style somewhere between realism and impressionism. Summer Night perfectly expresses this synthesis.

Two women dancing together, silhouetted by moonlight against the ocean, the image is rich and mysterious. The woman facing us has a Mona Lisa smile and you know that there's nowhere she'd rather be than on that beach, on that night, dancing in the moonlight. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Sheep In Sheep's Clothing...

The French artist François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008) created some of the most hotly collected objets d'art of the 20th century. Yves Saint Laurent was passionate about Lalanne's amazing sheep sculptures. Other fancy pants collectors of his surreal animal themed works include Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Mark Jacobs and many others. A painter by training, Mr. Lalanne created his own brand of surrealism when, in 1964, he unveiled “Rhinocrétaire,” a life-size rhinoceros, whose side folded out into a writing desk. Endlessly inventive, he generated a zoo’s worth of animals in the decades that followed.  He and his wife also created many works of public art, including in my neck of the woods six topiary dinosaurs for the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Six Degrees of Audrey Hepburn

They say there are only six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. I say there's only six degrees of separation between everything on the planet and Audrey Hepburn.

For example today in history: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was first published in the US on February 18, 1885. My huckleberry friend is a line in the Johnny Mercer song Moon River. Moon River is the theme to the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. Breakfast at Tiffany's stars Audrey Hepburn! I know it's a stretch but work with me folks...

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossin' you in style some day,
Old dream maker,
You heartbreaker ...
Wherever you're goin',
I'm goin' your way.
Two drifters, off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end
Waitin' 'round the bend ...
My huckleberry friend,
Moon River, and me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, you don't know what we can find. Why don't you come with me little girl on a magic carpet ride.

Mad Mats are amazing indoor/outdoor rugs made from 98% recycled plastic. They come in amazing colors and designs. They're perfect for outdoor patios, the beach, picnics, hallway runners and my favorite, in the kitchen. The turkish design comes in some amazing colorways and looks really cool over black and white floor tile. Mad Mats come in a variety of sizes including 4'x6', 5'x8' and 2.5'x8'. Awesome colors and designs. They are very eco, really cool looking, super easy to clean and unbelievable inexpensive. They range from $45.00 to $75.00 depending on the size and style.

I bought mine at:


Telephone: (323) 932-5686

You can also buy direct from their website at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let them eat cake! King cake.

Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow is Lent...

King Cake is traditionally served to celebrate Fat Tuesday. It is made with a rich bread dough that is filled with a cinnamon mixture and braided into a ring. It is typically frosted, and adorned with purple, yellow and green (purple to represent justice, green to represent faith, and gold to represent power). That's waaay too much work for us. Here's a super easy King Cake recipe that nobody will know didn't take you all day in the kitchen to prepare. If you’ve never had or baked a King Cake before, there is no time like the present to start.

Mardi Gras King Cake


1 (13.9-ounce) can bread sticks
1 (1-inch) heat proof plastic baby (optional)
1 (12-ounce) can whipped cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup heavy cream
Green sanding sugar
Purple sanding sugar
Yellow sanding sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Open bread sticks. Press together the ends of 2 of the sticks to make 1 long stick. Repeat with the remaining bread sticks giving you 6 long sticks. Taking 3 at a time, loosely braid together. Repeat with remaining dough. Pinch the braids together end to end. Leaving a 3-inch hole in the middle, loosely coil braids around one another on prepared baking sheet. Press ends together.

Bake in preheated oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until completely golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Carefully insert the baby into the cake in between the seams of the braid. In a medium pot combine the cream cheese frosting and heavy cream. Heat over low heat until warm and smooth, stirring constantly. Pour glaze over cake and sprinkle with sanding sugars.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The very fact that the panther can become extinct while the Pekingese survives indicates to me that someone hasn’t thought this thing through

The four magic words that power every fashionista fantasy... PANTHÈRE DE CARTIER RING!!!!

Louis Cartier's creative partner Jean Toussaint was nicknamed the Panther. The feline motif is a tribute to devastating seduction, mysterious beauty and untamed character.

I love, love the deco aesthetic of this ring. I can hear the mermaids singing. Sadly with it's $14,000 price tag I do not think that they will sing to me....

And if god gave you way too much money...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Double, double toil and trouble... A Valentine's Day spell!

To Encourage a Lover’s Return

To bring a lover back you need a box of new pins, an onion, and the desire for your partner’s love. As always, if your thoughts are not purely of love, you will suffer.

Begin on a Friday night by pressing one pin into the onion. Imagine you are putting a thought into your lover’s mind. As you pierce the onion with the pin recite the following:
It is not this onion I wish to stick,
But your mind and heart I wish to prick.
You’ll think of me night and day,
Until with words you arrive and say,
“I Love You.”

Leave the onion in sunlight, to invoke enlightenment. This spell must be repeated for seven consecutive nights, preferably at the same time each evening. When the onion has seven pins in it your spell is complete. Plant the onion in the ground with love’s blessing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ikat: "ee-kot"

The technique of Ikat weaving is centuries old. Ikat is a style of weaving that using a tie die process on the warp of the fabric before the threads are woven creating an intricate pattern or design. This varies from the primitive to the sublime. Through common usage the word has come to describe both the process and the cloth itself. Ikats are perfect for throw pillows and a creative way of bringing together a color palate and adding a touch of whimsy or elegance to a room depending on the ikat you choose. Or you could upholster a chair for a bit more impact.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!

Auntie Mame is the colorful, flamboyant, madcap aunt of a young boy, Patrick, who is orphaned when his father dies. In Auntie Mame's care, Patrick is quickly introduced to his aunt's free-spirited and eccentric lifestyle. As Mame watches her young nephew grow into a man she attempts to rescue him from the conventional lifestyle toward which he is heading. We could all use an Auntie Mame in our life!  Better yet, we should all strive to be the Auntie Mame in someone else's.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Julio Romero de Torres

Julio Romero de Torres (1874-1930)  was a Spanish artist known for his sensual portraits of women. He painted prostitutes, gitanas, actresses and  demimondes all gracing his canvases with dignity and pride in spite of their position on the periphery of society. Torres considered himself as a frustrated flamenco singer – if he had had to choose between being the flamenco singer Juan Breva or the artist Leonardo da Vinci, he would have chosen Breva.

When he died, every shop, theatre, and bar in Cordoba closed its doors and the whole city poured onto the streets for his funeral. His was the funeral of a man who had immortalised the Cordoba woman and the Andalusian copla with inimitable style.