Monday, March 31, 2008


This past weekend I visited the Vintage Clothing and Textile Show at the Pickwick Gardens in Burbank. There are about 100 vendors - mostly vintage clothing, bags and shoes.
Beautiful lingerie from the twenties, simple cotton shifts from the sixties and loads of Gucci bags from the eighties. I can't be bothered with all of this vintage garb - although I secretly wish I was someone who could pick out fabulous second hand clothes and make them look contemporary. I was looking for the unusual scrap to inspire me - something that no one else was looking for. I found a couple of very old pieces from my friend Angel - she loves old cloth as much as I do - indienne prints, vichy, and ticking...
but all of this I have seen before - I was looking for that one little bit of color or design that would convince me that there was always something hidden at these shows. As I was leaving I saw this small stack of early Japanese indigo scraps - probably salvaged from kimonos and norens. "Noren" relates to the craft, Somemono, the process of dyeing textiles such as silk and cotton with natural dyes such as indigo. I didn't ask the price of the lot - I simply admired it from afar and thought about all the beautiful indigo scraps I have and how I should start patching them together and make a simple wall hanging - ikats, indigos and denim could all sit nicely next to each other in a patch banner.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Life In France

I have just read this wonderful book by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme. Compiled through letters between Julia and her husband Paul - this is a true love story between France and the Childs. Food, culture and people are all dissected in this simple story of a life fully lived. A charming account of Julia's introduction into a foreign land where she found mouth-watering cheeses, wine and bread. Julia ends many sentences with an exclamation which leaves you wanting more....c'est la vie!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Warp and Weft

I almost forgot.....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Robins Egg Blue

Sometimes when I see the perfect shade of robins egg blue - the actual egg or maybe even a Tiffany box - I'm reminded that it is my favorite color.
I found a huge lot of old Petersham Ribbon at a millinery warehouse. Petersham ribbon usually has a bumpy selvage and can be shaped to the edge of the brim of a hat nicely. When I found the boxes and boxes of ribbon I realized that there were at least 24 shades of Robins Egg Blue available to the hat maker in Paris during the 1920's and 30's! I bought the lot and am enjoying making these Parisian Flower Company Boxes filled with vintage ribbon, flowers and notions.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Faded Flowers

What is it about old millinery flowers that are so irresistible? The faded colors of the stamens and leaves? The hand-made twisting of the floral wire? The soft, silky petals accented with velvet?
Today I heard that two of my favorite vintage flower vendors in Manhattan are closing up shop. I called and spoke with each of them for quite some time and we all agreed that flower making has become a dying art. Long gone are the days when a fashion designer would call up a flower presser in New York and order hundreds of hand-made silk flowers. So, I will make a trip to New York soon to say goodbye to these friends as well as stock up on boxes and boxes of vintage fabric botany!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jules et Jim

Everyone has a favorite French film - this is mine....a story of friendship and love. Three friends who find themselves in Paris and then follow each other throughout the years. The unusual knit of love and friendship prospers. Jeanne Moreau plays Catherine - the woman who loves both Jules and Jim.

A romantic film with a tragic ending - tres francaise - and smoking to boot!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who's Got the Button?

One of my favorite notions - the old mother of pearl button - monochromatic, simple and useful - the mother of pearl button is elegant but still a functional piece of our daily lives.
I've met a wonderful artist - through French General - who digs her way through old button warehouses and shops and sends me the most beautiful button cards. Mother of pearl, wooden, glass and bakelite buttons - she finds them all and sends them my way. I like the idea of making button cards - like the fabric swatch cards - saving one of your favorite buttons - or maybe just saving the extra buttons that come with your new sweater. Sewing these bits onto a card and making a button craft.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Missing Paris

When we owned French General in New York, Molly and I would take 2 trips to Paris each year and shop the flea markets. We would close up shop and hang this tea towel in the window.
Now that we are living in Los Angeles, flying to Paris twice a year is a luxury! With the euro climbing quickly I have to settle on our one trip each year during the summer. But still - every time April rolls around....I am missing Paris! If you are lucky enough to be in Paris - be sure to go visit Maurice at the end of Rue St. Paul - and send him love from the two sisters from French General! Merci!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fabric Swatches

What if we all kept a catalog of all of the fabric scraps in our lives? A small snip would do - just enough to remember the color or texture. These "catalogs" could be hung up for simple inspiration or to create small works of art.