Thursday, December 11, 2008

Small Beauties

Here is a peek into our next project....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jackie O and Mary Catherine

When I was 22 years old, I worked for the film department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The film department at the Met made small films about visiting collections.  One day, the phone rang and a very little, breathless voice asked me what she should wear to the opening of the film that evening. Knowing that Jackie O was a patron of the department, I recognized her voice and suggested a smart pantsuit (wouldn't Jackie have a smart 
pantsuit?)  She thanked me and said goodbye. She arrived in a beautiful metallic Lanvin jacket and a pair of smoky grey cigarette pants. 
Months later, I was at my local deli and Jackie was in front of me buying some cold cuts with John Jr. (Who in the world would ever run into Jackie and John-John at their local deli?) Before I knew it I had given Jackie fashion advice and bought the baguette she had put down at the deli.  I told my friends that night our bread had been blessed.
I loved calling my mom in California and telling her the "Jackie O" stories - I knew she had always loved Jackie and Jack.  I have always connected my mom with Jackie Kennedy - they were both young moms in the sixties, had lots of style and smoked liked it was nobody's business!  When Jackie died, I remember feeling like I had lost a member of our family.
Today is my mom's birthday and I am so lucky to have her in my life everyday - her laughter, her wisdom and her love of life. I have had the pleasure of becoming great friends with my mom.  Happy Birthday Mom - you have always been an icon to me!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sourcing Sources

When Molly and I owned the shop in NY - I say that so often it sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale - there was always the person who would come in and ask "who's your source for old flowers?" or "where do you get the old French ticking from?" Now sometimes, it was innocent enough and they really just wanted to know - where do we get it generally - not specifically. And that's an ok question - I ask my dealers all the time - where did you get this?? I don't necessarily want to know exactly who they bought it from, just where in the world did you find this bag of 19th century glass leaves on wire???
On Saturday at our book signing, a woman came in and once we had established that we were both diggers, she started telling me about her old sources! This only happens once in a great while - and when it does - I have to turn my memory function on to high gear and start remembering every detail. This was how it went: "Have you ever been to that amazing old dealer near Broadway on the 5th floor?" Me: "No, Broadway in Los Angeles or New York?" "Los Angeles - all of the best places to dig for old glass and millinery are in Los Angeles!" Me: "Where?" "Everywhere - just walk downtown - go into the place kitty corner from Wall Street and then cut through the alley over to Santee - you'll find amazing old stuff" Me: "Ok - where, exactly?" "Oh I can't remember exactly - just all over. I used to find turn of the century hand-stamped brass animal faces from France down on Wall Street - just near Flower"
And on and on it went like this, till I finally pulled out pen and paper and just started writing down the random thoughts and familiar names. It sounded like a wild goose chase to me, but one I am willing to take. So in the next couple of days, I'll don my old jeans, rubber gloves and maybe even a mask - and go digging! I can't resist the thrill of the hunt.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Saturday in Hollywood

If you happen to be in Hollywood this Saturday - come by French General for a little Holiday Cheer. We'll be signing copies of our new book, Home Sewn and serving up Cava and gingersnaps! For those of you have haven't taken a craft class yet, we will have our notion room open for jewelry making - just come pick up a jewelry kit and we will get you started! If our limited hours drive you nutty - here's your chance to come in on a Saturday - it only happens once a year!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Going Home

I grew up in a small coastal town just south of Los Angeles, called Palos Verdes. We moved to Palos Verdes from La Canada in 1971 to escape the smog. My parents bought Fred Astaire's sons' home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The floors were covered in wax and everyone used to joke that Fred had spent his days dancing there. I went to Palos Verdes High School - which was across the street from the cliffs - a favorite place to hang out for many years. The cliffs represented everything that was a little bit wild in PV - surfers, surfer chicks, drop outs and stoners.
Ah.....the cliffs. This past week we went home for a few days and spent a good amount of time at the cliffs. I didn't see any of the old remnants of the past but it was a real eye opener to see the cliffs again. Beautiful jagged edge rocks with crystal clear water below. Across the street from the cliffs were all sorts of new, over-the-top homes being built. The athelete's homes - my dad said. That made sense - who wouldn't want to grow up across the street from these cliffs? It's funny how you can spend so much time in such a beautiful place and not recognize it till much later in life. Going home does that I guess - makes you want to go back to being 15 years old again.