Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slowing down...

....it's been a whirlwind and for this I feel especially blessed.
Our design jobs have been keeping us running like mad from Malibu to the Hollywood Hills to Pasadena to Hidden Hills....all lovely clients with spectacular tastes!

Thank YOU for helping make this our best year ever at Vintageweave Interiors....we've had a blast, which is what life is all about (for us anyway)....
Off for a few days to Napa, California for some much needed R&R and some really good vino! Back soon when January takes us to San Francisco and to Paris {to work on a client's apartment!}, and preparations in Los Angeles for HEART DAY...

Enjoy a preview of our French treasures for Valentine's Day....
HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Vintageweave Interiors!!!

- Kathy Delgado

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kris Kringle Flew In

That's me these days: Kris Kringle....

....I'm busy racing around town decorating clients' homes for the holidays....and I'm LOVING IT. As a result I'm really so in the Christmas spirit (and Hanukkah as I'm coming out of my eyeballs with blue bulbs!).

Have been so busy that I've not had a chance to take any pictures, but did remember to snap a quick couple while in Ojai Valley this week...don't you love an abundance of white roses??

We're all sold out of the antique carts, but more will arrive in the Spring should you wish to add one to your porch!

I'm SO LOVING this new Midori Ribbon in 4"....brown and bright red....oh la la! What a glam statement ($179/27 yards by emailing us at vintageweave@aol.com)

When the holidays slow a bit we'll take a few days off and then unload our newly-arrived container of goodies from France!! More soon....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Mercury!

Just too pretty not to share!

We bought tons for a film set and these beauties glistened and shined on camera (well, they're in the background but they're there!).....They are unused and have only been photographed and filmed.....

....you benefit from their rental as now we can offer them at a significantly-reduced price. Hurry as this won't last long!

Set of Five Mercury Holiday Votives Set: Three Red and Two Green Beauties; $39.00 available online at vintageweave.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December Romance

Thanks, ROMANTIC HOMES, for making us feel so special!

(This beautiful issue is on newstands now; December 2008)
Most items shown still available by calling 323.932.0451 or visiting us online

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Glitter

(GLITTER TAGS; Set of 9 for $22.50}

If you're looking to add just a touch of glitter to your packages or holiday decor, these are just the ticket. I love using them to tie on a package, outside a stocking, or even as placecards for a tablesetting! Sold as a set of 9 giving you 3 each of the holiday -related tags, and 1 each of the every day tags. However, special combo requests are always welcomed so long as we have what you are looking for in stock!  

Sold under Paper Studio at www.vintageweave.com. Each tag is approx 4-7" wide. {NOTE: the picture is not yet shown on the website shop site but THESE are what you are ordering: the set of 9 tags for $22.50 listed as the last item under Paper Studio as Glitter Tags}

If you'd like to order an extra tag or two along with the Set of 9, just let us know in the Comments Section!

Happy Decorating! Paper Studio at Vintageweave

Friday, November 28, 2008

Vintage French Hemp

{ Palais Antique Hemp Pillow; $195}
We're swooning over our latest additions.....fabric is over 100 years old from the back warehouses of France. New transfers of treasured vintage images....drool, drool, swoon, swoon!

{Cross Antique French Hemp Pillow; $240}

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beautiful, Beautiful

House Beautiful, Dec 2008 has honored us.....

.....Vintageweave Interiors' Mercury Glass Candlesticks are featured in December's issue. Love how they mixed mercury with modern retro glass on this mantel.

Paris Tall Mercury Candlestick, $134.00 and Paris Petite, $59.00; available at vintageweave.com

Friday, November 21, 2008

Antique Wicker Wine Jug Redux

A new way to incorporate highly-popular glass jugs wrapped in wicker......

We have a hard time keeping the wicker bottles in stock, and now we have a new treasure for your WISH LIST!

The trick is using lots of good quality (i.e. expensive) metal to solder the crystals so they don't move or become so delicate that you are unable to let anyone touch them! These are my most favorite yet!

$295-$2,000....pop in the boutique or check out part of our collection here online

Call 323.932.0451 or email vintageweave@aol.com or shop online

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Trimmings

{Hemp HOHO Sachets; $24/ea.....Mercury Holiday Trees in 4 styles, 6 sizes: $52-$210}

Sharing just a few of the many items in our boutique for the holiday season.....!

We can't simply put them all on the website so we're sharing some here, too.....Vintageweave Interiors's Los Angeles/Hollywood showroom is bursting with bits and bobs of Holiday Trimmings so visit, call, or email us your wish list soon as things are selling out quickly!

Imagine several Mercury Acorns hanging in front of your window.....Approx 6" H; $18/ea

Velvet pillows galore! $295/ea with custom down insert....

And did you see this amazing holiday cone creation in Country Living (Dec 2008)??? Well we aren't making them for everyone, but we ARE offering up the preserved moss used in this creation. We typically keep this moss to ourselves but we just went gaga for the cone that we have to share....An 8x8x6 Box of Preserved Moss covers approx 20-25 sq ft. $41 (you save over 40% by buying it in bulk!)

All items will be added to the website shortly, but you may always phone in your order! If you've ordered with us before, a simple email is all you need to get these shipped to you! 323.932.0451 or vintageweave@aol.com

Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!

In celebration of this joyous, annual occasion, we are offering 10% off any drinking glass order placed today until midnight PST!
Merely enter code "BEAUJOLAIS" in the Comments Section of your online or email order, and don't worry if you don't spell it right---we'll know!!

Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in France on an annual basis, but guess where it's drunk the most?? USA, Germany and Japan!
This light red wine is made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. The "nouveau" part of the name is derived from the fact that it's fermented for just a few weeks: 6-8 to be exact! Serve it chilled, throw on some Vanessa Paradis and pull out your favorite Vintageweave glass! Pour, Dance, Enjoy. Repeat.

{Special thanks to A. Leeds for the Paris bistro/pub pic!}

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's Raining Mercury!

It's raining down buckets of GORGEOUS new Mercury Glass items at Vintageweave....so many more to be added to the website soon, but if you see some you LOVE, it's simple: JUST EMAIL or CALL us! Some are on the website now under MERCURY GLASS and also under NEW ITEMS.

We've been stocking up as our MERCURY items are in a plethora of magazines right now: Gourmet Mag, Romantic Homes, LA Confidential, House Beautifull and a few other local periodicals....

Aren't these with a pinkish hue just lovely??? The holidays aren't meant for just red and green motifs...add in a splash of something unique!  Mercury tealight/votive size: $14-$22 now at vintageweave.com


Merci, thank you, danke, do-jeh, grazie, tak,  gracies, Toda and Maholo  a million times over.
Your prayers and beautiful comments are appreciated more than words can properly express.
My dad is home and we are thankful for each beautiful day our family can cherish. We continue to create blissful memories....xoxo

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Power of Prayer

My father has been battling liver disease since February. It's been a rough ride for my entire family, least of all my courageous, amazing, beautiful father.

Yesterday he was ushered into a hospital room after poor results came back from the previous day's blood work. The attending doctor told him his liver is unresponsive. His specialist arrived a bit later and advised us that his liver is failing. When asked his level of pain on a scale of 1-10, he told them "10". A dosage of morphine was provided and an hour later the pain level had not changed for him.
No one wants to see anyone in pain.... but to see a parent?.... well it's unbearable.

Whatever your religion or whomever your God, my family believes quite strongly in the power of prayer. I ask for you, my loyal readers silent and aloud, to include my father and my family in your own prayer ring.

Our hope is that he comes home this week which is both good an bad; bad in that it means there is nothing they can do for him. We have asked God if we might be blessed with him through the holidays.

Your prayers and weekly thoughts are appreciated beyond measure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gourmet for the Eyes and Mouth

I am cooking fool...I love to cook and love to entertain so naturally hosting Thanksgiving at my home is a pure delight for me. So imagine my thrill when the formidable GOURMET MAGAZINE approached me for items for their Thanksgiving table setting (November 2008 issue)..........!

Features a delectible variety of our Mercury Glass, and Vintageweave's French this and that....And to boot, filled with mouth-watering recipes!

Cranberry Pineapple Salsa, Mango Pomegranate Guacamole, Chipotle Meatballs, Roasted Sweet-Potato rounds with Garlic Oil & Fried Sage, Roast Turkey with black-truffle and white wine gravy.....oh, really the pictures of the food are AMAZING!

Thanks, GOURMET MAG! November 2008 issue on newstands now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bow Wow Beverly Hills Style

If you're in the Los Angeles area (or within driving distance and want to attend a really fun, animal-rescue event, pop on over to Beverly Hills and help support my favorite animal charity: AMANDA Foundation
November 19
Two Rodeo Drive 
The famous intersection where Dayton Way meets Rodeo Drive
RSVP 310.278.2938

LUXURY silent action (guess whose gift baskets will be up for grabs!), Fashion Show, Cheer&Grubb, Adoption of the most adorable doggies, and loads of warm-hearted people (plus a celeb sighting or two!).

Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

High Style, Baby!

A couple of years ago, I was hired as the visual merchandise consultant by the Four Seasons- Westlake Village and California Wellness Institute.  The job was to help put together four distinctly different retail stores from the ground up. Fun!  The catch?  All within an insanely inordinate time schedule-- during the Thanksgiving holiday season no less (a busy time for my own retail store). 

Mr David Murdoch, owner of this amazing resort, wanted the facility to open by December 1 and wanted to welcome the first group by January 1. IT WAS CRAZY! In the midst of all the contractors and designers trying to finish the hotel lobby, hotel rooms, spa, pool areas, culinary department and so on...we had to schlep countless boxes of merchandise from the basement storage to the various areas of retail, figure out merchandise displays, put together mannequins, order missing arms to said mannequins, steam out wrinkles of clothing, arrange a healthy granola grab n' go section, meet with high end jewelers displaying their wares, and so and so on....all the while sharing the freight elevators with the dozens upon dozens of contractors and the like.  As this was Mr. Murdoch, jeans and tennis shoes were not allowed. 20 hour days, getting home at 4am, ripped pants and scuffed shoes, and so on....it was also a time filled with enormous laughs!  It's an experience I will never forget and one of the best experiences of my retail work life. We finished without a wrinkle (or any that was noticeable anyway!) You must visit Four Seasons Westlake and Health Institute --it's an incredible experience to take a healthy cooking class here!

Since then, Vintageweave is HONORED to be on the "go to" list when high-end gift baskets are needed by the many high-caliber guest groups hosting their company retreats or board meetings at The Four Seasons Westlake. It keeps us HOPPING as sometimes the requests are quite last minute. The more pressure, the better we thrive!

A recent group hailed from the upper East Coast, so we put together something they would typically not have access to: A Hollywood Glam Package!  

I just had to share this book with you--brand spankin' new to the market: HIGH STYLE (available through Vintageweave, Amazon or Chronicle Books). It's chock full of Old Hollywood glam all the way, mixed in with interesting sleek modernity. It's authored by the EXTREMELY talented Los Angeles design duo: Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield (pictured below).

At the very least, check it out the next time you're at your favorite bookstore. It's a fun ride!

Viva La Retail!

{This funny-looking, cutie patutie belongs to a wardrobe stylist who does all the concert outfits
 for clients such as Christina Aguiliar. That tongue is always hanging out! I could just eat this face up!}

Many have inundated us in the shop or online or on this blog with "Why are you busy? What is your secret?"
Well OF COURSE there is no ONE secret. Just like losing weight, there is no one miracle answer. There is only hard, hard work. And then more hard work.
There are many, many, many tiers that add up to the big picture, and this is not the forum to go into all the opinions, ideas, and theories on how to build a successful small business. {Besides, I speak at a variety of business seminars so I'll leave my soapbox of theories for such a venue...}

Most of what I have to say on the subject would bore the French beret off these blog readers so I am leaving a lot out.   Most importantly, these tips are what work for ME. For my area. For my business. For my product. For my clientele. I by no means have all the answers. I once read a blog from a shop owner in the Midwest providing tips on running a small retail business and I remember thinking "Ok, I don't agree with ANY of these; none of these would work for the business I'm attempting to build".  You, above anyone else, understand your customer base the best.
Lastly, these only really apply to with those who have a brick and mortar store....

a) Location, Location, Location.
a1) It's no secret that spending habits differ vastly from region to region, city to city, store to store. Many retailers in Sausalito, Santa Fe, and other communities with a similar economic base are thriving. Vintageweave is located between the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills where many people are recession proof. 'Nuff said.

a2) If you aren't getting foot traffic: move. It's that simple. The best product in the worst location is death to retail. In my former life I was a wizard real estate broker so I have a leg up on this part. A good retail broker is a phone call away; ask friends, fellow business owners or drive around and get numbers off signs. If a broker represents a landlord of a building, chances are they can represent you, the tenant. Be sure to interview a couple of brokers and go with one you feel listens to your needs. As you do with medical needs, do your own research on areas/buildings and don't rely solely on your broker. My location is NOT by luck or by ACCIDENT. It is an area picked by design, by strategy. I don't live in either of the cities I hug and I sit in traffic to/from work every day. But since I knew I would be going after the set design community, my proximity to them was crucial.

b) Cater to your crowd. Many retailers do not have access to set designers, celebrities or high-end designers (with their own roster of high caliber of clientele). These groups don't make up our entire customer base nor would we want it to. Regardless of the customer base, your goal should always be to turn a customer into a client (i.e. someone who uses you as a source, obtains your advice, hires you for your expertise).  Nurture relationships with those loyal to your store.  I often hear "you're so lucky to have these clients".  Anyone running a business knows that luck as nothing to do with it!  I am not a former actress nor do I have a family member in the entertainment industry. Each and every relationship with a set designer or celebrity is through fortitude, extra effort, and lots and lots and lots of extra hard work. Ditto for ALL our clients, whether they are teachers (one of the most important jobs!!), nurses, executives or moms and dads (THE most important jobs of them all!!!).

c) Love what you do.
This seems obvious, but when you choose to run a retail store it can't be just one part that you like. You must love the shopping, restocking, rearranging, designing, selling, and meeting new people. I GENUINELY love interacting with truly interested customers, whether in person, by phone or by email. It is so much fun to know someone is checking in from time to time to fill their home or gift-giving pile with treasures I discovered. You have no idea how thrilling it is when someone inquires on an item; even if they don't purchase it, it shows they have an appreciation for the treasures I find beautiful. It's the loveliest of compliments. Be smart: Farm out what you don't love. (Bookkeeping anyone???)

d) Don't be an absentee owner.
I love to shop. There are countless and countless family-owned stores where I've spent a considerable amount of money and yet I've never met the owner despite frequent visits. Some owners I've only interacted with moderately even though I may have been in over a dozen times and spent $$$$$. I am so busy that I'm not always at the shop, but I guarantee you if you've been in my shop over a dozen times, I not only know your name, but I know your dog's name, too!  At the end of the day or week depending on schedule,  I review each and every phone and online order that comes in. I make myself familiar with the names of those who look to us for something special.

e) Run your retail store like a business, not a retail store!
So many fail in this arena. An eye-catching store with interesting vignettes is important, but you need to translate all of that into sales so that you can eat and keep a roof over your head. One of many simple, obvious tips: Have an employee manual setting forth your expectations on everything from how to package a sale to how to answer the phone. Are you the only employee? You should still have an employee manual. You know the saying: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have". Use this wise advice as an analogy for all aspects of your business.

If you don't have a business background, invest in a community college class and/or books. The information is out there if you're truly willing to make an extra effort. If money is tight, remember a step back will yield four steps forward. Take an online course. Find a way.

f) Follow up!
I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a store that specializes in "widgets". I leave my name to contact me when they get more widgets in and I never hear a word. Be smart in this arena. You will lose money following up with every inquiry on a $20 item; use good judgement and time management in this regard.  While we can't follow up with everyone (sometimes we just never discover the particular "widget" they are looking for), we have an EXTREMELY active Wish List and sell an inordinate amount of items every week based on the various requests.

g) Get in the year 1999!
If you don't have a customer list of emails, do it NOW. Postal mailing is good to use for special events but email is invaluable. 

h) Make presentation a priority.
Our merchandise bags at Vintageweave are quite pricey, but since we're a specialty boutique and not a bargain basement, the extra touch is not wasted on our client base. If we were a card store or had a low average sale, pricey bags would not make sense. Use your best judgement and determine what you want your business to project and base it upon your average sale. If you ship product, try to translate presentation to those customers, too. Great examples of small wholesale/retail businesses that focus on presentation are Anna Corba who always wraps each set of items with lovely ribbon and recycled paper, and See Jane Work who has a great, fun sticker on the outside of their packages that sets them apart. Of course, the many, many small artists from whom we buy always make extra effort in this regard, too, and do so beautifully. Sometimes we get so busy trying to fill orders same day that we aren't always able to do this. But each package is wrapped with care by someone who is enjoying it. It matters. Positive molecules and energy can travel all over the world, which segues into....

i) Stay positive
I'm a naturally positive, highly-enthusiastic person so this is an area I never have to "work on", but I recognize others sometimes struggle. Energy is transferable so it's truly important to keep it positive. Remove the negative from your surroundings. Sometimes you need to walk away from a customer and/or lose a customer. Weigh the situation. If you have a friend or family member who is negative, it wouldn't necessarily make sense to remove them from you life! Merely learn to NOT  discuss business with them. Surround yourself and your business brain storming with positive forces only!

j) Work Ethic
I could write pages and pages on the topic of work ethic and give countless examples, but bottom line: you either have it or you don't. 
Ask yourself if you're having a tough economic time: "Am I really doing all I can?" I've walked into stores where the owner is reading a book or off on a leisurely lunch or chit chatting on the phone with her husband. Unsurprisingly, those three stores are no longer open for business. Bottom line: I work my ass off.  {And with all those Paris trips eating croissant after croissant, there's a LOT of  it!}

k) Like stocks, diversify.
You can not believe how important this is. I'm a big proponent of having a brick and mortar store AND an online store AND one or three other special services. Or in our case, seven. The actual retail brick and mortar store  is just a piece of the overall business. We have private clients, online customers, email customers, phone customers, boutique customers, boutique clients,  studio clients, designer clients and corporate clients. When one isn't buying, three of the others are...

l) Don't be above doing anything so long as the task will yield positive cash flow.
I recently helped one of my biggest clients find a dozen pine cones for her daughter's school project when she was in a pinch and needed them within the hour. I paid an employee to drive to the flower mart, and then messengered them to her assistant --all within 50 minutes. I made nothing off the pine cones of course, but was focused on the big picture. To this day she is an extremely loyal client of Vintageweave...She provides pages and pages of Gift Lists every holiday season.
So many think they do this, but are you really doing all you can? 
One highly-demanding (but extremely nice) client lives 3 hrs from my home during morning rush hour traffic. In LA, morning rush hour starts as early as 5:00a. To demonstrate I was up to the task of dealing with his crazy schedule, I offer to meet him at 7am knowing it would mean leaving my house at 3:45am (not to mention the time I have to actually get up!). I initially did this over a dozen times. He now turns to me for each and every design or gift need for all four of his houses. Be smart: Weigh the situation and evaluate your personal time management.

m) Don't try to be all things to all people.
We all are familiar with: " You can't please all the people all the time." It's a fact of life. This is hard especially for women, but the sooner you accept this, the better your business will be. This area has a direct impact on your time management.

n) Have quality, unique product.
I was recently in a relatively upscale city in Central California. Walking down the main streets and jaunting in and out of the speciality boutiques, I was floored at how disappointing the merchandise was. In a word: uninspiring and B.O.R.I.N.G. If you're unable to travel outside of the country for something unique, seek out talented artists offering up something special. Our country is chock full of them.

o) Be the best Janitor you can be.
Vintageweve doesn't POSE as a French lifestyle store, we ARE a French lifestyle store. I travel to France several times a year and I am on the phone or sending emails at ghastly hours with my French contacts. I  don't just buy from a catalog or third party for things that look French. I am digging through dirty boxes in raining France weather at 6am, schlepping things through metro stations, constantly getting bleeding knuckles and bruised legs, knocking on artist doors in remote villages, etc, etc. I sacrifice other things to be able to travel to the country I choose to specialize in.
I was once in a very nice boutique in Long Beach, CA where they specialize in gifts with a mixture of vintage furnishings. A customer asked the OWNER: "Could you tell me the age or anything about this vintage piece?". The owner answered--albeit very nicely--  but as if she was taken aback..... as if it was an unreasonable question: "Oh, how I would I know?? It's just vintage." 

I was floored. How disappointing that a retail owner would take the time to artfully place something in her store, yet not take the time and extra effort on her customers' behalf to be even remotely knowledgeable in what she is selling? If you don't know, say that, but make a mental note to do the research. This particular owner's tone and body language clearly was sending the message that she felt it wasn't a necessary part of her business to know.

There's an old saying: if you are a janitor, mop better than anyone else. Be the best you can be no matter what your endeavor. I don't believe in pursuing any profession from an armchair. Become an expert in whatever your focus.

p) Passion is king!
Passion can not be taught or learned. If you aren't spilling over with passion, do something else. If you're waning in passion on your actual brick store, consider another avenue. Do you want to break into wholesale? Would you rather set up booths at speciality shows and craft fairs?
I once had a boss tell me "If I could bottle your passion, I'd be richer than Warren Buffett". I am passionate about life and about my interests, whether it's cooking, gardening, negotiating real estate leases or selling antiques. I get the same level of excitement if someone is marveling and buying a $1.50 French Sea Salt Carmel I first discovered in Marseilles (the best EH-VER I swear!) or a $11,500 French marble-topped table. I am truly passionate about each and every item I sell and love when others share that appreciation. { Of course in the case of the latter, THAT buyer would be getting some of those amazing carmels for FREE!}. Passion and enthusiasm are infectious!

q) Passion and enthusiasm are infectious.
Worth repeating. :)

If  your retail sales are slow, don't beat yourself up. Since the beginning of time there has been an ebb and flow to all things and the economy will be on an upswing again. Have faith. Unless you're Target or Wall Mart, you can adjust your overhead quite immediately, thus resulting in more positive cash flow.  
We now return to our regular programming of posting some fun treasures recently unearthed so if you have questions, privately email me at vintageweave@aol.com....Put RETAIL in the subject line and the girls will make sure it gets printed out over to me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

European Wall Sink Mania!

Design jobs in Malibu and Hollywood are keeping me hopping. LOTS and LOTS going on!
 I can not believe how crazy busy we are with...
design jobs, your fabulous phone orders, the inordinate amount of wonderful online orders, gift baskets galore, and all those dropping in the boutique to outfit their homes with something special....
We're having a blast helping everyone sneak some wonderful treasures into their homes, and while we have little time for tea breaks (or potty breaks for that matter!), we're loving that our busy plate has seamlessly rolled into the holiday crazy busy platter of a season! The gift basket portion of the business has been in full swing (ok, when isn't it??), but lately we've had several clients who have wrapped films and turned to us to create some magical "thank you's"....more on these later!

 Will be back soon to share a bit of this and that....Also, look for weekly new items online now through the end of the year!

In the meantime enjoy these:
We have had an unusual number of requests for European Wall Sinks. So on the extreme hunt we went for these antique lovelies!  Hailing from France, England and Hungary,   we have over 15 in stock right now (after selling over 25 in the last 2 weeks!).
 Classic styles with simple, straight lines run $295 - $350.
Elaborate styles with scrolling detail (as those shown here) run $600-$725.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

La Nuit Américaine


"La Nuit Américaine" (The American Night)

It's no secret the WORLD is directly impacted by the person holding the highest office in the United States of America. So today in this year of a presidential election, the City Hall in Paris' 3rd Arrondissement is holding a unique, special event. Excerpt from the City Hall's press release::

Many will gather at the hall's open forum in 3e where experts will lead discussions and teachings to "explore and understand the United States...its history, its society, its political system, and of course, to follow the election results".
I think this is simply wonderful. Knowledge of current events in the world around you makes for a better society. Bravo Third Arrondissement!

. This Voting Special has now ended. Thanks to over 78 of you who participated and ordered from vintageweave's online store yesterday and showed your freedom of the voting process!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Laughing Foundation

"No joke is needed to get members of more than 500 laughing clubs in India to erupt with glee. 
Instead, they breathe deeply, yoga-like, reach for the sky to reduce inhibitions, then force a 'ho, ho, ha, ha' until the laughter becomes contagious. Laughing reduces stress, claims Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of SAKTHIFOUNDATION (www.sakthifoundation.org). 'Laughing is my mission,' he says, 'I want to spread it all over the world.'"

Rock on, Dr Kataria!

Click on the link below to reduce your stress and spur on laughing:


OR paste this link in your browser:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

French Hospitality from a Stranger

On one of my trips in France, I was walking through the 15e looking for an obscure junkyard based on a tip from a fellow dealer. I had left my pied-à-terre at 5am as this was said to be the witching hour to locate the best of the best at the treasure trove of a metal yard. About an hour into the walk I realized to my horror that the jet lag from the previous night's landing was more severe than I had originally thought: I had on two different pair of boots! Given that I had on a knee-length skirt, the mistake was glaring! Faux Pas enough in the States, but in Paris?! Quel Horror! I wanted to crawl away and hide, but was too invested in the thrill of the hunt.  To make matters worse I had dribbled coffee all over the front of me...ok, not so much dribbled,  as much as SPILLED.  A frumpy American stared back at me at every turn of each window shop's reflection.

Lost and confused on winding one-way streets unfamiliar to me, I focused on enjoying the opportunity to discover a part of Paris as if opening a vibrant, perfumey pomegranate. Layer by layer, each pod revealing a bit more of the bounty. Each seed offering a variety of color and shape.

An hour or so had passed and  I soon stumbled upon a wonderful petite stone house surrounded by several pockets of lavender bush. The faded grey stone had a magic patina to it and ironically seemed just perfect upon realizing this sweet home doubled as a hardware store. Gingerly walking in so as not to disturb or create glare over my garb, I approached the sweet silver-haired Madame and asked for assistance in my very best {broken} French.

To my disappointment: unknown dialect. The communication couldn't have been more missed.  I quickly pulled out a wrinkled napkin from my tote and drew out a makeshift map. After several minutes, the woman abruptly got up, rushed the only patron out the door, shouted something to her husband, and grabbed me by the hand. With three of us now walking towards the door, they turned the sign hanging to read FERMER (shut/closed) and proceeded to walk me towards my intended destination all the while clutching my hand....

Despite my obvious lack of understanding her million-miles-a-minute French, Madame jabbered on and on without pause. Monsieur interjected nods and "hmmms" when he felt it warranted. I smiled, laughed,  looked agreeable and frowned in solidarity when I felt it warranted.
"Ok, Kath, how much longer can you fake your way through this one-sided, intense conversation? Did I just laugh inappropriately? Oh good, she's smiling and nodding so timing was right.  Wait, WHAT was that word? Did this sweet little woman just say......Oh God she DID, didn't she?! Oh my, did she just use that word again? I just know I'm blushing. How juvenile of  me"
It was exhausting and funny and charming all at the same time! After many turns lefts and rights,  the chain link fence surrounding the infamous junk yard stood before me.
"Viola Mademoiselle!"...and a bunch of unrecognizable other stuff"

Warm hugs were exchanged, and this girl practically ran through the gate to see what metal objects could be unearthed. 

Tell me now. Really. Can you imagine any merchant in the States actually closing their doors in the middle of the day just to help in a similar situation?

75 vintage Champagne buckets and various pails later, I remember thinking:

French Rudeness?
Severely blown out of proportion.
French Hospitality?
Like No Other.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Driving Miss Pumpkin

{updated 10/26: all antique wagon carts have now sold! Sorry if you were placed on the wish list!}

{Antique Cart, circa late 1800's; $780 at vintageweave@aol.com. Several available; each varies slightly}
Five Houses Down!
Four Houses to Go!

Busy decorating for the Fall/Halloween season for many clients.  Front porches transformed, fences  swathed, buffet tables set, and the pumpkin deficit has been adequately impacted!

Nuthin' but fun, laughter, and more fun!

{Fall burlap bottle wraps; $17.50 by contacting vintageweave@aol.com}
It's a busy weekend driving up and down the coast and back down and up again playing Fall Kringle! Back to blogging sometime soon...