Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes for a Great 2009!

Photo: People dancing on New Year's Eve (1935) at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Courtesy of: San Francisco Public Library, Historical Photos

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chanukah Wrap-Up

I hope you enjoyed your holiday! I had a fun eight days of Chanukah, but I must say I'm glad that it's over. Time to relax and take a breath.

I've enjoyed reading my favorite blogs with beautiful photos of Christmas trees and decor, so I thought I'd share a little of my Chanukah with you. We attended 4 Chanukah parties during the 8 days. It was fun seeing family and friends. The traditional meal is potato latkes, (potato pancakes) which reminds us of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. I guess you could say I'm "latked-out" for another year!

Glitter dreidel box by Denise Sharp
Every year I have a small Chanukah party with about 10-ish people. It's always challenging finding fun Chanukah decor since it's technically not a religious holiday and has become more commercialized since it falls around Christmastime. Other than the cardboard "Happy Chanukah" banners and party shop variety, there is not a lot of whimsical decor. I had been talking to Denise Sharp and she mentioned that she had these cute glitter dreidel boxes. I bought two of them and they worked great with my small centerpiece.

I decided on a white/gold/silver color theme with a bit of blue. I'm not a big fan of dark blue, but I actually found Chanukah party "poppers" and couldn't resist using them as table favors. I pulled out the sterling flatware and cloth napkins. That's big for me since I don't entertain much. Some white rose bouquets in small silver vases with a hint of purple flowers were on the dining and coffee tables. We served fresh latkes hot off the pan (they don't taste the same reheated), chicken, veggies, etc. Chanukah sugar cookies and ice cream, chocolate Chanukah gelt (coins), small gifts for the kids. Then there are the traditional Chanukah prayers and songs.

We lit the menorahs and there were candles lit all over the house. I must say that there is a certain amount of "Christmas-envy" when you're Jewish, with all of the traditions, decor... Christmas is magical! Chanukah is called the "festival of lights" and has its beautiful traditions as well. I decided that instead of stressing over "cute" Chanukah decor, I'm going to start collecting menorahs (I currently have two). There are so many beautiful antique and new menorahs, and they look amazing when lit up during the holiday.

My cousin has a collection of about 10 menorahs, 8 of which are diffferent wire animals. I'm going to purchase this one here.

Thanks for letting me share my Chanukah. Hope you had a great holiday! My house still smells of greasy cooking oil, but that will dissipate soon. Until next year...

Monday, December 22, 2008

A BIG Surprise!

Today my friend Kimberlee (of Edgar & Edgar) stopped by and brought me the sweetest gifts! A GIANT vintage paper mache walnut box! Before you scratch your head, there is a story behind this...

One day I was taking photos of Kimberlee's house and couldn't help but notice her great collection of vintage walnuts. This started me on yet, another collection. I bought some walnuts from Kimberlee and then started receiving them as gifts. Now Kimberlee gave me the largest walnut I've ever seen! I must add that she has quite the knack for presentation. The gifts were wrapped in black and white with her custom, Edgar & Edgar ribbon!

What a cute holiday card. She attached a pink shield-shaped card with a gold lions head. Clever Kimberlee.

Kimberlee decorated a large chocolate bar with a black silhouette bird and a large star. Beautiful!

An antique dome with my collection of walnuts

My husband bought me this "real" walnut pendant that has a little pocket knife in it. Quirky and fun. Okay, I'm a little odd.

And last, a close-up of my walnut. Thanks so much Kimberlee! I am really touched. Perhaps we'll inspire some bloggers to collect walnuts?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

{Sweden, 1956}

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Advertising as Art

Paris Hotel Boutique 2008 holiday card by Creative & Co.

I am so impressed with the work of Coleen Rider, of Coleen & Company, an antiques & vintage d├ęcor retail studio located in Los Angeles. In addition to selling her fabulous wares at her studio and online, Coleen has just launched, Creative & Co., where she specializes in e-mail ad campaigns & promotions, website ads and graphic design work. I was so taken by Coleen’s e-cards that I commissioned her to design my Paris Hotel Boutique holiday card (above).

Coleen & Company's 2008 holiday card

Coleen & Company's 2007 holiday card

Coleen has an amazing eye for color and juxtaposition. It was so much fun working with her on my card. She has a unique process for developing her artwork by getting to know her customer and tailoring her design to capture your personality & viewers. We collaborated about ideas by Coleen inquiring about everything from my favorite colors to what message I wanted to convey, then translating it into online art form.

Coleen's element of whimsy is what really excited me. I told her to surprise me with the card and when she e-mailed me the draft, I was more than thrilled! The most exciting part about working with Coleen is that her artwork is one-of-a-kind and doesn’t look like a mass-produced commercial e-mail. Thanks Coleen for creating my fabulous card!

Coleen & Company studio in Los Angeles

If you want more info and rates about Creative & Co., contact Coleen Rider at 310-839-2908 or e-mail,

All photos courtesy of Coleen & Company and Paris Hotel Boutique

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Lovely Package

Oh no, yet another blog to add to my reading! I stumbled upon this blog, while reading d. sharp journal. I've spent most of my morning looking at all of the lovely packaging. What fun gift boxes at Maison Bertaux in London (above), designed by Harriman Steel. "Shop at Maison Bertaux, it’s where fashion meets cake." How cute are these? If you are in London, I'd definitely purchase something there, just to present someone with one of those boxes!

I'd love a bottle of St-Germain, designed by Sandstrom Partners. “St-Germain is an artisan French liqueur made from hand-picked wild elderflowers." An elegant bottle for your to serve your guests with!

The vintage-style imagery & quirky humor is great on these mints by Red Dog Candy, box designed by Moxie Sozo.

Okay, now you can see what I've been doing this morning. Check out Lovely Package-- "the leading source for the very best that package design has to offer."

Photos courtesy of

Saturday, December 06, 2008

J. Crew and the Liquor Store

I was excited to read MA Belle's post about the J. Crew men's shop in New York City. J. Crew's first menswear-only boutique takes the place of the former Liquor Store Bar in Tribeca. The store was designed by Andy Spade and his business partner, Anthony Sperduti.

The vintage decor looks phenomenal with its dark paneling and antique displays, leather club chairs, old books and more. They even carry a new line of Red Wing boots, so worn that they look like you've worn them for a lifetime. Old school pieces such as vintage Timex watches add a touch of vintage. It's refreshing that they didn't "modernize" it and kept all the original fixtures such as the bar and fireplace. Now this looks like a fun place to shop!

I love the black and white theme with the old liquor chic!

What a great idea to use the bar rail to display ties. The hatstands are great!

Such a great juxtoposition of style. Love the old fireplace and lady portrait above it!
Andy Spade's advice for cultivating personal style; "Go back to your history and where you came from. Research things that are special to you and not available to everyone."

All photos courtesy of J. Crew and Brian Berman

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vintage Bus Signs

Vintage Bus Signs from

I just adore vintage bus signs! The provenance combined with the old typography makes them extra special. And, they are great pieces of art. I have one in my dining room and people seem to be intrigued by it. It's sort of one of those quirky, unexpected pieces that add a spark to a room.

Vintage Trolley Sign from

I currently have some for sale on my website. This extra special trolley bus sign (above) is from Bournemouth, a large coastal resort town on the south coast of England. Cricket, Tennis, Circus, Carnival, doesn't get better than that! I've never seen a sign like this before. The town of Bournemouth hosted many events of the Festival, hence all the activities on the sign would make sense. Upon research, Bournemouth sounds like a great tourist town with lots of history, great beaches, culture and a professional football club, too!

Bus Roll Sign Photo from Desire to Inspire

Bus Roll Sign Photo from Desire to Inspire

I love these photos from Desire to Inspire's blog. They add that perfect touch of whimsy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mom & Pops

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. Please support your local shops and boutiques. During these tough economic times, they need our support. And, if you're like me, I much prefer the experience of shopping charming, unique shops, as opposed to large chains.

Mouche Packets from bellocchio

Today I'm off to one of my favorite little shops, Bell'occhio, here in San Francisco. It's a charming shop, full of curiosities. The owner Claudia has a keen eye. Each purchase is beautifully gift-wrapped and I never walk out empty-handed. After that, I'll mosey over to North Beach and visit some of my favorite boutiques. Tomorrow I'll head over to the San Francisco Antique & Design Mall to look for some one-of-a-kind items. It's much more fun than fighting crowds of shoppers downtown, and a way to find something unique for that special person.

Chocolate bars from bellocchio

Paris Map boxes from bellocchio

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, 1937, Pinocchio floating through Times Square with his 44-foot nose (photo from flickr)

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Creative Gift Wrap

A vintage music-lesson card strikes a personal note paired with a costume jewelry brooch and a bright blue ribbon.

It's so much fun using vintage finds to dress up a package. And... it is a great way to recycle. Aren't these fun?

Recycle vintage boxes and tins, such as these French pastel chalk boxes, to hold gift cards, spa certificates, or concert tickets. Silk ribbon and tiny ornaments add festive flair.

Images from Country Home Magazine - December 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holiday Cheer at PRIZE

I wanted to share some fun photos of my friend Jen's store, PRIZE, in Ashland, Oregon. All decorated for the holidays, PRIZE celebrates in style!

A "PRIZE" ribboned Christmas tree and cement reindeer dress up the store window

Fun ornaments to decorate your tree!

Charming vignette of framed vintage paintings

Vintage jewelry for some holiday "glitz"

John Derian decoupage

If you're visiting southern Oregon be sure and stop by PRIZE:

264 East Main Street
Ashland, Oregon 97520
(541) 482-0345

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dessert Bar Delight!

Now this brightens up my day! I just stumbled upon the website of event planner, Amy Atlas. Located in New York City, Amy specializes in high end dessert tables. She treats each endeavor as a unique, art project and designs each dessert table to fit the client. The photos of her work are mouth-watering. Take a look and check out her website here. Time to plan a party!!

Candy Shop Dessert Table filled with nostalgic candy, old-fashioned taffy, barber poles, Sweet Tarts and rock candy. {My favorite... I want to have a party now!!}

Birthday Dessert Table --{love the packaging}!

Bridal Brunch Dessert Table --all white with torrone nougat, coconut macaroons, and dusted truffles

Bridal Brunch Dessert Table --all white with torrone nougat, coconut macaroons, and dusted truffles. White lemonade with hand calligraphed "Best Wishes" {Oh my...this is lovely}

Mod Dessert Table with a graphic cake, custom yellow and black chocolates, licorice mints and lemon cupcakes. {So Hollywood Regency}!

Wedding Dessert Table. Fuschia cherry blossom tree cake inspired by the wedding invitation. Custom lollipop trees, raspberry truffles, chocolate and mini cupcakes.

Mother's Day Dessert Table with a cone-patterned cake, petit fours and macaroons. {Beautiful color, isn't it?}

Mother's Day Dessert Kid Table with Jordan almonds, malt balls, taffy and jelly beans, for the kids!

All photos courtesy of {visit her site!!}