Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

On Halloween, I usually stand down at the street and hand out orange reusable bags; it's a great way for cars to see the kids and I think it's better than giving out candy. This year I have slacked, not even doing pumpkins.

We are stocked for Halloween though. Meet Joe Bones~
Joe used to ride home with my Dad from the office every Halloween, and Dad laughed when people did a double-take with a skeleton riding shotgun in a convertible. Every year I want to do a shoot with Joe; Joe in the kitchen wearing a toque; Joe entertains at the piano. Joe goes to the beach....
With the hot weather today, and Joe's weight & bulk, all I could do was take him outside and pose him soaking up a few rays; the Vitamin D will be good for him. I asked Laura if she will help me do something fun next year with Joe; she's a clever one and we can think of some fun shots; hope this give you a laugh; nice profile, Joe~
Tomorrow night I will go to my friend & neighbor Yvette's house; her invite for a casual get-together arrived looking like this~
inside was a rolled invitation, tied with a bow, black of course~
the invitation was sooo Yvette; she is supremely talented~

her home is a French-style Farmhouse; it is all dressed up for the night~
each year Yvette and her husband Steve place a pair of big Mac pumpkins on their pillars; Steve will carve them~
the overall look is fantastic; I love love love it!!!
up on top of the chimney is the wicked witch; no foolin' would swear it is....she is lit up at night; very spooky~
this year inside the gates they did a cemetery, and the usually pristine yard is covered this month with leaves and branches~
Spooky & safe All Hallows Eve to everyone!

Rain & Boots

We've had yet more rain overnight and this morning. Very unusual for October. If the rain continues at this pace, perhaps this winter I will have to get a pair of these~
If I were in Burgundy I would have a better selection~

and you see them creatively hung all over the region~

file these perhaps under functional, not quite fashionable enough for SoCal~
Meanwhile, we are waiting two more days for the winner of Karena's fantastic giveaway...who will win? Have you entered? And through Metis we are getting ready to do a November giveaway with a a lovely French blogger; here is just a little preview pic of what I have assembled; check back next week for a romantic giveaway announcement~
Drats, the sun is coming out, and that means I will not get a rain day off from the market; maybe I don't need those boots just yet....bon week-end a tous~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fuji & Le Tour

Mount Fuji is sort of like the Eiffel Tower, each a symbol of their respective countries. There are hundreds of images and wood-block prints of this mountain, held in reverence by the Japanese. People are fascinated by the mountain just as they are the Tour Eiffel; on a clear day, you can see it from Tokyo~
I was reading today about three hikers who had been plucked by helicopter from the summit of Mount Whitney; at 14,505 feet it is the highest peak in the lower 48. Its formation and lines are rugged and impressive, but not reminiscent of or as captivating as the Eiffel Tower or Fuji; here the East Face of Whitney~
Mount Fuji has an elevation of 12,388 feet, making it the highest mountain in Japan~
Why are we fascinated by
this structure and this mountain~

is it the altitude?

the sense of permanence?
the graceful lines?

the fragility of their strength?

When you see them in person,
you can't take your eyes away...

they are beauty & simplicity & perfection~

No wonder their images
are reproduced so widely.

I climbed to the summit of Mount Fuji in 1987. The Japanese say, "everyone should climb Mount Fuji once, but only a fool will climb it twice." Arriving at the Shinto shrine at the top of the mountain, in the middle of howling wind and clouds, wearing shorts and sneakers and a flimsy rain poncho, I felt like I was arriving at the Gates of Heaven. It was indeed a surreal moment. Next time I will spend the night in the huts and hike to the summit for sunrise~
As with Fuji, perhaps everyone should go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, just once. I went with Jean-Francois, under duress. Never again!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It's appropriate to talk about Disguises as we are just before Halloween. I see this all the time, "French Baskets." These should be called "French Style baskets." The weave is way too loose, the handles are irregular and attached without much care or construction, and the baskets wobbled considerably; there is No Way these are made in France~

The real deal baskets like these in Beaune are very tightly woven and will not budge. These are all in "osier" or reed, brut/brown or blanc/white, fabrication Francaise~
There are some fantastic commercial pieces available in France; you will see several examples in our Metis Rose Bowl booth in November; a display in front of the best antique store in town is always a plus, haha~
There are knockoffs of the French totes & baskets, but they will fall apart. Quality is especially important for a functional item. Here today are Jean & Linda, carrying my St. Remy & Marseilles totes; I look forward to seeing their smiling faces each each week, they are so cute~
and their baskets look as good as the day they bought them, when....9 months ago? Used daily. They have a wardrobe of others, for knitting projects.
The French like merchandise that will last, whether it was made in France (the osier baskets) or in the colonies. Sometimes I see Chinese-made rolling carts for sale in the U.S. They are totally wobbly and if you blow on them they will fall apart. Ca n'a rien a voir avec le vrais. The real French baskets are very solid~
It's amazing that in decor, copies have gotten so good; I love my Aidan Grey fragments from Cargo & Company, topped with coral; the patina is great~

You see them all over now, and I have to pick them up and look; the price point is great, and these are only decorative~
in the terra cotta too, there are imposters. This is what I jokingly refer to as a Chinaman dressed up as a Frenchman. French Anduze Style, Made in China; not glazed but it's a great style, especially if you need more than one pair~
This is what I call a Mexican dressed up as an Italian. Except for all the exfoliation, this is the clue that it is not made in Italy, the Italians would never make a product that exfoliates like this; still the pie-crust top is cute and the price is not Italian. But it's flaking all over my patio. Maybe I should have found a real Italian? Same point again about decorative vs. functional items; this is functional, and I don't like the inferior quality.
What do you call them, lower quality or knockoffs or imitations? If at all possible, I'll stick with the authentic versions. What do you think?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bardot for President

There is just all kinds of news coming out of France lately. Today, Brigitte Bardot announced she is considering a run for President in the 2012 election, under the green Party (Independent Ecology Alliance). BB, as she is known in France, retired from film in 1973 to become an animal rights activist; what an incredible woman, look at her here~

She looks a little different than she used to. BB today~

Yeah. But she is 76 years old. Girls, see what all that sun can do to your skin? People seem to react to the news in the same way as Sarko~
Just not totally's all still so very French, isn't it? She is somewhat polarizing in France, beloved by many no matter what she looks like or says, other people think she is too "out there" ("will she let the animals vote?").

But one thing for sure, BB lives her life in a totally authentic way. She is and will always be an incredible French icon...Forever BB...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


A soft rain the last few days has brought new life to the garden~

the tiniest of funghi popping up in odd places~

I save every drop, as much as the rain barrels will hold~

and in any other vessels in the garden~

it doesn't take much, just a little rain,
and things pop up that would never do so with hose-water~

the plants know this is the right stuff,

the fine rain has collected in odd places

and the plants hold on to every single drop~

the fuzzy succulents~
the lime tree is starting more fruit~

the wonder of a fine spider web
how can it hold so many drops?~

the garden will start to become alive,
now that summer is over.
Drink up, plants!

Case of the Missing Vuitton

He doesn't look like a Vuitton-toting guy to me, what do you think?~
He runs a motorcycle parts business in Orange County, hence all the tats I guess. His bag of choice is the Louis Vuitton monogram roller, I forget the name of the style; Pegase?~

Meet Per Lindby. He boarded a flight in Orange County recently with checked bags of a Vuitton roller and duffel, and mysteriously, the luggage never arrived. Hmmm.
He bought more Vuitton, and got on another flight a few weeks later. Again, poof, no luggage when he arrived. About $13,000 in Vuitton luggage & shoes have disappeared. The airline (Delta, both times) says they will give him $3,000 and don't expect it to turn up.
I have a pair of 1950's hard-sided cases. I bought them in NYC with the idea of taking a romantic weekend getaway by car with my sweetie. They have French labels inside from the Vuitton store in Nice and the old French rail tags on the outside; the tag says "home delivery" and "paid." I guess they trusted the baggage handling at that time~
another sticker is from Cunard; these went on tour by rail and boat in the '50's. I would never ever ever check them. Lest you think I am a high roller, I will divulge that I paid $350 for them, but that was 20 years ago.
I have two pieces of soft-sided Vuitton luggage I have used as carry-on on just about every business trip for years. The size and the design for pockets and compartments and suits is perfect and like no other luggage. Sometimes, as I got on a plane the stewardesses tried to say the baggage racks were full and I'd have to check them.
Stuff it, I politely yet firmly told them. Check a Vuitton? Never!! Btw I also have all of my Vuitton monogrammed with my initials, to prevent my three sisters from borrowing them. That works GREAT. Vuitton will do it for you.

Have you ever had anything disappear from your suitcase on a flight? We had R's Ralph Lauren alligator belt evaporate once on a return from Geneva through JFK. My stewardess friends tell me, don't ever pack anything of value in your checked luggage. Let alone carry an expensive case, I suppose. Nowadays, we all check crappy-looking luggage, including Per. His last flight, he brought a $30 Walmart suitcase. Guess what, it arrived just fine....

first two photos, Orange County Register. You can read the whole story at