Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite spot

I don't feel like I am in Paris until I go to my favorite spot-- it is the bridge Alexander. You see Tour Eiffel from there and the bridge's lamp posts are works of art. The lamp posts were in the movie Gigi (an all time favorite ) just briefly but they made an impression on me.

I think that is what good travel is -a series of very vivid impressions visual and sometimes scent / auditory too. When I think of Paris the color of that pinkish-blue sky and the lamp posts and Laduree boxes and the blue color of most of the doors and rooftops come flooding into my mind- the ornate door knobs in the center of doors pops into my head too. When traveling it is my goal not just to" see the sights" but to learn something about the people and the reasons why they are different yet still in many ways the same as we are at their core.

There are wonderful people in every place if you take the time to look and to listen. Opening your eyes to the beauty of the location should allow you to also open your mind to the cultural differences as well.

I hope you get to go to the place you love most in the new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year-Bonne Annee

Paris is more than a possibility for 2010- pastries are on the yes list-no more talk about weight-staying in the pink is a more worthy goal-make life even "pinker" with a rosy outlook all the time.

Peonies are planted for 2010 their roots are slumbering in the earth gathering strength as we dream of their beauty in 2010.

Kindness is the biggest goal to focus on as well as creativity. More music (with the help of my new I Pod --pink--bien sur (of course) and more friendships and more laughter.

Toasting in 2010 with my favorite French champagne and creating more occasions to open another bottle of the pink bubbly.

Monday, December 28, 2009

After Christmas blues...

Well they are here-those after Christmas blues-- time to start taking down my lovely pink Christmas. The dogs are even blue over it. They enjoyed opening their gifts and eating their holiday treats. Miss Moss ,our wonderful Maine Coon cat, is blue too no more looking up at her twinkle lights from under the tree!!

The thing that keeps me from sinking into after holiday despair is knowing that I will be adding more trees and some glitter houses next year. I have it all planned out already.

I will proudly hang my Mardi Gras door swag up as soon as I take down my Christmas swag.

I also was able to add the snow to my blog today. That was a real treat hope you like it--that I will leave on for a few days.

Happy New Year and may it be best ever for everyone- Pink dreams my friends!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Where does inspiration come from? I find it in looking at things carefully. I think anyone can develop "good taste or a style sense" if they look at enough images/objects to train their mind.

I gather a lot of ideas and pleasure too from looking at images on people's blogs or in design books or design magazines. Flowers and gardens are an endless source for me also. I am a visual person and a scent person so those things are important to me-- my mom says I always smelled things even when I was little. My home must have a good scent. I love using scented linen water on my sheets when I iron them (sometimes I cheat and just iron pillow cases and the top end of the flat sheet ...sshh) and drawer liner in drawers. I wish I had a true linen closet or linen room. In a show house in Pacific Heights in San Francisco the home was so big and so well designed back in early 1900's that there was an entire walk in room lined with drawers and glass cabinets to house all the bed and table linens--now that is true luxury.
I have loved watching swans over the years. In another state I had a pair of swans that I tamed-- and I loved to go feed them daily and watch them glide across the water. One winter day I took a photo of them swimming with the snow falling- absolutely one of my favorite all time images and that inspired me to write a short poem about them.

My inspiration board above my desk is always good for stress relief and to spark some idea whether it is an idea for the blog- for the house- for a party- for a gift. My inspiration board ,which changes all the time, always gives me some spark..Of course so many of my things are pink !
When we see beautiful things I think it encourages us to create something beautiful as well.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pagodas here and there

On my pagoda obsession--still don't know why that shape appeals to me. I have read material on the significance of the shape but that is within the context of religion. I just like the shape and the serenity of them.

One of my Christmas gifts to myself was a Charlotte Moss Virginia candle. She has made them for years but recently changed the packaging--with a pagoda top!! I can use it to hold something when I am finished with the candle. It is just those type of details that sets good product packaging and decor apart from the ho hum.

And I think when you really like something ( pagodas, pastries, pink , Paris, French cabbages) you must unknowingly notice that item more and then other people around you look for it too and an obsession is born!

Life is such a short ride- why go with a plain lid?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas House

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!! Our house is ready to have people come and enjoy the decorations and food. The dogs are dreaming of what Santa will leave them--they love to open gifts. Each dog has taught the next one how to do it!

I always hate to take the tree and garlands down seems so empty-doesn't it? We already have plants for next years decorations -another pink tree, more lights on outside- more swans on bedroom tree and more patience and love to go all around.

I like to do all the wreaths and door things myself. A creative outlet as is the wrapping.

My favorite Christmas music on the CD player and some eggnog and I am a happy elf.

Peace and love to all

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The best Christmas gift this year

Amid all the dreams and traditions of the holiday season my favorite things are things that do not cost money. Tonight will be homemade hot chocolate and a tour of the twinkle lights in neighborhoods nearby. I will be singing, way off key, along with the car radio Christmas carols.

The best gift this season is the on going recovery of Sophie-Marie our 7 year old Maltese. She suffered a stroke in November and seizures before we learned she has a fatal illness. She will be in a period of recovery for awhile and may get back to almost normal.

Today she wagged her tail for the first time in almost 4 weeks and took several steps toward me. She is now partially blind and has some balance issues but we think that will all fade away as her brain heals.

That tiny tail wagging is the best gift I could wish for this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can you be homesick for a place you never lived?

Homesick for Paris- it usually hits me at Christmas--even though I have never been there at that time of year. I imagine the windows and the church bells and the hot chocolate at Angelina's and I want to be there.

Paris is my favorite city--even though city living anyplace can be a hassle and especially in such a paper burdened society as the French-- I still want to live there someday. It is a million little things- the dolphin downspouts, the lions in the big fountain in the sixth arrondessement, the clever little signs and the allure of the perfume shops that make me sigh every time I think of the city.

Paris doesn't stand still yet it does not fundamentally change either. I think that is true for much of France. There is a respect and an adherence to the traditional ways of doing things and then just when you think it will always be just that way- Laduree comes up with a new flavor of macaroon and breaks the pattern.

So I am sure that on December 25 I will be sitting in front of my French fireplace in Georgia and for a few brief, dazzling moments I will be in Paris.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Swans and simplicity

Swan are so special- their serene demeanor, that glide motion, the down that makes such decadent powder puffs. They mate for life--which is more than most people do now .

I have used swans for decorating for holidays for many years. The large tree that we didn't put up this year has about 26 swan ornaments. I did however, find these wonderful simple cotton batting ornaments from Goldbug Studio this season. In the master bedroom I just did green on the mantel and the pearls and white twinkle lights and two of these precious swans. Less is sometimes more.

With all the holiday hustle and a sick dog I wanted to keep most of the decorations simple . I love to sit near the fireplace and enjoy the scent of the fresh pine garland and look at my two swans floating in a sea of white and green.

Take some time and relax, look around enjoy the beauty that is in everything. That is a true holiday gift.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bedroom serenity

As much as most of us dislike the idea of working in the bedroom on computer or telephone ringing in the bedroom it is just a part of the hectic life we all lead and lack of space for most of us.

I have my little office in the corner where my vanity table used to be- trading vanity for work but you do what you must.

However, you don't have to work in the bedroom in an un-stylish way-- I use my pink phone, sit at my pretty pink and green desk and look at one of my pink peonies on my screen saver. We may all have to work or encroach on bedroom but it can be stylish and somewhat serene.

The pink phone works well and is from Pottery Barn Kids !! I turn the ringer off when not working- helps keep some sense of quiet.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Les Girls et Joyeux Noel

There was a wonderful old movie called Les Girls from 1950's or early 60's Rex Harrison and Gene Kelly and Kay Kendall were in it. One of my favorites since is about dancing and musicals and Paris- some very pretty costumes and of course Gene Kelly dancing-- just divine. What makes me think of this is we call our dogs "The girls" or Les Girls in French.

I have my own version of Les Girls- three beautiful Maltese- I have a mother and daughter Simone-Marie and Sophie-Marie and another one Sydney-Marie. They love to have adventures, go places , go for stroller rides in their pink dog stroller and all time favorite activity is opening Christmas and Birthday gifts. We had another Maltese Zsa Zsa for 15 years and she learned to open gifts from Mother-in-laws dog Muffy. She taught next Maltese and so on . They caught on really fast when they opened their presents that first time. I wrap them in pretty holiday tissue so they can tear into it easily. It is so fun on Christmas day to watch them. We refer to them as the girls( Les Girls in French) and they lead a pampered life. I like that their skin is pink and they are all white ( Maltese are always all white) and we decided to get a dog when we were in Paris the first time. We saw all these Parisians with their tiny dogs and sometimes not tiny dogs going everywhere and we loved it.

So I always associate my girls with Paris because that pushed us to getting our first Maltese baby. My girls all love pink and have many pink accessories and blankets and toys. they are sturdier and smarter than many people expect- just because they are tiny doesn't mean they aren't just as smart as a big dog.

I am not the only one counting the days till Christmas in this house

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ooh la la- a vanity table

A vanity table is such a luxury but it should be part of all our boudoir's. I have had to downsize my vanity table so I can use a desk in the bedroom ( to create this blog and other work) and the downsizing forced me to edit my little treasures. Each item has a story or place or a person that I think of when I see it.

I have indulged my inner-French diva on the vanity table! Using a vanity forces one to slow down and make a ritual of the act of preparing to go into the world. It is an intimate part of your bed room and an intimate process of adorning oneself with make up and scent and possible jewelry too.

Claudia Strasser-blogger, shop owner, tour guide,and author, is compiling a book of photos of women's vanity tables - it will be called in book form Vanities for Humanity and proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity. I can't wait to see the book. Her name is familiar because she wrote The Paris Apartment and opened a NY shop of the same name.The new book will be a peek into another world. No wonder painters in Marie-Antoinette's time painted her at her vanity.

That wonderful movie from 1980's Dangerous Liaisons had several great vanity scenes. How I would have loved to go back in time and witness this dressing process.

So make a little area for a vanity and relax and enjoy the process- look at your treasures and recall the person or place that comes to mind.Living in the moment also connects you to the past.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More ideas re Monogram

I am still thinking about my monogram or any monogram. A few months ago I found the web site Iomoi. They have creative letter paper and match boxes, pencils, and I found a lot of cool paperweights that can be customized. In keeping with my obsession with pagodas their one paperweight has a pagoda motif and it has a pink background--YEAH they inserted my name in between the graphics. I love it.

It would be a great idea for a co worker or teacher gift or just for yourself. Useful and pretty my favorite combination. Everything we use should be pretty too n'est pas? It reminds me again, of why I love French style and that period before the Revolution when the common place item was often beautiful.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mad for Monograms

I think it is a "Southern thing" but we sure love to monogram things in the South.

I love my monogram. I copied Marie Antoinette's --if she loved it who am I not to love it too?

So now I look for ways to use this lovely piece of artwork. I have it on stationery and on linen. Next will be to use it on an iron gate I am going to have made for the garden. I can see those pretty curved letters in the center of black iron work and it will be a grand entrance to my tiny walled garden.

I also will be monograming the backs of my formal silver flatware pattern. So I will set the table French-style with the backs facing upwards--better to see my pretty monogram. I saw the MA monogram on a doorknob in Versailles.

This photo of the monogram came from the wonderful book The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette by Boyer and Halard. That book is one of my favorite books ever. Leave it to the French to take an everyday object and make it so lovely. The artists of that time also incorporated the Queen's dog on a chair arm!! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all have items made to order in that manner? Bliss.

Of course my Petit Trianon china by Raynaud comes with it on several of the pieces if you ask for it when you order.

Other ideas rolling around in my thoughts are using it on the top of an anniversary cake and making a boxwood monogram for the garden-- that would be so fun- It would take awhile for it to fill in I'd use the tiny leaf slow growing boxwood-- I want to explore this further.

Monograms are fun especially now with all the new printing and laser techniques- I will have to dream about these applications some more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Longing for Peonies

Sadly, no more fresh peonies till late April or early May 2010. I've planted new ones in September to delight us in a few years. I am lucky to be able to grown them this far South. The big, full, double ones are my favorites--all in shades of pink or white. I carry my pink preference into the garden.

This lovely peony sachet is on my little dressing table to cheer me during the many peony barren months. I have always loved peonies and sweet peas and consider it a blessing to be able to grow them in my tiny garden. All the little things on my dressing table have meaning to me .

Peonies ,for some reason, seem to be much more decadent than the rose or any other flower. Perhaps it is their brief bloom time and the fullness of the flower petals.
I had a dream not long ago that my garden was blooming with peonies and it snowed it looked so beautiful. In real life that would be awful but in dreams it was a beautiful image.

My first Hermes scarf has peonies on it.I bought in Paris in late 80's It was such a decadent treat but over the course of years it has actually been a frugal purchase considering how often I wear it.

If I can't wear peonies all the time I can enjoy the flowers in the spring and try to spend as much time with my peonies as possible.

Laduree and tea

I adore Laduree tea and the Laduree tea salons in Paris and London. It is often that I bring back tea and other goodies as gifts from France. Laduree makes the best macaroons in delightful pastel shades and flavors. the French line up for the pleasure of buying them. It is chic hostess gift to bring a box from Laduree.

A real treat for me is having a cup of tea ( I like the Marie Antoinette blend) in my Petite Trianon demitasse cup ( Raynaud china ) . I use the wrapped sugar from Fauchon ( too bad Fauchon closed their shop in NY city) for my tea. The French do not use the loose sugar we use here.
Since my monogram is that of Marie Antoinette and this china was her traveling china that had her monogram on it I just love having it-makes it extra special and it has enough pink in the pattern to make it pink enough for my pink world.

In this hurry up busy world it is still a civilized pleasure to stop for a few minutes each afternoon and have a cup of tea and catch your breath. You can pretend to be in Paris.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I love to wrap gifts!! I have more fun wrapping than I do in the purchase usually. I like to try and fit my gift and gift wrap to a theme or to a person's likes or favorite colors.

Seeing a ton of gifts for other people under the tree makes me so happy- since most of my friends live far away I take special care to find pretty things or to make them something I know they will use or want.

One of the blogs I follow is A Gift Wrapped Life- a real inspiration for people who love to gift wrap and love pretty design. I would love to meet the wonderful Sande Chase and have a peek into her amazing wrap room/area.

I was looking at some old family photos of myself as a baby and in each picture I see baby me having a bath, another one opening Christmas presents under the tree.And I thought wow I still like to do those very same things simple things that mean so much. So for me, the art or the beauty is in the details of those simple things- wrapping the gifts with special ribbon or a trinket, having my bath with scented bubbles and a glass of wine or listening to music I love.

Elevating the everyday to a little nicer than it has to be. Making the everyday into a beautiful ritual- to slow down and live in the moment.

Take the time to really look at the task at hand and try to make it more meaningful. Which brings me back to my love of the Asian and the French influences --both cultures seem to be really adept at taking the everyday and making it special, or of high quality.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Asian Christmas

As much as I adore French furniture and art and lifestyle I am also intrigued and drawn to Asian art and home decoration. So I went on Etsy one day and found these lovely origami Christmas trees that I use on top of dining table or around the living room. The formal living room is where I have my Japanese style ( to my eye anyway Japanese style) Christmas tree. I have reproduction of Utamaro's women of the floating world on the walls in there and other Asian touches.

Etsy is a great source for vintage and handmade items of all styles in all media. My little origami trees were not expensive and arrived via mail in perfect condition.

My dream would be to have several homes or apartments and be able to do all the styles I love. My one origami tree is made with the Japanese paper that depicts cherry blossoms-so it is pink that tree is in master bedroom the one with the crane paper is in formal living room. I love to have fun with little design elements like this.

Anyone know how to say Merry Christmas in Japanese?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today was my final day for Christmas shopping. I got home and realized everything I purchased was pink!! I didn't set out to do that.

So tonight I am wrapping up the last of the presents for my girl friends and talking to my chatty cat Miss Charlotte Moss. She chose me as her person-jumped in my car one cold February day. A very friendly cat -she greets visitors and likes to be complimented on her bows that I make her. She is currently wearing a holiday bow.

I can't show you any of the pink gifts --I don't want to spoil any one's surprise. Miss Moss is mum on this also.

I also attended a home tour for the Peachtree Garden Club - a total of four homes in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. All of them were a real feast for the eyes- so many stunning trees and holiday garlands.

Happy holiday shopping !

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Organize your life and do it in color

I love to have everything neat and know where everything is. My home is small so I can get overwhelmed quickly if things are not where they should be.
However, even my tidy little heart can't be happy unless it is neat and PRETTY usually pink pretty.
Costume jewelry can get messey quickly so I store some in jewelry box with the better things and some that I wear often I put in pretty containers and trays so it is neat but looks good too.

The black jars used to hold this powder and bubble bath powder from France called Pavlova and the company is gone now. I am glad I kept the jars I use them daily.

Even our closets for storing holiday decorations are neat and pretty. I found great pink plastic tubs at Walmart last summer and they have then in again now. They also have pretty green and lavender ones in case you are not a pink girl.

In my small and stuffed closet I use the tubs for storage of handbags and paper goods and I am nerdy enough to save pretty boxes and bags and use them in the closet and it makes me happy to see them and remember my time shopping at that particular shop.

So if it pretty or from a posh shop don't throw the bag or box away- I see vintage shopping bags or designer bags on line for sale. Even your closet should be pretty--and pink

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pink birds

They are not exactly a partridge in a pear tree but my two Bourke's parakeets are pink--one of the few naturally pink birds . The were born here but at some point the original breeding pair came from Australia- they are grassland birds- so they feed on the ground mainly. I have to put their seed and water on the floor of their PAGODA style birdcage. I couldn't believe I found a pagoda shaped cage.

Something about pagodas and cabbages and pink peonies and Laduree pink boxes are very appealing to me. Over the years I have collected many items that fall into my" obsession" category--this birdcage is one.

I hope Kitty and Cici are happy they seem to be. Bourke's parakeets are also fairly quiet birds no scratchy noises just sweet chirps and they love to dance for my cat and they love the noise the hoover makes and the sound of running water. Kitty was here before we got our cat. The neighbor kids think it is funny that we have a bird named Kitty and a cat named Charlotte Moss. ( after the wonderful interior designer) and Kitty was named after a Tolstoy character in Anna Karennia.

So no partridge in a pear tree at my pink house but
pink birds -- I've got them.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How pink do you want to go?

Loving pink and being a bit obsessive and easily I have carried my love of this color to the extreme. I know that-- so I am not crazy-- right?

For me, using pink everyday objects just makes my daily life more fun. No one needs a pink potato peeler but Kitchen Aid makes a great one. I was so thrilled about 7-8 years ago when Kitchen Aid came out with all the pink items for breast cancer fundraising. I think I have every item. Hardest thing to find was the pink toaster.

I am probably the only person who goes to Europe or UK and brings back rolls of pink toilet paper- I bring back a lot to tide me over between trips. One customs agent really thought that was strange and really looked at it all -maybe he thought I had drugs inside the rolls?

Think of your favorite color and how it makes you feel--do you have items that you could buy in your favorite color? Life is so short and so stressful make yourself and others happy with simple things like color and good fragrances and organization in your home and work environment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas pink and other hues

Well, as much as I love pink and I do live a pretty pink life (immersed in pinkness) I do love other colors and styles as well. For some funny reason I am drawn to Rococo furniture /French style and then also, very simple Japanese and Asian styles. This is something I try to blend in my home.

Of of my favorite spaces is my tiny library ( our fourth bedroom) which is full of a burnt apricot color and this year I did a whimsical tree out of the curley willow branches I have in a vase up there. Just added some cute cloisonne fish and instant Japanese Christmas tree.

More Christmas posts to follow keep checking in as I get the hang of blogging .

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pink Christmas

When I began my "pink living' in early 80's it was very hard to find any holiday decorations in pink. Over the years we have amassed a ton of things and usually put up several trees each year.
My neighbors thought I was crazy back then ( and possibly still think that) with my swans and pink tulle on the tree.

Most years I do smaller trees unless we are having company or a big party. It is also very important aesthecially to coordinate the wrapping paper with the tree colors. Thus, I have different trees in different rooms. Not all are pink.

The tree shown is full of dried flowers from my garden- mainly peonies and pink berry.
Miss Charlotte Moss our wonderful girl ( named after the lovely Charlotte Moss the designer) loves to sit and gaze at the twinkle lights on the mantel and on the trees. She never bothers the ornamentsjust content to look.
Please allow me time to learn how to blog I am not a whiz at this at all.
Off to festoon some other area of the house.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peony pink tree

Well, I am still learning to set up my blog bear with me for a few days.

I love Christmas and of course, part of my holiday always is pink !! I rotate trees and this year have chosen to put up two smaller pink decorated trees with dried peonies from my garden and other dried elelments.

When I started doing my pink life about 30 years ago it was really hard to find anything home related or Christmas related that was pink. We've come a long way since then!
I will post some photos soon
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