Saturday, February 27, 2010

Meet Me in Charlotte!

The French Maid is excited to announce that we will be participating once again in the Metrolina antique show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rory and I will have lots of great new treasures to share, including these incredible wooden candlesticks that he hand turns on the lathe. These are painted in a great faux finish in shades of blue, green and turquoise for a really beautiful splash of color in your home. We also will have our fabulous mirrors, frames and windows that we are known for, as well as lots of lavender filled fur pillows from vintage coats, hand stamped ribbon, and lots of other goodies that we make from reclaimed materials and antiques. This will be our second show in Charlotte, and judging from the great response we got from our first show, even though attendance was down due to bad weather, it should be loads of fun!

If you have never been to an antiques show, or think that it's just a bunch of old musty junk from Grandma's attic, I encourage you to visit one of these shows. I am always blown away at the fabulous and diverse stuff we find when we attend. If you don't like antique furniture, then there are wonderful old books for your home library, art for your walls, sports paraphernalia for your game room and dishes for your kitchen. There are things for car enthusiasts, doll and coin collectors and don't even get me started on the jewelry! I don't think I will ever purchase another thing from the mall jewelry store again, as the show selections are one of a kind things you will never see again, and actually much more affordable prices. Linens from France, religious icons from Italy and rugs from Persia are just a few of the things that just make me crazy when I have the chance to shop around the booths! The dealers are so great, too, and are always so interesting to talk to. We love when we have a chance to chat with people about our items, especially since so many of ours have been restored, reclaimed or repurposed. I will post some photos when we are there, too, and look forward to meeting you!

The show runs from March 4th through 7th. We will be in Building A, Booths F24-25.
Hope to see you there!

Lee Ann

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glamorous London

I am constantly amazed at how many times my collections of vintage pieces or family heirlooms reappear in my daily life. I come from a long line of pack rats, so hanging on to handwritten notes from my son when he was little, old love letters, and postcards from places I've visited, is just a fact of life for me. So I had to laugh when I was playing around with the camera today, trying to set up a few shots to use for this blog, when one of my "office assistants "decided to help me out. London is such a beautiful kitty, but I had no idea what a fabulous model he was! I happened to grab a strip of rhinestones out of my jewely stash to accessorize my subject and he must have known that this was going to be a great gig on the soft fake fur and warm lights judging by the purring that was taking place! So I snapped a few quick shots, downloaded them into the computer and turned around to find him zonked out, but still draped in his divine collar! As I was telling him what a good boy he was to allow me to share his beauty with all the world, I was thinking about that collar. Way back in the dark ages of about 1970, before cell phones, blackberrys and blogs, that collar was on the most glamorous black pantsuit belonging to my Mom! I can still remember the texture of the fabric, as it was something she sewed for herself at home. My Dad was in the Air Force at the time, and we were living in Germany. I was 10 when she made it for a New Years Eve Party!
It was a very chic sleeveless tunic over bell bottom pants and that mandarin collar might as well have been made out of diamonds to me! I loved when they dressed up, and they did often. Not just for special occasions like holiday parties, but almost every Friday night brought at least a fondue buffet at someones house with us kids invited! Our family forged many friendships then, some we haven't seen since those days, but still get holiday cards and updates about their lives. I remember her friend Doreen made an outfit out of the same pattern, this time with long butterfly sleeves with braiding around the neckline...hers was made of the palest pink blush. It didn't matter that they went to the same party together...they knew how to make their own versions to reflect their own styles. I know Mom has photos of the two of them together...Mom, find me that picture!
Years later, when the pantsuit was transformed into a daytime outfit, off came the rhinestone trim, to be put into the sewing box for a few years until one day in the 80's as I was trying to recreate my own version of Yves Saint Laurent's womans tuxedo(I still love that look!) I needed something fabulous at the neckline and grabbed the strip of bling, made a choker out of it with some black satin cording in back, and off I went to party at many a club, getting loads of compliments for styling my way. I used that piece in many a fashion show I styled, both for cocktail and for a sparkling bride, again being asked by many..."Where did you get that?"
So now that I am spending my time at antique shops and shows, flea markets and the garage doing projects that don't require such formal accesssorizing, I'm thrilled to once again pull out this piece and share it with you. I encourage you to think about not only repurposing old things, but thinking of the value of them in our lives and memories.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bon Jour!

After many years of living other peoples dreams, I've finally decided to live my own life! Too many years of the corporate retail rat race almost ate me alive until I decided to take a few risks and jump into this life with both feet and a whole lot of love and faith! Through this blog, I hope to build my business, cultivate new friendships, and make a real difference in this big, crazy word, all while letting those most precious to me know how much I love them.
I've always loved being around beautiful things. Some of my earliest memories are digging through my Grandma Sadie's (lot's more about her later...that's her picture at the top of this blog) jewelry box while she let me wear one of her old red cocktail dresses. One swish of that box-pleated skirt and I knew taffeta was for me! Although none of my family had a whole lot of money, I always knew that there was a whole world of beauty, and music, and books,and...and...and...that could take me somewhere else in my little daydreaming mind.
Afterwords, in my grown up life of dressing our towns wealthiest ladies, pageant winners, and more brides than I care to count, I realized how important creating beauty for others was to me.
I saw how the smallest detail could change how a person thought about themselves and take them to another place, just like it did for me as a child. Unfortunately, sometimes I was so busy trying to create those places for them, I was cheating myself of those moments.
Fast forward again to about three years ago when the love of my life somehow reappeared after 28 years (lot's more on that later, too) and job losses forced me to ask myself how I really wanted to live. I knew that creating bits of lovliness in our daily lives not only brings joy to others, but I knew it could also be a way to eke out a living! Could it be that I could do the things I love and pay the bills? Well, ok, sometimes that last part about the bills is still questionable, but I'm having the time of my life!
Just a few things about the products we sell...almost everything is made by us, repurposed, recyled or just "glammed" up. We hope you visit our Etsy store, and we will keep you posted on all upcoming shows we participate in. Please feel free to leave comments or email me with questions or anything you'd like to share. I look forward to hearing from you all!
I beleive every life is a novel waiting to be written and I hope you'll enjoy reading mine.