Monday, September 05, 2016

Antiques Week Fall 2016

I'm a fortunate gal.  I know this.  I live in Texas (born in LA and I claim it too).  I can go to Warrenton and Round Top for Antiques Week on any day of the week.  It's a sweet, pretty hour-and-a-half drive from my house.  Hotel reservations aren't necessary.  For a junk and antique lover, that's a blessing.  Today I thought I would provide an update on my favorite haunts during this time of year, Antiques Week.

I start the process each season (twice a year, fall and spring) by checking out this calendar.  I look up Cole's and then determine a weekday to start the first trip.  I try to leave the house by 7 am but that doesn't always happen. During the second week, I attend with some good friends and we make a fun day of it, starting at 6:30 am!  These girls are serious about their junk.

The drive from I-10 can go one of two ways.  It's a pretty drive that can include some country driving or a more direct route near LaGrange.  If I have my camera and thinking about shooting, I will take I-10 to Sealy/Bellville (exit 720) and then up to Bellville on 36.  From there I go through Industry on FM 159. Watch the speed limit in town and between towns.  You can blow your entire junk spending budget on a speeding ticket in a construction zone (ahem, got a warning, thank goodness!).   There's a great shop in Bellville called Nothing Ordinary Antiques that is a personal favorite with tons of selection.  I generally stop on the way back because it opens at 10 and I can't hang around when Warrenton's waiting.

If I take I-10 to FM 71/LaGrange, I'll make a stop at Hruska's Bakery in Ellinger and then take FM 955 to Fayetteville.

But hold on, I'm getting ahead of myself.  For the drive in on FM 159, I generally continue on (if you take the FM 954 exit, you'll come right up to Cole's) to Fayetteville Antiques on the Square.  Fayetteville is a great little town that we used to visit for scrapbook weekends at Las Brisas.  It has a cute little town square and they have several antiques booths on the square.  Pricing has gone up on some of the booths but generally inside the building, it's reasonable.  I've always found a great selection of antiques too.

For both shows, any time of year Texas weather can easily be blistering hot and sweaty.  Cole's is an indoor show with air conditioning and clean bathrooms.  A great time to visit around 3 in the afternoon for a cool break from the heat.  In the past I've found two excellent library card catalogs in shops inside and outside at Cole's.  There's a great trifecta of dealers near one corner  - Wendell Wolff, Bungalow 29 and Traci Knighten's shop.  I almost always make a purchase at each of these dealers. 


March 2016 finds at Cole's
More Cole's finds





Now, let's go in a completely different direction to arrive at RT/W.  If you're coming into Round Top from Hwy 290, you will have several options for pit stops before/after. In Brenham, there are three stops for inspiration:  True Blue Home in Chappell Hill, Holly Mathis in Brenham, and Leftovers (great inspiration).  I still haven't made it to the first two but perhaps this season!

Now this is a hard choice whether to start or end the day in Burton.  I'm going to strongly suggest you stop at Bayberry's Antiques, owned by Shelby Geshay.  The vignettes alone will inspire you and the prices are excellent.  I'm personally looking forward to the opening of their B&B.  Another great shop for inspiration is Old Glory in Burton.  And dinner at the Brazos Belle is a good choice.  And there's new game in town, Burton Roadhouse which I think will be a must-stop this year.

Last season we spent a good amount of time at LaBahia and WOW, was it fun.
Plan to spend a couple of hours at this venue.  It is packed inside and out, with plenty of inspiration.

La Bahia







In Warrenton, I generally start at Zapp Hall and go both right or left.  At Zapp you can find an awesome booth, Rust in Peace from Atlanta, GA.  Always inspiring.  Going south (towards Cole's) Bar W fields are excellent with a treasure trove of good stuff including Theresa of Garden Antqs this year.  The pricing is much more reasonable here too.  Heading north past the food booths and through a little gully, I'm addicted to Mexican Street corn.  (I don't know any better directions, sorry!). 
Zapp Hall booth - wood clamps!

I haven't mentioned Round Top too much.  There are a few fields to visit but I'm not one to stop at Marburger Farms.  That's more for designers and formal antiques, not junk.  Zapp also has a prom one night but since I don't stay at night, I haven't made it to the prom.  And Royer's Pie Haven can't be beat but we generally eat there in the summer during Round Top Musical Festival.  It's impossible to get in there during Antiques Week.  It's still hot as blazes but that doesn't matter - I'm headed to the fields in a little over two weeks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Windsor England

My first trip to Windsor was in October 2014 for a visit to Windsor Castle with my brother and at the urging of my friend, Renee Terry. It is now my favorite English excursion outside of London. I now add a night in Windsor to the beginning or end of every London trip.  My goal one day is to  spend three months in the summer there to escape the Texas heat. 
Windsor is an easy 45 minute trip from Heathrow airport, either by train (LHR Terminal 4 to Windsor Eton Central) or bus.  I've done both and while I spent an inordinate amount of time researching it, it's simple and easy either way. 



Stay at least one night in Windsor.  I'm a big believer in using TripAdvisor for advice on all things travel.  For lodging, on our first trip we stayed at MacDonald Windsor hotel, voted #1 and it's beautiful.  Sitting by the fireplace with an adult beverage or coffee is a nice rest spot in between shopping.  I've also stayed at Mercure (also on the High Street but a bit hard to find) too and it's good - I think they've changed the name.





We toured Windsor castle on our first trip and I really enjoyed it.  HRH the Queen was in residence and had some visitors - all very exciting.  I have to laugh because in one of the TA forums, someone asked why on earth would they place the castle below the Heathrow flight path... The line to tour the castle is not that long, be sure you aren't standing with the "tour groups" like someone did (ahem).   

Windsor is a great walking town, all the way down the High Street in both directions (go inside the Windsor Parish church, it's beautiful), and then Peascod, which is a pedestrian street with beaucoup shops. 




Near Parish church - military graveyard


Windsor has about 5 charity shops (thrift stores) and my absolute favorite (and yes, I'm willing to share it with you) is Thames Hospice on Peascod.  I found so many great linens, amazing maps and old books (Elvis and Beatles) and a vintage Monopoly game with £ money - that it warranted getting a second suitcase! 







Daniel Dept store - take a break at their coffee shop with the locals

The Daniel department store and C&H store are excellent (go on the second floor). That is where I found awesome map oilcloth (they call it PVC fabric) that I used to recover an old card table. There are several high end stores right past Peascod at the Windsor Royal Shoppes.  There's a Cath Kidston next to the MacDonald hotel and the gift shop on that corner (at Peascod) has high quality gifts and the best prices.  When you make the turn on Peascod to St. Leonard St, there are several great shops on that street including Vinegar Hill (awesome gift shop).  Go down to the fire house (beautiful!) and step in to see the fish monger.
 


Vinegar Hill - cute gifts

As far as meals are concerned, my favorite breakfast place is Monty's on St. Leonard.  Great food, great service and very reasonably priced.  Get a latte, you won't regret it.  Perfect place to start out before shopping.  For dinner we've been to Bill's and had a great first meal and an "okay" meal the second time.  The décor is industrial chic, Joanna Gaines would love it.  And get an Eton Mess for dessert - it's a tradition started at the University.  There is also a Patissiere Valerie, which is usually good. 

And if Windsor isn't your cup of tea, go to Hampton Court.  Fabulous tour of the house and gardens.  Great history lesson.





Saturday, June 18, 2016

London Town - Part Two

A great way to start off the day is a visit to Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Big Ben.  I'm a fan of the London Eye (and I don't like heights), it's pricey but a fun way to see all around London.  You can take a walk around St. James park to stop by Buckingham Palace (through July there is Changing of the Guard every day at 11:30 am).  And a walk through Green Park on to my favorite department store, Fortnum & Mason (a smaller classier version of Harrods) located on Piccadilly.  It's a wonderful place to have high tea or get food gifts.  My personal favorite is their lemon curd.  And the window displays are amazing. Right next door is the largest Cath Kidston store.  This is a great place to get gifts, and if you don't at the flagship store, there will be one at Heathrow Terminal 4. Past F&M you will see St. James church with craft booths called Piccadilly Market.  It's small but I've bought several gifts there.  Next door is a nice bookstore, Waterstone.

Next up is Piccadilly Circus and then go left to Regent St.  Lots of good browsing including Hamleys (toys) and then make a right at Great Marlborough Street for Liberty of London.  They have a great paper goods shop on the first floor and great fabrics on the 5th floor. I saw Usher there once. They have a wonderful Christmas shop starting in October.  Another great store for shopping is John Lewis on Oxford St.  They also have a great store at the airport.
Liberty of London


Covent Garden is a fun place to shop and eat, especially on the weekends.  You can pick up theater tickets in Leicester Square.  My favorite is Phantom of the Opera but we recently saw The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious. 

I like to stop in at Marks & Spencer (the grocery store) to pick up some lemonade and room munchies.  I think its fun to go to a local grocer to see the selection.  Boots is the local drugstore, I like to get a little bit of make up or lotion there, as a reminder of my trip.

For museums, I love the British Museum (it's located in a neighborhood so get good directions) and Victoria & Albert museum. 




The London Underground is the best way to travel around the city by buying an oystercard when you get there and topping it up, if needed. Their Plan a Journey page is a valuable tool. Be aware that many of the tube stations have long steep escalators - not my personal favorite but I take a deep breath and jump on.  And if you travel during rush hour, hold your purse close to you at all times.  Don't make eye contact with anyone and for heaven's sake, wear dark colored shoes.  American's stick out like a sore thumb when they talk loud and wear white "trainers" or worse, sandals!

Best way to come into London from Heathrow is the high speed train, Heathrow Express.  It is easy to find and a quick 15 minute trip, ending at Paddington Station.  Buy your ticket from an agent or the box, it's cheaper than while on the train.

Best way to get English currency is when you arrive, through an ATM.  Be sure and let your bank know you are traveling internationally (most banks have an online form you can complete) so they won't lock down your account when it is being used in London.
The English love to make up pet names for each other and their buildings too.  Here you see the Walkie Talkie, Cheese Grater and the Gerkin.  Across the river (not shown) is the Shard.  You will be tested on this when you arrive at the airport.  Just joshing.


I've had the good fortune to be on the top floor of the Walkie Talkie and taken photographs of each vista.  Click on the photo and you can see the London Eye in the distance and St. Paul's Cathedral straight ahead.








At night, you should walk across the Millennial Bridge and take a photo of both sides of the river. 

That's what comes to mind when going to London.  Seems like I do a lot of shopping, huh?  I'm going to do another post about a must-do visit to the town of Windsor, where HRH the Queen spends her weekends. 



Monday, June 13, 2016

London Town

I work in the insurance business, where you buy insurance in the London market (Lloyd's) and have had the good fortune to need to visit the city a few times each year.  It is one of my favorite cities in the world and I thought I would share some of my favorite places.  This may need to be two posts!

Lodging - we normally stay near Lloyd's in the insurance district at the Andaz or Doubletree near the Tower of London.  I've also rented a flat just north of there in Hoxton through Airbnb at $125/night.  I've also used Priceline's "name your price" for a 4-star hotel in Mayfair for about the same price.  I would refer to TripAdvisor for staying in Covent Garden or Westminster.

Shopping Markets - my favorite is Old Spitalfields Market, which is near the insurance district.  It's open air but covered consisting of market stalls (awesome crafts) and shops and plenty of places to have tea or sweets.  I've found great gifts at Inspitalfields and great fish and chips at a little joint called Poppies on Hanbury St. You can spend an entire afternoon exploring the market.  I also like to have a simple dinner our first night at Wagamama, which is a chain restaurant with Japanese noodle dishes.  Or go fancy at Chamberlains.  Spitalfields market is open 7 days a week. 

Just north of Spitalfields you'll find converted railcars turned into small shops at Boxpark in Shoreditch.  It's a funky area with amazing graffiti and you'll feel just a tad nervous, but don't be.  Keep going north/east to Columbia Road and an amazing little stitching shop owned by Jessie Chorley.  She's very talented and a joy to visit.  I also enjoy her Instagram posts.  Be sure and pop your head into all the little shops on the road, there's a few resale shops and a garden shop.   


Sweetest shop - look at the Steiff dog on wheels!






If you've got a free Friday morning, head south across the Tower Bridge for Bermondsey antique market.  It starts at 6am and fun for the search.  At first look it may seem pricey but keep looking.  It's also fun to walk back across the bridge and snap a few photos of the black taxis or red double decker buses on the bridge. 




I've never made it over to Borough Market which is on the same side of the bridge, just west of Bermondsey.  It's a food market and a lot of people rave about it, I've just never made it there.  If you've been there, do you like it and would you recommend it?







And while we're on this side of town, an interesting excursion is taking the boat down to Greenwich where the world's clock is set (Greenwich Mean Time) - you can stand in two time zones.  It's a sweet little town, nice to walk around with a small crafts market, a maritime museum and the Cutty Sark.  The boat can be caught at the Tower of London where you will ride down the Thames river to Greenwich and then up the river to Westminster and Big Ben and the London eye.  It's a very enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.


If we're talking about antique markets and London, of course we have to talk about Portobello, with market day on Saturday.  I don't care what anyone says, you should go and see it.  Yes, it's expensive.  Yes, it's crowded.  And you really should experience it, at least once.  Take a look-see in some of the brick & mortars. There's a vendor that sells printers blocks and trays - my hearts desire!  Start as early as 8 am and walk the entire street.  Stop at Biscuiteers and Cath Kidston for a look-see (but buy at the large store on Picadilly - later post).  Have some breakfast at Mike's Café, across from Notting Hill Bookstore.  Or eat from the street vendors.  Just experience it! And keep walking on Portobello, past the crowd until you get to the vendors that lay their wares on the ground.  Now you may find something you must have. 

I'll come back this week with more London shopping suggestions. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Have You Been There?

Today I rediscovered an awesome store in central Houston near River Oaks.  Tell me if this looks familiar and that you've been there?  It's like visiting London, Paris, Italy, NYC all in one store! I saw products from all of these locations while I was there.  I was so surprised, as they recently expanded and have even more amazing gifts and lovelies.  I loved these sock animals, especially the pink cat on the right. 




Next I came upon their Maileg displays, which of course, I love. 
Maileg is a Danish company started by Dorthe Mailil.  I fell in love with it a few years ago when I saw it on Nanacompany blog and then recently, at my friend, Tove's house. 

Little did I know I could find it in Houston! I recently purchased some of their characters online from My Sweet Muffin.  I have two prams, a bed and ironing board (here's the bed and a pram). 


Okay, I got off subject, back to the store.  They have an adorable pet section, with plenty of choices.  I love this display rack. 
I couldn't quite capture in this photo how great the pet display is, with the two elephants and then animal heads on the wall.  You will have to go see it for yourself.

Aren't these dishes adorable!


The store displays are a designer's delight, full of inspiration and absolutely unique with huge signs everywhere.  Where do they get this stuff?  Do they make it?


The Traveler section will make a Texan proud with its Catstudio pillows and glasses.  See that sign?  It says Round Top Inn... Tourists Rooms Meals.  Way cool. 

I remember seeing these assemblage dolls at Bloomingdale's in NYC in 2010.  They are stunning, look at the details.  I'm a big fan of John Derian's decoupage trays.  I always say I'm going to buy one but somehow walk out of the store without one.


These soaps caught my eyes, they are just beautiful.  They were next to some lotions and potions from Italy.  I even saw the soap I purchased in Tuscany last year at this store...

These statues are amazing, and I only captured a few of them.






And if you know a flamingo fan, there was plenty of merchandise to select...
 

Although this one had a strange looking baby in it... I had to shoot from the other side.  The face is freeeeeaky!






The final display I'll show are these cute coasters.  A good laugh.







So, tell me.  Have you been to Kuhl-Linscomb lately?  It's owners are Dan and Pam Linscomb.  It's a great shop that provides inspiration and great gifts.  I didn't leave empty-handed and I will definitely be back. 



Friday, February 06, 2015

Project Show & Tell


Long time, no speak.  Here are a couple of projects I recently finished that I thought you might enjoy and I hope inspire you.  I LOVE Pinterest and was inspiration by this purse organizer made from a place mat.  I found two singletons in my kitchen and made these:

It is a simple process of folding the place mat long-ways (what some folks call hot-dog style) towards the middle and then adding a colored hair tie to one side and a button on the other side.  Sew the button on first (obviously - which I didn't the first time!)  And then sew straight lines based on the measurements of your purse contents. I just eyeballed it.  Fold it over & slip the hair tie around the button and you can start filling it up. With the black one I made a few pockets too tight so for the yellow one (summer style) I made sure they were wider.  The middle can hold larger items, like my hand sanitizer and mints.  I just grab it firmly when I'm lifting it out of my purse.  It such a great idea - I love not having to dig in my purse for a pen or whatnot.  
The second project was actually an original idea  Imagine that!  These hangers are available at The Container Store for $8 and I thought it would be cute to add the baby's monogram to each side.  I searched through my alphabets for the right size and color and attached - some were stickers, others I used Beacon's 3-in-1 craft glue.  I love that stuff and use it on everything.  Container Store also have zoo hangers - I thought these were cuter.  The note was chipboard that I covered with baby paper and inked the sides.  I thought about adding pink ric-rac to the top, but didn't go overboard. 




I have a couple more projects on the board for the weekend.  I'll post as soon as I finish them.  Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Finally!

Hello there!  I've had problems with uploading my photos on Blogger and I finally solved it by changing to Firefox.  I know, its almost a year later.  Whew - I have alot to say!  I've spent the past year making banners with my next door neighbor (Hi Kathy!) and learned a few things along the way, that I thought I'd share.  Technically its a rosette banner, like this:

 

Banner Instructions:

Select patterned paper or cardstock and cut 1.5" x 12" strips.  Each rosette will be one and a half of the 12" strips or 18" (minus 2 cuts - explained in a minute).  I use a Scor-Pal and score every half-inch.  Combine 1.5 strips by cutting off one score on each end of the short 6" piece - that will make attaching the ends to the 12" piece in sync (i.e. peaks and valleys will match up).  Attach with a hot glue gun and hold 15 seconds.  Make the rosette by flattening the 17" piece and add a small scrap of chipboard to the front and back (for stability).  This will take a little practice and you have to "work" with the rosette.  The center hole should be small, almost tiny.   
Print your letters (OH BABY) either in MS Word or using Martha Stewart's alphabet found here on white cardstock.  If you're using Word, change the font size to 155 and pick a nice clean font like Arial Black and allow enough space between letters to punch using the Marvy Mega scalloped circle punch.  You can decorate the punched letter different ways:  1)  rub some diamond stickles over the black letter.  Do this at the very end of the project 2)  drag different colored stamp pads across the edge and the surface of the punched cardstock - to match the rosette (patterned paper) 3) for the font,  print only an outline and color the inside with colored pencils - to match the rosette.  You can also add stickle dots on the scallops - again at the end of the project.  Attach the letters to the rosette with a glue gun. 
I use a grosgrain 1/4 inch ribbon to string the sign and attach it using two staples from Tim Holtz tiny attacher at the top of the rosette.  This takes some practice and will feel awkward the first 20 times - trust me.  Leave enough ribbon to hang from the ends.  I use a piece of cardboard as a spacer between each rosette. 
It really would be easier for me to do a youtube video but I've never done one so I've tried to be as explicit as possible - its all been learned through trial and error.  I first attached everything using redline tape and that just got expensive and didn't hold perfectly.  I've made a ton of these - its a nice gift for a girl's bedroom, especially if their name is unusual.