Gayle’s View: The Spirit of Christmas

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more.”–Dr. Seuss

I have always appreciated a thoughtful, lovely gift bestowed upon me at Christmas time… after all, it is part of the fun. However, the older I get, the most endearing things about my holiday season are the various the gatherings I attend with friends and families.

Last evening the ladies in my Book Club and I attended a dinner put on for us by my business partners at Stars, Darwin and Brent. The dinner for eight was a fund-raiser with the price of the meal going to Our House, a non-profit local organization that provides various services for people with advanced HIV/AIDS. I had suggested the Our House dinner (as our Christmas gift to each other) because I knew these particular women would be dazzled by the cuisine, the setting, and the personalities of these two fellows.

We felt the spirit of Christmas from the moment we entered the three-story townhouse. The stairwell wall up to the living room was lined with Darwin’s collection of various early framed mirrors–each mirror had a 1930’s bottle-brush wreath attached to it.

We walked into the living room to see a long scrub- topped table set for eight. Each place setting had a menu and a framed card with our name upon it.

★ Wine- White Mexican Sangria
★ Mexican Corn & Bean Salad
★ Oaxaca Vegetable Soup with Tortilla
★ New World Enchiladas

★ Old Mexico Pomegranet Panna Cotta with Mexican Wedding cakes

The room was decorated with every bookshelf and niche and cupboard filled with scores and scores of all different sizes of bottle-brush jeweled trees that Brent has collected over the years.

We were offered the beverage of our choice as Brent and Darwin’s daughter, Darin, played bartender. We ladies are all passionate about home-decorating, and there was much to see while we enjoyed our drinks.

One wall in the living room is an ever-changing display of various collections. Right now there is white matte pottery filling the shelves with Christmas decorations tucked in.

The ladies were charmed by a seating area in the colorful kitchen by gleaming copper countertops, mis-matched cupboard knobs (all from Anthropologie ), a round marble top table with chipped pink peeling paint on the curved iron legs, flanked by two upholstered wing chairs.

We went with our drinks up the next flight of stairs and oohed and ahhhed over the unframed oil paintings of 1930’s ladies which lined the stairwell wall. At the top of the stairs, covering two walls, is Darwin’s unbelievably large collections of old brooms of all sizes and types hanging as if they were art.

The TV room upstairs has a white slip-covered sofa and walls covered in shelves on each side of the room. One wall was filled with the colorful display of “roadside pottery” collected from all parts of the country. The opposite wall was jammed with many collections too numerous to mention.

We sat down to dinner and enjoyed our meal. After dinner, we were presented with a goodie bag–really a vintage large paper cup filled with candy, ornaments, and, of course STARS soap. We all agreed that we couldn’t have had a better time anywhere else. So we thanked our genial hosts and went on our way with a warm feeling in our hearts….

Signing off…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Too Much Good Taste

“Give them what they never knew they wanted.”—Diana Vreeland

I was reading my latest Vogue this last week and came across this quote by the celebrated late Diana Vreeland. She was at one time the editor of Vogue magazine, and was also the founder of the famous Costume Institute Ball held every year in New York.

Her quote got me to thinking….

Thinking about what attracted me to purchase things that “I never knew I wanted”. I concluded that whenever I go into a shop, a department store, a booth at an antique show or mall, or even a grocery store, and I see a creative, surprising, entrancing, and fanciful display, that I am compelled to purchase something. It is the WAY items are put together that enhances the objects within. This theory goes hand-in-hand with successful retailing.

I keep telling myself that someday (when I have the energy) I am going to take a booth at Stars. If I ever do, I am going to remember Diana’s quote and pick the brains of all the creative dealers at Stars to help me come up with a great splash of a display.

Pictured below the space of Otto-Messier at Stars and Splendid:

Another good quote from Diana…

“Too much good taste can be boring.”

The really great interior designers always advise to “throw something in your decor that is unexpected”.

If you don’t know much about Diana Vreeland, check out the Diva website. She really is an icon and an inspiration and just a colorful character altogether.

More tidbits about magazines…. from Saturday, November 8, 2008 New York Times:

Hearst Corporation announced that it would close down O at Home, a spin-off of its popular O, The Oprah Magazine. Much of the magazines’s staff will move to another Hearst publication Country Living, including the editor in chief, Sarah Gray Miller, who will take the same post at Country Living.

This means the departure of longtime Editor, Nancy Mernit Soriano, who was a great friend and supporter of Darwin, Brent and myself. We will miss her greatly.

Another tidbit from the grapevine… Mary Engelbreight’s Home magazine is up for sale.

And yet another….just had word from magazine photographer Phillip Thompson that Cottage Living is folding…

Nothing stays the same.

Signing off this autumn day…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: No Time!

No time to blog this week…..busy getting ready for the Stars Antiques Expo Sale this weekend!!! For details go to our website and click on SALES…

Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Stars Antiques 18th Annual Sidewalk Sale

Scenes from our 18th Stars Sidewalk Sale…..

If you have come to our Stars Malls lately, maybe you have noticed that we are making a real attempt to draw your attention to our stores on the outside. I wrote a while back about our new planters in front of the Stars & Splendid store. Brent decided that balloons were a festive touch, and he ordered a supply of balloons and helium. These are blown up nearly every day and fastened to our A-boards on the sidewalk. (It is scary to blow them up–they are large and sometimes pop in your face) I have to admit they do look good. If you are here at 6:00pm (or 5:00 pm on Sundays), we will give you the balloons (We can’t bring them in overnight as their motion sets off our alarm system.)

Terri Wright, one of our dealers, called us to say she had seen some great moving carts at the Goodwill and that we might want them for the stores. We got them and Darwin spiffed them up and refinished the wooden bases. Now each store does a display on one and rolls it in front of the entrance each morning. The employees are very competitive between stores and occasionally we give a “prize” for an outstanding display.

Our sidewalks during the sale looked as if we were giving a party–vendors were outside with their sale signs posted, and were “wheeling and dealing” their wares. The balloons were flying in the wind,and displays were out along with the wheelbarrows that we planted with flowers a few weeks ago. We plan to replant them in October with hardier stock.

The sale went well–lots of eager customers attended and purchased, happy with the discounts…. and the weather cooperated beautifully.

May I sign off telling you that my sale purchase was a small cream-colored table with a glass-covered inset on the top filled with shells–price after discount $30. Can you guess where it is going to go? (see my September 2 blog)……

Stars Antiques