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.

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

DESSERT
★ 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…

—Gayle
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…

—Gayle
Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century decor….

Sharing photos from “the boys”…..

My Stars Antiques partners, Darwin and Brent, came back from their vacation with photos of their newly redecorated Palm Springs condo.

When I saw the photos, I said to Brent, “I need to put these in my blog”. I knew that the fellows had been buying up 1950’s and ’60s furniture and accessories for some time now. They have bought things from Stars of course, but also from various junking excursions from all over the northwest. On this last trip to Palm Springs, they spent much time putting the look all together in their condo.

Their living room is a mixture of reproduction retro furniture–the cubby hole is from IKEA, the chairs. coffee table, and lamp are new. The rest is vintage.

The dining area features a colorful collage on the back wall, a sunburst clock, a Danish Modern dining set, an avocado green sofa, and tall glass bottles with stoppers behind the sofa.

The hutch (below right) is filled with a collection of vintage Frankoma pottery (which has never been my favorite, but I have to admit it looks terrific all together) which the muted tangerine walls set off nicely. The pair of standing lamps atop the hutch have mica-like shades accented with wood shavings.

A real find is this never-been-used outdoor set purchased in Washington for $50 for all four pieces. It makes for a wonderful period setting on their outdoor patio overlooking the pool.

The last Mad Men episode (a series set in the early ’60s) had scenes from a Palm Springs home. I could picture the series being filmed in Dar and Brent’s condo. I could also picture “Old Blue Eyes” himself lounging in the living room, martini in hand. If you are a Mid-Century Modern fan, be sure to check out the Portland based periodical Atomic Ranch.

I had this type of furniture in my early marriage days, but, trust me, it never looked this good! I sign off thinking about the saying, “Everything old is new again”.

—Gayle
Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: NYC Trip

on New York City…

“It’s a town you come to for a short time.”—Ernest Hemingway

I’m back now from our “girls” trip to the City of New York. We soaked it all in–all the touristy things, the restaurants, the theatre, the shops, the famous streets–the double decker bus tour, Central Park, Times Square–enough stimulation to keep us going for a month. We had the time of our lives.

It was a sight to see all the activity on Wall Street in light of the stock market situation–TV trucks from all over the world in the financial district. We had good intentions to go down to Rockefeller Square one morning to stand outside the Today show…but we just couldn’t get our act together that early in the morning, so this is the next best thing.

NBC has a huge store at the base of “the Rock”–memorabilia from all the shows could be bought there. The downtown chain store, (and MY favorite chain store) Anthropologie, was also nearby. I love all the store display pieces and this store’s were particularly wonderful. My favorite old piece there was a large European phone booth–lined with mismatched vintage wallpaper that was practically peeling off the walls–price $12,000. There was a ladder with a door attached at the top leading to nowhere–an old metal industrial piece with many cubby holes–all filled with their choices of cabinet hardware. Twine-tied bundles of newspaper stacked up at various levels also served as display pieces. I’m sorry I don’t have photos of that.

Another of my favorite stores is MacKenzie-Childs on 57th Avenue. I first saw the creations of MacKenzie-Childs (a husband and wife duo) in Victoria magazine years ago. Their trademark is painted furniture and accessories–lots of black and white checks and bright colors. Extremely creative and whimsical…the company has been sold now to another venue but it is a charming store. I especially loved the elevator–papered in a bright yellow wallpaper and faux-painted from floor to ceiling with scrolls and checks and diamonds. We all decided it had an “Alice in Wonderland” feel.

The picture frame below from Mackenzie-Childs was an ingenious collage of broken china, old buttons, charms, tassels, artificial flowers, etc. It reminded me in a way of the old “memory jars” that come into Stars every now and then, made many years ago by people who saved bits of pieces of items and plastered them onto an old vase, crock, or glass jar.

We had all been great followers and fans of the HBO series Sex and the City and elected to take a special tour of the city where many of the scenes were shot. This turned out not only to be great fun, but also informative and we went to places we did not know about. We made three stops on the 3-hour tour–our favorite was a location on Bleeker Street in east Village where we were treated to cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, a famous bakery where Carrie and Amanda ate cupcakes.

On our last day, we walked through Central Park–a peaceful and perfect way to counteract all the stimulation and frenetic excitement we had been experiencing.

So good to be back home and all of us feeling lucky that we live where we do.

I sign off with an autumn quote:

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree.”—Emily Bronte

—Gayle
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)……

—Gayle
Stars Antiques

Gayle’s View: Summer Reflections

End of summer reflections…

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”—Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1906-2001

For many years now, I have taken time the last two weeks in August to unwind, relax, ruminate, and ready myself to face the seasons ahead. Autumn always seems like a beginning to me–even more than New Year’s Day, and probably goes back to school starting in September. And for many years, I have spent this time at the Oregon coast at our condo in the little village of Neskowin.

One of my ongoing issues (and all of you I’m sure have this issue also) is that there is never enough time to accomplish all the things I need to do and want to do. Anne Morrow Lindbergh knew this and wrote about it in her beautiful and sensitive book, Gift from the Sea. We all are faced with making choices and prioritizing.

I resolve to set aside a time for myself every day to just be me. I resolve to be grateful that I have a busy, active life. I resolve to take each day–even each moment as it comes….to problem solve instead of worrying. My aim is to come away from this time rested and centered. Mind you, nothing has changed in my life, but hopefully my attitude is improved.

Enough about philosophizing….

I want to share some of our condo decor collection with you. Our condo has a beach, ocean, nautical,seashell theme. I have purchased many objects from Stars–I have kept the color palette mainly to neutrals–beige, caramel, tan, dark brown, creamy white, ecru. I mix textures–homespun materials, crocheted afghans, nubby linens, and most of the off white furniture (from Stars of course) has chippy or alligatored surfaces. Putting together this look has been a “labour of love”, and accomplished on a reasonable budget. The shell-encrusted items have been inexpensive–most under $20. I find that shopping carefully for old or gently used items rather than new makes my dollars go further.

Actually the things I treasure the most are the found shells and rocks we have all found while beachcombing over these past 20 years. I have shelves with heart shaped rocks, agates, whole sand dollars, broken shells a small grandson gave me proudly, glass floats picked up after the storms, and polished bits of driftwood. I also have a treasure trove of lovely memories to call up to my mind whenever I want.

And I sign off ready to face the real world…..

—Gayle
Stars Antiques