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I blame Rachel (Ashwell)


Oh, my paws and whiskers!  The coif patterns are finally available for sale on line!
https://www.reconstructinghistory.com/patterns.php?c=22&d=185&w=24&r=Y

Thanks to kass_rants</lj> , who rocks in the rockingest way possible.

I want everyone to know thatI tend to stay away from political debate in my journal these days - my feelings are static, and will not change, so I don't see any point.  From what I've seen of the tidal wave of political posts over the weekend, no-one else is changing their minds, either, so let's take it as a given that I'm not going to talk politics, except to say that y'all need to vote, no matter what. 

(That's John Adams in the icon, btw.  That's as far as I'm going.)

I had a lovely weekend - theblueleader</lj>  and our friend Stumpy came over and helped amazingly on getting things ready for our Gardiner's event in October.  The garage bathroom is now drywalled and taped/mudded, thanks to theblueleader</lj> , and part of the back meadow is mowed, thanks to Stumpy.  Awesome stuff, guys, thank you!  We got some larger branches cleared in the woods area so we can go over it with the field mower (boo undergrowth), we got the rest of the insulation in the ground floor, and the baffles in upstairs in the garage, and I hung the mirror in the guest bedroom  (FYI, Hercules Hooks are da bomb).  I'm rather proud of the mirror - I got it hung all by myself, and even put the hanging hardware on the mirror.  Since I'm not exactly handy with the power tools (in this case, the drill), I was delighted by the outcome.

The guest bedroom is coming closer and closer to being completely finished (except for trim and flooring, which is a ways off yet).  I am very excited.  It's a very girly room, but I'm sure our more manly guests won't mind - they'll just be sleeping in it, not spending hours and hours locked in.

I got to drive my new Miata both ways, since I went down a day early (to be there for deliveries, and, as it turned out, the electrician), and I drove with the top down both ways (I am now converted to wearing a baseball cap while driving).  The weather was gorgeous, and since I took the long way home (rte 15 through Leesburg to rte 70 at Frederick MD), I got to drive over the Potomac at Point of Rocks, and it is breathtakingly gorgeous.  With the top down, I got to see so much more of it, and the smell of the river up there is lovely.  It was soul-filling.

I also did a little antique shopping on the way home - I'm looking for a few things for the guest bedroom/bath, and I'm suddenly obsessed with putting together a Steampunk Victorian hunting outfit for CostumeCon (blame it on the collective zeitgeist, which has declared Steampunk the new thing, even though it's been around for years).  I got a couple of little bits plus some awesome vintage handkerchiefs.  Not much for the costume, though I got a great pair of 1860s glasses. 

I haz plans. 

One of the things I realized while shopping is that it is profoundly depressing to wander into a beautiful shop and realize that every single beautiful thing in it is outside my price range (well, outside what I consider reasonable for pillow shams, anyway).  The shop in question is in Lucketts, and is called "The Beekeeper's Cottage", and it is filled with Shabby Chic[tm] brand products, and things that fit the Shabby Chic[tm]* aesthetic.  It was lovely, but I am pulled up very short at the direction in which SC[tm] has gone.  If I remember correctly, it used to be about finding things in flea markets for super cheap, and refurbishing them in the English Country Cottage mode (which mostly seemed to involve a lot of cans of Krylon white paint).

Apparently it has now become a designer thing, with $100 shams, $350 bedspreads, and $1400 chairs.  The SC[tm] fabrics are all $40 /yard and up, even though they are supposed to look like faded English chintz.

I'm sorry, but what?  Why, exactly, should I pay so much for what is essentially sun-faded fabric?

I didn't really get an answer for that one.

Understand, I love antiques - the design look I have gone with for the house is definitely retro, and will be accentuated with the antique furniture Bob and I have collected over the years (and a few smaller pieces we've both inherited).  I am most comfortable with the English country house aesthetic, since that's what I grew up with.  I find faded colours and small china whatsits very pleasing, and I'm really not interested in the Modern look, even though I appreciate it when I see it.  I collect old things, and the guest bed/bath is done in the English blue-and-white look, with antique watercolours painted by some ancestor of mine in 1820 or so. 

Essentially, I seem to be trying to create a combination of my grandmothers' houses, with the same mish-mash of antiques from many eras, the small decorative touches, and nothing but real art or antique prints on the walls.

(I have the art covered; I have real paintings, my own paintings, and a bunch of 100-300 year old prints my mother gave me that belonged to my great-grandfather.  The prints I have are limited editions from www.victoriasimages.com, and a Salvador Dali woodcut from his "Divine Comedy" series.  It's not signed, but it does have a blind stamp - and it's probably the most valuable artwork in the house.)

(Yes, I'm boasting.  You'll live.)

I would love to furnish the beds in hem-stitched linen sheets, with lacy light bedspreads and shams, but not if I have to pay more for a single bed than we paid for the 1910 table and 1915 Renaissance revival cupboard combined.  Shabby Chic[tm] has become an evil design house monster, not the delightful (my loathing of Rachel Ashwell, whom I find to be ridiculously shrill and annoying notwithstanding) pastime of browsing flea markets for great bargains to refurbish.  I'd rather buy vintage fabrics than pay $100 /yard for "predistressed" chintz in an English Rose pattern.  No, really.  I'd much rather have something with a history than an expensive facsimile.

(A cheap facsimile is fine, or even a mid-priced facsimile, like the rather pricey but totally worth it kitchen drawer pulls that give the kitchen such a great 1950s look.)

It seems more and more that antique stores are being replaced by the Shabby Chic[tm]-style store - some antiques, a lot of expensive bath products,"reclaimed" (meaning destroyed with awful painting and crappy glued-on "decoration") vintage items, and an overall climb in prices that is not really justified.

Okay, I'm being a bit of a hypocrite - some of the reproduction stuff is rather marvellous, and I did buy some nice things from one of the stores yesterday (I'm a sucker for reproduction French 1920s stuff).  But I really just want antiques, and if I can get them for a bargain at the scruffy junk store without the 1000% mark-up, I'm going there.  I'll pay $5 for a piece of 1910 painted china (in this case, a sugar bowl that will go on my vanity and hold things), but if the shop promotes it as "English Country" and suddenly prices it at $50 just because it's old, they've lost me.

I'm a fairly savvy shopper; I can tell a bargain, I can sniff out a repro, and I frequently seem to know more about the goods a booth dealer has than they do (I saw a stamped block of china tea being sold as a "carved wooden block" once; no, it may be rock hard because it's 20 years old, but if you put it in water, it will dissolve, which is not really a common property of wood), and I know when they're being completely unrealistic about the price.  Unfortunately, they're starting to price too high more and more these days - and the ShabbyChic[tm] movement is largely responsible for this nonsense.

Fortunately, I still know the good places to go for the really good stuff that isn't overpriced.

And I'm not afraid to rummage in the thrift store.  After all, I, too, know how to use a can of Krylon white paint.

*(That annoying [tm]?  Is there because SC is now a damn brand, not a fun idea for creating a unique look from old furniture.  When Target has a range of downmarket Shabby Chic stuff, it's no longer about individuality.)

Comments

( 96 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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sarahbellem
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
OMG! COIF PATTERNS!!! AAAAA!!!

I'm sorry, I'm going to have to return to read the rest of this post after I calm down. Thank you, Laura, and thank you Kass, for saving my embroidery-inept ass! There's not enough sparkly puffy hearts out there for you!

Oh, and FIRST REPLY!!!! ;)

Edited at 2008-09-08 03:31 pm (UTC)
kass_rants
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
I greet you, my embroidery-inept sister! Laura's patterns are the most likely thing to get me to actually do all those embroideries I always say I'll never do. =)
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elizabethnmafia
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
The coif patterns are finally available for sale on line!

That's awesome! Congrats! :)
dragonazure
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Does having steam-era railroad equipment as decorative accessories in the home since before one was born count as steampunk? 8^P
baronessv
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Only if it's wearing goggles.
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maricelt
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
I love me the pattern I have. And planning to get the thread from Kass to work it.

Although: Question? I know the coifs I have seen are worked in silk. Do you know of any that were worked in wool? And in your opinion would working a coif in fine wool be within the realm of the possible?

I'm just a sucker for crewel work, and being Scots, I do love working with the wool. But, embroidery knowledge is not my forte.
attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I cannot answer that question with any certainty. I have never seen a wool-worked coif, but a number of the domestic embroideries are worked in fine wool, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that someone worked their coif in wool rather than silk...
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kass_rants
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Now, perhaps, I actually have a snowball's chance in Hades of actually having a nice embroidered coif.

I feel the exact same way! =)
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attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Kass sells to businesses as well; talk to her. :)
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newperspectives
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, the patterns are lovely, Laura! Delight!

Now, *choosing* is going to be a problem...
attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
You could buy them all... (kidding) (sort of)
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kass_rants
Sep. 8th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I think that antique shops are reacting to the economy in a funny way -- instead of discounting their stock in order to sell it, they're raising the prices to make more on each piece. There's a antique area near Lancaster, PA called Adamstown that has loads of antique shops, some of them junk but many of them specialized in a certain area (furniture, clothing, early electronics...) and quite good. But when we went this spring, we found that some of the places who'd prices had always been reasonable were just outrageous. It was as if they were trying to make up on lack of shoppers by increasing their margin on all the items.

My economist's brain is wondering if that trend isn't at play here too.
attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
Probably - there's a difference between shoppers looking for a bargain and shoppers looking for home decor - the home decor people are much more likely to pay high prices for something, as they then get bragging rights ("Oh, this little thing? It was expensive, but so unique.").

The bargain hunters tend to be less courted. Mind you, when I'm talking bargain, I'm not meaning I'm only spending $10 a t a time - I rarely get out of an antique mall for less than $100 (which is why I try not to shop too often). The difference is that I have lots of fun things to play with, instead of one big ticket item. So the places that have lots of small collectibles seem to do rather well, even when the economy is sagging (plus I think the "booth" dealers either spread out over multiple malls to catch more customers, or do it as a second income thing).

There's one booth at an antique mall I go to regularly who has priced their stuff at least three times the market (i.e. ebay, antique guides) price. Her stuff just sits there - it never changes, and I've been going to that mall for years. I think they're following the "more money per item" model, but honestly, when everyone around them is at market price, their stuff won't sell.
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chargirlgenius
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Not my time period, but yay coifs! You're tempting me in a big way.

Shabby Chic... with you on that one. Reminds me of an article we were assigned to read in high school, about fake reality and an overdesigned world. One of the products in question were Pepperidge Farm cookies, that were stamped with a machine in such a way to make them look lovingly homemade, and were even marketed as being manufactured nostalgia.

Bleah.
hugh_mannity
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
*pouts*

Where are the embroidered coif patterns for guys?

kass_rants
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
She has made a man's nightcap I know. Perhaps we can pressure her...
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reasdream
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
I love the Adams icon. It is awesome.

(mine's Madison, due to working for his house)
attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
The person making the icons has all sorts of historic figures with the same tag line - all the people that were community leaders. :)

(I need to load the Susan B. Anthony one.)
taamar
Sep. 8th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
So... chintz?

I have a piece of rose chintz that my grandmother gave me a few years back. She said "This had been sitting around my house since before I was married, and my mother said the same thing when she gave it to me. Maybe you'll find a use for it?". It's 36" wide, uncut, and 9 yards long.

If you decorate in pinks I'd be happy to send it to you... I love Shabby Chic, but it always looks just shabby when I do it (I'm missing my inner chic), and I can't bear for this fabric to go to waste for another 50+ years... fine things deserve to be used, and this one has been waiting a long time.

You want?
attack_laurel
Sep. 8th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
omgyes.

I'd *love* a piece of vintage chintz. Cushions!
taamar
Sep. 8th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
If you e-mail me your address at taamar(at)hotmail(dot)com I'll send it out this week.

Huzzah! I've been staring at it for a few years feeling guilty that I have nothing to do with it.
devikat
Sep. 8th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
OMG coifs!!!

And I completely understand about the Shabby Chic(tm). I live about a block away from an Urban Outfitters (the "teen" version of Anthropologie, which I work across from) and I always get caught by their 'bohemian artsy chic'... but I can't stand them, mostly because of their prices!

My parents were artists, darn it... I grew up with a house full of more misc. art supplies than an art store! I can scrounge rummage sales/jumbles and thrift/charity shops as well as anyone. And don't forget the curb shopping!

So I usually end up getting so angry, I have to go home and make something. Gets my butt in gear on those projects I keep procrastinating on every time. :o)
sydneysd6
Sep. 8th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Rachel Ashwell is evil. Have you noticed she has no REAL facial expression......between the botox and thorazine I doubt she could muster up a real emotional reaction if she tried. And I hate that her trendy-schmendy show sems to have empowered retailers to mass produce faux shabby chic products that then are sold at high end boutique pioces! Not really the point of the design trend!
kass_rants
Sep. 8th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
between the botox and thorazine I doubt she could muster up a real emotional reaction if she tried

*dies*

(and ICON LOVE!)
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