04 September 2009

A Good Weekend To Read and Celebrate Hard Working Women:

 

image

 

What a weekend this will be!  Amazon has been wonderful to me today!  I received two new, long awaited books delivered to my front door – no hassles, no bothers, no long lines, no gas guzzling, no red lights.   Ah, the beauty of Amazon, my most faithful love.  These days I order almost everything from Amazon, not just books.   I have ordered light bulbs, shoes, a microphone (for the Skirted Roundtable) and even a new laptop!  And if you just  happen to need one – you can order a chandelier from Amazon.   I’m not aware of anything you can’t buy from this fantastic company.   Alas, they make it too easy to spend money.  They keep your credit card on file and you just have to hit –SEND – and it’s delivered, usually the next day.  Amazing.  Just amazing.   I had preordered these two books and had no idea when they would be released,  so it was a complete and delightful surprise that they arrived just in time for this long weekend.    And, at first glance, they are both winners.    The first book is Rachel Ashwell’s – the Queen of slipcovers, pink, turquoise, and crystal –  her newest effort is Shabby Chic Interiors HERE.  The cover is so beautiful,   I could stare at it all day – the pink, the gilt, the settee, the crystal, the peonies.  And  there is Rachel, as always, looking ravishing in her favorite low waisted jeans.   Oh, Rachel, it makes me sad to think about your current financial woes!   How disappointing it all must be for you!   Hopefully, this book will be a new start for her company, certainly she has no place to go but up at this point, it’s all such an awful shame.   The book certainly looks promising – perhaps her best effort since this one:   

 

 

image

The Shabby Chic Home (HERE) is almost ten years old now (!) and it remains a favorite of mine.  I love books that tell the story of one house – from its run down, unattractive beginnings to its perfectly furnished and remodeled finish.   Both this book and the new one are certainly my kind of design books.    If you have never read The Shabby Chic Home, it makes a perfect companion to Rachel’s newest book, which is very similar:  the story of her latest house – room by room, just like her fans like.  The pictures in Shabby Chic Interiors - by Ashwell’s favorite photographer Amy Neunsinger - are gorgeous and worth the price alone. 

 

 

image

I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I’ll just show you a few vignette pictures from Rachel’s newest book Shabby Chic Interiors.   Here, the kitchen with its charming wall mounted faucet – I love this!   Only Rachel can make washing dishes look romantic.

 

 

image Pink, green, and blue- Rachel’s palette. 

 

 

imageHer bedroom is my favorite room in the new house, the curtains are a luscious silk taffeta in a very, very pale amethyst.  

 

 

image

White marble and English styled faucet.  Notice the old fashioned drain stopper - so Rachel.

 

 

imageRachel has a wood cart just like the one in my office!  She calls hers a shoe cart, I call mine a wine bottle cart.  Who’s right I wonder? 

 

 

image

 

The other book Mr. Amazon Man delivered today was Kathryn Ireland’s second, Creating a Home (HERE.)    I wrote about this book a few months ago HERE when it was available for preorder only.   But, it’s out now and it looks beautiful!   The photography is bright and bold – all of her newest fabrics look tempting.   It’s a book for me, that’s for sure – the story of a dilapidated old ranch in Ojai California that Ireland takes under her wing and transforms into a fantasy country estate – although, in the end -  she couldn’t afford its rehab and had to sell.   My favorite series of pictures are of Ireland, dressed in a ball gown, posed around the swimming pool with her three teenaged sons.   Her middle son decides he is through with the photo shoot and the look on her face as she bribes him, scolds him, pleads with him is priceless!    What those pictures say about the manipulation of the family members during those “fun” totally uncandid photographs speaks volumes.   It made me think of all  that Martha Stewart’s daughter must have had to endure as a child – after all, Martha’s husband bolted from that media storm as soon as he could. 

 

 

image 

Some of the pictures have been seen before in a few magazines, but the majority are new.   I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for Ireland to sell something she had poured her heart and soul into.  She writes that she bought the ranch thinking she and her boys would live there fulltime – the only way she could truly afford it.   Her boys resisted – they had no wish to move from Santa Monica - dashing all of Ireland’s hopes and dreams. 

 

 

image

The master bedroom suite, separated from the main house.  I love how the three flooring surfaces come together here: tile, wood, and seagrass.

 

Both Ashwell’s and Ireland’s books are remarkable for this:  they tell the story of two highly independent women, both from England, who came to America on a lark and penniless.   But, through hard work and gritty determination, they both reinvented themselves and became international successes.    Ireland and Ashwell share so much biographic history – it truly is uncanny.   And what better weekend than Labor Day to celebrate what hard work and toil can bring to you – regardless of where you are from, and how little you have to start with.    And though Ashwell is currently suffering through this  economic downturn, I have no doubt that she will rise again, like a Phoenix.   Hopefully, just like Ani DiFranco, another true American success story, says here:

 

Thirty-Two Flavors:

And god help you if you are an ugly girl
'Course too pretty is also your doom
Cuz everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room
And god help you if you are a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying past

 

From our house to yours - I hope you all have a safe and healthy Labor Day Weekend.

61 comments:

  1. I must have them both, Joni! Such enticing covers, I can't resist. You are right, Amazon is deadly in it's ease of use. But, life is short.

    Have a great labor day weekend.

    P.S. Also loved Thirty-Two Flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I pre-ordered the Kathryn Ireland book too... but mine hasn't come yet!! It looks so beautiful but makes me sad to think she didn't get to keep it. Can't say I blame her boys... fun and beachy Santa Monica where all your friends live or middle-of-nowhere Ojai?... a no-brainer if you're a kid! (tho I would choose Ojai in a heartbeat!!)
    Have a Happy Holiday Weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't wait to see both of these books! Thanks for the great previews. I love the kitchen in the Kathryn Ireland book. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Both of these books look like the perfect reads for the long weekend. Can't wait to check them out myself. Have a great holiday Joni!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love when new decorating books come out! I also love Amazon and get 98% of my books through them; plus, I have my Amazon Chase Visa which gives me rewards to use at - yes, Amazon! So sometimes I get books {or DVDs, or music, or whatever} FREE!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have all of Rachel's books, some of her furniture and a set of her original t-shirt sheets. I love her style. I can't wait to get this new book.
    I could have sworn years ago reading an article that Rachel had a business partner named Kathrine Ireland. I wonder if they are one and the same.
    Did Reese Witherspoon really buy Irelands house? If so lucky girl. MB

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lovely post Joni! This was so fun! I love K. Ireland! I have a tear out from one of her houses where she hung a large grouping of prints together, yet didn't measure or level... they had a wonderful joie de vivre! A reminder that things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
    Happy Labor Day Weekend to you also!
    j.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Both books look very interesting..I love Rachel Ashwell's look -even though I don't live with it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What beautiful books! Isn't it fun to get MAIL!?!?!? :) Thanks for sharing your book list with us....keep 'em coming!

    Here's to a wonderful, relaxing weekend!
    Hugs~

    ReplyDelete
  10. Don't get me started. I love book websites. I buy from Amazon but we have Chapters Indigo here in Canada and they are amazing too, but don't have all that stuff that Amazon is now selling. I looked at light fixtures on Amazon, God Bless them. haha.

    Your new books look mah-vellous. I am not into bright colours but will admit that after her recent HB spread, I am smitten with Kathryn M Ireland's bright and cheerful and real and lovely look. If I had a house in Arizona maybe...

    xo Terri

    ReplyDelete
  11. Two books I would enjoy!!

    Enjoy your weekend, Joni!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I adore Amazon. How does that little recommendations thingy always know what I'll like?! And also, I've always admired Kathryn Ireland's spirit and energy! Thanks for the great reviews!

    Wishing you a happy holiday weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  13. How sad that the original Shabby Chic in SM is closing. As a young mother in 1990 I took my kids in a stroller to browse here frequently and even though I couldn't afford to buy at that time, Rachel and her staff were so welcoming. At that time the design was so new and fresh it felt like being in lust when you were in the store. When I finally could afford to buy a sofa with slipcover and a duvet (never had heard of a duvet before that) they treated me like a valued client. I grew away from that style (unfortunately I chose floral patterns that I tired of) but that original purchase still lives on in my friend's home and she treasures it.

    I feel so sad that the store which holds so many happy memories has closed. I'll be buying the book to get my fix.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was wondering when her book was being released, thanks for the update! I also love amazon for their used books and love being able to read all the reviews before buying. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great to know the book by K. Ireland has been released, I placed my pre-order as soon as you wrote about it...so I guess it's being sent out shortly. Europe is probably listed a little later.

    I'm a fan of Kathryn and have her samplebooks of fabrics in my workshop. Such pretty shades of colours!

    All the best to you,
    Ingela

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the preview Joni!
    That image of the bedroom with the taffeta curtains is gorgeous!

    Have a nice reading weekend,

    Greet

    ReplyDelete
  17. Doesn't Reese Witherspoon own Ireland's home now? Not as colorfully decorated inside anymore, though. Have a happy Labor Day reading your little bookies!

    ReplyDelete
  18. joni, you and I are cut from the same bolt...I love a long weekend with new decorating books. My family can not understand why I want them all. They think I have way too many decorating books...now I want these too. I wanted to thank you for your sweet note that you left me in my humble living room. It meant so much coming from the queen...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Martha's husband did not bolt from the press...he dipped his pen in someone elses ink... somehow the comment just did not sound like you...or who I thought you were...just not impressed is all, just not impressed
    If you husband left you for another woman you would not make comments about anyone else...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh Joni, I too have preordered these books but mine have not arrived yet. I cannot wait. Thanks for the review.
    Anon 6:56 needs to lighten up!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wine rack sounds much nicer (and older) than shoe rack!

    Happy Labor Day,

    +Spencer
    The Architectural Antique Review

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great book review post! Just ordered both books on Amazon. Happy long relaxing weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  23. it's a work week-end for me.....but I think I'll take some books to the shop..might just squeeze in some drooling-over-design time. Have a great week-end. Loved the Skirted Round Table this week.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, man....you are FORCING me to add 2 books to my collection. Great post/writing as always!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. off to the bookstore... can't wait for amazon now that I know these are out!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Both books look just luscious! I just spent part of today at Barnes & Noble buying decorating and gardening books on the clearance rack. But, like you, I much prefer to avoid the traffic and crowds and constant annoying conversations on cell phones and shop Amazon.com. I shall check these two out. Thanks for the tip!
    Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anon- actually you are correct! He did leave her for another woman. And truth be told, I admire Martha A LOT! I was just commenting on these photoshoots with family members. Just wait until you see those pictures and you see in Kathryn's face what she is going through with a teenager who does NOT want to be photographed for the book. It just made me think about all those "happy" family shots and how it must be so forced. Kudos to Kathryn for including them. It shows a "realness" to her to admit to the world what was going on behind the scenes. Windsor Smith also comes to mind with her three teenage boys who seem to be in every photoshot. My point is - I wouldn't dream of dragging my family into my work or pictures just to make me look good. If they wanted to, then fine, but if they didn't - they should have a right to say no. When Martha's husband left, he just wanted a quieter life without the constant camera. He did leave. I'm not sure what I said that was so wrong. Perhaps that camera is what drove him away? Just thinking out loud. Not sure why you are offended, but email me, I would love to discuss this with you further!!!! Joni

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anon- one more thing - about my husband leaving me. Well, you are right about that. I guess when you are in a happy, solid relationship, it's hard sometimes to see outside that box. Truthfully, I can't begin to imagine the pain of losing a husband. period. to illness or another woman. Even when you are in a wonderful relationship - you each know that in the end - one of you is going to be left alone. Ben and I talk about that sometimes. And it's so horrifying we quickly change the subject. But yes, I can't imagine how painful divorce must be. But I do know what death does to a happy couple. I watched my father suffer more than any human being could after my mom died when I was 13. It was the saddest time of my and his life. So yes I do know that. A friend of my mom's husband left her for his secretary after 40 years of marriage - and she used to say over and over - I wish he would have just died. It would be easier than this.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Another great post Joni! I am totally hooked on your blog! I've even told my husband about Mr. Slipper Socks Man.

    I need both of these books too! You need to include a link on your blog!


    I'm not finding Ireland's book listed on Amazon.com! Where is it?


    Susan, Dallas

    ReplyDelete
  30. You make me want to buy them...but I am resisting...


    I am resisting...


    I am resisting...

    ReplyDelete
  31. Joni, I didn't realise your beloved Mum died when you were just 13 - you speak about her as if she is still around and I guess this speaks volumes of your feelings for her and her influence on you.

    The original Shabby Chic book with the cream sofa and chandelier on the front was my first design book. For a few years I put it to the back of my design book pile out of view when Shabby Chic started to become passe, now it is back on top of the pile and on show - nothing will ever influence me as much as this book even though I have outgrown some parts of it - I still get excited to open it up and look at my favourite photos which I now notice I have subconsiously copied in parts of my own home. I'm thrilled that Rachel Ashwell is putting out a new book and now I'm beside myself with excitement, hope it doesn't take the usual eternity to be released in Australia so I can get my hands on it.

    Kathy Ireland's home reminds me of that TV series "Brothers & Sisters". Apart from that, it is a really unique and beautiful house and very Mexican. It must be heart-wrenching for her to have to look at the book and promote it knowing that she doesn't live there anymore.

    Just ignore these "anonymous" bloggers. The nasty ones are what I call "shit-stirrers" if you'll excuse the language.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Joni, thank you for highlighting these two women. You are so right, they are hard working, independent, and everything worth celebrating. I admire Rachel especially, and think of her often. No doubt her biggest heart ache was having to let her staff and employees go. I don't doubt that she will rise again like a Phoenix. Can't wait to add these two books to my shelves, there is nothing like great inspiration, that you can look at again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your weekend deliveries are by favorite designers, I wish we had A Book Thing like Meg in Baltimore!!
    I do love Amazon, I think I have maxed out my card there!

    ReplyDelete
  34. These both look beautiful! I especially love the kitchen sink photo. Amazon is deadly for me; I can even order from them quickly and easily from my phone...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Shabby Chic home was the first interiors book I ever bought. Of course my taste has evolved but I still enjoy flipping through the pages.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I adore each of Rachels books...her bedroom curtains are to die for!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Joni, I have the same weakness for Amazon. I think I'm on it at least twice a day looking things up and--when not buying--adding them to my Wish List.

    Can't wait to read these books--Ireland's looks especially yummy to me. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek into them!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I have all of R. books. Theyb truly do inspire.
    Sorry, I've been off grid for the last few months.

    missn our chats♥

    GIVEAWAY OVER AT CITYFARMER ... POP ON OVER!

    ReplyDelete
  39. The "shoe cart" is too cool. Love it. Gotta get that book...my new arrival this week was, "The Southern Cosmopolitan" by Susan Sully - very nice indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Joni, I love the new look of your blog! Nice job. Both of these books look like great reads - thanks and have a great Labor Day. XO

    ReplyDelete
  41. Rachel is right about the wooden cart, it is a shoe rack. I know this because of seeing many of them lined up filled with shoe forms in my families business.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Miss J, I have the K Ireland book ordered on Amazon and have not yet received it, however I walk past the Libby Stables home owned by Reese almost every weekend. Many who live nearby are a bit "bummed" by the attention but the house is preserved and well loved by the new owner. There were never walls around the property as there are now but I suppose that comes with life as a celebrity. Suffice it to say Ojai is not a celebrity driven area and most are a bit sceptical of change. I hope many do as Ms Ireland did and work toward the preservation of historic homes and keep the Ojai Valley as it was envisioned by Mr.Libbey some 80 years ago, warmest regards, kelley

    ReplyDelete
  43. Well thanks to your great post I just ordered both the books on Amazon and can't wait to get them!

    Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Very inspiring women with such beautiful aesthetics!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh my Joni! I think I need to add to my decor book collection. I love to sit and ponder and dream and drool.

    I do like to order from Amazon, but only have ordered books...I MUST look further!

    Happy weekend.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  46. FabulousJoni (one word),

    I've stalked your blog for months & this incredible Labor Day post has brought me out of hiding!

    My main reason for checking in w/your blog today was a reference back to your "Parade of Homes" post featuring those 3 lovelies (Ginger Barber did 2 of the 3, right?) in the pool of overdone typical showcase/parade homes. Here in San Antonio, we just returned from our local Parade & I needed a reality check (in all honesty, I didn't complete the Parade b/c my 2-year-old fell and smashed her head and we ended up in the ER rather than drooling over homes, but I digress...)

    Anyway, my heart SKIPPED A BEAT when I saw Rachel's cover. Thought it didn't come out until October & will be RUNNING to the bookstore tomorrow. She's the first designer that made me realize my style had an actual name. Above-mentioned 2-year-old's nursery is TDF fabrics combined from Rachel's original line & her Target stuff.

    Kathy Ireland - WOW! I need to review her stuff. Love your photo descriptions.

    The way you tied their stories together is simply the perfect Labor Day tribute! Thank you.

    P.S. Wine cart.

    ReplyDelete
  47. How can you say "Ashwell... I have no doubt that she will rise again, like a Phoenix" when just last week you said we should get rid of things in our home when they hit Target? (Shabby Chic is now available to the masses). I love this airy girly feel, there is a right place for it. Those who are not always caught up on trends will continue to fill their homes with Ashwell's style. And others will appreciate it for 30 mins on pages.

    I wish them both well with these books, Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Anon- I just love the anons! When did I EVER say we should get rid of stuff if it is at Target????? quote it. you can't. because I NEVER said that! And WHY would I wish Ashwell harm because she IS at Target. good for her. The question was about Belgian design. I was saying that for RH to be successful with it, people had to accept it and for people to accept it it had to be at Target, etc. And the question was - if a person loved something that was "different" or "unique" would they want to see it at "Target" i.e. all over the place. Sort of like - loving Suzanis because they were unique until they weren't unique anymore. It was a question. NOT a statement to throw out anything you have from Target. Because, in the next post - I talk about my shades and lamps from Target!!!!!!!! And I sure haven't thrown those out. THanKs anon for putting words in my mouth that I didn't say.

    ReplyDelete
  49. My mother died when I was 13. My father remarried the following year after a horrible adjustment. I was thrilled for him to by happy again and I loved his new wife. The "mother" I speak of usually is my stepmother! We just decided a loooonnnnnnggggggg time ago that we wouldn't use the term "step" mother or "step" sister. When I talk about my sisters - they are both actually my step sisters. I thought people knew that, but maybe I haven't been clear. one day I'll write about my "real" mom! She was a real character, a really unique individual.

    ReplyDelete
  50. SUSAN - the links are there - they are usually where it says HERE in a different color - if you click it = it will take you directly to Amazon. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sweet Joni, what a great tribute to a couple of strong, gutsy girls! Although not a huge RA fan, I have occasionally peeped @ her blog to see what she's up to. Since the closure of the Shabby Chic business she has walked a long & arduous road. Good on you for acknowledging their determination & style. And as the mother of 5 boys who tried (unsuccessfully!) to move them interstate, I feel Kathryn's pain,
    Millie ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  52. I remember being a teenager who loved vintage housewares and clothing and Rachel Ashwell's first came on the scene and put a name to this eclectic look. I still enjoy pulling out that book today.Great idea to feature these two powerhouse women!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Joni,
    Thanks for the reminder about Rachel Ashwell's book. I love her style and will order on Amazon today!
    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  54. I hope Rachel does rise like a Phoenix!! She is truly an inspiration... can't believe her company had to go through all it did... I am sure we have not seen the last of her!!!

    Happy Labor Day!!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Wow, you are such an amazing writer! If you should happen to be in Southern California in October, Rachael will be doing a book signing in Costa Mesa. I don't know if it's appropriate for me to leave the details in my comment, so let me know if you want more info.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Lovely, I totally spelled her name wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Dear Joni,
    I have recently become a fan of your blog and anxiously await each new entry. Friday night I read read in disbelief as you gushed on and on about your "most faithful love AMAZON!" I have to say that my stomach actually dropped as you went on to write that you were "unaware of anything you can not buy from this fantastic company." I'll start my list: Julie Neill Chandeliers, Tara Shaw Maison, Habersham,Provence Collection, Hickory Chair and Lee Industries, Scandia Down bedding, Peacock Alley bedding, Pine Cone Hill bedding and pj's, Sferra, Ann Gish bedding, Seda France,Jan Barboglio, Bobo Intriguing Objects...
    Needless to say there is plenty that can only be gotten from, you guessed it, your local furniture and design store! We also have all the design books you could ever ask for, that have been carefully scoured over at market and are sure not to disappoint!
    I understand the fun of receiving packages. We would be happy to keep your credit card on file, beautifully wrap the book at no charge and mail it to you if you so desire! (or deliver it to your door if you live in Little Rock)
    I realize Amazon cuts down on the traffic, lines, etc. but they can not provide the experience one has, as you are well aware of, of walking into a gem of a design shop with beautiful furniture, antiques, accessories, fragrant candles,french soaps, beautiful linens, and the best selection of design books!

    In these times of "economic uncertainty" may I suggest that your local retailer would most happily and graciously like to serve you and your design book needs!!

    Still a fan,
    Kim Gillum
    Cobblestone and Vine

    ReplyDelete
  58. Kim - point well taken and exactly why amazon will never replace everyone. I had another email from someone upset about Amazon being my true love - which is such a joke to begin with! - but just like you listed, there will always be a need for real human contact in this world. Point well taken. ok - so when are you going to send me my packages = all neatly wrapped! amazon sends mine unwrapped!!!
    Joni

    ReplyDelete
  59. oh you've got me wanting to spend more---- really do love Rachel Ashwell & know she's going to get everything even better than before. Can't wait to read the book!!!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Joni,
    I'd love to send you something! Let me know where you'd like it sent. You can e-mail me at info@cobblestoneandvine.com
    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  61. Rachel is such an amaziing woman. I met & chatted her up at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market way back in its hey day. We chatted for 10 mins about a friends booth of buttons & dry goods before it actually dawned on me who she was. I never worked harder to keep my eyes from going wide & not passing out.

    ReplyDelete