Friday, April 29, 2011

The Princess Bride

Love these souvenirs for "Catherine" and William's wedding today, which I discovered through my friend Katie's blog, Lets Have a Ball and Biscuit (j'adore). 

This watercolor from HouseThatLarsBuilt on is a rendering of the procession. 
There's also a tote bag. 
And I love this plate with "Catherine" wearing her fascinator. Fascinating! 
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Clothespin Dolls

I know I should be saving more for retirement and doubling up on mortgage payments. But these clothespin dolls based on British royalty, found at, make me want to take up a serious collection.
When I was a little girl, my father told me we were distant relatives of Katherine Parr, having the same surname. Do not ask me how a child in rural Alabama could entertain such a notion. But I think it goes far in explaining my deep-seated delusions of grandeur. Here, the Katherine doll has a gold collar, rhinestone trim, and a. velvet brown hood trimmed in gold and brown beads. For $40, I think that is a lot of handiwork.
Let’s face it … Mary Queen of Scots was the original drama queen. She drove her cousin Elizabeth I to distraction with her many attempts to assume the throne, so she finally got the axe. Of course, that was after many years spent under house arrest, during which she did needlepoint designs of an orange cat (shades of Elizabeth) torturing a mouse. Love that.
Here’s Elizabeth I in her coronation gown. Mary Queen of Scots should have known not to mess with her.
Poor Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Her marriage with Henry wasn’t even consummated; he thought she was too unattractive, and quickly annulled their marriage. Can you imagine?
Of course, Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, met a worse fate than Anne of Cleves: The chop. But at least Henry allowed her the courtesy of an executioner who used the French method of a sharp sword, rather than the clumsier English hatchet. Yikes. But isn’t this doll simply darling?
The man who started it all: Henry VIII, shown with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who never accepted that he had divorced her to marry Anne Boleyn. Somehow I feel Kate Middleton will have better luck with her royal.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Big Day ... On Repeat (Please Indulge Me)

Today is my anniversary with one Mr. Moody, a charming fellow I met many years ago in a tiny lakeside town in north Alabama. I was assimilating back into my native South after a 12-year sojourn in New York City. He was finishing up an engineering degree and managing a bait store. His 1986 Mercedes 380SL convertible was parked in front of the store, so I waltzed in for coffee and asked, “Who’s driving my favorite car?” He answered shyly, “I am.” The rest, as they say, is history. 
For our wedding invitation graphic designer Heather Dryden put this 1938 Corbis photo on a satiny gray card stock. The skier is near the Isle of Wight, England. I was an avid slalom skier in my youth, and my father was a trick skier, so it fit. Also, in the early Twentieth century, men would ski to dinner on Lake George, New York, in their tuxedos, from one Adirondack “great camp” to the next. It was a notion I couldn't resist.
These cake toppers are from Ann Wood, the Brooklyn artist who kicked off the handmade bird topper craze. She customized them so that the girl bird wore fabric rosettes made from snips of the flower girls' sashes. I could care less that these birds have been imitated shamelessly in the years since our wedding; I still love them (at They now stand in the center of our mantle, next to a tiny hymn book that has been passed through my family since the late 1800s. What can I say? I love a vignette. 
My husband was a semi-professional bass fisherman as a hobby, so I wanted to toss in a nod to this. Most of the “fish” chocolates I found were more Nemo-themed than wedding material, so I ordered these Michel Cluizel "Sardines En Chocolat Au Lait" from France. I put them in an inexpensive fish-shaped glass bowl from Target. They were a hit among the other fishermen and the bait shop employees … and my best friend, a chocolate fiend who still talks about them to this day.
 When I met my husband, I was living in a lakeside cabin that has been in my family for three generations; the boathouse was built in 1948 and still stands. This photo of me was taken nearby in Pisgah, Alabama at Gorham’s Bluff, where I stayed with my maid-of-honor the night before the wedding. We were in a darling cottage, which is one of many in this charming “new urbanism” arts retreat inspired by the Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk community of Seaside, Florida. (Photo by Ben Frank).
I was walking toward this pavilion, which offers breathtaking views of the Tennessee River. 
And here we are right after the wedding. Behind us is a valley of farmland. North Alabama has some stunning scenery. I’m so glad we met there and were married there. Happy anniversary to us! (Photo by Ben Frank).
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Catch of the Day: Lobsters

After posting yesterday about Elsa Schiaparelli's Shocking Pink perfume, I got to thinking about that famous Lobster Dress she designed using fabric designed by Salvador Dali ...
... and while I'm not a huge fan of Wallis Simpson for a litany list of reasons, she did have a way with couture. Here she is shot in 1937 by Cecil Beaton in the Lobster Dress...
That Wallis. She knew how to create an image, didn't she?
So with crustaceans on the brain, what should I find in this month's House Beautiful from my favorite interior designer, Miles Redd? A carved bone lobster, which he placed in a New York apartment. These can be found on 1st Dibs, naturally. 
I'm feeling a lobster brooch pinned onto a straw bag would be cute for the beach. At Retro Alice on
Or how about a sparkly one for evening? Only $11.99 from Pugster on

For the preppiest canine in Kennebunkport, there's this fetching seersucker collar from The Southern Dog on Etsy. (Now, if only I could find a cat version for Flynn & Bunny).
Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeling Pink with Marcel Vertes

Hungarian painter, printmaker and illustrator Marcel Vertes (1895-1961) was full of whimsy, as evidenced in the gorgeous series of ads he concocted for Elsa Schiaparelli's 1937 scent Shocking Pink.  
Vertes and Schiaparelli not only worked on this campaign together, they also collaborated on the 1952 film Moulin Rouge, about artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Another ad for Schiaparelli's Shocking Pink. 
Here is an original bottle of the perfume. The curvy torso was inspired by Schiaparelli's client, Mae West. 
Vertes hits the bottle of pink paint again for this portrait of Coco Chanel. 
For this buff pink room in designer Penelope Bianchi's Santa Barbara home, she hung Vertes' work from floor to ceiling. Photo from House Beautiful. Gorgeous. 
Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Friday, Spring's Here!

Happy Friday! The weather’s gorgeous, which once again puts happy, springtime images in my mind …

I am positively head-over-heels, madly in love with all of the swimmer paintings from Kiki and Polly artist Lisa Golightly. They remind me of my childhood summers spent swimming in the Tennessee River. This one’s called “Girl in the Yellow Suit” …
… and this one’s called “All Together.” Darling, right? Available at
This is the Guest House at Hibiscus Hill on the Bahamian Harbour Island. It was designed by India Hicks, the daughter of famed British interior designer David Hicks. The Hicks clan has been congregating each Easter on Harbour Island since the late 1960s. I want to Easter egg hunt there. Rental info at

Oh, I so want to sleep in this bedroom at the Guest House.
Which Kate Spade bag best fits my mood for spring? I simply cannot decide. It’s either this one, “Hello Sunshine Willow” …
… or this one, “A DAY AWAY GEMINA.”
I love this photo of Truman Capote. It just makes me giddy. And on that note, I’m headed out to catch some rays at a softball game starring a cutie named Caroline, with her mom, my friend Dede. Have a fabulous weekend!!! XO – Karen
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Metallic Wallpaper

I've been a fan of metallic wallpaper for years, but have yet to try it out. Now I'm on the prowl for some, for just one wall of a room ... 
I love this "All Star" paper in gunmetal, from British wallpaper firm Barneby Gates. We will eventually paint our living room gunmetal, and I would love this on the interior wall leading up the staircase. Just a whisper of whimsy, that's all. 
If I was still single and living in my pre-war apartment in New York City, this one would be top of the list. Gold metallic is so sexy, and it is the perfect fit for the moldings in pre-war digs. From 
How exorbitant is this "Addison Damask" wallpaper from Thibaut's "River Road" collection? Silver metallic on turquoise, pretty glam. 
This flocked wallpaper from British firm Romo takes the classic flock print, "Lasari Floral Trail," and puts it on a soft metallic background, subtle and warm, like brushed platinum.
This white-on-silver flocked paper looks so fresh and clean, perfect for a bathroom. Oh, I am so feeling a project coming on ...
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beach Dreams

Lately the weather, as the Brits say, has been chicken one day, next day, feathers. So I can’t be the only one dreaming of beaches this cool Wednesday. Herewith, accoutrements for a sunny daydream …
First, one needs a beach house. My husband and I once happily rented from, a purveyor of historic beach houses on sleepy Tybee Island, just 10 minutes from Savannah. This is the Dutton-Waller cottage, circa 1938; it won the Tybee Island Historic Society Preservation Award in 2006.
This J.Crew swimsuit has a tulle overlay. TULLE. 
Gotta have this "Wish You Were Here" bangle from Kate Spade for a beach-bound foray ... 
..and these Amanda Pearl "Gobstopper" earrings. Yum. Featured at 
I could tolerate these for about five minutes, but they do complete the look, no? Jimmy Choo "Pheonix" espadrilles in antique rose patent leather.
And how's a girl to get around without this Nirve "Wispy" 3-speed cruiser?
That was fun. Now to snap out of my reverie and get back to my real life ... baking a yellow cake with peanut butter frosting for my book club today at 1 p.m. 
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Social Portraitist and Fashion Illustrator René Robert Bouché (with a Miles Redd Addendum)

For fans of loose illustrations with a whisper of Fauvist color, social portraitist and fashion illustrator René Robert Bouché (1905-1963) is it. He began his illustration career for French Vogue in 1938. He also designed sets for the theatre and ballet and ads for Elizabeth Arden and Saks Fifth Avenue. 
This is a 1947 cover for American Vogue
Bouché's 1958 work, "Woman with Veil." 
Love this portrait of socialite Mona von Bismarck.
An Elizabeth Arden ad. 
Another Vogue cover, with wonderful colors to celebrate the 1939 Ascot races. 
Here, interior designer extraordinaire Miles Redd uses Bouché fashion illustrations to dress up a powder room in the Atlanta mansion Boxwood, a 1920s Philip Shutze creation.