Archive for August, 2011

Things to love…

Aug 31, 2011

Just a few things on my wish list:
Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Illustrated…Tovicore Leather Card Case…Red Embroidered Pillow Cover…
Little Blue Birds Studios’ Owl Art Print…Joe Vintage’s Restored Red Royal…LilyMoon Aviary Brooch…
Dolan Gelman’s Found Objects Collage…Claudia Varosio’s Annie Hall Print…Vintage Fan Art Print.

Categories: authors, illustrations, Things to love..., Vintage | 9 Comments »

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I know it’s hard to pick an all-time favorite, so I’ll rephrase:
What’s your favorite contemporary book of the moment?

For me, it’s Joan Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking.” It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking.

(Photo by Hvidt.)

Categories: Books | 54 Comments »

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Poetry and Pottery

Aug 30, 2011

Australian poet and potter Kylie Johnson fashions bowls and trays out of clay and then imprints them with sentiments so achingly beautiful that mere words on paper could never compare. She finds a way to capture, so simply, all that is lovely and true. This tray (above) that she did for Anthropologie is especially affecting.

Anthropologie is currently stocking several of her pieces. She also has an online store, called Paper Boat Press.

Her blog is called Instinct and Grace.

Categories: Decor | 12 Comments »

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Blogroll Updates

Aug 28, 2011

It’s a work in progress, my massive blogroll page. I spent the afternoon trying to get it updated. Leave a message here if you want me to add you! (If I forgot you, I’m very sorry!)

BEWARE: It rolls longer than the original “On The Road” manuscript…

Hope you had a Happy Weekend! Glad my East Coast friends are safe and sound!

Categories: Decor | 30 Comments »

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Audrey Niffenegger is not only a wonderful writer (I loved “Her Fearful Symmetry”), she’s also a compelling illustrator. After Penguin Classic’s success with Ruben Toledo’s take on “Pride and Prejudice,” the publishing house turned to Niffengger to re-imagine the covers of “Persuasion” and “Sense and Sensibility.”
Here are the results — an entwined Anne Elliot and a tempest in a teacup:

The Niffenegger edition of “Persuasion” is available now. “Sense and Sensibility” will be released in October, in celebration of the book’s 200th anniversary.

No word on whether Niffenegger will illustrate anymore Austen novels.
I’d love to see her interpretation of “Emma”!


Categories: Featured, illustrations | 25 Comments »

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ranunculus love

I’m trying to get my act together on Twitter, after neglecting my account there for months.
I even forgot my password.

So…I’m launching my own little follow back campaign.

Here are the rules:

If you follow me on Twitter (@englishmuse), I’ll follow you back. (As long as you’re not a perv.)

If you follow my blog on GoogleFriendConnect, I’ll follow you too. (And I’ll read all your posts).

If you add me to your blogroll, I’ll add you to mine. (Which will make its debut tomorrow!)

If you subscribe to my RSS feed, I’ll send you flowers. (Or good thoughts).

If you’ve already done all those things, well, I love you and thank you.

Leave a message here…

Ok, that’s all!

Happy Thursday..

PS: Photo by Cannelle-vanille.

Categories: Decor | 84 Comments »

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Hello Weekend!

A little round up of interesting stories on the Internet today:

Facebook Targets Instagram with Photo Filters

A look at John Galliano fluffing Kate Moss’s wedding veil

California Earthquake Snobs: “I don’t get out of bed for under 7.2.”

Grace Coddington in Profile

Could Amazon Take Down ‘the New Yorker’?

I hope you’re having a lovely day. It’s hot here in LA, and I’m staying inside by the fan, reading French Lessons by Ellen Sussman. A book that’s also ooh la la hot.

(Photo by Cassia.)

Categories: Instagrams | 9 Comments »

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I’ve been looking at this illustration for about an hour now. On one simple piece of paper, you can discover the six degrees of separation between Plato and Zadie Smith, J.J. Abrams and Isaac Newton,
and Voltaire and Moby.

It was created for the Debt issue of Longshot Magazine by Michelle Legro of Lapham’s Quarterly, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. The illustration is meant to chart the “artistic, scientific, and philosophical debts through time.”

It’s a human algorithm that weaves together centuries of creative thought. Sort of mind-blowing, really. I only wish I had paid this close attention in history class! You can hear Legro, Popova and MacNaughton interviewed about the creation of the chart on Longshot Radio.

Copies of the chart are for sale on Etsy.

Categories: Books, illustrations | 24 Comments »

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Thank you!!

Aug 23, 2011

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such lovely comments! It means so much to me! I LOVE the linkbacks to your blogs in the new comment form. I spent most of the day yesterday reading all your posts. I know there are millions of sites out there to read, but I want you to know that I’m very thankful you’re here.

I’m still working on my new blogroll. Please let me know if you want to be included!


(Photo by Yeah I love Whales.)

Categories: Decor | 51 Comments »

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Comments Wanted!

Aug 22, 2011

I noticed since I moved from Blogger to WordPress, the number of people leaving comments on my posts have plummeted. It’s very depression, actually. I’ve been feeling very alone on my blog lately.

I know the WordPress comments form isn’t as simple as Blogger’s, but I made a little change that I’m hoping will encourage more people to leave messages.

I installed a plugin called CommentLuv. After you finish typing a comment, it will give you a choice of ten of your own posts that you can link back to on your blog or website.

Give it a try! I want to see if it works!

(Photo by Merezha.)

Categories: Decor | 78 Comments »

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Frances Hansen’s lovely cookbook
1/2 scrapbook, 1/2 recipe file:

Some of my favorite cookbooks are exactly like this: packed with personal tidbits and recipes that date back generations. Frances’s book is collage poem to her family, but dedicated to her readers.

She writes: “I dedicate this book to all those countless home cooks whom continually put a meal on the table with flair, grace & often with an inventiveness that is called for when trying to figure out what to make for dinner.”

I guess that would be me. (Minus the grace & flair part.) I never know what to cook.

Frances Hansen is a regular exhibitor in Australia and New Zealand, works at the Manukau School of Visual Arts, and teaches painting and drawing. You can find Keepsakes: Recipes, Mementos, Miscellany on Amazon.

Ok, I’m off to see what’s in the cupboard…

Categories: Books, illustrations | 7 Comments »

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Happy Friday everyone…
Seems I’ve been writing a lot about Paris this week. I keep getting emails from Air France saying they’re having a grand summer sale with one-way fares around $250. And I really want to go. But, alas, I can’t for now…

So here’s to a weekend of vicarious living. I just started reading the Paris Wife by Paula McLain on my Kindle Cloud. It’s a historical fiction about the time Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley spent in the City of Light. It’s good so far, the perfect end-of-summer read.

I also downloaded the latest copy of Marie Claire Idees on Zinio in a quest for a new craft project. Their patterns are so cute. The only drawback is I can’t read French. (Can I Google translate an entire magazine?)

What are you doing this weekend?

Photo by Thom♥

Categories: Decor | 9 Comments »

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I just noticed that my blogroll cut off in the Bs. So, time to redo it! Do you want to exchange links? Leave a message here and I’ll add you!


Photo by Cindy Loughridge

Categories: Decor | 45 Comments »

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In 1951 on Paris’s Rue de la Bûcherie, American George Whitman opened an English-language bookstore called Le Mistral. The shop quickly became the center of literary culture in Bohemian Left Bank Paris, filling the void created when Sylvia Beach’s beloved Shakespeare and Company was shut down during World War II.

Upon Beach’s death in 1962, Le Mistral’s name was changed to Shakespeare and Company, and now the histories of the two stores have blended into one.

Paris photographer and blogger Candice Lesage spent the day there recently, capturing the spirit of the old bookstore:

Shakespeare and Co
Shakespeare and Co - June '11
Shakespeare and Co - June '11

“I was walking in Paris (more especially near St-Michel) with Cosima, I couldn’t help but take pictures of this marvellous bookshop,” Candice recently wrote on her blog. “I think this is one of my favorite spots in Paris, it’s full of books – and most of the time, there’s too many people as well.”

The original Shakespeare and Company has a wonderful history. As with all great beginnings, it involved love:

American-born Sylvia Beach came to Paris during World War I to study the French literature she adored. There, she also met the woman who would be her great love, Adrienne Monnier, and found the occupation that would become her passion–bookselling and publishing. Monnier was one of the first women in France to own a book store and lending library, Maison des Amis des Livres, which specialized in that country’s modern literature and was gathering place for Paris’ literary avant garde. Beach took a $3,000 gift from her mother and opened an English language counterpart across the street at 12 rue de l’Odeon.

She called it Shakespeare and Company, and even though the original store has long been shuttered, it remains perhaps the world’s most famous book store. During the great creative ferment between the wars, Shakespeare and Company became a refuge and meeting place for the English-speaking writers drawn to Paris–Hemingway immortalized it in “A Moveable Feast”; James Joyce, T.S. Elliot, Samuel Beckett, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein were regulars and members of the lending library.

Shakespeare and Company was where they came for books, to pick up their mail, to meet and listen to one another and for Beach’s famously sympathetic ear. (All writers, she once said, like best to talk about their troubles.) If for no other reason, Beach and her book store deserve to be remembered for a single courageous act: In 1922, she published a book no regular publisher was brave enough to touch–Joyce’s modernist masterpiece, “Ulysses”, one of the greatest of all 20th century novels.

Shakespeare and Company fared badly during the Great Depression and, in the late 1930’s, was on verge of going under, when the great French writer Andre Gide organized a series of dazzling readings and lectures there and sold all the 200 available seats for each event by subscription, all proceeds going to Beach.
Many of the world’s greatest contemporary writers took part and the series remains a legend on the Parisian literary scene.

Shakespeare and Company closed when the Germans interned Beach during World War II. Even though Sylvia Beach never reopened her store, she remained in her beloved Paris until her death. She was happy, honored and well-loved, one of the brave and open minds that illuminated the City of Lights. 

Categories: Books | 15 Comments »

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I love these whimsical illustrations by Los Angeles artist Josie Portillo.

She explains the UFO/Paris concept: “For a while now, I have been obsessed with trees, UFO’s and Paris. I thought I’d go ahead and throw all of them in one painting.”

Well why not:

She did this one for National Public Radio’s 2012 calendar:

2012 NPR Calendar

And this one is a nod to the summers she spent in Switzerland
at the house of her aunt, who collects teacups:


I’m especially fond of the teacups. (I know that probably comes as a huge surprise!)

You can find Josie on her blog.

Categories: Decor | 6 Comments »

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It’s my favorite form of social media! I’ve completely neglected Twitter and Facebook.

Photos above from my August Archive, with credits.

Main page here.

Categories: Decor | 5 Comments »

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One of my friends once joked that even if she became temporarily homeless she’d need a PO box just to get her monthly copy of The World of Interiors. It’s easy to understand why. So few magazines capture the British Eclectic sensibility as marvelously as this glossy tome.

An article in the September issue on designer Frédéric de Luca’s Paris apartment is a perfect example. Writer Marie-France Boyer, detailing every nook of the apartment, observed: “(Frédéric’s) charming and welcoming three-roomed flat is full to bursting with a hotchpotch of furniture, paintings, fabrics and colourful knickknacks that give it the feel of a box of bonbons or a treasure chest.”

Have a look:

Frédéric’s esthetic muses: Una Troubridge, the Marchesa Luisa Casati, Nancy Cunard, Colette, Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolfe. Boyer notes: “The last two have pride of place in a photo on his bookshelves. In the decorative arts too, his two main references date from this period: the Wiener Werkstätte and
the Bloomsbury Movement.”

(Sigh. Swoon.)

While I’m writing this I realize that I have to remember to tell my friend Susan the she doesn’t need a PO box to get her World of Interiors. Copies are now available online for subscription and download on
See the September issue here!

(Photos from the magazine by Roland Beaufre).

Categories: Decor | 1 Comment »

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Dottie Angel

Katie Haddox

Fiona Watson

love you pillows 1 & 2

Souk@Sat Exclusives
{Jewelry & Wall Wear }

I really want to learn how to do embroidery. It’s my next craft pursuit!

Categories: handmade, Vintage | 12 Comments »

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Happy Weekend

Aug 12, 2011

Thank you for making the move this week with me from Blogger to WordPress! I hope that you’re liking the new format and slideshow. Thank you to Paris photographer Candice Lesage for permission to use her gorgeous Jane Eyre photos.

The blog is still missing some of my old post comments. Not all of them made it over. Alas. I’ll also be uploading missing thumbnails for the rest of the year. It’s a work in progress!

Thank you for your patience and for reading my blog.

Have a great weekend!


(Polaroid photo by Leslie Thomson.)

Categories: Decor | 1 Comment »

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Great books turned into fantastic movies:

With posters re-imagined by London artist Claudia Varosio.

Many more in her Etsy store.

Categories: Decor | 1 Comment »

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I came across these photos by Shella of Frillie Designs the other day.
They’re snapshots of her house in a little coastal village in Essex, England:



Shella’s home will be featured in a new book, called “Homespun Style,” by interior stylist Selina Lake and photographer Debi Treloar. This is going to be an amazing collaboration. Lake co-authored “Romantic Style” and “Bazaar Style” for publisher Ryland Peters & Small. And Treloar photographed “Modern Vintage Style,” “Flea Market Style,” and about ten other books on my coffee table!

In between tidying up for the photo shoots, Shella is getting ready to open a teahouse called The Loft in the seaside village of Tollsbury, England.


By the way, follow my blog with Bloglovin! I’m starting new with only four followers at the moment.

Categories: Decor, Vintage | 2 Comments »

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This is my first time asking this question here on my new template! I’m looking for new books to take on our trip to the lake. Any suggestions?

(Photo by Brooke Schmidt.)

Categories: Books | 43 Comments »

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Cool breezes and showers (captured on GIFS created by Jamie Beck.)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Categories: photographs | Tags: | 13 Comments »

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To love good writing and the novel is to love Jane Austen. Even when harshly sweeping, her judgments are so elegantly put that they convince absolutely and seem to absolve those who share them of any hint of condescension. For example: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Those of us who share that sentiment—and in this holiday reading month of August, who doesn’t?—still are excited by the recent auction at Sotheby’s in London of the last privately owned fragment of an Austen novel in the author’s own handwriting. It’s doubly delightful that the buyer was Oxford’s Bodleian Library, which paid $1.6 million for the 68 hand-cut pages that Austen herself bound into 11 small booklets, so the manuscript will remain in England, where it belongs. It will go on public display as early as this fall.

Another 12 pages of the abandoned novel, titled “The Watsons”, are in New York’s Pierpont Morgan Library. They were sold during World War I to raise money for the Red Cross. Austen worked on “The Watsons” in 1804 after completing early drafts of “Sense and Sensibility”, “Pride and Prejudice” and Northanger Abbey.” (Which is your favorite?)

“The Watsons’” narrator is a young woman who has returned home to her impoverished clergyman father after being raised by a wealthy aunt. The father dies, leaving the young woman and her sisters in very harsh straits—much as Austen’s own father would do the next year.

None of the author’s handwritten drafts of her finished novels survive, though we do have a handful of discarded chapters from “Persuasion” and the unpublished “Lady Susan”. What’s exciting about this manuscript is that it gives us the fullest picture of Austen the writer at work, editing words and phrases, inserting sentences, all in a tiny, wonderfully precise handwriting. All that’s missing is that magic that only a completed Jane Austen novel can bestow.

(Top illustration by Clare Owen)

Categories: Books, illustrations | Tags: , | 11 Comments »

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