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First show of the year

Hello friends!

The start of the year is always very quiet for me. Usually, this is time when I take stock of things, plan what shows to do for the year and other administrative tasks that are essential to the business.

This year however, I had the opportunity to participate in a show organized by the wonderful folks of Pot and Box at no less than the iconic Fisher Building.

The Fisher Building which was designed in an Art Deco style was completed in 1928 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. How could I pass up the chance to be in such a prestigious building?

I have to admit I was a bit worried because the weekend of the show was also the weekend when we were hit with another winter storm.

But storm or not, we were all there bright and early to welcome the crowd that came through those Art Deco doors.

After I finished setting up, I went for a look around and was blown away by the talent shown by the wonderful participating vendors.

Immediately, i was wowed by Project Projections, who laser cuts these beautiful shadow lamps. I loved it so much, I took home his constellation lamp!

Then there was Owen and Abbey with their simple yet beautifully crafted home furnishings and tables made from wood salvaged from abandoned homes in Detroit, Pontiac and other urban areas. Their work is proof that beauty can be found and made everywhere.

I really liked the aesthetics of Corbé

with its smooth handmade curves and a color palette designed to go with everything.

And I loved meeting Corliss from The Lowry Estate. She had funky vintage pieces at prices that won’t break the bank. Just check out the coat she had.

All in all a fantastic show!

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Shop small business

Hello friends,

Apparently today is Cyber Monday, which means it’s deals galore all over the internet. The good thing about shopping online is we are able to support a number of businesses, including those which don’t as yet have, brick and mortar stores, myself included.

But I love brick and mortar stores. Call it old fashioned but there’s nothing like walking inside a store and finding just the right thing. Bonus, if you make friends along with way with the people in the store.

With that in mind as well as the idea of

shopping from small businesses, a friend and I set out to do our version of a pop up store.

Our “store” looked out onto this view…

It’s a pretty good view don’t you think? It certainly didn’t feel like work whenever we looked out.

Shy vs Bold, my partner in this pop up is a purveyor of wonderfully distinctive clothes and accessories. It began with a desire to offer something different from what we find in stores. And now carries a host of pretty dresses, cool jackets and funky accessories. If you want to stand out, Shy vs Bold is the way to go!

Then there’s me with my one of a kind antique charms and storied beads. I will never tire of making these pieces with a little bit of me and a whole lot of history.

What a blast we all had! But the best part was seeing our friends leave supremely happy and content with their purchases. As one friend put it “ I feel like a model after this afternoon”

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Summer stackers 

Hello friends! Temperatures hit over the 90s this weekend and everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather. And as summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, I’ve been making new pieces that are easy to wear, easy to layer and stack but still very pretty. As always these pieces are designed to slip right among those pieces you already have in your jewelry box. 

This first piece features a wonderful mid 19th century Venetian trade bead on a silver chain. I love the summery colors of teal blue, yellow and green on this bead! 


Nothing says classic more than pearls and this vintage French glass pearl is jazzed up with gold and silver decorative caps.

This necklace is perfect for adding just a touch of color to an all white outfit.


And finally, a necklace featuring a pretty early 20th century Venetian bead of sky blue and gold. 

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Some wonderful news

Hello friends! Hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Mine certainly is as I’m very happy to announce that certain De Petites Merveilles pieces are now available at the Franklin Village Boutique!!


The boutique is ideally located in the historic village of Franklin. The village has cute stores and cafes as well as a cider mill that serves the most wonderful donuts and cider in the fall. 
Terri Cooper, owner of the Village Boutique opened her store 2 years ago. She bought out the owners of the store that used to be there because she says she walked in and felt something special about the space. Immediately, she knew she wanted to open her own store there.  After extensive renovations, her store opened, stocked with the latest fashions but also with local designers and artists. 


Terri believes firmly in having a welcoming and inviting space and she has succeeded admirably in this. I walked into her store and felt like this was a great place for my jewelry.  Talking to her and watching her interact with the people who walked in reinforced this feeling.  
She says the best part of being in the store is meeting all the people coming in and sharing in their lives. “People are so interesting, there’s layers to them just waiting to be discovered” she said to me.  


I love the fact that she believes in and supports local artists. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be carried by a store that still believes in hand crafted products. More importantly, my pieces are in a store that believes in treating everyone as a friend.  That’s increasingly rare in these days of efficient online shopping.

So which Petites Merveilles pieces have found a home at the Village boutique? Here are a few pieces….




I hope you stop by and check out this wonderful store!

Some details:

Franklin Village Boutique

32716 Franklin Road

Franklin, MI

248-8510055

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A match to make your day

Hello friends, remember these earrings?


After I finished this pair I was left with two of these pink and silver foil beads. At first I thought I would make another pair of earrings but I wasn’t convinced by this idea. I want my jewelry to be unique and one of a kind so another pair just wouldn’t do.

So I put them away. Then  I remembered that somewhere in my bead box was a lonesome silver foil bead that was the only one left after I finished a necklace. Now this little orphan bead is a really pretty bead with lots of silver foiling that has remained intact over the years. Just like the pink and silver beads, this one dates back to the early 1950s. In no time, this necklace was born…


I love how these lonesome one-of beads suddenly found themselves together to make a beautiful new piece.

And look how well the necklace goes with the earrings!


The earrings are now listed in the shop and the necklace will soon be added!

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A shop update full of earrings

I’ve been on an earring kick lately. Just check out these beauties that are now listed in the shop. These are all Venetians beads dating back to the period between the 40s and early 50s. What I love about these pairs is no two beads are exactly alike. Each bead has subtle differences that make them so interesting to wear. I like to think of it as the mark of the hands that made them. 

 


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One necklace for different looks

When I make something, I always try to imagine it slipping into my jewelry box and getting along with everthing else that’s there. I also like it when the piece goes with lots of different looks. After all, we work hard, do different things so we want our jewelry to be equally versatile. That’s why I’m so happy with this new necklace.


Today’s piece is a simple enough necklace composed of multicolored crystal rondelles.  These rondelles date back to the early 40s and have clearly lived other lives. They’ve been well loved as evidenced by the missing crystals in each rondelle. When I saw these in Paris, I knew immediately that I wanted to make something with them. Yes, they aren’t perfect but I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. As it turns out, it goes with a  number of different looks. So far, I’ve come up with three looks to give you ideas on how to wear this beauty. 

If you’re feeling casual, it’s the perfect accessory to jazz up a shirt. Throw it over a tee, or in this case, a turtleneck since it’s still cold, and you’re good to go.


It’s also great for layering. I love it with another long chain over a simple black shirt.


This last look may yet be my favorite. When you want color and layers, it’s totally possible with this piece.


How would you wear this necklace? 

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Bookish adventures

One rainy misty afternoon, I finally managed to make my way down to John King books. I’d long heard about this 4 story institution devoted to books and I have long wanted to visit.

Well, it finally happened and I can tell you that it lives up to all the accolades it has earned over the years.


The bookstore was founded by Mr John King in 1971 and its original location was in Dearborn. It moved to its downtown location in 1983 when Mr King purchased the Advanced Glove factory. It later expanded to have two other locations though sadly, one of these two has recently closed.

They have an inventory of over a million titles divided among its two remaining branches thought the downtown one has a much larger inventory. It’s not far fetched to think they have a book on possibly every topic you can think of. No wonder it was once ranked no 2 of the world’s 18 Bookstores Every Book Lover Must Visit at Least Once. I’m keeping this list by the way and making it one of my goals to visit as many as I can. But I digress.


In this day and age where everything is digital and online, John King books is firmly on the old fashioned side. There is no computerized inventory except for their rare book collection. They cannot look up titles for you,  instead, they have booksellers who can direct your search for titles and then you’re on your own– to peruse the alphabetically arranged shelves and get lost in the warren of musty corridors of shelves lined with books and yet more books. When you come, don’t expect to surface for air until hours later. Actually, it’s best to simply clear your schedule of all other things.


As for my book haul, I came away with a very modest one. But this just means another trip down very soon! 

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Soaking up the sun and finding inspiration

A few days before the close of 2016, we had the pleasure of spending a few days in the sunny island of Puerto Rico. It was a welcome break from the snow and cold and a chance to soak up the sun and recharge.

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 We were greeted by blue skies and the blue green waters of the Atlantic. We could feel ourselves immediately relaxing. The island was first settled in 1509 by the Spanish led by Juan Ponce de Leon. The present site of San Juan was founded in 1510 and was  given its formal name  of Puerto Rico de San Juan Bautista in 1521.  It is the second oldest European established capital in the new world, the first being Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The remnants of its colonial past is evident in the walls of the city and its two forts that stills stands guard over the city. In days past, the forts constituted the first line of defense against hostile powers who would storm the city and take its riches.

Nowadays, its a popular spot for those who want to take a stroll, and take in the magnificent views of the sea.

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By day, we shared the historic downtown with the numerous daytrippers from the many cruise ships that make this port, a must stop in the Caribbean. All of us were walking around holding our cameras and phones in front of us, trying to capture the vibrant colors that adorn the traditional colonial houses and buildings.

Blue, yellow, violet and pink, every hue was present and it was fun trying to capture that.

Business establishments are on the first floor while families still lived in its upper floors.

At night, once all but the few who chose to stay the night were gone, it was possible to catch glimpses of the families that still live behind the wrought iron balconies and lace covered windows.

The best surprise of the trip was discovering a strong local and thriving artistic community. Yes, there are a number of American style malls but there are also a good number of stores carrying only local artists and featuring only local and handmade crafts and goods.

Take this store which proudly refuses to carry anything other than their own handmade Panama hats…

Or this one store which carried a number of pretty bags, among other things. On the day we were there, we got to meet the artist.  Its a big family undertaking, she told us. Her mother and daughter help her make the bags and her other daughter sells them in the store.

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 Here is a small sampling of her work.

img_7989One gallery I loved featured art work  showing the wonderful old doors of San Juan.
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But my favorite discovery was a tiny shop that also housed a jewelry school.  Nothing touristy about this shop. When I stepped in, I was among residents who were having their jewels cleaned or repaired. This picture is a small sampling of the work of either professors or students of the school.  Their work features gems and stones, silver, gold, and even enamel

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 Needless to say, this was the place to find the perfect souvenir to take back home.

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An array of pretty earrings 

Sometimes you get on a streak of making one thing and the results are like this. All are available in the eshop! 


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Something pretty and sparkly


Hello friends, today I thought I’d share my first attempt to capture one of my pieces in action! The first I hope of many more videos to come.

This is a pair of gorgeous gold foil spiral shaped Venetian beads dating back to the early years of the 1900s. It’s designed to add sparkle to whatever you decide to wear! 

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On wearing beads

During shows, I’ll sometimes get comments or question on how to wear beaded jewelry. Some people think it’s difficult to incorporate in daily wear. Some people think it’s too new-agey or too much of a throwback to the 70s. 

To this, I say, beaded jewelry can be as modern as any other accessory we have today. It can be worn singly, simply or in layers.  It’s all in how we want to wear it. 

For example, I like to wear bigger pieces under a collared shirt, for days when I want to have a more serious look but still have that special element. This one is an easy look to pull.  And I like to layer thinner necklaces around, but these are optional.
Other days, I like a more minimal look like this. Simple but sparkly.

I love that these antique beads have enough character and beauty to stand alone, worn simply on a chain but the best way I think, is when you can layer it with other pieces you already have in your jewelry box as I’ve done with this antique Georgian pendant.

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A glimpse of Mademoiselle’s inner sanctum

If there was one figure in fashion that fascinates me no end, it is  Coco Chanel.  From the different biographies I’ve read about her, she seems to have been a formidable woman and her influence continues to be felt today.  It was thus with great interest that I read about a new exhibit about her. Sam Taylor-Johnson was asked to do a series of photographs on Chanel’s private apartments on 31 rue Cambon in Paris.  This is Taylor-Johnson’s first exhibit in five years and is designed to be a psychological portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel. The photographs feature Chanel’s personal items, many of which had an almost talismanic meaning for her.

I wish I could fly to London to see this exhibit.  And while, that might be a bit challenging at the moment, I’m going to content myself with this lovely video which gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the exhibit.

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Friday round up

 

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Hello friends, we’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny weather this week. Just look at that sky!  Here’s crossing my fingers it’s for keeps! What brilliant plans have you got lined up this weekend? I’m hoping we get to a good antique market.  Or maybe break out the barbecue grill.

And since its Friday, here once again are a few interesting links I’ve found.  Enjoy!!

After last week’s news about David Letterman retiring in 2015, its been announced that Stephen Colbert is taking over.  I like Stephen Colbert, I can’t forget the time he came out in support of the Philippines after last year’s Hurrican Haiyan tragedy.  He just about endeared himself to the whole country with that video.

Do you like fashion films?  Remember when Vogue’s The September Issue came out?  I remember playing hooky and watching it in the middle of the day in one of the theaters along the Champs Elysee. Anyway it seems that fashion films have become more common these days. Here are the top 10 of the moment.

Are you on Instagram? It seems hard to believe that Instagram was launched only in 2010. That’s a mere three years ago, but I guess that’s light years in terms of technology. Just recently it was announced that there are over 200 million users.  I am fairly new to it myself but its completely addictive, I have to admit.  Its true what they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. With such a great deal of users, it  has even altered the landscape of fashion.  Read all about it here. I love discovering different Instagrammers.  Do you have a particular favorite? Do share. I am Petites Merveilles (what else?) on IG.

Speaking of pictures,  I was amazed at this collection of photos showing Detroit in its early years.  Its hard to believe that it was once one of the country’s richest cities.  These pictures are so poignant and evocative, view them all here.

And that’s it folks!! Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

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Fun Friday roundup

First flowers

Hello friends, what fun things have you got planned this weekend?  I’m crossing my fingers it’ll be nice and sunny in our part of the world. Did I tell you that we saw the first flowers bravely coming out in our wee garden?

I thought last Friday’s post (you can check it out here) of different links was really fun so here goes another list…

Are you a fan of candles? I’m not talking about run-of-the mill, chase- the -smell -of cooking from your kitchen candles,  but rather, of sumptuous, voluptuous candles  replete with heady scents.  Well if you like that kind, then you had best check out the newest one today.  By Khol is a luxurious and exclusive new line of candles (with more luxury products planned for the future) made exclusively in France with only with the finest ingredients.  And did I mention that the candles are housed in fine Limoges porcelain? Find out more in their eye catching site and be one of the first to know about this up and coming brand!

Louis Vuitton has just come unveiled the WorldTime, its new watch for men. It features several time zones (the better to adjust while you travel) in an impressive 30 color palette.  You can check it out here.

Fans of Kate Moss, rejoice!! After a three year hiatus with Topshop, she’s back with a fabulous new collection.

David Letterman announced that he is retiring in 2015. I came across his first show interview with Bill Murray.  A must read for fans!

Finally, I just had to share Ellen’s brilliant response to a recent controversial Target ad. (Backstory: Target photoshopped a model to inhuman proportions and was forced to take down the ad).  Here is Ellen’s response.  First the Oscar selfie, now this, the lady is on a roll!

Have a good weekend everyone!!

 

 

 

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Puttin on the Ritz

Hello friends, remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago about the Intersection of Fashion and the Automobile?  I had the chance to see the lovely lady curators in action last Sunday at a Roaring 20s themed fashion show in connection with the  Roaring 20s: From Riches to Rags exhibit at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.

It was a lively and fun fashion show with Lynn masterfully recounting the beginnings of 20s fashion and its evolution in relation to the times.  The audience of nearly 600 people were enthralled especially when the models started to walk the room.  There was a good mix of day and evening wear which gave the audience a concrete idea of twenties fashion. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without fabulous jewelry to complement the outfits!

Take a look at this authentic and original gingham dress worn as a housedress. As Lynn pointed out, can you imagine dusting and cleaning while wearing this outfit?!

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Along with live models,  the curators brought along some special outfits such as this authentic flapper dress which was completely hand beaded. It weighs a ton and is now too fragile to wear. It comes out only for special occasions like last Sunday’s fashion show.

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The other memorable piece was this 1920s wedding dress which came complete with the original wax flowers on the headpiece.  This dress belonged to the grandmother of one of the curator’s friends and was donated to the exhibit.

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If it was memorable seeing these dresses on display, it was even more memorable to see someone in the audience dressed in her own 20s fashion.  Ginny here has been a collector of vintage fashion for over fifty years and she came dressed to the nines with her wonderful jewelry, beaded bag, bejeweled cloche and that silver whisky flask!   20140401-202126.jpg

Here are Victoria and Elaine, two of the curators along with who was arguably the cutest model of the show wearing an authentic sailor outfit from the 20s.  I love how her doll is wearing the matching outfit!20140401-201618.jpg

Here is Lynn as Thedda Bara.  Check out that headpiece, which was very typical of the 20s.20140401-201657.jpg

And finally, the cast taking a well deserved bow.20140401-201812.jpg

For more photos of the show, check out Fashion and the Automobile on the show.

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The intersection of Fashion and the Automobile

IMG_3917Hello friends, remember my show last February?  I didn’t have much time to go around and check out the other booths. But during a lull, I took a quick look around and what immediately caught my eye was a lady in green with a gorgeous vintage Czech glass necklace and a pretty 1920s hat.  I just had to go up to her.  We got to talking and it turns out that we both share a love for vintage Czech jewelry.  It was so interesting talking to her that I spontaneously asked if I talk to her further, maybe even interview her later on.  Fortunately she agreed.

Lynn is actually part of a trio of ladies who curate Fashion and the Automobile, a touring exhibit that showcases a unique intersection between fashion and the automobile and the changes wrought in them by popular culture. The exhibit is composed of 10 eras with authentic clothes and accessories to reflect each decade.  The automobiles are rendered in fine art paintings, photographs and renderings.

Here are the three ladies decked out in all their finery!

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All three ladies share a passion for automobiles. Victoria says that this touring exhibit idea is the fruit of her lifelong fascination with cars and her interest in fashion.  Early on she recalls being brought by her mom to look at cars as they whizzed by.  Elaine, the third member of this talented trio (who left before I could take her picture!), co-owns with her husband over 20 vintage cars!  Lynn supplies the wonderful clothes and jewelry but is herself a lover of cars. She is a proud parent (as she calls herself) of a 1965 Herbie the Love Bug beetle.

What started out as 2 seemingly separate interests for the trio is married beautifully in an exhibit that is rich, varied and interesting.  Automobiles and fashion, as with all other objects, exist within a context of its times and this undeniably influences and changes it.   One example I could cite — when cars started to be more common and women started to drive more, they couldn’t very well get into these cars in those voluminous clothes of the 18th century.  By the time Ford was  mass producing his T-Models, women’s clothes had lost most of their bulky underpinings and waistlines were dropped. I’m sure this was a more comfortable way of tooling about in the T-Model.

From its beginnings in the Anton Art Center, the exhibit is a continuously evolving process for the three ladies.  They are constantly looking for ways to make it more interesting and rich for its audience, which is a growing one.   Now, they have people coming up to them and donating vintage gloves and hats and on one memorable occasion, a beautiful wedding dress from the 30s.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and one senses a palpable love for what they do.  They genuinely want to share the knowledge they’ve accumulated and its amazing how far they will work with grassroots museums all over the state.  They will happily set up the exhibit, give fashion presentations and even do a full on fashion show such as the upcoming Roaring Twenties Fashion Show that will be held on March 30 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.

Oh and did I mention that there is a book?! Yes, all the years of research is going into a wonderful book that will accompany the exhibit.  That’s something I’m really looking forward to.

I’ve taken the liberty of sharing some photos of previous exhibits in order to show you their work.

Here are two beautiful Victorian gowns on display at the Ford T-Plex Museum, one of their first exhibits.fashionauto2

Lynn and a vintage Packard car from the 1920s at the Packard Proving Grounds car show.fashionauto5

A gorgeous bias cut 1930s gown with a 1934 Chrysler Airflow series car at the Chrysler Museum

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And finally, a sweet 50s red roses sweater and skirt set with a vintage Chrysler  also from the 50s.

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It was such a blast talking with these ladies!  Oh and I haven’t even talked about the jewelry yet! That’s a whole other post which I can’t wait to share with you all soon!