Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: October 2008

  • Truley Blue

    BlueBeams

    From time to time I find myself saying the term "feeling blue". It's not a depressed sadness, but more a reflective subdued feeling.

    I recently wondered where the term "Feeling Blue" comes from because actually Blue is one of the most beautiful colors that also touches on other lovely colors such as Lavender, Purple, and Aqua.

    I'm sure there are many reasons it adopted the name associated with sadness but I rather liked the one we found...

    Feeling Blue:
    If you are sad and describe yourself as "feeling blue," you are using a phrase coined from a custom among many old deep water sailing ships.

    FeelingBlue4

    I have really been giving thought to emotions colors evoke. For so long Shabby Chic was based on various shades of white. Pastel pinks, blues and green have always been my quiet accent colors. But as my self confidence has matured I have let pinks become raspberry and pastel blues become aqua.

    pillows

    To view more pillows, click here.

    I think I will always love white more than anything else, for its purity and peace.
    White creates such a statement without having to think. And in its non committal way, there is something daring about white. Even a plain white t-shirt is a quiet but strong statement. "No Frills Needed."

    But then the perfect companion to the white tshirt is the faded blue jeans. Always a prioirty in my wardrobe. And I think that's why its a natural evolution for me to feel comfortable working with the palette of blues.

    jeans

    To witness me in my high waisted jeans, click here to go to my DVDs.

    denimsectional

    Click here to view my Denim Sectionals.

    Blue is associated with calm soothing beauty. The sky and the ocean.

    blueskies3

    There is something very complete about blue, it is nearly always beautiful. It is rare to see a bad blue.

    driftwood

    To see the entire Driftwood Bedding Collection, please click here.

    Blue is compatible with greens, pinks, white, oranges, reds and yellows. Seems all colors like blue.

    fabrics

    To view our bedding collections, please click here.

    Blue blends from dark to light covering lovely colors on its way, pale blue to medium, into greys, lavender and purple, then crossing into aqua.

    randomblue2

    tips&ideas2

    For more how to ideas from my Sumptuous Settings & Other Lovely Things Book, click here

    Even though pink is my love, it can go fru fru very easily. Blue whether in the home, decoration, clothing, can be soft and feminine but not too sweet.

    powderpuffdress

    promdress

    bluepaint2

    White, pink and green another day.

    thankyounote

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  • My Influence

    RAandherParents2

    I contemplated whether this was the right subject to write on my blog.

    However, over the past few weeks I have spent many hours and days and have understood more and more how influences of my mother formed who I am today. It is clear to me that without my mum it is likely Shabby Chic never would have happened.

    So for all Shabby Chic lovers I wanted to take a moment to share my teacher and biggest influence.

    In September my mum was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

    I count my blessings that I was given warning of my limited time with her, and also I had the ability to stop my world to be with her and my father. (They have been married for 53 years.) How lucky for them they found each other and have lived a lifetime together. And how fortunate for me that my parents have lived into their 80’s.

    The very essence of my mum was human kindness, gentility, and the ability to not have a bad thought about anyone. I don’t think she knew how.

    She created much beauty in this world with her heart, art, music, gardens and her spirit.

    60sPainting2

    But she took up little space. She was very sensitive to letting everyone beat to their own drum and gave them the space to do so.

    She had the character to have an opinion about her many interests but it never occurred to her to judge anyone else.

    watercolor5

    One man's junk is another man's treasure is the perfect metaphor for her belief that everyone has their purpose and place in this world.

    She always thought the best of people and assumed everyone did their best. She respected others and was always sweetly grateful for people’s time and effort. She had humble expectations and needs. And found her happiness exclusively from her friends and family.

    mumandlily

    Her core values of life were we are all equal. Commercial success was not a measurement to her of a valuable person. She knew nothing about fancy cars or jewelry. For her it was all about feeling.

    To her a home meant a safe place of nourishment, a sanctuary, always well lived in and always inviting.

    hippiecorner5

    She didn’t really want for much. But whatever she did have she used endlessly and became intimately involved with. Her books were always marked up and dog-eared. (She couldn’t understand the concept of buying “books by the yard” to fill up bookshelves).

    Her shoes were always worn to the end. Worn from the miles she would walk daily on her beloved Hampstead Heath in London.

    hampsteadheath

    She had the teeniest garden in the world, but she was familiar with every blade of grass. She would never want a home or garden that she couldn’t fully take care of herself.

    One day we went and bought a load of plants for her garden. She was very specific that they must all get along and not take away from each others beauty. Just support.

    thelittlegarden

    Over the past few weeks as I have gone through her cupboards and drawers I am reminded over and over again of her natural authenticity.

    Her art, her drawers of laces and fabrics, old threads and buttons. There was nothing contrived about my mum.

    charcoalart2

    But who she was and how she behaved was not a discipline of wanting to be a good or an interesting person. It's just who she was, and knew no other way to behave.

    I have used the term "beauty of imperfection" as the core aesthetic of Shabby Chic, and that is embedded in my character, influenced exclusively by my mum.

    artwall5

    And I can say, (other than my phobia of elevators), every part of my character that I am proud about is the part that is my mother

    She was always very proud of Shabby Chic. Not in a way that she wanted much of my products in her home, or not in a way that she read my books cover to cover. Not because of the fame I received. But because of the magic and authentic feeling she felt walking into a Shabby Chic store. My aesthetic may have been a little different to hers.

    But she felt home.

    Beauty, comfort and function.

    That was my mum.
    Shirley Greenfield. 1927- 2008

    RAandherMum

    Certain incidents in our lives cause a spotlight to shine on our true friends.
    I want to thank all of my friends and work associates who have supported me more than I ever would have expected. Thank you with all of my heart.

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