Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2009

  • My Normal

    RA Book cover final 3

    Finally I am truly happy to post confirmed dates of my book signing
    tour. Due to one hundred thousand things going on in my life, and my
    desire to meet as many of you as possible I will keep adding dates over
    the next few months.
    Let me know where you all are. Even though I can't get to every nook
    and cranny of the world, I will try and make some central stops and
    consolidate locations to meet as many of you as possible.
    I am so very much looking forward to thanking as many of you in person
    for supporting me these past months.
    This blogging world has been a wonderful tool, and twittering will be
    next. But never a replacement for the real thing, of meeting in person..

    The process of this book will always be my personal reminder of events
    that happened during various days of shooting.
    Many tears were shed shooting the cover and my poor photographer had to
    make magic with my puffy red eyes. I have quite a variety of terrible jokes
    that were an attempts to make me laugh. Through it all I am thrilled with
    the evolution of my designs captured in the photos. My writing and thoughts
    during these days were very articulate. Not that I wrote about my dramas.
    (that's another book) but being raw forces clear thinking, no fluff to get sidetracked with.

    More proof my "my normal" coming back is I will head to Brimfield next week.

    Mays antique sign 4

    Its been just a little too long that I haven't gotten up in the dark and
    cold, and met my travel companions to trundle off to search for
    treasures.

    tools of the trade 5

    Trying not to consume too many beverages as to avoid the
    porta potties and eating Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, such a delicious
    no no. All the while still getting the excited feeling of butterflies in
    my stomach as I approach the possible finds of the day.

    my normal final

    So I am not sure what my purpose of shopping will be. For 20 years I had
    a specific purpose... I just need to get out in the fields and I
    will work out why I am there.

    I continue to build my vision on my new day, when I will get back to "my
    normal " life wherever and however that may be.

    dream pic final copy

    Ideas creep into my dreams late at night, as my days are still yucky
    with paperwork. But my true "normal" knows to find a way to let what I
    love come into my mind, even it I am sleeping.
    I know the nights when have had the dreams, as the next day my creativity
    is on fire.

    I left London and I finished packing up dad's house.
    It felt sad leaving my mums tiny garden behind. She loved it very much.
    I cut one final display of roses. She would have been proud.

    Mums garden final copy

    The flat dad purchased shares communal gardens with a beautiful
    English church, and I discovered that the church actually the owns
    of the freehold of dad's new flat.

    dads landlord final 4

    So truly feel he is in gods home, I feel very good about that.
    I feel lucky to have spent a few days in the beach at Malibu.
    There is something in "my normal" about being here.
    Even though I am an English city girl at heart, the rhythm of the
    waves, reconnects me to "my normal", as for sure I have had days of
    being out of rhythm. That's for sure.

    candy stripe cover final

    It's really amazing as crazy as life gets for us all,
    the rhythm of nature, seasons, the timing of waves, the sun and moon,
    grounds us all, as long as we pay attention, and connect we can then
    keep all of our "normals".
    That's a good thing.



    Please keep an eye on book events
    which are listed on my website. I
    would love to meet you all, if you
    are able to come to any of the dates.

    Selfridges & Co.
    Oxford St. London W1C, UK
    Thursday October 1rst 6:15 - 7:15pm

    Lillian August
    32 Knight St. Norwalk, CT
    Wednesday October 14th 10:00am - noon

    Greenwich Garden Education Center, Cos Cob, CT
    Thursday October 15th 10:00am - noon

    Upper East Side Barnes & Noble Superstore
    86th St. and 3rd. Ave, NYC
    Friday October 16th 7:00 - 8:30pm

    Books & Books
    265 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL
    Tuesday October 20th 8:00 - 9:30pm

    Blue Springs Home
    369 E. 17th St., #23, Costa Mesa, CA
    Friday October 24th 2:00 - 4:00pm

    Diesal Books
    3898 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA
    Sunday October 25th 3:00 - 4:30pm

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  • Rachel Ashwell Moving and Storage........

    I have been in London the past couple of weeks, editing,
    packing, throwing away, donating and auctioning the contents
    of my dad and mums house. Mum and dad lived in this four story
    skinny house for thirty years.

    Doorway to mums copy

    Now that my mum is no longer here, my dad decided he wanted to
    move into something quite a lot smaller. However, this has been
    quite a challenge to consolidate a biggish house of contents
    into a little apartment due to a combination of my mums many
    hobbies, my dads near obsession with books, and them both not
    wanting to part with anything for many years.

    Piano music copy

    And at the same time of this project my daughters college year
    has ended so it has been time to pack her up and decide what will
    come back to Los Angeles for the summer and what can stay packed
    and stored in London.
    So- I have become very familiar with trash bags, tape and labels,
    boxes, storage companies, auction houses, and charities.

    boxes ties tape copy

    I have never been much of a hoarder. I buy things very selectively
    and either use until worn out or, if not used enough, I am good at
    cutting my losses and giving away before the dust builds.
    And as I have mentioned I have confined my stuff to a "forever
    to keep chest of drawers".

    Sisters drawings 1 copy

    These past couple of weeks I have had the job to judge what has
    value to keep, and what must be let go. This entire process has
    given me many opportunities to wonder about the emotional and
    financial value of "stuff."
    The cliche of "one mans junk is another mans treasure" has been
    words I have understood in the flea market world.
    But for the most part the packing of my parents home(other than a
    few rare books, antique dolls) most of the treasures that I have
    been handling have been very personal.

    Pretty covers pic copy

    Once again a reminder to me that a house becomes a home when
    life happens and memories are made.
    My parents house is full of evidence of a life of interests
    wonderfully researched with beautiful sketches, careful
    handwritten notes.Paint brushes and paints, piano music with
    notes of study, white feathers gathered (representing angels).

    Pastels paints brushes copy

    A sewing box with needles already threaded.
    A beautiful tapestry, nearly finished.

    Tapestry picture 1 copy

    Recipe books with pages stuck together from dripping sauces.
    Dog eared books, read and reread.

    books books copy

    Boxes and boxes and box of photographs. So much fun to once
    again look through.

    the greenfields 1 copy

    War medals from my mums father, carefully packed away.

    Granpas sketch copy

    Every letter and card myself, my sister, or my kids had every
    written to our parents, wrapped up in paper bags. Years and years
    and years of them. For sure never viewed for the longest time.

    Telegrams copy


    Perhaps they are just being stored for exactly the purpose they
    served this week, one of bringing to color the memory of family,
    life, sharing of experiences. Not hallmark moments but good bench
    marks that even from afar, we kept in touch. Forever. Until that
    forever ended. But then dovetailed into a new forever.

    Feng Shui diagram copy

    I must make sure I become a bit more of a hoarder
    so I continue the forever.

    So even though I thought my job of clearing would be dreadful and
    quick, I have once again delayed my flight home, to relive the memories.

    Report Book 2 copy

    Funny in the end, the things that will gain some financial rewards
    through auction might become the other mans treasures, but I have
    boxes and boxes of what might seem to be junk, but to me a pot of gold.

    brown envelope copy


    Next stop, to pack up my sons things in new york and find him a
    new apartment. Here I go again with my tape and boxes..
    Wish the tape weren't brown and the marker black and the boxes so ugly.
    Rachel Ashwell Moving and Storage......

    To all my loyal customers:
    As you all know Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic had closed its doors on
    all retail, for now. All of our manufacturing is shut down.
    There are some websites who continue to represent they are carrying
    my product. In some cases this is authentic product that was purchased
    through my company before we closed our factories.
    However there are websites who are claiming they can have our exact furniture copied. Please be aware this is unauthorized and any products that are being manufactured now using the trademark of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic are not authentic, therefore fake.
    Please be careful of misleading marketing. For those of you who have the real
    thing, please enjoy. For those of you who don't, I ask you don't support people trying to deceive, and hurt many in the process.
    Thank you. Rachel.

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  • Rest, Restore, Reinvent.

    I have been very neglectful in writing this past month.
    It is not that much hasn’t happened...

    RedBuildingNew2
    My son arrived back from college, being a mum is such a gift. Although with a 20 year old I have learnt to do so in an unobtrusive way.
    My first Shabby Chic store closed on May 30th, 2009.
    Exactly 20 years after it opened. That was a tough day.
    My garden blossomed, my lavender is 3 feet tall cascading down my front path. Fat floppy roses so happy to be smelled.

    I compiled a scrap book of the vision of my dreams. Seems writers have to write, painters have to paint, and for no specific purpose, I have to design.
    To my eyes I think I have compiled my best and most complete story. When the time is right, it will find its place to be revealed.
    The world does seem rather quiet.
    I think that our inner wiring has forever been changed. Apart from the necessities, I don’t think that we will ever consume as we have done in the past. We are adjusting to not thinking too far ahead of ourselves.
    Tomorrow is plenty far away. That makes today a lot more important. But now is where we are. For the first time in my adult life, I have no specific structure. Being Jake and Lilys mum and the Shabby Chic lady has kept me very scheduled, even though I will
    always be that person. I am not needed so much. So now I get to be Rachel Ashwell. hmmmm. yikes...
    So I will write soon, better, more regularly because I like our connection.
    My warm thoughts to you all. Enjoy your kids coming back from college, enjoy your gardens. Enjoy being you.
    I’m popping to London to help move my father and then my treat will be Brimfield, but that is way past tomorrow.

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