Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: October 2009

  • Bucket List (Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman)

    There is truly much to write of the past few weeks events.


    New York opening party and book launch, hosted by Target.


    Writing my book was the easy part for me. Flying in the unfriendly skies to attend my book signings was my challenge and avoiding elevators, picking onion and garlic out of my food makes for travel to be exhausting for me and my companions.

    The response from the a beautiful two page article in the New York Times has been global and extraordinary...Penelope Green, the journalist, captured our whole twenty years.


    I can't help but grasp that it is way more than products that connect us all in this Shabby Chic world. I have been touched and humbled by every single person I have met these past few weeks.

    My mothers anniversary of leaving was a few days ago.

    And a common thought it seems when some form of life ends is "how do we affect the world during our time here". For me to inspire is a value important to me. But one we cannot contrive.

    One lady I met in Vero Beach, Florida at my book signing held my hand and she said that I was on her "bucket list," and thanked me. That's a fairly monumental compliment and moment in my life. At times I have not escaped feeling dismissed from peoples lives, so this was an honor.

    And it got me thinking of my bucket list.


    When I left the book signing there was a double rainbow outside. That was an extraordinary sign.


    One thing that stood out to me from my signings was what a community that we have created. For me it manifested in some profound products we have in our stores. Beautiful illustrations by Lisa Mann Dirkes. An amazing lady with her own story to be told.


    My Vintage finds are of huge value in my aesthetic and quality of my stores.


    I am convinced our eyes and soul need authentic beauty, of which there is much. There is sadly much ugliness too. And far too much noise. Just taking up space in our ears.

    For sure price point is not my focus, but value is.

    And then we proudly partner with Target for affordability and I also share my fleamarket tips for others to do themselves to attempt to counterbalance my whole Shabby Chic world.


    My stores are now my canvas and art and the fact that I was a choice on one persons bucket list has raised by bench mark of my art, to be worthy of such.

    Inspiration to me is simply a key we find to help us see what is inside ourselves.
    So if the inspiration is authentic and eyes, ears and hearts are open we are all bucket lists for each other.

    How lucky we found each other through prettiness.


    And I will continue to bring what I have, for all to share. Whether a flower, a meaning or just a new understanding of my lessons. And I will be open to your stories and lessons too.

    We will have a huge big Shabby Chic bucket, and we will collectively make the world a more beautiful nest, for our time here.

    (Just leave the garlic and onions out of mine and give me wings so I don't need an elevator, or a plane.)


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    I have been a busy bee at store openings and book signings. Meeting so many lovely precious, you's.

    At the same time some of our old favourites have come back into our shops.



    An Australian blog comment posted gushed...
    "Be still my heart!!! My (Mr) Darcy is back." (Pride and Prejudice) -Jane Austin).


    There has been such an outcry for our oversized lovely leather furniture. A perfect companion to our slipcovered and vintage furniture.






    Please forgive me for the last few blogs becoming so producty.
    We are working on our website, but until then so many of you have been requesting to see product. Somehow. So my blog is my vehicle. But within the next couple weeks my blog will get back to blogging.


    I have been overwhelmed by store events at my stores and others, with little time to write, but you are all always on my mind, with gratitude.

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  • My Diary 9/17/09 - 10/4/09

    The last few weeks has taken me from coast to coast and then across the Atlantic.


    While in NY I filmed an online commercial for Target.


    I loved the concept of combining products from Target, (my own brand of Simply Shabby Chic and other Target Brands) and vintage elements, from my cupboard of treasures.


    It was easy to create a beautiful ensemble. My favorite was a set of bud vases from Target sprinkled on a festive table with rose spays, and layering my favorite Simply Shabby Chic white dinnerware set into some hand dyed vintage tablecloths from my personal collection. The satisfying part of the project was the affordability of the creation.


    The philosophy of Rachel Ashwell Shabby ChicĀ® Couture is bespoke, handmade with careful attention to labor intensive details and quality.


    My machine washable slipcovered furniture, tables and bedding are mainly made in Europe or the US. Packaging is inspired from european years gone by. (no plastic). These qualities create products that become heirlooms and the price reflects these qualities.


    However I always like to counter balance with affordable elements, and I always try and share my process of finding treasures so that if you want to combine any of my products from Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture, Simply Shabby Chic and your own found treasures, they all live comfortably together.


    In my book Rachel Ashwell Fleamarket Treaures I share...

    1. A map of one of my favourite shopping route
    2. What to buy
    3. How to restore
    4. Decorative ideas of how to use.

    antique route



    Fleamarketing is one of my biggest joys in life. But it is hard work to pull it all together. Getting up early, schlepping, restoring. That's what brings soul to these treasures, whether my own or yours.


    Target is another opportunity to show how to blend affordable products into a high end luxury brand.

    It is important to me to always combine a diverse range of affordability and styles when I put together a room.

    A lavish mushy sofa that will last and last and last sits comfortably with a fleamarket crumbly chandelier.


    After my New York time I went to London for the launch of my book and the opening of my little teeny space in Selfridges. (a lovely department store).


    I was able once again to demonstrate how to blend my sofas with some fleamarket finds. truly the shabby with the chic.

    A lovely group of English people came to my book event. Many from Australia too. My book hovers from #1 to #3 on amazon.com in its category. and while I am very proud of the aesthetics of the book, a couple of times my eyes welled up when it was clear people are reading my book, therefore getting a true picture of the value of my treasures in life.


    A new friend Geraldine took me to a fleamarket outside of London. Funny the similarities in product and people of fleamarkets worldwide.


    I could have easily been in Roundtop Texas, except for the "have a nice day" of Texas is replaced with "ta ta for now"...I did find some beautiful vintage textiles, delicious.


    In between all of this I did a live radio interview to be aired in NY. That was nerve racking as no edit button.

    I spent time with my dad and got my daughter settled into her new apartment for her new year at college.


    A lot to juggle but a lot to savour too.

    My next focus is to make sure I make the time to experience all that I experience, when life speeds up sometimes I read books and don't absorb, I spend time with people but I'm already gone, I eat but don't taste, I sleep but wake up tired, I live but I'm not fully there.

    Answering questions for the interviews regarding my book or opening of stores is helpful for me to truly process in my mind, all that happened and possibly why. At the top of my acceptance is faith.


    I know I must show up in my own life, that my thoughts are as vital as my words
    Dignity and humility continue to be important characteristics for me to stand by. But I cannot make everything ok. Somethings will stay broken. Not everyone will be happy with my decisions. But I will do my best to do the right thing.

    After the losses and unraveling of the past year I had many lessons and now my test is to slow down and savour. And for me most importantly to get out of my head and not worry about all that may happen. With lives moving so fast and so much going on and around us, there is certainly much to worry about.

    But I am going to try and learn the craft of worrying when there is a problem, until then enjoy what "is".


    (There was a great episode of Greys Anatomy last week about worrying. So much in our head, that never even materializes).


    The next few weeks I will be on the road, signing and talking and listening. Meeting as many of you as possible.

    I will be present for every moment as moments like these don't come along very often.

    I will be adding more and more photos of products online, but until then many of you have requested a clear photo of our illustrated brochure. Next week there will be lots more photos of products.


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