Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: December 2009

  • The Year Ahead

    I had every intention to write a yummy Christmas or holiday post. But the moment I had a moment I found myself without words.

    As this time of year does for many, I needed to absorb the events of 2009. The saying of not knowing where we are going without really understanding where we have been prompted me to reflect where I had been. So that the adventures of 2010 could begin.


    2009 turned out to be a year where I connected my heart to my head.
    Such a short space but a long, sometimes painful and frustrating journey.

    For most of my life both functioned very well but not always side by side.
    It has been my year where I have had many lessons that have lead up to me having clarity of the true meaning of faith, pride, humility, strength, truth, trust, and compassion. With the clarity of these emotions I had to change some behaviors of mine.

    All the years before that I have thought I could and should make the impossibles happen, or even what shouldn't happen, happen. I finally grasped that life does have its own course regardless of my will.

    And my role is to show up, do what I know is the right thing to do, and to trust and accept the outcome will be what is right.


    Shabby Chic has been my home to create romance, beauty and magic in my life.


    Vignettes in my stores are moments of fantasy that can be transported into our real lives and homes. I find myself appreciating how vital the importance of feeding our eyes and souls with beauty and comfort.


    I have always looked at theatre for my inspiration. For handmade details and unique palette. but the notion of a mask is one I profoundly connect with. Something we all need, from time to time.


    With so much reality entertainment, HD quality TV and twittering instant news as it happens, the quality of fantasy through an old leather bound book or an imperfect grainy movie has been compromised for making things too real. Magic and dreams are being lost. We must keep our shabby world imperfect.

    Sometimes in 2009 I have felt a profound sadness.
    Sometimes loss.


    Sometimes fear.
    Sometimes really tired.
    And this has lead me to surrender. And in doing so I have found the time for gentle gratitude.


    Through everything. The one constant, is always to dream.


    "To those who can dream, there is no such place as far away".
    I included this quote in my latest book.


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  • Happiness and Laughter


    This past month simply flew by.

    I have been criss-crossing California on my book tour. From Orange County to San Diego to Santa Barbara to San Francisco.

    Virtually every event went hours longer than planned. Meeting and talking to 100's of Shabby Chic people. It was a lovely experience for me and I thank all who came. And all the lovely little gifts I was given.

    I drove from county to county so I could also do some antiquing. And I came back with a wonderful load of treasures each time.


    I have been driving the highways from antique malls to antique stores for years. I love everything about a road trip. Gives me a chance to listen to music while I drive through farmlands and lovely little American towns. It's pure joy for me.


    I feel myself prioritizing choices and re-evaluating what is important to me.


    And I find in both my personal and business life it is the quality, the little details that I am protecting. The bigger picture of life isn't my focus at the moment. I am finding the quiet unsung heroes in my life most important. The little authentic things are the basis of my relationships and Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture.


    I am finding that my customer is really wanting to be educated by how my sofas are built. Many elements go into creating these mushy, comfy, customized, bespoke heirlooms. The little tacks have just an important a job and the big strong coils. Customers are appreciating knowing these pieces can be passed onto their children. From an aesthetic and quality standpoint they are timeless and classic.


    Not all people are looking for big items. But they are taking the time in my shop to discover the little quiet details too. I buy these broaches and use them for napkin or tablecloth adornments. This is my Marie Antoinette moment. So affordable but priceless


    Getting back to this part of my world is pure joy and giggles. It's the romance of my life. My imagination is endless and forever evolving. And once again, my stores in Los Angeles and New York has all the yumminess. Click to stores.


    While white anything is always a favourite, playing with dyes is so satisfying. Teals, dusty pinks and neutrals are my colors of choice right now.


    With so many ruffles the dye came out a little irregular but adds to the character. Perfect platform for my new dinnerware of plates with crowns and little Fleur de Lys. All very subtle and quiet but makes such a statement.


    Throughout all the uncertainties and changes this year, flowers kept blooming, growing and spreading their fragrance. And reminding me of patience and law of nature and life. So many metaphors.



    During the time my business was shut down, I reflected and imagined how things might be different in the future. A richer palette that I consider more mature and mellow found a place in my designing. A velvet illusion with rough dark woods seemed to continue my Shabby Chic design philosophy.

    My understanding of why everything had to turn out the way it did has given me such an insight to faith. And from faith there is a key to pure joy. That in the end, if we do what we are supposed to be doing, in the way our path leads us, laughter is easy. And its lovely.


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