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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2011

  • Pink Princesses


    I have been lucky enough to be in London during the preparations and actual event of the wedding of Kate and Will. There has been a wonderful celebratory feeling for weeks. Most every street has union jack flags or bunting.


    While walking down a street I came across this window. Brought back memories when Keep Calm & Carry On got us through some dark days.


    A few nights ago after working all day at my publishers I took myself for a wander around my home town of London.

    I walked to Westminster Abbey and over to Buckingham Palace.



    After I wandered through St. James Park which connects the houses of parliament to Buckingham Palace, I came across a lovely lodge from the mid 1800's.


    Next I decided to see if red white and blue were the only celebration colors, so I went in search of a pastel palette for a princess.



    Every where there were souvenirs incorporating Kate and Wills portrait by Mario Testino. Some renditions became a little tacky. But in years to come they will likely be nostalgic treasure's.


    Am not sure if a law was passed that every store had to have bunting strung .........I continued my search for pastel bunting.


    I have been giving much thought as to why 2 billion people are expected to watch the wedding. And I myself, carved out the time to connect in my heart with the meaning of the day. Not just be an observer.

    In the end I came to thinking, that no matter what we say, no matter how independent we are, no matter what tough face we put on, the princess dream never dies.

    Hope, I think is an ingredient of being human. And even if we have put aside hope for ourselves, we still love to see others finding their prince and live happily ever after.

    PINK of course is the color for princesses. I have spoken for years, about the right pink. Not too salmon or coral. Pink is the color of love. Quiet pretty love.


    We have nearly sold out of these lovely paintings at my stores. But while we had several in the store, the energy was pure romance.

    I wonder if people that shy away from pink are broken hearted and they would prefer not to be reminded.

    For me, I will take pink to heaven with me..........finding pink treasures is my way being a princess. Placing them in my Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores, is my way of passing on my hope, that if we believe in pink, our prince will one day come.


    No doubt about it, one has to tread carefully with pink, as with love. Too much or too sweet can turn to a sugary syrup. Pink needs to be special and have its space. At The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell in Texas, I have sparingly placed a few pink vintage pieces. So far our cowboy guests have not complained.


    I can get so wrapped up in my indelpendant happy life and being Miss Responsibility. So for me, I rely on pink to remind me I have my story book dream.


    For those who can't take the whole princess pink thing too far there are always smokier versions that still keep us girly.


    As the wedding preparations unfolded I think we all connected to the true elements of this fairly story.

    Watching beautiful Kate, marry her prince. Watching Prince Will, knowing Diana would be so proud. Kate's parents, seemingly to have raised their children with traditional family values......and then there is Harry, he will be the next to follow. Could the story end perfectly happily ever after and he marry Pippa, his mummy watching from up above.

    And while I wandered home, the night before the wedding, I was thinking of my sappy country music, and voila, Texas crossed my path, round the corner from Buckingham Palace.



    My time has filled my heart that fairy tales do come true, and until such time, a little bit of pink tides us over...

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  • Beauty In The Barn


    These past weeks I have been hosting my dear friend Laurence Amelie and her lovely boyfriend Umbaldo Picasso in my home in Brentwood. They are both extraordinary artists from Paris.

    Over the years from time to time I have sold Laurence's paintings in my stores but she is now quite famous in Paris, so it is difficult for me to get her work here. Every time she paints a piece it gets sold from under me.......... so I have been holding her captive in my barn and she has been painting every day........


    On her way to the barn Laurence would visually and emotionally absorb the inspiration from my garden.



    The goal of Laurence's visit was to host a show of her work at my Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture store in Santa Monica.


    Laurence mainly paints flowers and tutus. Both romantic, frilly and feminine subjects. However, her somewhat abstract hand gives her works a modern edge.


    Over the years Laurence and I seem to share a similar evolution of our palette. While always embracing white and pastels, Laurence too is stepping into a smokier palette of browns, greys and darker blues.


    When I first met Laurence about 8 years ago she was only doing flower paintings.


    Today the barn is packed up as though Laurence was never there. A few happy tears have been wiped away. I am grateful to have evidence of her beautiful work, hung on the walls of my store.

    Do pop by and see them if your passing. They are in our Santa Monica store now and some will dance and float their way across the country to the New York store by the end of April.

    And in time we will have them on the walls at The Prairie By Rachel Ashwell Bed and Breakfast.


    And now off to London to put the final touches on my latest book (due out in October) and then to see the royal wedding. (not going but will watch in on the tele with my dad). But I will take lots of Buckingham Palace and spring cherry blossom photos.....

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