Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2011

  • Time, The Greatest Gift

    I decided to give myself the gift of time this summer. As wonderful as all my busy world is, I felt the need to step back and just absorb and experience my life. Between the ebbs and flows of my career and being a mother, it has been a long long time that I have had the opportunity, to take time. Each day I am learning a little more how to sit in that place, and golly, what a gift.


    Even though there are some design "no no's" at the beach shack, it lends itself perfectly for friends and family to come and go as they wish. Everything is a little sandy and moist but the view forgives any imperfections.

    I have quite a list of things I would like to do in my "quiet time", but I realize, once I slowed down, catching up on sleep was #1. I have always prioritized in my designing to have little snoozing places, when going to bed isn't called for, just a place the "rest my eyes", as my mum used to say to me, and I have now adopted.


    Seems like others have similar thoughts as these Folks Beds have been selling like hot cakes from my Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores this summer.

    I have quite a few house guests coming thru this summer. So when I am in town I wanted to make sure I still had a private hide place to take a few minutes.


    This would be called a "box room" in London, but in the U.S. it's my walk in closet. It has always seemed just too much space to designate to my jeans and white t shirts so just recently I decided to let this be my hideaway and popped this beautiful lovely day bed...... (from Spain I am told, via England flea market).

    One of my favorite joys is to have time to smell my roses. During all my travels during pruning time, my garden escaped being cut back, causing a rather chaotic end result. I usually like to direct the chaos but this year it's literally carved its own path.


    However in my front garden, some of my favorite rose bushes have become diseased!!!! I don't know whether its in the ground or a spray, but my usual lovely floppy rose heads are struggling to blossom, and when they do they are tiny and shredded.


    I have spoken to many about this problem and so far no diagnosis and I have even been told they may simply will not get well. So for now, I am taking the time to talk to the rose bushes. Since they got so sick, they have grown so many more thorns, its as though they don't want anyone near them. My arms are rather scratched up but I'm still hoping they may come back. If anyone out there has ever had shriveled small but blossomed roses, and found a cure, would love to know.

    One of my house guests is lovely Laurence and Umbaldo, my artist friends from Paris. For those who follow my blogs, Laurence was here in the spring and did a magnificent collection of paintings of tutu"s and flowers. Most of which have been sold.


    Like any artist, Laurence is always experimenting with composition and color. During her stay this summer I have requested more of her spring collections, but she is also painting some palettes from her hugely successful show in Paris this summer. By the time she is done, we hope to have paintings in all our stores.



    One of my most pleasurable tasks is gathering elements for the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture little museum at The Prairie in September. I am pulling together some archival prints and designs, inspirational elements and media over the past 22 years. This exercise started off for myself, but actually think its worthy of sharing my journey.


    I have also had the luxury of being able to pop into my store in Santa Monica, its been in the same location for 21 years now, and Janis does such a wonderful job executing my vision. I'm sure its nerve racking for them for me to have time on my hands, but for me I am loving taking the time to see all the little treasures amongst the bigger ones....





    I often talk of how I have embraced the beauty of imperfection. But sometimes things are broke beyond repair. At least to repair in the form of which it was intended. A few days ago when I was clomping around my house, in my cowboy boots, for some reason a favorite cup, and different saucer just fell of a shelf. Don't know why. I was at first worried. Wondering if it was a sign.

    I looked at the broken pieces and wondered if they could be glued back together again. The pieces were pretty splintered so I wondered if I was supposed to throw away. But still even within the splinters, little rays of gold and pinks shone, and my lesson was to let it find its voice and transform into something else. I have asked Laurence's boyfriend (he does abstract art) if somehow he can incorporate into a painting somehow....will keep you posted.


    As the days of July tick away, I still have August ahead of me. To complete some of my projects and to continue embracing the true value of down time.

    Two words are at the fore front of my mind. Humility and generosity. I am wanting to enter the fall with a little more of both in my character. I want to be more generous of my attention to others and not be so distracted. To listen more. And to always remember that to create wonderfulness is ALWAYS a team effort. And to accept compliments on behalf of our team, our village.



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