A Texas Antiques Shop and Visual Feast–Vignettes at Every Turn

Rarely do you visit a shop where everywhere you look is an artfully arranged tableau. Except maybe in Paris, where they invented it. But this is Texas, hun, in the charming Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, where I was last week. Carol Hicks Bolton antiques is an acre of heaven for the vintage/rustic/industrial-chic set, and oh, what fun.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your Pinterest boards…

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

Who knew a bunch of weeds tacked to a wall could be so beautiful?

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques, Fredericksburg, Texas

Or watch faces in a muffin tin? If that’s what it is (?)

Or what-all in a what-not.

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

At the risk of appearing lazy, which I am, I give you the description from owners Carol and Tim Bolton themselves, who say it as well as I could, if not better, from their website here:

“For individual decorators, collectors and resellers, … magnificent antiques sourced from Europe and beyond. 

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

One-of-a-kind beds, french cabinets & curiosities, huge farm tables, fabulous upholstery, romantic bed linens, industrial objects, illuminations, and tons and tons more.

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

 [They aren’t kidding. Am I nuts? Do y’all think this is as much fun as I do?]

 

[Every now and then my eyeballs would pop out of my head and I would have to walk across the store and fetch them.]

“There is nothing precious here. The furniture we exhibit is a reflection of who we are, what we love, and what we believe in.

[I 100% believe in starfish. ]

 [A few of these you may recognize from my Instagram…]

“It is old and new at the same time – deconstructed and stripped down to the bones to reveal the original story underneath all the layers. Every piece has been found, measured, curated, cultivated, sorted, sifted, adjusted, adapted and loved.

The first person who can tell us what this is wins a nickel. I have no idea, but I love the light on it.

[I soooooo wanted the table below to use as a desk…]

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

 “Each item offers an unscripted authenticity, and becomes a continuing story of others’ histories that you can write into your own.” 

Preferably involving stuffed weasels…

 

 Love a little slipper chair by the bed…

 These two look smack in the middle of a conversation. “Does this mount make my beak look fat?”

So what did I buy? A wonderful extra-slim oak bench that came from an old railroad station, and a dozen botanicals which I do not need and am not sure where to put, but I just couldn’t help myself. Don’t be like me. Not these, btw. They are attached directly to the wall, with nails holding the glass covering. No frames. Genius.

FYI I was in Fredericksburg for a painting workshop with the talented Michael Workman. We talked more than painted, alas, but I learned a lot. Was insane for me going in middle of The Bee Cottage Story book deadlines but went anyway. 

(Managed to  resist this antique bee skep, but it wasn’t easy.)

Antique bee skep, Carol Hicks Bolton antiques in Fredericksburg, Texas

Hope my editor is not reading this. Heck it was so close to Hondo, Texas, where we were quail hunting the weekend before, it was practically obligatory, right? And besides, #playinghookyishealthy every now and then, right?

This sweet sign was behind the counter.

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques, Fredericksburg, Texas

I actually met “Daddy,” aka Tim Bolton, at least I reckon he is the daddy mentioned here. He was hospitable and lovely to everyone who came in. I bet lots of people love him. And I know they love his and Carol’s shop. I bet (again) that lots of people thought they were crazy with what they wanted to create here, and now look. Amazing what happens when you  follow your passion.

Carol Hicks Bolton antiques, Fredericksburg, Texas

Posted in Art, Photography & Culture, Blog, Decoration & Design | 26 comments

The Soulful, Delightful Art of Children’s Book Illustrator Benny Andrews

The Soulful, Delightful Art of Children’s Book Illustrator Benny Andrews

In the spirit of Black History Month, here is a stupendous book celebrating an  African American artist with the bonus of being illustrated by the artist himself. How did I not know about Benny Andrews? His art is like, Modigliani meets Grandma Moses meets Maira Kalman. Soulful, delightful. Draw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations  Review in The New York Times here. It is a children's book, but that is a technicality. Kathleen Benson's text is plain spoken and straightforward, but not baby-ish. No "See Benny paint," no. As the Times said, the author lets "the inspirational facts of Andrews's life speak for themselves." From Draw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations Benny's parents were Georgia sharecroppers. One of ten children, he worked the cotton fields like everybody else, but he always loved to draw. Showing aptitude and ambition, he made his way to high school, the Air Force, and eventually to the Art Institute of Chicago (no less) on the GI Bill. An accomplishment for anyone, but a heck of a thing for someone like Benny. From Draw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations And by all accounts, he was a heck of a guy. Before his death in 2006 (well, obviously before his death), he illustrated many children's books. His work is still exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries, most recently in a special installation at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery in New York.  FromDraw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations Janice Shay of Pinafore Press, the un-sung instigator and designer of this book, is a book packager and agent in Savannah, hence the Georgia connection to Benny.  From Draw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations Janice sent me the book the other day with a note telling me in part,  "...Benny was a dear friend of mine. He and I did three books together, and I asked his widow immediately after his death if I could put togther a children's book proposal about his life, using his own art. It took four years to sell--a lesson in patience that you understand." Amen sister. I love this scene at the Cotton Club. I wish I'd been there. Me and Rose from Downton Abbey. From Draw What You See: The LIfe and Art of Benny Andrews, by Kathleen Benson Haskins, Benny Andrews Illustrations Yes I do understand about lessons in patience, and you do, too.  I like having  this reminder, though, especially during Lent, which is about patience, and waiting, and preparing. Not unlike Andrews's life itself. Or dare I say all of our lives. Here is Benny at work, and here are links to buy this and other books illustrated by Benny Andrews:  From publisher Clarion Books for Houghton Mifflin here. On IndieBookLove here. On Amazon here. On Barnes & Noble here. Benny Andrews at work in his studio

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Posted in Art, Photography & Culture, Blog | 8 comments

The Bee Cottage Story Is Ready for Pre-Order!

The Bee Cottage Story Is Ready for Pre-Order!

Looka here: The Bee Cottage Story on Amazon  Very exciting. This is not quite the final cover, but close. The revised subtitle is "How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness," is kinda long, I know. But when I put it to a vote with you, dear readers, it was the one you liked best, and I agreed. The publisher took a bit of convincing, but did come around, bless their hearts. Speaking of, it is on Skyhorse Publishing's website here. I love the name Skyhorse, don't you? Idealistic, yet strong. Screen Shot of The Bee Cottage Story on Skyhorse Publishing And here again on Amazon. And look who is there above me, in the middle, Ms. Charlotte Moss, that's who. You may as well order hers at the same time ;) It is Garden Inspirations, and I cannot wait to see it. It has been fun hearing her talk about it over the last year or so. She is something, that Charlotte. The Bee Cottage Story available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The cover will also say "Principal Photography by Trevor Tondro," which I am very proud of. Trevor shot the original House Beautiful series on which the book is based, and he is just as nice as he is talented, which is saying a lot.  The book itself is not to bed just yet.  I am still slogging away with page proofs and and enough sticky notes to cover Kim Kardashian's bottom, which, again, is saying a lot. The Bee Cottage Story page proofs. Design and layout by Janice Shay, Pinafore Press. All of which is a long way of saying I am looking forward to getting back to slightly more regular, if regularly sporadic, blog posts... I miss y'all. xo Frances

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Posted in Blog, Decoration & Design, Humor, Insight & Inspiration | 24 comments

A Glorious Way to Spend the Day…an Ojai Oasis Overflowing With Great Design Ideas

Like a beautiful, sunny melody, I can't get this image out of my head. It could be the South of France or the North of Italy, but in fact it is the Southern California home of Brooke and Steve Giannetti. Sumptuously featured in the current issue of Veranda, the article was written by moi. What a privilege, and what a bounty of inspiration and ideas. In the garden at Patin Farm. Photo by Lisa Romerein. The gorgeous Veranda photos, btw, are by the talented Lisa Romerein. You may know Brooke through her super fantastic Velvet and Linen blog. If not, go there right now and spend a few minutes of your day on Patina Farm. You will love it, I promise-- one great, beautiful idea after another.  In fact, we are headed there ourselves today, His Grace and I, meeting up with friends who also happen to be bloggers. It's funny how you end up with people. Not only do we get to see Brooke and Steve, but Slim Paley and The Silver Pen are coming. Seriously, three of my favorite bloggers in the whole, wide, world.  Not to mention their cute husbands. What a treat. #grateful. Am I the only person who has started to think in hashtags. #what'supwiththat? I'll report back first thing. Which might be a few days. Happy Sunday, Martin Luther King Day, Tuesday, Wednesday... 'Til then... xo Frances

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Posted in Decoration & Design, Entertaining, Flowers & Gardens | 13 comments

If You See Something Good, Say Something Good

If You See Something Good, Say Something Good

We are quick to complain but not so quick to compliment. What's up with that?  I recently ran across a note I'd scratched to myself to compliment flight attendant "Melba,"   on one of the ten million plane flights I took last year. She went out of her way to be lovely and did I don't remember what exactly (because I can't remember what I had for breakfast*). Anyway I found the note, I had Melba's employee number, and I emailed Delta Airlines a few days ago. This note came today and made my day. Simple effort, big payoff, good lesson.  Melba honey, if you see this, thank you again. And thank you, Delta.  Happy Friday, and if you see something good, say something good. *Okay sometimes I remember. Like this morning I had a bagel. But that was only an hour ago, so I don't know if it counts as "remembering." It might just count as "digestion."

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Posted in Adventure & Travel, Humor, Insight & Inspiration | 7 comments