From Ugly to Artsy

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I felt like I would never say these words, but THE GUEST COTTAGE IS FINISHED!  You see, we bought a 1922 bungalow with a guest house in a historic neighborhood here in St Petersburg, Florida (hello, vitamin D) and it is quite the…fixer upper.

But, my friends, the termites have been terminated. The ceilings demoed, trim ripped out, tree stumps shredded, decades of weeds and leaves disposed of.  Paint refreshed, caulking caulked, and fully decorated with tried and true vintage finds. 

If I could go back in time, I would have lit our house contract on fire in the middle of the floor and gleefully watched as the mostly rotted frame went down in flames.  But despite the months of blood, sweat, and so many tears, it’s surprisingly beautiful. 

All of the wall paint is Benjamin Moore (Light Pistachio, Palladian Blue, Dove White). With the exception of rewiring  the single strand aluminum electricity and roofing, I did the handiwork with the assistance of my friend Missy, my tiniest baby pal, and occasionally my curmudgeonly husband.

The cottage is officially listed on Airbnb, so if you’d like to see how hip and fun sunny St. Pete is, come stay with us! We promise to keep the baby’s 7am pterodactyl impersonations to a minimum.  Plus I plan to curate a monthly art exhibit in the gallery/dining area and will post guests’ creations here on the blog.

Here is the project from start to finish.  We are still working on the lawn…it is surprisingly difficult to grow grass in Florida.

After!


Fresh Florals for Boho Brides

Extra Full Silk Blush and Ivory Peony and Quartz Crystal Flower Crown by Anjou

Since quitting my day job a week ago, I’ve been steeped in a myriad of projects that I’d been envisioning for the longest time.  All of them involve silk flowers and of course, beautiful quartz crystal points.  I’ve just updated my Etsy shop (I’m now officially back from vacation!) and am excited to keep drowning myself in pretty pastels and mystic stones.  Now if only I could get back to my yoga practice…and my cookie willpower.

Without further adieu, here are my creations for the Anjou shop: a whimsical tea-stained tulle skirt with silk peonies sewn on and under the tulle layers, a HUGE flower crown made from blush pink and ivory silk peonies with a clear quartz crystal point pendant danging elegantly down the forehead, and a bohemian wildflower meadow crown with faux lavender, daisies, and other field flowers and a tiara of three clear quartz crystal points in filigree settings.  My stunning friend Missy kindly modeled for me while our children ran around with scissors…just kidding…not.

xo

Tattooed Lady

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Alhough I have a few highly visible tattoos, I consider myself more of an admirer than a collector. The time and money required for something spectacular will certainly elude me until my little one is, oh I don’t know, off to college? But the pretty ones I’ve been seeing lately sure have me daydreaming. 

In this daydream, I’m also usually traveling with the circus (in my own velvet-covered train car complete with crystal bead curtains and continuously burning jasmine incense). My husband has a handlebar mustache and a homemade tattoo machine and there’s nothing more attractive to him than a painted lady that he, well, painted. I sport exotic tattoos from when we traveled to India and performed alongside decorated elephants and an inky token of Paris when we made love under the Eiffel Tower after a late show. 

In the real world, I found my muse and her name was Maud Wagner.

 

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Maud Wagner from siws.fr

 
Maud Wagner was the first female tattoo artist in the U.S., having begun working in 1911. Prior to trading a date for tattoo lessons with her soon-to-be husband, she was an aerialist and contortionist in traveling circuses. Gus and Maud Wagner were two of the last tattoo artists to use the traditional hand poke method (sans machine) and travelled the country as artists and attractions in Vaudeville and other entertainment venues. They had a daughter, Lovetta, who began tattooing at just 9 years old.   

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Maud and Gus Wagner on oldschooltattooexpo.com


 
maud gus wagner

Wagner Poster from oldschooltattooexpo.com

 

gus maude wagner

Gus, Maud, and Lovetta Wagner from openculture.com

 
I mean, this hardcore lady had a tattoo of a woman riding a lion. Doesn’t get much more badass than that. 

  
Doesn’t this make you wanna hang out with Maud and her husband in their tattooing circus tent? 

Vintage Motorcycle Babes, Babe

vintage motorcycle babe

Even I have to admit that despite my relentless love and adoration (is that what they call obsession?) for all things Edwardian through the 1960s, there is just something about those super 70’s dudes and babes on choppers that have me dustin’ off my leathah.

The Farrah hair, the tanned skin, the pornstaches, the gleaming metal, the FRINGE denim, what’s not to love?

Of course, this current pet interest may be just a teensy bit swayed by the fact that my guy is in the finals for a Before & After contest on MotoPickers.  Which is a pretty rad local motorcycle television show here in Portland, Maine, by the way.  Think Pawn Stars, but instead of lame celebrity memorabilia, it’s all about totally tubular vintage cycles.

And I mean, I’ll just point out that holy moly is that black 1974 Honda CB550 one styling vixen of metal and chrome.  Are metal and chrome the same thing?  Eh, check it out and then go on to rad vintage photos of biker babes.

vintage motorcycle babe beach

Image from: businessinsider

Vintage motocrycle dude

Bob Tron, Image from: motorbooks.com

vintage motorcycle babe

Image from: lightningcustoms

vintage biker dudes

Image from: whenyouawake.com

Image from: lightningcustoms

Image from: lightningcustoms

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Image from: vintag.es

As they say, ‘the best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.’

Ride easy, dudes.

xxAnjou

Treasury: Summer in Maine Country

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I just got back from a pastoral pond in the middle of Maine, and I can’t get fuzzy chickens and burnt pastels out of my mind.

A treasury to take me back to there.

summer in maine countrysummer in maine country

Let’s tap a maple and row around the pond.

Vacation is on Vacation

bridal tutu blue

I am incredibly excited to announce that I am both having the most wonderful, phenomenal summer in Maine (of which I will, of course, share photos with you shortly) AND that Anjou Clothing is back from vacation! …while still on vacation?  Who needs sleep!

To celebrate my return to creativity and whimsical moments draped in tulle, I’m sharing a few photos that arrived as pretty presents in my email inbox.  This English bride should seriously consider switching her day job to Vogue model and stylist.  I mean, the blazer…the vintage hat…the heels.  My heart stopped!

So hey, what say you stop by Anjou on Etsy or my online boutique and say hi.  Maybe let me make you a beautiful ballerina or a die hard fashionista?  Will trade for raw desserts or turquoise jewelry.

Happy creative summer, daydreamers and stargazers.

The Great Gatsby fashions come to the silver screen

The Great Gatsby Daisy Cary

Hullo, dames and daddies.  Guess what tonight is?  The premiere of a certain dimly lit and greed-dripping film by tragic romantic F. Scott Fitzgerald and Moulin Rouge’s Baz Luhrmann.

And, well, the bees knees have never looked so glamorous.

Although I wouldn’t say I’m the world’s biggest fan of Leo, the sumptuous sets and sublimely elegant fashion have me wishing I could travel back in time to a more decadent, diamond and silk-filled era.  I wouldn’t even mind the looming Great Depression or taking on a kitschy nickname.  I’d don silk stockings, satin garter belts, feathers and fringe, a dropwaist dress, t-strap heels, and one hell of a cigarette holder.  Not to mention that garter flask and pearl inlay derringer.

With the critics already saying that The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann is an odd mixture of new and old, I thought we could take a look at just that.  Original flapper fashions and couture remakes.

So, dolls, happy 1922.

May Daisy Buchanan manifest in all her bubbly shallowness before our envious eyes.

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Jigsaw Sequin Flapper Dress, Oyster by Jigsaw (John Lewis)

The Great Gatsby Daisy Cary

Vogue

 

Well I only have 4 hours to travel back in wardrobe time for ‘ladies night’ at the theatre followed by cocktails at a secret speakeasy in town.  But I’ll leave you with the thought that you absolutely must stream the soundtrack, darlings.  The xx, Lana, Q Tip, Beyonce…they’ve all gotten into the raspy swing of things.  And of course, Jay-Z is the master curator.

Too-da-loo!

Everybody scream, BABY COWS!

cow farm vintage

As it turns out, there’s more to this beauty of a state than just charming ole Portland.  About 45 minutes north (on a bus, until I get my truck in two months), is a little mill town set on roaring rapids and nostalgia.  Gardiner, Maine is a-goddamn-dorable.  Water Street, which heads up to the ultra-hip frenemy town of Hallowell has a collection of cute shops, local bars (The Depot), a delicious burrito place (Lisa’s), and the world’s most authentic diner car (A-1 Diner).  Not to mention my Maine besties and their cute-as-pie little miss live there.  There are farms, abandoned mills, beautiful broken-down gothic victorian homes, and a small-town charm that rivals even Capeside from Dawson’s Creek.

Did I just say that out loud?  Moving on!

Bonfires, cows and dogs… I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but if you are as in love with revitalizing vintage towns as I am, my friend Meg is the coordinator for Gardiner’s Heart & Soul project – getting the people involved in the shaping and future of the community – and you should definitely spy what they’re up to.  A good cause for a small town that’s ripe for a renaissance!

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In the words of this most adorable tiny miss whose dad delivers baby cows on the farm nearby,

“Everybody scream, BABY COWS!”

Ruffles from the past

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Meet the world’s most beautiful, genuine, charming, good-spirited, patient, and imaginative bride and woman that ever graced this planet.

Seriously.

This gorgeous little Edwardian-minded lady and I (and amazing mom, Annie!) designed this ruffled-to-the-max and nostalgia-flavored tiered tulle skirt for her late winter wedding in San Francisco this year.  Those ruffles were the bane of my existence, yet the finished product was beyond my expectations.  You guys, I actually broke my sewing machine on this one.  But holy wow, am I happy I ran out in the middle of the night to buy a new one.  5 layers of ivory with a “petti” of peach, beige, and white, this skirt is my favorite thing I’ve ever created.  Though I can’t say whether it was the garment itself, or the wonderful women behind the dream.

Katrin, the likes of you don’t come around too often.  Congrats on your to-die-for wedding and your beautiful life together.

<3

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

ruffled tulle skirt wedding

Anjou Custom Ruffled Tulle Skirt

 

Bisous to Katrin and her new hubs!  Best wishes, you beautiful spirit.

Slept Away

dreamy bed

Oh dear.  I guess it’s been since Valentine’s Day, hasn’t it?

I confess I haven’t been my usual self.  The move to this charming little city has been colder than I anticipated

Loneliness, boredom, nostalgia, stifling New England personalities.  They’re a recipe for regret.  I’ve slept on so many things in the past five or so years and every person, thing, or place I’ve ever loved is in love with someone or something or someplace else because they never knew that I loved them.  I guess I didn’t know either.  And so they gave up and moved on.

But I’m still here and I’ve sewn my wild oats too late and missed the harvest or something like that.

So I’m going to revel in the thought of magical beds where I can sleep, perchance to dream.  And in my dream, I’d go back those 5 years and change everything.  Because I believe in regret.

Here’s something from my journal about someone far away in a weird corner of my heart.  Virginia really was for lovers.

We had sex in an abandoned boat and then we sat on the beach and looked at the stars and you laughed at me because I thought Mir was still orbiting.  Then you crafted me a jewelry box and filled it with cards and golden bees and I missed out on the beauty of it all because I was too young to notice.

 

I promise the next post will be full of promise (and will come more quickly than months ahead).

Bisous.

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