Friday, April 17, 2015

PUTTING ON THE DOG

Just the other day a customer came in the shop with her tiny little fluffy pup no bigger than a hamster. We are VERY pet-friendly here at Leta Austin Foster Boutique. In fact, we know the names of many of our clients' furry friends and love to have them visit.

Our love of all that is dog is very visible in the merchandise we choose for our shop. Our greeting card shelves always sport a selection of cute doggie pictures on cards for all occasions,



and our Stationery Department stocks boxed sets of Scottie, Lab and Poodle notecards by Dempsey and Carroll.




We sell a lot of adorable linen guest towels with embroidered Scotties and Jack Russels and are trying to get this vendor to embroider more breeds.





However, if he can't......we can always have our fabulous bed linen company, Baroni of Florence, embroider them for us. One of our favorite clients had these bed linens made by Baroni for her little boy's room. They picture his Labrador in silhouette all across the hem.




Dogs are also prominent in our children's department. We carry these beautiful, hand-knit sweaters from London that have Angora puppies on the pockets.





Hair clips from France are all lined up on a hanging ribbon . We sell so many of these Scotties and Poodles that I'm sure nearly every little girl (and some big ones) in America has a pair !




During our "Season" we had litters of stuffed puppies of every ilk, but now our lonely little friend is waiting for a loving child to adopt him.



Many dog breeds are available as Sterling Silver Belt Buckles . There are Labs, Poodles, Bischons, Scotties, Chihuahuas and many others. We sell them alone, or with a fine leather belt which can be ordered in several colors.





Dogs are even a favorite theme of Il Prato. They are a unique paper company in Venice that also produce desk accessories and frames covered in their wrapping papers. Our favorite designs are "UGO and BEPI" (the names of the owners' dogs) and "PAW PRINTS".




We even have a dog on our custom  "Resorts" china. Each plate has a different scene taken from a vintage book named "Resorts", and the dessert plates depict Mrs. Poop-de-doo being led from her chauffeur-driven car by her pampered pup !






When you finish choosing all your wonderful presents (for yourself) let us wrap them all up in this beautiful French woven ribbon with....you guessed it....dogs !!




Stop on in with your favorite little canine.....we'll be waiting.....

XOXOXO
LETA








Monday, March 30, 2015


ANOTHER POST ON THOMAS MESSEL

I HAVE POSTED ON THOMAS MESSEL BEFORE, BUT WHEN A TALENT IS AMAZING, TWO POSTS BARELY SCRATCH THE SURFACE OF THE ARTISAN.

FIRST OF ALL, THOMAS MESSEL IS THE UNBELIEVABLY TALENTED NEPHEW OF THE GREAT OLIVER MESSEL, IN FACT, HE WROTE THE BOOK ON HIS UNCLE. IT IS A WONDERFUL DESIGN TEXT WHICH I ALWAYS CARRY IN MY BOUTIQUE.






BUT THOMAS IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT: IF YOU WANTED FABULOUS FORMAL DINING ROOM CHAIRS, YOU COULD HAVE CHAIRS SUCH AS THESE WHICH HE DESIGNED FOR THE DORCHESTER HOTEL IN LONDON.



Oliver Messel Dorchester Chairs


OR YOU MIGHT WANT SIMPLE PINE CHAIRS FOR YOUR KITCHEN (ALTHOUGH, REALLY, NOTHING THOMAS DOES IS SIMPLE—LOOK AT THE FINE TURNINGS ON THE LEGS AND BACK SPLATS).


Oliver Messel Kitchen Chairs


OR YOU MIGHT BE DOING A DINING ROOM THAT NEEDS TO BE FLEXIBLE....THEN A METAMORPHIC TABLE WOULD BE THE KEY.














I HAD THOMAS MAKE A BEAUTIFUL PAIR OF BLACK LACQUER WITH CHINOISERIE ETAGERES FOR A CLIENT’S COLLECTION OF ENGLISH PORCELAIN.






AND I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THOMAS’ SEA SHELL CHANDELIERES HE MADE FOR ONE OF MY JOBS.









AS WELL AS THE BEAUTIFUL, SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT SCONCES HE MADE FOR A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE WE WERE DOING ON THE OCEAN.







YOU CAN’T IMAGINE HOW THRILLED I AM THAT THOMAS MESSEL, HIMSELF, IS WRITING THE FORWARD FOR THE BOOK THAT BRIAN COLEMAN AND ERIC KVALSVIK ARE DOING ON MY FIRM.  IT WILL BE OUT IN LATE SUMMER, EARLY FALL, AND I HOPE YOU WILL WANT IT FOR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS.  I’LL BE GLAD TO SIGN THEM FOR YOU.

OH, THOMAS.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THE FORWARD.  ACTUALLY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JUST BEING YOU.

XOXOXOX  LETA

Sunday, March 22, 2015

  HIPPITY HOPPITY, EASTER'S ON ITS WAY

Get out your bonnets and white gloves, another Easter will be here before you know it. Since we love Easter so much at the Boutique, every corner of the shop has a bunny, lamb or Easter egg  waiting to go home with you.



                                                 

Of course, we have the cutest (and most delicious) chocolates for the Easter Bunny to leave at your house. There are milk chocolate eggs that open up to reveal little white, milk and dark chocolate carrots and chicks.




Little pastel foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies wait patiently in a basket while adorable bunnies from Maison Bouche are nestled in adorable printed boxes.  My personal favorites are the chocolate peas and carrots, picked in Farmer McGregor's garden, of course, that are sold singly and also in little farm-stand baskets. These make great table decorations !


            

                               
Don't forget your Surprise balls, in pastel colors, naturally.....or for a change, a Surprise cone or carrot.






In addition to Surprise Balls and chocolates, we've  collected all you need to build your own Easter baskets....the basket itself, Easter grass in assorted colors, stuffed bunnies and lambs, little books, paper Bunny dolls, and German nodders, and just in case you run out of time, we've put together some Easter baskets for you complete with a stuffed bunny, a surprise ball, and a few little toys. We will leave it to you to add the yummy edible items.











We've also made up two special giant German Easter Eggs (one for a boy baby and one for a girl baby) filled with a Porthault bunny, a bib and Santa Maria Novella baby shampoo and baby lotion for your favorite little lambie-kin.




Don't forget to pick up some striped Spring paper napkins and mini cones for your table. This year, we even found such cute bunny cards that can be enclosures or place cards.






For that oh so elegant Easter repast, please pick up these vintage Marghab appliquéd and embroidered placemats and napkins. The workmanship is so incredibly beautiful that you must see them up close to even believe how perfect they are !




Take a moment from your busy day and "Spring" on over (I know I'm corny) to get a little
Easter inspiration. You'll be glad you did.

XOXOXO
LETA








Saturday, February 28, 2015


SERENDIPITY—IN DECORATING






ONE DAY, I WAS IN ONE OF MY FAVOURITE VENDORS—THE BEAUTIFUL CHELSEA EDITIONS SHOWROOM IN THE FINE ARTS BUILDING IN NEW YORK—AND THERE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRST ROOM, WAS A HUGE PILE OF NAVY BLUE EMBROIDERED FABRIC LYING ON THE GROUND.  ALWAYS CURIOUS (I AM SUCH A SNOOP! ) , I ASKED WHY, AND IT TURNED OUT THAT IT WAS A SPECIAL ORDER FOR A JOB IN TEXAS WHERE, APPARENTLY, THE CLIENT CHANGED HER MIND.  THESE THINGS HAPPEN—THEY SHOULDN’T (I BELIEVE THIS IS USUALLY A CASE OF NOT REALLY CLEAR DECORATOR/CLIENT VISION), BUT THEY DO.  SO I JUMPED IN TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A BIT OF SERENDIPITY.






SINCE CHELSEA EDITIONS WAS GOING TO SOMEWHAT EAT THESE CURTAIN PANELS—THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE—I BEGGED FOR A FEW DAYS GRACE PERIOD TO SELL AN IDEA TO A CLIENT.  THAT DID HAPPEN, AND IT WAS SERENDIPITOUS.

NOW, THIS IS IMPORTANT—WHEN YOU COME ACROSS SOME AMAZING BARGAIN—(AND IF YOU ARE HONEST AND TRUE, YOU WILL PASS THESE SAVINGS ON TO YOUR CLIENT—SHARING IS PART OF SERENDIPITY)—YOU NEED TO PLAN.  BIG TIME. 

 I WAS DOING A GUEST HOUSE FOR CLIENTS, AND THESE PANELS WOULD BE PERFECT FOR THEIR BEDROOM/SITTING ROOM, BECAUSE I HAD ALREADY ORDERED ALL THE WALLS TO BE WHITE.  THE NAVY BLUE WOULD LOOK GREAT AGAINST THEM, BUT IN ORDER NOT TO BE TOO POWERFUL, I NEEDED TO MODERATE IT A BIT. 






I DECIDED TO USE RATTAN FURNITURE—PERFECT FOR US HERE IN THE TROPICS—YOU MIGHT NEED TO SUBSTITUTE PAINTED OR “BROWN” FURNITURE WHERE YOU LIVE—BECAUSE THE LIGHT TAN-NY BROWN COLOUR OF RATTAN LOOKS SO GOOD WITH NAVY.  ALSO, A BONUS: IT TENDS TO BE REASONABLY PRICED—EVEN IF YOU NEED TO RE-VARNISH IT, WHICH I DID.  NOTICE THE RATTAN SOFA AND END TABLE IN THE PICTURE BELOW.





THEN TO KEEP THIS NAVY-FADING-TO-LIGHT-BROWN-FADING-TO-NATURAL, I USED MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE RUG FROM STARK CARPET, “NATURA” IN NATURAL. 



Stark Natura Caramel


THEN I NEEDED SOME MORE FABRICS AS THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH CURTAIN PANELS TO DO EVERYTHING.  SO KNOWING THAT I WAS GOING TO USE THE CURTAIN PANELS ON SOME OF THE WINDOWS, I ORDERED PLAIN NAVY FROM CHELSEA EDITIONS AND USED IT TO MAKE THE DUST RUFFLE, AND A WONDERFUL FABRIC FROM ROSE CUMMING TO DO THE RATTAN FURNITURE., “BIRD IN CIRCLE” IN NAVY ON CREAM.






WE USED A CREAMY WHITE TRIM FROM SAMUEL AND SONS AND USED SOME OF THE SMALLER PIECES OF EMBROIDERED FABRIC TO MAKE TWO STOOLS.  PLANNING WAS KEY—AND IMAGINATION,  BUT YOU CAN CERTAINLY DO BOTH OF THOSE THINGS. 








GOOD LUCK—FOR THAT’S WHAT SERENDIPITY IS. 

XOXOXOX    
LETA

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GUEST TOWELS

We are in the midst of our "season" in Palm Beach and everyone (and I mean everyone) is being invited to drinks or dinner or a special luncheon. And, of course, on the other side of the coin, everyone is also hosting their friends, old and new, to wonderful soirees at their own house.

When your guests arrive, you want everything to be just so and one of the best ways to show how welcome they are in your home is to share special touches to make their stay special. Having beautiful guest towels in the loo certainly is one of those niceties. Sometimes, we all revert to paper guest towels (quelle horreur !!), but nothing takes the place of embroidered, monogrammed or simply elegant hemstitched linen towels.

We keep a good assortment of guest towels on hand at the Boutique....newly made and vintage..... reasonably priced to decadently expensive. We try to find, or create for you, special designs that you may not find at any of your friends' houses , unless,  of course, they also shop at our Boutique !

For our sailing enthusiasts....and there are a lot of you....we added a Swiss-filled monogram inside the sails of these appliquéd sailboats.




Our wonderful Parisian company, Lin de Château, supplies us with these beautiful hand-
embroidered initial guest towels.....in their ever popular "Dots" design and in their new "Rope" initial and "1930 Medallion" initial.







I am always on the lookout for great vintage finds and recently I came across some wonderful pieces from the famous Marghab company (more on Marghab in a future post). We have a set of two beautiful appliqué and embroidered birds in a cage and a set of aqua and lemony yellow embroidered fish and coral fingertip-size towels.







Julia B of New York has several colored linen guest towels that you can order with contrast hemstitching and a monogram to match. These are custom orders, so you have to give this a bit of thought ahead of time.





We can always find some great classic designs from Sharyn Blond like these appliquéd swirls and the embroidered corals in both guest and fingertip sizes. You can custom color these as well if you would like colors other than the ones we created for you.






Speaking of creating for you....we also design a lot of our own guest towels that you can also customize with added monograms or by changing the colors of the designs.  Our wonderfully talented embroiderer, Fatima, turned our sketches of a Palm Beach Sandal and a Belgian Shoe into the most adorable guest towels with a "Classic Palm Beach" flair.





These scallop-edged towels were copied from a vintage guest towel of mine (guess that makes me vintage too ???). We stock them without initials, but can add your monogram to make them extra special.




Another of my finds was a vintage red and ecru appliquéd fingertip towel with the embroidered word  "lips" on it. What a perfect addition to any sink counter ! The lipstick will wind up on the red linen instead of smeared on your perfectly laundered WHITE linen towel. 





So the next time you need to spiff up your water closet, please think about a new set of
unique and beautiful guest towels.  By the way, they make GREAT hostess presents as well.

XOXOX
LETA