Monday, September 30, 2013

book review: rachel ashwell couture prairie and flea market treasures

Sigh. Finally an evening that finds me awake enough to sit at the keyboard and compose a blog post! I had intended to write about my book party, a festive event that exceeded my expectations, but will save that for another time. Tonight I must share about a recent acquisition ...


Upon my request, I received a review copy of Rachel Ashwell's hot-off-the-presses book Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures and it is phenomenal.

Rachel Ashwell is like The Beatles to me with her own Earth-shaking British Invasion of style. Self-made, talented and inspiring, her pretty stamp on decor is without question. Rachel and I share a publisher in CICO Books (!) which means by one degree of separation, I could know her (and gee, if Rachel knows Paul McCartney that makes just two degrees to bringing my Beatles analogy full circle).


As you've probably guessed by now, this isn't going to be your everyday sort of book review. There's no real journalism happening, not even a Q and A with Rachel and many of the images were taken in a dimly lit Girlie Office. Allow me to explain ...


For me the very best decor books are the ones I don't get to read -- or can't read -- because the ideas presented are so very wonderful and motivating they cause me to leap from the couch even after dark to do things and try things like forage closets for forgotten rolls of wallpaper and then wander through rooms contemplating and visualizing.


Note this beautiful and yet very attainable idea of unframed watercolor paintings posted to a delicate background of vintage wallpaper. Imagine creating a similar effect with an assortment of note cards or even inspiration pics torn from magazines?

What I love so much about Rachel's signature style of dusty pastels, worn finishes and charming florals is that it's truly design within reach. One doesn't have to scrimp and save and long, one needs only visit a flea market or keep their eyes open for curbside treasures and voila, Shabby Chic decor can be yours.


This favorite page shows an unexpected stacking of GASP-inducing furniture and as you can see, I'm using the top dresser as color inspiration for an old wooden chair on which I plan to give a deliberate treatment of distressed white over a sort-of dirty pink. {Paint shown: Chalk Paint by another CICO Books author, Annie Sloan; source: Sea Rose Cottage}


I'm tickled to see these stockings "made up from scraps of last season's fabrics" (p. 158) because when I visited Shabby Chic in London in February, I purchased two over-dyed cloth napkins in the most charming print and they are the two fabrics displayed!

As a writer and author I know how important the words are to even the prettiest book and I know I will enjoy reading each and every word someday but for now, Couture Prairie and Flea Market Treasures has me tying ribbon on horseshoes, trolling antique shops for chipped furnishings, and daydreaming of a visit to The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell in Round Top, Texas.

xo
elyse








10 comments:

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

Can't wait to get my own copy!!

Theresa said...

That sold it for me... I want a copy NOW!!!! Have a blessed day dear Elyse, MISS YOU:)

Cindy@Cutepinkstuff said...

Sweet post, Elyse. So much of what you mention ring true to my heart. Leaping from a chair to pull out usable scraps of fabric...been there! I'm waiting patiently for my book to arrive (and the November issue of Romantic Homes!) Take care! Cindy

Nancy said...

Thanks for the shout out for Sea Rose Cottage! Love your book review of couture praire :)

Amy C said...

looks scrummy - I think she is really cool!

Melinda said...

I love her style and the way she comes up with ideas.

Might need this one.

M :)

The Blue Farmhouse said...

She's going to be at the Remnants of the Past Vintage Show at the Madonna Expo in San Luis Obispo, November 9th and 10th. I'm going to be at this show also and I'm hoping to meet her or perhaps she'll stop by my booth.

Rita

Cindy@Cutepinkstuff said...

Good morning, Elyse! Thank you taking the time to leave a comment on my blog. You know as well as I do the wonderful feeling of having your name in print! Jacqueline's news of the cover shot was shocking and surreal, for sure!!! When I looked for your make it page I knew as soon as I saw the cute birdhouses on p. 16 that I would find your byline. CUTE!

koralee said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely book...I have all of her books so looks like this one will be coming to join the others. Lovely images! xoxo

Happy weekend.

Stacey R said...

i can't believe i haven't gotten this book yet, but it's on my amazon wish list! discovering Rachel's Shabby Chic books in the late 90's opened up a whole new world to me...finally, someone "got me"! instantly i fell in love with the style. wouldn't it be divine of we met at The Prairie one day and shared a cottage there? you could go on assignment to write and i could be your trusty pen and notebook holder... XO