Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lunch in Hollywood

So today I played a bit of hooky and skipped out on my work at the CHA show to go visit my friend Kaari Meng at her studio shop, French General. I got a rental car and drove from Anaheim to Hollywood with the car radio playing KCRA. I cruised past palm trees and under the Hollywood sign on the hill until I found her fabulous shop tucked away among old movie studio buildings. French General is located in a tiny house that used to be used for the stars to rest in between takes. The ghost of Clark Gable could still be sitting on the back patio, smoking a cigarette and watching the birds flit in and out of the roses.

Everywhere you turn in Kaari's shop there is a beautiful collection of lovelies. I couldn't take a bad picture. Well, that's not quite true. We took 12 pictures of Kaari and I standing in various locations in the store and somehow each one of them was fuzzy and out of focus...maybe because we were laughing too hard?

Even though I kept interrupting them, Kaari and her talented assistant, Dawn, stayed hard at work creating her project of the month kits. They buzzed around tables stacked with vintage trims and cuts of fabric and I made myself at home with a cup of tea and some rice crackers. I could hardly keep my hands off the kits; the beads are so compelling in their tiny tins. I took a few pictures and we chatted about old times and old buttons.

Here is Kaari signing a copy of her book for me...this is a favorite book of mine and a best seller at our stores. We share a love of old trims and I was honored to hear that two of the bracelets in Kaari's book were inspired by my cuff bracelets from years past.

These sweet little vintage chenille snails are Kaari's gift if you order something from her site this month, just let her know you read about it here. I think these snails would be perfect for adding to a sweet Valentine gift.

I love the French General kits. Each month you get the ingredients to make a pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet with fabulous vintage findings, beads, ribbon. The instructions are in each kit and they are packaged in lovely tins with antiqued french labels. If you need a gift idea for me, I think this would be perfect.