Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmases Past

We love this week between the holidays as a time to reflect on the past year and those of many years ago. As I sat at the dining table my eyes rested on this antique etched glass hurricane filled with antique glass ornaments. Some are mine from my early youth, some are from my Aunt's tree of the 40's while others graced my family's tree of long ago. They are too fragile to hang on my tree along side the angels but they are so special to me I try and display them in an antique silver bowl or in this hurricane. I will loving put them away New Years Day while everyone watches the parade and games until they reemerge next year.

Every few years Bird adds a Christmas book to her collection that has touched her. This year "Madeline's Christmas" was added to commemorate the birth of our granddaughter. We reads the stories or leaf through them with our grandson just as we did with our boys. Of course, the "Polar Express" is there along with old time favorites such as Dickens. Perhaps it's time to find a large basket to hold them all next year. Ah the hunt is one!

Bird and Duchess wish you a Happy, Healthy and Loving 2010!
Bonne Annee!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Collection for the Holidays

As a wedding gift over 30 years ago we were given "Butch" our first Simpich angel. These were handmade by a family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They also made Thanksgiving figures as well as Dickens figures in tabletop size. Luckily my mother-in-law lives there and I received an angel every birthday and Christmas. It breaks my heart that the Simpich family has ceased making them since 2007 and this will be the first Christmas not to receive one.

Every angel has a different face and expression. Each is named and very special! When our children were small, angels arrived with soccer or basketballs, other times they were holding a puppy or kitten, some just carried a starfish or train. The little one in the red robe is holding Heidi, the name of our daughter-in-law. You can find them once in awhile on ebay. They began making angel babies but I have stuck with these charming characters. I hope you enjoy them too!

We would love to hear what you collect. It makes decorating the tree even more memorable every year as I unwrap them and remember the time it came to me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oh how I adore Christmas. Fall is my favorite "season" but Christmas is my favorite "time of year." Does that make sense? I only wish they could move Christmas to oh, say February. That way we could just relish every moment of Autumn, and then happily anticipate Christmas. As it is, it seems just when you are basking in the fall colors, smells, sights, it is time to think about Christmas.
For me, the ultimate shopaholic, it is Christmas all year round as I am constantly on the lookout for treasures for those on my Christmas list and now you, our dear Duchess and Bird friends. And though my children live on opposite coasts and I'm here in the midwest, visiting them gives me an opportunity to scour antiques shops, flea markets, and out of the way boutiques that I otherwise would not have found. You see how I'm trying to find the silver lining in this?
But I never lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. And I don't for a moment believe that it is all about "shopping."
Whereas it gives me untold joy to give carefully chosen treasures, wrapped lovingly and beautifully, to my friends and family, the truth is that they are MY gifts and I never forget this.
And you, our new friends are our gifts as well. We look forward to hearing from you. I always love hearing about different family holiday traditions.
( Photo is my son and his new wife, married on New Year's Eve)

Our warmest wishes to you all
Duchess and Bird

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Visions of Black Friday

Everyone seems to be writing about Thanksgiving in their blogs. Though we love this holiday with all our might we think the following day gets our juices flowing! Shopping for that special gift is always a treat for us whether it is for our families and friends or for our web store. Finding the perfect gift thrills us and we know it immediately when it is spotted. We like to scour the second hand and consignment stores for gifts that can be altered, spiffed up or recreated for that someone special. So in this spirit we wish you Good Hunting and will also be Thankful for you!

Duchess & Bird

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Magic Of Autumn

Here at Duchess & Bird the autumn is our favorite time of the year, our favorite season. The cool evenings, crisp days and most especially the colors are so comforting to us. It's time to make a pot of stew and a family favorite soup. This amazing home has always celebrated the season with piles of homegrown gourds.

It's a season of quiet. It's about families gathering and sharing a meal just like our ancestors have for generations. There will be stories of going to Grandmas or friends and what was traditionally served. The youngest will be hearing the stories for the first time and the oldest may have forgotten some of the lore.

We remember our past mostly by the smells they say. Well to us the fall smells were burning leaves, apple pies and hot spiced cider. We wish we could find a candle that most resembles that!

Cherish your memories and pass them on to your next generation. We hope you will enjoy this season as much as we do before the rush and excitement of the next.

From our homes to yours,
Duchess & Bird

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So we're up and running here at Duchess and Bird. This has been a labor of love for Bird and me. For ten years, we two bff's (and unabashed francophiles) have been traveling to Paris. Our fantasy is to be locked inside the gates of the St Ouen Marche Aux Puces, our favorite flea market. There never are enough hours in the day when we are there. We now have a great excuse to spend practically every waking Paris moment at the flea markets. We will be looking for treasures for you, our Duchess and Bird website visitors and shoppers.
While we don't yet have a date for our next sojourn, rest assured we will be airborne as soon as everything clicks into place. If there are lovelies that you are particularly interested in, please let us know. We make no promises, but we sure will try our best to search for you. In the meantime, Duchess is spending time with the Rosetta Stone trying to get the rust off of her French language skills. I need to know how to get the best bargains pour vous, oui?
We would love to hear from you. Til next time

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Finds

I always enjoy beginning each month at the Alameda Point Antique Show. It's a huge outdoor market the first Sunday of each month. This morning started very foggy cold and gray but the sun finally made it's way through burning the fog away.

I like to get there when it opens at 6 so I have first pick from some of my favorite dealers. I make a beeline ( what is a beeline??) to Jana from Cottage Girls. She has an eye for the unusual and never disappoints. I then stopped to talk with Danielle and Eric from Euro-Linens about their gorgeous linen pillows and what's new and what shows they have been to. Look at the wonderful doors Sean brought for his Big Daddy's corner, I always draw inspiration from his vignettes.

The bottles photo shows a marvelous, ingenious way to display bottles from England. Anything with writing on it makes me stop in my tracks!

Happy November!

xxoo, Bird

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We are Taking Flight with Inspired Luxuries!

As we begin our journey into the world wide web of blogs and e-commerce, Bird wanted to tell you about the Veranda Magazine talk she heard recently in San Francisco with stylesetters and the fabulous editor at large Carolyn Englefield called the Art of Design Awards. It was a roundtable discussion on what is luxury today. The panel included one of my favorite interiors designers, Paul Vincent Wiseman, jewelry designer Todd Reed and Ursula Ilse-Neumann curator of the NYC Museum of American Crafts. Everyone agreed today's luxury is a far cry from the luxury and show it all/must have it all attitude of the 1990's. Everyone agreed today luxury is quieter and all about comfort. Yes you can have the best one can afford but it isn't shouted out loud. It is a world of refinement harking back to to the 1940's and 1950's.

We were curious what your definition of luxury is and has it changed from past decades? We would love to hear from you!

Keep watch for our our upcoming website site debut at We are taking flight with inspired luxuries!