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Mementos of a Geisha [I Bought This]

10 Sep

I love to plan for any of life’s eventualities with clothes and decor. Lots of clothes and decor. You name it — old stuff, new stuff, cheap stuff, luxury stuff — I’m an equal opportunity acquirer of stuff. One day I might end up on Hoarders, minus the dead cats under my piles of junk.

Estate sales are a favorite (and dangerous) source of stuff most weekends. After a while you easily put aside the creepy realization that you’re rooting through some likely-dead person’s stuff. Though I sometimes wonder what people will think going through my stuff someday.

The other weekend I happened upon an estate sale that topped many in recent memory. Tucked away on a quiet street, not far from my house, was this mega treasure trove of eccentricity. The lady of the house fancied herself a modern day Japanese Empress. As such, she had a house built and decorated to her specifications, replete with all the Japaniana one split level could handle. Here are some photos from the listing, that prove professional real estate photographers can really make kooky look polished.

I was there on day 2 of the sale and missed most of the furniture and art. I did see tons of gorgeous kimonos, Japanese dolls, gewgaws and what had to be the Japanese version of the red room of pain. (No guest room should be blood red and cause such heebie-jeebies.) Forgive me, but I was too busy sprinting for the door to think to snap a shot of it.

Buzzing with the possibilities, I managed to settle on a 78-piece set of gold plated bamboo flatware, negotiated down to $65. That was also a screaming deal considering the only place I can find it is on Replacements, LTD.  from $7.99 per piece. It’s the sort of thing I’ll need when I start letting my eccentricities direct me (even more than they already do).


Faux Bro Necklace [Magpie Indulgences]

11 Apr

kate spade may have moved on to Poolside Prints from Florence Broadhurst Japanese Floral month, but I was still living the FloBro dream when I made this necklace. It’s my budget version of the Japanese Floral Necklace.

Seeing it on the Website, it didn’t seem like much; seeing it in person, I was enthralled. But, also having seen it in person, it was not where I wanted to spend $178. “Cotton pearls” is code for painted wood beads, and there wasn’t any of the ksny bling that usually sucks me in.

Before I could spray paint a bag of wooden beads from Michaels, I happened upon these ultra cheap plastic pearl necklace sets at Sam Moon in Houston. JoAnn had large enough bead caps that somewhat mimicked the style from the original (and were only $4 for a bag of 16, versus $1 each for a lesser style at the bead shop). A coat of black paint later, we were in business. It was as simple as stringing the little pearl sandwiches onto the ribbon. You should make one – it’s so easy!


  • Large pearl beads, 25 or so if they are about 1″ in size
  • Metal Bead Caps, 2 per bead (Blue Moon Beads Fashion Findings BM26556)
  • 1/4″ Grosgrain Ribbon – 3 yards just to be safe
  • 1″ Grosgrain Ribbon – 1/3 yard
  • Needle with large enough eye to thread ribbon (Size/No. 24/26)
  • Optional: Garden Glove or other grippy item to pull that darn needle through the beads


  1. Spray paint  bead caps – front and back, let dry between each coat and very well before stringing
  2. Tie a basic knot at one end of narrow grosgrain ribbon
  3. Thread other end of ribbon through needle
  4. Start alternately threading bead cap, bead, bead cap – This is where you might need your grippy gloves to muscle the ribbon that has doubled over in the eye through the bead
  5. Tie a knot as close to the last bead cap as possible. Grosgrain ribbon is fairly easy to manipulate and chunky enough to mask some clumsy knots. If it’s not working for you, watch this for tips or search “pearl knotting”
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get a length that will fit over your head when tied (tie ends loosely to test)
  7. Tie ends in knot and cut off any remaining ribbon
  8. Heat seal the ends using matches or lighter. FrayCheck or clear nail polish would probably work, too
  9. Use wide ribbon to create simple bow over the knotted ends, heat seal edges of bow to prevent fraying
  10. Enjoy!

Shopping Pains

31 Jan

This weekend I was happily enjoying an episode of “Royal Pains” when it happened.  I saw Paige’s necklace and my heart sort of skipped and locked.  That sounds like some awesomely-hip dance move, but instead it was this awful mix of love and loss all at once.   Paige was playing house in what I instantly recognized as a kate spade pink crystal kaleidoscope necklace that I didn’t actually recognize.

How had I missed it?  How could it be mine?  Knowing that the episodes are filmed over the summer, I had a sinking feeling.  Paige was already spotted in an H&M polka dot dress I had bought last spring that most certainly wasn’t just knocking around the stores.  I kept watching and started searching.

[photo via kate spade]

UNBOUNDED JOY!  I found a link to it on sale on none other than and immediately reached for my credit card.  But the internet was just teasing me; it would not go in my cart.  I was off to the phone.  Travis from Texas, a lovely fellow at kate spade customer service, let me know that they were, indeed, sold out on (duh, of course).  He checked the stores, and there was maybe one in the whole of their US store stock – at the Wrentham, Massachusetts outlet store.  Once more, I let my fingers do the dialing to my destiny.  After speaking with the sales associate, it was pretty clear that my chances were slim and she was probably not going to bother checking.  Or, my inner Gollum suspected, if she found my precious, she would keep it for herself because it had to be super cheap in the outlets.

Despondent, I went to dinner with friends and resolved to move on with my life.  It was not meant to be, but I would still keep an eye out on eBay and every other resale channel until something else caught my attention.  Sunday, while out on a shopabout, I happened upon the clear crystal version at Nordstrom Rack.  It.Was.On.  The sales associate happily searched their stock but could not find a sku for the pink.  Not to worry, I assured her, I had matters well in hand.  I purchased this lesser version and took it to Nordstrom where I had them search and search, again to no avail.

[photo via bridefinds]

You probably expect a happy ending, a tale of girl and necklace becoming one.  So far, we are not to that point in the journey.  I did find the Bryce necklace, which seems to be a suitable replacement at half the original price.  Did I mention it’s reversible, making it like two necklaces at half the price?  I feel a justification purchase coming on…

[photo via bloomingdale’s]

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