BOOKS AND WORKING OUT. BOOKS AND WORKING OUT. Getting out of my pajamas (when I can work in them, at home) on this chilly wet April day, has it’s pros and cons.

I decided to stay in today and complete some pushed aside paperwork and some necessary business, phone calls, uploading photos, reaching out to client’s and craftsman, in between, I read some books and lifted 5 lbs. in weights, three reps of 15 each arm. I keep these lugs under my desk and scattered around the relaxing rooms in the house. At times, I pride myself when I intertwine my reading with vacuuming. Simultaneously.

My books are surrounding me always and the book of the hour was “The Idiot’s Guide to Starting & Running a Retail Store”. Yes. I am considering opening ‘another’ store. I blurted out to my husband today “should I be afraid to fail” and then quickly answered myself with “at least I tried” - some people never try for fear of failing.

I am grateful that I am not one of them.

So now, let me get back to my books and weights.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

— Woody Allen

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soilder, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

Picasso's "Femme Accroupie" At Christie's Auction House.

Pablo Painted this in the South of France in October 1954, featuring Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s 27 year old mistress, later to be his wife.

The painting was done in a single day and shows Jacqueline’s arms clasped around a patchwork skirt of green and purple triangles. The bidding will start at $12 Million and end at $32.5 Million.

Sometimes I will take out some cheap paintbrushes and brush some canvases to see what comes out. My husband and daughter always compliment my mini art collections. Thank you.

Genius is cultivated by support and love.

Cultivate love.

Point is, do what you love - Picasso did and by doing what he loved he destroyed all we were accustomed to and created a new vision for everyone. Create your own art - whatever form.

1889-1898 “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soilder, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

-Christine Marie


APRIL SHOWERS BRINGS MAY FLOWERS - AND AN INTROVERTS CALM. An introverts calm is the calm I am feeling today on this Showery April Day. The term Introvert and Extrovert were introduced by the famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. He describes the introvert as being characterized, as “…aloof from external happenings, …his own world is a safe harbour, a carefully tended and walled-in garden, closed to the public and prying eyes…” and he defines the extrovert as possessing characteristics like “…interest in the external object, …a desire to influence and be influenced by events…”. Can you have both? Yes.

On this Rainy April Day, as I sit in my “walled-in garden, closed to the public and prying eyes”, I can see the greenery of the grass, the forsythia blooming fantastically beautiful yellows and daffodils sprouting about my yard. Happy that Spring is on it’s way on one hand, and sad on the other for Winter allows for introverts to snuggle up and have an excuse to stay inside.

So, before I completely gear up for the outdoor chores and my ‘interests in the external object,” sets in, I want to take this opportunity to snuggle up in my bed, cover myself up with my antique quilt and in solitude pursue the books sitting on my bedside table. I still have time to organize my linens and prepare my tea-cups for the warm extroverted days that the warm winds will blow my way.

-Christine Marie

Roll With It. Palm Sunday. A Taste of The Passion. A Lamb Being Lead to Slaughter.

Roll With It. Palm Sunday. A Taste of The Passion. Putting ourselves in his shoes. First, Jesus watched as one of his apostle’s betrayed him with a kiss. Have you ever had someone smile at you on the surface but then do something to intentionally hurt you? If so, you have had a taste of the passion. Abandonment in dark times? Again, a taste of the passion. I have many examples of the taste of the passion.

My one memory of a Taste of The Passion is of (a) friend pretending they want the same things, yet insidiously, makes moves behind the scenes to make sure this is not the case. When this deals with your children it is harder to roll with. However, the beans are always spilled, the criminal always caught, the liar always found out. I sit quietly like the lamb being lead to slaughter as the thief walks through life as if I know nothing. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  (Luke 23:34)

OKAY, OKAY, so how does this relate to The Skillful Shopper Antiques? Today is a day to forgive. I am turning part of this into the forgiveness of self. If you buy something and realize later the salesman/woman was “kissing you on the cheek” - ROLL WITH IT. Forgive them and forgive yourself. Try to find a space for it, re-new it by painting or restoring to it’s natural or created beauty OR return it. Clearly, there was something you liked about it in order to take the time to find it, pay for it and lug it home. Or maybe not, may it was an “impulse buy” or “trickery”.

There are many ways to forgive yourself for that “impulse buy” or “trickery” - First, PRAY, then put it on Facebook Marketplace. LAUGHING OUT LOUD RN.

Put it “out to the universe” for FREE - help someone who may need it or just wants it, you will feel better.

Ahhhh, If it was so easy.

(The picture is of an “impulse buy” - repainted by me, in my time of forgiveness).

-Christine Marie -

Bridging The Gap Between Passionate Lovers of a Different Class

Bridging The Gap Between Passionate Lovers of a Different Class. The Renaissance Period was a period in history that produced great paintings and sculptures from artists such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. Furniture from the Renaissance period may not be as well know as it’s visual arts. Renaissance furniture is revolutionary for representing an important shift in the trends.

Renaissance Furniture began production during the 15th Century in Italy. This brought wealth to the bourgeoisie  which meant bigger houses and the demand for higher quality furniture.

Furniture was seen as a symbol of social status. Canopy Beds were for the wealthy while the poor slept on mattresses stuffed with straw or directly on a bed of straw. Yes, let them eat cake.

The Marriage Chest was a wooden box that was decorated on both sides and the top that stored items and room decorations and a symbol for both wealthy and poor. The social status was in the level of detail and ornamentation. The grander the detail and ornamentation the higher the social class.

The Marriage Chest reveries me to the story of Giovanni and Lusanna who became passionate lovers of a different class during the Renaissance Period in Florence.

Lusanna is the modern day Black Widow a brave female figure who refused to accept the informal barriers to her advancement in the world. Hiding their love affair behind closed doors until Lusanna’s working class husband dies. This opens the doors and Giovanni and Lusanna begin to gallivant in public. A desirable beauty, Lusanna was asked by many other men to marry - she refused for she was in passionate love with Giovanni.

So now the shit hits the fan, fear of being disinherited (scared boy) Giovanni refuses to officially marry Lusanna. She plays along and in public they introduce themselves as married. They vacation together, attend parties together and have great passionate sex. Giovanni’s father dies. Giovanni (scared boy) refuses to marry Lusanna and completely cuts her off. Lusanna learns that Giovanni is marrying a wealthier girl, a girl in his social class and has “bowed” to the demands of his social status. The wealthier Marietta is not nearly as beautiful as Lusanna - however, she comes from one of the richest and wealthiest familes in Florence.

Lusanna takes Giovanni to court (you go) - stating that he is already married to her. Lusanna is brave enough to take a stand in a society that divides the classes in more ways than one. Not only is she considered Giovanni’s social and economic inferior she is now using the court system to be treated as his equal. Lusanna wins the case in the fair minded court of Archbishop of Florence, Antoninus . Giovanni and Lusanna Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence court case shook the centuries-old assumption that people should marry for economic reasons, not for love. The same holds true when you are seeking furniture, jewelry, clothing, homes or underwear. Buy what you love and don’t be a (scared boy) buying into the social expectations of your particular community. The WORLD IS BIG.

Mix a haute bourgeois piece with a petite bourgeois piece and glorious love will be found. Bridging The Gap Between Passionate Lovers of a Different Class.

Tropical Comfort Pieces

Tropical comfort pieces provide a relaxed vibe - soft and warm colors like “misty lilac" or “duck egg blue”. Are soft and serene as if the coastal sunset and the coastal waters are swishing away your troubles - creating a relaxing environment. Vibrant Colors such as Annie Sloan’s Florence or Flamingo Pink create a similar oceanic feel, perhaps with some flexing!

I picked up this rustic pine console from my client who was moving to Florida from Connecticut. I liked the length, the height , mostly, I loved the odd numbered 5 drawers, the width and the fat legs. There was something unique that it did to my eye and brain that attracted it to me.

I had it in my store unpainted for sale going on 4 months. One cold and bleak April day I was tired of the weather, the chilly days, the gray sky, no flowers, no colors and as I stared out my little shops windows I wanted to change the scene - I took the bulls by the horns as they say - and decided to dance (it really does heal a lot of things). Yup, I turned on my Alexa - “Alexa Play Etta James Wildflower (Roll with Me Henry), Alexa make it louder”! As I boogied around my shop, I danced right into the pine console, still in it’s natural state. What was I to do except whip out my paint brush, crack open an A&W Root beer, grab the prettiest paint that defined my mood (which happened to be Annie Sloan’s Florence) and paint away!

Turning lemons into lemonade is a great thing! The dull pine piece was transformed to a tropical paradise of a piece. Evoking comfort, sunshine, warmth, fun and lazy days.

The piece sold the next day! Go figure….

-Christine Marie

Colours Role in Shaping the Visual Culture

Colours Role in Shaping the Visual Culture is one of the oldest forms of communication known, as it attracts us like magpies to a shiny object. Colour in it’s simplest and purest form. Today’s Colour is Gold. Gold represents 18th Century Royalty - only this time it is in jewelry form - rather then decorating style - that too is regal.

Vintage pieces bring us back to days gone by - being a daydreamer - it is perfect for me today. The sky is gray outside and the pop of colour that is shaping my visual culture right now is Gold. Like a magpie it is attracting me to shiny gold objects. Like these glorious Coco Chanel Style Earrings. Made in France as seen by the stamp on the back. Brave Coco - creating her own style and making it work. High Admiration for a life lived on her own terms.

“Beauty Begins The Moment You Decide To Be Yourself” - Coco

What colour is creating your visual culture today?

-Christine Marie


Found Objects throughout History - particularly the French - have been an opportunity for reinventing, or sometimes simply for recreating, the past, especially in the decorative arts.

Man Ray, An American Artist spent most of his adult life in Paris. He did not think that “Blind Attraction” to objects should be the exclusive criteria by which we judge beauty. He introduced the beauty of the everyday; a discarded shoe, an empty matchbox, a plain iron, even a baguette and a pair of scales could constitute an objet d’art.