Author Archives: Annie

Jacob’s Heart

Annieglass has always hosted a Mother’s Day Sale, since my kids were old enough to pose for the postcard; and they are in their 20′s now. Originally, the sale took place in the parking lot of the first studio at the Old Sash Mill. It was a benefit for my children’s school, Santa Cruz Montessori. Eventually, as it continued in the Watsonville location and grew larger and larger it became a benefit for Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Services. Over the years, the sale has raised over $100,000 to help families of children with cancer.

Volunteers from Jacob’s Heart would turn out to help, often moving as many as 13 palettes full of Annieglass out into the parking lot…and back at the end of the day. The line started forming as early as 4 AM some years and we started numbering the customers with tape and magic markers. We could only allow so many in at a time, and this seemed the best way to do it. Pretty soon the customers who got there early noticed that the volunteers were getting first dibs on all the merchandise, so some the early birds got wise and decided to become volunteers as well. They knew they would have to work hard, and I will be the first to admit that I am a wreck on those days from the stress of the Herculean task at hand. Thank goodness for Violet Lieby Smith, Debbie Menges and Sarah van Artsdalen who stepped in to manage the event.

One of those early risers, who would get in line bright and early but never stopped smiling is Judy Barbata, one of our best customers. Judy is pretty smart too, and she volunteered to work the sale. …and did we work her. At the very last sale we had in 2009, I had the bad idea of setting everything up like a bucket brigade- passing the stacks of Annieglass hand to hand out the door to the tables. Since our supply of seconds was dwindling so much it seemed like a good idea rather than box everything and unbox it 50 feet away in the parking lot. It was a terrible idea, do you know how heavy Annieglass is? lots of it? It was only a few minutes before we were sweating and winded, but not Judy- she kept smiling and kept me from losing it completely.

I am happy to tell you that Judy is now on the board of directors for Jacob’s Heart.
Judy first heard about Jacob’s Heart from her friend Clare, who had worked Art for the Heart, an ongoing art therapy class for kids with cancer and their siblings and friends. Once she started working at the Annieglass Mother’s Day Sales, she meet some of the Jacob’s Heart people, like Sally Green (former executive director and board member, now with the Cultural Council) and Missy McDill, (9 year president of the board, recently retired). “I liked these people and most of all was in awe of what they did for the families of children with cancer. I realized that when I retired, I wanted to volunteer for Jacob’s Heart.”
Judy has worked with children throughout Santa Cruz County for the past 35 years as a Speech and Language Pathologist; from 2 year olds at a private clinic, to children in public schools, up to age twenty-one with myriad disabilities. Judy wanted to continue her involvement with children in some way and Jacob’s Heart provided that opportunity.

“Just last spring, before I had actually retired, I saw a newspaper article recruiting new board members for Jacob’s Heart. Just celebrating my first year on the board, I have had the opportunity to help with volunteer luncheons, Kidrageous Carnival, the Adopt-a-Family program, and the children’s Christmas party. I have learned to be shameless in recruiting people and donations for this worthwhile organization. It has become an important part of my life. So what started as a selfish attempt at getting the best Annieglass at the sales has turned into a passion for supporting the families of children with cancer through Jacob’s Heart.”

Susan Osorio, current executive director of Jacob’s Heart, had this to say about Judy, “Her enthusiasm and energy are contagious and she brings such thoughtfulness to our organization”.

To learn more about Jacob’s Heart Cancer Services go to www.jacobsheart.org Please consider making a donation to this worthy cause in need of support.

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Ann Gish Opening

I am so happy to share with you pictures of the opening of my friend’s new store, Ann Gish. Ann is a textile genius and a truly original designer. She was the first to use pleated and crinkled silk for bedding and table linens, then she reinvented the quilted coverlet and called it ” Ready for Bed”. Her work is often copied but never made better than the luminous beauty and excellent quality of her designs. I can attest, vying nightly with 2 Jack Russells for the silk comforter!
Ann and her husband David Phillips were beaming with joy at the opening of the new store. It was easy to see what a perfect showcase the light filled space could be for her elegant style. I could just imagine how much it inspired her to create such a stunning environment. I just wanted to move in! Luscious beds, gorgeous lighting fixtures, head high branches of flowers everywhere and a wall of giant pillows….

It was a lovely warm summer night in New York, the food and drink were superb with excellent margaritas .Everyone there was spellbound by what Ann had created including some of the most sophisticated buyers in the country; Gump’s from San Francisco and Material Possessions from Chicago. (They just happen to buy Annieglass to) The shop is another blank page for Ann to create another masterpiece. Congrats Girlfriend! www.anngish.com and her new store is on 20th Street in Manhattan, across from Limelight

Backstory- I was told I MUST meet Ann Gish 20 years ago. We kept missing each other at shows or stores we both sell to. One day I decided that I would just wait in her booth until she returned. I could not however, keep my hands off her merchandise, particularly the outrageous skirts she had with giant piping around the hem. As I was trying one on and wondering why there was no zipper, a voice boomed “Its a TREE skirt, you idiot”. That is how I finally met Ann, one of the most gifted designers in the U.S.

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Poison Oak Show 2010

I saw some very entertaining pictures in the New York Times a couple of years ago from the Poison Oak Show in Columbia, Ca. in the gold mining country near Sonora. It took me a while to get there but I am so glad that I did.

Like many, I have suffered from the rash and itching, more often than not, thanks to my two Jack Russell terriers. Since I live in the country, surrounded by it, I sincerely hope that someone finds a viable commercial use for it someday. Maybe then, I will be a poison oak mogul.

I have never seen poison oak leaves so large, so colorful or trunks of it the size of small trees. The fact that it takes place in a saloon in a well-preserved gold mining town run by the Park Service, only adds to the pedigree.

There are eleven categories varying from best arrangement, largest leaves, most original dish (with recipe), best photo of rash (or in person) and largest trunk or branch. The locals are wise and enter as many categories as possible…which is what I will do next year!

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I thought I had the dish category in the bag and was bold enough to tell the grand champion, Wyatt, so. That led him to show me his 48 medals from entering for the past 15 years. He and his closest competitor do not get poison oak and were seen making arrangements barehanded!

At the market, I was told to eat young poison oak leaves to build up immunity to it. Both women behind the counter announced they put in into their salads and eat it every time they water their garden. It is a Mei-Wok Indian practice. I think they just tell that to the tourists for the fun of it.

I, however, had to use barbeque tongs and rubber gloves. I arranged poison oak leaves from Santa Cruz (decidedly smaller than the Sierra variety used at the show) between two plates of the same size and did the same things with bowls, choosing the pattern of gold Octagon Annieglass. The leaves were sandwiched between the glass plates and bowls. I added more poison oak to the napkin ring and set the whole thing on a rustic placemat made out of hickory twigs- to which I was asked if those were made from poison oak!

Music and dancing in the saloon went on until the judge counted up the votes, giving himself the award for largest leaf….evidently Wyatt says it is from the same bush he entered last year. We conspired as to what might possibly kill something that large, Steve suggested special Poison Oak Round –Up which gave Wyatt a good laugh and a twinkle in his eye.

I bought him a beer and congratulated him on his new medals.  I was scared to shake his hand or hug him, having watched him haul his many entries barehanded from the back of his pickup.

My “dish” had to have food on it to be in the dish category so I resorted to decorating the plate with green and red Dot candy. Wyatt was brilliant enough to slap big leaves into a Wonder Bread sandwich with tuna fish and wrote on the paper plate…..”Poison Tuna Fish”.

I’m just itchin’ to enter next year! www.columbiagazette.com/poison.html

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MS Recipe Contest 2010

Day 1 :: Kademi

If it’s Monday I must be in Philadelphia… Philadelphia , Mississippi that is. My first visit was to a very cute store called Kademi, owned by Dawn Lea Chalmers and Kim Mills. They out did themselves on creative displays, using some old pipe with a pretty green patina and faucets that “flowed” light green ribbon to mimic the water theme of my Ultramarine , Shell and Bubble collections. Bold tablecloths with fun color combinations and settings of Annieglass were inspiring. I found a few things that caught my eye. This is a great place to shop.

I received a very warm reception from the owners’ clients, friends, family and neighbors, sometimes all-in-one! My sales representative and I, Cathryn Leithead of Mobile, Alabama stayed at the Cole House, built in 1916 and owned by great cooks, Carson and Linda Walkman. Their daughter Sara sells a lot of Annieglass at Kademi. I spotted a Water Lily bowl through the window, before I even got to the door. Such hospitality and good food! What a beautiful restoration- richly decorated bedrooms in burgundy and chocolate tones. The slipper tub was beckoning to me! But no time for that. Check it out at www.thecolehouse.net

We had dinner plans at Miko, a fine dining experience at the Pearl River Casinos. I could not believe the star cuisine outside of a major city. The maitre‘d, Scottie, was a friend of Dawn Lea and Kim and treated us like the high rollers we were NOT…but some high rollers at the next table sent us over a bottle of port after dinner. Their only request, “That we stay beautiful”…and maybe do a little gambling with them. We needed our beauty sleep more.

This was the first round of the Annieglass Recipe Search and I was very impressed with the entries greeting me when I arrived. Linda Stoval’s Tuxedo Brownies were worth the calories and looked magnificent on the gold Ruffle cake stand, Candace Mc Kay‘s Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with sugared strawberries was too pretty to eat so she provided an extra slice and the recipe tied to a slab with ribbon. She was referred to as the “Southern Living Girl” as in, the magazine could learn something from her. Linda Waltman (Sara’s mom) made Hershey Cups that were dusted with shaved chocolate all over the pedestal slab they were presented on. Tonya Culpepper made the most stylish deviled eggs you will ever see, served on a bed of chives on a platinum oblong pastry tray. Click here for the recipes and more winners.

A photographer from the Neshoba Democrat newspaper showed up to immortalize us. I wanted to bring him along to go fireworks shopping. Everybody here is so blasé about fireworks…they have whole stores devoted to them, with shopping carts and everything! I needed two, I was so beside myself with excitement. Tom gave me a two-for-one discount, because he is, of course, related to Sara.

Gambling, fireworks, great food, nice people- I love it here!

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Oxford Floral :: September 2009

September 22, 2009

I love the town of Oxford, Mississippi. It is the home of William Faulkner, John Grisham, Ole’ Miss (Univ. of Miss.) and Square Books, a well stocked independent bookstore and City Grocery (this year’s winner of the James Beard award) www.citygrocery.com .

It is a gem of a town, the county courthouse dominates the elegant town square and is flanked on all sides by various shops and restaurants, many are very tempting.

This is my fourth visit to Oxford Floral, I know so because the new owner David Doran found two Annieglass pieces in the attic engraved to (the recent owner) Betty Butler’s children for Christmas of 1997! The store was started in 1924. What else is in that attic?

Oxford Floral has a talent for dramatic displays, add to it their lovely flower arrangements and it’s easy to see how they sell so much Annieglass. Roger Fargeon, the national sales manager of Annieglass wonders when every man, woman and child in the state of Mississippi will own a piece. He calculates it must happen soon.

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My visit took place during Rush week, a hectic time when the female students are pledging the sorority of their choice. Miss Donna and Miss Norma (Queens of Bridal Registry there) needed running shoes to keep up with all the orders coming in for gifts, flowers and Annieglass.

I missed by one day seeing the 2300 roses and 1800 hydrangeas being delivered for a wedding that included 60 Annieglass votives for the tables. The happy couple registered for Annieglass as well.

A quick trip to Square Books lifted my spirits even more, so did the personal attention of the owner and mayor of the town, Richard Howorth. He set me up with some great “reads”. I heartily recommend joining his First Editions Club because I practically kiss my UPS person when it arrives every month, I’m so happy to receive it. Each month a signed first edition arrives, guaranteeing a good read you can sink your teeth into. www.squarebooks.com

A word about Southern accents- I find them delightful and I like discerning the changes from one part of the South to the next. Some accents, especially the men, can be nearly knee-buckling.

Off to the Birthplace of Elvis Museum and Gift Shop…I’ve got some Christmas shopping to do.

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