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Shabby Chic Books by Rachel Ashwell Personal Review

Updated on April 1, 2013

Shabby Chic home decor

Signature Shabby Chic - Armoires to hold clothes  and decorate the outside with a vintage item.
Signature Shabby Chic - Armoires to hold clothes and decorate the outside with a vintage item. | Source

Shabby Chic The Gift of Giving

My favorite book is "The Gift of Giving" by Rachel Ashwell and photographs by Amy Neunsinger. vintage shopping and gifts may not be for all of your friends, but i like the ideas behind it. Even if you just take the fresh flowers idea and gift it in an elegant floral vase found in the antique store; your mom or friend will love it!

One of my favorite parts of this book is the Color coordinating ideas for white, turquoise and pink. It creates and inspires party theme ideas for weddings and baby showers.

What is great is the green concepts from vintage items re-gifted to recycling packaging materials into gifting materials and gathering sets of items together to make a whole set of dishes or girl boxes. I like her concept of placing china in the dishwasher, as it gets worn, it has more of that antiqued look. Use them, don't leave them in a cabinet for only a few times a year.

(Now I can tell you honestly, I already have the china set from my mom and I would't dream of placing a single piece in the dishwasher. I would if I pick up items from antique stores and commit to using those daily)

There are endless ideas for flower arranging in unique and colorful vases.

The last page contains the meaning of certain herbs ask you can incorporate them into party favors or gifts to friends or just to keep and use in your kitchen window seal.

There are Shabby Chic stores in: New York, Los Angeles, Texas and London. Products and furniture are available through some authorized online retailers and Target Stores carry some of the bedding and pillows.

Sumptuous Settings & Other Lovely Things

My top favorite in this book is on the baby shower ideas and decor. The adorable antique shadow box keepsake, truly is a treasure. This particular book has guided me towards designing some baby shower decorations around the vintage pieces. I can't wait to try it out for my Etsy store. I think it will be a lot of fun and I can add a matching handcrafted set of invitations.

Yes Pamela Anderson is in this book too as they create a blue theme for a boys 6th birthday party together in Malibu. Rachel Ashwell shares the tip for dying carnations any color you want.

You will find tables with bling. Tea parties worthy of royalty and perfect for scrapbooking clubs, church or girl gatherings.There are many girly party ideas and themes in here to set the stage for a sweet gathering. You can incorporate the parasols or floral hats of old, like a Kentucky Derby theme.

Lot's of little girls would squeal over a vintage ballerina theme with dancing dolls in jewelry boxes and cakes displaying ballerina shoes.

The peacock theme has been a wedding trend this year, there is a section focused on feathers and flowers in the decor

Do you need a sample of a simple floral wedding? Check out the bouquets you can make yourself.

Frilly cakes and table top love are the things this book is made of!

Shabby Chic Show Room Part 1

Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces

This is a larger book and the most recent to my collection. This one is based on the design of her Texas home. Prairie style living with lace against hardwoods. Chandeliers capturing light from outside and within. IT feels like Texas!

Elegant china adorns the country wooden table and vintage wooden chairs. Nearly every page breathes of flowers in life or on paper or fabric to add a delicate chic style to the rustic appearance of the rooms.

Mirrors give rise to plain walls with exploding tall flowers in buckets in front. A perfect place to sit and read by the window and smell the scents.

For those that wanted Shabby Chic in brighter colors, this is the book that incorporates a few brights with the usual pales.

The adorable white cottage in here just makes you want a small space to duplicate this design inside and out. It looks like your only need and purpose in life is to read a few good books, sleep in great comfort and maybe garden to keep fresh flowers inside.

Again the last pages, my favorite and I think a necessary step for all artists and designers: Creating a mood board. I have found I create my best work when I have a mood board to work from. It's because you are pulling from different things and images that inspired the work.

Shabby Chic Furniture

Shabby Chic Rachel Ashwell

The original book on the shabby chic style. If you want a true sense of a vintage french armoire, this is it. It is the most amazing piece of shabby chic furniture that demands the attention in the room. I would love to have one, although I would need a bigger room because I wouldn't want to give up my antique vanity I bought from Brass Armadillo back when Rachel Ashwell first inspired me personally. I also followed the advise of aadding angel statute that must sit on that vanity. It now holds many of my fashion necklesses so I have easy access to grab the one I want and be able to look at the collection daily.

There is more about fixtures, furniture, storage, shelves and useful items for the home. It covers many areas and the storage ideas are ideal for crafting rooms and bathrooms.

The Shabby Chic Home

This one feels like the beginning of her passions, dreams and visions. Rachel lays out the foundation for shabby chic style. Everything that inspired her Shabby Chic stores and how they will incorporate the style throughout your home. Share in the fluffy comforts and soothing soft colors of fabrics.

There are some great garden side ideas for comfort in the shade on soft cushions. Check out the incredible lightened up makeover she gives the the dull brown pool side. It looks like a secluded paradise!

Her dishwasher is like looking inside of a china cabinet, stuffed full of floral plates and cups.

I love the seashell decor and candle that sit in front of the stack of magazines. She is quite the beach comber, so you will see shells in many of her books and styles.

Treasure Hunting :& Decorating Guide

This book is full of useful tips for fixing and caring for antique items. There is fabric care, removing stains, "tips for transforming treasures", It is a must for anyone that vintage shops.

The glass cabinets are spectacular and put into full use. I can see my craft room looking like this with a big wooden glassed over table to create beautiful party favors on.

The book covers furniture, wall art, items found and reused for other uses and decorative purposes.China, vases and lamps. vintage holiday decor and ornaments. Adorable embellishments for gifts and packages.

Vintage clothing: Old Levi's, sweet sweaters, aprons and embroidered touches.

Secrets to Flea Market Shopping for Antiques


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    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you for suggesting etsy for the area rug. It seems like that will be an important piece to pull the look together. You have some really great ideas!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      The light turquoise sounds perfect. It really should compliment that gray carpet. Did you look on etsy to see if there are any small area rugs? Thank you for commenting Jean Bakula. Good luck with your project!

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      I have white furniture in a room that was once the palest shade of blush and I loved it. But now the color got darker, and it needs to be changed. I found a very, very light turquoise that doesn't have much green in it, and I think it will go well with the furniture. The carpet is dark gray, and I tried one of those Sherwin Williams things where you can drag the colors around, to see what your room will look like. It appears the gray rug can stay, but I need a smaller, area rug at the foot of the bed, and it must incorporate my light turquoise, and a little white. I hope it all works out!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      The sofa still sounds very sturdy. I just started mood boards now with my stamping sets and water colors. I enjoy it so much and feeling inspired on new levels. The people that say get away from social media a bit and create something of your, really have it right! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • ContradictionAmI profile image

      ContradictionAmI 4 years ago from Southern California

      Great article. As I said in another comment to you (when you posted on my recent article), I have some of her furniture bought at her store in Santa Monica from 20 years ago. They are ALL still in great shape (except for a leg that needs to be repaired thanks to my giant son who picked the couch up while his girlfriend was resting, and then let it slam to the floor...grrrr, kids). She has an awesome style that has been adopted by many...but she was and is the original, for sure. I also agree with the mood board idea. It's been adopted by devotees of "The Secret" to manifesting their dreams and I've used it for years when making a screenplay. I put up photos of locations and actors that inspire me in the writing of the film (even if they aren't the locations or people who will eventually bring life to my written words). It's a powerful tool to allow our imagination to take shape ... it puts inspiration into action.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you. You both most have comfy homes. I bet the furniture turned out beautiful. I havent found any worthwhile to pick up from my thrift stores yet. The furniture is just too ugly. I love the vanity i found at brass armadillo antiques, it is a little refurbished on the drawers only.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Perfect hub for me. My sister and I love Shabby Chic and have refinished many pieces of old furniture from the thrift store. We two are also a lover of the victorian white and pink porcelain. Great hub.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      I love those reuse ideas into gifts. I make mosaic stepping stones with the broken pieces of china. I picked up some vintage tea cups when I first got the shabby chic books. Tea does taste better out of china compared to a coffee cup and so much prettier. Thank you Walefather2.

    • whalefeather2 profile image

      whalefeather2 4 years ago

      Love vintage tea cups and saucers...when they are broke or chipped I make them over for gifts. Pin cusions, saucers make great candle holders etc. Gives them a new life and brings smiles to those who receive them!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you Gypsy Rose Lee, that is good; giving live to old things. She does a great job of incorporating the old in with the new and making it look classy and comfortable at the same time.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. This is a great read. Gave me some ideas with some old stuff I have that needs revamping.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      You are welcome Mama Kim. I love those books, they are bedside. I look through them all the time, they are just comforting and she has been sparking some new ideas for me lately too!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      What adorable style. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      They are really delicate with many details. It really is pretty. Her chairs always looks so cozy. My favorite or those armoires.

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      I really enjoyed The Shabby Chic furniture.

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thank you Bridalletter, I just need to take it on as an enjoyable endeavor, not my usual type A reaction. I will look at styles and see what grabs me, excellent idea! Maybe I won't cower and run when my friends start talking drapes and window treatments. Ok, I'm not hopeless, thank you again.

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      eHealer, only if you are taking on too much! If there is a certain style that appeals to you, just look up that specific style. That will get you started without overwhelming. I like the shabby chic style, but what appeals to me the strongest when I watch those international house buying shows, is the Hawaiian style that grabs my attention. - When you look at a style, what do you like? Is it the color of the woods, the fabric, the intense colors or pastel colors. You may like French country (many books on this style) Youtube is a great place to look when you have a style in mind. Visual learning is the easist when you start out new with decorating.

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      Okay I really need help with decorating, I never really gave it much thought, and when I decided to do it, I knew nothing about it and it just seemed too much to learn. Am I hopeless?