For households ruled by a pampered pooch — or the memory of one — Melanie Jones, owner of Fort Worth’s Prim & Proper, says a line of unique, locally made pet portraits found in her shop is proving to be the proverbial cat’s meow. Recently, she met Dallas artis Helvius L. Thompson III, who goes by “H3,” and was smitten by his unusual leather patchwork portraits, which are well-suited to human portraiture but often depict beloved pets. On his website, www.artbyh3.com, the artist notes that an interest in textile patchwork and the artwork of Andy Warhol led him to experiment with portraiture using layered paneled art. He starts by sketching an image of a photograph, then “builds” his stitched fabric on wood panel portraits, connecting the layers of the image with the distinctive zig-zag stitching of an industrial sewing machine. Jones began carrying the unusual custom portraits in December, and currently, Prim & Proper is the exclusive retail outlet for Thompson’s unique artforms. The appeal has been particularly strong, Jones says, among wives wanting something special for their dog-loving husbands. Shop samples include a small Yorkie portrait sized about 2-by-11/2 feet and a Great Dane depicted in patent leather on a 3 1/2-by-2 1/2-foot leather panel. Prices range from about $750 to $1,750. Prim & Proper, 3550 W. Seventh St., 817-377-3558.
A Novel Idea
It was the 50th anniversary of D-Day, in June 1994, that first got Tim Madigan thinking about what it was like for the soldiers who came back from World War II, specifically the long-term psychological effects the war might have had on them. He had an idea for a novel. But then, as they say, life got in the way.
As a reporter for the Star-Telegram, a job he began in 1984, Madigan had other stories to tell first, and he told them well, winning the title of top reporter in the state three times. He also wrote several nonfiction books along the way, including one about his friendship with Fred Rogers.
But the idea for the novel was always there, and he was always working on it, interviewing North Texas’ WWII veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder as part of his research.
This month, readers will at last be treated to Every Common Sight’s debut. The story is about Wendell Smith, a Texas soldier who returns from the Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest and coldest battles of the war, with troubling memories and a terrible secret.
Madigan says writing fiction has always been his dream and first love. “I found it magical to sit down and start moving my fingers on the keyboard, and having things happen to characters that I never would have anticipated,” he says. The book’s themes are “the universal and inescapable horrors of war, the scars that are often unseen, and the destructive power of secrets.”
“Ultimately, though,” he adds, “I think it’s just a good old-fashioned story with twists and turns and characters that I hope readers will care about. I know I do.”
Every Common Sight will be available as an eBook by mid-February ($5.99), and as a trade paperback ($12.99) on March 1. Both will be sold through Amazon.com.
In the Swing of Things
Area golf aficionados can get the pro treatment at the new PGA TOUR Superstore in Southlake. The 45,000-square-foot store is the first of its kind in Tarrant County and the largest of only three stores in the Metroplex (the other two are in Plano). Offering customers the best selection in golf equipment and apparel, the retailer is stocked with tons of brand favorites, including Callaway, Titleist and Nike. Golfers, however, will be most impressed by the megastore’s interactive environment, which includes six swing simulators (used for lessons and custom club fittings), five performance practice bays and a 2,000-square-foot putting green. Should you need a valentine idea for the golf lover in your life, consider this: for a $100 annual fee, you can purchase the Players Club Plus card. Card members get access to a variety of perks, including unlimited 30-minute sessions in the Performance Practice Center, a computerized swing analysis and discounts on club repair services. 2241 E. Southlake Blvd., 817-722-5190, www.pgatoursuperstore.com.
A Limited-Edition Elixir
If exclusivity is the essence of luxury, then Arquiste’s gift set of its renowned Boutonnière no. 7 fragrance certainly qualifies. Designed to evoke the romance and elegance of the famed Opéra-Comique in the heart of Paris, its base of gardenia harkens to the days when gentlemen fastened gardenia boutonnieres to their tuxedos before stepping out for an evening. This special set, a limited edition available only through Feb. 14, extends this inspiration even further by pairing a beautiful bottle of eau de parfum with a delicate gardenia blossom boutonniere stick-pin crafted from 24-karat gold ($950). Find it at www.arquiste.com.
An Iconic Collaboration
Fashion editor and street style icon Caroline Issa has collaborated with Nordstrom to create a capsule collection of 25 pieces inspired by the concept of versatile luxury. Launching mid-month, Nordstrom Signature x Caroline Issa includes well-cut dresses, sharply tailored jackets, elegant cashmere knits and other essentials chic enough to transition from daywear to eveningwear. Prices range from $225 to $2,995 and can be found at Nordstrom NorthPark Center (8687 North Central Expressway, Dallas, 214-231-3900) and the Galleria (5220 Alpha Road, Dallas, 972-702-0055) and at www.nordstrom.com.
A Magical Monogram
Diamonds are every girl’s best friend, especially when each exquisite gemstone is specially arranged in a custom monogram from jewelry designer Heather Asbury of Rare Gems of India. Asbury is known for these exquisite initialed pieces, each a completely personalized, bespoke design set in floating pendants, enamel lockets and rustic horn cuffs. The design process begins with a personal consultation, where Asbury determines the client’s style and the type of monogram she’s drawn to, be it angular and contemporary or scrolled with an Old World feel. She then perfects a set of sketches, and the approved design is sent to India to be made by expert craftsmen. Asbury also can import one-of-a-kind pieces or create custom designs based on specific wishes or inspiration from Asbury’s personal collection. It’s this collection that launched Asbury into the jewelry business, in addition to her longtime career as an award-winning interior designer. Visit www.raregemsofindia.com or call 214-649-4584.
Icy Haute Skin Care
European skin-care expert La Prairie debuts two new age-busting products this month that draw their potent formulations from extremophile plants and algae that thrive in the harshness of the icy Swiss Alps. Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Emulsion ($300) is a featherweight cream that nurtures stressed-out skin, helping it recover from climate changes, the strain of traveling and from dermatological procedures. The companion eye cream ($225) brightens under-eye circles and protects and hydrates this delicate area. Available at Neiman Marcus Fort Worth, 2100 Green Oaks Road, 817-738-3581. www.nei
The Spring Gown Lowdown
With the arrival of spring comes the start of a season jam-packed with high-profile galas by some of Fort Worth’s top arts organizations. As always, tickets and tables for these events are sure to go quickly. So make sure to get them on your calendar, and don’t get left out of the fun.
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Gala takes place Feb. 28. The annual event kicks off with a concert at Bass Hall by “rock star” pianist Lang Lang, who will perform an all-Russian program (including Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1) with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Following the performance, a dinner celebrating Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s 15 years as FWSO music director will take place at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel. Concert tickets are $35-$110. Concert and dinner packages are $460. For more information or to purchase tickets or packages, visit www.fwsymphony.org.
Texas Ballet Theater’s annual Come Dance With Us Gala is March 27 at the River Crest Country Club. Guests can look forward to an evening that includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a private performance by the TBT dancers. After dinner, guests will get the chance to mingle with the performers, sip cocktails and dance the night away at a special after-party. Tables start at $5,000. For more information or to purchase tables, visit www.texasballettheater.org.
Save the date for the Cliburn Foundation’s annual “Classically Cliburn” Gala, taking place May 1 at Ridglea Country Club. This year’s event, themed “An Asian Overture,” will feature a special appearance by 2009 Cliburn competition finalist Di Wu. Individual tickets are $500, and tables are $5,000-$50,000. For more information or to purchase tickets/tables, visit www.cliburn.org.
Chocolate on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be cliche if you gift it the right way. These delicious shimmer-dusted treats from SugarFina ($8 each) give old-school icons a clever twist with adorable messages — a retro boombox with “You make my heart skip a beat,” a vintage typewriter with “You’re just my type” — printed inside each ribbon-tied gift box. Find them at www.sugarfina.com. If you prefer a sweet something with a bit more glam, melt her heart with the decadent duo of delicacies from Paris-based La Maison du Chocolat and a perfect pout thanks to Sephora Collection lipstick. Each special-edition gift box ($20) includes four decadent pralines and a Luster Matte long-wearing lip color in a most kissable shade of mulberry. Available at all area Sephora stores.
beGlammed has officially launched in Dallas-Fort Worth, allowing anyone in the Metroplex to bring a beauty professional straight to your own home, office or hotel suite. Go to the website www.beglammed.com or download the free beGlammed app to book an appointment with trained and vetted hair and makeup artists for you or your party or group. Prices start at $60, depending on service and appointment time.
Beauty Brands has opened a new concept store in Southlake that builds on the company’s signature offerings of more than 10,000 lotions and potions for hair, skin and nails and its on-site salon and spa. This new space boasts an exclusive retail environment called “The Studio” that’s stocked with a curated selection of prestige brands like Smashbox, Dermalogica, Stila, Philosophy and more. 1041 E. Southlake Blvd., Ste. 100, 817-912-5800.
Susan Huston Fashion Concepts hosts its annual Girls & Style/Girls & Beauty workshop series beginning Feb. 14 at North East Mall. The four-week course, led by Huston, a stylist, former model and Indulge contributor, teaches girls ages 8-16 about nutrition, hair and skin care, beauty, etiquette, modeling skills and more. Classes for 8- to 12-year-olds take place 10 a.m.-noon, and for 13- to 16-year-olds, 12:30-2:30 p.m., on Saturdays. Advanced training also is offered. The courses culimate in North East Mall’s spring fashion show March 28. $165-$195. For more information and registration, visit www.susanhuston.com or call 817-265-5404.