My passion, after my family of course, is Treasure Hunting. The simple beauty of things from by-gone eras have always spoken to me. Whether these treasures are found at a flea market, fine antique store, estate sale, thrift shop, or in the family attic, surprises abound.
As an interior designer, I believe it is vital to balance your decor by including found and family treasures. Surrounding yourself with things you love should always be the goal, from there you will find your true style.
As I shop, I may have a client in mind or I may want to resell at our french flea market or in my shop. I am lucky to have several outlets for my treasures including my own home! I plan to share my searching, hunting, travels, and treasures with you and encourage you to enjoy adding your treasures to your home.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcoming the Possibilities

Although 2011 had its high points I am thrilled to welcome a new year. The possibilities, projects and promises all offer wonderful opportunities for me, both personally and professionally in 2012. As a child I recall our family believing that whatever you do New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is what the new year will hold for you. With that in mind, we enjoyed a fresh crab feast with dear friends, I spoke with all of my family, worked on an upcoming project for the shop, Le Potager, and tomorrow hopes to be a great day at the flea market. 
If this is my preview of 2012, I could not be more thrilled. 
I wish you all a new year full of the things and the people you love. Much health & happiness and the time to enjoy both. Remember, all things are possible- you can live your dreams. 
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Best Gift of the Season

As our Christmas weekend came to a close and I looked back at the most touching events, I am struck by my pure joy of being surrounded by my family. The simple traditional menu, beautiful fresh floral arrangements, pine swags, garlands, classic holiday music and gifts that were both useful and thoughtful, together helped to create a truly special family holiday.
While this simple arrangement features traditional Christmas colors- red, green and white, the flower choices are anything but traditional with hydrangea, mums, tulips and rosehips, just lovely.
It was agreed that giving would include useful, affordable, thoughtful and even green gifts. Presents included chic, reusable shopping bags, beautiful original framed art, classic Dansk teak pepper mills, stylish coats made of recycled materials, and of course my homemade lavender sugar. With the kids now in their late teens and early 20's they have become aware of earth friendly options when they shop, leading them to purchase many quality "green" items. 
I am taken with our kids passions for living "aware lives" and how their choices have influenced us older members of the family, even on Christmas. With holiday joy still in our hearts and a new year just ahead of us, Today's treasure is a simple, reflective message, to live more simple, meaningful lives. That leads me to believe that my on-going treasure hunts serve as ways to not only reuse and recycle but a way to save beautiful items and share them with you. 
With that in mind, maybe we could all take a note from Ghandi who said, "be the change you wish to see in the world".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Culinary Lavender Holiday Treasure

Lavender is one of my favorite things. I have lavender sachets in my dresser, dried lavender stems hanging in the breakfast room, bars of Provence Lavender soap in the guest bath and lavender infused olive oil in the pantry. I wanted to make a little something for friends and family this Christmas to share my love of lavender. I have been searching for a high quality organic culinary lavender and was very happy to finally find Hood River Lavender in Oregon.
Lavender in the kitchen has so many wonderful applications. Lavender scones, lavender lemon shortbread cookies, lavender creme brulee, I even have a recipe I have been wanting to try... lavender celery bisque.
This holiday season I thought I would begin with a simple lavender sugar for gift giving.
I purchased two varieties of certified organic culinary lavender, a signature blend and the classic Provence. 
I used the Provence variety, adding half whole buds and half ground buds to fine bakers sugar.
The ratio is two cups of sugar plus 2 tablespoons lavender, one Tbsp whole bud and Tbsp ground.
The final product is a fresh, aromatic sugar perfect for hot or iced tea, a topper for oatmeal or even
a wonderful twist on sugar for an old-school champagne cocktail.
Consider adding lavender to some of your favorite recipes, you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The 4 Seasons in Repousse Silver

 This wonderful find from the last flea market has found its way to the shop. The repousse pattern frames the bowl and covers the pedistal base with a lovely scene of a couple strolling in the garden. The size and shape of this footed bowl is one of my favorites and one of the most versatile pieces you can add to your stable of antique silver for decorating. 
I have pieces similar to this in my personal collection and use them very often. Below I have shown this bowl for each of the four seasons as an example of the limitless possibilities of a piece like this.
First, three choices for the Christmas holidays. 
Christmas time with pomegranates and pine.
With vintage glass balls, pine stems and cones.
Filled with mini cones, ruby glass candle cup and a sprig of holly.

Spring, Summer and Fall looks are simply wonderful and easy to accomplish.
 Here spring bulbs are placed into small glasses, grouped in the bowl and surrounded with straw.
For the warm days of summer mound with seashells or fill with keepsakes from family vacations.
 And finally, the warmth of autumn. Full with leaves, gourds and even apples.
This is the perfect piece for an entry or side table. Place on a silver tray or on a charming old book for a classic, finished look. This is perfect treasure to create the perfect seasonal vignette in any home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Le Potager Video Christmas Card

I hope this works for everyone.
Merry Christmas.
Copy, paste in search bar, click and enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sounds of the Season Treasures

I have always loved the music of the Christmas season. From church hymns, olde time carols and the classic holiday songs of the 40's, 50's & 60's, this music evokes fond memories of Christmas' past and joyous thoughts of family and friends both present and departed.
Music has been an underlying theme at both the shop and at home this year.
Carolers singing Olde English carols during late night shopping at Le Potager were simply lovely and drew a crowd from the neighborhood as well as the nearby English pub.
Even the mantle in the den of my childhood home took on a charming musical theme this year. I layered it with instruments, all belonging to family members both old & young, throughout the years. Sprinkled with white lights, fresh cedar garland, lit sugared fruit ornaments and even pretty holiday sheet music created a meaningful festive mantle.
The musical tree in Lillian's Room at Le Potager has been so well received that I am inspired to expand the idea next year.
The golden hues and silver sparkle of the brass instruments paired with the warm tones of the string instruments created the perfect festive background to dozens & dozens of ornaments.
Adding to the list of Christmas songs and styles that I love is this entire CD.  A French Christmas is a wonderful combination of traditional French holiday songs and classic American carols sung in French. I am so thrilled to add these songs to my favorite list. 
Enjoy the treasure that is the sounds of the season and turn up the holiday music to create wonderful memories for you and your family.
I hope you holidays are filled with joyous music!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Antique Hoosier Drawer Treasure

This is the treasure that keeps on giving. I picked up this fabulous hoosier bin drawer at a tiny local flea market here in town. The old wood frame, metal lined bin and antique nails made this an item I just could not pass up.  As with many items I bring home from market, I am not always certain what I will end up doing with it. I kept moving this drawer about Le Potager, tried filling it with plants, piling it high with antique terra cotta pots, poured dozens and dozens of large pine cones inside and nothing seemed exactly right.  Then, almost magically, a long forgotten back-ordered item arrived.
The hoosier drawer and the rooster... the perfect marriage of old and new. This nesting style rooster fit perfectly inside the drawer and left just enough room to add embellishments. Here I have added holiday pine, berries and pine cones for a charming festive look. Changing the nesting materials seasonally makes this a timeless accessory. Both the subject matter and the style create a look that can accent many different decor styles. I am happy to say that the hoosier drawer has found its purpose.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Treasure Hunting at the Winter Flea Market

After what seems like weeks of cold and rainy weather, on market days, this weeks flea market was just beautiful. Cold, brisk and flooded with bright winter sunshine, this was the perfect day at the flea. It probably didn't hurt that Christmas is just weeks away, but I found everyone to be joyous and merry. Vendors and shoppers alike enjoyed a festive, fabulous market brimming with treasures.
Aside from my usual hunting for treasures for the shop and our Paris flea market, this flea market trip I found myself doing some of my holiday gift shopping. I get such a good feeling when I happen upon a real treasure at the flea that can only be topped by finding a treasure for a family member or friend.
I am happy to report I was successful in finding lovely things for Le Potager, our flea market and even a few gifts. This market brought dozens of new vendors many with beautiful, interesting & unique items. I always consider antiquing successful when, at the end of the day, I have learned something new, from either vendors or shoppers, about antique and or vintage wares.  With that in mind, this day was a success all the way around.
Just a peek at some of the treasures I brought home. I have a lot of silver cleaning to do. Overall, what a great day of shopping. I am looking forward to highlighting a few items later this week. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winter Treasures in Our Own Backyard

I love this time of year in the garden. Here in southern California, the largest trees are beautiful, lush and green all year- the cypress, palms, magnolia, and citrus.  It is the small treasures in the garden that bring spectacular color to the landscape.
The calamondin trees are full and almost ready to harvest. They make a truly outstanding marmalade.  
The rose hips this year are bright and abundant. They will be spectacular in holiday arrangements.
Strawberries are coming along nicely and will be ready to float in our New Year's Eve champagne!
Just a few camellias have bloomed as of today but hundreds more will be joining them within the next couple of weeks. Camellias are wonderful hearty blooms that are wonderful to float in pottery, china and glass vessels.  These flowers make it easy to add vibrant color to any room.
Although I long for real seasonal weather, I am thankful for the small changes that happen in the California winter garden and I look forward to bringing these treasures indoors.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Uses for Old Treasures

Tucked away in the dark corners of china cabinets and kitchen cupboards are the charming pieces of tableware that belonged to generations past. We keep so many items that we promise ourselves we will use someday. Well, as we have all learned, someday never comes. Now, may be the time to show these wonderful pieces the light of day, include them in our holiday tablescapes and share them with our friends and families.
While a silver coffee service is rarely a practical addition to our holiday table, I always encourage my clients and customers to include family silver as decor for the holidays especially. We tend to forget that the next generation may not have the connection to family pieces as we do. Include grandma's silver and great-grandmother's china in vignettes on your sideboard. Open the channels of discussion, share stories and continue to include and honor those family members, who left use treasures, in your holiday celebrations.
Use a beautiful tureen, that you may be too worried serve food in, as a beautiful vessel to hold seasonal treasures from mother nature.  Add a piece like this to your entry table, coffee table, kitchen or buffet table. This is another great way to pay homage to generations past.
Many pieces of antique tableware have outlived there usefulness on todays tables. This is my favorite use for antique napkin rings- simply perch a small pine cone on the top and tuck a place card into the cone. If this natural look does not fit your table decor, paint the pine cones high gloss white and add glass glitter to the tips.
Vintage collections can add to your table decor in unexpected ways. Here we added a collection of antique Germany metal animals to the table. Charming and unique, they add interest and spark conversation relating to the family members who treasures added to this collection.
Grouping like items is the key to meaningful displays. Here, vintage silver plate baskets have much more impact when grouped than they would alone. Just one item from a family member can spark an heirloom collection, which you can continue to add to as you find others at flea markets. Filled with seasonal treasures, antique baskets, boxes or bowls can be filled to accent any decor.
Get out those family treasures and include them in your holiday celebrations. What could be better than actually using pieces from generations past to create an heirloom holiday for all to enjoy? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Treasures at the Rainy Flea

After a very busy couple of weeks at Le Potager I was looking forward to getting out to do some treasure hunting. Today, once again, the forecast called for rain however not until later in the afternoon. Needless to say, it began raining just after 8am. Although not really prepared for a rainy treasure hunt, we were finding such fun, unique items and meeting some truly lovely people, that we did not mind being soaked to the bone. Here are a few of today's flea market treasures.
Very large poster size men's suit fashion plate from the Fall of 1912 hand colored with fabric samples on the reverse
Vintage wood composite hunting dog head bottle opener.

 Two French wine tasting cups on original ribbons in great condition
This spectacular set did not make it home with me but I cannot stop thinking about it!

This was a great find. Part of a horse bridle, this vintage leather piece features 4 original sleigh bells as well as an incredible glass dome bridle button with a red sleigh! Would be fabulous around the door knob this Christmas

Today was a successful treasure hunting day however, not a very successful photo taking day. I am blaming the rain, it certainly couldn't be me.  Ok, it was me. Better shots next time I promise.
Just a follow-up to the other treasure hunting I did this week, an estate sale that had sounded quite interesting unfortunately, it turned out to be a very big disappointment...they can't all be great.
Treasures and tips for your holiday decorating coming soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Woodland Treasures

The woodland room at the shop is filled with wonderful items from treasure hunts of the past. The extraordinarily large vintage English stoneware turkey platter and the hand-painted wood tumblers are  beautiful in these surroundings-  both recent finds.  Also, in the background, an antique deer platter along with pheasant and turkey dinner plates.
Also recently found, vintage stemware, an antique silver tray, and crystal decanters. Together they are charming accents to the antler candlesticks and wonderful Williamsburg pine & pomander arrangements. Our intent at Le Potager is to always display in combinations like those we all have in our homes- antiques, vintage items and new wares all living in harmony.
The tree in our Woodland room is filled with natural elements like pine cones, pomanders, and dozens of antlers creating an elegant twist on the classic hunting lodge during the holidays. More peeks into other rooms at Le Potager coming up and big treasure hunting scheduled for this week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Treasures Within

I love the early evenings this time of year, it lets us light the shop in such a way that the glow through the windows creates an open invitation to one and all.
Over the last week I have been unpacking holiday treasures and putting the final touches on the store. Boxes full of treasure that I have been setting aside all year, just for the holidays.
The tables are set for holiday feasts with treasures from across the country. Springtime treasure hunting in the Ohio Valley, summertime road trip through California and dozens of flea markets and estate sales in between, all together have created our beautiful table settings.
The mantels are draped with boughs of evergreens and branches of holly. Our holiday events continue and treasures are finding their way home with our customers. With that in mind, the need to add even more unique vintage and antique treasures to the store never stops. I have two treasure hunts planned for this week, one very interesting estate sale and another large flea market.  I am looking forward to finding some great items and will share them with you as soon as I bring them home!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trees Trimmed with Treasures

The holiday season has truly arrived at the shop. The weather has changed, days are cool and evenings have been quite chilly allowing us to light a fire in the fireplace at Le Potager, to take the chill off and of course, add to the ambiance of our holiday decor. 
This season we have created very unique trees each with their own personality and brimming with new items as well as treasures found throughout the year.
This tree has a charming home decor theme. Filled with French inspired wall clocks, glass glitter keys, French journals, picture frames and more. Not a traditional holiday look but very festive indeed.
Back by popular demand... the Le Potager wine tree. This fun tree is filled with vintage and antique treasures- silver and copper wine coasters, silver wine tasting cups, red crystal wine glasses and raffia wrapped chianti bottles. Of course we have added a cork garland and wine bottle topper, both Le Potager originals. Cheers!
Our pantry tree is dripping with sweet little gifts and stocking stuffers. We have added antique silver flatware (including the topper) , antique muffineers, silver salts and vintage cookbooks. Along with those items we added custom pink rock salt rocks with graters, fresh nutmeg nuts with graters and French spreaders and tea spoons. Bon Appetit!
This is one of the trees I did give a sneak peek of on a previous post. Full of vintage musical instruments found along my summer road trip, the instruments serve as the large scale backdrop to the smaller charming ornaments. The sparkle of the metal of the horns and flutes, the warmth of the wood of the violins, all work together with the sparkle of crystal and pearl embellishments. 
This Christmas consider trimming your tree with unexpected items, use a collection, set a theme, nothing is off limits. Think fun, festive and create a look unique to you and your family.