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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Estate Treasures

I was recently invited to preview an estate sale in a nearby beach community. So today, I took some time to carefully look through a collection that was 50 years in the making.  I saw stunning 19th century clocks (over 70 of them)  in all shapes and sizes. There were dozens of Black Forest carved wood clocks and French gilt and porcelain clocks.

I saw hundreds of pieces of chintz china along with dozens and dozens of vintage tole painted trays.     

were treasures every where I looked. I made lists and checked them twice. I came up with a plan of action, what I will buy, where I will use it and what I can pay for it.
Then I came upon my favorite treasures of the estate. . . antique hand-carved Black Forest hand mirrors. Each mirror was a work of art, they featured oak leaves, acorns, roses, squirrels, pheasants and so many more exquisite details. It was a lovely afternoon, full of beautiful, unique antiques and vintage wares. The sale is scheduled to be held in two weeks. I will keep you posted.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Treasures Ready for Christmas

Believe it or not, we are getting ready for our Holiday 
Open House at the shop. It is always a challenging time but also very rewarding. Remember the photos from my road trip in August? In those pictures you could see some of the vintage musical instruments I was lucky to find. This is just the beginning of what I had in mind for those and several other instruments I found since then.
Ready to add the tree.
 As we begin decorating, this tree is holding violins, horns, clarinets and flutes.
We will be adding antique sheet music, vintage music related post cards, vintage ornaments of angels playing instruments and some other treasures I have been compiling. 

1950's plaques
1940's angel musicians

1880's -1920's sheet music
I will be posting photos of our progress as we continue toward our goal of creating a beautiful Christmas experience for our customers. I will highlight many of my treasures from previous posts finally revealed in our holiday vignettes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vintage Musical Treasure

This was such a fun find! I cannot tell you the last time I looked at old records but my sons tell me that not only are vintage records cool but contemporary artists are releasing their new albums in record form once again. Our youngest son, 19, and I went to a local charity resale boutique this morning. While we were looking around he spotted boxes of old records.  He had purchased a 1950's portable record player a few months ago and is on a hunt for classic albums. Today, I joined in the album fun and was taken down memory lane as I looked.  I purchased several records that I will play on our son's old record player at our Paris Flea Market next spring. These were just super fun titles that I had to have.
Top: I Love Paris, 101 Strings  Bottom Right: The Left Bank Bearcats take George M. Cohen to Dixieland  and Bottom Left: Sir Laurence Olivier A Christmas Carol.
The Christmas Carol album is staying home, we will listen to at home this holiday season.
Then I came across one additional album...
This was such an unexpected surprise! This album Red Nichols & the Five Pennies at Marineland is
a real novelty. Marineland of the Pacific was just a short distance from my childhood home and our family went there often. I have several souvenirs from Marineland but have never seen or heard of this one. I am happy to add this treasure to my small collection. 
Records are back...get out your old albums, you may have a vintage treasure of your own!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vintage Painted Tumblers

If you asked me before the flea market if I would be purchasing a set of wood tumblers I would have laughed. When I think of wood drinking cups I think of Danish teak or island bamboo not California redwood. However, that is exactly what I purchased at Sunday's flea market and I am so taken with them.
This set of 6 tumblers dates from the 1930's or 40's.  Each was hand-painted and signed by well known artist George Reinbold. 
 This set would be a wonderful addition to the bar in a study or on the shelves of a library. I am so happy to be using these charming vessels for our upcoming "Settings" event at Le Potager. They will be part of our European woodland style holiday table.
These tumblers are indeed a wonderful treasure as a set but they would also be wonderful gifts individually. Consider filling unique vessels like these with chocolates, nuts, pens & pencils or even cash for a special holiday gift. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Use your Antique Silver treasures

This is one of my favorite finds from my weekend treasure hunt at the flea market. A victorian silver water pitcher. Beautifully designed with etched scenes of a polar bear on an iceberg, this makes reference to the ice cold, fresh water that would have been held inside. 
 Icicles surround the central design and the ocean water wraps around the entire vessel. 
The bear and the iceberg are extremely detailed, so unique and charming.
This time of year is the perfect time to bring out your old silver. Whether is it is family silver or a flea market find, use your silver.  Create a new use for a piece to give it purpose once again. Be creative.
This water pitcher will be stunning filled with flowers.  There are some pieces, like this pitcher, that don't really need a purpose at all because their details alone are enough to include them in a seasonal vignette. Go ahead, get out your silver and enjoy using it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Treasure Hunt

As the coastal fog began to clear and the autumn sun warmed the air, we arrived at the flea market. 
There were many exceptional items offered today, some of which I brought home and some I had to leave behind.

Although I am still looking for holiday related items, I once again, was unable to find the prefect treasures. The good news is I still have plenty of time.
Here are some of today's treasures. I will be highlighting a few of these treasures during the week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Harvest Event

I have been so busy this week preparing for our French Apple Harvest event at Le Potager that I did not have any time for treasure seeking. Instead, I spent dozens of hours creating a wonderful autumn experience for our customers. Our unique, beautiful, abundant look was once again, very well received.
Our focus was the apple- the jewel of the fall. We offered sweet and savory dishes featuring the apple paired with wonderful French food items from our store pantry.
Continuing with the French apple theme, the spirits we served were traditional French Calvados and a hard French apple cider.
Today was such a pleasure. Spoke with so many of our regular customers and met some new customers who were very thrilled to happen into the shop on this apple event day.  
With today's event behind us, we embrace the busy holiday season ahead. Tomorrow I am off before the sun rises to search for new treasures. I am focusing on searching for holiday specific items. However, we all know that means, I will find everything except what I am actually looking for. 
I hope to report with new treasures tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pommes de France, Apple Season

It is apple season here in California and in much of the northern hemisphere including France. I find myself tonight gathering wonderful treasures to take in to Le Potager in preparation of our French Apple Harvest event that will be this Saturday. I have been researching some of the French foods and spirits that we will be serving and have learned so much about the centuries long tradition of growing fine apples in and near Normandy. There is such a vast array of the types of apples grown there as well as specific uses for certain varieties.
Whether the apple is for eating from the hand, baking, pressing for cider or for the centuries old tradition of making Calvados, France grows the perfect apples.
 The history associated with the apple in France is rich and includes the making of Calvados, an apple brandy, since the region's soil is not friendly to grapes for making distilled spirits, the abundant apple was substituted with wonderful result.

I even found this history of the Normandy region apples being lifesavers to the GI's during the war, providing them with sustenance during battles.

            Preparing for this event has been so interesting. This information has allowed us to highlight the history of the apple in France as well as it's culinary uses.
To make sure we had beautiful fresh apples for our event, we went apple picking last Sunday. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool and the apples were perfect. These trees are celebrating their 50th birthday this season and a still producing very large, sweet, juicy apples.
We picked and picked and brought home a nice selection of apples including my favorite the empire.
I will follow up this weekend with how our French Apple Harvest event at Le Potager went. I will post photos of many of my treasures being used including a vintage apple bushel basket I bought very near where we picked. Enjoy an apple today or better yet come into the shop this Saturday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Treasures Combined

This is a story about holding on to a treasure until the time is just right. I purchased these 1930's garden award ribbons months ago. They were not in perfect condition but they were the only Fall Garden Awards I have ever seen so I had to have them. Not certain what I would do with them, I carefully tucked them away. 
This week, while going through my latest flea market treasures, I had a light bulb moment! The use for the ribbons was right in front of me. I had purchased 5 great vintage English silver trophies. Although they were on the small side, I knew I could use them in a display at Le Potager. Turned out these trophies were the perfect for way to display the award ribbons.
Many times, marrying antiques can give new life to the items thus giving you a totally new unexpected treasure. I have now created a truly unique fall display for Le Potager. Any of these would be a wonderful gift for the gardener in your life.  Fill a trophy with stems of fall leaves and present to your hostess at Thanksgiving or give to a special friend with a fall birthday. 
I love that these 70 year old ribbons are now prominently displayed on these old silver trophies.
Each item has now been given a new lease on life and will be enjoyed by many people for years to come. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The French Canister Set

This great, complete set of French canisters was a recent flea market find. It was one of those items that I found late in the day. I was very taken with the set however, I was rushing to get back to a separate dealer to pick up another item. In my haste, after considering the canisters, I walked away. I immediately noticed I was forgetting something (or someone). . . my husband. He was just standing there looking at me. I walked back and as I approached he said "Will you be sorry if you don't buy these?" Well, long story short, here they are! I am happy to say (and he is happy to hear me tell him and you) that he was right.
Whether you call it enamelware, enameled ware or graniteware, these are perfect examples of basic utilitarian pieces made to be beautiful as well.  These highly sought after antiques served in household kitchens of Europe, in a gentler time when even the most humble items were cherished.  Most of these antiques sought after by collectors today were manufactured between the late 1800's and 1930's. 
Collecting antique French enamelware pieces that are unusual, rare or just charming, can add a wonderful vintage look to your kitchen or butler's pantry.  Even a single piece can be used as a utensil holder, flower vase or candy jar. I will be saving this set for my Paris Flea Market booth in the spring. In the meantime, I think I will enjoy them in my own kitchen!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vintage Demijohn Find

Once in a blue moon, while antique shopping, one gets to experience the real joy of discovering an unexpected treasure... today I was thrilled to have such an experience when I stumbled upon this beautiful vintage green glass demijohn.
This is a massive bottle both in weight and size. It measures over 26" tall and 56" in circumference. It is the most glorious shade of green. The glass is freckled with air bubbles that were trapped inside the glass during blowing. The glass has a water-like wave to it which in this photo, is most visible in the shadow on the backdrop fabric.
Demijohns or carboys were, and continue to be, bottles used in the production of spirits such as wines, ales and even some cognacs. Bottles were housed in wood, wicker, basket or wire cradles to support and protect the glass. This bottle no longer has its cradle, leaving it completely exposed.
Although vintage demijohns served very utilitarian purposes in times passed, today these beautiful bottles serve in several aspects of modern design.  Consider using this piece as an actual vase, holding very tall branches on a side table or buffet. Demijohns are perfect for filling large spaces such as inside soffits or even on top of a refrigerator. Currently, one of the most popular purposes is actually a re-purposing by turning these bottles into table lamps. Topped with an extra large drum style shade this is a true statement piece. I have not decided which route to take, for now it will sit on my veranda and until I am inspired to do something with it, I will enjoy its feminine shape and glorious color.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flea Market Barware

One of the many, many things that I find myself drawn to when I am antique hunting is vintage barware. I think I have a romantic notion about the era where cocktails were the part of the food pyramid. A time when martini lunches, scotch neat at the office and classic cocktails at home were the norm.  Along with cocktail popularity came the bar accessory boom and for the first time bar tools were more than utilitarian, they were now artistic.
Last weekends flea finds included some very fun and interesting treasures. One of my finds was a unique version of a measuring jigger made of silver, by the Napier family of costume jewelry and quality barware fame. 
Such lovely construction and design. Jigger is heavy but pivots at the slightest twist of the handle as it rests on the lip of a glass, dropping the measured spirits into the glass below.
Not only did I find the silver jigger, I also found four of these vintage glasses with an embossed rooster design. They will look great on the bar cabinet. Barware is a great theme for a collection, interesting pieces can still be found. I think that vintage barware is the perfect addition when gifting a bottle of spirits. Tie a treasure like this around the neck of a bottle with a beautiful ribbon to make your gift one of a kind this holiday season. You still have plenty of time to find just the right piece. Cheers!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fantastic day at the Flea

Today was a great day at the antique flea market in the old orange grove which is now on the college grounds. The weather was beautiful, in the low 80's, warm and dry, a far cry from the rain that was predicted. 
 The hope was to find a few things I am "looking for" but as we all know, especially when looking for antiques, all bets are off.  It happens that, as a shop keeper, and flea market vendor and on-line auction seller, I can be open to a wide variety of treasures when I shop.
Today's treasures were unique, charming and nice quality items. I will be sharing some of the individual items as the week progresses. 
Silver, French enamel, English stoneware and vintage glass are among the loot.