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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today's Work Tomorrow's Treasure

  What could American football and gardening possibly have in common? Well, it is time for the championship Super Bowl game and what seems like weeks & weeks of publicity and hype. Over the years, all of this PR reminds me of one very important thing... if it's Superbowl, it is time to trim the roses!
This time honored tradition, rose trimming that is, should be done by the end of January here in California. As the winter garden can be underwhelming, it is a great time to prepare the bones of your garden for springtime, printemps.
Trimming roses, grapes, boxwood, climbers & hedges assures your spring growth and gives you a clean slate for the spring planting season.
At Le Potager, John has been busy readying the courtyards, and here, the grape arbor, for spring in hopes of a grape crop as abundant and tasty as last year.
Do not be afraid to trim too much, especially for roses and grapes, as their new growth is very forgiving and good air circulation is key to productivity. 
It has always been helpful for me to link some chores with special events as reminders like this; 
If it's Super Bowl time... the roses must be trimmed!
More treasures to come.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Très Français Treasure

It has begun! My official stock-piling of wonderful treasures in anticipation of our Paris Flea Market coming up this April. Over the course of one day at the flea market, I found three wonderful vintage glass paperweights.
Originally these pieces held 1930's advertising from car dealerships and restaurants. Using vintage postcards, I repurposed these lovely glass domes to highlight iconic French locations.
Of course, the Paris Opera House.
The Paris classic, Le Dome Cafe.
No real caption necessary, The Arc de Triomphe -note the horse and buggies.
These fun paperweights make wonderful gifts or would look lovely on vanity trays, on your desk or even on a side table or nightstand. They are a subtle way to add some character to any room. Better yet, create a collection of vintage paperweights. Place them all on an antique silver tray add a vintage vase and metal Tour de Eiffel for a perfect Parisian vignette. I am looking forward to collecting more of these to add to this group. You too could repurpose some found paperweights to hold vintage family photos, vacation photos or even birth & wedding announcements. The possibilities are endless.
Happy hunting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Treasures in Antique Jewelry Boxes

What girl doesn’t love jewelry? I have a soft spot for vintage and antique jewelry. Among my favorites are my great grandmother’s cocktail ring, a large link silver bracelet of my mothers, and a pair of jade earrings that belonged to my grandmother. However one of my very favorites is my grandfather’s 1929 college class ring. I wear each of these pieces occasionally and store them in small pouches in a drawer… that is, until today.
I was fortunate to find this small group of three antique jewelry boxes. They're simply lovely. Each is from different jeweler, two in the U.S. and one from the U.K.  
            This is the perfect way for me to store and even display my pieces on my dressing table. I may even use these boxes to display vintage jewelry I will offer for sale at our Paris Flea Market. However, I don’t think I will be able to part with the boxes. Consider displaying some of your vintage costume jewelry pieces in your dressing room or on your vanity. Vintage and antique jewelry is so beautiful, it’s a shame to have it locked up. Keep your eyes open for some charming, unique boxes for displaying or you could even ask your mother or grandmother if they have any vintage boxes for you to borrow. I know I will be, as I would love to have a few more unique boxes. Remember, enjoy your jewelry, even when you aren’t wearing it by displaying some pieces. Happy treasure hunting

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Treasures Everywhere We Looked

Today was one of our big shopping days for the shop. Researching, planning, designing and of course buying. I am often asked, where we get the items we sell at Le Potager? It is a tough question to answer since one vignette alone may actually have items from dozens of different vendors. We pick and choose, ever so carefully, to create our signature look. Our purchases today came from around the world, Belgium, France, India and the U.S. to name a few.
It was wonderful to see a renewed spirit in the wholesale/retail world today. Everyone seemed very encouraged by the increased sales when compared to the past several years.
The choices were vast and I am happy to say we expanded our horizons by creating some new looks with new items coupled with some of our good olde favorites.
The hardest part of all of this shopping is not getting to bring anything home with you. All items should ship to us in the next three or four week, just in time to celebrate spring! Next stop, some flea market hunting for loads of treasures.

Friday, January 20, 2012

European Terra Cotta Seed Pots

We are lucky to know a gentleman who travels to Europe three or four times per year. We benefit directly from his search for unique, quality antiques. When his latest containers arrived, we were fortunate to be able to purchase some wonderful new(old) treasures. Among the items we brought to Le Potager were these wonderful seed pots from a conservatory closed decades ago.
We are in love with these pots. In the spring we will plant many of these up with strawberries and several types of herbs. Until then, we will use these charming little pots inside the shop.
Whether holding our business cards, as unique risers in display vignettes of decor items or to hold these charming antique silver fork pot markers, we are can use these pots anywhere.

Using terra cotta pots inside your home, especially during the fall & winter months when they are not in use in the garden, can add so much to your decor.

I lined the fireplace mantle with these great little pots, set tea lights inside and enjoyed a soft warm light. 
I did the same up the front walkway in lieu of luminarias. I have also used them to hold silverware on a buffet table and lined them with cupcake papers then filled them with candies or cookies. There are so many possibilities- enjoy discovering some of your own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Silver Muffineer of Many Uses

Today, in our homes we have dozens of utilitarian items that we use on a daily basis that are, well let's just say ugly or plain or uninspired. One way to live a more inspired life is to surround yourself with beautiful things. Remember, beautiful does not necessarily mean expensive, it is the small touches that can turn your routine into a treat.
Fine silver muffineers can still be found at reasonable prices and are a wise investment as a muffineer can serve you in so many ways. Your options are vast.
Traditionally, a muffineer was presented with tea service to hold powdered sugar to top tea cakes & scones. Even today, a muffineer on your table for tea or brunch can still hold powdered sugar to compliment your meal.
A muffineer can serve a more savory roll when used to hold grated parmesan cheese as a compliment to artichokes, corn on the cob, pizzas & salads.
When used in the bar, the muffineer can serve as a sugar or cocoa shaker to compliment hot or cold drinks. Even for brunch, a muffineer can hold a celery salt mixture as part of a bloody mary cocktail.
(Always remove any salt from silver before storing).
One of my favorite uses for antique muffineers is in the dressing room. Filled with fine powder, it is a lovely, easy shaker. Also, when filled with lavender buds the pierced dome top allows for the fresh scent fill the room.
What ever your style, a muffineer can add a little something special to almost any room in your home.
Just another example of form and function that spans the centuries.

A little more information...
What is a muffineer?
The word “muffineer” started to be used in the early 1800s to describe a shaker used to hold powdered sugar which could be sprinkled upon muffins, scones, and other breakfast goods. 19th century society had a predilection for coming up with a kitchen tool for almost any occasion, and for a time, the muffineer was a distinct and specialized kitchen utensil. Today, vintage muffineers are often sold as “antique salt shakers” or “sugar sprinklers” to collectors, and they are rarely used for their original purpose.
stock on-line photo

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Celebrating The Big 100

January has turned into the month of "100's" in my life. With this, my 100th blog post, I thought I would take a moment to acknowledge the 100th birthday of our home. Built in 1912, this house was originally built as the caretaker's cottage on a poultry ranch, that is why most things grow so well here. We will be having a celebration this summer and at that time I will post photos and a little more history.
My treasures, for my 100th post, begin with a 100 year old postcard. I am enamored with antique postcards. The graphics, details and colors are simply charming. Here are a few cards I found for the shop (the 1912 card gets to go home with me).
These are a couple of the other cards I added to the lot. I have never seen a postcard like this. It features an inset hand embroidered fabric panel with purple and gold pansies. Just beautiful and unique in every way. There was one other card just like this with yellow flowers and a Christmas card that reads Joyeux Noel that will just have to wait until the holidays. 
This postcard is just as wonderful on the front as it is on the back. Dogs always have universal appeal and this card will look fantastic with our custom dog collars and leashes at the shop. 
Postmarked 1908, this postcard has both history and intrigue, not to mention the charming antique stamp and postmarks.  Old postcards are so wonderful to add yet another dimension to vignettes, whether in a shop or at home. They do not take up any space however, they can have a major impact. I have one antique picture frame on my entry table that holds a different postcard for each holiday, season, and or special occasion happening in our home. Postcards are a fun and easy way to begin a collection. They are relatively easy to find, well priced and best of all, easy to store! Happy Hunting. Here's to my next 100 posts!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Antique Silver Cruet Caddy Bright Idea

I was on the hunt for a silver cruet caddy to hold a beautiful set of early etched glass condiment bottles that belonged to my business partner's family. I was successful in finding a lovely victorian quadruple plate caddy at a flea market. That same weekend, while searching an online auction site, I found another caddy that was even more perfect than the first. This left my flea market caddy without bottles. 
So, I began to imagine new uses for this charming old piece, it was just too sweet to pack away for someday. I considered many possibilities, some not very pretty and some just silly before I came across this charming marriage of old and new.
By adding 5 small clear glass votive cups into the spots designed to hold the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and mustard bottles, I have been able to breath new life into this old silver caddy.
Turning it from a piece into a center piece.
To soften the look and keep decorative accents away from the flames, I added a single lime branch, woven into a tight wreath, surrounding the caddy base. Just perfect!
This is just another example of one of my favorite things... reinventing antique accessories to make a true treasure for your home. Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Unique Location = Great Treasures

My schedule has been totally different this week, with no real time to shop and being away from home, I was still able to find a fun, unique and even a little wild, shopping spot. I had just one hour and a small set budget. So I began hunting. Room after room, front patio and huge outdoor yard all chock full of everything one could be looking for and more.
I featured the painted lady in a post earlier this week, however all of these other treasures I found at this fun hole-in-the-wall shop.
Just a peek out the front window. The owners of this unique shop have been consulting on a TV program as antique appraisers. They now filming their own show set to air in a couple of months. More info on that at a later date.
The pug just spoke to me. He is in fine condition and has wonderful details. I love his collar and tag. 
Three small Shakespeare books, a lovely silver filagree dish perfect for holding a candle and a really great vintage silver pitcher just begging for a big bouquet of flowers.
Found this silver framed mirror plateau added a petite vintage Eiffel Tower along with the crisp black and white aerial photo postcard of the Arc de Triomphe the start of a themed vignette.
I loved the change of location, I was fortune to find some fun items for our Paris Flea Market. Back in my local groove and looking forward to the Flea this weekend. Happy hunting!

Silver Butter Dish Reinvented

Reinventing this antique silver butter dish base has been fun. It is one of those easy to find pieces that can serve you very well, each season of the year.
The first use finds the silver base holding a simple bird nest and the side knife slip holding a vintage bird... simply charming.

Second, would be great on a side table nestled near a potted plant. I used the base to hold a crystal ball and an antique postcard of the Paris Opera House rests in the knife holder... unexpectedly unique.
Third use is the perfect guest bath soap dish. I placed a sweet transferware saucer inside to hold a bar of soap and set a small beveled mirror into the knife holder... beauty, form & function.
The fourth look is lovely looking and smelling! I filled the base with fresh lavender buds and a mercury glass heart rests on top. I slipped an antique victorian pin dish in the knife holder. The pin dish is one of my favorites, it features cupid riding a lion... a sweet nod to Valentine's Day.
Lastly, this piece is the perfect base for a cloche. Filled with fresh live lavender and ivy surrounding a fine porcelain bird on a branch... the possibilities are endless.
Do you have a piece similar to this? It's uses may surprise you. Give it a try. It is always so interesting to see reinvented vintage and antique items used as accessories in people's homes, it shows imagination and ingenuity, not to mention it is green to reuse. Happy Hunting Everyone!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Lovely Painted Lady Treasure

I have always been thrilled when I find an antique treasure when I am not even looking. Today, while running errands in my hometown of Hermosa Beach, I happened upon this charming antique painting at a tiny charity resale shop. The painted lady is so lovely and just perfect with Valentine's Day right around the corner.
She is dressed in a soft lace gown. A sun bonnet tied with a ribbon rests upon her shoulder.  As she gazes off, daydreaming of her suitor, she holds a love letter that is for his eyes only.
My fair lady leans on a large tree and soft pink climbing roses surround it's base. In the background the trees, grasses, wood fence and pond add a peaceful surrounding for her romantic thoughts.
This painting probably dates from the first decade of the 1900's, in my estimate. With no signature or reference on the reverse I must attribute this painting to an unknown artist. Although she is in less than perfect condition, after a light cleaning she will be a lovely addition to any decor. I will save her for the Le Potager "April in Paris Flea Market", which is just a few months away. Happy hunting everyone!