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, March 26, 2012

Silver Teapots and Spring Flowers

It is that wonderful time of year when the garden is bursting with gorgeous flowers of all sizes, shapes and colors. As much as I love how the garden looks when spring arrives, it is a must to cut some of the blooms and bring spring indoors.  My favorite early spring vessels for flowers are vintage and antique tea pots, mainly silver to showcase the blossoms.
My antique Edwardian silver teapot, an estate sale find, with ebony handle and raspberry roses.
My vintage Art Deco silver coffee pot, thrift store find, with red bakelite handle and beautiful yellow ranunculus.
Here I used the entire antique silver tea set, an estate sale find,  to hold roses from three different bushes. I filled creamer, sugar, tea pot and coffee pot. Grounding the entire vignette on an oversize silver tray allows for a soft beautiful reflection and holds dropped petals perfectly.
This beautiful painting perfectly expresses my love of tea pots (or coffee pots) as lovely vases for  informal bouquets of gathered flowers. Silver Tea Pot with Nasturtiums
This Beyler print is so feminine and mirrors the look that I love this spring. The reflective silver, the soft  hues, the lush petals and the fresh green leaves. The tea pot has actually become part of the arrangement not just a vase holding flowers. 
Do you have a silver tea pot? The answer is most likely, yes. If so, bring it out this spring and use it. If not, they are relatively easy to find second hand.
Maybe you have a teapot that is old and has no silver left, I never thought of painting one but wouldn't this once silver, now purple painted coffee pot be fun filled with a mass of white roses?
Once you cut your flowers tie them into a tight bouquet with string or a rubber band. Then set a glass or jar into the teapot to protect the interior from flower water doing any damaging. Fill with water and add your bouquet. The final accent to a beautiful display to sprinkle loose petals about. Your spring flowers will last a little longer by changing the water everyday. Enjoy!
Happy treasure hunting!

Monday, March 19, 2012

using antique transferware at home

Antique transferware has an almost cult-like following these days. There are websites, blogs and actual societies solely driven by their love of one thing and one thing alone. . . beautifully decorated transferware pieces.
Don't get me wrong, I know transferware collecting is about more than just dishes but for many of us, that is where is all began. 
Whether it is a simple arrangement of two or twenty plates they can create a unique and charming addition to almost any decor. Other than the wall, there are countless places transferware pieces work throughout our homes. Very simple ways to incorporate a little bit of style in unexpected places for everyday uses.
Use a sweet little transferware butter pat dish as your tea bag holder.
I use transferware saucers, in complimentary colors, as holders for liquid soaps in our bathrooms. They look great and help to keep water and any soap drips off the counters.
Use a single plate to compliment a color scheme and paired it with another non transferware piece(s).
When the purple cathedral glass candle holder is lit the charm and color of the transferware comes to life in the flickering candlelight.
This cute little transferware cookie dish is perfect as a key holder on the old corner cupboard at our back door.
Just a small transferware bread plate used in a bookshelf can add color and dimension. I love to use plates in bookshelves behind the main decor items. It is a great way to add color and ground vignettes.
To get away from a flat display of plates on the wall add pieces with more dimension. This small antler plaque is just enough to make this grouping interesting without taking away from the charm of the transferware. A clock, small shelf, carved wood panel or even a wall basket filled with flowers would all be great paired with these plates. Consider taking some of your transferware out of the china cabinet and adding a few pieces to your decor. If you don't have any transferware yet you may want to pick up a piece or two at a flea market or even online. There are so many colors available you can be sure you will find one that compliments your home.  Have fun looking for this simply charming stuff.
Happy Hunting!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Bread from an Irish Baker

We found the pot at the end of the rainbow today but it was not filled with gold.  It could quite possibly be even better than gold! Our dear friends, K & M, delivered to me at the shop, the most beautiful loaf of homemade bread... o.k. well almost better than gold.
K met M in his homeland of Ireland 20 something years ago and the rest, as they say, is history. A short time later M followed K back to her home here in California. They live, with their two sons, just down the street from Le Potager here in Orange County.
M is a master baker for a very well known national bread product company here in the U.S. Because he bakes for a living one would think that baking would be the last thing he would do when he goes home, but much to our delight, he and K occasionally bake together for their family and lucky friends.
K & M are also working on another, much larger, project together. They are nearly finished building their beautiful seaside vacation home along the rocky coast of Ireland where M grew up. Although we have not yet been to visit M's hometown, or seen their Ireland home, we are looking forward to a trip in the not too distant future.
In the meantime, we have bread. Wonderful bread. Made with love from our dear friends. It was just the luck of the Irish today that brought us this treasure.
Now, I say a big thank you to K & M and please pass the homemade marmalade!
Treasures abound.... happy hunting!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pink Lemonade Lemons Abundant Treasure

I could not resist sharing my pink lemonade variety lemon tree today. The tree is so full with lovely pink blossoms that fill the air with the most heavenly scent morning, noon and night. The lemon peel is a beautiful variegated green and yellow which turns a soft pink hue when the fruit is ripe. 
This time of year, here in California, the citrus trees have a wonderful combination of both fruit and blossoms. Being able to enjoy the fruit and the perfume filled air for this short period of time is a true gift form mother nature that I so look forward to.
The blossoms on this tree have the most colorful blooms. The pink and lilac buds together with the white blooms and green leaves create a stunning combination that translates perfectly to a home decor scheme, a garden palette and even a fashion ensemble.  Fresh, clean, bright and romantic.
Some of my pink lemonade lemons grow in nice tight bunches that are wonderful for display.
The soft pink flesh and delicious juice of these lemons make them just perfect for using in beverages, cooking, baking and of course cocktails!
I wanted to share my pink lemonade lemons, mainly because the weather man in predicting a large storm at the end of this week through the weekend. With that in mind, I am afraid that I will loose most of my blossoms on many of my citrus trees due to that extreme weather event. I simply wanted to preserve the glory of the citrus season while I still can. I hope I am wrong, maybe the weatherman is wrong. . . well we all know that could never happen! Really, only mother nature knows for sure.
Fingers crossed.
More treasures to come. . .  & Happy Hunting!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vintage Silver Boy & His Dog

This is one of the most unique treasures I have come across in recent months. A charming figural scene made by Simpson Hall & Miller Silver Co. features a boy and his dog walking along a rocky hill.
The details are simply amazing, down to the fur on the dog. Even the ferns growing among the rocks are wonderful in their style and scale.
I am intrigued by the tiny detailed buttons on both his coat and boots.
On the backside there is even a powder horn tucked under his arm & a satchel bag resting upon his back. The quadruple plate silver is in really nice condition with some nice patina to it.
I love that I happened upon this little treasure and am considering what I might do with it.
My first thought is to make it into a small bookshelf lamp.
For now, I am placing him in a display of English dog books and vintage stirrup cups.
I will follow up on his final placement, until then I am thrilled just to have this little treasure.
Happy Hunting!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Culinary Event at Le Potager

After weeks of waiting for our shipment of French culinary items to arrive, it finally came, with just days to spare before our Spring Culinary Event was scheduled at the shop. Today was the day. We prepared a variety of both sweet and savory dishes highlighting authentic French confits, preserves, honey and more. I created a small food inspired arrangement to compliment our table using a few leftovers from my cooking and cuttings from my garden.
I combined white ranunculus, asparagus spears, citrus branches, lavender stems, mint, parsley and one pink lemonade lemon.
I placed the arrangement in a long, tall, antique drug store display riser that I picked up last summer.
 Just a few of the products we used to create our menu.
  The asparagus flatbread featured classic herbs de provence and when served, we drizzled with garlic infused olive oil. 
Our fresh strawberry tart was made with a traditional crust topped with a layer of French peach vanilla preserves and sliced berries.

This red potato salad was a unique combination of small cubes of hard salami and a Provencal mustard made with red peppers and paprika made into a dressing with EVOO garnished with fresh parsley and green onions. 

 Popular "go to" items for our customers are French fruit confits for cheeses. Here a plum, wine & cumin confit on a fresh California goat cheese. 
A splendid time was had by all. Our beautiful California spring weather made it a perfect day to shop our garden and enjoy our epicurean event. Next store event will be a spring open house and trunk show in just two weeks. Until then, more treasure hunting beginning tomorrow morning. 
(Recipes will be on the store website later next week)
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Very Unique Flea Visit

I am still delighted by the thoughts of my visit to the flea market today. I started earlier than usual to try to avoid the mob scene that I encountered last time I attended this market. It is so interesting to me, how from month to month the same flea market has a different personality. Today's market, if given a single word to describe it, I would say it was "unique".
There were characters at every turn. Dealers wearing top hats and clown clothes. Shoppers wearing bermuda shorts with socks and sandals, smoking cigars. Add to this, dozens and dozens of four legged characters. Some wearing dresses and tutus, even some wearing booties. Many of the four legged shoppers were lucky enough to be carried all day, but this guy was living the life...
 Being entertained by the people and pets was only part of todays market experience as, much to my delight, the merchandise began to take on that same unique character.
I seemed to find whimsey everywhere. This dealer had dozens of these vintage mannequins with extremely long necks posed in very interesting arrangements... unique!
For some strange reason even these old typewriters brought back funny memories of an old Buster Keaton movie I saw long ago. However, the conversation between two women shoppers in their 70's put a smile on my face as they bickered about which of their secretarial jobs using these styles of typewriters was worse... amusing! 
In this booth the vendor (husband) was sound asleep leaning up against a pile of their pillows... funny!
I did not purchase nearly as much as I would have liked so we (Mr. Treasure and I) walked down the hill to the fabulous farmers market.
We picked up some great, farm fresh, organic, locally grown veggies and some beautiful, fresh picked, California strawberries. We also treated ourselves to a freshly baked baguette and a jar of homemade marmalade. Heaven!

 We had a thoroughly enjoyable morning. I did bring home a couple of lovely treasures. Two silver pieces in particular that I will be photographing tomorrow. I hope to clean them and show you before and after photos. It was a truly unique day at the flea. Fun!
Happy Hunting!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Estate Transferware & Much More

Just the words "estate sale" conjure up many different thoughts for people. Whether it is a sale for reasons happy or sad, I always figure that the money I spend there will be helpful to someone. Today, I went to a great estate sale that was being held by the homeowners as they prepare to move from a lovely large hillside home to a much smaller beach condo, definitely a happy reason.
This couple collected lovely things over many years. In addition, both had mothers, in particular, that collected for decades as well. With that said... they had some wonderful items and I was thrilled to bring a selection of treasures home with me.
You can never go wrong with classic brown transferware. I gathered a charming group of pieces, mostly plates, trays & bone dishes for hanging on the wall. I just couldn't resist the vintage cloche too.
I was attracted to pieces that featured birds, must be because spring is in the air.
This beautiful very large three piece tureen set is nearly 100 years old and in remarkable condition.
This is todays mystery item. At 18" tall, this vintage majolica wall plaque features a game bird hanging from it's leg in a swag of oak leaves and acorns. There is a mark in the ceramic on the back but it is not clear enough to identify the maker. Regardless, this is such a unique item, with such fine detailing, that I was thrilled to add it to todays take.
The piece(s) de resistance from todays treasure hunt... three stunning antique wall mirrors. The two outside mirrors I will use hanging and the center round mirror I will repurpose to use as a plateau for displaying something special, maybe a lovely old clock topper figure? I will let you know. 
All of this and the flea coming up this Sunday! It's a great time to treasure hunt. Will post the flea loot shoot next.
Happy Hunting Everyone!