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, April 30, 2012

Another Great Paris Flea Market

Le Potager's 5th annual Paris Flea Market is now in the history books and I am happy to say I am back to posting and maybe even getting a little sleep for a change. The day was everything we could have hoped for and more. Beautiful weather, a great variety of vendors and best of all, hundreds of shoppers.
I compiled a wide variety of treasures, some of them with specific customers in mind. The day was so busy that I hardly had a moment to take any pictures at all. Luckily, a couple of local reporters took photos so I have some record of the day. 
To say we were busy is a true understatement. The first few hours of the day we were absolutely swamped. It was crazy but oh so fun! Many of our regular customers had never been to a flea market before we started holding ours and now they get such a kick out of the process. Over the 5 years they have "gotten the hang" of the event. The hardest thing for them to realize is to pick it up if you really want it or it will be gone... and that seemed to happen time after time. 
By the time I could take a breath and get some photos shot, nearly half of my loot was on its way home with treasure hunters. Therefore, my photos are lacking to say the least.
More important than my success as a seller was the success of our 20+ guest vendors at the flea. Each had such wonderful things to say about their day. Nice stories about our shoppers, the ambiance and even the food. It meant so much to hear those praises, not to mention that they all reported it was a very profitable day. Speaking of ambiance, at this market we had the added bonus of live Parisian style music filling the air as well as a petite cafe area for shoppers and vendors alike to sit and enjoy a bite while taking it all in.
Our lovely lady musicians and our handsome catering crew.
Thank you to our team and everyone who attended. It was a great day! Now the count down begins for our 6th annual Paris Flea Market, the last Saturday of April 2013, save the date!
Back to my flea market treasure hunting next weekend and a big estate sale to attend later this week.
Happy hunting!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paris Flea Market Count Down

The count down is on! In just over a week we will be holding Le Potager's 5th annual Paris Flea Market. Parisian in spirit, our Orange County version of a true French brocante is always a fun and festive day. Our guest vendors have reserved their spaces and have shared with me some of the fantastic items they will be offering. I am looking forward to shopping their booths myself. I have been compiling wonderful treasures for our Le Potager booth since the last market, a year ago. Here is a little sneak peak of some of the wares I have ready to go.
Antique transferware in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Antique American & European silverplate and sterling.
English silver trophies and hunt inspired decor.
Culinary goodies- something old, something new & something blue.
A fun collection of vintage and antique glass candy canisters.
A little bit of the French and French style treasures I will be displaying.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am no where near ready for this event but I guess that is the joy of a flea market... anything goes. Pile treasures on the tables and let the shoppers dive in.
I am continuing to pack more boxes and I am having so much fun coming across items in my store room that I had completely forgotten about. More to follow on the Paris Flea Market preparation as well as a trip to an all new flea market this Sunday. Happy Hunting!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Most Unique Barn Estate Sale

Today I had an opportunity to attend a very unique sale featuring the estate of Bud Hurlbut. Mr. Hurlbut was known in the amusement industry as The Dean of Amusement Parks. Over the course of fifty plus years he designed and or built dozens of the most iconic rides at Southern California amusement parks.
The sale took place at Mr. Hurlbut's long time headquarters which on the outside looked like your average extra large country barn. As we all know, looks can be deceiving and that was certainly true about this building. Upon walking into the barn I was struck by the immense scale. This location was much more than it appeared as it housed workshops, offices, a sprawling equipment yard as well as an area that held Bud's personal collections. Every area was jamb-packed with stuff.
There were vintage coin operated machines, custom made mechanical clowns, several arcade movie viewers and hand painted amusement park signs. All very interesting items but not really in my scope of treasure hunting or collecting, I had to dig deeper.
The antique carousel animals were just charming. These two are hand carved wood with glass eyes and original paint. I adore the rabbit. But still not right for me. I continued on.
 There was an entire blacksmith shop on the premises with bins and pallets stacked full of absolutely beautiful hand forged iron pieces including lantern style light fixtures, wall sconces, planters and tons of decorative accents for rides and amusement park buildings.
Ok, so I need to focus. Think about the upcoming flea market, think smaller, unique, just keep digging.
Eureka! Antique hand cut beveled carousel mirrors. They were originally part of the beautiful center column of a merry-go-round built in the late 1800's. I am not certain what I will do with them but they came home with me. Continue digging.
Get me a box... these cast iron pieces were fencing and structure parts but I see home decor accessories. Load them up.
So I dug, and I mean I really dug, and here are a few of the treasures I came home with. The gorgeous crystal and silver decanters were hidden in plain sight and apparently from Bud's office. I love the cast iron fence post caps that look like little crowns. The carousel mirrors and a random piece of antique blue & white enamel are great. Not shown is a large crystal chandelier that needs some work and even more fun iron goodies. I am happy to add these items to my Le Potager flea market loot. Today was a truly unique treasure hunt and even in the rain it was a lot of fun. Thank you Bud. Next up, flea market shopping on Sunday with Mr. Treasure. The rain will be over and I am looking forward to a beautiful weekend. Happy Hunting!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Joyous Printems and Happy Easter

I wanted to share this wonderful flea market find with you for Easter today.  This large, hand colored antique French print is celebrating love in the spring garden.  Titled: Le Printems
Two young ladies and a male suitor are standing in a brightly colored cutting garden. A beautiful fountain and the soft green spring woods are just behind them.
The colors are as soft and romantic as the scene itself.  Take in the fashions, the garden tools, the statuary figures at the top of the fountain and even the basket full of flowers. In this print, the beauty is all in the details. I fell in love with those details and had to have this print.
I have found several different translations of the caption so I will not pretend to know exactly what is printed. However, I do believe there is reference to the fragile gifts of spring and the beauty gathered by the hands that I adore. Simply lovely. If you happen to know what it really says please let me know.
I will be back on the treasure hunt next week, until then- Happy Hunting!
Happy Easter and joyous Spring wishes to everyone, enjoy your day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Antique Goat Cart Yesterday & Today

This is one of my favorite found treasures. It stirs thoughts of simple joys. Thoughts of days before television, video games and computers. 
I was fortunate to purchase this rather large (9x12) original photograph at a neighborhood sale- although I was sorry the seller had no knowledge of the picture's origin. I was intrigued by everything about this photo, so I decided to do a little digging.
From the late 1800's to the early 1900's it would have been quite normal to see a goat cart 
on the streets in a handful of countries around the world.  Many families, regardless of class, owned a goat cart (or carriage) for their children to enjoy. The elite goat carts were elaborate vehicles with harnesses made of the finest leather while the poorer classes would have had very basic carts often made from recycled materials with rather rough harness created many times from upholsterers’ jute webbing. 
The son of Napoleon III and Empress Eugene had an impressive carriage drawn by a white goat, it was the Prince’s favorite toy. There is also a photo of King George V at his wedding (dated  1893) that also shows children seated in a fancy goat carriage.  
This photo was taken on the White House lawn in 1891 during President Harrison's administration. The Library of Congress has titled this photo "Baby McKee in his goat cart pulled by Old Whiskers, the family pet goat". Who knew? I certainly did not.

Today, goat carts have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity however, not as they were originally intended. Modern day gardeners covet their antique goat carts as key decor items in exterior designs from Europe to the U.S.
Here, a goat cart on the patio filled with spring flowers. This cart has been lined with a fine chicken wire and filled with moss to hide to pots. It would look great almost anywhere.
This is a simpler, but equally charming use of a cart in the garden. Two large terra cotta pots sitting inside is a very unique way to bring interest to the garden.
Well, this is a cart that has definitely seen better days, but Mr Treasure found it and brought her home. I love it and he has assured me that I too will have a planted cart in the garden very soon. This is very exciting, since I have sold two of these at the shop, hence giving me true sellers remorse. I cannot wait to get her all dolled up.
One last thought about these lovely carts is how seasonally versatile they are. Spring and summer planted with annuals, fall filled with pumpkins & gourds, and the winter holidays filled with pine, holly & potted poinsettias.
Enjoy and happy treasure hunting!