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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Savory Side of France

As a follow-up to my last post on French sweets, today's post is again, of few words and many visuals of savory treasures spotted and enjoyed on our recent trip.
Bread, wonderful bread.
A whole pig roasting over vegetables.
Incredible French cheeses.
Escargot in the window and
delicious escargot on my table.
Superb steak tartare.
Stunningly beautiful Foie Gras.
The foods of France never disappointed us on this trip. From the charming village restaurants of the Normandy region to the cafes and culinary shops of Paris, everything we tried was incredible. We did our best to try foods that were unique to the region as well as "specialities of the house". I failed to take photos of many of our meals but I will tell you that presentations are equally as important as taste. When you combine a perfect presentation with amazing flavors it is a true French experience!
(Updating our French shipment... tracking shows our loot is very close!)
Happy Treasure Hunting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Sweet Side of France

Today's treasure is a simple series of images from several of the finest patisseries of Paris.
Not many words, just wonderful visions of the sweet side of my trip to France.
 Unique creations...
 Beautiful Biscuits...
Fabulous fruit desserts...
The world famous French Macaron.
and still more marvelous macarons!
In looking over my photos again tonight, I realized that I did not try nearly enough of these sweet works of art. I did sample a fair amount but I will certainly try a larger variety on my next trip.
I tip my hat to the French bakers, they are true masters of pleasing the palette and the eyes equally.
Bon Appetit and Happy Treasure Hunting!

Monday, September 24, 2012

French Pierrot Gourmand Pege Display

Parisian confectioner Georges Evrard founded Pierrot Gourmand in 1892. His passion and knowledge helped to make his business very successful and his sweet creations very popular.
In 1924, Monsieur Evrard created/invented the first ever lollipop. His idea was to allow his patrons to enjoy one of his fine confections without getting their hands sticky.
Shortly after the lollipop came to be, Georges designed a unique display for his candies.
These porcelain heads became synonymous with the Pierrot Gourmand brand and many are still used today.
These display pieces came in several slightly different styles but one thing never varied and that was the  bold graphic of the brand name.
As these lollipops became more and more popular they earned a new nickname. A lollipop became known as "pege"which was created by using the first letters of Pierrot Gourmand... PG... "pege".
On my recent trip to France I was very fortunate to have been able to purchase a rare double sided (or two-faced) Pierrot Gourmand Pege display head.  Since I carried it home on the plane with me I did not have to wait to share him with you. I also purchased a small box of authentic PG peges and since they are with my shipped items, I thought to display the French flags in the head for these photos... which I actually like just as much as the candies!

More French brocante treasures to follow. 
Happy hunting everyone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paris Treillage Surprise & History

Paris is a city where surprises can lie around any corner. This trip I discovered a small alley in the 7th, not far from our hotel and directly in the shadow of the tour de eiffel, where this stunning wall sits quietly, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated. 
After stopping to appreciate this work of art several times, I was inspired to learn more about this beautiful art-form known as treillage.
Treillage can be traced back to the 12th century when countryside gardeners took to creating simple structures called treille, to support vines.
In the 17th century, under the reign of Louis XIV, that the art of treillage rose to new heights. The King hired emerging landscape architect André Le Notre to design his garden at Versailles his elaborate design that would become one of the most impressive formal French garden the world had ever known.
Le Notre and others used forced perspective to bring a sense of grandeur to the garden. Since it would have taken years for hedges and topiaries to grow to full maturity the treillage brought instant architecture, imposing scale and an elegant formal style to newly built gardens.
The art of treillage progressed through the ages, and as neighboring kingdoms sought to emulate the French fashion of the day, decorative treillage made its way through the royal palaces of Europe.
The legacy of treillage can be found in gardens throughout the world, from it's earliest beginnings, and it continues today in gardens of all sizes, both public and private.
There may be an area in your garden where a treillage could add visual interest and style. I know there is an area in my garden that is perfect for an application like this... I will definitely be adding a treillage feature to my "to-do" list.

Thank you to Accents of France for reference material and some images.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

French Storefronts & Facades

There is a certain charm in France that exudes from every storefront in the smallest rural villages to the heart of Paris itself.
Buildings that, in most cases, are a century or more old, feature beautiful, detailed and well maintained facades. 
Signage, awnings. windows and displays each working together to provide wonderful ambiance.
These facades are direct reflections of the businesses themselves, many whom built reputations in their community's originally based upon their exterior appeal. 
Even as a visitor, we have all been pulled into a shop by the charm and appeal of the exterior... the trick as the shopkeeper is to keep the appeal going on the interior. 
On this trip to France I would say that we were never disappointed upon entering a shop that had a charming facade. Their interiors were evenly matched to their exteriors and we found the shopkeepers to be warm, welcoming and helpful.
We wandered neighborhoods simply admiring the storefronts. There were so many shops that I did not add to this post, I had to stop but be assured, I could have gone on and on. Each facade was just as beautiful as the last. I am so glad we took the time to admire and enjoy these architecturally embellished buildings. They are simply lovely and purely French.
Happy hunting! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paris & Flea Market Treasures

There is a French flag waving ever-so gently in the breeze. The traffic is passing at a little slower pace this evening, as it is Saturday. The sidewalk cafes are nearly full. The trees are just starting to show a touch of fall color. The warm day is turning cool as the sun begins to conclude it's days work. There is a French military band playing just up the way and from here their music is soft and charming. There is a young couple sitting on a bench gazing sweetly into each others eyes, young lovers so in love. 
This is Paris in the early fall. I am writing this evening from my hotel balcony overlooking this tiny piece of Paris... tonight it is my piece of Paris. I want to take it all in, not take one moment for granted. I want to enjoy the magical place that is Paris.
Today's was a very productive day. We started just as the sun rose, off to the annual Rue Cler Brocante street faire. It was an interesting sale of everything from very fine antiques to mid-century furniture and everything in between. 
We shopped in phases today as we wanted to get another batch of shipping boxes out before the post closed at 1:00pm. So we shopped, had our espresso and croissant then shopped some more before we rushed back to pack. With our shipping complete we went back to the brocante faire and continued our treasure hunting. 
Relegated to what will fit into our large extra suitcase our shopping now had a twist... small and flat.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't hard to do. There was so much to choose from.
I did find myself shopping like I was at home but reality would rear it's ugly head 
and scream to me... small and flat!
We spent most of the day wandering through the streets, having wonderful conversations with vendors and shoppers alike. Everyone was kind and helpful and happy.
I took two very quick loot shoot photos to show you some of today's treasures. 
The antique enamel clock face from Honfleur is one of my favorites. The two brass pieces are trench art dating from the WWII era. They are shell casings that have been hand chased with oak leaves and acorns... beautiful and truly unique. The ring on the side of the chair is an English silver hotel ice bucket holder and the Limoges plates feature different hunt scenes on them. I know these photos make it difficult to see the details as the sun was very bright. 
I promise to take more photos once I get home.
From the small and flat collection... the amazing linen bunting from the garden tent of a chateau in Brittany. French children's school work books from the 1930's. Antique French postcards and photo albums. A pastoral print, children's books and other fun treasures. I am sorry my photo is not the best as I am taking all my pictures with my iphone (my big camera will not take a charge any longer... it has been over-worked this trip). More treasure hunting tomorrow.
I hope you enjoy and happy treasure hunting!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Best Kept Secret Brocante in Paris

I have a folder on my laptop titled "Paris" and anytime I read something that sounded interesting and unique about the city of lights, I'd copy and paste it into my someday Paris folder. The reason I share this is about a year ago I read a short little something about this great vintage shop in an obscure Paris neighborhood- pasted it into my folder and forgot about it. I recently printed my folder contents for my French buying trip and there it was... l'objet qui parle... I added it to my "must do" list.
So, off we went this morning on the Paris Metro, changing lines 3 times (like pros I must say, thanks to my husband) to get to our final destination, the Montmartre district and promise of this fabulous brocante.  After all of the effort we thought we had struck out as upon our arrival he was closed. After an espresso at a nearby bistro in the shadows of Sacre Coeur, we tried once again and were in luck!
The man with the great eye who owns this gem of a shop, Guillaume, has been in business for several years. The trick, so I understand, is to find the shop open, as the hours are "flexible" and he does close for periods of time while he gathers more treasures. I was very happy to find the shop open and even happier once I stepped inside.
The only bad thing about this find was I had to keep very mindful of my shipping options and of course costs. To say I left some treasures behind is an understatement indeed. So much to look at...
Piles of dishes, bits & pieces of transferware and majolica, vintage bistro ware & classic English china.

A charming vignette set in a cupboard featuring German and Swiss black forest items.

The amazing antique convex glass frames, mirrors and superb antler trophy mounts. 

I picked up several unique items from Guilluame and made a new friend in the process. I took a very quick mini loot shoot on our balcony this evening for you.
When I come to Paris next, this shop will definitely be on my "must do" list. I hope that if you travel to Paris you will visit it as well. Just let me know if you would like further information on this out of the way treasure for your next trip. 
Our French adventure continues... wish me happy treasure hunting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love Lock Bridges of Paris

I had read about several Paris bridges that were filled with locks and had even considered buying an antique lock for us to attach to the fence ourselves this trip but alas, I did not. When we visited the bridges today I was not prepared for the charm of these funky locks enmasse. 
It was interesting to read dates and initials written or engraved onto locks of all shapes and sizes. The sharp contrast between the beautiful historic surroundings of Notre Dame and the River Seine becomes quite obvious... and I admit that it is rather junky looking.
I will tell you the locals don't like this blight one-little-bit and have had the locks removed in the past, only to be harshly criticized as hundreds of locks reappear with in just weeks.
The tradition continues however, with lovers from around the globe adding their love locks to the bridge and throwing the key into the River Seine below to signify their never ending love. We witnessed several couples partaking in this lock tradition in an almost ceremonial manner... it made them very happy indeed.
Although we did not add a lock to the bridge we were caught up just a little in the moment and after taking a photo for a cute young couple, we asked for one in return... after all Paris is the city of love!
Back to French treasures tomorrow... wish me more happy hunting!!!