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, October 28, 2012

Brocante Day at Le Potager

Well, the day finally arrived... brocante day at the shop. Our customers had been anticipating this event since our return from France last month. 
I took some very quick shots after set-up and before opening.
We proudly presented all of our fabulous French treasures in true brocante style.
 Tucked in the petite alley-way along side the shop, we recreated a flea market similar to those we shopped throughout the Normandy region and Paris.
There was so much interest in the items we brought back that we decided everything would be available for purchase on one day, beginning at a set and advertised time.
It was great to see people waiting patiently to claim their treasures. Alas, they had waited long enough... On your mark, get set, GO!
It was a fabulous day, although entirely too hot (in the 90's), that was enjoyed by all.
We enjoyed sharing the stories of our trip, where items came from and the history behind them.
Merci to everyone involved- from our new friends in France to our family and friends for their encouragement and of course to our customers for their continued support, for it is you that allow us to continue on this journey.
Onward to our Fall and Christmas events.
Back to local treasure hunting and sharing those items with you very soon.
Thank you very much for reading, it means the world to me.
Happy hunting!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

French Trench Art Treasure

While in France last month, I never expected to purchase military items of any sort. My sole mission was searching for beautiful French treasures that would serve decorative purposes.  Little did I know that one afternoon, at a flea market in Paris, I would find the decorative and military worlds joining forces in such a splendid way.
I was drawn to this pair of large (13" tall) brass vessels by the detailed repoussed oak leaves and acorns.
 I was not certain what they were until I picked up one of the cylinders. It appeared to be a brass shell of some sort. My interest drew the attention of the vendor. After a pleasant exchange, the conversation focused on these wonderful vases. I learned the very interesting history of these pieces and of trench art itself.
Toward the bottom of the shells, there is beautiful script which together reads, 
Souvenier L'Argonne. 
This was an area in the north-eastern region of France which saw extreme battles during WWI. 
At the end of this post I have attached a link to an amazing 1918 NewsReel from this exact area complete with period French music.
I felt a connection to these war souvenirs and decided to take them home with me to the U.S. as I know several collectors of military antiques that would be thrilled to be the caretakers of such important items.
Upon returning home I began to research this specific type of trench art and have learned quite a bit, some of which I pass on to you today.
Projectiles with brass casings, first produced in 1857, replaced cannon balls and other artillery ammunition as the century progressed. Battlefields became littered with brass shell casings allowing soldiers to use them to create souvenirs by engraving them with the details of battles, inscribing them as ‘souvenir of the war’ or merely shaping them into vases to be kept as decorative mementoes. The term "Trench Art" actually originates from a WWI-era French publication, which illustrated objects made from military equipment or spent war materials by “artisanat de tranchées” (craftsmen of the trenches). This practice truly flourished during the first World War.
Other examples of trench art shells from the same era.
I am happy you came along on my journey to discover some of the history of trench art.
I will be offering my fall inspired trench art shells at our Brocante sale later this month.

Thank you for reading and Happy Hunting!

*Link to 1918 NewsReel is:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Apple Harvest at Le Potager

This is an encore of last year's Apple Harvest post. Tomorrow will be our second annual event at Le Potager celebrating the apple season. In honor of the day, 
I wanted to repost the following as it continues to be my most viewed blog post of all. 
(A new addition... this is photo I took in a beautiful apple orchard in Normandy last month.)
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 9, 2012

Unique Halloween Decor Ideas

Until the calender reads November, we are free to mix fall decor with just enough Halloween treasures to give a nod to the spooky and scary. The idea is to be unique, a little quirky and most of all, fun.
Many years ago I collected antique and vintage wedding photographs. As time has passed I have come to only display the images of couples that appear truly happy. With that said, I had a little idea for the photos that just were not happy enough for me. Here, this couple's wedding portrait became a perfect canvas for some Halloween trickery! I printed out a small skull graphic and glued it to a piece of a post-it note to cover the face of the groom. Then, I added a haunted house fence along the bottom. 
It is a fun and creepy accent piece that is easy to do with any photo or even magazine picture.
On a previous post, you may remember, I shared my "3G's" of display... gather like items, group them together and ground them on a tray, pedestal or similar. Here, I created a little seasonal vignette on a vintage silver cake stand. This is a great way to add seasonal decor without taking up too much space.
This is a new favorite item. I purchased this antique French anatomy print of skulls when I was in Paris.
I added a simple black matt and placed it into a Halloween display as a backdrop. Prints and photos are great ways to back up displays and give you an opportunity to define the theme.
This is a customer favorite... glass pedestal with cloche filled with skull and bones! 
What more can I say? It is easy to do and very fun.
Lastly, I have always loved how pretty books add to a display as accents or as risers. Here I used a great book titled Victorian Murderesses (I found at a flea market) as a riser to compliment the decor. 
I hope you can add a little bit of Halloween decor to your home. A few classic, unique pieces can bring  some spooky fun to your fall.
Enjoy the season and Happy (Haunting) Hunting!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

French Brocante Treasures

It's a little like Christmas in October around here! The loot from our September brocante trip with Sharon Santoni, of My French Country Home, as well as our week in and around Paris, has arrived!
We have been busy unpacking, cleaning and researching these treasures that we picked, packed and patiently waited for their safe arrival.
This is just a peek at some the items we brought back. I believe we have compiled a unique assortment of antique and vintage items. 
We are planning a one day brocante event at Le Potager to showcase these French treasures. 
It will be held toward the end of October. 
I am honored to have had so many of our wonderful customers following this buying trip via my blog and asking about the loot. The scheduling is in the works... stay tuned for date and time. 
In the meantime more loot photos to follow.
Thank you very much for visiting
Happy Hunting!