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, February 24, 2013

The Perfect Flea Market Vehicle

Today, while shopping the flea market, I happened upon the most charming vendor with the most quaint market vehicle I have ever seen.
The Gypsy Wagon, as he calls it, is a modern version of the classic gypsy carts of by-gone days.
Although painted on the outside, it gives the illusion of an old wooden horse-drawn cart.
The interior walls were even decorated and it was filled with all sorts of treasures.
Shoppers are encouraged to enter the side door and walk about inside to view his wares up close.
Although I am not certain that the quaint qualities translate here, it was indeed a fun find.
As for the market itself, I was not as lucky as I would have liked but I did find a few little treasures. Best of all, I ran into some old friends and was able to do a little catching-up.
I enjoyed some really unique displays today. Although a little tough to make out, I wanted this large wooden box with drawer and flip top. Try as I may, the vendor was just too attached to it. I may try again the next time I see her.
Next week, yet another flea market to share.
Happy treasure hunting!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Zig Zag Tire Bouchon Corkscrew

While shopping at an antique fair in Les Andelys, France last fall, my husband and I were browsing the wares of a very nice woman. She spoke very little English and we speak just a bit of French, yet the three of us were having fun trying to communicate as we made our purchases. Ready to move on, my husband noticed an interesting item and upon picking it up, drew the attention of yet another shopper. Suddenly, there was so much French conversation surrounding us, relating to the item in his hand, we were quickly out of the loop. My husband decided he would purchase the vintage Zig Zag corkscrew that he still held, thus disappointing the other shopper. After we paid, exchanged our final pleasantries, and turned to walk away we were met by yet another shopper who wanted to commend us on our find and after asking us how much we paid, she was simply elated for us. The entire interaction was so fun. That morning became our introduction to French Zig Zag corkscrews.
You can just see our Zig Zag on the bench along with some of our other treasures.
Jump ahead a week to a large flea market in Paris where we met yet another charming vendor. This elderly Frenchman sold only vintage corkscrews, mostly French, and had display boxes full of Zig Zag corkscrews. He was a remarkable fellow who shared so much with us. His passion for Zig Zag was contagious to say the least!
These events, paired with the fact that this corkscrew opens a bottle of wine perfectly, have made us true Zig Zag fans.
The Zig-Zag corkscrew or “tire bouchon” was designed and patented shortly after WWI, in 1919, by Jules Bart from Nancy. His creation uses a series of levers to ease the force required to pull the cork out of a bottle of wine. The design is of simple mechanical functionality with a beautiful pull handle with the words ZIG ZAG pressed into both sides.
The more recent Zig Zag models feature cap-lifters on the sides to allow for the additional function of opening bottle caps, while earlier versions are without. All parts are nickel-plated and chromed to make them both pretty and practical. These Zig Zag corkscrews are truly classic example of both form and function.
In days-gone-by, a number of ‘lazy tongs’ corkscrews were produced all around the world, that used a series of levers, a pull and/or a rotating handle. Most of these makers are now gone however, Zig-Zag remains in production today using it’s original 1920s moulds and presses.
May I suggest adding the Zig Zag tire bouchon to your bar cabinet or wine cellar or even gifting one to the wine enthusiast in your life? It is a gift that will keep on giving!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
More treasure hunting this Sunday and Monday. Will share my finds next.
Happy Hunting everyone!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Absinthe Ware and Tradition

The “Green Fairy” as she is known, has quite a reputation among those who bravely enjoy the centuries old spirit known as Absinthe.
My interest in the Green Fairy began with this simple, yet intriguing find at a local thrift. 
There, sitting on the shelf was a stack of sweet little bistro-ware dishes with French franc prices printed on them. I have a soft spot for price cards and signs in francs so of course I brought these little dishes home. It was then that I began my research to see what it was I had found.

This opened a door of information about Absinthe and its history. Apparently, these dishes were how your Absinthe cocktail would have been served in a bistro or café. Depending on the brand and/or volume of alcohol the appropriately marked dish would hold your glass and subtly announced the price of your drink.
I have come to learn probably more than I need to know about Absinthe and the deep history it has in Europe and later in the U.S. but I found it all so interesting. 
The fascinating thing about absinthe is that it’s not just a drink, it’s a ritual. There are many components to the proper creation and presentation of an olde school absinthe cocktail and my little dishes are just the beginning.
Ice cold flat water, never tap, was often placed upon the bar in beautiful glass fountains. Your order would arrive with what could be a daunting array of accessories for a novice.
The presentation… A certain style of glass with what is called a “dose line” determines the amount of the straight, bright green spirit to be served. The glass placed on the price dish was also served with a carafe of ice-cold water, an absinthe spoon and a large cube of sugar.
With the absinthe in the glass, the pierced absinthe spoon is placed across the opening, a cube of sugar is set upon the spoon and the ice cold water is poured from the carafe through the sugar and into the glass thus creating your cocktail.
This spirit has such a high alcohol content that it was known to make those who consumed it actually hallucinate. This incredibly strong, potentially psychedelic, bright green spirit contains wormwood, anise, and fennel.
The Green Fairy was the mischievous muse of Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Paul Verlaine. “She” heavily influenced their art and writings. “Elle vous fait aimer la vie,” wrote Arthur Rimbaud, perhaps her most famous poet-consort—“she makes you love life.”

This ultra-potent alcohol has enjoyed a resurgence recently, after a nearly 100 year ban was lifted in 2007. Although I have not tried it myself, in speaking to those who have, the Green Fairy retains her wild reputation. So, if you are brave, give it a try. I may try it, just as research of course, and let you know how it was! Well, maybe.

Happy Treasure Hunting!

*Some photos thanks to “the virtual absinthe museum”