Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunday Brocante -- Houlgate

How was you summer?  Can you believe that it is almost over?  I can't.  But all signs point to that -- 'Les enfants' are now less than a week from returning to school, there is a definite chill sneaking into our still sunny days, and the brocante calendar book, my faithful guide to this summers brocantes, vide greniers, puces, bric-a-brac and foires at tout, with it's broken spine and dog-earred pages, will soon no longer find it's home in the bottom of my camera bag.... even though the dates continue through 'Janvier 2012' ... the events are thinning, the sales smaller and the towns further away ....  It's strange to so quickly go from three fabulous venues in one weekend to one ... and soon one a month....

So we ventured to Houlgate this past Sunday.  I like Hougate and there is a good restaurant there that makes great 'Moules Normande' and serves very tall glasses of rose.  It is a seaside town and it has a lively 'vibe', even on a weekday.  The sale was at the 'la gare', the train station a few blocks from the center of town.

I'm keeping this short and sweet and just sharing a few pictures of Houlgate.  The sale was good -- there were some good quality brocanteurs.   I found a bottle rack I was searching for, a bundle of old school scissors, a perfectly rustic wire and wicker basket, and wire 'wall' baskets for flowers that I think would make perfect 'shabby-chippy-rusty' organizers for an office or studio.  Cant wait to take pictures of them!

Busy week so far, though.  Petite-Fille has been 'moon-lighting' as a hat model for an Etsy shop owned by my friend who is living in Paris......there were three hats to model and photograph so she could list them on her shop-site. Take a look if you have a 'petite-fille' or 'petit garcon', or need a gift for the little cutie in your life--- her items are really adorable and gorgeously made and we had fun doing it!  Sending some Etsy-love her way!

I hope your summer is winding or has wound down nicely ... enjoy the rest of your week!  This weekend there are two good sales and hopefully some lovely weather to go with them!  A bientot!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Enfin! Trois Brocantes......

So finally -- the finish of the 'Trois Brocantes' weekend -- literally on the way home from the very special and nostalgic 'secret sale' we stopped in Villerville ... just a few minutes from our home.  Yes, I could walk there, or bike there... or if the tide is up ---surf there....kinda.  Okay, not really.

It was a good spread of serious brocante-ware and seasonal basement/garage cleaners.....  But it was dimmed by the previous unexpected 'glow' that we felt wandering around Saint Joseph's.  I mean really--who or what can compete with stained glass, hallowed halls and kind 'Sisters' selling century-old canning jars....??

This little guy with this raspy-very-old-doggie bark, made me pause to take his picture.  He was sending out an 'SOS' bark for his was 12 noon as noted by the church-bells....time for 'dejeuner' bien sur!

The tiny streets of Villerville were jam-packed nonetheless.  We walked all around, knowing that we too, were on a tight time-crunch to get home and make Sunday lunch!

So we power-walked through it and not seeing anything extraordinary or anything that compelled--"Buy me for your French vintage Etsy shop!".... I relented to taking a few pictures and marching my weary-self home!

Do I look tired?  Petite Fille refused  the stroller-ride and I was carrying all 7 lovely, sweet, gorgeous, precious kilos of her all over town.......

C'est tout mes amis!  It was fun!  A bon, bon weekend!  I am almost caught up now!  It's been a very busy week at Sunday Brocantes and items are flying off (or shipping off!) to Japan, Australia, New York and Florida this week, to name a few.....  in less than two weeks 'les garcons' go back to school--and as I love to say-- "Ooh la la!  What ever will I do with all of that EXTRA time?!"

I think I know! ... and I think you do too!!

Bon weekend!  A few great sales this weekend-- stay tuned  ... 
and as always --J'adore your comments! xx!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trois Brocantes--the 'secret' sale...

One of the very best parts of the 'trois brocante' weekend was the last minute 'secret sale' we discovered after getting a hot-tip from French Guy's mom.  The sale was unpublished (not in the brocante guides) and not advertised in the local papers or anywhere else.  It was literally hidden behind the tall gates of a known landmark, Saint Josephs in Deauville.  

Even driving by it was very discrete, with only a small, handwritten sign on the gate.  Saint Josephs was a Catholic orphanage from 1877 to 1975 and school after that and is now closing it's doors to be hopefully taken over by the city of Deauville to become a cultural center and museum. (So much better than knocking it down to become condos or a luxury hotel!)

Another thing to know about me---I adore old architecture, especially places that are steeped with history.  Saint Josephs is a huge property and the sale was spread throughout several buildings.  Pretty much everything was for sale because of the soon-to-be sale of the property--so everything had to go--anything not nailed down and actually some things that were!  From prayer books to kitchen utensils to armoires, church pews, dishes, furniture, potted plants, baskets, enamelware.....the remaining 'Sisters' were running the sale.

 We entered through a large courtyard and I could swear the echos of little French school children still resonated in the breeze....wandering the halls from building to building I could imagine the lines of stoically quiet students being led down the halls by the 'Sisters'.  We even went into the church where French Guy told me that his mother had learned to sing.  He spoke with one of the Sisters, Sister Saint Paul that had been there for many decades and she remembered her....

My belle Mother in law lived there while it was still an orphanage in 1942 after her father was sent to a camp in Germany and her mom, French Guy's grandmother safely kept her children at Saint Josephs.

I have never even been to a modern day orphanage so the concept holds quite a bit of mystery... there was a huge main kitchen where you could imagine that hundreds of meals were prepared.  We walked around more for the experience of imagining the history held inside those doors than we did to find deals on the remnants of the past lives at Saint Josephs.

But in the end, we passed a large closet lined with shelves that held hundreds of 'confiture' and preserving jars.  The 'Sisters' would make huge batches of preserves from the gardens on the property... many of the jars still marked with 'Harricots Verts' or 'Confiture Fraise'.....

I bought about 10 clear glass vintage jars of various sizes as well as three amazing green glass antique jars.... and later French Guy went back to purchase 15 more...He is building a shelf in my tiny kitchen for them to store flours and pasta and rice..... He also went back and bought a table--not just any table....but a table large enough to sit about 20 nuns......or dinner guests--if we ever have that many guests to serve dinner to!  It is a very farmy-shabby French table--and it is FIFTEEN feet long!  Oh la la!  And no, it does NOT fit in our house!

Beyond the jars, the huge table and an enamel bowl,  and a giant cooking pot--large enough to bathe three medium sized children in--almost (No! I didn't try it----yet......) we also came home with a crate from 'Francelux' foods, a 1930's food company which has become a favorite prop for my photography adventures--beware if you are the right size to fit in it!

This is one 'brocante' that I could spend a lot more time writing about -- and maybe I will... but not today.  I am playing 'catch-up' and have one more from the 'Trois Brocante' weekend to tell you about, and then when I am close to becoming up to date, there was a sale this past Saturday which I will share in pictures because no explanation is needed to tell you it was not wonderful and that I came home empty handed.  Which was fine, actually.

Thanks for sticking with me and letting me share a little bit about one of  the more special brocante weekends!  This is one I will remember for a very long time......

Bonne semaine mes amis!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trois Brocantes--favorites!

An Art Nouveau 'jardinier'.... gorgeous!

Three tres-fabulous antique canning jars!

A huge enamel bowl--every cottage kitchen needs one!

A small (yet so very heavy!) iron planter--shabby grey--of course!

A very 'petite' aluminum cream pot.

The most bendy, chippy, shabby French bottle rack ever!
... A few of my favorite finds from the past weekend--more to follow!  So excited to share more with you as soon as I can!  The week is almost over and it's on to the weekend!  Time flies when you are watching the last few days of summer sneak away!

A bientot mes amis....more to come!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trois Brocantes!

Wednesday?! Today?!? Seriously?!!  .......Non!  Il n'est pas vrai!  I have been so exited to share the people, places and things I discovered last weekend at 'trois'! brocante sales!  .... and now already the week is getting away from me!  You too?  I think so!

Heading into the weekend I had no idea that I would be going to three--it was a very pleasant surprise after having so many weekends of misinformation, few finds or rain.... in fact my only plan was to go to a sale near Honfleur and if it wasn't good, I could still take a stroll around town because as you know, Honfleur always puts me in a good mood!

But alas--so many good things to tell you and so little time!  So I will share some pictures with the promise and serious, diligent, focused, committed plans to finish the stories of the weekend sales tomorrow---after I have had a few cups of coffee, Petite Fille is fed, changed and dressed, Les Garcons have had breakfast and are dressed, the kitchen is picked up, the laundry is started (or continued!) the house tidied, emails checked, lunch planned, and oh......that would make it Friday already..... 

But I will try!  Je vous promets!   Until then a tiny teaser (or two!) Sunday's brocante was near Honfleur in La Riviere Saint Sauveur, and Monday's two were....

Oh, Monday was a holiday here in France--- it was.....?   It was August 15th!  Of course!  You know-that holiday?  August 15th?  Well who knew! And so there were two wonderful sales on a Monday of all things!... One was a 'secret sale'  (unpublished, not advertised....secret----shhhhh!) and the third and final of the weekend was in Villerville, just six minutes down the road!

So there--trois---fabulous!  What a marathon to share!  
Soon mes amis! Bientôt! Vite! De bonne heure! 

Au revoir!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My French Farmhouse

Long before I ever dreamed I might be living in France, I was living in a 'French' farmhouse.  Actually, it was a Pacific Northwest farmhouse located on Bainbridge Island, Washington, just a stone's-throw across the sound from Seattle.  Just over 100 years old, (young by French standards!) on about 2 acres and surrounded by huge old trees and a dozen fruit trees...we lived in it for only a year but it is one of the homes in my life that is deeply branded on my heart.

 Pacific Northwest? Not French?...say you?  Well, it had a French soul because it was filled with French goodies.......vintage and antique collected over the years...Items from the early eighteenth century to present....chosen and placed in our sweet, slightly falling apart, and very loved little farmhouse.

I am blogging about it because: 1. It is very rainy today in Normandy and I would not be out at brocante even if there was a really good one, which there isn't....(It's tomorrow--don't fret!) and 2. I have been forced down this nostalgic path of thinking about this home due to a recent request via Sunday Brocantes-Facebook to post pictures of the stairs I painted and put words on ...... oh, and when I say 'forced' I mean it in the nicest way---bien sur!  I had to dig around for some pictures and came up with a few--not super great pretty professional shots I am afraid--I took them long before I stole French Guy's got my fancy camera and all of the lenses and toys and fell in-love with photography---but the pictures are at least a good documentation of one of my favorite havens.....

Sadly, I was not great at taking the 'before' pictures, but trust me--it was old, had seen some serious 'lovin' in it's long life....But that said--talk about great bones (albeit a really odd layout, including a tiny kitchen!) and sooooo much charm!

If you are interested in seeing more can jump on Facebook.  I have commented on what I did in each room in an album called 'Maison Taylor'.

Mostly the 'make-over' involved painting and filling the house with French things that I love......hmmmmm...sounds vaguely familiar to what I am still doing in my house in Normandy.  I am a menace artist force to be reckoned with when in the presence of a can of grey paint....

But the thing I miss the most about this house was that it was often filled with some of the most amazing people that I have been honored to call my friends.... it saw more than a few garden-parties, BBQ's and impromptu Friday evening cocktail 'soirees'...... and that mon amis--is what a home is all about--c'est vrai?

A demain --- On the calendar --Big brocante near Honfleur.. Oh and you know how I feel about Honfleur!  

A bientot!

Monday, August 8, 2011

La Petite Pendule -- Amour! still my heart! I should be posting all about the 'foire a tout' that I went to yesterday in Deauville.... but I am so distracted by this little beauty!  Isn't she gorgeous!?  A sweet surprise 'cadeau' from French Guy!  I spotted it on a table of goodies and our conversation about it started like this:

Moi -- 'Take a look at this gorgeous little clock.... it's not for me (ie. Sunday Brocantes)...I just want to show it to you because it is amazing!'

Which translates to.... "Come-over-here-right-now-and-look-at-this-sweet-thing-that-I-adore-and-if-you-really-really-love-me-you-will-love-it-too-and-maybe-even-consider-buying-it-for-me-even-though-it-is-a-bit-expensive-and-it-is-not-my-birthday-or-our-anniversary-or-anything-like-that-but-I-do-love-it -and ....."

The clock was being sold by a British couple and I have to say that some of my instant adoration of the little 'pendule' came from the fact that this lovely couple could speak English!  We both spent a few minutes admiring the little clock which is so dainty yet stocky... like someone else I know.... (Petite Fille?!...can I say that?  I am her 'maman' after-all!) We set the little beauty down (now I am talking about the clock! Come-on stick with me on this!) As we were walking away the Broncanteur-Anglais called out a price for it reducing 10 euro from the tagged price....I smiled and said "We have to think about it....." And I did--for the next hour and a half as we walked around....

It was a good and breezy for August, Petite Fille napped in her stroller giving us peaceful and focused time to look....

All sorts of good things, too!

For Sunday Brocantes I found a really wonderful wooden garden basket.  I also snagged two fabulous vintage rolling pins..... and a little shelf ready to be 'shabbied-up' with my can of new fresh-grey paint I just got!

So what happened with the little clock, vous demandez?  Well we left the sale, went back to chere-Mother in law's house to drop her off and have an 'aperitif' (pink bubbly -- bien sur!) and as we got in the car to go back home, French guy landed a tissue-wrapped surprise on my lap!  La Petite Pendule!  Ooh la la!  I am in love!  .... Big points, French Guy!  Be still my heart.......

Oh and by the way--this little clock was meant for me!  She runs just about 30 minutes fast....which is fabulous because these days I run about 30 minutes slow!  ~ ~ PARFAIT~ ~ !

Bonne semmaine mes amis!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saint Arnoult

It's Thursday already! Last Sunday feels far behind now -- I had promised to share about the HOT 'vide grenier' in Saint Arnoult--and hot it was!  But the week has gotten away from me! Even today, although rainy and quiet.....Je n'ai pas beaucoup de temps!... I am behind in all of the glorious household tasks-- and with the weekend just a day away, I am still playing catch-up! So.......

A quick word about Saint Arnoult and then I am afraid I must be off!

It's a town that has been experiencing a bit of a face-lift recently; new shops and yes, even the French version of 'condos'.... but most notable, is the new equestrian center.  It was built over the past two years; has gorgeous stables, an impressive exhibition arena and of course, a fabulous restaurant! If it wasn't for the 180 vendor sale and the bright and quite-warm sunshine, I could have easily been lured away to spend a few hours watching 'dressage'...... or making friends with one of these guys....

Or maybe this handsome fellow.....

But instead I was here.......

Which was pretty fun too!  It was about 80 degrees, there were over 180 participants.  I managed to find one more bottle rack that has been on my list for the past two weeks, a 'lot' of six gorgeous French 'Torchons' or kitchen towels that I plan to add as a 'bonus' to other items I list on Etsy.... a tres, tres belle picnic basket complete with old leather strap for closure.... and a broken trivet (missing a foot) pour moi! (Still very pretty and it's on my mantle)......

Speaking of broken.....a few things that I have shipped lately have gotten broken (as well as my heart!) For that reason, it's been a discouraging week.  As you know, if you have read my post about 'La Poste' (pun intended!) then you know that shipping is the constant bane of my Etsy-Shop existence...and this week in particular, Ca me preoccupe!  But finally today--I received a lovely note from one of my buyers saying that her purchase had arrived, quickly and safely--and she LOVED it...and her short note made my day!  A little reminder of the reason I do this .... gorgeous, precious, sweet French vintage--and the chance to share it with 'amis' like you!

Bon weekend! (It's almost here!).... back to laundry, bathrooms & closets!  Oh my!
A bientot!