Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scouting with the 'teen' at the Wednesday Market!

I went out scouting this morning --- I like to call it 'scouting'--it sounds so official!  

Actually I was going out to:
  1. Shoot pictures for 'Tour de Broco' and scout options and venues for travel packages.
  2. Check out a regular 'open-air' organic produce market.
  3. Kidnap my 'Oldest Garcon' on this the last week of summer vacation before school.
  4. Get out of the house and practice my French.
  5. Go to my favorite town in all of Normandy and soak up the charm and sunshine while blending in with other ex-pats and tourists.
  6. Oh, and shoot pictures just to shoot pictures because it makes me happy.
  7. Get out of the house because that makes me happy--did I say that already?
  8. Get a petit-break from 'Petite Fille' who is edging towards the 'terrible-two's at a rapid pace ..... Oh darn--did I just say that out loud?
So at the crack of dawn (9:30 AM---I am not a morning person and neither is Oldest Garcon) we hopped in the car and set out!

I bribed Oldest Garcon with a 'smoothie' from a new juice-bar!  He was along as my companion and language assistant -- but mostly I just love having the one-on-one time with my oldest boy!

 Do I look happy?!  Totally blissed-out?  Smoothie, 'pain-au-raisin'.... SUNSHINE?!

This weekly market is 100% 'Bio' or organic!  ...   FABULOUS!

The air is already changing -- you can feel fall coming around the corner, not to mention the change of our daily life once school kicks back in.

I brought home 4 kilos of 'mirabelle' and 'blanche' plums (although they look green!) and I will be spending the rest of the day making as much 'confiture' as I can!

Happy last week of 'vacances' mes amis!

Oh--and if you are dreaming of France; shopping, eating, marketing.... (maybe in the spring!) hop over to Tour de  I just listed our Spring Tour Dates and posted more pictures from this morning!

Have a great Wednesday!  A bientot!

Monday, August 27, 2012

White {Linen & Porcelain} Weekend

The season is slowing down.  Brocantes are becoming fewer (less participants) and farther between (only on the weekends).  We have just over a week and a half before school resumes here. (Listen for my huge sigh of relief to have a few more focused work-hours each day without the 'enfants' juggle!)

In the US you are celebrating 'Labor Day' next weekend--and there the standard style and dress etiquette dictates--'No white after labor day'... or at least it used to be that way--fashion rules are now meant to be broken!--N'est ce-pas?  Surely Petite Fille can wear her little white-flowered sandals for a few more weeks?

So the {unintentional} theme in purchases this past weekend turned out to be WHITE.... end of summer white?  Gorgeous crisp linens in the way of pillow covers and charming white vintage porcelain pieces ...  to name a few of the things I came away from the brocante in Deauville with....

A set of six classic-white porcelain soft-boiled egg cups, 'Coquetier Sur Pied'.

White 'lattice' patterned porcelain pieces, a perfect display collection, cottage-sweet and versatile. 

And I made a visit to see my linen-lady---as lovely as always and bought more fabulous white pillow covers. I think this group is particularly stunning!

White after Labor Day?  In the home--it is never out of season!

Details about the brocante and more weekend finds to come!  Enjoy your week mes amis!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vintage Cameras .... a {developing} passion...

Last weekend my mother-in-law gave my eight year old son a vintage 'Brownie Junior' camera.  She also gave him a Polaroid camera from the 1970's, an automatic Konika from the 80's (which was his grandfather's) and we added my husband's 1980's Canon AL-1 SLR to the mix.

I have to be honest, aesthetically, the 'Brownie Junior' caught my eye.  The retro Art Deco pattern on the face of the camera, its perfect 'cubular' appearance ...... it quickly took a place on our mantle just because of it's fabulous style!

The fact that the boy loves his growing collection of old cameras --- speaks to my heart as a photographer.  In fact there was even a roll of film in the little 'Brownie' that we are going to develop to see what it might reveal--images taken possibly sixty or more years ago......

Yesterday was the birthday of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the renown French photographer who began his career in the 1930's and shot 1000's upon 1000's of rolls of 36exp film, traveling the world with his German-made hand held Leica camera.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1908-2004

Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson

Leonor Fini by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris-1933

Henri Cartier-Bresson- Children Playing by the Berlin Wall, 1962
Considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, he is also reputed to be the creator of 'street' or 'life-reportage' photography.

I hope that the passion for vintage cameras and hunger for knowledge about photography becomes a permanent part of my son's childhood and someday adulthood ... I would be thrilled!

Many people collect vintage cameras.  Some are photographers who love the history or the mechanics of old cameras, some are designers and decorators that love the aesthetics and display-value that the variety of styles lend and statements that vintage cameras create in an environment.  In most cases, vintage cameras are quite affordable, many starting under $20.  Unusual or novelty cameras can be found in the range of $50 to $100.  I have heard that if you spent a lifetime collecting vintage cameras, you could still not possibly collect one of every single camera ever produced.

Although .....  I think we are off to a good start!

Happy collecting --- and shooting mes amis!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hanging on to Summer!

I refuse to start the count-down!  I am seeing posts on Facebook of a few friends in the US who are sharing pictures of their kiddos heading back to school!  No, not here!  Today I asked French Guy to 'casually' check the school websites to see what the 'exact' date for la rentrée !

 I don't really want to know.... I am going to hang on to summer until the very last minute!  I am currently smothered in sunshine, in the garden our tiny tomatoes are finally turning red faster than Petite-Fille can snatch them off the plant, there is about an inch of beach sand in every corner of the house.... and the oven has not been used for days because our outdoor 'plancha' has been fired up to cook brochettes of meat and veggies almost every evening......
Yeah.  Fiercely hanging on to summer..... until December......that's my plan.

 This past weekend yielded the first 'bad' brocante of the season.  "Epic Fail' as my eight year old would say .....  On Saturday it was in gorgeous Blonville Sur Mer  there were about 200 sellers and we went late in the afternoon (maybe part of the problem) but we found nothing there and returned home without a thing!

That was on Saturday-- and so on Sunday we decided to just enjoy the summer day, we had family over for lunch, and we had an easy relaxing afternoon.  Déjeuner avec la famille à la maison!

The kitchen helper!

Goat cheese and veggie stuffed baguettes.

Grilled veggies served chilled with a balsamic vinegarette.

French Guy's mom, commanding the 'plancha'!

Popsicle 'gourmand'!

Strawberry tarte --- I had three slices!

My 'cher-Father-in-law'.
 Without a brocante to go to, Sunday lunch at home is my favorite way to spend the day!

This week I am catching up on posting recipes on my food blog 365 French Days and then working out and coordinating details for our October shopping tours over at Tour de   We are now beginning the planning and booking for spring vintage shopping, too!

In the meantime -- more listings this week at the shop!

I just listed several new items including this vintage fruit crate.

I love the look of these rustic and charming stacking crates!

Hang on to summer mes amis!  

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

To 'vacance' or not....?

Bonjour mes amis!

A cross-post from my other blog---as I am pondering whether or not to 'officially' take some vacation time this month.  Brocantes are in full-swing for another month or two... so there are plenty of shopping days left until it wraps up, and school starts in about 3 1/2 weeks....

So.... maybe, just maybe you will see the 'On-Vacation' notice hanging up at the shop.... or maybe I will just sneak in a few afternoons like this..... we shall see. 

French August--Août last! 

It's August!  At long last the summer weather we pined-for since LAST August.... has arrived.  It is glorious--most days we have sun, breezes and at night cool winds.... (with plenty of mosquitoes and no window screens I might add!)  But summer is finally here--and we love it--nonetheless!

August is also a renown month-long 'vacances' in France.  Well actually--there are some French that take the month of July (our neighbors to our right for example....with their loud late night conversations clearly heard when we are inside our house with windows barely cracked..... and their darling, also loud, angst-filled toddler---who like his parents doesn't seem to have a bed-time either....) Oh dear!  Am I sounding snarky?!  Not intended!   The 'holiday-neighbors' are lovely. 
Okay--the other group of French take the month of August.  The ENTIRE month.  Which simply means that our road is packed with beach-traffic--cars parked blocking our driveway on most days and that to get to French Guy's parents house--a mere 10 minutes from us--during August--takes about an hour!

Then there is us French-American types.....American-French? More American than French I am afraid--because even after a couple of years and two summers here.... we are currently juggling three full-time businesses between us we haven't really taken a vacation. Actually we are fine with it.  Better than fine! Because the bonus side of not having the standard 9-5 office jobs is that on any given day--or moment--we can "go" on vacation.  And we do.

We are happy enough with an afternoon--or evening--heading down to the beach--'our beach' playing in the waves or in the mud or puddles, at low-tide.  Just a walk down the road--and sandy-family-bliss.  No or low expectation-fun--that delivers BIG.

Happy enough for a low-tide, over-cast afternoon at the beach--playing in tide-pools and trying to master the skim-boards--without the 'skim'.

And discovering that over-night-- or maybe in the month of July--that the 'Oldest Garcon' has now grown taller than me!
No need for vacation--well at least no need to go-away!  Go-away? I wouldn't leave this for a second!
Bonnes vacances mes amis!