Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Bon Voyage!" and "Joyeux Anniversaire!" to MH



We're off to Provence!


Leaving today at 11:ish getting into Paris a little before 7:00 AM Wednesday (Paris Time), catching the TGV to Avignon at 11:ish and arriving in Avignon where we pick up our car at 3:00 PM. I'll take pictures and post them Wednesay night when we get settled in.



ALSO,


"Joyeux Anniversaire" Happy Birthday to My Husband!



 Nous te souhaitons un joyeux anniversaire
Nos voeux de bonheur profonds et sincères
Beaucoup d'amour et une santé de fer
Un joyeux anniversaire

Nous te souhaitons un joyeux anniversaire
Pour que t'aies tout bon pour l'année entière
La réussite et la joie que tu espères
Un joyeux anniversaire



Bon Voyage, Mitty

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vintage Grain Sacks - Shopping List for Provence Trip - Tresor #6

(Veranda Magazine)

I love the look of old and new, formal and informal all harmoniously
living together in a room.  I adore this room  - I'm drawn to the subtle use of the tone on tone of the whites and off-whites, creams and taupes repeated in the fabrics and the rug. My eye is immediately drawn to the sofa with the beautiful dressmaker's skirt and THE VINTAGE GRAIN SACK PILLOWS! 


(Romantic Homes, May 2011)

Here's another sitting area with visual interest added by the use of a grain sack pillow.  While I like this look also, and think the room is pleasing, I like the unexpectedness of the very "common" grain sack with the more formal pieces as in the first room. 

I'm going to bring back from Provence as many vintage grain sacks as I can find.  I love them made into pillows or used to upholster an ottoman or even a chair.

Who would have thought?  Grain sacks!  I love it!

Au revoir, Mitty



One Year Ago Today


Anna M. Burgess
"Mom" to Seven
June 9, 1935 - April 25, 2010



Rest well Mom.  I miss you everyday.
Love eternal, Mitty  "Annie's Little Shadow"

Me

Sunday, April 24, 2011

a Happy Easter to all...."Joyeuses Pâques"


may your day be filled with all that brings you peace.......

Have a Beautiful Easter, Mitty

(Courtesy of the Graphics Fairy)


(Courtesy of the Graphics Fairy)


"Joyeuses Pâques", Mitty

Friday, April 22, 2011

May your heart be at peace today, Good Friday ("Le Vendredi Saint")

May your heart be at peace this Good Friday.
"Le Vendredi Saint"


I was wondering how Good Friday is observed in France.  Here's some information I found.

What do people do?

Observant Christians, particularly in the Alsace region, take time to attend special church services. However, church bells are not rung. Some people do not eat any meat or fast totally. For other people, Good Friday is a normal working day. Easter Monday is a public holiday in France so some people leave for a short vacation or trip to visit family members on Good Friday.

Public life

Good Friday is not a public holiday in many parts of France. However, schools and other educational establishments are closed on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Good Friday is a public holiday in some parts of Alsace and Lorraine.
Good Friday is also a public holiday in some areas close to the German border and the overseas departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses may be closed or have limited opening hours.

Background

Good Friday is the culmination of a week in which many events in Jesus' life are remembered, according to Christian belief. People commemorate his crucifixion on Good Friday. The crucifixion is an important event for Christians, as they feel it represents the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. Christianity was introduced to France between 300 CE and 400 CE at the time of the Roman Empire.

Symbols

Simple crosses, often made of twigs or palm fronds, and images of Jesus on the cross are common symbols of Good Friday. In some areas, people eat Brioche du Carême. These are small rolls made of bread containing dried fruit and marked with a cross. They are similar to the hot cross buns eaten on Good Friday in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom

(Information above was copied from the website http://timeanddate.com.)

I'm spending this special day with my beautiful daughter.  How are you spending yours?

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Provence Brocante Markets...Here We Come!

Photography by Dierk Schaefer (everystockphoto.com)


For anyone traveling to Provence to shop the Brocante Markets, here are a few notes I've collected regarding the markets:
  1. Vendors will assume that you will ask for a discount. At most markets, shoot for 25 - 30% off of offered or marked price - settle for 15 - 20%.  Do not ask for an additional discount after the first discounted offer is made by the vendor.
  2. Shoot for 25 - 30% off EXCEPT for L'Isle sur-la-Sorgue where 10% off the offered price is probably more realistic
  3. CASH!
  4. Arrive NO LATER than 8:00 a.m. (especially for L'Isle sur-la-Sorgue)
  5. Let the vendor know that the item(s) being purchased is/are for export and ask if you can be exempt from the VAT (Value Added Tax)
  6. MUST BUY PUBLICATIONS:
    1. "Antiquities Brocante" - Buy this publication when you arrive in France. This publication lists the best Brocante markets occurring that month.
    2. Flea Markets of France by Sandy Price
 
 Here's a list of the Brocante/Flea Markets within driving distance of the Avignon area where we'll stay during our trip to Provence:

Thursday Markets: April 28, 2011
  1. Orange - Brocante/Flea Market - Cour A. Brians
  2. Aix-en-Provence - Brocante/Flea Market - Place Verdum
  3. Antibes Juan-les-Pins - Brocante - Place Audiberti, Between the Porte Marine and the Place Massena
Friday Markets: April 29, 2011
  1. Bououris - Brocante
  2. Nice - Brocante, Antiquities - Place Rabiliante
  3. Cagnes-sur-Mer - Brocante - Avenue des Oliviers
  4. Frejus-Brocante
  5. Gareoult-Brocante 
  6. Menton - Brocante
  7. Toulon - Brocante-Place Du Theatre
           Note: Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Known for their wines!)

Saturday Markets: April 30, 2011
  1. Villeneuve-les-Avignon’s Marche d la Brocante “New City of Avignon” – From what I’ve read, this market is less expensive than the Avignon market and just across the river. Address: Located in the Lanquendoc Region on Place du Marche along the Avenue de Verdum. Times: 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Look for: quilts, monogrammed towels, etc. **This market is one of the favorites of Sandy Price – it is listed as one of her 10 favorite markets in France.  Sandy wrote the book Flea Markets of France.
  2. Aix-en-Provence - Flea market - Place Verdun. Mornings, a big market, one of the best, and Provence Beyond’s favorite.   
  3. Lancon-Provence – (Very big Market)
  4. LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH – Saint Cyr-sur-Mer- Brocante ALL DAY
  5. Nice – Brocante-Antiquities, Place Rabiliante, Port
  6. Isle sur la Sorgue - Antiques - Held throughout the town, by the Gare (Plan for Sunday)
  7. Isle sur la Sorgue – Brocante, IiIsle aux Brocanteurs (Plan for Sunday)
  8. St-Tropez - Flea market - Place des Lices
  9. Antibes Juan-les-Pins, Brocante, Place Audiberti
  10. Boulouris –Brocante
  11. Cannes – Brocante, Les Allees
  12. Frejus – Brocante, Port
  13. Gardanne – Brocante
  14. Marseille – Brocante, Avenue Cap-Pinede
  15. Mornas – Brocante
  16. Saint Cannat – Brocante
  17. Saint Raphael – Brocante de Boulouris
  18. Saint Tropez – Brocante, Place des Lices  
  19. Toulon – Brocante

Sunday Markets, May 1, 2011
  1. L’Isle sur-la-Sorgue – From everything I’ve read, this rates as the BEST market in Provence (But perhaps the most expensive.) Address: Avenue des Quatres Otages – 30 miles from St. Remy de Provence.
  2. Carpentras Market – In the region of Vauclue (1) hour from Saint-Remy-de-Provence
  3. Aix-en-Provence - Antique book market - Place Mairie (first Sun of each month)
  4. Avignon - Flea market - Place des Carmes
  5. Marseille - Brocante - Avenue du Cap-Pinède
  6. Lancon-Provence (Very Large Brocante)
  7. Coustellet – Brocante
  8. Gardanne – Brocante
  9. Jonquieres- Brocante
  10. Mornas – Brocante
  11. Saint Cannat - Brocante
  12. Seyne-sur-Mer – Brocante – Z.I. Camp Laurent
  13. Toulon – Brocante –Q. St. Musse
  14. Villefranche-sur-Mer – Brocante
  15. Villeneuve-Loubet – Brocante
So the list of Brocantes for Monday and Tuesday are a little bit shorter than the weekend but you get the picture!  So many Brocantes.................too little time! I'm looking forward to deciding which market to go to first each day. I may only have time for one each day, especially if they have a  lot of good vendors and great treasures. I can't wait!
Au revoir, Mitty




                Tuesday, April 19, 2011

                The Markets of Provence - Les marchés de Provence

                A week from today we leave for France.  One of the things I'm most excited about is visiting the markets of Provence!

                There are several types of markets in Provence.  The market , "le marché", is an integral part of life in virtually all French towns and large villages.  A town or village may have a market once or twice a week, or in larger towns they may be held daily.  The typical market offers everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, olives, meats and cheeses, breads and pastries, and even jars of homemade tapenades and jams. The beauty of the market is that everything is fresh and items are often sold by the same local farmer that grew them. The markets are alive with energy and awash with vibrant colors and textures. All of your senses are heightened at the market - the sight of the fruits and vegetables beautifully displayed with care, the smell of fresh bread and pastries, the buzz of excitement and the underlying hum of conversation, the taste of fruits and cheeses - they all combine to make the market what I think of as a shopping "experience!"


                Market in Nice France


                Dried Fruits at Nice Market


                Fish Vendor at Nice Market


                Candy and Pastry Vendor at Nice Market

                When it's market day in a town that I'm visiting, I always plan on eating breakfast and/or lunch at the market! Breakfast is typically a coffee and a warm croissant always served with butter and jam. (I NEVER even think of the word diet when I'm in France.) MH and I love to make a lunch of baguette, fresh goat cheese, homemade olive tapenade, fresh tomatoes and fruit. We travel these markets with plates, napkins, plastic "silverware" and a Swiss Army Knife that we pack in our suitcase to have at the ready for our first day at the markets! We make our own picnic and enjoy it as much as an expensive restaurant.  (O.k., o.k., maybe ALMOST as much as an expensive restaurant.)

                The French shop these markets in the same way that we shop the supermarket or grocery store and have been shopping this way almost since they were born.  It is part of their everyday routine or way of life.  With a basket or woven bag on their arm, the French shop for staples such as bread and cheese or delicacies such as chocolates and truffles. Markets are also a social time where locals catch up on the latest news, gossip is exchanged and friends meet for conversation.  I always look forward to people watching at the market while enjoying a cup of coffee (Cafe Americana please! - 1/2 French coffee and 1/2 hot water!)

                The largest markets in Provence are known as fairs (foires.) Fairs are traditional extended markets and often take place once or twice a year.  In a few places, they take place once a month. Today they are expanded versions of large weekly markets that attract the local vendors but also more vendors from a wider area. At a foire you'll usually find decorative iron work, clothes stalls, organic produce stalls, craft stalls, plus the typical fruit and vegetable sellers. 

                Most French towns also have their own covered market, (marché couvert), which is a permanent structure filled with a variety of market stalls. In a "marché couvert", sometimes called "les Halles", most of the stalls will sell fresh fruit and vegetables. Other stalls carry meats, cheeses, fish, baked goods and olives.

                There are also specialty markets to be found in Provence: antique, flea, book, flower, fine art, organic produce, wine, stamp, pottery and Christmas markets. Schedules for these can be found on-line or through local village notices and postings.


                Flower Vendor at Nice Market


                As an antique and junk hunter, the Brocante markets are my passion.  It's my equivalent of the the Super Bowl to a football fan. I can barely sleep the night before, afraid that I'll oversleep and not be one of the first hunters at the market and miss the treasures!

                When you search for the local Brocante markets of Provence, please note there are different types of markets: 

                Vide-greniers - Vide-grenier means "empty attic" in French. At this market you'll find that the locals have actually emptied out their attics and closets and are often selling their bits and pieces at bargain prices. As with any sale, the earlier you arrive, the better.  The hunt is the fun - you may find a small treasure! 

                Brocante - At a Brocante you can find vintage junk, bric-a-brac, "almost antiques", and if you are incredibly lucky, real antiques. (Brocantes are also known as flea markets)  As with the fruit and vegetable markets, there is a Brocante somewhere in Provence every day of the week.  Typically the larger villages hold their Brocante Markets on Saturday and/or Sunday and usually have the larger number of vendor tables at their markets.  Smaller Brocantes can be found throughout the week in smaller towns and villages.

                Antique - There are also several well known antique festivals held annually in France.  These are wonderful in that they bring a large number of Antique Dealers together in one venue over a specified period of time. It would be wonderful as an antique lover to travel during dates that would incorporate one of these just for the opportunity to see authentic and beautiful French antiques. I tried to make it to one of these this year but I had to change our travel dates (originally we were going to Provence specifically for the L'Isle sur la Sorgue Antique Festival.) These festivals typically showcase the more expensive, "authenticated" antiques.  If you are a purest and have the budget, (No and No for me!), you can find pedigreed antique pieces throughout France at these annual markets. Examples of these antique markets are: L'Isle sur la Sorgue Antique Festival, Bordeaux Salon des Antiquaires, and, believe it or not, the "National Festival of Antiques and Ham." 

                Just to give you an idea of how many Brocante Markets there are to be enjoyed in Provence, tomorrow I'll post my tentative schedule for you to see!  So many markets...................so little time!

                Au revoir, Mitty

                Monday, April 18, 2011

                Lipizzan Horses in Gordes France - A Day to Remember (Une journée mémorable)

                Lipizzan Horses in Gordes France - April 2003



                In April of 2003 MH and I traveled to France to spend three weeks with our Daughter who, at the time, was participating in a Student Exchange Program through the Oklahoma University (OU) Michael F. Price College of Business. 


                During this visit we traveled to the Luberon region of Provence. One of our favorite Provençal villages in this area was Gordes. This hilltop village is listed as one of  "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" ("The Most Beautiful Villages in France").  Gordes is an incredibly picturesque old Provençal village with clusters of magnificent stone buildings literally clinging to the southern edge of the rockface of the Plateau de Vacluse. At the top of the village, a church and houses surround a large twelfth-century château. The buildings of Gordes are made of beige stone but appear to be orange in the morning sun. I recall it as "the orange village."


                The first picture above is one that MH took of two Lipizzan horses.  We were walking through the narrow cobbled streets (called "calades") of the village when we stumbled upon these horses and their keeper out for a walk.  I love that, at first glance, this picture looks like a mirror image of one horse.  Look closely though and you'll see that the manes are different lengths.  In the second picture, the vision of the white horses against the beige cobbled streets, the stone buildings, the French blue shutters, the boxwood topiaries in the French pottery and the touch of greenery above the horses was almost surreal or dream-like in its sheer beauty.  I recall this day as one of the most beautiful days of my life, a day to remember or as they say in France "Une journée mémorable!"  I was with two of my favorite people in one of my favorite places, who could ask for more?

                This beautiful photo was taken by Marzia from Italy who graciously allowed me to use his work in this posting.  Thank you Marzia!  Your picture perfectly captures how I remember Gordes.

                Friday, April 15, 2011

                Chair Cushion and Flower Mystery Solved

                I wondered why this Hibiscus plant always has lots of new flower buds but never flowers!  Riddle solved.


                This winter Fort Worth had some pretty cold days.  On one such day I went out to our patio and immediately knew something was not quite right.  I looked at my patio furniture and realized that something had eaten the fabric on my pillows and had left the "pillow stuffing" hanging out of them.  Fortunately the culprit seemed to like shredding the throw pillows and only ripped small holes in one large chair cushion.  I immediately thought that this was probably the handiwork (or mouth work) of squirrels. I got to thinking that surely squirrels don't eat fiberfill, so what were they doing?  I knew that I'd been nice to them, kept water in the bird bath, etc., so surely they couldn't be trying to get back at me. (A friend in Tulsa believes that squirrels tore up her outdoor cushions because they were mad that she replaced the bird feeder, at which they dined daily, with one that was squirrel proof!)

                So why would they tear up my pillows?  Well the little baby above tells the story.  I believe the weather was so cold that Momma Squirrel was just looking for a little insulation for this baby's nest.  There's actually two little baby squirrels running around my yard these days.

                I was irritated at the damage earlier - I think I'm over it now.  Next year I'll just take the pillows in the house and leave some fiberfill for the squirrels if it gets really cold.  I'm a "nester" myself so how can I fault them? They were just trying to make their home a little nicer.

                Have a great weekend!

                Au revoir, Mitty

                
                

                Thursday, April 14, 2011

                The TGV and The Jardin de Bacchus

                I can't believe that in just about two weeks my husband (hereafter referred to as MH) and I will be boarding a plane at Dallas Fort Worth Airport for DC (Washington Dulles International Airport) and then on to Paris!  We leave on Tuesday the 26th of April, fly to DC and then on to Paris overnight.  We arrive in Paris the morning of Wednesday, April 27th and then take the TGV high speed train (French: Train à Grande Vitesse, meaning high-speed train)  to Avignon and then on to "our home away from home" for seven nights. 

                We board the TGV at the Paris Charles De Gaulle Train Station - Gare Aeroport CDG 2TGV!  (The Paris Charles De Gaulle Train Station is connected to the main airport in Paris.)




                TGV Duplex in Paris


                The TGV gets us to Avignon in 2 hours and 36 minutes moving at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.  I love this train - I prefer to travel at high speeds ON THE GROUND rather than high speeds in the sardine can in the sky. Peanuts or no peanuts - I prefer the train.



                Avignon TGV Station


                In Avignon we pick up our rental car at the TGV station and off we go (MH at the wheel) to our home for the next week. After 3:30 we can check in to Jardin de Bacchus - Chambres d'hôtes (a Bed and Breakfast) located in Tavel France, approximately 12 miles from Avignon.  We found this B&B thanks to the travel book, Rick Steve's PROVENCE & The French Riviera 2011.  Rick Steve describes the proprietors, Christine Chapot and Erik Van Greuningen, as "enthusiastic and English-speaking"!  He had me at at "English-Speaking!"

                Jardin de Bacchus has three rooms for visitors in this rural farmhouse.  The farmhouse overlooks Tavel's famous vineyards. Tavel is noted as the village of the first Rosé wines, (French: ‘pinkish’)  I fell in love with the website pictures and like the idea that Jardin de Bacchus is removed from the hustle and bustle of Avignon but still close to most of the villages that we want to visit.  I was also moved by the image in my mind when I read the B&B's website description of the setting:

                "Take a minute and imagine yourself in a lounge chair facing the Mediterranean landscape, with the cicadas singing as if it were background music, while you rest on the terrace or linger around the swimming pool!

                WORKS FOR ME!  I CAN SEE IT!

                If you'd like, check out Jardin de Bacchus website(s) at:
                http://www.jardindebacchus.fr
                http://www.provence-escapade.fr

                We've also signed up for one of Christine's cooking classes in the B&B kitchen followed by dinner.  I certainly home MH pays close attention and can reproduce the meal when we get back home! (He's the best cook in our little family - I'm just the baker!)

                Bon appétit! Mitty

                Wednesday, April 13, 2011

                Shopping List for Provence Buying Trip - Tresor #5 (Cinq) - Antique Botanical Prints

                One French tresor that I should definitely be able to bring home with me from my upcoming buying trip to Provence are Antique French Botanical Prints!  I have collected these since the early 1990's and can always find space on my walls for more.

                The prints are often hand colored and were originally part of large bound books which have been taken apart so that the prints can be matted and framed.  Typically the plants and flowers were documented by France's leading botanists and horticulturists and painted by artists such as Pierre-Joseph Redoute'.

                Botanical artist and royal flower painter Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840)


                Many people first become interested in botanical art because of the paintings of roses, lilies and other flowers produced by Pierre Redoute. He is one of the most talented botanical artists ever known.

                Redoute was fortunate to become an artist who was patronized by the kings of France from Louis XVI to Louis-Philippe. His two famous books were
                - Les Liliacees (1802 - 15) which contained 500 plates of lilies.
                - Les Roses (1817 - 21) He was known for his roses and his series of rose paintings are considered to be his finest work.
                His work continues to be very popular and is widely reproduced.

                This site includes links to biographies and books about his life and work. Plus online galleries of images and exhibitions which display his work.


                All images used have been sourced from wikipedia.
                (Information above copied from www.squidoo.com/redoute)


                In my dining room I have a collection of four French botanical prints which I have had matted between two pieces of glass.  This allows the color of the wall to come through the glass and looks like a colored mat.  I found these several years ago in Nice, France. The most famous market of Nice is the market on the Cours Saleya, the Cours Saleya has a large flea market, the Marche' a la Brocante et Antiquite's.  I was in heaven at this market and ran from vendor to vendor not believing the treasures in front of me. 

                French Botanical framed between two piece of glass


                On this same trip to France, my husband and I spent a few days in Paris and went to the Saint Ouen Flea Market just north of the city.  This market consists of over 2,000 stalls with everything that an antique lover can wish for.  We barely made it through the first few stalls before our shopping time was up.  I could have spent weeks going through this market!

                At the Saint Ouen Flea Market I found a series of six hand water colored Orchid lithographs. 

                Orchid Botanical



                New "Antiqued" French Mirror and Antique Orchid Botanicals

                On another note, for those of you who are enjoying "My Faux French Chateau" and follow my blog, please know that I have purchased Photoshop Elements 9 and am playing with editing my photos.  If anyone knows how to eliminate "flashes" in my photos above, please feel free to leave me editing tips in my comment section below.

                Au revoir, Mitty


                Tuesday, April 12, 2011

                Shopping List for Provence Buying Trip - Tresor # Quatre (Four) - Creamware and Faience

                Spring Flowers - Antique Hydrangeas, French Tulips and Hyacinth in various old French Creamware, English Ironstone and American McCoy Pitchers and Vases.


                My taste in color and the use of pattern in decorating is changing.  My decorating over the last few years has focused on using less bright colors and, instead, adding more textures to a room.  I'm using more and more Flax and Natural colored Belgian Linen for upholstery and then adding color and pattern in accent items such as pillows.  As my color preferences change, or to add "seasonality" to a room,  I can change out relatively inexpensive pillows instead of whole sofas or chairs.

                Similarly, I am gravitating toward less color embellishment in accent pieces as well.  Perhaps that is why I'm always on the lookout for my fourth Provence Buying Trip Tresor - French Creamware and Faience, as well as English Ironstone. Creamware literally means "Cream colored earthen pottery."  I will be on the hunt for this as well as for French Faience.  Faience is fine tin-glazed pottery on a pale bluff earthenware body.  French Faience potters used many different decorative styles, some very elaborate and some quite simple. As with most things French, Creamware and Faience were designed to be both beautiful and practical.  They were designed to be used and enjoyed. As a matter of fact, creamware was thought of as "common" and everyday.

                If I stumble upon any, I'll also gladly buy any English Ironstone that I can afford. Unlike French Creamware and Faience, English Ironstone was often made with the American market in mind and is somewhat readily found in the U.S.  When you do find it though, its price is in keeping with how highly sought after it is! 

                Hyacinth in English Ironstone Pitcher

                Pink and Green French Tulips in Creamware


                Antique Hydrangeas in American McCoy Pottery


                As you can see from the arrangement on my table, I am not a "purist."  I mix all styles, all vintages together.  I don't care if it is old or new - I buy what I like.  Mixed in with the vintage pitchers and serving platters are two new Williams-Sonoma tiered cake stands.

                Old and new "stoneware" in my kitchen.




                Au revoir, Mitty

                p.s.  Please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

                

                Friday, April 8, 2011

                Reupholstering and Painting a French Chair (Fauteuil) - Part Trois (3)


                O.k., so back to the chair mini-series!  I'm in love with these Annie Sloan paints! There's no need to sand or prime your furniture before applying.  I honestly questioned whether I should believe this claim from the manufacturer or not and almost took the time to put a coat of primer on it.  I ended up not doing so and the Annie Sloan chalk paints went on the chair beautifully.  You can see where the original tack holes are on the chair (above.)  I went ahead and painted all of the exposed wood on the chair, even the part that will be upholstered.



                Step 1:
                I applied one coat of Louis Blue.  The coverage was great.   Don't get frightened or start questioning my sanity or sense of style...................  I know it's bright!


                Here's the chair totally painted.



                Step 2:
                So, I got so involved in painting the chair that I forgot to photograph the second paint application!  After the first coat of Louis Blue, I applied a coat of Old White. I dry brushed the Old White on, keeping my brush very dry by wiping it on a towel before I initially touched the brush to the chair.  (Sorry there's no picture of this stage in the process.  I'll do better, I promise!)

                Step 3:
                With fine grade sand paper, sand the chair as little or as much as you like.  I wanted the chair "aged" in the areas where normal wear and tear would rub off the paint.  In some areas I gently sanded the white paint so that some of the blue would show through.  This step is personal.  You'll know when it looks the way you want it to.

                Step 4:
                With a wide wax brush, apply 1 coat of clear wax.  The brush allows you to get the wax into all of the details on the chair.  Work in small sections wiping off the extra wax with a clean cloth. 

                Step 5:
                So here's where I got with the program and started photographing again.  The next step is to apply one light coat of the dark wax with the wax brush.  I worked the wax in very small sections almost immediately wiping off the wax with another clean, soft cloth.  The purpose is to wipe off most of the wax leaving only enough to bring out the detail in the chair and give it an aged look.  Again, this is personal.  In the picture below, keep in mind that the remaining bright blue areas will be covered by upholstery.







                Here I am (bad hair and shoe day) opening the garage door for some ventilation.  I have a sneaky suspicion that I forgot to take photos due to fume intoxication!  (Actually I wear a filtered mask when I sand and paint. Also this paint has extremely low VOCs so it is better for the environment and the painter!) 

                 


                Working on the chair I started thinking about my Mom and how she used to antique furniture.  We didn't have much in the way of home furnishings.  There were nine of us and there were lots of other things for my parents' income to be spent on.  Mom would buy those antiquing kits that everyone used.  I'd watch her antique bedroom furniture in the evenings when she came home from work. I love the idea that she tried to make our home as nice as she could.

                So from these thoughts, I started thinking of my Mom singing and for some reason the song "Fancy" came to mind.  I can hear her singing it now. Do you remember that song?  You know, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."  O.k., most of you probably don't!  Nevertheless, this chair, in honour of my Mom, has now been named "Fancy."




                I hope to finish "Fancy" this week and will show you the finished result in a couple of days.

                Au revoir, Mitty


                Shopping List for Provence Buying Trip - Tresor #3 French Ephemera

                Tresor #3 - French Ephemera

                ephem·era

                noun \i-ˈfe-mər-ə, -ˈfem-rə\
                plural ephemera also ephem·er·ae \-mər-ē, -rē\ or ephemeras

                Definition of EPHEMERA
                ephemera plural : paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles

                Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved old letters, postcards and paper items.  I think it goes back to when we lived on a farm in Delaware.  There was an old milk house attached to the barn.  My parents rented the farm and the farm owner told them that the milk house was off limits to us.  Of course that little detail only made "us kids" (I'm the youngest of seven!) even more intrigued about it. I snuck into the milk house often and can only surmise that the reason they wanted us to stay out of it was because they had stored boxes and boxes of old "stuff" in it. I got into the boxes and found hundreds of old postcards, tickets and travel memorabilia.  To this day, I wish I could see all of it again. I know there were some really interesting things there. I'd sit in there for hours looking at the postcards and wondering about the places shown on them and the people who sent them.

                Today, trading in ephemera is big business.  Especially collectible today is French Ephemera which I'd guess is partly due to the increase in Francophiles like me out here in cyberspace.  (A Francophile is, by definition, a person with a fondness for France and things French.) One of my favorite blogs recently had a photo of several old, beautifully scripted love letters in graceful gilded frames and arranged in a wall grouping.  They were unbelievably beautiful. 

                I also love to decoupage plates and will use some of the original French letters, receipts and cards that I find for decoupage.  Even if I don't immediately get around to "doing anything with them" I simply love the look of old letters and post cards.  Oh, and not to forget, I do hope to sell my ephemera finds when the My Faux French Chateau web store is up and running!



                Au revoir, Mitty

                Thursday, April 7, 2011

                Shopping List for Provence Buying Trip - Tresor #2 Vintage Leather Bound Books

                Treasure ("Tresor" in French) #2 - Vintage Leather Bound Books

                Leather Books - "Livres en cuir"

                I'm always on the lookout for vintage leather books.  I don't care in what language they are written.  I just love the look, feel and even the smell of them. Especially pleasing is the warmth of the leather and the gold lettering on the binding.  I have leather books in almost every room in my home and can never collect enough.  I love the texture that they add to any tabletop.  I wonder how many hands have held them and how many people have become lost in the words held within.

                When we moved into our new "Faux French Chateau" in Fort Worth, TX, in a moment of weakness that I am certain to always regret, I agreed to allow a large, flat screen TV to be hung over our beautiful mantle.  Boy, was I silly.  What was I thinking? For months I tried to figure out what I could put on the mantle that would not, heaven forbid, obstruct the TV but add texture and warmth.  I tried so many different decorative items, none of them ever looking the way I wanted.  Finally, guess what worked............yes you know it...........books, lots and lots of leather books.  I then added some blue and white pottery and greenery.  It is not ideal, there is still a big, ugly TV above my mantle, but now it is at least somewhat pleasing.



                Mantle with vintage leather books, blue and white and greenery.




                If you look above the blue and white you can see a bit of the ugly.....




                By the way, if anyone has a creative way of disguising a wall mounted TV, please feel free to share. Better yet, can't Samsung or Sony make a TV with a Faux oil painting and gilded frame that covers the screen when not in use????? 

                Au revoir, Mitty

                Wednesday, April 6, 2011

                Shopping List for Provence Buying Trip - Tresor #1 - Vintage French Metal Bottle Drying Racks

                I've had several people ask me for what I'm shopping on this first buying trip to Provence.  I've loved, searched for, and purchased French antiques, brocante, and junk for years.  I've also spent the last couple of months looking at other French inspired websites to see what they offer and for what items people are looking.  A lot will also depend on shipping and what shipping costs turn out to be!  (I hate those pesky little details, details.)

                There are several purchases, though, that I know I will make!   I will be hunting for:


                Treasure ("Tresor" in French) #1 - Vintage French Metal Bottle Drying Racks


                I love these.  They are both functional and great looking.  I've seen them used for wine bottle storage (empty of course), displaying coffee mugs, drying fresh herbs - the uses are only as limited as your imagination. 

                The one we have in our house is large, has the original chipping red paint on it and is used in a most creative way!



                A galvanized metal top was attached to the bottle drying rack and it is now used as a wine tasting table!




                The top is larger that the reach of the bottles stored on the bottom of the rack so that you don't step on them when standing at the table.




                I'm looking for all sizes of these - some to make into tables and others just the right size for displaying on counter tops and table tops.

                Let me know if you like these!

                For those of us who are "challenged" in the French language, here are some common French words used in the world of French wine and wine tasting:

                le vin  -  wine  (pronounced "veh")

                le vin blanc  -  white wine

                le vin rose'  -  rose' wine

                le vin rouge  -  red wine

                un verre  -  glass

                une bouteille  -  bottle

                degustation de vin  -  wine tasting


                Lastly, for those of you who are probably already familiar with wine and wine tasting, the French have an expression "Tu es bien Bourre'!"  Do you know what that means in "Texan?"

                Au revoir, Mitty