Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just Added to My Faux French Chateau Store - Vintage French "Beaune" Metal Grape Hod

I just added this wonderful grape hod to the My Faux French Chateau Store!

Grape hods were used in French vineyards during the grape harvest. Leather back straps would be used to attach the hod to the grape picker’s back as he/she worked the rows of grape vines. I'm looking at this unusually large grape hod and wondering how strong a person would have to be to carry this on their back! I had trouble just moving it for photos!
The shape of this circa 1920's grape hod is called “Beaune” after the capital of Burgundy’s wine region. This is perhaps the largest French grape hod that I’ve come across and is unusually wide and deep! It would look beautiful on a large wall or over a fireplace or stove hood!

Au revoir, Mitty


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

French Eau de Parfum

"Perfume is a form of writing,
An ink,
A choice made in the first person,
The dot on the I,
A weapon,
A courteous gesture,
Part of the instant,
A consequence."

-Serge Lutens-

Are there perfumes whose scent immediately casts you back to another time and place?
A perfume that reminds you of someone you once knew,
perhaps someone whose perfume was their "signature?"

For me, perfume is a small pleasure to be savored and enjoyed.
I spray the perfume in front of me and walk through it.
It gently rains down on me and I carry its scent with me throughout my day.

It is the last thing I put on as I get dressed each morning.

I have, what is for me, a new French fragrance ............Serge Lutens Fleurs d'oranger eau de parfum.

Orange Blossom
White Jasmine
Indian Tuberose
White Rose
Citrus Peel
Hibiscus Seeds

All mixed together to create a white floral and citrus scent.

First blended in 1995, this parfum remains one of Serge Luten's signature scents and now, my favorite.

Sold in the U.S. as an EXPORT RANGE in a 50ml spray bottle

and as an EXCLUSIVE RANGE in a 75 ml splash bottle sold ONLY in Paris at Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido.

I'm putting Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido on my list of "places to visit" for my next trip to France.
Au revoir, Mitty

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Builder of "My Faux French Chateau"

I've had a couple of inquiries about the builder of "My Faux French Chateau."  My home was built by John Blue Hillman. Blue is also a new neighbor of mine having recently finished his personal home and moving into the neighborhood. 

I love the quality, creativeness, and beauty of his homes. If you'd like to contact Blue, you can reach him at:

John Blue Hillman
Parkhill Homes
Fort Worth, TX

Au revoir, Mitty

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Paris!

Happy Chinese New Year!

2012 is the year of the Dragon, specifically the Water Dragon, an occurrence which only happens once every 60 years! The water Dragon is the most powerful of the 12 signs of the zodiac and is a symbol of idealism, high energy, determination, and represents both mobility and positive change.

In 2012, Chinese New Year falls earlier than in most years, beginning today, Monday, January 23rd and ending on Sunday, January 29th. This year in Paris, the main parade to celebrate the Chinese New year is on Sunday, January 29th. It begins at 1:30 pm at 44 Avenue d'Ivry in the 13th arrondissement. There is also a second parade on Sunday which begins at 1:00 pm at Place Frehel in the Belleville neighborhood.

Dragon and Dragon dancers in Paris!

There is a large Chinese community in Paris and two areas referred to as "Chinatown."  In recognition of this, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with dynamic and energetic street festivals and parades. Chinese New Year parades in Paris are known for their elaborate decorations including red lanterns, dragons and tigers, and bright orange fish. Fireworks accompany the parade as well as dragon and lion dances and martial arts demonstrations!

Chinese red lanterns in "Chinatown" in the 13th arrondissement in Paris

I can't make it to Paris for Chinese New year (such a shame!) but I just came back from a trip to Las Vegas where our hotel, The Wynn, displayed amazingly beautiful Chinese New Year decorations. Take a look at The Wynn's Chinese New Year dragons. My pictures don't do justice to the size and beauty of these decorations!

Au revoir, Mitty

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Day at Classically Trained French Chef Wolfgang Puck's Cooking School!

This past Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to attend classically trained French Chef Wolfgang Puck's cooking school in Las Vegas! This one-day cooking class was held in Puck's first Italian Restaurant, Trattoria Del Lupo. Lupo offers an authentic Italian menu featuring "tastes from the old country" such as wood oven baked pizzas and freshly made pastas.  The restaurant features an open concept design to allow guests to view the wood pizza oven and the glass-enclosed area where the pasta is made daily.

I almost look like I know what to do in a kitchen! The chef's coat makes all the difference!

The class featured four cooking stations where we were instructed by four different Chefs on making pizza, risotto, soup and tiramisu.

At the first station  we were instructed on pizza making. I made my own pizza  (the dough ended up shaped like a squash instead of a traditional circle) and we cooked it in the wood fired oven above. The pizza oven makes all the difference in the crust!  We were given recipes for Lupo Pizza Dough, Marinara Sauce, Margherita Pizza, Artichoke and Eggplant Pizza and Lupo Potato Pizza. I made a basic Margherita pizza but added cooked garlic cloves and caramelized onions to it - It was delicious. I stood at the counter and ate most of it!

At the second station, Lupo's Executive Chef,  Eduardo Perez instructed us on making a classic risotto. Chef Perez made one basic risotto that he divided into three large saute pans. He then made a seafood, vegetable and mushroom risotto. The thing that I was surprised by was that Chef Perez uses HIGH heat to cook the risotto. (I think I'm always afraid of having the flame too high when cooking.) The cooking flame was so high that it encircled the pan and flamed up and around the sides.  I also learned to make a simple vegetable stock that can be added to risottos and soups.

Mushroom Risotto

Vegetable Risotto

On a personal level, Chef Perez's "story" enthralled me. Eduardo Perez was born and raised in Guatemala and began his career with Wolfgang Puck in 1986 working as the herb and vegetable gardener at Spago, Hollywood. After 8 months as the gardener, Perez applied for and was awarded the position of dishwasher, later moving on to work in other positions in the kitchen including pastry prep, bread baking, butchery, pizza making and "pantry." He went on to train under Executive Chef Joseph Monzare at Wolfgang Puck's Granite Restaurant in Malibu. In 193 he moved to Las Vegas to work as sous chef at the Wolfgang Puck Cafe' in the MGM Grand and later become banquet chef and then associate partner with the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Today, Perez is the Executive Chef at Lupo and Associate Partner/Consulting Chef with the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group! As stated in his bio, "Eduardo Perez exemplifies the success of tenacious spirit!" From gardener to Executive Chef - what a great story!

Executive Chef at Trattoria del Lupo, Eduardo Perez

At the third station we watched the chef make 3 soups; Porcini Mushroom, Creamy Potato, and Butternut Squash.

The making of three cream based soups. Notice the large pan with the strainer to the far right of the chefs sleeve - this was a large pan of vegetable broth. For a basic vegetable broth, Lupo's chefs use celery, carrot, onion and leeks. This broth is added to many savory dishes.

Now the course that is my favorite - DESSERT! At this 4th and final cooking station, chef Kenneth Magna, Director of Pastry for all of Wolfgang Puck's Las Vegas Operations, demonstrated making a Tiramisu (means "Pick me up!")

Here Pastry Chef Kenneth Magana is whipping the egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and Marsala wine wth a balloon whisk.

My favorite part - tasting time! Needless to say I devoured all of my Tiramisu.

Now I'm almost embarassed to admit this - after the cooking class and eating over half of my pizza and all of my Tiramisu, we went into the lovely dining area of Lupo and ate a late lunch!

Life is good.

Au revoir, Mitty

Friday, January 13, 2012

Metal French Grape Hod! - My Auction Tresor!

This past Saturday, MH, MDD and I attended an auction held about 1 1/2 hours drive from Fort Worth! It was a great auction, filled with wonderful French treasures. The auction house was filled to overflowing with bidders though and, as is often the case when an auction is heavily attended, the bidding prices went HIGH!

That is the "thing" with auctions, you never know how the bidding will go. So many factors influence the "sold" price at auctions - the number of attendees, the number of retail -vs- personal buyers, and the number of people who simply like the same things that you like.

If you go to an auction, bid on an item, and people look at you like "why in the world would you want THAT!" you know it is going to be a good day! Oh to be the only one bidding on something at an auction! What a great feeling that would be, but with all of the Francophiles out there embracing the "French look," Saturday's auction ended with me purchasing only one French Tresor - a wonderful metal French Grape Hod!

I've posted a couple of vintage pictures in the past showing the grape harvest in France and grape pickers carrying a grape hod. The pickers would strap the hod onto their back and the grape clusters would be thrown into the hod as they were picked or smaller grape baskets/buckets would be emptied into the larger hods when full. Hods were made of either woven wicker or metal.

Today, lovers of the "French look" collect hods for their great textural appeal and generous size.  I love them used as a wall hanging to hold flowers, plants or even my personal favorite, to hold antique French farm tools.

This wonderful metal grape hod is very similar to the one I purchased at auction. I love how simply it is displayed holding masses of lavender. (Photo from the wonderful French blog "Trouvais")

The two hods below have been beautifully painted, each with the logo and coat of arms of a French vineyard. These can be found at jcovingtondesigns.blogspot!

There's so many beautiful elements to this Tulsa kitchen of architect, Jack Arnold and designer, Susan Arnold but notice the wonderful wicker hod with greenery!

I haven't decided if I'm going to have my hod painted, hang it as it is, or maybe even decoupage it. Whatever I do with it though, It will make a wonderful addition to someones home!

Au revoir, Mitty 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Looking Through Crystal............

I've decided everything looks prettier though a crystal chandelier!

I've spent this afternoon cleaning a beautiful Antique Bronze and Crystal French Chandelier!  (Oh yeah, I know how to have fun!)

Sparkle!  Sparkle!

As I was lovingly cleaning each crystal, I was daydreaming of all the places in my home I'd love to hang this beautiful chandelier..............

I could hang it over my bathtub as Atlanta designer Amy Morris did so beautifully in this bathroom featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle.........

I could copy this designer and hang it in my kitchen......

Or.....maybe I could hang it outside as in this photo from "Style Me Pretty California" blog.............

I love using chandeliers in unexpected places. I especially love the contrast of the glamour and glitz of a crystal chandelier in a casual venue with less formal pieces. Contrast, texture, patina and the unexpected appeal of an elegant crystal chandelier ......these elements make all of the rooms above exciting and memorable.

Look for the Crystal and Bronze French Chandelier featured above in My Faux French Chateau Store - To be Listed Soon!

Au revoir, Mitty

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ferronnerir D'Art added to My Faux French Chateau Store!

Do you remember how excited I was to purchase Ferronnerir D'Art ("art metalwork or wrought-iron craft") from a blacksmith in the small village of Les Vigneres France?

Well the beautiful metal French blue demilune ("half table") and two small cafe chairs I purchased are now available in My Faux French Chateau store!

In an earlier post, I shared with you my surprise when I saw some of the same items I'd purchased from Les Vigneres in the June, 2011 issue of BBC's Homes & Antiques magazine. In the article entitled "Eternal Sunshine" the 19th century Provencal home of  Sioned and Gavin Rees-Thomas was featured. The cover page of the article shows beautiful outdoor metal chairs and a large metal table. The chairs and part of the table are exactly what I purchased from the blacksmith. The chairs in the article are a beautiful verde (green) color. Six of the eight chairs I purchased are in a beautiful dark brownish finish and two are a beautiful French bleu. In the photo below you can see the chairs as well as the table. Actually Sioned and Gavin put together (3) tables to form their large eating area below. There are (2) demilune tables at either end of (1) long rectangular table in the middle.

The French bleu metal demilune table and (2) cafe chairs I purchased would be perfect on a small patio or even used as a primary eating area in a small apartment!

Here they are in my home used as a bedside desk/table!

 French bleu demilune and (2) cafe chairs 

 I love the French bleu and "aged" finish!

Here are the (2) brown arm chairs and (4) side chairs that I purchased. I love them and will have them in the store soon!

They'd be perfect for your French Jardin!
Au revoir, Mitty

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vintage French Laundry Baskets added to My Faux French Chateau Store!

How is it that the French can make even laundry day look charming?

I guess though, if you have to do laundry, at least do it in style!

To help with this, I couldn't help but purchase several of these large vintage rattan laundry baskets in Provence.


Pull the laundry off the clothes line................

fold it, and place it in a beautiful French basket!

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Added to My Faux French Chateau Store - Antique French Bergère Chair!

I just added to My Faux French Chateau store a beautifully carved, early 20th Century French Bergère chair! I purchased this chair at auction and was drawn to the beautiful, ornate floral carving on the exposed wood. 

You may wonder exactly what a bergère is (pronounced "burr jair.")  This fanciful name means "shepherdess chair" and was coined in mid-eighteenth century Paris.

Very simply, a bergère chair is an upholstered French armchair. Bergere chairs have upholstered backs, armrests and frames with part of the wood frame exposed and typically decoratively carved. The bergère has a long and wide seat cushion made for comfort and lounging.  These early French chairs were made of walnut and beech but some were also made of a fruit wood or mahogany. The exposed wood on the chairs was either painted to match the wall panelling in the room in which they were to be used (beech wood was typically used if the chair was going to be painted) or left in the natural wood color, in which case walnut would be used.

If I were to keep this bergère , I'd probably eventually reupholster it in a light taupe or white French linen. Take a look at a very similar chair that I love in the Veranda Magazine photo below! This chair (front right) is a Louis XVI bergère upholstered in French linen.  

Or, if I really felt inspired, I could paint the exposed wood on this bergère with my favorite French Bleu chalk paint and then reupholster it! (Painting this piece would be a tough decision though since this is an antique and not a reproduction.)

Take a look below at the wonderful painted bergère pictured on the beautiful French blog "Trouvais."

Or, I could keep it in the lovely fabric it is dressed in already! However, wherever it is used - this is a beautiful bergère chair and will make a wonderful addition to any room!

Au revoir, Mitty

Monday, January 2, 2012

Be a "Chiner" at My Faux French Chateau!

The Brocante Market - A Chiners dream come true.
"Chiner" is the French verb for a person who hunts for special bits and pieces in brocantes and antique fairs. I'm definitely a "Chiner" and  I "chine" every chance I get! I love the thrill of the hunt, never knowing what treasure I'm going to uncover.

Now, with the Internet and the My Faux French Chateau store, you can even be a "virtual chiner" sitting right where you are!

Take your time to look around my brocante .  If you don't find what you're looking for, drop me an e-mail and I'll happily see if I can find what you are "Chining" for!

Au revoir, Mitty

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shop "My Faux French Chateau!"

I am excited to tell you that, YES,! the My Faux French Chateau store is OPEN! You can find the link to it on my blog site on the top right hand side in a beautiful gilded French Frame!

I am featuring the products and the furniture that I love to use in my home. This is just the beginning and I will be updating the inventory frequently and expanding my offerings over the next few months.

As you look through the store, it will soon be obvious to you the look that I love to live with. I welcome the beauty that the passage of time brings to things - the patina of a wood piece worn by years of use and touch, silver that is slightly tarnished, monogrammed linens that bespeak another life in France, and the everyday "utilitarian" pieces that make the Provencal life easier. It is an aesthetic that embraces the beauty of the imperfect. I hope that you love it as well! 

As you can also tell, we are working on the overall look of the My Faux French Chateau blog site! My friend Rachel is busy helping me make this site a place I hope you will be happy to visit.

Au revoir, Mitty