Sunday, July 26, 2015

A lavender Saturday

Time out from antiques and  onto some much-needed garden attention.  The lavender, which really flourished this year (apparently the bitter winter was not harmful at all!) was so luscious and lavish for several weeks, I didn't dare go near it, as there was a veritable bee convention going on at all hours. Now, it is drying on the shrub, and the bees have departed...I'd love to know where all that goodness has been stored, but I'll leave that to the professionals at the local farmer's market. No, my mission this weekend was: first, pruning, and second, a simple take-to-dinner gift. The two nicely coalesced as I clipped, sorted, and tied in bunches.

A big glass jarful right on the kitchen counter, and the rest arranged for two gifts, some in a jar, and some tied with a piece of French ribbon. I  keep a handsome old glass cake stand and cover on that same counter in which I save all the various ribbons that arrive from time to time. That made it very easy to complete my mission, and off to dinner I went, my lavender bunches stuffed into a fun paper sack depicting various small museums in France: now that's a wrap!

Monday looms...back to wrapping and shipping, more photos for special clients, and new web pages soon, soon.  I promise! Joan

Friday, July 24, 2015

And home again!

As always, once one returns, it all fades so quickly (like Christmas, one anticipates for so long, and then, over and done!). Fortunately there is a heavy-duty paper trail which follows me, i.e: the boxes with all my purchases:

All arrived most expeditiously, everything opened, sorted, priced...and now the fun part of my life begins: clients with special requests are contacted first...and then I must choose what to show on new web pages on my site

Where to begin?  There are several groups of tablewares that are charming and unusual,  there are several spectacular platters, there are some rare signed and dated  presentoirs, plates from 1830 to1930, and more....

Do I keep anything for myself? Once in a great while, because I've always felt one can't be a good dealer if one skims off the best things and keeps them. (Of course, not everyone has the same notion about "Best"!)
Nevertheless, it is usually just an oddity that begs to stay...this time it was a wonderful pitcher I found in a small shop near Contres, where I stayed at the wonderful Manoir de Contres.

The shopkeeper couldn't really tell me much about it, just muttered  something about "Tours", which is a city about an hour from there. It has a signature incised in the clay, and the piece could have been made??? yesterday? or a long time ago??? Doesn't matter; he looks like "The King of the Golden River" which is one of my favorite children's books, and I have a vintage copy on my small shelf of that genre. The book was written by John Ruskin in the 19th century, the only book for children he ever wrote, and it is a fable, or more precisely, a morality tale. Now I have them sitting together on a small table, a nice souvenir from a good trip!

Monday, July 20, 2015

July in France

8 july 2015
My whirlwind buying trip in France is almost over! No time for pictures of all the superb gardens and flowers that are everywhere, so here is just an interval in Morlaix, while waiting for an auction to begin...

And it was well worth the wait! All the auctions have been very interesting, I've made some excellent purchases; all will be arriving on my doorstep shortly, and new pages will be on my website by the end of August.  If you are not already on my mailing list that announces my new mailings, I'd be pleased to add your name. Use the contact form on the right. And below is a quick preview of what's coming.

It has not all been daughter, who lives in Brittany, threw a great party for me last Monday night, what is called here in France an "Aperitif Dinatoire¨, which means all the food is hearty enough so that no one needs to go out to dinner afterwards. It was a glorious evening; the guests included everyone from longtime French friends to newfound ones that I first met in Florida! The luscious bouquet below was cut by me from the garden of Les Fermes de Betty, where I stay.

Another festive afternoon was the picnic that my longtime friend Alain LeBerre gave for us at his shop in  Kerlaz, just outside of Douarnenez which overlooks the Plage de Riz with glorious views of the whole sweep of the bay.  We ate outdoors, but first made a thorough tour of his shop, which is always stuffed with armoires, textiles, folk art, early Quimper and unusual items like a 19th-century wire escargot basket...a goodly haul, as always!

And so, adieu to Alain and his gracious Breton hospitality.
A la prochaine, Joan