Collecting

Paris Paintings

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Top on my list of things to buy while we were in Paris were oil paintings. I was determined to bring at least one home. Fortunately we found the most amazing shop, where I came across this oil painting of a woman. The shop owner said she was his most beautiful phantom (ghost in French). When I found her she was unframed and I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep it that way or have it mounted on a stretcher bar. I decided to do the later. But, when I went to the frame shop they refused to do the job because they were afraid they might damage the painting.

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Not being one to give up so easily, I decided to share my dilema with The Man. I showed him the frame on the other smaller landscape painting I bought at the Paris flea market and he went to work making me one...

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We didn't have any antique, flat head trim nails so he cut longer ones down and filed the points to the right length. They worked perfectly and we proceeded to nail them in the existing holes in the canvas.

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Notice they are uneven and not properly spaced? That's exactly where the old ones were and it made me think of this quote.... "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" -- The Nester.

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I just love my new lady! I'm not sure if I should name her or not. Any suggestions? How about Belle Phantom?

Country Living: Decorating with White

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To coincide with their annual White Issue, Country Living is featuring expert tips and advice on decorating with and using white in your home. There are interviews with well known designers, room makeovers, house tours and decorating trends.

They asked if I would share my affection for white and some of the ways I incorporate it in my home. You can see my tips here along with some great design bloggers like Holly, Susie, Wendy and several others. Hop on over for a big dose of white inspiration!

A Visit to E. Dehillerin

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First off, this image has absolutely nothing to do with the French culinary mecca, E. Dehillerin. But I thought you might get a kick out of seeing Recycling Day in Paris. The big green recycling bins were overflowing and curb sides were spilling over with wine bottles. Can you imagine this in the states? We'd think someone had a HUGE party.

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Many of you are probably already aware of this famous shop. They've been in business since 1820 so I'm in a very long line of devote customers. Their copper pots were amazing. And they had them in every shape and size you could imagine. While we were there a young American chef was purchasing a large assortment to take back to his new restaurant. I imagined he was going to use the small ones to serve Lobster Pot Pie. I would.

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The staff was extremely friendly and helpful despite the fact that the shop was packed. English and French verbs and nouns were being flung around as if they were one language. Everyone understood each other as if their true mutual language was Culinary.

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Pastry chefs must adore this place. Every imaginable tool was available for them from minature tart pans, ring molds, brioche molds...and expert advice on anything they might need.

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At the sales counter (which is probably the original from 1820) they carefully wrap your purchases up in brown parchment paper. And for the heavy items (like all the copper pots you buy) they will pack and ship them right to your US doorstep.
See? They're very helpful. :-)

Dean & Deluca and Recent Finds

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Have you ever been to Dean & Deluca? This was my first visit...in fact, we made a u-turn on the highway just so I could pop in and see what all the fuss was about. I really loved the warm wood floors against the white walls. It looked so crisp and clean. And what do you think about the elk mount above the deli counter? I'm kinda liking it...a lot. Sorry vegetarians, I mean no disrespect.

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Their signature tins of spices, salts and condiments were overflowing and it was so hard to choose. Plus, I couldn't remember what I might be out of at home. 

And you wouldn't believe the enormous amount of Mast Brothers Chocolate they carry! Stacks and stacks of bars with their gorgeous patterned papers.

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The packaging on the Mast Brothers line is simply perfection. Have you seen their videos? They take chocolate making to an entirely new level. Serious business.

Here's a few fun things I picked up during my recent travels.

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An antique pewter tray from a flea market along the coast (2 bucks!), assorted spices, an olive wood spreader and brush, a dozen or so Weck canning jars and a glass bottle for my bubble bath. At the same flea market I also scored some beautiful ironstone pieces including this pedestal bowl that holds a few heart rocks from the beach.

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And I couldn't pass up this old cash box with the rivets along the sides! Love, love. I also bought a couple of the old Martha Christmas books. They're almost 10 years old and the photos and ideas don't seemed dated a bit.

Well, I'm almost finished with the wine country vacation posts and then we'll go back to our regularly scheduled program. I feel some crafting coming on!