Monday, July 7, 2014

A Small Lavender Harvest

I have not been fortunate enough to see the vast purple lavender fields in bloom in Provence.  It seems as though I’m always missing it by a few weeks.  Hopefully one day I’ll plan my trip accordingly.

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But I have maintained a very small lavender garden in my own backyard over the years.  It consists of several mature plants that yield a nice amount of lavender that I enjoy harvesting and drying.

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It’s a source of pleasure every summer for me in late June to early July to clip the tall stalks and gently tie bundles up to dry. 

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After a couple weeks, I spend some afternoons rolling the dried stalks between my hands to release the fragrant buds that I use to fill sachets.

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I can usually almost fill a large Provençal tian with the fragrant lavender.

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I absolutely love the scent of lavender.  I use it in my laundry and as scented ironing water.  It smells heavenly when sprayed on sheets before bed.  I always keep lavender linen water close-by.

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  There are lots of lavender items in the markets of Provence.  This is one of my favorite photos..a vendor in St. Remy with a lavender-filled cart!

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There is never a shortage of this fragrance!  This photo was taken in L’Isle  Sur la Sorgue.

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Do any of you have good luck with growing lavender in your area?

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I’ll be sharing about a great brocante in Nice, France later this week!

Blessings,

Kim

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July and Happy Bastille Day (July 14)

Since these two Revolutionary holidays are so close together I thought I’d give a shout out to each one today. 

The United States and France have been allies for a long time and I for one am glad of the relationship.  Did you know a smaller version of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty sits in the Seine in the shadow of the Eiffel tower?  It’s one of my favorite sights.

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Most of us are aware of the US involvement and help in liberating France from Germany during WWII.  Just think D-day, the Allied Invasion and Normandy.

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But did you know that France was instrumental in helping the US  defeat the British during the Revolutionary War which secured our independence as a free country?

France had been secretly aiding the American colonies since 1776 because they were angry at Britain over Colonial territory lost during the French and Indian War.  Ben Franklin was sent to France by the Continental Congress to secure a formal alliance.  King Louis XVI approved financial assistance to the American colonists only 4 days after Franklin requested it.  By 1777 France’s support had deepened and they provided more military armaments and loans to the colonists.  In 1778 Ben Franklin was back in France signing the Treaty of Amity and Commerce which recognized the US as an independent nation and promoted trade between France and America.  The Treaty of Alliance was also signed which made the US and France allies with the French deciding to back the US until we had full independence from Great Britain.  During the Revolution France sent as estimated 12,000 soldiers and 32,000 sailors to the American war effort.  The most famous was the Marquis of Lafayette who became good friends with our commander in chief George Washington.

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In France, Bastille Day is a national holiday celebrated on July 14 to commemorate the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and the Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790.

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So here’s to two great countries who offer the world much in art, architecture, décor, style, beauty and class.  I am grateful for our continued camaraderie.

I’m proud to be an American.  God Bless America and Vive la France!

I hope all of you have a wonderful 4th of July.  Don’t eat too many hotdogs or too much apple pie tomorrow!!! LOL  I can’t wait for the fireworks!

Kim

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hilltop Paradise in Eze, France

Eze is a small medieval village in the south of France not far from the city of Nice.  We spent a lovely afternoon there on our recent trip to the French Riviera.

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Eze is famous for the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea from its hilltop.  It overlooks a high cliff 1,401 ft above sea level and is referred to as an “Eagle’s nest” because of its location.

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I was more focused on the beauty and charm and this ancient village.

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It’s narrow and winding streets (no cars here!) were mesmerizing.  You could feel the serenity and history in this place and could become lost in its many passageways.

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I found it to be a quiet town…almost reverent and respectful of centuries old architecture.

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It had many shops, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants.  It is a very popular tourist and honeymoon destination and we were told it has mostly become a “museum village” with  few local residents still living here.  The Chevre d’Or is probably the most famous restaurant on the hilltop.

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It was so peaceful to be here and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in a secluded bistro.  The owner produced his own olive oil and we brought back a couple delicious varieties.

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Walt Disney himself spent a lot of time in Eze.  I loved these blue shutters.  Notice the fruit on the tree!

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I loved this large biot jar used as a base for training the climbing plant.

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With such gorgeous scenery, Eze was a wonderful place to meditate and slow-down our fast-paced lives….even if only for a day!

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Don’t forget about the Brocanting Tour in Normandy and Paris this September.  There are a couple spots left and it could be YOU and a friend to fill them!  Send me an email and let me know you want to go at kimhites@gmail.com or give me call at (606) 424-8402.

More info HERE and HERE.

À bientôt mes amis,

Kim

Friday, June 27, 2014

Experience And Learn About Country French Décor…In France!

Hello again to all my fellow Country French décor lovers!  It’s been a whirlwind the last few weeks since my return from France in May.  My son is getting married in early August and I’ve been more focused on the wedding and family time than decorating and antiques.


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Would you like to go to France in September on my brocanting tour and join host Cat from Sunday Brocantes?  Want to immerse yourself in all things French?  Well then, I have good news for you!  Mark your calendars for September 26 – Oct 3, 2014.

We have had an additional spot open up because of a postponement until next year due to a family health issue.  That means we have two spots available to fill this year!  Bring a friend and join the fun of shopping for antiques and vintage goodies in Normandy and Paris.  The Norman countryside is absolutely beautiful and the quaint seaside towns are so picturesque.  Imagine yourself shopping at the traditional French markets with the locals and finding that one-of a-kind treasure you’ve always dreamed of.  


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In addition to brocanting, you will have the privilege of staying in a gorgeous centuries old seaside Manior complete with spa facilities.   Our group will also be attending a prestigious live antique auction – French style.  And, a special treat awaits us at a hosted gathering at Cat’s Rabbit Hill home with a private barn sale.  


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The trip ends in Paris – Ooh La La – what more can I say?  The world famous Marche aux Puces flea market is a mecca for lovers of French style!


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There will be lots of conversation about Country French décor and French lifestyle (and maybe a recipe or two!).  There’s no better way to study this timeless style than in person.  Bring your design questions and get tips about French furnishings from our experts.


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What are you waiting on?  This could be your chance of a lifetime!

Please email me for more information if you would like to join us.

Or give me a call at (606) 424-8402.

À bientôt,
Kim

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

For The Love Of Bouillottes & I’m Back From France

Bonjour everyone!  I have returned from France and I’ll be sharing more about my trip in upcoming posts.  I’m not sure that my French speaking improved, but I sure did have fun!  If you’ve been following me on Instagram HERE then you’ve seen a lot of my photos.  I wanted to do a quick post to get back into the swing of things in blogland.

I love French bouillotte lamps and I recently acquired a couple really nice antique ones.  I put the largest one in my breakfast room.

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This is the first triple-arm one that I have purchased.


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I think the color of the metal tole shade coordinates well with the drapes.  It has beautiful detailing.


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This is the other side of the breakfast room.  I’ve intentionally kept it a rich warm feeling  without adding lots of white.  This is where we eat most of our meals.


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And this is the view into the family room.  I still refuse to put any artwork or décor on the wall above the fireplace.  The tile was handmade in Sonoma, CA and I want the eye to focus on the fleur de lis and not travel up the wall.


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I always look for bouillotte lamps when shopping in France but they are getting harder to find.  They are such a staple in French interiors.  I’ll be back soon with more French décor nuggets.

Blessings,
Kim
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