Saturday, August 1, 2009
Fruits of My Labors
My first excuse for buying a home in France was that I loved to cook and it was so frustrating to go to markets, see all the wonderful food and then be forced to leave empty handed. Hard to cook in a hotel room. I needed a French kitchen!
While I still spend a lot of time in the kitchen in France, the majority of my time is combing the flea markets, vide greniers, and brocantes for things to bring home to sell. I have good trips, and occasional trips where I felt prices were too high, dealers inflexible (when the going gets tough, the French dealers tend to raise prices) weather was too challenging. This last Spring, the stars were all in alignment...weather was reasonable, a weak dollar had made some kind of comeback, and dealers were relived to see any buyers.
The Southwest doesn't have the dearth of markets like Provence and Paris, but we have much lower prices. I can never count on finding something specific, but I can count on finding something interesting. This last trip I found a huge lot of NOS (that would be new, old, stock) of frames for cameos, all different, all a lovely yellow gold material. These are from the 1800's, in perfect condition, waiting for the creative jewelry artisan to turn them into something special.
I also have a nice collection of old transferware plates in lots of different colors; green, red, blue and lavendar. Transferware became popluar in the 19th century as the middle class grew. The new middle class couldn't afford handpainted china, so this method was devised to "transfer" the decoration on to pieces to stimulate a handpainted look. I love it when all the colors are mixed, but a lot of people seek out just one color.
Linens, did anyone ask about linens? I sometimes wish that my sewing machine didn't intimidate me so much. The handloomed textiles, the toile, the charming vintage prints! Ah the things I wish I could make with those! I buy them anyway, so I have a ever changing stock for shows.
Speaking of shows....this weekend is Alameda Point Antiques Fair. I am in Booth G8. Fair runs from 6am till 3pm. Come by and say hello. I will also be doing the antique show in beautiful Healdsburg, California on August 30th.