Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Merci Beaucoup, Joni!

Merci, merci to Joni from Cote de Texas...what I surprise I got when I went to her site and saw--myself! Welcome to all my new CDT readers. The pressure is really on now. I discovered Joni's blog soon after I began writing Dancing Through Paris - and I had to smile when I read her motto: "French design on the Texas Coast. Yes, it does exist!"

I soon became an avid follower and still cannot believe the amount of work and dedication she pours into every post. Her posts are not small blurbs or random thoughts, but are planned, researched and edited articles with wonderful images. She has truly created a magazine of her own (I can only imagine what her readership numbers look like). And since that evidently is not enough to keep her busy, she has also teamed up with two more lovely ladies, Megan and Linda, to create The Skirted Round Table, a weekly radio show in which they interview the world's top designers and bloggers. Their last interview was none other than Charlotte Moss!

The question now is: what to send Joni as a thank you? I would love to be as creative as Sande from A Gift Wrapped Life and wrap something with beautiful bows and decorations:

But I think it makes more sense to send her something from Alhambra Antiques. So here are some of our "gift"offerings. Let me know what you think:

some antique manuscripts with dried flowers...Joni looked at these while at my booth in Round Top

A bouquet of lavender from Provence

or do you think she's more of a red roses kind of gal?

If the budget allowed, I would certainly send her a tiara...

or this turquoise Rose Idee Collection necklace to go with her Round Top outfit...

or how about a Baccarat bonbon jar...

Any favorites?

(thank you card image from, gifts from Oohlala, all others from

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our New House: A bit of French, Belgian, Italian, Swedish and a dash of Industrial

Sound the they are...the pictures of our new abode! If you don't recall what it looked like before we moved in, you can click here to refresh your memory. You can click on any picture to see it full size.
This is what you see when you first open the door and walk up the front steps:

It is a French pastry table and a 19th century zinc clock face from the town of Belloy-Sur-Somme. If you turn to your left, you would see this Danish clock:

As you walk into the living room, you see this:

Another view of the living room , from the opposite end of the room:

Some of the pieces we chose are: a pier mirror, a pair of armchairs, a settee, we also got that fabulous cow hide (well, i think its fabulous) in Texas (where else!), and our coffee table is a vintage Italian industrial gear which we topped with a beveled glass. The living room opens into the dining room through two arches:
You might recognize the table and chairs from our previous house, but new are the beautiful chandelier, the painted sideboard, the Marguerite Ghy-Lemm painting, and the iron cabinet on the right. Next, I'll take you upstairs to our romantic bedroom:

Instead of a traditional headboard, I placed some old Italian wooden fragments on the wall to frame the bed. The lamps were made from an iron gate in a church (in the old European churches there were gates inside the church to separate the public from the altar, these gates were often beautifully adorned and often gilded). I also have a thing for old French linens (no surprise) which you can see on the bed. We chose the giltwood bergere for just a dash of luxury. Here's a close-up of my night table, with the lamp and my collection of Royal Vienna porcelain (things you acquire when you grow up as the daughter of an antiquarian).

That's all for now, you'll have to wait for the outdoor shots. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asparagus! Asparagus!

A few years ago, I got hooked on buying French majolica during my regular trips to France. The term majolica was first coined by Herbert Minton, an English ceramist during the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.
The Crystal Palace in 1851

The term is a mistranslation of the Italian Renaissance term maiolica, but once coined my Minton, there was no turning back! English, Continental, and eventually American majolica was made from the mid to late 19th century. It is a type of earthenware fired at very high temperatures decorated with rich colored glazes. Just at the time when majolica was taking hold in France, something else was also gaining popularity: asparagus!
While asparagus has a long history going back as far as the first century, we have records of it growing in ancient Greece and Rome who took it as far as England. Though we also know that the Egyptians cultivated asparagus over 2,000 years ago for medicinal reasons and legend has it that it was so revered they offered it up to gods in their rituals.

We know that by the early 16th century, it was widely served in many of the Royal Courts of Europe and that until the 18th century, it was considered a luxury food and only eaten by the wealthy.
I haven't been able to pinpoint how or why, but with the industrial revolutions of the 19th century, the popularity of asparagus exploded both in France and the rest of the continent.
The industry was expanded with more widespread cultivation throughout England, France, Germany, and even the United States. You can say that people were crazy for asparagus!

Well, you can bet that the new French majolica (or barbotine as the French use) factories took note of the craze to start their own production of plates and servers. They made beautiful collections that have now become collector's items worldwide. Here are a few examples in our current offerings. Click here for our page featuring them. I will offer a 30% discount on any asparagus items for the next 30 days and will even throw in a copy of Maryse Bottero's book entiltled Artichokes et Asperges en barbotine, even though it is in French, the pictures are worth it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Trip to Round Top, Texas

It has taken me a bit to recover from our trip to Texas. I had never taken such a long road trip--in a 26" truck nonetheless. The first photo is me, in my Texas attire with Faustina Pace and her mother Rose, who also accompanied us on the adventure. Rose is from New York and had also never been to Texas, the heat and rain were not in our favor and she says she is never going back! My general impressions of Texas are 1) it is true that everything is bigger in Texas 2) Texans are very proud to be Texan 3) Texans like to have fun! One night we went to "Prom Night" at "Junk Gypsies" and my only regret is that I forgot my camera. There were live bands and everyone was all dressed up--the women in fancy dress costumes, some men like Elvis. It was good, old, clean fun.
During the fair, I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers in person, including Joni, who included a picture with me on her blog here.

D., who by the way has also just launched his personal photography site took this neat picture of this typical Texas barn. The following are photos of the first incarnation of our booth at Marburger Farm. I say first incarnation because after the first day we changed it around to accomodate the sale of the mannequins in the forefront and just to make some improvements. As you can see it was a mix of some of our more traditional French antiques with some of the more edgy industrial stuff we are getting into. I'll post the second incarnation and photos of some other booths in a few days. And the awaited pictures of the new house!

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