FRENCH COUNTRY STYLE Magazine Features FrenchGardenHouse

It is such an honor to be part of the 2014 issue of French Country Style Magazine.  Long awaited….this gorgeous magazine does not disappoint! Filled with all sorts of beautiful homes of fellow Francophiles, filled to the brim with antiques, brocante and everything we adore.  We had a French outdoor “party” in our garden at home, it was a magical day for the photo shoot.

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Styled by the divine Sunday Hendrickson {she was the art director of our cover story in last year’s French Country Magazine} and photographed by Mark Tanner {Mark photographed  our home feature for Romantic Homes Magazine a few years back} both were such a delight to work with.

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Merci beaucoup, also, to French editor Fifi O’Neill, if only we lived closer, I know we would be the best of friends. I hope you will go out and purchase a copy of FRENCH COUNTRY STYLE Magazine, published by Harris, it is available at booksellers and markets this month.

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Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours.Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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Our Favorite Spring Picks : GIFTS

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Giving a gift is more than selecting a beautiful item, it’s giving a part of yourself. We have curated a unique selection of gifts for you to give, luxurious, fun, and a delight to receive. Many are hand made in the US, one of a kind artist creations, most are exclusive to FrenchGardenHouse, all are the perfect gift for your favorite hostess, the birthday of a beloved friend, or a holiday gift for someone in your family. Some are great gifts for the surprise of “just because I love you!”  We believe it is a privilege to share in the happy events of your life, and are honored to have you choose a gift from our collection to give. 

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Many of our gifts have been “picked” by the editors of top design magazines too….as beautiful, stylish, and perfect for just about everyone on your giving list.  This Cake Pedestal is a wonderful hostess gift, or give it along with an arrangement of cupcakes to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday.

 

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Each one of our French Antique Lace Sachets are hand made with great care from heirloom quality antique laces, vintage and antique millinery flowers, and exceptional ribbons.  A favorite gift to give to a bride, perfect as an addition to a delicious feminine nightgown, or for the bride to use as her ring bearer’s pillow on her wedding day. Each is a one of a kind, these tend to sell quickly so if you have a bridal shower coming, please choose your favorite now.

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Favored by the editors of Romantic Country Magazine, Romantic Homes and all of you, our French Rose Gardenia Soap Petals Gift Box has been our No. 1 selling gift over the years. Exclusively ours, our box contains 40 Petals, nestled on top of Pink shred, tied with a silky Pink ribbon. Delicious scent, one petal per wash, these European petals are amazing. Keep a few on hand for those “emergency” gifts in your gift closet, perfect for birhtdays, Mother’s Day, and every “I love you” occasion.

 

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Love sparkle? These earrings are a beautiful way to add a pop of Spring color to your style….or the style of someone you love.

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Our antique and vintage tea cups are always a favorite of just about everyone! Chosen for beauty, most are florals because there is something special about drinking a hot cup of Earl Grey out of a delicate, feminine cup. Each is a fabulous gift, especially for a hostess or Mom, include a special teaspoon, a box of cookies and some luxurious tea for an over the top gift!

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Our selection of one of a kind jewelry for this season is bright, colorful and fun!  Hand made by local artist here in the USA, most make a statement all by themselves but also combine with others for a fashionable layered look. See them here, this Necklace is one of our favorites! No matter what you choose to give, lovingly chosen gifts, beautifully packaged and given with your heart are always welcome.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of that loving exchange each time you pick a gift from our small curated selection.

 

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com

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An Invitation to CHÂTEAU DU GRAND-LUCÉ

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For all of you who dream of owning a chateau in the French country side….this gorgeous book is for you.

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An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé is the story of a passionate love affair between a man, award-winning Los Angeles based interior designer Timothy Corrigan—and a gorgeous wreck of a house, set in the magnificent French countryside. The chateau,  a monument historique in France’s Pays-de-la-Loire, was a gently crumbling shell of its former 18th century beautiful self when Timothy first saw it in 2002. The designer fell head over heels in love, and petitioned the French government for a year and a half for the right to buy the house and return it to its original use as a private residence. Against all odds, the Commission decided in favor of his plan which would keep the château intact, and, in 2004, Timothy Corrigan became the new owner of Château du Grand-Lucé.

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Duke Jacques Pineau de Viennay, Baron de  Lucé, who oversaw eastern France under Louis XV, had the château constructed in 1760. It was created by engineer Mathieu de Bayeux, and was completed in 1764. The King’s housewarming gifts were seven sculptures that were exact replicas of ones in Versailles.  During its early days, the château welcomed Voltaire, Diderot and other luminaries of the Enlightenment.  The owner’s influence was able to prevent damage to the château during the French Revolution as were subsequent owners during two World Wars, sparing it the destruction suffered by so many historic buildings. About 30 acres of formal gardens and 42 acres of forest surround the château. A small village lies beyond the property’s greenery.

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What I love most about the chateau {besides the obvious} is that while each room is superbly detailed, elegant and highly individual, it is neither stuffy nor too formal.  The interior is the perfect combination of decorating with heirloom quality antiques, but each room, the whole of the chateau, looks as if it has been this way for centuries, livable, comfortable. The designer has created an environment where people can really feel  at home. A place where children and dogs are welcomed, where family and friends can gather, and laughter fills the rooms. 

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The initial major restoration took approximately five years, with meticulous and ambitious work from the ground up, as you can imagine!  Timothy was able to accomplish the perfect combination of authentic Gallic flavor with the relaxed elegance he favors, Continental elegance with California comfort. The end result is stunning, to say the least.

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The Grand Salon overlooks the château’s gardens, which were restored by the French government and are open to the public six times a year. Timothy mixes antiques with large scale sofas and chairs, for comfort, so that the rooms are perfect for today and the way we live. Somewhat more casual and less “precious” than what one would normally expect to find in a chateau that has been called one of the finest examples of neo classical architecture in France.

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In the grand salon,  knole sofas anchor the sitting area, the table lamps next to the sofa are repurposed 19th-century gilt-wood colonnettes, and the cocktail tables are vintage Jansen.

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Above, a detail showcasing a  delightful mix of darks and lights, angular and more organic forms, and a touch of fun.

Timothy Corrigan says his favorite room is the Salon Chinois {the Chinese room} where Jean Baptiste Pillement, the King and Marie Antoinette’s own master painter, carried out work. Corrigan says: “There are only three rooms existing in the world today that were painted by this man – this is one of them. All the paintings are what they imagined life to be like in China.” A terra-cotta bust of Louis XV’s mistress Madame du Barry is the focal point of the marble mantel, mounted ostrich eggs ornament a side table, and a 19th-century tole tray transforms the velvet ottoman into a cocktail table.

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In the photo below, an 18th Century German marquetry cabinet sits below a gilt Napoleon III mirror. Reflected in the mirror are the hand painted murals surrounding the room by Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

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Each room is filled with glorious treasures, and with beautiful light. Below, antique Creil earthenware plates are displayed above the kitchen’s marble mantel. I love the antique copper pots on each side, this surely is a magical space to create haute cuisine, or a simple omelet in the morning.

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The publisher, Rizolli Books describes this gem of  a design book as: “A tale of architectural adventure and interior decoration, with a soupçon of French history, and finally, a gratitude-filled celebration of country living in the pastoral beauty of rural France. An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé offers a window into living in an historic home in a modern way, and will be the must-have book for all Francophiles and design enthusiasts.”
An Invitation to CHÂTEAU DU GRAND-LUCÉ
By Timothy Corrigan
With photography by Eric Piasecki
contributor Marc Kristal
Hardcover / 9” x 12” / 240 pages / 250 color photographs

Available at book stores and here.

All images: copyright protected: Eric Piasecki

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours.Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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The New PRAIRIE STYLE Magazine

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PRAIRIE STYLE Magazine is back by popular demand. I am thrilled to let you know that this beautiful new magazine will be available in early May. These days, with design magazines disappearing seemingly every few months, it’s a worthy of a celebration when a new beautiful publication becomes available.  I am honored that editor Fifi O’Neill {she is French} has allowed me to share some of the preview images for this magazine with you.

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PRAIRIE STYLE magazine boasts a new large format with 144 beautifully photographed pages, and features an array of homes from coast to coast. Printed on beautiful, heavy paper in glorious color, you will love this issue.  Editor Fifi O’Neill has the knack to make each and every publication she works on genius, filled with homes that make you desire  several of your own homes just so that you may emulate the style she showcases so well.

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Aside from giving us a glimpse into wonderful homes, PLACES IN THE HEART is about people and places who inspire, such as  {one of my personal style icons} Ralph Lauren.

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The MODERN PIONEERS section illustrates how perfectly yesterday’s methods still work in today’s world.  Inspiring entrepreneurs who live their passion, and turned their passions into their life work.

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And then there are the homes.  {I know, our favorite!} Beautiful interiors, filled with antiques, hand crafted artisan objects, and all things that make a house a home.

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PRAIRIE STYLE features 9 Beautiful homes from  Vermont, Louisiana, New York to California, and Canada too.

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I love the wood table with the antique rush chairs in this New England dining room.

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The contrast of dark and light, rustic and more elegant in the home above.

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This home is in a gorgeous location in southern California.  Situated in a rural area, the property boasts several buildings including a huge barn where I happily shop for antiques when they have their monthly sales.  I can’t wait to see the feature of this particular home, since I am well acquainted with its charms!

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Aside from page after beautiful page of interiors and stories about the home owners, PRAIRIE STYLE Magazine will delight you with fresh recipes from Heather Cameron’s Missing Goat Farm Cookbook, an article about raising honey bees, how to style a spring picnic, a dreamy painter’s garden, a story on heirloom seeds and much more.

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The last issue sold out almost immediately, and many of you were so disappointed.  You can wait until it is available at your local bookstore or market if you prefer, but if you want to make sure to receive a copy, I suggest pre-ordering. You can click on the pre order page shown below, and go directly to the publisher’s page.  {Pre orders for shop owners or antique dealers are under the “bulk order” tab.} Thank you, mon amie Fifi, for allowing me to introduce your stunning new magazine here to FrenchGardenHouse readers.  I can’t wait to receive my own copy of PRAIRIE STYLE!

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If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? Silver

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Antiques at the table are back. Entertaining has become an art again.

Personally, that makes me want to jump for joy.  There was a time, not that long ago, that entertaining meant going out for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love a well prepared meal in an elegant restaurant as much as anyone. But there is an undeniable pleasure in sharing your home with friends or family, setting a beautiful table, and enjoying a relaxed, lingering conversation at the table without feeling badly because you are keeping your waiter from seating the next party at his station.

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It brings me great joy to hear young couples say they are learning how to set a table with more than paper plates, watching Food Network for inspiration for home cooked meals, and asking for actual dishes and silver again for weddings, birthdays and holidays. The tradition of Fine Dining is once again au courant.  More of us are appreciating the items that once adorned a beautifully set table, and have discovered the lasting beauty of fine antique sterling, and silver plated pieces.

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The Victorians, got to love them, had a specialized silver fork, spoon and contraption for every single thing they could possibly eat.  For the Victorians dining was an event. An event that could make or break a hostess in the upper echelons! The Victorians left us an extensive range of unique and unusual silver pieces to be used at the table. We have quite a nice collection of antique silver, any one of these pieces would add elegance and sparkle to your table. Not to mention that they spark conversation.  That beautiful Nautilus Shell, above, is a spoon warmer.  It was decidedly déclassé to have a cold spoon serve hot food, so enter the spoon warmer, filled with boiling hot water, placed on the sideboard so that your James could reach for a hot spoon to serve you your haricot verts. Wouldn’t this spark some fun conversation at your table?

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This silver encased glass beauty above is a Claret Jug. This looks gorgeous on display, but is just as happy to serve water with a slice of lemon for your guests, or to hold a floral bouquet. That, to me, is the great advantage we have over our Victorian ancestors, we can enjoy the beautiful silver pieces they did, but we are not stuck with all the rules. While our great great grandmama would never ever think to arrange roses in a claret jug, we can, and we can truly enjoy all the charm that it brings to our table no matter how we use it, free from guilt and worry “what others would think.”

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Of all the things I bought on my last European buying trip, I have a special place in my heart for the silver.  {which is why some of it is mysteriously stuck to my display cabinet at home!}  Definitely an heirloom set, of investment quality, this rare Antique Ice Cream Spoon Set. The centers are beautifully engraved with Aesthetic floral, foliage and bug motifs on a vermeil (gold-washed) background. Each spoon is hand chased and adorned with a different pattern of exquisite floral and foliage design on the squared, hand hammered bowls in gold vermeil. Each one is a work of art, makes eating  ice cream a refined eating pleasure.

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Once the preferred gift for favorite wedding couples, Bride’s Baskets, like the one below, were extremely popular in the 1880′s when they were often given as a luxury wedding gift. The happy couple then used the basket to present cakes, candy or fruits while entertaining, as a centerpiece or displayed on the sideboard for holiday celebrations with friends and family. {They went out of favor as “the gift” in 1904-1905.} These make a gorgeous display on the table, filled with cakes, fruit or flowers. I have used one of these at home for all of the above, but also in our guest bathroom with exquisite soaps and antique hand towels, filled with shells in the summer on our coffee table, and filled with antique Christmas ornaments for the holidays.

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Another type of Bride’s Basket, the cut glass bowl of this one makes it perfect to serve fruit compote, strawberries, or anything else that would normally damage silver bride’s baskets.

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See that lovely Antique Silver Peacock? This Sterling conversation starter has wings that can move up and down, a detachable head, and quite a presence! Meant to hold vinegar at the table, these days collectors love these heirlooms for the pure fun quotient.  A collection of figural table antiques like this look great in a decorative display, but their true magic is apparent when you set a special table with them!

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You can start enjoying Antique Silver in small ways, perhaps you are fortunate enough to have inherited your grandmother’s silver, or received the gift of a set of six spoons. The spoons below are for bouillon, but could serve up gumbo in style too.  Eating with them elevates any meal time to a special time.  Silver has a way of connecting our hearts and minds to the past, reminding us of celebrations and holiday dinners with those we love most. 

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Next time someone asks you “What you would love to receive as a gift for your birthday (or holiday)?” , think of asking for a small piece of silver or silver plate. Antique Silver keeps its value, it will bring you joy for the rest of your life, and it’s something you can pass down to your children and grandchildren.  Silver is the perfect gift and the perfect thing to treat yourself to!  Unlike so many other things we spend our money on, silver lasts, it brings its inherent beauty to our every day lives.

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To learn about how to take care of silver, read my post How To Care for Your Antique Silver to read more about the history of eating utensils go here. See our latest antique silver finds here.

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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Spring Fever at Home: Catch It!

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The birds are singing! The sun is out who doesn’t love spring?!  I am always excited to change things around a little bit for each season here at home, even this little dish with our egg soaps tells the spring story and makes me happy! Here are a few easy ways to bring spring inside your home:

 1. Color it up.  Change the colors on display in your home. Love Robin’s Egg Blue?  A simple mat in bright color can make a statement on your walls. The picture below? It’s a Bird Coaster framed with a bright blue paper background. Surrounded by a bowl filled with little eggs, a blue vintage vase and a small decorative bird figurine and you have SPRING happening right there!

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2.  Mix antique with new.  Fill your antique ironstone tureen with brightly colored eggs. Display it on a small stack of antique books, add a little wax French Duck, a wax nest and egg, and pop a bright Chartreuse egg in an antique blue & white teacup. Fresh. Charming. Beautiful!

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Another version of the same vignette, just as lovely, it doesn’t matter how you style it, it’s the mix of texture and colors that counts!

DecorateForSpringFrenchGardenHouse23.  Bring on the whimsy!  This lampshade is a fun, creative way to display your sense of fun. Spring is the perfect season to take your interior design a little less serious. Vintage Egg Baskets are a great alternative to the more traditional shade for a lamp.EggBasketShadeBHG

4.  Think Green. Floral arrangements don’t always have to be flowers. This is a great time to bring that fresh green color inside. The leaves from a ruffle fern are stunning in a glass vase. Not only their color, but the graphic boldness of their shape make quite a statement, don’t they?

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5.  Change Patterns.  Add some new pillows to your couch with a floral design, and it will instantly change your room!  Our Vintage Pillow Cases have always been a favorite to mix and match in any season, but for the spring they truly bring on their flower power.

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6.  Think outside the box.  I love how this set of egg cups is used on a desk, to hold necessities and some bright flowers!

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7.  Bring in softer colors.     Bring out the softer shades of color, our Love Bird Mugs and cafe au lait bowls bring spring to the table.

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8.  Spring isn’t always Pastel! Add bright colors if that’s what you love. Here a simple arrangement of Daffodils in a glass vase filled with bright orange kumquats say spring just as much as a whole room full of pinks, light blues and soft yellows!

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No matter what your style, Spring is the best time to celebrate where you live, and make it as beautiful as you can for yourself, your family and friends. It doesn’t take much to refresh your rooms.  I’ve gathered a small collection of one of a kind antiques and artist creations that will bring new joy and beauty to your home. I hope you enjoy feathering your nest!

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If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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Weekly Favorites: Collecting Antique French Utilitarian Decorative Glass

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Antique French Utilitarian Glass makes a decorative statement displayed all by itself or in a collection.  This glass is beautiful, and still very affordable, a perfect way to start a collection of antique and vintage glass pieces.

These antique and vintage storage and canning jars were all made in the early 1930′s, in factories in Folembray, France.

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Originally used for canning and storage, they are beautiful enough to display all by themselves, but still function wonderfully well as intended, to use for handy storage in the home.

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Each of these is a lovely piece of French history.  They are decorative as well as useful, each has their own personality and stories to share of their past in a French Cuisine.

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Not just for storage inside your home, the pale aqua yoghurt bottles make the most delightful floral vases.

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Classic French DemiJohns make a stunning addition to both traditional as well as contemporary interiors.

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Antique French glass is perfect to show off a beautiful bouquet of flowers. This Antique French Apothecary Jar has a gorgeous paper label in light Blue, Savons Antiseptiques.

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Now that spring is starting, an antique French Glass Jar such as this is perfect to place outside with a bundle of wax flowers to cheer up your table in the garden, too!

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If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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How to Arrange Flowers

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Do you wish you knew how to make roses look elegant? For our last dinner party I made a simple but beautiful floral arrangement with three bunches of spray roses. While I adore my florist, sometimes it’s so rewarding to arrange flowers myself. I purchased one bunch of spray roses in Pink, one in Apricot, and one in an Orange~Red, I love the elegance of a monochromatic color scheme. An arrangement like this looks lovely any time, but especially on a beautifully set table for your guests. Here are my easy tips for arranging flowers in an urn or vase.  Let your inner arranger bloom!

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1.  Use Tape. To help flowers stay beautifully arranged, use special floral tape. I use a roll of clear tape especially made to use for flower arranging, made by Oasis. Inexpensive, I’ve had the same roll for years, it’s my secret weapon to keep arrangements from “falling over” in the vase.  Make a grid, taping a little over the edge on each side of your container. Fill the container about 3/4 full of lukewarm water. Add preservative if you wish.

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2.  Cut flowers short, at an angle. {Use a sharp knife} For roses, remove all but the top leaves off the stems, the leaves will frame the flowers.  Start adding flowers to the outside grids, and work your way to the center. The center flowers should be about a half inch taller than the others. Dense arrangements are very forgiving, if one flower is a little too short, it won’t matter.

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3. Create a natural, imperfect arrangement. Because of the grids of tape, it will be easy to push and pull the flowers up or down a little to create an overall pleasing effect. You want a slightly imperfect effect, natural looking.  Et voilà, your stunning centerpiece is complete.  Set on your table, and enjoy the beauty you have created!

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If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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How To Entertain: Elegant Easy Dinner Party

I love having people over for dinner, knowing what to make, however, is never the easy part for me.  That’s why I love The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten always has a plan, and the perfect menu to use! Case in point: this menu {and all the recipes too!} for her Italian Surprise Party.

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For me, honestly, dinner parties are not just about the food and the friends or family, but the table setting!  I love nothing better than to pull out a stack of antique or vintage plates, and create a beautiful table for my friends to enjoy.

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Last week, we were having some of our dearest friends over for dinner.  I went to Trader Joe’s to buy some of the ingredients for our meal, and they had gorgeous spray roses for 5.99 a bundle. I bought three bunches, Pink, Apricot and a Rosey Red Pink, and mixed them together. {I’ll show you how to arrange the flowers in a milk glass urn like this in a few days!}

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Sorry about the slightly fuzzy shot of these Vintage Fairmont Hotel Plates.  Just when I was arranging the finishing touches at the table, the doorbell rang, our friends arrived, and the party started!

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I set our wood table without a runner or tablecloth this time, I love the contrast of the white plates with the darker wood.  In order to help everyone truly relax, I set the table in the kitchen, this is where we love to entertain in a casual elegant style. Two different French glasses, antique Victorian mother of pearl silverware, and antique French napkins are the perfect blend of antiques at the table.  A little bouquet of two roses that snapped off in the package arranged in a silver creamer added a finishing touch.

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Ina’s Rossinis are delicious!  Right by the front door I set up a little tray as a welcome drinks station, shown here before I popped the cork on the Prosecco and placed the strawberry mixture in the glasses.  It’s so welcoming to be able to hand guests a festive drink right after greeting them in your entrance, don’t you think?

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We sat by the fireplace in the living room enjoying our drinks, for a light starter I made Ina’s Parmesan Crisps, if you have never made these before, they are easy, and so delicious!  I added the Rosemary Marcona Almonds from Trader Joe’s, and a sprig of rosemary from the garden on an antique ironstone platter.  The dinner was delicious, and we had a truly magical evening with our friends. Ina’s menu is perfect for a family dinner, a surprise party, any time. I had never made fennel as a vegetable before, it turned out absolutely fantastic. The Beef? melt in your mouth. I recommend this dinner wholeheartedly, with some prep work ahead of time you will enjoy your guests, and have a magical evening, at your own five star restaurant.   In a few days I will share the pictures of how easy it is to arrange the roses for this easy, florist quality centerpiece.

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If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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Help Celebrate My Birthday: Shop Our CELEBRATE Sale

It’s my Birthday week, as my party favor to all of you please join in on the fun and shop my Birthday Sale, just use CODE: celebrate to get 20% off everything {just be sure to hit the “recalculate” button on the left of the checkout page}

celebratesaleFrenchGardenHouse.com2014

Thank you for joining in on the party! Speaking of parties, or entertaining, we have everything you need to get your own party started. From cake stands to silver cake forks to gorgeous gifts, we have something fabulous for you.

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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