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Gothic Chic

12 Jul

I was out doing my ‘occasional saling’ (be sure to check out my blog: The Occasional Saler!) last weekend, and I found this little vignette at the Second Hand Rose sale.


It reminded me of gothic décor from Belgium or the Netherlands: the heavy, dark chest, gilt frames, brass candlesticks, a cross.

I love it when shop owners ‘get it right’ and inspire us ~ sigh ~

À demain,



Pic of the Day: Farm Chic Storage

15 Jun

It’s Friday, so I’m keeping this sweet & simple.  While checking out an occasional sale recently, I saw something rather genius.  I have to tell you, these occasional sale ladies do an incredible job with their displays, so I see great ideas all the time – which I will continue to share.

This Pic of the Day is from La La Land in Chaska, MN.  I love the mix of down-home and elegant:


Yes, those are champagne flutes on a heavy-duty rake.  What a cool display idea!  (And a lot cheaper than a fancy wine glass rack 😉

Bon weekend!

À lundi,


Flowers for a Friday!

4 May

Ah, the week has gotten away from me!

Remember this great Czech tea set that I bought a few months ago at a Paris brocante?


Well, I haven’t used it to make tea yet, but it did come in handy today.  I bought tulips, one of my favorite flowers, but got home and couldn’t find any small vases to put them in (most of mine are still packed).  I looked around the house, and realized that the lovely tea pot would make a great vase.

my little inspired moment today


Bon weekend!

À lundi,


Friday’s Find

6 Apr

Yes, I’m officially OBSESSED with Occasional Sales.  And another week means another round of ’em!

This week the Rockford and Buffalo, Minnesota sales were in full swing, so I drove out there to check them out.

I started in Rockford at one of my favorites, Found Salvage.  The owner, Angela, is lovely, and has great taste.  Last week I bought a gorgeous baby blue and white Limoges tray with elegant gold accents from her at the A Gathering of Friends sale in Minneapolis.  The tray came with a matching candlestick, which I’m using as a place to display bracelets.  Here’s a peak at a couple of the goods in the shop:

Found Salvage storefront

a silverized lion garden sconce

an exuberant lamp

I love the lime green trim on this chair (which has 3 mates)

leaded glass, always a good thing

Next, I moved on to the ORIGINAL Occasional Sale, started 15 years ago, Second-Hand Rose:


I stumbled upon this lovely chair, only $95 (!!!!)  The chair, itself, was clearly vintage, but the upholstery was brand new.  I would have cost $1,000 at a fancy store.  So I decided to get it.  The only issue was getting the chair into my sedan…

my beautiful little chair

After buying my chair and securing it in the car, I headed into downtown Buffalo, which has a main street that’s a couple of blocks long, and contains several other occasional sale shops.  After shopping for 5 hours, I was exhausted and hungry.  So I stopped for lunch.

A sweet, little all-American lunch.

Then I headed back home, a 50 minute drive (all highways), with the chair hanging out the back of the car:

yep, couldn't see out the back window, but it all ended ok.

Oh, and I picked this mantle for my mom at Kathie’s Finds in downtown Buffalo.  (I didn’t even try to get it in the car – it’s being delivered tomorrow.)

My mom's been looking for a mantle to display her artwork at her studio.

Back home, here’s my chair, with the folding screen that I painted behind it.  Can you tell that I like pink?!

my chair, at home

Though this chair wouldn’t normally be my style (a touch British grandmother), it’ll be perfect in the “garden” room that I’m dying to have.  When I actually have my own home.  Anyway, here’s my inspiration:

One of Charlotte Moss's delicious rooms, featured on the cover of her latest book.

I absolutely LOVE this book – Charlotte Moss’s rooms are elegant yet personal and comfortable.  I am also totally crushing on the chaise-lounge in this room, too.  Still on the hunt for that one.

Happy Friday/Easter/Passover!

À la prochaine,


A Gathering of Friends

29 Mar

Today was a big day, a gathering of what I call Occasional Salers – those who operate occasional sales and their devoted shoppers. That’s right, it’s A Gathering of Friends, held twice a year at Bachman’s Garden Center in Minneapolis.  When I arrived 10 minutes before it opened, there was already a line….



Once behind the counter in a general store - it could now be yours!

a lovely country vignette

one of my all-time favorite designs from France...the bombé chest

This blue frosted chandelier glass would make beautiful earrings.

a divine green lamp

very stylized, reminds me of the Czechoslovakian tea set I bought at a Paris flea market.

so cute.

random + creative + color = awesome!


Shoppers take in a 1950ish country vignette.

And the one that got away…..

Yes, I thought this would work for my jewelry, but I didn't spring on it right away. When I went back to look at it, someone was putting a SOLD sign on it. Oh well : (

I’ll be headed back to the sale tomorrow, too.  An occasional shopping tip: often there are so many things to look at, that you discover something you love only after a couple of walks through the space.  Or the next day, when things have been sold, revealing great items that had been buried in a display.  And word has it, this sale gets restocked!

Enjoy the day!

À demain,



Wednesday wishes

28 Mar

Wednesday, kind of a blah day.  As usual, I’m crushing on a few things that I found at a shop near me that sells a lot of vintage furniture, home décor and jewelry.  I’d love to buy them.  But am not going to.  Unless they go WAY down in price….

#3 – Bright Blue Bench

It's the color of this one that gets me. Very refreshing + yummy!

#2 – Elegant Table (which I’ll use as a desk)

I've decided that I want a tripod pedestal table for my desk, like this one.

#1 – Chinoiserie Gilt Mirror (if I can I use ‘Chinoiserie’ to describe a mirror!)

Yes, bad pic..but my favorite part are the bells hanging from the top. They make this piece for me.

I’m going over to the shop where I found these pieces last week to a) see if these pieces re still there and b) if I can talk down the price on any of them.  Especially the mirror.  LOVE that mirror.

I also thought I’d mention a great book I’m using to study up on the history of furniture, which I’m getting really into.  It’s called Furniture, World Styles from Classical to Contemporary, by Judith Miller.  It’s basically an encyclopedia of furniture from around the world, starting at 4000 B.C.E.  It’s very comprehensive, and the pictures make me drool!

Ok, I’m off to ‘visit’ today’s three wish list items….

…..tomorrow is a big annual occasional sale here in Minneapolis – yay!!

À bientôt,


a special occasion

19 Mar

I’ve mentioned “occasional sales” in a couple of blogs now, so here’s the deal with them: they’re AWESOME.  As long as you’re into that kind of thing.  Which I am.  Very much.

I had never even heard of occasional sales until about a year when my mom took me to one in South Minneapolis.  I don’t think these sales exist in other cities I’ve lived in – NYC or Paris.  I think because retail rent there is too high.  (Pop-up shops are a different phenomenon.)

Now occasional sales seem to be popping up everywhere in the Twin Cities.  Maybe elsewhere, too?   But what are they?  They’re called occasional sales because the shops are only open occasionally – usually just one weekend every month.  (Thus rent must be very low.)  Most shops are open from Thursday-Saturday from 10am-5 or 6pm.  Some open on Wed or are open on Sunday, too.  It’s totally at the discretion of the owner(s).

But the fabulous things about these sales, well, there are several of them, but one is that the prices are, in general, fantastic.  Why?  Because pretty much everything is used.  Occasional sales are very well-edited flea markets housed in a storefront or a house that has been converted into a storefront.  If you like brand-new, ultra-modern designs, these will not appeal to you at all.  Part of the fun is rummaging through old stuff to find “treasures”, usually for the home.  And if you have been reading my blog since I was living in Paris, you know I love rummaging!

Another interesting thing about occasional sales is that their retail structure lends themselves to a certain amount of drama.  Because everything is old/used/sometimes repurposed, most items are one-of-a-kind (or put it this way, one would be hard-pressed to find another item exactly like it without spending a lot of time looking).  And because there are many pieces of furniture, finding a similar piece on Ebay and paying to have it shipped becomes unappealing.  All of this means that people are lined up outside the doors of these sales before opening, hoping to be the first one to nab an amazing deal.

And on a personal note, as a lover of retail, I’m excited that this new (or newly popular) type of shop has proved so popular.

So without further ado, here’s a look at my adventures from last week’s shopping, including the purchases I made at the bottom.  (The photography is not always amazing – apologies for that!)

"Shabby Chic" vignette

I almost bought this fab rusty tray

almost bought this vintage tray, too. only $13! but do I really need yet another tray?!

I loved this adorable sage green dresser, but as I have only my office to furnish, I had to pass on it

Exquisite vintage (antique?) chair for $90. If I bought it, I'd probably recover it.

vintage buffet staged with dishes & books, oh my!

a bell jar filled with totally random stuff - that's great.

At $125, I'm still considering buying this vintage worktable. I'll have to see if it's still there next month...

vintage grates/vents would look gorgeous hung artistically on a wall

this thing was so funky and would be cute in my office. but at a whopping $38, I passed it up.

strange and random stuff in the backyard space.

a metal tower? a garden trellis? you decide.

And my take-aways (literally!):

I got this mink-covered ottoman (a repurposed coat) for $69! I'm going to put some nail head tacks into it to dress it up a bit. (Tarnished silver is my mom's.)

a hobnail moonstone bottle, probably from the 1940s. ($9)

vanity tray (below silver) $12. will be great for displaying jewelry.

more spools (I'm up to 5), $6 each.

Another beloved gold mirror. It has a small chip, which I'll paint. For $4, I had to have it.

funky, vintage irons (because I still don't have enough ; ) for $5 each. will be fantastic bookends.

a "hog brush" (?!), which now holds my bracelets. $4.50.

And my pièce de résistance:

a 5 foot+ tall weathered grey metal bird cage! it's a bad picture, but trust me, this thing is awesome! I bought it to put plants in to keep them safe from my (plant-eating) kitties. $145.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour through my occasional-saling weekend!

Happy Monday!!

À bientôt,