Vintage Tea Party Birthday

This past weekend we celebrated my daughter’s 8th birthday with a vintage tea party theme. ¬†Here is our dining room all set up with vintage tea cups and saucers, tea pots and lots of color. I will admit I was nervous about letting the girls use some of my vintage finds, but they did so well. ¬†And really, what is the purpose of having all of these beautiful things if they do not get used?

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The napkin rings had the girls first initial, they loved looking for their letter when it was time to sit down. The flowers were given by my aunt who helped with the party.  She also made the delicious cupcakes from scratch.  The table cloth is actually a curtain, a recent find at my favorite thrift store.

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The birthday girl was so excited. ¬†The banner is from a trip to England last summer, it says “Happy Birthday” on one side and “Let’s Celebrate” on the other. ¬†I love the colors.

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My mom, Nannie, before the party started. The delicious, homemade, chocolate cupcakes.

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We had 12 little girls that came and had so much fun. ¬†This was our craft, canvas bags that they got to decorate with puff paints. ¬†I have very fond memories of decorating with puff paints, and I don’t think any of these girls had used them before. ¬†It was so interesting to see how differently they all decorated their bags. ¬†On the bottom right can you see the swan? ¬†An 2nd grade girl made that with nothing but puff paints. ¬†I must say I was impressed.

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I am not very good at party games, thankfully we have a trampoline and several swings.  The girls had so much fun jumping and swinging and tree climbing.

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This party would not have been possible with out these two amazing ladies.  They came to Paris on vacation and worked so hard to help make this party a success.Thank you Aunt Lorie and Nannie!

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My sweet girl had fun and I am so thankful to be able to celebrate her life. ¬†This little girl made me a mommy and I can’t image our lives without her.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing our vintage tea party fun!

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Franck Bonville Champagne

Last year my mom found a champagne that had her maiden name on it. ¬†She did some research and found the winery where it was made and she realized that the whole thing was run by a Bonville family in France. ¬†This is significant to us because my mom’s maiden name was Bonville. ¬†This is an unusual spelling of the name, it really should be Bonneville, like the car.

On previous trips my mom and I had tried to get out to the tasting room, but we were never able to fit in the trip.

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This time around we made sure to plan a day for a champagne tasting.  It all worked out very nicely for my mom, her sister, my brother and his wife to drive out to Avize, France for a Saturday tasting.  My brother and his wife love champagne and know quite a bit about it.

When we got to the winery we met Olivier Bonville, a 4th generation champagne bottler. ¬†His family bought the vintage press just after WWII. ¬†I didn’t know much about champagne before this trip, but I learned quite a bit about the whole process. ¬†The lobby where we first walked in was very modern looking.

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Not much as changed since they took these pictures decades ago.

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And then restarted heading down to the different levels of cellars.DSC_0077 DSC_0078

It was fascinating and a little unnerving to be so far underground.

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There were bottles stored every where.

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Olivier showing us how the sediment has settled while everything ages.DSC_0091

How amazing are these antique turning racks? They also had more modern turning racks, but I love how this room was set up.

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After seeing lots and lots of bottles we got to see some the equipment used to wash and cork the bottles. DSC_0106 DSC_0102

I loved this view of their work bench, wrenches and tasting glasses.

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Of course I was drooling over the vintage baskets and carts.

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This is how they put the labels on all of their bottles.

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The tasting room was beautiful and comfortable and had a gorgeous seven foot farm house table with matching benches for all of us to sit on.

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The courtyard of the building was oozing french charm.

The old wine barrels, gorgeous doors, and beautiful views were all around.

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The best part of this day was getting to spend it with my relatives.  We told stories and laughed all day long.  It was so much fun to be able to help make this day happen for my family.

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After an amazing lunch at Hoteles Avizes we drove into Reims for a quick walk around the city, what an amazing day.

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If you enjoy champagne then I highly recommend you try them out.  Franck Bonville Champagne is available with several distributors in the US.

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Brocante Season is Starting!

Easter Monday is a holiday here in France.  I was on my favorite website, http://www.vide-greniers.org, and I saw there was going to be a brocante not far from our house.  I was up and at them bright and early Monday morning.  These yellow signs make my heart beat faster.  These brocantes are good, they are organized by a company, they usually have good parking, and a good mix of vendors.

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This vendor had a great collection of vintage items.  His prices were fair and his selection was great.  I settled for this pile of goodies.  I took this picture so I would remember to go back and collect everything.  The vendor told me that the grey box and the little white chair had gotten a lot of attention while I was away.

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This was my favorite find of the day, this mother and child bust is beautiful.

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These vintage jars all came home with me.  I love old glass jars.

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This load of treasures took 2 boxes to pack up.  I love transfer ware and Limoges and there was plenty to be found.

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After carrying all of my finds back to the car and then unloading them back at the house I got everything out and took a look at it.  This grey box is so fun.

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This sweet little chair is holding all of the Limoges I found today.

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These tureens are small, but pretty.

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Brown transfer ware is my favorite.

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 I found so many fun things today.

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Buttons!

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Here is all of it.  I have spent the afternoon washing everything.

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If it seems like I have been buying a lot lately, you are right.  I have been busy collecting as many treasures as I can to fit into a shipment that I am having sent back to Texas when we move this summer.  We have our personal shipment of things that we will be sending home, but I have taken the leap and will be filling a container with treasures to bring back and sell as well.  I will be in the Houston area so if you are in Texas next fall keep an eye out for Brocante Treasures!

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The Grand Trianon at Versailles

Have you ever gotten to visit Versailles?   The first time I visited this chateau was just a month before we knew we would be moving to France.  I was so overwhelmed with the whole experience of Versailles that first time, but I loved every minute of it.

Since that first visit I have been fortunate enough to go back a few times.  Today I got to go with my walking group and professional guide.  If you are ever an expat in Paris I would highly recommend finding a good touring group to join.  My group meets twice a month and we have visited some well known and some not so well known places.

Today we focused on the Grand Trianon.  This is a small chateau on the grounds of Versailles, it was built as an escape from the rules and structure of the main palace.  This was considered their small country home.  HA!

Usually when we are site seeing we have 4 little people with us and we can only stay in one spot for so long.  Today was a very different experience, we spent over 2 hours on just this building.  There have been many people that have used this home since the late 1600s when it was built.  There have been many different decorating styles, inhabitants, and arrangements over these past 350 years.

This first chandelier caught my eye because of the star shaped crystals. These chandeliers are always impressive, but I liked this tiny little detail that set this one apart.IMG_2283 IMG_2284

The furniture in this home mostly showed a white painted frame, that denotes it was intended for a country home ( a less formal space).  This chair was interesting to me because of the purple accents on the chair frame with the blue and white fabric on the seat cushion.

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This table was used to hold letters securely until they could be transcribed or mailed.  I love how pieces of furniture had such specific purposes.

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This chandelier was in what was Josephine’s room when Napoleon was in power.

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The details here are just amazing.  Every single chandelier I saw today was beautifully finished all the way to the ceiling with a cord cover, bow and tassels.

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The sconces today caught my eye over and over again.  For every set of sconces I photographed there are at least 2 in not 4 in the room.

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I have always loved these couches, with one low arm, when I have visited here in the past. ¬†I found out today this was one of Napoleon’s favorite type of chairs to sit it. ¬†He would let his feet hang over the lower arm and he would go through his paperwork and through the un needed pages into the fire. Can you just picture a man with so much power in such a relaxed pose?

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An example of an early full length mirror.  Being able to see yourself from Top to Toe was a luxury.

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Another beautiful and unique chandelier and sconce.

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Purple and yellow, I love this color combination.

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After plenty of white framed furniture this soft blue was striking.IMG_2298

This room had a few beautiful touches.

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This is a family portrait of Louis XIV’s son, the Dauphine of France, with his family. ¬†The Dauphine was an avid hunter and loved to hunt practically every single day. ¬†Louis XIV did not get to pass his crown to his son pictured here or his grand son pictured here, but his great grand son. I have heard this story before, but seeing a picture of a family like this and knowing they didn’t get to live the futures they saw ahead of them is sad.

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These next few pictures are from the rotunda area.  It is such a strikingly beautiful room.

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In the room with the billiards table there was an interesting feature.  There are doors at the very top that opened for the musicians.  There was an area up there for them to sit and play and the sound could cover the room.

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This yellow was striking, and a bit overwhelming.

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I think this was my favorite sconce of the day.

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These pieces of green Malachite were a gift from the Tsar of Russia.IMG_2319 IMG_2320  IMG_2322 IMG_2323 IMG_2324

Napoleon’s office. ¬†I love the green drapes and the way they frame the chandelier. ¬†Not surprising that one of Napoleon’s favorite style chairs was in his office.

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I thought this was a beautiful rug in his office. Of course I love this sconce as well.  In person the light fixture had a very geometric feel to it.

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The ball room.

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If you ever get the chance to visit the Grand Trianon don’t forget to go out to the gardens and go to the right. ¬†There is more to see outside than you would think at first. ¬†Of course there are many, many more fascinating stories, more beautiful pieces of furniture and more grand rooms to walk through, but this was what captured my attention today. ¬†I hope you enjoy.