Wednesday, April 30, 2008

French Periodicals As Art

Vintage periodical prints and advertisements make the perfect art! While the prints themselves can be found relatively inexpensively at a variety of French Flea Markets, or puces, the type of frame you choose can really set it apart from being a flea market find to flea market CHIC. We've paired some with moderately-priced frames and others with luscious antique frames. Either way they represent a beautiful bygone era where there is no photoshop, iphoto or fancy computer to enhance the hand drawn sketches.

There's a particular vender who used to sell stacks of these beauties at Puces Vanves (Metro stop Porte de Vanves off Metro 13). As early as 6 years ago you could fetch these for around 5-15 Euro or $5-$15. Now they go for around 30 Euro, which these days......well, let's just say "our dollar ain't what it used to be"! i just love the detail of them.

The black and white news feature ones are a particular draw. {Offered at Vintageweave on occasion for $35.}

Vanves is is one of my favorite markets in Paris proper....small and selective with a great variety of quality items. As you turn the bend on Porte de Vanves you can smell the food vendor with his perfectly-brewed cafe au lait and decent croissant. The energy is fast and furious and half way through making your way, the market width narrows to a single file for about the length of 10 vendors. Of course everyone ignores this fact, pushing and forging ahead as if they haven't noticed there is less room. This is France, after all, a country whose people famously detest rules and restrictions. As a visitor it can be daunting, but just remember, you are in France, eating a so-so croissant that is far better than any croissant on its best day back home, and there are treasures upon treasures to be had at every turn. And did I mention? You. Are. In. France. Life is Good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Cherish An Antique Day"

It really is a holiday! Cherish An Antique Day is a holiday created by Vintageweave owner, Kathy Delgado; this is the 2nd annual. It is recognized and included in the highly-regarded book, Chase's Calendar of Events.

The actual date is April 9, but we were out of town off treasure hunting and couldn't properly celebrate on that day/week. Although it wasn't to be, we really wanted "Cherish an Antique Month", so we've just been celebrating all month long! Stop in the boutique and you'll see our {very rare} table loaded with 40-60% off items, and French Sea Salt Carmels are being passed out to visitors (there is no correlation, we just like 'em!). We're also handing out a cheat sheet on how to clean, protect and prolong the life of most antique surfaces, as compiled for us by our friends at Weiman.

Wood Antiques
(tables, chairs, desks, dressers, etc.)
• If wood antiques are in direct or indirect sunlight, treat the surface with a product that contains UVX-15 sunscreen. Weiman Furniture Wipes are a favorite of ours to prevent drying and discoloration
• To hide scratches, apply a wax crayon, shoe polish paste or touch-up pen that matches the color of the wood and buff area with clean soft cloth

Silver Antiques (jewelry, dishes, candle holders, mirrors, etc.)
• To extend tarnish protection, dust silver regularly
• To avoid tarnish build-up, use Wright’s Silver Cream or Wright’s Anti-Tarnish Silver Polish (ranked a “Consumer Reports Best Buy”) when a light gold film begins to form on silver
• Discontinue cleaning silver once it looks clean and shiny, even if the cloth is blackish; there will always be a slight residue on the cloth

Copper Antiques (pots, tea kettles, jewelry, ceiling fans, ceiling tiles, door knobs, etc.) We must share, that we at Vintageweave PREFER copper that is stained and molted into a wonderful patina, but if you have a highly expensive and rare piece, these tips should definately be followed:
• Copper does not rust, but it will stain and accumulate tarnish so it must be cleaned unless you want it to take on a different patina;
• On heavily tarnished copper not easily cleaned by vigorous polishing, use a very fine steel wool (grade 000 or finer); though it may leave tiny scratches, they should disappear with use;
• If copper remains bright and shiny over time, it is probably lacquered (lacquer is a clear coating applied to some copper items to minimize upkeep) and only requires cleaning with a damp cloth; if the piece darkens over time, it probably is not lacquered and can be polished.

Brass Antiques (door knobs, cabinet hardware, musical instruments, etc.)
• Regular washing and polishing with a quality product like Wright’s Brass Polish helps protect from pitting, etching and other corrosion caused by salts and other corrosive elements
• Brass may also have a lacquered coating, so if surfaces remains bright and shiny over time, it probably only requires cleaning with a damp cloth; if the piece darkens over time, it can be polished.

Of course it's important to note that at Vintageweave we love crusty, stained, peeling, scratched, beaten and slightly discolored items, but if you have a highly valued item, these tips are just the ticket!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Luscious Linen

My mom and I went to an antique fair/flea market recently and discovered these luscious vintage linen string rolls. Can you just imagine all the possibilities? French linen material was a fabulous discovery that day, too. Also in our bounty: vintage French ticking, antique French music sheets, antique miniature bottles, pewter candlesticks, and an amazing artist who creates jewelry incorporating antique papers and love letters (look for them for in the boutique and on the website this week).
I'm pretty fast in scouring a flea market, scanning each vendor's wares and making quick decisions, which contributes to the success of scoring the best merchandise for Vintageweave and our clients.

We met lovely people and loaded the cart with treasures upon treasures...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Morning Rituals

At my house, the day starts with French Press Coffee. It's not chosen because of the name, but because in my opinion the flavor can't be beat. The plug-in drip coffee maker has long since been retired to the back of the pantry. Throw in organic Granola (Whole Foods brand is a favorite) mixed with yogurt (Brown Cow Organic Blueberry is another favorite) and the day is ready! First became hooked on this yogurt concoction at Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills. Don't forget to drink out of a favorite, beautiful coffee mug as the ambience needs to be as good as the taste! Years ago while driving through western Provence, I fell for the this one (click above photo to enlarge) in the artist hotbed community Le Beaucet in Venasque. I bought up all of these hand-painted beauties. {TIP: If you are planning a trip here--albeit from your armchair---some friends have a fabulous compilation of food stops you simply must read if you haven't already discovered this part of the world.}

Truth be told, we would prefer a croissant, but the variety offered in the States is so horribly disappointing. If in LA, the only two locations where excellent, as-close-to-Paris-as-you-can-get versions are at the French-owned spots: Little Next Door and Breadbar. The French owners at the respective spots are so lovely, and not because they are regulars of Vintageweave, but because they are excellent at their craft.
{Of particular note is the foamy cappuccino at Little Next Door--honestly as good as the best in Paris.}

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Lady, Madonna, children at your feet..."

What is is about these crusty, war-beaten figures that so many are fascinated with to acquire? Wood, plaster and even cement compose these hand-painted beauties, all ranging from 1880-1940 from France to Spain to Mexico. At Vintageweave we always seem to have a long list of people waiting for more to arrive after each buying trip. For each person, the fascination is different, perhaps more deeply personal. As a raised Roman Catholic, the serenity I see in the face and what they represent is the draw for me.

For others, it isn't a religious draw at all: I have a client who owns a high-end bakery in Beverly Hills. He can't get enough of them and the older and more falling apart the better (these inevitably are the most sought after and more expensive of the lot). I call or email when a new shipment comes in and he races over immediately to pick out the ones he wants. This goes on practically monthly. The kicker? He's not only male but he's Jewish! His girlfriend just shakes her head in confusion. (I tease that he must hide them all in a closet when his mother visits.) He just loves the way they look. Again, the calming face. Religious icons have such a calm to them. I was fortunate enough to hear His Holiness The Dali Lama speak at the Governer's Conference here in California a couple of years ago. His aura was mesmerizing; one I won't soon forget.

There is simply an inexplicable calming presence that surrounds any religious figure, icon or santos. What a lucky world we live in.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Repurposing Antique Linen

I'm often found leaving French Flea Markets and estate sales balancing piles of musty linens in our arms. The bed sheets that are badly soiled are purchased at slightly better prices and the possibilities of repurposing them are endless. We're especially gaga for bed rolls, created completely from scraps and bits of antique linens from Belgium and France. Ties are on each end creating a simple means to remove the covering if washing is needed. {Insider TIP: Always, always, always use BIZ if a stubborn stain exists-never bleach or spot remover on these antique textiles. You can literally soak the area in a bucket for a day or two depending on the level of stain. We buy our powdered BIZ at Target but I've heard it showing up at some supermarkets, too} An ultra luxurious down & feather custom insert adds the necessary panache for your finished bed. {$325-$700}

Vintage French ticking, antique linen sheet topper and antique ribbon, all circa 1880-1940; includes down insert. {$340.00}

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I *HEART* Sharon Osbourne

Major Rule: We don't dish on our celebrity clients. {There are plenty of, websites & blogs for that.}

But every now and then we just have to share: I did a VERY small thing for our client, Sharon. Truly. She in turn did a VERY big thing by surprising me with a most beautiful arrangement of lilacs, roses and more. She is incredibly sweet in person and far too thoughtful from afar. Truly.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grain Sacks


Organic. Eco-friendly. Recycle. Words all on the lips of our clients these days, and antiques fit the bill time and time again. These vintage grain sacks hail from France, England, Romania and Hungary and we simply can not get enough of them! Their rough texture is part of the appeal, but if not preferred this is easily remedied with several washings and plenty of fabric softener. Ohhh but the nubby fabric is just so delicious. Red stripes, blue stripes, maroon, pink, orange, many vegetable dye colors. Most popular as pillows, we've sold them to countless clients thoughout the Country, but have custom-created and shipped them to fans in Norway, Austria and Hong Kong. They make great table runners just as they are, displayed down the middle of a rustic farm table. Some have even used as a laundry bag (Belle of the dorm rooms).

We're especially excited when we pair them them with this vibrant fabric to create this cushion. I created this design for a *very special* Vintageweave client, known as MOM. The red and flax color linen fabric models an antique pattern, but this version is designed by a friend of ours here in California who recreates fabrics. (Click on any photo to take a closer look.) Grain Sack Bench seat cushion: our new favorite! {Custom orders only}.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Treasure Hunter, Born in the Womb

To say I am fascinated with treasure hunting is an understatement.  My sheer obsession started at an extremely early age, surely fed by middle-of-the-road U-turns upon spotting a lawn sale and weekly visits to the local thrift shops when my parents would pile me in the back of a silver VW Bug. While I still visit the ocassional thrift shop, my true love is discovering a roadside brocante or puces in Europe, especially in picturesque France.  My heart races, my palms sweat and my anxiety goes into overdrive....I can't get out of the car fast enough upon eyeing a few bistro chairs lined up along the gravel road (as evidenced on a recent trip outside Saint Tropez where I made the driver crazy by repeatedly yelling "do a u-ey"!).  And if I am lucky enough to be at an actual French flea market with many, many dealers artfully displaying their wares, well throw a winder in my back and set me loose!   Ignoring any blisters that may have formed on my feet, I don't want to chitchat, I don't want to wait in line to ask you questions,  I don't even want to check my blackberry going off every minute....I only want to immerse my eyes in the sea of treasures.

 "I'll take 10 of those, all of these and pray tell what is that sweet linen poking out of the rusted basket over there under that pile of books in the shadow of the truck tire behind the cat's bed, Monsier?"  In my circle it's a well-known fact that I discover the hidden gems which many would never spot or bother to seek out.  

The thrill isn't gone, baby, it's only getting better and better with each journey of discovery.  Glad you're along for the {written} ride....