Tuesday, April 1

Going Behind the Scenes at Edible Photo Shoot

For stories on Noticing the Beauty of Bread, Industrial Cake Trays and White Space Exploration, scroll down.

My kids, Finnegan and Delphine, recently did a fun photo shoot at the house for an article I wrote in Edible magazine called A Cup of White Space (read the Digital Article or the complete version of Edible Spring 2014 Issue).  Finn said he hopes parents share the story with their kids so they too can fall in love with cooking like he has!  For the photo shoot, we made my mother's signature dish: shrimp curry vol-au-vents.  For dessert, a simple farm style berry galette.  I got this delicious pie recipe from my stylish friend Eve who makes it when friends come over for dinner.  Recipes will be posted next week on the blog.  Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures from the amazing photographer Clay McLachlan to get you inspired to cook with your kids. Bon Appétit!

Noticing the Beauty of Bread
Whenever life feels overwhelming try refocusing your mind away from the To Do lists and noticing something extremely simple.  Could be a child laughing.  Bird flying. Or for me, it was a loaf of fresh baked bread.  My friend and the talented photographer who took the pictures above, Clay McLachlan, is all into Einkorn wheat – which he says will soon revolutionize the bread world. He discovered it while photographing a cookbook with Jovial, the farmers that harvest this ancient grain in Italy.  Last week he dropped off a warm loaf he had just baked. I had to stop myself from spreading butter and jam on it to take these photos. Just by noticing how beautiful the bread was helped me live the rest of my day in the moment.  Thanks Clay!
To find stories on Industrial Cake Trays and White Space Exploration from our April newsletter scroll down to next blog posts.  I hope they inspire you!

Monday, March 31

Industrial Cake Baking Trays

I love our industrial cake baking trays we just got in. I purchased 20 trays from a baker in the Midwest who made a hundred cakes a day (6 are baked per tray in industrial baking ovens). I find them great for organizing things.  Carrying food out to the BBQ or presenting appetizers at a dinner party.  Also, perfect for displaying art - like jewelry (fill bottom first with a base of white rice or pebbles!) or kids art given they are metal and will take magnets.  Better yet, if you love baking, maybe they will inspire you to start your own bakery!  Possibilities are endless.  $65 for one tray with 6 built-in cake tins, measures 26"W x 17"H x 1.5" D, ships UPS ground.  To order and check out other great vintage finds, go to Kitchen section of Online Shop.

Sunday, March 30

White Space Exploration

The other week was my birthday and I had planned to indulge at Cavallo Point spa. Ahhh.  But when I realized my son, Finnegan, was off school for teacher conferences a day at the spa faded away.  Not wanting to spend all day at the playground, we both decided to do a White Space Exploration. That meant finding places that were simple, inspiring, and farm style. 

Our day started at nearby, organic Green Gulch Farm.

Then on the ferry to San Francisco Ferry Building for lunch.

Afterwards, we learned how to properly taste chocolate at TCHO chocolate tasting tour.

We finished off the day relaxing by a marina for dinner at Le Garage (no photos because we were too busy sipping wine and enjoying our food slowly just like the French!)
I hope these photos inspire you to do your own White Space Exploration.

Thursday, December 5

A White Space Thanksgiving

We hosted a big family Thanksgiving this year.  It was super fun and even with all the cooking, I found myself more than ever simply enjoying the moment.  So I wanted to share my White Space tips that worked for me in case you host a large party over the holidays. 

If you like the vintage items in these photo, scroll down after this story to our French Flea Market Holiday Gift post for many more items!
Simple centerpieces are best. I put herbs in recycled Strauss Family Creamery bottles and candles in mason jars down the table.  Then threw fresh cut cherry branches from our garden in galvanized pitchers.  Voila!

Let your children create simple and unique place settings.  Mine used vintage print letters we had at the house for the first letter of each person's name.  If we didn't have a letter, Finnegan just cut one out of paper.  Have your children be in charge of the kids table centerpiece.  My kids made it out of Lego and included Delphine's teepee she made at school that week.  

If you ever need French school house chairs and farm tables, visit our online shop.  It worked out great for me because I could put several tables together to make a long one. Super easy, no stress.
Get new books from the library that cousins or an adult can read to young kids.  My Delphine and Finnegan adore their teenage cousins Brooke and Olivia!

Create a local cheese platter and make sure it's sampled and approved by les enfants!
While we usually have guests hang out in the kitchen at dinner parties, for large gatherings (e.g. over 10 people), I like to create a place with bar stools or chairs for guests to enjoy cocktails so I can finish the food.  For us, its the front porch.  A bench or relaxing area inside is a nice retreat for people to find their own White Space.  Olivia is enjoying some on our farm bench watching sailboats go by on the San Francisco Bay.

Use a long table (or create one with a recycled door and sawhorses) for a side dish buffet.  Use unique vintage platters for serving -- I was too busy talking and drinking to put everything on platters but check out our selection online.

Always have home-made dinner rolls!  My brother's mother-in-law, Mary Lou (former Miss West Virginia!) made them from scratch and is modeling them here with my dashing husband David. We had her rolls sitting by all our window sills an hour before we baked them so they could stay warm and rise. It was hysterical.  As usual, they were the hit of the party, just like Mary Lou.  Serve them on French platters with linen dishtowels and you will dream you were living in a French farmhouse.

Vintage mixing bowls from the flea market are great for large salads.  I am a mason jar girl and always do mason jars to hold beverages.

Have your children be part of the party.  Mine helped make the food (including mashing 10 lbs of potatoes), decorated the table and helped serve the food as beautifully demonstrated by Delphine on my favorite vintage serving dish. 

Always serve my friend Eve Weinsheimer's sloooooow roasted tomatoes!  My brother is loving them.  Cherry tomatoes tosses with olive oil, salt, pepper, diced onion, garlic and fresh herbs of choice.  Cooked at 225 degrees for 4 hours or more.  To die for.

Let a helpful and handsome person (like your husband) be in charge of serving the main dish.  Gives you time to take the apron off, grab your wine and get back into a White Space mindset!
Always save the drumstick for your son.  Its a caveman thing.
Plan a nice walk after the main dish so you can enjoy dessert.  There are no pictures of the countless pumpkin, pecan and cheesecake pies my brother's wife Alison made from scratch because I was too busy enjoying them to take photos!  But they were wonderful paired with coffee from my favorite local coffee shop Cibo who now roasts their own coffee 2 Girl (we love Mary). A perfect holiday gift. 

If you start feeling stressed at any point, stop whatever you are doing immediately and focus your attention on the present moment.  That is my best tip to enjoying your party.  Email me if you want to receive the menu.  Bon Appétit!

Don't forget to give vintage gifts this holiday season.  See ideas in French Flea Market Holiday Gift post below. 

French Flea Market Holiday Gifts

Give thoughtful vintage holiday gifts to people in your life this year to inspire a new creative passion.  And feel good because you are giving back to the Planet by recycling beautiful treasures. 

All items can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and Canada to arrive before Christmas if purchased this week.  Email or call to purchase.  We will confirm all details with you by phone before shipping.  Limited quantities, shop early!

The Meadow painting will inspire someone to slow life down and take walks in nature or motivate a budding artist to keep painting.  Framed $68, 1 available.

Industrial cake baking tins from a baker in mid-west are great for the entertainer or griller to serve appetizers and drinks on or take items back and forth from bbq.  They are also magnetic so perfect for hanging family photos, kids art, or anything from metal clips.  Each panel includes 6 cake rounds that are all attached, $65.

French canning jars for the home chef,  $35.
French wine carriers for the entertainer or wine lover.  Great for doing wine tasting at your next party.  Each one unique, $115.

Tall French jars with lids great for the budding home jam maker.  Or someone that needs time to relax (fill with bath salts and give with a good book for THE perfect present),  $55.
Le Chocolat wall art from a restaurant in Provence, France.  Perfect for the chocolate or sports lover,  $175, 1 available. 

European apothecary jars. Wonderful filled with bath salts or other collections for someone needing more White Space,  9" $55, 10" $75, 13" $95.

French galvanized pitchers are the best gift for the entertainer to throw season branches and flowers in.  Great for a garden lover too,  $75.

We love these stop signs because they work!  Put one in your home or office to remind you to stop and meditate, do yoga, take a walk, sip some tea, or just slow down and enjoy White Space, $60.

Antique French charcoal basket are perfect filled with fresh holly and treats from the local farmers market (or any special gift).  Or place by your fireplace filled with wood.  We also think its the perfect gift for the city girl or boy that dreams of living on a farm on day! $90
Vintage rolling pins for the adult (or kid) baker.  Wood $24, metal $32 (1 available)
Little Maison Reve happiness balls to bring big happiness to someone's day!  Line them in a row on a windowsill or stack on top of one another (flat bottom) to remind someone to stop, breathe and smile during the day. Great for the hardworking coworker or employee to have at their desk.  Made of beautiful solid wood, $20 each.
Colorful shoe horns for a stylish boutique in Paris.  Great inspiration for someone to walk more throughout the day, $14 each, email color preference.
French egg basket for the budding baker or teacher filled with wonderful home baked treats, $55.

Trio of flower milk jars for the budding florist.  Great in a little girls room. Or fill with herbs each week in the kitchen for someone who loves to cook.  Set of 3 with carrier, $32.

Large vintage American flag for the patriot or new US citizen.  Great condition, $120.

French canning jars are perfect filled with love notes, spa treats or honey for the love in your life.  Tall jars, $65.

Cute vintage stepping stool for your little one who wants to be grown up and reach higher places!  $35.  Goat milking stools show in decorating section online $24.

Antique letter trays (originally used to hold metal print letters for newspaper printing) are great for the avid collector, budding writer or jewelry maker (little compartments are perfect to organize all the little jewelry pieces). Approximately 32"w by 20"h, $55.
Large mouth vintage jars from France are wonderful for the entertainer or anyone that loves flowers!  $48

Vintage child size megaphone for the spirited kid (or adult with that can do, positive energy!)  $40
Rare antique dress form from Paris atelier (with Paris stamp on front) is the best gift for someone that loves to sew, craft or make jewelry (items can be pinned right on dress form) $325 1 available.

Lovely perfume bottle from flea market make a nice gift for someone who loves to take baths (fill up with essential oils),  $10 each
Slate tiles from Belgian house roof make great cheese displays (write cheese name with chalk on tile before placing cheese).  Great for the entertainer or cheese lover,  $22.
Pastis 51 jars from Paris restaurant are lovely with a bit of holly for any hostess gift or French lover,  $42.

Antique wooden shoe forms are fun gifts for the woman (or man) that just loves shoes!  Pair of shoe forms with red tip and British shoe form are both $68.  More styles online.

Many more vintage items on Online Shop!  Email or call for more information on an item or to place an order (if you email include phone number for us to call you back to confirm purchase).

Happy Holidays!