Saturday, May 19, 2012

Inspiration Now

Sorry to be so scarce around the blogosphere lately.  You guessed, it I have been really, really busy!  My newest order of baskets arrived from Morocco a few days ago, and with some preparation, orders are ready to ship starting Monday.  I have also undertaken some rather ambitious projects around the house and garden and had a series of lovely houseguests, which have all kept me away from the blog as well as the computer.  Some publishing projects and styling of farmers markets and a lot of farmers’ booths have needed a lot of my attention as well.  Personally and professionally, I have been going in high gear, and though I have started a handful of blog posts, I don’t seem to be able to finish them lately.

As I look at the product of my efforts, I can’t help but feel that things are moving in the right direction.  Can I show you a little of what I have done?~


There has been a nice circle of energy lately with what I have created and what is inspiring me.  Here for the new Encinitas and established Rancho Santa Fe market, a few rustic French baskets from my personal collection showcase the best of the market each week, at least according to yours truly….I have improved on this concept since this pic was taken, promise to show you soon, but the signage has improved and customers are really responding~


I have a handful of farmers each week now coming to me to ask if I can restyle their booths.  This is a worth a longer post….  but I love it when farmers figure out that natural materials + enticing displays can replace plastic crates + astroturf and = in an increase in sales~ 


Even in Rancho Santa Fe last week, where I sold the garlic for Ben (and bought braids for all of you who asked!), everyone loved the garlic piled up in the vintage crates, with fresh garlic from Sage Mountain on top.  I brought a dozen roasted garlic heads to show and discussed garlic all day, super fun for me~


Among my inspirations, I have to say the tones of lavender and purple are key…see how the garlic in the photo above goes so well with this blooming artichoke from Berumen Farms here at Encinitas~


As well as with the fresh cut lavender from Keys Creek Farm in Valley Center.  Nothing beats the fragrance released by a simple candle surrounded by fresh cut lavender in a large hurricane shade or vase~


I use most of the stems and leaves at this point, until everything dries out.  I have also been selling a lot of custom pillow covers lately using my French dishtowels and custom fillers using 75% down and feather and 25%+ lavender.  I am almost out of lavender buds again…..time to go to France (July) for more….but if you can add any fresh or dried lavender to your pillows this summer, I love it for a little pillow fragrance and a sound sleep….not to mention for a dinner party~


One of the by-products of my booth styling has been a generous supply of free produce.  This 3 litre jar of apricot jam I made this week will last us the winter, I hope, though for now the warm color and fragrance in the kitchen was a warm welcome for guests (who left with smaller jars)~


Natural materials and especially vintage crates are a theme woven throughout all of my recent projects.  My latest love? These vintage 1949 crates, weathered to a lovely blue-grey.  And what a great name for a farm or project, right?~


Yesterday, with great regret, a very old Eucalyptus tree adjacent to our property was cut down as it had become compromised and died.  This tree was documented as being grown by seed and planted by the man who built our home in 1923.  Rather than cry over its demise, I recycled what I could of her into my own garden.  Sitting on top of the hill now I have five of these discs, each 3 feet in diameter and about 6” high.  They weigh a ton, and Monday my gardener Adan and I will figure out how to move them.  Inspiration….most definitely~!


Next to the discs are these pieces, also for me.  These two trunks are less then 3 feet in diameter, but they weigh too much to move as they are.  Another problem to solve~


Meanwhile, I have other projects that need attention.  This are 100 feet of washed burlap sitting on the drive, ready for one last wash and then a press then off to San Diego for an farmer’s order~


And this week, I went to R’s house to help prepare for a garage sale we had today.  In the pile, his very old leather Moroccan pouf which I have long admired, which now has a split in it.  Garage sale?  No way, it’s going to be deconstructed and repaired and may not ever return to his house…haha….


Poufs continue to be hot business.  If you don’t know the Privet House line Chez Target, be sure to check these out…not exactly a bargain at $79 – $159 new~

Privet pouf

I prefer the old tooled leather to the new stuff, what about you?~


With crates or poufs, it’s important to price shop and to know what you like and value, vintage versus new.  Each has a place, for me, but know your prices; $35 for this Privet House crate versus $10+ for the vintage ones, if you can find them~

privet crate

There are other Privet House things I’d snap up if I could find them…how about these double old fashioned glasses, aren’t they cool, and will go great with vintage, right?  Oh, but they are acrylic, so not me, tant pis~

privet hhouse OF

How about you, what is inspiring you now? 


  1. Absolutely beautiful work my friend. I cannot wait to once again have a kitchen where I will hang up my garlic and create lavender hurricanes.
    Until then it's toast every morning.
    You are such a blessing to me. :)

  2. Miss you Dear Andrea! The Moroccan pouf is wonderfully unique I adore it!! The cuts for that tree are so very meaningful!

    The way you style your neighbors stalls at the market makes a huge difference.

    So excited about receiving the bag soon, now that your order is in!! Lets talk more about a giveaway!

    2012 Artist Series featuring the Gifted Decorative Painter Theresa Cheek

    Art by Karena

  3. Definitely an inspiring post! I spend every Sunday morning at the Los Gatos organic Farmer's Market. The highlight of my week. I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and I'm so glad to find another soul who prefers things with personality and history. I don't think I'm capable of buying plastics.
    Good luck with all your projects.
    SF Bay Area

  4. Hi Andrea, this post is so good to see, yes the visual merchandising of anything at all, is so important to it's acceptance and appreciation, and finally sale! I worked as a visual merchandiser for years in retail, and what you are doing with produce is beautiful....telling a story, and detail is so important as well, and finding the right props essential ! You have been busy, Andrea! I am currently totally immersed in gardening, and dealing with a renovation in our home....looking forward to being able to get back to normalcy soon! N.xo

  5. I was beginning to realy worry...check your emails...What do the French dates look like this year...Have send many email??? I have 2 weeks before LaBelle France for the summer. a trest bientot, answer, answer, answer!

  6. Loved this post... so inspiring... what inspires me lately is my rose garden... making a room look old and weathered with paint... and old bottles... that I can decoupage and make into small works of art.

    Thank you for your blog!


  7. Hello Andrea,
    Always great to see what you are up to.I can fully believe your creative touch at the markets
    brings a lot of inspiration to both happy sellers and shoppers. At the same time I believe you also get immense joy and pleasure out of doing it! thank you for sharing with us, best wishes
    Colette- Afrique du Sud xx

  8. As you know, I'm very envious of your glorious market! Ours are just starting up around here but they are lacking. The garlic braids are beautiful and I love your idea and use of lavender. I'll be borrowing that one next time I come upon some fresh lavender.

    You sound very busy but just as happy!

  9. I would need a big big bag to hold all those fabulous goodies! I have never seen a blooming artichoke! Oh, gorgeous!

  10. Well, right now YOU are inspiring me - as always.
    Love love the display with the fresh veggies spilling out onto the burlap table. For sure makes me want to run over to that booth vs. those plastic crates.
    I almost always prefer vintage. The funny thing is, my house is very modern. I suppose I feed my vintage addiction when buying for my shop :)

  11. Well that's what you've been getting up to. No wonder I can't contact you via Skype or email - a new role as a talented stylist ! I love the farmer's displays, the best at market basket, and the garlic - so enticing and very artistic.
    I hope your garden is coming together.

  12. Absolutely gorgeous! I love a good display at the farmers market. I hope all is well, missed hearing from you..


  13. We need some news