Taking your Tea and Having it too

How do you take your anti-oxidants? A fistful of pills that you chug down with your morning coffee, a powder that you liquidate with water? or do you just...not?

A simple and pleasant way to get your free radical avengers is by having a cup of Green Tea. But a simple, pleasant and delightfully refreshing way to get your antioxidants is to turn them into frozen popsicles! Mmm.


I bet frozen green tea would make great granitas too...
A few more suggestions for your tea:


Papier-mâché: Animal Heads

When it comes to fun and whimsy and making something out of nothing,  does it get any better than Papier-mâché? I think not.
French for 'chewed paper', Papier-mâché is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch or wallpaper paste. The traditional method of making papier-mâché paste is to use a mixture of water and flour or other starch, or simply glue (like Elmers), mixed to the consistency of heavy cream. Adding oil of cloves or other additives to the mixture reduces the chances of the product developing mold. You can cut paper into strips or use paper pulp if you like, and soak it in the paste until saturated. Then, start creating! The strips may be placed on an armature, or skeleton, often of wire mesh over a structural frame, or they can be placed on an object to create a cast. If you want to make some kind of rounded object a common thing to do is to lay the strips or to pat the pulp around a balloon. Oil or grease can be used as a release agent if needed. When its all done, let it air dry. If you use an outside heat source it will warp your creation. Once dried, the resulting material can be cut, sanded and painted. The great thing about papier-mâché is that its totally non toxic, so kids can go crazy with it. And you can also make some pretty big things with it, since its so easy to manipulate and its so lightweight.

Our star example of Papier-mâché that we have in the store is this lovable deerhead. It was recently featured in Monica's favorite things. What a classic.

Here are some more papier-mache animals for your viewing pleasure: 


these are made in Haiti, from recycled French books:

Anna Wili Highfield
(maybe more paper than mache, but too beautiful not to include.)

Get the creative juices flowing with these drawings:

and don't be afraid to really loosen up:

Love this beautiful horse:


Postcards from Paris: { v e r s a i l l e s: feeling royal }

It baffles me how I've lived in Paris for a year without indulging in a trip through the Chateau of Versailles. I can't really decide the reason for keeping me away. Perhaps it was the thought of having to journey via the RER, or the unlikely possibility that it would seem overrated. I knew Versailles had a slim-to-none chance that it would fail to live up to it's expectations, but something was keeping me away. Regardless of the reasons, I was in the company of an old friend who wanted to go, and I had no reason not to join. We blended in with the other tourists who hopped on the RER C. We had our cameras and raincoats, and were ready to snap away. Versailles, upon arrival was immediately impressive. It was a matter of entering until I felt overwhelmed with the possible photographs. There are so many details to capture. Gold embellishments, intricate molding that almost seemed edible, portraits of The Sun King made a regular appearance throughout, chandeliers that sparkled amongst the other glittering elements. The difficulty did not lie on getting a beautiful shot, but getting a shot without other intrigued observers lingering through. Not surprisingly, the palace was foot-traffic heavy, with two things in common; curiosity and cameras.
As we slowly glided through the various rooms, one could hardly avoid imagining a life lived within these walls. To think of each ornate, gilded-gold detail becoming lost in routine seems almost tragic, and I think I'd rather be grouped in with the awed-eyed tourists than to live life in a palace with lost appreciation. It's a curious thing how atmospheres either more grand or less grand, make one appreciate the simple things we already have in our lives.
During our walk back to the RER, we all seemed royal for a day.


The Bride's Quilt: a contemporary take

Since my sister’s wedding shower in May, I have been working on a quilt for her.

At her shower, all the guests were asked (okay, instructed) to decorate a white fabric square that we provided with their wishes for my sister as she starts this new chapter in her life. We threw in ribbon and rosettes and appliques and markers and paints and all that sort of thing to give people something to work with.

It’s our modern spin on a traditional wedding gift during colonial times, where family and friends of the intended bride would come together to make a quilt for her. With each one constructing a block, many hands made fast work and soon they had enough blocks to piece together the quilt top. Many times they initialed their work in the corner of their block.

This is an example of what people came up with:

So all the quilt squares have been gathered together (stupidly I still have to make mine), and now I am starting to sew them into rows, then I'll sew all the rows together and start working on the binding.

I’m doing the Around the World pattern, which you can modify pretty easily according to what you want to do.  The inner diamond will have the squares of mothers and grandmothers and aunts, the outer diamond will have the squares of more family and friends. The corners of the quilt and tips of the diamonds will have the squares of bridesmaids.  

I’ve been going fast a furious on this thing, checking my math and periodically laying out the rows to make sure I don't have two decorated fabric squares that look too similar lying too close to each other.

I'm working off this diagram I did up for myself, using it for planning where everything will go, notes about the next steps I need to take,  and early on for all the math I had to do to see how much fabric of each color I would need. I don't have much left over at all, meaning my math was exceptional (!!) 

The center square (25 on the diagram) is pink with a heart containing the fabric of my wedding dress, my mom’s wedding dress and now, my sister’s. Its always nice to incorporate something like that, its one of the bonuses when you do things yourself - you can do it your way completely. When all is said and done it will measure roughly 7 feet square. Here's a look at how its shaping up.

 Its been a long road for me, getting my sister married; coralling her friends together for the spa / casino bachelorette weekend, then losing a few G's at the blackjack table, flying into New York 20 times in the last month, dipping into bloomies the day before the shower to find the registry nearly wiped clean…woof. I still have to write my maid of honor speech and now I’m on sewing detail everyday after work...But hey, can you ask for anything more?


What's in a Book?

lots of delicious food...

 Shelby Massey, a creative here at Paris Market, recently made the Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake, (from Southern Cakes) and kindly brought it in for us all to try. (I was half way through before I realized I was consuming a potential photo op) It was delicious --- fresh blueberries made it so sweet and the cake had the perfect amount of buttery cakiness. A delightful treat to have when you hit late afternoon and you still have a million things to do.  Plus, she got it to look exactly like the picture too, so she gets extra points for that too. There is really nothing better than having a little bit of cake at work. Thanks Shelby! I'll have to get going on what I'll be baking for the troops here. Perhaps I'll take a crack at my 98 years young, (Savannah born and raised, mind you) spitfire grandmother - in- law's recipe for Hummingbird Cake. Just reading the title has my mouth watering.... 

The recipe for the scrumptious Shenandoah Valley Blueberry cake can be found in,

ah books, what tasty wonders await us.


A Few of Our Favorite Things

 A Few of our Favorite Things
Monica Lynch

Monica Lynch, graphic designer and resident goofball, this Paris Marketeer is also the creator of Lettie Briggs Letterpress, a small press on hand (currently downstairs) making custom creations just for you. Here are a few of her favorite things:

1. Cuddle Pillow, 2. Hand Knotter Cabinet w/ inset of interior, 3. Vintage books from France, 4. Vintage Wood Spindles w/ Red Yarn, 5. Red Alphabet Glass Tray, 6. Papier Mache Deer Head, 7. "100 Legendary Trunks - Louis Vuitton" 8. Hey, Thanks! letterpress card, 9. Lafco Den Candle

a predilection for bright reds and earthy browns it would seem...


Currently Hearting Bookshelves: lovers of books and the way they look

some bookshelf feasting for you...

                                                                                                                        photo:  So Much ToTell You
                                                                                                                               photo:  Elements of Style
                                                                                                                                                photo: lilolia
                                                                                                                                        photo: BookishNYC

last but not least, give it up for The Strand in NYC:
 "Home of Eighteen Miles of New, Used, Rare, and Out-of-Print Books"

If that's still not enough and you need more bookshelf love, 
then check out this link ---> Bookshelf (you will love it.)

Happy Reading and Happy Weekend!


Keep Close to your Cloche

...ooh ooh ooh, what a little cloche can do for you... 
French for "bell", there is no limit to what you can do with cloches. Traditionally used to protect early garden plants from cold temperatures, you can also use them to induce the right ones.
                                                                                                                photo credit: ItsAboutTime
Using a traditional bell shaped cloche or one of our large glass funnels, (see below) you can make a happy little home for the delicate orchids in your life. An enclosure like this will provide a nice amount of humidity, and with a little space (literally) to breathe, they will really thrive.
                                                                                                                 photo credit: StyledOn, Kaboodle,
But you can use a cloche for anything that is special and precious to you that you would like to be treated as special and precious; use a cloche for a particular treasure (or treasures) that you would like to call attention to or be reminded about as you go about your day...statues of angles, small taxidermy, butterflies, pictures...there's no limit.
some more ideas...
                                                                                                                             photo credit: 15Gifts
photo credits: l-r, from top:  MaidofHonor, MarthaStewart, cozy litttle house, Peacock Feathers, SuperFineBakery
There are also some interesting ideas for cloches and other enclosures over at Twig. They create miniature memory terrariums out of cloches and funnels, and even light bulbs. Pretty cool. So have fun with your cloche! For decorating and living with your treasures, it gives you the perfect amount of permanence / impermanence. You can leave it alone forever or change it as often as you want quite easily. An inspired person’s dream design tool.
                                                                                                                                                                                             photo credit: parismarket


Postcards from Paris: {The game of pétanque}

Image from Wikipedia

The players of pétanque normally consist of older French men. Dressed not much different than the players of the past. Buttoned-up shirts which are normally tucked into beige slacks, some still sport a newsboy type cap, white hair usually adds to the charm, and every now and again a fellow can be found holding a Pastis. It's a rather charming notion imagining these older men figuring out a time and place to meet to play some pétanque. Though it's a game more associated with provençal living, I sometimes come across a series of little matches occurring in Paris. Usuallly in parks with dirt squares. Whenever I discover these little gatherings I can't help but pause, linger and imagine myself in a different era.

Snacking with Susie

Eat. Sail. Love. (yes, in that order)
We’re starting up a new segment we’re calling, "Snacking with Susie" But before I get into it, let’s go back. Meet Susie Brown, Chef extraordinaire and spunky Barista here at the Paris Market. She does about 5 million things before she even gets to work, and she still gives you that shot in the dark with a dash of wit and a twinkle in her eye.

Susie is a completely self-taught creator of food delights, starting out as a short order cook on a dayboat. Cooking for 70-80 people out at sea on fishing expeditions taught her a few things about flavor and expediency, (which came in handy later on in her career as a caterer).  After dayboats, she jumped to small sport-fishing yachts, preparing round the clock meals for 4-6 passengers out on their Blue Marlin adventures. She made her home in San Diego three months out of the year, and the other nine she was out docking off the tip of Baja, at Cabo San Lucas (Cabo San Lucas!) Susie met her husband, Chris, in San Diego, who worked on a different boat at the time, and soon the sea faring duo were working in tandem, steering and stirring the oceans together...

                                                                    photo courtesy: Animal Photos

Luckily, Susie is now on board at The Paris Market, delivering food delights daily, trying out recipes in our cookbooks, giving cooking classes and giving us all that occasional tip that can so often make or break a dish. I did one of her cooking classes in May and they are a lot of fun. And very tasty.

Today, she brought in blueberry and lemon zest scones, baked fresh this morning, which I was seriously thinking about last night in anticipation. They were a real treat - fresh blueberries gave the perfect amount of sweetness, the lemon zest, a nice mellow twang; and the texture and taste was just right with my morning coffee.

 So come on over, the scones are ready and the coffee made...
For the recipe: Ginger Scones by Nancy Silverton from the La Brea Bakery in LA


A Few of Our Favorite Things

 A Few of our Favorite Things
Christina Giddens

Store manager, photographer and the go-to-girl for all things Paris Market, Christina holds the happy but swirling storm of people, places, things and ideas calmly in the palm of her hand -- focusing our fun loving energies into the creative force that is The Paris Market. And here are a few of her favorite things:

1. Folding metal chandelier, 2. Paper Illusions, The Art of Isabelle Borchgrave, 3. cleaning tools: horsehair handbrush, petite dot duster, goat hair furniture brush, 4. Mounted butterflies in vintage wood frame, 5. Lady Gray Metal Box, 6. Letter from Airman postmarked 1945, 7. old Belgium schoolbooks; vintage stamps, 8. Silverized glass pharmacy jar, 9. Dry goods jar, 10. oil painting from France, 11. floral chintz china saucer.
what are a few of your favorite things?