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Friday, June 3, 2011



La petite boutique de perles is the french translation for The Little Shop of Pearls, my new Etsy online shop.  Currently, I am working to bring french inspired handmade items as well as other second hand accessories that have been stored away and ready for new homes.

The history of pearls is an interesting one and in part explains why I decided to use the word pearls in the name of my new shop. Perles are formed within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk and is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. It is hard to find a perfect pearl and no one pearl has exactly the same form, just as each item that is handmade is not the same. There is something perfect in things that are not perfect, with each handmade item being unique, and surprisingly different each time it is made.

Interestingly enough, the word pearl was borrowed from the french word perle.  Because of my love of all things French and because pearls (perles) are never formed in exactly the same shape or form, like handmade items, I choose the name La petite boutique de perles for the name of my shop.

I hope that you will check back regularly for the grand opening and giveaway to kick off my new shop.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Cheery Regards

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Jardinière is a French word, from the feminine form of "Gardner." Jardinière has three meanings:
  1. The first meaning of jardinière is also a large stand, pot, urn, or receptacle upon which, or into which, plants may be placed. Jardinieres tend to be highly decorative. They are often used for: a garden accent element; for large plants; and for raised culinary and herb gardens
  2. The second meaning of jardinière is a culinary term, meaning a dish that is cooked or served with a mixture of spring vegetables, such as peas, carrots, and green beans.
  3. The third meaning of jardinière, in French, is a name for the golden ground beetle, the European Mole Cricket and other species of beetles attacking plants in kitchen gardens.

With spring in the air and everyone getting their gardens ready for the summer, I thought I would post some beautiful garden urns and some very unusual stepping stones.

Tuffits are concrete stepping stones that mimic the look and charm of vintage accent pillows.  Each stone is a 13" diameter and weighs 12-14 pounds.  Pigment is mixed into the concrete so that the color won't chip to show gray concrete.

Each tuffit is hand crafted in Petaluma, CA and comes in a beautiful palette of garden colors. (I personally love the lilac one)  For more information check out their website

All images of the urns are from the website New England Garden Ornaments and can be viewed here

19th century, English cast iron urn, campana form with handles ending in masks.

Old cast stone urn and planter, well weathered and mossy. From an estate in Norfolk MA 

A magnificent urn or finial modelled after a Coade Vase circa 1780. 

Part of the Robert A.M. Stern Collection

A large, elegant tazza with elaborately interlaced ribbonwork decoration around the bowl.

Rococo urn decorated with vines terminating in two goats heads with lead horns.

These magnificent urns were designed by John van Nost, the elder, in 1700 for William lll's palace at Hampton Court.

Simple ovoid bowl on square base.

Large Adam Urn

A very elegant Georgian urn with formal floral and lion-head decoration. Haddonstone was commissioned to restore the original urns at Margam Orangery, South Wales, as part of the British project for the 1975 European Architectural Heritage Year.

Goes well with the Ribbon pedestal, nicely proportioned

Large plain bowl also suitable as a fountain.

I love all of these and would have a very difficult time selecting a favorite.  Each urn has a perfect place in someone's garden.  How about you, which one would you take home?

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I love hydrangeas and I especially love them after they are preserved.  I have found a tried and true method of drying them.  There are several ways which this can be done.  I never had much luck with air drying them...removing the leaves along the stem bundling 5 or 6 of them together and hanging them in a cool, dry place.  Or, drying them upright in a vase with a few inches of water, out of direct sunlight waiting until the water has evaporated then adding more water, repeating the process until you feel the blooms are sufficiently dry.

The method I prefer and had very good luck with was with glycerin and water. This process makes the blooms more soft and supple to the touch, and it helps to preserve the shape of the bloom longer.

By following these easy steps you will have a gorgeous dried hydrangea:

1.  Gather the hydrangeas blooms keeping in mind that the length of the stems
     need to be about 18 inches or under and while it is tempting to try to dry
     those full, lushly colored hydrangea blooms mid-summer, it is best to allow
     them to mature on the shrub before you cut them.  Fresh blooms tend to wilt
     and turn brown ( this is what happened to me, bummer)!

2.  You can tell that they are ready because as they age, they will turn either
     green/pink in warm climates, or blue/purple in colder areas, and their texture
     is paper-like rather than soft.  (I should have taken a photo of how they look
     when they are picked too early)  Cut the stems at a right angle and crush the
     ends with a hammer.  This will help with the uptake of the solution.

3.  In a vase mix a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part glycerin.  You can find
    glycerin at Walmart in the pharmacy or your local pharmacy.  Now the way this
    works is that the water and the glycerin are drawn through the stem of the
    plant and the water evaporates through the petals leaving the glycerin.  Glycerin
    will turn the petals a rich, golden brown which is a more natural look but you
    can add a small drop of dye to the solution.  Add your hydrangeas to the vase
    and in two to three weeks you will have a beautiful bouquet of summer
    hydrangeas to enjoy through the fall and winter.

Info from: P. Allen Smith Garden Home-edibles Berry, The Berry family of nurseries.
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