Summertime’s Winter Elixir

July 24th, 2010 comments 1

These summery green gems are the secret to my favorite winter elixir. Liqueur de Noix or Nocino as it’s called in Italy is at it’s finest during the holiday season and is truly amazing when drizzled over gelato or whisked into custard.

I followed David Lebovitz’s recipe here last year and it was a grand succès as well as deliciously addictive. The ingredients are simple: the not yet developed walnuts, sugar, vodka, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and lemon magically melded with the addition of time.

While searching for my libation’s origins I read that legend claims “that in order to make a ‘divine’ Nocino the walnuts should be picked during the night of the 23rd and the 24th of June by a barefooted virgin who should wait beneath a walnut tree and gather any green walnuts that fall to the ground. If the walnuts remain untouched by anyone but the virgin the nocino will remain pure. If anyone else touches the walnuts however, it will be corrupted. For this reason the night of the 23rd and the 24th of June is known as la notte delle Vergini Scalze (the night of the barefooted Virgins).”

Ok, so that’s in Italy, but in our area of Provence the walnuts are ready now and with sandals on my feet I’m dreaming of cooler weather, a crackling fire and the nutty sweet memory of this very summer’s day.

We Have A Winner!

July 22nd, 2010 comments 3

Thanks to you readers who entered the Two Maisons Giveaway. I enjoyed hearing about your very favorite antiques and discovering some lovely new (to me) bloggers and readers along the way. My random number generator (read: hat with 13 little pieces of paper) has selected the winner of the french market cabas…. and it’s Donna of A Perfect Gray fame! If there’s any chance that you haven’t seen Donna’s blog – which is next to impossible – make sure you pay her a visit. There’s always an inspiring image to brighten a design lover’s day. Thanks again for participating!

Window Shopping

July 17th, 2010 comments 6

nord Ouest Antiquités is worth a visit if you’re traveling to Belgium or the north of France. Today I’m antique window shopping via the web. Their website is a treasure trove of inspiration, display ideas and must haves. They offer email updates of their inventory so it’s easy to shop from a distance. Here are just a couple of today’s loves.

Setting the mood…

I’m a sucker for these…

A wonderfully sized 19th century table de boucher

Period Louis Quinze at it’s finest…

And this…. serious swoon.. I would love to see this hanging in my bedroom. Hmmm…..

Favorite Antiques Giveaway

July 15th, 2010 comments 14

If you had to pick your one favorite antique, your most treasured antique find, what would it be?

I took a stroll through my own house asking myself this very question…

Peeking into armoires, staring at 18th century this’s and 19th century that’s….

Let’s say the house was on fire and I could only grab one thing…

No, scratch the hypothetical fire because my favorite might be too big to carry… this is a perfect example of my propensity to create a problem, which I then attempt to solve to my own satisfaction. Could I ever choose just one?

The answer turned out to be no. There were Two pieces chez moi that screamed louder than the rest. I discovered that it wasn’t a case of provenance, nor was it price, that ultimately spoke to me. It was how those pieces made me feel.

To enter Part Deux of the Two Maisons Giveaway, leave a comment about your own Two favorite antiques and a few words about how they make you feel.

Here are mine:

This oil on canvas fragment hangs above the landing of our stairway. It’s 7 feet tall but easy to roll and tuck under the arm in case of that proverbial fire. I bought it from a friend at the antique fair in Villeneuve les Avignon. I remember my gasp when I saw just the smallest corner with the blue color I can’t resist. I could melt into it. Really I could. If I had to pick one word to describe the feeling it evokes, it would be grace. I don’t know why.

This tiny framed 18th century gem grounds me. My view of time is somewhat unconventional and that includes the calendar. My calendar is roundish, a roundish rectangle. The months fall around this shape as on the face of a clock. July is at the top. May and September are on the shoulders. The mere mention of a month and my mind places it spatially before moving on. Not long ago when I started this blog I came across LeAnn’s gorgeous blog Linen and Lavender. She made a reference to her round calendar and I immediately emailed her recognizing a kindred spirit. Somehow this little solar calendar makes me feel like all is right with the world.

Ok, it’s your turn. Keeping with the theme I’ll select a winner in 7 days. Some lucky someone will receive this oh so French market basket, modeled after the traditional straw cabas, hand crafted in France with a patchwork of vintage hemp fabrics. Perfect for all of your summertime toting needs!

Bastille Giveaway Fireworks!

July 14th, 2010 comments 4

Le quatorze Juillet est arrivé! -a rhyming way of saying that Bastille Day is upon us and as fireworks are exploding in many parts of France, here at Two Maisons the call for celebration is the announcement of the winner of my first Giveaway.
I love hosting a giveaway!

Into the hat went the names….

I blindfolded myself then spun myself around in circles…

And the winner is LeeAnn of the wonderful blog Fabulously French!
Congratulations LeeAnn!

The thing I’ve enjoyed most about this giveaway is meeting other bloggers and followers that have stopped by to say hi so please wander back by tomorrow as Part Deux – the second part of the Two Maisons Giveaway will be announced!


There’s Still Time!

July 13th, 2010 comments 2

There’s still time to throw your name in the hat for the Two Maisons Giveaway. I’d love to meet you and you’ll have a chance to win a lovely petite 19th century silverplate treasure box. You can read about how to add your name right here. l’ll be selecting a winner at the end of the day tomorrow so depechez-vous!

Second Time Around

July 12th, 2010 comments 1

we’re having a heat wave here in Provence so something about this post feels positively absurd…

Yet something feels so easy…

So comfortable…

So recognizable… about fall’s 70’s fashion vibe that the stunning This Is Glamorous posted here.

Then I opened today’s “Story” from Story People aptly titled “Second Choice”:

“you look like someone from the 70’s, I said & she smiled & said that this time around she’d done it by choice & that made it easier”

Perfect… just perfect.

Plum Overlode

July 11th, 2010 comments 7

There’s a wild plum tree in the garden that generously offers morning shade for our table. Generous spirit that it is, we’ve been blessed (burdened?) with so much fruit that I imagine our entire village could make jam from now ’till September and there’d still be plums to spare.

They’re a small plum, the size of a cherry, and they’re plum delicious. The have have just the right amount of sour to balance the sweet. However just one tiny branch has yielded 12 pots of jam so far and there’s only so much jam we can eat or give away. I’m like the friend with the bumper crop of zucchini… pot’s of jam on offer everywhere I go.

The tree is literally groaning under the weight. Oh please, does anyone out there have any other crafty ideas for this bumper crop?  Or better yet stop by and say hi and I promise I’ll only make you take a bushel or two with you when you leave.

The 7 Wonders of Today Giveaway!

July 7th, 2010 comments 14

Today is July 7, the 7th day of the 7th month, and a very special day for me. The number 7 is my lucky number and as luck would have it I see extra icing on today’s cake because today marks the 77th post I’ve made to this newbie blog. In the spirit of the day’s celebration, my wish is to say thank you to all of you out there with a Two Maisons Giveaway!

And it’s not just one Giveaway I have in mind… My second favorite number just so happens to be Two (as in Two Maisons silly…) So there are Two Giveaways in store!

First up: some lucky someone is going to be the recipient of this lovely silver plate treasure box. It’s from the Two Maisons Online Shop. In it’s 19th century day it was a snuff box – my but they had pretty snuff boxes back then… It’s aged to perfection and waiting to cradle your favorite keepsake. There’s a heart on the lid and with that I offer my heartfelt thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

To win this petit tresor, think about the 7 wonders of your day and then leave a comment on this post. Share your wonders or just pinky swear that you gave it some thought (I know… you’re busy…). Make sure that there’s a way I can contact you if you’re posting anonymously and if you’re a blogger and wish to post about the Giveaway, I’ll put your name in the hat Two more times! The lucky 7 winner’s name will be randomly chosen on the 14th (7 plus 7) of July, which is Bastille Day here in France and the perfect day for a celebration! I’ll be posting about the second giveway then, so check back. Good luck everyone and thanks again for stopping by.

Pistou or Pesto?

July 6th, 2010 comments 1

The neighbor's beautiful basil (the vintage cement pot's pretty great too!)

In Provence it’s called pistou and it’s made without nuts or cheese. At which point I rise in protest. What’s the point? But Pistou has it’s place in the local cuisine: basil, garlic, salt and olive oil…. pounded in mortar and pestle to a smooth sauce, then added to soup (of the same name) or drizzled over fish or luscious vine ripe tomatoes. Yes, this fragrant green elixir is a fine culinary friend….

But my basil is threatening to bolt and the pine nuts and Reggiano will not be denied… It’s pesto pour moi ce soir!