Thursday, July 24, 2014

More than just a French vintage shopping trip!


When my friend Kim asked me to do a guest post on her blog I was happy to have a reason to come back here to the old blog and do a quick post!
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How is your summer going mes amis?  I am so happy to be doing this post for my dear friend Kim Hites about our up-coming tour in the fall.  I remember how I felt at this time last year-- it was a melange of excitement and anticipation and a tiny, tiny bit of nervousness....  I was excited to be seeing Kim again and so thrilled to be working with her to provide our first annual French Vintage Shopping Tour.

Now we are quickly moving towards the next tour which is coming up in September.... and again-- I cannot wait!  We have so many flea markets and brocantes on the schedule to explore and a packed schedule of stops to our favorite shops and villages all around Normandie.



What treasures will we find?!

I have to tell you -- the other part of Kim's tour with us that I truly love is the visit to our private home and farm, Rabbit Hill.  We have lived in this 17th century farmhouse in a pretty little town for just a year this April ... a year filled with projects and settling in and it is our 'maison de rêve'....


This was a photo of our home this summer... We raised our American flag to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandie D-Day invasions.

Last year the gals came over for a very French lunch that took most of the day.... and this year in addition to a traditional (read long and relaxed!) French lunch there will be a private barn sale full of vintage items, furnishings and decor elements at barn-sale prices!



Not certain yet what will be on the menu-- Maybe I will let Kim chose her favorite French dish!  I cannot wait to have Kim's group at my home and in my kitchen this September!


Here is another fun addition for this year.  We have just finished a barn room 'renovation'... and we hope to have our lunch in this charming and glorious space that is currently serving as a harvest and drying room for 'Rabbit Hill Lavande'  my new farming endeavor this summer!


My long solid piece table (a French work table that is about 15 feet long and seats up to 16) has finally found a place (where it fits!) at Rabbit Hill.  Perfect for meals with family and friends!

Besides lunch and the barn sale there will be a chance to meet a few of the .... a-hem... "family members" of Rabbit Hill.  



The timing is tricky to meet 'the ladies' who are the tenant cows on the farm and by September they are all (all 12 of them) in their last month of pregnancy.  The field is just one BIG maternity ward!

So many wonderful things in the works... non?!?  So happy to share a little sneak peek with you! Interested in being a part of Kim's tour?  Contact her here for information:  


Hope you are having a lovely summer friends!  

You can meet Kim and find out lots of information about her tour at www.KimberlyHites.blogspot.com  Go on over and say 'Bonjour'!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy July! The shop is OPEN!


Happy July!  

Announcing the addition of Rabbit Hill Lavande to the shop this month!  Hope you can pop over.  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The shop is {almost} open!


I am excited to share with you some of the wonderful items I purchased in Provence last month for the June 1st shop pop-up that begins in just a few hours!








Vintage items, linens and clothing, home goods and decor .... something for everyone.

The shop opens today Saturday May 31st at 3pm PST and 6pm EST and you can find it on the main site www.SundayBrocantes.com under the shop tab.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roads that lead to change ...


If you are like me, travel brings new perspective.  I used to travel quite often for business all over the United States and time in a plane or a hotel always lent to clear thinking.  I suppose it is the by-product of being in a new place and without the usual distractions; children, home.... cats and dogs and chickens. (Except that I didn't have chickens back then... I didn't even dream of having chickens... or living in France...).


We just returned at the end of last week from a short trip down to Provence.  I bet France is a bigger country than most assume-- the drive from Normandy to the northern parts of Provence is about nine hours.  So there was plenty of thinking time--even while absorbing the different colors, light and textures than what I am used to in Normandy.  (I also realized on this trip that although I could quickly become enamored with the hills, olive and fruit groves and architecture of the south, my visual heart is stuck in Normandy countrysides.)

Not to say that this area of Provence is not spectacular ...



Before leaving on this trip, which was a little business and a big dose of leisure, I found myself more often than not in a tangle of decisions about what to try creatively next and how to refine the things that I am already doing.  Top of the list in that area is blogging.

I began blogging ten years ago.  At the time I was very reluctant about it.  Putting a personal 'diary' on the web was daunting.

My first blog was about my son.  He had been diagnosed with Autism and we had just began the journey that would rock our world.  I had to express it.  Posts were sometimes raw, always heartfelt and on a good day--poetic.  Eventually, I believe they were encouraging and triumphant.  That first blog that I wrote consistently for four years became a published work in 2010.  (By the way--that blog was so close to my heart that I disabled 'comments' so that I could just write freely--and it was probably some of the best writing I have ever done.)

 Ten years ago blogging in my opinion was much more about pure writing and 'journaling'  and much less (if at all) at that time about linking, sharing, liking, networking, promoting, commenting, critiquing, contests and give-aways, advertising ... and the quality of posts was not determined by the number of comments/followers/friends that one has--which is the criteria for success that now dominates the social networks.

The next blog was about our move to France and hence called 'Fil de la Vie'... or road of life.  The first part dealt with the departure from a dear hometown and friends and family and then went on to describe the challenges of moving to a new country; the barriers and hurdles of immigration, having a baby in a 'foreign country' and finally about finding home. I even took a stab at writing a food blog--but my flaw is that I create from my head and without measurements and a good food blog requires exact instructions for the reader to create the dish.

My blogging as a vintage seller for my business, Sunday Brocantes began in 2011 and was initially to share about flea market and brocante adventures and I faithfully posted for the 3 years I had an Etsy shop.  When I left Etsy to continue the shop from my personal website--my writing changed.  That was about a year ago when we found Rabbit Hill and I had started to write less about vintage shopping and more about life lessons and topics that pulled on my heart or inspired me.




Still with me?  Here we are today.  When I was in Paris--a friend pointed to a small sign in a stationary store that stated "Write Books.... Not Blogs".... that phrase stuck with me---as the challenges of being a 'true' blogger were already bouncing around in my mind.  I have not been happy with the formula of blogging for a long time.  After meeting and chatting with 'professsional bloggers' I realized that blogging has not been a good fit for me.  Writing is my passion---sharing photography is a close second (some days in the lead).  Linking, networking, guest blogging, selling and promoting via a blog platform... is not me.  

I know and am friends with people who blog--and do so fabulously.  Blogging has allowed me to meet bloggers that I would never have known.  These people are the first to admit that it takes a huge amount of time to post, link, get sponsors, build your followers..... I am in awe of those that can do it.  But the time that all of that takes--for me, would be better spent elsewhere...... and I found for me that I was being critical of myself (even if I loved a post) if no one commented and even if it got 100's of 'hits'.... Self doubt is an inspiration killer and I would post less and less.

I also feel that we are all so challenged to regularly follow a blog, so I do get that there is even less time to write a sincere comment.... I am the first to admit that there are very few blogs that I have time to read... even if I really want to.

Forgive my honesty and I hope not to offend anyone with this---but blogging to get approval via 'likes' and comments--makes me cringe.  A good post is not about quantity of comments... it is about sharing what is in my heart and the blessing that it might be helpful or touch someone else for a minute or two of their day...  Imagine if every book ever written had a place for comments after each chapter... I think there would be far less writers.  Yet the only 'comments' that matter come from the editor and publisher.



Not that you even have time to read this entire post--(but hey--if it is going to be the last one--I should make it worth it!) --one of my favorite writers Anne Lamott had more than a few really perfect words about writers and criticism and what kills the passion, changing directions and people pleasing... Read it here.  The worst thing for me--was that the 'hang-ups' I had about blogging (or blogging 'correctly'-- ie regularly with scheduled topics of interest, linking and guest blogging and fielding guest blogging requests.... ) was keeping me from doing what I should have been focusing on.....

My passion is writing and photography--my children, the residents of the farm--the "French Guy"..... FOOD.... creating.... and all of this I love to share with anyone who wants to come along.  But I don't find blogging via a blog site like 'Blogger' can serve all of those things and areas in the way that I want.

... A slice of life, a funny story, a heartache or a life lesson---a recipe or inspiration--a corner of our home that makes me happy and comfortable... a picture of a cow or a chicken.

That is how I started in blog-world... and that is why I am moving on.  Above is what I plan to share... and keep sharing.  So this is my last post here.  I will be dedicating my time and passion to creating a 'carnet' (a French workbook).... my 'carnet' on www.SundayBrocantes.com will be all about the above and you can 'flip through it' like you would a magazine--with new content as I am inspired---there will be 'recipes' for food inspiration, life on the farm, things I am learning and challenged by, glimpses of our home 'Maison Rabbit Hill' and the French lifestyle... 

... and a lot of writing about GRACE... because grace is how all of this happens.

In lieu of 'commenting on posts' I plan to create more of a guest book where you can pop in, introduce yourself and leave a note---because I love the idea of chatting and sharing ideas...

So there it is.  I am not sure how long it will take to get everything going--but keep checking back {HERE} to see how it all comes together--under the tab-- "Le Carnet"....

In the meantime---find me over on Instagram--and Facebook. (Links on sidebar) And of course---the monthly SHOP openings will continue as usual... the next one is on June 1st and will feature items purchased in and inspired by Provence.

Merci mes amis!  Thank you for listening and for those who have been with me here for the last 4 years.... (or the full 10!)  This was not an easy post to write or decision to make---but I am excited about the new roads ahead.  I hope you come along.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Four Days in Paris... {and the shop is OPEN!}

Late last fall my chere amie let me know that she might be coming to France for a wedding in Brittany in April.  The wedding was only a few hours from our home at Rabbit Hill in Normandie so you can imagine that I was thrilled to get this news!  Even more so (I would say "completely over the moon") to hear that there was a chance of a girls get-away in PARIS.....

But it was winter--and it seemed so far away.  Admittedly I am one of those conservative types that doesn't allow oneself to get to giddy too far in advance of a potential event... not that I am a pessimiste--it's just that I know plans can change and sometimes do.  So as the time got closer and plans were firmed up--the anticipation caused me a few nights of no sleep--it was all just too good to be true.

I was lucky (read---blessed beyond belief!!!) to have four days in Paris with this gal and two new amies... lots of laughter, girl talk, good food, a bit of shopping--and walking.  WALKING.  

W-A-L-K-I-N-G.  





The tip of the Eiffel Tour from the roof top terrace.
We stayed in an apartment in the 6th.  It was located perfectly to explore and I think we covered it all from the 1st to the 14th... but the best part of the weekend took place 80 steps up--on what felt like the 100th floor of the apartment building because there was no lift---just a twirly, twisty narrow spiral staircase... 




Did I mention that we walked everywhere?!  One of the gals is a Paris expat of 10 years and knew her way around.  We also ventured on the metro, a bus and the much need and sometimes tres cher--taxi!

When it was a bit rainy (we got drenched at the Port de Vanves flea market---Quelle dommage!) we shopped in covered passageways... we hit tea shops, kitchen stores, book shops, boutiques, the famous 'Merci' ...
... and my favorite a Southern France goods 'epicerie'.




And the BEST part? ...the best part was spending time doing not too much at all, with coffee or a glass of wine in hand--talking about anything that came to mind (and yes--we all shared birth stories--why does that always happen when girls get together?!) 

In all--our group was an American/Canadian an Australian/French and a Brit/Italian and me--the American/French--(so you should have heard the accents!)

Missing them all already--but it will be an annual event.  Everything just the same--the four of us, Paris... food, fun, shopping... except perhaps--the slight addition of an elevator.  That would be nice.

If you follow me on Instagram (Cat_in_France) --you probably saw (perhaps too many) pictures of the weekend.  But if not--we all shared under the tag '4dauphin2014'.... 

Now back home on the farm-- and the rabbits are plentiful--the cows are muddy and the chickens are broody... ah reality.

And---the shop is OPEN!  Stocked with a few of the lovely things I found in Paris. Just for today and tommorow!  Hope you can pop over and take a look!


Back soon mes amis! 

Hope you are having a wonderful week!



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The shop is {almost} open! Happy MAY!


Bonjour MAY!  The shop opens in just a few hours.  

This opening has been both fun and challenging to get ready for!  Fun in that I was able to do a bit of shopping for it this past weekend in Paris-- and challenging in that because I spent a long weekend away in Paris I had about 48 hours to shoot ALL of the new vintage items for the shop--and work on the listings.... (while I was single-parenting the teen and the three year old while French Guy was away on a business trip in the South of France.)

You play.  You pay.  The weekend in Paris was 100 million percent worth doing the crunch to get the shop open.  Can't wait to share just a peek of it with you soon.  I love Paris--I love even more spending time with dear friends--old and new.

And I love coming home -- to energetic children, funny cows, brooding chickens and that French Guy who as of two days ago--I have been married to for NINETEEN years.  Wow.

So pop over and take a look.  A few items coming to you straight from Paris--and many more from my home in Normandie.

Happy May mes amis!

Click {HERE} to shop!  

12 midnight France, 3 PM PST and 6PM EST.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Joyeuses Paques!


I said I would be back to do an Easter post--after I decided not to add it on to the end of yesterday's post.  It didn't seem right just to tag it on the end because of the importance of Easter.  I miss living in the states and having a home church.  We were blessed to have two exceptional pastors in our life while on the West Coast and when living in the Pacific Northwest.... and I plan on listening to the Easter service in a few days on-line.  Once again ... technology is a huge blessing.

We went to French Guy's parents for lunch today.  It was lovely.  The day was sunny (yet again!) but chilly.  Easter weekend weather is traditionally dicey, isn't it?  You never know if you will be able to wear the new white sandals or be reaching for the extra sweaters (or snow shovels!)


So just brief thoughts this evening.  Les enfants  have no school tomorrow. In France it is the Monday after Easter Sunday as a holiday and not 'Good Friday' before ...  the only other big Easter difference I can think of is that it is much more themed with Easter CHICKENS than Easter bunnies.  Which is fun---because we are chicken people---(but then again we do live on Rabbit Hill.)

Someone reminded me that had Christ decided to 'save himself' and call down 1000's of angels to spare him from the public and painful death---where would we be today?  Living lives without hope... most likely having lives of that are much different---no assurance for the future. 

 Instead we do have HOPE, blessings and lives of purpose.... and JOY.  I am eternally grateful that Easter happened exactly as it did.


Happy Easter mes amis.  No matter how you celebrated-- I wish you the hope and joy that God's sacrifice and promise gives.

See you again soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friends and One Year at Rabbit Hill

If I have discovered one thing lately--it would be that I am not a great steady blogger.  Even when I design a weekly themed topic--I end up going off the path when 'real-time' daily life takes over.  (And I just don't think that is a bad thing.) It's not because writing and sharing is not on my mind .....

Living in 'real-time' has been a priority. Family life which is been spent in glorious moments mostly outside for the past month--has taken the highest priority.  Pushing 'Petite Fille' on the swing---or wrangling her away from relentlessly chasing the chickens--may be what is sucking up my blogging time---although I can't say for sure.





FRIEND time---was the real theme this week.  My beautiful chere amie came for a quick overnight visit while on the way to a wedding a few hours away this weekend.... I won't start on how much I adore this girl--how much she inspires me, brings my mind to clarity without even trying, makes me smile for hours and days and days after I see her...

...and she brought her video-game-guru husband which put les garcons over the moon to have him under our roof even for the short visit.  The boys were---boys.  Talking about gaming and cars.... endlessly.

Of course she and I could have been oblivious to all of that anyway---because we were catching up and chatting and laughing and yes---sipping a little bit of champagne which will reconvene in Paris towards the end of next week for a much anticipated GIRLS weekend in PARIS!  I am dying for it!  Yes--already planning outfits (how to shed the Normandie-farm girl look in trade for Paris-chic----eeek.) and charging camera batteries and clearing memory cards for the 3 day stay.

But until then--I will be putting off the 'flashback' post for this week... (although I have a feeling it will be about friendships and transition when moving to a new country----when I do get to it).   Because there is just too many other focuses this weekend.




TODAY is our ONE year anniversary of moving to Rabbit Hill.  One year ago today we packed up our little house by the sea in a town about 20 minutes from here and moved to this big old French farmhouse---without yet one idea about how much we would fall in love with it (well--maybe we had a little idea) but without a thought yet about how much our life would change---what it would be like to live 'with' cows---and have chickens---and a big lavender patch.

Or how much I would finally---finally---fall in love with living in France.




To commemorate--this next month I will be doing a 'home tour' of Maison Rabbit Hill.  Digging up the old 'before' shots--and posting most of the 'afters'.  It is amazing to me that we have lived at Rabbit Hill for just one year---such changes!

As you can see--I did get out with my camera finally.  These shots are fresh off the memory card.  I love the time walking around the farm and stopping for any detail that catches my eye.... bliss.

I will be back for an Easter post tomorrow!

Until then --- Bon weekend mes amis! 
xx