Winter Sparkle and Spring Bling

For me, winter is all about having the time and inspiration to plan and dream of ways to add new interest to my shop in anticipation of a spring reopening.   This year I am pairing upcycled leather belts with vintage brooches, turning them into an assortment of bejeweled leather cuffs with snap closures.  

Of course, it is always fun for me to have a sample of offerings for both genders in my shop, so I set about coming up with a design that may catch the eye of someone suited for less bling.  

And to catch the eye of a true magpie, the one below pays homage to the beauty a simple snowflake.  

With another blizzard expected to arrive this weekend, here is my tongue-in-cheek nod to winter.  Presenting my latest creation I have dubbed "Blizzard Bling"!  You know it's cold outside when your champagne bottle sports a fur collar.  As in "just how cold is it outside?"  It is "Blizzard Bling" cold!  What fun I have here in the winter.  

Before I close, I thought you may be interested to see the winter view of the cemetery entrance next to my shop.  If you have been here in person, you know all about this place and our quest to learn more about who is buried there.  


One last shot of my "spring bling" to help coax our thoughts away from winter.  


Thank you for stopping by to visit.  I enjoyed showing you a bit of the "winter side" of my little seasonal shop and a sneak preview of what I have been working on.  


I Saw A Ship A-Sailing

If you have ever been to my shop, you may have noticed that I seldom put red in my decor there.  This is on purpose and serves to give the interior of my shop a sense of serenity and calm that flows well.  Red is an attention grabber, flashy and full of excitement.  I love red, but just find it a little bit too jarring for my distressed shabby vintage interior.  But blue...oh how I have come to adore bits of blue intermingled with well worn patina and dreamy, chippy white paint surfaces!  Ever notice how a combination of blue and white is so soothing to the eyes?  My clipper ship logo is a prominent theme in my decor.  

Over the winter, I have plans to make some changes to my shop.  One, is the addition of a more healthy offering to my current sugar laden "candy buffet."  Namely, home made granola!  The kind of snack that will actually provide sustenance to the hikers, bikers, or sailors that may find their way to my shop in the summer months.  I have been experimenting with the ingredients and may have hit upon a tasty combination that is also rather healthy.  In addition to the old fashioned oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and dates, I am using fresh coconut that I open, drain and grate myself.  The mix gets sweetened with  pure maple syrup and dark chocolate chips.

So what does this have to do with the color of red in my shop you ask?  Well, it's because of  something that caught my eye -- a clipper ship fabric in red!  It adds such a festive touch to to the tops of the canning jars filled with my new granola mix.

Tied with simple red seam binding, I couldn't resist going overboard with this flashy deep hue.

So that's the story of my former aversion to red at frenchmans bay tea co. and how it may end up finding it's way into my shop palette after all.

I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And oh, it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!
                                                                                                         ~Mother Goose


A Few Offerings and Sights at Frenchmans Bay Tea Co.

Vintage brooches fashioned into jewelry.  

A set of hand cast concrete wing tiles.  

Garden Glass made from vintage glass.  Like jewelry for your garden.  Created by Alyson, website found here.

A trunk full of vintage goodies with the resident crow standing guard.

Unique brooches...yes we have lots of bling here!

A sampling of our hand thrown raku pottery.  More can be found at Birch Moon Boutique in Bar Harbor.

And for your shopping pleasure we also serve freshly brewed coffee and tea, sweet treats, ice cream and ice cold sodas in glass bottles.  The glass bottles will help ensure there will always be plentiful supplies of sea glass for future generations.

We open our doors on weekends each Friday-Sunday from 1:00-7:00 p.m.  After all, we need the rest of the week to explore and enjoy the beautiful summers here in Downeast Maine.


Ahhhhh Summertime!

Thought I would finally get around to showing a peek of the exterior of our shop.  We converted this tiny shed, complete with chandelier, into a mini showroom for our raku pottery.  

I only wish I had the 'before' shots to show you.  Think dirty, dark and dingy and crammed to the gills with junk and you have conjured up the image.  Nothing a little paint and elbow grease can't improve upon though. 

Can you hear the relaxing sound of this vintage fish fountain I found at a local antique mall for a mere $26?! I know -- and it actually works too!

Oh and then there are the tiny white roses that are blooming right now. . .

 planted right inside a huge vintage wrought iron birdcage!

The cage is wrapped in tiny white Christmas lights, of course.

 I took this shot a couple days ago as evening was approaching.

In the background to the right of the shed is the location of the cemetery that we are restoring.  I should take you along the path to it in a future post.  It continues to fascinate us and hold our attention so I must make a point to share it with you sometime too!  


Asleep In The Snow

A blanket of snow seems to make everything a little more quieter.  A little more peaceful.  

A little more reverent.  

Winter changes delicate flowers into wispy trails that continue to adorn in a harsh landscape.     

My new shop sign receives the first of its many exposures to the natural elements of our climate.  

From the shop there is a path that leads into an old forgotten cemetery that we are in the process of restoring.

An angel sleeps.  

A mother with her babes.  

Their names may forever remain unknown, or some day we just may get lucky and figure it all out.

But for now, may they rest in peace knowing they will be remembered by those who find their way here to visit in the many years to come.  


Seasonal Changes and Inspiration For My Shop

This chippy paint mantel was the highlight of some new changes we have recently made to the interior of my shop.  

It inspired me to create a special  "tea" Christmas stocking out of burlap and a few scraps of fabric and ribbon. 

I brought in some simple Christmas greenery and added it here and there.

I love this silver glass light fixture, but I have decided to add it to the inventory of things I have for sale.
I am finding it hard to not want to hoard all these things for myself.

Like this beautiful curvy teapot and oh so shabby heavy silverplate tray.

Within the past few weeks I have had so much fun just tweaking here and there.  Henri's idea was to offer up tea served in English ironstone teacups and saucers accompanied with biscotti or a few dark chocolate wafers.  My shop doesn't see much business this time of year, but I am enjoying this quiet time to plan and dream and tweak to my heart's content.

Outside the shop is a former storage shed that we turned into a place to house our wheel thrown raku pottery.  I gave everything a white washing with paint, and to pretty it up I added some corbels and a sea lavender wreath with a lantern, along with my hand made soft aqua pottery sign.  Henri added the crowning touch with the chandelier he installed.

Most mornings while I'm still in bed dreaming away about all the things I want to do with my shop, Henri is up at the crack of dawn enjoying his first cup of coffee while he watches the sunrise.

If it weren't for him taking the time to capture these shots for me, I would not know what I had been missing.    Now that I know, I have been making it a point to wake up early too.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you too are enjoying the changes and beauty of this holiday season!


Scenting It Up and Refining My Style

The closest scent I have found to the heady fragrance of the rosa rugosas that grow along the shore here, is Yankee Candle's Fresh Cut Roses.   I adore this scent so much that I have been melting and hand-pouring these candles into vintage tea cups to sell in my shop.   It is the end of the season here for shop keepers, but I am still having loads of fun trying to further define and fine tune the style I envision my shop to have.

A few first time visitors have told me they had expectations of finding a 'tea room' when they first saw the name of my shop.  Since I had a late start for the season, I just wanted to open and get established this year and to test the waters to see how my shop would be received in a town of less than 300 year round people. In Sorrento, you can buy postage stamps and lobsters, and even enjoy a stay at a lovely B&B, but there was never any place that you could just stop in for a cup of coffee or tea while you visit or just browse around for a unique gift.

There are some days that I question my sanity of opening a gift shop that is housed in a gutted-out mobile home and located right next to a long forgotten cemetery.  Sounds pretty crazy when you put it that way.  Yet, there is something inexplicable, even to me, that keeps me focused on what is to come of it all.   In the meantime, I am testing out things like how long moss will survive when planted in our raku pottery.  Displayed on a vintage tea tray, my tiny container moss gardens are part of the local flora and fauna that are found right in our backyard.    

When I found this vintage silver plate and glass carafe a few years ago, I knew it would not get much use in my household, but even so, I just had to have it anyway. (My practical side rarely ever wins.)  And now I am thankful for that, as I have managed to come up with a lovely new use for it in my shop!  

It now holds a simmering brew of lemons, rosemary and vanilla extract.  Found on Pinterest, it is the signature scent that Williams-Sonoma uses in their stores.  I just love it.    

The scent is clean and somewhat subtle.  

Visually, I love the warmth it adds to my shop.  

There is so much more I would love to share with you about my shop.  We have had adventures, discoveries, and numerous 'coincidences' in the stories of a few of the people that have found their way here.  People who have found us by accident, as well as people whose visits have been planned.  There is one in particular that I would like to bring up in hopes that she will contact me when she returns home from her vacation.  It is a story that deserves it's own post and I need permission from her to share a couple of pictures I took of her and her daughter-in-law from that day.  

And I would be remiss if I did not mention how thankful I am for those of you that still find your way over to my blog in spite of my long absence in between posts and visits to all of you over on your blogs!  I look forward to catching up again with you all real soon.