Friday, July 30, 2021

A Santa Fe Cafe

There is a tiny cafe on the square in the heart of old Santa Fe. Perhaps you know of it: The French Pastry Shop & Creperie. It has an authentic French menu, and is housed in the famous La Fonda Hotel. La Fonda means "the inn" in Spanish, and though the difference between an inn and a hotel may seem slight, the intimate character of an old country lodge here prevails.

There has been food and lodging at this corner for four hundred years, and a bakery with a delectable French twist for the last forty. History has seeped through the weathered brick and the hand formed plaster, the carved vigas, and the beams. It murmurs from each soft corner the echo of long past conversation. You feel it when you enter, and somehow know you will never forget.  

And yet, I don't actually recall when it was that I first came here, as though it was always. After persuading as many visitors as I can to come with me, I still have not had near enough of the timelessness commingled with the Croque Monsieur, the Mocha, or the strawberry jam Sables (lightly browned to utter perfection), let alone sufficient numbers of visits to venture far enough into the savory depths of the menu.

Sometimes the cafe is whisper quiet. Though Christmas always draws a huge crowd, as does summer, curiously we have never had to wait for a table. And at times we have needed more than one, for the sitting areas are very small, cozy, and convivial. (But hefty, made for lingering.)

This painting on the wall captures the scene perfectly.

The last time I visited the cafe on the square I made note that the majority of patrons were older. This is a tourist destination after all, and seniors have more of what it takes for discriminating cafe sitting. 

But locals, merchants, and artists of all stripes around the square also have gathering habits here. The cafe feeds one's inspiration as well as one's gustatory delights. The atmosphere fills as well as the food.

The gleam of copper warms in winter and welcomes in summer. This hearth makes me feel that I have wandered much farther than I have from my New Mexico outpost just an hour away.

I sometimes wonder what it would take to own a sample of the interior, as in another nice painting which hangs in here.

Or this evocative rendering of the storefront from the street.

Because you do want to take a piece of the place with you when you leave. Even if intangible. 

Fannie Flagg once said of her novel that the first character in Fried Green Tomatoes was the cafe. (The Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA is another nostalgic cafe that I have visited and that I love.) She thought that a place could be as much a charcter in a story as the people. The French Bakery on the square in Santa Fe would make a good candidate.

Best wishes from the Land of Enchantment.

Wishing you all many inspiring summer days ahead!


A photo of the Saint Fancis Cathedral in Winter that hangs in the cafe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Once A Collector, Always A Collector

Sometimes I forget where I am and try to explain myself. I'm a collector, and anybody who visits me here after all this time needs no explanation.

I'm not strictly in the "business" anymore. Vintage, I mean. But who out there can just turn off the love? Am I right??

It's been more than a year since I visited any local markets until now. Some of the prices are unbelievable. You all know that I personally do not need one more ironstone pitcher, but look at this cutie! Fifteen bucks! What a lovely vessel with which to give away a bouquet of flowers.

Cut glass is another weakness of mine, and I look at this beautiful compote as another way to wrap up something (anything from cookies to soap) as a nice gift. Seven dollars.

This scrumptious old tea pot with the exquisite detail was ten dollars.

But it was finding this little set of Staffordshire dogs that keeps me driven to the hunt. I have been on the lookout for tiny figures for many, many years. I know you can buy the small ones for real money online any day of the week, but I would rather find a set for a tiny price to match. Wouldn't you?

I am showing them with the smallest dogs that I had collected so far. (Those are actually more common to find online.) How many ways are there to say "THRILLED"!? I don't think I have stopped squealing inside.

Here is the contrast with the bigger boys that are seven and a half inches tall.

And well, you all know of my linen obsession. I don't collect linen anymore. Except when I do. (Grinning here....) Few people want it or use it anymore. It is a lost art, so I treat it that way, often just hanging it around to be seen and appreciated. Mostly by me. It's one of my happy things to surround myself with.

I like to hang it like art.

What else can you do with a crocheted doily with an lovely linen insert in my favorite ivory color?

I do occasionally use this linen runner on a table or dresser.

The piece underneath is my most recent pillowcase find. A wonderful antique linen that shows better layered on the wall than on a bed. Though I will use it that way too.

This pair of napkins came from a thrift store jaunt with my granddaughter. (You KNOW she was raised right!)

I found the tablecloth at the fleamarket, and I'm actually pretty sure I sold this myself in a moment of weakness a couple of years ago! Glad to have it back. Looks like my sort of thing doesn't it?

This gorgeous all linen and lace runner is lovely, long, and oh so soft. Thrift store too.

This is a small crocheted curtain. Ready to hang or lay on a table.

This one found right beside it with a bit different detail. These are all over Europe hanging in cheery windows.

So I think I have scratched that itch for the next little while. It sure was fun!

I hope you are all finding your own cures for all the madness. We are having the most surprising mild summer, though a crazy hard rain flooded the kitchen and called for a new roof. I consider myself lucky.

Also, I am so glad to see that the sidebar thumbnail photos are back when you post! Bravo! I thought they were gone forever! Unless I learn a solution, your email notifications when I post are soon gone from your email though. (sad face)

 Take good care of yourselves out there!


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Friday, June 18, 2021

Summer Still Life

Hello friends! It's been a long journey since my last post in the middle of May when all the roses were blooming and the garden was so newly green. There was a grand and wonderful flush of visitors all throughout May as well, one after the other in streams. 

I was lucky enough to take a little summer jaunt of my own to get a dose of that summer vacation feeling that we all can't wait to taste of almost any year, but especially this one. It had been so long that I had been on the open road that I found it exhausting on my return, and had to rest up for a long while after my short whirlwind holiday. But it was so good to see the vast horizon and the patiently waiting landscape after so long. I hardly stopped to take a picture.

But now we are at the height of summer. And it is so hot here that I feel like I can't just keep saying it over and over again, but I can't seem to stop myself!

For now this withered beauty is all that remains of our profusion of roses from spring. A small parched memory that itself will soon be gone.

For now we have retreated to the still life of summertime. The house all shutterd and closed during the day like some Italian village house. I suddenly want to have those striped door curtains in front for a bit of old world romance. And there is a rather constant low hum and a strange quiet in the house all day. I know I am supposed to being doing something useful, but lately I just spend much of the day reading like the summer I was ten years old.

The intense heat will abate eventually, and the silence will soon be broken by young voices. I'll be back to changing beds, and getting outside for more than early mornings and the memorable dusk of evenings. We will have the summer solstice in a couple of days, and a game next Saturday at the local ball park. It seems the year to make sure to get it all in.

It's been a nice pause for shifting objects, straightening furniture, and freshening the linens. Making plans, and finding misplaced things. Appreciating them with new eyes the way you can do after travel.

Moving a few possesions on to someone else, while reminding yourself of what is still important. Sorting myself out.

Dusting off the dogs, and adjusting a few more pitchers. . . .

I did the weeest bit of shopping when I was wayfaring and found something wonderful (as I knew I would). You can see it below.

Another sweet sampler to add to my collection of one. And a wonderful reminder. My own personal assignment, I think, for the beginning of this long hot summer yet to come.

Wishing you all the best of summer ahead!


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