Thursday, December 17, 2009

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année

With only 8 days until Dec. 25th I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Wishing you all good things in 2010! Many thanks to all my blog friends and wonderful customers for making 2009 another great year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Display.....

I promised to post pictures of the store all decorated for Christmas. Unfortunately most didn't turn out very well as the lighting wasn't very good, but I did get a few photo's of some of my most favorite tree ornaments and decorating items available this year.
Tinsel Tree featuring Wendy Addison's Paper Tree Ornaments
Handmade Toile Petite Stocking (it has chalkboard fabric at the top for personalization)
Vintage Inspired Bottle Brush Trees (various sizes)
"Noel" Stocking with a small Paris Pillow
Bethany Lowe "Angel" Ornament/Wendy Addison German Glass Glittered "Paris" Sign Darling Glass "Owl" Tree Ornaments "Feather Wreath" Tree (minimal decorations needed)....I just love these! Handmade Vintage Music Sheet Paper Cone Tree Ornament Whimsical Angel Tree Ornament Wendy Addison German Glass Glittered Eiffel Tower Tree Ornament on a vintage inspired Tinsel Wreath

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deck the Halls.......

The elves have been busy this past week, getting the store decked out in all it's holiday glitz and glitter! New this year are the cutest 36"feather trees available in both apple green and white. The great thing is that they colaspe flat for easy storage. As with past years also returning for this holiday season are the ever so popular vintage inspired Christmas ornaments, including a large selection of smaller Feather, Tinsel and Bottle Brush trees.
I'll post pictures of the store all decorated for the season soon.....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Store Update

We've been busy with Halloween at French Vanilla. The last of the vintage inspired Halloween decorations have come in and are now almost gone. So glad to see they have been such a big hit this year and judging by the number of people who have come into the store looking to add to their collection I'd say decorating for Halloween is definately on the rise. Christmas items have started to arrive as well. However setting up for Christmas must wait until after Halloween. I know some stores have already started putting out their Christmas items but I like to finish up with each seasonal event before moving on to the next. Last week also saw the arrival of the new "Marie Lifestyle Quilted Bag" collection. I was so excited to finally see this beautiful new line by Marie Osmond. The Marie quilted fashion bag & accessory collection features beautifully designed fabrics made from the highest quality cotton. The collection features a cross section of styles including: Backpacks, Coin Purses, Cosmetic Bags, Duffel Bags, Handbags, Laptop Cases, Messenger Bags, Totes, Wallets & Wristlet Cases in 7 different patterns (see examples below). To see the whole collection, drop by the store or soon will be on-line at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Halloween has officially arrived at French Vanilla............

I know it's a little early to start thinking about Halloween. Canadians usually wait to get through Thanksgiving (it's earlier here than in the US) before they focus on decorating for Halloween. However I do have several customers who plan on decorating for Halloween this coming week. Although not as popular as Christmas, decorating for Halloween is getting more popular in Canada. As for me, I love the Vintage style ornaments reminiscent of days gone by. My sister got me hooked on these several years ago. Folk Artists like Dee Foust, Bethany Lowe, Wendy Addison and Nicol Sayre are among my favorite. Below are a few examples of the wonderful whimsical Halloween ornaments that have recently arrived in the store. Whatever your tastes, if you've never decorated for Halloween before, choose a few items to start your own family fall decorating traditon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Fall Decorating...Thanksgiving Table Centerpieces

The designated date for Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. This year that day falls on October 12th. Thanksgiving for families is simply about spending time decorating the house, preparing all of the Thanksgiving food (and of course the dinner!) as well as enjoying a long weekend before the onset of Winter. To add some interest and color to your table for Thanksgiving, try some of these simple Do It Yourself centerpieces courtesy of "":
-this minimalist centerpiece can be made in minutes. Set a pillar candle into the center of your bowl. Secure it with florist putty or candle wax tabs if necessary. Make two rows of fruit or vegetables around the candle. Small items will work best. Here they have chosen some baby artichokes and some very small lemons, but tangerines, limes, or any other item could also work.
-this simple centerpiece can be arranged in minutes on a platter or tray, and will last several days. Just prior to your dinner, finish the arrangement by garnishing with kale leaves. (for detailed instructions go to
-use fruit to make an impressive centerpiece that's very inexpensive. Tip: Add flowers at the last minute and they'll stay fresh for your party. (for detailed instructions go to

-an arrangement of pears makes a wonderful centerpiece. Choose fruit in bright green, golden yellow, or russet red -- either fresh or artificial -- and pile into a pretty bowl. Carry the fall theme through with some oak leaves (or any other type of fall leaf), acorns, and mini crab apples for a bit more color. (for detailed instructions go to

Monday, August 31, 2009

Decorating for Fall with Wreaths....

It's official......the first day of Autumn is Sept. 22nd. I love this time of year, when the leaves start to turn, the air is fresh and crisp as our days get shorter and the evenings cooler. Decorating at this time of the year is also fun. I always change my front door wreath to something more in keeping with this time of year. I have a thing for wreaths, I hang them all over my home. I love making them too so I thought I would post some simple wreath ideas that you could make yourself. To get started all you need is a wreath form (made of grapevine, styrofoam, or metal), some floral wire and a glue gun. The next thing to do is to gather your wreath material. Use your imagination and work with seasonal colors. Material can be gathered from nature, the grocery store or from a craft store. Below are some pictures of fall wreaths (courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens ) that would look great hung on your front door, on your wall or even in your garden.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A little R and R....

It has been a very busy summer and with August almost over, my hubby and I decided to take a break and got away for a few days last week. We have a friend that has a fairly new beautiful West Coast Style cabin (well more like a house) on Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island(approx. 1 1/2 - 2 hrs drive from Victoria). They are very generous in letting us use their cabin several times a year. Although the weather wasn't great, it was a little overcast some days and we had a bit of rain but the break was well needed for both of us. We had dinner with friends, watched a movie and just chilled. I've added a few photo's (although not mine) as I wanted you to see how beautiful this lake is. You just have to ignore the forest clear-cutting that's happening on the mountain across the lake (such a shame).

Hello Bonjour....

Well this is my first attempt at blogging! It's been quite a year and a half for me. I retired from the Federal Government after 34 years and in October 2006, I started a new retail store called "French Vanilla Home and Garden". In July 2007 I launched my store's e-commerce website and now this....blogging! Who would have thought! Has it been challenging?....a bit, stressful?.... some days, rewarding?....most definitely! I love owning my own retail store, filling it with things I love and helping my customers find that perfect item or gift! I am enjoying this new phase of my life and look forward to learning new things, having new adventures and making new friends along the way!

(established July/2008)