bohemian décor rhapsody ...

Monday, April 27, 2009

continuing our design theme features ... here's the dish on bohemian décor.  Of course, we like it best when bohemian meets francaise for some gloriously quirky urban designs.

Bohemian décor mixes vivid color, draping fabrics, antiques and informal layering to create welcoming nests out of your rooms.  Think a melange of patterns, complimentary colors, eclectic pairings of modern and antique ... and with the splash of francaise you'll see some baroque hints, lots of gold and gilt ... and some of those classic lines found in antique french fateuilles and commodes.

Check out that wall arrangement in the mirror's reflection ... grouping a large collection of art ... perhaps using a constant frame color on different sized and shaped frames or the reverse ... same frame shape and size but a variety of colors ... is an example of a bohemian touch that is easy to create.

You don't have to break the bank ... consult with us for some whimsical repurposing of a thrift store find. We can also work with you to mine existing decorations to unearth treasures that bring your design vision to light in a whole new way.

Introducing ... the Mignonne Furniture Collection!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Stop by Mignonne today and check-out our new focal point!  Custom designed furniture pieces, repurposed with eco-friendly products in Spring's hottest colors.

At the store today we will be showing the new collection, offering 30% off items purchased during the event and offering budget-friendly decorating tips using one-of-a-kind designs.  Bring a snapshot of your project piece for a free consultation!

In store event Saturday April 25th from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.


French Glasses on Their Way!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Knocking around a brocante last week-end, I discovered a set of jewel toned digestifs.  

What made these pretty little glasses even more appealing was their long graceful stems.  I love digestif glassware, most that I find have short stems ... in fact they are trés petite to emphasize the appropriate amount to serve.  

But these have very long stems which made them unique.  I snatched them up and they will be in the mail next week for one lucky Mignonne customer to claim as their own.


Time for Summer Pastis!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pastis bottles are on their way to Mignonne straight from France! I located a small lot at a brocante last week-end.

Not only do these bottles make fun design accents, they are a fun addition to your bar if you indulge in that favorite summertime apéritif ... pastis. Serve your drink in a tall slim glass, and the water in your Pastis bottle to make the best presentation.

These charming bottles also make a great conversation piece to your dinner table when entertaining. Intersperse them as water carafes for your guests to help themselves from.

Now ... a little more about the subject at hand ... P A S T I S !

Pastis consists of alcohol, star anise, both black and white pepper corns, cardamom, sage, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, licorice and a little sugar. Each distillery has its own secret recipe and variation. When you order pastis in a French cafe, you will be served your portion in a long tall glass accompanied by a carafe of water. Your pastis will become milky white and cloudy as you mix it with water (1:5 ratio). Pastis is called the milk of Provence. If your liquer or water is chilled no need for ice, although some prefer it.

Pastis is the perfectly refreshing summer cooler and must never be enjoyed in a hurry. The enjoyment of the drink is enhanced by the ritual of preparation ... and your guests will enjoy learning to savor the pastis you serve them.

Absinthe was the start of pastis. Outlawed in France in ...., it is now enjoying a resurgence throughout Europe and the states.

In 1755, it was Marie Brizard whom made a sweet anisette in Bordeaux, France, but the famous Absinthe, with a much stronger anise taste, came from Jura, a mountain range on the border between Switzerland and France. It was Henri-Louis Pernod, the founder of the Pernod company, that made this absinthe elixir, mixed with water, a great success all over the world.

Around 1915, when Absinthe became the scapegoat of the temperance movement, it was labeled as the root of all evil. Almost immediately after the prohibition of absinthe, the pastis was first made. This drink is colored and caramel has been added for taste, but the main characteristic is still the anise taste. Pastis is still the most consumed spirit in France, today.

Paul Ricard’s father was a wine merchant in Marseille and took his young son to many a bistrot where pastis was essentially “brewed” in the back of the shop. Paul decided to distil his own and sell it to bistrot owners. His pastis was like many others but he added an ingredient others lacked – promotion and clever marketing. He called his pastis “Le vrai pastis de Marseille”, and soon it became the best known, best selling pastis in the city.

Pernod and Ricard joined their operations in 1975. Pastis 51 with its distinct liquorice flavour of aniseed is the number two spirit in France. The popular brand has a convivial image as it is enjoyed by friends when they get together, especially in the southeast of France where Pastis 51 originated.

There are many stories and tales concerning the history of pastis.

Pastis, a Marseillais will tell you, was invented by a curious and experiment-happy monk in a monastery kitchen, concocting recipes to find the “elixir of life”. Somehow monks seem to have an affinity to alcoholic inventions, from Dom Perignon to Benedictine and Carthusian monks. The Benedictine monks invented the eponymous liqueur and Carthusians Chartreuse yellow and green. Benedictine and Chartreuse both are still produced by monks using their secret recipes. Only a few privileged monks know the full recipe.

Scholars specializing in researching the origins of alcoholic beverages attribute the invention of pastis to a hermit who lived in a hut in the forest on the slopes of Luberon in southern Cotes du Rhone. He collected herbs, which he stewed in a giant pot. The juices left in the cauldron after boiling had remarkable properties, including quenching his thirst, and protecting him from an outbreak of plague that was threatening to decimate the population of Luberon. Since he was a generous philanthropist, he shared his mixture with sufferers, who immediately recovered. He then, in a quick decision to reverse his seclusion, moved to Marseille and opened a bar. This is the most unlikely story but also the most popular as such stories go!

The less picturesque but more plausible reason for Provence being the home of pastis is that ingredients grew wild around the villages and were easy to obtain. Most farmers made their own wine and distilled their own potent liqueurs. Until recently the right of distillation was a family asset that could be passed down from father to son. There are still families that distill their fabulously strong pastis maison.

Although now Pernod-Ricard is one of the biggest distilling concerns of the world, there are still many small producers with strong followings not only in Provence but also in other regions of France. Berger, Bardouin, Casanis, Janot, and Granier are the most important of the small distilleries.

Pastis is a charming drink – the first glass invites the second and very often the second the third. But be careful, very careful, it is insidious before you know you may need help to walk unless you are a Provencale.

*thanks to and for help with the history lesson!

Merchandising Internship

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Continuing with the theme of our Merchandising Intern Program, our second Spring merchandising intern is Nicole Ginelli. Nicole is a freelance designer who lives in and works from San Francisco. She specializes in branding, identity, print and web design. Nicole will be designing the displays for our 10th street display window. If you have interest in consulting with Nicole, she can be contacted via her website

Nicole's recent Mignonne display design is featured in the pictures here.

If you know someone who might be interested in an intern rotation at Mignonne, send them our way !

Spring Merchandising Interns!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mignonne has extended our commitment to local artists to include creating opportunities for young aspiring artists to demonstrate their creativity and gain experience in décor merchandising. We have a rotating, 3-month internship program for design and art students in our local community.

For spring, we have two interns joining our team.

We'd like to introduce the first participant, Laura Evans. Laura is 26 years old and graduated from Oakland's Mills College with a BA in Music. A bay area native who lives in Oakland, she has a knack for design and wanted an experience to expand her portfolio. We are delighted to have her on board and she has already been an immense help to the shop.

Laura recently completed the latest display window design and interior merchandising displays, pictured here. The design incorporates colors and elements that are fresh trends in this year's spring décor.

If you know of a local artist or student in the area that would be interestested in our program, have them contact us at Mignonne (contact details in our blog header).

Check back soon to meet our second participant!

New Mirrors by Artisan, Billy Kroft

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mignonne has been proud to feature the artisanal furniture pieces of Billy Kroft for over two years.  

Billy supports the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle with each creation.  Capitalizing upon the beauty of woods aged by nature, Billy salvages materials from barns and other sources to fashion specialty furniture.

Each item is unique, handmade and produced with the care and attention to detail that are hallmarks of artisanal work.

We now have a new selection of Billy's popular mirrors.  The wood and glass are all recycled.  Billy's mirrors range in size, from small accent mirrors to huge focus point mirrors, a meter or larger.  Prices range from $125 to $595.

Saturday Spring Renewal Sale!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

First of a series of Saturday Sales, all welcoming in Spring! 

Today, 11:30 - 7:00 PM, at Mignonne!

Stop by and enjoy a refreshment served in Vintage Glassware. Mignonne's vintage glassware can't be beat and it is a great, inexpensive way to add a new touch for Spring décor.

FURNITURE is 20% off as well as other selected items.

We've told you the magic that Johnelle can make with vintage furniture pieces. Well, if you have a project piece lingering around the house that you just haven't been able to conquer ... bring it down today for a free consultation. Johnelle will make it bloom again, just in time for spring.

Special guest, East Bay Vintage, was such a hit they'll be back as well! Amazing vintage clothing finds at super prices. Hand picked and high quality, you'd better get here early because the pieces fly off the rack!

Hope we see you there!

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