Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Perfect for Mother's Day!
Classic White Tablecloths
from Le Jacquard Francais

Beautiful table setting for Mother's Day Brunch from Le Jacquard Francais
For over one hundred years, Le Jacquard Francais has designed beautiful and timeless white tablecloths in 100% Cotton, 50/50 Blend, and 100% Linen.  Their current 2011 Collection does not disappoint in bringing style and sophistication to any table design.

Special events such as Mother's Day (May 8th), Weddings, Baby Showers and Anniversaries are perfect occasions to use any of the new Le Jacquard Francais white or tone-on-tone tablecloths, placemats, napkins or table runners. The results can be stunning and transformational when pairing elegant china, glassware and flowers to any of these lovely French tablecloths.

Not only are these linens wonderful to use for special occasions but they are also a perfect heirloom quality gift to present to Mom on Mother's Day.

I have posted several images below (along with direct links to our website) which illustrate many ways to use Le Jacquard Francais linens for your own upcoming grand soiree.

All of these French table linens are available now in our shop & gallery in Little Washington, VA, and also online at

Art Deco 50% Cotton & 50% Linen in Pearl

Darjeeling 100% Cotton in Ivory

Venezia in 100% Cotton Placemat in Champagne

Venezia 100% Cotton Table Runner in Champagne

Siena 100% Linen in Ivory
Villa Tuscan 100% Cotton in Marble

Tanger 100% Cotton in Alabaster

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flavor Magazine & R.H. Ballard
Hosting Book, Food & Wine Events
to Benefit Rappahannock Food Pantry

On May 14th, 2011, FLAVOR Magazine and R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery are hosting two fabulous events to benefit the Rappahannock Food Pantry.

From 2:00 - 4:30pm, join us at R.H. Ballard for a delicious Book & Wine Event featuring Jason Tesauro, acclaimed author and speaker who will entertain us with musings on the art of a gentlemanly lifestyle, give advice about food and wine pairings, explore manners and etiquette in the modern world, and sign copies of his just-released book:

The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice, 2nd Edition.

Barboursville Vineyards will be on site pouring their award-winning wines, and delectable nibbles and superb Virginia fare will be served. A tasty and engaging event not to be missed!

A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to the Rappahannock Food Pantry, serving those in need in Rappahannock County, Virginia.

Just steps away, be sure to attend FLAVOR Magazine's spectacular food and wine event which takes place at The Meadows, the historic home of John & Beverly Sullivan.
The Meadows, Washington, VA
Tickets for this benefit are $85.00 and can be purchased online at, and email at, (540) 987-9299. Proceeds from this event will go to the Rappahannock Food Pantry.

There will be an amazing wine auction, delicious foods from Rappahannock County, and superb Virginia wines chosen by a select group of wine experts and sommeliers, including: Kathryn Morgan, Master Sommelier at Citronelle, Dave MacIntyre of The Washington Post, Andy Myers, Sommelier at City Zen, Jennifer Knowles, Wine Director at the Inn at Little Washington, Kevin Switz, Sommelier at Foti's, Ramon Navaerz, Wine Director at Adour, Bill Plante, CBS White House Correspondent, and Melissa Harris, Publisher and Founder of Flavor Magazine.

Both of these events raise much needed money to support the Rappahanock Food Pantry. If you are unable to attend either of these wonderful events, please consider donating to the RFP:

Monetary donations welcome. Please mail to the following address:

Rappahannock Food Pantry
50 Sullivan St., Suite A
Warrenton, VA 20186
All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by IRS

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Bold Ballard Blend Coffee
Online & in the Shop!

Bold Ballard Blend now available at

Robert & I are excited to introduce our new custom blend of coffee, aptly named Bold Ballard Blend.

This is a delightful mix of Ethiopian, Sumatran and Brazilian coffee beans, expertly roasted at Central Coffee Roasters of Sperryville, VA, right here in Rappahannock County, VA. Our aromatic, signature blend has a bold yet smooth taste and non-acidic finish.  Customer response has already been very positive and enthusiastic and we think you will love it too!

Order ground or whole bean bags in our lovely shop in Little Washington, VA, or online here.

Be sure to go to Central Coffee Roasters, Sperryville, VA  website and see all of their delicious offerings!.

Monday, April 11, 2011

French Etiquette and Manners:
What You Need to Know

Having a European-inspired shop (with an emphasis on French) has many advantages. For one, we need to travel which I absolutely love to do. Restaurants, hotels and airplanes are a favorite indulgence.

Robert and I have taken many trips to France over the years, for business and for pleasure. We love so many aspects of France, but particularly Paris: the amazing food, clothing, art, architecture and abundant shops and galleries. We also love French culture and the fact that the French have impeccable manners and taste.

les philosophes cafe in the Marais, image:
We do business with several wonderful French companies such as Le Jacquard Francais and Garnier Thiebaut. It's fun and educational to be able to step into another culture and learn their customs and ways of living and working.  It's a daily joy.

For a while now I have been following a wonderful blog about all things French and all things Paris called, appropriately, Bonjour Paris. This blog is the Guide to Paris and France from the top insiders. It covers a wide variety of topics about French living and I highly recommend it if you are planning a trip to France.

I asked Karen Fawcett, president/owner and frequent contributor to Bonjour Paris, if I could re-post her recent article on French etiquette and manners and she graciously agreed. Karen is an American who has lived and worked in Paris for over twenty years, and her bio is a must read as well. She is also a former Washingtonian, which was wonderful to discover.

I wanted to share this article, not only because it is well written but also because Karen focuses on key areas in French etiquette and manners that Robert and I have also experienced in our business and personal travels. If you want to act like a Parisian and not an outsider in Paris, read on!

French Etiquette: A Special Set of Manners

By Karen Fawcett

People often ask Bonjour Paris to explain French etiquette—or rather what the French expect people to do and what they definitely do not like. During the 23 years I’ve been a resident of France, customs have relaxed—but not as much as you might think.

The French are more formal in their personal relationships, so it’s understandable—but not always understood—that Americans’ bonhomie can turn into a series of gaffes. These may not be deal-breakers or complete disasters, but little faults can be seen as slights, and anyway who wants to appear unsophisticated? Little things take on importance, so it’s worth your while to know what you’re supposed to do and say.

For example, unless you’re very young, French people greet one another with a Bonjour while shaking hands. A woman who’s in a business situation is addressed as Madame whether or not she’s married. After a female is out of school, she’s Madame rather than Mademoiselle. Until you’re instructed to call her (or a male colleague) by their first names, don’t. And don’t use the familiar tu form of verbs until someone uses it to you. The French have a sense of when the time has come: assume you do not.

Thirty years ago, it was rare when a French person would smile at a stranger. Thank goodness life is becoming less rigid. However, the French, when walking down the street, are pros at not making eye contact with people they don’t know. If they bump into friends, expect to see a round of kisses. One on each cheek if you’re in Paris, three pecks if you’re in other parts of France—but Parisians assume they are Belgians. And then there are the teens and college students who will kiss four times in quick succession. It can be confusing.

Another huge change is that in business situations, don't be the least bit surprised if meetings are conducted in English. This doesn't give you a language pass because you're at a disadvantage if you don't understand some of the nuances discussed (in French, bien sûr) when people don't think others are listening. If you're doing business in France, it's important to follow the lead of the person who’s in charge of the meeting.

The French maintain “personal space” in a way most Americans don’t. Go into any Paris café and you’ll rarely see the French striking up conversations with strangers. It’s different if they’re in a tabac (the same one they frequent each morning) for coffee. If the barman knows them, it’s possible they’ll end up speaking to one another because they’ve been introduced. Gone are the days of asking someone for a light for a cigarette because, unless they’re sitting outside, it’s definitely no smoking.

Another annoying trait about the French is they were born with perfect posture. If they slouch, it’s due to a physical impairment, and most people try to cure it by going to a physical therapist, which is covered by the French health-care system.

You can always differentiate a French person from an American by how straight he or she stands. Some French people swear it’s by how loud Americans speak—but that’s not necessarily the case. Still, keeping your voice down is a good idea. The French by nature aren’t eavesdroppers and really don’t want to hear other’s conversations.

Even though the French are quick to use hand gestures (nothing compared to Italians), they’ll rarely shake or point a finger at others. It’s simply considered rude. Whatever you do, never snap your fingers. It’s a sure recipe for being ignored by taxi drivers (who aren’t supposed to pick up passengers unless they’re at a taxi stand anyway), and if you ever snap your fingers at a waiter, count on being the last person in the restaurant to ever be served.

Americans are quick to make the figure O with their fingers to indicate that everything’s OK. In France, it’s construed in a totally different way and is enough to offend your companion. In essence, you’re saying someone is a big zero and it’s not taken lightly.

These are just a few cultural differences. Please feel free to add more. My French friends consistently ask for advice when they’re heading to the U.S. The difference is, that when they commit a faux-pas, it’s usually considered charming. Their accents go a long way in the manners game and their basic manners, sorry to say, tend to be better than ours. Not always, though, as the Western world becomes increasingly homogeneous.  But, that's another article.

© Paris New Media, LLC
Bonjour Paris
If you're in a shopping mood, Bonjour Paris's Amazon Store has a collection of books, movies, gourmet items, electronics and so much more.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Painting by Patton Wilson
at R.H. Ballard

Vernal Point by Patton Wilson
We just received a new work by Patton Wilson entitled "Vernal Point."

Vernal Point
Oil on panel
Image size: 16" x 19 1/2"
Framed size: 25 1/2" x 21 1/4"
$18,000. Framed

We are open every day, 10am-6pm and also by appointment. Call toll free 1.888.503.3349 for more information.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Le Jacquard Francais Tea Towel Sale

Yes, to celebrate the coming of spring we are having a great SALE on all French Tea Towels!

Now through April 24, 2011, you'll receive 15% OFF any French Tea Towel from Le Jacquard Francais and Garnier Thiebaut, both on our website and in our lovely shop in Little Washington, VA.  Some designs have limited supply so shop early for your favorites.

I have posted just a few of the new designs below to get your heart racing.  Enter TEA TOWEL code at website checkout to receive your 15% discount.  Click here to start shopping:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspiring and Magical Interiors
and Outdoor Spaces

Water World with Gustavian interior, image: Jennifer Stock, Pinterest
I was recently doing research on home interior photography and came across images of rooms and exteriors that were inspiring and what I would call "magical." I wasn't looking for them, they just appeared as I clicked through interesting blogs and websites and I thought I would share them with you.

I like it when "magical" spaces take you to a far away, dreamy place, sometimes romantic or colorful and fun, sometimes breathtaking, but always surprising, beautiful and other-worldly.  A fantasy place, of sorts, a vacation for the mind--which we all need now and then.

Today is your day to enjoy and dream away!

Inspiring use of candles and tealights for weddings, image:
Magical arboretum with reflecting pool, image:
Secret garden, image:
London Ferris Wheel at twilight, image: pleasingaesthetic.tumblr

 Dreamy patio space...image:
Moroccan inspired indoor lounging space for romance, image:
Bohemian napping porch, image: shannoneileenblog

Into the Woods: Bedroom nook hidden under the trees, image from weheartit
Treehouse Village, image:
Dreamscape: crumbling building with billowing turquoise fabric, image:  AGiftWrappedLife blog
Stained glass windows reflection in mosque, image:
Lights of St. Remy, France. image: unknown origin.

 Cave of Crystals in Mexico, image:
Sleeping in the trees with a lamp and book...Photos for Good Mood by Elena Zhuk
Gothic installation piece from Beautiful-Portals on tumblr...Romeo and Juliet?
Romantic evening for two.... from sweetie pie pumpkin noodle