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12 April, 2012

Rustic Wine Country Centerpiece Starring an Authenitc French Santon...from Goodwill!

003 No holidays are in sight for a while, so it’s time to fill my favorite rustic box with something different. This time I have chosen a decidedly French wine country theme.  Warning! Warning! I feel the French teacher in me coming out! lol The star of my centerpeice…the little caviste or wine cellarman who is one of my favorite recent thrifting finds. More about him later, but first the box…

006 …which is dressed for a visit to the French wine country! Of course, there must be grapes and wine bottles! Did you know that you can tell what region a French wine comes from by the shape of the bottle? The one on the left with the gently sloping shoulders  is from Bourgogne or Burgundy and the tall slender one on the right is from Alsace and, although this one is technically from California, the vintner chose to keep the classic shape. An interesting explanation of Burgundy wines and their labels can be found here. That region is dear to my heart since I attended the University of Dijon’s summer program for foreign students waaay back in 1971!

049And you must have corks in a wine vignette, so I have filled my little lead crystal urn with them. The cork reads…Mis en Bouteille au Domaine…bottled by the grower.

008 And of course I must add a plate! This one is from my set of Limoges cheese plates and features a map of France with the cheeses by region. Can’t have French wine without French cheese!

005 But the absolute star is this little oh-so-frenchy guy! Isn’t he fabulous? He was calling out to me from the shelves at Goodwilll…Take me to a good home! lol Just look at the detail..from the béret to the wine bottles…perfect!

045 Our co-hostess Miss Kitty is itching to tell you all about him! He is an authentic French Santon or Little Saint. A saint? say…a wine cellarman? Let us explain.

crècheWhen I made my retirement trip to Provence several years ago, high on my list of things to buy was a French nativity scene or crèche. And here’s what came home with me…love it! However, I am sure that you notice a few extra people. In Provence, the whole village comes to the manger, including, among many others, the Niçoise or woman from Nice and the Ravi or simpleminded man, the first to see the baby Jesus, who always raises his arms in delight. They are santons d'argile…made from hand-painted clay. For a closer look at my crèche, click here.

santons Santons exist in several sizes, including the much larger santons habillés which are dressed in cloth and always carry some sort of implement. Here are some of them from the same shop in Nice where I bought my nativity figures. Gotta love that fisherman carrying the basket of fish and the tiny starfish on the net!

022 My caviste is carrying this fabulous little crate of wine! Can you believe the detail on the wine bottles? Each label is different, including the three that you cannot see. The whole thing, bottles and all, is only two inches tall!

038 And here is the bottle he has in his hand beside a cork so that you can see its size. Amazing, huh?

042 And now the part I have been saving for last…how do I know he’s authentic? Look at the stamp on the bottom. He was hand-crafted by Michel Girault from his shop in Aix-en-Provence, France! You can see his creations, including my caviste, here.  And the best part…I paid $2.92 for my santon who is priced online at 45 euros ($59) not to mention shipping! Woo hoo! Score!

003 And here he is again…looking very happy, I think, in my frenchy wine country vignette! Can you believe someone let him go? I am sooo glad they did!

To see my box dressed for five different holidays, click here.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my French wine country centerpiece! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday’s Treasures

Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. Okay that does it. I am going to copy your idea!:-)

    I am enjoying seeing how you use the box in all these wonderful ways.

  2. Oh Debbie, he is absolutely fabulous. I always love hearing all about your finds and their history. So much fun and I actually learn a ton. You are still the best teacher. Great find. Love the vignette. Hugs, Marty

  3. Fabulous find! I have 3 but I would love one with wine and a Lavender Lady. I got a nice pair, seated in chairs, an old man and an old lady a couple of years ago. Your guy is stunning- never saw one with wine before.

  4. I love him!!! What a find. I love how the whole village comes to the creche! How fun is that! You did a great job on the whole centerpiece. xo Diana

  5. I love the box again. It all came together for your little wine cellar guy vignette!

  6. Wow, Debbie you did score a big one!! Love your French vignette.

  7. Love everything you do with this wonderful caddy!!

  8. Well, you have done it again . . . It pays to have a good eye when thrifting. I'll bet many people walked right by this little fellow . . . if they see your blog, they are wishing they would have had your insight. Beautiful as always, your devoted fan and follower, Connie

  9. Beautiful, as always, Debbie! Love your vignette and your wine cellarman is the perfect addition.

  10. Debbie, these are such wonderful treasures! I love them all! And you REALLY scored at GW!! Don't you just love finds like that?!

  11. You must have had butterflies in your stomach when you saw this in Goodwill! My gosh! It is unbelievable! Your centerpiece is gorgeous, it would be great for a wine and cheese party! Score!!


  12. Why would anyone send this little fellow to Good Will? Happy for you that they did! Beautiful vignette.

  13. Wow what great find I love the wine vignette. Just perfest!

  14. Well, Debbie, the whole vignette looks just fabulous. Can't believe "le caviste" - what an oustanding bargain! Fascinating detail on the little bottles! Linda

  15. Wish my GW had the finds that yours seems to have! Your creativity with that rustic box has been amazing. So far in my travels I have yet to find one like it, but like the others here, you certainly have moved it up to the top of my "must haves"!

    I have two of the large santons M. Mistral and Lavendar Seller. I couldn't resist buying three of the smaller terra-cota Santons at the Christmas Market in Avignon on my 2002 visit to Avignon while my daughter was spending her junior year abroad in that lovely city! I love my Santons!

    Mary in Oregon

  16. I wish I could see your face when you spotted him. lol awesome!!

  17. Love it! I've enjoyed the many themes of your rustic frenchy box throughout the seasons. Keep 'em coming!

  18. Debbie, Love your French vignette and the Santo is fabulous! What a great find at GW. Hugs, Sherry

  19. Oh Debbie, I'm so in love with the Frenchman, he is so handsome! You have such lucky finds at the thrift store. I have to say, I feel a copycat coming on because I love this vignette. I do have my own Frenchman, he has a wife too. Now I know what to do with them. They resided on my hutch for years. I really love all the vignettes you've created with your box! I found a lot of treasures in Nice too.
    Have a great weekend.

    The French Hutch

  20. It was meant for you to find this one! There was a dealer at Round Top selling Santons this year. I didn't price them, but I'm sure they were pricy. It's been fun watching to see what you'll use next in your wooden box. Clever lady that you are! ~ Sarah

  21. Love the whole thing. Have you given your little friend a name!? I love the larger ones with the cloth, they are lovely too. You are so good at that. Can't wait to see what's next.

  22. I don't know how you do it!! You must have the best GoodWill donators this side of anywhere. You find the best things. You really scored with this one. He's a cutie.

  23. Your santon is adorable...what a great find. Are the bottles glass or plastic?
    I really need to go to your area to thrift! You do find the best things, Debbie. I have been on the lookout for a bouillotte lamp since you posted the ones you found.

  24. I've really enjoyed your post. Besides looking at your lovely box full of wine decor, I love your little Santon.
    I always love hearing about your experience and the wine information.


  25. All I have to say is one thing....I think I have finally figured out which GW you find all this great stuff at....Every week you take a quick jaunt over to France and your shopping at Goodwill of Paris...fess up.

  26. Now this is the best find in a long time! Amazing and the price. You are one lucky thrifter my friend. The detail is awesome and I am so glad you found him and he has come to the perfect home. Hugs, Linda

  27. He is so *cute* What a fantastic find. I love all things French!


  28. Whoo Hoo! Debbie. Your little wine cellerman is fabulous and is definitely the star of your vignette. The detail is amazing.
    I also enjoyed reading the post about your creche and seeing the details on each piece. Another great post, Debbie.


  29. It's like you have built-in radar in the Goodwill -- if it's good, or if it's French, you will find it!!!

    All I ever see is a pile of junk. Maybe it's my poor eyesight! LOL

  30. Oh my word! Debbie, that GW Store is on my bucket list! Who would ever think that a GW store would be on my bucket list? This is just such an incredible find (as are all of your GW finds). I think you must go to a GW store in France and fly back home to show the treasures you find. Every detail of your vignette is wonderful, and your Santon is amazing! I am green with envy. laurie

  31. Okay, anyone want to join me on a ROAD TRIP to Debbie's GW????

    He is just soooo perfect for you, & he were meant to be together, truly. What an adorable addition to both your wooden crate & then later, your Nativity set.

    I give you 3 gold stars ★★★ for such a wonderful display & thanks for the lesson on the bottles. I didn't know any of that!


  32. Love it!!!
    I would love if you link this to the French party on Monday!!

  33. Love the box, you are so creative with it! But that wine guy, so cool!
    Have a great weekend, Debbie!

  34. Love, love your vignette! Gorgeous!
    You are so creative!

  35. Oh and I bet your little French man was happy to come home with you and be the star of your table.

  36. I love, love, love your wine country vignette. You have given me some wonderful ideas for a centerpiece when I do a wine tasting. Very happy to have discovered your blog.

  37. Lovely!
    ... so nice and rustic.
    Visiting from Show and Tell Friday :)

    Greetings from Australia♥

  38. What a lovely display and great information about wine and your Goodwill find.

    Robin Flies South

  39. Another fabulous vignette, Debbie! I LOVE it and just might have to borrow it, too! And, I can't believe you found your cute French fella at GW! The details are fabulous (love his crate)! Thank you for sharing!

  40. I did not know that about the shape of the bottle! Is that true of Italy too? I don't drink, so I am not very good about kinds of wine!
    Cute little man, and great deal! I have to check at Good Will to see if I can find a man too! :) don't tell dh!

  41. Beautiful and so unique! Great job.

  42. Debbie,
    I'd say..."if you hadn't bought him...he'd have followed you home, anyway!" He looks right "at home" in your Frenchy Kitchen and dining room! Adding him alongside the box...magnicient! Your box decor, like fine wine, gets better with age!!!
    P.S. Not meaning to slight a member of your Staff...tell Miss Kitty she looks fabulous this Spring!!!

  43. Deb this was such an interesting post. I always learn so much from you. Wow!! what a deal of the century for your little man! I love the vignette you made for him and I am sure he is enjoying his new, beautiful home. Great job! xo Kathysue

  44. It amazes me the stuff you find at that Goodwill... I'm lucky to find anything worth having most times I visit ours... and they have raised their prices so high... there pushing retail...

    note to self... next time you visit Georgia, get the address of that Goodwill from Debbie!

    Love it!

  45. oops... that should have been...

    They're pushing retail... I must be getting old! (or been in Texas too long)...

  46. Your vignette is beautiful. I love the old man. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Very nice! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie