giveaway winners and keeping busy …

by Sharon Santoni

You know what they say “be careful what you wish for” …. well I have often been heard to say how I prefer to be busy and have several projects on the go at once … and it looks like someone has been listening!

 Besides the guests to our cottage and my lovely brocante tour clients I am happy to tell you that I am preparing a book. I can’t give out the details yet, and it won’t be published until next year, but I just wanted to share my excitement and to tell you that preparation for the book will be taking me all over France, so I’ll have even more pictures to share with you over the coming months.

I have never really worked out why I like to be so busy.  Is it just the need to feel useful, or the very real need to feel creative, or am I quite simply a workaholic?!  Whatever the reason, I feel very blessed by all that the blog has brought my way, and very happy to find opportunities to give a little back.

Which brings me neatly around to the winners of the giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who took part in my plate giveaway, I was thrilled by the kind messages that I received here on the blog,  in my email box and on the facebook page.     Absolutely all the entries were thrown into the hat for the draw, and here are the four winners:

Gitte Olsen

Julia Piper in New Zealand

Barbara Babich in Greece (I think!)

and Dee Poquette

If all of these ladies would like to get in touch with me by email, we can send off the plates this week.





Julia Piper March 31, 2014 - 8:09 am

OH MY GOODNESS – that is just so exciting – are you sure it’s me!!!. Really – Gosh I am rather speechless…I have been following your blog and your facebook posts for a couple of years now and I just love them…..I love the fact that you a perfect stranger can touch a chord and keep a dream alive to a perfect stranger all the way over the other side of the world….technology really is amazing.

Thank you so much Sharon for your generosity and I am so excited that I will actually have a little bit of ‘My French Country Home’ from your home and brocante in my wee home here in New Zealand…Now we have a wonderful book to look forward too and I am sure it will be just as beautiful and inspiring as ever….thank you thank you so much for a wonderful Monday!!!! Julia

Amanda Rush March 31, 2014 - 8:19 am

Congratulations on your book news Sharon, how very exciting! With regards to enjoying being busy, I am attempting to find greater balance in 2014 between enjoying being busy and being overwhelmed 🙂 A particular quote from Goethe has always resonated with me “Nothing is worth more than this day”. That doesn’t mean that the future plans and dreams I have aren’t valuable and worthwhile, just that I also remember to enjoy and value each day along the way – as it comes. From reading your blog and seeing your Facebook and Instagram photos I have no doubt how much you enjoy life and I am only one of many who appreciate joining in with that enjoyment online. I will certainly look forward to hearing more about your book – with your lovely style and charming photos it is sure to be a winner. From Amanda

Kerrie Roberts March 31, 2014 - 9:08 am

Sharon, I’m so excited at the thought of your book and looking forward to being able to buy my own copy. Adore your blog and your wonderful photos and a book full of them will be inspirational. Keep it up, whatever you choose to do.

Rose Willou March 31, 2014 - 10:01 am

I loved the latest photos including magnolia blooms. Used to be common around the older suburbs of Melbourne but not so often these days. Sadly mine perished in a drought here a few years ago. We are enjoying autumn colours slowly appearing now, so quite a contrast to see your pastel colours!

April Wytkin April 2, 2014 - 4:21 am

Hi Sharon
This is the first time I have left a comment although I have been reading your wonderful blog for about 2 years. Firstly, congratulations on the book and look forward to hearing further news. Secondly, I agree with Rose (I too am from Melbourne), I love the photos of the magnolia blooms. If you are feeling generous I would love you to send me a copy of the very close up one as I am trying to get photos to convert into wall hangings in my new place.

david terry March 31, 2014 - 10:03 am

Oh, Sharon…..

As you’ll know, I was born, bred, and trained in The South……where (as any old-fashioned lady knows) passive-aggressiveness ALWAYS wins the prize.

As you’ll also know, I made a distinct point of writing that I did NOT covet those plates and , instead, wished that they might go to someone “more deserving”.

The entire strategy (which I learned from my grandmother—- God rest her manipulative, southern soul) seems to have back-fired on me.

As of right now?….I didn’t win ANYTHING……and Miss Scarlett is going back up to bedroom to sulk.

Please don’t call or write or ever do anything to/at/for me again…..nothing anyone could do will ever assuage the painful & SCARRING disappointment of my not having gotten what I wanted. I’m simply not used to such treatment.

I hope you understand that I am not accustomed to folks’ denying me what I want. I think it’s HORRIBLE when people are nasty-tempered and cruel and don’t let me win the prizes.

I hope these foreign ladies enjoy their plates. I imagine they will, and that not ONE of them will offer to give me her plate.

The world is a cruel place, filled with selfish, grasping people.

I’m going backupstairs now, where I will probably cry a little bit before going back to sleep with Kitty.

All I have ever wanted in this life was one of those plates……but now I get NOTHING. This is so bruisingly sad, and I hope everyone feels Very Bad about Their SELFISHNESS for doing this to me.

I wanted to be a winner, but I guess I’m just a Loser. The only thing I ever wanted is the only thing that everyone (except ME) has gotten.

Yours in Sorrow,

The Rev. Dr. David Terry

(P.S……do I need to emphasize that I’m joking?……but I really have known a certain sort of Southern Woman who habitually acts this way. Apparently, that sort of behavior used to get you what you wanted. It doesn’t really work, these days, though…does it??)

Heather in Arles March 31, 2014 - 3:34 pm

David, I think you better write it in CAPITAL LETTERS (because I know how much that, in truth, you love them) that you are joking otherwise poor Sharon’s good news is going to be drowned out in a lot of hissyness like the last time you did one of your acting excercises here (and which I still remember with great mirth)…
Advisedly yours,
Your Wise Friend Heather

Susan March 31, 2014 - 11:10 am

Beautiful pictures of springtime. Love the oriental magnolia, a sign that spring is finally here. Can’t wait to hear more about your book.

Monique March 31, 2014 - 11:44 am

Congratulations! A book is perfect for you..

I can’t wait for my Magnolia to bloom:)

Marielle March 31, 2014 - 1:23 pm

Congratulations on your book deal. Well deserved and sure to be delightful. Your photography and words tell wonderful stories.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann March 31, 2014 - 2:02 pm

A book? Sharon, how wonderful for you and for us. That is thrilling. Your beautiful spring photos here are a perfect start to the week. On busyness – I’m not sure if it’s creativity or work ethic (maybe it’s both) but I’m never happier than when I’m busy. Good for you to have such a juicy project to sink your teeth into. Can’t wait to hear more about it! XOXO

Bertha March 31, 2014 - 2:19 pm

, Sharon, your news are great news. A book!!! Now you’ll get really, really busy.
As for the blue plate that I didn’t win, even though it was my birthday, and I felt like I deserved it, I guess it was not supposed to happen. They were gorgeous plates, and I know the people that won them are going to be thrilled. Congratulations to them, and I know how David Terry feels, I (kind of) feel the same way, not to that extreme, mind you! Ha ha. Is he really a Rev.? Thank you for letting us participate of that great opportunity. And congratulations for your book. Bertha. P.S. Is that a Magnolia Alexander?

david terry March 31, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Dear Bertha,

To answer your question?……no, I’m not only not “really” a Reverend (although I am a stodgy, old-fashioned Episcopalian who’s friends with a boatload of Anglican priests, both dead and living).

In the particular circle I run in, we have a habit of ironically throwing around gratuitous (and entirely spurious) titles when referring to friends. For instance, someone might say “ExCUSE me, but I believe Senator Santoni was about to say something Very Important! Could everyone please be quiet for a moment?..or “Well, that’s not what I heard, and I spoke to the Right Reverend Doctor Santoni just yesterday over the telephone”.

Put simply?…one can’t have too many titles.

It’s what passes for humor in these parts, but we have to do what we can to amuse ourselves in this backwater, tiny town.

I should add that this can, sometimes, backfire. I was friends, for more than twenty years, with a college room-mate who later went on to have an extremely distinguished career in the church, despite the fact that his personal life was, quite frankly, pretty reprehensible on several levels and for quite a long while. I began referring to him (let’s call him “John Taylor”) as “The Wrong Reverend Taylor”.

A mutual friend made the mistake of introducing him (in public) by that not-exactly-complimentary sobriquet…..and then she compounded the flub by muttering into the microphone “Oh…I’m sorry….that’s what David Terry calls you….”. I was mortified(but only sort of so). He and I haven’t spoken since then (which, actually, suits me just fine).

In any case, I’m not ordained…..and, much more interestingly, will everyone join me in hounding and harrying Sharon to tell us what this book is about? I’m hoping for #1 in the upcoming series “Miss Sharon Santoni, Girl Detective, Unlocks the Seven Secret Mysteries of Normandy!” or “Sharon ‘Antiques Road Trip’ Santoni’s Valuable Tips for Losing Twelve Pounds in Ten Days, PLUS The Secret to Discovering a Long-Lost Renoir in Your Great-Aunt’s Attic!”.

I want Sharon to become the next J.K.Rowling or “Hunger Games”/”The Normandy Code!” auteur. Then, she could just giddily build a hundred guest cottages next to her house and invite all of us to stay forever. Doesn’t that sound nice?


David Terry

david terry March 31, 2014 - 3:11 pm

P.S. I am, all done and said, technically a “doctor”, but the wrong/useless sort (I taught Victorian Literature for years).

That said?….I wouldn’t be at all surpruised if Sharon (who is, after all, English) turns out to be one of those outwardly unassuming, pleasantly-mannered, and perfectly polite ladies who, after thirty years of quietly & intensely private research, suddenly publishes a 1000&one page, professionally lauded, scientific treatise on the mosses of Normandy or the reproductive habits of exactly 4 sub-species of a rare, Norman sparrow.

My experience with women has led me to believe that it’s always the quiet ones who’ll surprise you…..

—-David Terry

Heather in Arles March 31, 2014 - 3:42 pm

Dear me, you are in especially fine form today, Mr. Terry.

[email protected] european farmhouse charm March 31, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Sharon, I’m so excited for you!! I can’t wait to hear all the details XO.

Lorrie March 31, 2014 - 3:06 pm

Congratulations to the winners of the plates, AND congratulations to you on your book deal. I’m interested to hear more about what you’ll be writing about. Traveling all over France for material sounds like a wonderful project.

Heather in Arles March 31, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Oh all I can say is a very, very heartfelt “Hooray!!!” for I have been secretly hoping that you would make such an announcement for a while now. 🙂

We all want a book from you, Sharon. As wonderful as your blog is (and it most certainly is), it can be such a comfort in our transient times to have something to actually hold in one’s hands. To treasure.

True, if I had my way, you would be filming your current adventures for a television series not so completely far from Mr. Terry’s ideas…something tells me you would be wonderful at that too. But one step at a time, so I will simply say: Félicitations!!!

And ps. if you are coming down Provence way in your travels…

david terry March 31, 2014 - 3:59 pm

It’s TRUE, Heather… you know how much money has been made by the folks who thought-up (and actually worked-on, which is the “Secret” to all big-but-unimplimented-ideas) the television series “Antiques Road Trip” in the USA?

Sharon would be perfect for this. There’d certainly be an American audience.

Advisedly yours as ever,


david terry March 31, 2014 - 4:02 pm

I know…I know…..”un-implEmented”……


Colleen Taylor March 31, 2014 - 4:31 pm

Oh Sharon, what fabulous news about your book! I’m thrilled for you. Congratulations to the winners of the plates. I can relate to being busier than I hoped to be as well. I also don’t know the why’s of being driven but it’s too late now to attempt to stop & besides, I prefer it that way. Congratulations on your book. X

Jen Owens March 31, 2014 - 5:37 pm

What great news on the book! I will look forward to carrying it at the shop… Maybe a California book signing tour!!! I think one of you beautiful dish winners is a customer of mine! Love it. Looking forward to hearing about the book in-progress! xo

Sue Malizia April 1, 2014 - 4:33 am

This California girl seconds your idea about a book signing…. whatever the subject, Sharon has a way with words to keep me interested. I still liked the story she wrote this past winter. I’m so intrigued! 🙂

Sandra Lambiotte March 31, 2014 - 6:05 pm


I am new to your blog – but love, love it! Just beautiful. I live in a small town in the state of West Virginia and am in love with all things French. We have art by Roger Muhl of Mougins and would dearly love to travel to the region one day.

I am so happy to have found your blog and look so very forward to it. It a special treat for me. Looking forward to hearing all about your book.


Katherine April 1, 2014 - 12:26 am

Congratulations! I am excited for you.
For anyone who reads your blog, follows your adventures and falls in love with France every time you post a beautiful picture – it is easy to see why a publishing house would grab the opportunity to work with you. This new opportunity is well deserved.

Kathy J April 1, 2014 - 3:13 am

Your Book, Oh! that’s so exciting!! It’s got to be the best ever!!

Esther George April 1, 2014 - 7:57 am

Hi Sharon congratulations to the winners of your beautiful plates and a book on the way…exciting news (the pressure is on). Your garden looks absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t see it properly last night I had to go and get my eyes checked and the drops they used made me feel like I was looking through rippled glass on a foggy bright day…I could not stop giggling. I love your Magnolia tree I have 3 small trees…one of them I had to wait 7 years for it to give me 2 flowers and now it looks dead (Vulcan red colour). I have a miniature (Lady of the night) it flowers beautifully and the perfume reminds me of Lollies. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time Regards Esther from Sydney.

BrocanteuseRose April 1, 2014 - 4:58 pm

You have my pre-order already!!!!! 🙂

sally April 1, 2014 - 10:18 pm

Hello Sharon

What a beautiful time of year to start such a wonderful project..Im so happy to hear of your book and just know how amazing it will be…Im wistfully remembering your magical story the Christmas Cocktail.. I hope you enjoy every moment of each page, I know I shall!

Something lovely from Paris…if you like George Michael, he is playing the Palais Garnier… is on right now, bbc1

Much love to you, you make every day so special with your words and pictures
thank you

Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm April 2, 2014 - 1:59 pm

Happy congratulations on the forthcoming book; well done! Do you know about
Chateau de Gudanes? It’s a lovely home, in restoration and beautiful.


Leave a Comment