3 French Hens

A wonderful place to find treasures!

A wonderful place to find treasures!

Hi Friends!

We hit the road very early on Saturday morning! My excitement just bubbled over, as I wondered what treasures were waiting to be discovered at the 3 French Hens French Country Market. This monthly market, located in the quiet, little town of Morris, Illinois, completely fills a pretty park, on the banks of the historic I&M Canal.

The 3 French Hens French Country Market is held on the second Saturday  of the the month, May through October. It’s good to arrive early, as the little town quickly fills with visitors! Everyone is headed to Canalport Park in search of antiques, handmade wares by talented artisans, and repurposed treasures. We’ve been going for the past three years. It’s always a delightful place to spend the day, in the Spring, Summer, or Fall.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful waterway.

This pretty park sits along the peaceful waterway.

As we drove past vast stretches of farmland,

my great anticipation was tempered with the unsettled feeling of not knowing exactly what I was looking for…

Antique dealers and talented artisans display their wares in the park along the sleepy canal.

Antique dealers and talented artisans display their wares in the park along the sleepy canal.

Over the years, my antiquing trips have always been most successful

 if I have one or two treasures on my ‘wish list’ for the day.

Don’t you find it easier to know what you are searching for?

Alas, on Saturday, I really didn’t know…


It was such fun to look at everything!  Treasures upon treasures, all waiting for new homes.

Olde Farm Creek offered a nice collection of vintage inspired farmhouse treasures.

Olde Farm Creek offered a nice collection of vintage inspired farmhouse treasures.

It was fascinating to talk with the artisans about their handmade pieces. These primitive signs were made from tobacco lath and the beautiful canvas bags were stitched from worn tent canvas. The lovely, old patina of the materials added a special touch of the past to each newly created piece.



Roseberry Farm Primitives brought a touch of Autumn to the market.


The 3 French Hens French Country Market always draws big crowds of the friendliest people! Live acoustic music drifts across the park. Wonderful smokey smells from the food vendors whet the appetite for a picnic lunch.

But it was much too early… and there was still so much to see!


Local farmers bring their fresh-picked vegetables and fruits to the market. Bakers bring homemade pies, breads, and cookies. Freshly canned jams, marmalades, and salsas make it easy to take home the tastes of summertime to enjoy throughout the year.


My husband and I continued exploring, looking through all of the treasures of the past, and laughing as we came upon so many toys from our childhood. He is always attracted to vintage books, old photographs, and antique coins. I’m always drawn to peek inside old painted cupboards, to touch antique quilts in soft colors, and to admire vintage Mason jars sparkling in the sunshine. It was a perfect way to spend an August morning!


Suddenly, I saw it! I discovered what I had been looking for all morning…  inspiration!!

My heart just leapt when I saw the beautiful antique school desk! It looked so nice displaying old books on its seat and vintage treasures on its desktop.  It was just the right inspiration… at the right moment!

‘Back-to-School time’ is  just around the corner…

Jessica, from Tattered Accents Old & New, and I talked about fun ways to use an antique school desk.

Jessica, from Tattered Accents Old & New, and I talked about so many different ways to use an antique school desk.

Many years ago, a friend gave me an antique school desk. I’ve been saving it in our basement, thinking that one day it might look nice in the garden holding baskets of summertime flowers, or on the front porch holding vintage boxes filled with winter evergreens, pinecones, and holly. But today there is new inspiration! Maybe it’s time to bring the old desk upstairs to hold some vintage school memories.

It’s such a great feeling to discover new inspiration for a treasure that you have loved all along!

(My husband certainly agrees!)

Truly a perfect August morning!


Carrying inspiration back to the car is so much easier! You can take the scenic path… holding hands! ♡


Since ‘Back-to-School’ days are just around the corner…


H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R !!

Today is the perfect day to celebrate

all of the wonderful, creative, dedicated teachers

who share the gift of learning every day in their classrooms!

You truly do make a difference!

Here’s to a happy new school year… and all its promises!

To all of the retired teachers everywhere,

who have given a lifetime of learning and inspiration,

we honor and thank you for making our world a brighter place!

Look back with love and gratitude,

and cherished memories,

as your students carry a part of you

in their hearts…  forever

Scatter sunshine!


           P.S.  What is your favorite back-to-school memory?

21 thoughts on “3 French Hens

    • Hi Karen B, It’s such a great way to find new inspiration for treasures you already have! When we went in the Spring, we came home with all of the things on my little ‘wish list.’ It’s always a fun day in the country! ♡

  1. Good morning, Dawn! First of all, my favorite back to school memory as a CHILD was the feeling of a new plaid skirt “scratching” against my skin. My mother always made me an outfit out of plaid whether it was a skirt or “jumper”. As a teacher, my favorite back-to-school memories are the smell of sharpened pencils and Pink Pearl erasers being distributed, and hearing the scratching noise of pencil to paper by the students.

    NOW FOR THIS FLEA MARKET! You know, one of the most inexpensive and lasting treasure you can come home with IS inspiration! I SO AGREE! This is why my husband and I both love to peruse flea markets and antique shops because we always come home with IDEAS to either shift around an item in our home, or build something. And what a gorgeous setting to go perusing!

    We have a place here in Minnesota named STILLWATER, which is on the river’s edge of the St. Croix and the border of Wisconsin. I was there this Saturday and did I ever have fun. Antique shops and vintage homes and great architecture make for eye candy for the amateur photographer, ME!

    Have a splendid day outside in your garden dearest Dawn! Anita

    • I love your back-to-school memories, Anita! You are SO right about finding inspiration at flea markets and antique shops! I have favorite shops, in the little town of Sandwich, Illinois where I find the best inspiration. I always come home energized with new ideas for the treasures that I already have! Stillwater is a true gem! I will always remember my wonderful visit there! Hope you will share your beautiful photos! We had lots of rain overnight, so the garden is happy. I’m looking forward to time in the garden this week. Have a wonderful week, Anita! ♡

  2. I think I was almost as excited as you! How I used to love visiting and exploring, seeking out the next new adventure at a flea market such as this! I am so happy you found what you were looking for, and I cannot wait to see what that inspiration brings forth ~
    I am not all together certain that I have a favourite back to school memory to share, for I never wanted the summer holidays to end. I simply hated having to come away from the boat and the ocean to be shut up in a room all day with other children! School was like having my wings clipped {but then you have seen what I did on my summer holidays~is it any wonder I didn’t want to go back to a new school year?} and I could not wait for summer holidays to roll around again!
    Waving from Across the Pond ~ Debs in Wales ~~~

    • Good Morning, Debs! It was a truly perfect Saturday adventure, just filled with inspiration at every turn! Your summer holidays, playing in paradise, would make it SO hard to say farewell to the boat and the ocean waves! I’m sure that each summer passed much too quickly for you and your family! I just love seeing your pictures and hearing your stories! Have a happy day in the garden! ♡

    • Hi Anne! What a happy ‘back-to-school’memory! I remember my mom making my school clothes when I was in the primary grades. I always felt so lucky! It’s still a nice tradition to celebrate the start of a new school year, even in the smallest of ways! Happy summer wishes, Anne! ♡

  3. Hi, Dawn! My parents bought 4 old school desks many years ago. My dad fastened little wooden blocks, painted black to match the cast iron legs, to the back legs so the table of the desk would be level. They used them for end tables in their family room and bedside tables in some of the bedrooms. They still have one; the others have been passed along to some of the kids, where they are still being enjoyed.

    • Hi, Ginnie! What a great way to enjoy antique school desks! It’s so nice to have furniture pieces that take us back to simpler times. They are such treasures!
      Have a happy week, Ginnie! ♡

  4. Hi Dawn! How did I almost miss this sweet post? I guess you posted over the weekend and we were tied up then. Anyway….you MUST bring that desk up from the basement in time for the start of school and load it with your sweet vintage school memorabelia! And it MUST have an apple sitting on top “for the teacher!” I passed one of those up at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago as I really didn’t know where I’d put it but now I’m mad that I did! Maybe I’ll look for another one. My favorite back-to-school memory is like some of the other girls’….a brand new outfit, school bag, pencils, crayons! I LOVE the smell of a new box of Crayons with the pointy tips! When my kids were little we did the same thing with the new outfit and backpack and always took a “first day of school” picture before they left the house! I love seeing those pics and must get them out and frame my favorite ones for my fireplace mantel this year. And Anita Rivera, I’ve been to Stillwater! I just love that little town and they have my favorite Christmas store….Kathe Wohlfahrt! xo

    • Hi Karen! At the 3 French Hens market on Saturday, there were so many dealers with antique school desks. They were definitely ready for back-to-school days! I love your idea to put an apple on top! I actually have a collection of wooden apples. My sweet neighbor, Mildred (‘Reminiscing on the Front Porch’ post), always gave me a shiny, red wooden apple on the first day of school. She always said it was an apple for the teacher! Her apples are so dear to me. It’s been years since I visited Stillwater. I’d love to explore that beautiful town again! Sending sunny wishes, Karen! ♡

  5. I am a retired elementary teacher with the school year that ended 2003 my last classroom experience. Thank you for the words of appreciation! I’ve many memories of the first day of school, most of them from my years of teaching.

    I loved this trip to the “Three French Hens!” It sounds as though that would be worth planning a special trip.

    • So happy that you stopped by, Mama B! Teachers are most certainly ‘everyday heroes,’ making a difference every single day. ‘Back-to-School’ time will always remind us of those happy years in our classrooms. It’s such a wonderful French Country Market, just big enough and always filled with inspiration. The little town of Morris also has cute shops to visit. Perfect for a Girlfriends’ Day! Thanks for following! Sunny summer wishes! ♡

    • Hi Chris! I’m so happy for you! Enjoy every sparkly, magical moment of your engagement. Savor and treasure these special months of planning and dreaming as you and Todd plan your wedding day and your future together! Happy hugs! ♡

      • Thank you, Dawn! I love planning, so this will be especially exciting for me. And since we aren’t planning to have the wedding until 2016, I’ll have plenty of time to consider each possibility in detail 🙂 Many hugs to you as well ❤

      • So lovely, Chris! Take a little time now, at the very beginning, to just soak it all in! You have lots of time to have fun with all of the planning. ♡

  6. Dawn, you are right–
    what a perfect summer
    day to spend with your
    honey in the summertime!

    I always eagerly anticipated
    meeting my teacher when
    I was in elementary school.
    In later years, it was finding
    out where my locker was
    located and which of my
    friends was nearby : )

    Hope you are squeezing
    out every last bit of summer
    and all its joys this month!

    xo Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne! What sweet back-to-school memories! It’s such an exciting time of new beginnings… filled with promise. Our summer has been really nice this year! I’m enjoying time with friends and time in the garden. Wishing you lovely summer days, too! Thanks for stopping by! ♡

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