Archive for category Interesting Vintage Finds
An occasional (can’t manage more than that) series of posts where I say not much at all.
Remember my stained piece of gorgeousness picked up in the junk/charity shop?
Thank you for all your suggestions.
Here it is now
I decided to trust the oxygenating stuff (known as Vanish here and in the U.K. at least) and soaked it overnight. Then I sprayed with a dilute white vinegar solution and laid it out in the sun. Then repeated both actions before hand washing in mild soap and rinsing thoroughly followed by another bout in the sun.
I am as chuffed as whatever a chuffed thing is. **
Here’s the final result of my project using leftover yarn.
One or two people might be getting a blanket for Christmas.
The other day a friend and I had a spot of lunch before mooching around a couple of junk shops.
Unlike the U.K., we are very ‘poor’ in charity shops (thrift/op stores) around here but we do have quite a large one within a half hour drive. There is so much stock that some of it ends up outside to be rained upon and this includes furniture, sewing machines and all sorts.
You could be forgiven for thinking this photograph was taken outside the junk shop but, in fact, it’s part of the terrace at the back of my house – the shutters are a clue. This, however, is the position this wardrobe door was found in – leaning up against an outside wall in all weathers – with the only damage being the veneer at the base starting to peel off a bit.
I’ve been looking for a full length mirror to put in my sewing room to help with fitting issues and I might not have thought of an old door separated from its wardrobe if my friend hadn’t suggested it.
Anyway, the door was purchased and (wo)manhandled by the two of us into my car – it was a tight squeeze .
I thought the wood veneer might look a bit ‘heavy’ in my workroom so decided to clean and lightly sand the surface …..
……… protect the lovely bevelled mirror with masking tape and whip out the chalk paint.
Here I include a word of warning to anyone over the age of about 40. Never actually look at yourself when bending over a mirror – gravity is not your friend.
I love this bevelling.
Not much distressing of the chalk paint was necessary as the wood stain shows through a bit anyway so I just rubbed a bit at the mouldings and brushed some soft wax over it all. I left the little lock cover on as it’s pretty and I’m not trying to hide the fact it was once a wardrobe door – it’s more interesting that way.
Not bad for 5 euros (about 6 US dollars)
Despite having this antique suitcase stuffed full of vintage linens that I must have a rummage through one of these days, we also went a bit mad in the linen department of the aforementioned junk shop.
I say ‘we’ but it was mostly ‘me’.
I find linens really hard to photograph which is probably why I still have a suitcase full of the stuff instead of having it in my online shop. Well, that and I’m not very knowledgeable about embroidery or different kinds of lace so the descriptions are a challenge for me too.
This piece is lovely and only has a general, slightly tea-stained look about it – no single stains. I know I have some readers who are vintage linen aficionados and wonder about the best and safest soak for an overall ‘freshen up’ for this piece. (You should be able to click on all the photos to enlarge them)
I got told off by Mr. Tialys for buying this next piece because it definitely has some staining which the thread, in particular, has absorbed. The work on it is so lovely though and the lace surround so pretty and there’s no other damage (more excuses ready if needed) that I had to buy it.
Obviously, the darker threads are stains although at first I thought the maker might have just run out of beige thread 🤔- but I also wonder why the light cream and the darker cream embroidered squares are placed in these positions – it seems a bit random. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the staining out of those threads – unless you know different – but wondered about deliberately ‘tea-staining’ the whole thing. Any thoughts from my knowledgeable readers much appreciated.
Changing the subject ever so slightly, I hear that mustard is big again this autumn which I hope is true or this –
will have been a waste of time.
Not that most people in the corner of rural France I live in would know or, still less, care but I do at least try to keep up appearances.
With apologies to the Pet Shop Boys for sort of ripping off their lyrics for my title, I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely long Easter/Spring break and doing whatever it is you like to do at such times.
Last time we had a chat I asked you for help in deciding on a border for the Friendship Braids quilt and then mostly ignored what everybody said anyway. The Quilt Police will not be happy but I decided to dig out a vintage sheet I had actually bought a couple of years ago with the backing for this quilt in mind and use it for the border.
Tell me I was wrong.
I’m not normally a ‘green’ lover but I think it makes it look very fresh.
It is quite a low thread count I believe but, just to be sure, I washed it, made a sandwich with a square of quilting cotton, wadding and sheet and had a go on the machine. I didn’t have any problems with tension or thread knotting or snapping or anything and I certainly won’t be doing any quilting this close together so I’m going to go ahead and if I’m arrested and given a long sentence it will just give me the opportunity to sew mini hexies together, learn to love cross stitch, do a degree in psychology and concentrate on trying to make an orange jumpsuit work with my complexion – although that would only be if I got arrested by the United States Quilt Police which is a possibility as I think they are the most rigorous.
As I’m in confession mode, I must offer as evidence to be taken into consideration M’lud that, even worse than it being a sheet, there might be a touch of ‘poly’ in with the cotton as there’s a vague chemical smell when I iron it.
With this in mind, I decided not to go the whole hog and use it for the backing as well. As luck would have it, I had just dug a duvet cover out of the clean laundry basket that has been subjected to numerous treatments and washes in an attempt to remove some oil (I think it was some sort of body oil) that Mlle Tialys the elder had managed to spill on it some time ago. There was a patch of oil that refused to come out and, if anything, appeared to increase in oiliness as time went by. I cut out the patch, harvested the top Cath Kidston like floral fabric for future projects and pondered using the checkered side for the back as it is serendipitously the right colours and size. (Woohoo, I got to use ‘serendipitously’ – and again!)
I did make another sandwich, it worked fine, it is now cut to size for assembly so it’s too late to tell me if you don’t think it’s a good idea and, anyway, you know I don’t always listen don’t you. It is, at least, 100% cotton.
I rest my case.
I did have a vague idea about giving this to my Mum when I’d finished it but I think it might have too much green in it now for her liking. She has a thing about green and, as with most of her superstitions, has passed them on to me. Even though I don’t really count myself as a particularly superstitious person, I like to err on the side of caution. I don’t put new shoes on the kitchen table, I don’t bring lilacs into the house, I don’t tell Friday’s dreams on a Saturday in case they come true, and other such tosh. However, for years I believed the colour green to be unlucky until it turned out that her basis for believing that was that her own mother had once lost a purse while wearing a green coat. Sometimes I worry.
So she will be getting my first ever crocheted blanket instead which, as far as I know, has no bad luck associated with it and will go very nicely on her sofa and across her knees if she gets a bit chilly
Flushed with success after harvesting 450g of gorgeous tasting brown mushrooms from the pot on the right and watching the new babies grow (you can just see them if you squint) – I spotted a pot for white mushrooms (or champignons de Paris as they are called here) and thought I’d give them a go too. It’s quite amazing how much better they taste when plucked from their very own compost just before you cook them. I’m a convert and our earth floor wine cellar – which never gets used to store wine as we drink it too quickly – may well be put into use as a mushroom growing room in the near future.
I found this little stool in the junk shop last week and, as with much vintage French furniture, it was covered in a very dark brown thick varnish. Yuk. I forgot to take a ‘before’ photo but it was a flat, uninteresting, no grain showing, almost black, dark brown. Mr. T. had a go with the varnish remover and the sander and got it down to this.
I’m going to treat it with some woodworm killer – just in case – and, if all of the varnish has gone I want to use a white wax on it but, if not, I will probably use a chalk paint and then distress and wax it.
Off to baste a quilt before somebody stops me.
I did some food shopping today for the weekend – it’s only Thursday but Mr. T. arrives home tonight and I count Friday as the weekend – mainly so I can have a glass of wine (or two) but also because it feels like the weekend to me. Sometimes I come home with unusual things like this Romanesco – a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli which, so far, looks better than it tastes but I think that’s because I haven’t perfected my method of cooking it yet. I love all those little mini fir trees in fluorescent green although last time I cooked it in the oven and overdid it a little so the mini trees looked as if they had been in a mini forest fire.
Today I discovered this mushroom shaped pot of mushrooms, if you see what I mean. I couldn’t resist it because you are supposed to get three harvests out of this pot – obviously the first one is ready to pick.
But look at all these little baby ones ready to spring into life and become friends with eggs and bacon.
I try to have little adventures all the time, even when I’m doing the food shopping. Don’t judge me.
The postlady surprised me yesterday morning and not only because she arrived before 2 o’clock in the afternoon. She delivered a little package which had me racking my brains trying to think what I’d ordered from here in France – my online purchases are usually from further afield. Then I spotted the sender’s address and realised it was from Claire a fellow British expat. She is very generous with the results of her many talents and often sends little unbirthday gifts out to friends – both real and blogging – which is such a sweet thing to do. I might start to prefer ‘unbirthdays’ as you don’t have to get another year older when you have one. This lovely little needlecase features a little egg in the centre and I’m embarassed to say I don’t know exactly how she’s done it. It doesn’t look quite like cross stitch and it isn’t hardanger as I know you cut bits away with that – so I’m stumped. Pardon my ignorance but I don’t do all that fiddly stuff on tiny squared fabric – just admire those who do.
Inside, some stitch markers for both crochet and knitting and some pins – all in a lovely turquoise colour which goes beautifully with the crochet project bag I showed you last time.
A long time ago (Lordy, 2 years ago – I just checked), I started a quilt – you know the story – and now I’ve brought it back out into the light of day to finish it. I have my Mum’s birthday in mind but I’m not 100% sure it isn’t too bright for her tastes. I’ll finish it first and then make a decision about its eventual home. The design is called ‘Friendship Braid’ and is made using a jelly roll from a book about using jelly rolls called something I can’t bring to mind at the moment. The fabric I used was Gypsy Girl by Moda.
I have two questions for both quilters and non- quilters who wish to venture an opinion.
I need a six inch border around the outside. I can’t use plain white (as they have in the book) because my quilting wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny. I need something with at least some sort of design on it. There is a white fabric in the braids with tiny green spots – do you think something like that would work? What I decide on will depend on the answer to my second question.
Obviously I can’t ‘quilt as you go’ with this one – not at this stage anyway – what sort of simple (very simple!) machine quilting design would work do you think?
How do you feel about sending quilts out to be professionally quilted? I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this question before but it’s one that vexes me. I know it’s fairly common in the States to do so but I have recently seen a company in the U.K. who does it for quite a reasonable price and I’m interested to see how it would turn out. I am the first to admit that I’m a piecer not a quilter but is it cheating? (O.K., that might be three questions) I would have it back afterward to put the binding on so I would feel as if I’d done the ‘finishing touch’ but I can’t quite decide what to do. If I did something like vertical lines it would be fairly easy – apart from wrestling my smallish sewing machine into submission – but would that look O.K. Help!
Well, I knew the blogging community would come through for me. I now have answers to all my questions – some of which I hadn’t even thought to ask – so thanks for all your help and I have added the correct names to the list below in bold.
- This is all metal with a hollow top that unscrews and a hollow tube inside – a retractable pencil? A hole punch for adding a crocheted edge to fine fabrics.
- A flat tool with cut out shapes at either end – one slightly wider than the other – and a slit at each end. A ‘toothbrush needle’ for making rag rugs.
- A pointy thing that looks like a little awl. An awl.
- A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end. A hook for crochet lace.
- A thimble (there are no flies on me)
- Embroidery Scissors (I’m getting good at this!)
- Needle Case
- Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot. Threading Bodkin
- A little hook – but what is the proper name/use . Button Hook
- Mini Knitting Needles
- A doubled oval shape which is open ended. Tatting Shuttle
Judging by the amount of lace related items and the fact that, when you lift up the tray, there are some examples of lace inside, I would imagine this belonged to somebody that made lace .
”No shit Sherlock” I hear you say but there you go.
I hadn’t really thought about that little hole underneath the tatting shuttle but, as somebody pointed out, that would have probably had a little ribbon or hook to make it easier to pull out the tray.
Also – why the mirror? It had occurred to me that it might be to check one’s appearance but dismissed it as madness. However, apparently, such madness did exist in days gone by when people didn’t go to the supermarket and drop their kids off at school in their jammes, but refreshed their make up and did their hair in case of unexpected visitors or in case the husband came home from work early and surprised them in their state of disarray. If I get unexpected visitors when I’m in a state of disarray I just don’t open the front door.
Also, it has been suggested that this set is from the early 1900s which is probably not too far off the mark although it could be as late as the 1950s. Not sure.
Anyway thank you to all who helped me identify those tools – I think we’ve got them all now by a combined sterling effort.
Unless you know different, of course.
Everybody loves a box, don’t they? It’s so intriguing to lift the lid and see what’s inside.
I spotted this lovely wooden box with inlay veneer – I think the wood is burr walnut – and once I opened the lid and looked inside – I just couldn’t resist it.
I think it’s quite rare to find one of these sets in good condition and also with all the original tools inside. Love the padded lid with the bevelled mirror – what’s the idea of a mirror in a sewing box by the way?
It needs a bit of a clean but, by and large, it’s in good nick considering its age which I’m guessing might be the 1930s perhaps, maybe a bit older.
As even I am not that old, I can’t identify some of the tools so, in case you don’t have anything better to do on a wintry Sunday, maybe you could help me.
I’ve numbered the tools in the photo below and have filled in the ones I already know – scissors anyone? 😉 – but some of them I have no idea. I think those little spools are maybe boxwood and the tools themselves appear to be some sort of bone.
Any help to fill in the list below would be appreciated.
- This is all metal with a hollow top that unscrews and a hollow tube inside – a retractable pencil?
- A flat tool with cut out shapes at either end – one slightly wider than the other – and a slit at each end.
- A pointy thing that looks like a little awl.
- A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end.
- A thimble (there are no flies on me)
- Scissors (I’m getting good at this!)
- Needle Holder
- Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot.
- A little hook – but what is the proper name/use
- Mini Knitting Needles
- A doubled oval shape which is open ended.
As you can tell, I don’t have many of these tools in my sewing box so although I’ve a vague notion of what some of the unidentified ones are for, I don’t know the proper name or the exact purpose.
By the way, the tray lifts out and there is a storage compartment beneath which holds some pieces of old lace . Lace is something else I know nothing about so there might be another quiz next week 😉
The first snow has appeared on the mountains opposite our house. Despite taking this from my bedroom window on the top floor, I couldn’t omit the wires but there you go – that’s the reality, I won’t whitewash it. I could have gone out in the back garden and taken it I suppose but I happened to be in the bedroom when the photography mood came upon me.
Anyway, with the snow my knitting mojo comes back into play although this embryonic lacy scarf doesn’t look as if it would keep anybody particularly warm but I had a 25g ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze left over from the boyfriend cardigan I made last year and Sheila at Sewchet made some beautiful scarves with this pattern last year so I was inspired. I’ve never knitted lace before and I found the first few rows a little difficult – I kept losing count of the stitches because the yarn is so fine – but once the pattern started to establish itself I was away. I didn’t thread beads on to the first row as the pattern (available here for free) has you do because I’m not sure the intended recipient is a ‘beady’ person and also, that might have been a step too far for my tolerance with ‘fiddly’.
What bothers me a little is how this scarf is going to grow long enough to go round somebody’s neck. I appear to have used about a third of the 25g ball already and it’s supposed to end up around 53inches (135cm) long and the bit above is only about 8 inches so I can’t see that happening. Does a miracle happen at the blocking stage?
Unlike with sewing, I don’t normally have two knitting projects on the go at once but, as the lace will be a gift, I had to make a start on it and I had already begun a second Drew (boyfriend cardigan) in a different colourway as I already had half the yarn I needed to make another one. As you can see below, the fine Kidsilk Haze is knitted together with Rowan Kid Classic so is much easier to handle than the skinny one on its own.
Last year I knit a jumper while my Mum was visiting because she knits and we can have some mother daughter bonding time over the needles. I sort of knew I wasn’t going to like it much so, once finished, it languished in my ‘I Like Big Balls and I Cannot Lie’ knitting bag all summer waiting to be sewn up.
The sleeves were supposed to be holey too but I didn’t do that for a reason I now can’t remember but I’m glad anyway.
It’s O.K. but I don’t love it.
What I do like is the shape – it’s quite hard to find a knitting pattern that is fitted and has a nice scoop neck.
The yarn – and pattern – is from James C. Brett and it’s called Marble Chunky, in case you’re interested.
I like the variegated colour and, if I were to knit it again, which I won’t, but if I did, I would omit the holes from the front too.
As with the vast majority of my knitted garments, I will probably only wear this ‘around the house’ as, although I love to knit, I’m not a big knitwear wearer. Bizarre I know.
It’s always good to end with a cat (or dog) photo in my opinion so here is one of Mac who climbed into my antique bowl while I was trying to photograph it for my shop. (It is a very big bowl)
I was going to use it as a product photo but thought it might put people off who are allergic to cats but it was too cute to waste so I’m sharing it with you instead.
This isn’t the post I meant to do but, the two I have in the wings need a bit of explanation and I haven’t got time today. So, as I haven’t been around for a while and I didn’t want you to think I’d perhaps had a fainting fit and been crushed by cats and kittens and then eaten by dogs, I thought I’d reassure you I’m still alive and kicking with a bit of a quickie, picture heavy post.
By the way, don’t you just love the word ‘rummage’ – it sounds so English somehow, although somebody will probably tell me it derives from some far flung corner of the world but that won’t change my mind. I also like ‘cribbage’ and ‘pillage’ but wasn’t doing either of those on Sunday morning, it was definitely a ‘rummage’.
There have been few chances this year to fouiller (the French version of rummaging which is also a good word but devilishly hard to pronounce properly). If the vide greniers (empty attics/yard sales/boot sales) so far this year have not been too far away they have been rained off or ill attended by sellers or by me as I have woken up on several Sunday mornings the worse for wear. Nothing to do with the wine.
Anyway, last Sunday, there was a vide grenier within half an hour’s drive which also had the benefit of being in the village where some good friends of ours have a holiday house and they are ‘in residence’ at the moment, so I knew there would be a cup of coffee and a loo should desperation set in. Which it did. Twice.
These are some of the things I found amongst the used bath mats, second hand baby clothes and inexplicably popular albums full of bottle caps.
Who doesn’t need a sturdy set of hand forged butcher’s hooks? I did read somewhere that these are often mistaken for something called a ‘cherche’ which was used to lower down a well to retrieve buckets lost by previous water gatherers. I’m not entirely convinced. What do you think?
A beautiful turquoise soda syphon with the glass encased in a metal grid – this one copper coloured. Very art deco. The pewter top is marked as being from a Brasserie in Amiens which is in the Somme department of France.
A nice example of an Art Nouveau pewter vase signed L. Houzeaux.
Because everyone needs at least one French cutting board.
When I was in the U.K. recently I found I was rarely given a plate to eat from in restaurants – always an oversized rectangular piece of white ceramica, a slate tile, a wooden board or a conch shell. (I lied about the last one)
You won’t be surprised, especially as I had already bought the red transferware bowl in the top photograph – who could resist those birds? – if I tell you that Mr. Tialys , who usually accompanies me in the vain hope of finding leather working tools at these things, had to go back to the car at this point in order to make room in our bags and arms for more.
Which was just as well…….
this bowl weighs about 3kg.
I couldn’t resist this foxy piece which also weighs a ton but then it is supposed to be a doorstop
I’m pretty sure this is English though being that it represents a fox and a whip.
No leather working tools were to be found but Mr. T. did buy a bayonet knife which also serves as a belt knife. I do worry sometimes but ask no questions because if, in some dystopian future, we have to retreat into the mountains and live on our wits, at least we’ll have something with which to both defend and feed ourselves. That, and the machéte he bought on a previous outing.
Should I be worried?
A bit of a vintage or antique thing going on today, depending on what side of the pond you’re from. According to Etsy (who are a U.S. company) anything over 20 years old is vintage and anything over 50 years old is antique. Thanks Etsy! In the U.K. I think items have to be over 100 years old to be an antique and I’ll let you know whether that bothers me if I get that far.
Anyway, a little while ago during one of my frequent rummages in dusty old barn type places I came across this old clock face. I wasn’t even sure if it was old or a modern item that had just got a bit battered. I thought it was made of concrete but Mr. T thinks it is like lava rock but, anyway, it was only 20 euros and I had in mind making a little garden table out of it if I could find a suitable base.
When I got it home I decided to do a bit of research and it turns out that it is indeed old (19th century) and appears to be by the famous French clockmaker, Jean-Paul Garnier, who was an early pioneer in the unification of time on the railway system.
Like this one in fact.
(photo by Stefan Sonntag found on Google Maps here)
Apparently this is in a railway station in Syria.
( I hope Mr. Sonntag doesn’t mind me using his lovely photograph from Google images but I have linked to his work just below the photo.)
Recently I stopped at the same Brocante again and there was not one but three iron bases lined up against the wall. So, having kept my eye out for one for a few months now it seems that, like buses, iron table bases come all at once.
I think Mr. T. will mount the clock face to a wooden board before fixing it on the stand as we don’t want to mess with the face. Then it will go on the garden terrace – maybe – or stay indoors, I can’t decide yet. What do you think of it? The hole in the middle will have some sort of ‘decorative bung’ inserted but I’ve just balanced it on top for now to show you.
This may well be a unique table in the truest sense of the word. Talking of which, it literally drives me mad when I see things being described as ‘unique’ when people only mean ‘unusual’ or ‘a bit rare’. Note that I have used the word ‘literally’ in the sense it is now being
abused used which also irritates the hell out of me but it seems there is no hope for ‘literally’ and it looks as if ‘unique’ is to follow. I also hate ‘so fun’ – shouldn’t it be ‘such fun’. Ooer, I’ve gone all pedantic, sorry about that. Back to any old iron.
There is a huge old wall to one side of the front of our house. The other side to the front has been hideously deformed by our neighbour which is why we fell out with him until he helped us get our dog down from his roof and we were forced, albeit briefly, to speak to him again. See here for the gory details if you haven’t read it.
Anyway, until recently, it was covered in masses of dark green ivy – home to blackbirds and all sorts for decades – which has now been removed. Old wall revealed, climbing roses ordered, trellis work being considered. The wooden trellis work available in most garden centres is not always of the best quality – although it should be with the prices they charge – so Mr. T. is considering making his own.
However, in the same brocante, I spied these lovely old ironwork panels – there are three of them actually – and I thought they would look great on the wall amongst the roses. They measure around 110cm high and 40cm wide (43 x 16 inches)
Here is the wall in question which is about 15m long (getting on for 50ft) and around 3m high.
Do you think there might be something wrong with my sense of scale? Mr. T does
No matter – they will go somewhere – I couldn’t just leave them there now could I?
I’m considering having them mounted in wooden frames and fixing them to the wall behind the large pots we have either side of our front door and planting the pots up with an annual climbing plant. Any other suggestions welcome.
As I have said recently, much as I love making patchwork quilts, tragically my quilting skills are not up to much.
So, in an attempt to disguise any imperfections, I’ve decided to avoid using plain backings as they are too unforgiving.
Of course, trying to find extra wide fabric for quilt backs when you want to avoid a join is not easy. Patterns are limited and the majority are to be found in the U.S. which usually mean the shipping costs more than the fabric.
This, in miniature (as I’ve only completed one braid so far), will be my next quilt
I searched for some suitable backing and have actually ordered a chevron design from the U.S. at a bargain price and, even with the shipping, it is still cheaper than I would get it here or the U.K.
This is from Riley Blake and, as well as going quite well with the front, I thought the chevrons, which are two inches apart point to point, might give me some guidelines for quilting. This should be winging it’s way to me across the pond as we speak.
However, on Friday, I went charity shop rummaging and came out with ten vintage sheets. As you do. I think they will be good for a number of things. Cutting up and making a quilt top from fabric that is already nice and soft and worn giving the resulting quilt a nice vintage look. Making a dress or blouse. Using as sheets (there’s an idea!) Or – using as backing for quilts.
So, spot the green and white check one on the bottom. What do you think about using that for the Friendship Braid quilt backing? Too much?
All comments invited and welcome but not necessarily taken any notice of 🙂