Archive for category Interesting Vintage Finds

Sewing Box Solutions

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.

numbered-sewing-box

  1.  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.
  2.   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.
  3.   A pointy thing that looks like a little awl.  An awl.
  4.   A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end.  A hook for crochet lace.
  5.   A thimble   (there are no flies on me)
  6.   Embroidery Scissors  (I’m getting good at this!)
  7.   Needle Case
  8.  Scissors
  9.  Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot.  Threading Bodkin
  10.   A little hook – but what is the proper name/use .  Button Hook
  11.   Mini Knitting Needles
  12.   A doubled oval shape which is open ended.  Tatting Shuttle
  13.   Bobbins/Spools

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.

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What’s In The Box? – A Sunday Quiz

Everybody loves a box, don’t they?  It’s so intriguing to lift the lid and see what’s inside.

Antique Sewing Box

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.

dsc_0010

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?

Antique Sewing Box Tools

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.

numbered-sewing-box

  1.  This is all metal with a hollow top that unscrews and a hollow tube inside – a retractable pencil?
  2.   A flat tool with cut out shapes at either end – one slightly wider than the other – and a slit at each end.
  3.   A pointy thing that looks like a little awl.
  4.   A pointy thing with a tiny hook at the end.
  5.   A thimble   (there are no flies on me)
  6.   Scissors  (I’m getting good at this!)
  7.   Needle Holder
  8.  Scissors
  9.  Flat tool with one pointed end and one rounded with a slot.
  10.   A little hook – but what is the proper name/use
  11.   Mini Knitting Needles
  12.   A doubled oval shape which is open ended.
  13.   Bobbins/Spools

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 😉

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Snow? It Must Be Time To Get Out The Knitting.

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.

First Snow on Pyrenees

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’.

Lace Knitting

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.

Kim Hargreaves Drew Cardigan no.2

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.

Marble Chunky Jumper

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.

Marble Chunky Jumper Back VIew

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)

Cat in Antique French Confit 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.

 

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40 Comments

Time For A Good Rummage

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’.

 

French Red Transferware Bowl Birds

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.

French Butchers Hooks

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?

French Soda Syhon in Copper grid

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.

L Houzeaux Pewter Vase (4)

A nice example of an Art Nouveau pewter vase signed L. Houzeaux.

French Cutting Board

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…….

French Tian Bowl

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

Brass Fox 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?

 

 

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Any Old Iron

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.

Paul garnier clock face

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.

PaulGarnierClock

(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.

Iron Base

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.

ClockTable (1)

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)

Cast Iron Panels

Here is the wall in question which is about 15m long (getting on for 50ft) and around 3m high.

Garden Wall

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.

 

 

 

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Too Much?

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

FriendshipBraidQuiltPrep (2)

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.

riley blake chevronsThis 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.

Vintage Sheets (1)

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?

VIntage Sheet Quilt Backing

All comments invited and welcome but not necessarily taken any notice of 🙂

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Back Into Boxes and Another New Girl

It must be that time of year

Hexagon Sewing Box - French Mercerie

I love making these but there are lots of bits and pieces and it really is a labour of love.  It’s just from time to time I am inexplicably drawn to making another one

Hexagon Sewing Box Paris Interior

– or in this case, two.

 hEXIEsEWINGbOXpARIS (3)

The last big vide grenier of the year took place recently and this was on the first stand I came to so I wrestled Mr. T to the ground   persuaded Mr. T we needed yet another antique mannequin in the house and a deal was done.

Antique French Manneguin Size52 (1)The covering is more like silk than linen and surely shaped for a corset so probably late 19th century.

Antique French Mannequin 52 (2)She is what I call ‘headmistress shaped’ because my fearsome headmistress at school was engineered by vicious undergarments  to look rather like this – she used to remind me of a figurehead at the prow of an old ship.  So ‘Miss Viner’ has joined my other girls but I will never refer to her as ‘cheap and nasty’ as she used to do to us if we committed any misdemeanour, even one as small as talking in class (as I did – often)

I am doing quite well with my dog bandanas in aid of the local rescue.  There will be a stand at a big Christmas Fair this weekend and I am going to send some along for sale there.  Somebody told me about soaking them in an essential oil mixture which makes the dog smell nice and also repels fleas and other nasties so I am waiting for the recipe and might give it a try.  In the meantime, the patient Stan has posed for more photos.  Just wait until he sees what Mlle. Tialys the elder forced  persuaded me to buy for him when I was over in the U.K.  Even he might draw the line at it – watch this space!

dogbandanagreentartan (2)

Speaking of my U.K. visit, as well as the obligatory fish and chips, Indian meal and high street shopping, I also indulged in a bit of culture.  I  bribed Mlle. T. the elder to accompany me to see ‘Mr. Turner’, the film about the genius painter which was very good and set me up for my visit to Tate Britain to see the Late Turner Exhibition the next day.

Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth exhibited 1842 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851Joseph Mallord William Turner

Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth

This is one of my favourite paintings which was on display at the exhibition.

I have to say Mr Turner  is not really her sort of film and I did have to keep glancing sideways at her to make sure she was still awake but, afterward, she pronounced it ‘interesting’ which is all a mother can hope for.  By way of compensation I took out a second mortgage and we went to see the West End show ‘Sunny Afternoon’ which is a sort of biopic about The Kinks  and it was excellent and here is a reminder of the songwriting skills of Ray Davies and the band’s very distinctive sound.

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Pole Dancing Cats

Mlle Tialys the Elder has been pole dancing.  Apparently it is a legitimate form of exercise.  When she was doing a class earlier in the year, close to her University on the South Coast, she did it in shorts and trainers (I think).  Now, she is doing an internship in London and when she rang to ask for details about a local class they said  ‘some of the ladies like to wear high heels’.  Do they now!  I was a little worried because even though I flung myself about in spandex à la Jane Fonda back in the day, there was never a pole in sight.  Unless you count the one holding up the pub sign where I usually ended up after class to down a swift lager and lime.  Anyway, we have communicated by text this morning and she appears to have escaped being kidnapped by shady characters and was designated as being worthy of the  ‘intermediate’ class.  Perhaps it’s best if she doesn’t get too advanced.

Anyway, when she first started this pole dancing lark, she made me laugh by telling me about hanging upside down on the pole and having to lower herself slowly to the ground and her thighs were making a loud squeaking, creaking noise against the pole as she descended which resounded around the room and that reminded me of this –

Forget all those other famous lines from classic films,  ‘Feed me –  if you dare’ has got to be my favourite.  Plus, how gorgeous is Antonio Banderas’ voice?

Talking of cats – which we sort of were – on one of my rummages recently I spotted this poster for an art exhibition.  It just gets into the ‘vintage’ category (or the American one at least), being over 20 years’ old, so I bought it for my shop but I then made the mistake of hanging it on my wall and now I just might have to keep it.

Vintage French Poster

A bit on the creepy side, I know but just look at that cat’s face.  He reminds me of my own long suffering black cat Salem.  Every summer he gets eaten by some sort of insect and his face, eyes and ears go all scabby and sore looking.  I put cream on which helps a bit but it happens every summer and, round about this time of year, it clears up and you’d never know he’d ever been affected.  It’s so bad that, if he wasn’t mine and I saw him wandering around, I would think he was a poor neglected creature with no home to go to.  As it is, if I see him and I’m in company, I just pretend not to know him which saves any embarrassment and wards off threats to report me to whatever passes for the R.S.P.C.A. around here.

Scabby CatSalem’s Summer Look -note the missing fur round eye, scabby nose and nibbled ear.

Of course, I also have a cat that looks like Shrek’s Puss in Boots

Who has also let himself go and is not ashamed to show it.

(He is alive in this photo by the way)

Back to sewing, knitting, crafting news next time but a change is as good as a rest to a blind horse as somebody who likes to mix up their proverbs might say and, anyway, I have too many projects on the go and nothing ready or worth photographing yet.

Yes, I know I should really have called this post ‘Pole Dancing And  Cats’ but that wouldn’t have sounded quite so intriguing so I sort of cheated.

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Suddenly, There’s a Nip in the Air

I know I haven’t told all yet about the big braderie I went to in Lille a couple of weeks ago but, since then, my Mum has come to visit plus Mlle. Tialys the elder came back for a weekend of home comforts before starting a year’s internship so I’ve been a bit busy but, suffice it to say, it was big, it was expensive, it was crowded, it was an experience.  I will elaborate soon when I’ve worked out how to get the photos off my phone – I could’t spare the luggage space for my proper camera and I don’t usually use my phone to take pictures.

Here’s one thing I bought.

Jockey Publicity (3)

Don’t ask me why – it just appealed.

What I have been doing though is companionably knitting with my mother and making some infinity scarves or cowls or whatever they are called at the moment, for my shop.  Mlle. Tialys the elder is usually a good model but she moaned a bit this time  – and it showed in her expression – so I used a vintage mannequin too.  These scarves appeal to the patchworker in me as I like coordinating the fabrics which can then be reversed and mixed to good effect as you puff up and arrange the scarf to your liking.

Cowl Infinity Scarf Hearts & Skulls

This one is almost a duplicate of one I’ve made for my resident goth (aka Mlle. Tialys the Younger)

CowlShadesofGreen (2)

A mélange of greens

CowlShadesofgreenModel

which you can reverse to this combination.

CowlShadesofPurpleModel (2)

Ooer! Looks like she’s thinking about those early mornings and getting on the London Underground in rush hour.

Back to the mannequin….

CowlShadesofPurple (2)

The title is to do with nothing much really except I’ve started making scarves and it’s autumn and there actually is ‘a bit of a nip in the air’ – suddenly.

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No Prizes For Guessing But Please Do

Everybody loves a guessing game don’t they?  I hope so as I’m looking for some enlightenment today.

French PressSometimes I find old things and I only have the vaguest idea of what they are but I buy them because they are beautiful or interesting or intriguing or cheap or some or all of those things.

So it was with this object I found the other day (although it wasn’t particularly cheap) and I don’t know what it is.  Can anybody help?

I know it is some sort of press but I can’t think for what.

Mystery Vintage Press

 

I know it’s not a press for vintage soda siphons but it was the nearest thing on hand to prop the bar up with. The slider bar moves up and down the grooved interior and the screw can push the bar down to a maxium of   25cm or 10 inches leaving a final squishing space of 23cm or 9 inches.

The nearest thing to it I have found on the internet is a press for playing cards.  Apparently, it was used by dealers in casinos when the decks of cards got a bit scrunched and the press would be used to straighten them out.  However, it was much smaller than this one and there were dividers in between the bar and the end so each card could slot in individually.

This one measures 56cm or 21.5 inches in length and 18cm or 7 inches wide.  It is 5cm or 2 inches deep.  The interior width,  inside the grooves where the object(s) would need to sit, is 12.6cm or  5 inches.

It is very well made and was obviously well used.  Somebody has seen fit to repair or reinforce the top corners at one time with metal but this has also been done well.

Antique French Wooden Press

Any comments, ideas, suggestions or, even better, answers would be greatly appreciated.

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