Archive for category Interesting Vintage Finds
It must be that time of year
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
– or in this case, two.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This one is almost a duplicate of one I’ve made for my resident goth (aka Mlle. Tialys the Younger)
A mélange of greens
which you can reverse to this combination.
Ooer! Looks like she’s thinking about those early mornings and getting on the London Underground in rush hour.
Back to the mannequin….
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.
Everybody loves a guessing game don’t they? I hope so as I’m looking for some enlightenment today.
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.
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.
Any comments, ideas, suggestions or, even better, answers would be greatly appreciated.
Well, you can’t say you don’t know in advance what this post is about unless, of course, you are not a sewer (in the needle and thread sense of the word) and haven’t heard of a Myrtle.
The Myrtle is a new dress pattern by Colette which can be made in stretch fabric or woven and is very easy to make and comfortable to wear and, if my two (yes two!) sewing machines hadn’t thrown a wobbly about doing a zig zag stitch on the stretch fabric I used, it would have been finished in an afternoon. All was going well until I got to the waistband and had to do a zigzag round the casing for the elastic and, for some reason, still not fathomed, my machine just wouldn’t do it. I changed the needle, the tension, the thread, the swear words – nothing worked. I changed machine – still no good. In the end, I had to use a long straight stitch which I hope will hold. As is becoming more and more predictable with me lately, it was a little big on the shoulders so I sort of pulled them to the front and did a top stitching doodah with my double stretch needle because I have these things in my armoury and I know how to use them. So, just to prove I can make a dress that fits me, here it is
This really is a quick and easy pattern and the result is very comfortable to wear. The bodice is cut double on the fold so is self-lined (sounds complicated but isn’t) and, although the pattern stipulates 3 metres of fabric, I only used 2 by being really mean and stingy and folding and refolding the fabric like a miser. Although I did leave out the pockets as, if I have pockets, I put my hands in them which seems to work for some people but just makes me look slovenly.
Anyway, after it peed down of rain again yesterday, this sunday morning dawned bright and sunny so I hauled myself out of bed and headed for the nearest vide grenier for some serious treasure hunting. It has not been a good summer here in the South of France this year and, in fact, it has been so bad that I have been jealous of my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the elder who regularly tell me how hot it is in the U.K. even though I know that us Brits have a fit of the vapours if the temperature goes over 20 degrees C, prompting lots of people to shed layers of clothing in inappropriate places and to labour under the illusion that sunshine makes everybody a little blind and therefore not able to notice the often unseemly flesh on public display all of a sudden. But, I digress as usual and this morning was a bit of a strange one in that I ended up spending the most money on stuff I’m going to adorn my own house and garden with.
Found this gorgeous antique french comtoise clock which, after a bit of a wipe and a bit of tentative fiddling by Mr. T. looks like this
All the bits and pieces appear to be present and correct on the inside so I just need to get a pendulum, a winder thingy and two very heavy weights and we will wall mount it and then wonder why we didn’t think of a way to stop it chiming every hour and half hour.
We also bought, from the same flea market vendor, this cart. It is, we are assured, a market florist vendor’s cart. Whatever. It is delightful and once we get the horrible brown paint off and oil the wood, it will be gorgeous.
A close up of a wheel, just because I took the photo and where else would I show it?
Common in the last quarter of the 19th century and up until the First World War, these souvenirs of a marriage were placed under a glass globe and the bride’s tiara was usually pinned to it with mirrors symbolizing the time the couple were together before marriage and, as time passed, the number of children born together with other mementos of the union and of family life. Must do something about the drips of paint (how did that even happen?) but what a lovely souvenir.!
Anyway, off to sunnier climes for a few days (I shouldn’t really have to say that when I’m in the south of France) and taking a rest from the sewing machine, Etsy shops and the demands of certain humans, canines and felines alike.
I have a friend, in France, who loves all things Japanese and goes there quite often and has ‘contacts’ and returns with beautiful vintage kimono and fabulous fabrics.
She took a fancy to an old livestock bell I had in my vintage shop because it was made in the village where she lives.
She wanted to know if I would do a swap. The animal bell for some Japanese fabric. So I went round to her house and had a rummage and this is what I ended up with.
Some gorgeous orange textured silk
Apparently the wavy lines are picking out the movement of water flowing in a river. Traditionally, this motif symbolizes the passage of time, and the course of a lifetime. Well, there you go – I just liked the colour and the ‘bobbly’ bits.
some circa 1970s kimono cotton
with a lovely handle and soft, slubby texture
and these two indigo cottons which I am going to fuse together somehow for an infant’s outfit. The dark blue one is sort of ‘corrugated’ – if you know what I mean – so I think it might look like shirring and would make a cute top to a summer dress with the other fabric as the skirt.
Here is the animal bell which is pretty gorgeous in its primitive state and becomes especially special if it was made in the village in which you now live
Now my dilemma is, what can I do with beautiful fabric that is only about 14 inches wide?
I’ve got around 2.5 meters of the orange and 2m of the pink and I’m thinking of some sort of tops but I think they would have to be in panels. Any suggestions? Is it possible to make anything other than a scarf?
The indigo prints are easier – I think I will be able to make a really cute baby dress from those. I haven’t been promoting my baby dresses because I haven’t been pleased with the photographs. I don’t have a baby to model the clothes and my dogs wriggle too much and struggle with the bloomers 😉 So, not having enough vintage mannequins in my house already(!), I found a child-sized mannequin on Ebay which used to grace a shop in Paris and plan to take a whole new set of photographs using this display model.
Is it me or is this just a tiny bit creepy?
Thank goodness it hasn’t got a face.
In other breathtaking news – I have finished my Simplicity 1803 dress for the Outfit Along – just need to hem it – and will reveal it soon. The other part of the Outfit Along – the Myrna Cardigan – is one-armed at the moment but I hope to have it completed by the middle (or end) of next week. I am pleased with the dress but the cardigan will probably end up as another ’round the house’ knit. We’ll see. I might try the method of using petersham ribbon behind the button and buttonhole bands for a neater and stronger finish as there is quite a bit of negative ease in this cardigan (hark at me getting all technical!) and it might look as if it is pulling a bit across the girls otherwise. A tutorial for such a method is outlined here and I will report back if I decide to go along with it.
I am girding my loins to attend a vide grenier (boot sale, yard sale, flea market) as a seller rather than a buyer this Sunday. Mlle. Tialys the elder and myself will be attempting to sell some of the results of an over enthusiastic clothes buying habit formed over the last 5 years in her case and many more years in mine – and making room in our wardrobes for our new passion for lovingly hand made clothing. I’ll let you know how we get on but be prepared for some grumbling about that group of people known as ‘the public’ which we will be miraculously disassociated from on Sunday as we attempt to sell to them. Example scenario ” a euro for a vintage leather handbag – are you mad? – I’ll give you 50 cents” . Maybe it will rain…….
I have finished piecing the hexagons for the quilt I’m making for a friend.
If you are from the Quilt Police, please do not contact me. I know there are one or two intersections that are not perfectly matched but, overall, I think my care with cutting and my 1/4 inch machine foot served me well.
Now I have to decide whether to use this cream cotton as a border
or this mushroomy grey cotton – both have a slight sheen
or something different altogether. What do you think?
This will be the back
At the moment I am veering towards the cream as I think it lifts it and brings out the lighter colours – plus I have more of it – but I do like the mushroom also – help!!
In other riveting news, I continued my tradition – well, I’ve done it once before – of finding a gorgeous vintage mannequin on the day of my birthday. Like Winnie the Pooh, she’s losing a little stuffing but she is of impeccable pedigree, being a Stockman with original stand and key and just look at that waist. I think it is very old as the size says ’42’ which would be a U.K. size 14 nowadays (U.S. size 10 I think). Perhaps a corset was expected – the bust looks a bit pushed together Nell Gwyn style. I am chuffed but, for some reason, Mr. Tialys is not amused.
Off for a birthday meal in a couple of hours. We are going to have dinner in a beautiful and ancient old abbey where the view are gorgeous and so is the food. Salut!
Today it is (yet another) public holiday here in France. We got up early because, we both need to drive to the airport this afternoon, one of us to leave for a few days and the other to pick up Mlle Tialys the elder who is visiting home for the rest of the month to get her breath back after the endless
parties and general student goings on studying of the past university year. But first we wanted to go to a plant and brocante market and the village which holds this annual event also has its usual market day on Monday mornings so it gets absolutely packed and it is difficult to park, walk or breathe if you leave it too late. Ask me how I know. Also it is really hot at the moment and it is better to get these things done in the relative cool of the morning.
Not a photo of me this morning – though quite close. Do you think he looks prettier for having a rose growing behind his ear? This had happened by accident, not design, which is why I took the photo.
We went to the market with the intention of buying a plant or tree to go over the final resting place of our old German Shepherd, Phoebe, who died last year and was buried (with much exertion and dedication – she weighed 45kg) on one of the higher terraces in our garden. At the moment she is covered in Iris flowers but we wanted something more permanent. However, it was mostly herbaceous plants for sale so we ended up with a plumbago for the terrace
and a bignone for somewhere else in the garden but we don’t know where yet.
Of course the brocante part was not neglected and I found this lovely brass cherub holding aloft a diamond cut glass coupe surrounded by flying birds. Over the top? Mais, non! Well, a bit I suppose but it is very Paris Appartment as I like to call this style (or Hollywood Glamour if you prefer)
I have an obsession with old French cutting boards at the moment. I love that they were probably made by the man of the house and used to death for years and years. I love the primitive way they have been fashioned, the visible marks of years of use and the grain and texture of the wood. Most of them I find are in an unloved state but I give them a light sanding and a coat or two of food safe oil and this usually brings the grain up to its former glory. These old cutting boards are made in very primitive fashion, practically hewn out of the trunk – I’ve had some still with the bark on before. They are generally really thick and chunky and lopsided, covered in knife cuts and with deep depressions where food has been chopped or bread sliced for many years. They are gorgeous.
Here are some I’ve had in the past all with their own characters and now in new homes for an even more extended useful (or decorative) life.
It doesn’t matter if they are split, scratched and holey.
This handle has worn smooth with use and has a deep depression in the centre where most of the chopping and cutting went on.
A lovely big knot in this one.
Usually, I am persuaded(!) that we cannot keep more than one cutting board – although I have kept a gorgeous small version which is easily concealed – but today I found one that I won’t be parting with.
It weighs nearly 3kg (around 6.6lbs)
what’s not to love?
I recently decided I needed a yarn winder. One of those gadgets that you use to wind a lovely, neat ball of wool when you buy it in a skein or when you need two balls of yarn for socks or an intarsia project. One of those gadgets that make it so that the yarn emerges from the centre of the ball and, therefore, doesn’t shoot off across the floor with a cat in hot pursuit. I know you can use your two hands but why do that when you can have a gadget that does it for you in at least half the time and when the result is much neater than I can manage.
Being me, I couldn’t just buy a plastic winder from somewhere in China. Oh no. I have to do ‘research’. Then, of course, I see a lovely wooden winder on Pinterest from a Scandinavian company that costs around 150 euros which is ridiculous, so I go on eBay France and, after much racking my brains as to what one of these things would be called in french (enrouleur de fil, if you’re interested), I saw this.
I was the only bidder – are you surprised? – and I am chuffed as I would rather buy a bit of vintage than a bit of plastic. You can see, on the label, the make is ‘Rapid Plot’ which doesn’t sound very french but I am assuming it is a play on words as the french for a ball of yarn is ‘pelote’ which, if you say it quickly enough, sounds like plot. This dates before 1968, according to the other markings, which just goes to show that franglais has been going long before ‘le weekend’ , ‘le shopping’, etc. I do love a bit of franglais – I speak it myself – but I find it amusing when they use an english word for something but then don’t understand it when you say it with an english accent. This means that when – or more likely, if, – I talk about a local bar which is called ‘Le Lounge’, I have to do some vocal gymnastics and call it ‘le Loooonge’, otherwise I am looked upon with pity and non-comprehension, although that isn’t an unusual reaction to most things I say here to be honest.
Anyway, I digress. After my purchase of the ball winder – note I am using ‘yarn’ and ‘ball’ alternately here to include both sides of the Atlantic – I realised I needed something called a ‘Swift’. Who knew? Again, something that can be done with your own two hands – or, more accurately, the two hands of a willing assistant or, failing that, the back of a chair – can be performed by a gadget. This time, a glorious thing, which you clamp to the side of a table and open like some sort of mad umbrella frame and then drape your skein around its welcoming arms, link it up to your Rapid Plot and Voila! Again, I didn’t want a plastic one but didn’t want to pay too much for the wooden variety.
Because I was at yoga class on Saturday morning, I couldn’t get to a new (very popular) house clearance type shop that has recently opened just down the road and is only open at weekends as they presumably spend the rest of the week clearing out houses of old tut that will end up in other houses until it is deemed, by the new owners, to have become old tut again and so it continues in the vintage and antiques world. So I
told asked Mr. T. to go and have a look and see if there was anything worth having and, when I rang him after yoga, he said something like ‘no, it was a load of crap’ . I don’t trust him as far as this sort of thing is concerned so, on my way home, I popped in myself and spent 100 euros and, amongst the things I bought was a wooden swift, here posing with its friend the Rapid Plot.
Apparently, he had spotted it and knew I wanted one but just because there is a little split in the knobbly bit you push up and down he didn’t buy it and neither did he tell me about it when I phoned. It was only 10 euros, he knew I was looking for one, he knew I would probably go in there at some stage and see it myself so, I had to ask, ‘why wouldn’t you?’ , to which he didn’t have a satisfactory answer. In future, I will not trust him to spot a good thing in a junk shop.
His punishment was that they didn’t take cards and, only having supposed to have gone out for a yoga class, I didn’t have my cheque book on me (who writes cheques anymore anyway?) plus I bought an antique Pfaff treadle sewing machine and this lovely display stand of haberdashery drawers so I had to phone him to come down to the shop with the cheque book and extra car space to get my booty back home. Booty as in stuff I’d bought, not as in the Beyoncé type of ‘booty’ or is that spelled differently?
I’m off to wind some balls of wool/yarn now – just for the hell of it.
Just dropping by to reassure anybody who gave it any thought that I have not suffocated under the clouds of dust generated by knocking out our old fireplace which I did a post about here
Instead of being employed for two days, as originally planned ( and quoted for ) the builder was here for thirteen days. This wasn’t his fault as, not long into the job, we realised it was going to be more work than anybody first thought and we had a sort of change of plan. However, thinking he was only going to be here for two days I told him he could bring his dog in from his truck and offered him lunch which, considering I usually grab a bowl of cereal at lunchtimes, was a bit of a strain on my meal planning skills nearly three weeks later.
Being a beagle, I couldn’t trust Harriet out in the garden unsupervised as we have chickens and I’m not sure our dog-proof(ish) garden would be beagle-proof, so I had to keep them confined on the terrace and keep checking on them every now and again with the odd ball playing game in between. Apart from an incident where she decided to jump in our pond and flatten a fish or two, it wasn’t too bad but time consuming for me and I found I couldn’t get on with anything up in my workroom which I was keeping firmly closed up anyway due to the dust. Hence my lack of new makes to show.
At least we have now progressed from this
You may spot the fact that the place for the woodburning stove remains vacant and that’s because, despite living in France where they have stoves galore, we decided to import one from Devon – long story. Anyway, it’s due to arrive the last week November/first week December and I’m hoping the temperature doesn’t take too much of a dive before then. You can see I have been at work with my paintbrush and, also imported Farrow and Ball paint from the U.K. as the french paint is truly abominable yet strangely expensive. The colours are ‘London Stone’ and ‘Joa’s White’ – just in case you were wondering. The plastic bag over the end of the flue is not a freakish design feature but to stop any gunk falling down as, the other day, we had strong winds which were forcing dirty water down the flue and on to the nice new tiles. I’ve not gone all ‘minimalist’ on you – as if! – but we’re still trying to decide how to arrange the furniture.
I have said before that it has been an abysmal year for vide greniers which have either been rained off, not well attended by sellers, or just plain pants but I did go to a good one recently and picked up a few vintage bits. As usual, there are things I bought and won’t be able to part with – ‘too heavy to post anyway’ is what I tell Mr. T.
So those won’t be going into my shop anytime soon but I have found a few other bits.
Have you seen all those on trend lamps which have animals – often dogs – as bases and, sometimes, like the Abigail Ahern ones, little teeny lampshades on top? Well, when I saw a fetching dog carafe in the flea market, with a hole already in its head, I thought we could knock up our own one. I say ‘we’ when I actually mean ‘him’ but he is strangely reluctant and I can’t understand why.
I will leave you with that question of taste and style and go up to my workroom and see if I can come to terms with the new overlocker that I bought in Lidl the other day – 139 euros for a Pfaff overlocker with a 3 year guarantee! – I was beside myself with excitement as that is the sort of thing that does it for me these days and it was only slightly more expensive than 250g of cheese and a loaf of bread here (thank God the wine’s cheap).