Posts Tagged french vintage

Products of a Butterfly Mind

I know I said I had the dressmaking bug again but I confess I got distracted by another pastime last week.  My neighbour is doing up her house and bought some chalk paint and it inspired me to do a bit of painting, distressing and general messing about of my own.

I blame it on the fact that I am a Gemini. which if you believe in such things, means you are interested in lots of different things and are easily bored or distracted.  It also means I am coming up for yet another birthday which despite me always saying ‘it’s better than the alternative’ , is still slightly depressing

No chalk paint involved here but I was experimenting with transferring graphics and I printed this onto some 100% French linen.  I was using TAP (or transfer artist paper) which was recommended on The Graphics Fairy blog (thanks to her for some of these graphics) but I think, because of the darkish colour of the linen, the transfer edges didn’t go completely transparent so I stitched around the outline to make it look as if it were meant to be there all along.  Then I made a cushion out of it – as you do.

French Typography CushionFlushed with success, I put a graphic on one of my vintage French tea towels.  I can’t decide whether to do some of these to put in my handmade shop or whether people prefer them plain as they are in my vintage shop.  I think maybe I’ll just do a couple and see how they go.

VIntage French Tea TowelI paid 50 cents for this block of wood with a hole drilled through it in the local charity shop – believe me, you are not as surprised as the bloke who works there who probably thought I’d picked it up off the floor somewhere –  just for the purpose of testing the claim that you can use the paper to transfer onto wood.  The wood is very rough so the image looks distressed which is sort of the look I was going for.

Transfer on WoodThen I tried it on a plain bread board which had a much smoother grain and I did it over a layer of chalk paint and then distressed it.  Again, some of the transfer didn’t come off completely but it is supposed to look aged so it worked for this project.

Vintage French BreadboardI wanted to try out paint and graphics on a piece of furniture so I picked up this little table for 4 euros in the same charity shop and set to work to transform it.  I think it had been cobbled together from parts because the central twisted stem was quite lovely smooth wood whereas the base and top were not such good quality and rougher.  The good thing about the Annie Sloan chalk paint is the fact that you don’t have to do any preparation before using the paint – apart from making sure the item is clean and free of loose bits – which is music to my ears as the preparation is the boring and hard bit.  I wondered if it really were true and had my doubts about the smooth wood as there would be no ‘key’ for the paint to hold on to.

chalkpaintProject1aHowever, it did paint over very well.  Below is the table with two coats, the first being ‘Duck Egg Blue’, the second ‘Emile’.

Chalkpaint Project 1b  I did start to distress it a bit but Mr. T. was very distressed himself about the purple colour so I went over it all with ‘Old White’ and then gave it another bit of stress.

Chalkpaint Project 1cI put a graphic in the centre – well, I say centre but I was actually about 2cm too much to the right.  So, a lesson learnt for next time.  I didn’t use transfer paper on this but another  method where you cover your paper or cardstock with a layer of ‘school’ glue which is washable, print your image onto it then put a layer of modge podge (I used Decopatch glue as I am in France) on the wood and press the image down.  After leaving it to dry overnight, you wet the paper and then start to peel or rub it off and voila!  I think this is a good method for anything where it doesn’t matter if the item has a distressed look but I’m not sure I would trust it (or me) enough to do it this way on anything more formal where you want a crisp, sharp image.

Chalkpaint Project Close upThis is a little sleeve board I found whilst on one of my foraging trips.  I love the ornate wooden base.  I might actually leave the original linen on the top but make a loose cover and use it in my workroom.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to chalk paint it even though there are quite a few things around the house I do have my eye on.

Antique Sleeve BoardAnd just to show I haven’t completely abandoned my sewing machine, I was in my workroom the other day and suddenly had the urge to make a nightdress – it just came to me.  I drew round one of my old nighties and made a new one.  This is the toile really but I might be able to wear it.  I have learnt that I need to use a ‘drapier’ cotton or cut it on the bias next time but, apart from that, I was quite pleased.

DSC_0001Haven’t washed it yet, hence the fold line near the bottom but you get the idea.

On a final note which, as so often in my blog, has nothing to do with the rest of the post, my 3 new chickens, Milly, Molly and Isis(!), have started to lay, bless ’em.  I hadn’t even bothered checking the nesting boxes yet as I thought they were still a bit young but, when I did, there they were.

Fresh EggsOf course, they didn’t lay them directly into my Nigella Lawson style beaded bowl – they are not that obliging – but I thought it made a better picture than the inside of a nesting box.  See how thoughtful I am.

Have a good week!

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A Moan, A Death, A Sale

noahs arkNoah’s Ark by Edward Hicks (1780-1849)

The deluge continues and I have taken a break from gathering my animals together in pairs to put pen to paper as they used to say in the old days.

Our purchase of some new hens last week turned out to be very timely as when I went to check for eggs in the original chicken hut the other day I was confronted with the sight of a very dead chicken.  Dark Sun is no more.  I don’t know what happened but it is the first time one of our hens has had a ‘natural’ death, a couple of others meeting an untimely and undignified end at the hands (paws) of a new pup.  The cockerel, Darth (don’t ask), who hatched at the same time is bereft at the loss of his sister but still makes an awful lot of noise and I suspect the neighbours are sorry that it was she who went first.

HensThe late Dark Sun (bottom centre) proving that kids should never be allowed to name pets!

Anyway to cheer myself up and to celebrate my vintage shop’s 1000th sale (well, the next one will be the 1000th), I have put the whole shop on sale for the very first time just for the weekend so if you fancy having a virtual browse around a French flea market without getting wet, come and have a look.

La Manche

Have a great weekend – I hope you are having better weather than we are.  I’m  off to light the fire – it’s only the 31st May in the south of France after all.

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Posh Frocks For Chickens

I am very disappointed with the weather up to now this year.  It is the middle of May and yet the sun seems reluctant to show its face and we keep having rain and the occasional hailstorm.  I haven’t even taken the winter tyres off my car yet.  The first few vide greniers (aka boot sale/yard sale) have been rained off or, because there has been the threat of rain, nobody has bothered to turn up.  Although I did manage to find this fetching Madamoiselle yesterday morning.  I must say, she gave the dog a nasty turn.

Plaster Bust

Thank goodness then, that I have got back into my dressmaking mode as it has whiled away a few wet and windy hours.  I was rather taken with the New Look 6873 skirt I made but obviously had to hand it over to Mlle Tialys the Younger as it is  a little on the short side  for a woman of my life experience, not to mention it is covered in grinning death’s heads.  Still, it’s an easy pattern and I like the style so I plundered my fabric stash to see what I could find.  I’m one of those people that has to do something IMMEDIATELY when I make my mind up and it was a sunday so I couldn’t go shopping (no, not in France!).  Anyway, I found some Kaffe Fasset fabric I had bought at one time but there wasn’t quite enough so I made the pocket linings and yoke facings with plain chocolate brown material and, because I didn’t have enough fabric to hem it at a decent length, I used bias ribbon to hem it.  Can you bear it?  I’ve only just got back into dressmaking and am already doing tricksy things like that .  Here it is hanging on a hanger as it was too cold today to model it with bare legs and it would look hideous with tights.

kaffe fasset skirt

My next project – which I have already cut out – is from a French magazine.  Impressed aren’t you?  Well, I will take it slowly and, if I get stuck, take it to my mini sewing bee on Thursday so my friend can help me translate the more complicated bits.

french dress

I like the panelled skirt and the neckline which is a little bit different.  Also, as soon as I saw it I could imagine it in the Liberty of London Carline design, some of which I just happen to have in purple.

Liberty of London Carline

I have now received my pattern for the Elisalex Dress, which alone is a little work of art, and I have been contemplating fabric.  It is supposed to be made in quite heavy weight fabric – even upholstery weight –  in order to hold the shape of the tulip skirt which, I am assured, is flattering to all but I am not totally convinced and may reserve the right to draft the beautfiul, fitted top onto a different shaped skirt.  Also, I don’t like exposed zips so I will have to adapt that.  Whoaa! There I am again going all tricksy.  Anyway, I haven’t quite gone ‘upholstery’ but I have gone ‘home décor’ and bought these fabrics with which to give the lovely Elisalex dress a go.

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I actually bought the white patterned one – which is called ‘Marie Antoinette’ – for another pattern I bought – Simplicity Project Runway 1803  – so I might make the spotted one up in the Elisalex in a short sleeved version and, if I like it, I’ll use the ‘Marie Antoinette’ to make a sleeveless version.  If I’m not keen I’ll go with the Project Runway dress.

projectrunwaydress

Where, I hear you ask, am I  going to wear all these pretty, feminine dresses and skirts when regular readers know that, not only do I live in a beautiful yet cultural backwater with very few opportunities to wear a posh frock, but I have the sort of lifestyle that mostly requires jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer.  Well, once I have a small but versatile stock I am hoping to start making more things for my Madamoiselles.  The Elder is very into fashion and would probably throw herself into choosing patterns and fabrics and might even have a go herself.  Unfortunately, she is in the U.K. at university most of the time so, when she comes back for the summer, I will tie her down, take her measurements, ban her from eating the usual student’s diet of crisps, chocolate bars and vodka so that she stays the same and then I can make clothes for her ‘in absentia’ .  Didn’t know I speak Latin too did you?  The Younger (as we have seen) is more into black, red, skulls, wolves, etc., hasn’t got much interest in fashion and certainly not frocks, so she might prove a bit more difficult.

I haven’t been completely idle on the craft front and here is another cartonnage box I completed recently.  No sewing involved – lots of glue and different thicknesses of card.  I was making this at my friend’s house and, as the glue was still drying, left it there weighted down with some of her antique flat irons.  Ooops!  When I returned the following week, she was all upset because some rust had transferred itself onto the fabric.  Ho hum. Another lesson learned.  I still like it though.

cartonnage

On the quilting front, I bought a Moda Layer Cake in ‘Little Black Dress’ design and I am having a go at this ‘handbag’ quilt from the book by Pam and Nicky Lintott.   I was drawn to it as it is a little bit different, fun to make and not too huge.  I think, when it is all joined together, I might quilt it again simply using cotton perlé maybe around the handles and outline of the bag.  What do you think about that idea and what sort of colour thread do you think?   I cannot get the hang of free motion quilting and, after all the hard work of piecing, I would rather do something by hand not least because it is much easier to unpick if it goes wrong.

Handbag Quilt

So that should keep me busy.  However, bowing to pressure, I agreed to add to our little flock of chickens today as the chicken man was at the market.  We only have 2 ageing hens left now (thanks for that Stan the dog) and a cockerel so I have had to start buying eggs again.  Whaaaat?  There is no comparison.  Even if you buy the most organic, free range, pampered eggs in the shop, they cannot compare to your own chickens’ eggs.  So we have another 3 now, some Light Sussex.   Here is Mlle T the Younger with Isis (don’t ask).  I wanted to call them Milly, Molly and Mandy but she had other ideas so I might just have to be content with Milly and Molly although it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Young LIght Sussex

So, chicken wrangling – and everybody knows you need plenty of posh frocks for that.

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Buttons, Bunnies, Buns and the BBC

When I go rummaging and foraging in dusty corners of junk shops, one of my most favourite things is finding an interesting looking box or tin.  The anticipation of opening it to see if there is anything inside is delicious.  Yesterday, I was on such a rummage and found this tin which, in itself, is a bit gorgeous.

vintage tinIt had a label on top saying ‘boite et boutons’ so I knew there were going to be a few old button inside but it was full to the brim, sorted into bags by colour and some of them are pretty unusual.  I’m not yet that brilliant with the macro lens yet, mainly because I am too lazy to set the tripod up,  but here is a small selection of what was inside. WARNING: zoom down a bit if you’re not interested in vintage buttons or dodgy macro photography.  Just saying.

DSC_0007vintage buttons DSC_0010 DSC_0014 DSC_0017 DSC_0023 DSC_0025

You can’t really blame Pandora for causing so much trouble can you?

I’ve got bunny fever again – must be the time of year – and here are a couple of new additions to the ever increasing bunny bento family – well, that’s rabbits for you.

whitebentobunny (2)

I actually found a local source yesterday for vaguely reasonably priced (well, it is France!) coloured linen and I’ve bought some in a soft grey which I think will be lovely for a bunny.  I have added it to the projects list.

Bluebunnybento (3)

I love hot cross buns and Mr. T. obligingly goes into Waitrose when he is in the U.K. and brings back supplies so we can keep up with the tradition of  slathering butter onto hot buns (ooer missus) and gorging on this Easter treat for a couple of days.  Funny, I don’t put much, if any,  butter on bread or toast but huge amounts of it are necessary for hot cross buns and jacket potatoes.  Anyway, inspired by the Great British Bake Off spin off for Easter, I’m going to slavishly follow the lovely Paul Hollywood’s recipe for hot cross buns.  I like the fact that they look all puffy and soft as the shop bought ones are usually a little flat.  Wish me luck with the piping bag when I add the crosses as I am usually not to be trusted with this kitchen tool that seems to behave perfectly well in anybody else’s hands but behaves like a demented serpent when I give it a go.

Paul Hollywoodand back to the buns…….

hot cross bunsIf mine turn out looking something (anything) like this, I’ll take a photo, if not I won’t.  Thank you BBC for the programme (the photos!) and the recipe which, if you want to give it a go, you can find here.

Thank you also BBC for the return of Dr. Who this Saturday.  The Doctor has obviously finished his work experience stint with Mr. Bricolage (see here if you are confused) and has returned to South London (mostly) to keep the Earth safe for us all.

Even better!  For those of us who love cooking AND sewing.  The Great British Sewing Bee is starting on BBC2 on Tuesday.  A sewing programme!!!  I will be interested to see what equipment the contestants will be given.  The bakers in The Great British Bake Off  had their own Smeg fridge, Neff oven and KitchenAid mixer – each had a different coloured one.  Will there be Husqvarnas or Berninas in tasteful pastel shades or what?  I can’t wait.  My life is now complete.

Madamoiselle Tialys the elder is back from Uni for the Easter break so I will be otherwise engaged listening to tales of student life and struggling to be ‘cool’ about it all and resisting the urge to send her to her room if she lets a swear word slip.  Whatever you are up to – have a great break. x

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