Posts Tagged vide grenier

Emerging From The Dust

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.

Stan and HarrietStan looks on in the hope that Harriet (the builder’s dog) will eventually let him have his ball back.

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


to this

FireplaceRenovationYes, we decided to expose the whole wall – hence the longer time and the larger invoice.

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.

French Dog SculptureA gorgeous dog sculpture on a marble base and signed by Rochard

french soda siphonsTwo delightful French soda siphons in a smaller (so rarer) size and beautiful colours.

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.

ahern_poodle_mediumWhy this?

Dog Lampand not this?

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).


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Selfish Saturday

I am off to the U.K. on Monday to visit my parents, my eldest and last, but not least, (well it probably is least but you know what I mean), the Knit and Stitch Exhibition at Alexandra Palace.

I have finished my Colette Zinnia skirt but I am not altogether happy with the pleats and, because I’ve made it in plaid, some might say it looks like I have wrapped a picnic blanket round myself so you can understand my reluctance to model it.  However, when I come back, I’ll style it up properly and inflict some photos on you.

In the meantime, and before I go and hunt down my passport, bag small enough to go in the cabin but big enough to hold a week’s worth of knickers and other necessities, Rescue Remedy Drops (I don’t like flying) and the 1kg stollen cake that I’m taking over for my Dad who is poorly, I thought I’d do a bit of shameless self promotion in the form of photos of some of  the vintage goodies currently in my shop because a) I like them,  b) I need the free publicity and   c) I’m the boss of my blog

French Street SignThese old street signs are such a gorgeous blue – I sometimes wonder how they have become detached from the actual street

regule and marble French bookendsThe use of marble and bronze or regule for bookends and table lamps was very popular in France around the middle of the 20th century.

French Kitchenalia

I love making plain objects look more exciting with the camera.   I think I take my best photographs when I’m doing product photography – maybe its something to do with the possible financial reward!

mintgreenfunnel (2)

Another fanciful one.

French Nous Deux JugI love these ‘Us Two’ milk jugs, the colour inside this one is gorgeous.

Nous Deux SetHere’s another by Villeroy & Boch – this one comes with cups that say ‘moi’ and ‘toi’  they make lovely wedding or anniversary gifts

atomic coat rackA colourful 1950s rack – a nice contrast with the ubiquitous brown I would have thought.

germanjardiniere (5)A bit of art nouveau

Vintage French Jelly JarGorgeous old French jelly jars which are getting very hard to find in this tapered shape now

All these French treasures, and more, can be found in my vintage shop, La Manche,  which is the main (non breathing) competition for my attention apart from my workroom where I occupy myself with things of the creative kind.

Speaking of which, do you remember the lovely French magazines I showed you recently?  Well, bearing in mind Mlle. Tialys the elder’s new found interest in dressmaking,  I found the perfect one to frame and hang in my workroom to remind me of the defining moment when  my passion for sewing and craft in general finally seemed to have rubbed off on to one of my daughters.

La Petite Echo de la ModeNot strictly accurate of course as she is taller than me and neither of us, unfortunately,  are quite as well groomed or have such tiny waists. Tant Pis!

 I will see you when I get back from my spending frenzy at the Knit & Stitch Expo with, hopefully, some tales to tell.

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Mystery Item

I went to two vide greniers on Sunday morning but didn’t come back staggering under the weight of new purchases.  I did take Mr. T. with me and he tends to be a restraining influence which is not always a good thing.  I still can’t believe I left a ram’s skull coated in some sort of silver there but maybe, I hear you say, a bit of  restraint is sometimes a good thing!

Anyway, I can’t resist peering into boxes at these places.   Usually they hold cutlery sets, napkin rings or sometimes are empty but I love it when you open one and you see sparkly things like this

A lovely old button, two sparkly brooches, a pair of vintage French cufflinks for Mr. T and a gorgeous old box.  However, what is that item lurking in the back there?  Does anybody know?  It looks like a tie pin at first with two little mother of pearl beads at either end but then the two arms bend upward so the beads meet in the centre as if they were meant to go through a buttonhole or something – sort of like a cufflink would.

 A couple of close ups to help.

What do you think.  We are intrigued!

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Mayday, Mayday

I can’t believe it is already the 1st of May – surely I’ve only just put away the Christmas decorations.   It is a ferié (or public holiday) here in France so nobody will be working which seems ironic on a day called ‘ La ‘Fête du Travail’ but, there you go.  As it falls on a Tuesday, the schools and lots of public offices didn’t bother to open yesterday (Monday) –   they take the extra day as a ‘pont’ or bridge between.  A bit cheekyI suppose but then I’ve always thought it a bit strange that, in the U.K. for example, dates get moved around and tacked on to the beginning or end of a weekend for convenience.  Surely the 1st May should be commemorated on the 1st May regardless of whereabouts in the week it falls.  Anyway, in an uncharacteristic display of laissez faire about tax and paperwork, today is the only day in the year where the French allow anybody to set up stall and sell Lily of the Valley plants with impunity.

Remember the sewing machine cover I was making?  Well, here it finally is –If, like Mr. Tialys, you think my dog looks like a seal then please keep your comments to yourself!!  He didn’t and was sorry afterwards.

We undertook this rather challenging  project in my mini sewing group of 3 and this is Sandra’s house which fitted the hard cover of her machine perfectly so she left out the cardboard reinforcements and just pulled the fabric cover over the original rigid plastic one.

The vide grenier season is starting to pick up and, despite weather warnings last weekend, a big one took place in a nearby village.  Madamoiselle Tialys the elder had a stall and had been busy combing the house for modern junk to sell whilst I was busy buying antique and vintage  junk from other people to bring home again.  So, of course, the house never gets any emptier but, in my opinion anyway, it gets more interesting.

and the pièce de résistance………

isn’t it beautiful?

I was touched by the concern of my blogger friend Al (aka Houdini)  because I hadn’t posted for a while.  It’s the  cyber equivalent of a friendly neighbour coming round to see why you haven’t been taking in the milk  and newspapers and fearing that you might have tripped, hit your head and  be lying prone beneath a pile of cats and a german shepherd.  So,  thank you Al!

As I’ve talked about 1st May in France and my title for this post is two thirds of the traditional distress call, I was reminded that the use of ‘Mayday’ is said to originate from the French ‘M’aidez’ which, of course, means ‘help me’.  I had known that at one time but then forgotten – as I have forgotten so many bits of trivia – so, just in case you had too, it might come in useful at a pub quiz.

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Loving the Rust

Vide grenier season is here – hoorah!  I went to two local ones yesterday and even managed to drag Mr. Tialys along with the promise of plants for sale.  They were listed as vide grenier (empty your attic) and vide jardin (empty your garden) so he was tempted  but any hopes were dashed as, to be honest, people don’t seem to raise their own plants here as much as they do in the U.K. – well, not in my neck of the woods anyway.  So, there were a few sad herbs stuck in mini pots and a couple of cactus plants so all his hopes were cruelly dashed and he just had to help me carry my haul instead.

See how I look after him?  I bought him a gorgeous, rusty, non functional stove to use as a plant pot.  Look at that gorgeous lid.

I’ve got a large version of this Larousse illustrated dictionary which I have dismembered for various purposes as it was in quite bad condition but this one, from 1939, is gorgeous and will be kept intact and used as a prop in my photos and for looking through occasionally.

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