Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Clare of Summerfete asked, the other day, about the meaning of my blog name. It's a good question! Here are some definitions, both from the dictionary, and in terms of what the name means to me.
troc: nom masculin - barter, exchange, swappingSo that's the dictionary definition: 'troc' means swapping or bartering. As you can see above, in modern France it's becoming the word to describe second hand shops - 'deposit... we sell' proclaims one of our favourite winter shopping grounds. I bought Raja's kennel there - you can see it in my first picture.
In the summer, however, most of the second hand shopping goes on out of doors, in the Vide Greniers ('Empty Attics') which are held in each town in turn.
All year round we visit the Charity Shops, which are fewer in number but larger than those in Britian; the Braderies, (below) like over-organised jumble sales, tend to run in spring and autumn to help people offload/stock up on seasonal clothes.
So, in my mind, if not quite in the dictionary, all of these second hand outlets come under the definition of 'troc'. I bought my cake stand in the troc shop near work.
Broc' is a step up from troc!brocante: nom feminin - dealing in antiques, antiques
Vide Greniers often have great brocante stalls - the line between Vide Greniers and Flea Markets is unclear at times, although I think prices might be better at VGs.Some brocante is really over-priced, in my opinion. However, ephemera seems to be undervalued so I buy it up whenever I can!
Who could resist these little mementoes of past lives?
I sent two of these to Sarah in New Zealand!
Sometime I can afford other broc too.
And now to our last definition...
récupérer: verbe - to recover, to make up, to salvage
Récup' has a great history in France - the painting above by Juan Gris (1913) uses 'printed bar room ephemera including labels, packaging and advertising leaflets', which 'were the trademark ingredients of of the Parisian Cubist's collages', or so the book below tells me.
This is the 'Make Do and Mend' side of troc and broc!
Most of my recuperations tend to be fabric-based, like the mended basket above, or this battered trunk recovered in denim from an old skirt.
I like to up-cycle clothes too, as the phrase goes! You can see that récup' is what we variously call recycling, upcycling, repurposing etc... It's fun, cheap and environmentally friendly - what's not to like?
I was brave enough to récup' something non-fabric-based this week, thanks to the inspiration of Sarah from A Beach Cottage. Feeling a lot like her, but less Aussie, I found these battered old shelves by the side of the road a few months ago and brought them home. They were hideously stained, but after a wash of white (very Sarah) and two washes of blue (very Floss) I think they look fun for holding some house plants that desperately needed some summer fresh air on our covered terrace.
So that is it: troc, second hand trading; broc, low-grade antiques and récup', repurposing. Thrifty, vintage, fun and environmentally friendly!


Michela said...

Hi! Your blog's name is very original (I would say also quite onomatopoeic)... and the combination of French and English words is very funny(is still alive the legend about the French hate for English language?)
It is a strange mixture of the best bits of two cultures, it's just great!
P.S.the denim trunk is fab! :)

Selfsewn said...

Aah oui!! Je comprend maintenent. merci beaucoup mon ami.

Clare x

I have another question.
What happens if you get the masculine and feminine mixed up when speaking french? Do the French laugh or not understand what you mean?

The Curious Cat said...

How clever - I like it! Very cool blog name - even more so now we know the meaning!

Lululiz said...

You did a brilliant job on that shelf! Thats a very fetching blue. Sigh, how I miss the vide greniers and the Emmaus charity shops. Oh, and in that photo of the vide greniers are loads of things I would have probably bought for the right price, especially that gorgeous little suitcase in the background, drool. Oh, and that stamp holder, ooh, ooh, and that pink coffeepot(?). SIGH.

Cal said...

Such an interesting post Floss and I love all the Troc, Broc and Recup you've shown here. It's wierd because when I couldn't sleep last night I was thinking about blogging and thinking about asking what your blog name means - how strange and here it is! Synchronicity I think they call it?

Cal x

Cal said...

Whoops I spelt weird wrong! Typo!
Cal x

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

I knew all that! OK, a while ago the name was getting to me, so I went back to your first blog post and found it all there.

Hey let me know which cards you would like and I'll send them to you. It's really not a biggie at all and I'd be really glad to help out.

Shabby Chick said...

Ah I didn't know that, I always wondered what the name meant but the only bit I could guess was the brocante bit!

Mel xxx

Thecraftytrundler said...

i HAVE GOT TO GET TO FRANCE ONE DAY!!!!! Love those shops!!!
Vive La France!!!!


Sharon xx

Thecraftytrundler said...

Those shelves are great too! Blue is the colour!!!

Sharon xx

Joshy and belle said...

Hi Floss
thanks for explaining, ive wondered about your title before! the thrifty shops look really good, i think id prefer a few big ones to lots of little ones! fliss xx


Hi, Thanks for the lesson. It's clear now but I'd never have got around to asking:)
Lesley X

Karen said...

I just had a wonderful visit on your blog! Lots of neat stuff to look at!

Shabby Chick said...

You're too kind Floss, you're making me blush!!!! Good luck :)

Mel xxx said...

oh this was great, let alone the blue shelf, inspired by moi *wink, do you know how much I'd like to come trocing with you????

we are still hoping to get to my godmother (near Toulouse) at xmas, not sure if it's gonna happen yet, I am sooooo thrifting if I do! lol


Michela said...

Merci beaucoup pour ta explication, Floss!
Passe une bonne journèe (aussi ta famille)!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Floss, I've tagged you with a book tag, take a look on my blog to find out more xxxx

Victoria - Florence and Mary said...

It was really interesting to learn about your blog name!

Victoria xx

Olga said...

This post is very educational, Floss. It gave so much more perspective on your blog name - I think you explained it in your first posts but I think this post is just great with all the definitions and examples. 'Recup' is definitely a very exciting part, I like to do this as well. That shelf is lovely - sometimes simple repainting of an old wooden thing gives it a totally new look. I recently miss crafting..

BusyLizzie said...

Brilliant! Love it. Thank you for explanation. We visit france about 3 times a year & LOVE the vides!
Lizzie x