Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homes for finds

Following my triumphant return from Sunday's Vide Grenier, I pottered about the house (dodging heat-grumpy family members, I have to be honest), putting my finds on display. After a good wash, the plates ended up on my now-full rack of stencilled French china. It's all in use and I guess I'm just going to rotate the pieces that go display in the rack! I put the holly bowl, which LissyLou likes best, with the two other 'French-style' bowls I bought at the brocante earlier this summer. If I get any more I'll put the holly one away until Christmas!
The sweet little hand painted cup ended up to the left of my favourite stencilled soup bowl.
Spot the broken plate behind a row of mis-matched jugs? I haven't done a 'themed by use' shelf before, but I think the jugs work OK. Son 1 gave me the blobby-glazed one on the right for my birthday this year. Ben and the boys scored big-time at a Vide Grenier when I was away on my London/Edinburgh trip!
And finally, THE frame. I bunged it here for now. Sometimes I go past it and think: 'Boy, I'm good".
Sometimes I go past it and think, "Good grief, that's pretentious".Time will tell. I can and will move it around!
The other, earlier, find that I'm really pleased with, is this blue and white tablecloth from an Edinburgh charity shop, bought stained and holed, in June.The French sun got rid of the worst of the stains, and I mended the worst holes. When I ironed it I hung it over the balcony, by coincidence on top of a red tablecloth. It was so pretty, and so in-keeping with my long-running red, white and blue obsession, that I decided to replicate the idea for our summer kitchen. (Some French people have a real summer kitchen - we just have a camping table with the toaster and coffee maker on the patio.) A clear plastic chopping-film does a good job of keeping most of the coffee stains off whatever cloth I have under the coffee maker.And finally, from the patio roof beams, hangs a string of Ben's chillis. If you're interested in his chilli jam recipe, by the way, it's basically the same as his darling Nigella's. He modifies it according to what's in the garden and the cupboard.Life is getting busy again - boys' friends staying, lessons, and then Ben's parents arriving on Thursday! So although this isn't an official blogging break, I don't see myself doing too many posts before the Rentrée, which will, of course, see my now traditional C'est la Rentrée Giveaway! You heard it here second... (I told Becca yesterday).


Thank you for all your comments, faithful friends, and new friends too! I really enjoyed reading what caught your eye from among my finds. Now, when I look at each item, I think of what you said about it...

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Well-Centred Shopper

I had a joyful visit to the local Flea Market/Vide Grenier after church yesterday - the heat hadn't really built up by that point and everyone was enjoying being a bit cooler than the day before, I think. Vendors were terribly jolly, and I gave them something to be jovial about, wandering around, as I was, with a bag like this: "Madame est bien cadrée!" the men told me, following me around. Just in case I thought it was Madame they were after, the women also followed me, with the more honest words: "Madame a acheté un joli cadre..." leaving it clear that they were interested in buying my pretty picture-frame off me.

No chance!

Anyway, I don't think they'd spotted what I noticed: this isn't an ancient frame but is made of some kind of extruded foam. Which has broken. No big deal, and in fact it made it easier for me to carry around (although I still got a crick in my neck - it was on the first stall I passed).So, what else ended up in the Liberty for Red Nose Day bag?

A pretty mirror, made in a most intriguing style - I already have one like this (there's a sort of perspex over the painting, so it's not old, but they're not very new, either). The stamp on the back of this one solves its origins - it's from Belgian Africa. As that no longer exists, one can guess a date too... I think we're talking 1950s/early 60s.The genuine crown of King Dagobert, or so I was promised with a wink...Of course it's actually old shelf trimming...

Aluminium cups for camping and picnics. I think they're great. Don't know if the rest of the family will drink from them, though...

I've found some interesting links by typing SFM Aluminium into Google, but I haven't worked out the whole business of aluminium production and use in France yet. Seems there's quite a lot of use for the stuff!Yummy sponge-ware bowl.To me it looks really British, and very Christmassy. But it's clearly French (houx means holly in French) and I'm not sure it has the same festive significance over here. It won't grow around us, sadly.

Just before you get too jealous, take a peak at the inside:One young woman was selling off some of great-aunty's kitchenware. Hurray! She had a box-full for 3€, but seemed quite content when I picked out the few I wanted,

charging me 20c per plate and leaving the 3€ label on what remained in the box!I also asked for the bits of the plate that hadn't survived the journey...Well, this was grubby, but I didn't think 30c was too high a price to pay for this little 1930s wonder...

Great handle and hand painted decoration.

Wendz will know why I bought this! For a clue, see her comment on my Modern Vintage Challenge post.And finally, I got down to the bottom of the bag and could remove my lovely frame.

See, its admirers hadn't even seen the best of it, as I'd shoved it into the bag upside down. Bien cadrée (well-centred/well-framed) indeed!

I've had a wonderful time pottering about the house in the heatwave, seeking homes for my finds. I'll post about where they've ended up, soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Button Swaps and Bloggers' Meets

Elizabethd organised a sweet and simple Buttons and Bows Swap last month - such a lot of fun for such little cost and effort! We simply trawled through our button boxes and similar stashes and sent an appropriate selection to our swap partner. My partner was Christine from Time Out Stitching, all the way on the other side of the world. This is what she sent me! Here's what I sent her - look how we beautifully colour-coded our gifts, lol! You can read more about what I sent her on her post about the swap.

So, shall we take more of a peek at the Australian wonders that have winged their way to France?

Such a sweet ribbon rosette. I shall put it on one of my white blouses, I think - I really want to show this one off!

A beautiful tatted circle, now forming the backdrop for a few of my favourite buttons from the package:

So simple but sweet...

Sewing-themed charm and fabric - I can really see this making a great pincushion... or a sewing bag... or the cover for my sewing box... lots of ideas, there!

Hand-dyed embroidery threads and two lovely doileys

And finally...

Thanks so much, Christine, for this lovely package of goodness!


For my second Bloggers' meet-up this summer (I am doing well), I noticed that Elizabeth Rimmer, the poet who writes such thought-provoking and authentic pieces for some of our Advent and Lent Pauses, was going to be at the Edinburgh Poetry Festival while we were visiting my dad last week. She mentioned that she'd be at the Couryard Reading one day, so I told her I'd try to happen along and hear her read there, and I made it (through the pouring rain). I enjoyed all the contributions, by published and unpublished posts (Scottish, English and Portugese) and particularly liked Elizabeth's poem about the Eclipse. You can read Elizabeth's festival write-up here.


It's horribly hot here ("Forte chaleur, penser à vos proches...") and we're quite busy with lovely holiday stuff - the boys' friends are constantly spending nights with us and they're alternating time between the swimming pool (yay!) and the computer (yawn), and Ben and I are finding indoor things to do (chilli jam in his case, wonderful man) and saving hot stuff, like gardening and ironing, for the early mornings. Boy, does it make a change from Edinburgh! Next post: I visited a Vide Grenier...

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I didn't know I pronounced it the French way (as above) until I hear myself whispering the name in awe when I saw it on wooden hoardings in George Street this April. I came very close to getting inside it this June, but it opened the day after my flying visit to my dad ended. So it wasn't until this Tuesday that I entered its hallowed gates: Anthropologie, Edinburgh.Of course, as a blogger, the shop has been on my radar for a very long time. I'm aware of it as a shop that has a great eye for displaying the quirky, the found, the handmade, the recup'...So I was very keen to see it with my own eyes! When I got in out of the rain, it took a while for my eyes to actually see. I was a bit overwhelmed, and it took some time for me to settle down. Spotting two of my favourite books:
was a help.
The shop assistant I asked was very happy for me to take photos (I guess if you're going to stun people with your displays you do want people to study and share them) and, with my camera in hand, I began to focus enough to take things in.
Secretly, I'm waiting for the day that mis-matched chairs aren't the In Thing. Much as I like them, it is clear that they're only a trend, and style writers don't seem to realise that... But yes, I love that little table-setting!
Super hand-painted plates.
And then on, past the work of a local artist, down the stairs...
This is very much to my liking. The plates have been cleverly covered with real canvasses. I won't be doing it, but the overall effect, and the clever idea, are great.
I have a real aversion to the chinaware (on the left, below) that slopes and slants and doesn't follow the rules, however. I felt my mother tutting along with me at that moment...
But I can see myself doing something with old books, old cutlery and string.
Minus the candles - I'd be constantly wanting to pick the dripped wax off.
Watch this space...
Always looking for ideas with mirrors - this is very successful, I think!
And chairs too - when I taught the Infant Class in a tiny Cumbrian school I got very used to chairs like this, although very few of the wooden ones were left. Theywere mostly grey-blue plastic, if I remember rightly...
So I found Anthropologie inspirational, nostalgic, fascinating and, fortunately for my budget, totally un-tempting on this occasion. But I will be back!