Wednesday, 1 October 2014

French fabric for sale

I've been going through my stash of vintage French fabrics.  It's sort of pile that most vintage fabric fans have where pieces are carefully stored for the future, when the call of creating something is loud and clear.  Unfortunately in my case, I can't sew a button on straight so time to thin out.





Beautiful burgundy, from 19thc, was once a single bed-head cover.



A striking salmon pink mattress ticking, with white flowers woven into the fabric



A real eye-pop of colour here: scarlet red, with white and grey flowers.



Another 19thc piece, in an Art Nouveau design, a little shabby but perfect for that small vintage project.



A beautiful design of floral pinks on a black background, nicely dramatic




And, finally, a little morceau of embroidery, probably from an old kneeling stool or chair, just perfect for a vintage cushion.

As usual, if you would like any more info, just click here to take you to more pictures etc


Ooh!  Just noticed it's my 200th blog posting!

Have a good week!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Latest vintage stock - bonnets, and a Dordogne wedding

You know I just love bonnets, and here are a few of my latest little pieces for sale.  Some are for babies, a couple for young girls, and a few for older ladies - any more photos or information, just contact me.



In salmon pink silk, with hand made pin-tucks and lace ruffles, I LOVE this one.. so tiny, just for a new born.



bonnet now sold
This stunning bonnet is peach silk, with little rose ribbon trim, fine handmade lace over the crown, all finished off with pale pink satin ribbons and bow...just lovely.




Cream and white lace and silk, with a long satin ribbon - what you might call a 'frothy confection' and perfect for a vintage styled christening.




 This is a cotton piqué bonnet for a young girl - with an adjustable tie at the nape of the neck.  It would keep the hair neatly tucked away.




Another bonnet in cotton, for a young girl or teenager - probably 19thc,  Those frills and ruffles must have been a nightmare to press - you'd need a gauffre iron to do the job properly.  Still, girls didn't have ipads and Facebook to occupy their spare time...





Another 'frothy confection'  (seems to be a rather fashionable expression these days!) but this time in pale apricot net and silk ribbon - a little shabby but so pretty - it might have been worn at a wedding, but more likely as a boudoir cap.



From Limousin, this is a sun or working bonnet - the flaps at the front can be pulled down to shade the eyes from the sun, or folded back.  I like to think that the front wasn't just for shading the eye -, I bet a lot of flirting went on too...especially when some of the bonnets had a strip of fine gauze stitched to the edge to peek through...lots of room to cover all that hair that most girls had.



Another little bonnet, generally called a 'coiffe'.  Worn in Perigord/Limousin/Charente by elderly ladies, often widows - and usually with every piece of hair scraped back into the gauze. with the ties at the neck adjusting according to how much hair needed to be hidden.

If you would like further details, just click here - this takes you to my Ebay shop, with full descriptions of the bonnets.




Here is a wedding photo with three elderly ladies wearing the 'coiffe' - very neat and prim! Incidentally, look at the bride and groom - about 30 years difference I reckon!  And the poor guy on the right with a cover on his eye, and then, there's the little girl at the front rather shy and leaning towards her brother...fascinating. (clic photo to enlarge) 

Oh, I just love old photos - you can learn so much from them, and when you REALLY look, the people then aren't that much different from us today.  I do have a small collection, including wedding photos of various related families, mainly from the area around my home.   I have sold some which I now regret - I am going to keep the rest and try to add to my collection:  I'll put some more on my blog at a later date.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

'Travail bleu'

We found an old cobwebby suitcase in the loft, with unworn 'travail bleu' work clothes, and dear OH fell on them with utter glee, but nothing really fitted him. So, I carefully removed the paper labels, washed everything, fixed the labels back, and put some of the clothes up for sale.

'Travail bleu' is the name given to the tough blue cotton jackets, trousers and overalls that French men wear for manual work.  These day of course, everything has been modernised and young guys tend to go for more fashionable easy-to-launder poly-cotton in trendy greens and greys.  You still see lots of workmen in 'travail bleu', and gardeners too.  The old blue cotton is much more comfortable to wear than the poly-cotton or nylon overalls.





Finding the suitcase fits in neatly with a story that was told to us by an elderly gentleman who worked at the wood yard nearby.  He used to live in our house when he was young - it was owned by a widow who rented rooms out to make ends meet.  All her tenants were young lads who either worked on local farms or at the wood yard.

We bought the house from her family after she died - every bedroom had a kitchen sink and a lock on the door; now we know why - Madame's tenants.

Anyway, we have sold some of the contents of the suitcase, with more to come, but the 'travail bleu' seems to be as popular in UK as in France!


Monday, 15 September 2014

Scottish debate

I would never try to influence any Scots about something so important, and yes, personal, on whether Scotland should be independent or stay in the UK, but here is my pennyworth, for what it's worth.

My maiden name is Buchanan.  A fine old tribe of red-headed, hairy Scots, who came from around Loch Lomond, and within stomping ground of Glasgow.  As children, my mother who had no family, was thrilled to have joined up with someone who had.  She collected bits of Buchanan tartan stuff - made me a little kilt to wear in the tartan, had a nice set of tartan egg cosies (who uses egg cosies?) and we were told stories of our Scottish heritage, but we never visited Scotland

After Mum died, I found all these little bits of tartan, and in fact, all the men in the family - including my OH - all worn Buchanan tartan scarves to her funeral.  (That went down rather well with our French neighbours - the Auld Alliance?)

One summer, my dear OH and I took our beaten-up old caravan up to Scotland and hunted down anything to do with the Buchanans.  There was David of Buchanan, Buchanan Smithy, Milton of Buchanan, Buchanan Castle etc.  It was all beautiful and we had a lovely time. I felt proud to be a little bit Scots.





Loch Lomond

Then, I started to do the family tree, like you do, and found that actually, the family came from Liverpool, and before that Fazackerley, near Liverpool.  And I am going back to around 1580.  Before that is a fog, but I concede they probably did come from Scotland once - it's in the genes, hence mine and my son's red hair.  But I was a little disappointed that the Scottish part must be so far back and so watered down that red hair and freckles are the only markers of a Scottish ancestry.

But perhaps all this is just romance. Is the English idea of the Scots as a nation ie copper-headed and fiery, rugged,  keen on engineering and travel, etc just made up, or, at least romanticised by the likes of Queen Victoria and the Scottish Tourist Office?  Perhaps the Scots aren't really like that at all, just ordinary people wanting their independence as any other nation would and surely have the right to demand it. They are a diverse multi-nation nation, if you get my drift, and all the other bits about currency, defence, etc is mere detail.  They've just got a lot of independent catching up to do that's all.  It's what is in the heart that counts.

I will be very sad if Scotland does break away from the Union, but maybe it is just nostalgia on my part - rather like a dear old friend emigrating.

One thing for sure - I'm glad I'm not voting - I just couldn't make up my mind.  I am torn between waving them all bon voyage, and wanting to hug them and say please don't go...


Buchanan tartan

Friday, 12 September 2014

Indian Summer

Well, we are really enjoying an Indian summer here in Limousin.  Today it is due to be 27 degrees C, and I'm still trolling around in my old shorts - my usual jeans are FAR too hot to wear.

I'm typing this on my new-to-me computer as my old faithful keeled over finally about 6 weeks ago hence the lack of blogs.  Dear OH was working away so unable to do any repair, but on his return, poor old 'pooter was retired.

Managed to source everything from UK and had it delivered down here by the lorry that brings ex-pats shopping from England - Marmite, HP sauce etc.  Sounds daft, buying a computer from UK, but I just cannot use a French keyboard - I was taught to touch-type when I was 16 and it just HAS to be a QWERTY keyboard not an ASERTY.  Touch-typing to me is as natural as breathing - and the French keyboard is like breathing wearing a gas mask!

Anyway, expect lots more blogs now...in the meantime, here is a photo of FatBoyFat aka Felix waving his legs in the air, chilling out on the rug under the kitchen table.






What was even funnier, is that he was snoring all the time - and I was trying to vacuum the rug around him

Here is another recent piccie - a rather large chicken egg that must have caused her eyes to water - it weighs 104 grams and OH had it gently steamed (he's on a diet) for his lunch.




(sorry, it's a bit blurred)


Have a good weekend!   

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A few little bits for sale



Both bonnets now sold
Two gorgeous 19th century cotton sun bonnets - worn by the Limousin ladies whilst working outdoors. Well, today it was over 40 degrees C and there is no way I'm working in my veggie plot - I think these 19th century country girls were made of sterner stuff!

The bonnets are voluminous at the back of the head to allow for waist-length hair, all safely gathered in - the adjusting cord allows all stray hair to be tucked in.



Fabric now sold
A really punchy colour for a tablecloth!  Never designed to be 'best' household linen, this would have been thrown over the kitchen table after the chores were done and the meal prepared on weekdays.  For Sundays, then out would come the damask or linen - if you were rich enough!


This piece now sold, but more available.
A little bit of 1930s cotton fabric - perfect for your own project, maybe cushion cover, lavender bags or needle case.  love the flowers - quite charming!


Blouse now sold
A beautiful vintage French blouse - very demure.  It has handmade lace and embroidery - with a sweet little vignette of flowers and the name 'Marie' carefully stitched on the front.  The blouse is fastened with white milk glass buttons.



and, another blouse, similar but in a light weight cotton, and a little plainer.  The buttons here are mother-of-pearl.



Finally, a little morceau of fabric, rather scruffy as it is just a little piece left over from something else - I think it has been used many times,  but I love the pattern - perfect for again, another cushion cover.

Most of these are on my Ebay site here, but if not ('cos I haven't listed everything yet - far too hot to concentrate at the moment) just send me a comment and I will give you more details.

Enjoy the weather, stay cool!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Green visitor

Just managed to get a piccie of this grasshopper, sitting on the edge of the laundry basket.  He promptly leapt off and I spent the next ten minutes trying to hoik him out from behind the woodburner before the cats could get him.  He managed to get out but I keep hearing him singing under the floorboards!


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