Monday, 26 September 2011

Grab a cushion, sit down, and read...

Flower Fairies now sold

Housewives now sold

All cushions now sold
I have some gorgeous vintage French cushions for sale right now - all made by hand, including the roses, the lace, the crochet cherries, the cut-out work... all made by the grandmama of the lady from whom I bought a large amount of textiles and linen. You can see the listings for them here - or just clic on my 'Vintage Fabric & Textiles' in my Ebay shop - one has already sold and on its way to Australia.

I have also listed a couple of books this week - all starting at 99p - that are so different, but each fun in their own way.

'Flower Fairies Of The Wayside' by Cicely Mary Barker - such a pretty, nostalgic book with adorable colour illustrations by her - a nice early copy from the late '40s.

'Badjelly The Witch' by Spike Milligan - an very early edition from the nutty genius Spike, illustrated with help from his daughter.

'1000 Hints For Housewives' by Helen Burke, the cookery book writer - lots of frugal tips for running a home, saving money and generally sorting and organising all domestic matters - should keep this one I'm thinking..even though it was written in 1934, there is so much that is relevant now.

Have a good week!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Change of direction for me

Sorry, but specs now sold

Sorry, but nightshirt now sold

Pink knickers now sold

Sorry, but green blouse now sold

Sorry, but salmon nightie now sold

Sorry, but apron now sold

Sorry but bloomers now sold

Sorry, but blouse now sold

Sorry, but jacket is now sold

Sorry, but scarf now sold
As you all may or may not know, when we first came to France, we started out as book dealers, doing the markets and organising book sales 2 or 3 times a month in ex-pats communities, selling English books to anyone who wanted them. We made a comfortable living: would never be rich but earned enough to pay our way (taxes!). Then, Mr Plod decided to prosecute us for using English words such as 'BOOK SALE' on a poster - a crime here in France - and we were forced to close down and go on the dole. (Note to self: send a 'Thank you' card to Mr. Plod for the enforced 2 years paid holiday...)

Then, a new scheme for small enterprises came into being and yes! I could do the books if I wanted, plus go back to my first love, antiques and vintage. So, I started scouring the vide greniers and brocantes to buy stock, and started selling antique stuff, plus some selected magazines and books in French on Ebay and Etsy.

Then this spring, Laposte finished their economic postal service and with one blow, knocked my book business away. You see, a lot of book buyers in Australia, Japan and USA don't mind waiting a little longer for their books if the postage can be reasonable - and books are heavy items which now cost more to post, but Ebay and Amazon limit the postage that can be charged.

Fortunately at the same time, I found a couple of reliable sources for vintage and antique French clothes - maybe not with known labels as these are usually snapped up by the fat purses from Paris - but nice vintage blouses from 1960s to antique 19th century linen nightshirts (great for wearing over jeans) lacy bloomers, and petticoats. I have to remind myself that in France, many women made their own clothes, or had the village seamstress run something up for them, and so many don't have many labels at all - just sweet little stitches and an eye for style from the latest magazines...

Of course, I have always sold a few vintage clothing items: mainly linen, scarves, hankies, bags and a few hats, but I am SO excited by my new direction - I even found Lady Godiva, my dummy, at such as low price I thought that it must be here goes...I made a little start a couple of months ago with just a few things - my Ebay shop is here...and any comments/tips/hints from vintage ladies will be most welcome!

In the meantime, I will still have my brocante items and a few selected books, but I am rather looking forward to something new - onward and upward as they say!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Motoring fun and games - vintage car show in Saint Mathieu

There were American cars

Lots of French ones of course

And some very elegant vintage cars

One proud owner

Reminds me of the cars in 'Day Of The Jackal'

The local church - the clock always seems to be 5 minutes slow...

You could look under the bonnet if you wanted, although why is another matter...

Nice hat

These weren't police although they had sirens and a few lights that looked like it - I noticed the real gendarmes giving them an odd look

Very noisy and smelly but quite impressive close up

You see the straw bales? They were all the protection from


And this

And this...

I have never seen the underside of a car in this way

And here are the stunt drivers showing off in tandem

And here, the red car swept the wooden stands away and the guys jumped down safely, much to the relief of the crowd!

Saint Mathieu is our next village and this was the 4th vintage car rally, and it was really quite exciting! We were fortunate enough to have ring-side seats as we have Dutch friends who live on the road where all the real action took place.

The stunt drivers were great, quite accomplished, but honestly - have they never heard of Health & Safety? All that was sheltering the crowds were a few straw bales, but I suppose that's part of the thrill...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Fabulous French Book from post-war era

Sorry, but 'Sortileges' is now sold
Such a beautiful book from 1952 - sorry the photo doesn't live up to it but I am just getting to grips with my new camera...anyway, this gorgeous book is a first edition out of 551, signed, and contains over 80 black and white photos of post-war Paris and its evocative of the time...

Jazz in Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the left, street lamps in the rain on the right...

Speaks for itself...

I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of Madame La Concierge! She does look rather fierce

I love this book - the author, Francois Cali, is well known in France for travel books. This title 'Sortileges de Paris' has images from some of France's best 20th century photographers: Brassai, R. Doisneau, P. Molinard and fifteen others, capturing Paris in the fifties - a mix of chic, poverty, elegant buildings and can see more photos and the listing here.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Some holiday pics from the south coast of France - our Frugal camping holiday

Some Roman underground storage pits in Oppidum. Looks like something out of Alien - I was expecting something egg shaped and slimey to pop out...

The view over the river Herault outside the entrance to the campsite. Lots of messing round in boats, men and boys fishing, and lots of very noisy quacking ducks.

The Millau Viaduct Bridge over the Tarn gorge - isn't it fantastic? One year OH and I drove all the way down to the river Tarn to see the gorge, and we weren't disappointed - it is one of the prettiest sights to see in France, but not this year as we had a camping appointment...

Another shot of the bridge - it was SO hot - thank goodness for air-conditioning.

This was from the fabulous, gorgeous museum at Agde. It was so delightful, I nearly wept with joy - full of lace, costume, and items from what the French call antiquities populaire ie everyday objects that people used, not high art. I'll do a bigger piece about the museum later.

This was a building with tromp d'oeil painting all over it - this was in Agde town, taken at night. We were going to a jazz festival held in various points over the town, but I loved this too

And another shot of the same building but round the corner. It was SO well done - it took me a minute or two to realise that it was just painted on.

This is the view from the ramparts in Bezier, overlooking the countryside of Languedoc. I would love to wake up looking at this every morning. You can just see the start of the Pyrenees in the distance.

Why a big yellow golf ball at the entrance to this tunnel? Dunno, but daughter snapped it anyway

And a shot of Oppidum - everything points to the centre - I just love the way everything lines up including the grape vines. Very neat.

Well, hope you weren't too bored with just a few piccies - nothing worse than other people's holiday snaps - now, have to get on with some work - kids are back at school today, so no excuses!


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