Sunday, 26 October 2014

Autumn day in Angouleme

I don't really know why, but we rarely visit Angouleme even though we live halfway between it and Limoges.  I guess as both kids are studying in Limoges, our visits to Limoges are combined with squashing into our son's little (and I do mean LITTLE) flat and collecting his laundry.

I digress.

We felt like a mooch yesterday, so drove off to Angouleme and had a lovely afternoon walking round the town centre.

Angouleme is called the cartoon capital of France and there are lots of little pictures

painted on walls.  Not sure if they are official or just good graffiti.

Love the space-age angel

 This is in the underground car-park - it's for charging up your electric car - never seen that before.

These 'sheep' were outside  a shop - great way of stopping cars parking outside and a great eye-catcher - when did you last see sheep in a city centre?

The Palais de Justice, or Law Courts,built in 1830s - I thought it was a serpent wrapping itself round the clock, but it was a very French...  

This is a 'message tree' where you can scribble notes and clip them to the 'leaves' which are actually bronzed artists' paletts.

A Renaissance building  from 1550 which is now a gallery.   

The term 'Hotel Renaissance' doesn't mean it is a hotel in the modern sense, just a large building.

One of the most famous cartoons is of course Tintin - and here is a bust of Hergés, who although Belgian and lived most of his life in Belgium, the French have acknowledged his work with this rather large bust in the shopping area.

An advert above a shop - in mosiac tiles.

Nicely elegant buildings, as the sun began to set.

Some roof tops - Angouleme is set high up on ramparts, with fabulous views round the Charente countryside, but for the ancient French, it was for defence, not the skyline. 

Only about ten minutes separate these photos...and then the sun sank down and we went off to eat - at the Chinese buffet, where the only concession to French cuisine is the availability of frogs legs and sliced baguette. 

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.

sorry, but all sold

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.

Bonnet now sold
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.

Bonnet now sold
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
bonnet now sold.

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...
bonnet now sold

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.
bonnet now sold

Bonnet now sold
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.
bonnet now sold

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!


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