Merry Christmas Eve


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Rough LuxeChristmas Eve…and still lots to do.  Family will be coming for dinner tomorrow and setting up a dining area in the living room. Family just seems to have a way of growing and it will be all chairs and silverware on deck. I dragged home these branches several weeks ago while on one of my hike/runs in the hills nearby but had to put them away until the last workman left the door ajar behind him on his way out.

Garden Style

Cleaning in a frenzy…channeling a garden conservatory mood…

garden style

My little terracotta bust presiding over antique French garden pots and reindeer moss and votive lights….

garden styleCouldn’t resist these beautiful radishes at the store this morning….

Carolyn QuartermaineCarolyn Quartermaine silk script…and a happy dye accident. The originally two toned beige seat fabric gave me stripes when introduced to an inky dye….

burlap and roses

Burlap and white roses….and galvanized flower buckets…

Christmas table

I had my sheetrock guys do this table top for me…they’d never constructed furniture before…a lighter weight frame below the top piece to give the illusion of edge heft but make the top portable so this table can be moved outdoors in the Spring. I will be having metal sheeting put on it but couldn’t convince the shop to do the job before Christmas. C’est dommage. Might cover with painter’s drop cloth grabbed on one of my before sunrise jaunts to Home Depot…or as is. Like it’s simplicity!

antique French doors

Santa did come a bit early…from Ambiance Antiques in San Francisco. I had a lovely interlude with Teresa Beltamo in her crammed to the top warehouse space. Her shop is lovely…but I suppose I am a warehouse girl at heart!  I loved peeking into every dusty corner! I posted about these 19th century French Theater doors in Temps Perdu here months ago and just kept thinking about them. You know how that goes! Wishing you all the best of luck making magic happen for all your loved ones! Merry Christmas!

‘Twas the Week before Christmas


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French bath

Hello my fellow holiday revelers. Busy, busy..and the usual chaos over here. I assume you all know Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester? The part where silk thread and time are nearly run out?

antique textilesActual waistcoat from the Victoria & Albert museum that Beatrix Potter copied exactly for her tailor’s vest…”I have been delighted to find I may draw some most beautiful 18th century clothes at the South Kensington Museum. I had been looking at them for a long time in an inconvenient dark corner of the Goldsmith’s Court, but had no idea they could be taken out of the case. The clerk says I could have any article put on a table in one of the offices, which will be most convenient.”
(Letter to Norman Warne, 27th March 1903). More here
18th c waistcoat

Perhaps I’m drawn to embroidered waistcoats because of Beatrix Potter’s tale. Or my ineptitude at embroidery magnifies my awe of such fine stitches.  I intend to attach these 18th century embroidered vest panels to new material and possibly frame them….antique textiles

But time for sewing and other projects is quickly running out as Christmas and a just started bath project (and a dusty home) need my full attention…Bath elementsHere’s a peek at the gathered materials and inspiration. Hopefully all the materials will fall into shape and my Christmas guests (thankfully my forgiving relatives) will not have to hike upstairs to use the facilities. I tend to like the un-perfect and unfinished…hope all will get pulled together and my home will look a fraction as good as the photo below!

French fireplace

Happy holidays all…and good luck with those last minute projects. I’m hoping the mice come through for me!

Top and bottom photos from Art and Decoration June 2011

Photography Laurent Durand et Christophe Rouffio

More Finds…


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flea market finds

Quickly…so much to do…a few finds and links to what some people are doing with their scraps of treasured antique textiles…

This Globe de Mariage was listed under “pincushion” on Ebay. Loved the porcelain flowers…nine little vintage mirrors! Here it is after a partial cleaning…the day’s garden catch standing in for the seat cushion….

Roses in December…my favorite California phenomena…
flea market finds
While cleaning the velvet I found scraps of c. 1912 newspaper on the seat form….
flea marketHere it is with peachy pink velvet cleaned and reattached. My husband is a bit horrified…doesn’t “get it”. I assured him I’d sell it ….some day….

flea marketReally loving peach pinks these days. Here’s a collection of bits accrued over time. The vintage French fabric sachet was a gift from Maison Violette here, a favorite dealer at the Alameda Flea Market.  Tinsel Trading here wasn’t there last Sunday, but another favorite resource for trim and ribbons….

passementarieMy favorite finds are the “free” ones I find in sifting through my closets and garage. This tassel was a deep burgundy until I removed the color and ended with this warm pink. Got to dash…but leaving you with a few links of textile artists that weave magic with scraps of found fabric to create one of a kind treasures…

Textile artist

Ann Wood is fabulous…just love her pieces…made from bits of vintage clothes…

Ruth Ribeaucourt (fabulous name!!) sent me a lovely note: My husband is from a celebrated French silk family, the Faure family (Julien Faure) of St. Etienne and last Christmas they opened their archives for me and gifted me with some incredible echantillons of ribbons from late 19th to mid 20th century, all which had been rescued and hidden away for years by my husbands Grandfather, Georges Faure.

RESERVED FOR AUBREY Antique French Military Ribbon Bracelet in Silver, Cream and Navy

I have been working since March on turning these incredible ribbons into jewellery and just three weeks ago I launched my etsy shop, Rubanesque with my first collection, the Golden Age, a collection of unique, one-off handmade cuffs.

Her beautiful bracelets made out of antique ribbons are at Rubenesque…read more about her story at her blog Le Petit Coquin

RESERVED FOR AUBREY Silver Antique Passementerie Trim Ribbon Bracelet with Moon and Star Motif

The Old Pretenders Recreations of 18th century dolls using authentic pieces of fabric…Morgaine Le Faye is a big fan, and a dealer of antique textiles as well…

antique dolls

Have a wonderful week everyone….off to get a few things done!

Globes de Mariage

Update: for more information about Globes de Marriage Fete et Fleur did a great post here including a link to a class Ulla Milbrath offered in 2009 on making your own here Photo above from the lovely Les Enfants du Marais