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This week I thought I’d show you some of the things I love to collect…

I’ve been collecting antique French letters for several years…

Here’s one of my latest letters adding a bit of pedigree to faux

stack of old books…

I wanted the look of stacks of old books to add some visual height to a cabinet.

So I took the glossy covers of a stack of old SAT, etc,  prep books that I was going

to recycle, and brushed a few shades of cream on their outer edges, tied them up

with gardeners twine. Close up, they don’t look bad. On the top of the cabinet…

even better…

I searched for 18th century script…but fell in love with the more swooping

and looping style of the first decade or so of the 19th century…

I looked for words and letters that popped out from the neat rows of script…

My heart skipped a beat when I found this 19th century “Aubusson cartoon”…

Cartons de Tapisserie d’Aubusson are oil paintings on canvas that preceded the

creation of an aubusson rug or tapestry. Schools of artists copied classical elements

from master paintings, wools and silk were dyed to match the painting and

then weavers copied it…

Against the somewhat dingy background the aqua, vert, rose, and blue and white petals  glow…

Painted full size, either with gouache (an opaque watercolor) on paper, or oil on canvas,

cartons are also important as archival material. As tapestries woven from the mid-18th century

with wools coloured by chemical ingredients have faded with time, « cartons » are now the

only true representation of how tapestries looked  when being made. More here

Love the theatrical drapery, garlands of flowers,

stylized swirl of acanthus…

From the same dealer, an 18th century French embroidered piece of silk…

This triangular scrap (about 28 inches by 22″)  might have

upholstered the side of a bergere once…

Up close…stitches and bright chenille from over 200 years ago….

Not to be confused with your grandmother’s chenille bedspread,

Additional info on 18th century chenille embroidery here

As much as I love antique embroidered silk

It’s a relief to enjoy antique and vintage linens…

They’re washable, dye-able, sturdy…

Besides stacks of humble grain sack pillows,  my new favorites are initialed

French linen chemises and sheets that were probably folded neatly for

decades into an armoir….

Buttons…

Loved this Anthropologie jacket…but not

thrilled with its buttons…

Some other options….

Antique French buttons…

Found at the Alameda Flea market from

a dealer with a San Francisco antique store

that sporadically appears at the flea…

I bought these buttons last year on Ebay France…

Can be a little challenging on one’s high school French…

Luckily we have Tongue in Cheek ‘s boutique here and

Mélanie for Le Petit Cabinet de Curiosités just opened

her online boutique here for fresh from France treasures…

Buttons above available from Mélanie here

More of my flea market buttons

still in their crisp tissue wrapping…

And an idea for using them…

this was on 1stdibs last year

at Sarlo

To be continued…