My husband has been coming to this quiet corner of the world as long as he's been alive. His parents and grandparents both own homes and after many years of holidays in Brittany, have retired there. We sort of assume we will do the same one day but who knows what the future holds.
It's peaceful in the Springtime before the influx of Summer tourists and we can take long walks in the neighborhood and barely see a soul.
His family rented the property this ruin sits on for ages before settling across the street.
This path runs parellel to our back yard and leads to the shore. I wonder how may times I'll walk this with my children before they want to go to beach without mom.
My Lulu collecting bricks for his maman's dream house.....
And he's off to explore on his Easter Sunday walk....
....with ten pounds of rocks in his pockets.
It's no secret I love grain sacks and transforming them into pillow slips to gets them out of closets so they can be seen and their past appreciated.
Today I've got a new one to share with you.
It just drips with history. Originally used on a German farm, the grain sack it's constructed from was hard working and speaks of its years of utility.
The front, with its beautiful, original tar stencil is made of tightly woven and likely hand retted hemp.
I've left the original hand darning in place in deference to its bygone days and reminder of its hard work throughout centuries.
The back is finished with a lapped closure and it's shown here modeled with a 20x20
I'll be picking up a big shipment of antique sacks in France next week while on a family vacation. Can't wait to get to work on them! Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!
This and other original grain sack cushions are available in my Etsy shop. Check them out!
* update, this slip has been purchased but there are plenty of others to choose from.
I'm going with it..... Sure it's Monday, but good things are coming so I say welcome Monday! Nice to see you!
I hope you have a great day to start out an even better week!
The Desalpes Company
Mikée Westerling is a girl after my own heart. A fellow expat in Switzerland with a passion for art and design, she transforms vintage textiles into home goods and accessories.
But look what textiles....... Army blankets emblazoned with that so familiar, iconic, Swiss Cross that seems to be popping up everywhere in design these days.
Like my favorite medium, vintage grain sacks, these hard wearing blankets have stood the test of time and are ready to serve for years to come....
This is my favorite piece.... I'd love to run out with it flung over my shoulder!
Just enough of a punch of red to bring a room alive whether it be in a chalet or city loft.....
How chic would this be in an industrial salon?
Would you use this for your own toiletries or as a catch all for the desk clutter?
For more information including her entire line, visit Mikeé's website and Facebook page and please let me know what you think!
all images in this post were used with Mikée Westerling's kind permission
My favorite part of any trip to France is exploring the local markets with my family. Fortunately, Arnaud is always happy to oblige me his company, surely because he knows we'll come home with treats.
Among our favorites are artisanal saucisson sec.... I prefer noix, he loves sanglier while the kids go for nature....
While in the Provence, comment-resister le pain aux olives?
....and local fromage de chevre?
This one coated in ash is a beauty for the eyes and taste buds......
and lovely artichokes....
What favorites do you seek out at le marché?
Phew..... I've sent out the last parcels that needed to go before the holiday. They're on their way to San Francisco and Charlotte. Now, we've got some travelling to do ourselves......
The bags aren't packed yet, nor is the car and even though I know deep down they'll never look this cute once shoved in, a girl can dream.....
Either way, I'm happy as we're heading towards warmer climes in Provence....
I've never been to this area, and haven't taken the time to do too much exploring since we will be in the company of very good old friends, once New Haven companions, now local to le Var. I'm sure that my husband will be made privy to lots of stories about the me I was before we met.... it seems to long ago that late night student life.
A fellow Franco-Anglophone couple with bilingual kids, they are graciously opening up their home to us over the winter break and we are thrilled to be leaving the foggy skies of Auvernier behind for a few days of unadulterated fun. We don't see each other often, but when we do my sides invariable ache from laughter. I'm smiling already.
The weather may not be brilliant but there are worse things than spending a week reminiscing with old friends amidst beauty.
Do you have plans for the Winter holiday? Tell me about them......
all images from google
More than a few of you have asked how I make my cushions, and how I came to learn the process throughout the past two years, so here goes......
Over my children's winter vacation I was searching for some craft projects to do with my daughter when I stumbled across the Citra-Solv transfer method. It's quite easy and nearly fool proof.
You will need a reversed image to transfer (you can find lots of amazing images if you visit The Graphics Fairy, and the image I'm working with here can be downloaded at the bottom of this post.) It should be printed on a toner copier (not inkjet, most big office printers will work, if you don't have access to one, have a photocopy made at Staples.) Choose a fabric to transfer the image onto. I work with all vintage linens and reclaimed grain sacks, but this method works just as well on hessian, cotton or even a drop cloth. Lastly you'll need tape, cotton, a spoon and Citra-Solv Orange Concentrate which you can find in most organic food markets or on amazon.com.
Center your reversed image on your fabric and tape it down on all four sides.......
Tip some Citra-Solv on a cotton ball and squeeze it so that it's saturated but not dripping wet. Dab it on a small section of your image (working in small areas of no more that 3x3 inches is best when you're getting started) and you'll see your image pop through. Give it a few seconds to loosen the ink (the sweet spot is somewhere between 10 and 30 seconds) and then holding your spoon like a burnishing tool scrape over the image in a scratching motion while being sure not to move your paper or fabric..... Notice how my left hand in anchoring the image.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.........
Peel your paper back and voila! Easy grain sack!
Your last step is to iron on as hot a setting as your fabric can handle. This will set the image in and make it colorfast. Launder it in the gentle cycle with a detergent for delicates and it will last and last and last.......
You can even do colors as seen here on this finished pillow slip and I understand that
photographs work well too though I've never done it my self. This is a
fabulous way to bring some rustic elegance into your home...... imagine making
cushions, table runners, curtains, tea towels...... Print on a heavier weight fabric
to make panels for reupholstery projects!
Here you see the method applied to various fabrics...... Vintage grain sacks, reclaimed, antique linen and canvas......
If you would like to make the FARINE cushion pictured in this post, please download the file shown below. Just please promise me you'll use it to make gifts for your family & friends, a donation to the church bazar or your kid's school fair and not produce it commercially (I'd be really sad to see someone selling it online.) And please, please tell me how it goes or better yet, send me a picture and I'll show it off here!
Have fun and happy creating! xx jess
I'm still enchanted when I hear my children speak French. I know it's nothing extraordinary (millions of kids do it, right?) and they had the advantage of hearing it from day one. I love the way they weave from one language to the next in an elaborate pidgin, just like Arnaud and me, all those years ago. Sure, he spoke English then, and I spoke French. But neither of us was our complete selves in a second language, during a time when we were doing everything we could to know one another. So we always did, and still do, exactly what the experts tell you not to. That is, we spoke, speak in a mishmosh of franglais, starting in one, finishing in another, throwing in just the perfect word to convey precisely what we mean. And despite this, our children are perfectly bilingual. In our small family, or with other bilingual kids they flipflop, while out in the real world it's one or the other. Effortless.
But nothing got to me quite so much as a little love song Lucas composed for me recently...... I know it's all his because I heard him working out the lyrics over the course of a few days (to a tune reminiscent of Les Choristes,) until it was just right and he came to me singing.......
"Un manteau d'amour
un manteau de joie
un manteau que ma maman
a fait pour moi.....
moi je porte ce beau manteau
sur mon dos...."
Roughly translated, and nearly devoid of it's original charm it means "a coat of love, a coat of joy, a coat my mommy made for me. Me, I wear this pretty coat on my back"
And then I was at a loss, beaming, smiling, maybe even crying a bit. Taking in every second of his pride at having made me feel so good when he asked "So, next time je fais un bêtise (or, get in trouble) I can just sing this and it will all get better?
That boy. Cheeky monkey.
A few months ago I received a message from Alexander at Selected Antiques inquiring as to whether I was in the market for Gustavian pieces. "Of course I am," I thought but the truth of the matter is we are overflowing here in our place.... But I have spent long moments daydreaming about their beautiful offerings (and arranging them in my imaginary French country house.) Take, for instance this Gustavian chest, scraped down to it's original color, circa 1790. What a beautiful, welcome statement this would make in an entrance hall.
Or these 19th century carved chairs.....
Can't you just imagine them flanking this extraordinary trumeau mirror? The Florentine green brightening up any room?
My favorite shade of grey......
I've seen so many of these on the market lately.... where they come from, who made them and when is sort of glossed over. This is a true and rare find from the 18th century, carved in wood, and signed with a monogram.
And lastly, all I can do is sigh.......
You can see these treasures for yourself at www.selected-antiques.dk, and why not visit them on facebook? Experts in their field, they ship worldwide. If you're fortunate enough to be in the market, look them up! But even if you're not, it's always good to dream.
All images in this post were used with Selected Antique's gracious permission.
Indulge me while I daydream.....
.....about a home in France.
....and wide open space on the countryside.....
....and fabulous gardens.......
....with charming outbuildings that would make the most amazing atelier, a "room of one's own."
This one happens to be near where I studied in my 20's and tantalizingly close to the home of some of our oldest and dearest friends.
I'm sure my Chloé would call out for Madeline if she saw this one. "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines......"
Come in, you're all welcome here.
But it's just a daydream....... Cultivate you own here at Cabinet Le Nail Immobilier, where I get my fix of grandiose beauty when the skies are grey here......
Happy dreaming! x jess