Tag Archives: beauty

Junk Bonanza

quick peeks

The big junk market event is finally here! The fourth annual Junk Bonanza is in Shakopee, Minnesota — next door to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Over 100 juried vendors from across the country are selling amazing treasures — perfect for decorating in the vintage or “junk market style.” The extraordinary Ki Nassuer, co-editor of the upcoming Flea Market Style Magazine, is the hostess, planner and genius behind the Texas-sized event.

Three mammoth venues are filled with one-of-a kind treasures and inspiration for creating a charming vintage decor. I am wowed by the fabulous displays of vintage, antique and selvedged items! So many vintage treasures to add a new fall, flea-market look to the kitchen…living room… or bedroom. Perhaps, the garden, too?! Wouldn’t it be fun to do it all?

Junk FAV

Paris Door FAV

Birds, nest and cloche FAV

The Iowa Junk Gypsies have so many pretty things. Some of which is already re-purposed and re-designed.  Their archetchural salvage is fabulous. I have my eye on the Paris door . . .

The vendors have their own uique interpretations of vintage. It is quite inspiring. There are many great furniture pieces ranging from chippy…primitive…refinished…to painted. I have visions of where I could place this piece or that in Rose Cottage!

Chalk board FAV

Turquoise furniture FAV

Rusty keys FAV

Brown felt hat and brownie Fav

Pumpkins Fav

Praying statute FAV

I am quite drawn to Dede Westling’s dramatic display of black furniture and gorgeous adornments — quite French country — sophisticated and perfectly charming! Dede is absolutely darling, and I learn that she is part of the Wren’s Nest occasional sales . . .  Note to self: mark calendar for the October 9-11th sale.

Black FAV 3

Black FAV

Child Bust FAV

artisan jewlry

Eager to seek out Gretchen Schaummann, the designer and propreiter of Mimi-Toria’s Design, I quickly scan the vendors in the first building. The first building is really an enormous tent. There! She is nearly mid-way down on the left. Gretchen creates beautiful designs using pieces of “this and that” in new, creative ways. Her artisan jewlry has amazing detail, and each piece has a story to tell. I am totally smitten by “Clara” — a penny doll with a broken arm and all. Isn’t she adorable?

Clara Necklace FAV

tablescape challenge

The Thrifty Mom creates a lovely tablescape using great finds from a local thrift store operated by ARC Greater Twin Cities. There are hundreds of paper slips in the vintage glass bowl to win everything on the tablescape once the Big Bonanza is completed on Saturday.

ARC Thrifty Mom Sign FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV

ARC Tablescape FAV 2

More vintage treasures . . .

Bread Board and linen towels FAV

French Flower Templates FAV

The French templates (c. 1950) for making silk flowers are fabulous! Isn’t the handwriting lovely? Perhaps, a few of these framed would be just the perfect thing . . .

Mother child FAV 3

first blog party

Off to the premier fabulous blog party hosted by Ki Nassauer and Matthew Mead, co-editors of the new Flea Market Style Magazine.  I can’t wait for the first issue next spring!

Blog Party FAV

Some well-known bloggers are joining the first Junk Bonanza blog party, too. It is a joy to meet the inspiring and energetic Jo Packham, editor of Where Women Create. The talented flea market style diva Heather Bullard, and former Editor-in-Chief from Country Living magazine, Nancy Soriano, are on hand to greet everyone at the party. Not to miss the Junk Bonanza blog party are the Pacific Northwest favorites–the Farm Chicks. Also, joining the fun are Artsy Mama’s Kari Ramstrom, Linda MacDonald who writes at Restyled Home and Margo — Robolady— all the way from Texas.

Blog Party FAV 2

There are a lot of prizes for some lucky bloggers, and a few treats to ward off the late summer heat ordered-up special for our Southern friends! What name is now being called for Ki’s great book . . . ? Yipee!

Blog Prize Book FAV 2

Blog Party FAV 3

It is fun to finally meet some great bloggers and get to know each other a bit more. There are so many amazing and talented women who also share their love of re-purposing and re-creating vintage finds through their amazing stories. What a privilege to meet women who are truly entrepreneurs and are re-discovering their hidden talents and gifts.

How have you repurposed and reused vintage flea-market finds in new and creative ways?

Phone FAV

Thanks for chatting a bit at Rose Cottage.

I am so glad you are here!

Also linked on Colorado Lady,  Southern Hospitality, A Southern Daydreamer and  Between Naps on the Back Porch .

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Filed under crafts, Home, Vintage

Exuberant Garden Offerings

Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment,

can be confused with paradise.

                                                                                                  ~Henry Mitchell

treasured gift

Gardens often are a source of inspiration for those who work the soil and tend the plantings, as well as for those who visit. There is such a deep, innate connection and love of nature for most of us. Do you feel that way?

Diane, a local poet extraordinaire, visits Rose Cottage on a late afternoon for a stroll amongst the early fall garden beds. The gardens at Rose Cottage are simple country gardens . . . and wax and wane dependent upon the weather and wildlife.

Old garden with stone bird bath FAV

Elizabeth joins us for tea and berries in the garden, too. She is an amazing gardener. Will you join us? There is so much to share . . .  The three of us laugh, talk and are frequently in our own thoughts as we are mesmorized by the exquisite lighting in the garden.

Fra Dagmar Hastrop FAV

The sun sinks low behind the trees and hills. The gardens glimmer in jewel tones while song birds sing from the tops of the white pine, red cedar and basswood. The leaves of the quaking aspen rustle in the soft southern breeze. The heady, unmistakable  fragrance of heirloom roses fills the air. Breathless.

Petunia Double Pink FAV

It is one of those times were magic abounds in the garden. . . our hearts sing with the beauty of the moment. . . our spirits are filled with peace and exuberance all at once. It feels like paradise . . .

Bird with a Broken Wing FAV

the heart sings in poetry

 A few days following our dreamy late afternoon in the garden, Diane is eager to meet. She hands me a sealed envelope. “It is my gift to you. After visiting Rose Cottage, I couldn’t sleep until I wrote what was in my heart and on my mind.” This is what she penned . . .

Light Play

In the garden of Debbykay (almost Monet)

In the village of Afton (almost Giverney),

We cannot even see Elizabeth’s hat,

One of the straw varieties reserved

For outings such as these,

Until she backs out, fanny first,

From the forest of tomato vines

Where she picks the still-warm

Exuberant offerings of late August.

 

Rub and sniff, fingers filled with pineapple sage,

Punctuations of pleasure that dart and surprise

Displacing the butterfly-bee rondelets, garden opera,

With botanical poetry from seed catalogues, we are

Divas in the moment when shimmer meets shadow.

This one’s and that one’s version

Of gardens known, imagined, want to be,

Would be if we were a bee (or a butterfly),

Revelers dancing in the sparkle of sunspray.

                                                     ~Diane Pecoraro

Pink Dahlia FAV

Diane’s poetry is an amazing gift. It is truly humbling to realize that our simple little parcel of land that we tend inspires another. Diane’s generosity is encouraging on days when it is easy to be discouraged and weary. Her poetry is a reminder of the brief glimpse, as if through a small crack in a window, of paradise captured on a spectacular early fall eve at Rose Cottage.

What inspires you about gardens you visit or tend? 

 

Stroll over to A Southern Daydreamer to see how others are enjoying the early days of autumn outdoors, and visit Melissa at The Inspired Room and Julia at Hooked on Houses.

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Filed under Gardening

Beautiful Berries and Brambles

 You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces —

just good food from fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                           ~Julia Child

fresh and local

Ahh . . . the early weeks of autumn. The gardens and fields are exuberant. I am in heaven with all the fresh produce — either what we grow at Rose Cottage or what we are able to obtain from local growers and producers.

 The just-picked vegetable or fruit turns any meal into something fantastic! The fragrance, taste and texture of fresh produce truly shines in any recipe.

buy fresh buy local Mark and Sues 0909 v2

In the fall, the fabric of our lives are filled with gathering and preserving. It is incredibly difficult to exercise prudent restraint with the abundant produce — I have an insatiable desire to preserve it all. A few bushels never seems quite enough of one thing or another! The kitchen at Rose Cottage is bustling daily with various stages of preserving the plethera of fruits or vegetables.

lovely brambles

 While vegetables abound, the time is ripe for picking those precious little black nuggets — blackberries! The blackberries are about two weeks tardy in their appearance since it has been a bit cooler. Many of the brambles are still filled with gorgeous soft-pink blackberry flower buds and half-dollar sized five-petaled white flowers. Aren’t the blossoms simply lovely?

flowers bud, berry FAV

The rows of blackberries are all-a-buzz with hundreds and hundreds of bees dancing from flower-to-flower. The bees are growing quite dizzy in all the frenzy and merrymaking as they gather the blackberry flower nectar in the warm mid-morning sun.  Some bees are so overcome by the sweet nectar they nearly fall off the blossom.

flowers, bud, berries and bee FAV

gathering “black gold”

Aside for the boisterous bee chorus, all is quiet and peaceful as we start down the first row of blackberries . . . seeking the dark, beautiful berries. The unmistakeable sweet fragrance of just-mowed alfalfa lingers following each sporadic breeze coming from the southwest. The first row furthest to the north is just developing berries. It is fascinating to observe the berries from bud to blossom to blackberry on one bramble.

blackberries (unripe) and flower FAV2

One ripe blackberry FAV

While many berries are still underripe, we find many gorgeous 1/2 to 1-inch berries on the south side of the rows. The darker berries are ripe. When ripe, they so sweet and luscious! My fingers become stained with the beautiful dark purple-red juice. One berry for the ice cream bucket . . . one to sample . . .Someone has to make sure they are perfectly ripe.

Blackberry clusters FAV

The effects of the warm September sun, the soothing music of the bees and nature’s aromatics are futile to resist. I look up from my intense berry gathering to find my Sweetie comfortably resting with his hands behind his head on the meadow grass between the berry rows. He looks so peaceful! Just a sneak peek into his ice cream bucket reveals there is barely enough to cover the bottom. I laugh, but am so glad he can rest! Back to picking berries, but not without first noticing my Sweetie’s quick wink and impish smile.

priceless treasures

We are both content and enjoy the amazing moments amongst the beautiful berries and brambles on a gorgeous September day. Time seems to stand still whilst picking berries. I think of nothing and everything all at once. What a day to treasure!

Soon, the two buckets of the beautiful black gems will be preserved as jam or frozen as whole berries to be enjoyed over the winter months.

blackerries in a bowl FAV

blackberry jam FAV

And . . . the memories of a gorgeous day linger as brambles are added to a lovely bouquet of roses. Memories . . . just gathering some more roses for winter . . . roses and blackberries FAV1 Love is a fruit in season at all times,

and within reach of every hand.

                                             ~Mother Teresa 

You may also . . .

Enjoy reading about Fall Nesting {Summer in a Jar and Antique Mason Jars {before and after.

Also posted on  Hooked on Houses,  The Inspired Room and Designs by Gollum.

 

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Gardening, preserving

Fall Nesting {summer in a jar

The late summer garden has a tranquility

found no other time of year.

                                                              ~William Longgood

time for change

September is my favorite time of the year . . . the air is crisp, clear and fresh . . . the early morning and evening lighting is more enhanced as the angle of the sun changes . . . and fall colors are starting to emerge on the trees. Just this week, glimmers of vibrant reds and golden yellows sporadically dot the sugar maples and sumacs along our river town. The colors are promising to be a gorgeous contrast to the vibrant greens enjoyed throughout the summer.

Amur Maple FAV

I think about September as a time of change. It is a time of change in that new creative ideas and goals for the months ahead can be made. One way of change is to decorate for fall — simple ideas that make a home feel welcoming, warm and cozy. Jenny Wren needs a little update to celebrate fall around one of her many houses at Rose Cottage. Don’t you think her nest looks quite autumnal bedecked with broom corn?

Wren House and broom corn FAV 3

What fall decorations are you adding to welcome friends and family to your front door?

time of preparation

September is also a time of preparing and preserving the summer garden produce for the months ahead. I really feel that I am “nesting” as I put fresh vegetables and fruit in jars to be enjoyed in the months ahead or give as gifts with family and friends.

Marybeth shared a few of her antique canning jars with me — some are from 1858! I think about all the women (and men) who “put food up” for the winter months in these amazing hand-blown glass jars. I wonder what their lives were like as they began their fall nesting . . .

Ball and Jewell FAV

Canadian Jewel FAV

Green Ball Jar and Strawberries

Jewel lid FAV

While the dark olive green Ball is perfectly beautiful and rare, and the Canadian Jewel is a real treasure, I still am quite drawn to the lovely blue canning jars — all in various shades from a robin’s egg blue to cobalt. 

 Four Blue Canning Jars

1858 MASon and other antique blues with roses

EZ Seal Antique and Cobalt Blue FAV 1

1858 Mason FAV

Nov 30 1858 CLOSE FAV

While preserving and “putting food by” is a bit of work, it is immensely satisfying to see the glimmering jars of golden peaches, red tomatoes, perfectly sliced pickles, and an array of  jeweled jams and jellies lining the pantry shelves.

Pickled onions and bird FAV

Jeweled Raspberry Jelly FAV

Sweet Baby Crock Pickles

Crab Apple Pickles

Best Ketchup EVER FAV

Sometimes, I go down to the pantry cellar, turn on the overhead light and just admire the gifts of summer. 

Strawberry Jam

For me, canning or preserving is like putting summer in a jar to enjoy when the north winds howl and temperatures are well-below zero — just a few months away!

Peaches

Do you put a bit of summer in a jar? Do you have a favorite to preserve?

Perfect Seal and Brown eyed Susan FAV

You may also enjoy reading Beautiful Berries and Brambles and Antique Mason Jars {before and after.

This is also posted at Twice Remembered,  The Inspired Room,  A Southern Daydreamer and Designs by Gollum.

30 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Gardening, Home, Homekeeping, preserving

Memories of France

God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December.

~James Matthew Barrie, Scottland 1922

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. This is the last in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Thank you, my dear friends, for following along on this dream trip to southwest France.)

time to say “au revoir”

The clocks are ticking too quickly. There is still so much to see and do, but the Chateau Dumas masterclass in the little village of Auty is ending. Wouldn’t it be lovely to stay a bit longer? What a fantastic time we would have together!

clock faces FAV

What shall we do together if we have more time in this lovely French countryside? 

Would you like to enjoy another cup of café au lait at a sidewalk cafe in the sweet village of Caussade?

Cafe au lait

Sample another freshly-baked baguette or other delectable French pastry? Shall we take some bread home with us?

Pastry shop

croissant FAV

Bread bags FAV

Or travel the countryside to other quaint midieval villages?

Cordes FAV 2

Cordes FAV

Balcony FAV

13th cent house cordes FAV

 window, curtain and pot 

Meander the centuries-old cobble streets and see what adventures we may discover or people we may meet?

cobble street in cordes FAV

Do a little shopping at French boutiques and shops?

wine shop FAV 1

Wine shop FAV 2

Boutique

Relax in gorgeous gardens amongst the roses and explore beyond the garden gates?

Bench with lichen FAV

climbing roses close dumas

Pink Roses FAV

Curved Teak Dumas FAV

to south garden2

Enjoy just one more bit of a tasty French morsel?

First Course FAV

rustic apricot pie

Alas, it is 7 a.m. and the car is packed from floor to ceiling. Hat boxes are carefully held on our laps. One last whiff of the heavenly lavender as we drive on the gravel road . . . through the courtyard . . . under the portico . . . and down the tree-lined driveway.

Lavender gardens fav 1

chateau dumas 3 under portico fav

Just down the road, up the hill and around the corner in the tiny little village of Auty, Jo is waiting at the corner to wish the first small group of travelers goodbye  — she seems so French on the bike with the wicker basket. Cheerful au revoirs are quickly exchanged as we pass by.

Racing on to Toulouse . . .

la violette de toulouse

Toulouse may be la ville rose (the pink city, so named for the rosy color of its brick buildings), but its traditional flower is the highly-fragrant double violet — Toulouse’s particular strain of Parma violet, la violette ‘Parme de Toulouse’. There is much ado about the sweetly scented, gorgeous medium purple blossom grown by flower market growers just north of the city since the 1800’s. 

violet sign

I learn that celebrations are held every year in February — when everything is accentuated with violets and the allure of it’s deep fragrance fills the air — so much so that it is impossible to resist purchasing a bouquet of the little purple beauties at the market. In celebration of the violet, even amazing fresh food are created as only the French can do — such as breads, bonbons, gateaus, salad dressings and more. Well . . . all of this is at least what my driver told me when first arriving in Toulouse. Maybe, we should return in February for the festivals to enjoy it first-hand? What fun we would have!

I find a few small jars of la violette de Toulouse and violet tea to tuck into the last small corner of the suitcase.

violet sugar FAV

Violet syrup FAV

Violette tea and tea cup

Violette The FAV 1

 

Violette Products FAV 1

roses

Time to pack all the wonderful memories . . . they shall be roses . . .

Italian Rose FAV

 hats and hat boxes

Thank you all my dear friends for joining me on this lovely dreamy trip to southwest France. I am so glad we could travel together in this beautiful countryside. Let’s plan to go again, shall we? Chateau Dumas next summer?

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.

~C.S. Lewis

Follow along on the other memories of Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

French Millinery Magic

POST NOTE — Upcoming Millinery Masterclass!

 Another Millinery Masterclass is scheduled at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas September 26-October 3 in southwest France! Even if you have never made a hat before, the adventures of hatmaking under the expertise of former Royal Milliner Dillon Wallwork are not to be missed!

The tutor is  former Royal milliner, Dillon Wallwork who for nearly a quarter of a century designed hats for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales as part of the team at world famous milliners Philip Somerville.

 So whether the goal is a chic shoulder-spanning hat to turn heads or a coquettish cocktail hat with a mysterious veil, or something much more practical . . .  Toulouse is the starting point, Chateau Dumas the luxury base and Dillon the expert.  As Dillon says: “A well-chosen, stylish hat works wonders. Whether it’s men opening doors for you, getting a table at a busy restaurant or just keeping warm in winter, wearing a hat gets you noticed – people will say ‘Who’s that?’ Men just love to be with a woman in a glorious hat.”

Want more information about a dream trip to Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass?

 Contact Lizzie, the Chatelaine de Dumas.

 

 

 

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

32 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, Gardening, millinery, Travel, Vintage

Heavenly French Lavender

The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs,

with fields of lavender,

and the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…

                                                                        ~Willian Cullen Bryant, 1794-1878

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the fifth in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

sweet dreams

 The air at Chateau Dumas is heavenly. The fragrance of blooming lavender from tens of hundreds of plants thriving behind carefully manicured hedges gently floats through the 18th-century windows up to the second floor. The magnificent aromatic sends me off to sweet dreams. 

carriage house studio facing east2

Lavender gives the illusion of feather stitches holding the Chateau garden sections together with their spectacular, billowing fronds. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, lavender is a perennial and grows well in this perfect climate–fully enjoying the sun of the gardens and fields. The sandy, slightly alkaline soil of the Chateau’s gardens is just the environment for the lavender to thrive. I dream of having lovely gardens here in southern France…

I am mesmorized by the dreamy fragrance of the herb, and how the plant sways gently in the warm breezes. Even the bees and yellow butterflies can’t get enough of the sweet, soothing fragrance and seemingly grow dizzy from their over-indulgance in the warm, late afternoon sun. As the days progress, my muscles and bones feel soothed from the medicinal properties of the delicate, soft lavender fronds. I can not help but linger amongst the lavender each time I pass through the gardens from the Chateau to the atelier in the former carriage house. Ahh…it is simply impossible to resist rubbing the lavender between my fingers. Please,  just one more sniff of the soothing fragrance before I continue on to the studio in the carriage house. Please…

Lavender and front of Chateau  fav 1

Lavender, Bee and Chateau

lavender wands

Serendipitously, the gracious Chatelaine de Dumas arranges for her lovely friend to spend an hour or so teaching about French lavender, and the making of Victorian-era lavender wands as her mother taught her as a very young girl. Just after the morning dew dissipates, large bunches of lavender are gathered for the lavender session later in the day. The lavender is neither damp nor dry. Rub and sniff some more.

Some gathered lavender FAV 1

sweet lavender “cages”

A few of us join Chrissie Marshall in the dinning room after our lunch for a lavender intermezzo from our millinery masterclass. With her lovely Scottish brogue, Chrissie recounts how her mother and father taught her how to read at four and sew at five. Throughout her childhood, they taught her many ageless crafts and traditions–including making beautiful fragrant sachets and wands using the garden’s bountiful gifts. Her voice is as soothing as the lavender.

We are eager to learn how to make lavender wands from the newly-harvested herbs from the Chateau’s gardens. The lavender wands are only made once a year when the lavender stems are soft and pliable–it is now the perfect time of the year. The suppleness of the lavender stems and flowers is vital for ease in successful wand making.

Lavender bunches FAV 2

Lavender Bunches FAV

Chrissie tells us the lavender fragrance will last for several years in the wands. Even though the lavender will dry, the dried wands simply need to be squeezed to release their fragrant oils.

Christie - lavender master teacher FAV

The wands can be hung in a room, closet or placed in drawers to repel moths–much better than mothballs.  I think the fragrant memories of France should be everywhere after I return home! Chrissie shows three different methods of making lavender wands–all of which are lovely.

Lavender wand types FAV 2

Types of lavender wands FAV

An even number of lavender stems are collected, and the leaves are gently stripped off the stems. The stems are then gathered in a small bunch and the tops of the flowers are aligned. A small piece of thin wire–about 1-1/2 inches –is wrapped around the base of the flowers to secure the bouquet. Then a long piece (about three yards or so) of narrow 1/4 inch peach-colored satin ribbon is tied over the wire–leaving a very short end of ribbon and a long end of ribbon.

The bundle of lavender stems is turned over, and the stems are carefully bent down over the lavender blossoms–making a “cage” with the stems. A couple of the rebellious blossoms are gently encouraged back inside the cage. Each of the stems are lined up around the blossoms. The short end of the peach ribbon is tucked inside amongst the lavender.

Using a large-eyed tapestry needle, the long end of the ribbon is “threaded” and the weaving process starts going under and over–round and round–the lavender cage until it is beautifully covered. We each practice weaving, and feel so relaxed.

lavender wand and basket FAV2

Lavender weaving FAV1

keepers of memories

More lavender is selected from that harvested this morning, and additional simple lavender wands are easily assembled into small bunches and secured. Michelle generously shares some of her gorgeous, vintage robin’s egg blue ribbon discovered on a little excursion to a French hatmaker in another village. Some of the wands are embellished with this lovely little treasure. What a keepsake. This is an intermezzo that creates fragrant memories…

Lavender and Blue ribbon FAV 2

Lavender, sweet lavender; come and buy my lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, lady fair.
Let its flovely fragrance flow over you from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, your cheek, your hair.

~Cumberkand Clark, Flower Song Book (c.1929)

More about other lovely sights of  a millinery dream trip to France in the days ahead as they unfold.

à bientôt mes amis!

Read more at French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

Read more at Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

47 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, Gardening, Home, Travel, Vintage

Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

Grab your coat, and get your hat.

Leave your worry on the doorstep.

Just direct your feet, to the sunny side of the street.

                                                                               ~Dorothy Fields

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the fourth in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

celebrating hat making

Down the hill from Chateau Dumas…around several hairpin curves along a narrow French county road… following  small signs directing travelers through roundabouts… lies the quintessential French village of Septfonds. 

Pot of salvias on window ledge FAV

Septfonds house FAV 2

Septfonds house and grapevines FAV

Septfonds and grapevines FAV1

Septfonds house FAV1

Septfonds street FAV

Complimenting the brillant azure blue Mediterranean sky, gaily-colored straw hats in lime green, fushia, purple and golden yellows hang from age-old balconies and say “bienvenue!” to visitors traveling to this charming village.

hats and balacony FAV

Hats on balcony 2 FAV

It is all in celebration of the 17th- annual Estivales du Chapeau–the Internationally acclaimed summer French hat festival. Septfonds is considered the “cradle of the French straw hat.” Mme. Pétronille Cantecor (1770-1846) has been attributed as the founder of the straw hat of Septfonds, and was the creator of the first hat workshop in 1796. Imagine.

Septfond’s three-day festival is filled with a wide array of merry entertainment, amazing demonstrations, local cullinary fare, millinery fashion show and hat competitions include amazing designs sent from milliners and hatters from around the world. I wonder if we will ever have time to really study it all.

The festival ad is quite clever–the original is made entirely of millinery paraphernalia used for creating the perfect summer straw hat.

Septfonds marketing FAV 1

Septfonds marketing FAV 2

vintage straw hats

Our tiny troupe of lively millinery afficionados–new and old– from around the world are eager for the festivities as sounds of French music merrily draws us closer to the center of the celebrations. The first stop is an exhibition of vintage French straw hats. Amazing. I can hardly control the urge to try on the simply gorgeous hats.

Over 600 vintage hats were bequeathed to Mme. Dany Caussinus. In French, Dany tells how her benefactor told her that she wanted her to look after the straw and velvet hats, never sell them and someday she would know what to do with them. After 20 years of intensive research,  Dany carefully restored each of these historical hats, and now makes them available for displays at special events. Dany’s vintage hat collection has now grown to over 3,000 spectacular designs. It is so difficult to decide which is my favorite…which beautiful hat would you like to wear? They are all so amazing! I think I shall like to make these in a millinery class one day. Dream…again.

Historic FAV27

Historic FAV5

Historic FAV8

(More hats on the video/slideshow below. Just select the “play” arrow button over the photo image.)

hat competition

Reluctantly, I leave for the next exhibition of competition hats. Novice and master milliners and hatters from all over the world submit their one-of-a kind creations for the event. Some of the hats follow a theme–others are a bit more elegant. Certainly, all of the hat entries are amazing. A vote for my favorite is penciled on a small rectangle piece of paper and slipped into the ballot box. I hope my favorite hat wins the competion.

sinemay and straw FAV

gray winner 3 FAV

je t'aime FAV

moi et toi FAV

Vienna FAV

straw fastenator FAV

the festivities

Down the block . . . around the corner . . .  in the village square . . .  are festive white tents filled with scores of hats from designers and milliners from around the world. My companions are off to try on the amazing styles from different sellers.

There is a wide variety of musical entertainment — musicians playing an antique hand-cranked large French street organ to a  trio of Caribbean steel drums. Cyclists riding antique bicylcles circle through the market streets. It is quite lively.

market square

bike riders two women

French woman holding bike FAV2

Father and child bikerider FAV

Caribbean Steel Drums FAV 2

Caribbean Music and Dancing FAV 2

artisan exhibitions

Many local artisans provide exhibition of timeless arts and crafts. The delicate bobbin lacemaking is breathtaking, How can the needleartists’ eyes see the ultra-fine thread and their hands manuever the bobbins into such intricate patterns? The straw broom making is quite interesting. Then, the next aisle features spinning dioramas and demonstrations, wood lathes turning out lovely hat stands of all sizes and handweaving golden braid from fresh-cut, fragrant straw.

Handmade brooms FAV

Spinning Demo FAV

straw hat making highlights

The exhibition highlight is the straw hat making. Fascinating. Men and women demonstrate the straw hat making process from beginning to end. The women stitch colorful straw braid together using specially-designed antique sewing machines. The sewing machines are powered by the women’s feet operating two treadles. The steam-fitted metal molds for the hat blocking are left to the men to attend. There are dozens of metal hat molds that are used to make the hat shapes. I am mesmorized by their skill and attentiveness to the art of straw hatmaking.

Demo Straw Hatmaking FAV1

Demo Straw Hatmaking FAV2

Demo Straw Hatmaking FAV3

Demo Straw Hatmaking FAV5

Demo Straw Hatmaking FAV4

Demo Straw Hat blocking FAV1

Demo Straw Hat blocking FAV2

There is an announcement in French–the millinery fashion show is about to begin. The show highlights the designs of the International sellers at the festival. Lovely designs are modeled for nearly 45 minutes on the vintage wood runway. The colorful mistress of ceremonies is lively and humorous — the crowd frequently roars with laughter.

Milliner Fashioner Show FAV

 Colorful Fashion Show MC FAV

the perfect hat

At the end of a long row of vendors, Mme. Alexandra Marks from Liguria, Italy proudly displays her gorgeous creations. Each beautiful hat is unique and handcrafted from vintage hand-braided Italian straw. Many of the embellishments are vintage, too. Alexandra tells me that most of the straw is at least 6o-years-old. Time to find a perfect Italian hat. It is terribly warm and the hat will be cooler. It is so hard to decide…they are exquisite!

Italian Milliner-Alexandra FAV

Italian Straw Sunflower FAV

Italian Vendor Hat 1

Blue Italian Straw FAV

Italian Big StrawFAV2

Michelle, a travelling companion, discovers a small treasure off to the corner next to the church–a vendor who makes custom hat boxes. Just what I need for the large Italian vintage straw sun hot (see photo above). Mme. Estelle Fontaine makes lovely hat boxes for festival treasures. We animatedly chat back and forth about the box requirement for the new hat–mostly in French, but a bit in English. Estelle carefully measures the hat. We discuss options for the handle and trim for the box. The hat box will be ready in two hours.

Hat box sign

Hat boxes FAV large set

Hat boxes FAV1

Hat boxes small set FAV

Lovely hats are everywhere. I wish we wore them more often in the U.S. A couple of my new European friends enjoy their new hat festival finds at the end of the day. What a lovely end to an amazing day. . .!

Naomi's Festival Hat FAV

Kathy's new hat FAV

More about other lovely sights of  a millinery dream trip to France in the days ahead as they unfold.

à bientôt mes amis!

Read more at French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

Read more at Creativity at Chateau Dumas

You may want to take a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts, or read about living a beautiful life at The Inspired Room.

I am hooked on French hats lately. Find out what others are hooked on at Hooked on Houses.

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