Tag Archives: crafts

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

French Millinery Magic

Happiness in not in the mere possession of money;

it lies in the joy of achievement

in the thrill of creative effort.

~Franklin. D. Roosevelt

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

the studio

Chateau Dumas is spectacular. What could be more dreamy than a breathtaking “Monet-esque” 1700’s chateau overlooking the Impressionistic French countryside, meals created around superbly fresh Mediterrean bounty from local markets, lovely gardens, soothing lavender fragrances filling the air and a carriage house atelier dedicated for the millinery masterclass? Heavenly! It is the pefect foil for unleashing creativity long-dormant.

carriage house studio facing east2

Carriage House FAV

southeast carriage house stairs FAV

The second story of the 18th-century carriage house is home for the creative studio. Won’t you come up the east stairs with me to the atelier?

The millinery atelier is filled with all the paraphernalia for the masterclass — new and pristine vintage machines, solid wood hat molds, steamers, bolts of hat material, feather trimings, rolls of antique French ticking, and bits of trims, laces, mother of pearl buttons — all so inspiring. There are a few stunning straw hats beautifully displayed on antique hand-turned wooden hat stands.  I am totally smitten with the vintage sewing machine and the French ticking and trims! Simply lovely! 

Frister Rossman 2

wood brims and crowns FAV

studio hat making

 

colored petersham and osterich feathers FAV

sinnamay Color Card FAV

straw cones FAV

Hat feathers 1

willy's hat 3

the master teacher

The reason for all this swooning over this gorgeous French region and the chateau you ask? A millinery “artist-in-residence” week course taught by master milliner, Dillon Wallwork. Dillon has dazzled women with his spectacular hat creations, and has made them look gorgeous for at least 25 years. As a royal milliner to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, his creative designs have been seen on covers of magazines and newspapers around the world. Dillon was the hatmaker-in-chief to Princess Diana, and has created hats for numerous other heads-of-state. He effortlessly creates breathtaking hats — hats and hatmaking are Dillon.Whew! What a pedigree! I am pinching myself to be learning from one of the best.

Dillon is a superb designer and master teacher. His knowledge and expertise about hatmaking are beyond compare. He nimbly works millinery magic with the simpliest or the most eleborate materials. It is with a bit of trepidation that I begin the intense and intimate-sized masterclass. Soon, the concerns are allayed . . . the teacher is a master indeed! He deftly provides kind, patient and expert instruction to those who have never even seen a hat being constructed  (c’est moi!). Yet, guides those with experience to the next skill level in hatmaking.

Dillon and Gabriel FAV

the masterclass

Dillon instructs and demonstrates the step-by-step process of hatmaking. My vocabulary expands to include new terms like panning, sinamay, hoods, sisal, parasisal and blocking. I learn that hatmaking is a very labor-intensive artistic craft, and has 10-12 discrete steps before the head is crowned with a chapeau!

The first step is covering the wood crown and brim blocks with ordinary plastic wrap. Yes, the kind found in your kitchen pantry. The plastic wrap makes it easier to remove the crown and brim shapes once dry. Then a wet, sturdy netting is put over the crown to give the hat finish and stability.

wood brim and plastic FAV

netting over block

The hat material (either straw or sinamay for this masterclass) are dampened and stretched over the wood molds.

Putting Sinemay on Wood Brim block FAV

I use a lovely black straw and a fantastic natural straw that was woad-dyed the week priorIsn’t the blue naturally-dyed straw from the woad plant simply gorgeous?!  It is from a centuries-old dying process made from the woad plant soley indigenous to this French region. It is a fascinating process of how the fabric dyes yellow, turns green once taken out of the cauldren and it comes in contact with oxygen, and then becomes the loveliest of blues in moments.

Black hat on wood block FAV

woad blue strawFAV 2

 Straight pins, thumb tacks and string help hold the straw in place in order to keep the shape of the hat once dried.

 

woad blue straw 5 FAV 4

Champagne hat block FAV

After the straw has dried on the wood mold, it is “panned” — carefully ironed to give it a natural artistic sheen. It is then gently removed from the wood mold using a white plastic bone (similar to corset boning in costume design).

Panning FAV

brim off of block FAV

Stitching by hand, the crown and brim are attached to one another. A petersham ribbon is carefully hand-stitched — using a nearly invisible tiny stitch to the inside of where the crown and brim are attached. The brim of the hat is trimed or turned over and neatly stitched.

Adding Petersham to black straw FAV

Dillon instructs on making beautiful organdie roses. The edges of the organdie are effortlessly hand-rolled. Then, the organdie is magically shaped into gorgeous rosettes as if they are just picked from the garden. Dillon demonstrates the “prunning” and shaping of ostrich, duck, pheasant and other feathers to create fascinating designs to embellish hats. I love how feathers are curled — much like making curly ribbon bows for packages — with the blade of a scissors. Trimmings are added to the hat to finish it off, and making each hat truly one-of-a kind. 

Hand rolled organdie roses FAV

black hat and organdie roses FAV 1

special visitors

The millinary masterclass is thrilled to have Carol and Nigel Denford editors and publishers of The Hat Magazine out of London visit the class and learn about our progress in hatmaking. Their visit is quite lovely.

Carol (Hat Magazine) and Claudia

dreamy hats

We each make at least one complete hat. Some make more. The hats are all created uniquely, and there is a deep sense of accomplanishment. Stunning!

Claudia's Tango Hat FAV

Cathy's Hat FAV

Katie's Hat FAV

Naomi and Laurie FAV

My nights are filled with dreams of attending more millinary masterclasses to be offered in the fall and summer. A girl can hope . . .

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are 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!

12 Comments

Filed under crafts, France, millinery, Sewing, Travel

The Fabulous French Straw Hat

Be like Curious George, start with a question and

look under the yellow hat to find what’s there.

                                                                                  ~James Collins

(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 sixth in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

timeless traditions

Under an incredibly brilliant French blue sky,  Chateau Dumas grows more lovely with each new day. The colors and lighting in this plush Mediterrean region appear as if everything is in technicolor–it is breathtaking. The songbirds continue joyful merrymaking throughout the day, and the sporadic circada’s high-pitched drilling song reminds me it is midsummer. What splendor!

chateau east view FAV

It is under this warm afternoon sun that some of the travelers in a millinery masterclass make a short journey to the nearby Chapeaux Willy’s. The vast fields of golden sunflowers nod cheerfully as the car races up and down the rolling hills on the narrow French country roads to the hot afternoon’s destination. Precisely groomed vineyards, stately apple orchards and fields of hay and corn are at every hairpin turn. Pink and golden stone cottages with ancient terra cotta half-round tiles that are surrounded by lavender hedges accentuate the picture-perfect countryside. I feel as if I have stepped into an Impressionistic painting once again.

French countryside FAV

Septfonds house FAV 3

Willys Sign FAV 1

Established in 1824 in the charming village of  Septfonds, Chapeaux Willy’s is a small artisan hat factory that has been in the same family for seven generations. It is here that lovely and colorful French straw, sinemay and wool felt hats are created using timeless techniques passed down through family members.

Pananma Hat Label FAV 1

The centuries-old stone building is overflowing with shelving stacked with ribbons, silk flowers, bolts of colorful sinemay(fabric for hat making), straw hanks, and a wide variety of mystery hat making fabric rolls–some seem as if it is a very fine papyrus. 

Sinemay-the raw material for hats

Sinemay- more raw material for summer hats

Cutting Sinemay

Ribbons and such

le chapeau de paille français {the French straw hat

Each of those working at ChapeauxWilly’s bring pride, enthusiasm and artistry to their work as the centuries-old tradition of French straw hat making is demonstrated. First, hanks of woven straw braid are re-wound on a large, simple wooden “spool.”

Hat Straw on Spool

Then, the colorful straw braid is stitched together using specially-designed sewing machines. Nearly all of the equipment is over 100 years old — these are workhorses of Willy’s. Each stitch is even and perfect–it appears to be stitched together effortlessly. But then again, some have been creating hats at Chapeaux Willy’s for over 40 years. When asked how many hats are made a day, one milliner just shrugs her shoulders, laughs and with a twinkle says in French–je n’est sait pas . . . l’amour d’I juste pour faire des chapeaux ! [I don’t know…I just love to make hats!].

A preferred work horse

Sewing a Straw Hat FAV 1

Sewing a Straw Hat FAV 3

Sewing a Straw Hat FAV 5

Sewing a Straw Hat 7

 Within several moments, the straw braid is stitched together with the appearance of relative ease. A straw hat is partially completed. The edge is neatly finished with lightening-speed expertise.

Edging a pink straw

The next step is to shape the hat using metal steam-fitted hat molds. Willy’s has hundreds of hat molds in various shapes and sizes that are interchanged on the steam presses to block the hat.

Shaping a red Straw FAV 2

Shaping a red Straw FAV 1

Each straw hat is finished with lovely embellishments…ribbons, feathers, flowers or sinemay. The traditional French straw is left plain.

Working on a blue straw

Hat Embellishment FAV1

Straw hats stacked FAV 2

the quest

Off to one end of the large room with the vintage sewing machines and hat material is an enormous display table stacked with hats that span the spectrum of the rainbow. Each is unique. The three stone walls surrounding the massive display are outfitted–ceiling to floor–with five-foot deep shelving over-flowing with hats of all shapes, colors, sizes and designs. A girl just has to try them all!

Hat Display FAV 1

Red Hats FAV

Red Hat

Natural Straw

Fushia

Blue wool felt

Whilst all the hats are lovely, and there is a plethora of millinery paraphernalia  . . .  I search for a fedora . . .  actually, a Panama for a classic kind of guy. There it is! The Real McCoy–an authentic Panama made with hand-woven straw from Ecuador.

Genuine Panama Hat Label FAV 1

Panama Label and Stamp FAV 2

Panama Hat FAV 1

Soon our little troupe of millinery-minded travelers from around the world journey back to Chateau Dumas with hatmaking material overflowing in the car’s trunk and spilling over on our laps. Memories of a fascinating afternoon at Chapeaux Willy’s linger long after the sun sets over this breathtaking countryside.

Sign green willys

Fruity Tip Hat

Whenever you wear your hat, your day will be special.

                                                                                             ~Margo Nickel

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

Read more at Heavenly French Lavender

POST NOTE: Thank you to Dillon Wallwork, our millinery master teacher, for graciously trying an endless stack of Panamas in order to find the perfect size 57! Merci beaucoup, Dillon — vous êtes si aimable! David feels so “GQ-esque ” in the Panama.

David and Panama FAV 3

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Filed under crafts, France, millinery, Sewing, 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

Vintage Artisan Bread Bags {les sacs de pain

If thou tastest a crust of bread,

thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.

                                                               ~Robert Browning

tasteful simplicity

Frequently, the most satisfying meal features a simple loaf of freshly-baked bread.  What says “welcome home” or “I am so glad you are here for dinner” more than the heart-warming aroma of  bread that greets your family and friends at the door? Sharing a freshly-baked loaf of artisan bread is a wonderful and honorable hostess gift, too.

BreadBag3_goldturquoise_0509

what is vintage is fresh

It is the end of a very busy day and I stop at a  favorite shop to visit with my dear friend. Knowing it was a long day, Mi graciously invites My Best Sweetie and me to her home for a serendipitous meal. A quick call home and it is all arranged. The aroma of a home-cooked dinner and fresh-baked bread warmly welcomes us at the door just 20 minutes later.

After a lovely dinner, our creative spirits are refreshed and we start designing in Mi’s well-stocked studio. Her studio is bursting with amazing inspiration–including one of my favorites–vintage millinery and trims. The guys discuss the latest projects in the woodworking shop–they are deep in conversation. 

 BreadBag1_stripe_drawstrings_0509

Mi has a new collection of vintage linens. We start brainstorming projects with the new finds. One thing leads to another…soon the idea of creating bread bags for storing artisan breads or for gift-giving a warm loaf of bread to a friend emerges–les sacs de pain. I think we are inspired by Bob’s artisan bread served during dinner!

BreadBag2_goldturquoise_0509

We select several embroidered and vintage printed linens. I scour the fabulous old-fashioned wood and glass front drawers in a tall, wood cupboard that was re-claimed from a shop in England. The well-organized drawers are filled with millinery from around the world. Dreamy…

BreadBags2_5_0509

Our imagainations are bubbling over with an endless succession of ideas! Soon, two les sacs de pain are created–one is perfect for a baguette and the other a boule loaf. The designs for several other bread bags are laid out ready for assembly on another day. I am reminded of the five-word acceptance speech at the recent Webby Awards given by Biz Stone:  “Creativity is a renewable resource.” Are spirits are renewed with all of our creativity. Do you have those moments when the more you create the more you are inspired?

BreadBag3_stripe_gold_0509

fresh is best

When I bake bread, I hear Mom’s voice saying, “It is only good when it is fresh!” This saying is particulary relevant for artisan breads–crusty breads are best eaten fresh–usually within a day. Breads baked at Rose Cottage usually don’t last beyond 24 hours!

Often, we bake several loaves of bread at one time so that we can share with others. It gives us great joy to bring a still-warm crusty loaf as a “thank you” for dinner hosts or to share a loaf with a neighbor or two. What fun it will be to share some fresh artisan bread with another in one of the vintage les sacs de pain like the ones Mi and I made!

No matter how large or small it is, sharing is one way that helps to create a beautiful life at Rose Cottage. How do you create a beautiful life? For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit The Inspired Room.

Don’t miss all the fun! Julia is hosting a hooked on Fridays post party — visit Hooked on Houses.

BreadBag6_millinery_0509

(Thanks, Mi, for sharing the photos!)
What is your favorite kind of bread that makes you feel like you are tasting “all the stars?”

19 Comments

Filed under baking, Cooking, Homekeeping, Sewing

Blissful Lavender Pomanders

Lavender, sweet-briar, 0rris, here
shall beauty make her pomander,
her sweet-balls to lay in clothes
that wrap her as the leaves the rose.
 

                                           ~Katherine Tynan

a creative moment

Sometimes, all it takes is a brief moment…an inspiration…to use a few vintage finds and treasures in new ways. My Sweet Girl and I decide we need a simple and fun project to top off the fabulous weekend together. We spend a few hours combing through recent vintage finds tucked away in all sorts of nooks and crannies at Rose Cottage–some treasures find their way into My Sweet Girl’s (and her hubby’s) suitcases bound for Seattle!

Then, we have a great thought! We decide to make pomanders using deliciously fragrant French lavender..the kind of fragrance that just makes a girl swoon. There just happens to be a very ample supply in the old pie safe…

lavendar-in-a-bowl

Now, a pomander is most often thought of as a sachet-type ball that is placed in a drawer or closet to sweeten linens or clothes. We decide to broadly interpret the definition of pomander to include any type of container that is filled with a mixture of dried flowers or herbs to provide fragrance. So what shall we use for the containers?

Going through the cupboards again, we find a pair of vintage seven-inch shakers and a single four-inch crystal shaker–all past their prime. Soon, these shakers are about to be given new life as embellished pomanders!

lavendar-shakers-flowers-on-plate

We find some fantastic vintage metallic French thread in bronze, silver and gold that we will use for attaching the embellishments.

lavendar-metal-thread-spools

Just a few more things that serve as inspiration for the pomanders…tiny jewel box keys, heart lockets, hand-painted rose buttons and sensational silk ribbons.

lavendar-keys-and-flowers1

 

magnificant millinery

We gather up some lovely vintage linen, cotton, silk and velvet millinery from our favorite shop, Rose Mille, just up the river from Rose Cottage. I just adore the soft-blue velvet forget-me-knot millinery, don’t you?

The millinery is so lovely! What shall we pick out to use? Lately, neutral tones are quite appealing…cream, latte,  soft ivory, subtle taupe, antique apricot, olive and soft blue…all show off the texture and design of each piece of millinery so well!  

lavendar-millinery

Some of the millinery needs a bit of freshing. We decide to  create “magic” by using steam from the whistling teapot using a trick my friend, Mi, told me about. More about this on the Romantic Millinery Magic post.

lavendar-steaming-flowers

The petals unfurl, and the millinery is refreshed after just a few seconds held over the steam from a tea kettle.

lavendar-steamed-and-empty-shakers 

making happy memories

Next, we fill the crystal and glass pomander containers with the fragrant French lavender. It just makes us swoon and feel so relaxed–just like being at the spa!

My Sweet Girl and I talk about how wonderful it is to create memories together with our last few hours before she and her hubby jet back to Seattle. It’s simple mother-daughter times like these that make me happy. I tuck this happy memory into my heart! (Visit The Inspired Room for more about what creates happiness.) What are simple pleasures that bring happiness to you?

lavendar-bowl-funnel-spoon1

lavendar-filling-shaker1

lavendar-filled-shakers-and-steamed-millinery2

 

viola!

With just some pieces of silk ribbon, metalic thread, millinery and embellishments we are finished! The blissful lavender pomanders are dressed up and ready to provide their fragrance in the powder room and boudoirs. 

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My Sweet Girl is head-over-heals with the turquoise and cream striped millinery ribbon she adds on her pomander, and just has to show how gorgeous it is! Did you see that she added a swap of antique chandelier  crystals?

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lovely Spanish lavender

There are several variety of lavenders–some fragrant, some culinary and others just breath-taking in the garden. Spanish lavender is not very frgrant, but is stunning in the garden border. Bees and butterflies find it amazing and are in blissdom, too! These lovely lavender photos are from My Sweet Girl’s home.

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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)

Thank you, my dear friend, for visiting Rose Cottage.

May your day be filled with the lovely fragrances of spring flowers and herbs, and much happiness!

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Filed under Gardening, Homekeeping, Uncategorized

A is for {Grandmother’s} Amazing Aprons

remember when…

grandmothers wore aprons throughout the day… especially when they were in the kitchen? My grandmothers never kneaded homemade bread or rolled out a pie crust without first securing the apron strings of a bib or half-apron. Some of my most treasured keepsakes are Grandmother’s aprons. There is something special–almost magical–about Grandmother’s aprons! The aprons transform me back in time and bring back sweet memories…

The Kitchen Workshorses

The Kitchen Workhorses

As they were for our grandmothers, aprons are a great “tool” to help with multi-tasking that we often do throughout the day. They are true “workhorses.” An apron’s large pockets are perfect hideaways for an amazing array of necessities and are holders of collections of all sorts gathered during the day: a freshly-pressed linen hankie to wipe a tear (yes, I still iron my hankies!), a tube of lip color (to apply as needed–you just never know!), beans freshly picked from the kitchen garden, rose petals deadheaded on a quick garden walk-through, green and brown eggs gathered from le palais de poulet, a treasured postcard from someone special or even the cell phone.

 What kind of things collect in your apron pockets?

a little more looking back

My grandmothers had numerous aprons for different purposes. All were handmade–often from a gingham or cotton floral print. Sometimes, a feedsack cotton or “repurposed” curtain was given new life as an apron! (Grandmothers were very resourceful!) Among my favorite aprons are those with a simple cross-stitched pattern in the small checks on a gingham fabric. As a young girl, I often had an apron that was a miniature version of Grandmother’s gingham apron. How I loved to wear aprons to be just like Grandmother.

Vintage Aprons

Vintage Aprons

Some of Grandmother’s aprons were decorative to coordinate with their dresses when they hosted a party. The decorative aprons were often made out of organdy, felt, chiffon, neeting or lace and showed off grandmother’s needleart skills. One of most treasured is a white linen expertly trimmed with an insert of hardanger the width of the apron skirt. Each year, My Best Girl wears the hardanger apron for the Swedish Christmas Eve celebration at Rose Cottage.

Hardanger Apron

Hardanger Apron

true confessions of a creative frugalist!

I LOVE aprons! I wear an apron every day because I am sentimental and practical. My homey aprons give me a sense of connectedness with the women who came before me.  When I wear an apron, life seems less complicated. But I confess, I usually wear an apron because I’m a messy and often spill.  It sure is much easier to launder an apron than an entire outfit! Most of my every day aprons are of the utilitarian type and are indispensable. You know the kind–heavy, durable cotton–usually, not a pretty sight after baking or cooking all day in the kitchen! 

So when spotting the large bolt of vintage green and white woven fabric at Rose Mille on the bottom shelf in the back room, I just had to get some yardage to make some pretty aprons. Rose Mille’s checked fabric is not the kind of gingham most often found in the fabric stores now, rather it is a true “homespun” woven textile and has some weight and density. If you love homespun cottons you just have to get some!)

Green and White Woven Cotton, Vintage Ticking and Trims

Green and White Woven Cotton, Vintage Ticking and Trims

Ribbons might also be added to my dream aprons to add another touch of beauty. Melissa over at The Inspired Room has more ideas about creatively using ribbons to beautify your home in simple ways…Maybe, I will be hanging my new-yet vintage-aprons in the pantry on a pretty hook using ribbons…

How are you bringing beauty into your life and home while being a “creative frugalist?”

The Old Becomes New for the Creative Frugalist

The Old Becomes New for the Creative Frugalist

Now, I am dreaming of several new aprons… Each of the six new aprons will have a different bib front using a Bella Notte linen fabric sample, vintage trim or carefully selvedge crocheted lace edging from a troseau pillow, and vintage bakelite or celluloid buttons. Isn’t this a creative and fun way to be a frugalist in the 21st century? Certainly an interesting way to recycle, repurpose and resuse!

Vintage Red Glass Buckle and Trim

Vintage Red Glass Buckle and Trim

 

Two of the homey aprons will each have a fabulous vintage glass buckle. These glass buckles are just too lovely to pass up from Mi’s stock at Rose Mille! The red buckle is a perfect accent on the red gingham. The blue glass buckle will be used on the second apron. Then, there is the apron with…so tell me,

What would your dream apron look like?

Grandmother's Amazing Apron

Grandmother's Amazing Smock Apron - Cheerfully, helped to make many batches of blue-ribbon caramel rolls!

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Sewing, Uncategorized, Vintage