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lundi 21 juillet 2014

The chateau textiles.............



We set off on Saturday to collect the chateau attic textiles and we were not disappointed!

The chateau had been purchased by a development company before my friend got involved in the clearance.  The roofers had already dumped all the period costume in a skip and it had been disposed of! If the period costume was as good as the textile then that has been a great loss.



I did manage to come back with some amazing 1920s flapper girl silk stockings. Some are unused and still tied with their shop ribbons. 

They must have passed through the hands of the laundry maid as she had monogrammed and numbered them ready to be entered in the chateau laundry log book. 

Most large chateau employed a laundry maid who would log each item of the household linens and clothing. She would then embroider  monograms and number it all in the chateau log book to note any repairs and special laundering required.

SO now for the curtains, bed canopies and swags.... I have to launder what I can and beat the dust out of what I can`t. 








It is a little like Widow Twanky`s laundry here today!!

Thank heavens for Vanish stain remover !
How much 19th century dust can one woman eat?
How many calories are in dust?

Should you feel like rolling up your sleeves and getting into buckets of laundry then please feel free!


A la prochaine mes belles )
xx




jeudi 17 juillet 2014

Shall I?



Just had an email from a dealer friend down country who is emptying a chateau attics. He asks if I want this? If I do want it I have to go quick as he doesn`t want to fill his van with textile when he has furniture to load.






I think I DO!!!! 

At least we have wonderful weather so I can launder it all!!

Have a wonderful day mes belles
xxxx

lundi 14 juillet 2014

From "le Palais" to "le Chateau"...........




Early morning  and we were on our way to a huge trade brocante in Avignon. It was only just turning 7am but we knew that it was going to be yet another dry, hot, airless scorching day. I knew that we would be unable to park anywhere near the sellers and would have a good 20 minute walk to the brocante itself. I told Mark that I was not going to buy anything huge that day but, instead,  would restrict myself with easy-to-carry treasures.

I started as I meant to go on and I had acquired a wonderful haul that we were managing to cope with quite well in our large bags and in that heat  - and then I saw them;     a pair of enormous cranberry-red coloured period velvet drapes with stunning passementerie tassels. I couldn`t stop myself and of course I asked the price - and that was the end of my good intentions.

The seller  told me that they were longer than 5 metres in length, that he had other pairs in his van parked outside - and that they had come from Le Palais Royal de Bruxelles. We followed him to the van ( at the same time noticing that his number plate was a Belgian plate, giving at least some credence to his story!) and he opened the back door for us to see the remaing pairs he had for sale. That was it....deal done...they were mine!

Then as we set off in the heat again I realised that we had no means of getting them to the car and buyers were not permitted to enter the ground with a vehicle until a good three hours later to pick up any purchases. 

Mark could just about manage to gather in and carry all the textile of just one curtain in his arms and with each weighing, he guessed about 20 kgs and  there being a few pairs we resigned ourselves to a long wait before we could go in and collect them.

But who should then swing past? None other than good old Jose, a freelance porter who helps buyers transport their large purchases back to their vehicles . I immediately went to get the car and tried to park as close to the outer gate as possible whilst Mark and Jose went to load up his large hand cart with the curtains. The 30 euros we paid to Jose was worth every penny and we filled the car to the brim with the luscious red velvet hoard.

Back home in Normandie we laid them out on the lawn but soon realised that we had no way to photograph them to show them at their most magnificent. Then we were saved by the marvellous owners of a local chateau, La Manoir de la Maillardiere.





This divine chateau built in 1665 is steeped in history and not only that it is also currently up for sale. I think it is probably the only place I would consider leaving 'Le Petit Chateau' for! It is an incredible building with amazing period features, stunning grounds and , on top of that, an incredible history. I could have photographed it all day and I still wouldn`t even have shown a morceau of how wonderful the place is!











The owners had offered to take down the curtains hanging at the enormous windows in their own 'chambre' and allowed us to photograph our own curtains in their place - and, even then, the curtains pooled deliciously on the floor!




So.............. being listed tonight are possibly the most regal pair of drapes I have ever found;  and if anyone has any  enquiries about La Manoir de la Maillardiere itself which is situated in the small village of Ste Marie du Mont here in Normandie, I will happily pass them on to the current owners.

A la prochaine mes belles
xxxx

mardi 8 juillet 2014

Two delicieux finds...........

Truffled all on the same day...................




Can you imagine the decor of the chateau boudoir that carried this confection?

Swiftly followed by.......




Truffling can sometimes be an "all or nothing" kind of a day.

This was definitely an ALL !

A la prochaine mes belles
xxxx

lundi 7 juillet 2014

Chez nous and a little Royal treat...



We are back home at the chateau, the garden went wild within one week and it is as if the marsh thought we had gone and decided to undertake a repossession of the land!

Provence was simply divine and I almost didn`t want to come home! I saw lots of dealers I hadn`t seen for 20 or so years, funny how they all seemed so much older. I myself am the same....well it feels that way at least and the secret is not to look in the mirror!



Isle sur Sorgue was filled to the brim with top American dealers rushing around with their shipping stickers trying to secure the best pieces.





 It was nice to be able to relax and simply saunter around taking it all in. Years ago I would have been in with the fight and running around like a woman possessed.



We sat for a lazy lunch under some vines and a couple with clip boards, lists and maps on the next table said " I think we recognise you...didn`t you used to be Simply-Chateau?".........what do they mean? " used to be" .... Indeed!!!



We left Sorgue to the dealers and shippers and frantic bartering and headed for the hills. With the tiny hidden brocantes and markets the car was soon filled to bursting with treasures.









I met a wonderful man who had been at the clearance of an old perfume factory in Grasse that had been closed down on the early 1920s. He had unused perfume and soap labels to die for and of course I have brought a selection home to list. He also had some of the most adorable 1920s perfume bottles too - all unused and they will be listed soon.




This tiny shop was right on a mountain top. I decided I would open my own brocante behind that faded blue facade and live above!




And then I considered that petite village is silent from October to May and decided I really didn`t fancy being snowed in at the top of a mountain unable to get to the brocantes. But we did find this wonderful boy who might be able to dig us out of the snow.



On the way back down we bought freshly cut lavender from the fields and were almost overcome as the perfume filled the car.



After a week of truffling the car was soon packed to bursting and I have some divine treasures.

I met a Belgian dealer who had on his van some drapes that had come from Le Palais Royal de Bruxelles. Amazing velvet tassel trimmed confections that are simply huge and delicieux. He wasn`t having much luck selling heavy thick velvet in that scorching heat. That was until I came along! I have to find somewhere tall enough to hang them for the photographs as they are at least 15 feet. Now if curtains could talk I wonder what tales they could tell.



Sorting out the new truffling batch as we speak and my new listings will be starting tonight.



Of course....the swan came home and I just have to find a name for him.


A la prochaine mes belles
xxxxx


jeudi 26 juin 2014

A bird in the hand.......



Provence is so divine and I wish you could smell the lavender in the air that has just come into bloom. The colour is as intense as the aroma which hits you as you drive into this fabulous region of France.

The weather is scorching but that hasn`t put a stop to my truffling!


As we speak there is a gorgeous carved wood swan nestling in our hotel room armoire!! Solid carved wood with sunbleached timeworn paint and I had to take him out of the car just to save his wings from becoming damaged as we drive! 




Explain that one to the chambermaid!!



I SO wanted this staircase but fortunately I could not get it in the car or I would have had to find a place for it.



We spent the late afternoon by the pool....


 .....and have just sat out on a tiny village square for supper 



With this trickling water at our side it was total wind down after a day of truffling.

video
( make sure your pc sound is on!)



In my next life when I come back as a Provencal "lady who lunches" I shall live here behind those pink shutters and I shall totter out on pink kitten heels, wearing a pink apron with a pink watering can to water my plants!!




But for now I am happy to be a truffleuse!!

A demain mes belles

xxxxxx


mardi 24 juin 2014

Old footsteps.............



Some thirty years ago my truffling addicition began in Provence. Tomorrow we leave for a long truffling trip back there.

I shall keep you informed en route of what treasures are to be found!

Heading South........

A la prochaine mes belles
xxxx