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27 August, 2011

Vintage French Sheep Pillow Tutorial

064 I seem to be on a textile project roll lately, so here goes another one…my French sheep pillow! I just love sheep…they are so French to me! After all, Joan of Arc started out as a shepherdess and Marie Antoinette tended her flock of perfumed sheep when she played at being a shepherdess! So I had been on the hunt for the perfect sheep graphic and finally found it…

sheep2  …here at Vintage Printable, where there are tons of gorgeous vintage graphics free for the printing! (However, please note that they are currently undergoing redesign and seem to be having some issues with their graphics not showing up.) I added the text to the graphic…Le Mouton…French for the sheep. I knew I wanted to make the pillow using Osnaburg, a great less-expensive linen look-alike (only $2.50 a yard at Hobby Lobby with a 40% coupon!) and that I wanted to add jute piping.

015 Baby Kitty had serious reservations about the jute piping, however, and it seems he was right! There’s a reason I couldn’t find it ready-made in the fabric stores…it’s so hard to work with!

019I did finally manage to make my own using some left-over burlap and cording…sooo…free! Then I started to work on the pillow itself.

page First, I cut my fabric 1 inch longer and wider than my pillow form…a down insert from Goodwill for about $3.00…then I…
1. folded it in fourths to find the center and marked it with a pencil
2. added Le Mouton (French for sheep) to my image using Photoscape, flipped it and printed it on an iron-on transfer sheet
3. trimmed the transfer to the size I wanted, found the center of it on the back and centered it on the fabric
4. ironed on the image following the directions on the package.

030 And voilà! Next, I pinned the cording to the fabric on the right side, with the cut edges together and the piping facing inside, and then stitched it down. I used a zipper foot so I could get close.

039Then I added the back of the pillow, right sides together, and stitched through all thicknesses, leaving it open at the bottom to insert the pillow form. Note that I have added some sheeting under the Osnaburg since I was concerned that it might not be thick enough. And finally, I hand stitched the bottom of the pillow to close it.

064 And here is the final product! I like the way it turned out and, in spite of the aggravation, the jute cording does add some contrast and texture that I really like!

047 And here it is in its new home…my slip-covered chair in the living room! Hmmm…now maybe a cow for the other chair to keep it company?
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my project!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!

21 August, 2011

Charles Faudree...and Me...Together Again!

Charles FaudreeWhen I came home this afternoon, I was beside myself with excitement because my main man was waiting for me on the front porch! He's back! lol Yes…my favorite designer has released a new book…Details by Charles Faudree…and I got my copy today! I was so excited to have a peek inside to see if his wonderful Country French style had changed…if it had been affected by the campagne chic or the minimalist crowds. And no…not one tiny bit! He style is still elegant, but comfortable, with lots of warm colors, beautiful antiques and layers and layers of wonderful...well...details! He is still my main man…the one I go to when I have a decor question or need to make a change in my home!

cfdetails This book is different from the others in that he doesn't concentrate on the rooms, but rather the details that, as he says “may seem like a small subject, but these finishing accessories are by far the most important part of decorating. People’s lives are expressed by little details. They give a room its soul.” I love this approach, since I often go to his books for just that purpose...to see what to put on my coffee table or mantel, for example. He focuses on several areas, including tablescapes…(I am lusting after that bouillotte lamp!)

cfdetails2 …and wall decorations…including pages and pages of plates on the wall. (You know I love that…and those buttery yellow walls!)

cfdetails1 …including a hutch chock full of blue and white porcelain from his own dining room…sigh!

cfdetails3 …as well as mantels. (File this one away in my inspiration file!) There are also sections on fabrics…lots of wonderful layers of fabulous mixes of fabrics…and lighting…so many beautiful and unusual lamps! Sigh again!

016Sooo…in honor of the publication of Charles Faudree’s new book Details, our Miss Kitty, the Plate Addict version of his Cavalier Spaniel Nicholas, would like to show you…

048 …a few changes in our dining room…Faudree style! First, I have finally found enough double happiness jars to fill the top of the hutch! Yaay!

053 The latest one is my favorite…and was the least expensive…a Goodwill hunting trophy at only $8.00! Woo hoo!

007I was also able to find the last two Spode Blue Room plates that I need to finish filling up the hutch…also both GW finds at about $6.00 each! I now have four of these from the Regency series that have the nice white scalloped edge. Of course, if you know my house, you know that I could have just taken a Spode plate or two off of the wall…but those stay there in case of emergencies…like if 25 people show up for lunch! lol

005 Another great GW find is this pharmaceutical jar from Portugal for less than $3.00! I have been wanting one of these and they can be expensive! It reads U:CAELFUL:FO which, from what I understand, was a strong blue ointment used in 17th and 18th century England.

036 My wonderful Blue Willow tureen anchors the bottom shelf. I found it at half-price when a local antique/gift shop went out of business!

033 On the table is another tureen and one of my favorites, since it has such an unusual pumpkin shape! It was on display at the Blue Luna Café (now closed) in Grayton Beach, Florida and had to come home with me!

051 And, of course, no Faudree-style hutch would be complete without a pair of  Staffordshire dogs…Cavaliers, like his beloved Nicholas…picked up from my favorite flea/antique shop at half price! I know my little blue and white collection is not as wonderful as his collection of fabulous antique porcelain, but I think it’s not bad, considering much of it came from thrifting!

So, I think you can see why I am so excited to have his new book Details! I will be devouring every page!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my dining room!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!

17 August, 2011

Monet's Palate...or...Conversations with Claude Monet...on Facebook!

giverny-9 Calling all Monet lovers…have you ever wished you could sit at the table in that lovely yellow dining room in Giverny with the great artist himself and discuss fine art and great cuisine? Maybe suggest a wine he should try with his dinner tonight…and have him actually talk to you? Well…not Claude himself, but a Claude-like moderator who knows him well, it seems! Then you need out check out this website…Monet’s Palate!…as a starting point in your quest to become Monet’s new BFF! Be sure to "like" their Facebook fan page while you are there. You'll see why in a moment!

IMG_0542It all grew out of a film for PBS by Aileen Bordman and narrated by Meryl Streep…Monet’s Palate: A Gastronomic View from the Gardens of Giverny  introducing Monsieur Monet and his passion for fine art, cuisine and his beloved gardens. It explores the connection between great artists and cuisine…from palette to palate, so to speak.

IMG_0563 But an even more amazing phenomenon that has developed  is Monet’s Palate on Facebook where you can join in the fun! Once you “like” the fan page, you become an Mpal and you can enter his home, pull up one of those wonderful yellow chairs  and join in the discussion! Tonight, for example, Monsieur Monet asks what he should drink with his “fresh pasta drowning in grated cheese, melted butter and cracked black pepper.” You make suggestions and he chats with you, discussing the options! Or he takes you to visit his favorite spots in France or shows you his favorite paintings…fun, huh?

imageIf you want even more Monet and would like to have a little peek inside his home beyond that yellow dining room, then here is a book I’ve suggested before…Monet's House: An Impressionist Interiorby Heide Michels. It’s one of my favorites! Gotta love those blue and white tiles!
And for those of you who are interested in the culinary side of Claude Monet, I suggest that you try this wonderful book…Monet's Table : The Cooking Journals of Claude Monetby Claire Jones. Monet believed that a successful meal was dependant upon a beautiful dinner service and even designed a personal set of china! He casually shares the poet Stéphane Mallarmé's  recipe for wild mushrooms and the artist Cézanne’s recipe for bouillabaisse! Can you imagine these great men swapping recipes?

082 If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of Monet and planned my recent trip to France with my grandson around a visit with Monsieur Monet and his famous water lilies in Giverny. But it seems that I can’t get enough of the beautiful gardens and that wonderful house…so, if you will excuse me, I am heading over to see what Monsieur Monet is having for dessert!

14 August, 2011

Say Fromage!...or...Creating a Cheese Platter

044 I gave you a little hint at this post last week when I asked if you could guess what cows, sheep and goats have in common. The answer...their milk is used to make my all-time favorite food…cheese! So today I am creating a cheesescape to show you! I was already a cheese lover before I lived in France, but my time there made me hard-core! lol You cannot help but love cheese in a country that has over 400 recognized varieties of the stuff!

045It’s my daughter’s birthday weekend, so I pulled out my French Limoges cheese plates for the occasion. And…the vintage-inspired French tea towels that I made last week will go perfectly with the plates!

011 Each plate stars one of the milk producers and some of the cheeses that are made from their milk. This one stars sheep and shows the cheeses made from ewe's milk, among them my favorite…Roquefort!

013In the foreground of the cow plate is another favorite of mine…Emmental, or Swiss cheese, as it is known to most Americans.

047 Goat cheese is simply called chèvre in French, just the same as the word for goat! My favorite is chèvre cendré, in which the cheese is covered with a powdered vegetable ash, but it is virtually impossible to find here.

015Here is the fourth plate, displaying a little map of France and the geographic regions associated with the cheeses. The French government strictly controls the use of the names of the cheeses and confines them to the region where they are actually produced. It’s similar to the idea for us as Southerners that Vidalia onions must come from Vidalia, Georgia!

041 I will use this plate for serving the baguette…because you can’t have French cheese without French bread! Some people like crackers…but for me, it has to be a crusty baguette…bien sûr!

040Of course, there must be wine! I have chosen a good French red wine...Beaujolais-Villages…because it tends to be a medium-bodied red and I am shooting for the middle with my three cheeses. I must add that I am no wine aficionado, so you might consult a wine and cheese pairing website such as this one.

037 I have also included some butter in my wonderful silverplate butter dome…a favorite $6.00 Goodwill find a while back. I’ll explain more about the butter in just a moment. The basket is a recent GW find for $3.00. I was really excited to find it since I had been admiring it on several blogs!

039 And here is the most important part…the cheese platter! I am using three cheeses from three different milk sources and I have arranged them from mildest to strongest starting at the bottom going clockwise, as is the traditional method, although some people prefer to start at the top. I have also added a variety of fresh fruit…brown turkey figs, Bosc pears and red seedless grapes…to compliment the cheeses.

035 The mildest cheese is the chèvre, made from goat’s milk.

036 Next is the Emmentaler, or Swiss cheese, made from cow’s milk...

034 …and finally comes the strongest and my favorite, Roquefort, made from ewe’s milk. In fact, it is so strong that my French friends spread a little butter on the bread before adding the cheese to soften the taste a little bit. As for me, I can eat it straight! And, in case you are wondering how Roquefort is different from bleu, bleu cheese is made from cow’s milk and has a different  mold added to create the blue veins. None of the three cheeses is actually extremely mild, but my family tends to like the stronger cheeses.

018 Baby Kitty has a few tips for creating a cheese platter that he learned from his French friends:
~Take the cheese out of the fridge a couple of hours before serving it, cover it and let it stand. You can’t taste it when it’s cold!
~Serve an odd number of cheeses. It just looks better on the plate.
~Have a different knife for each cheese so that the tastes of the cheeses don’t mingle.
~Place them on the platter from mildest to strongest going clockwise.
~Leave the cheese whole and let your guests cut off what they want. It looks too much like it came from the deli if you pre-slice it.
~I am reminded by a comment from Mary that you should never cut off the pointed end (called the nose) of the cheese. As a guest, you would always cut your portion of the cheese so that you preserve its shape. Also...never dig the cheese out and leave the rind! Just a couple of cheese faux pas to avoid!
~More tips and suggestions for creating a cheese platter can be found here.

044 And there you have my cheesescape! Now if you will excuse me, I have company coming and we have some…er…props to clean up! Yummy!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my cheese platter!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!

12 August, 2011

A Thanksgiving Realization...or...Pie à la Mom!

I am repeating a post from about three years ago in honor of my sweet daughter's birthday today! Happy birthday, honey! I love you....Mom

It is now official...my job is done! I can now live the rest of my life in peace. Thanksgiving dinner was at my daughter's home this year for the first time. I can hardly believe the words as I see them appearing on my screen, but it is true. Those of you who are the parents of older children will understand. You spend many years worrying what will happen if, God forbid, something should happen to you. They are almost there...not quite...inching toward adulthood....ever so slowly. Now, at last, I think she has crossed the finish line and I can uncross my fingers. Today is the day that it happened. How do I know? Just look at this pie! Is this not the most beautiful apple pie you have ever seen? She baked it from scratch, crust and all! This is no ordinary pie...it's a miracle!


This pie was baked by the child who used to wear her crinoline in the front yard because she was convinced that it was a tutu...that same little girl who poured out an entire bottle of shampoo in the tub for a very bubbly tea party. This pie is the creation of the teenager who kept a supply of toilet paper under her bed so that she could crawl out of the window at night and roll the neighbor's yard....the one who spilled pink nail polish on the carpet beside her bed and didn't tell me for three days. Yes, that person is the same person who baked this pie! And now when I see her in her beautiful home with her wonderful husband and my sweet grandson, I know my job is done. Of course, she will still ask me for advice and she may or may not take it. But she has her own family now. She is a grown-up woman. Yes, my job is done ...and the proof is in this pie!

Since this post was written, they have blessed me with two more little grandsons and I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful daughter, wife and mother she has become!

You can find her pie recipe here.

07 August, 2011

DIY Vintage French Tea Towels

044 I seem to be obsessing with towels lately, since in addition to my Wisteria knock-off linen towels, I have another project to show you! It’s my version of vintage French tea towels!

025Actually, the towels are not vintage, but the designs are! My friend Babs at Upstairs Downstairs gave me a stack of wonderful vintage illustrations recently and I have been waiting to find the just right project for them. I believe I have finally found it!

004First, I started with two yards of Osnaburg that I bought with a 40 % off coupon at Hobby Lobby…so about $2.50 a yard. I love this fabric! It has the nubby texture and unbleached color of linen, but without the fussiness, since it is 100% cotton. With the assistance of my co-host Baby Kitty, I cut four pieces, each measuring 20 inches wide x 28 inches long.

043Then I hemmed them on three sides, leaving one of the short sides for a ruffle made from the selvage. You don’t even have to unravel it, since the selvage comes that way…and is stitched so that it will not unravel any further! This will make the three tea towels I am showing you, plus one more.

039 Next, I scanned the drawings and, using Photoscape, I added French labels for each of them and then flipped them so that the writing was backwards. I then printed them on iron-on transfer paper and added them to the towels. I had been avoiding using transfers, but it was really easy!

040 I love the way they turned out! The fabric has a real vintage look, don’t you think? Helping it look even more authentic is my Victorian silverplate master sugar spooner in the background. I am using it as a vase, since it has no lid. It was a $14 thrift store find and dates from the late 1800s! Woo hoo!

038 This one is my favorite! Any one who knows me knows I have a thing about goats! I want one! (And for you Francophiles, there is an accent mark over the first e in chèvres…it just doesn’t show up! Sorry! Stuff like that drives me crazy!)

042 Here they are all together…a cow, sheep and goats! Hmmm…I think I have an idea for my next post! Can you guess? Think very French thoughts!

034 Here's a final look at my French-inspired vintage tea towels! (Miss Kitty, on the other hand, seems more interested in the children playing outside than my latest project.) I think they are the perfect contrast in texture for my vintage silverplate tea set and could even be used as napkins for afternoon tea! And stay tuned to my next post to find out what a cow, sheep and goats have in common!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my project!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures on Mondays
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Sizzle into Summer
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday
Jill at French Cupboard for Voilà! French Inspiration on Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Diann at The Thrifty Groove for Thrifty Things Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Fridays
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!
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