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29 April, 2012

DIY French Poetry Pillow...and...Envelope Closure Tutorial

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I’ve been at it again…I’ve made another pillow! But this time I wanted to do a little something different, so I created my own fabric design using my favorite French poem.

KittyOf course, we can’t talk about pillows without the help of our own pillow princess…the lovely Miss Kitty…who loves to pose among them! Here she is lounging with my Pottery Barn inspired frenchy pillow in the background…her favorite pillow ever, she says.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial It was easy and almost free since I already had everything I needed! I started with a scrap of leftover drop cloth and two fabric markers. Of course, you could use any two colors, but I chose black and brown for a more vintage look. Next, I printed my favorite poem La Lune Blanche by Paul Verlaine in a fun frenchy script called Amandine and used it as a guide. You could, of course, use your favorite poem! Next, I simply hand-copied the poem on to the fabric. Just take your time and remember it’s OK if it’s not perfect. It’s supposed to be handwriting! My pillow form (a $3.00 down insert from Goodwill) was 19 x 19 inches, so I filled up a 20 x 20 inch piece of fabric with lines from the poem, alternating colors as I went.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Get a Straight Cut on BurlapI decided to use burlap for the pillow back, so first I cut my fabric. Do you know this trick for cutting straight on burlap? Just measure, find a thread at the correct spot and pull it all the way through. You will have the perfect guide to follow while cutting!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial Some of you have asked where I store all my pillows…in the attic! And it’s getting waaaay too crowded up there! So I decided I will make envelope closures from now on so I can just take the covers off and reuse the forms. It really doesn’t take any longer. Here’s what I did…

1. After I made the front, I cut two pieces of fabric to form the back…one 3/4 of the length of my front fabric and one 1/2 of the length. My pillow front fabric was 20 x 20 inches, so I cut a piece 15 x 20 inches and another 10 x 20 inches.

2. On one of the 20 inch sides of each of the back pieces, I folded the fabric under 1/2 inch or so and then folded it again, then pressed and stitched to create a finished edge.

3. Next, with right sides together, I put the longer piece down first on top of the poetry fabric, lining it up, then added the shorter piece next, making sure all of the edges met. Be sure your opening runs from side to side and not top to bottom. Then I stitched it all the way around.

4. Finally, I trimmed the corners at a diagonal, turned it inside out through the opening…making sure the corners were completely turned out…and pressed it.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure TutorialHere’s the finished back…very neat and easy to do! No more piles of pillows in the attic for me! I’ll just store the covers in a drawer! Now just pop in the pillow form…

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial…and voilà! I love it! This pillow is special to me, not only because I designed the fabric, but because it’s my favorite French poem…the one I used to make my students memorize! (Uh oh…here comes the French teacher in me! ) I love its musical quality! In fact, Paul Verlaine’s works are so musical, that they have been converted to songs! This one has several video versions…this one with works of art in the background and this one with a haunting melody and a mesmerizing drive through rainy European streets at night. And finally, here's another version with music dating from la Belle Époque which includes the translation.

042 And while I am on the subject of pillows…let me show you this beauty that has come to live at my house! I was the lucky winner of the giveaway at the Bunny Blog Hop from the ladies at At The Picket Fence, French Country Cottage, DIY By Design, and On Sutton Place! Ann at On Sutton Place very generously supplied the prize! Don’t you love it? And it looks right at home on my patio! Thank you so much, sweet ladies!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure TutorialAnd here’s a final peek. Hmmm…now I’m thinking…maybe a fable from La Fontaine next? Or a few lines from a favorite French play? Or…nursery rhymes for my grandbabies! The possibilities are endless!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy pillow! 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
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays 

Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday's Treasures
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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25 April, 2012

Channeling Miss Mustard Seed for Debbiedoo's Copycat Challenge

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027Hooray! What fun! It’s time for Debbiedoo’s Copycat Challenge and I have chosen to copy…

mms …the fabulous Miss Mustard Seed! As soon as I saw this beautiful photo, I knew that it would be my inspiration because…

004 …I already have a wonderful lid that you just saw in my last post…atop a stack of books in my rustic coffee table tray!

008aIt’s actually the lid to this urn that you may have seen on my spring mantel…and I have a pair! I love that they have been so versatile!

031I also used one of my favorite plates…a vintage piece of Copeland Spode that was given to me by my friend Barb at The Everyday Home (formerly Grits and Glamour). Beneath it is one of my Wedgwood Queensware plates. The hardest part was making the little tag…actually a letter “O” painted white with the script added! I think I’ll keep it on the lid as a part of my coffee table vignette…so that I haven’t spent all that time for nothing! lol

037 And I have had to go it alone once again since my scheduled assistant, the lovely Miss Kitty, fell asleep in a patch of sunlight while waiting for her cue. What a life!

027So there you have it…another fun copy cat challenge! Can’t wait until next month!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my copycat vignette! 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
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Debbie at Debbiedoo’s Blogging and Blabbing for the Copycat Challenge
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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22 April, 2012

Pottery Barn Inspired Rustic Coffee Table Tray

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It seems that I am gradually incorporating a few more rustic elements into my decor. It has not been a conscious decision...I just love the contrast and texture they add! So when I spied this fabulous oversized rattan tray at One Kings Lane, I knew it had to come live at my house!

image My coffee table was in desperate need of a makeover since it had been sporting the same silver tea set…gathered from Goodwill over time…and stacks of books far longer than I care to admit.

IMG_5926 Even our handsome co-host Baby Kitty says…Snooze-a-rella, lady! Do something different! And oversized trays on coffee tables seem to be popping up all over…love the idea!

015 But you know mine has to be filled with blue and white, so I popped in this double happiness jar from my collection and filled it with white hydrangeas…

013 …and added a stack of my favorite books topped with the lid from one of my urns found while thrifting…

009 …and voilà! I LOVE this tray! The weathered gray rattan with that big open weave adds so much texture to my coffee table!

image But now it has me thinking…maybe add slipcovers and pile on the blue and white pillows as in this favorite inspiration photo from Pierre Deux. (Sniff! Still can’t believe they are gone!) Heaven knows my loveseats need a facelift! And a living room redo...
 
017Oh, dear! I think I am in trouble! And I have to blame it all on this tray!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my rustic tray! 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
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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18 April, 2012

Fabulous 100+ Year Old Frenchy Find...France in "la Belle Époque"

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062 I have something wonderful to show you…a fabulous French treasure over 100 years old…a bound copy of all of the issues of the Parisian magazine La Famille from 1896! How it found its way there is a mystery, but it was waiting in a little antique shop when my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest noticed it. It was love at first sight for me, so Linda kindly let it come home with me! Merci, mon amie! And you will not believe what I paid for this amazing peek into Parisian life over a century ago…$20! Yes, you read that right…$20…a real steal for something so very special!

009 In fact, my treasure is so special that our seldom-seen CEO Ozzie is serving as our co-host today! Ozzie begs your forgiveness if I seem a little geeky, but the French teacher in me is coming out! Warning! Warning!

006 It’s a rainy afternoon and a little cool…finally…so I have been reading. I have cut a few of my somewhat battered Knockout roses to put in my new (old) finger vase and made some Russian tea. And I have pulled out my best vintage Wedgwood, hoping that you will join me. So settle down with a cup of tea and a croissant and let me give you a little peek inside my new treasure!

004 Isn’t it amazing…with embossed gold lettering and a lovely patina on the old leather spine. All of the issues for the year are bound in one book…one hundred and sixteen years old! It was a wonderful time in French history…la Belle Époque…a long period of peace and prosperity for the growing French middle class.

013 I found so much that I want to share that I have had to keep little tabs on the pages…so much that I will have to show you over multiple posts!

018It is a weekly magazine, so I have 52 issues to read! And in each issue…advice and recipes for young wives, fun magic tricks to entertain your guests when the conversation lags at the dinner table, a summary of the news, financial advice, directions for creating lovely handwork, a chapter of a continuing novel…

042  …and wonderful engravings on the cover of each issue and scattered throughout the magazine. This is one of my favorites…and you will know why if you know how much I love my Quimper plates…a little Breton couple! I love their provincial dress!

062 It is so much fun to read history as it is being made! Here…a rave review of the fabulous Sarah Bernhardt…the darling of the French theater! Other interesting stories…excitement about the first-ever Olympic Games to be held in Athens, Greece that summer and the continuing work on the métropolitain…the Parisian subway system, to be completed in 1900. And equally interesting, but of no historical significance…the guards at the Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France ten years earlier, are reported to be frightened by strange noises coming from the interior and believe it to be haunted!

048 Perhaps the hardest story to read for me was the account of the first visit to France of the newly crowned Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra along with their little daughter Olga. They are reported to be a very charming and gracious couple, making the rounds of the European capitals to aid him in his understanding of foreign relations. Little do they know what lies ahead of them…murdered twenty-two years later along with little Olga and her yet unborn sisters and brother at the hands of the Bolsheviks…the future mercifully hidden from them.

041On a much lighter note, each issue also contains numerous fashion plates and patterns, presenting the latest styles of the season! Just look at that tiny waist…

027 …which explains the numerous ads for corsets in each issue! This one was designed with the help of a doctor to protect the stomach while giving you a slim waist and “harmonious proportions.”

031 And speaking of sewing and fashions, I have something else special to show you…antique spools of thread from the brocante in France…a much-loved gift from my sweet friend Pat! Don’t you love the patina on the wooden spools and the sheen of the thread…almost like silk, although it is cotton. Why doesn’t our thread look like that? Fabulous!

002 And that’s it for now! I have lots more to show you so I will periodically post some more of the wonderful contents of the magazines. I have a post filled with fashions in mind and certainly more of those wonderful engravings. I haven’t tried scanning them yet because I am concerned about protecting the integrity of the spine of the book, so please bear with me if the quality is a little less than perfect. I hope you will enjoy my treasure along with me!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy treasures! 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

Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Thrifty Treasures
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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15 April, 2012

DIY Vintage French Number Plaques

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046 Here’s something my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest and I have been talking about for a while…those wonderful vintage French enamel number plates! But…they are hard to find and if you do find them, they are expensive!

French numbers love And there’s a reason…in France, you have to get those great blue and white house numbers from the mayor’s office to match your address! Yep! There are a few sites that sell them…none of which appear to be in the US… but they are not cheap. Me, I love the oval white ones with black numbers...probably from a hotel or apartment door. Sooo…I finally decided to make them myself. (Photo from How to Spend It )

oval 27-tile
First task, create the graphic…and here it is! I used the Modern No. 20 font because I love the look of the numbers! It’s not a free download, but it is one of the fonts included with Photoscape. I chose these numbers because they were the frenchiest!
First, print them and glue them to poster paper with rubber cement. It doesn’t wrinkle and the excess can be rubbed off.
Next, cut them out very carefully and punch holes at each end.
Then add several coats of Mod Podge, smoothing out any wrinkles that appear and drying with a hair dryer in between coats.
Finally, finish them off with three coats of Polyurethane to give them an enamel-like shine.

037 Baby Kitty finds it interesting that I am using my cookbooks as props since they don’t get much use otherwise! Hmmm

003 I added the numbers to all of the baskets on my guest bedroom shelf.

002 I think it adds a little interest, especially since the baskets are mostly filled with black and white objects...like my sheet music ornaments and my vintage French script fruit.

003 And here’s a final look! Not too bad for free, huh?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy numbers! 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
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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12 April, 2012

Rustic Wine Country Centerpiece Starring an Authenitc French Santon...from Goodwill!

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003 No holidays are in sight for a while, so it’s time to fill my favorite rustic box with something different. This time I have chosen a decidedly French wine country theme.  Warning! Warning! I feel the French teacher in me coming out! lol The star of my centerpeice…the little caviste or wine cellarman who is one of my favorite recent thrifting finds. More about him later, but first the box…

006 …which is dressed for a visit to the French wine country! Of course, there must be grapes and wine bottles! Did you know that you can tell what region a French wine comes from by the shape of the bottle? The one on the left with the gently sloping shoulders  is from Bourgogne or Burgundy and the tall slender one on the right is from Alsace and, although this one is technically from California, the vintner chose to keep the classic shape. An interesting explanation of Burgundy wines and their labels can be found here. That region is dear to my heart since I attended the University of Dijon’s summer program for foreign students waaay back in 1971!

049And you must have corks in a wine vignette, so I have filled my little lead crystal urn with them. The cork reads…Mis en Bouteille au Domaine…bottled by the grower.

008 And of course I must add a plate! This one is from my set of Limoges cheese plates and features a map of France with the cheeses by region. Can’t have French wine without French cheese!

005 But the absolute star is this little oh-so-frenchy guy! Isn’t he fabulous? He was calling out to me from the shelves at Goodwilll…Take me to a good home! lol Just look at the detail..from the béret to the wine bottles…perfect!

045 Our co-hostess Miss Kitty is itching to tell you all about him! He is an authentic French Santon or Little Saint. A saint?..you say…a wine cellarman? Let us explain.

crècheWhen I made my retirement trip to Provence several years ago, high on my list of things to buy was a French nativity scene or crèche. And here’s what came home with me…love it! However, I am sure that you notice a few extra people. In Provence, the whole village comes to the manger, including, among many others, the Niçoise or woman from Nice and the Ravi or simpleminded man, the first to see the baby Jesus, who always raises his arms in delight. They are santons d'argile…made from hand-painted clay. For a closer look at my crèche, click here.

santons Santons exist in several sizes, including the much larger santons habillés which are dressed in cloth and always carry some sort of implement. Here are some of them from the same shop in Nice where I bought my nativity figures. Gotta love that fisherman carrying the basket of fish and the tiny starfish on the net!

022 My caviste is carrying this fabulous little crate of wine! Can you believe the detail on the wine bottles? Each label is different, including the three that you cannot see. The whole thing, bottles and all, is only two inches tall!

038 And here is the bottle he has in his hand beside a cork so that you can see its size. Amazing, huh?

042 And now the part I have been saving for last…how do I know he’s authentic? Look at the stamp on the bottom. He was hand-crafted by Michel Girault from his shop in Aix-en-Provence, France! You can see his creations, including my caviste, here.  And the best part…I paid $2.92 for my santon who is priced online at 45 euros ($59) not to mention shipping! Woo hoo! Score!

003 And here he is again…looking very happy, I think, in my frenchy wine country vignette! Can you believe someone let him go? I am sooo glad they did!

To see my box dressed for five different holidays, click here.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my French wine country centerpiece! 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
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday’s Treasures

Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation 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
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
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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