Sunday, February 15, 2015

New finds and The GYB winner

It took a couple years after moving to France to figure out where the second hand stores were and about the flea markets in the area. Just a small little thing called language barrier but, once I learned where things were or how to find them shopping for vintage lace bits, old linens and such became almost second nature. Cross the border to Germany and its like going back in time. Where does one look?

Berlin is very much into the second hand store mentality.  It is not an understatement to say that they are everywhere. Unfortunately, what they are not are places I can find vintage lace. Flea markets however one can find vintage lace. The problem is we are in the dead cold of winter and Flea markets are small and mostly filled with professionals who do this type of thing for a living. Honestly, one stall I saw, the man sold nothing but old cameras. So the hunt is on. Still I have not been totally skunked. Some of the things I have found would not necessary be things I would search out in France, if I could even buy them there.

Take for example this: I found a bag with a broken pearl necklace in it. All sizes of pearls and they were the nicer costume ones that to buy new would be rather pricey. Of course I could not open the bag but from what I saw through the plastic, it looked like a good gamble. 
I have removed all of the pearls from what was left of the multiple strand necklace from the threads that held them. They are nice quality for crafting so I know I will use them. 

Also in the bag, I thought it was just more of the same necklace, was a slightly darker and heavier necklace. It was knotted and had a 835 marked clasp. Look at the photo above and you will see a slightly more pink necklace and a clasp upper right in the picture. 385 is a silver marking used in Germany.

That pinkish necklace was filthy. Here is what each pearl looked like:

I got on Google and tried to figure out how to clean them. No idea if they are pearls (fresh water if they are) but I did not want to destroy them as I tried to clean them. Google websites say warm sudsy water and a soft cloth and do not soak. The clasp after cleaning has taken back a silver sheen. The silk thread that is knotted is a lost cause to clean as it can not be cleaned without damaging the pearls, if that is what they are. No matter if they are or not, the necklace is very pretty now that it is cleaned. I think I am going to learn how to restring them. I would be nice to have clean silk thread and have the opportunity to really clean the clasp.

What else have I found? Well this one got me really excited.

Oh, am I going to have fun with these! There are horn buttons in heart, deer, mushroom and house shapes. There are 3 larger round carved wooded buttons and tons of metal buttons. I LOVE German buttons most look to be the type used for Trachen (think oompah music in Munich)

I ran into a flea market in Dresden last weekend and found something I found out after research on line is called Mangel Stoff. Also I found this reference  for this fabric as Mangelt├╝cher, Mangeltuch Leinen Rolltuch Tuchstoff  or Alter Mangel Stoff.
It appears to be old linen yardage that can be made into kitchen towels or as one of my German friends suggested was for wrapping the good linen in so that it would not get dirty in storage.
How about a table cloth? Whatever the use, This piece is mine now. It has been washed twice the first time removed the smell and most stains. I then put it in BIZ for about an hour. The BIZ water turned a very dark brown which told me that the BIZ was taking away the natural dye of the fabric so I pulled it and washed it again in the washer. Stains are gone, the color of the linen is beautiful. Now what to do with it. It is a 3 meter piece (3 1/3 yards). Where is the valuable linen this once wrapped you ask? No idea. I have not found those yet except in overpriced antique stores. 

One other piece of information is that it appears to be East German in origin. Not surprising as it was found in Dresden. I have searched and other or simular pieces I have found on-line are from East Germany. Dating this fabric is hard but again a German friend has told me that this type of fabric was used after WWII. It does not mean it was not there before that time, it has something to do with being in the East. I am still looking into it. The interrogation of former East Germans is about to begin...

Lastly, I have found a few old lace pieces:
 These are things I can play with later.

Ok now for the drawing. There were 53 entries and the random number generator says... Quinn

Such lovely creations! I also tend to accumulate bits of lace and trim and fabric, but have a terrible time actually putting scissors to it. stays in a drawer until the next time I go looking for something. Then I take it out, look at it, think about making it into something wonderful! But...can't bring myself to cut it. Back into the drawer. Not very creative or useful! I like your way MUCH better :)
My fingers will be crossed for your fantastic giveaway, and I shall begin searching for a pencil right away, to be prepared just in case I am the very lucky one.
Thank you for taking the time to visit me at where I can always be reached through a comment. It has become much more reliable than my email!
Quinn you need to search for a pencil.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Christmas Ornament that Wasn't

A while back at a second hand store I was looking at post cards and old pictures. Sometimes something fun is lurking in the pile. I found one, well actually several of these really beautiful fairy picture postcards. Before leaving France I scanned them and put them in a file for me to play with later. I was unfamiliar with the artist and just lately decided to look the artist up and figure out when they were drawn and who the artist was. 

It turns out that they are English and were done by an artist named Cicely Mary Barker. Wikipedia has a nice write up about her (Wikipedia - CicelyMary Barker)

What I had bought, among others, was the Christmas Tree Fairy.

The Tree Flower Fairies set is circa 1950. If you do a search on Pinterest her work is everywhere! You will be astounded at the number of fairy drawings she did in her life time.

Alright, now for the Christmas Tree Ornament that wasn't...

Every year on one of my new groups I participate in an ornament exchange. The butterfly won out as the ornament only because I was not sure what to do with this and I did not want the ornament to be one sided. I needed time to think about how to make this fairy two sided. I thought about making both sides the front of the fairy, but it just was not working in my mind. 

Well I did it and I am pleased with the result. Working a little on the computer, I got the look I wanted. It is not perfect by any stretch, but it works. Here is what I ended up with:
Notice that her wand is gone? She looks to me  like she is sewing or holding something.?  A needle? A Quilt? She is definitely holding something...
Now, remember this picture?
Three days! Three days is what it took me to cut that center piece up. Grain is everything. But now that it is a work in process, there are leftovers:
At a craft store I found a package of wooden buttons
Construction is pretty straight forward now for me.This is what I ended up with. 
The center, base if you will, that the fairy is mounted to are two slightly overlapped yogurt metallic covers. 
The fairy design was printed out on a color printer using vintage cotton fabric (old pillow case) ironed to freezer paper the size of paper the printer normally takes.

The  fairy fabric was then Mod Podged (Mod Podge for fabric) to the yogurt covers, Embellishment added and here is the final result:

 I am very pleased with the result. I love the way her wings move. So what do you think? This years ornament?
(BTW, that van has not moved since we moved here over a month ago. I wonder who owns it)

This week I am joining Shabbilicious Friday Link Party 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The last Hurrah

Looking for Grow Your Blog 2015, click here

Leaving France was not be complete without one last trip to Brittany. We have friends who rent a house every year in a small town on the coast. This year we were asked to join them. Nothing like laying in bed and hearing waves crashing on the shore nearby. If you have not been, Brittany is beautiful! Even in the winter. Yes, there is nasty rain at times, but when the sun comes out a walk on the beach is a wonderful experience.
The house came with a Christmas tree, provided by the friends staying there, which was a treat for me as Christmas trees and I only had fleeting moments together this year with the move going on. At the rental house the tree was real and smelled so good! Our friends had bought some ornaments specifically for me. When I saw them my mind started dissecting them. I have been playing with felt lately.
They are cute, but I could have fun with that design and I bet I could make them cuter. In the mean time while they wait to be dissected, here they are on the windowsill of the new apartment. So far they look too good there to take either of them apart.

While walking on the beach, I was introduced to something called "Sea Glass". "Sea Glass" is new to me. It is, essentially, glass garbage that has been polished by the ocean and deposited on the beach for pick up. Searching for the glass turned out to be a good reason for a walk on the beach rain or shine.
There were also many shells to  be picked up and small thin shale rocks. They look like little chalkboards to me.

Of course there was a trip to a brocante that had hit or miss hours. Wow, talk about junk! Just amazing the stuff in there. I am sure no inventory of contents in the building to speak of. Some of the stuff I am sure has been there for years. 

Proof in point, I found vintage lace. Those of you following the last blog have seen this picture.
As usual, it smelled musty...Musty, now that was an understatement! No visible mold, but the smell was enough to clog sinuses for days. They were escorted in well sealed plastic bags to the new home and there they were shown to the washer. As I was getting them ready for the washer I found an old price tag on lightest, almost white piece.  (The lower left rolled piece in the picture) 

The price tag said 460F/ 5 meters. A little research shows that the French Franc(FRF) is obsolete and was replaced by the Euro (EUR) on 1 January 1999. At that time, one EUR was equivalent to 6.55957 FRF. So in 1999 they wanted 70.13 EUR for that piece. In USD with a 1.2 exchange rate(the official beginning exchange rate in 1999), that comes out to roughly $84. 

70.13 EUR/$84, that is a bit expensive and not at all what I paid for it. Discounts comes with sitting in a brocante for at least 16 years with no takers.

So far, a small bit of the lace on the lower right has been used. In my purse I carry a notebook to write notes such as which train gets me to where I want to go or the address of a potential fabric shop.  the notebook has a cardboard cover and won't last long the way it is, so I covered it. I had a second small notebook so I cut out enough for two. Here is the picture of the second one, the one that will be given away on February 15th.  Pen/Pencil not included.
If you have not entered, comment here

Alright, what about the rest of that lace? Well, these two are in the process of being cut up. I found a  dress from the early 1900s I fell in love with the top portion on Pinterest.
Stand by, it will be a couple weeks but it is coming.

These have been paired up. Again, Inspiration on Pinterest. This one will take a bit. I am searching for buttons and I am toying with stamping fabric.
It might become something and then again, maybe not.