Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter treats and Flying Bells

I love little family traditions ... particularly ones involving our children and their cousins and the excitement or anticipation of an upcoming celebration ... and listening to their chatter as they discuss 'how these things must happen' with great sincerity!

At Easter, like children the world over, our boys put baskets next to their beds, waiting for the Easter Bunny to come and deliver lovely chocolate eggs.  And in case the bunny is hungry as he goes, they leave a carrot in the basket for him.  And when they wake there is usually a nibble or two missing to show he's been.

And as we were preparing these bedsides last night, it got me thinking about the little 'stories' we parents tell our children.  That bunnies are going to come with chocolate eggs for the baskets.  And about the stories french parents are telling their children about Pâques (Easter).

{image via Becoming Madame}

The church bells of France which ring cheerily throughout the year, fall silent in respect and mourning on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified and died, and they do not ring again until Easter morning in celebration of the Resurrection, as Jesus is alive again.

So as not to upset the children by the change, a story is told that all the bells suddenly grow wings and fly to Rome to visit the Pope, where they are blessed and les cloches volantes (the flying bells) return with treats for the children.

And as the Easter bells (les cloches de Pâques) fly back to France, they drop chocolate bell, eggs and bunnies into the gardens of the French towns.  When the children wake up, they have great fun finding them (a chasse aux œufs) and all the bells ring once again because they have returned from Rome!

{image via The Paris Poodle}
I can't imagine my boys accepting this one, or being able to tell this with a straight face ... but I suppose they have put out baskets with carrots in them, in expectation a bunny will stop by with chocolate eggs!

What little traditions do you enjoy at Easter?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Notre Dame rings out again!

Just in time for this week's Easter traditions, the bells of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris are again ringing out since Palm Sunday this week.  Receiving the nine new bells in January, they have now been installed - in time also to celebrate the cathedral's 850th year.

{image Vintage Finds - taken September 2011}
Why were they replaced?  All but one of the original bells from this cathedral were melted down for coins and cannons in the French Revolution.  In the 19th century four others were added to this one original survivor - the effect being out of tune and often said more fitting for a country church than cathedral!

New bell's arrival in January 2013 {image via Associated Press}
So last Saturday, for the first time in two centuries, with these four removed and nine new and beautifully made now installed, on a cold but sunny Parisian afternoon, all ten bells pealed out to a crowd of thousands.

{image via Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris}
One large one came from the Netherlands, and the other eight from the foundry of artisan bell-maker Paul Bergamo in Normandy.

As you can imagine, France being a country which both celebrates and prides itself on it's artisan skills, it is amazing to hear of the skill required to make these bells and to think that these have all been formed and made to be in tune with that one surviving bell!

{image via Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris}
And although newly installed, from today they will now be silent again. Why?  Come back tomorrow to find out (here) and I'll share with you some French Easter traditions!


Friday, March 22, 2013

But wait there's more!

Ooops!  More 'new in store' from yesterday that I left off the post!

Original rush seated dining chairs.  I love these in a mix of old and new around a table.

And a very useful and sturdy, but attractive small step ladder.

{all images Vintage Finds}

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In Store Today ...

These wood and metal hand tools have lovely sculptural handles.  Very smooth to touch, they have been well used for many years.  Found in a village fair in the depths of France.  What do you think they are used for?  I am thinking maybe leather work or something similar.  Do you have any ideas on what these tools are used for?

This set is very beautiful too.  Made from ebony: a blotter and quill sharpener.  Once again lovely shape to touch and hold. They look lovely sitting on a desk and make a very sharp and useful letter opener!

{all images Vintage Finds}

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's all in the way you look at it

I love my yellow 'dancing ladies'.  This delicate touch of yellow is actually an orchid, oncidium excavatum if you are that way inclined - botanically speaking.  They last well, and I can usually get about two weeks of gentle, subtle, pretty colour.

As they have now started to go papery and close, I was about to grab these out of the vase and put them into the trash.  The clouds parted, the sun turned bright outside, and the light just became magic.  And it was then that I really looked at them.

And I reached for a camera instead.

{all images Vintage Finds}

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Flowers

After a crazy start to our day today, I decided to change my plans and opted for something enjoyable - a trip to the flower markets.

We had arrived early to school, perfectly dressed in pressed uniform, to discover it was 'St Patrick's Day Free Dress' day.   Not sure how we missed the note, but we did.  After zooming home again, madly flying through the drawers to find some clothes that fit the requirements of being both "clean" and also "green", we eventually found something in big brother's closet that was passable, un-ironed, but that kind of fit if you didn't look too closely at the shoulders!  So back to school, quick pit stop for a hot chocolate to calm our nerves, and we made it before everyone walked out of assembly!  Whew!

After this high adrenaline exercise, I certainly no longer felt like the 'stocktake' that I had planned!  And opted instead for a tidy and a freshen up at the Woolloongabba shop.  And what better than with some bright flowers!

Vintage Finds at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre

Vintage Finds at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre

{all images Vintage Finds}

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some recent finds ....

Some things I've found for customers lately that have not made it to the store.

Pair of chinese lanterns with wire basket, chinese newspaper print and wooden painted bases.  Will be wired as pendant lights, and to be used as two hanging bedside lights.

Great set of large drawers in a beautiful turquoise colour.  Colour is 'original' to when it was rescued from an old government building being removed from underneath the Storey Bridge, Brisbane.  Chippy paint has been sanded back.  Would look great with my own vintage over-dyed rug in my lounge room but client had first dibs!

My lounge: turquoise vintage overdyed rug, painted bergere, wooden chateau table, and my favourite - green hydrangeas in vase.

And this beautiful Louis Philippe era Oeil-de-Boeuf for a client.

These are 'typically French' window frames from the upper attic or roof on a building.  Great architectural piece if you have somewhere to use it!  Made from zinc, so properly 'outdoor grade', is to be used over a fireplace in an outdoor seating area.

image via MyFrenchCountryHome
So what have you seen that you would like me to find?


Friday, March 8, 2013

For Whom The Bell Tinkles .... Part 2

Where was I ... back to the chat (here) from the other day about the series Downton Abbey and the vintage 'visual feast' that it is:

And to me, the depth of this vintage visual world they have created is most apparent in the servants quarters.

We still access beautiful antiques in the modern world ... in specialist museums ... auctions catalogues ... images online ... and if we are lucky enough - to own some.  However, the servants lives represent the true remnants of an other era that is long gone.

It's in their conversations and the rooms they inhabit and the objects they touch.  Removing stains on clothes with 'crystals'; metal hand-wound meat grinders; stoking wood-fired ovens and stove plates; boiling water in iron stove-top kettles;

... that brilliant long utilitarian table that's in nearly every scene in the servants hall...

... and those delicious bells tinkling in the opening credits.  Such a pretty sound ... but probably not so pretty if you are the person for whom the bells tinkle!

So when I was at an auction the other week and spied a working servant's bell in the bottom of a box lot, I just had to have a bid.  Nothing of note in the rest of the box, but this was what I wanted.  All still working prettily, with the large spring working, and the smaller tension spring still intact.

So now it's in the shop, just waiting for a new home, to start a new life tinkling: ... a shop door? a front door?

Or perhaps the servant's bell in your house needs replacing?  I know mine does.  I ring and I ring .... and yet no one comes ...


{images via and Vintage Finds}

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

For Whom The Bell Tinkles

'Downton Abbey' opening credits
Do you watch the period drama Downton Abbey?  I just love the sound of those tinkling bells and the music in the opening credits.  Of course I am totally drawn into the twists and turns of the drama, but it's the visual world they have re-created I love best.  The sets, the objects the characters use.

Here in Australia we are viewing episodes considerably behind Europe I believe.  We have only just viewed the ones resolving the financial crisis of the Grantham family; of having lost the family fortune on a Canadian railway investment, and the 'family pile' potentially being sold.

'Downton Abbey' aka Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England
The episode (screened in Australia last week), included an excursion to visit the new and smaller potential lodgings of the family: 'the-to-be-renamed' Downton Place.

And I must admit, I was infinitely more enamoured of the new, pretty lodgings than the old stuffy ones!

scene from 'Downton Abbey' at Greys Court
The episode is set in the grounds of the English National Trust property Greys Court, a mainly Tudor house, with parts of the estate ruins dating to 1347.

Greys Court, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
As it turned out in the drama, the money troubles are resolved after a few twists, and the family will remain at the Abbey, but I was hoping that they would end up in the new digs as I love this one so much more! 

And was looking forward to viewing more such 'teas on the lawn'......

Sybil and Tom strolling the lawns of Downton Place

As to my preference ... it all depends on your perspective really.

Perfectly explained by the characters themselves: Sybil (ex-Lady, now commoner) notes that it looks "cramped" but Tom (ex-chauffeur now family member) aptly points out that it 'looks like a fairy palace to most regular people'!

What do you think?  Which would you love to see yourself living in?

{images via: 'Henley Standard', and National Trust}

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wall To Wall Letters: from a Normandy barn to a Brisbane Store

Discarded, disused, unloved.  Covered in inches of grime and dust.  Sitting against a wall in an old barn.  Quirky I know, but somehow appealing, these old discarded letters from an outdoor neon sign.

They are packed tight in a container .... like convicts.  'Transported for Life' on a boat from Le Havre to Brisbane.  

Their crate is cracked open; they are jetwashed, scrubbed.  As they dry they lay on the grass, and with their face to the Australian sky.

And now they are hung on the wall in the store.  But their story is not yet done.  Where will each one end up once sold?  Whereto from here?
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