The Thursday Three- copper, verse and Turkish rugs

I know copper kettles are a bit of a cliché in French country kitchens but I do like the ones with indigo and white folk painted ceramic handles and was very happy to find this one whilst out trawling with the other Troc-Chick in Carcassonne.

My kitchen is coming on; this is our temporary cooking plaque but once floor finished and traditional style solid structure in for oven and hob I will have the thrill of being able to bake, roast and grill once more!

Aside from kitchens I have done a little more unpacking. This has yielded two treasures, this beautiful old hand drawn, lettered and  coloured “illuminated”verse from Oliver Goldsmith with sentiments I heartily endorse.

And a real suprise- I bought this antique hand knotted wool and cotton Turkish rug on ebay and it has never been unrolled as was picked up courtsey of friends with a transport company almost immediately after it arrived in UK & delivered to France.

It’s twice the size & much older than I thought, with simple, primitive motifs that suit the hovel to perfection. Very dark blue and soft carmine red.

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In which Trev loses the will to live again-

You may recall me buying these hand made coppery lights in M. Bricolage a couple of years ago. They had vile plastic hanging flexes. Not a problem, I made ruched linen sleeves for them (sew a tube up with a gathering stitch and turn inside out)

So.. yesterday , Trev got up and announced that TODAY he was hanging these lights and the ones in the two stairwells and tomorrow he would finish painting the kitchen ceiling.

These were a bit tricky to put up; not least because the gaps  between the ceiling joists vary wildly in here and the narrowest gap was right where I wanted the right hand light. The ceiling rose was, in fact, wider than the gap….

Basically, Trev had to remake and reshape the decorative rose here and it is extremely awkward putting fittings inbetween beams in any case.

I was too busy doing other things to clock what he was actually doing. Then The Bride picked us up for dinner in Limoux considerably earlier than expected so it was all  a mad rush.

Guess what the first question she asked Trev was? Whether he had put on the lovely hand made flex covers? He had not… guess what he did today………..

Yes, you are right, he had to Start All Over Again

I do love them, will love even more when ceiling and walls finished and all junk plus microwave off the sideboard.

There you go….. posh lights, pauper prices

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

An evening in Argeles-sur-Mer

After a late changeover between a French guest and some friends of friends here, we decided to park by the town hall and walk across the bridge into Argeles village for dinner. The Eglise Notre Dame del Prat (our lady of the meadow in Catalan)  is simple but very beautiful with some lovely marble and a set of what look to me like seriously old paintings.

Part 14thc with earlier bones and a Romanesque bell tower it is worth  a visit; handily situated across from La Noisette who do some of the best lunches here!


Many restaurants open only for lunch after the end of September, but one of our old favourites, La Gamate is still buzzing. They have a 20 euro 3 course menu of very good quality- we had lightly battered calamari and a big plateful of crevettes with home made aoli to start, then chicken supreme served with fries and a creamy spinach mix, a tagliatelli with tomatoes and pistou and giant fresh scallops, then home made raspberry panacotta and dark bitter chocolate topped tiramisu.

Sorry for lack of photos, we demolished it!

The off dry rose wine here and at La Noisette is a particularly fine Domaine DePrade Jorda

Strolling back to the car, we passed the newly refurbished L’Hostalet hotel. Whoever picked that palette and the finishes I could see is not only sensitive to traditional local paint colours but has buckets of natural good taste.

In the late evening warmth, the houses lining our walk had their windows thrown open and bursts of laughter, appetising cooking aromas and the clink of glasses drifted down. It looks like Argeles is recovering from the crise and the terrible damage  caused by major floods a few years ago this month. We  are so happy that our second home is getting it’s redoubtable mojo back!



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The Thursday Three – French treasures- on Monday?

As my Thursdays are usually crazy, I am posting three today- One of my new range of textiles made with vintage and recycled fabrics and trimmings Left

I have started on some of these table runners which I can make in any length or width on request. The trims and fabrics will vary , of course, depending on what I find at the markets and vide-grenieres here in France.

I love the French name for these “chemin de table“!

This old hand stamped trim and the vintage  cotton lace is sewn onto a new runner so a practical item too.

This beautiful padded and monogrammed piece Right came from yesterday’s VG at Esperaza. The stallholder told me it was made for a piano in  a grand house (maybe one of those duet stools?)

It’s gorgeous. he referred to it as a chatelaine piece, which I liked






As it is in excellent condition for it’s age, I would like to non-invasively hand sew a backing on it and use as a cushion cover. The width is perfect.

I have been looking for an old pair of hand painted bellows for a very long time. All  the good ones are expensive so, as usual, it’s back to doing it myself.

I found these in a dirty and dessicated state at Couiza VG for the princely price of a whole euro.

Cleaned, hand painted with authentic motifs (including the open flower, one of my favourite symbols) then waxed and polished I am now in love with them.

Trev’s eyebrows suggest slight approval also……………..

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Argeles- and the sun set slowly over the shreds of my sanity…

Well it felt like that anyway.

With a significant increase in guests at the seaside apartment this season, we have also experienced a few “less kind” reviews. I won’t go into detail but it’s not been very nice.

Fortunately, the reflected sunset over the only two blocks of apartments on the beach that reach any significant height ( the town council saw sense VERY early on and avoided the “Costa Argeles” look ) was pretty enough to disperse at least some of my gloomy mood on Tuesday.

I do love Argeles-sur-Mer out of season. 

It is abandoned by most tourists at the end of September and goes back to being the beautiful, quirky little town, humming with French soul and Catalan spirit, that I’m sure it always was. 

Don’t judge her by her summer clothes.

 You could enjoy a lovely long weekend here. And the Cafe gourmand at La Noisette is rather good.

Surely the “house” strawberry meringue pie and bitter salt caramel sauce soothes all angst-ridden, event driven self dialogue?


Posted in Art, design and inspiration blog, Food and wine, Renovation and restoration diary- France | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Back in the UK

Enjoying a fabulous flying visit back to UK for four days.

I made it to Bromsgrove in good time for my daughter’s Significant Birthday celebrations where we slightly took over the venue and may have been the loudest party?

Great evening and great company; had a long chat with my lovely niece Vicky who I don’t see often enough.

Caught up with my son for first time since May and all good with him too. He will be over to see us in France next year. I think he will find our area a fabulous photo opportunity. Great to bounce creative ideas around with Dan, he’s got such a feel for old stuff and he’s loving the photos of what we are doing Chez Nous. 

Meanwhile, here is the birthday girl. I cannot believe that I have a forty year old child….!

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The Thursday Three – quilting, sanding, painting, waxing

More photos of this lovely piece fresh from France on our etsy shop (right) Very Petit Chateau.

Trev has been working hard on our very brown coffee table

Remember this table? Tutorial on request..





Posted in Antique and Vintage finds, Art, design and inspiration blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments