Cabinet Cards

Where Downton Abbey isn’t good for. From Carson’s cabinet card of his Alice I got the inspiration to go looking for cabinet cards of interesting women. I came across the digital gallery of the New York public library; thousands of amazing images of anything you can think of. I’ll show you some I very much liked, starting with cabinet cards and moving on to cigarette and postcards, all from around the 1900s.

Blanche BatesLouise Beaudet

Minnie Renwood wide dresschristmas greetings 1905 cigarette card winter Eileen Molyneux coloured photo Mademoiselle Lély 1909 Nenelle 1910 McCall pattern

In Jean ‘d Arc magazine they also often make use of old cabinet cards as decoration, where I took further inspiration, knowing me in a fabric way. I’m now buzzing around with transfer paper, fabric scraps and my sewing machine. I’ll show the end result later this week. For now it’s still a crafty mess like this.



Stuffed sewing boxes

Remember in summer I up-cycled two sewing boxes with a coat of white paint. I never really got round to show the proper end result. I have to admit they are both stuffed with supplies so high time to craft!

Look at them shining white on top of my dark wooden sewing table. sewingbox6

Lined the inside of the box with inspiring images and cards. I’m trying to keep things that belong together in the same box, but this is still a mix of all sorts. The cupcake tin is filled with embroidery thread, at least that’s organised.

Found these button cards and thread at a flea market. Feels like a shame to actually use it after it’s been kept complete for so long. sewingbox13Buttons, ribbons and other applications to give works a finishing touch. Happy to finally have these organised instead of having to rumble between all other bits and bobs. Now I know what I’ve actually got.



Lille antiques market

Two weeks ago, on the first weekend in September, it was the annual antiques market in Lille, France. Last year I went by myself by train. I loved how the whole city was taken over by the fair. Everywhere you looked second hand stuff was sold, from antique chairs to peoples attic finds. This year I took the car with my two aunts.

Our intention was not just to buy, but also much enjoyment in seeing all that was sold and what people carried around (we’ve seen several men with seats on their head, poor them).

Some lovely things I came across, but sadly couldn’t take home:


Shame it was €150, bit too much for my budget.


Kitchen products sorted by colour, I want a colour coded kitchen! Just can’t choose which colour.



A miniature forniture shop in a sewing machine case. Adorable!

IMG_3897Maps, cards and prints from old classrooms. Last year I bought a 1970s map of Europe and a french classroom print from this same stand and they were just as successful this time round.

Now what I did buy, it wasn’t much but as long as I still live in a student room there’s not much place to put all I love.


A cute print of yes the stand above, couldn’t leave them not buying anything. My aunt by luck found this little girl under a pile of medical prints. IMG_3911 IMG_3910

Two copies of Le Petit Echo de la Mode from 1939. I love the cover prints and funny advertisements inside. Seen someone who had framed a cover of this magazine and think they’re absolutely worth it.


One of my aunts think me crazy the other finds it my best buy, this half finished cross stitch. It’s on a very fine linen and like the pattern so will hope to finish it.

IMG_3906Finally this cute stamp of this petit french lady. One aunt is all into stamps but found this one too ‘sweet’, perfect for me.


Visiting it two years in a row has been quite enough for me, maybe in some years when I’ve got my own house to decorate I’ll go the whole weekend to stock up. There’s plenty to see and buy for decent prices. (plus I’ll practice my French for better haggling next time).

A little bit of advice if you’re going next year. Park your car outside Lille at a metro station and take the metro for only €1.30 to the centre. Take stop Grand Palais and you get out in the middle of the antiques part of the market, avoiding the busy centre around the train station.



Having a laugh for charity

I have recently moved out of London, back in the Dutch countryside. One of the surprising things I’m missing is browsing my local charity shops. In my London neighbourhood about every other shop sold second hand goods for charity. In Holland I have yet to find an Oxfam store for some cheap books or old granny finds.

However with the start of summer most local churches have their annual flea markets. They are basically one big charity fete where between the trash you can find the greatest things for no money.
I have to admit, most of it is rubbish and its also very much about having a laugh with friends and family. The first one I visited was from my nan’s local church. She intended to go alone, but in the end we had a car full with my mum, brother and I joining.
She wishes she’d never told us about it. They had just opened and we were already almost fighting over some deck chairs! My brother got lucky and got the last one for 5 euro. Such fun to see people practically running to be the first to find a great chair, vase, bag or whatever. Soon we split up, only to find each other at the strangest places with the craziest things in our hands. While I was diving into the handbags I spotted my brother with an old stereo and a rug under his arms.
My nan managed to make me crazier than I already am at such occasions. My brothers rug was obviously hers and together we found another rug for in my caravan (I guess you  can’t wait to see my carpeted caravan). And I got the last 2 English china cups and saucer after she bought the rest. (50p per set!)
I also got a large leather weekend bag for only 2euro (partly to carry everything else), 2 small tins for teabags and sweets (1.50 together), a 1950s Afga Clack photo camera for 5euro, and a pile of books.
After about 2 hours laughing, coffee, cake and greeting people we carefully made our way home with the deckchair balancing between our heads as it only just fit in the car.
This Saturday I’m helping out at the flea market of my own local church, who knows what we’ll find there.

Dressmaking doll

After last weeks magazines theme, this week I’m moving on to my mannequin. I’ve had it for years and it is possibly my first item of vintage/antiques I’ve bought.

After I’d grown out of making clothes for barbie dolls I wanted to move on to full size and have a classy mannequin to dress up. Nowadays you can probably even buy them at ikea, but at the time it was painstakingly difficult to find a nice one, until we spotted one in a local antiques shop.
Years later she is still prominent in my room and though her boobs are bigger and waist thinner than me, she fits my clothes fairly well. Currently she wears one of my favourite outfits, a pink lace dress with petticoat. Oh how I wish it was still fashionable to wear a petticoat, they are such fun to wear.


IMG_2793Bow ties are cool. 
Besides she is also great to show off my latest dressmaking creations, so watch this space!


Week 6: collage frame

At Sunbury Market last week I spotted a deep frame with a collage of sewing equipment; button cards, sewing patterns, etc.

Sunbury collage

I turned my sewing basket upside down and foundation some items that were actually too nice to stay hidden.

I got a white deep frame from Ikea, covered the back in scrap blue ginham fabric and blue tacked the items on (not too permanent in case I need them for something else). I had a pink button card, a needle card with lovely flower print, Cath Kidstons ‘little book of pins’, and 2 chrochet flowers I once made and never found a purpose for.


These colours together have made quite cheerful and ready for spring.