samedi 9 avril 2011

Little French fripperies......................................

About 20 years ago Provence was my main hunting ground for truffling out old textiles and treasures. Once a month I used to make a beeline for the tiny blue-shuttered shop of Monsieur Gaston. Everyone called him Le Souris ( mouse)because his place, although filled to the brim, was as tiny as a mousehole!  Oh.....but what a mousehole it was!!! Gaston was as old as his stock -  perhaps sometimes older (!) - and had taken over the tiny shop from his father in the 1930s. Everyone knew the "souris" and whenever a house was emptied or a chateau cleared he was the man called in for the job. He always wore the same old brown overall and old wooden clogs.

Dealers loved him and he certainly had his favourites. Although I never knew who managed to persuade him to part with the really fabulous textiles he acquired I was always more than happy to simply take the divine morceaux of fabrics and tassels he kept back for me. In return I would take him English tea and extra strong mints!

He would try to talk to me in broken English whilst I tried to talk to him in broken French! We had mad, mixed dual-language conversations.  When he was young during World War 2 American soldiers had taught him some phrases, his favourite being " I love you....... I kiss ( pronounced keeeeeeees ) you on the lips"  - which he used to say so proudly that I never failed to collapse into a fit of giggles!

I loved to truffle through the shop and sometimes I was not sure that even he knew what he had tucked away in there - but my favourite things were the little parcels he used to make up. Old brown paper bags of mixed treasures, tiny treasures which, like a magpie, I couldn`t resist!!!

On one visit I arrived at the shop to find it shuttered and closed. I never knew what had happened to Gaston and there was no one to ask. The end of an era I suppose.

Today, whilst trying to make some order of my stock, I realised how many tiny treasures I have in boxes and bags. Quite often I spend time sifting through them and then put them all back and nothing ever happens with them!

So........... today, I decided to make up some batches to list in my auctions just as Le Souris used to do. Batches of little 'frou frou fripperies, each morceau delicious and ready for a new project - like these............
19th century invoices...labels....buttons....boxes., and these.......

wooden numbers, feves, ribbons bows, and little sepia ink- written treasures.

Le Souris would have loved them!!!

Thank you for the inspiration Souris........"I keeeeeeeeeeeeees you on the leeeeps"!
Three large brocantes to trawl early tomorrow....I`ll let you know what I find.

A demain mes belles.

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