Monday, April 14, 2014

Hand-knit patchwork obsession

A tale of woe, about a toe ....

It's been two weeks of high drama at the Jackson household.

So what does this have to do with my butt? Actually, this is my pre-marriage, pre-pregnancy butt, so hopefully it's not that offensive. It was snapped in the summer of 2011 while I was visiting my hubs-to-be in the UK. I'm crawling up his stairs because I've just dislocated my toe, the same toe that breaks every year or so under the most mundane of circumstances (wiping the bottom of my foot with a paper towel, I kid you not). I haven't broken it in almost two years, since moving to France ... until the wee hours of April 1 (was it a cruel April Fool's joke from the Cosmos?).

Let's just say this: it's not easy caring for a busy baby when you're on your own and can't put your weight on one foot. Thank God a friend got me groceries and took Adam out for a spin.

Adam's (and Mommy's) Big Adventure: on the train to Lyon ....

The drama didn't stop there: A lovely but tiring weekend in Lyon with family visiting from Canada ended with my discovering that the front window of our apartment had been broken by firefighters, who thought our place was on fire in our absence. We came home to a smoke-filled apartment with no evidence of fire - and thankfully, a cat that wasn't dead from smoke-inhalation (good thing I left a back window open). Then Adam had vaccinations, and a few days of fever and fussiness ensued, followed in turn by colds for us both. To top it all off, Hubs has been away a lot.

Adam is back to his old self now, aside from entering Mr. Clingy phase, meaning Mom can't do anything without his hanging on her knees and crying. All in all, Mommy's an exhausted wreck and in no mood to pose for outfit posts with her imaginary camera man.

Good thing I have some other cool stuff to show you! My latest obsession: hand-knit patchwork afghans from the thrift shop. This utterly huge one - big enough to fit on our Super King bed - was my recent find, and 70 percent off to boot (so all in all, a few Euros). It's so heavy it hardly fits in the washing machine!

Pretty, isn't it?

I'm surprised Hubs didn't put up a fuss when I put it on the bed (it's warm here but I'm perpetually cold). He's not very, um, boho-inclined, shall we say.

But it does suit the whimsical, rather charming tone of our apartment in the Old Town. That patch of sunlight, btw, is the one wee slice of sun we get in the apartment - it comes in through the back courtyard between 1-2 p.m. after Daylight Savings begins. It looks like an explosion on the bed - love! (Note to self: never live in a northern-facing apartment with high courtyard walls in the back ever again).

This is the first blanket I found ages ago, a double-sized one I paid full price for (8 Euros). This isn't the best view of it but it's got mauves and blues and teals and is mixed with a bit of mohair too. Again: heavy. But so pretty. At the mo it's reclining on our sofa (read: baby drool protector).

I used to toss it on the floor for Adam to play on when he was just a roll-around baby.

Then I found this mini blanket, in perfect "boy" colours.

Sigh, I'm feeling rather nostalgic for the days when he'd be happy sitting on that blanket playing with his toys. Now I use it to prevent his breaking his head open when he falls backwards from a standing position. Needless to say, there are tiny blankets scattered all about the apartment!

Another small one with red, blue and slightly more girly pink squares and gold flecks. Let the little shmoo explore both sides before the world of gender stereotyping descends on him.

See, he likes it!

So, I'm wondering if there's some obsessive knitter in the Annecy area who keeps donating these blankets to the thrift shop. Believe me, I've seen more there and have had to restrain myself from snapping up every last one. I mean, how many uber-heavy knit patchwork blankets can a girl have?

Am I the only one obsessed with buying multiple units of the same thing at the thrift shop? Over to you ....

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thrifted elephant pillow

I may be keeping it short and sweet these days. I'm really tired and have a lot on my plate. But every time I look at this little handmade guy, I smile. I bought him at the thrift shop to put him in Adam's room - when we have a room for him, that is. For now, he's hanging out on our couch (the elephant, not Adam, silly), having a party with all the other ethnic pillows. I have to pull the eyes off, to be safe ... sorry, buddy.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Slob Chic & French Luggage Company luggage

Everything here is second-hand, thrifted or vintage, save for the Canadian-made
suede booties, bought for half-off.

So after my brief re-entry into the frock world, I'm back in jeans and my fave (used) grey sweatshirt again. I popped into H&M the other day to get Adam socks (couldn't find them in the thrift shop), and what do I see? Grey sweatshirts and hoodies everywhere. Turns out I'm quite on-trend in my slobdom - not that being on trend has ever been an aspiration of mine.

But at least I'm carrying a wonderful bag. As you may know, I have a tapestry bag obsession, like many vintage fashionistas. Recently I came across this amazing leather, suede and patchwork train case on Etsy ... and subsequently developed another obsession with its maker, the French Luggage Company.

The FLC, a U.S.-based luggage maker, was commissioned in the 1960s and 70s by Louis Vuitton to make bags for the North American markets as LV couldn't handle the demand (so the Google Gods tell me). As a result, French Luggage Company bags, which range from tapestry collections to versions of the iconic Louis Vuitton bags, are of exceptional quality and come with neat details like on the train cases like brass hardware and vinyl lining with compartments and bottle holder straps. Many of the train cases had locks with either keys or combinations, though you'd be lucky to find one today still with its keys. Mine has a combo lock but I don't have the numbers, alas. EDIT: Forgot to mention that these bags could also be monogrammed on purchase - the letters on mine match my maiden and married names so I figured the bag was made for me.

They're not easy to find, especially for a Grunge Queen price, but the deal diva in me trolled the Internet and managed to find the train case on sale on Etsy - it's also patchwork, which satisfies yet another style obsession. The huge tote bag, above, was a really good price on Ebay (I've seen the same one online for almost four x what I paid). Sellers tend to call this one the folk print. I just love the colours and the horsies.

It's tough trying to gauge the condition of anything vintage online, but I lucked out with honest sellers and a good eye and now have two FLC luggage pieces in excellent condition.

I'm not much of a LV lover, though I appreciate the history of craftsmanship. But I have to say, FLC tapestry bags are now on my shopping retail. I really enjoy learning new things about vintage makers, especially when there's a history of quality behind them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

French find: Fille du Sud jacket

I'm not sure if this is really me - the cut is quite conservative but I think I can funk it up; otherwise it'll go in my stockpile of goodies to sell at one point - but at 70 percent off in my local thrift shop, I had to have it. I just love pattern.

I've seen this label, Fille du Sud, in the consignment shop where I currently sell my closet overflow. In fact it was attached to another tapestry-esque jacket that I loved but ended up leaving there. I can't find any info about the label, even when I Google the name plus "Cote D'Azur," which you can just make out on the side of the tag (along with "Made in France", which doesn't necessarily mean it's vintage, unlike many "Made in Canada" tags, sigh - somehow France has hung onto its fashion manufacturing economy).

So all I know is that it's from the swanky part of the south of France. If I keep this, I'd funk it up with wideleg pants or skinnies. And IF I ever end up styling it, I'll show you what I've done. How I wish I had a little paper-doll cutouts - remember paper dolls, with the paper clothing you'd clip on? I played with them in the 1970s. That way you could add in pieces and show me what you'd do with the jacket. Wouldn't that be fun??