Posted in Blog, DÉCORATION, Inspirations, Let's Be Creative!, MACKENZIE FRAMES, Wall Displays

Work In Progress – Hand Painted Frames For A Collection Of Mirrors

The summer season of craft shows is upon us, and although I don’t do many of them these days, whenever the ladies of Varen phone me  to participate in their annual summer craft show – I usually say yes.

hand painted mirror frames

Varen (zip code – 82330) is a very pleasant village near St. Antonin Noble Val, in the Tarn-et-Garonne about 15 minutes drive from where I live here in the Midi-Pyrenees region of South West France. The good ladies of Varen, take it upon themselves to manage ‘La Shoppe’ every summer in the hope of luring tourists and locals alike into their little stone clad den below the ‘mairie’ (the mayor’s office) which is full of hand made delights from local artisans.

hand painted mirror frames 1

The theme this year is ‘Reverie’ – a very subjective word  that summons different things to different people. Well, to my mind, in the realm of interior decor, this means ‘The House of my Dreams’ and as Marie-Claude (chief lady in charge) specifically asked me to provide some of my Hand Painted Framed Mirrors, this is what I had in mind.

Hand Painted Mirror Frames 03

I hope there are a few people passing through Varen this summer who have the same taste in colors and framed mirrors as I have!

Hand painted Mirror Frames 05

So I thought you would like to see the ‘Work In Progress’ of the hand painted frames at the moment. As you see, my color theme is very neutral – white, taupe and beige. A variety of sizes and styles from my ‘odd box’ of moldings that we seem to collect over the years in our Framing Workshop. Any one who has been following my blog here only has to to go to the DIY Tutorials to see that I love ‘Up-cycling’ old frames to make them into objects of desire once again!

Small White Mirror Frames 06

Well, Martin has just cut the individual pieces of mirror for each frame. He still needs to cut the backing boards and then I can finish the transformation of these frames into the mirrors of your dreams.

When they are ready, I’ll give you an update. And if you are on holiday here in our corner of South West France this summer, perhaps you can come and visit Varen and have a little peak into ‘La Shoppe’!

Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, Inspirations, Let's Be Creative!

The Color White Series – Snow White

The Color White Snow White

The Color White Series

What comes to mind when you think of the color white – Crisp Clean Fresh Snow or Yummy Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream perhaps?

No? How about these wonderful names to describe the color SNOW WHITE:

The breast of the Black Headed Gull.

Snow Drop.

Calc Sinter.

Carara Marble.

This is the description given to the ‘Snow White’ color in Werner’s ‘NOMENCLATURE OF COLOURS’ published 1821 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Such a fascinating book from the 19th century that was brought to life again by the Canadian artist and photographer ARNAUD MAGGS whose work was introduced to me by some friends who live near us here in France . I believe that Arnaud Maggs spends quite some time in this area of South West France – hey they know him!

You can find out more about Arnaud maggs and his work here:

I have to admit, Werner’s work is a little bit whimsical by today’s standards of scientific thought and process, but It is a very good example ( and great excuse) to show you that there are a multitude of white shades. So let’s start having a look at a few of them with the help of Mr. Werner and a few very talented photographers that I have found on the world wide web!

I just couldn’t resist this beautiful photograph of a Black Headed Gull. Not sure I could keep my nerve if I saw this coming towards me – but well done Chistopher Hoyle for doing just that when out on a photographic walk in the Lake District, England. Have a look at his Flickr photo stream for more of his fabulous photos:

Many thanks for the other inspirational photos I have used in the photo montage above to demonstrate the multiple shades of white.

Ther Carara Marble Statue can be seen here:

The Mineral – Calc Sinter:

The lovely photo of the delicate Snow Drop:

Werner Shades of White

Goodness me – Werner has listed 8 names for the COLOR WHITE! This is going to be fun finding the relevant photos – for instance – Number 7 is ‘SKIMMED MILK WHITE’ – I have to find the White of the Human Eyeballs.

So if anyone out there has taken or found any photos that you think will fit Werner’s descriptions of the color white – DO GET IN TOUCH and we can carry on with our interpretation of his collection!

Posted in 3rd SHELF FROM THE TOP, Blog, Paper Ephemera

French Military Map from WW2

Well the sun was shining again after a week of rain, it was Sunday and the market was on, and St.Antonin was having its annual brocante fair down by the river. What better way of spending an hour or two browsing. And we weren’t disappointed—we struck lucky— a guy from Toulouse with his wares spread before him on the grass saw me begin leafing through a folder of what looked like old maps…  “Don’t worry yourself,” he said, “you can have the lot for €10”. Maybe he was feeling generous as Denise already had an armful of other stuff of his she had snaffled. So it wasn’t till we got home that we could look through everything.

This particular map seems quite interesting — maybe any WW2 buffs out there can shed more light on the topic!  The map was printed in 1934, and subsequently amended on the 1st June 1939 by having it stamped “SECRET” and reserved for military use only. The bottom right-hand corner shows the river Rhine, and what appears to be German defensive guns/fortifications marked on with blue ink. Here’s a close-up image of this area.

The scale of this map is 1:20,000 which gives more detail than the current standard British Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure maps at 1:25,000. You can see all the individual field boundaries and areas of coppice and woodland. I must try and lay my hands on a modern map of the area — it would be great to compare the two and see all the changes and new building that’s taken place since the 1930s.

Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, DÉCORATION, Inspirations

Are you feeling GREEN today?

Even if you’re feeling a little dodgy after your latest night out on the town, there’s a lot more to feeling green than a sore head and a dicky tummy! Just look at these shades — lovely natural soothing tones to help you to a full recovery.

Here are a couple of pages out of “Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours” originally published in the early 1800s. Werner was a German Geologist and here he was attempting to devise a classification of colour based on fossil specimens, rocks and minerals.

Sounds a weird idea to me but I think his “colorful” names are wonderful. He describes his Honey Yellow as “Lower Parts of Neck of Bird of Paradise”  and his Orpiment Orange as “The Neck Ruff of the Golden Pheasant, Belly of the Warty Newt.”

So for your next paint job — the junk room you’ve always thought of as a future bedroom, — how about sponging the walls in “Sea Kale with Winter Leek Leaves”  set off by an old mirror frame repainted with “Neck of the Eider Drake.”