Posted in Blog, OUT & ABOUT

38°C Today in South West France

Pluto by Details In The Decor
Pluto, a photo by Details In The Decor on Flickr.

26 th July 2012 is most definately the hottest day of the year here in Penne du Tarn, South West France.

Too hot to work outside, too hot for the internet to work untill 6 pm in th evening (yes, the modem starts flashing and refuses to work over 30°C!).

So Martin decided to be creative with Adobe Illustrator!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside – The Old Suitcase

I love the flea markets that are in our region of South West France during the summer months. I found this battered old suitcase at one of them the other week. What a surprise  when I opened it up and found inside……..

All these books!

old French books

I just couldn’t resist – especially as the price was only 5 euros. OK, it was very heavy, but I hauled it back to the car, put it in the boot, and carried on looking around the rest of the Flea Market (‘brocante’ in French).

Can you see the maps in the background? I bought them at the same market – what a good mornings work!

And what was inside the books?

What a surprise! When I was delving into these old French paperback books, what did I find?

letter postcard envelope in old books


Bookmarks for most of us usually end up being the nearest piece of paper we can find at the time. And so it has been for most readers for many a year. I found a lovely little collection of impromptu bookmarks in my suitcase of battered books:

I. An old postcard from ‘Le Havre’, France

2. An old envelope from Paris in 1927

3. And a love letter!

More of these at a later date. Oh the romance of old paper ephemera!

Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, DÉCORATION, HOUSE & GARDEN, The Garden

Gardening – Head in the Clouds – Feet In The Mud!

Ornamental Blue Thistles and Lavender

Saturday and Sunday I spent in the garden.

No – not lazing round the pool with a glass of cold white wine!


I walk every day to our workshop that we built at the end of the garden here in the depths of South West France. My eyes are blinkered, trying not to see all work that needs doing in this fast expanse of open field. But last weekend, I could leave the jungle of weeds no longer. All those pretty Poppies from May were now a mass of tangled weeds stifling the other plants that I had so lovingly grown from seed or cuttings the year before.

Ah well, nobody to blame but myself!

3 hours and 3 huge piles of dried up poppy plants later, I have found my little seedlings hanging on for dear life! I spent what seemed like hours last summer nursing tiny plants of Onamental Blue Thistles that I had grown from a packet of seeds. Of coarse, I ended up with far too many, but never mind, we have a big garden to fill, the bees just love them and once established, they need vary little water, so are great for hot dry gardens!

I found this wonderful photo on one of the French wordpress blogs I follow. Why not go over there at leshachineur  and spend a little time brushing up your French and delving into all the vintage goodies, among other things, that she finds around France – particularly in the Brocantes of Paris.

What is a Brocante?  –  a Flea Market.

What is a Chineur?  –  a Bargain Hunter!

Details in the Decor

And the Poppies? What do I do next Spring time when all those little seeds lying in the hot, warm soil at the moment, start sprouting again?

Poppies in my garden France
Details in the Decor
Californian Yellow Poppies in France
I want more Californian Yellow Poppies next year!

Well, knowing me, I’ll probably let them grow. They do display a fine body of glorious red after the bareness winter!

Details in the Decor
Posted in Blog, HOUSE & GARDEN, House Renovation, Tools & Materials

My Hemp Porridge — another great material for the DIY builder.

The wet gluey porridge that is hemp renderI happen to have a Scottish surname — and I do like porridge – but even I would baulk at a bowl of this for breakfast !

What is it?  —  It’s a mix of industrial grade vegetal HEMP fibre, (Cannabis sativa) — (Not to be confused with Indian Hemp — Cannabis Indica), LIME and WATER. We’ve used this material extensively as —

  • floor insulation
  • as rough render on open, porous stone walls to plug all the draughts and prevent rodent activity
  • and as a easy way to fill all those awkward places before starting the decorating stage.

DOWNLOAD OUR PDF for all the details:  Hemp Vegetal Fibre pdf

Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, DÉCORATION, Inspirations, Pinterest & Etsy Delights!

Weird and Wonderful Buildings

I seem to have come across some very weird and wonderful buildings this week on Pinterest which I thought I would draw your attention to. By the look of things – I think a little trip to Barcelona would not go amiss in order to view the real deal of a few of these architectural delights.

But Beware If you don’t look after your house – It might end up like this!

Well, I suppose this could be classed as extreme Shabby chic. I’d love to grab a bit of that old pink plaster work – just to frame up and hang on the wall!

But if it was my house, I think I’d be feeling a bit upset!

Any one like to follow me on PINTEREST – then HERE I AM!

Posted in Blog, OUT & ABOUT

What’s The Weather Like Today?

This is the weather forecast, 6th July 2012 for my region of Penne du Tarn in South West France. Every morning come rain or shine, I open my emails and ‘La Chaine Meteo’ have delivered the daily weather for me.

Well, not too bad. Martin will be pleased – he is building our swimming pool* at the moment and today’s weather is perfect – not too hot – a bit of sun – a bit of cloud – and above all – NO RAIN!

The next 12 days look rather up and down temperature wise – but HEY – at least we haven’t torrential rain for the next 3 days – pour old England – pour Wimbledon. Fingers crossed for good weather during the Olympics!

*The Swimming Pool Project is progressing. More photos will be coming soon.

Posted in Blog, DÉCORATION, OUT & ABOUT, Wall Displays

Summer Exhibition & Craft Fair in Varen, South West France

Varen summer 2012 craft fair

The good ladies of Varen in the Tarn et Garonne, are very busy this week. The annual Varen Summer Exhibition and Craft Fair starts next Sunday afternoon, so all hands to the deck!

I delivered my hand painted mirrors that I was asked contribute last Tuesday, and decided to leave the hanging and display of the mirrors to them. They have impeccable taste, and will know exactly the right places for them on the old stone walls and tables dotted around the room.

Carmen tells me that the artisans that are exhibiting are all local, so I am looking forward to seeing their work. Lot’s of interesting interior decor items – hand made cushions, lamps, textiles as well as original drawings by a local artist. Some jewelry too I hear.

I will be there on Sunday afternoon at 3pm – 8th July 2012, for the opening and hope to take a few photos and talk to the other artists and crafts people. So more info next week to give you a little bit of an insight into a local crafts show in sunny South West France.

Here are a few pictures I took of the finished hand painted mirrors:

Taupe hand painted mirrors

White hand painted mirrors

I couldn’t resist adding the two little black and white 19 th. century lithographs that I framed in two tone hand painted white frames. I think they will go so well with the mirrors in a bedroom or living room decorated in neutral color tones.

2 19th century lithographs in hand painted white frames

There are a variety of sizes in the mirrors at the Varen Exhibition and the prices range from 20 euros to 95 euros – so great bargains. Yes everything there is for sale!

The exhibition/craft fair is open from Sunday, 8th July to Sunday, 16th September 2012 at ‘La Shoppe’ which is below the Mairie not far from the water fountain. The Varen ladies will be there to help you every afternoon during this period from 3pm to 7pm.

Varen is in the Tarn et Garonne – Post code 82170, France