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

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 Color Shape Space, Let's Be Creative!

Deluxe Red Hand Painted Photo Frames Ready for Etsy

Well, just spent the afternoon photographing the Red Frames Hand-Made-By-Me. Why? You did that a few weeks ago! Well, since then, I have done a complete set of a deluxe Red Range of the hand painted frames that I am going to post in our Etsy Shop. These frames are all covered on the backs and struts with our textured black paper so they look just as good on the back as they do from the front, include glass and a neat paper insert, giving the frames a smart deluxe feel that makes them an ideal  gift for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries  or just a treat for yourself!

Here are a few of the photos that I will be posting on Etsy tomorrow:

Posted in DÉCORATION, Inspirations, Wall Displays

Inspirational Decorative Wall Displays

I’m always on the lookout for inspiring wall displays – not hard to imagine why as I make so many frames! Here are a few ideas I have found on Pinterest – so be inspired!

Stairs of Distinction
A Wall of Monochrome
A Country Look
A Bit Over the Top – But What an Impact!
Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, DÉCORATION, Let's Be Creative!

Red Frames Hand Made By Me!

Well this is RED WEEK on ‘Details in the Decor’ and I have just spent the afternoon preparing a whole bunch of photos that I took earlier this week of the Red Frames that I painted a couple of weeks ago. I just had to put a few up here to give you a sneak peak! More later…

Posted in Let's Be Creative!

DIY Shabby Chic White Frame For Wall Display Part 3



Adding a Little Extra How did you get on with renovating your frame? Love to know, do leave a comment if you have time! Anyway, at the end of PART TWO I mentioned that I wanted to do a little more work on the other frame I was ‘shabby chicing’, so here we go if you want to follow along.

Next coat of paint – White I think – I’ve used a basic Liquitex artists acrylic that I first sponged lightly on the frame, and then applied a little more with a small (1/4 inch) flat brush to give a stippling effect which adds more texture on the flatter sections of the frame. This soon dries and is ready to have it’s ‘splatter’ spots.  Mix a little of the first color that we used in Part Two, and with a dry hard brush, start splattering the paint onto the frame with your finger (practice a bit first on some paper). All you need to do now is add a little bees wax and buff to a soft sheen, or apply an acrylic mat varnish to give your finish some protection.  And there you have it – another shabby chic frame to add to your collection of empty frames to display on the wall!

Hope you have fun with your DIY Projects. If you REALLY haven’t the time to DIY, but would still like to collect some Shabby Chic Frames, then I am selling these pieces in my new ARTFIRE STORE, so go have a look!


Posted in Inspirations

Romantic Style – My Lovely Prize Book!

I just had to take a little time here and tell you about a wonderful interior design book that I was lucky enough to win in the prize giveaway run by Mandy at her lovely blog à-la-parisienne  and also Debbie from powder-blue who donated the book.

What Luck!

It’s called ‘Romantic Style’ and if like me, you love the ‘Shabby Chic’ look in all its forms, then put your hand in your purse and get out the plastic! This book is going to give you lots of ideas and inspiration for decorating your home.

Selina Lake and Sara Norman together with their photographer, Debi Treloar, have produced a well laid out book that illustrates the different aspects of romantic style decor, and I’ll have to say that Debi Treloar’s photos of the homes they have chosen, are truly inspiring.

I particularly like the mix of vintage finds with decoration which doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that we can easily do ourselves. All you need are a few ideas of color matching, start hunting through garage or car boot sales for bits ‘n bobs that the sellers might not want, but you can find just the right spot for, and it probably only needs a bit of a clean or perhaps a paint job to give it a new lease of life.

Well, this is just my slant on Romantic Style. I know for sure, as soon as you start leafing through you own copy, you will find lots of other ideas and inspirations that you can particularly relate to your own home decoration.

If you would like to buy the book, you can go to the publisher’s website:

The price is: £19.99 or $29.95

Title: Romantic Style

Authors: Selina Lake & Sara Norrman

Photographer: Debi Treloar

ISBN No: 978-1-84975-040-0

Posted in Let's Be Creative!

DIY Shabby Chic White Frame For Wall Display Part 1

I hate waste and I love a ‘Shabby Chic’ look, so I thought, let’s put the two together and make something SPECIAL!

As you might know, Martin and I make picture and photo frames in our little studio here in SW France and over the years we seem to have accumulated a stockpile of redundant moulding, some of which is quite startlingly elaborate. Surely I can do something with this, so I hauled out a few pieces that were lurking in the back of the garage, gave them a good dust down and gathered a few materials together to give a new lease of life to these long forgotten beauties.*

Would you like to follow along and have a go yourself at the same time? Obviously we have an advantage here of lots of old moulding hanging around, but if you take a stroll down to your local car boot/garage sales (called ‘brocante‘ here in France) this weekend, I am sure you will find a selection of old frames that are pleading with you to buy them and give them a makeover.

Are you up for it? OK, this is what you need:

1. Old frame
2. Vacume cleaner with little brush attachment.
3. Fine sandpaper (No.2)
4. Undercoat Paint. You will have to decide which type to use for the surface you are working on. I used one for wood.
5. Acrylic Mat Paint – I used the remains of the two colors I used for the bathroom I’ve just painted which as you will see are an ‘Off White’ and ‘Stone’ (color swatch below).
6. I did use a touch of Acrylic Artists Color (White) at the end for added enhancement, but this is not strickly necessary.
7. Bees Wax or Acrylic Mat Varnish.
8. Brushes + Old Plate + Water Jars + Old Knife + Wooden Blocks to put the frame on whilst working.
9. A packet of dish washing sponges.

*Yes, I know what you are thinking – The old stuff looks beautiful and I agree! We still make frames with this lovely moulding – contact me if you are interested – but be warned – they are our one of our most expensive styles!

See you later for part 2.