Happy New Year friends! Hope your year is off to a rousing start! I’m excited about all the possibilities offered by 2016. Lots of plans chez nous–more jewelry of course. In addition to my usual line of jewelry created with antique and vintage glass beads, I’m adding a line using semi-precious stones and crystals. This will of course, still incorporate my cherished glass beads. I can’t wait to start unveiling these pieces. In the meantime, here are some new pieces that I’ve just added to the shop
First off is this gorgeous royal blue and gold necklace. Apparently, blue and gold are lucky colors for the year of the monkey so I’m glad to be able to add this to the shop. These blue glass beads were made in France in the 50s. I love this combination, its a classic but never boring. This necklace is a great length, able to stand on its own but you can also layer it with your other pieces.
The second necklace features a really pretty filigree charm from France. It dates back to the 40s. I love filigree, it automatically adds such a decorative touch to any piece I make. That this charm is vintage French adds immensely to its appeal. To keep the focus on the charm, I’ve kept the rest of the beads simple, using only faceted Bohemian glass beads to finish the piece.
And finally, I made this pretty red orange glass bead necklace. This color is not quite fire engine red but rather a lovely and uncommon red orange color. These beads date back to the late 40s. I like to think of this as both a winter and spring piece. It adds a pop of color to your winter wardrobe and works wonderfully when we start seeing warmer weather!
More to come so stay tuned!
Recently, I went to a local bead show. Normally, I don’t expect to find any antique beads at this show because most of the beads are for new seed beads for traditional bead work. But I was pleasantly surprised by one stand that carried some older crafting materials. Amongst the bead needles and seed beads were a packet of vintage enameled bead caps. They date back to the late 60s and are still quite vibrant. Others have some enamel loss but I thought they nonetheless added to the charm of the caps.
After much searching in my bead boxes, I finally found some gray pearls to go with these bead caps. These pearls were made in France in th early 50s and have a wonderful shine. I haven’t quite made up my mind if they will turn into a bracelet or necklace but I’m excited!
Happy Friday friends! Before closing the week, I thought I’d share a new piece I just finished as a going away present. As I had a specific person in mind for this new piece, I tried to design something that she can wear often and in lots of occasions. And I thought, what better combination than black and gold with a dash of silver thrown in for good measure.
I love how the richness of gold enhances and enlivens black. These black beads are from 40s and were made in France. Simple but dressy enough for any outfit!
Eh voila, the finished piece…
Hello friends, how is the start of your week? Today’s a snow day thanks to the over 16.5 inches of snow that fell over the course of Sunday! It was quite an impressive sight that greeted us when we attempted to go out. That said, it’s quite pretty out with clear blue skies and sun sparkling off the fresh snow. Of course it’s bitterly cold. So what better way to spend the day than going through my bead box and starting a pretty piece.
I’m drawing inspiration from all the sparkly snow so I took out some vintage French glass pearls and started dressing them up with pretty silver and gold bead caps. I love glass pearls. They’re always so versatile and never go out of style. These pearls are part of this big lot that I bought in Paris a few years ago now. At that time, I had no idea what I was going to do with all of them but I have used most of them already. Can’t wait to show you the finished piece!
In the meantime, here’s what we woke up to this morning…
Happy Friday dear friends!! As always, I wish you wonderful things this weekend.To close the week, I thought I’d share this wonderful video behind the making of a dress. But not just any dress, but a couture dress. This is the kind of fairy tale dress that reflects the best in human workmanship. It is a short video and reflects but a small part in what goes on behind the making of such a dress but it does give us a good idea. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Once, on a flea market jaunt in Paris, I found a small bag of vintage charms. It was a group of various charms with no apparent unifying theme. All I was told was that it had been part of a much bigger jar of charms and that over the years, people would buy one or two depending on what they were looking for. What was left when I finally came along included a seashell, a pair of scissors, a dog, some zodiac signs, an apple and a star. It’s a completely random group right?
And because of its randomness, I couldn’t see how I could make a charm bracelet out of it. After all, charm bracelets are supposed to tell something about the person wearing it right?
Today, I took out the bag and thought that I was going about it the wrong way. Instead of forcing a theme, I thought I’d just pick out the charms randomly and allow them to tell a story.
So this bracelet is my first attempt. It’s got a dog, a letter B, a pair of scissors and the bust of a young lady. I’m thinking this bracelet belongs to someone who likes dogs (kinda obvious?), and whose name starts with a B. Maybe this person sews a lot hence the scissors or maybe she’s a hair stylist. I haven’t quite figured out the bust. Seen this way, the charms aren’t so random anymore.
What do you think? Can you tell a story with this bracelet?
For this Throwback Thursday post, I wanted to share one of my first trade bead bracelets. I particularly love the beads on this bracelet because of its distinctive and pretty star pattern. To complete the bracelet, I paired the trade beads with some vintage French glass beads. This piece sold at the first international show I ever did in Switzerland to a lovely American lady who just happened to be visiting the region. Funny to think how much the beads have travelled — from Italy to Africa when they were first made, to other hands till they reached mine in Paris to finally the U.S. where I hope they are still making their owner happy!
As I sit and write this last post for 2014, I can hardly believe that we are on the cusp of a brand new year! And what a memorable year 2014 has been! As we wait on the eve of 2015 with all its glorious possibilites, I wish you all dear friends and readers a most wonderful year ahead–full of blessings, great and small and heapings of great happiness!
Here’s a look back at some of our most memorable moments..
This was supposed to be a Throwback Thursday post but as you can see I got delayed and so this post has turned into Flashback Friday.
Just wanted to share with you all a photo of one of the happy people who came away from the WinterMarkt with an original Petites Merveilles piece. She stopped by the day after and showed me how her necklace went beautifully with a piece she already had.
The piece she bought is composed of vintage French champagne colored glass pearls and vintage French bottle green glass beads. Both the beads and pearls are from the 50s.
Judging from her big smile, I’d say she was happy with her purchase!!
This week brought us the first snowfall and freezing temperatures! Brrr…
With such weather, all I can think about is cocooning inside and drinking lots of hot cocoa. But before signing off for the week, I wanted to share a few fun links. As it turns out, there’s a theme to my roundup this week.
Secret libraries? In Paris? What could be more fun than that? Here is the list…After hitting one or more of these libraries, you can treat yourself to some hot chocolate chez Angelina.
If secret ones aren’t your thing, how about a library converted from an old train car? Read all about it here.
Did you grow up reading the Arabian Nights? Well, there’s a retelling of the tales coming out soon. Here is a short excerpt of the upcoming book, poetically titled The Wrath and the Dawn.
Have you been following the big stand-off between Amazon and Hachette books? Its a feud that’s been brewing awhile with vocal supporters on both sides. Well, they’ve finally come to a resolution and it can only be for the good of us readers. Read all about it here.
And finally, who doesn’t love Pride and Prejudice? This amazing book has survived 200 years and has been re-invented, re-imagined and re-created in so many ways. Here is a fun compilation of the various covers it has had over the years. Which one is your favorite?
Bon weekend everyone!!
You know how sometimes you’re looking for one thing and find something else instead? l was looking for some old craft show pictures when I stumbled upon photos of some rings I made a few years ago. Yup, at some point, I tried my hand at making rings.
It all started with a big bag of old beads that I had bought at the Puces de St. Ouen (big antique market) in Paris. I had bought the bag without looking closely at all the contents because I had seen a few choice beads that I knew I wanted. I was then surprised when I got home to find a number of old cabochon beads. At that time, I hadn’t really had much experience working with cabochons, in fact, I had gone out of my way to avoid them. Most of the ones I got still had the metal bar, rusting and corroded, running through the hole which were impossible to take off. These I had to discard.
Here are a few that I was able to save…
Then it occurred to me that maybe I could try making rings with some of them. Now, at this point, I did not have any experience making any rings at all. I figured, how hard could it be. Well friends, making a ring presents its own special challenges. I easily lost three to four cabochons before finally coming up with two I was happy with it.
Here is the first one in tones of green…
I was quite proud of this one as I used two cabochons to come up with this flower design.
Then I also made this more ambitious ring which is being tried on by the lady who did buy it in the end.
I’m happy to report that both rings sold right away and I barely had time to take a few photos of them before they were off to their new homes. One of these days, I might try making another one just to see if I still can!
Hello friends, for this Throwback Thursday post, I wanted to talk about one of the first shows I ever did. This isn’t the first show I ever did because I didn’t even think to take pictures during that first show! This show was the second one I ever did and it was during the Salon du Vintage in Paris. I’ve always loved this Salon which brings together a big number of vintage sellers from all over Europe. That particular year, I thought to give it a try and to my surprise was able to get in. As you can imagine, I was super excited! It was such a major undertaking. And so I set off the day of the show to set up only to realize how little prepared I really was.
I had at this point, bought my own table, instead of renting it like the first time (where the table rental cost me an arm and a leg) but in terms of display materials, everything was a hodge podge of various materials and colors. And as I didn’t have enough jewelry display stands, I just laid out all the necklaces on the table, which fortunately, at least had a table cloth! It just looked so cobbled together and amateurish. The one thing that I did do right was to have an explanation of what the jewelry was about! Despite such an unpolished look, people seemed to like the jewelry I was doing. I’m proud to say that I did pretty well that weekend! Looking back now, I realize how lucky I was that day!
Its taken a lot of thinking and doing other shows and playing around with the stand to finally have a pretty and coherent looking booth stand. The process of putting together my stand is a much faster and less stressful process since I now know what to do. Knowing what to do with the physical space also allows me to think more about other aspects of the show such as more harmonious pairings and color groupings of the jewelry to better to present my work to the public. Here is how my stand looks now..
When I look at these two pictures now, I realize how far I’ve come since I started this adventure. They are tangible proof of my progress. And it encourages me to continue growing and doing better than ever!
If there was one figure in fashion that fascinates me no end, it is Coco Chanel. From the different biographies I’ve read about her, she seems to have been a formidable woman and her influence continues to be felt today. It was thus with great interest that I read about a new exhibit about her. Sam Taylor-Johnson was asked to do a series of photographs on Chanel’s private apartments on 31 rue Cambon in Paris. This is Taylor-Johnson’s first exhibit in five years and is designed to be a psychological portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel. The photographs feature Chanel’s personal items, many of which had an almost talismanic meaning for her.
I wish I could fly to London to see this exhibit. And while, that might be a bit challenging at the moment, I’m going to content myself with this lovely video which gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the exhibit.
Hello friends, lat week I talked about my recent visit to the Puces de Vanves. Today, I want to share my finds from that visit. There were so many tempting things for sale but I decided to focus on things that I could use for work. It is after all the main reason why I was at the Puces. I think I was quite fortunate this time. I barely arrived when I found my first piece (pictured above). The seller had bought out someone’s metal stamping business and this piece was one of the last from that lot. While the design of this lady looks like it is from the early years of the 1900s, this piece was actually made in the 1960s. It is not that old but I love the design. And it even has the original tag from the business.
Another piece that I acquired dates back to almost the same period. This forget me not pendant made of little glass beads resembling turquoise and cut steel dates back to the early years of the 20th century. The necklace it probably came with is gone but I am happy to have this gorgeous statement piece.
A bit of walking brought me to my next find. A pair of gorgeous French made pendants from a much earlier period. The piece on the right dates back to the period of 1890 while the other pendant is dates back to the beginning of the 1900s. Both were fashioned by hand and the enamel work is in very fine condition. I’m very excited by these two and I can’t wait to work on them.
The next set of pieces are quite interesting too. These were made in the 1890s and they were designed to be either lockets or as ornaments for men’s watches. As these particular pieces weren’t lockets, they were most likely used for men’s watches. In those days, men used pocket watches and at one end of the chain, there used to hang decorative little pendants such as these. Most of these pendants were made out of a mixture of brass and copper hence their rosy color. This particular mix was first authorized for use in jewelry by King Louis XVI in 1785. Previously, it was forbidden by the king. I think they would make for great pendants!
And my next find also dates back to the same time frame. This tiny enameled piece used to belong to a bracelet but all the other pieces are now lost. I don’t quite know what to do with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist it. The enamel work on the piece is still intact and I love the little flower design.
Finally, just as I was about to head home, I found some gorgeous beads. Finding these beads just about completed my day. These are early Venetians from the beginning of the 1900s. Its been awhile since I found some gorgeous beads in an antique market so I just had to have them!
I’m quite happy to be back at my desk working away with these gorgeous new pieces!
One of the things I miss about France is the weekly brocantes and the Puces (big weekend antique markets) I used to frequent. I may not always find something, but an afternoon or morning spent browsing amongst the different stalls was always interesting and fun. Needless to say, going to the Puces is one of the things I look forward to the most when we make a trip back. This particular visit, I spent one morning browsing through the stalls of the Puces de Vanves.
It is a much smaller affair than the Puces de Clignancourt, and they keep shorter hours, from 7 am to 1 pm only. Some years ago, when I first started going there, most, if not all of the people browsing were locals. Bargaining or even conversing with the sellers in my fledging French was an adventure to say the least! Well the times, they are a-changing. Now, there are as many foreigners as locals browsing the stalls and even more surprising, the French (as can be!) vendors are speaking English! You can’t imagine how surprised I was by this! Despite these changes and the increasing difficulties in sourcing good quality antiques (a refrain I heard from many vendors), the Puces is still replete with many wonderful objets d’art, curios and trinkets. There are a few furniture pieces but for those things, it is better to go to the Puces de Clignancourt anyway. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and prints on all manner of subjects. It was wonderful to see the wide variety available on sale.
My eye was caught too, by all the pretty and dainty dinnerware sets and silverware that hark back to the days of washing everything by hand. It was only the thought of lugging all these back in a luggage that stopped me from buying some pretty dishes.
And if you are looking for pretty things, there was no shortage of those as well. Just check out the pretty petit point bags and delicate lace jacket from the beginning of the 20th century pictured above. They were all handmade and in beautiful condition. And while some stalls specialized in one of a kind objects, some others stands had boxes of things. This one in particular had crates of old candy boxes from the turn of the century. Turns out the seller had bought out the entire left over stock of an old candy shop. As I left, I overheard someone bargaining to buy the box. I t made me wonder what he will do with them.
As for my finds, I’m happy to report that I came away with a few special things. But that is for another post! Happy weekend everyone!
Hello friends, its Throwback Thursday on the blog and I decided to feature one of my pieces from last year. Last year I happened to buy some beads from an old french jewelry house. It is a small shop specializing in what they call Fashion Jewelry, which is high quality jewelry made from glass and other components. This is what distinguishes them from Costume Jewelry which normally makes use of plastics or cheaper material. This particular house just happened to make their own glass beads for their jewelry. At the height of their business in the 30s/40s, they employed about 120 workers at the glass making plant. They don’t have a lot left to sell, in fact, the seller was quite reluctant to part with the remaining beads but somehow I persuaded him to sell me a few of them. These particular beads were made to resemble rose quartz but they embellished the glass with tiny gold beads running in the middle of the bead. Since the beads were made by hand, you can see irregularities in the small gold beads. These beads are just gorgeous! They didn’t need much to be pretty so I just made them into very simple earrings. At my december pop-up store, they immediately found themselves a new owner!
The night before last, I found myself unable to sleep. A book which normally does the trick didn’t help so I went back to my desk to work on some pieces. I though I would work on some earrings using these pretty gold foil Murano beads. I bought these beads at a Parisian brocante from someone who was selling his mothers things. She was a collector of this and that, he said, and with her passing, he couldn’t keep everything. Amongst the bits and bobs on his table, my eye was caught by these beads. They had a fiery glow. And luckily there were two of them!
At first I thought I would add an extra bead to them to jazz it up a little. But, I hesitated since the gold beads were already so eye-catching. It didn’t really need jazzing up. Some friends agreed and voila, here is the finished pair!
Soon available at the etsy shop!
Hello friends, I wanted to share some images of my fondest memories of summers spent in France. Right about now, the French are busy planning their annual holidays, if they haven’t already left.
There are two camps–those who leave in July, les jullietistes and come back sometime in August and those who leave in August, les aoutiens and come back in September. But whichever camp they’re in, most people are gone from Paris by the 15th of August. Even les juillietistes find an excuse to be away on that date! Paris is empty of its residents at this time of the year. A good of number of restaurants and small shops are closed too. Everyone, except for a lucky few come back in the beginning of September for la rentree.
We’ve always been in the August camp and it was funny (though sometimes it was a bummer to wait so long before leaving for vacation too) to see your friends all go progressively away on vacation. But I have to say that having Paris all to yourself is not such a hardship.
Paris, tu me manques
Maybe because we had a particularly long winter and we are now having some summer weather that I find myself gravitating towards the color blush. This is a bit unlike me as I tend to go for the brighter and more vibrant hues but there’s something about this color that is just very appealing at the moment.
I’m not the only one having a blush moment. Pantone has declared blush as one of the key color trends for spring/ summer 2013. Today’s post is my own small collection of crushes on all things blush.
Photos from left to right are as follows:
The color Blush from the Pantone website
My current favorite Maje top with its refreshingly cool palette of ecru and blush
Some beautiful flowers from a park near our apartment in Paris.
My very own blush creation available at De Petites Merveilles.
A very pretty scarf from dyeproservices.
And last but not the least, a pair of gorgeous custom made shoes from SHUNAMI a newly discovered etsy seller.
Are you having a particular color moment? I’d love to hear from you..
I’m in the middle of doing inventory and its a painful but necessary process. But I got distracted by the news that L’Eclaireur was opening up shop in the Puces de St. Ouen in Paris. Now, as an inveterate antique and flea goer, I love the Puces de St. Ouen. If I could go every weekend, I would. There is always so much to see and admire and when you chat to the vendors, you’ll find that most of them have been dealing, buying and selling antiques most of their lives. You can sense their hard won expertise. There’s such an ambiance here, something that’s hard to define.
So the news that L’Eclaireur is coming to set up shop was a big surprise to me. L’Eclaireur (literally translates to one who lights the way), is one of Paris’ high end design concept store and they’re celebrating their 30th birthday this year. Whenever I visit one of their stores, I feel somewhat like I’ve stepped into an art or design installation. Fashion embedded within design within art is possibly as good a description as I can give. But how does it fit within the Puces? According to Vogue news, it will open right in the heart of the Puces, at the Marche Paul Bert and it’ll eventually form part of Vintage Village, set up by Habitat. Say what? Habitat in an antique market? (Habitat is a big home furnishing stores similar to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel)
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either L’Eclaireur or Habitat. Both are perfectly fine stores on their own. I’m just wondering how they fit within the spirit of the puces. The puces started outside the walls of medieval Paris. It was the place where peddlers were supposed to stay and sell their little trinkets and goods. It has long since evolved into a big antique market with proper shops and all. Its true that in recent years prices have gone way up and its harder to find a really good deal but the spirit has always been about antiques–from Louis XV furniture, to delicate lace dresses from the 19th century to useless little trinkets that you nonetheless have to bring home with you. I’m just wondering how L’Eclaireur fits within such a place and what will it bring to the Puces? Will their presence drive up prices even more? I suppose only time will tell.
Here are a few photos of some of my favorite things that I’ve seen at the Puces (all photos are mine,except the top photo of L’Eclaireur which is courtesy of Vogue.fr)
A collection of antique dolls, end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th
A gorgeous painted set of drawers with marble top, from the 19th century if I’m not mistaken
A basket of mother of pearl buttons and embroidered flowers…
Pretty linens and embroidered handkerchiefs from the beginning of the 20th century
and my favorite, a small Venetian gold work cabinet. I love this piece and I still regret not having bought it!
Paris is full of pretty little squares but I have to admit that my favorite is easily the Place de Vosges. And the recent snowfall made the Square even more magical than usual.
Hello friends, tomorrow is the big day! Grand opening of Noel de Createurs, Pop Up store of original and independent designers and artists in the Marais. Here’s a sneak peak of De Petites Merveilles’ new collection. Enjoy!