I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to make vases from or a pretty seed head or two…1970 style. I have always liked thrift too. Making do or making something from an unlikely object that you might otherwise buy from a store. Both unique and free. What could be more fun! For example when we cleared out my parents home in London, we found an old broom handle, rather worn, a lovely patiner where the red paint had worn. This is now in my barn bedroom being used as a curtain pole.In the barn, old doors have been repaired and an ancient set of pantry cupboard doors, the ones with little air holes drilled through, have become shutters. From the house next to our factory, old tiles have been removed and with a bit of painstaking cleaning will find their way into our farmhouse kitchen. It took a whole morning, to be honest my language became a bit blue as I found the French had used ten times the adhesive needed AND levelled the walls with this too instead of plaster; and many simply cracked, but these too have been saved for future mosaic work. I retrieved enough for the farmhouse kitchen to put around the cooker and sink.
A selection of second hand fabrics and a very cheap wallpaper that I am going to use with the blue tiles. Going for a very traditional style. The check fabric is an old tablecloth my mother made and will convert to cusions. The lemon fabric was a offcut or Coupon in French. As only a small piece, window Lambrequins
will dress the windows. These are simply small frames of fabric used to cover the squareness and starkness of a window opening.
I used to grab things out of skips and the local tip manifested a wonderful hoard of objects. The London salvage yards got my blood pressure high. Finding end of line tile stocks, ceramic basins and ironmongery saved me a fortune. Coming to France was a worry. Would I still be able to satisfy my love of the pre-loved? Of coarse. The Brocantes thrive here and we have literally furnished our homes entirely with an eclectic mix, right down to the cheese knives and tea pots.
But I digress. More on the Brocantes for another post. There is a lot to show and this post is simply about a wonderful book on foraging…found objects from the natural world to flea markets, that I recently ordered (second hand also).
After scouring the Brocantes I wanted to explore the countryside more and see what this might provide. An attempt also to be more observant when I walk or bike, to see objects in a different light that may have a use.
The book is divided into sections, coastal, rural, wild and urban. Examples of interiors show how seaweed can be used, plant dyes, flowers and stones along with discarded metal objects and old farm implements. The latter we dig up often being slap bang next to a beef farm.
Old enamel milk jugs have turned up and will find their way into the garden for flowers and a broken ironstone pot currently acts as shelter from my naughty chickens, for my chives. Old teapots with chips will be used for birds to nest in (great idea from Alison of Through Rose Tinted Glasses blog).
Today I bought from our local Brocante, for under five euros, a few old plates, pretty, crazed and yellowing, to provide a touch of countryside. It’s not everyone’s taste but we like the simplicity of shopping this way.
The book is by Joanna and Oliver Maelennan.