la Brocanteuse

Jan 14, 2014

in Print: Lééf, and almost ready!

THANK YOU  Lééf magazine for sharing my love for French finds in a 4 page interview
"my lewe in 'n plakboek"
Now available in shops in South Africa and also to online subscribers
as from today 14 January 2014

here are some snippets of the article…..

I will share the full pages later 

***** **********

Stacks of French linen everywhere..

linge, chanvre, drap, torchons 
serviettes,original bobbins with lace, monograms,
French Brocante finds….
all ready to be shared.


there is a space in the making,
l'atelier Colette should have been ready by now, and I would have loved to have been able to reveal it to you at the same time as around now that the Lééf interview and article is published
but, building, how ever small, never  hardly ever goes according to planned!


Up to now, I shared my French finds at open days, Vintage markets and here at home…but the time has come to stack all together in one place…l'atelier Colette, my work place,  is expanding and although just a petit studio next to my office..  all will be together…just like the little room I found at the back of a Brocante in the Dordogne, years ago. Stacked with linens, it sparked a dream…to one day share that excitement : to be able to open the doors to a room stacked high with my passion,old French linens and textiles…
 you will be entering my dream.



SO looking forward to opening  these doors for you!
(we are now working on the finishing touches before moving in..)
I will keep you informed here on La Brocanteuse blog as well as on FB page ~ see link to register at top of the page.

thank you to every one supporting me and sharing in my love for all things French, but most of all,waiting patiently for l'atelier Colette  to  offer those fabulous precious of all..sourced and found in the French country side..original French linens and the stories that come with them…
et bientôt

 PS ~the article  on Nina Hartman's book as promised will be published in next post. ( due to technical restrictions  while away  on vacation, it  had to stand over- my apologies. 

Dec 22, 2013

a favorite destination: the Beach house

We will be right here for the next few weeks at the Beach house, a last minute change of plans.

this was the first object I ever bought for our beach house..a chiseled  reproduction of the Oath of Hippocrates
(found at a museum shop in Schiathos- Greece)
I always pick a olive branch  and tuck it behind the plaque- ALWAYS- when we arrive for a pause from life here..

We originally booked a 3 week trip to Argentina,some months ago when January was still way ahead.   Departure date:  3rd January 2014 -the closer it came to finalising last admin about house sitter, dog  hugging, walking, and packing travel bags instead of beach wear....we became more and more reluctant and not so eager to leave for so  far away.

A few days ago,I threw it out there..." What if we cancel the trip for now?- just go to the beach house like we have been doing every year? for many years...the other two looked at me, eyes lit up, and what a great thing when a family is in sinc about a (sort of )important question!

So we took the option of paying the airline cancellation fees  ( trusting another 1 or 3 people will be over the moon excited to have such short notice to travel to Bueonos Aires..and we have a full 12 months to use our tickets ( to same destination as originally booked)  JAY!
yes, of course the fact that our pooch ~ Yentl~ can now be with us,  weighed (very) heavy!

We will be spending the holidays looking at familiar views, walking known shores, feasting on catch from the sea and sitting down with our friends we have known forever..just a stroll away. No driving to much, impromptu summer entertaining and falling asleep to the sound of the sea. BLISS!

Perhaps we as a family are in need for a little quiet, some simple things, and that is a wonderful something to share... 
Dizzy with excitement ,Dd and myself came down to the beach house , a few days ago  to open all up, air the house that has not had fresh air since we left in January2013, after our last Christmas here..

 Of course we had plans to come back more over weekends. But 2013 became extremely busy, and we could never even take one weekend away from commitments to stop and pause here for a while.

The house is now open, aired,cleaned with the help of a little village team, and pantry stocked with fresh produce, we are pleased and thankful to have this really special place to come to..sorry house for neglecting you in 2013,we missed you and  WILL REALLY make more time in 2014.


With the need for simpler things, we put together a Christmas tree made out of collected moss branches, shells, star fish and a few glass balls filled with shells we picked up..some biscuits that probably  will not last long..if not eaten , sea air will soften them, but that is OK! We will add more shells and driftwood from daily walks ~there is so much beauty in nature.

opting for real advent candles 

we will spend Christmas eve back in Stellenbosch for a previous commitment to have Christmas dinner with friends,
  returning on 25th , spending time with our "other family" and remembering Marie, who we sadly had to say goodbye to in 2013..
Marie Woulidge, we will keep up the good work and do it just  like every other year...

Wishing you all a truly blessed Christmas 2013


LIKE LaBrocanteuse FB for daily clicks
see link at top of this blog page.
name of FB will soon change to 
L'Atelier Colette
to be the same as my new shop and work place..


South African followers can see my interview with LEEF and pics in "My lewe in 'n plakboek"
February issue of LEEF magazine- 

on shelves and available locally from  
14 January 2014

sharing some images of this MUST have book, and how you can get your own  copy
as the Africa Agent, you can contact me if you are  a dealer and interested to carry this book in your shop.

Oct 13, 2013

Where has 2013 gone?...

Unbelievable how time flies!  2013 is moving at fast speed, and it has been a particularly busy year in our household. 

After 3 years of "horsing around"  in several group classes,pony camps,  dedicated private lessons, finding herself and building trust with horse and trainer , it was time  for the next "big" step.
Dd started competing full force and with all serious intent this year. Every afternoon is dedicated to training, weekends  to shows.  She has become consumed with all things "horsey",has little fear of jumping the poles higher and higher.. (well most of the time)  she has really given it her all this year.

  Competing successfully  in  the 4 qualifier events   earned her a place in the BOLAND team.
    REGIONALS in  GEORGE was her first big and serious challenge  where she competed and proud to share:
 Once again she excelled and made the WESTERN CAPE  -A team.   NATIONALS followed in Johannesburg, where with much exhilaration she rose to the event  and got  placed both individual and with her team. Extremely proud of both her and Little Copper Coin
Dd is growing up so fast now.....
Horses  may very well be her career choice one day. Her passion and dedication to this regal animal  is unsurpassed. We celebrate Dd's passion and feel blessed that we can do this as a family, dedicating ALOT of time with joy! 

 Dd and her Arabian " My Little Copper Coin" 


..and so back to my activities:

 French Linen and Brocante finds..

What has been a "forever" passion of mine, and a hobby that grew with leaps and bounds over the past few  years, brought me to the point where I had to decide what to do about the growing demand. Up to now I have been doing pop-up events, vintage markets, and  by invitation visits where I would open the armoires at home. It  keeps me busy throughout the year,  however,  it seems  not enough anymore. My wonderful supporters want easier access to the monogrammed French linens and Brocante finds.

So: ~  I started looking around in all sincerity for shop premises, but have to admit that I enjoy having the freedom of my time.I need to travel to France regularly to keep the Armoires stocked and to feed my soul.. I cannot be committed to the daily routine of shopkeeping.I love to share the French linen in person, enjoying the new keeper's excitement. For that reason, I want to be part of the experience when each piece that was sourced, finds a new home.

 L'Atelier Colette

..right here at home in Stellenbosch- open to the public on a chosen day a week, as well as  private viewing by appointment and monthly open days where I will make it a special treat with coffee and cakes /bubbly and snacks - we shall have fun! 
Right now a (petit) space dedicated to all the French "Linge" is being built and all thumbs are held  tight for finishing end of November. Hopes are high to be open in December. (rain kept builders from site, so all was delayed, but now back on track) 

Many followers and supporters have asked if I will be at  "Kamersvol geskenke" this year  - NO, not so- however I am looking forward to be at my usual BROCANTE shop at FESTIVE IDEAS at  Simondium Country lodge, from 30 October -2 November ( same venue where I have been taking  part in SIMONDIUM VINTAGE market for the past 3 years.

look out for the blue BROCANTE sign..
read the story behind this sign: here

images ~ vintage market Simondium  April 2013

I am happy to share the latest found French linen, torchons, monogrammed serviettes, lace and smalls as well as have available NINA HARTMAN'S latest book that has just been released, expected to arrive in Afrique du Sud any day now!
-will share more about that and images on arrival-

I would like it if you  follow me on my Face book page with the link at the top of this post , where I post daily.
thank you for visiting here!
until next time..
et bientôt

Jul 12, 2013

Setting the table for Top Billing

The brief from TOP BILLING  was: set two tables , using the same  elements for both with what is already available in your home.
One table had  to  be more formal, and the other less so, inspiring viewers  to work with what they have in their cupboards.  No big expenses on flowers and decorations, but rather pickings from the garden and there had to  be a DIY element incorporated, since July is National savings month.

So when Henrique Wilding Photography invited me to be involved in this challenge, I jumped at the opportunity  and we had 3 days to come up with ideas and setting it up.

A 5m table( just over 16 feet)  is part of our kitchen where we have spent many gatherings with family and friends at many occasions.. It was a easy decision to add more memories to " The Table"

-together we discussed, stacked, added, took away and discussed more...

The chairs upholstered in old German grain bags with black script was the starting point.
Pickings from the garden was olive branches

The choice for the first table  was old French Chanvre linens as table covering. a Collection of old French  pewter plates collected from markets and Brocantes,   were used as under plates , combined with  white dinner plates.

Old French monogrammed linen serviettes dyed in grey tones were perfect for this table setting. 
My first choice will always be original white linen as found.  As larger sets of serviettes  become more difficult to find, odd serviettes and those that has yellowed over years, is perfect for this way of adding a fun and cohesive element. Dyed in the same colour, they become a set.

two large candelabras with black candles added a "wow" factor

Little sprigs of olive branches from the garden were set at each place setting to  pick up on the dark moody colours of the pewter, grey toned serviettes and  black candles - 

 Gorgeous TOP BILLING presenter: Jeannie D

 Mismatched cutlery ,  collected on travels and loved because of their ornate monograms and decorations added to the style for both tables. Set out traditionally  at each setting for the more formal, and just piled in a pewter dish for the other.

The 2nd table or Harvest table as we called it, was a informal table meant to be for those gatherings where people can help themselves as they want.. 
The menu is written on a old black school board. 

ps- the bump on my back is the hidden microphone -transmitter contraption..

Old grain bags were opened up to use as table runners over the width of the table. Each one different but all with red stripes  in common, picking up on the old French white with red stripe dish towels used instead of formal serviettes. 

 Some of the  black candles were changed out for dark berry red ones.

The same mix of fluted style bazaar glasses and goblets were used for both settings.

As no French meal is ever served  without bread, it was an essential for both tables.
for the Harvest table we "broke" them for one of the takes..

a simple bunch of olive branches tied together with black and red ribbon.

even DD and Yentl got attention between takes  on a  day that was quite nerve racking!

many takes on a loooong day...and it was in the bag!
after the film crew left, we could relax with a 
apéritif in front of the last logs of the fire..
it is winter after all!

Colette XO

TOP BILLING is a lifestyle TV programme on SABC 3
         this programme was aired on 11 July 2013

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