Monday, March 8

Vintage French Linens

Dear readers, I've been to heaven. I am back to tell you all about it. Last Wednesday I took another school day field trip. This time I went with some stitching friends. Our destination was a thrift shop just out of Metz, France in a commune called Peltre. The allure was a room called, the lace room - open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 12:00.

The lace room proved to be all we'd hoped, plus so much more. It was bursting with piles of vintage linens all hand embroidered. There were drawers of old buttons, piles of French needle work books, bins of lace, trim, yarn and needles. We spent a full hour in there, touching, pawing, oooing and ahhing. It wasn't until right before the shop closed that I found what I knew I could not live without. Behold ~

At the end of one of the tables of linens sat a large neat pile of these:Did you figure out what they are? I couldn't. I asked the store clerk and she said they were for serviettes de table - napkins. Each family member must have had one to keep their dinner napkin in between uses. I'm guessing the napkins were only washed once a week. I loved that they were so personal. Many had names embroidered on them or initials. Many appeared to have been made by kids like they were a first embroidery project. Such a charming item of daily life. I carefully selected one for each member of my family, including my mom who will be visiting very soon. They will be a special addition to our Easter dinner table. Had to buy the one stitched with Lucie in honor of Bryce's grandma, Lucy. Perhaps it will entice her to visit!Naturally, I'm now having fantasies about making some.


katy said...

these photos are my first attempt at "erasing" the background of a photo. I see I missed a few spots and they look a bit shabby. Sorry about that!!

Tara said...

A bunny going to church! How Easterly! Way cool finds.

Unknown said...

This post so reminds me of the napikins and special rings that your mamma bear bought us when we lived at the house on franklin street. To this day, I only use cloth napkins and I still have the little red bird napkin holder. Love it!

poppyart said...

these are lovely... and what a change from disposable ones we have knocking around (well, to b ehonest, it is usually torn pieces of kitchen roll on our family table!) note to self - must take the ones granny made out of the cupboard and USE.

christie said...

I am Thrilled..Of course I have the family
napkin rings that I grew up with, if you
remember, Katy. They are celluloid
animals and still in use. mom

Dana said...

oh! oh! oh! lucky, lucky you. We see some of this stuff in the antique market nearby at times, but it is usually very pricey by the time it makes it to Northern Italy.

I love the bunnies. I hope you get the chance to visit that place again soon :)

Anonymous said...

These are actually porte serviettes. They act the same as napkin rings to store napkins between meals. Families also had to send one off to school with each child. The school provided the napkins.
I found a few in a Provence market last year and am now hooked on collecting them. There must have been a few standard designs as well, because I have a few of the same pattern.
I have one that has a matching baby bib inside.
A friend in Vancouver is now making an updated version of these as family gifts, wedding gifts, etc. each personalized in some way . I love them!

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