Inspirational workshops and bespoke holidays at Chateau Dumas in south west France

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thinking Big

It's almost exactly four years to the day since we bought Chateau Dumas and my love for the place is as strong now as ever. These past four years have been a roller-coaster - at times terrifying and at others exhilarating - as well as a journey of discovery about many things from managing money (still learning) to managing wildlife (almost expert, unless you count my teenagers). Now I'm able to look back over the events of the last few years and the weddings, parties, retreats and holidays we've been able to make just a little bit special and I feel a flush of pride and pleasure.

I paused briefly the other day to take stock and saw that the windows were peeling, badly needing a coat of paint. I thought, 'I'll do a quick count to size up the job'. I see now that was probably a mistake. When I got to 62 windows and 28 pairs of shutters I realised what a heck of a lot of painting that was! Onwards and upwards I thought, but then found I couldn't stop counting things and now I also know that there are 60 doors, 18 loos, 200 square metres of polished floors and a staggering 303 lightbulbs. Of course this being early summer my 100 plus sweet-smelling roses need pruning too. Now just how many rose petals would that be......?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm So Label Conscious

It's taken me a while to work out what to do with the 48,000 vintage hat labels I rescued from the grimey basement of an old hat factory in a small French village, but I like to think that I've given at least some of the labels a new lease of life not to mention a new purpose.

These fabulous vibrantly-coloured embroidered labels date from the 20's through to the 50's and were des
igned to be stitched to the inside of French berets. The 55 different designs go from heraldic crests with intricate crowns, castles and miniature soldiers on horseback with evocative names like Beaufort and Alhambra, to cartoon-style portraits of men smoking cigars and women with berets set at jaunty angles.

Like a child in a sweet shop I wanted everything within my reach and by the time I came to my senses I had amassed a stack of boxes full of labels that I simply 'couldn't live without'. I had gorged myself on labels to the point where I needed serious help to shoehorn myself and the boxes into the car. That was then and this is now the result. I've applied the vintage labels to lavender bags, tote bags and I'm working on cushions right now - more of which later.