With Marie on my mind Monday, Jul 13 2009 


Trianon cheri

Trianon cheri

The story of Marie Antoinette – her world, her demise – fascinated me early on, as I studied French in high school. It was seminal in my lifelong affection for French culture and civilization.

All things Marie Antoinette have captivated creative imaginations lately. Take a look at the recent Somerset/Stampington publication, Marie. I adore the way so many artisans have picked up on the robin’s egg and pale pink of the era.


We French hand-sewing enthusiasts would call the warm pale blue and pink of the trianon "Giger" pink and blue, after goods made by an old manufacturer of Swiss batiste.

Anyway, looking through Marie, I was inspired to create my Trianon chéri. The original Petit Trianon on the grounds of Versailles is especially fetching.

I began with a papier mâché house box, which I painted with a simple robin’s egg acrylic color, then spattered with brown. For the roof, I started with a base of flat chocolate brown acrylic. Once dry, I applied Tim Holtz’s Crackle Paint in Tattered Rose, which makes me very happy. 


Torn pieces of Martha Stewart's Flourish paper in palest pink, the edges aged with distressing ink, give a hint of exposed brick or stone.

As a reference to exposed brick or stone, I applied torn pieces of Martha Stewart’s Flourish paper in palest pink. Edges of the paper were aged with Tim Holtz’s Distress Inkpad in Tea Dye.

Next came stamped images in brown from various sources, including the popular Paris set from Cavallini. It’s a lot of fun using an unexpected image as an architectural element.

Particularly whimsical is my treatment of the back of the trianon. I really enjoy working with these houses because the back gives you a full surface, a kind of stage if you have a narrative.

The couture fashion show is my favorite narrative, and for this one, I used stamps, including one from the incomparable Sandra Evertson. Then, I took some old pink and cream plaid twisted paper rope (wish I still had a source for this stuff) and fashioned a skirt, edged with scalloping scissors, and gathered and wrapped with a piece of Martha Stewart’s wonderful coffee bean-edged pink ribbon.


Wish I could find more of the old cream-and-pink plaid twisted paper rope I used for my mannequin's skirt.

Finishing touch was the tiny paper roses at the front windows. I applied a couple on the side of the house with their wire stems, which gave the look of wild roses climbing up the side of the house. The foliage is model train moss. (I’d like to hear other ideas for foliage – not thrilled with the moss.)

It’s only natural that my first collage house would be a trianon and that it would carry so many Marie Antoinette nuances. I’m thinking my next inspiration will draw from Provence or the European garden folies – or maybe a little of both.

À bientôt…Tatie


Lambie Pie Sunday, Jul 5 2009 


Lambie Pie, from a 1938 pattern

Lambie Pie, from a 1938 pattern

This snuggly little fellow, from a 1938 pattern, was created from a wonderful old piece of robin’s egg felted wool that I found at Baer’s fabric store during a visit to Louisville.

Sadly, Baer’s closed last year, and I got by there on one of the last days. It was one of those grand old downtown stores that sold “piece goods” — they grow scarcer every day. I bought the bolt that produced Lambie Pie.

Add a little chocolate brown felt and a few stitches of hand embroidery, and voila! A first toy for my godson, Hank. 


Lambie Pie's little bell is securely attached to a brown rayon ribbon, from Martha Stewart crafts.

Lambie Pie's little bell is securely attached to a brown rayon ribbon, from Martha Stewart crafts.


I collect original old patterns (I’ll be sharing my creations from them here), but I have been known to acquire a good copy, including the one for Lambie Pie. It came from MJ’s Vintage Patterns  on eBay — well worth a visit. MJ’s patterns come come complete with a color copy of the front cover (below).


From the original Lambie Pie pattern, available through MJ's Vintage Patterns on eBay

From the original Lambie Pie pattern, available through MJ's Vintage Patterns on eBay

If you’d like to purchase a piece of the felted wool I used for my Lambie Pie, please contact me at ateliercheri@gmail.com.

A bientot!…Tatie