Friday, July 30, 2010

The view from here...

The view from here at l'uccello is wonderful, St Paul's Cathedral is so beautiful, especially on rainy, misty grey days. The gentler light seems to suit this lovely gothic revival building, it brings out the detail in the different coloured stones and little patches of moss. It is such an inspiring colour palette, muted with a myriad of subtle colour variations.  When the church bells ring at dusk for evensong and the tourist horses and carriages are clip clopping up Swanston Street it feels like another time, magic.

They are doing some restoration on the Cathedral's beautiful stained glass windows, how cold must it be up in that cherry picker?
Facing the other direction looking towards the town hall, the plane trees outside our windows are home to many sparrows who like to visit in summer when the doors are open.

View from the office through the beautiful bevelled glass doors that line one side of our room. They catch the sunlight at different times of day and throw little shards of light across the opposite wall and the ceiling, like light reflected off water.

The view inside l'uccello has been pretty great too, lots of new stock has arrived, including these lovely vintage glass buttons, casein buckles and buttons and fab carved wooden coat buttons.

More gorgeous prints from Moda and Marcus Bros.

Beautiful vintage cotton lace from France, more lovely vintage French buttons, fabric charm packs from Moda and restock of pretty velvet violet posies and cute little Scottie dog buttons.

Stunning Master of Linen grade pure linens are now available by the metre.

Our first shipment of antique French textiles, dating from the 1870s to early and mid 20th century. We will be making these up into limited edition cushions.

Gorgeous vintage French and Czech glass buttons, very pretty.

Finally, thank you so much to our new followers and the lovely customers who have popped in for a visit, your support is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Favourite things part 2

The biscotti and coffee from Brunettis are always fresh and delicious, today we had cherry, fig and pistachio. If you get there early try the horseshoes, crescents of pastry twisted with currants and toasted almonds, perfect!

I have too much stuff, but I can't stop collecting more, cards, photos, lace, labels, gelato tubs (from my favourite gelato bar in Florence) and even the wire from champagne must be kept, so I have covered the wall of the office with pin boards. I just can't seem to throw these things out, each item has a memory of something special, is a great colour or inspiring in one way or another.

I love ephemera, it can be bitter sweet, even a little melancholy sometimes, some things seem to have a certain resonance about them. I found these photos in a bric a brac shop, the owner said the man who owned the photos didn't want them and was going to throw them out. I had to buy them it was too sad that no one wanted them, they are so lovely. I plan to use them in an assemblage of found objects.

I especially love this one.

I found this photo in a box of old post cards, it is labeled Geelong 1924, what a lovely regatta on the Barwon River.

These are my favourite pieces of ephemera, a diary from Galleries Lafayette in Paris, 1902. It contains diagrams of all the seating in the Opera houses and theatres of  Paris and a list of ticket prices. Also a list of people who came calling, lots of fabulous diagrams advertising the department store's wares and a daily list of expenses written by the diarie's owner. I use it as a source of reference as it has many diagrams and a couple of photos of all kinds of haberdashery and ladies accoutrements. The fabric samples from Bon Marche are from around the same period. delicate cottons for pretty nightdresses or floaty summer dresses.. The buttons are earlier, probably Gothic revival from the mid Victorian era, they are Ivory and the carving is superb.

This calling card was inside the diary, Tapissier means upholsterer.

A new tapestry for my collection, I love the colours and it is done in fine cross stitch, beautifully done.

New arrivals, a lovely little collection of fabrics from Moda and Marcus Bros. We especially love the new toile de jouy from French General.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Bastille Day

Winter light in Castres, south west France, January 2009. The museum was closed so we went and had coffee in a lovely square in the sunshine, it was about 5 degrees but the sun was a little warm on our faces and the coffee was hot and strong. Then we went to the fabric store and they were having a sale, rolls and rolls of country style woven checks and stripes at half price, perfect day!

Our Bastille Day deliveries could not have been more delightful, these deco French sequin motifs are superb, a rich antique cream with ab highlights and black with gunmetal highlights. They are probably celluloid and are beautifully sewn, they are some of the best quality we have seen, the photo does not do them justice.

One of our most exceptional finds! Authentic antique French whalebone for corsetry, beautifully covered with woven straw, extremely rare and in lovely condition. It will be available for sale next week.

Exsquisite hand made Edwardian lace

Something for the boys, French antique collars.

We also received these fabulous 1950s and 60s Swiss guipure lace pieces, we are going to make up packs with an assortment of pieces of lace and ribbons for small projects, they should be ready next week.

Just in case that's not enough guipure we also received this spectacular roll of lace, it is around 30cm wide and in perfect condition.

And finally, remember how we were having kittens over the vintage silk flowers last week? Well we managed to source a box full! So between the roses and the sleep deprivation from staying up to watch Le Tour (poor Cadel!), the mountains of lace to sort and l'uccello heat pillows waiting to be packaged,  the shop is a little chaotic, just the way we like it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Parlez moi d'amour

Parlez moi d'amour, speak to me of love.... love of heartbreakingly beautiful vintage French millinery, could these roses and rolls of frothy vintage cotton tulle be any more lovely? The tulle is like sorbet in the most gorgeous shades of coral, vermilion, dusky mauve and madder rose and the roses are so luscious, it's almost too much to bare.

We have had lots of new arrivals this week, more stunning vintage French ribbons, hat pins made in Paris, lots of fab vintage French buttons, gorgeous little sets of mending thread from Italy, cones and spools of lovely linen and mercerised cotton and a big stack of classic French linen laundry cloth, no wonder we are feeling more than a little excited, it's enough to make you start quoting French love songs.

Lovely vintage threads, mercerised cotton from Australia, Irish linen thread and balls of thread from France, perfect for display or for sewing.

Great vintage buttons from France, large coat buttons, lovely glass and vegetable ivory and some fabulous cut away plastic buttons, a really interesting collection.

Definitely the cutest packets of threads we have ever had, little balls of glossy thread for mending stockings, " per le vostre calze!" we love the font on the packaging, classic Italian style.

In honour of the arrival of these fabulous French laundry cloths we rearranged the shop, how lovely do they look with the vintage shuttles and our Scented pillows for linen? These lovely vintage cloths were used to protect precious bed linen from the big rollers used to squeeze the water out during laundering, they are a lovely raw linen colour and many have hand embroidered initials on them. They make great table runners/cloths or are great for cushions etc, they are about 3 metres long.

More divine vintage French ribbons in the most beautiful shades of duck egg blue, burgundy, golden russet and dusky pink. We also received our first delivery of these fabulous vintage hat pins, made in Paris. Some of them didn't even make into the display cabinet before they were snapped up.

Parlez moi d'amour............

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Favourite things - part one

This old Union Jack is from the 1920s, probably a vice regal visit, it originally had sticks on the side for waving in the crowd. We love it for it's faded and slightly shabby appearance and most of all for it's message. We have put it at the top of the list to say WELCOME to all of our new followers and readers, thank you for visiting l'uccello.

We loooove vintage haberdashery still wrapped in it's original packaging, and the artwork/fonts that they used for the labels. These are packets of black cotton (it's the ones we use for the Vintage Sewing Collections) are from the 1930/40s, probably surplus from the war when everyone had to have blackout curtains.

Some favourites from our vintage textiles collection, Chinese, Spanish and Thai embroideries.

We are crazy about these colours at the moment, soft antique pinks, peach, ecru and raw linen, beautiful French blues and navy, oyster grey, deep and luxurious burgundy and tarnished golds and warm silver.

Carnations!! They are the official flower of l'uccello, we love their fluffy ruffles and their colours, their stems are such a lovely shade of blue/green/grey. We know a lot of people have bad memories of florists years ago with nothing but carnations with gypsophilia, but it's time to move on.
We love their perfume too, especially Fiori di Capri by Carthusia and Carnation by Comme des Garcons, check out Kleins Perfumery for more info.  

Merry-go-rounds, carousels, such lovely romantic and whimsical imagery, they seem so sweet and melancholy at the same time, especially this empty one, mid winter in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.

This is a 3 in 1 favourite, travelling in general, train travelling in particular and arriving in Venice after a spectacular journey through the snow covered Austrian Alps, magic!