HOT SHOP: Double Merrick

April 26, 2011

In between careful applications of after-sun cream today, I have managed to reach my computer (despite the pain) and have been admiring the gorgeous buys in Merrick Angle’s little online shop, Double Merrick (his daughter Flora came up with the name – announcing that it sounded like her daddy, only better…)

Merrick’s a British illustrator, but now based in a ‘crumbly, vine-covered studio’ near Limoges, in rural France. Lucky him. Each month, he releases limited edition prints and accessories, all oozing quirky charm. They’re rather lovely. The ‘La Mer’ and ‘Le Ciel’ prints above are the latest additions – “Recall a time when travel meant more than low budget airlines and roll-on-roll-off ferries” – and don’t miss his new French sweet wrapper prints

Check out Merrick’s blog for new product releases and to follow his complicated relationship with Norma, “a Lovely Scottish lady”, who watches his blog: “like a Doberman watches a man wearing a ham vest”.

I love Merrick’s 1950s-style classroom wall charts of ‘La Lune’ et ‘Le Soleil’, and the ‘His ‘n’ Hers Meat and Cake’ aprons. If people in your house sneak off when there are chores to be done, drop an oh-so-subtle hint by whipping out (or whipping them with) one of Merrick’s tea towels:

They’ll soon get the message. Elsewhere, Merrick sells cute car bags, ideas notebooks, typewriter prints (swoon) and, my favourite print, ‘Clock in Bin‘.

I can’t wait to see what Merrick comes up with next! – Ellie

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Flea market finds

September 7, 2010

Last weekend my vintage-geek friends and I put on our flattest most comfortable pumps, grabbed our swag bags and hopped on the speedy Eurostar for our annual pilgrimage to Lille in France for La Braderie – the mama of all flea markets. The vintage shopping was better than ever, and we haggled for some brilliant bargains at the stalls…

I loved these vintage milk churns (sadly too heavy and bulky to carry home) and spent a lot of time leafing through old books and magazines. I’ve never seen so many broken but GORGEOUS old alarm clocks – perfect for styling purposes, but purely ornamental!

I couldn’t resist this little bird vase – such pretty colours.

If you have a craving for a vintage tin, there are about six billion to choose from on the cobbled streets!

I had to be dragged away from this very cool vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase complete with lovely luggage labels and stickers. SIGH. At 300 Euros (presumably because it’s a genuine LV) it was a bit out of my price range sadly, but I can always get the look with the Cavallini reproduction luggage sticker set from Papernation!

There was so much beautiful brocante, I thought I would burst with joy!

Needless to say, we sampled the moules frites and vin blanc at lunchtime and watched the piles of shells start to grow…

I picked up a few gems along the way. One of my favourite finds was this huge metre-long 1950s French school biology poster about ‘les insectivores’. I am still trying to explain science-lab-chic to the boyfriend, but I framed this and put it up on the wall last night and he didn’t seem to notice it. So far, so good. It was only four Euros!

I also picked up a massive two metre university biology wall hanging – hand painted and very cool. I thought it was possibly coral. But then I got my dictionary out and found out it’s a bacteria of some sort! It’s going to hang in our dining room eventually:

I love the way it’s been so painstakingly labelled using stencils and ink, then somebody at a later date has just scribbled out one of the words and amended it in marker pen!

I also bought this cute china ‘Confiture’ jar, which I will fill next time I make jam, then give to somebody at Christmas. All in all, I left Lille feeling as though I could quite happily spend a week mooching around, bartering in Fr-anglais, admiring tat. In a day we probably only covered a quarter of the rues we intended to! But we kept getting distracted by vintage treasure! – Ellie

Bethan and I have just got back from a fantastic trip to Lille in France, where we spent many happy hours browsing La Braderie – a massive, annual flea market. We were lucky enough to be practically teleported from London to Lille in just over an hour on the wonderful Eurostar – one minute, we were enjoying breakfast at St Pancras – the next moment we found ourselves standing in Lille town centre, clutching a map and some shopping bags ready for loot.

la braderie1To begin with, I confess, we had a few map issues. Both of us are a bit ‘geographically challenged’, so we spent a while aimlessly wandering through the outskirts of the market, searching in vain for bric-a-brac. This area of the market was NOT very vintage – think pan pipe CDs, dodgy trainers, manky old nail varnishes, racks of velour tracksuits, smelly hot dog vans etc. Finally, we scraped together enough French (ish) to communicate with a local and were soon directed to the heart of the Braderie. We found ourselves surrounded by beautiful Brocante, and realised we were in Flea Market Heaven.

la braderie2We kicked off proceedings in the ancient Citadelle, which was full of vintage books, magazines and postcards. I bought a pretty French novel for styling purposes only (my A-Level French is a dim and distant memory!) and Bethan stocked up on gorgeous postcards covered in elegant handwriting. We spent ages admiring some printers’ blocks and found some wicked old hairdressing chairs.

la braderie3There were so many hundreds of wonderful things, it’s impossible to record, or even remember, them all! There was a lot of taxidermy – interesting, but gross – and we saw lots of lovely rustic wooden wine carriers and old metal watering cans. A gigantic chemist’s chest of drawers caught our eye, and we wished we had a van to transport a lovely cast iron bath back to the UK!

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la braderie6Lunch at La Braderie is a civilised affair – all the restaurants serve moules frites, then collect the shells in massive piles on the pavements and compete to see who has sold the most. We had a delicious meal, a cheeky glass of wine each, admired our purchases, and then headed back into the throng for more bargaining.

la braderie5We each found some real gems. Bethan had her eyes peeled for a vintage, white bird cage – luckily, she struck gold and found the perfect one. I bought a galvanised wire log basket, and a 1930s clock. But the best buys of the day were two funky 1950s French learn-to-spell school tableaus, with retro lettering.

tableau1They were a pair, so we negotiated a deal with the stall holder and bought one each for 10 Euros. Bargainacious. By the time we were back on the luxurious Eurostar, we were completely shattered, but happily laden with vintage treasures. We’re already planning next September’s trip…  – Ellie

Vintage postcards are big news in the design world at the moment. In these days of instant text messages and emails,  postcards ooze nostalgic charm and represent a bygone era when communication took longer and was more thoughtful. There’s something so personal about receiving a carefully-chosen picture with a hand-written ‘wish you were here’ message scrawled on the back. I’m all for speedy texting…but bring back snail mail too, I say!

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I’m a huge fan of Lucie Pritchard’s work and her linen postcard placemats and napkins (available from All Things Original) are so lovely – if you get bored of conversation at the table, you can just read the messages! Cloth Ears sells cute postcard make-up bags in it’s Paper Planes collection, as does Helen Ashworth of Rosie’s Armoire, while Cox & Cox does a fabulous seed tin with a vintage postcard lid, and a framed postcard art display.

image3IMAGE4Check out Lucie Pritchard’s gorgeous black and white postcard cushions – chouette! Postage stamps are cool right now too – I’m loving these funky stamp Britannia cushions from Karen Hilton designs. And, although it’s not strictly speaking a postcard, this brown paper parcel wash bag from Cloth Ears is too cute to miss! I’ve just got back from a very relaxing holiday in the sunny south west of France, where I spent many happy hours browsing ‘Brocante’ shops and hunting for pretty vintage postcards. I found two lovely Eiffel Tower ones (below) and the plan is to get some printable linen fabric sheets from our trusty friends at Crafty Computer Paper, and sew some cushions and bags. I picked up some great tips from Helen Ashworth of Rosie’s Armoire at the Country Living Fair a while ago, so it’s high time I had a go at making some of my own postal-chic accessories! – Ellie

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