Bonjour Printemps

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Louise Tosun | 0 Comments


Hello, lovely lovely spring. We are ready for you.

Even though it is still threatening to snow here in the New York City area, and we had single digit readings this morning, it is undeniably spring. The warm weather has come to Paris and the Ile de France. Here, the pollen count is up, although we can barely fathom that, with the cold and tremendous winds we’ve had – the trees are braver than we. And finally, we have seen the first sprouting of the daffodil bulbs in the garden, although it appears the winter has done in our little hellebore transplants so lovingly dug in last year. We’ll try again.

Here at Parlez-Vous Provence, our alter ego, we are getting ready for the spring too. Like a squirrel catching up its hidden acorns, we’ve been getting out the notes made during the long winter afternoons, on newsletter and blog ideas, recipes to try (Soca, that Provençal street snack, was especially delicious), and products to order. Because the chief executives of PVProvence are very fond of little girls, having raised one to be a strong, beautiful young woman, we couldn’t resist adding classic Provence sundresses to our range of products. Look for them in about a month – they are being sewn now in the Midi. I would have loved to have dressed our daughter in such classic European fashion, but it couldn’t be found easily twenty years ago, so I made a few simple little dresses. Add a hair bow and clean little flowered sneakers or sandals, and she was set to go. As cute as those homemade dresses were, our new French dresses are made of traditional Provence cottons, and styled as only the French can do. We think you’ll love these little dresses, for your own children, grandchildren, or other special little ones in your life.
And because spring is the universal time of renewal, we’ve ordered more organic cotton kimonos in gorgeous patterns. Aren’t we all tired of flannel and quilted robes, or sweats? What woman doesn’t want to feel newly glamorous and chic? Sometimes just slipping on a sensuous robe, of softest cotton, can regenerate every femininity gene quite delightfully. I know I need a little pampering, and that new kimono will be accompanied by a pedicure and bright pink toe nail polish.
A customer yesterday ordered three of our scarves, in anticipation of spring birthdays soon to come. Another snapped up our vintage French copper planter, which will surely be graced with herbs or tumbling flowers. So we know the rumbles of spring awakenings are out there, soon to become a roar.
Are you coaxing spring along in your own house? Perhaps you are getting ready for Passover or Easter, refreshing your vintage linens (one of my friends did that this past weekend) or planting some brave and hardy pansies around your house. My geraniums, having spent the winter in a sunny window, are stretching their leaves out toward the sun. We’ll put them out with a little night cover after our last frost date. However you are celebrating the arrival of spring, we cheer you on in your endeavors. Read some more about French springtime customs here, and a favorite Madeleines recipe guaranteed to bake with the classic “hump” that distinguishes the real thing from pale impostors.

À la prochaine,

Louise at Parlez-Vous Provence

Posted in France, French Decor, Paris, Parlez-Vous Provence, Recipes

Vert-dant, or Going Green French Style

Posted on January 03, 2014 by Louise Tosun | 0 Comments

It is quite fashionable, and indeed, commendable, to go "green" these days. What we often forget is that due to poverty, modest circumstance and resources, and fewer time saving devices, many practices from the "olden days" were green as well as gracious.

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Posted in France, French Decor, Going Green, Paris, Parlez-Vous Provence

The Versatility of Fabric

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Louise Tosun | 0 Comments

We are selling yardage of some of our lovely prints. This organic cotton voile was block printed in India from organic cotton, is light as a feather and is color fast - we've tested it in our own home, and unlike many Indian cottons, the colors do not run.

This fabric is 43-44 inches wide and is just lovely quality. It's so soft, it almost feels like silk. Since our dear daughter is moving to France for a year, I have made pillow cases and a pieced sheet from one pattern, as the cotton is so smooth and soft.  We've made the sheet extra long and added closures to the pillow cases.  As she has to furnish her French apartment from the USA and IKEA France, with very modest funds, she's bought a bed, a simple futon, and a table and chairs.  The sheet can serve as just that - or, as a throw for the futon, with the pillows/cushions.  Folded, it can be a pretty tablecloth.   If she gets tired of that, she can make a beautiful, easy swag - but we have to give credit to the Swedish for this, not the French:

Hem the short ends, put up two nails or hooks (or whatever your landlady will permit), gather a rosette with an elastic, hook it up on the nail and do the other end. When the elastic breaks, it's time to wash the fabric, or so say the Swedes. This system has worked really well in my house, and you don't even need to hem the short ends if you don't want to.  Trim with pinking shears and leave it!


So let's see - one piece of fabric - sheet, couch cover, swag, bed cover, tablecloth.  That's a lot of uses, and however it's used, that pop of color will be cheerful and pretty. What's not to love?

Don't be afraid to find your own great fabric (it needn't be ours), and have fun with it.  Your house doesn't have to look like a designer did it! A little whimsy can be the ultimate style.   If you have a piece of fabric you adore, drape it over the sofa for some color.  Wrap some of your old cushions in it and secure in the back with safety pins, if a sewing machine isn't available to you.  Make a no sew swag in an unexpected place like your powder room or laundry room.  Fold it and place it on a side table for seasonal color.  Use it as a tablecloth, adding a coordinating color underneath  if it's not quite large enough.  Fold it and place it at the end of your bed.  Don't fuss that it's not "really" a tablecloth, or cover, or cushion - it's what you make it to be! 

Whatever you do, have fun with this gorgeous material or any other that you love.  That's what we do at Parlez-Vous Provence!

Posted in Decor, Fabric, French Decor, Style