The Life & Times of a Beloved Doll


.Waldorf Doll Handwork Homeschool


In a small village in the north of France (not far from the ocean),
lives a little girl in a big buttercream house.
She has blue eyes, pink cheeks & long blonde braids.

Every day she dances & sings as she plays happily in the garden.
When it is cold or wet, she stays indoors by the fire reading
her books or playing with her dolls.


Handwork Homeschool how to make a waldorf doll


I am one of her dolls.

My name is Miss Arabella Doll.

I came to live with her on her 5th birthday
& I love her as much as she loves me.


Handwork Homeschool Making a Waldorf Doll


Often, she holds me tight & tells me her dreams.

She hopes to be a princess one day.


making a waldorf doll Handwork Homeschool


Sometimes, she dresses me up warmly
& takes me for a walk to “get some air”.

My little girl likes to design special outfits for me like scarves & skirts.
She’s hoping to learn more about sewing so that she can
create a wonderful dress like the one Cinderella wears to the ball.


Handwork Homeschool Making a Waldorf Doll


Her Mama makes me clothes, too.
She knits me sweaters & hats.
My wardrobe is getting bigger all the time!
My girl changes my clothes almost as often as she changes her own.

Once in a while,
she pretends to give me a bath
(luckily, she’s never really put me in the water
because I don’t think I’d like that)
& she usually remembers to put me to bed.


Making a Waldorf Doll Handwork Homeschool


Not too long ago, my girl’s Mama decided to bring another doll into our family.

Her name is Miss Brighit Doll.

She looks a bit like me but has long, bright hair
that reaches all the way to her feet!
My little girl says that it is red because she is Irish.
We both think it is very pretty
& fun to make into different hairstyles.

Her eyes are sea blue almost turquoise.

Her favourite thing to do is sit by the fire & fingerknit.


Making a Waldorf Doll Handwork Homeschool


We’ve become the best of friends & like to have elegant tea parties.
Sometimes, we get to eat at the breakfast table with everybody else.
We even visited Paris with our little girl & her family!

Dolls like us have been made by Mama’s for
their children for years & years!

Long before there were toy stores, many children had a
special doll to love & care for.
Mama’s understood that looking after us taught
their children how to love & care for others.

We hope more Mama’s & other special people who love children,
will make more & more dolls.

Every child needs a doll – made with love in every stitch.


Making a Waldorf Doll Handwork Homeschool


Would you like to make a
beautiful doll for your little one(s)?

YOU can make a doll like this (it is easier than you think!)

So many mothers dream of  creating a beautiful heirloom doll for their child & yet, don’t.   Everybody has their own reasons why they haven’t done it yet, but the two I hear the most are –

“I bought a doll kit with some instructions but they aren’t clear enough”
” I don’t know how to sew well enough”.

I’d love it if every one who has ever wanted to make a doll like this could do it.

That’s why I created The Doll Lessons.  

In these simple lessons you’ll :

  • see exactly how to make your doll ( with super-detailed videos),
  • use simple patterns to cut & sew (print them & start right away)
  • have a complete list of tools & materials you’ll need (it’s only a few)
  • &  get answers to any questions that may pop into your head along the way.

The Doll Lessons - Making Dolls to Love - Handwork Homeschool


Since, it’s that wonderful time of year when
creativity seems to swirl all around –
I’ve wrapped up a

Special Holiday Package !


(The Super Special Price  EXPIRES on Tuesday, November 24 )
so pop over HERE to see what it’s all about.



This is what you’ll get :

The DOLL Lessons

all 7 of them, complete with videos & patterns & virtual hand-holding !


” To Have & To Hold “

Why Children Need Dolls

a 40-minute video workshop
– filled with my usual amount of amazing images & great in

Click HERE to see a short sample of the workshop
(only 4 mins )

SCROLL down to watch.

PLUS – Lifetime Access !

watch, listen, replay as often as you like – you’ll want to make more than one doll!


click HERE


You can start making your dream doll
as soon as you’re enrolled !


I adore the holiday season & that’s why I’ve put together this special package for you .  Check out everything that’s included HERE, you’ll be pleasantly pleased!


Bises !!



Handwork Homeschool Making Waldorf Dolls


Knit Front & Back Increase :: A 5-Minute Handwork Homeschool Lesson


In this
5-Minute Handwork Homeschool Lesson,
you’ll learn how to do the

Knit Front & Back Increase.


If your child is just learning to knit (or you are), I highly recommend this technique.

Learning to make increases in a knit project opens up a whole new world for beginner knitters.

There are dozens of increases out there but I think this one is a basic everyone should start with – mainly because it is easy to remember, doesn’t leave a big hole & it’s simple to deal with when you come to the point where you increased during the return row.


A fun way to play with this increase is simply to cast on some stitches & decide to make an increase on one or both sides of the piece every few rows.  Soon the piece will start changing shape.  If you increase on both sides you’ll end up with a trapezoid.  You could use it to make a small doll cape or knit several pieces in different colours & make your own colour wheel!


This one took me years to learn but I’m going to tell you now & save you a few decades of frustration.

Try to remember to make your increases on the
2nd or 3rd stitch from the edges of your work on both sides *
(even if your pattern doesn’t say this, be a rebel & do it!)

*There are extremely rare circumstances when you MUST increase on the very edge but they are few & far between.

WHY move your increases in away from the edges?

Well first of all,

you won’t have a jaggy, bumpy edge which doesn’t look so good

& second of all,

if you’re planning to sew the piece to something else, you’ll have a smooth edge to work with, which will make your life MUCH easier!.

If you liked this lesson – there are other 5-Minute Handwork Homeschool Lessons which you can take right HERE.

It amazing how much you can learn in just a few minutes.

Looking for ways to kick-start your creativity?  

Click HERE for FREE Projects & more !


Happy Knitting !





P.S.  For MORE 5-Minute Handwork Homeschool Lessons
– click HERE

Know anyone who’d like to learn a quick & easy way to Increase?  Forward this email !!

Posted in 5-Minute Handwork Homeschool Lesson, ADULT, GRADE EIGHT, GRADE FIVE, GRADE FOUR, GRADE ONE, GRADE SEVEN, GRADE SIX, GRADE THREE, GRADE TWO, HANDS, HOW - TO, KNIT | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love or Fear ? Who’s running YOUR homeschool?



Have you ever had the feeling that someone disapproves of how you run your homeschool?

Or perhaps, you KNOW they disapprove?

Do you have a persistent little, trembling voice who whispers when you get up in the morning or late, late at night :

“Am I doing this right?  Will they turn out OK?”

And yet, you keep soldiering on, being a good girl & doing the things you’re “supposed” to do to teach your children.  The wild thing is you’re actually more than half-afraid that someone will point at you &/or your kids & say,

“HA –
I TOLD you this crazy homeschooling stuff wouldn’t work!”

No homeschooler is completely immune to these thoughts & concerns.  I’m sure not!

Lately (OK, actually during the last 3 years or so….), I’ve been doing a lot of research & contemplating what makes a great homeschool .  Mostly to ward off those little voices & because I really wanted to come to the point when I finally knew why I’m doing all this.

The BIG Question …

How can I make the time I spend with my children special, enjoyable & ultimately productive?

After all,

I chose to homeschool them because I believe that I can offer things school can’t – particularly one-to-one tutoring & developmentally appropriate activities that engage their heads, hearts AND hands.

And the answer is – complete customization.

At the beginning, I thought that homeschooling was as simple as buying a commercial curriculum, picking a start date, plopping them down & running through the pre-made lessons.  I even had visions of speeding things up a bit so people (who ?) would be really impressed with how quickly my kids were learning.

Well, I was wrong about almost everything.

The thing that still freaks me out is that it took me so long to realize that I was faking it – I would do a lesson from the book, skip a few, do the next one that looked interesting & so on.

You could say that I had the sneaking suspicion that I was doing “homeschool” wrong because I wasn’t spoon-feeding my kids the pre-cut morsels of info that came in that spiral bound “curriculum”.  Even so,  I kept it up for a while.   Until one day, I just couldn’t bring myself to go near that life-less book.  It felt like kryptonite whenever I picked it up – my strength seemed to drain right out of me.

The DREADED Curriculum

When I realized how much I DREADED looking at that less-than-stellar curriculum, I summoned my courage & threw it in a drawer (literally) & started pulling our lessons together my own way.

I figured that NO ONE knows my children better than I do.

Plus, I also got so tired of the constant complaints from my “students” – this is boring, this is dumb, I don’t want to do this…!

It was easy to tell myself, in my best teacher tone,

“that is just what every child says when they want to get out of doing something. “

Yes, it is.

But, I LOVED learning in school – despite the dismal readers, demeaningly-childish classrooms & the constant need to “…wait until the others are finished” before I could go on to a new task.

My fondest wish

was that my children would feel the same way I do about learning – excited, driven to know more & filled with ideas of what to do with what I’ve discovered.


Princesses Arabella (s) Dress Up Handwork Homeschool


The Mysterious Missing Children…

This was NOT what was happening – there were times when they HID from me rather than begin daily lessons.  I was barking up the wrong proverbial tree & there was no one to call me off.

It was damn scary to step away from the boxed-curriculum (particularly in light of how much it cost). There was also the terrifying fact that I had to face the ever-looming inspection – when the state inspectors would come to my home to decide whether or not I had taught my children “sufficiently” during the year.

( You know how everyone says there aren’t any homeschool police ?  Might I point out that “homeschool inspector” is just a polite way of saying the same thing? Despite how pleasant they are, in the end checking up on me is their job. In the early days, I used to have nightmares about them…but things are so much better now!)


The Baby Steps…

There was a brief period of work-sheets (I’m not proud to admit) then came the clinging to every subtle Waldorf-based nuance* I could find.

Finally, it became clear to me that I could teach my children not just well but exceptionally well, when I stepped back, looked at them – I mean really OBSERVED them – and started from where they were & noticed what truly held their interest.

What they LOVED.

Andrew & his chicken love at first sight - Handwork Homeschool


The LOVE Affair Begins…

Before, I jettisoned all caution to the wind I knew I had to be sure what I was planning would be better than the old way.  I’d been reading a lot about how doing what you love is how to be happy & successful.

So, I turned to what I LOVE when trying to decide what to wrap our lessons around.  I figured, if I’m engrossed in learning & doing, my energy will emanate towards my children & just sort of wash over them.

In case you’re wondering (but since you’re here- you probably have a pretty good idea what it was!) – the “core” of our new homeschool curriculum is Handwork.

As you can imagine, I didn’t jump lightly into this new radical idea –

– I’ve taken reams of notes, highlighted stacks of books & spent hours vetting this thought & that.

(Side note – it’s amazing how much more fulfilling it feels spending an evening pinning down new ways to teach my kids rather than pinning other people’s creations on virtual boards.  Don’t get me wrong, I love pinterest too, but sometimes it can feel so overwhelming… end of side note.)

So, you’re thinking – “Wait – did she say she’s building a curriculum around Handwork ?  In this modern, digital age?  How’s THAT going to work ?”

Yes, an explanation is in order.

The old definition I set for handwork used to be rather strict.  I had basically lifted it from my early readings of Steiner’s work. He classified it like this :

handwork is fibre based

Now, I adore fibre more than your average person but I knew I wanted to find a way to include many natural materials like paper, wood, clay, metal, wax & stone into my kid’s lessons & feel good about doing it.

My NEW Handwork definition  :

Handwork means
using your hands to transform
a creative idea into something beautiful & useful.


In the new & improved version of our homeschool
– we spend way more time doing stuff.

This means lots of handwork, many freeform & directed art projects, tons of time outside, more cooking & baking as well as making sure everybody pitches in to help run our household.  After all, we all live here.

Andrew chopping wood Handwork Homeschool


These days, I spend a slightly longer time on our lessons – I always take the time to read TO them & make sure I work with each child before assigning homework (or as we call it INDEPENDENT work – like how I made it sound important, eh ?) .

And, this is crucial :

I make sure I step aside & leave them to their own devices  for large stretches of time every day. This gives them time to integrate what they’ve learned, mull things over in their heads & quite often, act out new stories or ideas in free play.  (In case you’re wondering – yes, I’m still around but I’m no helicopter parent.)

Now, when someone asks what it’s like to homeschool, I can confidently say – we love it.

Not that every day runs like clock-work, my kids don’t always rush to my side when I call for lessons but I don’t have to search for them any more either.

We still have those times when they aren’t totally engrossed in something but now that they know most of what we do together is interesting, they are better able to work through the not-so-thrilling bits in anticipation of the next part that will really grab their attention.

We still do times tables, grammar, writing practice & spelling since I still have to make sure I have everything I need lined up before our inspection but we also spend WAY more time outside, with far more focus on doing things that appeal to them which at the moment includes:


Costume Design Princesses Handwork Homeschool


designing clothing for princesses, reading all manner of books, drawing mandalas, taking care of (& kissing) chickens, riding bikes, skipping, knitting – generally creating the ideas that are in our heads.

I do it all too (except for the biking & chicken bits).

Throwing off the shackles of a boxed-curriculum?

What made me finally do it ?

Because I decided to take a stand for my children & stop worrying about negative things that “might” happen.

What’s the point in wasting my energy there?

I’m running this show & if anyone has
any problems with how it’s done they can come to me. 

I’ll have quite a few things to say about why I do what I do ….

Our homeschool has gone from a necessary thing that needed to be inserted into our days to a central part of a fulfilling, family lifestyle.

Apple Blossoms Handwork Homeschool France


Yours can too.

It just takes the guts to turn your back on those dark, tightly gripping fears & let the wonderful warm glow of love shine in your home.  (Yes, I know that sounds a bit fluffy, but it’s TRUE!)

If you want to raise well-rounded, intelligent children who will go far in this world, in whatever direction they choose –

focus on what they love & you love & the rest will seem to magically fall into place.
(It doesn’t have to be handwork it could be nature or travel or anything else that beckons.)

Stand up for what is IMPORTANT to your family & step away from things you dread

It will change everything.

Happy Making (& Learning)


(* What we do in our homeschool is still well-steeped in the beauty of Steiner’s method, it’s just I’m brave enough now to read his indications & take what works for us & leave the rest – without feeling guilty!!)

PS – If you’re like me & understand the immense value of teaching your children to be creative & work with their hands – click HERE for some FREE projects to jump-start your own ideas.

PPS – Questions ?  Post a comment below or email me HERE , I’d love to hear from you!


Elizabeth des Roches is a Hands-On Curriculum Designer who teaches forward thinking homeschoolers (& other enlightened educators) how to create artistic & attention-grabbing experiential lessons, help their children love learning & happily explore their world together.

Since creating Handwork Homeschool, a one-of-a-kind virtual school in 2012, (shortly after spiriting her family away from the big city to live in a beautiful old house in a small village in France), she’s shared her expertise around the world via her visual-feast-of-a-blog, many trainings & signature course : The MAKING Lessons.


Posted in ADULT, HOMESCHOOL PLANNING, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Squirrels, Bears & Mice – It Must be Fall ! New Autumn Book List – Handwork Homeschool

One of the reasons we chose to live in northern France was that we knew we’d
be able to experience the cycling seasons here.

They may not have such high contrasts as we Canadians are used to but we do notice the scent in the air when it changes –
there’s always a morning when you open the shutters & something smells… different…

Child of Faerie Handwork Homeschool

That moment came a few days ago & it reminded me that I had some new Autumn books to share with you.  Of course, the red, yellow, orange & vermilion trees by the lake help put me in the right frame of mind as well!

So now that the chestnuts are falling & the leaves are swirling – here a few stories that you might like to share with your babes.

Child of Faerie Handwork Homeschool

Child of Faerie, Child of Earth is a beautiful book in every way – the images, the storyline & the writing (it’s written as a long poem).  It is about a Faerie boy who meets a Earth girl on All Hallows Eve.

Child of Faerie Child of Earth Handwork Homeschool


My edition is a Winterthur Special Edition maybe that’s why it has 2 covers, the boy on the front & the girl on the back.  Since I have to buy most of my books, sight-unseen, online, I was delighted when this one arrived & so were my kids!

The note at the beginning from the author, Jane Yolen, pretty much sums it all up…

“I simply fell into the opening verse of this book.  It leaked onto the keyboard from my fingertips…and then Jane Dyer took my words & made them magic with her paintings.”

If you’re looking for a Fall/ Hallowe’en book that celebrates this time of year without being scary or all about candy – this would be a good choice!

Fall Autumn Book List Handwork Homeschool


You can see that I have quite a collection going – that’s what happens when you add a few here & there over the years !  As my children get older, I find it more & more challenging to find books that speak to their changing interests & comprehension levels.

When my son was first learning to read, he really enjoyed this book & despite its simple text, he didn’t think it was too babyish (whew…)!  It also fit well into the autumn theme – good & good !


Bears on Hemlock Mountain Handwork Homeschool


My daughter, who is younger, is still fascinated by stories with lots of detailed images, I suspect that she will continue to love beautiful things her whole life & am glad of it!


Town Mouse Country Mouse Jan Brett Handwork Homeschool.

If you’ve looked at my other book lists, you’ve probably noticed I have a thing for
Jan Brett… & this book is no exception.  As usual, her images are delicious, her story reads beautifully & even though we have several versions of this classic story, my children are absorbed by the pictures in this one – every time.

( Of course, the fact that Ms Brett includes so many textile pieces in her books makes me reach for them with anticipation, too!)


Town Mouse Country Mouse Jan Brett Handwork Homeschool


Do you ever have those moments when you think of a book you adored when you were little & decide to find it – just to see if your memory of it is as good as the real thing?

I do, all the time!! This book proved to be as lovely as I remembered & yet another reminder that my early reading experiences obviously shaped my interests
then & even now.

The Sleepy Visitors Handwork Homeschool


Umm, so one of my earliest books included a Mama knitting & a Dada working with wood making gifts..?  Sort of sends chills down my back when I think of what our house is like around Christmas!  Talk about long lasting impressions…

This book was on my bookcase when I was less than 6 years old (well, not this EXACT book but this story).  The other image I could still conjure up in my mind’s eye was this one – how often did I imagine making bedding for those little beds & tucking some cute little wild forest animals into them?

The party scene was pretty yummy, too.

The Sleepy Visitors Handwork Homeschool Fall Books.
The list goes on so I’m going to show you the others in a gallery – as usual – just click to enter it!

Want to bring a forest animal to life for your kids?

Knit this adorable little hedgehog –  click HEDGIE below for the pattern.

little hedgehog pattern - Handwork Homeschool


So, there you have my latest instalment – to see even MORE fun Fall Books
– go to my first list HERE.

Woody Hazel & little Pip Handwork Homeschool.

If you’d like to get the other book lists I post (Christmas is coming) as well as FREEBIES that I create just for my Handwork Homeschool community
– click the LETTERS.

Get great stuff from Handwork Homeschool


Come on in – I have some great surprises planned for the next few weeks!

Wishing you a calm, creative & connected week !






{How-To} Fleece Transparency – Painting with Wool & Light !

Do you remember the first time you saw coloured fleece ?

What IS that ?  Then you reached out & stroked it (everybody does)…

You wondered, “what do I do with it”?  The answer to that question depends on where you were when you discovered this natural wonder

Fleece Transparency How To = Handwork Homeschool

If you were with spinners, they told you to spin it, felters would say it’s for felting & little children say it’s for amazing, cuddly playing !

No matter where you were or who you were with then, if you love colour & texture, this simple & beautiful project is for you, now!

What is a Fleece Transparency —  it’s fluffy, vibrant yumminess, if you ask me!
It’s like painting without paints – & the best part?

Anyone can do it !

{Get your FULL Fleece Transparency Tutorial at the end of this post!}

(A word to the wise…) Before, I go much further I’ve got to explain what fleece really means.  Somewhere over the years, people have started referring to almost any un-spun fibre as fleece.  Actually, it refers to the hair of a fibre-bearing animal, such as an alpaca, yak, camel, mohair goat & of course, sheep – in its unprocessed, fresh from the animal state !

So, whatever you want to call it – it looks like this  once it’s been tidied up a little & is available in natural (animal) colours & in many dyed hues as well.  Sometimes, you may find it loose & others it’s wound up loosely into a ball or even braided.  As long as you can pull the strands apart, you can use it for this project!

Unspun wool fleece Handwork Homeschool


To celebrate the coming of fall, my children & I each made a Transparency .  To get into the mood, we read our favourite fall book, * Wild Child.  I had already gathered the supplies we needed & we got started by cutting & painting our frames right away.

The next day, once they’d completely dried – I re-read the story.  Afterwards, we began our Transparencies.


Fleece Transparency - How To Handwork Homeschool


There was much discussion about who wanted what colour & lots of experimentation with layering the fleeces & holding them up to the light to see what colours we could make.

As we worked, we tried to combine our autumnal feelings  we had from being out & about with those we felt while reading the book (the pictures are VERY unusual & exciting).

Here’s what we came up with…

this is my son’s transparency –

(btw -we didn’t work with the book open – I took our pieces once they were finished & found pages in the book that had a similar feeling to our finished pieces – amazing, eh?)

.Fleece Transparency - how to - Handwork Homeschool


and my daughter’s – she wanted to depict a person as well as her feelings –


Fleece Transparency How To Handwork Homeschool


and mine.


Fleece Transparency - how to Handwork Homeschool


As you can see, we each drew completely different inspirations (colours, shapes, feelings) from the same book!

We decided to stick our transparencies on the kitchen windows,
so we could watch the light come through them but you could also make them into greeting cards, prop them up on your nature table or sandwich them between 2 pieces of glass in a clip-frame to make them more permanent.  (They will fade in the light if they’re left for too long, especially if you use plant-dyed fibres.)

What did my children learn from this project ?  Lots!

  • how to measure & draw a rectangle within a rectangle (to create the frame)
  • how to follow a line neatly while cutting through thick cardboard
  • patience while waiting for the frames to dry
  • they practiced basic colour theory – mixing hues to create new colours
  • basic spinning techniques (manipulating unspun fibres)
  • pre-planning their designs in their heads before they began their projects
  • considering various sources of inspiration ( & choosing what spoke to them)
  • & the wonderful feeling of satisfaction upon viewing their completed projects!

If you’d like full instructions so you can try making a Fleece Transparency  with your own children , click the letters below!

 You’ll get access to  the info you need as well as ALL of the other fab Handwork Treats!


Handwork Treats - Handwork Homeschool


**  If you are already have your password, just click HERE & enter it now.

Happy Making !



A Fleece Transparency  (or 2) would look really great on your NATURE Table
if you’d like to add a swish to your fall table & get your kids really engaged with it –


Autumn Nature Table - Handwork Homeschool

elizabeth des roches Handwork Homeschool Bio


Handwork Heroines ~ Meet Mine

Recently, I was reading an article in which a maker was asked, “Who inspires you?”.

It seems like a simple little question – but it kept rolling around in my head – so I started making a NEW list for myself.

. Continue reading

Posted in ADULT, DYEING, HANDS, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Quintessential French Outdoor Shopping Experience …!!

Most of our village has already been marked off into hundreds of chalk rectangles.  The road barricades are standing at the ready (we’ve had some in front of our house since Wednesday) & the campers, vans & trucks are starting to slip in quietly hoping to get a good parking spot .  Oui !!  Tomorrow is the day of our annual Vide Grenier!

Vide Grenier - a vintage hound's delight!

Conveniently, vide grenier (which roughly translates as “empty attic”) rhymes with YAY!

That’s how I feel every year.  All I have to do is walk out my front door into a
second-hand, vintage-y, antique lovers’ extravaganza!

This will be my 6th time exploring the bins, buckets, tables & boxes but this ginormous event has been happening every single September since 1992.

It’s a cross between a treasure hunt & obstacle course (mustn’t trip over the old tools strewn across the alleys or knock over the pile of antique frames which teeters precariously on the edge of the wall along the river…).


Jugon les Lacs 5 AM on the morning of the Vide Grenier


We’re not the only ones who look forward to the excitement.  You know how kids are always trying to wake up in time to see Santa?  Seems, I had something similar going on when I took this picture last year.

It’s a bit dark (since it WAS 5 AM when I looked out the bedroom window to see what was going on) – if you look very carefully, you might just be able to see the first eager beavers arriving.

Oh, I guess I should say “ragondins” because there are NO beavers here… but close enough.  Suffice it to say, this is THE BIG ONE in our part of France.

Last year, I began a family tradition of saying what we’d each LOVE to find  –

THE 2014 Wish List –

My 10-year-old son – tools, tools & more tools
My 6 year-old daughter  – knitting things & doll clothes
My husband – tools, tools & more tools (& some good sausage)

Me – anything related to historic costume (18th & 19th century would be good),
delicious textile-y things (might have to add MORE lace to my stash) & of course,
more books for our homeschool!


here’s what we came up with last year… (click on the pics to see details!)

Arabella found –

Dressing Table or Craft Table Handwork Homeschool

A darling little dressing table (only needs a paint touch up & new crystal knobs)

18th century children small box Handwork Homeschool Doll

A small pill-box which she uses to pack her doll’s accessories in when she “travels”

Doll Furniture Antique Handwork Homeschool

This teeny dining set which was set out on a piece of cardboard in someone’s driveway.

Flower Fairy Alphabet Vintage Handwork Homeschool

A very early copy of a delightful book (yes, in English!)

My husband & Andrew spotted –

Vintage wood Plane Handwork Homeschool

This antique wood plane – they circled & re-visited it & another one just a bit bigger, all day. Finally, at the end of the day, the seller made his sale.

My 2 boys, are VERY selective so this was all they bought !

And, I discovered a few unexpectedly, great homeschool resources –

Cat in the Hat French English Dictionary Handwork Homeschool

An amazing French-English dictionary from Dr. Seuss  – the kids just sit & read it!

Roman Army Handwork Homeschool

A very interesting book I’ll be using for Grade 6 – never too early to stash things away!

Best Ever book of Castles Handwork Homeschool

This wonderful “best-ever” book of castles which will be great for Grade 6 as well.

I’m always amazed when I find English books tucked away & buried during these sales, but they’re there & I’m pretty much the only one looking for them !

As well as some inspiring things for me !

marie claire idees vintage issues Handwork Homeschool

Old as the hills, but these Marie Claire Idees magazines are always a good bet.  I paid as much for this entire stack as I used to pay for a single issue in Canada!

Jugon Costume Postcard Handwork Homeschool

I ADORE this postcard!  Until a few decades ago, every single town in France had a different “costume” & they were so proud of it, they made postcards to share it with others.  I have been searching for an image of a lovely “Jugonnaise” since I arrived here, 5 years ago ! (Note they did not wear any visible colour – black & white – even for the young women.)

I was trawling the postcard boxes (as I am also always on the lookout for more images of our house) & there she was.  I think the vendor was a bit upset that he hadn’t realized that it was there because he said it was very RARE (but that wasn’t until after he’d told me how much it was…) HA HA!  Too late my friend!

antique bone & mother of pearl buttons Handwork Homeschool

To add to the ever-growing button stash – a few bone buttons on their original cards & a nice collection of mother-of-pearls.  There’s a project in the offing, but you’ll have to wait a bit to see it.

French bobbin lacemaker antique postcard Handwork Homeschool

This dentellière ( lace maker) postcard from Le Puy was another great textile-related find.

According to legend, bobbin lace was created in 1407 in Le Puy en Velay (about 7 hours south-east of here) by a young woman named, Isabelle Mamour.  I discovered that they have an entire Bobbin Lace Learning Centre there.

(Note: I once took a week-long bobbin lace class, it is DIFFICULT but very beautiful.  The piece she has on her pillow would take me about 2 months of daily work to finish…)

The things you can learn because of a small postcard!

Elizabeth I Print Handwork Homeschool

You probably recognize this young woman, perhaps the orb & sceptre give her away?

Yes, my namesake, Elizabeth I.  This print (or etching?) was part of a set, but I sweet-talked her away from the vendor all by herself because she was the only one I really wanted!  (Oddly, she is just stuck to the back of a piece of glass by something that looks a bit like tortoiseshell wallpaper…).

I love how the artist (from the 20’s) gave her a flapper-air & made her so imposing & yet feminine at the same time!  She lives on my desk, behind my computer & is one of my muses.


Hand Carved Wooden Frame Handwork Homeschool

And the final piece of the day (for one must ALWAYS go back out for a last turn round the stalls in case something good has surfaced…. I discovered this hand-carved wooden frame.  Can you imagine anything more 18th century inspired?

It would have been amazing if it was really from then but, hey, 19th century is almost as good.  I have great plans for this & it’s in the “to make” queue, too.

You may be wondering what we’re hoping for this year?

THE 2015 Wish List –

My 11-year-old son – an egg basket to collect eggs from his new chickens
My 7 year-old daughter  -doll clothes, ballet inspired anything, glitzy jewellery
My husband – tools, tools & more tools (as usual & perhaps some tree climbing stuff)

Me  – well, that stays pretty much the same each time:

anything related to historic costume (18th & 19th century would be good),
delicious textile-y things (hoping for some toile de jouy or beautiful old satin bits)
& of course, more books for our homeschool!

Wish us good searching & happy finds!






PS  Here are a few more things we’ve found at previous Vide Greniers!

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