Vintage French Soap Labels

Checking Ebay is one of my morning rituals. I keep tabs on the auctions I'm bidding on and see what's new from my favorite sellers. One of whom is paris-zakka. She's the one who had those great buttons I got last month. With free shipping, which was nice since she's in Belgium. (My package did take a few weeks to arrive - you should know that if you decide to bid). This month she has free shipping on vintage French soap labels. Now, I had no idea about these and how very cool they are. I'm afraid they may become a new addiction. Like I need another one. She has about 50 labels listed and the following are my favorites (it was really hard to chose just four).

Most of you may not know that I'm also a graphic designer, so I love things that are beautiful and well-designed. And I'm definitely loving these labels!


Summer Porches

I have such wonderful memories of sitting with my grandmother on her front porch, sipping lemonade and watching the hummingbirds visiting the honeysuckle that grew up the lattice and over the railings.

And I've been fortunate over the years since to have porches on most of the apartments and houses I've rented. They were often small, sometimes tiny, but if they were big enough for a chair and some pots of herbs I was happy.

Part of the reason I decided to buy the house I bought 3 years ago is the screened porch that runs along the back of the house. We added a tile floor which is cool on our feet in the summer and easy to clean. You'll find all of the houseplants there on summer vacation from their usual homes and a comfy hammock that is the perfect place to read and dream on hot afternoons.

My cats love to curl up on the twig bench with the barkcloth pillows I made. It's the perfect vantage point for bird and chipmunk watching, and for sleeping, too.

So, here's to lazy days and hammocks and porches. Happy summer!



With the warm (OK, hot) weather we've been having lately, all the hard work in my garden this spring is really starting to pay off. And to bear fruit, literally. strawberries There's nothing like waiting to pick strawberries until they're perfectly ripe and having the time between picking and eating them be mere minutes. It makes up for the year we had to wait until the plants established themselves. We also have blueberry bushes (which look promising for this year) and fruit trees - apple, cherry, peach, and pear (that need another year or so). Gardening is an exercise in patience. So, what does this have to do with inspiration? Once I started thinking about fruit I realized that I had lots of fruit-related things in my collection of linens and fabrics. I hadn't paid attention but much of what I was buying fit that theme. With the addition of a few coordinating fabrics and some vintage transfer patterns, the idea grew for a fruit collection. And what better time to do it than summer. You may have seen a few fruit items already on my web site. Tomorrow, just in time for the first official day of summer, I'll be adding a small group of fruit pillows. And I'll add more pillows and tea towels as I get them finished.


The Appeal of Aprons

This month Country Living magazine has several articles about aprons. There's also an exhibit traveling the country called "Apron Chronicles: A Patchwork of American Recollections" that showcases 200 vintage aprons along with memories and photos of contributors (see www.apronchronicles.com for more info).

Why are aprons suddenly making a comeback? Maybe it's the nesting trend of recent years. Maybe it's the fact that you can buy them at all the hot stores like Anthropologie and Cath Kidston. Or maybe, to quote one apron designer, it's because they just make sense. "Aprons protect your clothes—and they celebrate the spirit of the women who wear them." That makes sense to me.

There are several great places to buy new vintage-inspired aprons but why buy new when you can still find so many vintage ones in perfect condition. And for comparable prices. Check the Apron category on Ebay. Or visit the Kitchen category on my site where I've just listed five aprons, including the one shown above.

If you're like me you might not want to use a vintage apron for cooking. I'm a bit messy in the kitchen and have an old denim bib apron for that. But they're perfect for display in a vintage or retro kitchen or to wear for entertaining. Or, like some stylish young women are doing, wear them over jeans. As a prized collectible or chic fashion accessory, vintage aprons are small bits of history and symbols of pride in women's handiwork skills. To quote the title of one of the CL articles—"tie one on"!



I know it's spring but it's still so cold here in the mornings that it doesn't feel much like it. Soon I'll be spending more time out in my garden but for now I'm in my studio as much as possible every day. My studio is a spare bedroom converted into a space used exclusively for sewing. I like that I can keep materials that I'm working with out in sight and that I can be as messy as I want to be. A trip to IKEA for new shelves is in the works - the armoire where I keep my fabrics is threatening to overflow very soon. Can't...resist...vintage...fabrics.

I've signed up to be part of the Happily Handmade giveaway for summer. For those of you who don't know what this is you can find more about it at the official website (http://www.happilyhandmadegiveaway.com). Basically you will be able to sign up to win one of many (34 this spring!) gift baskets filled with cool things donated by indie designers. When you sign up for my mailing list (or with anyone else who is part of the group), you'll be entered to win. You get a chance to win free stuff and help support independent craftspeople, I get more subscribers to my list, we who participate get more exposure - everyone is happy! There are pictures of the spring baskets at the website if you'd like a sneak preview of the kinds of things you might win. All I can say is that there are some awesome designers out there!

The winner for the spring giveaway is being chosen today and the new contest starts on June 1. So more details to come. My pillows are too large for the baskets so I'll be donating some smaller items - things I've been planning and working on this winter. I'm going to be a little mysterious about them for now, but hope to post photos soon.

Happy Cinco de Mayo today!



Welcome to the Primrose Design blog! Instead of the News page on my site that you're used to visiting, you'll now be directed to this space instead. And, since it's so much easier to update, perhaps I can do it more often.

You may notice some other changes to my site in the next week or so. Or maybe not. I'm planning some things that will make navigation easier and adding more categories for some new products I plan to offer. But they're subtle changes and, if all goes smoothly, you may not even notice.

Look for updates on a Summer Collection I'm working on. It doesn't have a name yet but will definitely be fruit-related.

One of the features of this blog is that you, the reader, can make comments. So, have questions, criticisms, suggestions? Go ahead and speak up.