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In the Studio

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

One of my favourite moments from yesterdays visit to Arles…. visiting the atelier and boutique of my friend, the wonderful textile artist, Christine Millerin

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

Christine works with antique textiles to create beautiful jewellery, gifts and housewares.

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

Colour, intricate hand stitching and craftmanship in every corner

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

We interrupted Christine as she was creating a new piece using these wonderful vintage and recuperated beads on linen

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

 One of Christines mixed media and antique textile creations

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

Visit Christine Millerin in Arles or discover more of her work on her website

Christine Millerin
7, rue de la liberté, 13200 Arles
06 70 76 80 16

The French Muse, Christine Millerin, Arles

My gift to you, free downloadable wallpapers

So to celebrate the launch of The French Muse I wanted to give you a little gift – to transform your desktop (computer and phone) with one of my antique notion montages.

desktop wallpaper 1024x768

There are two different sizes of desktop wallpaper

  • If you would like to download the 1024 x 768 version click here
  • or if you would prefer to download the 1280×1024 version click here

I also had lots of fun creating two smaller more mobile friendly versions

Option 1 – click here to download

mobile 320 x 480 option 3

Option 2 – click here to download

mobile wallpaper option 1


Le ‘small print’: These are strictly for personal use and the photograph copyright and credit is Ruth Ribeaucourt, The French Muse 2015. Please do not share without checking with me first s’il vous plait.



Bonne Annee 2015 – wishing you everything

Meillure Voeux 2015 Happy New Year

I just wanted to reach out and wish you all a happy happy new year.

I hope it is filled with …


….happiness, may you be surrounded by loving friends and family


…laughter – the kind where you have tears running down your face and your cheeks ache from smiling!


…adventures – go skinny dipping & get up early and climb that mountain to watch the sunrise


…creativity – let 2015 be the end of procrastination and the year you take out those beads you’ve been hoarding, or that yardage of fabric you bought but never cut into.

Have faith, let go, let’s do it, let’s make it, let’s make it happen – allons y!


….and friendship – thank you to all the new friends who have encouraged me here

To those who have taken time out to talk to me and let me explore their creative worlds

To my cheerleaders around the world – those wonderful people who post comments here and email me loving notes of support

And to my dearest and nearest – thanks for being by my side – let’s make this year a good one!

P1240528So as I mentioned yesterday that last week I put down the camera (for a few hours) and took out my jewellery supplies and started making. I had discovered a stack of antique lace appliques still intact on their handsewn starched netting. They held so many possibilities, delicate and the perfect size for earrings or pendants. I couldn’t wait to make something with these but as I had boxes of ribbons to document, these beauties have been biding their time since August.

P1240453So I wanted to share a few of the first creations incorporating this antique lace, some beautiful old mother of pearl buttons, jet beads and sequins.

P1240214Setting earrings up, layering buttons and passementerie trims

P1240215Can’t wait to bring this necklace together. Antique black lace appliques layered on top of each other and I’ve cut up (sacre bleu) an antique lace collar to frame the appliques.

P1240216Playing around with texture and components to get the right effectP1240483I love how the pink in the shell of the mother of pearl is picked up by the delicate rose gold miyuki beads

P1240502Here I’ve combined some beautiful 1800s cut jet beads with metallic blue 1920s sequins and antique nailheads



Winter montage, Gold, silver & blue



After the last few fervorous months of launching Exquisite Threads, taking out ribbons, choosing which to part with (and which to keep) and photographing the final choices, I realised I hadn’t made anything in way too long. So I took out my beads and my boxes of forgotten notions which had been secreted away for a necklace or bracelet project since September. It has felt so good to be creating again, bringing treasures together to make something new and altogether different.  I discovered some antique lace appliques (still sewn onto the original netting) which I’ve been transforming into earrings combined with antique mother of pearl buttons – I’ll share the photographs with you later this week.

In making, I get to rediscover all of my hoarded treasures anew and in the process of taking everything out I felt a montage coming together which I wanted to share with you.

P1220828I didn’t have a colour scheme in mind but just some of my favourite antique finds, some I’ve had forever and some new additions.

P1220822Without realising it, the blues and metallics came together, echoing the winter landscape of the Luberon. Misty mornings, sun breaking through rain clouds and golden leaves on cherry trees in the valley between Bonnieux and Lacoste.

P1220823Real gold and silver woven ribbon fabric, morsels of beautiful scalloped gold metal trim, and my grandfathers handwritten script notes on the weight of the gold, the reference number and dates.


The wonderful antique gold star was lovingly wrapped and sent off to a kindred spirit, ribbon fiend in Derry in Northern Ireland.

P1220831This metal plate is an embroidery plate which I found in a textile flea market in Puyvert, I love the script and the name ‘Fannelly’ had an Irish lilt to it so of course it came home with me.

P1220832I know many of my Instagram friends love these metal bullion stars, I have a few which I’m going to be using in my jewellery work for the 2015 collection



Merrilee of one of my all time favourite blogs, Mer Mag, just posted a DIY feature on how to create crowns using some of our antique ribbons (from our family’s archives) and autumn leaves.

I had created a special silk treasury kit with a mix of ribbons from late 1800s up to 1960s and I just love how Mer has transformed them into something so unique. What was once hidden in a dusty box in the attic is being worn and loved  again by a little girl (and her rag doll) over 9000km from where they were created many many years ago.






You can find similiar ‘Silk Treasury Kits’ in Exquisite Threads




Sewing notions found on a recent textile treasure truffling adventure.


I didn’t realise until I had gotten home and sat unravelling and unwrapping my little notions that I realised I had subsconsciouly been brocanting with a colour theme in mind.


Autumn, rich jewel coloured leaves (originally destined for funeral wreaths but oh so pretty) and a perfectly intact beaded flower.


Metallic gold threads and fuschia silk on spools, deep shades of green grosgrain.


..and of course these delightful vintage wooden bead buttons, two antique sewing scissors (not sure they can cut paper we’ll see…) – and two magical bead strands that were wrapped within a nondescript paper sachet.

Now to let these colours inspire a new piece of jewellery!

Inspiration – Les Petits Bonheurs

SNAPSHOTImage of one of Kathleen Craig of ALTaeRs collection

I find inspiration everywhere, textile artists, jewelers, weavers, book makers, sculptors, embroiderers, musicians, mixed media artists, potters, photographers, filmmakers and doll makers…I know I’m forgetting some!

More recently I find myself naturally drawn to those that collect and create from found treasures, be it little pieces of antique textile, or religious medals, fragments of falling apart flapper dresses and torn old paper – it all nurtures my spirit to discover kindred spirits, breathing life and love into old notions.

Often when I discover a new artists work, I seek to find out more about them, their process, and their inspirations, where they do their making.  I reached out to a few of my favourite creative people around the world hoping they might take a leap and allow me to ask them a few questions about themselves and I am thrilled that so many of them have responded and chosen to open up their beautiful worlds for a new blog series called ‘Les Petits Bonheurs’.

This week I will be sharing the creative world of Kathleen Craig of ALTaeR, who makes beautiful assembly jewellery incorporating antique textiles and found objects.




So last week I welcomed me first large group of buyers into our home.

It was slightly chaotic. Up until now I have only had one shop, Rubanesque to exhibit at open studio days and never to more than 6 guests at a time.

So with two shops, Rubanesque and Exquisite Threads, and a combined inventory of more than 500 items to keep track of, it was a whirlwind.

P1210962SMLJust before the open studio event, I happened upon a beautiful, battered, wooden suitcase, once owned by a Madame Devaux of 10 Place de la Madeleine, Paris dates 1875.

Inside a jumble of laces, slim lace & tulle bands, thicker coarser linen needlepoint, some hints of black tulle peaked out from beneath the miles of muddled thread.

I asked the dealer if I could just take a peek through at what was inside the case. It was late in the day, and the vendor was in the process of taking down his stand.

He barked a price for the lot, I didn’t blink before reaching for my porte monnaie.


It was a risk, I didn’t quite know what I was getting. At the least a lot of jumbled up old lace fragments.

….but, there was always the chance, the promise of something special buried beneath it all.


I drove like a maniac to get home and once settled on to the sofa, my beautiful antique wooden suitcase before me, I dove in.

I carefully threaded each piece of individual lace around my finger, putting aside those that I could use a jewellery making project I’ve been planning and those that I might consider selling to the right person.

Underneath the fragments lay wonderful treasures, a 1920s silk fringing for a lampshade, an incredible hand embroidered floral applique (see photo above), pretty hand embroidered “Faust” handkerchiefs, an old tin full of pins, a set of delicate wedding handkerchiefs, some tiny Point de Venise appliques, and a fabulous black silk & lace cuff (just the one).


Here are some of my antique button rings on display in books. You can catch a glimpse at the incredible marbled 1800s postcard books that I sourced from Corey Amaro


I hang some of my favourite jet applique beaded pieces on the mannequin, aswell as two new necklaces and a beautiful silk & tulle shawl collar (that I had found in Madame Devauxs suitcase)

You can find some of Madame Devauxs treasures now up in the Exquisite Threads store – I’m already suffering pangs of sellers remorse!



I love the adventures I inadvertently embark on after opening up a dusty old box full of antique silk samples.

The original salesman tag mark the ‘patron’ or pattern number and the company C & W Lyon, it’s a company I’m not familiar with…and so the adventure begins.

I searched everyone online for a reference, I scoured my silk reference books for a glimpse of the initials C & W…but to no avail.

Then the wonderful people at the Musee de Tissus et Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Lyon responded to my emails begging for advice. After a week of searching they found a reference to Crépaux & Wydemans (fabricants de tulles).

 A little more digging and I came across this image of their offices in the early 1900s.

This is where these beauties were created over a hundred years ago.

Their threads have got their hold of me!

I have put a few of the samples up for sale on Exquisite Threads so if you have any special bridal projects coming up or if you are simply a textile lover like myself then you should really look at these!