Tag Archives: Hostess Gifts

DIY Project – How Do You Make a Lavender Wand from Provence

This DIY project requires 100 stems of freshly-cut Provencal lavender. Elsa Lenthal follows a process, an old tradition, that her grandmother taught her. Lavender wands, or in fuseaux in French used to serve a very practical purpose to keep mites and moths away from clothes. Today, although the wands can keep the bugs away, they also make for beautiful keepsakes or dried arrangements.

How does she do it?

The lavender stems are then counted and cleaned of any tiny shoots, by hand. The fragrant bundle is then tied just below the flowers with a piece of ribbon. Elsa then individually folds each stem over the lavender buds “capturing” the flowers inside. The final step is to weave a bright ribbon through the stems covering the entire packet. The result is a lavender fuseaux, essentially shaped like a baby’s rattle. It takes Elsa, after years of practice, one hour to make each lavender wand.

Elsa makes hundreds of these wands every summer in Provence; she works while talking to customers in 4-5 markets per week.

The lavender wands will last forever.

  • 100 stems
  • 100 % French lavender
  • 100 % handmade
  • 100% traditional

Why Lavender? Here are 10  reasons.

A perfect hostess gift!
A present for your mum
for a girlfriend

Available in limited quantities – buy now!

Laurene Bosc captures Elsa’s step-by-step process to make lavender wands in her beautiful video below.

Photo credit: Lua Williams Photography, Canmore, Alberta

Dream of Drifting Away to Provence with the Scent of Lavender

Lavender is big business in Provence.

There is a significant agricultural industry built around the purple plants, which includes farmers, distillery owners and manufacturers (cosmetics, food). The is also an enormous impact on the tourism industry with countless visitors clamoring to get to see the rows of lavender plants at the peak of the blooming cycle.  There are tour groups and private guides who count on the lavender playing a part in their summer business.

Lavender Fields in Provence #Lavender #Provence

So, where do you see the fields? When is the best time for lavender viewing? Is there a driving route that you would recommend?

Franco-American blogger, Girl Gone Gallic  answers all of those questions in her post:

Tantalize your senses… Visit the Lavender Fields of Provence

Lavender has always grown wild in Provence…

Every year thousands flock to the hills and valleys of Provence to visit the famed lavender fields.  There are several different lavender routes (six official itineraries to be exact) that can be followed depending on the time of year and your interests…

Keep reading Girl Gone Gallic’s post here for details on lavender itineraries, drying tips and much more.

Can’t travel to Provence? We have the answer SHOP NOW! for lavender “wands” these make beautiful gifts, dried bouquets and they last forever.

lavender fuseaux

Why You Should Consider Buying European Linen for your Home

Recently, we caught up with Interior Designer Rebecca Bizzarri to ask her about her design philosophy and to understand the inspiration behind Anouk. The designer brand that she launched with her partner Victoria Guy.

Anouk has a line of whimsical fabric designs for home décor. Digitally printed onto the finest European linen these designs are intended for light upholstery. The Anouk fabric is also available in tea towels and aprons, perfect for gifts (or for yourself) and available on Atelier.

European Linen Anouk Designs Aprons

 

Creating linen is labour intensive. It is spun from the coarse fibres of flax plants and coveted for its durability and absorption qualities. There should be no surprise why linen is well-suited to tropical climates. You can read more about linen here.

Why European Linen?

There is a tradition of linen manufacturing in Europe that has existed for centuries, probably because the climate is suitable for growing flax. Poland and Lithuania have historically had linen industries with high-quality production. In fact, when I was doing research to source linen for Anouk, I discovered that Lithuania has some of the oldest, premium linen fabric production in the world. We decided to use this linen for our products.

European Linen Anouk Tea towels

 

Linen is Durable

We specifically chose mid-weight linen (230g) as it is meant for light upholstery, ideal for drapery and cushions. This gauge is perfectly suited for residential use, and our designs bring a touch of charm, a bit of frivolity, to the sometimes stark look of contemporary interiors.

European Linen Anouk Designs Pillows

 

Design Inspiration

After studying interior design in Italy, I ended up spending four years in the Swiss Alps, in the high alpine, near St Moritz. This was a wonderful time in my life. I was attracted to the Swiss landscape and natural environment and the beautiful scenery that surrounded me daily, and on my countless alpine hikes. I would have to say that the Engadin Valley generated the right environment for my sketching and plenty of inspirational ideas.

What is the Design Process?

Sketching takes a long time, as I wanted the designs to reflect what I saw in the Alps. Determining the final colour palette is important. Muted  Anouk colours compliment many interior design concepts. Once the design and colours are defined, the rest of the process is pretty straightforward. The high-resolution images are scanned and then the file is sent for digital printing on the linen cloth.

European Linen Anouk Designs Pillows

Dream Job in the Alps

With a degree in Fine Art and Italian, from the United Kingdom, I headed to Milan to study interior design. My first job was with an interior design team working on high-end resort properties. After, six years, I found myself working for a residential design firm that specialized in chalet interiors. Hence the magical Swiss sojourn, in the Engadin Valley.

European Linen Anouk Designs

 

Anouk for Home and Gifts

Frustrated by the fact that Swiss-made yard goods that are both glorious and expensive, I began designing these fabrics. Limited edition designs, Anouk textiles are purposely mid-range in price with a high-grade feel.  Buying artisan, handcrafted products supports local economies. It is my belief that the creator’s positive energy gets passed along the chain to the end user. There is joy in the process chain that does not come from a factory.

What is up next for Anouk?

Look for Hawaiian-inspired designs shortly…

Looking for the Perfect Hostess Gifts? Buy Lavender Wands

Elsa Lenthal  spends her summers in Provence making  lavender wands  (fuseaux). Her grandmother taught her how to take 100 stems of just-picked lavender and thread the ribbon through each stem. Elsa spends passes hot summer days creating these wands to with a goal of keeping an artisan tradition alive.

Each fuseau is shaped like a wand or a baby’s rattle. The lavender flowers are “trapped” in the centre and the stems adorned with a weave of bright coloured ribbons. These beautifully scented objects are 100% natural, as only freshly harvested flowers are used. There are no artificial additives, and each fuseau will last a lifetime.

  • 100 stems
  • 100 % French lavender
  • 100 % handmade

These lavender wands are perfect hostess gifts or beautiful as a dried bouquet.

What Are the 10 Things You Should Know About Lavender

If you polled an audience for their opinion on the scent of lavender, you might get a split vote. Personally, I think that is because many people are only exposed to highly processed, concentrated potions. Regardless of where you sit on the lavender fan scale, there must be something to this herb that the Romans called lavare (“to wash”) and the Greeks called nardus (after Syrian City Naarda).

Here are the 10 things that we discovered about this ancient plant.

  1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), a member of the mint family, does grow in the wild, but given the global demand for its flowers there is a large agricultural industry at 80-90 metric tonnes/annually (although production has decreased by over 50% in the last decade).
  2. The Mediterranean environment is perfect for the cultivation of this plant that loves dry, rocky soils and warm, arid climates. Slightly acidic, the bugs do not like lavender allowing for agriculture without the use of pesticides and fertilisers.
  3. Lavender essential oil is extracted as a byproduct when the dried flowers come in contact with scalding steam (steam distillation). A single acre of planted lavender produces “300 to 1,800 pounds of dried flowers (12 to 15 pounds of essential oil – about 2 gallons)” *
  4. Continuing the theme of “to wash” lavender often found in products such as perfumes, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics and creams.
  5. Lavender has some medically tested benefits that include reduced hair loss, eased anxiety and the ability to shrink canker sores.
  6. However, there are also many antidotal lavender uses that are yet to be proven such as relief from itching (eczema), insomnia, depression, colic, nerve pain and others.
  7. Lavandin, which might be considered a gardening mistake, resulted from crossing two lavender strains (there are 30 species) with the herb aspic. The benefits of lavandin from a commercial standpoint are obvious as the plant can grow at lower altitudes starting at 200 metres and the flowers produce more essential oil per tonne. However, purists do not consider lavandin to be “true” lavender. Lavender Wands from Provence Photo by Lua Williams
  8. Inventive chefs and bakers infuse sauces, cakes, ice creams, soups, and honey with lavender flavour and colour.
  9. Think of lavender and picture Provence? Not so fast! Bulgaria, not France is the top country for lavender production as of 2014. France’s production used to top out at over 50% of global production, but it has been falling in recent years due to diseased plants. Despite declining production, the agro-tourism industry is holding steady with plenty of visitors along les Routes de la Lavande.
  10. Lavender is not one of the flowers in the wedding anniversary chart. However, in Provence lavender wands (or fuseaux) were often included in dowries in the middle ages as it was thought to be an aphrodisiac – the herb of love. As a bonus, mites and other critters do not seem to like the scent so they stay away from the linen closet.

Lavender Fuseaux #Lavender #Provence #Handmade @atelier_boutiq

Check out our handmade lavender wands here. Made of 100 stems of 100% pure French lavender these will last forever. Lavender fuseaux make excellent hostess gifts.

*source: ATTRA Lavender Production, Products, Markets and Entertainment Farms 

** Vase photo credit: Lua Williams, Canmore