hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon

hello and happy friday! it’s that quiet time between christmas and new years when we sort of slow down stop the madness. it’s during those slow times when we can really let go, indulge and enjoy falling into the abyss that is the internet!

while at my parents’ house yesterday, i came across this little book i picked up in paris. it’s so sweet with a pencil attached by a silk ribbon and list of dances inside including the waltz and polka. i knew a little about these books but when i started really looking into it, realized that it’s more than just a novelty, it represents a way of life for mankind since time immemorial.

these ‘carnet de bal‘ were cards that a woman would use to keep track of her dance partners at a formal or organized event. today they’re just souvenirs but upon closer inspection, they tell a wonderful story.

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we could go back in time to the caveman, the etruscans, the egyptians and every other civilization in between and find that all cultures danced. a lot.

i wonder why our own day and age we sort of abandoned dancing as a society?  it seems that it’s something that brought people together in a way we might not even realize we need. of course we have clubs and salsa nights, even tango on the seine in paris. but what about balls or supper clubs where on any given night, there’s dinner and dancing?

back in the day, dancing was a simply way of life. at home, you just rolled up the rug and got down!

digging deeper i found there are many others who are fascinated by this custom that was once a part of daily life but has all but left our culture now.

anyway it was fun to delve into it and there’s an infinite amount of info from the kinds of dances like the charleston and foxtrot, to the rules that were observed at the events.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

it was probably a great way to meet people…

to get dressed up and just have a good time…

collect these pretty little keepsakes

and have a sort of diary of the evening

the carnets are a piece of history, a memoir of a night of great fun

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
Confucius

things are never perfect in any era no matter how much we romanticize it

but the dances were a time when differences were put aside and people of all ages came together for just one thing

with an unbridled joy

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”
-Sarah Dessen

today these are lovely relics of nights long ago

do you know any old dances? wouldn’t it be fun to revive a few?

anyway i love this invitation to the ‘pleasure ball’ where their tagline is “While we live, let us LIVE.”

they were really living it up. well enjoy your holiday, i hope you dance the night away on new years and beyond!

PS we’re hosting a giveaway for the little dance card book. if you’re interested, let me know in the comments and we’ll choose the winner on monday. good night!

images via pinterest and google

December 29, 2018. Life. 11 comments.

there are no silver linings without clouds

bonjour dear blog friends, how are you? i hope you’re doing well. it’s been a long hiatus but i’m back with a new perspective on all things old. so where oh where have we been, you and i? well truth is that i’ve been here all along, just working behind the scenes since i truly needed a break from the technological side of life. taking time off from tech taught me a lot about what it was to live again instead of dreading the things i once loved. if you follow this blog you know it’s been a struggle to ‘find time’ to be creative and enjoy the little things like photography and writing. so what’s changed? well let’s see…i started to pull back from all the excesses and minimize in every way.

this gave me a chance to really look at what was important as far as what and who is in my world. After paring down the physical stuff like excess clothing, papers and clutter, it left one thing, the people. what’s funny is that it opened up the opportunity to forge closer relationships with my friends and family who are now not only a part of my private life, but also a part of my work life too. in fact, they’re now going to be helping with research and development of The Paris Apartment and they’ve taken on tasks like digging deeper into areas i’d previously skimmed over. case in point, we’re learning a lot about some of the little pieces we brought back from paris and are starting to understand what they are and where they’re from.

for example, this little pillbox may not have been a pillbox at all. in fact, my sister in law, jean found out that they’re often called ‘patch boxes’ and were where the french would sometimes keep those small black dots we see on the faces of the fashionable men and women of the past. beyond that, she discovered the meanings of some of the hallmarks that are pressed into the silver and gold and that each has significance. on this little sterling box, were two marks on the underside, one of an anvil, signifying the maker’s mark, in this case, paul canaux who was in operation in the 1800s: Paul Canaux, a manufacturer jeweller-silversmith, active at 30 rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris succeeded the silver-plater Joseph Mégemond and entered his mark on 9 August 1888. Paul Canaux based his sponsor’s mark (an anvil as symbol) on that of his predecessor Mégemond. He was a manufacturer of silverware, cutlery, tea sets, centerpieces, serving dishes, etc. His maker’s mark was struck off on the 12th of April 1892 and at the same date a new maker’s mark “PC & Cie” was registered, as the house changed its style to Paul Canaux and Company.

The Makers Mark is for ‘Maitre Orfevre’ Paul CANAUX and shows a P and a C separated by an anvil.
Paul CANAUX registered his mark on August 8th 1888 and cancelled it on April 12th 1892.
He was succeeded in 1892 by his sons under Paul CANAUX & Compagnie.
His workshop was located 30 rue des Francs Bourgeois in Paris

she also discovered the other mark referred to the amount of silver contained in the piece was and still is known as a ‘tête de minerva‘ (head of minerva, referring to Roman goddess) a mark which ranges from the 1st to the 2nd percentage. the french standard for silver is higher than most other countries and requires at least 95% silver to be of the first caliber (the 2nd is just 80%). our little box marked ‘Rosa” is of the first quality. and can be identified with the symbol below, always in an octagon (the second is in an oblong square).

the best part about it is that many of the gold and silversmiths set up shop in the marais on the very street where we often stay in paris, making it even more fun to learn about who is behind so many of the pretty little things we often overlook.

 

this little box below is one i’m obsessed with for its intricate beauty. it’s so exquisitely detailed that it’s almost a meditation whenever i hold it. who created it and how? when i’m trying to created something i think about the patience and creativity it took to make this by hand with such precision and perfection. as we’re researching we found that there are two small circles on the inner lid with tiny swans inside. the meaning is a little unclear but it seems that the swans signify silver articles of unknown origin coming into france around 1864. meaning this was made sometime before then but it’s undocumented up to that point.

you can see the tiny scratch marks on the lip where the creator must have used a very fine tool.

 

the inside is almost a gold hue making me think that it’s not all silver but there’s no way to tell the full percentage. the truth is that this society was very complicated and there are books and historians who go into great detail about the marks that range from rhinos to owls.

at the paris markets we often come across this vendor at vanves who sells metal tools and iron stamps. these may not have been used on the boxes per se but they give us a look into what it may have been like to forge these tiny gems that we see among the scattered tables each weekend.

anyway that’s about it for me tonight, i’ll be back soon. i hope you come by and say hello. if you’d like to keep in touch you can now follow the blog again on the link at the bottom right sidebar. alors, bonne nuit! xoc

November 26, 2018. Life. 6 comments.

window to the soul

bonjour mes amis, ca va? i hope that winter has passed, your windows are flung open and spring has sprung! i found this image on pinterest and i should have know it was captured by the one and only Georgianna Lane! she is pure genius. well, her photo hit me hard enough to come to the blog. it’s been a while and i know you know that it’s impossible to write unless we’re truly inspired. so what was it about this pic that called me to sit down in the middle of a busy day and check in? why is this photo so special when to some it’s just an average window like hundreds of others…but to others it’s magical? well for me, besides it being in paris and evocative of so many romantic thoughts, it’s plain, and hopeful. the simple experience of an open window. the brightness feels like fresh cool air and at the same time the beaming sun is warming the chevron floors.  we can actually feel the smooth wood beneath the soles (souls)! of our feet. it’s the exquisite perfection of a shadow from an intricately turned metal, transformed into art. the light through it creates a world of fibonacci spiraling, art noveau, twisted iron that speaks volumes as it silently secures the window. it’s probably been there, leaned on hundreds of times for a hundred years as the inhabitants checked the weather and felt the sun on their faces before the day began or closed it up tight against the rain and cold. maybe there were even days that suitors stood below and swooned to their would-be love. the curve at the top of the frame indicates that this is a very special portal, maybe on a particularly ornate building, maybe even one that’s still intact and preserved and revered as a treasured, special paris apartment. today i’m thinking about the sweetness of the simple things in life, and how beauty and inspiration can be found in even the smallest of everyday objects and rituals. have a beautiful, sun filled day!

 

 

May 15, 2018. Life, Paris, Paris Apartments, Photography. 8 comments.

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