Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The French Basketeer Give-Away

I had such a wonderful response to my post on the French market baskets that I thought you might be interested in meeting The French Basketeer. Owner Andrea Drexelius has a very extensive line of colors that are bright and cheery as well as styles that range from sophisticated to casual. I have spent quite some time just looking and drooling over these fun bags on her website!

Here's what she has to say about the French and their trademark baskets:

"The French have a special love affair with the basket.  Over the centuries, the basket has been used by households rich and poor, in the city and country, carried by men and women:  a simple, universal, utilitarian item.  The trade of basket making is recorded since the late 11th century in France, and over the ages it became highly specialized within different regions of France and by intended use, including: harvesting  grapes (each wine region has their own unique basket shape and name), picking olives and gathering lavender, carrying glasses and bottles, making bread (in baskets with canvas lining); carrying eggs or freshly caught fish (various fish have unique baskets); raising chickens, storing wine (in glass jars covered with basketry to keep the light out);  carrying firemen’s water (in a zinc-lined basket); carrying clean or soiled laundry…you get the idea."

Andrea's baskets are mostly made by women from Madagascar, the 13th poorest country in the world, and each is constructed from renewable resources. So purchasing a basket makes really good sense in terms of Fair Trade. And apparently it is the French way to always have a basket on hand. Several in fact. This is something I could really get into!

Keep in mind that these baskets are made almost entirely by hand. So by nature, they are a bit "rustic". It really adds to the authenticity of the item in my opinion. Each basket has either brown leather handles or black high quality simulated leather. In talking with Andrea, she mentioned that she has been careful in making sure the baskets are "just right". They need to be able to sit up, the corners protected, and she does not use steel rivets (a common practice) because the steel tends to rust. She's really tried to think of everything to make the perfect market basket.

Some of the baskets have a liner that can be closed with a drawstring. This is great if you are nervous about having your contents so open.

And each bag comes in three sizes, allowing you to get just the right fit for whatever you will be using the baskets for. Notice how nicely the three sizes stack? Very convenient!

I've been using mine all week and I must say, I love it! I'm particularly fond of how everything fits inside and looks so fashionable. The smallest is perfect as a purse and the medium is great for errands and picking up a few groceries. I went into several stores for a purchase or two and there was no need for a plastic bag. I just dropped the item in the basket and went on my stylish way! The large bag is just right for the pool, large projects (like quilting), or corralling everything behind the driver's seat while in the car.

Andrea has now added one other additional item: produce bags! I'm still giving these mesh bags a whirl, but I love the fact that they are made from 100% organic cotton and come in two sizes.

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Win A French Market Basket!

1. Visit French Basketeer and look around. There is lots to see! 
2. Come back to Homestead Revival™ and leave your comment telling me which bag is your favorite, what color, and what you would use it for. 

This give-away is open to followers of Homestead Revival™ (to become a follower, see the right side bar). I must have a way to contact you as well (a link to your blog or email address)! Drawing closes Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm PST.


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