Saturday, 30 June 2012

Enfin, c'est L'Ariegoise!  

More than 5,000 cyclists from all over the world are in Tarascon this weekend for the annual gruelling races along Ariege mountain passes.

The youngest riders taking part were 12 yrs. old and there were 2 riders who were 84 yrs. young! 

 Fortunately there was cloud cover with a temperature of  only 25 degs.
L'Arrivée of the shortest race (69 kms.) in Place Garrigou.  The 120 km. and 170 km. races finish after a long climb to Plateau de Beille.  Quel défi!  Bravo les Gars!

The musical accompaniment by these two jeunes hommes playing traditional French and Spanish wellknown melodies contrasted interestingly to the funky dance music being blasted out just a few metres away on the other side of the square!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Thanks for a great DesignMatters TV programme on quilted bags Laura!
Coincidentally, that's what I've been working on lately. 
Some of the above are previous samples looking for a purpose in life, others I made specifically for this project.  There are both rectangles (humbug bags) and squares, some with zip closures others left open and secured towards the top and bottom to keep the bag 'in shape'.  I've used hand dyes, Batik and discharged fabric with a mixture of free motion and guided machine stitching along with hand stitching and painting.  The lizard shape has crept in there of course and there's a mono print too, left over from a printing session quite some time ago.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Isn't nature wonderful!

I see all sorts of interesting sights on my walks around Tarascon!
If my research is right this is a Western Whip snake or Couleuvre Vert et Jaune, recognisable by its prominent eyes with round pupils, transversal dashes on the body changing to longitudinal towards the tail.  It can grow up to 2 mtrs. long and is non-venimous but care should be taken if you do come across one.  They bite and are very quick and agile!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

In memory of John the Baptist, Le Feu de St. Jean in Place Garrigou, Tarascon which is quite  handy - I took the photos from one of my bedroom windows!
Fireworks too of course!

Followed by a bal with live music until the early hours.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Today's outing:
Croquié, high up in the mountains above Mercus, Ariege.

A wonderful spot for a get-together and barbecue!

Friday, 22 June 2012

A few snaps taken on yesterday's short walk.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Du fil a L'Aiguille.
A lovely day out today in the beautiful Bastide de Mirepoix which is in the Aude department, 
next to the département de L'Ariege.
The cathedral is magnificent for such a small town.

There's a wealth of Mediaeval buildings of all shapes and colours around the central square of the bastide as well as along the many ruelles leading off towards the stone entrance archways.

There was a lovely selection of work on show at today's market
'Du Fil a L'Aiguille'.

 Carole recycles jeans into a lovely selection of beautiful and useful items including bags, hats, bed covers, lidded pots, cushion covers, wallets, purses and rings.
For further details -

 Claudine is another local lady who creates delightful traditional pieces with a very French look.

There are plenty of artisanal shops under les couverts in Mirepoix  and lots of cafés and restaurants to choose from too.

Well worth a visit!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Samedi matin - c'est le marché!

Not a cloud in the sky in Tarascon and approaching 30 degs with a cooling mountain breeze. 

Voila M. le Vin dans son magasin dans la Rue de la République, Tarascon  sur Ariege.
He used to be a shepherd! 
He stocks local wines and Hypocras, an apéritif which is made in Tarascon and which is delicious as a culinary ingredient.
Bonne journée monsieur et a tres bientot!

Friday, 15 June 2012

First day back in the Ariege for a while and perfect weather so a brisk walk to Barry d'en Haut is high on the list of things to do!

The little church sits high up at the very top of the village.
It's well worth the final push up the hill even in the heat of the day! 
The back of the church with its adjoining cemetery is as pretty as the front.

Insects and flowers alike look vividly colourful in the clarity of the mountains.

This ornate but rusty old garden gate looks beautifully shabby chic in the bright sunshine.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Amazingly these beautiful green woodpeckers are carved from wood.  They are now proudly displayed in my lounge.  Very realistic, aren't they!
The detail of the feathers is stunning!
They are part of a collection and are certainly beautiful and skilful works of art.

Friday, 8 June 2012

I really love how this pair of cushions have turned out.  They are a commission to match a recent wallhanging  I did.  The central lizard shape surrounded by 'pebbles' has been quilted and then hand painted with Jacquard Lumiere fabric paints.  The background fabric and Batik strip insert match the wallhanging.  I've used close free motion quilting to create a durable, textured finish,

Trying to photograph them, they did tend to slide off my leather sofa!

Detail of one of the lizards with his 'beady' eyes!

Below is the original wallhanging.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

This is a recently completed commission.
A pieced wallhanging with six co-ordinating reversible cushions using discharged and commercial red and black cotton fabrics.  I used a close quilting pattern to create durability and to 'marry' the items visually. 
Many thanks for the photo 'in situ' Mr. and Mrs. P!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

This year's Bridgnorth 22 mile walk for charity was particularly well supported and the rain held off for the day!
Anticipation ............

and they're off!