Sunday, 14 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Last week's DesignMatters TV video was perfect inspiration to get going on making some really quick and very effective festive cards - thank you for the demo. Laura! is where to look 
for DMTV (DesignMatters Television). You'll discover wonderful video demos - a new one every week plus at least 30 videos at any one time to watch as many times as you wish once you've subscribed.  There are some freebies to have a look at to give an idea of what it's all about.  
A subscription to DMTV would make a great Christmas pressie for someone special!

I like this technique so much this is my second batch!
It's really quick to print once you've carved the printing block which doesn't take long at all either.  I've used red acrylic paint and gold glitter.

I made a linocut heart shape too & used it to decorate the envelope backs.  Great fun!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Just had to share this photo of the wonderful African masks and figures on the market last week in La Place du Capitol in Toulouse centre.  The vendor is from Nigeria.  What a selection!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

On my day out in Toulouse last week I visited the Musée des Augustins and was very excited by the whole experience especially as there is at the moment a temporary exhibition of works by Benjamin-Constant, a Toulousain who was fascinated by the amazing Moroccan landscape and culture.  He painted many scenes featuring romantic settings and sumptuous textiles and carpets.

The exhibition is on until Jan. 4th 2015 and is really worth a visit.

His choice of very ornate frames is amazing.  Many of them feature lovely Arabic symbols.

I had great fun trying on the Arabic costumes in the Riyad which the museum had created in a corner of one of the galleries.

The museum itself is set in a former monastery, a fascinating piece of architecture in the heart of Toulouse. 
At every turn there are statues and sculptures, 
decorative ironwork and
more amazing statues.

I didn't get to look around all of the galleries but those I did see housed breathtaking artwork. 
This nature morte/still life by Louise Moillon was one of many stunning paintings.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Place du Capitole, Toulouse, Haute Garonne.
Les Couleurs du Marché.
Colourful spices

Aromatic infusions

Gorgeous African mud cloths

Cute hand-made dollies

And songs sung in Russian by kilt-clad buskers!

Friday, 28 November 2014

At our autumn fair last weekend I was asked to make a warm, cosy throw ready for the cold winter nights ahead here in the Pyrenees.
So I started off with a roll of 80% cotton, 20% wool in warm colours and a pretty floral design
teamed it with a co-ordinating fabric and cut both into 4" strips.

They were sewn together then chopped up to make squares
which were then pieced in checkerboard fashion with a border added around all sides and then layered with wadding and backing. 
Quilted on a domestic machine following the lines of the squares, trimmed and a 2" binding finished by hand et voila, another warm and cosy throw ready for the cold winter nights.

Another order was for a personalised apron.

I've quilted the pocket to make it sturdy and durable.  The thread is a heavy jeans thread which makes a very strong mark and I've used Jacquard fabric paint for the name. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

There are two mercerias in Pas de La Casa, Andorra and both are so well-stocked it's not easy to move around without knocking something over!

In the huge choice of supermercados in Pas there's a big choice of Pastis and every other drink you can think of plus ones you may never even have heard of!

There's already neige on the peaks and the pistes have been given a good base ready for the imminent ski season.

There's a little snow underfoot on the shady areas of the trottoirs.

The main reason for my visit to Pas this week was to buy balls of no. 8 thread for making skeins (above) ready for hand-dyeing along with fabric fat quarters for our Autumn Craft Fair which took place yesterday and today in Aulos near Les Cabannes, just along the RN20 to the south of Tarascon.
Not a bad spot to spend a really warm weekend in November!  The mountain in the background is Mont Quié, famous for its climbing and also for magnificent birds of prey including the gypaete - bearded vulture.

Friday was an interesting day too - my first manifestation!
I was one of about 400 people marching against the creation of a huge quarry in a spectacularly beautiful valley near Tarascon.  The proposed digging would destroy a whole mountainside from Bédeilhac to Saurat which at the moment is tranquille countryside.   The amazing Mont Calames is the area concerned.

The march was very well organised and started off from the Conseil Général in Foix, circled around the chateau de Foix then all around the busy Friday morning market ending in front of the Préfecture where delegates delivered a 5 kilo dossier of signatures against the proposals.

If the proposals were allowed to go ahead it would be a disaster for the area for tourists and locals alike.
 is the site to visit for more info. and to sign the petition against the quarry.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Another exhilarating walk yesterday in the warm November sunshine!

This circuit started in Saurat just down the road from Tarascon. After quite a steep climb which tested the knees 4 hours later we reached La Tour de Montorgeuil before a final easy descent back to Saurat. 

On the far side of the first mountain we encountered there are magnificent vertical cliffs ideal for lovers of escalades.  The little red speck in the photo above is one member of several groups of climbers we came across. 

This is the view from the highest point on the other side of the valley, looking south at Mont Sédour.

There are many limestone caves in this area including the famous Grotte de Niaux, Grotte de la Vache, Grotte de Bédeilhac and Grotte de Lombrives - all well worth a visit.