Saturday, 9 July 2016

Annie Sloan Workshop

Well, today dawned cold and misty but the sun soon burned off that mist and it turned into a real scorcher! Fortunately, I was indoors most of the time, doing a workshop with Jay at Mon Chic Cottage.  It was all about Annie Sloan products and was a fascinating day.

This is what I made, learning lots of techniques...

Workshop result

We learnt how to découpage a paper napkin and paint a stencil...

stencil, découpage and craquelure

...how to transfer images in a couple of different ways...

image transfer and craquelure

...and how to apply metal leaf - the loose leaf sort and a transfer one which was attached to paper on one side, making it MUCH easier to handle...

Metal leaf

Then we learned to wax with both clear and dark wax and finish off with a craquelure glaze for an 'aged' look...

Craquelure finish

Now I just have to find the time to practise the techniques...

Friday, 24 June 2016

Crazy Weather

All Spring the weather has been cold.  Cold and rainy.  Then, on Wednesday the sun came out and suddenly we were in the 30s!  I was able to cut the grass...

Jasper Carrot I need you!

...even on the terrace!

Tidy terrace

And then relax with a glass of wine.

It was so hot that I was weeding out some thistles at the back of the house at 10pm, that being the coolest time.  It was light until nearly 11 o'clock, which was wonderful.

Yesterday was hot and sunny too, and I was able to gloss paint windows and doors at the shop, and one shutter too - although it was actually TOO hot to paint the other one!

Shutter, ready to paint

THe picture above is the shutter ready to paint, but it's had one coat of gloss now.

Anyway - on to my point...

Today it is POURING WITH RAIN!

Such crazy weather!


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

It's a Machine World

Yesterday Janet and I went on a morning course not too far from here.  It was a birthday present to her, from me, as she has a big birthday (shhhhhhhhh - she'll be sixty) next week, and we both needed something to get us back in control of our sewing machines. The course was run by Laura Conolly Gillard who runs it at her Grange du Patchwork.

We had a great morning and learnt to clean and oil our machines as well as lots of things about feet (for the machines) and winding bobbins (an eye-opener for me) as well as meeting some lovely new people.

So today I got down to cleaning and oiling my New Home machine, that I nearly sold a couple of months ago.  It runs much sweeter now and I had a go at lots of the embroidery stitches and a little play with automatic buttonholes...

Embroidery stitches from New Home 692

...and now I'm just going to do some plain sewing - I'm making a curtain for the Le Dorat shop/apartment.  It was a pair of short curtains, but I need floor length for this window, so I'm just going to pattern-match the material and make one long curtain.  It's a room on the third floor so the curtain might not actually be ever drawn across, but it will just sit there and look pretty.

Lengthening the bedroom curtain

I've never tried this kind of thing before, but it's not too hard, I don't think. This is the window where it will hang...

Bedroom . front

The room is nearly finished now, but this photo makes it look hardly started. I had to move everything to that end to paint the opposite wall, which is probably going to be white or  pale yellow, as every other wall is buttercup yellow, and it's getting a bit much...

Because I decided to do this today, the sun is shining and the birds are singing - typical!  But I should be able to show you some more photos of it soon, although they might well be on my other blog, so keep looking there as well as here :-)

Thursday, 2 June 2016

It Might Well Rain Until September...

In my last post it was a lovely day here.  But since then, there hasn't been much lovely weather.  Unless you like rain, of course, or you live in Scotland or Seattle and are used to it.

I don't love the rain, but I do love this song...



...although it seems sad to me, even though the words are not.

Here in the Limousin, we rarely get a full day of rain, but now we've had a full week of it and I think I can easily live without another day of the same.

My view across the valleys to the Monts de Blond is as misty as a Walt Disney film about Ye Olde England...

Wet garden 1

... and the garden is growing faster than a very fast thing and it's too wet to cut the grass, or pull up the weeds.  The lavender hedge is growing amazingly quickly and is taller than I've ever seen it.

Wet garden 2

It's been cold too, as well as wet, and I haven't done much this week.  But today I went over to the shop again and did some painting.  I wanted to make a start on some lights I bought for the living room.  They were advertised locally for only €40 the pair and I bought them a couple of months ago.  The colour was not right for the room, but I knew I could 'Annie Sloan' them!

There is one with three branches...

3-branch light before painting

...and one with five branches...

5-branch light before painting

I am painting them with Annie Sloan Chalk paint in cream - they have had one coat so far and it is looking good!

3-branch light after painting 1coat

After another coat and a touch of gold. I think they will be spectacular.

The 5-branch one is a bit of a pain - it has lots more leaves than the other one and it is almost impossible to get to all the bits. Consequently I am having to paint it a bit at a time, so it is dry enough to handle when I come to paint the next bit! I might try to spray some of the central pieces, but I'll see how far I can get with the rest tomorrow.

Jay, from Mon Chic Cottage gave me some bright pink paint, and I mixed it with some cream to lighten the colour and then painted a picture frame with it...

Pink frame for Flamingoes, after 1 coat

The frame is for a picture of flamingoes, so pink is very suitable...

Flamingoes in white frame

I liked the pink so much that I wanted to paint something else with it too.  I thought of doing a large pink square on the wall behind the cooker, but decided that the paint would not be durable enough, so my eye fell on the toilet door at the back of the room. Just the inside surface...

Pink inside toilet door

Looks pretty good, don't you think?  I think it will dry to a matt finish, though it looks glossy now.

Back to the painting grindstone tomorrow!  Maybe the rain will have stopped by then too and I can take my pictures without the flash!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Such a Lovely Day

It seems like we have been waiting a long time for some good weather, and for the icy wind to stop.  Today we got our wish and it was a lovely day.

In my garden purple seems to be a popular colour - the irises, in particular, are spectacular (and they smell gorgeous too).

Irises along front wall

But the peachy coloured ones are beautiful too...

Peach iris 2

And then there is the wisteria, which is relatively new and just finding its feet climbing up the oak tree...

Wisteriaon oak tree

If you could only smell those flowers...

Wisteria

I have just planted (today) a Magnolia, called Susan.  I had one of these in England and it is lovely. A deep purply-red flower, coming out a little later than the big blowsy pinky-white ones and so mostly missing those late frosts.  I don't know how many years it will take until it flowers...

Magnolia Susan just planted 2

I cut most of the lawn yesterday, but it is really a bit much for me to manage these days, so I am leaving a 'wildflower meadow' area that I hope to add wildflower plants to over the coming months and years. I'm hoping it will be all blowsy and gorgeous!

Right now the view over this uncut part of the garden, over the farmer's meadow beyond and to the Monts de Blond in the distance is pretty stunning in itself...

Meadow View

Meadow View 2

It looks exceptionally beautiful from my little Blue Bench Garden...

Fantastic view

In this little bit of garden the roses are just coming out.  There is a David Austen rambler which is going to be a mass of flower...

David Austen rambler about to flower

...and a French one that just repeat flowers all year until the first frosts...

French rosebud

And, as a bonus, I found under a pile of nettles and weeds (I did tell you it was all getting a bit much for me to manage) a rather fabulous pink (yes, PINK) Lily of the Valley that my friend Joan bought for me some years ago at a flower show we went to out here in France.  I'm afraid the pink does not show up very well on camera, but I can assure you it is VERY pretty!

Pink Muguet

And finally I wanted to show you something else rather wonderful.

For the first time, a little wren has nested in my dépendence (sort of a stone shed attached to the end of the house) and made a sweet little sideways-on nest...

Wren's nest

I haven't seen her for a couple of days, and I hope she hasn't abandoned the project, as I go in here pretty frequently and there was a time when the log splitting machine was in almost  daily use, making a lot of noise...

Time will tell...



Tuesday, 3 May 2016

La Tache, May 2016

I was over at La Tache today.  It really looks its best in May when the Wisteria is out...

panorama

This picture is two photos 'stitched' together, so it looks almost semi-circular, but it's really just an ordinary, flat-fronted house...

I paid to have the back and front gardens cut...

Mowing the 'lawn'

and it took all day...

But it looks pretty good now.

Along front

Along to rear gate

Patio

Barns

The weather held for us, which was good.  In a few days I'll go back and give the front a haircut with the mower and it'll be even better!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Cardigan for ME!

Well, hopefully...

It is a long time since I made an article of knitted clothing for myself, other than socks.  I can't even remember the last time.

But I have been turning out my stash and selling off some yarn, and making lots of socks, but when I came across this yarn and the pattern, I thought I might just make the effort to knit myself the cardigan!

It is a free pattern on Ravelry, by Carol Feller, and is called ICED.  It uses DROPS ICE yarn which is now discontinued...

Picture from a Google search...


This is as far as I have got...


Cardi

...but it hasn't taken long as the yarn is chunky weight.  I have 18 balls, which is what the pattern calls for, but I'm a little worried that I might use more, as I have made the body straight, rather than shaped at the waist as in the pattern and I've already used 4 balls. Also, the sleeves don't look very long in the pattern pictures...

Image result for Iced - Carol Feller

This is one of the pictures on the pattern and it doesn't really show much detail.

However, I also have some of this yarn in a pale coffee colour, so I'm thinking I can make the front band and the ends of the sleeves in that colour if I need to...