Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh Oysters

There are some great things about living where we do in France, one of them is the availability of great seafood.  A quick trip into our local town this morning and we came back with a dozen Cancale grade 1 oysters, (or rather 14 - a lovely bonus!), for the bargain price of €5.  Add some freshly baked sourdough bread from the boulangerie and some butter and you've got a perfect lunch for a sunny Sunday!

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's for dinner?

In addition to my collection of cookbooks, I have some vintage French menus.  Some of these are framed and are on the kitchen wall.  I love them.  They're all hand written and beautifully decorated and I find it really interesting to see what was being served all those years ago.

One I have is dated for today, 12th April, but in 1919 but sadly I don't know where the meal was eaten or what it was for.  It was not long after the end of the first World War so it's a pretty impressive menu.  I love the mystery surrounding it and I'm a little envious of the Spring vegetable soup - it was obviously a warmer Spring in 1919!

Here's my translation of it.  My apologies for any mistakes!

Potage Printanier, a spring vegetable soup

Soles La Vallière, sole, I guess cooked in the style of "La Vallière" (perhaps something favoured by Louise de La Vallière?)

Filet du Boeuf aux Morilles, fillet of beef with morels

Asperges Sauce Mousseline, asparagus with a hollandaise sauce

Poularde à la Lucullus.  A fattened hen, served with a garnish of truffles

This is followed by Glace Manon, Fruits and Desserts

It's certainly more elaborate than what we had for dinner!

Friday, April 5, 2013

My new Larder

So what have we been up to over these cold winter months?

One project was the creation of a larder.  We have a very French arrangement (not surprisingly I guess as we're in France) of a separate toilet next to our bathroom.  There's an extension on the back of the house which contains the kitchen, the 1980s beige bathroom and a separate toilet.  They're all North facing so very cold.  We plan to update the '80's beige that is our bathroom but that's another story for another day because it's dependent on installing a new bathroom upstairs. Anyway, it just seemed awkward and wrong having the toilet in a separate room so, not that long ago, Joe drilled through the bathroom/toilet wall, bashed out a chunk with a wrecking bar, removed the bidet from the bathroom and threw it out of the window then moved the toilet next door into the bathroom where it belongs.

The small "room" that was the toilet then had a good scrub down.  Some shelves were added and I made a light fitting out of one of my vide grenier bargains from the summer, inspired by the lights I saw in Roscoff.  I then painted the door with blackboard paint - great for a shopping list

It's wonderful to have the extra storage, especially as it stays so cool in there.  Much better than having a cold toilet!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coming out of hibernation.

Hurrah - the clocks have changed and summer time is officially here.  It does feel as though I can come out of this kind of hibernation I've been in.  It's been a very slow winter most of which we seem to have had little or no web connection.  Couple that with the fact that we had to batten down the hatches for most of January to avoid big snow and rain, rain, rain and there really hasn't been a whole lot of blogging going on.  However, today the sun is shining, as it has for the last couple of days and so we ventured out to one of our favourite antique shops to have a browse and I came home with a new acquisition!

Three vintage storage tins for the kitchen.

I think they're fabulous and look great on the shelf next to the cooker looking after my stock cubes.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A couple of finished projects...

After my effort in November to finish some of my (very) unfinished projects I can finally strike two from the long list!

The Spring Hare finally has proud of place in the hallway, just in time for spring!

I can't actually remember when I started this UFO from Mandy Shaw's book Quilt Yourself Gorgeous.  It was through one of Mandy Shaw's classes that I got back into sewing after a very long break.  The class was for teddy bear making and I loved it!  Afterwards, I saw Mandy at a craft fair in Brighton where she had lots of her quilts displayed.  Her fun and quirky designs really inspired me and Quilt Yourself Gorgeous has some beautiful makes, plus lots of great sneaky tricks and tips on techniques to try.

I'm now working on a cross stitch that I think I probably started over 15 years ago.  I've picked it up on and off over the years but am determined to finish it this time.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year and a new project

Happy New Year!  I really hope that 2013 brings you everything you wish for.

Well I started the new year with a new project.  I've been a fan of  Helen Dickson of Bustle and Sew for a while now and have been itching to try some of the gorgeous projects from her website and magazine.   She produces so many fabulous ideas and designs, the list of things I wanted to make was growing ridiculously long.  So, with a couple of spare days over the New Year, I hid myself a way in my studio and am now the proud owner of a lovely wall panel for the kitchen (as featured in the January Bustle & Sew Magazine) and I also used the cup applique to make a matching teacosy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A winter bunny?

Having spent a bit more time in my studio recently it needed a bit of a sort out and tidy up - it always amazes me how I seem to be unable to put things back where they belong when I'm working on something.  It's never going to be immaculate but it is now a bit more organised I have table space.  I also have a very large pile of UFO's - unfinished objects.  Quilts at varying stages and a lot of half finished cross stitch and embroidery projects.  Whoops!  I know realistically I won't be finishing them all before I start something new but I have promised myself that I will make a determined effort to get some of them finished.

The first one up and is probably one of the newer members of the UFO pile is an appliqued quilt that I want to hang in the hallway.

OK, so I admit, I started this project last winter and it was supposed to be finished by the spring.  Still, better late than never!  It's an adaption of a design from Kim Diehl's book "Simple Seasons - Stunning Quilts and Savory Recipes".  It's a beautiful book, a great collection of quilts to make and some fabulous recipes, what could be crunchier?!

The "spring" quilt I started last winter was my first attempt at using yo-yo's.  I loved them (although not enough to add the 40 or so smaller ones that Kim's quilt has between the larger ones!).  I couldn't get them to close quite enough, maybe my fabric was a bit thick, but they were quite quick to create and give the quilt more depth.  The pattern is designed as a table runner, to be viewed on all sides, but I wanted mine to hang on the wall so I tweaked the design a bit more.

All I need to do now is add the hanging loops and put it on the wall in the hallway.