Thursday, 19 February 2009


For my participation in the Indian Spirit swap, I did a quadriptych of my vision of India, pink, saffron, gold, palaces and elephants, and the sanscrit word Aham (I am). Thick acrylic applied with a knife mostly, or with a rag for the gold. I was quite pleased with it, but very difficult to photograph.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Here's the latest pair that has just gone off in the post to Marius in America. I've decided to sell these (not his, but a series like them) on Etsy.

It's been warming up a bit during the day in Brittany, but not at night when it freezes most of the time. What a strange winter! I took Oslo to the beach last week, picked up a few cockles for my lunch. She enjoyed it, if a little painfully, she does have a problem walking on sand now. She paddled a bit but didn't swim (I think the water must have been awfully cold...). And I've started to garden a bit, only in pots around the two terraces, tiding up, planting up a couple of things in prettier pots. There are a few snowdrops out, and my spring camelias are taking the place of the winter one (Yuletide, a lovely red one with small flowers in profusion and dark green leaves, lovely at Christmas) which flowered in November, December and January. Camelias are so cheerful and so little trouble. You can have one or other in bloom from October to April.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


I am part of a "birthday swap" and since mine is in January, I was the first to receive presents from the other 11 participants. I still find it interesting to think of the trouble one takes over a parcel for someone one has never met and is never likely to meet. The poring over their likes and dislikes to find the special something that will give pleasure. And the hours of work to get it finished in time.

I received a very mixed bunch, but almost everyone had exercised great imagination and care. I have favourites, which I cannot of course mention, have a look for yourselves at the photos on my other blog

Now it's my turn, and February's birthday was right at the beginning of the month. I made her a pair of slipper socks (my speciality - see photo below of my son-in-law, daughter, son and grandson all wearing my socks!) in chocolate pure wool (her favourite colour). I bought a packets of four different varieties of sunflower seeds for her summer garden, and I added a small pot of my own home-made organic lip balm. She seemed pleased. But you can never tell really.

It snowed again in the Finistere yesterday. Not much, but unusual to have snow so often, we're not used to it here! Nicholas and Marlena managed to get off the ground at Heathrow yesterday on their way to spend their two week holiday in Thailand - they must be exploring Bangkok as I write! No snow there...

I did a day's course with the German calligraphy lady again yesterday. It's such a beautiful, restful atmosphere, her lovely studio gives onto a wonderful garden filled with her husband's weird and colourful totems and sculptures and we work to mediaeval music in utter calm. I started a quadriptych (is that in the dictionary?), four 16cm squares, each with a calligraphied capital letter in the middle. I studied the dictionary before going to find good and meaningful four letter words - there are quite a lot, I hesitated between BLEU (which can also be BLUE), ENVY (all green...), BACH (all musical), CHAT (French cats), LOVE (a bit ordinary), and chose in the end ROSE (a bilingual option, which can also be anagrammed if the letters are hung in different orders, into EROS, SORE, OSER...). I would have preferred to work on canvas but was not given that option. So I wrote on very thick watercolour paper which now has to be stuck onto "carton plume" (what's THAT in English???). I first did a pale green wash, then inked in the letters (with a paintbrush, a calligraphy pen cramps my style immediately). I then washed the inside of the capitals with slighty darker shades of green. Then I gilded little tiny parts of the letters in pink leaf. Then I added three tiny roses to each letter (I'd traced green climbing stemps around the letters off which the roses bloom). And then it was time to come home!

So now I have to finish them off and give them a much "rosier" look, and then mount them for hanging. Looks good, I'm quite pleased with it all. I'll put a photo here when it's completed.

Friday, 6 February 2009


And I'm a year older!

As usual, I made a trip to London to stay with Nicholas and Marlena for the weekend. I had a really good time, even if I did have my mobile phone stolen. They looked after me wonderfully well as they always do, and the weather was OK for at least half the time! It's a bit of an all day journey from Quimper, but it's lovely to get a change of scene.

Yves flew up the morning of my birthday and we went to my pottery class together in the afternoon. We wanted to eat out, but everything seemed to be closed, so I stuck a chicken in the oven, and we had chicken and chips and a bottle of champagne - perfectly acceptable! The next evening proved to be just as bad, but we managed to go down into town and have a couscous which was very good, and very quick, we were back home by 21h00!

Cécile gave me some more lovely wool, this time a batt to be handspun. It's a beautiful sea green, and I couldn't resist spinning just a bit to see what the result was, but now I've put it aside while I finish a couple of the three hundred or so projects I have en route.
Nicholas is having a couple of very special portraits he did of himself and Cécile mounted on canvas for me. But for the moment he's more occupied with getting ready to go on holiday to Thailand tomorrow for a couple of weeks.

It snowed here at the beginning of the week, we must have had about 4 cm in all, and it stayed on the ground for a whole day! Nothing like Dorset or London, but a lot for the Finistere. All the rest of the week it's been pouring with rain, more typical of the region, but I prefer snow!