I spent the majority of December laid low with an awful virus but I did at least manage to complete my 'to do' list for Christmas! This year my friends and family received various items I'd made. I made pyjamas, aprons - including an appliqué train for my brother, tissue holders, various sized zipped bags, and 2 large bags (purses)! Below are a select few photographs of some of the items. (My husband asked what 'appliqué' is....basically it is applying other pieces of fabric to a base one and stitching them in place e.g. the steam train which is 10 pieces of fabric layered and stitched to create the design)
I wish you a very Happy New Year.
And I couldn't finish this year without welcoming our two new Maine Coon kittens who are keeping us very entertained!
Now that winter has arrived either with snow or cold, wet, dreary days I thought I'd add a little cheer and write about the water-lily nursery that I visited with my husband when we were staying with close friends in France earlier this year.
The Nursery is called "Latour Marliac - Le Jardin des Nenuphars" (Latour Marliac - garden of water-lilies). It was created by Monsieur Joseph Rory Latour-Marliac who had a passion for water-lilies and was the first to hybridise them. He carried out his work at the nursery which was opened in 1875. The nursery not only sells water-lilies but has the national collection of over 200 hardy and tropical water-lilies. The Nursery and gardens are open from May until October.
Monsieur Latour-Marliac's work was admired by many people, and one in particular that may not come as a suprise! Claude Monet bought his water-lilies from Monsieur Latour-Marliac to put in his pond at his home in Giverny, northwest of Paris. The Nursery proudly displays the bill of sale for Claude Monets purchase!
The nursery has many rectangular ponds for the vast variety of water-lilies and still has the original terracotta pots that Monsieur Latour-Marliac used for his successful hybridisation project. There are a couple of greenhouses as well, but also lovely gardens that you can amble around. The large pond is similar to that of Claude Monet, complete with the Japanese style bridge that features in Claude Monet’s famous paintings, "Les Nymphens"
I have always admired these works by Claude Monet and love his use of colour. I once went to an exhibition of his works, complete with his easel and extra-length paint brushes! His home is also very colourfully decorated both inside and out! One day I would like to visit the property in Giverny. It has apparently been beautifully restored having fallen into disrepair following WW2 and needing extensive renovations. It was bequeathed to the Acadamie des Beaux-Arts in 1966. In 1977 work started on the restoration of both the house and gardens which took nearly 10 years. It first opened to the public in 1980.
I really enjoyed the visit to this nursery, not only was it a beautiful day and and a lovely way to spend time with close friends, but also to see where Claude Monet had bought his water-lilies for the paintings that I have admired for so long.
During October I continued with the pen & ink drawings for my "Life is a Piece of Cheese" book. Hopefully I will have one drawing finished enough to post here next month.
I took a shirt whose cuffs and collars were beyond their best and cut them off. The collar edge was then neatened and a strip of lace attached. I cut out new sleeves and embellished those, finishing the cuffs off with more lace.
Now to the Elizabethan ruff. It took over TEN FEET of fabric!! I covered a piece of pellam with white cotton fabric and machine embroidered the edge. I then had to run gathering threads through the strip of stiffened fabric to create the 'ruffles'. Each 'ruffle' had to be stitched at the top and bottom to a piece of fabric that made the neck surround. Once all the gathers were secured inside I then had to stitch the outer edge of the ruffles to create the classic look.
Once that was done it was on to the hat. It is made with a velveteen fabric as the hat needed the texture and weight for the finished look. A few Ostrich feathers completed the outfit.
I love looking at books of fashion and seeing how it has changed over the 100's of years that records have been kept. When you look at old oil portraits and see what people used to wear - especially men - clothing has changed enormously. There is no comparison between this Elizabethan style and today's jeans and t-shirt! The advent of the clothes washing machine has certainly had a large influence of what we wear these days.
September was a very busy month as I prepared for the Apples and Art Show in Kimberly, Ontario. I set myself the task of making a life-size male Wild Boar for the show and to add to my menagerie. Each time I've made a Boar he has ended up somewhere else so this one is for our garden and will be used to demonstrate my work!
I've put together a slide show to show Mr Buckingham in the making, but first 3 pictures - how he started, at the show, and in the garden. I work with fine mesh fencing wire cutting the pieces to cover a basic frame. Each piece is shaped and worked into place to create the illusion of muscles and bulk. It is hard work and very time consuming!
My next project is slightly different....Here our dog is wearing an 'anti-burr' coat in cotton so she can romp through the undergrowth of our woodland and come out relatively 'burr-free' as the burrs stick to the coat and not matt into her fur. I now need to make a water-proof version for those rainy day walks, and the snow, of course!