Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wishful thinking ...

Today is Pomme's fifth birthday. 

Pomme is the grandson of 'Papsea,' who organises mighty big yacht races all around the world. Pomme is also my godson, and loves bobbing up and down in the waves. Indeed, he is an intrepid sailor always ready to discover new lands.

Seeing there's a big birthday out there on the high seas, it seemed fitting that for Wishcasting Wednesday (Yes I am aware that it's Thursday today, but wanting it finished for yesterday was a severe case of wishful thinking ;-), I wish to give my first little sailboat* to Pomme.

It's not just any sailboat. Although… it might not win the America's Cup … being paper maché 'n' all. However, woven into its billowy sails are magical dreams that sail out into the air ahead of you with the gentle puff of each and every tiny zephyr.

On the great big ocean of life, Pomme, may you find the confidence to ride each big wave, navigate uncharted lands and always arrive safely home to shore.

 avec tout mon amour

* find out more about the sail boat template and links to Ann Wood Handmade at this post
Thank you Ann :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Puffing out my sails: papier maché boats and an interview

While sailing round the great bloggie seas last year I navigated around the coast of this blog, to finally cast anchor at the port of Anne Wood. There I discovered, amongst slivers of antique wedding dresses,  her template for papier maché boats. I've been dreaming of making them ever since...

Finally over the last couple of weeks, snuggled in by the fire with a darn good reading lamp, I started making my own version of the little marvels Anne Wood sells in her shop.  You see, I have faaaar faaaaar faaaaaaaaaaar too many a reasonable number of antique French books/papers and I have been scouting far and wide (including inside the idea section of my sadly frazzled brain) for a worthwhile project to use them on. I did consider folding them into precious words, like Isaac Salazaar, but that wouldn't have allowed me to puff any of my own creative wind into the outcome. 

I have this vision of making words float.
... light as air…
...delicate as clouds...
Not unlike Tibetan prayer flags in a Himalayan blue sky
So I opted to try the boats. These, possums, are my humble beginnings. I have actually made seven all up and they are all more or less at the cocoon stage, like the three shown here. I have discovered a new passion. PAPIER MACHE :) Each boat so far has taken 3 hours to make.  Though that could be very much due to the fact that I spend an inordinate amount of time reading each hand written page of the French history book as I slowly pull it to bits.

Tonight yet again I have cast anchor beside the fire, ready for the grand task of making the sails. It's no mean feat I tell you for I am going to have to wield a needle and thread. 'Easy Peasy!' I hear you all scoff! Et bien PAS pour MOI! Sewing is possibly the only handicraft where I believe I automatically grow two left feet in place of my hands. It's a grotesque metamorphosis that often ends in tears of despair and frustration ;)  Indeed, the last time I spent 5 hours painstakingly sewing a piece of curtain onto a t-shirt for Chickpea's Carnavale parade, it promply fell off her and the preschool teachers were forced to staple her bits and pieces together. Yes - t'was a bit of a mess… 

But I have resolved not to let experiences of 8 years past discourage me, detemined as I am to have a sea of seven sails billowing beautiful expressions into the crisp spring air within the next 5 days; before the scurvy rats messmonsters get home.

Keep watch!  I will post the first outcome of my handwritten sails early in the week. All of my godsons, as well as Pokemon, celebrate their birthdays between end January and end March (yup- late for some, early for others) I thought some warm words of hope billowing above their pillows might inspire them to dream big for the future. 
Speaking of dreams. If you'd like a French, or better yet, Google Translate English version of what's happening with the 'Spread the Word' Indian project; I urge you to pop over to The Bohemian Caravan. Lise, a kindred soul and talented artist who lives in Geneva, has taken an interest in my art project and interviewed me about it. More than anything, while you're there, take a moment to find out about what inspires her amazing art projects, like this  gorgeous mini terrarium Lise made below.


Land ahoy me hearties!! 
I'll sail by later in the week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I HEART Crayons! or Cooking up some colour

It's school holidays in South West France and even though we are homeschooling I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give us all a week's break from the routine. Who am I trying to kid? It's me who needed the break :)

The messmonsters whinge, wine whine, grumble and ignore me when I suggest ways of using the endy bits of wax crayons (and pencil stubs for that matter so I'm working on a piece of art to resolve that dilemma - but that's another blog post entirely). I don't particularly like picking the crayons up off the floor, scratching them out of the carpet, or finding them lifeless and asphyxiated after a rumble in the dustbunnies under the bathroom cabinet either. Wasted art supplies are probably the only thing capable of bringing a tear to my eye. 

But am I one to grumble, dear friends? Am I one to complain?

Noooooo! I thought to myself, 'Ange, surely the wise Internet has a solution to your crayon stub problem.' So I raced straight over to this blog and found ….. a 'save your crayons' recipe. That's not really what the recipe's called, of course. But it feels  like salvation to me :)

Then I did what all decent cooks do and modified the recipe. Seemed too much fuss to heat each group of colours up in a saucepan. Faaaaaaaaar too much messy cleaning up, n'est ce pas?  I remember seeing a photo on another blog somewhere similar to my one with all the cracked-up crayons above. So the messies and I broke up all the crayons we could find and baked them instead! Sorry possums, there are no photos of the messy bits because we got into a bit of a panic trying to get melted wax out of the oven without pouring it everywhere.

It's fun watching all the colours melt in together; and as the messies, except for Libellule, aren't particularly INTO art (do we all detect a hint of rebellion????), I thought this might encourage them a little. After all, it's more fun to draw, colour and shade with funky home made hearts ...

While my back was turned, and everything including the eyes in the back of my head were focused in front, this is what they were getting up to :)

Truly, the kitchen is an infinitely creative and colourful space! There's something to be said for hand decorated kitchen paper towel, don't you think? I may even commission some for my next dinner party.

Pray that will teach me to let them come up with their own colourful ideas. I wouldn't  have to buy a new heart cookie mold if I had done so in the first place :)
Happy day to you all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not all who wander are lost...

This is one of my favourite sayings! While I was contemplating the innate beauty of rust at A New York Magpie's Eye this afternoon I stumbled over it again in the form of this great giveaway over at A Prairie Thistle Life.

I'm a sucker for inspirational jewellery and while I'm significantly reducing my chances of winning by letting you in on it ;-), thought it was so gorgeous that I really did have to share. My conscience wouldn't let me hear the end of it otherwise.

Enjoy the wander over ...

Narrow Escapes

This lovely woman...
did not become my overbearing senior.
Although she did suggest I enter the family
as her husband's 'second' wife.
She even let me try on her hand woven blanket 
to get a feel for the life I could aspire to.
I reckon she'd seen the size of my backpack and decided 
I'd be perfect for hauling bales of hay up the slope to the house ;-)

This was the warning of the fine I did not get for bathing 


in the natural thermal springs of Khirganga at about 3000m altitude 
under a Himalayan sky blanketed in a million stars.
It's not the luxurious French Alps
But it was deserted, clean and HOT, 
in a campsite surrounded by snow.

  This is the Khirganga trail in the Parvati Valley 
where I was not arrested by the Indian police!
Nearly 10 years in the metros of Paris 
and not one identity control.
Who would've thought I'd have my passport checked
half way up a mountain side 
in off season!!??

These are the pots and pans...
(We bought them on the way. As you can see, you pay by weight)

 that saved me from freezing to death 
in my tent, 
on my punctured air mattress
once we left the hotsprings.

I tell you
the promise of hot coffee ...
...even at 3 500m altitude 
EVEN in -10°
was incentive enough to leave the sleeping bag
in the morning and kick start the day!

I Love Indian pot shops. 
They are such a culture shock from the kitchen shops I'm used to.

This is the sign 
that kept me on the straight and narrow :)

 This way to heaven :)

and despite the perillous
but thrilling

(Clearly, I'm not such a dab hand at taking photographs from the back of a moving motorbike. Guess I'll give up my dreams of being a paparazzi photograpgher, illico presto!)

7 hr motorbike trip up to Manikaran 
and the start of the trek
I'm still looking for heaven.
Although, Khirganga definitely came close!

More news on the Indian project soon :)
For now, I have two hours ahead of me to splash in paint.
Hope you are all in wonderful spirits