21 November 2014

My 100th Post

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I can't believe I've just written that.
If Blogger didn't count them and inform me 
 I would have let this special day pass me by without knowing.

If you don't mind I need to write it again only in bigger numbers
100 th. post.

I promise I won't mention it again.

 I created my blog in 2012. If you weren't reading me then take a look at my first post.

Except for my family, I really didn't know who would want to read about my daily life, 
but 99 posts later and just past the 40,000 number of views.
I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.
 I'm still here and when I don't enjoy writing and sharing I'll stop.

I thank every one of you who take the time to read about me, 

If you don't write a comment  I don't know you are reading it, but thank you anyway.

Finally a special thank you to all my blogging friends
who leave such lovely encouraging comments.

 A sketch from my journal of the back view of our house from the grazing field.

What better subject to share with you than the beautiful countryside I enjoy where I live, 
and what a stunning time of the year when the trees are exploding with such beautiful colours.

If you would like to join me on my walk, we will start from 

Our summer visitors have gone. the vine has been trimmed

                         but it still looks inviting with the lovely red leaves on the Virginia Creeper.

During my recuperation time I sat most days on our terrace 
and sketched this view of the ruined barn 

Now the Berberis is looking at its best, so many shades of red.

We could take this lane.

But I think we'll go  this way.

 We will walk the  'Le Route Forrestier' 

 I haven't taken this pathway for quite some time as it was too hilly for me, but now I'm able to walk much further again, it's the best route for views.  We will be able to see the many species of trees which grow in our region  some of them are already bare and others are still showing off  their colourful robes. This particular day started with heavy showers then the sun came out which lit up the trees making their colours even more beautiful, 

I climbed the first hill to see the lovely big Oak tree
 which stands alone in the field where the Limousin cows feed,
 This oak always look splendid whatever the season, it hangs onto
it's leaves almost until the new Spring leaves begin to appear.

 I stopped and turned around so that you could have a glimpse of my home through the bare trees.

I can see lots of  dark clouds beginning to gather so before it starts to rain again.
I think we'll take a little detour,  I don't think you'll be disappointed.
it's this winding path which has lots of ferns along the edge of the path

Look at the lovely shades of rust of these ferns, 
I'll be cutting them soon and taking them to use as a winter coat for my fragile Fuchsias.
I learnt that tip from an old man in the village where we lived when we first arrived in France.
If you'd like to read some of my happenings in that village take a peep    here

I'm so glad I took the detour even though it didn't rain
We would have missed seeing these trees.
Aren't they beautiful ?

When it snows and I write about the snow plough never passing our house, you can see why. 

         I'll be able to show you the ruined house near to where I live.which is so over grown now

We are now back, to where we started our walk.
I hope you enjoyed the beautiful colours I'm seeing at the moment.
This year we still haven't had any frost, so we're still enjoying our Autumn.

 Now for a little insight of my preparation before I actually make a post. 

I say it so many times I am not technically minded.
I forget how to do things, so have to write it down, especially doing a link.
That's why I don't join in with Link posts but I do read the blogs you all link to.

I'd never get anything done I'd still be sitting at my laptop struggling.
Oh believe me sometimes it takes me ages.
However I have managed to put two links in this post.

When I first started writing on my blog I used to get Mr France to take the photos.

But since then  I've learnt such a lot about taking photos and I'm still learning, 
Here I'm preparing for a photo shoot I wanted to show you 
the last three stems of Lavender I found this morning.

Most of the photos I take are with my aim & shoot camera,  I can master that.

It's still not right. but was the best of all that I took.
This stone jar I found buried in the barn under all the hay at our first house.

I fiddled about adding a few more bits and pieces.
I've just made some Lavender sachets as extra little gifts for Christmas
and I thought it would fit in with the theme.
But too many shadows. 

I hope you enjoyed my special post.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

14 November 2014

Some Ideas for the Vine wreaths.

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The wreaths I made a few weeks ago waiting to be decorated.

I always decorate the front door of our own home
 and  La Petite Maison  for the festive season,

This is a reminder of what I did a few years ago

La Petite Maison 2012

For the greenery of the base I usually give a few shrubs a trim
just before I start, then it's easy to fill in with whatever you have.
I used small pine cones which are in abundance where I live.
I also dried some apple rings
( but a word of warning, the birds will come and eat most of them )
Also with the very wet winter we had that year, they became soft.
So next time I would keep dried apple or orange rings
 for an indoor wreath.They do give a pleasant spicy aroma
especially if you sprinkle them with a little cinnamon or allspice .

This one had dried orange rings and a few whole dried lemons & tangerines.
I just leave my fruit to dry and harden off a little by our wood burner.

My home  2012

I've been doing a bit of searching for some different ideas.
Guess where I did my search ? Of course, my favorite Danish  magazine


Here are a few I've picked out for you

Photos shown without Barbara Lilian in France typed on them
are taken from  Isabellas 2014 Christmas magazine.

They might give you some inspiration to try.

How about one of these for your front door ?

If you're like me, when out on a walk you arrive home
with pockets full of natures treasures,
 that could fill your wreath, Fallen nuts,
pine cones & twisted branches with lichen
Or maybe a selection of berries from the trees,
but be prepared for the birds, they think it's a take away.

Any of these I would love to hang on my door and all could be made.
Give it a try,  don't say 'I could never make that'
Your first attempt might not have a professional finish to it
but it will be your own design and so much nicer than one bought from a store.

This would look very nice on a hall entrance table;
with a few of your special baubles and a little statue
all piled up in a shallow dish with a wreath just placed around it.

One of these would look very pretty in doors.

This one could be hung on the kitchen door.
It looks like the tiny cones I collect
and then spray painted white.
Now what could be easier than that ?
all you need is a reel of fine wire and some paint.

I love this dried flower one using lavender. maybe not true Christmas style,
 but could look  pretty and smell very nice in a guest bedroom.

This frothy one on a side table.
with candles in lanterns placed around it looks lovely.


If you have been successful drying some Hydrangea  heads
this is a very show off way for them to be seen
along with a few other dried flowers and thistles.
I  like the way it's hung with a leather belt,
a very original smart country idea .

I hope I've chosen something to suite every ones taste.

If you do decide to make a winter season wreath
I hope you enjoy making it.
I would love to see the style you choose to make yours.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

23 October 2014

Gentle gardening

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 I'm really wanting to get out in the garden with a spade in my hands .and make a start on creating the flower bed that went on hold last year. However I think I'm being a bit ambitious just yet. I did try to do a little but...Mr France and my body are telling me to hold on a bit and take things slowly and gently, So I listened and this is what I've been  doing this past week.

Something easy.

planting bulbs in baskets which later Mr France can hang on the terrace.

I did have big ideas of planting loads of bulbs in the bank I call the wild part of the garden.  

Now I'm thinking maybe later. I hope I don't run out of time before the frost comes.

These were bargain 2kg bags.
 63 Tulips and 65 Varied Daffodils

Which will have to stay in the trug for a little while longer

 I was able to tackle a bit of tidying up, which was easy, I pulled down
 a few branches of the Virginia Creeper and was about to dump it, then 
as I was pushing it into the wheelbarrow it started to
 automatically twist into itself making a rough garland,
so I instantly  rescued it, and look at these wreaths I made.
I'll put them on one side until I have gathered enough
bits of natural things to decorate them.

Even though I wasn't able to bend and dig, I was quite pleased
 with what I did achieve.

What do you think ?


à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

18 October 2014

Sketches of the Atlantic / Charente coast.

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At last I've started to sketch in my Moleskine journal.
I don't know why I was hesitating. 
It's so lovely to paint in,
I'm  really enjoying dabbling at trying different techniques.
I wish I'd used it sooner.

Talmont was the village we stayed at.
 I knew I'd love painting these chocolate box style cottages.

I didn't see the sign not to pick the seeds.
Préserver notre site. 
Ne pas cueillir les fleurs et gralnes
Protect our site
Do not pick the flowers or seeds.
 until I'd slipped a few seed heads into my pocket.
To compensate for my
vraiment grave erreur / really bad mistake 

 I bought some postcards which two lovely elderly ladies 
had had the initiative to put the card in a see through bag
and add lots of the roses trémières / hollyhocks seeds
then embellish the bag with a pretty etiquette
Plaisir d'offrir  / The pleasure of giving .
How thoughtful is that.

We went further along the coast to Meshers, and walked along the cliff edge over looking the Atlantic, where we saw lots of  huts on stilts, some painted blue.They're called  Carrelets  and are used for fishing.They have large square nets with a sturdy frame, which are lowered into the shallow water to catch whatever fish might be passing.and then a crane like lifting device is used to lift the net which needs two or three men to operate as they are very heavy.

Les Grottes.

The caves originally carved by nature, later the holes were then enlarged by man to become
 the 19th C. real troglodytes.(some caves are still occupied today )


Be it at the bottom of these lost holes 
under those layers of fossils
that happiness is nesting

M. Brossard 
Naturel Scientist  1891


I hope you enjoyed seeing the Atlantic/Charente coast
through my sketches in a Moleskine - Carnet Aquarelle 21x13 cm.
Using a Micron /pigma 01 pen and painted with W & N water colour paints.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

17 October 2014

Autumn colours.

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The Virginia creeper which climbs up the wall
of La Petite Maison, is always the first to turn to such lovely shades of crimson.

I managed to capture the beautiful shades of gold of the leaves
on the Canadian oaks planted in rows in a field near my home.

These tall trees I see near where my daughter lives.
Another favourite walk we love to take when passing.
Fortunately I had my pocket camera with me whilst walking there recently.

Ah! good, a bench to sit awhile and soak up the splendour of natures beautiful colours.

Who wouldn't want to sit and devour these beautiful colours.
 I keep telling myself I should try painting 'en plein air'

This picture is not my own and I'm sorry I can't give credit to the photographer.
as I saw it on a friends facebook page and recognised where it is.
It's the old part of Limoges city near where I live.
It the colours that made me want to show it in my autumn colours post.

These are a few bits of autumn I brought home from my walk
waiting for me to sketch in my Moleskine journal.

With all the beauty of autumn around me
I have so much to capture, so I'd better get painting.
Couldn't resist showing a few autumn stems in a simple jam jar


à bientôt

Barbara Lilian