31 December 2013

New Year 2014

A friend sent this to me today
I'd like to share it with you.

Happy New Year.

I'm full of hope for this coming New Year.
I hope you are too.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

30 December 2013


It will soon be  NEW YEAR 2014

Every year I like to try to do something new.
 I have just signed up to participate in an on line course 
of 8 weeks for still life photography.
you can join too.
But you will have to be quick it starts on 6th Jan -24th Feb 2014

If you're interested   Click Here  and check it out 
@ Cheryl McCain Photography

Last year Mr France bought himself a new camera a PANASONIC DMC- FZ 48
 I have been trying my hardest to learn how to use it, taking photos for my blog.
My camera is also a Lumix-Panasonic DMC-TZ4 which I call an aim and shoot.
No fiddly buttons and just a few menus.

I wasn't going to tell you, I was going to wait and see if I made any progress,
but I'm sure there's lots of you out there,
 just like me,
 who would like to be able to take better photos.

I hope the above link Click Here works I'm not very good at linky things.

 I'm also going to put Cheryl's button on my side bar.

I'm feeling very excited, I can't wait to try!

Wishing  all my friends


I found this on a blog I read today, however I can't remember who's it was.
If it was yours, please let me know.
 I thank you and hope you don't mind me using it.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

21 December 2013

My Christmas Decor

My Christmas decorations have been minimal this year.
as Mr France and I will be spending the holiday with our daughter and our grandsons.

No sapin de noel .
 few branches collected from the woods, with some of my favourite things hanging from the twigs. 

 Present wrapping time, using my vintage lace.

another chance to use the music.

I wish all my friends and followers a wonderful

 Happy Christmas.

Joyeaux Noel

God Jul.

 à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

15 December 2013

Some of my decorations, using the pages of music.

Since all the pondering about defacing the music book
I've had a great time making cards
in fact
many cards, which have all been to sent to friends and family.

Then  I made these cones, which I remembered seeing last year
 in my favourite Danish magazine.

This is my variation.

The cones can be hung from a beam 
or placed on a side table with baubles popped inside,
or if you have a large tree they could look lovely hanging from a branch

 Many years ago I used to make little cushions with vintage lace which I put on our bed
and I have lots of odd pieces left over from my collection .
So it was just the thing to add to the vintage theme of the sheet music.

I also had some clear baubles I'd bought a while ago
and wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them !

I'd seen a few ideas in a magazine, using paper in different colours
 cut into strips and placed inside. so that gave me the idea to use the music.

 I still have a few other ideas for things to do, if I get time.

I hope you like what I chose to do with some of the pages from the book.

As Mr France & I will be spending the Christmas holiday with our daughter and our grandchildren
I haven't decorated a tree this year.
But I've had lots of enjoyment making these decorations, which I'll give to her and have the pleasure of seeing how she will display them in her home.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

09 December 2013

My decision on using the sheet music.

In my last post I asked for your opinion whether I should use the book of music which  I found in a brocante After reading your interesting comments, which I'm extremely grateful to have received. Then chatting on face book, and emails from friends  it was almost 50/50. It wasn't easy to make my decision.
I did a lot of research into the book of  the opera music & also gave it a great deal of thought, it took me 10 days of pondering to be exact, before I plucked up courage to deface the book, a vintage book at that !
I hope I'm not going to make any enemies by doing this ?
As I  found  that the book was not valuable and knowing the music would never be played,  I didn't feel too guilty, added to that a lot of  you were thinking on the same wavelength as me. So I have neatly pulled out a few pages to make cards, decorations and a few little gift bags. All will be shown later in the week.

 I did some research on the fashion in France and Germany during the period when the music was written.
After I'd pulled out the first double pages, I wasn't sure if  it was guilt, but  probably it was my  vivid imagination, but I began to get a vision of a lady sitting on a stool at the piano with a gentleman standing nearby ready to turn the pages of her music. The lady dressed in a beautiful crinoline gown, her hair in ringlets. the gentleman looking handsome in a long jacket and slim fitting trousers & knee boots.

In case your imagination is not as vivid as mine here are a few fashion images for you.

Western style

French fashion 1840

German style

and as you all love the way the French ladies dress
this is what they were wearing in 1840.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the fashion from the period of my music book.
come back again soon to see my decorations.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

28 November 2013

My fantastic music find for a decoration.

Look at my fantastic find, from a Brocante shop in a small town near where I live.

I was wandering down a side street looking for ideas for Christmas, when I saw the sign Brocante. The door was open and the owner was sitting in a comfy chair, soaking up the sun that was shining into his doorway,
I decided to go in have a browse. 
Knowing I had some ideas in my mind for making some decorations using sheet music, in my best French I asked if he had any pieces of sheet music, he said he thought he might have a few books of music, but wasn't sure if he could find them, so could I wait while he went out to the back of his shop. 
I had plenty of time so I looked around and saw lots of things I would have loved to buy, but as I was with Mr. France who hates old and dusty things, if it's not brand spanking new, he calls it junk.
I thought this was not the right time and I'd just wait to see if the owner could find any sheet music.
A few minutes later he came back with this book and asked if it was of any use.
Now as I hadn't gone out suitably dressed for rummaging about in a brocante shop, I had to be careful as he might think I was a collector or maybe a  dealer, as he could have put a high price on it. 
Also being English and smartly dressed in a small town didn't help, I was wondering how much he would say he wanted. I looked at it, as if it was of no use to me, but wanting so much to have this lovely vintage book.  I could see the pages were thick and not flimsy like the books of today. I asked how much he wanted, for it, thinking I was going to have to barter with him. I couldn't believe it when he said 2 euros. I couldn't get out of the shop quick enough, in case he changed his mind. 
Now that I have the book at home and have looked at the lovely design on the cover, even though it's torn and tattered it tells a story. It's the music for a comedy opera, written in German and French. 
I'm sure it's not valuable, but I almost don't want to tear the pages out from it, just to make decorations.

I never deface books, so now I'm in a dilemma, do I tear out the pages 
 or should I try somewhere else that might have sheet music ?
Do you ever feel like this when you touch something vintage ?
 that's so worn because it's  been used so many times.

The tattered cover.

I can't read music, but to me it looks as if it's quite lively.

That was yesterday and now I'm still wondering, should I use it for the decoration I want to make,
 or keep the opera music book ?

I'd love to have your opinion to help me make up my mind

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

13 November 2013

Signs of Winter, the Cranes are migrating.

This morning I heard the sound of the cranes passing over our house.
they usually fly over during the third week in October
so they are a few weeks later this year.
I guess, due to the milder weather in France these past few weeks 
they decided to hang on a little longer.
 but now it must be time for them to leave and fly south
These are probably from Scandinavia and eastern Europe.
 They leave to winter in south-west Spain and north-west Africa 

Where I live is on a flight path, so maybe we humans chose this route from the birds !!
( I'm only joking. )

I can still remember the first time I saw the Cranes or should I say heard them. I had no idea their route took them over my home. I was in the garden at the time, and I couldn't work out what the loud noise was and then I finally saw the cranes. I tried to count them, it seemed like there were hundreds flying in several V-shaped formations. I'd only ever seen pictures of this, I'd never actually seen it for real.
I still rush out  to see them when I hear the noise.
I enjoy it even more when they are on their return in February,
as I know that spring is on it's way.

They usually fly in large groups like this, changing positions

It was a wonderful sight to see, their wings working rhythmically as they held the V.shape, they seemed so organised, the leader at the apex changing as the birds took it in turns to lead the way. There were a few stragglers flapping about who seemed to be left behind, but thankfully they eventually caught up and tagged onto the end of the line.

So goodbye my friends,
 we'll see you again  next year in February when you
  return to your breeding patch.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

06 November 2013

No Gardening, so I'm painting.

It's been raining for days and the forecast is more for the next few days, which means our garden project has been put on hold ! So what do I do with my time after the daily chores have been completed.......
Well, now I don't have any excuse not to be working on  the painting challenge I gave myself.

Before the rain I'd collected a selection of different leaves so thought I'd start off with a little bit of Autumn.

and a couple of cones from the many I've collected
waiting to be used in decorations for Christmas.

I have various watercolour painting books on 'How to  ....... '
and the many techniques on how to use aquarelle in the style I like.
.However that day my mind was blank
 I had no idea what to paint, should it be scenes, buildings or flowers ?
Being so undecided I thought I'd sketch a few things in my journal

I started with what I could see in front of me on my work surface.

Then I saw my journal. !
 I only started  it at the beginning of this year 2013
 Unfortunately I'm not disciplined enough and only make the odd entry every now and again.

My journal has brown paper which is like wrapping  paper.
and it's a very different surface to paint on which I don't find  easy.

  so I usually just sketch.

then use my watercolour pencils.

I will state this is not meant to be a self portrait ! 
but it is my usual style of dress for gardening on cold drizzly days.

We had a break in the clouds and it had stopped raining for a short spell
I decided to get outside and divide up a few plants &  re-pot a few others, also
 I'd just bought a tray of pansies to brighten up the window boxes and they needed to be planted.
so that turned out to be my subject for sketching.

I do like to paint pansies.
I put one in a little blue glazed, terracotta pot.

This one below is one I did during my first period of painting in 2008
Mr France was so proud of me, he made a mount and framed it .

I had a period of busy family life and painting was shelved for quite a few years.Then when I did have the time, I found it difficult to begin again. I felt I'd lost my way, and was never happy with what I produced.  My art teacher at that time gave me a very good piece of advice, 'never throw away any of your paintings, otherwise you'll never have anything to compare your recent painting with' 
I'm glad I listened, as I took out some of my early paintings, and saw I had improved, and now feel I have the courage to gradually slip a little painted sketch into my posts.Some of my lovely followers have asked, where I've been hiding my talent. I don't see myself as producing good work or being talented. I enjoy painting, but always want to paint in the style of others.
I received an email from one of my follower friends, telling me I should be chuffed at what I'm producing in my own style..That was the best encouragement I could receive and I take it as a compliment.

Slowly I'm gaining my confidence again. 
and trying to paint as often as I can.
I hope you like what I've dared to share.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

29 October 2013

Chrysanthemums for remembrance

 Outside of the supermarkets big and small are pots & pots of  Chrysanthemums for sale
 in all of the lovely colours, which are bought  and then placed on the graves
 of their loved ones,.in remembrance for 'All  Saints day'

All over France this time of the year you can see masses of Chrysanthemums in pots,
 as beautiful floral decorations in the towns and cities and on the roundabouts.


In France
Chrysanthemums are never given as a gift to anyone,
 and you rarely see them planted in the gardens.
In the first village I lived in I soon learnt it wasn't the done thing
 to use them as a floral decoration outside my front door.

These lovely arrangements are in our local church.
This one amongst many others was in the entrance area.

 in front of the alter.

This was my favourite.

After our visit inside the beautifully decorated church we had a wander around the market stalls.

and I couldn't resist snapping this little fellow
 who seemed  to be on guard 
at a market stall.

I hope you liked seeing how the French people use
Chrysanthemums for remembrance.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian