Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Normandy Life"

Many of you know Maggie,

the author of the delightful blog

Maggie and her husband live in the beautiful countryside of Normandy, France, in a charming 16th and 18th century Prespbytery that they lovingly restored 15 years ago. We have been friends through the years, having first met in 2000 while attending an Annual Meeting of Quimper Club International. This past October "the chef" and I had the pleasure of experiencing Normandy Life in real time.

Each morning we woke to the most

incredible views just outside our windows.

In the quiet hours of early morning,

the fog gently rose, and the rosy pink sky

ushered in the sunshine of a new day.

All about us were pastures of fresh green grass and herds of gentle Normandy cows grazing about. Every view offered a photo perfect scene that one might find in the quintessential landscape of a pastoral setting.

Normandy cows, prized for both their

protein rich milk and quality beef,

are characteristically brown and white.

Not far down the lane is a Romanesque style church built on the site of an old chapel. The fishbone pattern, still visible in the choir and the nave, shows that it was built in the 11th century. The churchyard with its ancient tombstones and grave markers is often the subject of Maggie's magnificent images for Shadow Shot Sunday @ Hey Harriets.

More delights are found wandering

the beautiful lawns and gardens.

A perfect sunny spot for two friends to sit and chat.

Inside one is inspired by the awe of living

in such a beautiful, historic treasure.

There are wonderful pieces of Quimper.

Special touches of French symbols and . . .

Sweet Mr. Ben

Along with the frisky M'selle Fleur.

Every morning there was fresh

French bread, croissants, and pain au chocolat.

Always served on Emma Bridgewater's

pottery from the classic Black Toast Collection.

This dishaholic was totally smitten!

One morning Maggie and I drove to nearby Bayeux

To visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry

and walk through the magnificent

Bayeux Cathedral

that was consecrated in 1077.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of a Normandy crepe

filled with fresh greens - a perfect ladies lunch.

While the girls were away,

the husbands were back at the

Presbytery reading, visiting, and lunching

alfresco on the lawn in the warm sunshine.

Delicious evening meals were prepared by Mr. B, dining on Chicken Divan one meal and another on the best Boeuf Bourguignon we've ever tasted. The mosaic above features a meal we enjoyed out at a local country restaurant. I think the photos speak for themselves.

Our four days in Normandy were a highlight of our trip.

Good friends making memories together.

As we drove off for more

adventures in the French countryside,

we bid our farewells to good friends

who live an idyllic life in Normandy.

You can find Normandy Life here.

Stop by for a visit and sign up to follow along

as Maggie shares her life in Normandy.

Joining the following:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011


November comes

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.

With night coming early,

And dawn coming late,

And ice in the bucket

And frost by the gate.

The fires burn

And the kettles sing,

And earth sinks to rest

Until next spring.

A poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth

Linking to

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trip Treasures

A recent trip to Baltimore and Wilmington 
garnered a few treasures that have found their way 
into fall vignettes here at HFTS.

Antique Majolica in Various Leaf Patterns
Vintage Binoculars with Leather Details

And a Wonderful Fall Inspired 

Scherenschnitte is the art of paper cutting. The tradition of scissor cutting was brought to Colonial America in the 18th century, primarily in Pennsylvania. A 1930s Quimper pitcher holds a fall bouquet, while a wooden blackbird and wooden pumpkins finish out the vignette.

As with this piece, these works of paper cuttings often have symmetry of design. Here fall leaves radiate off from a Tom Turkey. Acorns, owls, pumpkins, and black crows further embellish the design.

All these intricate details immediately 
drew me to this piece, along with the beautiful fall colors 
that were hand water colored.

This design is by 
Pam Rankin Hultz.

And since black crows play a major roll in my new paper cut, I thought I'd include a few more crow inspired vignettes I created last year when I shared the following Native American legend that I taught my students in the fall of each year.

It was believed that in ancient times, all crows were as white as the snow. The native Americans that roamed the plains in search of buffalo hunted on foot. It was a difficult life, and the people depended on the buffalo to survive. They used every part of the buffalo for food, clothing, tools, and shelter.

The crows were friends of the buffalo, and as they soared high above they could see everything that happened below on the prairie. When they spied hunters approaching a herd, the crows would swoop down to the buffalo and call out in warning: "Caw, caw, caw. The hunters are near. You must run." The buffalo would scatter and leave the hunters without a kill. With time the people began to starve.

Among the crows was one that was larger than the others and the leader of the flock. The people decided that they must capture this big white crow and teach him a lesson. They devised a plan.

A young brave would wear a buffalo skin with head and horns. He would graze among the buffalo as if he were one of them. As the hunters approached, the crow called out his usual warning: "Caw, caw, caw. The hunters are near. You must run." All but one of the buffalo stampeded away. So the crow flew down and perched on the lone buffalo saying: "Caw, caw, caw. Can you not hear? The hunters are near. You must run and save yourself." 

The brave then reached up from under his disguise and grabbed the crow. He tied a cord to his legs and attached the other end of the cord to a large stone. The crow was captured!

The people met again to decide what to do with this bad crow who was causing them to go hungry. As they gathered, one impatient brave grabbed the crow and threw him into the council fire. At once the fire burned through the cord, and the big crow flew to freedom.

But the big crow's beautiful white feathers were now black from the fire, and as he soared above the people could hear him call: "Caw, caw, caw. I'll never warn the buffalo again."

From that day on, all crows are as black 
as the blackened scorched feathers of the big white crow.

You might be interested to know that crows are very intelligent birds and can mimic sounds. These large birds are often a problem for farmers and gardeners because they tend to live in large flocks which consume large amounts of food.

So if you have a garden,
you just might want to add one of these.

Happy Thanksgiving!