08 February 2016

Time for a change.

It's nearly 4 years since I created my blog.
How I've grown since my first post. 
I don't mean physically but
 certainly in confidence.

You will often see me  write '' I'm not very technical ''
but with the help from friendly blogging friends, 
I've learnt so much about computers.
 Now I've advanced and also have an Ipad.

I haven't had it for very long, so I'm still wearing L plates .
 I haven't yet mastered how to transfer things to use on my blog yet.
  it's so much faster when searching Internet for information.
After I've found how to do things 
 I do need to write the instructions in my book.

otherwise, when I want to do it again, I've forgotten.

How do you like my new header ? 

I've been trying to do this for quite sometime
but never seemed to get it right.
Then I found this very informative blog 
'Blissfully Domestic' so pop over and take a look,
it gives easy to follow step by step instructions 
How to  make a  New Blog header using Picasa,
which I already use for effects on my photos,
so that was a bonus.

If your thinking of changing your blog header, have a go,
if I can do it, I'm sure you can.

I must admit, I've come a long way since my first post
which was in 2012 titled
 'Welcome to the 1st. page of my new blog'
and the header looked like this.

Which at that time I thought I was doing well, achieving a collage.
Now I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.
So I've given myself a big pat on the back
for achieving a more professional header.

I hope you like the changes I've made to the layout of my blog.

I'll be back soon.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

01 February 2016

Vegetable sketches.

Saturday morning after shopping, I was having my mid morning coffee,
and reading the blogs I follow.
 I saw that Ronelle from africantapestry
who writes and paints was
also having a mental block with her painting.
So I wasn't feeling so bad after reading that.
She describes this as losing her 'mojo'
Her post that day was vegetables.
ah - ha  I thought !

I'd just emptied the shopping bag,
full of colourful fruit & vegetables onto the kitchen worktop, 
and although I don't particularly like painting still life
the colours certainly looked tempting to paint. 
As I'd been lacking ideas to re-start watercolour sketch painting,
 and Ronelle who's style of painting I love
I thought this was an omen, I decided to get painting.

I'd recently been to a craft shop and bought a basic sketch pad, 
thinking this will get me started again.

Then when I feel I've really got my interest back,
I can go back to using my Moleskine journal again.

Paints and palette all ready.

A nice fresh bunch of Radish, almost like a posy of flowers
just waiting to be painted,
and delicious as well.

Painting palette, not touched for so long, all the blobs of paint dried up.
but amazingly just a few drops of water brought most of them back.

After a wobbly beginning, I used my Micron pens
and then mixed a few different shades of green.

 I roasted the Fennel with the potatoes, it was very tasty.

So thank you  Ronelle for the vegetable sketch you shared.
and my followers who have been encouraging me 
to do some painting. at least I've made a start.

When the weather improves 
I'll get out and try some scenic views and buildings for a change.
 I've joined an on-line painting course given by
who paints wonderful street sketches and snow scenes.
I'm hoping I'll learn something.
This is one of her paintings.

Winter snow scene by Shari Blaukopf

I'll be doing some (I mean a lot of ) practise lessons first,
before I show any of my efforts.

I'll say good bye
I hope you liked my sketches
and will come back again soon.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

26 January 2016

Pretty Pansy Faces

Pansies are one of my favourite winter flowers, 
I plant some every autumn.
I love their flowers heads they remind me of smiley faces
 This year I put two troughs on the south side of the house 
and they were safely sheltered from our storm last week. 
Troughs of pansies in full bloom.
Early morning photo taken from the window.
these are dwarf pansies

 and we've been enjoying seeing them in flower for some time.

Then after a view days of warm sunshine 
  the tête à tête daffodils quickly came into bloom.

These tête à tête  daffodils are from a few years ago,

 I planted them a little later, than the others.

Last year I planted them in hanging baskets.

after they've finished flowering, I store them in a plant pot in the shed.  
I found a few more that had been forgotten,they'd already started to shoot .
so while the sun was shining I quickly shoved them into a trough.
Can't really call that gardening.can I ? at the moment.
I'm sorry to say it, but I'm not very enthusiastic .
Do you ever get like that ?
 please tell me it's not just me.

Thought I'd show you a few my pansy paintings
that I've made into cards.

they were painted a few years ago. 

I thought if I looked at some of my paintings
it might give me some encouragement, to start again.
I've set up a trestle table, found my sketch books and paper !
So ... until my next post, when ever that will be, I might surprise you.
Might be paintings or progress in the garden.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

23 January 2016

How lucky we were.

Our weather forecast was hail and some high winds !
It all happened so quickly, we heard the hailstones on the windows,
the noise of the wind in the trees, and then saw things flying past the window.
It was recorded as a mini tornado, and we must have been in the eye of it.
We were so lucky......

If these very large high trees  had fallen in the other direction,
 the cottage would now just be rubble.
That's the corner of our cottage on the edge of this photo.

We are just thankful that it was just the road that was blocked
and the trees hadn't fallen on the cottage.

The electricity and telephone cables were brought down 
and we don't get a signal to use our mobile phones........
Fortunately the road which passes our house joins another road. 
so we were able to get out and alert the local commune.
Who quickly alerted the necessary services 
The next day a team of 4 men came to cut the fallen trees
 and clear the road so that the electric & telephone 
cables could be fixed back on the poles.
As we are so rural our cables have still to be put under-ground.
Now the huge tree trunks on the side of the road.
Not sure how long they will remain there,
as the owner of this land is now in a retirement home,
and in France everyone is responsible for looking after their own land !

Do you remember seeing pictures of our lovely pergola ?
during the summer it's covered in a grape vine 
with a Bignone/Campsis - orange trumpet climber.

This is what it looks like now.

Most of the boundary fencing was in bits
 and the rest was blown away.

I know it's sad when trees that have have been there for years, 
are damaged by storms, but these had never been managed 
and were far to high and too close to our property,
so in a way we are happy.

Can you believe that this window decoration remained in place,
it was on a sheltered wall.

I've just seen the news on our television
and seen how many states in the USA
are being given warnings of severe snow storms .
To all of you that maybe affected, I hope you stay warm and safe.

Weather permitting, I'm hoping that soon
I'll be able to get on with preparing some raised flower-beds
for the new David Austin roses I've chosen.
( with  help from Mr France of course. )

I'll be back when the storm damage is cleared up,
and the flower-beds prepared,

So until then .

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

16 December 2015

Some decorating and easy mince-pies.

Some outside decorating.
Using fresh greenery and berries I've collected
and things I've dried over the year.

The first wreath I made,
 now hangs on the door at my daughters house.

Some outdoor decorating with lanterns.

Peeping in the window.

Every year at Christmas time I make mince-pies.
 For those of you who are not familiar with these spicy little tart-lets
 this is what they look like.

I don't make my own mince-meat I cheat a little and use a bought jar of good quality mince meat and add a slug of brandy, along with a few other extras
like grated orange peel a few cranberries & some chopped nuts. 
 .... but if you do want to make your own, take a look here
 Daphne always makes her own.

But this way is quick & easy.

This year I'm going to try something totally different.
It's a Jamie Oliver recipe, he used bought mince meat in a jar
along with ready made puff pastry and filo pastry sheets, 
so even chefs cheat,

Perfect mince pies

Jamie's Mince-pies  they look so different.

Just to finish off
 I wanted to show you this lovely vintage enamel plaque
 I found it at a Christmas market.
It's been made into a coat hook-hanger.

I think I'm all organised now, 
what needs to be ordered has been ordered.
Cards and gifts to be sent have been posted.
Always some last minute presents to wrap.

So now I can do all the extra little touches to make
my home extra special for family and friends.
I plan to make Winter Spiced Pot-Pourri

It's an easy gift, smells wonderful
When all the spices and dried fruit are mixed together
 put the pourri in a pretty jar or a see through bag & tie with ribbon.  
Last year it was a great success, so I'll definitely make some more this week

I followed Stone Gable blog recipe, if you want to know how
to make it why don't you pop over to her  blog.

How is all your preparation coming along ?
Hope you are enjoying the build up to the festive season.
I'll try and get another post done, 
so that I can show you all the house decorating I've done

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian