Tag Archives: demitasse cup

Memories of France

God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December.

~James Matthew Barrie, Scottland 1922

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. This is the last in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Thank you, my dear friends, for following along on this dream trip to southwest France.)

time to say “au revoir”

The clocks are ticking too quickly. There is still so much to see and do, but the Chateau Dumas masterclass in the little village of Auty is ending. Wouldn’t it be lovely to stay a bit longer? What a fantastic time we would have together!

clock faces FAV

What shall we do together if we have more time in this lovely French countryside? 

Would you like to enjoy another cup of café au lait at a sidewalk cafe in the sweet village of Caussade?

Cafe au lait

Sample another freshly-baked baguette or other delectable French pastry? Shall we take some bread home with us?

Pastry shop

croissant FAV

Bread bags FAV

Or travel the countryside to other quaint midieval villages?

Cordes FAV 2

Cordes FAV

Balcony FAV

13th cent house cordes FAV

 window, curtain and pot 

Meander the centuries-old cobble streets and see what adventures we may discover or people we may meet?

cobble street in cordes FAV

Do a little shopping at French boutiques and shops?

wine shop FAV 1

Wine shop FAV 2

Boutique

Relax in gorgeous gardens amongst the roses and explore beyond the garden gates?

Bench with lichen FAV

climbing roses close dumas

Pink Roses FAV

Curved Teak Dumas FAV

to south garden2

Enjoy just one more bit of a tasty French morsel?

First Course FAV

rustic apricot pie

Alas, it is 7 a.m. and the car is packed from floor to ceiling. Hat boxes are carefully held on our laps. One last whiff of the heavenly lavender as we drive on the gravel road . . . through the courtyard . . . under the portico . . . and down the tree-lined driveway.

Lavender gardens fav 1

chateau dumas 3 under portico fav

Just down the road, up the hill and around the corner in the tiny little village of Auty, Jo is waiting at the corner to wish the first small group of travelers goodbye  — she seems so French on the bike with the wicker basket. Cheerful au revoirs are quickly exchanged as we pass by.

Racing on to Toulouse . . .

la violette de toulouse

Toulouse may be la ville rose (the pink city, so named for the rosy color of its brick buildings), but its traditional flower is the highly-fragrant double violet — Toulouse’s particular strain of Parma violet, la violette ‘Parme de Toulouse’. There is much ado about the sweetly scented, gorgeous medium purple blossom grown by flower market growers just north of the city since the 1800’s. 

violet sign

I learn that celebrations are held every year in February — when everything is accentuated with violets and the allure of it’s deep fragrance fills the air — so much so that it is impossible to resist purchasing a bouquet of the little purple beauties at the market. In celebration of the violet, even amazing fresh food are created as only the French can do — such as breads, bonbons, gateaus, salad dressings and more. Well . . . all of this is at least what my driver told me when first arriving in Toulouse. Maybe, we should return in February for the festivals to enjoy it first-hand? What fun we would have!

I find a few small jars of la violette de Toulouse and violet tea to tuck into the last small corner of the suitcase.

violet sugar FAV

Violet syrup FAV

Violette tea and tea cup

Violette The FAV 1

 

Violette Products FAV 1

roses

Time to pack all the wonderful memories . . . they shall be roses . . .

Italian Rose FAV

 hats and hat boxes

Thank you all my dear friends for joining me on this lovely dreamy trip to southwest France. I am so glad we could travel together in this beautiful countryside. Let’s plan to go again, shall we? Chateau Dumas next summer?

You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.

~C.S. Lewis

Follow along on the other memories of Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

Bon Appetite!

French Millinery Magic

POST NOTE — Upcoming Millinery Masterclass!

 Another Millinery Masterclass is scheduled at the superb 18th-century Chateau Dumas September 26-October 3 in southwest France! Even if you have never made a hat before, the adventures of hatmaking under the expertise of former Royal Milliner Dillon Wallwork are not to be missed!

The tutor is  former Royal milliner, Dillon Wallwork who for nearly a quarter of a century designed hats for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales as part of the team at world famous milliners Philip Somerville.

 So whether the goal is a chic shoulder-spanning hat to turn heads or a coquettish cocktail hat with a mysterious veil, or something much more practical . . .  Toulouse is the starting point, Chateau Dumas the luxury base and Dillon the expert.  As Dillon says: “A well-chosen, stylish hat works wonders. Whether it’s men opening doors for you, getting a table at a busy restaurant or just keeping warm in winter, wearing a hat gets you noticed – people will say ‘Who’s that?’ Men just love to be with a woman in a glorious hat.”

Want more information about a dream trip to Chateau Dumas and the Millinery Masterclass?

 Contact Lizzie, the Chatelaine de Dumas.

 

 

 

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

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Filed under crafts, France, Gardening, millinery, Travel, Vintage

Savoring Violets {la partie une

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily

do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.

 If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose,

spring would lose its loveliness.

                         ~Therese of Lisieux

 

violets underfoot

It is a spectacular morning at Rose Cottage…hundreds and hundreds of sweet little violets have burst into bloom in the northeast corner near the emerging lady fern. It is as if the violets have put on their very finest for the spring dance!

 

Field of Freckles1

 

Especially breathtaking are the lovely “Freckles” violet. Just look at the soft lavender freckles over their little faces. I want to gather them all and arrange them in tiny vases throughout Rose Cottage. Alas, they are too delicate to last very long once picked–I simply enjoy them growing with wild abandon under the spruce trees, amongst the fern,  beneath the bridal wreath and tucked between the flagstone. Some call them weeds–I prefer sweet violets. Often, the simplier things in life–like enjoying a small, obscure woodland flower–can refresh our soul and change how the world looks. Sometimes, it is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? 

 

Field of Freckles and Heidi

 

There are so many violets it is impossible to not crush them underfoot–but they are forgiving. I bend down for a closer look and inhale their delicate fragrance.

 Freckles close 4

 

Even the common violet is so beautiful in the early morning sunlight, and the soft fragrance fills the cool morning air.

 

Violet Common

 

gathering violets  

Each year, I plan on making violet jelly, but have never carried out the age-old idea of preserving the little delicate blossoms. Today is different–it is a perfect morning in May for gathering violets for the jelly. The dew is evaporated and the petals are fully opened. Time to use the sweet, simple gift offered so generously this spring. But first, I catch a glimpse of the red violets–not wanting to be outdone by Freckles.

 

Red Violet

 

I find the old, shallow wooden trug in the garden house next to the cottage garden. The shallowness of the basket makes it perfect for gathering the tender purple blossoms. In less than an hour, a generous amount of the sweet violets are gathered in the English trug. A few Freckles have slipped in the basket, too.

 

violets and garden trug

 

Next, the stems are removed from the blossoms. Stems may cause the infusion to be bitter.

 

Violets in frog close2

 

The wind blowing from the southwest is challenging, and a few blue violets are lost to the occasional surprise wind gust. Unexpected “wind gusts” can make our lives difficult, too-especially when we least expect it. But, I persist and keep on with the project. This year, I am going to make jelly!

 

glass basket and violets

 

making a tisane {steeping the blossoms

Though, not technically a tisane, the next step is to steep the blossoms to make an infusion. Four cups of loosely packed violet blossoms fill a quart canning jar.

 

violets and quart jar

 

Then, boiling water from the tea kettle is poured over the violets–about three cups of water. Look how quickly the infusion changes into a lovely “Monet-esque” piece of art–“priceless!” Within a few magical seconds, the tisane turns into a dark turquoise. Who would have thought the simple violet could hold such beauty and create such surprising “magic?” Beauty shows up when I least expect it.

 

Monet in a Jar

 

The quart jar is covered with a lid and stashed away in the refrigerator for 24 hours to draw out all the lovely sweetness and color of the violets.

 

Tomorrow, the jelly making will continue…

 

Would you like an espresso or a little cup of tea while we chat about your morning? The tea or coffee is waiting for you. We can sit next to the violets if you would like…

 

demitasse and violet

 

savoring violets (part II) –more about using these delicate culinary flowers in jelly tomorrow…

 If you are thinking more about creating beauty in your life, be sure to stop by  The Inspired Room .

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Filed under Cooking, Gardening, Uncategorized

Awake! It’s spring…time to get organized!

Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn

tip 1: a place for everything

Do you sometimes feel “weighted down” or dreary during March even though the signs of spring are emerging everywhere?

Signs of Spring: Roses and Peony

Signs of Spring: Roses and Peony

Signs of Spring: Bird's Nest

Signs of Spring: Bird's Nest

Do you look around your home and wonder “where did all this stuff come from?” I do–tell me I am not alone!

For me, spring is a perfect time to help renew and refresh my spirit by organizing a closet, corner or a room. When organized, I am free of the burden of wondering, “where did I put…” and am not spending countless moments looking for something! I remember one of Grandmother Ione’s sayings, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Spring is a great time to be reminded of not giving clutter a chance to form.

Time for a Little Spring Tea

Time for Spring Tea Joined by Grandmother Ione's Mother (Myrtle Maderson)

tip 2: quality over quantity

At Rose Cottage, there is a closet under the stairs that is a catch all–it is Fibber McGee’s closet! Get a quick peak at the closet by watching the video. Time to tackle that closet–even though the mere thought is colossal! With my Very Best Boy’s help–yes, the same one as the cinnamon roll baker on the “Home Alone” post! We take EVERYTHING out of McGee’s closet. Soon there is only a path through the living room and the dining room!

Please tell me that someone else has a Fibber McGee’s closet!

tip 3: don’t put it down {put it away, give it away or throw it away

Living in a small 1880’s cottage with very limited storage for nearly thirty years, requires on-going organization. Asking, “how will I use…this year?” can help reduce the quantity of “stuff” that gathers over the winter months. Next, it is time to make decisions about what to do with the stuff!

tip 4: pile, don’t file!

…that is, pile so that “stuff” can find new homes! Soon piles grow destined for recycling, tossing or giving away. My Very Best Boy decides there is some “stuff” he can use at his house away at college! I decide in order to have a more beautiful and inspired life this year, I need to simplify and have less quantity. There is a lot of accumulation over the winter!

Do you have a proliferation of “stuff “over the winter, too?

tip 5: spring forward!

Time at last for all the piles to move out the door. Bags, bags and even more bags (too many to count!) are dropped off at the Good Will. Going off to the GW is not without risk of bringing stuff home. I come home with just a just a few vintage treasures for spring nest fluffing from some favorite shops!

Sweet Velvet Bunnies Making Spring Deliveries

Sweet Velvet Bunnies Making Spring Deliveries (from Rose Mille)

Vintage Moss Rose Finds, Millinery and Bird Frame

Vintage Moss Rose Finds, Millinery and Bird Frame

For more about getting organized, Melissa over at The Inspired Room has some stylish ideas and tips to help you getting started on fluffing your nest.

Fluffing the Nest at Rose Cottage

Fluffing the Nest at Rose Cottage

Won’t you leave a comment and tell me how you are fluffing your nest this spring?

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Filed under Family, Home, Uncategorized, Vintage