Not long until July! Part One.

“Oh my goodness, summer is on the way, my exhibition in Daglan will soon be here.” At the moment I am not too nervous, just very excited. There are a few more pictures and cushions to be completed and I shall be ready for my exhibition.

Over the last few months several people have asked me various questions about my embroidery, “what is my plan”, “were do I start”, “when I am thinking of my next piece of embroidery work”. So here are a few suggestions which I hope will help anyone who is thinking about starting embroidering work.
 

Preparation

It might be best to try out a few small pieces of embroidery first, this you can do by looking at the various kits available in haberdashers and online which contain everything needed. Then if you get “the embroidery bug” you can move onto something more difficult.

1/ Planning. First, you will need, paper, pencil, fabric, embroidery silks, needle, wooden frame.

2/ Think about what the completed work is going to be e.g. a cushion, pillow case, a picture, embroidery to embellish a dress or shirt, or if you want to think big a tapestry. Not as large as the Bayeux tapestry… yet, although our son has suggested I embroider a tapestry of our family which would cover a wall of a large room!

3/ Consider fabrics. cotton, linen or canvas and what colour, it all depends on what you are going to make. I prefer plain white cotton for pictures and pillow cases and neutral coloured linen for cushions.

4/ I then sketch an outline of what I want my embroidery to look like onto paper so I can make alternations to the design at this stage. Think about the size of the picture and what colours of embroidery silks you will use. Remember that for a large area more than one silk is needed. All silks have a number on a paper ring around them so that if need more you can go back to the shop and buy the exact colour.

5/ When ready, measure your fabric two or three centimetres larger than a frame. Cut out the fabric. My preference is for a double layer of fabric which holds the stitches better without puckering.

6/ When pieces of linen or cotton are to be used they will be handled quite a lot so place a running stitch around the edge of the cut out fabric to stop it from frying so much.

7/ A good tip is to stretch the fabric. This is completed by placing the fabric into the frame as taut as possible, lightly spray the fabric with cold water and leave to dry.

8/ Sketch your design onto the fabric.

This is “Our French Dream”. Relaxing in a sunny garden with the produce of the Perigord on the table, wine, truffles and walnuts.
 

Begin you embroidery.
 

I added more flowers and one of our cats to the picture.
 

This is a butterfly that has just settled onto a flower.
 

The completed work is to be used in our poster for the exhibition.
 

9/ Use your imagination or research when creating a period piece. Or sketch a landscape or a château it is up to you, in order to create something unique.

10/ Most importantly, have Fun
 
 

Part Two will be our next blog-What stitches to use.
 
 

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‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Over recent weeks Sarlat has been transformed from a beautiful medieval town to a wonderful Christmas village. The highlight being Sarlat Christmas Market (this year with a Spanish theme) and outdoor skating rink. Open until the end of December, with up to forty wooden chalets selling traditional arts and crafts, mulled wine, cakes, hot roasted chestnuts and caviar! But I saw no tapas on our morning visit!

Snow flakes flutter down in this tableau scene at the entrance to the Christmas Market.
 

I particular like the traditional Christmas tree ornaments for sale in quite a few of the chalets. Glass baubles, wooden hearts, and lots of red bows that are very popular in this area of France.

Incidentally, many French Christmas traditions originate from Alsace and it was in the town of Selestat that Christmas trees first appeared in the 11th Century. People used to decorate their trees with real fruit but one year the harvest was poor and a local glass blower from Goetzenbruck in Moselle tried to replicate the fruit by creating glass balls to hang on the branches. However, I have heard of a few more places that have been named for the origination of glass ornaments! Wherever they came from, they are gorgeous.

Facade of a Spanish Finca welcomes visitors to the market.
 

I do love this little donkey standing outside the chalet of the Donkey Sanctuary where you can buy gorgeous soap, aprons, tea towels etc. The profit goes to the upkeep of the Sanctuary.
 

New to the Christmas Market is a chalet selling Neuvic Caviar.
 

Spanish Flamenco dancers or matadors decorate many of the chalets.
 

Prints of Salvador Dali paintings hang from the trees. This painting is a particular favourite of mine.
 

Paul admiring the traditional wooden Christmas tree decorations in this chalet.
 
 

Event:-Daglan Truffle Market every Sunday from 11am until February.

26th to 30th December Merlin at Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. This is a narrative show for young children in sound, shadows and light. Shows are at 11 o’clock, 2.30 and 3.30.

Sarlat Truffle Festival 19th and 20th January.
 
 

Deck the Halls

The ladies of our weekly Craft sessions have had a treat over the last fortnight. First we had a demonstration of garland making then this week a workshop, all under the expert eye of Carolyn Lindsey.

Boxes upon boxes of the most gorgeous decorations.
 

Carolyn giving advice and a helping hand.
 

Ribbons, ivy, lights and golden baubles are being used to make this stunning garland.
 

Brilliant Denise, I wish that I could have stayed to see the finished work.
 

My attempt. If you are in Daglan over the festive season take a look, it will be hanging on the door of our home.

Big thanks to Carolyn who will be out and about selling her decorations at various Christmas markets over the next few weeks.
 
 

Marchés de Noël
Saturday 1st December at Meyrals
Sunday 2nd December at Soirac
Sunday 9th December at Salviac
Sunday 16th December at Belves

 
 

Good News, we can still buy French bread!

There is no milk in our supermarket in Daglan. In-fact no milk and no deliveries of most things will be arriving in any Supermarket for at least another week but local bread is still being delivered.

France’s major strike by the Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) is having an effect on the Perigord area in which we live. The Gilets Jaunes are protesting against sharp increases in diesel and petrol prices which could come into force in January. This impacts on the overall rising costs of food etc. and therefore the fall in living standards for a lot of people.

We experienced the strike first hand this morning has we drove to Sarlat market. The roundabouts at two major junctions were very active with people wearing yellow vests, but traffic was flowing. On the way back from Sarlat we observed protesters who were stopping traffic going into Sarlat. Unsure for how long the delay was but expect some delays over the next few days.

More news, you can still buy local fresh vegetables and fruit at the markets… That is if you can get to them.
 

Excellent News for me this week. I have had my first Commission for my artisan embroidery work.

Truffles and truffle oil.
 

Walnuts in a wicker basket.
 

I am so trilled, excited and so very pleased that the person who commissioned me loves the embroidery pictures which will go into her two gites named “Walnut” and “Truffle”.

I am working towards an exhibition in Daglan next July and August. Which will cover a variety of themes and local interest, plus embroidered bags, cushions, pillow cases, lavender hearts etc.
 
 

Event:-Sarlat Marché de Noël, 5th to the 31st December. This years theme is Spain, I can not wait.
 
 

Dominique ALLAËRT

The Exhibition of watercolour and oil paintings capture the true beauty of the Perigord. This is a man of extreme talent, his perception, colour and artistic genius is truly unique. I have picked just four of his many paintings for this blog but to be honest I love them all. You can see more of his work at his website Art par Dominique ALLAËRT.

The exhibition is open until the 18 August on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 14:00-18:30 and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:30 at the Ancien Presbytère in Daglan.

Due to the composition and “the artistic eye”, each one has amazing detail that draws you into the scene so that you see something different each time that you look.

The gorgeous combination of colours captures the ancient stonework of Monpazier.
 

Dominique setting up his work for the exhibition.
You can buy different sizes, framed or unframed at a variety of prices.
 

You need to see this painting in order to experience the full depth. Different textures create a 3D effect which draws you deep into the forest.
 

I could just sit by the river dangling my feet into the water on a hot Summers day.
 

In midwinter the lone tree stands in the snow, once again superb depth and the colours are amazing.

 
 

Dominique very kindly asked if I would like to show two or three pieces of my own work in his exhibition. I picked two which are in the second room of the exhibition. I will be exhibiting my work from the middle of July to the middle of August next year in the Ancien Presbytère. it will be the first exhibition of my embroidery work so I am a little nervous already.


Une cabane en pierre sèche – A dry stone hut.
 

Dame médiévale dans son jardin – Medieval lady in her garden.
 
 

Come along, take a look and buy a few of the works of art to remind you of the Perigord.