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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Why the Perigord Noir?

This question has been asked by friends, family, tourists and house hunters. The appeal to us, is that this part of the Perigord offers the most stunning landscapes as the Dordogne River cuts through the unspoiled countryside. The landscape changes at every bend in the road and there are amazing sights as you drive past the villages clinging to the rock face.

La Roque-Gageac.
 

There are four distinctive seasons from short Winters where temperatures can reach below freezing (-7 this morning) to blooming Spring and gorgeous hot Summers. Which are reflected in the seasonal produce sold in the many markets of the area.

The cuisine is rich in its diversity from duck, mushrooms, truffles, cheeses, wine, fruit and vegetables. To match this there are the amazing food festivals. this month we see the truffle market in Daglan and the Truffle Festival in Sarlat. Summertime brings the night markets where you can enjoy fresh cooked local food in pleasant surroundings.

Historical features include the many Château’s featuring pigeonniers and of course the many wonderful Beaux villages of the area.

A taster for the first time visitor to this area are Milandes, Castlenaud, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Domme, Daglan and Sarlat.

Medieval weekend last Summer held at Château de Castelnaud.
 

Included sword fighting demonstrations.
 

La Mairie de Daglan, Such a beautiful building.
 

Le Tour de Daglan takes a short rest in the village square.
 

Most of all it is always the people that make a place worth visiting time and again, and Daglan is no exception to this rule. You will never meet more friendly and welcoming people who are always willing to help and to make your life here a little bit better by their presence.

The weekly Craft Session.
 
 

Preserved Tomatoes.

A couple of weeks ago we were given tomatoes by two of our friends who grow their own fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes straight from the vine smell and taste so good. So for a Winter treat I thought that I would try preserve tomatoes. Having never preserved tomatoes before I was a little apprehensive, but I can honestly say that it was quick, easy, no problem at all. So if you grow you own tomatoes or get then fresh from a farmers market buy 2kg and try it out. The taste is fabulous, much better than tinned tomatoes.

Makes 6 Jars

Time: 45 minutes, plus sterilising and cooling.

You will need:- 6 clean glass jars with lids and about 2kg of ripe tomatoes. Plus a little drizzle of olive oil.

1. Wash the tomatoes, then remove the stalks. Depending on the size of the jars, either halve or quarter the tomatoes.

2. Then start to fill the jars, intermittently adding a leaf of fresh basil. Pressing the tomatoes down with the back of a wooden spoon so that they are tightly packed.

The bulk of the preserved tomatoes were made using the above method but I also made a few the jars with slices of fresh chilli for Paul.

3. Now, make extra sure that the jars are full and packed tightly so that there are no air gaps, add a drizzle of olive oil on top. Then seal each jar tightly.

4. Submerge each jar in a large pan of gently boiling water. Then boil for about thirty minutes. To slightly cook the tomatoes and sterilise the jars.

5. Turn the heat off and leave to cool overnight in the pan of water.

These should keep for about three or four months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, keep them in the fridge and use within a week.

Trust me once you have tasted the tomatoes, they will not last for very long.

The taste of Summer for the Winter months, if you can store them that long.

They can be used in sauces, stew, casserole, chilli, pasta dishes etc.
 
 

Events:-

Organ Concert in Sarlat on the 1st September at 11am.

Flea Market in Vitrac 16th September.

15th and 16th September at Castlenaud, Tournament of Medieval Fencing.
 
 

I Need a White Knight Upon a Mighty Steed!

The beautiful hilltop village of Belves turned back the calender yesterday and presented their Fête Médiévale and it was amazing. Shop owners wore Medieval costumes, musical entertainment in the streets, craft exhibitions, demonstrations of medieval combat, and the incredible mystical woodland sprites. All contributed in making Sunday an incredibly enjoyable day for us and the hundreds of other people that flocked to Belves.

I found my white knight all I need now is a mighty steed!
 

Stunning costume by the Desmodium players.

While the males were mischievous, the female had a pocket full of happiness that she would sprinkle onto the crowds.

The male sprite on the right is teasing people looking out of their window.

 
All of the performance was completed on stilts, up hill and down, they danced around the streets of Belves.

I could have watched them all day, magnificent.
 

The Medieval combat display with sword, knife, axe, spear and club.
Everyone from children to adults were shouting for their favourite to win.

Wow, brilliant combat in extreme heat nearly 40C. It gave you a taste of how brutal Medieval life was.
 

Soukha, music and dance with jugglers and aerial acrobat.
 

Love the detail of the Medieval peasant costume.
 
 

Event:- Daglan Fête this coming weekend.
Not too be missed is the parade on Sunday afternoon and the fireworks in the evening.

 
 

There and back again.

Our regular Sunday morning consists of a trip to St Cyprien market with a stop in
Castelnaud-la-Chapelle for a picnic breakfast on the banks of the River Dordogne.

Last Sunday morning the Montgolfier’s were out in force, rising like smoke over the hills.

It must be such a brilliant view across the Ceou valley from the balloons. But not for me, I’m too afraid of heights to open my eyes and admire the vista of the country side below.
 

Arriving in the car park we noticed a new sculpture being worked.
 

Can just see the dog at its masters feet in front of the figure being sculpted.
 

The Summer bunting provides a little shade.
Spots everywhere, there are over 300,000 of these rosettes covering the streets of St Cyprien.
 

On our return I could not resist a sunflower picture.
The brilliant yellow always reminds me of watching the Tour de France on TV when I lived in England.
 
 

Enjoy the sunshine.

Next blog, the Grand Gastronomie market which will be in Daglan this Sunday.