* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, French style

Cakes Sandra 1Once upon a time, I was a brand new bride, working in an office.  During a lunch hour, I was reading a magazine, and I came across an ad for making pretty cakes.  Not having a clue how to bake, I thought it would be fun to get some ideas.  It only cost $1 for the idea book.  So I ordered it.  To my chagrin, it was a catalog for buying all these tools for making beautiful decorated cakes.  Not what I had in mind.

However, the brand new groom asked what it took to get the tools.  It was a catalog.  I could order from them.  So why not?  Because that's a lot of money for something I don't know how to do.  How do you know you can't do it if you don't have the tools?

So we ordered a mid-level set of tools.  And thus began a journey that continues even today, even in a country that hasn't appreciated this style or texture of celebratory dining, although it does seem to be catching on more in recent years.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The wishing well

Wishing well 01Once upon a time, I fixed up the yard space outside the kitchen into a really nice patio.  We inherited a huge but very badly pruned olive tree smack in the middle, the front edge dropped off dangerously high to the lower level, and everything was just dirt. 

We got the tree trimmed into a reasonable shape, had a great wall built to hold in the edge, and put down patio blocks to eliminate the mud.  Installed our nice table and barbeque grill, and we began to enjoy the peaceful space.

Then we ended up ruining everything.  So depressing.  But  now it's time to make the best of what we're left with.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Anatomy of a new wardrobe

Wardrobe 01The sewing site I participate on has just run a really massive contest lasting six weeks, rather than the typical two-four week run, and I decided to give it a try.  It involved making a total of nine garments, with all items being able to coordinate with every item.  In looking over my vast collection of fabric and patterns, I saw that I could actually make this contest work for me, so why not? 

This is the initial collection I came up with and followed through with, only changing one pattern for a similar one that fit my design better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A tribute to a friend

Vincent 1Once again, it's the month of May, and that means it's time to take our annual long weekend as houseguests of our friends who own a wine chateau.  I told you all about it last year in my post Fete of the wine and the vine.  If you're new to this blog, I urge you to check it out, as it's always a fun and interesting aspect of our life here.

Only, this year, the event has been canceled.  Last week, the oldest son in the family sadly suffered a heart attack and passed away at age 41.

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