Sunday, 20 November 2011

Which One's Your Favourite?

Let me begin by wishing my friends across The Pond a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving this week!

 I was overjoyed to read all your responses to my question "What colour is winter?" in my previous post.  I am now busy creating something which will incorporate ALL the answers you gave me and I cannot wait to show you during the next  Making Winter Week over at Silverpebble's starting December 5th.
Quality Street Chocolates.  
Which is your favourite?  If you are not familiar with them which colour appeals to you particularly?  It can be tricky to choose.
At this time of year I find myself becoming quite dizzy with the vast choice of knitting patterns and gift ideas I would like to make.  My imagination goes wild during the run-up to Christmas. There is however little time in the day and I have been told that nights are for sleeping. Choices have to be made.  Do you feel the same?  If so how do you juggle between desire and reality?
In these moments of giddiness I find SIMPLICITY is best for me.
Hannah Fettig's Sock Yarn Sweater is the perfect solution to calm my feverish thoughts.
This one is for Angélique but can be made for any age. 
Decisions are easy and pleasant now.  Long or short sleeves?  Which delicious yarn?  So many work here: sock yarn and DK are good.  This time I opted for Rowan's Felted Tweed DK.  I cannot get enough of this yarn. The colour in reality is much richer and plummier than seen here.
Details to be found on Ravelry
 November 22nd is the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia the patroness of music.
It also happens to be my birthday...
Carlo Saraceni Saint Cecilia and the Angel
c. 1610
... and so I would like to share two divine treats with you.
I make no secret about my passion for Baroque Music.  Every year around my birthday I reach out for Purcell's "Odes for Saint Cecilia's Day".  Dear readers this work is sublime. It holds joy, melancholy and overall profound beauty.  Few things arouse patriotism in me - I am half French and half English - but this is so quintessentially British in both harmony and text (by NIcholas Brady) it is guaranteed to bring me out in goose bumps.

"Hark! hark! each Tree its silence breaks,
The Box and Fir to talk begin!
This is the sprightly Violin
That in the Flute distinctly speaks!"

Isn't this beautiful?  The trees are finally able to sing once they have been lovingly crafted into violins or wooden flutes.

If anyone is interested this interpretation is breathtaking although there are others.

My second treat takes us swiftly to nineteenth-century Paris. I am currently totally absorbed by Emile Zola's The Ladies' Paradise - Au Bonheur des Dames  Here is the nineteenth-century version of "shop 'til you drop" and it is an absolute joy to read.  Written in 1883 it traces the beginnings of the department store and contains fascinating insight into the role of women in Parisian society and mouth-watering details about fashion and textiles.  The theory behind the department store was that it suppled a desire you didn't know you had until you set foot in the door and Zola's imagery createes a sub-text of desire to beat them all in this book. 

It is a page-turner with a happy ending.

I wish you much joy this week.
 See you soon!


  1. Oooh, I love the blurry pic at the bottom. I love strawberry creams, hat many people hate. Yum!
    I am looking forard to seeing your new creations.
    I will be having a few late nights making things. They just take me too long! I will be stopping making gifs and orders in early December, I hope. Hopefully then I will be naughty and just make things for Eliska and I.
    I lve your literary quotes and your creations are always beautiful.

  2. sorry for the misspells there, a little one has been hitting the keyboard and some letters are stuck! naughty!

  3. What a delicious little sweater Stephanie and such a beautiful shade!
    A Quality Street necklace ~ also delicious and my favourite, just like your gorgeous sweater, purple. :)
    Vivienne x

  4. Confession...I have yet to ever sample a Quality Street choc. This must be remedied very soon.

    The sock yarn sweater is such a lovely classic clean lined patern...I am a fan of the Rowan yarn you mentioned.

    And ...I will have to see if my library has that Zola novel. I think I would enjoy it very much.

    And...a very Happy Birthday to you! Many happy returns as well.


  5. My camera never accurately captures purple either. (It usually makes it too blue.) But what a beautiful sweater. I like the lilac and the brown wrappers best, although I don't know what's inside.

    At this time of year sleep is usually sacrificed to productivity.

    Lucky you to be born on St. Cecelia's Day! I immediately thought of Dryden's Song for St. Cecelia's Day (and of course Mr. Handel's glorious composition). My soul thrills to these words:

    As from the power of sacred lays
    The spheres began to move,
    And sung the great Creator's praise
    To all the blest above;
    So when the last and dreadful hour
    This crumbling pageant shall devour,
    The trumpet shall be heard on high,
    The dead shall live, the living die,
    And music shall untune the sky.

    Gives me chills every time. (What passion cannot Music raise and quell?)

    I haven't heard all of Purcell's Odes for the day. But I loved your description of the "quintessentially British" harmony. So true. The British Baroque composers had a sound all their own - which Handel either absorbed or used as a marketing tool, for he had it too. (Oh dear, I think I'm writing another essay here.)

    Have a wonderful and blessed birthday. And thanks for the button on the sidebar!

  6. Oh so much here I love! First of all, Happy Birthday dear Stephanie and I hope the year brings all you wish for.

    Baroque music - yes, i am drawn to it also. Beautiful painting and words you have shared.

    Emile Zola - I haven't read this one, but will try to track it down. Have you read Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreisler? It is an American novel dealing with the same themes, though I feel in a slightly less happy way. Great insight into the rise of the department store and the art of looking & being seen.

    And lastly, I love the triangles!

    Have a lovely week Stephanie xx

  7. The green triangles :-)

    This is a lovely post... I love the Quality Street necklace!

    I've read many of Zola's novels, but not that one, so thanl you for the recommendation.

    I also love Purcell, and as my name is Celia (but have only rudimentary musical skills!) I'll pop over to have a listen. Perfect music for soft misty November day.


  8. Hmmmm.... VERY tricky question!!! I think the purple ones are my favourite. But, then again, I also love green triangles. We can't get Quality Street here. BUT I'll be delving into a tin as soon as we get back to the UK for the hols!!!
    I love the sweater - the neckline is really unusual and super-cute! And the necklace is SUPER!!! ;-)

  9. There is so much joy, so much TEXTURE of praise in each and every post you compose ma chère amie.....that color lavender of the sweater is just breathtaking and the BLUE candy wrappers are my favorite! AND THE CANDY COLLIER is just magical.

    Dearest, do you have an on-line shop where you sell your beautiful things? My next post will be on holiday shopping in blogland and I want to provide links to my favorite shops...let me know. Blessings of love to you across the pond! Anita

  10. That last photo is stunning.

    My fave QS are the strawberry and orange fondants. I've such a sweet tooth.

    I know what you nmean about suddenly feeling all creative for Christmas but not having enough time. I so wish I didn't need sleep but I get really bonkers when sleep deprived!


  11. Yes...baroque music does it for me too..as does the purple hazelnut centre one, i always make a bee line straight for that one when the tin is opened.

  12. Ahhhh....to peruse here again is sweet to my soul; it reminds me of the movie, TOUS LES MATINS DU MONDE...the rich tones of your photos, the baroque thoughts and the stillness of France..yes, STILLNESS..and that is what I always crave in this hectic world of ours...oh dearest, you are so gentle and sweet! Thank you for coming back to let me know about your SHOP status. The whole "business" and "art" thing is so new to me; it is like starting a blog all over again, gaining followers and buyers. I was a bit discouraged this weekend since I had not sold anything, but I understand from others that the transactions I DID MAKE my first two weeks were quite a phenomenon...so I am hopeful that it is a matter of time, improvement on my product and....ADVERTISING and making myself known. But up until now, my blog for example, is a place where I just want to write, share, reach out to others and just have fun. THAT is what I believe has to happen to all of us: TIME. REACHING OUT as well as we can, and then things start to happen. But it takes perserverance! Your thoughts, your world and wares are just stunning and it will take TIME.


    Bonne journée ma belle, Anita

  13. That is a delightful little sweater, Stephanie, in my favourite yarn... Rowan Felted Tweed. I think I may have a cardigan in that shade but as you say, it looks different in different lights. Yours looks charming bedecked with the Quality Street necklace! My favourite sweet is the pink one. The picture at the bottom of your post is wonderful...it looks like a still from a movie.
    Have a happy week.
    Helen x

  14. Such a cute sweater! What a fab idea having a Quality street necklace, not that it would last long with me. ;)

    Lou xxx

    PS. beautiful picture at the end.

  15. Mmmmm the Quality Street sweets I love are the purple ones. If I get to them first I take them all out of the tin. Lucky for me my family like all different ones.
    Thanks for the book recommendation -this is one of Zola's I haven't read.

  16. Wow! A pretty knit sweater, some music and a good book. I can hear Julie Andrews now -"These are a few of my favorite things". Great post!

  17. What a delightful post ... everything from the sweets to the sweater to Saint Cecilia. That little knit is just perfect. And the amazing photograph of you, it really is wonderful.

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow dear Stephanie x

  18. Oh how nice to see there is still greenery in the world--we are currently buried under a foot of snow. I so enjoy your outdoor photos. And what a simply gorgeous photo of you!

    Birthday wishes are being sent your way, have a marvelous day!

  19. the photo of you and your little one is so beautiful! I love it! And Im wishing we had some of those candies here, they look yummy and so festive! That music sounds lovely as well~!

  20. Well, tomorrow is your birthday--it's probably already the 22nd where you live--Happy Birthday! I am here because I loved the photo of you holding your baby... ahhh...I remember those days, of holding those sweet, soft, little bundles. My babies are 31 and 33 now, but looking at the photo, it brought the memories back perfectly. Thank you!

  21. Happy Birth day dear Stephanie, I wish you a beautiful day.....and all your tomorrows.
    I love caramel chocolates, mmmmmm.
    Your little jumper is lovely and the color is just me.
    I have decided to make a few special Christmas cards with embroidery, not sure how many I will get done though. Unfortunatly my family really don't 'get' the whole hand made thing.
    xx Sandi

  22. Beautiful!!!! The music, the words and your sweater. I could listen to this all day long.

  23. Happy birthday to you! St. Cecilia is my patron saint, and so November 22nd holds a special place in my heart too :)

  24. Happy, happy birthday dear Stephanie! I hope that you are having a delicious & joyfilled day! I am enchanted by the colours of the chocolate wrappers & rather taken by the orange. What a delightful idea..the necklace & so lovely against the rich plum..oh I'll never tire of colour. Tasteful, delicious colour, that is. I failed to connect very well with the colour of Winter bit, seeing as we don't have snow here & are now fully launched in to the blusteryness of spring, but I loved the old man's bed seeds heads & your shawl. Is the last picture one of yours?..quite remarkable..I see vines in the background so I'm thinking that it is. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  25. Happy Birthday!!!
    Purple ones are my favourite also the golden round toffee ones which stick to your teeth and also the long yellow chocolate covered toffee ones. I have to stop myself saving the lovely cellophane wrappers now I don't work in playgroups anymore.

  26. Happy birthday, Stephanie, I hope you're having a wonderful day. I'm not a very fast knitter so I started making my Christmas presents a long time ago, I'm hoping that I get finished in time. The sweater is really pretty, there's something to be said for understated, very classy looking. My favourite Quality Street is the purple one with a hazelnut in the centre, delicious.

  27. Happy Birthday and thank you for the delightful comment on my blog. If reading my blog made your day, reading your comment certainly made mine!
    I love the colour of your little jumper and I know just what you mean about time to do and make things before Christmas although mine are as likely to be making things to eat as sewing or knitting. There aren't enough hours and, weirdly, I keep having to work. How unreasonable is that?
    As to Quality Street, like Celia I am a green triangle woman.

  28. A very Happy Birthday to you. I heard the Emile Zola book dramatised on Radio 4 not long ago. And mine are the orange or strawberry creams...yum.

  29. What a beautiful sweater, so lovely in purple and I do love that necklace ! :-)
    Happy Birthday to you, Stephanie, all my best wishes !
    Nice week,

  30. A day late happy Birthday Stephanie! What a beautiful photo of you walking through the field, like a heroine in a novel!
    For me, it's the green praline triangles, and the purple wrapped Brazils, they are the ones I go for every time. You can buy those two in a an extra large size, individually, such a good idea.
    I love your Quality Street necklace! Quality! And for a magpie like me, it's got my eyes popping with interest.
    And what a beautiful sweater, very elegant, and that plum colour is a real beauty.
    What a wonderful post Stephanie!
    Vanessa xxx

  31. Wishing you a Very Happy Birthday! I hope you had a beautiful and lovely day.

    Thank you for sharing such lovely things. Now, if I were to delve into that open tin of chocolates I would take the hazelnut in caramel (the purple one). I also like the caramel and the walnut whirl. Now I am older I can be relied upon to eat all the toffees that no one else wants. I also like the fruit creams but not the coffee cream.

    I love Handel and Bach but am very ignorant about classical music - a classic fm listener rather than radio 3! A few years ago the BBC played nothing but Bach for a whole week over Christmas and it was wonderful.

    I read Therese Raquin of Zola's, that is very dark but also very good indeed. I think I will love the book you suggest. It maybe just the thing for a good Christmas read.

    The jumper is gorgeus; no little people here so I would have to make a big one. That's a big leap for me as I have never made an adult garment. This seems a lovely pattern though.

    Cecilia is a name that several family members have had.

  32. Happy birthday for yesterday! The sweater looks very enticing, but I must avert my gaze, as you know.

    I am not so keen on Quality Street, but I do like a nice violet cream - heaven. I am also liking the velvet coat - is it a French number?

    Pomona x

  33. Hello lovely Stephanie!...Angelique's sweater is beautiful...I am a big fan of Rowan's Felted Tweed and designed a cushion for my eldest daughter with it...I think this yarn becomes even more beautiful with time...
    Belated birthday wishes too my friend!...I hope you had the best of days yesterday and the year ahead holds all the good things you truly deserve,
    Susan x

  34. Just called back Stephanie because I didn't answer your question...I like the triangles too!..xxx

  35. Hoping you had a wonderful day! I love your photos and the little sweater. I love all quality street, I wish so much we could get them over here. To me they are the thing I miss most at Christmas, well except for family of course.

  36. Hi Stephanie,

    Happy belated birthday to you! I hope you had a lovely day? Never read anything by Zola, but your description of The Ladies Paradise sounds promising!

    Meanwhile I am totally absorbed in your book by Rosie Thomas. What a beautiful book it is! I spend every minute I can spare reading it. Every evening I travel back and forth to India :-)! Thank you once again for sending the book to me!

    Can't really tell which of the chocolates I love best. The fact is....I never tried them!!!

    Your last photo looks great, so does Anqelique's new jumper!

    Wish you a lovely evening,

    Madelief x

  37. Very beautiful....your sweater, the two divine treats, the stunning last photo.
    Wishing yo a very happy Birthday.
    Much love and joy to you lovely lady.x

  38. exquisite post ... I especially love the last photo ...

  39. Ah, Quality Street - such Christmas memories! I think the purple one has to be my favourite, closely followed by the orange cream.

    What an exquisite little sweater.

    Happy Birthday to you.

    A quick note about the next Making Winter week - sorry for the mistake but it will be beginning December 12th instead. Hope that's OK!

  40. Oh it's a tricky one but it's a toss up between the orange and strawberry creams, I just love the fruity ones :-)

    Love the purple jumper, gorgoeus colour!

  41. My grandmother ALWAYS used to have a giant tin of Quality Street chocolate covered assortments, just like these. I know I never liked the ones with peanuts or the weird tasting crackle stuff. No doubt fruits or caramel would be my favorites... mouth watering....

    The colored wrappings bring to mind all the wonderful smells, wafting from behind the shiny wrappers!

    xxx Lorraine xxx

  42. Have just found your blog via attic 24. I will be popping back to read in more detail!

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Stephanie - (that blurry photo is amazing - how DID your husband take it?) I really popped over to inform you that you've just won the Thanksgiveaway! Congratulations and I look forward to hearing from you.

    I hope your birthday was full of beauty and joy.

    P.S. After publishing this comment once, I realized I should have clicked on the box below for you to reply by e-mail - so I deleted my former comment but am repeating it here. This time I'll click the box. :)

  45. I would go for the purple caramels and the green triangles, not sure I particularly like the others actually.
    Your sweater is gorgeous, I could just do with something like that and the colour/yarn looks just my thing too! I really should be knitting rather than sitting at the computer.
    Many happy belated returns to you, I hope you had a wonderful birthday and I'm sorry not to have wished you well earlier .. particularly since you left such wonderful messages for me.
    Take care
    Kate x

  46. Drat! I'm not familiar with those canides, but I'd go for the bronzey looking ones and then a blue just because its so dazzling.
    I love Purcell too! I must get that recording, thanks so much for the recommendation.
    Hope your birthday was perfect.

  47. Methinks we should unveil our Beauties to the world soon. Can we postdate it to Dec 8? Is that cheeky? I miss your posts, a fab combo of beauty and intelligence. I am still catching up on Christmas custom makes. Hope all is well with you. xxx

  48. Darling Stephanie,

    Oh dearest, to hear about your Ph.D thesis is so interesting, for both subjects interest me SO MUCH. When are you thinking of defending? It took my husband 12 years to write his, and I am sure you know how life gets in the way of completing it in a shorter time, but in his case, it was a subject that took some changing. THANK YOU for your warm and wonderful comment and insight, understanding and great support of my IMAGINATION!

    I hope all is well with you out there in France, land of castles and beauty! Anita

  49. Super ! Ton blog est vraiment génial !
    Merci d’exister !!!
    voyance gratuite serieuse


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