Monday, 12 December 2011

Mademoiselle Hiver

Nature is beautiful in winter, and we need to find it so, even if that may mean finding beauty in death, and spinning whatever fairy tale one requires to bridge the unbearable subtraction of flowers.  In winter enjoying the garden may require more effort for those who grow restless to be growing things. Let us not forget those flowerbeds are hibernating, not ruined and feast our senses differently. The absence of flowers frees us from the rousing abundance of growth to gaze upon other wonders such as twigs glazed with ice, snow glittering like diamond dust, or the winter skies streaked with "faded subtle blue, a soft yellow and that intangible pinky lavender" to quote Celia in her response to my question 'What Colour Is Winter?'.

"Winter is the time for thinking and planning, for imagining the garden as someday it may be", writes Katherine Swift in  The Morville Year .  How wonderful to have the space to imagine, I say! She goes on to explain "winter gives us time to look.  We should treasure that... It is not only the body that needs a rest: the eye does, too... I need the sobriety of winter before I can face the clear bright colours of spring with any appetite." 

So for all those linking with Making Winter Week at Mrs Thriftyhousehold let your imagination sparkle while the garden remains bare and we approach the magical Solstice. Let us read more, make more, or simply sit back and dream.
Mademoiselle Hiver has daintily tiptoed her way from her snowy forest home to celebrate the winter solstice (which is also our wedding anniversary) and instill us with magic and wintery enthusiasm.
She has snowflakes dusting her ears...
and her feet embroidered with silver and silk threads.
She has donned her favourite silk skirt and a warm cardigan in which the colours of the winter sky are interwoven: mauve, softest pink, pale blue, grey, and a lick of orange flame for sunsets and candle light to represent one of Sue's winter colours.
Our icy grey rabbit it suitably dressed to attend the Advent balls she has been invited to.  I think she will be a graceful dancer, don't you?
And after dancing the cold nights away she will nestle in last year's unadorned Christmas wreath to sit and dream.

Mademoiselle Hiver: rabbit pattern from Helen Philipps' Simple Sewn Gifts
cardigan adapted from this free pattern
Koigu yarn from here 
Silk scraps from Angélique's christening gown.
Inspired by these childhood favourite of mine... 
taken down from the shelves to share with my children

AnD nOw TaKe A lOoK aT tHiS:

 This beauty was my birthday present to myself and was created by Vivienne at Green Rabbit Designs.  I cannot think of a merrier way of celebrating Advent, Christmas, and each and every day of glorious winter, can you? This bag has followed me everywhere and has been admired by many.  I also received this darling little brooch and three candy canes from Vivienne
 Pop over and see what other wintery goodies she has in store!

I shall leave you with this print to gaze at:
Dreaming of Snow purchased from Karen Davis of Moonlight and Hares 

Have a beautiful Making Winter Week in the company of Thriftyhousehold and Emma at Silverpebble

I may return before the week is ended.

A bientôt,


  1. Your bunny is exquisite. I wish I had known earlier that you make these gorgeous creatures, as I would have enlised you to make one for Eliska for Christmas, although I am sure you are busy enough. It is much nicer than the Maileg ones. I love the clothes and embroidery.
    You have quite a similar imagination to me. I love fairytales too. My friend and I were discussing fairytales recently and how a lot of fairytale imagery is darkly beautiful.
    I have been treating myself too, a bit too much, finding some online treasures.
    We have no snow here yet, just fog! Love to you, taleted lady. xxx

  2. Oh your wintry rabbit is very beautiful. I especially love the detail on her feet and ears. Ah Grey Rabbit - so reassuring and evocative.

    As for imagining - I am imagining the miniature iris I have planted - they will be up in February - not too many weeks!

  3. What a wonderful post. Your words are so evocative, your images delightful, and your Little Grey Rabbit is just perfect (those were two of my favourite children's books too). And you have Vivienne's beautiful crochet bag. Lots of goodness to enjoy while the gardens are mostly sleeping :D

  4. That is one magical rabbit! (& she is obviously enjoying her winter too)

  5. I adore your Little Grey Rabbit Stephanie, she is so beautiful. That is the sweetest little cardigan and how pretty does she look nestling in the wreath. :)
    I also love your magical description of the winter garden!
    Finally lovely lady, thank you so much for your very kind words. I'm so happy that you love your bag and corsage and enjoy using them.
    Have a lovely festive week,
    Vivienne xxx

  6. What a pretty little bunny! I love all the detail work you did, and she looks lovely in the grapevine wreath.

    Sometimes it is hard to find beauty in the gray sparseness of the winter (we rarely get snow here) but if you really look closely, you can see life and color in the little things. It also makes you appreciate the explosion and lushness of spring when it comes.

  7. Oh, your bunny, she is a beauty! I love the wintery details on her ears and feet. I see you have some greenery in your garden which is lovely. Ours is covered in snow... Mademoiselle Hiver would be right at home!

  8. It's been a delight to take a break from my very own little North Pole workshop and see the beautiful things that you've been making.

    Mademoiselle Hiver is superb! I work very near the Purl SoHo store and will definitely let them know that their tiny cardigan has found a very stylish model, one with exquisite ears.

    Best wishes.

  9. THIS IS PURE MAGIC HERE STEPHANIE!!! Dearest, I have missed you!

    Your dear little bunny is precious in every way. Her little sweater, her smile and her little twinkle toes are so charming, and the background you choose to highlight her is special. I HAVE ALL THE LITTLE GREY RABBIT BOOKS!!! I will never ever grow up.

    Priceless beauty mon amie! Anita

  10. What a lovely little rabbit with her silken skirt, dainty cardigan and snow-dusted ears and paws.

    You are right about the "different feast for the senses" offered in winter. I am re-reading The Wind in the Willows right now and today read a beautiful passage that made me think of you - describing the "pageant of the river bank" and the procession of flowers throughout spring and summer. This is followed by Mole's setting out for the Wild Wood and his impressions of the winter scenery: "The country lay bare and entirely leafless around him, and he thought that he had never seen so far and so intimately into the insides of things as on that winter day when Nature was deep in her annual slumber and seemed to have kicked the clothes off.... He was glad that he liked the country undecorated, hard, and stripped of its finery. He had got down to the bare bones of it, and they were fine and strong and simple."

    Have a wonderful week.

  11. bridging the unbearable subtraction of flowers is such a beautiful phrase. I will feel it rolling off my tongue for the rest of the day I am sure, thank you

  12. Such a beautiful post. I think that we need to lose the flowers to truly appreciate them again when spring returns.
    I love your gorgeous rabbit, I've been looking at that book on Amazon for a while and now I know I have to buy it after seeing her :-)
    Your bag is beautiful and very festive looking, just what you need, a shot of colour in the winter!

  13. Ahh your writing is absolutely beautiful and your posts a joy to read...thank you x
    Winter is definitely a time to rest the soul, i am planning on a lot of that after Christmas :o)
    Mademoiselle Hiver is beautiful like a princess of the snowy.
    You are a very clever lady x
    love jooles x

  14. I used to read Little Grey Rabbit books when I was small - I think I have the Hare And Guy Fawkes book :-)

    Your wintry rabbit is so beautifully made... and I love those silver and frosted wreaths.

    Thank you for quoting me... I don't remember being that poetic! Must have been a mellow moment ;-)


  15. An interesting counterpoint, your serene winter writings, versus my daily attempts to tame the overzealous growth & spent flowers all around me. The apricots are just ready & the raspberries from my wee plot are overflowing our breakfast bowls. I guess we are on the cusp of our summer solstice. Must be almost time for you to be packing for your winter family break. Lovely bunny too. Much love Catherine x

  16. what a cute bunny~and beautiful bag :)
    happy anniversary~~

  17. Hello again. Could you make me one if you get time? I am not sure of a theme, but wondered if she could have a teeny toadstool somewhere. I know you will be a busy bee, so in your own time, of course, the end of Jan or later is fine. Let me know how much she will be.
    I as going to say something else, but my mind has gone blank, oops. xxx

  18. Oh the bunny is gorgeous! :)
    Thank you so much for sharing my work and linking to my blog. I really appreciate it. In answer to your question... Yes, I will be making some more woodland fairies sometime in the spring. xx

  19. I love this post...all magical and inspiring, the bunny is beautiful as is that gorgeous bag.......us girlies can't have enough bags i don't think.
    Lovely post

    Pixie ;)
    ps Thanks for asking about my socks...i have actually finished one and have just started the other and so far so good, shall show all soon. x

  20. What an elegant Bunny - love the touches of snowflakes on her ears and feet...

    Oh yes, as gardeners we do go through a withdrawal of sorts - but only until the new seed catalogs start arriving and Spring dreaming can begin again...

    A lovely post, as always!

  21. I love your pretty bunny. I think she will be the star of the winter balls she attends.
    The Little Grey Rabbit reminds me so strongly of my grandparents house - the illustrations, as much as the stories, take me back to whenI was little. Juliex

  22. What a lovely post this is. Thank you for the tip about the linking btw.
    You created such an adorable rabbit with the cutest little cardigan.
    You're so right about the seasons. Every season has its beauty. Isn't the changing of seasons the greatest thing. Looking out for a snowcovered landscape in winter, the first flowers in spring, sun and new horizons in summer and the wonderful colours of autumn.
    Have a lovely wintery week Stephanie,

  23. I absolutely love Little Grey Rabbit, in fact that book and others of my childhood might explain how I come to be living here! I do agree about the time which winter gives you. I have learnt to love winter more but still need light and brightness in my winters and struggle with grey and mud. That is when you need to turn indoors. I have knitted and read more in the last month than I have for ages and love the meditation in that.

  24. thank you for your sweet and wise words on my blog. I am glad I came here, you have quite a bit of magic going on here. I love the winter rabbit sitting in his nest. And I love your words. Imagining... fantasy... what would life be without it. "The man who has no imagination has no wings." :)

  25. Mademoiselle is looking picture perfect, I especially love her dainty sparkly embroidery. I still have the embroidery you gave me sitting on my bedside table, it's admired each morning and night. I love Alison Utley's illustration too, so elegant and evocative of a different time. Lovely wintry post, winter is a special time. Vanessa xxx

  26. Oh, the Alison Uttley Little Grey Rabbit books were one of my favourite things to read when I was young! I had them as books on tape and would lie in sunny New Zealand imagining what snow must feel like. They have a wonderful society nowadays: http://www.alisonuttley.co.uk/main.html Your post made me feel all nostalgic!

  27. oh your bunny is truly adorable. loving the little snowflake stitches. thanks for your visit.

  28. oohh i have made two of those rabbits for my daughters for Christmas :-) Thanks for the cardi link, will have to get my mother in law to make them up for me :-) x

  29. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of winter. So uplifting.
    What a beautiful Grey Rabbit, so gracious looking.

  30. A magical post and all about one of my favourite seasons.....this is pure nostalgia and so sparkly and wintery!

  31. Mademoiselle is such a delightful little rabbit. I love the snow on her feet and the beautiful winter sky cardigan.
    I do love seeing the lace of bare branches against a winter sky. It truly is a beautiful time of year. People are always asking which season is my favorite and I have to say I love them all. That is why I live here.

  32. I love your turn of phrase with the "unbearable subtraction of flowers" - it would even give me heartache were there not such a beautiful bag further on in the post to revive my lifestyle instincts and distract me from the ebb of the ebb and flow of nature. Your rabbit is utterly charming.

  33. You are beautiful writer and seamstress - Mademoiselle Hiver is gorgeous - I wish I'd been born with snowflakes tatooed on my feet!

  34. Thank you for the comment on my blog. I have now discovered your wonderful blog. It is like a sanctuary to come and visit and read your inspiring words. Mademoiselle Hiver looks very wintery indeed and very elegant too. Happy Anniversary for the solstice. x

  35. Nature is indeed beautiful in winter. What a lovely quote from Katherine Swift.
    Mademoiselle Hiver is simply beautiful. Your creations are wonderful.
    The paintings of Karen Davis are magical aren't they.
    Wishing you a splendid wedding anniversary lovely lady.
    Much love.

  36. Such lovlies, each and every one.
    I think I have that book, A.U. is

  37. I adore Mademoiselle Hiver, especially her ears and of course her cardigan - such exquisite wool! and it's lovely to be reminded of Alison Uttley ... those books are on our shelves too!
    Will definitely be searching out Katherine Swift's books too ...
    will be thinking of you on the Winter Solstice ... Barbara x

  38. There is total magic in this place, Stephanie.....and to see your visit and kind words just warmed my heart. Yesterday, my blog had some problems and visitors were unable to view my post, but thank you for not giving up on me and for coming back. WINTER IS MAGIC. I am a native of HOT Los Angeles California, but give me the four seasons ANY DAY. And I find it beautiful that you and your beloved husband are celebrating a special even on the cusp of change....oh how enchanting your celebration will be!!!! Yes, we are artists, linguists, writers, and lovers of beauty, we can find so much in the simplicity yet profound beauty of the natural life around us. I thank you for your inspiration in my life this year. I would love for you to see where I am starting to go with my PAPER creations at my ETSY SHOP. I just posted some new ideas yesterday and I hope to build on this new venture. I am not much of an illustrator, but I do have a vision of working with paper. Do visit when you have a chance.

    Peace, love and eternal blessings to YOU!!!!!!! Anita

  39. What a beautiful bunny. I love the little details like embroidery, ric rac on the skirt and the button on her cardigan. All so cute! After Christmas I love to dream about what I can plant for the spring. I pull out all my gardening books and cut pictures from magazines. It's a cozy project I look forward to every winter.

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