Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sweet Juxtaposition

 "What excitement we feel on looking out on to the garden in the snow.  It is one of the only sensations of our childhood that is not blunted by maturity.  Still we want to leave our mark on any smooth expanse of snow, to ruffle it, to jump about on it.  However sedate we may grow, we never emerge from the childish longing to write our names on the whitened lawn."  
Clare Leighton, Four Hedges

My wish has come true this week after a beautifully peaceful birthday weekend for Angélique made all the more special thanks to your wonderfully kind messages. Following a powdering of snow, icy temperatures and brilliant blue skies this week the absolute silence without this morning heralded the bliss of a whitened world. 

Like the vast majority of people we have problems which reside uncomfortably side by side with us day in day out.  Some moments, when spooning tea leaves into the pot for instance, I feel their weight.  Most days however I am determined to stop and smell the roses.  Life is amazing and this week I revel in the juxtaposition of present reality and dreams of spring vegetation.

Pastel colours against winter snow.

What do you think these tiny knits portend?
 They are the beginning of a sweet and exiting project which has generously been sent my way.  More on that at a later date.
 The uneven stitches on these doll-sized jackets bring me joy for they eloquently relate my everyday existence.  Knitting needles are picked up and rows grow in snatched moments between the organised chaos in our collective lives.  They are a reminder that despite it ALL projects are conjured up and completed.  What a comforting message that is.
 The white on black of gnarled vine stumps blanketed today with snow will burst forth fronds and unfurling bright green leaves in March.
Smelling the roses in the snow?  Almost everything is possible!

My week has been filled with administering dozens of homeopathic granules, wiping noses, keeping it together, letting it out.  Yes indeed; our little Angélique, an angel in name and mostly in reality, metamorphoses into a demon when very poorly.  I am thankful she is not ill too often!
 Great comfort has been found in books.  This one has found favour with Angélique and myself. Mother Earth And Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale is a remarkable interpretation of Sibylle Von Olfers orignal tale published in 1906: the whole story has been sewn into an enormous quilt by Sieglinde Schoen Smith. Every stitch speaks of the love for her son who tragically passed away in 2002.
 By keeping her hands and mind busy this artist has created great beauty.
And the greatest joy of our week?  The arrival of our very own magus.
This is Gaspard (silent 'd' en français).  Our wise man, our sweet puppy, our Cavalier King Charles.  Black on white: the most beautiful juxtaposition of our week.  Please note dear dog lovers Gaspard is only allowed out for a minute or two every hour in the snow.  We are very protective of him.

I hope you find plenty of pockets of joy this week.

With warmest wishes,


ps I'm just wondering whether anyone has read Beverly Nichols Down The Garden Path


  1. Do your neighbours ever say - "Why is that English woman out in the snow hanging tiny knitted coats on a tree?"

  2. Lovely lovely snow! It is the perfect backdrop for your gorgeous little knits. And as for your newest addition... "Hello from Canada little Gaspard! Isn't the snow grand?" (I'm not so sure he thinks so :)

    Hope your household is soon on the mend and you are able to manage a restful week. xo

  3. We have had almost no snow here in Minnesota. I worry for my garden. What a sweet puppy - a friend of mine just brought home the same type of dog. He is Gustav. I am off the check into the Beverly Nicholls book, it sounds worth reading.

  4. Your beautiful knits remind me of the little sweaters I used to knit for our daughters dolls years ago. I love the tender colours you used. They make the snowy fairytale complete.

    O my, that stitchery, so beautiful, one could just keep looking at it and find more and more in it.

    What a lovely addition to your family! I'm sure we'll here more of Gaspard in posts to come.


  5. As always a post of delights :D

    Snow, knitting and pups ... we find our pleasures in the same places my friend ! Gaspard is gorgeous, and ditto the little knits :D

    Wishing you all health and happy snowy games in the coming week, and LOTS of lovely puppy cuddles x

  6. It's been a Sunday morning treat to sit down with a cup of coffee and read your post. Some blogs are lovely for a quick pleasant peek; yours is to savour. Have fun with the new addition to your family.

  7. Aww, little Gaspard is too cute! I bet he is getting lots of attention. The snow looks lovely. I think it would be fun to stomp around in it taking pictures of darling little sweaters hanging in the trees. I always loved the illustrations in that book. It's one to look at again and again. Take care!

  8. I always love coming here, you know it makes me homesick for France.... It's so nice to start my Sunday looking at your pictures filled with joy pockets and Happy vibes.
    Xo Sandra

  9. Hello and happy february! Ooooh....you got your little baby. How are you liking puppy motherhood? He is so sweet and beautiful! They are such wonderful dogs. My little boy has yet to see snow! I know our older dog henry is quite suspicious of it when it occurs ;)
    And the book and little knitted sweaters are so beautiful and well done!

  10. Love your new furry friend - what a sweetie!

    Pomona x

  11. Lovely words in a great post. That book looks soooo interesting. Fabulous colours. Then adorable Gaspard ,what more can i say but Ahhhh.

  12. What pretty pictures, have a lovely week.

  13. Love your beautiful roses and tiny coats in the snow, gorgeous! xo Karen

  14. poor Angélique i hope she is feeling better very soon x
    little fairy jackets...so cute
    welcome little gaspard, what a sweetheart
    love jooles x

  15. You've given us such a charming post. Such a snowfall really can transform our usual views, in many ways.

    Your photos are marvelous. I've never seen vineyards under snow. I've never seen tiny cardigans bobbing outdoors in the snow. I've never seen such a charming puppy experiencing a first snow.

    I have read Four Hedges, and am still astounded that I could check it out of my library. What a precious volume it is.

    The children's book you've shown is unlike anything I've seen.

    And...let's see what else I have not seen. Oh yes, that garden book is also new to me.

    Thank you so much for enlarging my views, engaging my imagination, and sharing your thoughts.

    Hoping your little patient will soon be recovered.



    I do not even know how I missed your prior post????? AND YOUR BIRTHDAY??? I keep a close watch on everyone's blogs but I missed this! I have had a busy week at school and I come here to find YOUR BEAUTY. Dear one, do you sell your wares? Those tiny little sweaters are just too beautiful to not sell. I would buy one for my teddy bear!!!

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY and what a lovely sight of those pastels against the French snow.....Gaspard, comme il est beau! BISES MA BELLE! Anita

  17. Oh Gaspard! So cute. My dog has gone nuts with excitement this weekend in the snow. But a poorley daughter and a new puppy all in the same week... no wonder it sounds like you need a holiday in the sun.

  18. Snow always looks lovlier in someone else's landscape. You are surrounded by an abundance of prettiness. I recently acquired the wonderful Mother Earth book and considered what it must be like to complete such a project, I'm in awe of people like that. Re the Beverly Nicols book, yes I have this and several of his other books and found them a joy to read. They might not be to everyone's taste but I very much like their easy style and humour.

  19. Miss Stephanie!

    Wait, did I miss your birthday as well? Happy Belated Birthday! It was my birthday too just a few weeks ago :)

    I don't know if you had found my blog when I wrote this post:


    How VERY happy I am that you also love one of my favorites! I also adore her 'Snow Children', have you seen that?


    Sorry to throw so many links at you, but I love Sibyl so much and if you haven't seen that Snow baby book, you will just love it!

    Stunning photos this week!!!!

  20. There is indeed great comfort to be found in books. I have a copy of Four Hedges but the other book you show is new to me. I must investigate further!

    I hope your little one is soon back normal.

    I am in love with your little puppy. I am sure he will bring you great joy.

  21. Another lovely post Stephanie and how pretty those little jackets look in that clear light. Have a lovely week sweet lady x

  22. Oh your tiny coates are so cute, looking forward to seeing what they are for. We haven't got any snow so I'm quite envious, belated birthday greetings too

  23. Love your sweet puppy.
    Sorry to hear about Angelique's illness...hope she is better now. What a beautiful book the quilted fairy tale looks to be.
    Loving the roses tea cosy...and the gorgeous little jackets.
    Stay warm and well, much love.

  24. Yes! What a wonderful book it is, maybe the best of the Beverley Nichols? I have Village in a Valley, and Garden open today, and a few others. You are in for a treat if you are just beginning this.
    Your new family member is darling!

  25. Gaspard is gorgeous, I'm sure he'll bring you all much pleasure. Juliex

  26. As always, posts from you make me sigh with the beauty of both the pictures and the words within.
    Those doll jackets in the snow!!!
    That is an image that I think will be stored forever in my mind- it is so stunning!!
    Whilst glad to hear your birthday was good, I'm sorry to hear your Angel has been unwell, and hoping she is better soon.
    Take care

  27. Hi Stephanie,

    So sorry to hear Angelique was so ill last week. I hope she is feeling better now? The fairytale you read her looks lovely. Such pretty images.

    LOVE your new addition to the family. What a sweet little dog and pretty name.

    Your dolls cardigans look just lovely!

    Enjoy your new week & stay warm!

    Madelief x

  28. Ahhh I hope Angelique is better! I love your little knits and always enjoy visiting you!

  29. Oh, Stephanie! I love your posts so much!!! And you always seem to get me into just a tad of trouble!!! I must find that book! The illustrations are beautiful, and the story so bittersweet.
    I can't wait to see what the bright little jackets turn into--I'm loving them just as they are, bringing a bit of color to the black/white/grey background as a
    jacket banner!
    And Gaspard--you melt my heart!! Freddy would just love to teach you a thing or two about how to run a family, but something tells me you already have that skill in hand!!!
    Hugs!! Happy weekend!

  30. Get well soon, and keep drinking lots of tea xxx

  31. Oh Stephanie your new 'baby' is adorable!! I look forward to seeing lots more of Gaspard. :)
    I also look forward to the time as your beautiful book describes when 'fair spring arrives'!
    I have to be honest and say I'm thankful that the snow escaped us as I am no lover of the white stuff!
    Your gorgeous knits are like little sugared almonds and every bit as sweet!
    I hope Angélique is now feeling much better and you all have a lovely week,
    Vivienne x

  32. Ah, the new addition is gorgeous - what a cutie-pie. What a beautiful book too - I feel a spot of Amazon shopping is called for...
    Emily x

  33. Oh my goodness!!! How cute is he? He is adorable, you will fall totally in love with him. I'm so glad you got him and didn't end up with an 'mans' dog like a boxer or something. He is delicious.

  34. OH MY!! Congrats on Gaspard he IS so so adorable. I do love this breed they are always happy :-}

    Your photo of the knitted tiny jackets touched my heart too.

    Thank you for sharing your joy and the roses.

    HUGS Lorraine

  35. Gaspard is the sweetest little thing, he's gorgeous!! I love your tiny knitted jackets too, and their pale pastel colours against the wintery backdrop, so sweet. I hope Angelique gets better very soon, Jenny xx

  36. How absolutely beautiful, Stephanie! Your tiny knitted jackets against the snow are exquisite, and speak of creativity and fragility and grace. You should frame these wonderful images and display them for all to see.

  37. I hardly ever know what to write when I read your lovely posts. The pink yarn in your last post was breath taking, as were the hydrangeas with their muted colors they are one of my favourite flowers. The little jackets in this post, just so sweet. I love the artwork in this little book, I love losing myself in books and have done ever since I can remember. Belated birthday wishes for your sweet little one.
    xx Sandi

  38. Oh my goodness, what a little cutie. I bet he's going to be one spoilt little puppy with all the love he'll get in your household. Cavaliers are the most wonderful dogs, and so perfect for family life. Archie has enjoyed being in the snow this weekend, though the snow sticks to his long fur and he comes home with snowballs attached to him.

  39. Stephanie, i felt a little swoon when i saw those teeny-tiny cardi's on the tree against the snow...such whimsy. your words are perfect for how we all feel sometimes, trying to keep that which feeds our souls alive but at the same time deal with the realities of life. and, gaspard, oh, little fluffy boy! a joy to read at the beginning of what promises to be a hectic week.

  40. Hello Stephanie, you write so beautifully, i do so love reading your posts. I hope your troubles soon pass....the promise of spring is just around the corner. The little knitted jackets are so lovely! Peter rabbit size, I love them. Happy belated Birthday to you daughter, she is such a sweetheart....keep warm
    Gaspard is gorgeous too!!
    Sophie x

  41. I don't know where to begin...
    The new puppy is adorable, the snow amongst the vineyard is delightful and I adore the little sweaters on the line.
    Hope your little angel is feeling better soon...
    Susan x

  42. Stephanie, I learn so much from you, I must find Down The Garden Path here at home . It sounds like my kind of book, and I can never get enough of those....your sweet knits are so well done, you inspire me to be a better knitter! And Gaspard, is adorable...hope your little one is fee ling better as well...so happy you came by and I found you...N xo

  43. Loving the fairy jackets!!!
    But VERY jealous of the snow! None here - just extremely cold!

  44. Oh, Stephanie! You find joy in each moment and share it so beautifully! Hope little Angélique gets to feeling better soon. With a new puppy to love, I'm sure she will!
    Enjoy your week!

  45. A joyous post Stephanie, brimming with gorgeous things. Snow, blue skies, the cutest of knits and a very handsome boy in Gaspard! I look forward to reading of his adventures.

    Enjoy yourselves in the rare Tours snow, wrap up warm and snug and stay well. It's amazing to think that those vineyards will do what nature intended and in no time at all produce their sun-kissed fruits despite the icy temperatures of February.

    I love that spring will be here soon!


  46. The tiny knits are so cute! And as for Gaspard....the cutest little dog ever, I hope you have loads of fun.

    Lou xxx

    PS. lovely snow pictures, I wish we had some... x

  47. I love the pastel knits against the snow, looks like a photo from an upmarket home magazine or an arty craft magazine. Mmmm, lovely.

    Sorry to hear poor Angelique isn't well, hope she gets better soon and is enjoying lots of cuddles from you and Gaspard!

    And oh my word I eeked too - your puppy is sooooo cute. I love puppies. Mmm puppy smell is the best, well the smell of a baby's head is the best too. Ahh he's just lovely.

    And finally I love the rosy teapot cover, who thought something could make a cuppa even more enticing!!

    Helen xx

  48. Hello Stephanie..I think I may be just a little earlier this week?..Hmm..still quite a long queue though!...But so lovely to be here as always my friend and I hope most of all that little Angélique is feeling much better now...I have a daughter who was of a similar disposition when very small...an absolute angel which made her personality change so noticeable when unwell..I remember one of her teachers being quite puzzled by her alter ego!
    Love your little knits and Gaspard is adorable..such a pleasure to meet him today!
    Take care and keep warm,
    Susan x

  49. Gorgeous photo of the cute doll cardigans in the snow! Ours has all faded into slush - hope yours lasts longer. Thank you for your comments on my blog, I totally share your excitement! x

  50. Well what a stage for your beautiful knitwear - I love the pastel colours against the white snow and the tea pot cosy - we have had LOADS of snow, in fact we are pretty snowed in at the moment - no school for our little lady and lots of wet welly boots and rosy cheeks. Your new addition to the family will certainly bring a smile to your faces. Enjoy the snow! x

  51. oh my goodness! i don't know what to say about all this loveliness, if only i were as eloquent as you stephanie.
    the mother earth books are among my favorites, i love them so much.
    but i don't know the beverly nicols one, i'm off to add it to my wish list.
    hello little darling puppy! and i hope your baby is well soon.

  52. Are always the trick having a birthday mid-winter. I do love the serendipity in the Angelique-ness..how delightful. Good job for the remedies though...they do help don't they & are seldom refused. I have never seen snow covered vines before..nor dolls cardi's in trees quite like that ; ) Thank goodness for books xoxox

  53. No snow here yet, not exactly sad about that I have to say :-)

    Beautiful pictures of the snow and the vines. Love the teeny cardigans.

    Hope Angelique is feeling better now, I too become a monster when ill, lol!

    I think that is the most adorable puppy ever!!! Such a cutie and a lovely name too! give Gaspard a cuddle from me :-)
    love Lori xxx

  54. How adorable, those sweet little knits, oh and Gaspard too xox

  55. Such a delightful post. The teeny doll knits are adorable and I see no uneven knitting! Lovely, sweet, puppy in the snow. With regards to the pastry for the jam tarts; I made a simple plain flour and butter pastry made with half fat to flour and iced water to mix. x

  56. I'm afraid that Gaspard immediately eclipsed the rest of your post when I saw him Stephanie! He's really rather adorable and handsome, and looks like he has character already, I do hope we get to see more of the little fellow. What a wonderful name he has. Love Magic Cochin's comment, very droll! Maybe your neighbours think you are knitting for Tom Thumb. Vanessa xxx

  57. What a beautiful world you live in Stephanie! I love the little knitted sweaters hanging in the snow.
    I hope your little gets well very soon. It's so hard when they are sick.
    Thank you so much for coming by my place and leaving a note so I could find you.

  58. Je fonds devant cette lessive de lainage aux tons pastels si doux et devant le regard de Gaspard qui hésite à faire ses premiers pas dans la neige ...Voilà un billet charmant , habillé de tendresse !

  59. Your blog is simply beautiful and I am now following you too! ;-)
    Love the baby jackets hanging in a row and I also enjoyed seeing the snow, but now it has melted away here in Wiltshire. I hope it comes back soon!
    Thank you for visiting my place. It is lovely to meet you!
    Best fairy wishes,
    Jo May.

  60. So lovely! Quel travail!!! Thank you for the kindness of your message on my blog yesterday. Love, Maria

  61. Gaspard, je t'adore ...

    (and the sweet little cardigans are so adorable ...)

  62. How strange, Stephanie. I am reading Four Hedges right now, having found the beautiful new edition filled with Claire's exquisite woodcuts, reflecting each small happening in her Chiltern garden. Every page read (in between catering and crafting with little ones) is an absolute joy.

    I'm sorry to hear there is illness in your house. I do hope it passes very soon.

    I haven't been making in recent weeks but I have begun again today. I have a brand new tiny kiln and am testing some enamels today. I will email you about enamelled snowdrops.

  63. Dear Stephanie,

    Congratulations to your newest, sweet member of your family ~ Gaspard is adorable and can understand you not wanting him to be out very long in the snow. Love all the darling little knitted coats hanging on the tree.
    Hope Angelique is feeling better.


  64. Those little jacket/sweaters are to die for! I would love all three colors in adult size! Congrats on your 'puppy love'! Beautiful photos!

  65. (Beautiful garland!)
    I am so pleased to hear you enjoyed your time in Greece. It takes two to like each other :) If you ever want to visit again, you will be most welcome to come and visit our part of theis lovely country. Kindest thoughts and wishes to you, too.

  66. I love the little cardigans is there a pattern? They are so cute and look easy. I just joined your pretty blog

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