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Friday, 10 February 2012

Topiary And Mademoiselle Toadstool


A warm hello to you all!
Thank you so much for greeting Gaspard our new puppy with so much enthusiasm.  He is rather delicious, isn't he?  We are all in adoration of him - very proper for a puppy named after one of the Magi - but we are learning to handle him with a gentle but firm hand.  I cannot help feeling I am now a mother of four.  Is that normal?
Le Bal des Ifs, Charles Nicolas Cochin (1715-1790)
Isn't this painting beautiful? What do you make of those strange green shapes?


Box and yew topiary served as ornamentation in the gardens of Versailles and inspired the costumes worn for royal festivities for many years.   On February 25th 1745 during a particulary icy spell the wedding of the dauphin was celebrated by a masked ball named Le Bal des Ifs (The Yew Tree Ball).  The bridegroom was metamorphosed into a gardener, his wife into a flower seller.  Eight yews (as seen in the painting above and below), clipped to enhance the natural beauty of the trees and tailored to grace the human form, appeared from the frosty gardens, one of which was no less than Louis XV.  This sumptuous ball, which started at 11.30pm, also marked the beginning of a long, passionate affair between Louis XV and the future Marquise de Pompadour.


Topiary shapes in the gardens of Versailles during Louix XIV's reign
 
I love the art of trimming evergreens into geometric or fantastical shapes. Topiary is stunning with a powdering of frost as seen in the picture below or on a moonlit night when its silhouettes cast beautiful shadows over lawn and paths.
To my mind there is a similarity between the slow trimming and clipping of topiary with shears and knitting.  Both art forms produce three-dimensional structures which require patience and time to create.  A little clip of the shaggy box is synonymous with a small knit stitch.  Many stitches and clips later one may stand back and admire one's handiwork. 

The big freeze and blue skies have continued all week long.  The dazzling sun has cast curious shadows on our snow-blanketed garden.
Here is the shadow's owner.
 Mademoiselle Toadstool.
This little rabbit is evidently also fond of topiary balls.
She owns two skirts and sports an embroidered toadstool on her ankle.
Miss Toadstool is winging her way as I write to the Czech Republic to the magical home of the adorable little Eliska, the daughter of Tracy who is undoubtedly a wonderful woman.  How I wish she lived close-by!  In exchange for this rabbit Tracy is creating one of her amazing dolls for Angélique.  I cannot wait to show her to you all when I receive her!


I am very slightly pleased with this creature as she has been put together after a lot of mulling over with my very own pattern.  I hope she finds favour with Tracy and Eliska who I am certain will look after her splendidly.


Bon voyage Mademoiselle Toadstool.  I wish I could creep into your suitcase and travel with you!


Stephanie

ps  I think it is only fair to let you know that the next post will involve my second giveaway!  

61 comments:

  1. Beautiful sky, snowed today here and I so wanted to wash my baby knits to hang them up for a photo inspired by your beautiful one sadly the day ran away! Hope your puppy doesn't chew up anything too precious x

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  2. Isn't it funny just how soon a puppy becomes one of the family? I'm sure you're all having lots of fun with Gaspard. Mademoiselle Toadstool is wonderful. The extra little touches you add to your creations give them that something special, delightful.

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  3. As always your garden photos take my breath away. I love Miss Toadstool, she is beautiful and has such character, and I know she will be loved by Eliska. I have long been an admirer of Tracy's magical looking dolls too.
    Hope your weekend is lovely

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  4. oh your bunny and those gardens are gorgeous! I now have cardi's for our bunnies here thanks to your link to the pattern - thank you x

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  5. You have a puppy,we have a kitten,our son also has a puppy(7 weeks).Is there something in the air?Have fun!

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  6. oh stephanie, thank you for sharing beautiful miss toadstool and such lovely bits of history. i do love your blog.

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  7. Oh goodness Stephanie, this is the most enchanting thing from start to finish...the way you weave a story leaves me spell bound, really. I love to see, hear,imagine, anything to do with the garden, so you pretty much had me at the topiaries! Much affection, N.xo

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  8. Stephanie!!! How I look forward to your little snippets of garden history!!! While my little cottage garden is not the place for the large boxwood topiaries, over the years I've had several little indoor ones that I treasured and probably loved to death (since none are still with me, unless you count an ivy wreath I haven't yet managed to send to its demise!)
    Mme Toadstool!!!! You are sporting one of those adorable little jackets! Just lovely, my dear, and bon voyage and happy life with your new family. Exciting days lie ahead!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!!

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  9. Do you know Stephanie I was watching a TV programme just a couple of days ago on Versailles and the going on's of Louis XV and his various lady friends including the Marquise de Pompadour! :)
    Mademoiselle Toadstool is soooo beautiful and I have no doubt she will be much loved!
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Vivienne x

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  10. What a beautiful tapestry! I love the background info you gave. Looks like you're living in a wintery wonderland now, I just love to see your photos :)
    And your latest creation, she is so lovely! What a pretty miss bunny :)

    Hope all is well with your new baby :) they are like children! sometimes they're the children that mind best, haha!

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  11. One of my absolute favourite gardens here in the UK is Levens Hall. Do you know it? It has the most wonderful topiary. In all sizes and shapes including balls, the pretty Miss Toadstool would love it ;D

    How wonderful that you and Tracy could swop your delightful creations and that your daughters will each have someone new to cuddle and love. In addition to Gaspard that is :D

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  12. There's always something new to learn when visiting your blog. I loved reading about the topiary and its place in history.
    There's always beauty to be found when visiting your blog. I just love little Mademoiselle Toadstool and her pretty skirts.
    There's always magic in the pictures you show us of your beautiful creations, as there is now in the pictures of Mademoiselle Toadstool and her shadow on the snowcovered lawn.
    She will certainly make a little girl more than happy.
    Bye, have a wonderful weekend,
    Marian

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  13. GOOD EVENING DEAREST STEPHANIE!

    My goodness your world is magical and wonderful! AND HOW IS YOUR THESIS COMING ALONG?????

    You always present a most darling post with your creations and thank you for making my Friday evening a wonderful one! HAPPY VALENTINES NEXT WEEK! Anita

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  14. What a lovely idea to exchange creations for the little girls in your lives. The rabbit is adorable. The topiary photos are beautiful, in a formal, rather grand manner.

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  15. There's something very soothing about neatly clipped topiary isn't there?
    Mademoiselle Toadstool looks lovely and cosy in her woolly cardigan, just what she needs in all that snow! Your garden look beautiful. I've not seen much snow where I live but I'm not complaining, it's warmer to look at it on the screen! ;o)
    Jess xx

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  16. such a cute bunny!
    we've got snow too.stay warm this weekend :)

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  17. Love little miss bunny, especially her toadstool dress trim and the one on her ankle! So cute!

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  18. Mademoiselle Champignon m'enchante! Si jolie et si mignonne!

    I love your photos of le bal des ifs in February 1745 and the anecdote about Mme de Pompadour. (I have two prints of François Boucher paintings of la belle marquise on my study wall.)

    Your analogy of knitting and topiary is wonderful - I love it!

    Have fun with Gaspard!

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  19. Oh my, I have been away so long that I missed the grand announcement of Gaspard's arrival! I must surely travel back in time to read the delightful story...and I hope to linger over a photograph of the young lad as well. I feel certain that he shall be most handsome indeed.
    Your world seems such an enchanted one...I do so look forward to visiting, learning, and dreaming beautiful dreams.
    I wish you all that is bright and lovely dear heart...
    Warmly,
    Judy x

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  20. I'm fascinated by topiaries too and just found a picture of Adam, Eve, and the snake, beautiful and folky and of course ancient!
    darling rabbit, she will cherish it.
    xx
    julie

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  21. A wonderful post! I just love the quirky topiary people in the painting! Mademoiselle Toadstool is delightful and I like all the extra attention to detail such as the embroidery and knitted cardigan. x

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  22. Sweet Stephanie!!!

    Oh dearest, your comment was so kind! I had JUST FINISHED thinking about how I am teaching my students how to write a persuasive essay and to embed a CALL TO ACTION in their papers. Well, your comment just made me realize that without really thinking about it, I did just that! A couple of commenters said they texted their husbands, they ran to kiss them on the cheek or just hugged them. How fabulous! Enjoy your husband my dear; they are our treasures. THANK YOU FOR COMING and I cannot wait to see what you have to share when the season changes to spring!!!

    BISOUS, Anita

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  23. Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, love all the amazing garden with the topiaries.
    Also how darling little Mademoiselle Toadstool is and I love her sweet outfits.
    Many thanks for visiting me and following, I really appreciate that.

    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  24. Hi Stephanie, I do believe it is normal for you to feel you are the mother of 4 - I'm pretty sure my two tomcats feel that they are brothers number 3 and 4 in this house!

    Your connecting the arts of knitting and topiary clipping is quite interesting....truly there are similarities.

    What a lovely exchange - I'm sure Tracy and Eliska will adore the sweet rabbit!

    Warm winter wishes to you & family (& puppy of course!)...xo Karen

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  25. Oh she is gorgeous!!! I love the little toadstool on her ankle like a little tattoo :-) Such a cute wardrobe of clothes too, how sweet!

    Oh yes I'm a mother of two, they are both cats, lol!

    Lori xxx

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  26. Love the rabbit very cute x The painting is beautiful and quirky I like the green figures reminds me of Alice in wonderland. Have a wonderful Sunday x Leah x

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  27. Thankyou for visiting my blog and leaving such kind comments. Your own blog is delightful and you live in a most beautiful part of the world.

    Your post on Topiary was very informative and I absolutely love miss Toadstool with her little skirts. Enjoy your Sunday, love Linda x

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  28. It's me again! Just to let you know that I am now following your blog, and that I love the name of it! Love Linda x

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  29. Miss Toadstool is magnificent. Such a beautiful bunny! She looks quite at home in the snow.

    I hope your giveaway is for a bunny because I want one and my sewing skills only go as far as straight lines.

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  30. I can't believe I missed the PUPPY post!!! I hope you're all having lots of fun with him! :-)
    Mademoiselle Toadstool is seriously cute - and I am jealous of her toadstool outfit!!! You're so clever!!!
    Carly
    x

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  31. So enjoyed your history and images of the topiary work...
    I remember seeing some formal gardens and mazes in Colonial Williamsburg years ago...the boxwood was breathtaking. I quickly learned it would never survive in our sub-zero Wisconsin winters - my own gardens are much less formal!

    Mademoiselle Toadstool is a dear and perfectly dressed for travel.
    Puppies are like having a forever 2 year old around...never let them out of your sight! But Dogs Rule and a home without one (or two or three)just seems empty...

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  32. I love topiary, and reading about them in the gardens of Versailles is a treat. Such amazing shapes!
    Miss Toadstool is dressed so pretty & I'm sure Eliska will love her!
    Wishing you all a lovely new week,
    Zuzu

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  33. Oh wow Stephanie. Miss Toadstool looks enchanting! What a beautiful present to send to a friend. She will be delighted :-)

    I enjoyed your post on topiary. Although I am more of a cottage garden lover, I do appreciate the more formal gardens with topiary. Last year we visited Great Dixter, the garden of the late Christopher Lloyd. His garden was the perfect combination of both.

    Enjoy your new week!

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

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  34. So lovely...that is what you are.
    I do believe Rosie has grown a lot lately...and yes that is Ivington Diaries by Monty Don. He is wonderful isn't he.
    Much love to you and your family.

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  35. Love your rabbit and I love all the posing she did in a beautiful snow covered background :) You are so creative!!

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  36. Stephanie,

    Topiary is one of my other great garden loves! Thank you so much for your comment today over at my place. You don't know how much it encouraged me! I had pondered doing that post for a while, but had, like you, feared that the detail might bore people to sleep. But I decided to go with it because its an art form that I really love. Like you, I love reading the details of history and trivia on topics of interest, and I really enjoyed this post!

    The little bunny looks so beautifully made. Just the type of toy that will be cherished always.

    Welcome to the newest member of your family! He looks adorable with those big puppy eyes. I know it must be so hard for you to deny him anything when he looks up at you!

    I hope your week is wonderful,
    Keri

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  37. Mademoiselle Toadstool is truly beautiful, I love the soft mushroomy colours, she looks good enough to eat! x

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  38. Bonsoir, Mademoiselle Toadstool! oh she is so sweet and I love both skirts ...
    Barbara x

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  39. I'm in love with Miss Toadstool! It is always a pleasure to visit your blog. I'm off to have another read and look at those beautiful pictures.

    Lou xxx

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  40. Such a gorgeous post but I have to admit to being TOTALLY smitten with Mademoiselle Toadstool... How talented you are, she is perfect! The family to receive her are very lucky indeed! :-)

    Thank you so much Stephanie, for your lovely comment on my recent makes. It really makes me smile to recieve such compliments!
    Have a great week,

    Much love,
    Louise xx

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  41. What a true delight Miss. Toadstool is, I love all the fabric choices and her delightful embroidery, oh and her ears too. She looks soft and gentle and perfect for a little girl to love forever. I am so impressed with your design skills too Stephanie. I hope Gaspard will give you all the wonderful pleasures of having a puppy withall the effort you are putting in to being a good "parent" for him xox Thank you for your beautiful comments on my blog, much appreciated x

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  42. I'm so glad I stopped by! The classic Topiary ;) perfect anywhere. Wonderful photos!

    Enjoy your evening.

    xx
    leslie

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  43. Oh yes isn't topiary wonderful. I will never achieve quite such exceptional precision as in your photo but then I will never have snow either! Although I must say that the hand sheep clippers that I found at in Op shop last year do a jolly fine job of box clipping. How fascinating the the shaped specimens at the Royal Ball. What a peculiar commencement time 11.30pm!
    Godspeed Mde Toadstool ; ) x0x0x

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  44. Your Thire garden reminds you of knitting and me of embroidery but for the same reasons.

    Your little rabbit is exquisite, every little girl's dream and so beautifully crafted.

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  45. Hello Stephanie...I have returned to wonderland with this lovely post...it has such a wonderful atmosphere!
    I am a real fan of topiary and the unique quality they add to a garden...
    Mademoiselle Toadstool is perfect and I love the addition of the little toadstool on her ankle which makes her very special..Your daughters will have so much fun receiving such very special gifts!
    Take care,
    Susan x

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  46. J’adore Mademoiselle toadstool!

    i tend to think that knitting and any slow process art is also very meditative and healing. i find the same with drawing and applying colors...
    hope life is beautiful on your side of the world.
    xo sandra

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  47. Mademoiselle toadstool is one beautiful little bunny and i love all the sweet details, you are so clever x
    hope Gaspard is being a good puppy?!
    love jooles x

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  48. I love those little cross stitch mushrooms :)

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  49. Thank you for visiting me the other day...your blog is lovely. What an adorable bunny with such a sweet dress...Happy day to you. xo

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  50. Mademoiselle Toadstool has to be the cutest bunny I've seen. I hope she doesn't get blown off course or she could well end up in the doll's playroom and I know they'd never want her to leave. Happy stitching, Eli x

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  51. Popping by to say hello and thank you for your comment on my blog. I am deeply touched that you liked my scribblings it does take a bit of courage to put my poems up on my blog. So thank you for your comment.

    I love Mademoiselle Toadstool. She is very breathtakingly beautiful. I really love her embroidered toadstool on her leg. Such a nice touch.

    MBB x

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  52. Godspeed, Mademoiselle Toadstool! It makes me so quietly pleased that creatures of charm and beauty are flying round in such civilised exchange.

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  53. Dear Stephanie,

    Thank you so much for coming by my place! Your Mademoiselle Toadstool is so very sweet, and very original! :) I've been catching up on some of your older posts, too, and must wish Angelique a happy belated birthday. My daughter Audrey and I are making a short story about a girl named Angelique Monet~ We'll have to post it on my writing book so you can have a peek at it.

    Love,

    Marqueta

    p.s. Gaspard is a beauty! Enjoy him for us.

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  54. dear stephanie, i'm confused how it is i've missed this post. miss toadstool is so incredibly adorable, and you made the pattern!
    she is so cute sitting out in the sparkly snow. i love the details, the cross stitch and her tiny sweater too.
    i'm sure she's going to be treasured when she arrives at her new home, and i can't wait to see
    the doll sent to your angelique.
    xx lori

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  55. Je raffole des topiaires et autres ornements de buis qui garnissent les jardins des châteaux et ce billet me ravit ! Bien sur , ce lapin est ravissant avec son bel effet de photo : on le croirait en compagnie d'un nuage en forme de dinosaure !

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  56. Hello! We have been staring at her tonight, marvelling at her wonderful embroidery. Roman is captivated by her button on her cardigan. thankyou thankyou thankyou. She is lovely and a sprinkling of good fortune from another land. xxx

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  57. Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for the wonderful comment you left on my blog, it made me very happy :0)
    Your blog is so lovely and I absoloutely adore Mademoiselle toadstool!!!!
    Hugs from a new follower
    vicky xxxxx

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  58. I love Mlle Toadstool - she is a real sweetie!

    Pomona x

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  59. Good lord! That Madame Toad Stool is so unbelievably amazingly wonderful I have the slack jawed look on my face! Wow!

    I thought you'd been quiet lately but since you left a comment over at mine I see my google reader thingy just hasn't been updating me. I wonder who else I have missed.

    Going to stick a comment on your giveaway post now. Hurrah!

    xxx

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  60. She is fabulous, you did a wonderful job with her and she will be loved and adored.

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  61. Thank you so much for this useful and valuable information. Super your blog, congratulations!

    voyance Email

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