Monday 7 May 2012

Bells Are The Best Birthday Gift

Hello wonderful readers on this post election day in France,
As our eldest daughter, Héloïse, turned sixteen on the last day of April, we celebrated the occasion with an Easter revival in between spectacular downpours of the most stubborn kind. 
Gracefully teetering between childhood and becoming an amazing young adult Héloïse seemed happy to participate in our second Easter egg hunt this season.  There is something to be said about celebrating such rituals when you feel like doing so, don't you think? 

And how about a birthday present hunt? 
First, the essential gift for my dancing daughter.

The next present will, I believe, GRAB your attention.  Are you ready?
The lilac is pretty enough but look at those silver bells.  They are exquisite, don't you think?  They are, of course, the beautiful work of the very talented Emma of Silverpebble.  A few weeks ago, when the weather was sunny for days on end, Héloïse and I were chatting about symbolism and I asked her which object she would choose to symbolise her birthday.  Perhaps eggs and daffodils, she thought, and then her answer rang clearly: bells!
Of course I knew Emma would transform this symbol into the perfect birthday necklace for a sweet sixteen year old.  It was such a pleasure to work with her.  She was quick, offered suggestions - church bells or sleigh bells? -  and kept me updated on her progress with mini videos of the bells tinkling.  Oh how those two adorable bells chime delightfully!  I need never worry about losing my daughter ever again ;-) 
Thank you so much Emma!  I cannot wait to commission another silver beauty from you!
Of course Héloïse's birthday inspired me to make something too. Something festive in theme and inspired by these colours:
This picture is taken from an amazing French book, compiled by three talented artists - Christine Ferber, Philippe Model and Bernhard Winkelmann - in which recipes have been concocted for Alice in Wonderland.  Its title is Merveilles, délicieuses recettes au pays d'Alice and you can find it here or here.  I will come back to this book in the near future.

Here is Mademoiselle Confetti, a sweet natured, party loving spring creature with a passion for cakes:
"Another rabbit?'', you kindly remark.  Yes, ANOTHER rabbit to mark a rather exciting moment.  Annie Joliveau, the owner of La Maison d'Annie, a beautiful shop, situated in an old house on the banks of the river Cisse in Vouvray, has commissioned me to create ten items for her boutique.  I am so excited!  Decisions have been made over the past couple of weeks during which I have suffered NO migraines.  I was so touched by your kindness and valuable advice following my last post and I taken heed of every single word you wrote.  My role as a mother is precious to me and needs to take precedence.  Angélique will be going to a lovely childminder one day a week.  This will not be a big transformation in her life but it will grant me a few hours to work on such commissions.  Madame De Saint Venant has also asked me to participate in a garden and crafts fair at Valmer Château in October.  You may recall I wrote an article about her sixteenth-century kitchen gardens last year?   She is a extraordinary lady and we have stayed in contact.
I am also thinking about opening an Etsy shop.  Very timidly I ask you; do you think there would be any takers for custommade rabbits?  I ought to reassure you that there won't be just rabbits.  Phew, you sigh! Your input on this matter will be very much appreciated!
So Happy Birthday, Héloïse.  May the next year bring you the dreams you deserve.
If any of you have a minute to spare and you fancy brushing up on your French skills, please take a quick look at her blog.  This little artist of mine has just drawn some thank you cards and I think they deserve a peek.  There's even a picture of Gaspard our puppy!

Thank you so much for being wonderful and kind and a warm welcome to my new followers.

A bientôt,



  1. Hi. Happy birthday Heloise!

    I love the look of your rabbit and the extra bits like plaster on the elbows. I'm rather off rabbits at the moment so I wouldn't be likely to buy but other animals ...giraffe just came to mind, might be good! Joanj

  2. I'm happy to hear the migraines have dissipated and that life is full of wonderful possibilities for you. Best belated wishes to your eldest daughter. Thank you for a delightful, as always, read.

  3. Oooh I reckon your rabbits would sell very well indeed, the one you made for Heloise is beautiful and the ones you've made before have always been well coveted....lovely idea, if you can make it work without too much pressure then do it!

    The bells are gorgeous, what a lovely idea, something very magical about them.

    So glad you've been free of those dratted migraines, hope they will soon be a thing of the past, so you can get on with all your exciting plans!

  4. So glad that you are feeling better and it seems that there is much to be excited about. Your daughter's blog is delightful and she has the artistic talents of her mother. Your little rabbits should be well received and I wish you the best in your new commissions.

    The bells are stunning andnwhat a lovely gift for a sixteenth birthday.


  5. Happy Birthday Héloïse!!!!
    What a beautiful and talented (those drawings are amazing!) girl she is!
    As for Mademoiselle Confetti, she is gorgeous. :) I'm not surprised you have been commissioned, your rabbits are wonderful!
    I think an Etsy shop is essential now, I think there would be many takers for custom made rabbits! Don't worry if it were just rabbits, that would be fine by me! ;) Rabbits are always good! :)
    We're off to your beautfiul country tomorrow, can't wait!
    Have a lovely week Stephanie,
    Vivienne x

  6. Hi Stephanie,
    It's great to hear your news and I'm so glad that you've found a way to be able to continue with your creative work, aswell as the wonderful job you do as a mother. I think your rabbits and other creations would do wonderfully on Etsy and I love Madaemoiselle Confetti!!
    I'm glad your daughter enjoyed her birthday celebrations, the bell necklace is gorgeous. I'm off to visit her blog now.
    vicky xxx

  7. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter and felicitations on your commissions. Your work is amazing :) x

  8. Happy birthday, her tea leaves cardi is beautiful! The necklace is such a thoughtful present :) Good luck with your etsy shop. I say do it, what have you to lose??? Love the newest bunny!

  9. Happy Birthday Heloise xx
    I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling better. I love love love my rabbit, Mademoiselle Primavera. I think you must set up an Etsy shop - it would be a shame for others not to be able to enjoy the wonderful things you create.
    Not only is Heloise beautiful but she is also as talented as her lovely mother. My daughter is studying her first year of A level French so I will show her Heloise's blog and ask her to keep in touch.
    Good luck with the commissions and setting up the shop. I know it will be a great success xxx

  10. Your special rabbits would always have a warm welcome in my garden...so sweet.

    You must find great joy watching your daughter's journey as a young woman and to see her artistry blossom.

    And good news that you are feeling better.

  11. Happy Birthday to Héloïse! Such wonderful birthday gifts! :)

    I do love your rabbits and your gorgeous needlework, Stephanie, and I'm sure that a little shop of your own would do very well!

    I also enjoyed visiting Héloïse's blog. So much talent in your family!

    Wishing you all a very wonderful week,

  12. Dearest Stephanie...I am delighted that you are feeling ever so much better! Migraines can be dispiriting surely.
    Happy Birthday to your dear daughter! Clearly her Momma shall enjoy the "tinkle of silvery bells" as Héloïse twirls and whirls about on dancing slippers!
    I do love your rabbits...can one ever have too many? I think not...particularly when they are adorned with handmade knits, embroideries, and lovely smiles. Surely they shall hop ever so swiftly through the shoppe door!
    Sending warm hugs...
    Judy x

  13. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter... her artwork is beautiful, what lovely little cards.
    Much love

  14. How very beautiful your sweet sixteen Heloise is Stephanie, she looks like and is (from what I read on her blog) a lovely young lady at that strange threshold of leaving childhood and entering into a new way of being, becoming an adult. I absolutely love the silver bells that Emma made for you to give her. I love all of Emma's work, it is all very beautiful and am very tempted myself xox. Also love the look of that Alice recipe book. Anything Alice always interest me.
    As for an etsy chop, well I couldn't encourage you more, your rabbits are unique and so well thought out with each stitch obviously made with love. Miss Confetti is a testament to that! Thanks for sharingthis beautiful post xox Penelope

  15. oops sorry I meant "shop" and not "chop" :o)

  16. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl - sweet sixteen, what fun! xxx

  17. Happy birthday Heloise.I am sure your rabbits would sell on Etsy but as with all things handmade you can't put a price on that reflects the time taken.I think they are really special and unique.Good luck with the Vouvray project.We went to a wine fair in Vouvray many years ago when we were staying with our St Avertin friends.

  18. Your rabbits are beautiful - I'd say you should try a shop, if you don't perhaps you will always wonder what might have been.
    I have a commissioned necklace from Emma and treasure it, I can imagine how special the bells are. Juliex

  19. Happy birthday to your gorgeous sixteen year old (in her tiny tea leaves!), such a lucky girl to have maman commission Emma's stunning necklace. Stephanie, go for the etsy shop, I am sure you will be busy with your rabbits, who wouldn't want one?
    Kate xx

  20. Happy Birthday Heloise. That is a beautiful necklace, what a great gift for a mother to commission for her daughter.

    Absolutely try an Etsy shop. Some years ago I used to make and sell rag dolls and always had people waiting for one. Your rabbits will be very highly sought after I'm sure. I'd only say that you need to be clear, if you are selling children's toys (for under 14s), what the requirements are re. the EU Toy Safety Directive, but you probably know that. Good luck with your endeavours Stephanie. And may the migraines stay away :D

  21. Your daughter looks like a lovely young lady, and that necklace.... I LOVE it! What a great idea. I am glad you are sorting out your creative/mommy time and things are working out for you :) Confetti bunny is beautiful, and I think an etsy shop is a wonderful idea! Your makes are lovely and very well crafted. I wish you much success!

  22. It's lovely that as your daughter reaches an age to start making her dreams come true, that you sound like you are too.
    An Etsy shop? er...YES!

  23. It's lovely that as your daughter reaches an age to start making her dreams come true, that you sound like you are too.
    An Etsy shop? er...YES!

  24. My most GORGEOUS and lovely friend, Stephanie.....your daughter is absolutely beautiful and I just went to her blog to see her talents! Oh how blessed you are!

    Your rabbits are always enchanting to my heart. ALL of your creations, blowing in the winds of France always take me to a place in my imagination that I want to explore as soon as my last year of teaching is over in June. My how I adore your wares. Thank you so much for coming to visit me and leave a message. You know, I literally adore you all, you who I have never seen but feel a kindred spirit with. I thank you for your comments and I bid you a LOVELY MOTHERS' DAY. You are just so kind.

    BRAVO TO YOU for being commissioned to create for what sounds like a SUPER SHOP! I LOVED all the shops I frequented on my long visit and stay to France, now 10 years ago. Enjoy all the beauty my sweet friend. Anita

  25. A very happy birthday to your lovely daughter. As soon as I saw those bells, I thought "Silverpebble"! They're beautiful.

    Congratulations on being free of migraines (oh, the blessed relief of NOT having a headache!), and on the opportunities that are opening up for you.

    P.S. I love rabbits, and yours are the most delightful I've ever seen. Keep on making them! :)

  26. Emma's silver bells have made a perfect birthday gift for lovely Heloise.

    I think that your unique take on rabbits would surely find favor at Etsy.


  27. What a lovely birthday she had, and what amazing gifts! The necklace is so very lovely :) and what pretty toe shoes, may they get lots of good use!~

  28. Your rabbits are gorgeous and I can't imagine any girl (little or grown up) who wouldn't want one. I know I do! Good luck with your adventure! x

  29. Dear Stephanie,

    I was really happy to receive a note from you today, thank you.

    Happy birthday to your beautiful Heloise, and love her sweet bell necklace and the gorgeous ballet shoes. May she have a wonderful year, 16 is such a lovely age.
    As for your darling rabbits, they are adorable, love the bright colours, of the handknit jerseys and the cross-stitch, they will sell really well.
    Wishing you much success with your new venture and so glad that you have not suffered migraines.

    Have a happy week

  30. Happy Birthday to dear Héloïse!...Such pretty silver bells to ring out and celebrate your 16th birthday too...I hope you have a wonderful year ahead.
    Mademoiselle Confetti is beautiful Stephanie and I love her pretty colours...You should definitely open an ETSY shop and of course, there will be lots of takers for your special makes...it will be so much fun!
    I am off to test my rusty old French skills now. I can still read but seem incapable of writing a single word these days...it has been such a LONG time my friend....
    Hope you have a lovely week,
    Susan x

  31. Happy Birthday Heloise!

    Such a wonderful post, beautifully written and a delight for the eyes! The necklace is beautiful. What a lovely, lovely birthday gift to give your daughter. I am sure it will be treasured for years. i do love a ballet shoe though. Reminds of the days I used to dance. Oh to be young again.....................sigh!

    Have the most beautiful week!

    Vanessa xxxxxx

  32. Hello dear Stephanie, so lovely to catch up with you today. I am pleased to see that you are finding equilibrium again..that must feel more comfy. You have such a lovely manner & fine eye for detail & your work..so charming you will have the best of etsy shops of course...good luck! What a perfect 16th birthday celebration..the elegance of the ballet shoes & the silver bells. I'm sure a French word is called for about now..sadly, such words fail me & English seems insufficient. Much love Catherine x0x0x I hope you managed to find Katherine ; )

  33. Stephanie, it makes me so happy to hear you're enjoying my painting! :) Thankyou so much for your kind words.
    Happy belated birthday to Héloïse! Those ballet shoes look so familiar to me, I still have several pairs of my own from years gone by! I've just had a peep at her blog. Your daughter is not only beautiful but a talented artist too!
    Jess xx

  34. 16 - how lovely - Happy Birthday Heloise! What a delightful post and if you ever sell those hares I will be in the queue to but one - they are divine. I have a thing about moon gazing hares and there are loads of hares in the field at the front of our house. i love just watching them. Do open an Etsy shop ....... pleeeeease! xx

  35. Stephanie, how relieved I am to hear that the migraines have eased - it must be such a release.

    There is absolutely no question that you should open an etsy shop. TYOur rabbits will no doubt become instant collectors' items.

    I was truly honoured to make one of Heloise's birthday presents and it was such a joy to make too. The happiest of belated birthdays to your beautiful daughter.

  36. Thanks for your visit.... Nantes is just in the pipeline so no dates yet. We have other jaunts planned before we can think of it but will do it for sure as soon as we can.
    Love this post, the photos, the bells, the rabbit (great details) and Bonne Anniversaire Heloise!!
    Mad busy now as I'm demming at a stamping show on Saturday then doing a dem day for a shop the following Saturday.... lots of samples to make for inspiration. DH has just gone to get fish and chip, a rare treat for dinner to save me time.
    JoZarty x

  37. I was just thinking as I was reading your post and admiring another beautiful rabbit how much I would love it if put them up for sale. So, an Etsy shope is just a wonderful idea! I am certain they would do very well in a little Etsy shop.
    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter, Heloise.

  38. What a lovely, lovely post! I think your idea of having a birthday present hunt is a fabulous one!!!
    I say go for it with the Etsy shop - your rabbits are amazing and would definitely sell!
    Your daughter is so beautiful - and very talented too (I had a look over at her blog)! :-)

  39. I have been making a few more bunnies too, they are rather addicted aren't they. Is this one a Helen Philipps rabbit pattern ?

  40. Miss Stephanie!

    Your daughter is SO LOVELY! And so is her blog. She's quite talented, like her mama! I feel like you can really see her personality through her sweet expression. She's so beautiful!

    Adore bell necklace, reminds me of fairies :)

    Etsy -- OH YES, you should, you should.

  41. Dear Stephanie,
    Every photo is beautiful, the last most of all ... a Birthday should definitely involve a tea leaves cardigan with a beautiful rabbit close by (such a sweet dress!)
    Happy Birthday Eloise!

  42. What a beautiful, beautiful and talented young lady! Happiest of birthdays!! Lovely pictures!
    Your bunnies are such works of art---and are leading you on such a happy adventure! (lots of work....but such a creative adventure! follow that dream right down the rabbit hole!!!)

  43. What a lovely post.... Happy birthday to your Heloise!! The bell necklace is so simple but gorgeous and such a thoughtful gift... and your rabbit is just beautiful!!

    Thank you for your comment on my granny cushion, you are such kind person xxx


  44. What a radiant post, and isn't your daughter a fragile beauty, the gift of the bells on the necklace look like they're the most perfect, exquisite present for her. She does look like a ballet dancer. You really should open an etsy shop Stephanie, no question about it. What a wonderful post from a wonderful person. Vanessa xxx

  45. Hi Stephanie.
    Thank you for looking in on my blog. I would love your recipe for rhubarb and orange fool.

    If you could link me to your post for it or email it to me

    Thank you.

  46. dear stephanie, well as always a beautiful post. such an enchanting birthday for your daughter. i loved the birthday hunt along with those beautiful bells. how lovely. i would be very excited for you if you opened an etsy shoppe. i think you would do very well, and i would be amongst those who shop there. therefore, i have a request. if you opened a shop would you consider making some brown bunnies? my two lovelies are brown-skinned and i think chocolate colored bunnies made by you would be loved for a very long time, perhaps even into old age. (so glad the migs have eased up on you.)

  47. What a delightful post this is - full of elegance and delightful magic! Happy Birthday to your oh so beautifully French daughter! J'espère que ces petites clochettes d'argent sonneront toute sa vie et qu'elles lui rappelleront tous ses rêves précieux. Je souhaite qu'il y en aura beaucoup cette année et aussi à l'avenir.
    I don't think you will have the slightest problem finding takers for your exquisite rabbits! I think you may have the opposite problem - too many orders and not enough time to make them! Elizabeth x

  48. What a wonderful and unique gift for your daughter, wishing her many happy returns. Mademoiselle Confetti is most beautiful and will surely be snapped up in seconds. I love the cupcake cross stitch. I will gladly buy one when you have your shop set up.

  49. Dear Stephanie, this post has been wonderful to read. First of all may I say I am SO glad those dreaded migraines have stayed away. Also a belated Happy Birthday to beautiful Heloise, I will jump back and have a look at her exciting new blog, and also the website for your friend's shop. Oh my goodness so many lovely things in this post!

    Emma's jewellery is delightful isn't it. A couple of years ago I purchased one of her lovely little bird pendants when I met Emma at a craft fair in Norfolk. I have been promising myself another piece ever since.... must put that right very soon!

    Yes please to the Etsy shop - and well done you for getting this fabulous commission! I have to say the address of La Maison d'Annie sounds truly delightful, what a gorgeous part of the world you live in.

    By the way, Valmer Chateau has long been on my list of places to see when we are next in France.

    Have a wonderful(and hopefully sunny)weekend!


  50. Every single thing is just so beautiful on this post Stephanie...especially your lovely Heloise. I am so happy you have been feeling better!


  51. Stephanie, what a lovely post in every way, so much beauty.
    I think an Etsy shop is a great idea. A world audience and beautifully made craft and your photos are so top shelf, a customer can get an idea of what your works would feel and look like in person as your photos are accurate and artistic too.

  52. Stephanie, where do I begin? The blessings of a beautiful daughter, Heloise, who has a lovely, kind, thoughtful expression....and simply cute blog, challenging my high school French !! There is no doubt you must open an Etsy shop to sell your exquisite wares......the detail and love that is poured into each creation will capture everyone's heart! I am so happy when you come by to visit, dear Stephanie.....with all your family duties and daily challenges, leaving such uplifting and kind comments means the world to me! I wish you the most happy day this Sunday, with your beautiful family in such a lovely part of France, perfection! Much love to you, N.xo

  53. Dear Stephanie,

    I am very late replying, but I have been really busy. There never seem to be enough hours in a day :-) Just got my orange rhubarb cake out of the oven. It's mothers day in Holland this weekend and we all love cake!

    Happy birthday to your pretty daughter Héloise. She looks very sweet on the photo and I will certainly check out her blog. The bells Emma made for her look very pretty!

    I like your new rabbit too and think you should definitely open up an Etsy shop. I would love to have one of those sweet little rabbits in my home :-)

    It's only three more days to go before I will leave for England. Perhaps it's strange, but I didn't realise you were English. Your name is 'so French'.

    Our first stop is Brighton and after that Tenterden. I hope we will be able to visit Pashley Manor and Charleston farmhouse. Perhaps Sissinghurst and Scotney castle too. Please cross your fingers for some sunshine. I would love that!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

  54. Happy birthday to Heloise, such a pretty girl you have there! Love the bells very much, that would be just my sort of necklace too. I have a tendency to tinkle a lot as I walk as I love hippy style clothes and the teeny bells on some of my skirts are sooo lovely!
    Love the idea of a Easter hunt when it isn't Easter, who says you can't :-)

    Congratulations on the rabbit commission, very well deserved. Yes, yes, yes you should open an etsy shop!! Those bunnies are so adorable and I'm sure they would be appreciated by lots of people. Love the latest one! Can't wait to see what else you would make too!

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Lori xx

  55. hi stephanie, i've tried emailing you but it keeps being returned as undeliverable. would you mind emailing me at farfromharmfarm@ymail.com so I can email you at the right address. thanks!!

  56. A belated Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter!
    All what you make is always so gorgeous, you are so clever.

    Lou xxx

  57. i am swooning with delight having encountered your delicious blog! my goodness, on reading your profile i discover that we share many common interests and then on reading your post i find myself utterly entranced and very happy indeed :) bunnies! i did not think anyone could adore them as much as me.. and custom bunnies!! i'm too excited for words! i don't think i have seen anything more beautiful than your creations here.

    your daughter is heartachingly pretty and judging by her expression a sweet soul with a sense of fun. it seems she had the loveliest birthday (she has a magical mother for sure) and i wish her many happy returns xxx

    of course i shall visit again, infact i imagine this place will become a second home ;)
    i am a francophile for sure, but alas do not speak french and have only visited paris on a few occasions in my youth. your daughters have such beautiful names.
    i cannot go without mentioning the bells, they a are utterly exquisite (as is there wearer) and i shall certainly pay a visit to emma at siverpebble.
    ballet! baroque music! i'm in heaven...

    dorothy xxx

  58. Have mentioned you in my blog today xx

  59. Stephanie,

    My heart thrills at your posts, and I really do mean that. They bring me a smile. Just before I read that you are considering an Etsy shop, I was thinking, I really want one of the rabbits! So, YES, I KNOW there will be takers, including me. Please do, if you possibly can, open an Etsy shop!

    The bells for your lovely girl are precious! What a special present.

    Your comment on my Eden rose post was so wonderful and interesting. I'm so happy to have a French connection growing in my garden. :)

    All the best,

  60. What a very lovely daughter you have and the bells are the perfect gift. I am glad to learn that you have these commissions and have a little time to execute them. I suspect you would find much demand in an Etsy shop. Go for it!

  61. Belated Birthday wishes to a very beautiful sweet sixteen. Tiny silver bells are the perfect present. I think you should open an Etsy shop. Thank you for your good wishes for mine. I think you are in with a very good chance of selling your exquisite creations to a Worldwide audience. x

  62. where have i been? i don't know how i missed this post~ i think your work is amazing and you would have a beautiful etsy shop!
    keep us posted :)

  63. I will never tire of looking at your exquisite rabbits with their tiny details and decorative stitches, each one a little masterpiece.

    I can see that your daughter has inherited your artistic talents. The photograph of her is beautiful, very chic and very French.

  64. STEPHANIE!!!

    I JUST BARELY SAW your comment from my old post by accident! THANK YOU FOR COMING! Dearest, please come to my new post and let me know, ARE YOU WANTING TO PARTICIPATE????? Let me know so I can put you on my list. LOVE!!!! Anita

  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

  66. Hello Stephanie, what a lovely post. Belated Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter. I left a comment on her blog, you are obviously a very creative family. I love the silver bells necklace, it is really special. Your bunny is gorgeous. Congratulations on receiving that commission, it is well deserved. I am so happy for you that things are working out and that those awful migraines have gone. Lots of love, Linda xx

  67. What a good blog you have here. Please update it more often. This topics is my interest. Thank you. . . unique gift ideas

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  69. It was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity! I will be back soon for updates.

  70. Happy birthday wishing you joy and happiness in life
    wishing you a magical birthday filled with wonderful

  71. Happy birthday wishing you joy and happiness in life
    wishing you a magical birthday filled with wonderful
    happy birthday wishes for a friend


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