Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ripe For The Picking

Dearest readers,
Do you find that sometimes putting words to pictures can be superfluous?
I could tell you that during one of those legendary l-o-n-g May public holidays here in France we turned our noses up at the unrelenting rain and went strawberry picking here.
I could also write that, contrary to the advice of Christene Ferber - France's lovingly nicknamed 'Fée des Confitures' ('Jam Fairy') - in this inspiring jam-making book, gathering strawberries on a late rainy afternoon did not noticeably taint their glorious taste, texture, or scent.
I would also be tempted to add that during our ensuing Jam Making Session Angélique 'helped' whereas eight-year old Tristan truly HELPED. (The zeal and care with which my son stirred those strawberries, sugar, and  lemon juice for almost half an hour contributed to our jam success, I am sure.)
I do believe, however, these pictures speak for themselves.
Of course with this strawberry jam came some happy inspiration.  You do know what's coming now, don't you? ;-)
Mademoiselle Fraises
showing a bit of leg...
and surprisingly not afraid of heights for a strawberry ground-hugging plant, I might add.
And her more timid and sweet-natured friend Mademoiselle Fruits Rouges...
whose ankles and ears are adorned with redcurrants, cherries, and strawberries, of course.
They have both been created for that delectable shop "La Maison d'Annie" mentioned in my previous post.  Both are ripe for the picking on this sunny day in May perched in our Elder Tree looking across at the nearby cherry tree urging its green cherries to ripen and enjoying the enthusiastic and repetitive song of our local cuckoo. Both will also be ripe for the picking if you are interested when I open my Etsy shop in the next few days. You have no idea how touched I was by your generous and enthusiastic comments on my last post.  Your presence here makes a world of difference.  I am so very, very grateful to you all.  Thank you.

 First, I am taking some time out from this rich and hectic period of theatre, dance, guitar rehearsals and music exams by taking a weekend trip to England. I am overjoyed at the thought of seeing my wonderful parents in Tunbridge Wells. I will be at Loop Knitting in London to meet - and I am very excited about this - Cécile Franconie who will be running an embroidered button workshop. I hugely admire her creative talent and am in awe of her eye for colour. Will anyone else be there? 
I will leave you with a parting glance from our two latest residents.
Actually forget the rabbits.   Gaspard is infinitely more charming!  And so, my friends, I will leave him with the last word for today.

'Take me for a walk through the vineyards.  Now.'

A bientôt,


ps If you have noticed any clumsy Frenchisms in my written English I would be grateful if you could let me know.  I need to cross the Channel more often to keep my English alive!


  1. The jam looks so yummy. The bunnies are adorable.
    And the doggie Gaspard, well he's just too sweet for words.
    Enjoy the week and that luscious jam!
    Susan x

  2. Oh what beautiful fruity rabbits! They are perfect commissions for the shop ..what an exciting adventure seeing your work in local store!

    And as for the Etsy shop..lots of luck...i've just opened one myself and it's taken ages getting sorted but I know it will be worth all the time consuming work in the end ..just as your shop will be too!

    So here's to your Etsy success!
    Look forward to seeing all your commissioned pieces.
    Happy Sewing
    Fleur xx

  3. how wonderful- all the strawberries...'sigh'...love your bunnys ;0)xx

  4. I'm left with Gaspard's meaningful stare in my mind.....the look says it all, no words needed!

    Your strawberries looked lovely, and jam, yum, what could be better!

    Hope you have a good weekend in England and that the sun shines for you.x

  5. THOSE BUNNIES! All those strawberries! THAT JAM.

    It all looks too wonderful! I want to go strawberry picking too!

    Can't wait to see your Etsy shop. I can promise you that I will do an entire post devoted just to your shop, my sweet Stephanie.

  6. All that yumminess contained in one blog is so hard to resist. I shall have to go and lie down in a dark room now until my rapid heartbeat returns to normal. Fabulous post. Enjoy your trip. Sounds like it will be most enjoyable.

  7. Can't wait to take a look at your Etsy shop. Mademoiselles Fraise et Fruits rouges sont absolument adorables. I hope my French hasn't too many Englishisms
    O strawberry-picking And -eating of course. I love strawberries and raspberries.

  8. I hope you have a lovely visit with your family!! The last photo is just adorable :)

  9. ooooh my...what a fabulous post! it has given me a warm glow inside x
    Those strawberries made my mouth water and what a wonderful son you have.
    your bunnies are so perfect, do you think you would be able to do a cross stitch tatoo on my ankle just like that...ouch though!
    have a wonderful trip over here...we have sunny weather for you ;o)
    love jooles x

  10. Oh those strawberries...and that jam...lovely...taste buds are tingling!! Loved the 2 mademoiselles! Fantastic! Joan

  11. Dearest Stephanie
    What a wonderful post, you are so right, those photos of the strawberries certainly do speak for themselves. Simply lush and gorgeous for jam making. As for your beautiful bunny rabbits, well what can I say Stephanie. They are so well made and thought out with their embroidery which is too pretty for words.
    I do hope you have a wonderful time with your folks, the weather is warm and balmy here at the moment, nice and summery. I am a tad envious of your Loop workshop, how divine. Enjoy!

    By the way, did you know that my Alice pulled your number out as the winner of my give away. See my blog for the announcement :0) I couldn't be more pleased that my funny magpie bits are coming your way. When you have a moment, please could you email me your postal address xox Have a wonderful time in the UK xox Penelope

  12. Dearest Stephanie
    What a wonderful post, you are so right, those photos of the strawberries certainly do speak for themselves. Simply lush and gorgeous for jam making. As for your beautiful bunny rabbits, well what can I say Stephanie. They are so well made and thought out with their embroidery which is too pretty for words.
    I do hope you have a wonderful time with your folks, the weather is warm and balmy here at the moment, nice and summery. I am a tad envious of your Loop workshop, how divine. Enjoy!

    By the way, did you know that my Alice pulled your number out as the winner of my give away. See my blog for the announcement :0) I couldn't be more pleased that my funny magpie bits are coming your way. When you have a moment, please could you email me your postal address xox Have a wonderful time in the UK xox Penelope

  13. Oh yes Stephanie I knew what was coming or should I say I really hoped it was coming!!!
    They are both two beautiful young ladies, as always you never disappoint with your lapins. :)
    When we were in your wonderful country we enjoyed the homegrown fraises very much!
    Congratulations to Tristan on his amazing jam making and sending you best wishes for your Etsy shop, I have no doubt it will be a great success!
    Vivienne x

  14. Dear Stephanie...It is lovely that you and your "helpers" enjoyed picking berries, as well as making up jam.
    And your bunnies...they are simply enchanting! It is delightful to observe rabbits wearing strawberries, rather than nibbling at them as it is in our garden patch.
    I shall most eagerly look forward to the grand opening of your Etsy shoppe...oh my, how very exciting!
    Hugs to all, with an extra "smooch" to the very handsome Gaspard!
    Judy ox

  15. STEPHANIE MA CHÈRE!!!! Oh you are so talented my dear heart! There is so much here to comment on....let me start with:

    1. The strawberries that I ate in copious amounts in LA DORDOGNE were of the BEST QUALITY! Our strawberries here in the states are PLUMPED AND PUMPED UP to be sold and eaten all year round, and the are vacuous. I ate so many strawberries and PEACHES in France that my palms turned orange!

    2. YOUR DARLING RABBITS are so happy and wonderful and they just make me smile!

    3. I AM THRILLED THAT YOU WILL OPEN AN ETSY SHOP! Having mine has literally changed my life. I will be selling my art and producing more things in the months to come for I have resigned from my teaching job!

    4 YOU ARE SUPER to want to participate in my Paris party!!!! I WILL PUT YOUR NAME on my list and just be ready with a post on JUNE 8!!!!

    Sending you much love, Anita

  16. What a joy to visit here, as always. Your bunnies are adorable, and oh those strawberries made my mouth water. We need to see a photo of all the jars of jam Stephanie, along with Tristan, clever lad :D

    I won't make it to Loop, but do say hello to Cecile for me, I'm a big fan and she graciously comments on my blog. Have a lovely time :D

  17. Oh their adorable bunny ankles ...
    Enjoy the jam!
    Barbara x

  18. I love the bunnies. I want one haha. I love the cute pup too. I have poodles but if I didn't I would love a King Charles.
    The strawberries make me hungry and I bought some today. I think I will have some with cream. Thank you

  19. gorgeous photos and i love gaspard. beautiful.

  20. Luscious berries and jam...
    Precious little bunnies - as always...
    Adorable Gaspard - and such a handsome little pup!

  21. Hello!

    I notice you have the proper jam making copper pot, the perfect and required piece for serious jam makers. The berries are so pretty, I love the long stems, I'll bet the finished product is very tasty. Darling rabbits, and hope your trip is a joyous one

  22. Love all the photos and the little hand in the strawberry basket is so lovely. I think the work you do is so beautiful. Have a great weekend.

  23. oh how lovely like straberrys a lot then the look very nice and very big the strawberry rabbits are very cute and lovely have a nice day leon10

  24. Oh I am SWOONING at the thought of such strawberries...and the perfect little foot embroideries on your rabbits just get more beautiful each time Stephanie!

  25. What sweet photos. I love the red clad arm reaching for the red berries. Our strawberries should be ready to start eating this weekend. I am too lazy to make jam, I freeze them when I have an overabundance, then take them out for dessert during the winter. I love the bunnies!

  26. Photos do speak to us! Yummy jam!!! I overdid myself with strawberry jam last year, so only made one batch this year==should tide us over. NOTHING better than homemade yumminess!!
    Darling rabbits, but oh, my---Gaspard.....you cutie!! We know who is now in charge in your household!!!

    Safe travels! and have a wonderful workshop! Can't wait to hear (and see) all about it.

  27. It's been a true delight to see this post, beginning with the beautifully witty embroidery in your header photo!

    Picking les fraises on a rainy day looks like great fun as presented by you, and the following jam making ... simply delicious.

    Then, to see those new bunnies was another treat. You really do have a way of giving these creations such individual personalities! Bravo.

    And then...I read that you will be attending that workship with facile cecile. Ah, please do tell her she's got a huge fan in NYC, and when you do find time, please do a post about the workshop.

    Best wishes. xo

  28. such a mouthwatering post, in every way.
    i think that has to be the prettiest basket of strawberries i have ever seen and i must say that french strawberries look rather delicious, this early too!
    how lovely to have a clever cook help with the jam-making, it definitely has the look of extra-special jam.
    gaspard has a look about him too. a most regal countenance even for a king charles, a very handsome boy indeed. my sister and i each had cavaliers when we were youger, they were very much loved dogs.
    both mademoiselles are utterly charming. i love everything from their sweet faces and beautiful clothes, including the delightful pantaloons, to the pretty embroidered details on their ears and feet. i do very much want a millefeuilles bunny ❤ as do my daughters and my nieces!
    our english strawberries are not quite in yet so this has all been a rather lovely, unexpected treat.
    thank you so much for sharing all these beautiful images, your posts are really quite mesmirising, i find myself coming back to look at them again, often bringing a willing family member or two to swoon over all the loveliness.
    wishing you much joy and sunshine xx

  29. Hello Stephanie,
    Oh how I am wishing that I could taste some of your lovely jam, strawberry is my favorite and your photos are simply delicious!!!
    I have wonderful childhood memories of going strawberry picking with my family and I always associate strawberries with happy (and tasty) times.
    Your rabbits are wonderful, I love the strawberry fabric and your embroidery is exquisite.
    I will be sure to stop by your Etsy shop when it's open, I know it will be wonderful!!
    I hope you have a lovely time in England,
    Vicky xxxx

  30. What a beautifully delicious post Stephanie! Your rabbits are so gorgeous with so many sweet little details on them, from their pretty little collars right down to their delicately embroidered feet - perfect! All the very best for the opening of your Etsy shop, it's sure to be a big success xxx

  31. Gorgeous gorgeous post. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more: the berries, the jam, the rabbits, oh but of course... sweet Gaspard wins this time! I am really looking forward to your Etsy shop Stephanie, so excited for you xox


  32. Those strawberries look amazingly delicious!!
    One of my daughter's favourite shows is called Gaspard and Lisa, I showed ehr the picture, and she was amazed the dogs name is also Gaspard!!!

  33. Hello Stephanie,
    Your latest creations are beautiful...As always, I love all the little details and I am sure they will not be sitting on the shop shelf for very long!
    Hope you have a wonderful trip to England...the weather is beautiful at the moment and enjoy your day at Loop knitting.I would love to be there too!
    Clever Tristan...Yet another one of his creative talents we see here. He is going to make a perfect husband one day....
    Such a wonderful photo of Gaspard too looking very intently down the lense. He really doesn't look as though he would stand for being told what to do!
    Hope you have a lovely, sunny weekend,
    Susan x
    P.S Good Luck with your ETSY shop. I will look out for you!

  34. Oooooo strawberries are my most favouritest! The jam looks gorgeous and I bet the house smelt fabulous while that was being made.

    Your two new bunnies are adorable! They are all so beautiful I'm sure they'll be a hit on etsy :-)

    Hope the weather has improved for you a bit now and the rain has stopped.

    love Lori xx

  35. Your strawberries and jam look so appetising, I can also smell them! I love where your inspiration led, the bunnies are lovely.
    I hope you have a good weekend with your parents. I used to go to school near Tunbridge Wells.
    Sarah x

  36. Heather and I always read your posts together these days :) She LOVED the look of the strawberries (we haven't got red ones yet) and almost swooned at the new bunnies. Good luck on etsy...I know you'll be a hit!

  37. Soooooo much yummy strawberry-ness!!! What a happy, summery post!!!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  38. Perfect, what a perfect may, strawberries, rabbits and doggies! - Annie

  39. Wonderful jamming... and your little girls, who are so expertly tree climbing , are wonderful!
    Have a great time with your parents. The weather will be delightful, I hope.
    Much love

  40. Oh stephanie the colours of the strawberries are gorgeous. And what a cute little face to end the post with... I'm not really a doggie person but I just want to come and have a big hug!!! Thanks so much for your lovely kind comments on my last post too. Things still up in air but trying to keep positive and not let myself wallow too much! Hope you enjoy your trip, and some of the lovely sunshine we currently have! Jenny xxx

  41. Dear Stephanie,

    I am probably too late for wishing you a lovely time with your parents. I didn't realise they lived in Tunbridge Wells. It's such a pretty town. I have stayed there twice in a B&B several years ago.

    I am really happy to hear you decided to start an Etsy shop. As soon as it's open I will have a look. Do you have a mademoiselle "spring flowers" in your shop as well :-)! I love the other two ladies you made too. The look very colourful and happy.

    Enjoy the workshop at Cecile Franconiers shop!

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  42. It was wonderful to meet you yesterday at Loop. It was magical how the group gelled together and the buttons we produced are beautiful. I am loving your rabbits, I see now that I NEED a strawberry bunny in my life.

  43. Oh, what a lovely spring day! Strawberries are long gone here. And your rabbits--- so cute! You do such amazing work! And LOOK at that little puppy face...he is so adorable! Our little one is still very gangly and awkward! He's funny though :)

  44. Can't wait for your Etsy shop to open! Those strawberries look divine. Enjoy your trip home xx

  45. Such wonderful pictures of strawberries in a basket.Love the strawberry rabbits.

  46. Hello Stephanie.
    Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while. I was a little late in replying to comments onmy last post :(.
    I love this post, some gorgeous pictures again. I am hoping to write a post about Mademoiselle Primavera this week, she is settling in her new home and enjoying the sunny weather here.
    I love Mademoiselle Fruits Rouges, timid and shy - now that sounds a little like me!!
    I planted my sweet peas out last week (a little late due to the bad weather here). But I thought of your as I was doing it :)
    Take care xx

  47. Dear Stephanie,

    The strawberries are wonderful and aren't they the best when they are red and ripe and know the jam would be delicious.

    Your new Mademoiselle Bunnies are adorable and wishing you much luck with the Etsy shop.

    Hope that you have a wonderful time visiting your parents and enjoy the workshop

  48. Gaspard is such a precious little pup and a walk through the vineyards would be lovely.


  49. Sweet Stephanie, Thank you for your lovely visit from France! I am waving to you from Louisiana! It is very nice to "meet" you dearest! Thank you so much for your kind comment. Your loving words have blessed me and made my day bright and beautiful! You are a lovely, sweet soul as well and I love the beauty you share and create! I adore your gorgeous rabbits! They are very charming, and you have sewn and stitched them beautifully! How wonderful you love pink too! We are kindred spirits! The strawberries look quite delicious and the jam sounds yummy. What a good helper you have to stir the strawberry mixture for half an hour. I do love your strawberry bunnies and the fabrics you used are very pretty. Their faces are so sweet and I love your cross-stitching too! I love to cross-stitch as well. Your Etsy shop will do very well sweetie! I love the name! I hope you have a wonderful time in England visiting your parents and taking the class. I look forward to hearing about it. Gaspard is absolutely adorable and sweet! Please give him a kiss from me. Have a beautiful week! Love, Paula xo

  50. Thank you, Stephanie, for your kind and encouraging words. I truly appreciate your stopping by my blog today.

    I was so blessed by this fresh perspective on jam making. My favorite part of making strawberry jam is seeing the pink froth that bubbles to the top of the pan. Your rabbit designs are enchanting. The strawberry stitching at the ankle was the perfect finishing touch.

    Happy day to you, dear friend!

  51. Oh yum! Everything looks so good! And of course, I love the little rabbits. :)
    Have a lovely week, Stephanie!

  52. aaahh your new bunnies are so adorable, just look at their cute strawberries ! I have been creating a retro elephant recently with vintage fabric, I will blog about it soon x

  53. Dear Stephanie, Well, that last picture of Gaspard just melted my heart....trying to appear commanding and all important-so!!
    How do you resist? Appears you have been very energetic, and perhaps experiencing a bit of Spring fever,Stephanie. The confiture looks perfect and of course the little hares, all having a personality of there own...I always love the little stitched touches you add to their paws, perfect! I am just holding my head above water these days...packing boxes, editing and making runs to our Christian benefit shop.....and sneaking time in the garden. Creative projects will have to wait....enjoy all the season is offering, much love, N.xo

  54. Hi Stephanie - I have written about your hares today on my blog and I am waiting for your Etsy shop to open so I can buy one - soon please xxx

  55. You have made me hungry for strawberries and those beautiful strawberry enhanced hares are wonderful.

  56. Those strawberries are so red! I can imagine how delicious they tasted. And your rabbits are amazing. The dog is cute too :)

  57. Love all of the photos , but the strawberries in the basket is just wonderful!

  58. my goodness stephanie your english is perfect and charming! and this post has me smiling from ear to ear. yes, i agree, words are not needed, the strawberries speak for themselves! and your adorable bunnies, him and her. and of course gaspard, the look on his face says it all. thank you for sharing (congratulations on your new etsy shop!).

    and how i wish i were meeting you at loop! it's on my list. :)
    xxx lori

  59. Stephanie your bunnies are to die for, I bet they've been snapped up already. Wishing you lots and lots of luck with your Etsy shop, is it open already I wonder, I shall pop over and take a peep. Do hope you are having a wonderful time in Londres, wish I'd know sooner, it would have been lovely to have popped up to Islington for a cuppa.
    Kate x

  60. Those strawberries look amazing- what great colors. Beautiful bunnies.

  61. Dear Stephanie, such delights for the picking and a delightful post too. J'adore mademoiselle Fraises! And Gaspard too of course - the expression on his face is a picture!

    I'm probably too late to wish you a very, very happy weekend before you go, but have a wonderful time in Kent with your parents, and in London too at the Workshop.

    Enjoy those luscious strawberries too!


    PS Congratulations on your forthcoming Etsy site and doubtless those two deletable mademoiselles will fly off the shelves at Annie's:-)

  62. There is nothing nicer than homemade strawberry jam.

  63. I will look out for you in Tunbridge Wells, we are due to visit my niece there soon!

    Good luck with the Etsy shop, I shall look out for it. Maybe your gorgeous rabbits will soon be sporting embroidered buttons?

  64. Hello Stephanie
    I have just come over from Lorrane's blog 4 Little bunnies and she speaks marvels of you.....not surprising really Miss Strawberry is gorgeous...so original. Your photos remind me of when my mother used to make loads of jam I can almost smell that jam boiling!!! LOL
    Good Luck with your Etsy shop.
    I am your newest follower

    Amanda :-)

  65. Hello Stephanie, your rabbits are absolutely gorgeous, I love the way you embroider their ankles. The strawberries looked so perfect, and I am sure the jam is delicious. Good luck with your Etsy shop, it's very exciting! Love Linda x

  66. oh mademoiselle fraise would make such a great friend to my mademoiselles... i absolutely adore, adore her!

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