Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Two Elegant Ladies

1. and 2. Hydrangeas (it is impossible to capture their true colours).

3. Our eleventh-century parish church.

4. Zephyr in La Guirlande de Julie by Nicolas Robert.

Dearest readers,

How can I thank you for your kindness and generosity regarding my newly-fledged shop and hares (sorry, Amanda, I know you would prefer to call them rabbits or 'liebres')?  I have been so touched by your enthusiasm and encouragement that I have spent a good part of this past summer week stitching, stitching, stitching - I have a few special orders to honour too - but try as I might I cannot sew quickly enough to put all my ideas into shape.  I am so very happy though as these little friends are providing the perfect balance between inspiration and meditation.  They cannot be hurried and my children are learning the art of taking one's time to create something. 

In the meantime summer continues to spread its glory and we continue to savour every moment she flings at us.  Tomorrow will find us sitting by our friends' swimming pool and eating delicious local produce from our favourite village shop.  In a few days we will pack our bags and head west to southern Brittany; my husband's part of the world. 

Before we leave I would like to share with you my recently stitched hares (which are available for purchase). Of course I am a little nervous still but I will endeavour to stride forth with a confident smile so you won't suspect a thing ;-)  I will use the beautifully penned words of Katherine Swift's The Morville Year to set the scene, starting with the paragraph at the bottom of the page below: "There are two very elegant ladies in my garden".
I am quite enchanted by the image conveyed of a rose and clematis intertwined and growing in the plum tree.  The colours (and scents) are rich and so evocative: blue-purple, cream, and apricot.  Thanks to Swift's inspiration this is what a came up with in rabbit-form:
Mademoiselle Versailles
Mademoiselle Versailles is a sweet soul who enjoys afternoon tea served in the garden with a silver fork and flowery plates.   She is made from the finest ivory linen. Her right ear and ankle are embroidered with fanciful French patisseries - named religeuses - in blues and pinks. On her left ankle is an ornate cake stand. Her dress is made of fine French vintage cotton (circa. 1930s) with delicate pink flowers on an ivory background. Her pantaloons are cut out of a vintage French sheet and trimmed with early twentieth-century ivory lace and cream contemporary lace on her collar. Her ears are lined with soft blue dotted cotton. 

And here is her companion:

Mademoiselle Bluebird

I named her Mademoiselle Bluebird because of the joyful bird in flight on her ear. She was stitched in the height of summer surrounded by the vibrant shades of our violet star Clematis, the hardy lavender bushes crowned with bumble bees, and the glorious mauves and blues of our neighbour's hydrangea - see the petals at Mademoiselle's feet? - which I tried to capture in her clothes together with the softest of pale pink Ronsard roses. She is the second hare to have been inspired by Madelief's beautiful garden.  Her dress is made of fine French lavender cotton and is trimmed with ivory early twentieth-century French lace, cream broderie anglaise and a fushia pink satin ribbon. Her pantaloons are cut out of Liberty cotton with delicate flowers.

And breathe... And go and cook dinner.

I will return in a few days, hopefully, between trips to Brittany for a short visit for I have other matters to share with you.  I would also like to add how much fun I am having visiting you now that I have a little more time.  Such inspiration to be found out there.

A bientôt,

All gone to wonderful homes.  Farewell dear Mademoiselles! 


  1. Oh my goodness...these new ladies are divine....you are so amazing x
    Have a wonderful trip and day by the pool!
    love jooles x

  2. Congratulations on your shop success!~ That's wonderful! And these two new hares are so sweet and lovely! Hope you're having a beautiful summer in France!~

  3. So so beautiful, loving their pretty, delicate colours!
    Victoria xx

  4. Hello Stephanie:
    What a beautiful post and your rabbits are truly superb and clearly made with much care and attention to detail.

    And how splendid to be reminded of Katherine Swift. We have such happy memories of entertaining her years ago in our Herefordshire garden, whilst Madelief, who visited us here in Budapest earlier this year, is such a dear friend.

  5. What beautiful work! Your rabbits are so pretty. I love the stitching detail and their lovely outfits.

  6. Oh Stephanie, sigh, I want them all!!!
    Two more beautiful Mademoiselles, you clever lady. :)
    Wishing you a wonderful time in Brittany, where no doubt you will find more hare inspiration!
    Vivienne x

  7. Lovely hares and I hope you have a lovely holiday :-)

  8. Beautiful!! I hope you have a wonderful restful time :)

  9. Oh, they are so pretty! I particularly love the cross stitch "religeuses" worn by Mlle Versailles. And I think you captured the colours of the hydrangeas perfectly. Gillian x

  10. Odes to a hare
    The latter my first thought as I read this post about your new gorgeous creations and yes I said HARE....and I'll have to adapt to this because one has to be realistic they are after all hares...but to please my own tweaks of imagination I have determined that your Mlle Hares comes from fine stock,from the exquisite and the dainty;the pure bloods of the society of Hares. Yes dear Stephanie I feel I can accept that and feel more comfortable with the title Mlle Hares every time I look at them now! :-)
    I imagined you were pretty busy, burning the midnight oil trying to replenish stock in your new Etsy shop but if you can find a few teeny weeny minutes to pop into my first giveaway please do I'd hate to think you'd miss it.
    So your husband is Breton. I have always wanted to visit Brittany and will one day.....its mystical and it pulls me...must be my celtic blood or an old friend who told me so much about it or the Breton restaurant I go to occasionally where I enjoy the most scrumptious food! LOL Anyhow enough warbling I do hope you all have a wonderful holiday and post lots of photos. Keep well

    Amanda :-)

  11. Excuse me! did you mention RABBIT...oh no dear Stephanie not rabbit never rabbit...I mean rabbit is a bunnie...a sweety pie...Bambi's Thumper ...fluffy,huggable and .... NEVER a Mlle Hare...tch!!!

    A xx

  12. What elegant and charming new ladies Stephanie, I adore Mademoiselle Bluebird, she is just too enchanting! Wishing you immense and well deserved success with your etsy shop, such good quality and craftmanship put into your ladies, I do hope they go to special homes.
    As for a day by the pool side and a trip to Brittany, well that sounds like some kind of wonderful, enjoy your special timetogether as a family xox Penelope

  13. Stephanie, there really is something quite unique about each of these sweet hares that you have created. Each Mlle has a particular personality, each has been created from beautiful materials, some of which are vintage. The care and creativity that has gone into the choice of materials and decorative stitching takes us back to another age, when time seemed to have another quality altogether.

    And yet, these Mlles from a French garden are also so contemporary.

    I think that you have found a beautiful canvas upon which to paint with needle and thread, and the results will be treasured for many, many years to come.

    I hope that you will have a marvelous time in Brittany, a place that I once visited many years ago.


  14. Oh My!!!! Those ladies are simply gorgeous, you are so talented,
    Congrats on your new adventure.

  15. Summer twins, not identical perhaps but equally delightful. Do you imagine all of the young and young at heart whose days are brightened by the arrival of a Millefeuilles creation? Because you should. You will have very many happy customers dear Stephanie :D

  16. Your hares are so, so wonderful. I can just see one of them perched on my bed. I sincerely want one. We will talk later when I get all my ducks in a row. : D


  17. The hares/ladies in your garden are very elegant indeed!!! You always do such lovely work! Hope you have a really wonderful time in Brittany with your family.

  18. Dear Stephanie,

    The latest Mademoiselle Hares are very sweet and love how you have incorporated the cross stitch on the ankles and ears. Also how very beautiful the hydrangea is.
    So glad that you are enjoying the summer and spending time at your friends pool.
    Have a wonderful holiday away in Brittany.


  19. what beautiful work you do, the bunnies are just adorable, and all the details make them even more special. enjoy your time away! xxxx

  20. I love the Katherine Swift book, in fact it is one of my aims to see her garden at Morville.

  21. Bonjour Stephanie...Oh my, how I would enjoy afternoon tea in the garden with such exquisite ladies! Your work is beautiful and it was so lovely to see how quickly your creations vanished from your ETSY shelves to new homes where they will be treasured for many years to come...as I expected of course!
    (You need to raise your prices though Stephanie...so much work and attention to detail lovely friend. I think you should look at the cost of Waldorf dolls on ETSY which require a similar amount of work)
    Wishing you a happy mid-week,
    Susan x

  22. I am not surprised your hares are selling so well. They are works of art! Enjoy your time in Brittany!x

  23. No doubt all your new hares have flown to their new homes as I write! They are so beautiful, right down to the last perfected stitch! I painted a summer hare yesterday and she's on my blog today too. :)There's something about their gracefulness?
    Have a wonderful time away Stephanie!
    Jess x x

  24. hOW ON EARTH DID I MISS THIS POST??? I keep my eye on all of your posts but this one slipped me!

    Ma chère Stephanie, YES, this summer is passing all too fast, but each day of CREATIVITY and LOVE has been such a huge gift for US ALL, NON? Let me tell you, your lovely creations here make my heart soar. You may not have seen my last comment, but I asked if you make these treasures in a smaller sizes????? I would LOVE ONE in a smaller size. I fear I do not have enough room for a large Mademoiselle!

    I too have been creating like mad. A dear woman bought ALL OF MY PAPER CREATIONS....which fetched a good price. I am working day and night every day to replenish my Etsy shop so I can show for something AND have a physical inventory to take to local shops. I need to connect with the local artist guild which HAPPENS TO BE IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD! Only blocks away are galleries that I never ever paid attention to, but NOW, it will be imperative that I join.

    I agree that the camera does NOT capture the beauty of a hydrangea. My garden and HOME are fabulous, but on top of my poor photography skills, there are just some things that cannot be duplicated, such as nature.

    THANK YOU MY SWEET FRIEND for coming to leave me a comment. I adore your work, your lifestyle, your kind heart.

    Be well, and let me know if you do make Mademoiselle in a smaller size, say, 8 inches tall???????

    BISES, Anita

  25. I LOVE this post Stephanie!!
    your hares are divine and your photos are so wonderful!
    I'm so happy that your Etsy shop is a huge success, I knew it would be your work is truly gorgeous!!
    vicky xxxx

  26. Darling Stephanie, I just shared the link to your shop on my Facebook page. You are So Very Talented! Really, these are heirloom material, such breathtakingly lovely works of art....

  27. Hi Stephanie, I thought I owed you a return visit and I'm so glad I did. What a beautiful blog... and I love your hares!

  28. I love this blog too ;-)

    I grow Lady Hillingdon in my garden - she is the most gorgeous shade of apricot. I planted her either side of a rose arch, and she is partnered with Prince Charles in my garden. Did you know she was accredited with the phrase 'Lie back and think of England'?

    I also have a sport of Lady Hillingdon, called Lady Sylvia, she has the same form, but softer pinky yellow petals. Equally beautiful, and equally fragrant.

    If Petunia's can cure cancer, then I better grow more.

  29. Dear Stephanie, it I s always so much fun visiting your blog, not to mention the inspiration! I am very happy to hear that your Etsy shop is such a great success, never doubting it would not be! It sounds like your little soul is soaring now, I can hear it in your words! The happiness you are feeling is evident in your lovely work......enjoy this productive period!
    Have a wonderful time in Brittany! N.xo

  30. hello Stephanie, gorgeous ladies indeed!! you will soon be needing elves or mice to keep up with demand. have a wonderful time in brittany...i should have read this before i emailed you!

  31. summer is just flying by...but you most definitely have been making the most of it! Your newest friends are adorable!!! Love their vintage-y garb! Hope you have happy travels!

  32. My dear and beautiful Stephanie!

    I am THRILLED that you emailed me, but I did not get it!!! HERE IS MY CURRENT EMAIL ADDRESS:


    I did not get your message. Try again at the above when you can and are done with your weekend !!!! MILLE BISOUS! Anita

  33. The hares are enchanting with their attention to detail and pretty elegance. Perhaps you are even pricing them too inexpensively for items made by hand with such aptitude and care?

  34. Stephanie,
    Visiting your blog is always a special delight for me. Your work is rendered with such love and devotion to detail, each of your hares emitting her own personality and charm. The window into your world provides delight, joy, peace. Thank you. Enjoy summer's charms while on your getaway. These are days of refreshment and soft grace. Fondly, Sharon

  35. This is a very special post your hares are exquisite Stephanie so I'm not surprised you can't keep up with the demand! Your beautiful embroidery is what sets them apart from your competition - they make a very special gift. I love the fabrics you've chosen to use as well.

    What a charming piece of writing and I'm going to order it from my local library. So many of the old heritage roses have beautiful names like Souvenir de la Malmaison, a bourbon rose from 1843. It's lovely to have some romance in the garden!!

    I am very touched with the messages from my blog friends.
    You've all helped to lift my spirits.
    Nothing can fill the huge empty space in my heart, but with friends like you who understand it's making it easier for me - thank you dear Stephanie I really appreciate your kind words.


  36. oh how sweet! Love the embroidery. It makes them extra special.
    Wishing you a great weekend,

  37. I am so in love with your hares (rabbits here) the embroidery is exquisite. I have been thinking today that I would like to make something that embraces embroidery and beading, lace and sheer material on a background of wool wadding. It is still just a thought and something to be built upon.
    xx Sandi

  38. You bunnies are elegant. The attention to detail that you give each one is marvelous. You have winning hares there!

  39. Lovlely ladies , I like it. I have clematis (purple jackmanii) growing thru my Rambling' Red rose, and it stops traffic. No plum tree, sadly. Those hares are just perfect!

  40. Dear Stephanie, I fear you will never be able to keep enough of your lovely Mademoiselle's in stock--they are simply too delicious to resist!

    Beautiful beautiful post :)

  41. Oh Stephanie ... your hares are gorgeous ... you must put such a lot of love and care into each one ... I am very impressed .... Bee x

  42. You said it first, the colours of hydrangeas are impossible to catch.They look blue but then again red, sometimes silver, like butterflies wings.

    At the risk of repeating myself, your lovely hares are gorgeous. I love the way each one is different, each with its own exquisite details.

  43. beautifull very sweet hares love the blue bird one have a lovely stay in bretange its very lovely over there greetings leon10

  44. Such gorgeous hares, beautifully made, I hope you have a lovely break away
    best wishes


  45. Stephanie
    Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog and leaving such kind comments. I couldn't resist a sneaky peak into your little world (hope you don't mind) and oh my I am so glad I did.
    Firstly, get the spare room ready, I am coming to stay!! ;-)
    Secondly, life in your part of the world looks and sounds idyllic.
    You write and sew beautifully.
    Oh my!!! I have to get my hands on Mademoiselle Versailles....I just know we could be the best of friends as she is adorable!
    I am off to check out your Etsy shop right now.
    Keep sewing and good luck with your Phd. Would love to hear more about that. I am a bit of a sucker for a baroque garden! Did you see Monty Don's garden's of italy programme last year. The Baroque gardens were to die for!
    Much love

  46. P.S
    I have just realised that I live just 15 minutes or so drive from Katherine Swifts garden at the Dower House, Morville Hall. What a co-incidence. I will be sure to read her book as its so beautifully written and visit the garden soon.
    Thank you for introducing us to it.
    Best wishes

  47. Goodness what beautuful Hares they are. Such attention to every little detail they really are just gorgeous!

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog too. I hope your dreams are coming true. We still have a way to go and they are still so young might not take. But all in good time, I have to keep telling myself.

    P x

  48. Adorables demoiselles prises en photo au milieu des fleurs ! Quel charme avec tous ces petits détails joliment brodés !

  49. I love all the little details and the fabrics you use. I can tell you put a lot of thought into your creations. And each one is so different! Love your work.
    xx Lynne

  50. Have awarded you the 'one lovely blog award' - please only accept if you want to xx

  51. Adorable new ladies :-) You have a special talent for these Hares, so beautifully detailed and pretty.

    Hope you had a lovely time in Brittany, I went there once when I was small, my only trip to France :-)

    Lori xxx

  52. Oh goodness - how did I miss this charming post - thank goodness I found it - the two new lady Hares are fabulous and so beautifully stitched and detailed. The garden is as lovely as the new Lady Hares.

    I love visiting your blog and wish you many blessings and success with your new ETSY shop, and your writing.

  53. Dear Stephanie,

    I hope I am on time to make make mademoiselle bluebird mine :-). She is so very lovely and would look perfect in my garden (in between the flowers). She even matches the background of my blog :-)! I will pop over to your Etsy shop straight away.

    Have a lovely time in Brittany!

    Madelief xox

  54. Dear Stephanie,

    Just visited your shop to see she was already sold. I understand why :-)! Is it possible to make a reservation? I read you were making a new mademoiselle bluebird.


    Madelief x

  55. Mademoiselle Tea is my favorite-- if it's possible to have a favorite! They're all so wonderful. When you get some more stitched up, I want to buy one for my youngest daughter for a Christmas present. I know she will love it!


  56. Oh my, how creative you are! Your rabbits are beautiful. Hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

  57. Hi Stephanie,

    Welcome back!!! I am happy to hear you and your family had a wonderful holiday. We have been on holiday to Brittany in the past as well (several times) and loved it. The coastline is so very pretty with old towns and villages, impressive rocks and sandy beaches. The people are very friendly as well.

    I am looking forward to see Mademoiselle Bluebird! Please take your time. There is no need to hurry at all. Will you mail me about the payment details?

    Wish you a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

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