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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Celestine In The Palais Royal Gardens

 Dear readers,

It's funny how it goes. Spring has hit with a visual thunderclap, the sun has played central stage for a few heady days and perky male birds are intent on luring a harem of quietly coloured females with their exquisite serenades. Despite this delightful spectacle assailing my senses I have been feeling quite melancholic. Nature always has the final word, you will agree, and so I have tried to accept this temporary state of mind as gracefully as possible. 

Wandering the countryside has raised my spirits, of course.  The fruit trees are proudly displaying their finest garnments and as my eyes travel upwards in wonder I tell myself that never before have I seen such an opulent display of blossom.  I also thank my lucky stars that, unlike my eldest daughter Héloïse, I am not allergic to pollen: it's going to be a potent time for hayfever sufferers this spring.
My sadness is no more than a good dose of nostalgia, I beIieve, following a full day in Paris after dropping Héloïse and Tristan off at the Gare du Nord.  An afternoon spent soaking in the beauty of the Palais Royal arcades and gardens on a glorious spring day whilst recalling years of happy memories in this city left me feeling foolishly wistful.
 Have you ever been to the Palais Royal?  The peaceful gardens, nestled amongst seventeenth-century architecture and a stone's throw away from the Louvre Museum, are quite enchanting Prior to the French Revolution, Louis-Philippe Joseph II Duc d’Orleans, King Louis XVI's cousin, had turned the Palais Royal into the place to be in Paris. The gardens were crowded both day and night. Café tables and chairs spilled out into the gardens at all hours. Circus acts and street performers entertained the crowds. Parisians as well as visitors from the provinces and abroad came to the Palais Royal to shop, gamble, drink, mingle, and discuss the ideas of Enlightenment philosophy without threat of censorship or imprisonment.
 
Perched on a straight-backed iron bench that afternoon last week I observed the present day gardens. The linden trees with timid leaves unfurling - as seen in the first picture above - hopping sparrows, and lusty magnolias sporting the most stunning pink blooms I have ever seen.  Within the cloistered lawns crowds of delicate narcissi jostled for attention alongside bonbon pink tulips and blue hyacinths.  There was birdsong everywhere and around the exuberant central fountain people sat, their faces uplifted to catch the sun with bare feet and blissful smiles.  Gaggles of children whispered and giggled behind clipped round boxtrees enclosed in celadon painted wooden containers whilst their parents gossiped and chastised.   There were sweet girls with cropped haircuts and petal pink dresses and knits scuffing their shoes in the dust.  These little girls were the inspiration behind Celestine Mouse, my latest creation.
She reminds me of the old-fashioned toy shops hidden in the arcades surrounding the gardens.  Her dress is so very French as are her pantaloons stitched from 1900 hand-embroidered tulle and trimmed with handmade lace.  I made her in rememberance of bygone times still present in such places as these gardens which are suffused with social history.  Content though Celestine might be playing in central Paris she is even happier lying in the grass in our garden and looking up through the branches of our cherry trees.
And because sewing makes me happy and soothes my nostalgic heart I decided to make this little mouse another dress from Liberty fabric trimmed with 1940's lace.
 If you would care to take a closer look at Celestine - and her two dresses - she may be found here, patiently twiddling her thumbs and dreaming of bygone days in Paris.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my (self-indulgent) words, wonderful readers.  I am a little curious to know whether you too suffer from bouts of nostalgia?

A bientôt,

Stephanie


56 comments:

  1. I suffer from bouts of....everything, dearest Stephanie! Anxiety, insomnia, worrying about things that have happened, things that might happen, and things that might never happen! I try to focus on the moment when that happens and not let my thoughts run away with me.

    I think your mouse lady is one of your most delightful creations yet. I adore her dress! And your spring blossoms just take my breath away.

    Spring has been here one day, gone the next, over where I am. I am now officially ready for summer. :)

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    1. Thank you Melissa for bringing a smile to my face AGAIN! You are truly wonderful.

      Stephanie

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  2. There is something deliciously self indulgent in immersing oneself in nostalgia. I occasionally treat myself to a visit to a place that has meant a lot to me in the past. Some have changed so much that I feel no connection with past events and I have to confess I feel somewhat relieved when this happens. I have a yearning to reaquaint myself with Queen Mary's Rose Garden a frequent retreat in my university days.

    Celestine is as adorable as all your other creations. I can just see her bowling her hoop along the pathways in the gardens.

    Take care, Sue X

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  3. Yes, I feel your melancholy, although perhaps for a slightly different reason. Our spring has been barely distinguishable from winter, and when normally it would be getting warm and barbecues on the patio would be the order of the day, the weather has been cold, damp and gray. Even still, leaves are emerging, a few early spring flowers blooming and I know it must not be far away.

    I enjoyed reading your description of the Palais Royal and seeing the sweet mouse that came through its inspiration. I would love to be traveling right now to warmer or more interesting places (there's that melancholy popping up again), but projects at present keep me close to home. Thank you for the refreshing outlet that your blog provides once again.
    -Keri

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  4. Hello Stephanie
    The beautiful cherry blossom is just stunning.. the spring seems to be hiding here in the Moorlands, the trees are only just coming into leaf....
    your new little 'Celestine' is adorable and the Paris Royal sounds just wonderful
    Kind Regards
    Thea x

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  5. Oh yes Stephanie I do suffer from bouts of nostalgia, I think everyone does from time to time!
    However look where yours has led you ~ to create the beautiful Celestine and what a very fortunate girl she is to have two gorgeous dresses! :)
    Wishing you a wonderful blossom filled weekend,
    V xxx

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  6. I enjoyed every word, so beautifully written...I was drinking it in, and the photography was magnificent. Thank you

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  7. Bouts of Nostalgia? Absolutely! Daily in fact!
    Celestine is so lovely, thanks for sharing!

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  8. beautifully written!!
    xxxx Ale

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  9. What a beautiful day you've had. Celestine is fantastic. Her garments are beautiful.

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  10. Those gardens sound divine, yes I do get nostalgic but love Mother Teresa' words.....Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin. It's great to reflect on our experiences, especially those wonderful ones but if you look there's beauty around you right now, sometimes you just have to look a little harder. You create beauty all the time, Celestine is a little beauty all of her own! :) x

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  11. A lovely post which invoked nostalgic thoughts of the many hours I have spent in beautiful Paris, so thank you for that. I too love the Palais Royal & wandering through the Tuilleries - in fact, I just LOVE Paris!
    Celestine is so sweet and her new Liberty dress is simply gorgeous :-)
    Bonne Dimanche,
    Xx

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  12. Celestine is beautiful!...I can easily imagine her tiptoeing around those exquisite gardens which you describe so perfectly dressed in all her finery (I love her little Liberty dress too and the vintage lace trim is so perfectly pretty)
    Yes, I think we all suffer from those bouts of nostalgia but I try to enjoy each day (even if it's a difficult one!)and make the most of the moment...There will be times in years to come when you'll be looking back on today in the same nostalgic way as those days now long past...time is such a funny thing lovely Stephanie!
    Happy Sunday,
    Susan x

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  13. a lovely post like celestine and her two pretty dresses
    think that everyone have sometimes periodes that the are a little nostalgic and dream of the past and the old days and sometimes its so lovely to do and to see back on lovely things that are past have a lovely sunday
    leon10

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  14. Bonjour ma belle!

    LOVELY WEATHER and a run to the theatre yesterday kept me outside and finally enjoying a day without having to wear a HEAVY jacket! We still do not have any blooms, but promise is the song in the air these days.

    Lovely little souris ici; elle est douce et charmante, comme d'habitude, chez toi!

    LOVINGLY presented and made, your creations are a must have, yet when I go to your shop, they are SOLD OUT! I will be listening to some special harp music today......from a very special friend IN FRANCE...as I work in my garden to prepare my boxwood shrubs for a kiss of sunshine.

    Mille bises et calins ma chère amie outre-mer....Anita

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  15. nostalgia----memories----daydreams-----all mixed together!!! yes, I'm a dreamer....just like your little Celestine!!! She's adorable!

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  16. Good morning Stephanie from yet another person who experiences nostalgia. I've also found that some of these drifts into longing for a certain time and place have resulted in some present day creativity. It does amaze me when that happens and I've developed an affection for such time traveling.

    Your newest creation is exquisite!

    I have not visited the Palais Royal...yet. Perhaps your lovely reminiscence has planted a seed that will lead to my eventually finding my way again to Paris. xo

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  17. Beautiful post and I adore your new creation she is lovely. I'm having a bit of a nostalgia moment - my youngest of three daughters is 30 today and I have been reflecting back on wonderful happy times when the children were small and just can't believe how the years fly by so quickly.
    Sue x

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  18. Stephanie thank you for sharing your beautiful spring flowers and blossoms...we still have quite a bit of snow here in Alaska and are ready for any spot of green to show itself after a long winter! That sweet dress in the branch is super sweet!
    Take care, Heidi

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  19. Dear Stephanie,

    Happy to hear the blossoms, birdsong and just being outside lifted your spirits. It always works for me too. Nature is so very very pretty at the moment. The young leaves, the sunlight shines on them, the transparency.... Your beautiful new creation captured it all!

    Thank you for you sweet comment too! It is much appreciated :-)

    A Happy week to you Stephanie!

    Madelief x

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  20. All your yesterdays have contributed to who you are today, they are part of you. I think it is fine to look back and remember times gone by - enjoy and then come back to the present!

    What an evocative piece of writing Stephanie, and I love your beautiful mice! Ali.

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    1. Dearest Ali,

      It is always a heartfelt pleasure to read your thoughtful words: thank you for this comment.

      I trust you are well and happy?

      Stephanie

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  21. What a gorgeous spring you're having! Those tree blossoms are amazing! I'm sorry your trip left you feeling wistful, that happens. But life has gone on in a very merry way for you! You live in the beautiful countryside with your beautiful family--- and just look at these amazing creations you make! Always astounding!~

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  22. Dear Stephanie,

    How beautiful have been the last two of your posts. I just adore violets!

    Here in Australia, we are having the last of our warm days, and winter is fast approaching....whilst you look forward to spring and summer. My thoughts of a cold winter are tempered by the fact that soon I will be holidaying in the warmth of the northern hemisphere, and PARIS!

    You may remember in a previous comment that I said I would be in Paris soon and would love to visit some of the places that you have mentioned in your blog. At the moment we are finalising the planning of our days in Paris. I was interested to see that you mentioned the Gare du Nord, which is where we arrive from Amsterdam. (8th July) I am busy also trying to learn as much French as I can - still far less than I would like.

    I would like to get in touch with you before we go so that I can post some of my handiwork to you if that is possible, but am not sure how to do that.

    Once again thank you for the last two enjoyable posts.

    Robyn

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Hello Robyn!

      Reading your comment this morning has put a smile on my face! Of course you must get in contact with me; I would love to see your creations. My e-mail address, as you probably know, appears on my profile page - click on 'view my complete profile' just under 'About me' underneath my header. If, for some reason, it doesn't work out, please just leave me a comment here again.

      La Gare du Nord is the main Eurostar station for trains heading to England and Belgium as well as all northern destinations for intercity trains. Maybe you'll get to visit Le Palais Royal during your stay in Paris? :-)

      Warmest wishes,

      Stephanie

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  23. Reading the comments to your posts are always an added pleasure because someone always adds more words of wisdom. Having just spent a week filled with nostalgic memories your post is most apt. I am not surprised Celestine is sold because she is simply beautiful. I leave your blog with a huge sigh and a sense of my spirit being lifted. Thank you.

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  24. I don't often suffer from nostalgia as I am usually too busy looking forward. That is not always a good thing as it is simply another way of not being in the moment! You are so right that the natural world brings you back again, whether from the past or the future.

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  25. I'm sorry to hear that you're not feeling your perky self at the moment, sending a big hug to you xoxo
    Celestine is B E A U T I F U L and i love love love her little dresses too.
    take care
    love jooles xxx

    P.S off to read your violet post ..... gosh i am so behind with everything.

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  26. your posts and stories are always so interesting and full of fun information!

    such a cute mouse~ i love those details :)

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  27. I am often nostalgic, I try to embrace it but sometimes it's hard. I do hope you are over the melancholy now. The blossom photos are beautiful, and so is Celestine and her dresses...oh, her dresses. Gorgeous. x

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  28. Sometimes , dear Stephanie, when it is so lovely out its almost heartbreaking, it reaches us so deeply as to wake other things. Smells can do this and in Spring they seem to be everywhere. All is awakened again and sometimes its such a feeling of longing to look back, but delicious too. How lucky we are to feel life and all its gifts , even if sometimes that will make us wistful for awhile.
    xx
    julie

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  29. Nostalgic feelings and memories belong to us all - do you remember how the summers with fields of corn and poppies seemed to last forever as a child? I learnt recently that the reason the school summer holidays were long in childhood was because our memory of life as a child is short. We do not start remembering until we are four or five, so by the time we are seven or eight the summer in comparison seems long. Sadly the opposite is true as we get older and have years of experience - that is why the spring and summer fly away in the blink of an eye.
    Celestine is such a pretty pink mouse, and you are such a wonderful seamstress.

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  30. And thank YOU Stephanie for your nostalgic words! :)
    Yes I do have bouts of nostalgia, particularly ones of Paris after reading this! I hope to go back again one day but there's nothing like the first time is there?
    I love the pink pureness of Celestine's face and her perfect little pink nose. The lace looks lovely on the dresses. I have a stash of lace, it's very very old and maybe too precious for me to use?xx

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    1. Good evening Jess! Old lace? How wonderful! Do you know when it dates back to? I do believe, really, that you should use it; give it a second life. With your artistic talent I'm sure you could work wonders with it.

      I wish you a beautiful week.

      Stephanie

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    2. It was inherited from my grandmother and maybe she had it given to her which would make it a hundred years old! Most of it is at least from the 1950s. I daren't use it! :)
      Wishing you a wonderful week too Stephanie.xx

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  31. Dear Stephanie,
    Oh yes, indeed, I do suffer from nostalgia too ... especially in the Palais Royal gardens (one of our favourite promenade in Paris). It seems that I never quite recovered from leaving central Paris two years ago...
    Your Celestine mouse from the Palais Royal is adorable (the only problem with your creations is that they are always already sold when I turn out here).
    Have a nice week...

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  32. SUCH beautiful gardens, and SUCH a beautiful bunny! :-)
    Carly
    x

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  33. Hello sweet Stephanie! Thank you for visiting me and for your very kind words! Your photos are gorgeous and I loved reading your beautiful words! You are so gifted my friend and have such a talent for writing, photography and sewing! I would love to visit Paris and the Palais Royal gardens. Your Celestine mouse is beautiful! I love her sweet face and gorgeous clothing! Beautiful work my friend! Sweetie, you asked about the Blythe dolls. I am so glad you are falling in love with them too. I love them, especially the custom dolls. You can find them on Etsy and Ebay. You can purchase stock dolls, that have not been customized on Ebay and you can keep them as is, customize them yourself, or pay someone to do it, or you can purchase a customized doll from someone that is a customizer. That is what I did. If you go to Etsy and search customized Blythe dolls you will find many to look out. I hope you find the perfect girl to adopt sweetheart. Much love and a very happy week to you dear friend! Paula xo

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  34. Dear Stephanie, I hope the melancholic nostalgia has passed leaving only sweet memories....

    Your post is full of lovely words and phrases, and Celestine perfectly mirrors its mood. I love those little touches of lace - just the right amount - in her outfit.

    We are still waiting and hoping for blossoms here. I was prowling the lawn yesterday, and the violet leaves are only just beginning to sprout. Soon, soon.

    Have a wonderful week! :)

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  35. Dearest Stephanie, such a thoughtful post full of images that help us feel your nostalgia and awakens our own too. Foolishly wistful, oh yes. I am quite prone to bouts of nostalgia, but not for Paris, sadly, but more likely the rain blowing sideways up in the Scottish highlands. Mouse Celestine is another beauty with such a pretty little face. Spring is just starting to arrive here, the grass turning green and the daffs bouncing open. Finally. I can look forward now. Thank you for your friendship and yet another lovely post.

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  36. Dear Stephanie,

    Lovely post and yes, I think we all suffer a little from nostalgic thoughts of days gone by. I have not been to the Palais Royal Gardens but will be putting it on my list if I am lucky enough to go back and visit again.
    Celestine Mouse is the sweetest and love her pretty frocks - isn't old lace so very beautiful.

    Hope you have a lovely week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  37. Dear Madame Stephanie,
    I am sure everyone feels nostalgia from time to time. I know I do.
    I've loved gazing at your beautiful pictures of flowers and sweet Celestine. Her clothes are charming, especially the lace.
    Best wishes,
    Giselle

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    1. Dear Giselle,

      Thank you for stopping by and your kind, thoughtful words. I just wanted you to know that your CD is winging its way to you!

      Stephanie

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  38. I agree with Giselle, I think it's impossible not to feel nostalgic sometimes. And what a beautiful place to be melancholy in!

    Celestine is adorable :)

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  39. The cherry blossom, mouse and sweet dresses are lovely. A day wandering in Paris after dropping children off?! really quite amazing I think. I love to soak up the city now and again in a similar situation, although not Paris of course! I have been once. I had a lovely time wandering around Montmartre and through a wonderful graveyard on the way there? it felt very special and yes melancholic, but definitely special. Heather x

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  40. Hi Stephanie, you have such a beautiful way with words. I often feel nostalgic, predominantly about my early childhood years, when the days were gloriously long and warm and filled with playtime, friends and fun before all the pressures of being a grown-up came to the fore. It's nice being nostalgic. And your new creation is just divine. My Dad is currently in France for a 3 week holiday with his partner and he is an avid Gardener and lover of garden design and I know he will be visiting some of the amazing gardens you have mentioned here, it will be interesting to see which ones they visit and I will let you know. Mel x

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  41. Dear Stephanie, what a beautifully written post. I too feel nostalgic from time to time, but I couldn't even begin to express this as well as you have here. The graceful Celestine Mouse and her lovely wardrobe are simply divine. It is a joy to visit you here as always. Best wishes to you,

    Janine xo

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  42. Your little mouse is adorable.

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  43. Hello Stephanie, you have such a wonderful way with words. Yes indeed, I feel nostalgic for times gone by for memories of people no longer with me and time that is racing by. I think we all get nostalgic as we reach maturity and realise that mortality is lurking behind the corner. For me especially the weather has a profound affect on my sense of happiness and wellbeing. Love your beautifully made rabbits and mice. Hoping your mood lightens soon! Sharon

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    1. Hello Sharon!

      Thank you so much for leaving this thoughtful comment. You have, quite wonderfully, hit the nail on the head concerning my sense of nostalgia. Life is precious and I am more than aware that it is passing by so, so fast.

      I hope you are well and happy and enjoying the spring weather.

      Stephanie

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  44. The cherry blossoms and little mouse toy are just so pretty! x

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  45. BEAUTIFUL STEPHANIE!

    Welcome back home! And I'm sure your time away in George Sand Land was stunning! (Anywhere in France to me is a get-away!) How lovely of you to come by! Well I am so thrilled to know you are ready for our grande fête la semaine prochaine! Many thanks again for the LOVELY MUSIC and your friendship, qui m'est très cher!

    Mille bises, Anita

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  46. Your creations are delightful. Thank you very much for visiting my blog.

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  47. So nice to mmeet you too Stephine... Dear Anita has again given us all a treat with this wonderful party... A change to meet lovely new friends such as yourself.. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving such a sweet note for Bebe.

    Your post is such a slice of heaven... Just beautiful, and I LOVE your mouse!
    Beautiful workmanship.
    bisous!
    Penny

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  48. Thanks for share this information with us, I always come across this amazing post.

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