Saturday, 6 December 2014

Prelude To Winter

 The Hirschwald is an enchanted place on such an evening, when the mists lie low on the turf, and overhead the delicate, bare branches of the silver birches stand out clear against the soft sky, while the little moon looks down kindly on the damp November world.  Where the trees thicken into a wood, the fragrance of the wet earth and rotting leaves kicked up by the horses' hoofs fills my soul with delight.  I particularly love that smell, - it brings before me the entire benevolence of Nature, for ever working death and decay, so piteous in themselves, into the means of fresh life and glory, and sending up sweet odours as she works.

Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth And Her German Garden (Virago Press: London, 1985), pp. 82-83 

This is a short post, dear friends, for this morning I am catching the train for Paris to spend time with my family and to visit for the first time the best tea and knitting shop in the capital; L'OisiveThé.  I have shared the above extract from Elizabeth von Arnim's first novel with you as I think it is important to remember, as autumn slips into winter and spring is too far away to comfort even by anticipation, that the decay which surrounds us is simply a necessary prelude to rebirth and greenery.  In winter enjoying nature can require more effort but it is important - for our sanity - to see things from a different perspective even if that may mean finding beauty in death.  Fortunately there are enchanted tales to spin during those long evenings and Christmas to prepare for! 

Before bowing graciously to the muted shades of winter with festive snatches of green and red I leave you with a few last glimpses of late autumn splendour caught on the final day of November beneath a giant ginko tree with dancing-skirt shaped leaves twirling gracefully to the yellow ground.
Angélique is wearing her new Tin Can Knits Prairie Fire short-sleeved pullover in the Madelinetosh colourway Molly Ringwald.

And I, below, am loving my Fairysteps Mary Jane shoes!

Warmest wishes to you all!  Let us all enjoy Advent as those December days slip away so quickly, wouldn't you agree?

Stephanie x


  1. How lovely to see the beautiful Angelique modelling :) She's such a beauty.
    Wishing you lots of happy cold, crisp winters days, and snow, lots of snow. We have snow forecast for tomorrow so fingers crossed xxx

  2. She is growing so fast. I realise how long we have been both been blogging when I think I remember her as a a tiny little thing.

    And yes, your sentiments about winter are my own, it is a season that holds much promise.

    Beautiful post as always Stephanie, and your shoes are exquisite.

  3. The lace is pretty. I like the slope that makes it looks like a shrug over a lacy top. Your daughter is a darling. What beautiful leather goods at that website.

  4. Well as you know Stephanie I'm not a fan of winter but we have to find the beauty where we can and of course according the GRD calendar it is only a short season.
    Angélique's sweater is so pretty and those ginko leaves are stunning.
    Enjoy your trip to Paris and I am more than a little envious of your yarn shop visit.
    v x

  5. She's so cute! Love her outfit too-the sweater is such a great color and her skirt is darling : )
    I keep seeing l'oisive the online and it looks like it must be such a cute shop. Maybe I'll get to go some day...
    Have a fun trip! : )

  6. Angelique is most definitely an angel in these photos.....lovely (as always!) And her new sweater is exquisite---and obviously loved.
    I'm one of the strange ones, I know, but I love winter. A nesting, homey, knit-in-front-of-the-fire time....soup in the kettle, dreaming of snow on the ground--lending a beauty for our corner of the world that comes so rarely. Yes---I really embrace this time of year.

  7. Oh my goodness she just gets more and more darling everyday. Love your knitting and of course those cute shoes. Enjoy your journey to Paris and that wonderful shop.

  8. Oh my....those precious little shoes. But the best of all is the sweet little angel wearing her mum's creations. Stephanie, how glorious is your vision. Sugar plums dancing in my head, thanks to you.


  9. Unless I can enjoy winter I go crazy! It has its own beauty, and the dark evenings encourage reading, knitting, and cozy living.

  10. Also, thanks for the quote from Elizabeth and her German Garden. I just went and bought it. Another winter activity is garden planning.

  11. Qu'elle est adorable Angelique dans son nouveau pull cree par maman... L'oisive the, qui sait si je pourrai m'y rendre, je serai a Paris pour les vacances de Noel. Combien elle est expressive ta fille Stephanie, si douce si tendre...

  12. Oh my goodness, your shoes! I love Ren's fairymade shoes and boots. I have a Fairysteps handbag and one day I hope to treat myself to some beautiful shoes too. :)
    Angélique's pretty top looks wonderful. You're so clever at those tricky stitches and I love the design detail on the back.
    Have a fantastic time in Paris Stephanie as I'm sure you will. :) It's one my most favourite cities and I yearn to go back there again!
    Jess xx

  13. What a lovely top, and the shoes must be such fun to wear! I hope you had a lovely trip to Paris. Juliex

  14. That top is lovely! Such beautiful lacework :-)

  15. Has Angélique grown another few inches since modelling your last delightful knit? It looks as though she may have!

    What a beautiful jumper, and those shoes are simply perfect. It looks as though your Autumn colour lingered a good deal longer than ours! I hope you enjoyed a pleasant trip. :)

    1. P.S. Thank you for the gentle reminder to seek the beauty of winter. Our world is black and white and grey at the moment - but the trees are very lovely against the sky as they stand at rest from their year's labours.

  16. gorgeous sweater and I love the diagonal lines of the lace detail. So beautiful and of course you wee model is beautiful as well :)

  17. Stephanie, your late November colors from nature and from beautiful yarn and storybook slippers make a wonderful bouquet! Thank you for giving us this view of a particular transitional seasonal time.

    What a little beauty Angelique is! It's so clear how much she does enjoy the knitting that you do just for her!

    Please do have a grand time in Paris. I know of that yarn shop (but have never visited it myself) and look forward to getting a review from you upon your return home.


  18. Oh how gorgeous! I was even thinking she looked pretty in pink before I saw your reference to Molly Ringwald... hope you are having a wonderful time in Paris, I'm positively green with envy x

  19. Beautiful, as always! I hope you had a wonderful weekend -- especially in those beautiful new shoes!

  20. Dear Stephanie,
    What a treat! Golden leaves, Angelique's beauty, the most delicate pink lace and Elizabeth von Arnim's words! I am a lover of her writings, and especially of Elizabeth And Her German Garden.
    No need to say that I am also in love with your pink shoes!

  21. I cannot decide what it is I love best about this post Stephanie. Hmmm, gorgeous PINK shoes ( i am caving in and may have to have them), Angelique's pretty sweater with it's leafy texture and her divinely pretty skirt, not to mention her gorgeous haircut or simply your writing. X

  22. Angélique is beautiful in her delicate knitted sweater! Have a wonderful month of December Stephanie! I wish you a merry holiday season with your family!

  23. Hope you had a lovely time in Paris Stephanie! Angelique is a perfect model. Her new pullover looks beautiful on her.

    Such a coincidence to see a quote from Elizabeth von Arnim's book. It's on my bedside table at the moment :-). After all those years it's still a good read!

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

    Madelief x

  24. STEPHANIE! Bonsoir!

    My friend, I am so happy to see your comment at my post! I have missed you so much. I am well, thank you! I am looking forward to another two weeks off after this week to rest during the Christmas holidays. And you my friend? I suspect all is magical chez vous, and that soon you may get snow. Wishing you the most wonderful time with the children and all those who you love. Sweet hugs to you! Anita

  25. What a timely reminder, and I too have recently been reading Elizabeth von Arnim but somehow this did not jump out at me as it should. Enjoy Paris!

  26. Love those fairy shoes Stephanie ….don't they just stand out among the colours of those leaves. You just can't beat the colours of nature what ever the season ….and who ever said winter is barren cannot see for looking!!! :-) Sweet sweater for a sweet girl…she is gorgeous! Enjoy your time in Paris!!!

    keep well

    Amanda xx

  27. Beautiful post - loved your quote. I think a new years resolution for me would have to be to master the art of knitting, oh and also finish projects I have already started. Have a lovely Christmas. Pj x

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