Tuesday, 26 March 2013

.... Prize for the March Hare with the Mostest....

We like to keep Les Soeurs Anglaises' enthusiasts busy, so here is our .....

Pre-season Competition..... 
We're enjoying the calm before the storm down here (enjoying rather better weather than most it would seem), and take great delight when, from time to time, we catch sight of our workshop motif, the  beautiful Brown Hare - lièvre - most commonly seen here during the lengthening evening hours in the spring, when their mating rituals of boxing and chasing each other, bring them into the open. Not long ago I caught sight of my first this year, when I glanced out of a bedroom window one stormy evening and caught sight of a large male hare sitting stock-still in the middle of our courtyard staring into the thunderclouds.  I blinked and he was gone - so perfect, so magical.

But back to our competition
We would like you to send us a picture of your hare.  He/she  can be real or imagined, photographed or knitted, sculpted or drawn, stitched or printed on fabric; whatever floats your boat, and as long as it looks vaguely like a hare.  At the end of April we will put together all the submissions and asking our local artist celebrity, Billie Jean Spille, to choose the most creative offering.  

 First Prize
The winner will be offered a free place on a Les Soeurs Anglaises' workshop of their choice, either this year (where we still have places) or one in 2014 ( excluding travel expenses).  There will also be a prize for the correct answer to a hare-related question in the final week of the competition, clues to which will be hidden amongst our blog, Facebook, website or Twitter between now and the closing date.  So if you don't feel like creating anything you can try your hand at something a little more esoteric.

original March Hare illustration by John for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

felted hare by Ruthfully on Etsy

Charcoal drawing by Valerie Davide

A couple of interesting facts about hares:  they can move very fast when required - up to 70 kmh;  and the young of the hare are born with fur and vision, unlike the much smaller rabbit, which has neither.

Stuffed textile hares by Mr Finch

Wire hare by Julieann Worrall Hood who will be joining us to lead a workshop in August

Dark Hare by Peter Denness

We know how many talented Les Soeurs Anglaises followers there are out there and we're looking forward to seeing all your creations.  To help you along, we'll be posting more hares over the next few weeks, along with clues to the final Big Question.

Submitted photographs of your March Hare should be emailed  to reach us no later than noon on 30th April 2013.   
Have a Happy and Creative Easter.

Monday, 18 March 2013

...linen treasure...

With the better weather on its way, we are moving into the Brocante and Vide Grenier season down here in South West France.  Whilst the French are steadily becoming a little more savvy regarding prices (sometimes in a obdurate and silly way), it's still possible to find mouth watering treasures..  Last weekend's event sent me scurrying to a house closure sale  where I picked up several rolls of this beautiful hand-woven, pure linen that had apparently been sitting in a local old lady's armoire for decades.    After all the hard work involved in planting, harvesting, spinning and weaving, it had lain unused and uncared for until the family had decided to sell up.   The consensus was that it had been there since the early  20thC.

After giving it a good washing, this robust fabric has proven to be not only beautiful and easy to work with, but utilitarian in the true sense of the word.  As there is patently far too much for me to ever use in two life times,  I have decided to sell it by the meter on our Etsy site.  It's the sort of stuff that Italian interior decorators' dreams are made of - not too light and not too heavy - just perfect for furnishing, trousers and embroidery; and I know, from past experience, that it takes dyes like a dream.   

Hurry whilst stocks last.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

... we could all use some inspiration....

Here is a list of 100 different ways to enjoy our lives gracefully as we get older.  Hopefully there'll be something inspirational in there for everyone.  Alternatively, ignore all the advice and have fun getting older disgracefully!)....... Either way, we could certainly help you with Nos.7 and 97!

1. Celebrate every birthday with friends, family and champagne!
2. Practice yoga, stretching or Pilates to stay flexible, and prevent the aches and stiffness that are often erroneously attributed to aging

3. Explore the new freedom and opportunity that every age brings
4. Wear your hair more naturally, both in style and colour

(or, if you have the bravado,  do the opposite and be extraordinary )

5. Avoid obvious plastic surgery
6. Spend lots of time around children, to be reminded of the joy there is in play

7. Take a new workshop (try Serendipitous Sculpture, Sketchbook Thrillers
8. Wear less make-up
9. Quit smoking
10. Give up flirting, and be charming instead
11. Smile more, it’s an instant facelift

12. Travel often, especially to countries that embrace aging
13. Keep up your appearance
14. Walk everywhere
15. Finally learn how to overcome your personal demons
16. Accept that there never really was anyone else to blame
17. Forget what you’re “supposed to do
18. Eat less meat and more vegetables and fruit
19. Learn a foreign language or do difficult crosswords regularly, to help stave off Alzheimer’s Disease later
20. Leave the dance club scene behind - it's for the kids

21. Show less cleavage
22. Embrace your age, it’s much more attractive than trying to appear younger than you are
23. Mentor someone younger, it’s a great way to help one another understand a different generation

24. Eat dessert more often
25. Learn to really appreciate all of your experiences, both good and bad, for what they’ve brought into your life
26. Forget what everyone else wants you to be, and be what you want you to be instead
27. Learn the art of graciousness
28. Avoid gaining weight
29. Have regular facials
30. Write a memoir, if only to remember what a wonderful life it’s been thus far

31. Fall in love with you
32. Assign each laugh line/wrinkle a happy moment in your life that may have put it there, remember the moment rather than the wrinkle
33. Reduce your alcohol intake
34. Improve your calcium intake
35. Moisturize religiously
36. Drink more water
37. Get dressed up and go out at least once a week

38. Wear lovely lingerie
39. Find role models to follow
(off to see my personal role-model, the continually creative Billie Jean Spille)
40. Set goals for 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond
41. Wear trends only as accessories
42. Get enough sleep
43. Accept and love your aging face and body (remember how you didn’t appreciate it in your 20s, and now you would die for that body?)
44. Find the balance between trying to look 20, and giving up on your appearance
45. Only wear quality shoes

46. Spend lots of time with friends
47. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again
48. Take proper vitamins and minerals
49. Don’t dress in a frumpy manner
50. Learn to tango

51. Keep an air of mystery
52. See a nutritionist, and learn to eat for maximum energy
53. Splurge on cashmere

54. Do one thing every day that makes you laugh out loud
(our very own Julie Arkell - you've got to smile)

55. Avoid excessive sunbathing
56. The more ladylike you are now, the better
57. Sleep on quality mattresses
58. Spend your money on taking better care of yourself, and looking good naturally, rather than trying to cover flaws/signs of aging
59. Don’t hunch over a computer/desk all day, take frequent breaks to stretch (to avoid bad posture becoming permanent later)
60. Forgive yourself
61. Continue volunteering
62. Realize that you’re more than just a mother/grandmother, and live where you want to live, and do what you’ve always dreamt of doing
63. Now is the time to give up regrets, they’re too big a burden to carry gracefully
64. Remember that age does not give you the right to say whatever is on your mind, courtesy still counts
65. Buy classic clothing, of the best quality you can afford

66. Keep dreaming new dreams
67. Drink champagne more often
68. Good news~you now have time for golf
69. And bubble baths
70. Make it look easy
71. Don’t mention menopause, or your varicose veins
72. Appreciate the wonder of your children and grandchildren, and their many talents

73. Reignite the love affair with your partner
74. Tell people about the good things in your life, rather than the aches and pains
75. Redecorate your bedroom

76. Learn how to swim the backstroke properly
77. Hold your head high, and stand as tall as possible
78. Remember that you aren’t your job, or title, and start planning a roaring retirement
79. Stop thinking about how fit you once were, and be as fit as you possibly can be now
80. Write a children’s book on the most important thing they should know
81. One word…exfoliate
82. Learn to love kitten heels and beautiful flats

83. Keep wearing lipstick

84. Learn how to make the big family holiday meal on your own
85. Stop wearing mini-skirts
86. Less has never been more more than it is now
87. Don’t forget that you may be many people’s role model
(the inspirational Janet Bolton who we're thrilled to say will be leading another workshop for us  in 2014)

88. Show love and affection to those you care for
89. Learn to arrange flowers

90. Stop worrying about tomorrow
91. Go for walks after dinner
92. Now is the time to use the good china

93. Tell your children how proud you are of them, and name the specific reasons why
94. Add weight bearing exercise to your routine for strong bones
95. Make a list of the inelegant things you’ve seen older people do, and be certain you don’t do them yourself
96. Stop frowning
97. Learn a new skill that you’ve always wanted to, or just try one that looks interesting
98. Keep working part-time, to stay active and challenged
99. Attempt one thing every year that you never thought you could do
100. Make your new goal to live to be 100, with health and happiness, and live life in a way that will make it happen and make your grand children proud.

Rosa Parks at 92!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

... absolutely don't miss.......

Apologies to our off shore readers, but if you're a Londoner (or visiting London anytime soon) try not miss the current exhibitions at the Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Royal Academy.  Let me start with my personal favourite..... The Kurt Schwitters' show at Tate Britain,   Schwitters in Britain  30 January  12 May 2013.  

I happen to love collage so I guess am predisposed to enjoy this iconoclastic master of the art who took this medium to a new level of brilliance.  He was hounded out of Germany before WWII - his work was considered degenerate by the Nazis) and was given sanctuary (of a kind) in Britain spent time in a various internment camps as an "enemy alien" before settling London and then the north of England.    Although influenced by both Expressionism and the Dada movement he was driven by a very personal zeal; and despite rubbing shoulders with many of up-and-coming artists of wartime Britain - Nash, Nicholson, Hepworth and others - sadly he was never really celebrated in his own lifetime.  He died in 1948, the day after receiving UK citizenship.

Once you've had your fill at Tate Britain mosey over to the Tate Modern, if you have time,  to view the Lichtenstein: A Retrospective  21st February – 27th May 2013.  Lichtenstein doesn't need an introduction as he was one of the first of the great Pop Artists with a huge influence on people like Andy Warhol and his work is now part of our social consciousness.  This show dazzles with colour and imagery and you'll either love it or hate it.

And the third and final exhibition worth the effort of visiting the Big Smoke for is Manet: Portraying Life  26th January—14th April 2013 where you will find familiar and not-so-familiar portraits by the artist in the flesh.  To quote the RA, "This singularly important exhibition is the first ever retrospective devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet. Spanning the entire career of this enigmatic and at times controversial artist, 'Manet: Portraying Life' brings together works from across Europe, Asia and the USA".