Friday, July 20, 2012

Crafting in France

A big part of what we do on our French General Getaway is craft.  We craft in the morning, we craft in the afternoon, and those of us that have good eyes (myself not included!) even craft after dinner!  It's funny, when we originally planned these getaway weeks, we didn't leave as much time for crafting - thinking everyone would rather run around the countryside seeing the neighboring villages and markets.  But, we have found that when you have 18-24 women gathered in an 18th century chateau, crafting is actually a luxury - something that everyone wants to spend more and more time doing.  This summer we were honored to have a handful of friends and artists join us for a week each - including: Shea Fragoso and Debbie Murray from A Gilded Life, Charlotte Lyons, Jenn Texiera from EK Success, Susan Fuquay from American Quilt Retailer, Monica Medieros, Wendy Addison and Marcia Ceppos from Tinsel Trading.  Each brought their own unique craft and a bunch of wonderful kits so we could create to our hearts desire! Here's a look at some of the projects we worked on this summer, students in the studio, and a few of our friends that came to teach....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Brocantes, Vide Greniers and Marche aux Puces!

By any name in French - brocante, vide grenier or march aux puces -  it all means the same to me...the thrill of the hunt!  A big part of our day in France is chasing down the dealers who specialize in collecting the history and craft of the countryside of France.  A small brocante sign with an arrow pointing to the right may mean a 5 minute jaunt down the road or an hour drive into the countryside in search of the next sign.  Sometimes we drive so far, one of us gives up patience before the rest and we have to check ourselves to see if we really are on a wild goose chase....or not!  If we are lucky enough to find the destination, we usually find gold!
Typically, I take a walk around and get a good look at everything - and I mean everything,  I look under tarps, I open doors and check drawers...I may even look out back behind the shop.  I usually spot something as I am walking in - but that is never the first thing I ask about - in fact I may even leave it for he very last minute, after I have found everything else that I may want...then I casually ask - "Oh yeah, and how much for the...what is that anyway...yeah - the 17th century invoice book? "  By that point, the dealer is either charmed that you like all of the old dusty buts, or tired of you asking so many questions.
Very often in France, if you have purchased enough from one dealer, they will throw in "un cadeau" a gift - and if you are lucky - the piece you most wanted may just be un cadeau!  I think French dealers must get such a kick out of the junk we are collecting - half the time they are probably happy we are taking it off their hands!  Here's a small peek into some of the treasures that made it home with us....many to be seen next month in our Found in France Collection at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Three Weeks Ago....

Three weeks ago, before my computer crashed and I lost internet service....I was in France on our Chateau Getaway with three wonderful groups of women - from all over the world!  It's hard to know where to I write about the centuries old chateau we lived in, the over the top food that Chef Charlotte cooked up for us three times a day, the field trips and artisans we visited in local villages, or the brocantes where we dug out scraps of 18th century hemp, linen and silk?  No, I think all of that can all wait - at least till tomorrow!
Today, I just want to say thank you to each and every woman who joined us on this crazy adventure! With little or no itinerary, adventurous souls signed up for a week of living like a rural French woman.  Throwing caution to the wind, women come to see France through our eyes and hopefully learn a thing or two about themselves - while forging new friendships, crafting with the featured artist and sharing a glass (or two!) of the local grape!

At the end of each week, we don our woaded attire and pose in front of the chateau for a group photo - kinda like a French summer camp - but a whole lot better!
More to come soon!