Posts tagged ‘France’

February 28, 2011

Motif Monday::Ironwork and Stonework

by heatherkp

Today being the last day of February I’m going to say farewell to all the French related posts.  This has been such a fun theme for the month and I think I’ll be re-visiting some of my other travels in the future and sharing them here.  For today I want to leave you with just a little more inspiration…actually I think I’ve saved the best for last and I hope you’ll agree!  Today, I’ve got Ironwork and Stonework for you and LOTS of it!  Decorative Ironwork is one thing France is famous for and it’s everywhere.  On doors, windows, railings, gates, signs and balconies to name the most abundant sources.  Based on these images alone I know I could come up with several new design collections and artwork.  I’m really inspired to do so.

French Stone and Ironwork Details

There were some seriously WICKED looking Iron gates in Avignon!

French Ironwork

… loads of simple geometric designs on a lot of windows and I especially liked the ones that had the simple wavy lines.  I love how the ironwork creates a pattern layer over the windows and shutters in some places.

Whimsical and Floral French Ironwork

There were also a lot of shops that had custom ironwork signs and I wish we would adopt this practice more in the US.  Consigning an ironwork sign establishes a serious level of commitment to your business don’t you think?

Scrols and Decorative French IronworksAnd finally a there were scrolls of all varieties and florals, foilage, figures and crests.

I hope these will inspire you to create something fabulously French~Oh, la la!

February 25, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Farewell to France

by heatherkp

This is the last of the series of Fieldtrips recollecting my time spent in Provence a couple of years ago.  Last week was all about the French Riviera and this week it’s about Arles, Avignon, Saint Remy, Orange and Chateauneuf du Pape.  We stayed in Orange and visited each of these other towns for day trips (mostly by train).  We walked, we saw ancient architecture, we saw farmers markets, we saw Churches and Cathedrals and Museums and it was all fabulous!

Orange Canal

Chateauneuf du Pape

Vineyard Vista

Roman Arena in Arles

Arles Cathedral

Arles Architecture

Inside Arles Cathedral

Ancient Architecture Avignon

Papal Palace Avignon

Carousel Horses at the Papal Palace

Saint Remy Reflected Plane Trees

I do hope you’ve enjoyed the little piece of France I’ve shared through my eyes.   I certainly have had fun taking a walk down memory lane!

February 21, 2011

Motif Monday::High Art vs. Street Art

by heatherkp

Another Monday full of Motif’s for your inspired use!  Today I’m sharing images from what I’m calling High Art, murals on the ceilings and walls in cathedrals and other ancient buildings.  We visited the beautiful Saint-Martin Church in Saint-Remy-de-Provence that had a lot of great motifs on the walls and ceiling, quite deteriorated but lovely colors and timeless motifs.  This particular cathedral is famous for it’s organ and attracts some of the worlds most renowned organists for the annual festival.  This town is also famous because it’s the hometown of Nostradamus and right outside of town is the Saint Paul de Mausole hospital where Van Gogh spent time painting some of his most famous works of art.

The incredible gilded mural with the ship and peacock above right is from the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica.  This hilltop cathedral overlooks both the city of Marseilles and the French riviera.  The inside is spectacular.  Do some searches of your own on both of these churches for other images of the details.  My photography is just a stepping stone for you to use to find other images and inspiration from these venues.

Another inspiring subject found all over France that caught my attention was Street art or Graffiti.  It came in all shapes, colors and locations and often it was quite unexpected.  I think it was the juxtaposition of the ancient buildings with these modern images and text that made for such intriguing subject matter.

Where do you find motif’s that inspire your work?  Is it historic or modern interpretations that catch your eye the most?

February 18, 2011

Friday Field Trip::France III Cote D’azur

by heatherkp

For our Friday field trip today I will share with you some of our exploration of the beautiful landscapes and natural vistas we saw while in the Cote D’azur.

Since the weather here has been so Spring like and warm I wanted to evoke that warmth for you where ever you are via these images of the French Riviera.  We visited Marseilles, St. Tropez and Antibes.  It was heavenly; warm, sea breezes, the smell of the ocean and just what we had hoped for on our side trip.


Cote D’azur

St. Tropez Fort


Cork Forest

St. Tropez

I’m wishing you some of the warmth of Spring this weekend!



February 18, 2011

Friday::French Philosophy

by heatherkp

A few memorable and famous quotes by French artists, philosophers and writers.  Hope these inspire you today!

Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble — French Proverb

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.  — Jean de Boufflers

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. — Anais Nin

People don’t watch enough. They think. It’s not the same thing.–Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.– Coco Chanel

To enjoy life, we must touch much of it lightly.–Voltaire

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.–Anais Nin

Gratitude is the memory of the heart. — Jean Baptiste Massieu

I am not what I am.  I am what I do with my hands.–Louise Borgeoise

The pain passes, but the beauty remains. –Pierre Auguste Renoir

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.–- Marie Curie

Hope is a light diet, but very stimulating.–- Honoré de Balzac

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. — Marcel Proust

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.–- Vincent van Gogh

February 14, 2011

Motif Monday::Tiles and Doors

by heatherkp

This Monday and next I will share with you a few details I caught in photo’s that are great inspiration for pattern motifs or other artwork.  Everywhere I looked in Provence I found small details, key holes, letter boxes, decorative tiles, ironwork and even decorative door knobs that remain an inspiration for me.  Because there is so much history and the architecture is so much older than most of what we have in America there was inspiration on almost every building.

French Tile patternsFrench Doors and ironworks

It was a pleasure to see such a broad range of period styles from medieval to art deco and more simple country provincial decorative details.  I love that these details are cherished and taken care of rather than replaced.  As we walked and toured each town I was always the last one straggling behind trying to capture these details and burn them into my memory.

February 11, 2011

Friday Field Trip::France II

by heatherkp

Since I didn’t get very far last week I’m happy to bring you a bit longer post today sharing with you some of the great food experiences we had and saw in Provence.

I was completely in love with the French markets.  It seems like practically every city and town has at least one market a week with a ton of fresh produce, fish, cheese, sausage and other meats, textiles, spices, flowers etc…who needs the regular store when you can get practically anything you need at the open air market.  And Everyone shops at them!  On market day it’s just a part of life to prepare your list, get your basket and bags out and head out to get what you need for the week (or half the week if your lucky enough to live in a larger city that has them twice weekly).  This way of life is so much more connected to agriculture and fresh food, it’s ingrained in the culture and I loved this aspect of the French lifestyle.  Look at all the lovely goodies that I saw at the markets in Orange, Marseilles and Avignon. French Farmers market finds

To start the trip out hour hostess’s landlady insisted on having us for a very special truffle omelet for dinner.   We were truly lucky to have such and exquisite home made meal in the home of a gracious and fun woman!  The process of preparing for this omelet required buying the fresh eggs and truffles at the weekly market and infusing the eggs with the truffles by some process of keeping the eggs in their shells and allowing the truffle essence to permeate the eggs.  It was divine.  We also had this incredible Spelt (that I have yet to locate in the US) served simply au pistou.  I’m still hoarding one last bag of it that I brought back.  It is much more nutty, sweet and delicate than the spelt whole grain you typically find in the US.   Another truly memorable dining experience (really they all were!) was the fresh daily croissant’s that our hostess went and got for us each morning.  Some days they were chocolate, some day’s almond and some days just plain.  Our typical breakfast was a croissant and plain delicious yogurt.  I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of that!  Every meal was delicious I think due to the truly fresh ingredients that are standard in Provence.  With the slightly mediteranean climate they have a pretty long growing season with not too many very cold spells.  We even got to experience the Mistral while we were visiting~Woosh!

Dining in Provence

And then of course there were the sweets!  So many delicious sweets, pastries, candies etc. we tried to restrain ourselves within reason but we did a lot of walking so we had a good excuse to indulge.  Probably my favorite though was the combination of chocolate and orange.  In the image below right are some green sugar coated chocolate orange candies that we found in a small Chocolatier in Saint-Tropez.  These candies were the inspiration for a cookie recipe I “invented” this week (I’m apparently not the first person to “invent” these but I’d never heard of them and didn’t look up any recipe for them before I concocted my version).  My gift to you this week is the recipe, below.  It’s a French inspired twist on Oatmeal cookies.

French Confections

Chocolate Orange Oatmeal Cookies

Yields about 3 dozen


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple or peach sauce (peach sauce-pureed steamed/canned peaches)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped candied orange rind (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or pieces (more chocolate can never be a bad thing)
  • Optional:  1/4 to 1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts in to replace some of the chocolate


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and apple or peach sauce; mix on high speed to combine.
  3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed to combine, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in dried fruits and chocolate (and optional nuts).
  4. Using a large metal scoop, drop dough onto prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden and just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes then transfer sheets to wire rack to cool completely.

If you have a favorite Oatmeal recipe you could adjust it to include the chocolate and orange in place of raisins and nuts etc.

Chocolate Orange Oatmeal CookiesBon Appetit!

February 8, 2011

Textile Tuesday::Provencal

by heatherkp

While I was in Provence of course I was keeping my eyes open for Textiles.  I love the way the French incorporate their more traditional textiles into their contemporary lifestyle.There were lacy curtains in almost all the residential home windows.  Don’t you just love this cap?  I didn’t see anyone wearing them but I wonder if anyone still does.  This cap was just hanging on an exterior door knob.

I’m always amazed with the laundry hanging in most foreign countries.  I personally hang most of my laundry but it France, Italy and many other countries there are apparatus built into daily lifestyle to make it easier to just hang laundry right out your windows, Love that!

There seems to be a huge market for the more traditional Provencal textiles with embroidery and traditional motifs.  I wonder if it’s strictly a tourist market or if the local’s use these in their every day life.

This little fabric bucket is adorable, love the way they incorporate subtle hearts into so many of their textiles.

This window just caught my eye probably because of the layers of the sheer fabric and the lovely blue iron grates over top.

This last photo is from Marseilles and the knot work on this ship rope is just truly impressive!

Do you like traditional French Provencal Textiles such as linens, lace, embroidery and traditional French Provencal motifs?

February 4, 2011

Friday Field Trip::France

by heatherkp

This is part one of a series where I’ll be sharing photo’s from my trip to Provence 2 years ago.  I have been very inspired by all things French lately and I never fully explored the imagery and inspiration that was all around us on this trip.

Produce at the French farmers markets I spent about 10 days in Provence with a girlfriend from college and her sister who was living there at the time.  It was fantastic to have her as our guide since she was fluent in French and knew her way around.  It made it so easy for us to sit back, relax and enjoy the sightseeing. Here is some of the beautiful produce at the weekly market in Orange, radishes, frisee lettuce, cheese (I love how they are wrapped!) and truffles!  We were lucky enough to be there during truffle season and we enjoyed a lovely homemade meal with truffles (I’ll share more on that evening another day).

French Photography shop and sign

Isn’t this sign charming?  It hung way above the street corner and I’m certain it attracted more than the fair share of photographers attention (both inside the shop and out).  Who needs and ADT sign with this impressive steel gate announcing “Attention Au Chien”.  I never saw a dog but with a sign engraved in your  gate you are certain to be more safe with or without a dog!

I wanted to share a bit more with you today but it seems I have come down with some bug and am going to put myself back to bed momentarily but I wanted to kick off French February with a couple images from Orange, which was home base for us for our many day trips around Provence.

February 1, 2011

Trend Tuesday::The French are Coming!

by heatherkp

This month I’ll be featuring a lot if inspiration and some photo’s from my trip to France.  Okay, so the trip was two years ago this February, but somehow I never got around to really exploring the photo’s I took and all the inspiring places and things I saw on my trip. Before I go down memory lane and bring you along with me to the various locations I visited I wanted to share a few trends and french influence I’ve spotted recently in fashion and interiors.  Once again brought to you via Pinterest, you can click on the images to take you to the site for the direct sources.

French Trends and Influences

I’m spotting a return to more feminine influences in interiors, such as more traditional floral patterns, French Provencal style furniture, french linens and monogram embroidery.  In fashion check out the french braids influence on accessories such as scarves, belts and braided jewelry.  And with the recent release of Black Swan anything remotely influenced by ballet such as the french knot updo is a stylistic certainty!

French Films, Art, Lace, Fashion...etc!

Some French influences will never go out of style, french lavender, french lace, french soap and french perfume!  And of course nautical stripes and styling a~la Coco Chanel!  In fact this whole interest in all things French started when I watched Coco Before Chanel and then Coco Chanel a couple weeks ago.  Then last weekend I immersed myself watching the french films La Vie En Rose (about Edith Piaf ) and Seraphine (the sunflower painting above is by her) about a female french artist discovered in the naive art period (such as the well known Henri Rousseau).

So, please come along with me as I be bring you all kinds of French influence throughout the month of February, Enjoy!