29 December 2011

on the mountain

I snapped this with my phone, which only gives a tiny glimpse of the amazing view where we ski. I'll have to work on getting a better picture.  Just imagine something like this, except more in all directions. It was a beautiful day on the slopes. Clover had a blast playing with his friends at the nanny and I had an awesome time skiing with friends and family. A fantastic first day of the ski season! So what do you say, want to come hit the slopes with me?

24 December 2011

merry and bright

This jack-in-the-box Santa is up on our door every year at Christmas. 

It's time! The holidays are really here.  My coffee has a hint of cinnamon. The tree smells amazing. The snow is swirling outside our door.  Clover and I are singing christmas carols around the clock. There are a couple, last-minute gifts to pick up but other than that we'll just be reveling in the holiday spirit over here. I wish you happy holiday celebrations with those you love. May your christmas be merry and bright and maybe, with a hint of cinnamon and peppermint, too. All the best!

22 December 2011

spearmint & snowflakes

It has been snowing non-stop here for the past week and more is on the way for the weekend. It looks like it will be a very white Christmas. What a gift. Speaking of fun gifts, guess who is featured over on Spearmint Baby today? Take a look if you like!

21 December 2011

the clementine caper

Remember this post ? I snapped a picture for it while Clover was having his afternoon snack. I thought it would be a simple, quick photo session but the little guy had other plans because I was only two photos in when his tiny hand came into the frame...just to help tweak the arrangement ever so slightly.

He helped himself to the rest of the clementines.

And found this to be absolutely hilarious...

and then, he got down to the serious business of throwing them about...

And I am so glad that he did because it makes these photos much sweeter than the original.

18 December 2011

december traditions

For breakfast around the holidays, there is nothing like a big slice of panettone. Just ask my husband, he is a huge fan. Each year around this time, I pick one up in a big fancy box just for him to enjoy. I always try it and always sigh, "Nope, I still don't like panettone." It's the brioche of disappointment in my book, too dry or stale with a few, sad dried fruits halfheartedly added to falsely appease the eater. But, when I came across a panettone with packaging that read Fabrication Artisanale followed by Pur Beurre, I thought this one might be different. However, it's that sugary almond-hazelnut topping that truly sealed the deal. I've helped myself to multiple slices this morning and even had to put it on a shelf, out of my sight to keep me from going back for more. So it's official, I am completely eating my words this year...and they are delicious!

16 December 2011

aurora borealis

On my list of Things I Want To Do is to see the Aurora Borealis. The short clip above gets me excited to do just that. It is filmed beautifully, just amazingly well. But, while I'm waiting to take a trip up north, I'll bundle up and look at the stars outside with Félix while we hold hands. That sounds pretty dreamy, too. Have you seen the Northern Lights?

13 December 2011

handmade holiday: advent

By the time I felt ready to get an advent calendar at the grocery store, there were only two options left on the shelves, Spiderman or Hello Kitty. Neither seemed appropriately festive. Instead, I grabbed some of our favorite chocolates, added some extra ribbon to my shopping cart and made my own at home. It's not the prettiest advent calendar out there.  There are so many. But it's up, it's delicious and it now feels like Christmas is in full swing at our house. Happy holidays!

12 December 2011

naturally sweet

The other day while waiting for Clover to wake up from his nap, Félix and I shared the best 4 o'clock snack, steamy mugs of hot chocolate and many, sweet, juicy clementines.  Savoring the first, ripe oranges of the winter season makes me nostalgic for holidays past. I think what I love the most though is the contrast, the brightness of tart oranges against the dull colors of winter. It just makes them that much more appealing. Don't you think?

08 December 2011

Handmade Holiday : Woodland Creatures

Looking for cute, handmade gifts for the holidays, I came across these darling plushies from the etsy shop, One Little Red Fox.  Have you seen a more chic woodland creature? They are all so charming that I find it  impossible to pick a favorite. The girl behind these sweet critters also keeps a super blog by the same name.

07 December 2011

winter wonderland

The first snow of the season has arrived. The bunny hills in our village have a nice covering of white. My favorite thing about the flurries, especially at nighttime, is the quiet calm that a blanket of snow brings. All sounds are softened, muted, making everything feel a little more magical. Winter wonderland indeed.

01 December 2011

Artist Interview: Laura Manfre

You'll remember the adorable bonne maman paintings post from a couple weeks ago. The artist , Laura Manfre, agreed to let us peek into her world. So cool!

How about a little background? Where are you from? What did you study?

My name's Laura, I am 22 and I come from France. I'm now living in Norwich, UK.
My studies...? I'd been a law student for a while... It didn't make me happy at all, so I abandoned and started learning drawing and painting techniques.

Where do you find inspiration?

I'm inspired by everything colorful, vintage, kitsch and most of the time food related. I love food, I love packaging... I especially love to find crazy items... Did you know that you can buy a pancake spray?

Where do you do most of your work? In a studio, at your kitchen table?

I work everywhere I can! I don't have a studio so... there are papers, pencils and paints everywhere! I'm very messy... 

What's your favorite project that you have done so far?

I'm currently working on some Blade Runner illustrations. I'm so amazed by this movie... I'm hoping to finish it very soon.

When did you start drawing?

I've always been drawing! I remember being a kid and bringing with me a pen and a sketchbook everywhere I would go! I haven't stop since.

What do you like most about living in England?

My boyfriend! Hehe! He's the reason why I'm here! But I must say I really enjoy living in England, people are so nice and respectful... I don't feel judged because I'm an "artist". Here, you can be as eccentric as you want, no one will look at you strangely!

What's the hardest thing about being an expatriate?

The hardest thing is being so far from my family! I miss them... 

I wanted to ask a question about traveling since you lived in Italy. Do you get to travel often? How did you decide on Italy? Will you go back?

I'm used to travel as my dad works for the Army. I moved a lot... From France to Reunion Island... And more recently Rome! It's such a beautiful city... Not long ago I made some illustrations about it! I'm hoping to go back one day!

What artists inspire you?

Illustration wise I'm a big fan of Mary Blair (her Alice in Wonderland artwork is just amazing... I love the way she uses colors!) and Art Seiden! 
I really love American painters like James Rosenquist, Wayne Thiebaud, John Alcorn, Austin Briggs... 

What projects are you working on currently?

I'm working on some illustrations for a book which will be published in France! It's all about D.I.Ys!

Where can we find your work? 

Anything else you want to add?

Just a big Merci to you for this lovely interview!

Thank you, Laura! I'm so glad you agreed to an interview. You are a delightful artist and it has been so nice getting to know you through your work.  I wish you all the best and can't wait to see more of your wonderful illustrations.  
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