Sunday, February 28, 2010

La Bonne Chienne

I spied this dog outside an apartment window in Paris.  I enjoyed the play of greys and how she herself was the finishing touch in this quintessential Parisian palette.  I'm sure she soon climbed back inside for her déjeuner, but with watercolors, I immortalized her nonchalant pose pour toujours, so there she stays, sur mon papier.  

 My own sweetheart of a dog, Ginger, is a miniature dachshund.  Sometimes we get fancy and call her "Gingembre" to which she cocks her head in puzzlement.  "Mais vous savez très bien que je ne suis pas française" she seems to say.  "Enough with your French Mania."  Does  ma bonne chienne know that she is the star of many of my paintings?   This is my best selling design!   Take a peek at my line of "Ginger Gifts."   
And if you buy a little something, I'll have the extra argent to buy her a French collar

Medium National Flag of France Dog Collar

And some lavender shampoo
Fleurs de France - Spa Dog, True Lavender Dog Shampoo and Conditioner, Healthy Skin, Silky Coat - 8

And this French pull toy!

Vilac Miss Toby the Dog Pull Toy

Oh la la.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dansez Avec Moi

As a girl, I danced.  Everywhere.  In the front yard.  In the back yard.  Up and down the sidewalks. After incessant begging on my part, my parents enrolled me in the André Eglevsky School of Ballet.  This was one of their greatest gifts to me.  I lived and I danced, for many years thereafter, right in my own heart's calling.     After some time in this reverie, I graduated from supple pink slippers to satin toe shoes.   In doing so,  I felt I had graduated to another layer of the atmosphere.  Life in the stratosphere included a  beautiful memory of looking back at myself in the vast mirrors that spanned the walls of the school and seeing a lovely creature - suspended, mid-air, in a grand arabesque

Ballet Art Poster Print by Steven Mitchell, 10x8

Ballet school was where I first heard spoken French and terms like arabesque, plié, and frappé became part of my everyday usage.   I am certain that I love French so very much because it hearkens back to these effervescent memories.   

Economy Womens Ballet Shoe

French is the language of ballet for it was King Louis XIV who established the first official school of ballet.  The Paris Opera Ballet remains one of the finest ballet schools dans tout le monde.  
I wish you some dance in your day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Les Olives!

Certified International Garden of Olives 5-Piece Pasta SetsOlive del Diavolo 1 lb.

I have a love affair with olives.  These petites delicacies make many grand appearances in my culinary life.   There are about 20 varieties of olives cultivated in France and I've set myself on a quest to try them all.  Four popular varieties (as described in Stephanie Curtis' excellent article: Provencal Olives) are Picholine, Salonenque, Luque and Nicoise.  Ms. Curtis gives a recipe for Olive Cake (oui: cake!) and Tapenade.  One of my favorite uses of Tapenade is to drop a dollap onto salad greens and toss.  It makes a wonderful salad dressing all by itself.  Another way I enjoy olives is to bake my signature Olive Pesto Pizza....Take a pizza shell, spread a layer of basil pesto on top, then sprinkle a layer of Parmesan and Mozzerella. For extra zing, I sometimes use Pepper Jack. On top of that, toss a generous handful of slivered olives.  (I use a variety of olives).  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes or so..until cheese is bubbly and edges are browned a bit.  Je te promis: délicieux!   One of the best accounts I've read about life on an Olive Farm is Carol Drinkwater's Olive Trilogy.  I highly recommend this great read. 

    The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil The Olive Season: Amour, a New Life and Olives Too The Olive Harvest: A Memoir of Love, Old Trees, and Olive Oil


Monday, February 8, 2010

Le Chapeau

My mother, pictured below, once had a fabulous collection of hats. Like most women in the 1950's this was de rigueur.  As a girl, I would play dress-up with her hats.  By then, they sat in stacks of boxes in the attic.  Here is a fashion trend that I wish had never disappeared.  It's remarkable how donning a hat can utterly transform a person.    The stylish chapeau needs to come back!
Coco Chanel began her career designing hats.  For the French film "Coco Before Chanel," milliner Stephen Jones designed the hats for Audrey Tatou, who plays Chanel.  Enjoy his website:  and see how he is bringing le chapeau back to life.  Merci à vous, Mr. Jones!                                                   
Chapeau Mossant Fine Art Poster Print by Leonetto Cappiello, 16x20