Fun week

Last week we hosted the workshop of Stephanie Rubiano here at La Cascade. She had a delightful group who made wonderful figure assemblages which you can see Here. It was a lovey week of treasure hunting and art-making. Loved going into the studio to see their art journey during the week.

440_21926I had a delayed birthday dinner at a plats-timbale-avocatsfantastic restaurant close by- check it out HERE. I have heard for many years about this special place and finally this was the year I got to go with Dan and friends.The meal was the best and the evening was perfectly finished off by singing show tunes around an old player piano played by the chef!

Dan and I took a short trip away- we follow a concert series called 31 Notes of Summer which are free jazz and blues concerts held in small villages all over our region. The villages presenting the concerts (in July and August) also offer an activity of some kind in the village before the concert. We dove down towards the Pyrennes area to vist a cheese farm (le Tetu) and saw a fantastic DixieLand style Jazz band in the evening.

indexindexThe next day’s event was a tour of the Chateau de Saint Elix- (amazing renovation) and another concert that night by Jane for Tea. Lovely getaway.

I’m busy painting walls ( cantalopue, coral, mint green), doing a little art work, trying out some new recipes with tomatoes and zucchinni from the garden and enjoying the lovely weather.



cooking art and fun

carolyn5Nese Pelt and I just finished teaching a fun workshop with a group of eight lovely people. from all over the United States. We had several sessions of art, cooking lessons, yoga and lots of field trips. This group really wanted to experience the countryside and were off almost daily on adventures.

In the art sessions we made a handmade journal to be used for taking notes (at cooking class), stashing recipes and bits of info picked up during the week, sketching and photos.

The cooking classes were great fun and covered many different kinds of recipes. We learned some traditional French (Fondant au Chocolate), Turkish, tagines, fish recipes, several pastries and breads, how to make a simple cheese and my personal favorite-  a delectable appetizer made with LOTS of garlic. I tried out the chesse yesterday and have it marinating in olive oil and herbs right now.

augWe all went to Albi at the beginning of the week and really enjoyed this lovely city. Several took the boat trip along the Tarn River that offers a beautiful perpective of the grand cathedral. During the week, Brad and Gina drove to Guissan to stick their feet in the Mediterranean, Steph and Jeff, Margo and Beth, Anne and MaryFran all france-07 147hiked to the top of Mont Segur- an amazing Cathar castle down in the Pyrennes and we all went to a huge flea market to finish off the week- a week packed with lots of good food, conversation, art and adventure.

Thanks to you all for making it a great week!





another great week

What a lovely week I just had with a group of funny, talented and adventurous women from all over the US and Scotland! And let’s not forget our lovely man Tim who ventured here with his wife and made it thru the week!

laoWe started off the week going to the Revel market.  There was a wonderful kora player at one of the cafes last Saturday. Today I went back to see him again and he is supeb- Lao Kuayate- check him out. Wonderful music and spirit.

cofe By the way, my favorite new drink to order at a French cafe is called a Noisette. It’s an expresso with a tiny splash of foamy cream. Like a small size cafe au lait.

Sunday we went to a superb flea market in the nearby village of Caraman. Everyone found great treasures to use in art work made in studio here and to go home with. This group of women worked every night til all hours and there were so many wonderful pieces for me to see when I arrived each morning. Ya’ll were great!!

encalWe attended the last few minutes of a chanted service a tthe Monatery at EncalCat which was very special. The bookshop there is a great place to find all sorts of things- watercolor calendars, small Russian icons, CD’s of chants and jazz too!, beautiful postcards of tapestries that this monastery is known for made by 1001_T1Dom Robert. Books on medieval cooking, walking the Compostela, all kinds of things.

We enjoyed going to Albi and especially when one of our gals got up to sing with the organ grinder- great! Teresa- waiting for a picture coming soon I hope!

All in all a wonderful week of art-making, seeing the sights of our special area, inspiring studio time and wonderful laughs and conversation.

My thanks to all of you for making my week so special: Tim,Teresa, Peggy, Pat, Bobbie, Margaret, Sue, Sharon, Carolyn! xoxo.


workshop week!

sun2Finally, after months of email contact with all these adventurous women, they arrived in Toulouse France for our week together. We drove through blooming sunflower fields and got settled into La Cascade. By dinner time everyone had arrived safe and sound.

marThe week began with a walking tour around our village and our neighbor villages Soreze and furnitureRevel. All medieval and so charming. Revel is a center of fine furniture-making and has been from medieval times. It also holds the Saturday maket- going on since mid 1300′s and one of the 100 most beautiful in France. We went of course and saw heaps of gorgeous summer produce along with olives, cheeses, breads, local foods and antique linens, clothes and other things hard to FR8resist.

We went to two vide greniers (“empty the attic”)- flea markets and I gotta say- even tho they were small, the ladies found GREAT stuff- antiques and things to use in found object art and to bring home. Marcia found a beautiful white linen table cloth embroidered with her intials! Carla was the queen of finding unique jewelry.  I found a couple treasures myself but tried to leave most of the good stuff for them- he he.

I’m sorry to say that after several days of good studio time- we all were too tired to celebrate Bastille Day. The music and fireworks are close to midnight and after eating a full dinner and having wine- we all said no way.

Thanks to all for a lovely week- you all were intrepid working in the studio late at night and made unique and personal art. I really loved seeing the pieces come to life. Thank you for sharing your spirit with me- Marcia, Eileen, Susan (also car driver extraordinaire), Sev, Eleanor, Carla, Allyson, Sara, Dana, and Chris -who came the farthest (Australia) and bought THE heaviest things to carry home. Hope to see you all again!


busy week

calvaire-AgutsIt’s been an eventful week- I had a few days off which I most enjoyed. Dan and I took a hike through old fields and up the hill to the Calvaire d’Aguts. The small village of Aguts is home to (and the villagers maintain ) a lovely chapel, two small priories and a beautiful cross carried from Jerusalem in 1893.

28c1043af6df31b44cff49f52725fe20The next day we went to Castres for the Fete de la Musique. This is a celebration in all of France that happens each year on June 21st- a national day to make and celebrate music. Everyone is encouraged to make music on this day. The larger cities and towns have several stages set up all around the town for “music-makers” from professionals to your neighbor who plays the guitar. In smaller villages people gather at the cafe or town square to sing or even just outside your front door!

One year many people young and old gathered on our street to sing old French and English songs. Our friends Peter played the keyboard, Ann the guitar, Kate the flute and Ian the spoons! This year we went to a bigger town to see what was happening. There must have been 20- 25 places around the town set up for music making. We wandered from spot to spot experiencing jazz, cuban, reggae, rock, folk, indie- you name it- there was a group there doing it. delightful!

1024px-Lac_de_Saint-FéréolAnd I ended the week participating in a “Flash Mob” at Lac du Saint Ferreol! My friend organized a flash mob dance done on the dam at the beautiful and historic lake that is 10 minutes from here. The dancers were all in white holding white balloons. The music started and soon about 100 dancers were moving together. After the dance we were all encouraged to get a balloon and learn the dance routine. Being a former dancer I couldn’t resist. So the next time we did it there were at least 150 regular folk doing the dance and ending with setting all the balloons free into the sky.