Of course our style is all about the textiles that have been around since Mrs. Delany's time: the velvets and linens and toiles. Toiles were first produced in Ireland in the mid-18th Century due to copper-plate fabric printing being invented here by Francis Nixon in the 1750s so I'm sure she would have been well aware of such things. Toile quickly became popular in Britain and France - as soon as cotton imports became available - there was some politics involved.. Today Toiles are much more associated with the French town of Jouy, near Versailles. Printed patterns in a single colour, on a single background, becoming know as Toile-de-Jouy.
Lately, I've had to move my workshop back into my home and the creative part of me is secretly relieved. All the collected objects of my story are now 'back home.' I can walk straight from the bedroom into the workshop just like when I was a child and all my 'work' was reachable while still in my dressing gown. Magnicent expamles of the Dutch painters still inspire awe. One place I'm putting on my list of places to visit when we are released back to our lifes is the Ashmolean Museum to see some of these: https://www.ashmolean.org/still-life-paintings The short video is a pan of the top of my computer desk. (Credit: Jim Clarken, Echt Productions.)
Last week, I finally found a 'standard' lilac for my patio. It's still in a pot waiting for the Summer sunshine to bring out the blossoms but I have a lovely reminder of sunny gardens everytime I take out the cushions used in the Chez Maison Bespoke Bedset. I've made them up in a Lilac print from Titley and Marr who clearly understand how to traslate that inspiration into a devine print.
Although mid-Winter is well gone by it can still be difficult to motivate to freshen up after the Xmas decorations come down.
Putting a project in motion does help. For me the project that works best is making marmalade.. the Easy way. The steeping and washing of the oranges really is does re-fresh the spirt at this harsh time of the year.
We have made a video based using Jim's Granny's French cookery book which produces delicious results.
Baking at Christmas condures up spices and dried fruit packed into Cakes, puddings and mince pies. Back in the day when I was in domestic-science class we got to make a Christmas cake. The cake mixture was made during class time but we all took the raw mixture home in the tins to be baked. The best bit was, if we decorated them at home to our own designs we could bring them back into the school for display. These days I'll happily make plum puddings and homemade mincemeat for pies but instead of a fully fledged rich fruit cake we have what I call a “Solstice Cake.” The Solstice cake is essentially a home-bake Pannetone. The “Irish” version here has a buttery Broiche texture with a strong hint of fresh nutmeg and just some candid peel and golden sultanas for the fruit.