Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Visit to Fontainebleau

A non-crafting post!!

I finally made it to Fontainebleau after several abortive attempts!  And it was a gorgeous, sunny day to boot. :)

I'm not wearing anything me-made and there's really no crafting angle whatsoever.  I could've taken photos of some of Napoloeon's clothing (the château houses a Napoleon museum, because among things, he abdicated here before going to Elba), but I have a real aversion to taking photos of objects behind glass.  So the only arts and craft angle is to enjoy the beautiful carvings and paintings, etc.

Here's one outside courtyard (my favorite because it was lush and had secret paths...which, regrettably I didn't take any photos of!):

A close-up on the statute...this château was previously used as a hunting lodge.  Try to picture it...

I particularly wanted to visit this castle because of its link to François I, who spent a lot of time here.  Or more specifically, because of its link to his sister - Marguerite de Navarre, author of L'Heptaméron, one of my favorite books.  Some of the stories in the book describe noblemen trying to seduce women in the gardens and I can easily imagine the scene in a garden such as above. 

I've mentioned Marguerite de Navarre before, but if she's unfamiliar to you, I strongly suggest at least checking out the wikipedia page.

Here's the François I gallery:

It's like la Galerie des Glaces at Versailles, except no mirrors, ha!

And here's François I's symbol (the salamander):

Some more pictures from the gallery:

Check out this amazing door with a Gorgon's head:

 Here's a close-up:

And some more views:

Finally, outside for gelato and sun and French gardens:

I love that shirt I'm wearing (and the boots!) and I wear it every week.  This one is RTW, but I definitely need to make another one with some chambray or something. 

Hope it's nice and sunny where you are this weekend!  :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

F.O.: Embroidered Necklace

This post started out as a standard follow-up to my last one, to show you the finished necklace, and then my brain hijacked it and decided it wanted to go elsewhere.

Just before deciding to get myself into gear and take pictures of the necklace, I was listening to a new-to-me podcast, the History of the Roman Papacy, and the episode on Paul of Tarsus (i.e. St. Paul) got me thinking about how individuals can accomplish amazing things ... things that would seem pretty crazy were one to announce the goal at the offset.  For example, "I'm going to define and establish a new, universal religion and spread it across the globe."  Sounds crazy, right?!

And then this led me to thinking about the power of invention and self-invention, which led me back to something lurking in the back (or front) of my mind since this article was published in the New York Times.  I know the author and certain parts of the essay had me wrinkling my forehead.

And then I remembered that it's her story about part of her life and one of the wonderful things about writing is that we the writers get to choose how to interpret and represent things, what is important, and what isn't.  And that maybe the narrative needs us to push things in a certain direction to help us get our point across.  So, when I remembered that I was much more able to just enjoy her piece and be genuinely happy for her for being published in the effing NY Times.

Now I'll show you the first fruits of all of this reflection: self-portraits...which didn't start out as such.

Originally I was just trying to take a picture of the damn necklace and I was going to crop my head out of the frame because I don't have my "face" on today and I'm feelin' tired after two nights of alcohol drinking.  But I was delighted with the results.  I love the light and the angles and I love that it's just me on a Saturday afternoon, no glamour.


I like the light in this one especially...


 And this is what happens when I start cracking myself up when I realize I'm taking self-portraits:

Tilted Head

Oh, and finally, a close-up of the finished object:

All in all I'm happy with the final result. And I felt like - whew, finally! - I finished something arts and craftsy!  Now I can go play a video game, ha!