Sunday, September 18, 2011

Watching tv in Bordeaux (honest)

This picture is out of sequence, it was actually taken at our chic hotel in Bordeaux, before we left for Lyon. We found Bordeaux a beautiful city and spent some time sitting on a park bench watching charming French mamans et papas and their ridiculously gorgeous children walk by. Then we went to dinner and drank Bordeaux.

Friday, September 16, 2011


This is the pretty river Saone which flows along one side of Presqu'ile. The Rhone flows along the other. We went to the Biennial at the Musee Contemporainianian. Before that we shopped at the marche for dinner at Carol's: les fromages, des lettus, des figues, de pain, des haricots verts, des pommes de terre, des olives.

Dessert plate in Lyon, part deux

This was after the dainty nibbles. The red tart is made from nuts and is a Lyonnaise speciality. No, I don't know what makes it red.

1st lunch in Lyon

We arrived on an Easyjet flight from Bordeaux, took a fancy-pantsy cab to Carol Neiley's house on Presq'ile and went to lunch in her neighb with some of her friends. This was the plate of desserts before it was daintily nibbled.

Quai in Lyon

We have arrived in Lyon. Had to get out and wander around a.s.a. was p.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

cognac souffle

Frenchie Jane

roasted peach, boule de glace vanille

Jane w salmon

la fille a Le Filet Blue

salmon at LeFilet Bleu

Madamoiselle Hilary at the tea shop in Mornac.

Charming charming charming

Hilary & Jane au bar.

Biere in Mornac-sur-Seudre, a charming little town, where we spent our afternoon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ile de Re

Here was my lunch today. Actually, it was only the 1st course, this was followed by a gigundo pot of mussels and frites. and of course we had Rose from Poitou-Charente.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This is our effing house... Yes, the one with the pointy turet.

I am on the 3rd floor and that really is my bedroom with the window/French doors opening onto my balcony, which looks onto the beach. (Or should I say bi-atch?)
Not quite sure about posting on the new iPad... I have finally figured out how to get pictures to the blog but can't seem to edit on the same pages with the pix...?? The pix do a pretty good job of saying something without my €2 thrown in.

Jane & Hilary on beach

That is the Atlantic beyond these 2.

Beach walk in a.m.

Hilary and I walked the length of the beach the first morning. These cragg-y cliff-y walls were at the far end. I thought the sinue-y Hilar-y looked a study in opposition to them. If we keep eating the breakfasts that we ate apr├Ęs this walk, we will blend better.

Breakfast after beach walk, 1st day

As Soon as We Got There!

Photos by georgia's pictures on Flickr

Photos by georgia's pictures on FlickrFriends Hilary and Jane and I flew from JFK to Paris, took 2 trains to Royan, were picked up at the gare by Francois and taken to his hotel for our first night in France. We immediately set out after dropping our suitcases to discover our new town. We started with a walk on the expansive beach of soft white sand and found the house we would be moving to the next day. We roamed through the streets and had our first dinner outdoors at a restaurant near the harbor. We were exhausted and went to to bed early, leaving the large French doors to the balcony of our room wide open.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This is what I have done since my last post, in a very small nutshell.

  • I finished my Center for Furniture Craftsmanship class and all my pieces.
  • Came home in early February and found an apprenticeship with Chris Lehrecke twice a week for a couple months. Helped with chairs for a large table.
  • Started working with Rbt Hastings once a week, which continues (except for a summer break). Helped build a toy chest, a tack box and a tool cabinet.
  • Went to a CFC reunion in NYC and met Zal Sakari, a former student who lives near me and has a workshop he was willing to share. YEAH! Moved tools in and started to make a small table that was suppose to be something like Chris' designs, but haven't succeeded. Zal and I end up baking bread and cooking meals and eating cheese. I lovelovelove Zal (and his darling wife, Caro, adorable child Taige, [yes, named after you-know-who] and even Huges, the dog)
  • Summer came and I traveled often to Quebec to help brother Harry on his cabin-building project. Built stair/ladder in atelier.
  • Took a week long Women's Carpentry class at Heartwood School in Mass. Helped build a chicken coop.
  • Helped daughter move from Chicago to NYC. Built a lofted bed so she could put her dresser beneath it and fit it in tiny bedroom.
  • Worked like mad to get all book design work finished so I can go away for a month with girlfriends, Hilary and Jane, to Royan, Fr. tomorrow.
For the month I am away, I hope to write often of our adventures. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


For the past 2 weeks we have entered the world of laminating, steam bending and veneering. Here are pictures from the steam bending demo. And, well, yes you steam a piece of wood and then bend it. It is all very Rube Goldbergesque: the steamer is this long box that is rigged up to a boiling lobsterpot with the top welded on and over a propane burner. The lobster pot is fed water from a bucket with a toilet float which is fed water from a hose attached to the bathroom sink. Okay..., never-mind.
A hot hot hot piece of wood is taken out of the steamer after it has had a good long shvitz and with great group effort, put into a contraption and bent around a form. There is plenty of scurrying, ratchetting, clamping, holding down the table which is heaving and bucking, etc. And then the wood may break or in the long run, unbend a bit so it isn't for all bendie furniture.

Laminating wood and bending it is for when you need it all to be to your will or as Tim Rousseau says "when you need to put the boot down". You glue a bunch of pliabe layers of wood together and bend it around a form, holding it with clamps or another form or putting it in a vacuum bag til it knows who's its daddy. There are a whole lotta gizmos involved and form making and jig making to make the forms before you even have bent a piece of wood that will eventually become part of furniture. My head feels like it is about to explode.

Then there is veneering, which is super thin pieces of wood glued onto a flat surface. The thing about veneering is, you have a wood surface which won't really move and you can create your own woodie look. But the best thing about it is this beautiful marquetry that can be put into the veneered surface. Here is the remarkable Craig Vandall Stevens demonstrating marquetry by making an oak leaf. It was fascinating and I can't wait to try it even though I have the sinking feeling that it may make doing perfect hand tooled half-blind dovetails seem like a walk in the park, can of corn, piece of cake. My new project is a walnut desk/table with a rounded, veneered top. I would like to put a small bit of marquetry in it. I was going to steam bend the legs and laminate the front apron and put in a drawer but we only have two and a half weeks left so ambitions are falling by the wayside, and honestly, I don't think I can cram that much more info into my head.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


School ended the week before Christmas for a break but many of us stayed to work work work. For me, it was challenging and ultimately rewarding. Enough people were around to help each other (okay, there isn't much I can help others with outside of being the required other in the building for using the machines) and a sense of ganging together was all apparent; our own li'l family, when most of the rest of the world was familying up. I got a list of what to do from Tim and Austin before they left and daunting as it seemed, to just march through it without having them to check my steps every inch of the way was weirdly good for me. I got downright brave, bold even. Made outrageous decisions. And, pretty much did a fine job. Not everything is right, but now I know for the next time. The idea that they won't actually be accessible forever and that I may be able to still make something is slightly more thinkable.

I did finally go home and in the 4 days cooked food, decorated tree, tended to poor Xmas day 24hr-stomach-bugged daughter and then got in the car and drove back. A big storm was nipping at my heels, but I made it before it hit big time.
We had only 4 more days to finish our 2nd project. 4 more days with Austin before he was not just leaving but moving out of state, far far away. 4 more days meant 4 days of such intense hunkering down on our work that it was... quiet, no chatting. Thursday late afternoon, Tim and Austin were so exhausted from our super intense drawing off of them they looked like bloodless vampire victims. Monday we start learning about bending and veneering. We start our last project which isn't to be strictly rectilinear. It is to have curves. The goddess emerges. The days are getting longer. A new year has been born. Oh, where was I...? Yes, we'll see what happens when a room full of linear thinking dudes is faced with unpredictable, soft, rounding shapes. Hee-hee.
Here is Austin on his last day, chewing on a stick I peeled for a possible pull for my cabinet. It was his last day...