Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Reminder of Provence

So how did I spend my gift of a day? Remember all that blue and yellow fabric I bought in Provence several months ago? I finally had time to start a sewing project.

My idea when I bought the fabric was to make a set of 8 placemats, but I didn’t have a design in mind. Instead I bought several types of fabric in coordinating patterns. Last night I called my friend and traveling companion Kris to find out the dimensions of the placemats she bought. So I started with 12-1/2" by 17".

I knew I wanted the placemats to be reversible. On the rather plain side, I added corner decorations of the cigale (grasshopper) and olive motifs. The other side was already busy enough. A bias binding around the outside then finished it off.

After making a pattern, cutting out pieces, trying out ideas, and constructing, it took about 2 hours to make one placemat. The time-consuming part was the bias binding, which had to be hemmed down by hand on one side. But I figure I need about 8 hours of work to make the other 7 placemats.

This is the perfect kind of project for me – one that doesn’t really take a long time and shows immediate results. I love the idea of making something I actually need and can use.

But the best part was that it brought back memories of buying the fabric at Boutique Vincenette in Arles and then starting to notice how the grasshopper dominated much of the design in Provence.

Later on at lunch with friends as we described our trip to France, which now seems like an eternity away, I was a little nostalgic for the simple life of Lourmarin and the freedom to just get on my bicycle and explore. The placemats will continue to remind me of this gem of a trip.


Blogger Pagan Marbury said...

Cute, and very industrious of you.

Should I be embarrassed that I slept all day?

It's HARD being a party girl!

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are beautiful.


10:06 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pagan -- The difference of about 25 years in our ages (I presume) might explain the different use of our time!

Kate -- Unfortunately THEY are an IT right now. There are still 7 to go. But thank you!

10:13 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Definitely a beautiful reminder.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you just love creating such things? Were I able to post a picture in a comment, I'd show you my single placemat from France, a gift from my sisters who visited Provence two years ago. The colors (blue and yellow) are similar to yours (and mine has just flowers rather than the cigale), but your flip side is much more artistic than the one I have. It makes me want to get together for lunch!

10:40 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Thank you.

Pauline -- Where's lunch? Your place or mine?

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love them, reversible as well. What kind of napkins?

10:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL -- You just reminded me why I bought the big hunk of material I've been cutting the bias strips out of. It was for napkins! I wonder if I'll have enough of it now...

10:48 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Such a beautiful reminder of a great trip! I remember your post on buying the fabric.
Is that why they call it French Country Blue and Yellow? (My whole kitchen is that but more light yellow and baby blue)

8:19 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Very bright!!!
I have been busy and have left some belated comments for you...

11:04 AM  

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