Well we won't have much snow for xmas - what's left has turned icy but it is still sparkly in the moonlight and pretty enough to satify my needs for a 'white christmas'
I'm feeling v. christmasy today - I finished the food shopping this morning and this afternoon I'll prepare the pork, cranberry and chestnut stuffing and also make a start to the onion and blue cheese soup. I've only had a coffee and a little biscuit so far today so thinking about tomorrow's feast is killing me....
I'll prepare as much as I can today because tomorrow morning we start the day with champagne and pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. The plan is remain tipsy for the rest of the day without undercooking the turkey and overcooking the brussel sprouts :)
So I got to rush but I've some photos and clippings to show before I do...
The photo above is our house in the snow a year or so ago - the balcony you can see is the soon-to-be gallery entrance.
The local daily paper for the region 'Le Dauphine Libere' wrote a little snippet on the xmas market and showed a picture of my makeshift display :) The pic is a very fuzzy scan of the newsprint - sorry, from left to right is: A woman from the craft collective who made festive candle votives, my friend Bernadette, me and then Christine, who we met on the day of the market but who has already become a good friend :)
I made a box of little star ornaments for Bernadette's christmas tree as a 'thank you' for her invaluable help at the market.
On Sunday I took part in my first Christmas market! It was -6 when we left the house just before 9.00am but luckily this market was in the village hall so I wasn't going to be standing outside in sub zero temperatures all day.
Organised by the local farmers, the hall was decorated with large christmas trees in the centre of the room, with the artisans and producers organised in a large rectangle around them. Trouble had been taken to drape the tables in red and, holly branches were brought for extra decor.
I hadn't realised that tables were going to be supplied for us so had brought my own which had displaying props and hooks for my garlands and panels but it wasn't possible for me to use this with the table provided so unfortunately everything was displayed rather flat until A. returned with a large decorative birdcage from the house so at least we had a centrepiece to tie stars to.
As you know, my french is rubbish so I had great help and support from a friend and her daughter who provided translation and introductions when required (which to be honest was with every enquiry or sale).
Before 10.00am the tables were complete - brimming with local produce from dedicated farmers - fruits and walnuts, snails, goose products, goat and sheeps cheese, jams, ciders, vinegars, honey, spice bread, honey wine, beeswax candles, tarts and quiches :) fabulous! The local artsians were - a fantastic woodturner making large decorative panels and platters (I think A. is in discussions with him to make some bespoke Hi-Fi pieces), a potter, a craft association or collective who teach knitting, crochet etc., myself and an incredibly talented painter of animals, Anne Cochet - please take a look at her work anne.cochet.free.fr
As you would expect in France, lunch was an important part of the day with a table organised for the sellers at midday - little snail pastries for an appetiser and then a chicken pot dish with rice or potatoes, quiche, bread and cheeses, wines and a fabulous chocolate spice cake with layers of chocolate and orange cream (OMG - that cake was good!!) Customers to the market were still arriving in the adjoining hall but no one seemed too worried about their sales :)
For such a small little village the market was incredibly well attended with local people arriving from the surrounding hamlets to place christmas food orders, buy some last minute gifts and catch up with friends and local gossip and of course see Father Christmas ...or sample the free hot wine ;)
By the time I'd packed up at 6pm my head was thumping after a long day but I made more sales than I could have imagined, received some orders for christmas, had lots of enquires about the new gallery next year and made some new friends - not a bad day at all.