Friday, September 26, 2014

Inspirations from Montmartre

The colors of France are exquisitely varied from village to village and from street to street!  As the seasons change, we often change our decor to suit the season. In France, the colors are a part of the beauty. These colors are found on doors, shutters, houses, flowers, and of course in the art!  Montmartre is a beautiful hilltop district where you will see all of the city of light! It is a spectacular view of the city and a must, in my opinion. It is an area where artists, dreamers, poets gathered in the 1800 and 1900's and is still to locals and tourists a district where you might find a great piece of art painted by a local artist.  Montmartre is also anchored by the beautiful Sacre-Coeur Basilica!  It is beautiful and looks ancient but it was only built a century ago.  The interior domed ceiling is amazing.....a must to see!  All of my adult children who have visited Paris really enjoy spending time in this area.  It has a bohemian influence which attracts the young and young at heart.  I purchased a piece of art  from an artist.  It is just the right size for the space I wanted to fill, and the colors attracted me immediately!  The colors are earth tones, which I love since I am in love with nature and all of the outdoors!  In France, get ready to spend a lot of your time outdoors! 
This beautiful red door is in the Marais! This is a beautiful old Jewish district and one of my favorite areas of Paris! 
My painting from France now has a beautiful frame and each time I pass it I remember all the fun we enjoyed that day in Montmartre talking with the different artists! They are all interesting and a group of five American women helped us to get attention as we looked and purchased our paintings.  The colors of mine inspired my French Velvet accent pillow for the fall. [scroll to the bottom for directions on sewing your own pillow] I love rich browns and found the perfect velvet fabric to sew for a pillow, which pulled out the browns in the painting as well.  I wanted the pillow to look old, sort of a worn look.  
One of my favourite designers is not French but British, and her ability to make things look old and her respect for beautiful objects from the past have caught my attention.  Her name is Rachel Ashwell, and her designs are popular under 
the Shabby Chic design label.   I found and visited her shop in Santa Monica, California on Montana Avenue a couple of times while visiting my daughter and 
as you might guess, it is so inspiring!  Also, last Spring on a visit to the 
Cotswolds in the UK,  I understood her design, even more, for the antique shops all over the Cotwolds look just like her shop, perfectly imperfect!  I love that about antiques!  Both the French and the British have a great respect for their history and their buildings and furnishings.  Nothing is ever too old to use and love again! What a great lesson about life! 
For your own French Velvet accent pillow purchase one yard of a good quality 
velvet upholstery fabric. Purchase a 20 x 20 down filled pillow form.  Lay the 
fabric flat on your cutting table and cut the front panel 24W x  24L  in inches.  The back panel will be 24W x  38L. This back panel is longer because you will cut it in half and make a fold, lapping one piece over the other for the opening for the pillow insertion. 
I like this better than using a zipper and it gives it an antique feel.  After sewing the panels together, turn your finished pillow to the right side and give it a true French look by top stitching around the entire pillow one inch!  Good Luck! 

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