Monday, August 8, 2016

I found my thrill ..on Blueberry Hill~





My basket in the car..at my feet..:) Jacques' was in the back seat..




So..I went blueberry picking w/ Mylène and Noah and I loved it..
I have never seen so many LUSH..
blueberry..bushes ..ecolo friendly in my life..and I must say..the owner and his staff are quite adorable:)

So I think Jacques loved the jam..I made w/ my récolte... as he said:" ..I will go back with you.."

and so we did..and the owner shook my husband's hand after I introduced them..and brought stools  :)How many people do that?

You get assigned a bush/area..and I do not blame him as people would go haphazardly here and there..

It was the hottest day on earth:)

We went early..and we came back with abundance.

So I doubled Christine Ferber's Wild Blueberry Jam recipe..the one that corresponds w/ Canadian and US blueberries..as there are two in this book I love..

I pre-cooked the same day..and macerated that night..the next morning..I made the jam at 9 AM because we were taking Lucas out to lunch♥

I have all these lovely pots stored away..and an assigned blueberry jam spoon..color coded♥

I sterilized all the pots and lids and rims..but I do not water bathe anymore..well I do some things..

They form such a tight seal..that I need a mini..pretty..feminine ..sledgehammer to pry the seal off:)

I love all the jams I have made from this book..

and yes I still love D. Lebovitz's strawberry jam..♥

One of the things we adored in Provence..

was the petit-déjeuner w/ freshly made croissants and home made jams..
ce fut le paradis.











..sure Bonne Mamans are adorable and I love her jars..and jams..
but nothing beats home made..

like they had and like we love..

I mean look..does that spot not look like paradise on earth?

Dinner by candlelight..or breakfast w/ rising sun..♥

Occitane products in our rooms..

I fell in love.And never fell out.



♥Gordes~

I had brought a journal and paints and enjoyed drawing and painting small things..

I had very few paints in 2008..I was working..did not have much time..
seems  that since I no longer work outside our home..I am collecting bits and bobs here and there.
I am fortunate to have a few travel sets..the lovely Cheap Joe's in the leather purse I showed you last Nov..and little kits I make here and there..little palettes I alter here and there..

Cigar boxes are sometimes found at my brocante and very reasonably priced..the one filled w/ my favorite Daniel Smith colors..was $2.00.
I bought empty half pans and filled with my favorite colors..even a novice has favorites..



I think 3 of the colors are not DS..
I still have empty pans:)
I already have colors in my mind..but you can't get them all at once..those tubes add up.

I have been revisiting my Craftsy class from Shari Blaukopf..about buildings..houses..



I know from the get go that buildings and landscapes are not my forte..but I like keeping the moments in journals..
The kiosque at that great Bleutière is not a thing of beauty..but I had to try:)It is crooked on the land..in my attempt to straighten..I made it off in the opposite sense.:):):)

A cute clothing and accessory store ..and a street scene from 2008 in Venice ,Italy.

Painting ..calms me inside.

We had a double party Sunday..for Mylène 41..(I cannot believe she is 41.)..and Lucas 11(I cannot believe he is 11)...



I was not the only thing wilting ..our heat pump stopped working on Friday..it's been in the 90's..
I was melting chocolate.. whipping icings..inspired by The Great British Bake Off..LOVE THAT SHOW...only 1 episode left until the winner is crowned..we were sorry to see Flora go..but we would have said that about each one of them..:)
They all have a certain je ne sais quoi.
Nadia and her tears..she makes me cry..what a beauty:) Tamal..what a nice young man..he is a doctor/ anaesthetist..Ian..his molds etc..  I had no idea he was a pro photog and is the personal photog of the Dali Lama when he is in the UK.
In this case more was better..
Carrot cake..cream cheese icing..
Lucas..checkerboard cake.. whoppers on top ,fine belgian cookies around and MELTED Callebaut chocolate name and greeting.



Poor wilting chocolate...

His Auntie..the 41 yr old:)  Made him this..gift cards and candy..in every cup..yu poke through and the gifts are revealed..




That spells I love you..I care so much about you..I made you this:)

PS Watching an amazing HBO show..The Night Of.
Have a great week..I think I have said enough for the week;)




47 comments:

  1. Berry picking is so much fun! My children and I picked plenty of berries when they were small. I made cobbler, froze some and made lots of jam. Homemade jam is heavenly. All of the love and work makes us appreciate it so much! The children are so sweet. They do grow up too fast. An as always, I appreciate seeing your art. I just recorded "The Night of".

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    1. I hope you like it..it's graphic..and gritty but suspensful and the actors are so good:)
      Let me know..Hope you had fun w/ your gang Linda:) I used Fotojet for these collages:) Thank you.

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  2. I've never been berry picking, nor have I ever made jam. I tried my hand at orange marmalade once with a group of girlfriends. We failed! It never did set up. ;-(
    I love that you record your days and adventures in your watercolor journal. I admire that!
    I know the jam is delicious. ;-)

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    1. It really is so good..I can say that because it isn't my recipe..August is celebratory chez vous and chez nous❤️Thank you for your kind wishes Sarah!

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  3. Oh, I forgot. Happy Birthday to Mayléne and Lucas.

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  4. Replies
    1. It's so good:) We can all thank CFerber and Linda who offered me this book a few years back:) And Linda telling me her French friends..never water bathed:)

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  5. Oh là là, Blueberry Abundance!!! All that sunshine blessing those breakfast tables. It's funny: In Maine, we think we are the sole place of the Wild Blueberry (Blueberries for Sal...) Not so...Our harvest hasn't quite yet started...

    I am OBSESSED with wc travel boxes, & could just keep on collecting them! In our sketch group some one showed me the Sennelier box today, with its little shelf that pops out! Too cute! I've been watching videos about them too. My new Winsor Newton box has characteristics that I wouldn't have known about if i hadn't seen the video. Your little houses are enchanting. I will go to the link you recently suggested to me, Thank You!

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    1. I think I am obsessed w/ anything watercolor travel /home etc:)
      I tried to order a Sennelier one for my daughter and shipping was 3 months..so I did give her the small Sennelier in the metal box w/ see-through top that I have and love..soon we are all going away ..together..I suggested she bring the set and maybe we could paint together.
      Videos are indispensable!
      Last night we were eating en famille and our SIL showed us a new little video camera he bought..we all oredered one..because we saw it in action:)

      I can be persuaded at the touch of a demo.:)

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  6. PS You just brought back a memory of my first time berry picking: Up on a small mountain with my folklore professor and his wife. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, city girl that I had been! Merci!

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    1. I promise..I am in heaven picking berries..it is a privilège:) to be able to harvest what someone has worked so hard at ..to simply share.

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  7. Your blueberries are beautiful...so bright and plump! I bet the jam is amazing. Being provided a stool for picking is great hospitality. The blueberry field that we frequent in Oregon wasn't open this year. We were sad.

    I cannot believe that Lucas is eleven years old...I remember when he was quite small. Time is certainly moving like the wind. With your heat pump out and the weather so hot, I do not know how you were able to make such a beautiful cake.

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    1. We never had air conditioning until we moved here 16 years ago..so I am used to being warm..and even w/ air..we seldom use it..just to cool before bedtime..
      I have a bad record of fainting..so Jacques has taken to cooling at night..it should be fixed soon..we called the local hero:)
      I still see Lucas as a baby..often..what a change..I am sure you notice that w/ your darling granddaughter:)
      Are there really two d's:)?
      It's quite a banner year it seems here for blueberries.:)

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  8. Your pictures and stories are always so beautiful...how do you do it? Every post is more beautiful than the last....
    Those cakes are amazing...you are so talented!
    Happy birthday to all....
    Enjoy your evening...Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Your anemone is FULL of buds....♥️

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  9. That was such a cute 'card' for Lucas. And you made those cakes in that heat? Now, that is love. Love making jam and I don't water bath either. I have poured a little wax on top before, but now, mostly make freezer jam. Such pretty berries. I would love it spooned over yogurt or anything, but especially a croissant. You can't buy a good one here. Summer looks perfect there. What was the pink flower? Anemone?

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    1. Yes Japanese Anemone..:)

      Good call!
      I used to pour wax too w/ a wick:)

      Because Jacques' mom did:)
      Croissants♥
      Oli asked Mylène if he could get a card like that..he is in September:)..She said yes of course:)
      The cakes ..were pouting:)

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  10. The title of your post today reminded me of my dad, he loved that song, Blueberry Hill. I think your landscapes turned out beautifully Monique, very nice!! How wonderful for Lucas to have a birthday cake with his name of it and that wonderful gift card. Happy summer to you!

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  11. The blueberries are amazing. I have never picked them, but have picked grapes and strawberries.

    Your photo's are so beautiful. Your cakes look so good I am sure everyone enjoyed them.

    Happy Birthday to both. Your grandson is very good looking. I am sure he will break a lot of hearts.

    Your jam looks so good, yum yum.

    Have a terrific week and your table on the terrace looks wonderful.

    Mary

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    1. Thank you Mary..hope you are feeling better and better!

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  12. Your blueberries look so plump and delicious and I'm sure your jam is, too. Lucas' cake is adorable. I always enjoy looking at your paintings. My Colorado daughter hikes and summits mountains at 14,000 ft. also known as 14'ers. She and my husband summitted one this morning, so I painted a sign for her to commerate her accomplishment. This was her 19th 14'er. I may post a picture of in a few days.

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    1. Wow they must be in great shape!
      I am afraid gardening is really my only form of exercise..Jacques bikes and does indoor workouts too.Must admit your Colorado pics have been spectac!

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  13. I have never been fruit picking -- always wanted to, but the opportunity has never appeared. I'm super jealous of your baskets full of those gorgeous blueberries;) My mouth is watering at the jelly too. Beautiful post as always Monique.

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    1. Thank you Nancy..blueberries seem almost easier than strawberries.

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  14. Where do I start! There is so nuch to love here. Those beautiful berries, and so many of them. What a treasure! And your jams. You are right about jam. Bon Maman is great, but homemade is infinitely better. Smaller batches have better flavours. Oh, the birthday boy. How adorable is he. As you know my oldest just turned 41 as well. We were pregnant at the same time. I like that thought. I was a very naieve 19 year old. Oh boy. What a learning curve! I love your artwork. No surprise there. I think you are so very talented. Love you to bits. xoxo

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    1. I was a child having a child:)But at that time..it was exactly what I needed..and it all turned out..I played house:) How fun was it to dress them and take care of them..real life dolls:)
      And so sweet..
      I would like to relive that part of my life as it was the best I think..when the girls were small and I was at home w/ them..But we cannot stand still right..Jacques surprises me..when we see a movie star that has aged..Jacques syays..well that's life..they are aging ..as we are..I tell him ..don't say that:)
      Of course I know he is right.
      You are the talented one..:)xx

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  15. I would be thrilled to spend time on blueberry hill :-) My favorite local patch is only open on Saturdays and I have been away. Happy Birthday to both! Your table on the terrace looks very inviting, and ooh that jam too. You take the best anemone photos...truly.

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    1. :) You have been sooo buys:) I bet you have not seen summer..Loved your dress Debbie..so chic.

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  16. Love. Love. Love.
    Th BLUEBERRIES! I hesitate here buying them...so €€€
    Miam. I am dying to go to Christine's town in Alsace..on my list.
    Pls do not aspire to Bonne Maman! Major industrial brand with cute marketing.
    Anything you do is 1000% better!!!
    Love all yr watercolors.
    I will be in Gordes this weekend!! Weeee

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    1. One of our favorte places..Gordes..you're so close to everything..!
      Can't wait to see what you share with us after..the market on Tuesday was so nice.
      Pretty pretty pretty.
      I don't have to suggest you take a camera;)
      Have fun.

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  17. So many beautiful images. Would love to join you on Blueberry Hill. Your cakes are amazing and Lucas is so cute. What a thoughtful auntie.

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    1. She is the K teacher:) So ideas abound in her..all day ong w/ 5 yr olds and then home to Noah..busy girl our Mylène:)
      THanks Penny!

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  18. Everything about this post makes my heart explode inside! Oh, the art -- I have to get back with my Craftsy class. And Gordes. Wow. I'd love to be there. And I DO love Bonne Maman but you are right -- home made is so very much better.

    Blueberry season down here in Michigan, too. I already have bought a lot (love a big bowl for breakfast and have a wonderful pie recipe). Plus, I like to freeze them so I can enjoy them in the off season. I'm planning to pick up a five pound box at the market on Wednesday.

    So much to love here...

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    1. Thanks Jeanie..Michigan is such a beautiful state..we have a bit of the same climate.. you may be warmer because of the lake effect ,but I do know than in Fl..many license plates are from Michigan:)

      Art wise..I am all over the place..the above is trying to follow my Craftsy class..then I switch to something completely different:)
      I do love it so though..So peaceful.
      Have a great day.

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  19. Blueberries are great and so is Blueberry Hill in Ohio! And the song too!

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    1. Yes that song:) I think we all heard it more than once!:)

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  20. I am late to read and comment. Did you and Jacques pick every blueberry off you assigned bushes? What a harvest you got. Those jars of jam are a thing of beauty. I especially like the smallest size. Who makes the jars? I may have to try this. I see the book is in English so that will make matters easier. I love your anemones! How and where in the garden do you grow them? I have tried but they seem to have withered away. Maybe I ask this question every year at this time. And last , the cakes are beautiful especially Your daughter's. It looks like a beautiful summer hat! Lucas must have loved his card from his aunt. Happy birthday to both if them.

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    1. Funny thing about Anemones..these are pink..Japanes Anemones..I have tried Honorine Joubert..white and she did not return..
      My anemones are situated by the small pond where I have put your seedlings..well 5 of them..this is the only place I have tried that my anemones thrive.And they prefer the front where I would like them at the back:) So I often have to pull some front ones out..and keep transplanting in back:)
      So plants really do prefer some areas..this pond..(so small)..don't picture a beautiful big pond..is in shade all morning until..1pm..and then sun till 5-6..
      I have no idea why they LOVE there..
      Everything does well there.. except at the back under tree shade..I pulled everything out so now it is bare..I will put a big hosta I have somehwre else..hostas do very well there too.
      That book is so nice..
      there are 2 wild blueberry jam recipes..she specifies which one is for US blueberries..or canadian:)
      I have made a few jams..this one is so easy..and my family loves it..it's not jelled..no pectin..

      If you would like I can send you the recipe for this jam..My favorite jars for jams are the wide mouth ones..Jacques liked the smaller round ones..
      If you use the small 4 ounce ones..you can share :) Easier to give away..:)
      Once my jars are cooled..I flip them back upright and store in our basement fridge..
      I have a shelf or two for my jams and relishes etc..
      This recipe..the blueberries stay so nice..not mush.
      But you have to enjoy a looser jam.I even cook mine longer..on the second cooking she says 5 minutes..I do 10.

      you can use the plate test..I stick my thermometer in and it says..close to soft ball..
      LOL do I confuse you?
      I picked all mine from my bush..Jacques went on to the next..just a bit:)
      I love that place:)

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    2. It sounds like your enemonies must get a moist soil from the pond. I have had them in dry spots, maybe that is my problem. That and I'm not diligent at watering my gardens. I think your hellebores will do well in this spot too. Maybe give them a bit extra mulch this winter for protection.

      I would love the recipe. Yes you have confused me with plate soft ball. Is there a special thermometer for making jam? Do you place it on a plate and if it forms a soft ball it is good?

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    3. I really do not even do it anymore..you could try David lebovitzs strawberry one which we love too..will send you the recipe and what I do:)

      My pond is one of those prefab plastic shells..so it's not moist..:( It's quite dry that bed..I can't be diligent w/ my gardens..I would need too much strength in my arms to drag the hoses everywhere..it has to be by hand if ANY watering here.

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  21. Ah, you are in for a treat with the Bake Off Finale. We are about to head into the next series here and I cannot wait. I've been making lots of jam too over the summer and gave some blueberry jams a try this year. I'm so please I'm not alone in not using a water bath - I was beginning to panic, but I trust you to do the right thing. I always love your photos, drawings and paintings - in the words of Mary Berry "sheer perfection".

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    1. Thank you so much Jane..I love Mary Berry now and Paul Hollywood..they are wonderful and my husband even enjoys the show..you have so many wonderful British shows that we love..quality quality quality.
      I hope you are having a wonderful summer..
      I water bathed for years..and added paraffin and string.. I don't with my latest jams..our health isn't perfect but it has nothing to do w/ our jams:)

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  22. Those blueberries - oh my :) The cakes, the beautiful gift, your gift of painting, and writing and baking! You are a lovely artist Monique. Thanks for making our visits uplifting and beautiful! Love the jam too!

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    1. Honestly it takes courage to put my little facades..lol..I am not enchanted by them..but I love doing it..
      I may be a collector of art supplies;)
      You are a definite artist in food and photography..definite.I bet you can paint too:)

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  23. What a fun day harvesting your blueberries and then making jam. Wish we lived closer. I'll love to taste your jam with your fresh bread! Heaven♥ The birthday cakes are beautiful works of art, I bet they tasted great too! Happy Birthday to Mylene and Noah. Loving your watercolors and cigar boxes to put your treasures in. I've taped The Great British Bake Off series but, I've been hooked on the Olympics this summer. So many wonderful athletes.
    Have a wonderful weekend!! Hugs, Jody

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    1. Yes wonderful athletes..we watch the Plympics also/comme le Tour De France.
      Toi aussi..bon weekend Jody:)

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