La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Making Roman Blinds. What a slog ! Quick Preview.

This is not my first attempt.  I've made a couple of roman blinds before.  Now, they were for separate rooms, for small windows, in a country cottage.
The ones I am making now are for our sitting room, with 6 large windows, so they have to be a bit decent and straight. 
Gosh, I didn't want to do this job - it was not in my freshening-up plan for the sitting room - but the old ones had shrunk so much after washing them that there was no other option.

I just wanted to post these pictures here, to give myself a pat on the back.  Please don't hold back, you can all give me a pat on the back and give me the motivation to finish the sodding blinds.

Yep, still need to finish the hem, but that is no work at all.

Also, I have a striped pelmet in mind to tie in with the rest of the new scheme.

Hey, and I pre-shrunk the fabric !

Thanks for giving me a pat on the back.
Patricia xxx...x

Sunday, March 20, 2011

So, we went to Ireland

... at the end of February , for 3 nights/4 days.  If you want to be in the Southwest of Ireland and your plane lands in Dublin, that of course means you have to drive a long way by rental car to where you want to be.  Sneem, Co Kerry, in our case.
It gave us 2 full days to visit only some of our  friends and have a jolly knees up. We also went to have a look at some properties, nothing definite as yet.  We'll keep our eyes peeled.

We arrived back home on the Monday night.  Tired, but happy to have seen some of the friends. 
Tuesday, took down the roman blinds in the sittingroom, sneezed and sneezed some more -- very dusty -- washed and air-dried them.  Took out the off-white emulsion and started painting the walls.
Bert was due in hospital for surgery on his foot on the 15th March and I wanted everything freshened up for his revalidation at home, you see.
But something went wrong ! On Thursday 3rd I came down with shivers, fever, achey bones ..... flu.  Don't really know how, but I managed to finish the painting and ironed a few of the roman blinds, only to come to the conclusion that they had shrunk.... a lot, in the width.
Oh, I might as well fall to pieces right now and die a slow death of flu. I felt anxious, needed to be in top form to take care of Bert when he had his surgery.  On Monday the 14 th, Bert decided to call the doctor as the fever was still rampant (39.8 C)
Decision was made to phone the surgeon and postpone Bert's op (that is now on the 3rd May).  I got some much needed sleep and rest, Bert finally realised that I also needed food - yes, my stomach thought that my throat had been cut, many times.  I got some echinecea, antibiotics (yes, I know, but desperate times...)
By Wednesday, the fever went, but I still felt weak 
Now I'm back in the land of recovering flu sufferers.  Bert went to Ikea to buy fabric for new roman blinds and that is what I am about to start with, filled with trepidation, but I suppose it will look much beter than the shrunken ones.

Murphy's Law, sod's law, I don'tknow.  What do you think ?

Thanks for reading
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Natural Garden Fences & Devides

Our house is set in a 3000 sqm garden, surrounded by woodland mainly. Needless to say that come autumn we have leaves galore to rake. 
Now, we are not the sort of people that would love living with a regimented, pristine and super tidy garden. 
We like using what nature gives us for free and things that don' t look out of place in this setting.
These are just a few of the examples what is possible.

In the pictures above you can see how we made cilinders from wire mesh, which we can fill with leaves or other garden clippings. It is not that it will compost very quickly, but it will compact together nicely and break down over a longer period of time and it can be filled up again in the next year.
We have several of these babies dotted around the property and they make a great winter home for hibernating hedgehogs, little field mice, shrews and even toads or frogs.
Above you can see our wall of branches and twigs. There  were some spruce trees standing there, getting too big for their boots, which we cut down, but left a height of 150/200 cm trunks. In between the trunks we stacked loads of branches and twigs from clearing the woodland.
Another lovely home for wildlife.

Now in the picture that follows you can notice a project that is still very much a work in progress. 

We made 3 terraces next to the house, where there was just a slope before. Bert erected the retaining walls with plywood (not my ideal) and I used the stems of young trees that needed thinning and slotted them in place behind the uprights that Bert placed in front of the walls.
On these terraces I can now start planting shrubs and flowers and even vegetables. 
Once finished it will look great, don't you think ?

Thank you for reading.
Patricia xxx...x
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