Wondrous Chateau de Beauvoir

I am wondering lately how daily life in a château must be like, with all its defiances and duties. The history of ancient buildings enthralls me. We are are living in very huge rooms with high ceilings with stucco. Quite often I am thinking about the stories the long history of our home silently has to tell. Gifted artist Claire Basler lives and works in CHÂTEAU DE BEAUVOIR. Her fabulous art includes outstanding mural paintings, magically displayed throughout the castle. Wondrous her giant flower paintings on mural and the rooms partly overgrown by branches and leaves…

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Claire:”During the first days of spring a multitude of primroses awakens the garden next to the orangery. Then the surrounding prairies are covered in colour. Beauvoir opens out onto the sky and cops, its other side embedded in the romantic shade of large trees.”

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Some of Claire’s poetry:

“clothing painted rooms in dreams, walls that come to life, unbounded freedom, telling stories, transforming space, time, adding volume to a room, clothing it in shadow and light encouraging the backlight surprising the sun, lightly touching transparency, close up or far away to lose oneself, to look, to create what I have held dear for so long.”

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Claire: “I like daisies, fragile and passionate poppies, breezes, wind, grace, gentleness and it’s force, storms, the mystery of still waters, the vast sky in the puddles that line a dirt road and the tree that forces me to be silent, patient.”

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© Claire Basler with kind permission

You can order her wonderful book about her work and Chateau here.

 

 

flowers my saving grace

HOW I BECAME A FLOWER FARMER, Written by ERIN BENZAKEIN:

“Growing up, I bounced back and forth between the city and the suburbs a lot since my parents were divorced. I loved all of the choices that the city had to offer. Wonderful food, art museums, massive libraries that stretched on forever and the ability hop on a bus any time of day and be somewhere completely new in minutes. But it was also loud and crowded and intense. Obviously the suburbs were much, much different. While I liked how things were quieter and the fact that almost everyone had a yard, there wasn’t an ounce of uniqueness or soul to be found for miles. Neither felt quite right or much like home.

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But summers, they were my saving grace. Sometimes I would get to stay on my Aunt Debbie’s farm near Olympia for a week or two and help with the animals and her overflowing garden. I would collect fresh eggs for breakfast and pitch in while she canned and preserved everything in sight. We mucked stalls, chased chickens, ate homegrown bacon and listened to country music from sun up to sunset. While utterly exhausting, those fleeting days are some of my favorite childhood memories.

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Each summer I’d make the five and a half hour trek across the state with my sister and cousins to our grandparent’s house. They lived in a small town, bordering a slightly bigger small town that was surrounded on all sides by nothing. Well not nothing. There were wheat fields and onion farms and a sky that went on forever. The days were hot, and boring and perfectly wonderful. During working hours we were often shuttled down to my great grandparents place for the day. We played in the creek, drank warm soda pop, ate way too many caramels, bickered back and forth about nothing important and watched hours and hours of murder mystery TV.

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My great grandmother, Grammie, was somewhat of a legend, or at least her old garden was. I’d hear stories of how she’d built it, one wheelbarrow at a time from the ground up on completely barren land in the desert of Nevada. Back in the day she poured her heart and soul into that little plot and everyone who knew her then would smile as they recalled the blue morning glory covered fences and overflowing flower beds.

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By the time Grammie came into my life that little oasis was just a magical memory. She and my great grandpa Tater Dear had moved north to be closer to family as they aged and the garden stayed behind. Grammie’s health had declined to the point that she was pretty well bedridden. On those long hot days she would tell me tales of her flowers and then send me outside with scissors to pick a bouquet for her bedside table. While nothing like her old garden, there were still a few treasures to be had if you dug around. Leggy snapdragons, a few hybrid tea roses here and there and always a rainbow of sweet peas scrambling up posts of the carport. Ahhh, that smell, it still totally reminds me of her.

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I took my flower picking job very seriously! After gathering a collection of slightly wilted blooms from the yard, I’d dig through her stash of old dusty bud vases to find just the right one. Those bouquets must have been a sight but she always cooed over them as if they were diamonds or fine china.
Grammie passed away when Elora was just a baby, the very same year we bought our house. I was able to bring a few of her and Tater’s ashes home with me and spread them in my new garden. I planted two long rows of sweet peas down the center of the plot in their memory. They bloomed better than any crop I’ve grown since. So well so that I ended up sharing the abundance with anyone and everyone I came in contact with! During that abundant season, word got out and someone ordered a jar of flowers for a friend. I’ll never forget that day as I nervously knocked on her door and awkwardly thrust the bouquet into her hands. Surprised, she buried her face in the flowers and immediately tears welled up in her eyes. She was instantly transported back to her own childhood summers, to a time of great happiness and to her own grandmother’s garden… and right then and there I was forever changed.

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After witnessing the profound impact that such a small thing could have on a person, I knew I had found something worth exploring. The following season I replaced all of the vegetables with flowers, the season after that I dug up the orchard and put in more flowers, slowly greenhouses followed and from there flowers have taken over my life.

I love to think I’m continuing the legacy that Grammie started almost a century ago. My secret wish is that someday they’ll tell stories of my garden and its magic with the same twinkle in their eyes.”

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© with kind permission Floret Flower Farm

ERIN BENZAKEIN is the owner of Floret Flowers, a small family farm and floral design studio specializing in growing unique, uncommon and heirloom flowers for brides, designers and specialty stores. They offer fresh certified organic flowers, specialty tools and supplies. Located in Washington’s beautiful Skagit Valley, their flower fields are bursting with flowers.

More to read and especially to learn about flowers on Erin’s website here

 

Frances Palmer’s garden…

Flowers have something comforting and soul nourishing about them. I love living with flowers in summer and admire those people who arrange flowers in the most beautiful and poetic way like Frances Palmer does every day with the stunning flowers of her own romantic garden in the british countryside. So some flower inspiration for you in summer holiday and even if you have to work at the moment, one can integrate some kind of holiday feeling at home and in daily life nonetheless….

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© Frances Palmer with kind permission

There is nearly nothing more beautiful than a flower bouquet picked up early in the morning in your own garden…A lovely summer weekend for you, dear readers! More about Frances country life, flowers and pottery here.

Some more flower ladies here after summer break very soon: One has an incredible chateau, I would like to show you and the other one will tell us her beautiful story about how she became a flower farmer.

Take good care of yourself! Yours, Melanie Kettner

Venice by Thomas Kettner

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In summer break I want to share some pictures with you, my husband Thomas Kettner send to me from Venice a few weeks ago. He shot them before working on a fashion production, very early in the morning and in the evening. I think they are so special…they show Venice as it formerly was, like a theatre setting, with this magic, melancholic atmosphere and these soft, earthy colours. You sense the church bells, the carnival costumes, the palaces of the Venetian countesses, the market near the water, the pigeons, the musicians on the street, some juggler in the evening….

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Lucky me to have a husband sending me pictures like these ones, suggesting such a peaceful world….And  here some of his stunning pictures, he took late in the evening, shortly before it was raining:

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© All pictures Thomas Kettner

A good advice to visit Venice is directly after the Carneval in winter, then this fabulous, magic town is nearly deserted for just a few days. I’ll be back here soon. Take good care of yourself! Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

 

A lonesome stone house….

Northern chilly summer sometimes is a challenge. But I really love northern summer with all its different faces, wind, storms, cool morning swims, fire on the shore. This wonderful feature shows the inspiring site of the light, smell, colours and interior atmosphere of nordic summer. Some  inspiration from a lonesome stone house in Scotland with photographer Kate Sears:

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© All pictures Kate Sears with kind permission

More of this beautiful picture story here.

Take care, Melanie Kettner

summer time with Maia Flore

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A wonderful, inspiring and relaxed summer time dear followers! I will be back here 12th of August and drop over in between with some picture inspirations. Here already two of them: Summer feeling with Maia Flore. She is the photographer of the beautiful campaign of Dries van Noten AW 16, have a look here.

More of her work here: www.maiaflore.com

Take care! Yours, Melanie Kettner

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ROMSØ- nordic summer inspiration….

Summer holiday time comes nearer, therefore: A beautiful nordic summer inspiration with Photographer Charlotte Schmidt Olsen and Stylist Camilla Tange Peylecke about the nearly deserted Danish island ROMSØ  on the coast of Funen with only 8 cottages on it, used as holiday homes. The cottage featured has such a calm and simple, yet individual atmosphere, that shows that in summer  maybe we don’t need so much. The more the interior is simple, yet atmospheric the better we can relax. Signe Gram is living here with her family in summer.

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©  all pictures Charlotte Schmidt Ohlsen with kind permission

View more of this beautiful feature and check out Charlotte’s site on www.charlotteschmidtolsen.com and  Camillas’s site on www.hunch-living.dk

The small island can be visited via a small ferry boat, surely beautiful for a long walk. The woman in the feature is Signe Elin Gram- Social Media Manager in Copenhagen, more about her here.

Enjoy your summer dear readers!  I’ll be back next Friday last time for my summer break until begin of August.

Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

“Gone fishing” with Mikkel Karstad

Mikkel Karstad’s beautiful new cookbook GONE FISHING by publishing house LINDHARDT & RINGHOF is much more than a simple cookbook, it shows another way of life: back to basics, near to nature and our instincts in behalf of eating and food. Nowadays we are deeply alienated from our food in many ways, people often don’t know where the food comes from, how it has been treated and who has grown it. It would be healthier for us to go outside sometimes to gain our food by our own, like the “monk of the food” Mikkel does regularly. He has a natural attitude to the food he uses in his kitchen at work and at home with his family in Copenhagen. Luckily he take us with him while GHONE FISHING:

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It’s an archaic way of life we all need so much, when Mikkel prepares delicious fish meals on a fire outside near the sea…for all the recipes in this stunning book he uses only fish and shellfish from sustainable species. It’s Mikkel’s second cookbook and he wants to inspire people to eat some more genuine fish and seafood, especially local fish. Mikkel: “So I wanted to do a book, that was beautiful, useful and inspiring for people”, he definitely succeeded in this aim. When looking at this wonderful atmospheric pictures I feel an urge to go to the sea, have along walk at the beach and eat fresh, local fish together with my family.

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I asked Mikkel what fishing and eating outdoors mean to him personally in his everyday life? Mikkel: “It means a lot to us as family to use the nature around us, we don`t go fishing and eating everyday, because we have a pretty tight schedule during the week, with 4 children and 2 jobs, but we try to do it as much as possible, and at the weekends we go out of the city, to foraging, fishing, swimming, eating or just go for a walk, fresh air is the best way for us to relax and get new energy…”

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I love the pictures of Anders Schønnemann, they are natural, simple without following mainstream food photography laws, with a dense atmosphere which brings us nearby, as if we too would have gone fishing on a clear and fresh nordic summer day.

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© All pictures Anders Schønnemann

Special thanks goes to Mikkel, Anders Schønnemann and the team of LINDHARDT & RINGHOF! You can pre order this spectacular book now, it will be released in September in English and Dutch. Beside of its incredible beauty and inspiring recipes, this book inspires to take care of nature and to buy sustainable fish and food in general and to develop respect in the face of our threatend seas.

To me it’s very inspiring to meet the maker of food and mindful cooks who care about the origin of the food they use. I consciously support small shops who sell local and organic produce. I hope by heart that the maker of conscious food survive, also the german milk farmers who at the moment are threatened in their existence by the far too low milk prize.We have to value the efforts  of the producer and work for a healthy market as consumer.

A wonderful weekend! Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

 

The Kinfolk Table Book and the art of hospitality: Vera Williams

The Kinfolk Table Book presents inspiring couples and families who live a slow and mindful life,  in Copenhagen, Portland and in the English countryside, cultivating the art of hospitality. It displays the danish art of “hygge”, some kind of homely and cozy feeling that warms the soul. We meet the art of natural gatherings, simplified and yet delicious meals around a long table, with candles and a lot of time for friends and conversation. We become acquainted with rituals as multigenerational weekly family cooking, calm mornings with freshly brewed coffee or traditions as growing your own food in the garden, making preserves or fruit jam in jars. Kinfolk shows how to discover real life again and to lose sight a little bit of virtual life.

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Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photograph by Leo Patrone

The article in The Kinfolk Table Book by Nathan Willimas, Kinfolk editor, about his mother Vera Williams, a home cook from Alberta, Canada, strikes me personally as mother, wife and daughter. She is a wonderful symbol for taking care of your family, friends and guests as a deep meaning for life. Nathan Williams:

” Vera is my mother. In fact, I consider her the quintessential mother, her life’s work unfolding in the space where she takes care of our family, in a home where she keeps the front door unconditionally open….she keeps her day busy with grandchildren, baking, hosting friends, and battling the deer to protect her garden vegetables. She has built a home where her kids, including me, have enjoyed spending their time- in their childhood and adolescence, and even now as adults.”

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Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photograph by Leo Patrone

Nathan Williams: “She has always been aggressive with her ‘sugar-flour-butter’ tactics, designed to win the hearts and appetites of any visitors that come to the house, and accordingly, the kitchen can always be trusted to have warm cookies, soups, or rolls ready for taking. Although healthy, fresh-from-the-garden meals are also part of her repertoire, she is not afraid to liberally use heavy cream, butter, and sugar, and I have never complained. To this day, my mom still mails us- her children near and far- parcels of cookies wrapped and padded in tissue paper….a symbol for the time she invests in those that she love. It seems that her special parcels have served her well; she is beloved and revered by all of us, and regarded as a mother to many more than just those she raised in her home.”

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Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photograph by Leo Patrone

I hope there will always be mothers and women like Vera, but also husbands and fathers such as portrayed in this meaningful book, who also keep alive these traditions and pass them to their children and grandchildren. If you don’t have The Kinfolk Table Book already it’s my advice to read it during summer holidays. There are so many other beautiful articles, one very charming about Nathan William’s grandmother Grace and her calm daily life in her garden, but also about young people discovering their kind of relaxed and natural table culture and many very useful  and inspiring recipes as Blueberry Scones, Rosemary Garlic Bread or Vanilla, Lavender and Early Grey chocolate Pudding with Sea Salt….and many ideas for a mindful everyday life.

I’m writing a personal cookbook for my student son. I think it’s a wonderful idea to pass traditions to the next generation and his friends already are copying recipes from this book, so it is a way to start a creative process in the kitchen to share. Yours, Melanie Kettner

The quoted text passages are excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013

Thanks so much Kinfolk and Artisan Books for your kind support!

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Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photograph by Leo Patrone

Water Journal- born purely out of love for water….

Living in the nearness of water means a lot to me. Water is the essentially relevant element for the survival of the human species in many ways and it’s time to dedicate time to investigate this vulnerable topic. Water Journal, Volume 1°, is a a quiet exploration and celebration of the beauty and complexity of water, telling real stories about people’s connection with it. Water Journal is born purely out of love for water, entirely advertising-free and and intended to be kept like a book. Edvinas Bruzas, founder & editor: “We want you to take your time to truly immerse yourself in beautiful and captivating stories, translated through sustainable print.”

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PARADISE — Photography by Zac Milan & words by Morgan Bilbruck: “Never-ending sets kept firing water shimmering with salt as they crashed to shore.With the ever-changing ebb and flow of ocean, it shaped new forces of waves awaiting their turn to be challenged to ride…”

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I asked Edvinas, what it meant to him making Volume 1° of Water Journal?

“The first volume of Water Journal is an honest realisation of a concept I’ve been developing over time and having put all my heart into it. I must say it is absolutely thrilling to finally see it come to life. Being a passionate print enthusiast I am honoured to join the conversation within a vast world of independent publishing and I look forward to sharing our stories with like-minded readers.”

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5PM, VENICE BEACH PIER, LOS ANGELES — Photography & words by Toby Mitchell:  “Contentement consumed my soul as what I had imagined for years and reality aligned for the first time; The Californian dream was no longer a distant hope of adventure, but my present, right in front of me.”

Edvinas: “I’ve always been fascinated and drawn to everything related to water, be it literal or conceptual. With time, I’ve grown to appreciate it even more and developed a strong connection, admiring it’s simplicity and strength, how it is so delicate yet so powerful, the way it influences our lives and connects each and ever one of us. Besides the fact it’s a crucial element to our survival, there is so much more to it, which inspires me to share the stories untold. It’s a natural fascination that developed into a platform bringing together people who share this passion and showcasing their work that reflect their connection to water.”

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MỸ THO, MEKONG DELTA FISHERMAN’S HORIZON — Photography & words by Yoeri Khyrian Jonker “… one of the main reasons for the pollution of the Mekong river is the use of chemicals sprayed on the rice fields to keep the crops healthy. … Despite the current state of the Mekong river, inhabitants are still thankful for what the river has given them. Besides being an important means of transportation and essential for the growth of rice, the Mekong also attracts a lot of tourists hoping to explore the wonders of the canals hidden behind layers of water-ferns and deep green mangrove palms.”

Water Journal is built on a quiet story basis, showcasing visual & written features. The goal was to create long-lasting and valuable content that can be explored and appreciated over the years.

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OND LIFE — Photography & words by Leon Foggitt “These men appear to enjoy the winter months as much if not more than the warmer seasons. There is a sense of camaraderie, which increases as the water gets colder. The swim takes on a ritualistic nature. Many people I spoke to claimed that the feeling of wellbeing after emerging from the chilling water stayed with them for the rest of the day.”

Concept, layout, stories and photographies of Water Journal are stunning…Thank you Edvinas for such a wonderful inspiration! More nearness to water and respect for it are our duty for the present and future. Water supply, fishery and the increase of the sea level are crucial and urgent tasks for us. I have always admired people with a special connection to water, like surfers, divers or those who go swimming in the sea the whole year. Maybe a good idea to develop some sort of relationship to this beautiful element.

You can pre- order your copy on www.waterjournal.co

One of my next articles will be again about the element water, as we will attend Danish Chef Mikkel Karstad when “Gone Fishing”, his unique new cookbook and much more than that, don’t miss it! Take care! Melanie Kettner