Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008, hello 2009 !

2008 was good.
I loved that year, it was full of new experiences and truly great people.
It was full of laughter and tears, fears and happiness.
And I learnt to relax. Well, almost.

2009 will be good I'm sure. Because each minute is precious. No matter what is going on outside. Each minute we have the power to change it all !

I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year !
May you find peace, a few Coyote surprises, may your creativity flourish, may you live fully !



Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy Holiday Season

I wish you all a Happy Holiday season.
Lots of warmth, friendship and nice foods for body and soul !
I wish you relaxation and good fun !

Sunday, 7 December 2008

What do you need to be happy ?

All week-end I learnt how saying
"thank you", "i am sorry", "i love you"...
can change your life.
This is the method of a very generous soul, Mabel Katz.

Now I am on a high !
You know what ? I love you ! :o)
No, but seriously, I do.

More information here and here

Saturday, 29 November 2008

A glimpse of my november BJP

This is a glimpse of my progress on the november page. Not an easy month. I choose the fabric, and did the moon first (a japanese embroidery design). Then I stopped for many days. I opened Women Who Run With Wolves at random and find a scary story about a girl who gets her hands chopped off, but survives and gets stronger. Days later I envisionned the police outlines of corpses and thought about Keith Harring. I started the spirit doll body. Next day The Bombay terrorist attacks started. We hear that two French nationals were killed ; the founders of a delightful underwear collection that especially appeals to teenagers and young girls. This month's theme is about the freedom of women, the freedom to love and be oneself. The importance of keeping the heart alive, even under the ash of fear, hatred, jealousy, sorrow, contrary winds...

This page is still in progress. May peace be with you.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

7 little known facts about me

Bobby has tagged me to reveal 7 little known facts about me. So here it goes. I am a pretty weird lady (I'm sure you know that already)...

1. When I was 18, I fell madly in love with a beautiful and cold young man. He made me feel like I was a number on a list and that my only interest was my virginity. I developped heart problems and had to take digitalin. These problems healed with time. That guy is living in India now.

2. I went to India this year after reading Sarah Macdonald's hilarious "Holy Cow", and started losing my hair after that visit - just like her.

3. During my first night home after that visit I had the weirdest dream. I was alone in a forest surrounded by strange spirits or monsters. They told me to stay with them, I said I couldn't because I had to take care of my children. They said OK, come back later. I woke up terrified, not knowing where I was.

4. I had a spontaneous out of body experience when I was around 13, just walking in the college playground after lunch. I don't remember what was on the menu that day, but I do remember the smell of the birch trees. That experience really scared me, I waited many years to talk about it.

5. I did a few Holotropic Breathwork sessions. This changed the idea I had of myself, life, mental health and all that. It's a pretty violent therapy but it helped me cure from whatever problem I had - post traumatic stress, chronic depression (?) ... I still don't know but I feel better.

6. While in India, I came face to face with some of the big lies I had been telling myself. I am still trying to digest that.

7. At the moment, I have very little energy. I think I know why but I can't tell with words. Probably more on that in future beaded pages ? ;o)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Update on October Bead journal Project

Let's keep smiling

Here is an update on my october page. I don't know if it's finished yet.

October 2008 will probably be remembered in History as "black October" or something similar since the World economy is now rocking seriously. On the ecology side, we learn many bad news everyday ; icecoat melting, toxic gas spreading and animals disappearing. Many of my friends and family members have had a hard time in October - and me too...

And so what can we do ? "Let's keep smiling...." as Mr Chat seems to suggest :o)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Update on September Bead Journal Project

This is an update on my September page, "That old black magic (called love)". I don't know why, but I don't have a lot a creative energy at the moment, and I work even more slowly than usual.

I have thought a lot about eyes in September. There was this poster everywhere in Paris for a theatre show about Maria Callas giving a lesson when she had lost her voice :and then at the end of the month I learnt through this delightful blog and this one that it was festival time in India for Durga and from link to link found this :

So it has been a journey from fear and magic to love and feminity back to magic and fear :o)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

September BJP

First there was this...
Then this...Then this...
nothing finished yet,tsss...

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

To bead or not to bead

I am having big trouble with this year's Bead Journal Project. I am amazed that just musing about 3 colours, I get to visit powerful archetypes and uncomfortable emotions. My theme of the month is love, my piece is entitled "That old black magic"...

Anyways, I have heard interesting news today. Near the town of Toulouse, there is a church in which you find a Black Virgin Mary with child, la Vierge Noire of Notre-Dame de Daurade. This statue is adorned with clothes, and she is supposed to help especially pregnant women, mothers, and people affected by floods and fires.

A few days ago the Society for the Protection of the Statue, APPD, has asked famous stylists to design new clothes for the Black Virgin (Sonia Rykiel, Christian Lacroix, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Paco Rabanne, Prada, Gucci...). Saddly enough, they haven't responded yet.

Anybody interested ?

Here is a link to her old dresses. And here is another link more general (in French).

Little hearts given to the Black Virgin

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A wild week

Phew, it's been a wild week.

It started on tuesday. I did a Feng Shui ritual in my office, as there is much shouting and vexations going on all the time. That night I dreamt of being brought to a shrine by two crones, and seing a glimpse of the Goddess surrounded by roses and jasmin. Strangely enough one of the crones was Mrs McClusky from "Desperate Housewives" :o)

Next morning, when arriving at work, I learnt that a pipe had burst two floors above my office during the night ; water everywhere, no electricity, no computers, no elevators. No safety instructions from the bosses. My office was one of the very few that was spared by water. Strange.

A few days later, I went to a conference by distinguished anthropologist Jeremy Narby, and learnt that Swiss magic mushrooms are nicer and funnier than South American Ayahuasca, but give less visions. It's just a wild week !

Sunday, 14 September 2008

My workpace

Denise has challenged us to show our beading workplace. So here is mine ; the kitchen table. This summer I finally put all my beading books and materials in just one cupboard, what a relief ! In the corner, near the spice basket, you can catch a glimpse of the Asa Foetida box that came with us in Italy, because it rolled out of its shopping bag.

And this is what the workspace looks like when I get excited over a project. Yes, I am a very messy person. Personal message : Stellou we have found the Coyote statue at last !

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hidden friends

Theodora, San Vitale, Ravenna

When I was a child I was given a poster of Empress Theodora. For years she stared at me from over my bed. It didn't always feel comfortable, such a weird gaze, but sometimes it made me feel good or it sent me into long daydreams. It was my mother who gave me this picture, saying very little but with much intensity. I just knew it was a precious gift.

And so this summer, we visited Ravenna and saw the original mosaics. I insisted on that. Funnily enough, everybody enjoyed the visit of the Basilica San Vitale and the mausoleum nearby. In the Basilica, I found many red, black and white tiles. An interesting website with many photos is here.

My pictures of the floor of Basilica San Vitale, Ravenna

A few moment ago, I followed a link suggested by my friend Tally and suddenly found a story of Theodora's life (longer version here). A truly wonderful lady. I'm amazed that my mother casually gave me a feminist (christian) icon with many jewels to put in the traditional place of the crucifix.

Isn't it strange how we are surrounded by hidden friends all the time ? If we manage to stop the noise inside and outside just for a moment, then we start to hear their voices...

And from a textile point of view I am amused to hear that in her time, the Blues and the Greens were fighting each other :o)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Why red ?

Why red ?

This is going to be a long wordy post, I’m afraid !

I was welcomed into life with a drama and a red flower bunch ; a gift by my grandpa’s excentric 3rd wife, which my mum thought very shocking and unappropriate.

Later on at age 7, I was gifted by my parents with a red bedspread which became my dummy and helped me stop sucking my thumb. I am quite ashamed to reveal that I still have it on my bed, although it has grown very dishevelled with the passing of time. On last year’s Bead Journal Project I was tempted several times to do a page with a piece of that old bedspread, and also to work on the red thread theme.

I love colours and when I started reading the book “A Perfect Red” by Amy Butler Greenfield which had just been translated into French last year, I got really excited and fascinated. I had no idea that the quest for a colour was so intimately linked with political, economical and scientific issues !

Then just before I left for the holidays I read somewhere the claim that black, red and white are the three major colours of mankind. Elsewhere Michel Pastoureau, a French historian specialized in colour, claims that red is THE ultimate colour. Black and white are sometimes said to be no colours. These 3 colours are associated with many symbols ; day, night, bone, earth, blood, life, death, power, desire, church….

Obviously as soon as I had made up my mind I saw red everywhere, in paintings, road signs and even insects !

Finally the Museum of Arts Décoratifs in Paris is organizing an exhibition on the colour red next March.

For me, working primarily from colours rather than concepts is an attempt to harmonize my efforts and also to go towards abstract.

Plus I have decided to buy a minimum of supplies this year, and a very large part of my existing stash is red based.

There you are ! :o)

Added later : the BNF - French National Library organized an exhibition on red and the costumes of designer Christian Lacroix a few years ago. The text is only in French but there are nice pictures of the costumes here.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Back from Italy and Bead Journal Project 2008

Alley in the fishing port of Chioggia, Venetia, Italy

Vegetable stall along the road, Venetia, Italy

Hello, I'm back from a lightning trip to Italy, one of my favourite places on earth ! I am very tired but I have the impression that everything is new in my head.

Graphosoma Lineatum

Today is the first day of Bead Journal Project 2008. Last year I chose to work mainly around the journal theme, trying to express faithfully moods, thoughts and dreams that came each month. In the end, I was a little annoyed by the lack of formal unity of my efforts. So this year, I have decided to work mainly with 3 colours, red, black and white, and to expand my format to a felt square.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

"No clinging"

(c) Edmond Couchot & Michel Bret, “Je sème à tout vent”, 1990.
The dandelion has been used as a logo by the famous French dictionnary Larousse since 1876, being a symbol of the spreading of knowledge.

Today I got rid of about 15 boxes of books. 5 went to a friend, 10 to a charity. Some of these books I had since I was a teenager, others were kept since my university years, others were bought in the years when I tought I would become a psychologist... As there are many books that my mind refuses to read now, and as books are meant to be read, and as I am going through the "no clinging" lesson... I finally let go of them. I feel proud and sad at the same time. Books are very important in my family. It is an important step for me.

One of my friend is very wise and has not a single book in his house, he helped me to do this in a way.

(This leaves plenty of space for beading and textile books lol !)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Francis Lionheart

Here is my latest spirit doll, Francis Lionheart, made for a little boy born under the astrological signs of the Lion and the Salmon. There's an open eye for good luck and sweet dreams. Fish and feather as reference to St Francis of Assisi who is said to have charmed the beasts and plants even when the clergy took him for a fool. Not many embellishments since I guess everything will be pulled out very soon.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Family celebration, 2006

Today the Dalai Lama arrived in France for a 12 days visit. There is a lot of political chit-chat around this visit, since the French President won't meet him and so on. But anyways, I am very happy and moved that he is in my country. All the more so since tonight he is staying with a buddhist community that lives a mile or so from my parents' home, and will give a blessing there tomorrow morning. I will be working in the finance quarter of Paris tomorrow, but I will be thinking of him just like now.

May Peace be with you ! Many blessings to all of you.

Rock engraving in Fontainebleau forest cave

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Art exhibitions

Hilma af Klint, Tree of life n°5 (c) The Hilma af Klint Foundation

This week I have had the chance to discover two wonderful exhibitions.

One was centered around Hilma af Klint. Considered to be one of the first abstract painters, she painted classical landscapes and portraits for a living, but secretly painted abstracts, under the inspiration of Spirits. Her abstract paintings were revealed to the public 40 years after her death in 1986. She uses a lot of colours and geometrical figures, circles, spirals, triangles... More here.

The other was about Peter Doig. A contemporary artist, he paints a lot of strange landscapes. Watching his work, I had the impression of seing spiritual messages everywhere, as if the landscapes and figures were distorted because seen through the eyes of the soul rather than the physical eyes. I fell in love with "Milky Way" (above) and "Grand Riviere" in which there is a white horse and... ravens ?

More on the artist here (Tate Britain).

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Two new Spirit Dolls

This is "Dream Girl", she was inspired to me by recent discussions with friends still looking for their soul mate. She is not the Goddess of Love, but she is a Spirit that will help us going through the jungle and dirt of our hearts so that we can face our inner truths, and find happiness.

She is made from a child's sari (which I bought in Pondichery), because often the wounds of our childhood prevent us making healthy choices even though we want to. Her hair is untidy, because she is a wild and free Spirit, or maybe the Lady is a tramp who just doesn't care about social conventions and lies. She is generous (she has "her heart on her hand" as we say in French). She is a filmbuff ; she has a rosebud from Citizen Kane - we all have our secrets - and seashells from Identification of a Woman - I never really understood what that film is about but there are great moments in it. She knows her Shakespeare : "If music be the food of love, play on". She wears flowers because I think she likes to visit Tahiti as often as she can. And she has a rose quartz chip for emotional balance.

I'm quite proud because I've succeeded in doing a picot edging for the first time.

A now for something completely different, "Arghhh - Working on frustration", which is still in progress :o)

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Lazy Sunday

Crédits : 1. La maison rose de la Butte Montmartre, 2. Feuilles, 3. café crème

It has been a very lazy Sunday for me, although I managed to finish a spirit doll called Dream Girl but can't show her off because my camera is travelling around Germany this week.

I have been looking for bead inspiration on the web and found Svetlana's wonderful blog which in turn lead me to this : Tatiana Ekimova's incredible collection for the 2007 Odessa Fashion Show ! Correction on the previous meme ; if I had a lot of money, I'd definitely buy this dress ! And I'd wear it.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Just for fun : my Flickr using French words :o)

Photograph credits :
1. Hélène Nana, 2. Morning baguettes, 3. series # 1 - brick wall, 4. rose, 5. Gabriel Byrne, 6. vintage tea set with cupcake, 7. Top of the mountain!, 8. Revisiting the Idea of a Fraisier — Idée de fraisier revisité, 9. pancarte paumée, 10. 06-2007 - DSC09966 - Détails carrés de nappe !, 11. PhotonQ-Woman 's Thoughts aKa Complex Memetics, 12. mademoiselle h

It seems I'm more romantic when I talk French :o)
However I keep wondering why I can't find a French celebrity crush...

How switching language can change your personality

I have recently read in the Press a news that delighted me because it proves what I have known for a long time ; a bi-cultural person reacts differentely to a situation depending on the language he/she is using.

I have always suspected that I was a happier person when I spoke English. In the days when I was badly depressed, I resorted to reading English speaking self help books and it did wonders for me.

New release here.

The Flickr Game

I am following Tally's suggestion to play the Flickr Game

Here are the rules:
Go to
Type into the search the answer to the following questions.
Choose a picture only from the first page that opens.
Copy the url of the picture and
paste it into the mosaic maker.
You than can upload your mosaic to flickr and/or whatever you got.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

I have been quite surprised by the results that came up for my answers, there was a certain truth and synchronicities in these. For example, I kept getting images relating to India, and the same funny little dog appeared 3 or 4 times (I am from the Dog sign in the Chinese astrology). We did this for my boyfriend, and guess what... half-naked women kept popping up grrr...

However when I typed the name of my highschool "Lycée François Premier", I was appalled, for what came up were the images of a recent riot in a highschool visited by our current prime minister François Fillon. France is in a really bad shape at the moment. Look here.

And here are the credits for the pictures :

1. vernissage exposition helene schmitz, 2. paal-payasam-1, 3. L'Elephant sur l'Ile phénoménale, 4. Bosque by Twilight Star Trails, 5. ShahRukh Khan, 6. Tea Corner..., 7. What does the future hold?, 8. Sticky date toffee pudding..., 9. dandy drop, 10. 25 of April Bridge, 11., 12. Beija-flor Tesoura (Eupetomena macroura) - Swallow-tailed Hummingbird 8 479 - 10

Friday, 20 June 2008


Bead Journal Project and Sumptuous Surfaces have encouraged me to try and draw.

Trying to do fairies from a book by Linda Ravenscroft, proved very amusing, and I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

Linda Ravenscroft is a talented fairy artist, you can check her website here.

Little Big Ego

Little Big Ego - June 2008

Most of the time, I try to be good. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I meditate, sometimes I reflect on my good points and bad points. Most of the time I try to act and speak in fairness, i try to control my passions.

Sometimes, it pays off ; I feel calm, centered and in harmony. Then I'm happy and I feel I'm a worthy person, that I'm making progress (where to, what for, that's another question).

However after each period of fullfillment I get visits from very interesting creatures. Their leader is Little Big Ego. He is somebody, very full of himself. He screams and makes scenes. He says nobody ever listens to him enough, nobody takes him seriously enough and so on. He is very big, and very melodramatic. He has only a head, and no body.

Over Time, I have learnt he really wants me to pat his hand and give him a cuppa. So I try do do this.

To draw him, I was inspired by a fabulous drawing by Sydney Sime (1867-1941), diciple of Beardsley, which I saw in London a few months ago.

(c) Sydney Sime, "The Wily Grasser"
Fitwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Sunday, 8 June 2008

My first me me

Local organic market

Beadbabe has tagged me to do a meme. I don't usually do these, they make me feel unconfortable for some reason, although I love to read them on other blogs... But Beadbabe's blog was one of my first favourite bead blog so I can only say yes ! :o)

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
10 years ago I was living in a country village near my parents and sister, and working as a part-time secretary for my dad (he worked as an independent). I was desperately trying to be a good wife, and a good mother to my 5 year old. I was part of school committees. I was a lousy gardner and housekeeper (still am). I read a lot of thrillers and detective stories, mostly american, and was an expert on Lara Croft...

2. 5 things on today's to-do list?

Well, I don't do lists, working as a temp, everyday is quite different and I change priorities all the time (thus the name of this blog Hummingbird's nest).

- Today, we all woke up early because my youngest daughter was leaving for a 10 days school trip.
- Next I started my intensive German lessons, 4 hours a day, financed by the region (I've been waiting for these to start since october 2007).
- Then I waited for my caretaker to fix the non existing aeration of my bathroom which caused two light bulbs to explode recently (I've had to hassle the landlord to do something about this for almost 2 years).
- I will definitely spend some time on the internet checking emails and blogs and trying to keep an eye on my eldest daughter's MSN conversations
- I hope to do some beading/doodling, if I can get off the internet.

3. Snacks I enjoy?

France is not really a snacking country, as family seated meals are almost sacred ! :o)
Lately we've had the tendancy to take aperitif while cooking the evening meal with my boyfriend. Usually it will be saucisson (dried sausage), olives, homos, tarama, red cabbage salad, spicy carots or other delicatessen preparations we buy at the local supermarket... and wine !

If I skip lunch because I'm doing something else, I will usually gulp down saucisson, soft smelly cheese (camembert), sometimes biscuits (but I don't buy the kind I like) with tea at 4 o'clock. i tend to drink a lot of herb teas though.

4. Things I'd do if I were a billionaire?

I'm not sure. I believe in collective action. I believe most problems in the world could be solved if we would all put ourselves together.

Maybe I would fund research for ecological and economical technologies, and the transfer of these technologies to emerging countries. Maybe I would also fund a society to encourage people to go back to old age medecine for the little sores of everyday (using herbs and massage and so on). But in a way I am already doing this on a very modest scale.

I also like Beadbabe's idea of doing an artist community building.

5. Places I have lived?

Fontainebleau, France
Paris, France
London, UK

6. Peeps I want to know more about?

I will try to tag somebody who hasn't already been tagged so I will tag :

Caroll Lenthall
Sulam Sayang (BJP 2008 member)
Sewing Magpie

Friday, 6 June 2008

May BJP : Serpent Wisdom

"Serpent Wisdom"

And so, this is my final page for the Bead Journal Project 2007. I'm a little late. it's because I didn't want the experience to stop. Ah well, I have enrolled in Bead journal Project 2008 so I'm not too sad...

In this page, I have made hints to the two powerful dreams I had in India. In the first one, I dreamt my favourite ring lost it's garnet stone and that I couldn't repair it. This actually happened a few weeks later during the month of May when I apparently lost the stone on the beach, helping my kids and nephews to build a hole in the beach - will I ever learn to take care of my things ? lol

Second dream involved a serpent who tried to kiss me. I was quite uncomfortable with this, as I kept thinking about Eve and Jungle Book Kaa. Then I listened to the wonderful audiotape by Clarissa Pinkola Estes In the House of the Riddle Mother. It reminded me that snakes and serpents are powerful archetypes that are found all around the World. Often (even in the Bible), they are associated with trees worship, wisdom, the Goddess Mother, spirituality, life (DNA)... Sometimes they come to teach us how to move gracefully through the ups and downs of life, says Pinkola Estes, as snakes are at home on earth, in water and even in air since they are able to jump. Wow. I recognised then that this dream was a gift.

Thinking back on one year of Bead Journal Project, I realized what a great year it has been for me. Since I enrolled in this project, I found the courage to do a shamanic retreat, and to fulfill a dream I'd had since I was a teenager ; going to India. This year I have grown as an artist (hey I said artist !) and as a person. Also I have met many wonderful people. It is a year to remember.

Last June, I was feeling sad and beaded a mourning Coyote. This May I was a little sad too, and decided that this page would be a pendant to the Coyote piece. Thus the mischievous snake wisdom. Also you can see in the page of motive from Robin Atkin's new book Hearts to Hand Bead Embroidery.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Babies growing

The end of the school year is near, and I have to admit my babies are growing up... The youngest is playing Athena with her theatre group. The elder is well into her teenage years - said her headteacher yesterday : "is she a real nuisance yet ?". Apparently we didn't give the right answer...

A pleasant surprise !

This morning, I got a pleasant surprise in the post ; a little parcel from the United States !

Had I not seen the name on the packet, I would've guessed it was from a pink artist friend !
Look all these beauties, there's even a little champagne, isn't this sumptuous ?

Thanks a million, Grace !