Social icons

Lovely Letters | Les Belles Lettres

Wax Seal, Stationary

Wax Seal, Stationary

Vintage French postcards

Vintage French postcards

Vintage Madame de Sevigne book of letters

Vintage Madame de Sevigne book of letters

In light of recent emails I received—with neither a greeting nor a closing—I turned to some vintage postcards and the writings of 17th century France's Madame de Sévigné to reflect on handwritten messages and formal letters, with proper salutations and polite closings. Not that I want to return to an era without email and borderless communication—but to romanticize a bit. I guess I just find some electronic messages curt and disagreeable (please tell me if you feel the same way)...

At the end of the day, do you sometimes long for a handwritten note (wax sealed perhaps)—a page of elegant or messy and never uniform lines and curves that come together to form words of poetic prose...

Call of the Ocean | Petite Pause Plage

Virginia Beach Bike, Beach
Kite, Clouds Kite Shadow, Sand
Beach Chairs
Feet, Sand Sweet Dreams

Pause Café is a common French expression meaning coffee break… but you can use pause to preface many other situations where a break is necessary or taken. Like last weekend when there was a last minute opportunity to visit the ocean for a few days with my family. Even when it meant hauling two young boys in the car at 8pm and getting there after midnite, I jumped at the chance. And although the weather was uncommonly cool and windy, our Petite Pause Plage was well worth it. The annual Boardwalk Art Show was being held—complete with Paris photography. We flew kites and felt the cool sand under our feet.

It's been poem'd and prose'd in length, but I must add that being at the ocean has a calm and a pull that implores us to return again and again. It feels closest to being home away from home…

Carte Postale :: The Oath of Spartacus - Paris

The Oath of Spartacus, Le Serment de Spartacus
Le Serment de Spartacus by Louis-Ernest Barrias (1869)
Jardin des Tuileries - Paris

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, 
and so to make a few objects beautiful; 
but it is far more glorious to carve and paint 
the very atmosphere and medium through which we look...
To affect the quality of the day — that is the highest of arts.” 

- Henry David Thoreau

Beyond Capturing Moments | Des Moments

Raffia Ribbon

Filipino Arrowroot cookies, Le Petit Prince plate

Toddler Walker, Wooden Toys

Child's Drawings

Bay Leaves, Bay Leaf Wreath

This post was inspired by the lovely and talented blogger/photographer Charmaine Velasco of Milk is Quiet. She reminded me how important it is to be more mindful and present during the rush that are days, hours, seconds. When capturing moments, have senses fully open.

Feel the soft bumpy raffia strands on my niece's birthday present. Taste the chalky sweet flour of an afternoon arrowroot cookie. Listen to the squeaky wheels of my son's walker/cart. Look at the happy and sad and excited expressions in the faces of my son's drawing. Smell the fragrant leaves of the bay wreath as I pass it by.

In our daily doings and creative pursuits—as we feed our soul—this excercise helps to preserve it as well...

Merci Charmaine.

Bernadette's (Secret) Clafoutis


Peach Clafoutis

Peach Clafoutis

Recipe, Peach Clafoutis

Family trips to France always include my mother-in-law Bernadette's specialty — Clafoutis, a classic dessert from the south-central region of France where she grew up, Le Limousin. It is a cake that looks like a tart covered by fruits wrapped in a flan (confusing? it's really not fancy or complicated but the French say simply calling it a cake or tart isn't exactement correct).  Traditionally made with unpitted cherries or prunes (abundant in that region), Clafoutis is absolutely delicious with peaches or apricots—or any of your favorite fruit.

I love this dessert so much that one day I (naively) asked for the recipe from my mother-in-law. She happily gave me a fairly legible handwritten version—albeit leaving out some vital information which resulted in disaster. I had to edit out a rant here about her doing it on purpose (sigh). Let's just say that I've since called it "Bernadette's Secret Recipe." To add insult to injury, she cooks wonderfully au pif  (estimating quantities) which makes it impossible for me to learn exactly how to replicate her classic Clafoutis even if I'm right next to her when she makes it (sigh again).

Now when making Clafoutis, I use a recipe from a trusted friend, Mademoiselle Internet*. She delivered something much simpler—with fewer ingredients! It received 5 stars from my husband (smart man... he knows better) and best of all, my 7 year old son can tear through 3 slices in one sitting.

Has someone ever passed down to you a "secret" recipe —or pretend to ;)


* The recipe below is from a site called — which I found 6 years ago and unfortunately no longer exists.

Velvety Light Peach Clafoutis

1/2 Tbsp butter
5-6 sliced and pitted fresh peaches (or 32 oz. can of sliced peaches - drained)
2 eggs
1 can condensed milk
2 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
Powdered sugar (for dusting over finished Clafoutis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter a 9 inch tart dish
Pour fruit into bottom of the tart dish
In a separate container - mix eggs, vanilla, flour and condensed milk
Pour the mix on top of the fruit
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until inserted knife comes out fairly clean
To caramelize the top a bit, broil for a few minutes. Keep a eye on it!

Let it cool then sprinkle with powdered sugar

Bon appétit!

La Mémoire Vive © 2016 Catherine Goron. Powered by Blogger.