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Ah yes, the Monday blues…..for a couple reasons.  First, this was the last full day here in Provence and second, we were learning the art of Woad dyeing, a plant-derived European blue.  I started the day out here at my morning meditation area by the pool.  Since it was to be the last time I would have to sit here and contemplate life and give thanks for the many blessings I was experiencing on this trip, I decided I better make a video of the sights and sounds.  This way, whenever I felt the need to escape to Provence, I could do so.

Having said that, I will share my video on my Facebook Biz page HERE so that you too can have your moment of zen.

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Did you feel it?  Feel the utter peacefulness, tranquility and calm settle over you as you listened to the birds, the fountain trickling water into the pool?  You had to be there in person to truly experience the moment.  But this isn’t a bad start either.

In the photo below, you are seeing the aftermath of a morning and afternoon of dyeing our white articles of clothing, pillow shams, tablecloths, scarves and yes, even shoes, this beautiful natural shade of blue.

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We started around 9:00 in the gardens off to the side of the house.  A perfect place, if you ask me.  In the photo below are the articles of white whatever getting soaked in water first, before being placed in the dye vats.

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This is one of two dye vats that were used.  I made another video showing how Denise and her daughter Mariam make the vat of dye.  Click HERE to see it.  Isn’t this the coolest blue?

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While the vats of blue were resting, we were given an education on the history of woad, how it’s grown and harvested, extracting the pigment from the leaves and then what to expect from the process.

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In this photo you see the two strips of fabric to show how the color turns blue.  It starts out green but the longer it rests, the more blue it turns.  It was fascinating to watch it turn blue right before my very eyes!

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This is Mariam letting my shirt go slowly into the vat to make sure the air bubbles were out to get a good dye.  Isn’t she cute?  It was nice to see her continuing this art that her mom and dad helped revive after much research and hard work.

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In this photo you see one of my linen shams that I brought to dye.  These belonged to my mother in law and when she passed away, I got her linen.  This is the first dipping in the vat and you can see where the middle is more blue and the edges more green.

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This photo shows how blue it turns after the first dip.  Isn’t that amazing?

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And this is cute Georgina, one of the Canadian gals on the trip.  I really enjoyed those two gals.  She had this beautiful piece that she dyed and here she is proudly playing “Vanna” to show off her work of art.

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A group shot showing the process in action.

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Mariam was also taking pictures of our group so I found 4 of them I thought would go well with this blog post since it was our group of gals.  Please visit their Facebook Biz page HERE and LIKE them.  Their work is fascinating and so are the pictures that they post.

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photo courtesy of L’Atelier des Bleus Pastel d’Occitanie

And this cutie patutie was on the trip with her mom and wondered what it would be like to dye a piece of her hair.  Why not?  It’s all natural and NO chemicals.

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This photo shows my shirt and sham after the second dye.  I stopped the shirt at the second dye but continued on to the third round for my shams.  If you’re wondering why there’s a big tear in the sham you’re not seeing things.  This was the second sham I brought that matched the first one.  I couldn’t bear to throw it out just because it was ripped so it will be used as a repair sham for the first since I have it on my guest bed.  The shams are over 50 years old so they’ve held up quite well.

If you can, look close at the photo of the shirt, you will see the white stitching didn’t take the dye.  That is because the shirt is linen, a natural fiber, but the thread is polyester, so it didn’t take the dye.  I got this shirt at the Gap by the way.  It’s called The Boyfriend Shirt.  I needed a white shirt for this trip for sun protection.  In fact, I am wearing it in the photos from a couple blog posts ago when we had our sketching and painting class outside.

This process was so exciting that I found myself wondering what else I could dye since I only brought the two shams.  Then I remembered this shirt, and the rest is history!  I almost grabbed my white bra too, but remembered it was the only white one I had with me on the trip.  Sigh….

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Mariam took this photo of us gals, busy at work, dyeing and hanging our goodies!  I love the different shades of green in this photo with the shrubbery and trees, and then my bright green sweater!

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photo courtesy of L’Atelier des Bleus Pastel d’Occitanie

I love the next two photos Mariam took of us.  I remember seeing her on the bank above us but didn’t know what she was doing.  I thought she was just texting with some friends while we did our thing! Ha!

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photo courtesy of L’Atelier des Bleus Pastel d’Occitanie

Isn’t this garden beautiful?  What an idyllic setting to be working with a natural dye in a natural setting.

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photo courtesy of L’Atelier des Bleus Pastel d’Occitanie

And the group photo!

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And me with Shelly and Deb

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And this!  Georgina caught me with a champagne glass in my hand again!  We were having our aperitif before lunch after the morning session of dyeing.

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À table!  Lunch is ready!

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Because this was the last day, we had a different chef, an Italian gal who made food sing.   And then me, because it was so good!  In the photo below we started off with these different salads and goat cheeses.

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After the first course, we had a wonderful risotto that Deb and Susan served us.  Fresh flowers on the table….for every meal….sigh!

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Below, a photo op I couldn’t pass up.  I loved the greens of the fresh dill on the cheese and the delicate flowers with the sparkle of  white wine in the carafe.  This was our last lunch together as a group.

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As I was sitting at the table, I happened to look to my left and was enamored with the view and wanted to keep it forever with the photo below.  It was this walkway that I used to walk to the pool and my morning meditation steps.  You can see our items of blue hanging on the line.

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This photo is of the table we sat at for our nightly dinners.  The table is set for the last dinner and for the life of me I can’t remember what we ate!  But it was at this table that we enjoyed each other’s company, conversation and details of each day we just had.  Enjoying the quiet, the laughing, the emotional moments of expressing our joy and amazement of the trip of a lifetime, the wine, the food, the coffee.

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After this marvelous dinner I went upstairs and started packing my suitcase for the next day’s journey to Paris.  This part of the trip in Provence had come to an end.

Yes, this truly was the trip of a lifetime for me.  One that I will remember as long as I live.

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