Les Bouquets

Allo mes amis! Comment ca va? I hope all is well with you, it’s been a long time! Last time I checked in it was to talk about a book I’m working on that’s taking quite a bit of research. While that’s underway I needed a diversion and came across this image (below). It’s a sketch from the year 1735, a beautiful flower arrangement that had just begun to fill in with color yet was never finished. It struck me that each of the masterpieces we see today started with the simple act of putting pencil to paper. I had the urge to continue coloring it, remembering the fun it was as a child!

In fact, I was so charmed by it that I started to look for old images in the public domain that were similar, black and white sketches that would be fun to color; arrangements, single flowers and bouquets from a time when floral design and observation of botanicals was both a science and a high art. the idea came to create a coloring book for adults that was sophisticated and would be easy to use. It was a big task since most of the images needed adjusting, color correction and restoration. they often had seams in the center like the one below,

or were crooked and yellow, scanned at high resolution but not the best quality.

There was no shortage of out of print books and images to be had, and so, with the help of a talented assistant, we worked on each image to take out the flaws and retain as much of the detail as possible.

The results led to clear, highly detailled illustrations that are pretty to look at and, when even the slightest color goes on with colored pencils or pastels, they spring to life like mini masterpieces.

As I was putting it all together in the last stages, I was visiting my mom and she was very encouraging as i stayed up late learning about the process; creating the cover, the ins and outs of self publishing on amazon and all the little details that went into it. One night we printed out the entire book to see it in hand. She happened to have loads of colored pencils so for the next few nights after dinner, we sat down with tea to talk and without planning, gravitated toward filling in the images, surprised at how easy it was and the satisfaction we had with seeing the results.

Those evenings spent talking and laughing, as well as in silence and in contemplation are some that I’ll treasure forever. Coloring became a little respite for us, a way to create without having to be particularlly creative, a way to do something together yet totally independent. Everything stopped for awhile, there was no stress, just the pleasure of play, bringing back those fond childhood feelings of contentment.

We’re no rembrants but we stopped and admired and ooh’d and ahh’d at each other’s work

and giggled at who could have created this vase!

When we finished a few, i shot what we’d done to make a collage, then searched for flatlay images and put the photo of the colored pages in the space between the pencils (below).

The image of the book cover went on the flatlay shown in the first photo of the post.

After countless revisions, adjustments and tweaks, voila! it was uploaded to amazon and the book is live now!

Each copy is printed on demand right here in the USA.

I’ve learned so much from this process, not the least of which is to continue learning. everything’s daunting until we do it once, non? If you’re interested in hearing more about it let me know and I’ll go step by step.

There are so many resources online to help with every aspect and I recommend sites like the Internet Archive, Fivver and Rawpixel to make the tasks easier.

With that, I promised to give atttibution to the images used to create the flatlays, so thank you to the creative artists on Rawpixel and Freepik and the incredible resources that are available to us all!

If you or someone you love might enjoy this book to de-stress, meditate or just plain old play, head on over to Amazon and get a copy of Les Bouquets. For every book sold, food will be donated to our local shelter where so many animals are in need of nourishment and comfort.

Well, I hope you enjoyed catching up, I sure have missed my blog friends. So for now mes amis, have a beautful, colorful day!

PS if you leave a comment you’ll be in the drawing to win a free copy! Winner announced next friday :)

October 27, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . 1700s, Coloring Book, Les Bouquets.

20 Comments

  1. pineconesandacorns replied:

    It is so nice to see you back! Love this book and reading about the process of making it. Beautiful memories created with your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Hi Elizabeth, so nice to hear from you! It feels good to be back. I just went to to your site and boy it’s beautiful, I have to share with my mom who loves making gingerbread houses this time of year.
      More memories to add to the vault!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maggie replied:

      I love love love this idea. Coloring is always relaxing and now it can be exquisite! Thank you for sharing your gifts.

      Like

  2. Dayle Brenner Wild replied:

    OMGGG Claudia
    I’m SOOOOO proud of you
    Much Much admiration and love

    Dayle

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Hey Dayle, Thank you, that means so much to me! We don’t get to see each other much but you’re always close in my thoughts. Who would have thought you would be such an influence in my life? Best mentor ever! I love you!

      Like

  3. Judy replied:

    Just ordered and shared on FB and Instagram! This is so beautiful! I can’t wait to fill mine in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Hi Judy, Wonderful! I’m heading out to get the pet food right now to take to the shelter, thank you so much. I hope you share your creations with us, I’d love to see what you do!

      Like

  4. Chryle replied:

    Dearest Claudia~

    Oh, this is beyond brilliant and beautiful! I love this idea and hope it is but the first of many such bits of playful brilliance you share with us!

    Yes, I got myself over to Amazon and ordered it even before I finished reading your post. I have colored pencils set to go. Maybe playing with some watercolors, brush or marker, might be in order too…. Perfect for the nights of winter in front of the fire with some Baroque Classical in the background?

    It was a lovely thing today to find you in my Inbox! Lovely, indeed. I hope you are doing well in these crazy times. It sounds like you and your mother enjoyed your playing. I am glad. I shall take a page or two or three – literally and figuratively – from you and get lost in white paper and black lines and colorful wanderings. Thank you for this!

    Chryle

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Hi Chryle, it was worth all the late nights, do overs and frustration just to be right here right now reading this. I love the image you created; the winter with the crackling fire, beautiful music, book in hand and nestled in nice and cozy, filling in the colors. You really hit all the notes by setting the stage for the senses. I’m so glad to reconnect and would love to hear what you do if you get the book, besides pencil for example, how well the other mediums work like watercolor and marker. Thank you for always being supportive, it brings me joy to know we are in the world together.

      Like

  5. Friday Favorites No. 504 from What's Gabby Cooking, Love and Olive Oil, Bev Cooks and More - Pinecones and Acorns replied:

    […] Claudia has just self published Les Bouquets! You can read more about how she came to publish the book here.  […]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debra replied:

    What a wonderful idea – just lovely.
    It is nice to hear from you again. Wishing you the best on your book launch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Thank you Debra! I really appreciate that! I stepped away from the blog for a bit and lost some of my skills for managing my subscriptions. Would you mind telling me where you saw it? Did it come to your email?

      Like

  7. Debra replied:

    I don’t mind at all.
    I was looking for information on a book I was interested in.
    Collected Interiors by Phillip Mitchell.
    My search took me to a blog called Splendid Sass – Ive never been to her blog before. I saw on her blog roll that you had a new post.
    I know I should subscribe to the blogs I enjoy but when I have in the past I find I wasn’t typically clicking through and reading like I thought I would. So I tend to not subscribe. I have my faves and I just check in periodically. And I do like getting lost in someone’s blog roll and was pleased to see you had posted.

    Like

  8. Loretta Martinez replied:

  9. keedesign2013 replied:

    Ohhh Claudia, my dear, you never cease to amaze me!
    Congratulations on this new creation… and all that it will bring to you! How exciting! It looks absolutely beautiful! I’m so proud of you!!!
    I am heading over now to order it! I’ll be in touch soon!
    Love you bunches~ Kathleen xo

    Like

  10. The Paris Apartment replied:

    hi everyone, thank you for your sweet notes and good wishes. we ran the random number generator to give a copy of the book away and the winner is Debra! Debra, congratulations and please send me your address at theparisapartment@gmail.com. we’ll have another giveaway soon!

    Like

  11. Lydia Lopez-Astrov replied:

    Claudia, congratulations!!!! The book is absolutely stunning! You have such a great eye for design, composition, and style! Continued success in all that you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. D’arcy Mastrangelo replied:

    Awe, I’m such a sap Claude, this gave me tears. Tears for the deep ache of missing your adorableness that’s plagued me for years now.
    Tears of appreciation for your absolute perfect sense of style, and how you Always seam that together with a uniquely brilliant and sexy business plan. I remain humbled by your awesomeness Darling.
    I cherish the Images I have of you that Always put a smile on my face when I recall , you in cotton baby doll dress , riding your bike with the lopsided basket and old clanky bell through the Lower East Side .
    Your 35 mm camera hung around your neck and at the ready to photograph the community gardens that dotted the neighborhood .
    Your enthusiasm and smile were contagious. Both my sons were always madly in love with you. All I could say to them was they had good taste.
    This book is yet another of your endless Brilliant ideas!
    What a beautiful project and contribution to the world. Something to relieve stress and to rekindle creativity. Bravo my dear old Homie, Bravo!!!! I Love you Lady, you’re one of the Great Ones!!!

    Like

    • The Paris Apartment replied:

      Darcy my sweet friend, your note touched me more than words can express. Your sentiments are so sweet and beautiful, so profound and poetic. I’ve missed you over the years too and I am going to call you right now. I love you my dear friend, thanks for making my day!

      Like

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