Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today, we celebrated la Fête des Rois ou Epiphanie in French. This is the day the 3 kings arrived to visit Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

Since Ulysse was borned, we celebrate this day baking the traditional Galette des Rois, a round and flat large pastry stuffed with frangipane, a cream made of ground almonds, eggs and sugar. Of course, you have to hide a fève somewhere in the cake so that the person who finds it in his or her piece becomes the king or queen of the day.

I bake my galette but in Montreal you can find it in any good French bakery and each year it comes with a different fève (bean in French) made of porcelain and shaped like a little figurine. In France, there are many bean collectors and some items can be quite expensive too.

My friend Nadine in Paris sent me a bunch of them a few years ago. I put them away in a little empty metal candy box. When comes the day,I am always charmed by how they look together, like mini toys or tiny jewels. Each of them is quite small, about the size of a quarter.

On January 6, I choose one randomly and hide it in the pastry. When Ulysse was younger, I used to place the bean in his part of the cake, once it was cut, just to make sure he would be getting it...

Anyways, it was back to school also today, so the kings came to visit and Christmas vacations came to a halt.

I always kind of fear returning to my studio and my painting after a long break. I always fear the inspiration will have left the building, that I will not be able to draw anymore, that my brain will be empty of ideas.

But no! It was easy! The trick is to paint and not do anything else like look at magazines, check my email, talk on the phone, play with the cats ...

One thing at a time! This is my motto for the year 2009!

I am working on a few paintings at a time and should have something to show you tomorrow.

That is if Mike the cat hasn't messed too much with my canvases and paint brushes ...


sweetmango said...

I wish one of my cats would sit with me when I create!
Hey Mike....shhh....Puss puss puss pussssss...here Mike...jump up on my table!! hee hee hee!
Good to see you back in the studio. I love the tin full of feve...very jewel-like!
Hope you are warm over there :)

Free spirit said...

You work is adorable!
Love it!

Kim Mailhot said...

What a beautiful collection of "feves" !

Glad you found your swing in the studio. Aren't some of our fears crazy ? You know that painting and creating is a part of you and yet you are scared it will leave you somehow ! But at least you looked past the fear and dove in anyway ! Can't wait to see what the new year's muse has up it's sleeve for you !

"One thing at a time" is a perfect goals for the new year ! I hope it comes to you easily !
Happy creating !

glorv1 said...

I like your studio, it's you. I like the way you hide the feve in the cake and whats even better is that your whole family enjoys it as well. Have a great day.

TheFancyChola said...

One day you have to visit New Mexico and come see the dia de los muertos show in Mesilla. You would be so inspired by the alters that are put up to honor lost loved ones! Oh and the Spanish Market in Santa Fe is awsome. I could go on forever, but you have to visit here, eat green and red chili,tamales, biscochitos, and natillas! It was great to hear about your customs,so cool. Or as we say in Nuevo Mexico...Chingon! (pronounced Ching-go-nnn!)

chandlerguera said...

I'm working with a lot of Latinos and on Tuesday we celebrated "Rosca de Reyes," or Three Kings Day. Very similar to what you described! The only difference is that a plastic baby Jesus is placed in the bread and the person that gets it must provide the tamales at the next party. Which will be ME.
I found an article and pictures from NYC so you can see the bread and the plastic figurine. It was the same here in Colorado for our work team.

Pease Porridge said...

I love all your figurines! How fun. Is this something like the King Cake in New Orleans? We usually have one during Mardi Gra. I love your Birthday gift with the heart. My father's Birthday is smooshed between Christmas and New Year's. He told us how he never really had a Birthday as a child because of it, so we always make a point to keep it separate for him now. :)
Happy New Year!

lunara said...

Is so lovely you cat, hehe.. and your blog adorable!

Jenn said...

Oh I LOVE them Lulu! What a great tradition:) Happy that you are happily painting the time away:):)

happy weekend!

RyoJul said...

Hi Lulu,

I just want to clarify something one of your commentators said it was from chandlergeura she said that we Latinos celebrate "rosca de reyes" but that is untrue. We celebrate "El Dia de los Reyes Magos" or Three Wise Kings Day which is a celebration on the 6 of January. It is also called the Epiphany. The children put out their shoes the night of the 5th and the next morning when they wake up they have a gift in their shoes. The rosca de reyes is what we call the bread where you put a small baby Jesus figurine. Similar to what you do. It is a round bread. Whoever gets the figure will have to host a new party and everyone who was present to cut the rosca will have to be invited to the party. Everyone hopes that they are not the ones to have to hot the party. The day the party will be hosted on is the Candelaria or Candle Mass day on February 2. This marks the end of our Christmas Celebrations. The baby Jesus of the Nativity Scene will get a new dress. Then the Nativity Scene will be put away. Since most Hispanics are Catholics, we have the tradition of these celebrations.

jean benabou said...

My husband was born and raised in French Morocco, and even though he did not share the holiday, he remembers fondly the fun he and his family had eating the cake and finding the crown.
Thank you for sharing!

Leslie said...

I love those cakes celebrating the kings. Your collection of the trinkets is wonderful and so colorful.

Happy belated Birthday to you and Happy new year too!

Here's to lots of creativity in 2009!


The Vintage Sister Studio said...

What a lovely companion you have! My cat usually sits in my lap and digs in her claws when I need to stand up. I suspect she's using me for my warmth;)
Nice to have you back! I can't wait to see what you have been working on.

Happy New Year Lulu!

blueberries in the fields said...

bonjour lulu ! un petit mot pour te dire que je t ai « taggé » pour un « award «.visite mon blog et lis comment toi aussi tu peux faire partager ce « prix » avecd autres personnes qui ont pleins de talents !
passes une magnifique journée !

Amy Sullivan said...

~I'v hit hit a bump too~
Lot's of ideals swimming around in my mind~ just can't seem to focus on one~
~Have a Lovely New Year~

jewelrygirl said...

I am so jealous! I would give anything if I could paint the kind of folk art you do. That is all I have ever wanted to do. I am a frustrated painter...just can't do it. So, I have tried everything else.

Love...love love the paintings.