Hints of Spring

April 15, 2014

Did you think Spring had come ? I did too last March. Then one morning I felt everything looked too white, too cold.  Different. A patch of Winter had covered the landscape. Again. Just to give us a fright. It did not last long though.   DSC00321 When snow melted, the soil got warmer by the day and little by little tiny flowers, daisies, appeared in the grass. Some were quicker to open to the sun, others  more shy, stayed asleep. DSC00408 Dialogue between two cotton sheets in the open. “What is Isa thinking to hang us outside today ? Early March is too cold and what a Siberian wind this morning !!”.  “I know, I am freezing. Let’s huddle up together, get warm and dry. Isa will come over, bring us down into her basket and put us back nicely onto our beds”. Spring washing Hiding in the grass ? I saw you, pretty white primrose. You made my day. Thank you. DSC00356 Spring can affect some animals, apparently not these quiet cows grazing along the railway road. As I and other passengers were waiting for the train back in Fribourg, we were told that the train would have an indeterminate delay. We waited as the same message was repeated again and again. Finally we knew what it was all about :  heifers were on the tracks and  all trains from Zurich to Geneva (half of Switzerland, North-South) were delayed. Maybe it was the cows’  first day out in the pastures  after a long stay in the barn ? Such an excitement and joy ! There must have been some serious gap in a fence somewhere  too. Fortunately nothing wrong happened to anybody, the cheerful cattle was driven back home and the train moved on. Missed connections but more time to admire the scenery.DSC00368   Spring can also make you feel more tired. This is my case. I do not seem to be the only one… I was looking for Nino at home, no sign of him. I found him upstairs, dozing lazily on a comfy quilt, eyeing gently at an exotic parrot. Oh well, change of Season, you know.quilt, Nino, KOSince we are in a patchwork mood, let me show you my new Spring project. Something I have been planing to sew for a long time : a picnic blanket for Summertime. All different scrappy squares, economy blocks or diamond in diamond. I really enjoy going through my leftovers boxes. The quilt is far from being finished; I plan to separate each square with a plain fabric, white or green.  Spring has just started and I hope to sit in the open on this blanket next Sumer. How I love picnics ! DSC00448Just a few touches of my Spring that I felt like sharing with you, hoping yours is pleasant too. Any project on the way ?

Altitudes and contrasts

March 19, 2014

Over the past weeks it seems like I did  nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in  comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.

The tall and almost bare larch trees in the Alps; snow melted in places but no green buds yet.arbres-mâts

A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.

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Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.

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whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near  Morat.

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Snow flowers over 4000ft

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and  Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside.  So welcome !

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Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,

Ninio, snow

and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.

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Typical Winter activity…

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and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.

DSC00268Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.

En route for Spring !

rusty quilt

February 21, 2014

It all started about one year ago after I visited a friend’s exhibition near my home. My friend is a sculptor, someone who looks at things she finds here and there in a way you and I may not always do. Marie-Chantal collects driftwood, pebbles, metallic parts, all kinds of abandoned objects transformed over  time and permanent evolution. Corroded steel is probably her favourite material to create her sculptures. She associates stone to solidity, wood is her symbol of evolution,  paper means malleability, glass she uses for transparence. Marie-Chantal likes to cite the philosopher Heraclite :

“The absence of consistency of things which move endlessly, never stay like they  were originally and that can transform themselves into their contrary”

To show you how her sculptures look like, you may wish to open this link on her website and see how inspired I was by her creativity :

http://www.marie-chantalcollaud.ch/fr/galeries-serie-1.html

http://www.marie-chantalcollaud.ch/fr/galeries-serie-3.html

Here is the result of my inspiration.

rusty quiltA quilt made little by little putting together many scraps. Rough and soft materials that looked “rusty” to me, textures like gunny, raffia, corduroy,  copper threads, cotton, linen, wool or softer fabrics like gauze and raw silk.

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rusty quilt 2 détails

DSCN1281It was a challenge to work with  materials whose texture did not always blend in nor fit perfectly with others. I used my scraps like Marie-Chantal used her little bits of stone, wood, corroded steel or glass. Looking differently at  things bring you lots of joy too.

And now, a long delayed work that I look forward to create. More scraps and more memories, dear ones. Pieces of materials, handkerchiefs, aprons, pillow cases, napkins and more that belonged to my mother. i am not sure yet what I will do at the end but I do look forward to remember moments, events, words and thoughts as I will sew these small pieces together.

scraps mamannew quilt with scraps

La Vie en Turquoise

January 31, 2014

Back with you , my friends, after a demanding month of January. I had very little time to write and download more pictures from my stay in Istanbul. When I did so, I realized there was a lot of turquoise color in them. You surely have heard this lovely song “La Vie en Rose” (seeing life through rose-colored glasses),  so why not seeing “La Vie en Turquoise”  in some streets of Istanbul, Turkey ?

Turquoise, the blue cousin to lapis lazuli, has been known and valued for thousands of years. The early mines in Sinai, Egypt, were already worked out in 2000 B.C. Today the best quality Turquoise is found in Iran. Turquoise was first sent to Europe through Turkey, hence its name, which means “Turkish” in French (turc  or turque).

Turquoise has long been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or a talisman. It is believed to promote good fortune, happiness, and long life.

DSCN1021Had this dark roller-blind been up, I am sure the shop behind it would have looked like an Ali Baba’s Cave full of semi-precious stones and all kinds of jewels.

DSCN1076A quiet back street, away from the touristic main sites. This luminous quilt, a flash of turquoise, was hanging in front of an old shop.

mosaics You often get surprised whether you look up or down. Here, an artistic minded mason had decided to embellish the pavement in inserting typical Turkish  tiles… or what was left of them. Isn’t it charming ?

turquoiseI stood a long time there. In front of the shop various jewels decorated the wall. Turquoise necklaces of all sizes, shapes and lengths. On the right hand side,  several “nazar” were displayed (Turkish: bazar boncuğu) . A nazar is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye,  they are seen and sold all over the city.

reflectionsColourful reflections. Shawls, fabrics, bags, cushions, carpets highlighted the wooden walls of an old Ottoman house. The sign in Spanish says “Good quality, pretty and cheap” !

Musée de l'IslamTurquoise and golden shades  are engraved in the Ma’mun globe (a Caliph who reigned from 198-218 H./813-833 CE.) in front of the entrance of the Istanbul Museum for History of Science in Islam. A great achievement. The map on this globe displays, with surprising accuracy, the geography of the part of the world which was known at that time.

Maybe your weekend is in the grey shades ? or all white with so much snow ? or golden with a hot sun ? blue, if you live near the sea ? No matter the color you are living in, here is Edith Piaf singing for you “La Vie en Rose”.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Happy weekend to you :)

Best wishes to all

December 31, 2013

For a HAPPY NEW YEAR with light and colors on the horizon of your life.


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A boat in the sunset cruising on the Bosphorus strait last November. A short but most pleasant stay  in Istanbul with my family. It was a surprise trip for our eldest son and the most enjoyable experience for the four of us.

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May your New Year fit nicely in this colorful year cycle. This is how I interpreted this painting in the astronomy section of the superb Museum of the History of Science & Technology in Islam  from the 9th-17th centuries through a series of replicas of its greatest achievements and inventions (Gülhane Park in Istanbul).

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The objects displayed serve to honour a number of the sciences including astronomy, geometry, chemistry, physics, optics, mineralogy, architecture, time measurement and war technology. They attempt to show how discoveries made across the Islamic world were adopted, altered and assimilated into European culture.

Thank you to each and all of you for sharing with me your own pictures and experiences here and there, your own  beliefs, traditions and cultures. I really believe that it is in communicating with others, all over the world, that we start understanding one another better. Less fear of the unknown and more peace all around.

Bonne et heureuse Année !

Isabelle

Christmas lights

December 24, 2013

This time has come again.

A time for joy and togetherness, for traditions and preparations, for gifts and decorations.

A time with happiness, with fear of loneliness, of memories and changes.

A time for songs, poems, prayers, candles and the scent of oranges and  spices.

A time when a single brilliant Star lead the way to a crib and a new born Child.

A time when everyone everywhere should find its own Light, shining.

A warm and comforting feeling in one’s heart.

May one of those lights on our pine tree in the garden find the way to your heart and

Let you know you are thought of, thanked and wished the best only.

Noël 2

MERRY CHRISTMAS, JOYEUX NOEL, FELIZ NAVIDAD, GLAEDELIG JUL, HYVAA JOULUA !

Isabelle

A bus in the snow

December 3, 2013

It seems like a short while  since I wrote about Fall. Now Winter has arrived bringing snow, freezing temperatures and pleasures many look forward to. I have not been very present on my blog lately and I regret it. Troubled times and sad events kept me away. Sometimes you cannot help but just going along with the flow of life and all it gives you, good or less so. I missed reading your own blogs and sharing more of my thoughts and images. Recently though I had the opportunity of taking a few pictures and I thought I would share these moments with you.

It was the first day snow fell. I sat on one of those bright yellow postal buses driving up to a chalet in the mountains. It is a drive I always enjoy for the  breathtaking landscape and the comforting  feeling of not having to drive myself on the slippery  roads of this Season.DSCN0976

Few people were in the bus: not even ten of us including the driver. There were mostly young people  studying down in the valley and going up back home in the late afternoon.postal bus

Suddenly, exactly at this spot on the road, one of the four snow chains that equipped the large wheels of the bus broke. The driver stopped the engine and went out to see the damage. He did not look really happy as he started to replace the chain; his vehicle had just been thoroughly checked before Winter and he was surprised this should happen. We, the passengers, sat patiently, waiting, reading, listening to music or looking at the landscape. That was me.

snow tracks

I liked the blending of shades, golden trees surrounded by white fields. Snow had started falling again. A snowplough overtook us in the curve, the truck driver stopped and offered his help. “Thanks, it’s all right” our driver replied, “I’ll manage” ! And the truck  went off, a long evening of work ahead of him.

chasse-neige

The  snow fell on and on, softly but steadily. By then we were on our way again, very cautiously. Calmness was all around, a beautiful landscape and hardly any car on the road. I felt safe and warm in the bus and did not mind the delay.chalet, neige

I was looking at a few chalets on the way and imagined how cosy it must feel inside, around  a fireplace maybe, as snow was covering paths and mountain pastures.

Salins

The road was barely visible. Few vehicles had driven there since snow fell in the morning. It was slippery and the driver was extremely careful and slow in handling the bends and downhill slopes.

snowy roadYet it felt good being driven in such a beautiful and quiet environment. I trusted the driver and enjoyed the nature all around us. No more music  nor chatter in the bus, the only noise was the  sound of the big chained wheels on the crisp snow.  A dreamy and silent drive, one that brings peace to your mind and makes you feel good in your heart.forêt, neige

I would have loved to take a picture of the yellow bus in the snow but by the time we reached the village we were heading to, it was real dark. Our HD – Hero Driver – was not in the mood for a picture, too tired from so much concentration on the driving. Nice as he is, he promised I could take a picture  next time I am on his bus.

Please, excuse the poor quality or the images (too many reflections from the bus windows).

All of a sudden …

November 10, 2013

…Fall was there ! You wake up one morning, pull the curtains and there it is. The birch  tree is turning yellow and the morning feels slightly cooler.DSCN0780A soft haze  envelops the landscape just enough to highlight the changing shades of the Season.DSCN0771The last yellow roses in the garden undulate slightly in the breeze. The day was chilly ; did they get pink petals  from the fresh air ?roses d'automneMore autumnal shades are reflected in a pond. A quiet and peaceful mood to welcome a new cycle of Season.

étang, automneMore autumnal shades are reflected on a pond. A quiet, peaceful mood to welcome a new cycle of Season.pommesBack home from my morning walk,  I found  big colourful apples  in a pot in front of my door. Someone really nice had left them there for me. I immediately bit into one…Simply delicious ! As for the others, they were much appreciated on a pie, juicy and melting in your mouth.  Just a few  small pleasures of the  coming Season. I hope you have just as much, and more, to enjoy.

Summer abundance

October 13, 2013

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Rather than showing you the grayness of my foggy morning – it seems as if the mountains have disappeared – I much prefer to remember Summer, its alpine meadows, its colours, scents,  tastes, all precious gifts that I hope you have enjoyed yourself too.

DSCN0634During a wonderful birthday party, a lot of delicious food was served , amongst which those small tomatoes of all shapes and shades just picked in the garden. My favorites were the dark red ones, almost purple. So sweet and juicy.

DSCN0643On a bed of wild camomile and rosemary. black cherries were glittering in the sun. Are you tempted ?

DSCN0642Oh, the taste and scent of those sweet strawberries !

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Lavender and parsley added an exquisite touch to the pieces of chicken and potatoes.

DSCN0640Beside various wines  produced locally, we were offered a kind of “herbal water” served in a big glass jar. The cool water was flavored with branches of lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage and even a few cherries. So refreshing !

DSCN0658As an extra gift, and not the least, Pierre’s birthday celebration was held on a superb “terrace with a view”.  One you do not forget : the well-known vineyards of Lavaux over the Lake Léman, surrounded by the Alps.

Somehow it was  also everyone’s birthday  because of the reunion of dear friends as well as for the treats that had been prepared with love. The magnificent view was a fantastic gift. A Summer day to remember when Fall is at the door and some summits are already snow-capped. Oh well, Autumn will give us more colors, scents and tastes, won’t it ? More gatherings to look forward to.

Happy Sunday to all !

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