February 24, 2014
Here is a fun photo challenge from Karen at
Karma asks us to “Choose a word. Or two. Or three. It really doesn’t matter. It could be your name – real name or nom de blog. It could be a favorite noun, verb, adjective or interjection. Anything is fine. Now go find pictures of stuff around your house, objects not letters, to represent each letter of your chosen word or words! Get it?”
The deadline for this Photo Hunt is on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
Ready to find my hidden word ?
Go and good luck !
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 :
Here is the result of my inspiration.
A 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.
It 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.
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.
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 ?
I 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.
Turquoise 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
December 31, 2013
For a HAPPY NEW YEAR with light and colors on the horizon of your life.
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.
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).
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 !
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.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, JOYEUX NOEL, FELIZ NAVIDAD, GLAEDELIG JUL, HYVAA JOULUA !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yet 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.
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).
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.A soft haze envelops the landscape just enough to highlight the changing shades of the Season.The last yellow roses in the garden undulate slightly in the breeze. The day was chilly ; did they get pink petals from the fresh air ?More autumnal shades are reflected in a pond. A quiet and peaceful mood to welcome a new cycle of Season.
More autumnal shades are reflected on a pond. A quiet, peaceful mood to welcome a new cycle of Season.Back 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.
October 13, 2013
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.
During 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.
Lavender and parsley added an exquisite touch to the pieces of chicken and potatoes.
Beside 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 !
As 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 !
September 12, 2013
To say “goodbye” to Portugal and close this series of posts about my journey to Porto and surroundings, I would like to share with you some special moments, places, tastes, memories of here and there during a short and eventful week last May.
Vende se. For sale. An empty house full of memories of people. A house whose inhabitants may have left for various reasons. Lack of buyers for selling it to ? No means to repair it ? Moving to another city in search of a job ? Emigrating further away in Europe, the Americas, Africa ? One sees many such abandoned houses or closed down shops during these critical times for the Portuguese economy.
Art Nouveau style. A striking contrast. A lot of buildings of the early 20th century in Art Nouveau style, are still visible in Porto. This ancient coffee house has been closed but its prestigious façade and decoration remain. A memory of times gone.
Brazilian hot chocolate, probably the best I ever drank (and this is a Swiss telling you this Believe me, this creamy, tasty, full-flavored beverage is worth the detour.
Pastelleria (bakery), cakes, pastries and sweets are renowned in Portugal. You find bakeries everywhere offering an abundant choice of delicious sweets. Here in a street of Coimbra at the end of a folk festival.
Stamps. I like writing and choosing nice stamps for my postcards or letters. In a little village along the Douro river, a very nice young lady at the local Post Office went out of her way to choose all kinds of different stamps for me. In doing so she also loved practising her French, which I really appreciated. People’s kindness and friendliness were constant during my stay in Portugal.
Flowers. When and where you least expect them, they come at you through a gate, over an old wall, along a street. Bundles of colourful “flores“, highlighting any old stones.
Churches are numerous in Portugal, of all styles and epochs, simple or heavily decorated, often with azulejos. I chose to show this Porto skyline with you. No overpowering churches but present and beautiful, barely outlined in the setting sun. Thank you for having followed me during the Summer across my journey to Portuguese cities, gardens, river and other places I felt like sharing with you. I really appreciated your visits and comments.
August 28, 2013
Coimbra, the ancient city situated on a hill by the river Mondego, South West of Porto. An urban center best known for its university (1537), one of the oldest in Europe but also for its monuments, churches, museums, parks and intense cultural life centered around the university. A town of contrasts between the ancient upper city on the hill and the low city, more modern and commercial by the river. Coimbra’s small cloisters, hidden gems, shadowed and secluded gardens where it feels so good to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment.
Coimbra’s well-known cabaret “Fado ao Centro” where we sat waiting for musicians (all students) to perform their songs (fado) of hope, love, longing, sadness about emigrating. Songs of protest and rebellion in troubled times too.
Coimbra, Santa Clara quartier, away from the busy city, the prestigious monuments and buildings. A little house on the hill, shutters closed to keep away the midday sun, a deserted terrace illuminated by a flamboyant bush of hibiscus.