Moments I like to remember

October 17, 2014

On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for  this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !

collage, Thai foodLast June I finished sewing a picnic quilt. Lots of leftover scraps from previous quilts. I was really happy.

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The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy  that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.DSC00109

Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories  but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.

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I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.

Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.

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On the road to the pastures, we were welcomed by local musicians playing the Alp horn, a typical musical instrument here.DSC00075

Another moment to remember of  this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage  almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.

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What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.DSC00352Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”

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in peace

September 7, 2014

Jaun, a small village in the Gruyère area of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. Its cemetery, known for the beautiful woodcarvings built on each grave, depicting the life of the deceased, adds to the charm of this mountain village. I believe, these sculptures may be unique in Europe. They were created on the initiative of Walter Cottier, a self taught resident who passed in 1995. Other village artists have continued creating this most unusual artwork. I was there last week with friends and took some pictures to share with you

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Jaun’s church is surrounded by many wooden tombs, each as different as the villagers were.

Jaun, église 2According to the old table and sewing machine sculpted on the wooden grave, this lady was a dressmaker. How many pieces of clothing had she sewn in her life ?

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Another person who was remembered in the cemetery was a hunter. Between other words on his tomb I read : “Arbeit war Dein ganze Leben/Work was your whole life”.

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How could one forget the grocer ? The lady who sold all that was needed, as well as daily bread ?

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Another sculpture was dedicated to a lorry driver, an  important person in this mountain village. He would have transported wood beams, all kinds of goods, stones, and any  heavy materials people needed.

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Marie; a church and a bouquet of flowers have been sculpted on her wooden grave. Would she have  been the faithful person who, week after week, decorated the altar of the church years ago ?DSC00157

Family members, friends who are still missed,  who added their share to the life and history of the village and who now rest in peace in this lovely alpine setting. They are certainly honored in a beautiful way.

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Inside the church, the late afternoon sun was shining softly on a stained glass window.

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One can learn so much about the life of a village  – or any place – while visiting such a cemetery. Like a book whose pages you  would slowly turn with wonder and respect. My gratitude goes to the village artists who keep memory alive.

The flowers of my Summer

August 21, 2014

Before Fall arrives, let me show you the flowers of my Summer.

 

Flowers like sun just has much as they need rain. They got a lot of rain these past months, whether in the alpine meadows, like here, or in gardens, along forest paths, everywhere vegetation has been growing and blooming wildly.DSCN0443A bush heavy with rain and bending towards the countless petals its flowers just lost. Impernanence of all things and beings.DSC00528Like a flamenco dancer, the poppy is spinning its red dress in the early morning sun.DSCN1512I like the late afternoon sun over these wild flowers, their pink shades  glowing in the warm light..DSC00659The view I always enjoy : a garden shed surrounded by a shower of yellow wild flowers. They were preceded by long golden grasses and followed by small bushes in pink and blue shades. A patch of wilderness in the garden.DSCN1486The beauty of natural amethysts on the terrace. Clematis  flowers have bloomed and bloomed, never tired of unfolding their soft petals.DSC00534

This gorgeous yellow bouquet  was given to me for my birthday last June. Flowers that meant a lot and that brightened up my home for many days.

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Summer flowers, colours of joy, colors in sad times. Friends passed in the recent months. An ancient chapel where we prayed, a rose bush growing in front of one of its  windows, the touch of color that brings back warm memories.

DSC00005I hope your Summer is full of flowers, colorful bushes, hedges where birds sing, woods with scented violets, natural meadows, paths bordered with sage, wild fennel and thyme. I hope you are enjoying  Nature in all its beauty.

Thoughts behind images

August 1, 2014

My Summer is busy over here, too busy, not enough time for taking pictures unfortunately. I apologize for not posting more regularly. I thought why not look into my archives and find some pictures I like and write a post around them ? Let’s go to Australia, Victoria, an area I visited a  few years ago and let’s imagine the thoughts behind the images. immigration museum 1 Melbourne, the Immigration Museum. A beautiful  desk aboard a ship sailing to a faraway world. Someone had been sitting there and writing home. I imagine he or she was writing home about the long, so long travel to the other side of the world. The various feelings  one tried to express in a letter : sadness of leaving behind family members, maybe and a place called home, the hope of a new future, seasickness, meeting other immigrants, limited place to live all together… And certainly a lot more personal feelings and messages. dsc07288 Melbourne, a large avenue in the center. A coffee shop. At first I thought : “Why such a difficulty choosing from all those similar bags of oranges ?”  But then maybe this man’s indecision comes from choosing from the various snacks or meals sold in the shop ? St-Ex in St-Kilda 2 St-Kilda near Melbourne. A bus stop. Those words scribbled on a board: “What is essential is invisible to the eyes. It is only with the heart that one sees clearly” . Did the person who wrote this quote just read St-Exupéry’s book “The Little Prince” and liked it or was he/she in a particular mood which inspired these thoughts ? Melbourne card-4 052 Maldon, Victoria, is a notable town for its 19th century appearance, maintained since the gold-rush days. As I walked in front of this porte-cochere, I thought how relieved travelers  must have been to  finally find a place to stop, eat and rest after a long journey by stagecoach. a person 1 Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. An oasis of peace in the middle of this large  busy city. I stopped there just to look at my city-map, eat a snack or just give a break to my tired feet. Someone was sitting nearby, reading. In front of me a man was also sitting, quite immobile, meditating maybe or lost in his  own thoughts ?  Or taking a nap ?

 

Do you sometimes wonder what thoughts or situations hide behind your images ?

Astronomers and stars

June 15, 2014

As I received this image (in B&W), together with a fine poem by W. Whitman, I could not but try imagining how this world must have looked in colors. I spent a quiet moment painting it according to my own wishes.DSCN1543 WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams,

to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer,

where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

” Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, 1867

stars quilt   Have you ever stopped and looked up at the sky on a clear night ? Have you ever taken time to search for stars, the brilliant ones and the more dimly-lit ones ? Have you ever felt dizzy while looking up, your head pulled back and you neck sore from observing the vastness of the sky ? Dizzy, amazed and feeling so small under the celestial vault. We obviously need to be grateful to science and scientists to research and explain all kinds of phenomenons. Don’t we also need taking time to look behind the charts, figures and diagrams ?

 

Here is something I liked and felt like sharing with you ? ;) http://io9.com/5973932/walt-whitmans-when-i-heard-the-learnd-astronomer-in-comic-form

What better example could I give you of a Mother’s Love for her children  than these images of the Tulip family in our garden ? The wind blowing lightly helped me greatly to create this little allegory.tulips 1 See how Mama tulip shows her affection to her youngest ? Bending gently and probably encouraging her to stand tall and strong in spite of the wind. tulips 2 Mama is guiding her sweet white tulip towards the right path. tulips 3 When difficulties arise and doubt makes one’s shoulders more fragile, Mama is still there, moving alongside  her young tulip. Notice the support of the other family members, standing strong around them ;) Even if a bit disheveled… tulips 4 “Let’s move on, little one, you can make it, I believe in you and love you”, says Mama Tulip. DSCN1435 And when the youngest one is ready  and feeling safe to stand up again and grow, Mama  leaves her going her way, calm and proud. So is Dad, standing on the left and knowing all will be good. Do not ask me about the different shades in their family, please. Race is not an issue with them. The more colors, the merrier ! This little allegory is to tell you of my love and gratitude for my mother, Cécile, living now in her own garden somewhere. My love for all mothers to thank them for all they do and are to us. Because we always remain the children of our mothers, don’t we ?

HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY ! tulipes, myosotis With Love

Isabelle

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,

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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 !

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