Happy New Year !

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year to you, Bonne et Heureuse Année, Buon Anno.DSC01323

May the mosaic of your days flow smoothly and nicely as these colorful marble patterns on the beautiful floor of Santa Anastasia Church (XIIIth century) in Verona, Italy. All different and bringing joys, sometimes challenges but always hope.

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I think there is one thing that I could wish to everyone, in every language and in every country of the world and that is   P E A C E,  as written on this armchair.

PEACE  to you and yours and many other people here and there.

Christmas mood

December 25, 2015

Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS, moments of joy and peace, togetherness,  sharing the light and warmth of this special time of the year. Moments that I hope will last long after this day.

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This is also a time when my parents are both very present around us. They both left days before and after Christmas. Here is the quilt I made in memory of my mother, gratitude and happy years together. Little pieces of materials that belonged to her or that she used a lot : pillow cases, towels, aprons, napkins, handkerchiefs, curtains, cushions, tablecloths. I felt good sewing it slowly, thinking of her and smiling.DSC01914

A crib in town. There were many of them, nicely built and decorated along the “Path of the Cribs”. I like this  one for the feeling of peace it conveys as well as togetherness, offering, sharing, realness.

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These images are my gifts to you on this Christmas Day, dear visitors, friends  who happen to stop here today.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” 

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Time for Art exhibitions

December 4, 2015

Feeling like visiting some art exhibitions with me ? The Season for various cultural events is on again.

So let’s follow the curious chickens into the galleries…DSC01669

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Albert Chavaz was a Swiss painter (1907-1990) who left a great amount of oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, drawings; he was a sculptor as well as a Master glassmaker; so many beautiful windows he created in churches, chapels and official buildings. I visited his studio with one of his daughters. Everything has been left untouched since he passed.

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In another gallery, I admired other sculptures created by Pierre Loye,  an artist living in the Valais area in Switzerland. “The Travellers”, as the artwork below is named, has been carved in a single piece of wood (lime tree) A few people  are on the road, their house is turned upside down definitely meaning: “We are away and will not be in for a long time”! Imagination and talent !DSC01677

Pierre Loye is also a painter. Two of his inimitable characters stand on their window like on a flying carpet…opening to the wide world. At least this is what I imagined !DSC01676

To end our visit, let’s go to the Museum of ancient wallpapers in Mezieres, near Fribourg, Switzerland. It is installed in a lovely restored mansion of the 14th century.

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Photography (especially with flash) was not permitted for obvious reasons. These old wallpapers, painted, drawn or made out of silk would be damaged by too much artificial light. Here is a postcard of part of a wallpaper called “The two Doves” in the Blue Room.

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No flash was needed in a brightly lit room to show you a ancient chest or writing table ? It was lined with a decorative wallpaper.

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A surprise in another room ! An old Korean bicycle carrying a huge load of colorful bundles of various objects and materials called  “Bottari Tricycle (2008)” This old tricycle was loaded with about twenty “Bottaris” which are multicolored sheets used in Korea to transport the basic tools of a household. Kimsooja (*1957), the artist, describes these Bottaris as symbols of a nomadic world, a form of simple and  mobile life. This is becoming more common in our global society.

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Here are a few examples of ancient wallpapers of the 19th century… in the form of wrapping papers and postcards.

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It was a lovely autumnal Sunday afternoon, hardly anybody but me in this small museum. Who could blame them when the landscape was so inviting for a walk ? Which I did later on.

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Thanks for joining me !

in memory

November 17, 2015

Of all the innocent victims across the world,

Cities are paved with the red drops of their blood

And their white dreams of peace and tolerance.

A touch of green forces its way through the pavement,

Will Hope prevail and color our world in a multicultural understanding ?

Will the maze of these stones bring us together in peace rather than

Divide us through violence ?

 

In sympathy with all those everywhere  in the world who lost a loved one through fanaticism. 

pétales, dallage

 

 

 

 

Summer gifts

August 25, 2015

Summer is not over yet but the extreme heat we had just a few weeks ago is gone. We are left with memories of hot, very hot days. Like during a late afternoon when the sun shone brightly through the window and reflected its rays in a mirror. How grateful I was to dear Dena who had sent me a beautiful and exotic fan for my birthday which, of course, was a delight to use !

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Lawns were rather neglected this year but not all flowers. Here in front of our hospital a flowerbed was being watered. I was surprised to spot two  unexpected plants… Will you find  the odd ones out ?  Fresh looking “intruders” indeed.fleurs, veges, parterre

In the blue Summer sky,  silent visitors  flew along with a light wind they only seemed to feel and breathe. Underneath the heat was sometimes unbearable but what a lovely sight !

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The pleasure of reading Amanda Enayati’s book in the shade : “Seeking Serenity”.
“In your world, mind and body,
Be present.
Use mindfulness to heal and transform the brain, and its ability to cope in stressful situations.”
One of the ten rules on your road map for health and happiness in the age of anxiety. A much-needed guide to these difficult times. I really enjoyed this book as well as the beautifully embroidered bookmark made  with care by my friend, Janice. http://janiceheppenstall.com/blog

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Barriers, fences, walls and other man-made obstacles are bound to be crossed, aren’t they ? Those were my thoughts as I looked at the clematis flowers meant to grow along the green metal fence. And yet, quite naturally, they went over… A Summer of crossing borders, deserts and seas for so many people.

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Even my energetic Nino was affected by this particularly hot Season. He squatted my couch in the shade. We finally came to an agreement and each of us found its place.

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Maybe you can feel the heat that had accumulated on the stones of this old  house. It could be quite cool inside though because of the narrow windows and the width of the walls. I liked the plant and colored scarf that added a hint of freshness.

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Summer, terraces, parasols, cool drinks and sometimes music in the streets, another pleasure of the Season.DSC01504

My favorite time of the day was at sunset. The air was still warm from all the sun, even in the mountains but there was a touch of coolness  and of course the brilliant light behind the Alps, the sun rays on the old wooden shutters made it a special moment. Every evening.DSC01572

Senses of Spring

April 20, 2015

Over two months have passed since I  wrote last. As I explained in a comment on my previous post, https://isathreadsoflife.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/of-colors-and-winter/, I will not be able to visit you and write as much as I would wish. Therapies are going on, tiredness is still overwhelming  but there are days when I feel stronger; the urge to go out and see nature and Spring brings me outside.  Luckily so ! I always enjoy it, no matter the temperature, sun, wind or rain. It feels real good.DSC01035Sight. One of the first senses of Spring one feels over here is certainly the view of the shy and fragile snowdrops emerging from a cold soil and opening to the morning sun. A familiar and yet always enchanting view.DSC01107 Smell. A visit to the nearby farmers’ market brings many delicious surprises these days. Amongst them, a bunch of tarragon, a sweet scented herb that I like adding to fish or some vegetables like green beans. poireauxTaste. And what about the fresh and appealing leeks ? I like them stewed and served with a vinaigrette  or as a “gratin” with potatoes and a light béchamel sauce. DSCN1378 Hearing. Can you  actually hear them ? Your may not see them though, those lively and noisy birds celebrating Spring in a joyful concerto “con molto brio”. They are back from wherever they went to, jumping in and out of their little wooden house in the garden. Delightful Spring sounds. DSC01018Touch. A gift I brought back  home  as I came out of hospital. A special heart sewed by women for other women.  A heart-shaped cushion, so soft and light, that is meant to nest gently under your arm, ease the pain and warm your heart and  soul. It was so touching and appreciated ! Much gratefulness to you, ladies of the “Cushions of the heart” group.

Wishing you all a Happy Spring ! Moments of joy when the birds sing “good morning” to you,  wonder and peace  as the tender green shades of the Season tell you about renewal and a real delight to  taste the great variety of fresh salads and veges.

Spring salad

Of colors and Winter

February 9, 2015

Don’t we all need colors in Winter ? More colors than the occasional yellow or red leaves that highlight a green bush ? Thanks for them Colours that strike you vibrantly and bring a smile Colours that make you blink as if the sun had hit your eyes Or as if a rainbow from elsewhere would bend down gently over  you  to warm your heart I send you the gift of a quilt I sewed recently, digging into my scraps boxes with the utmost pleasure. DSC00829 I will be kept away from my window to yours for a while. Should you wish to send me a message, it will definitely bring more colors to one of those mailboxes, and to the other too since they are so close together. mailboxes, 2 Wishing you all the best. With love Isabelle

Tribute to a Grandfather

January 21, 2015

My father, my dear father passed on December 30th, 2014. He left us all, family and friends in deep sorrow.   My heart is heavy with grief and at the same time I am so grateful for all his love, tenderness and generosity. The many wonderful memories I have of the moments, the years spent with my Dad  and family give some comfort in these days of separation  and they will accompany me every day. My father – and my mother – were never so happy as when their cherished “clan” was around them. Especially  when their four grandsons were there.

 

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Better than all I could tell you, I imagined you may like to read  a few excerpts of the thoughts and feelings his  four grandsons shared with the family and close friends during our farewell ceremony in the chapel.

“It was such an honor to be your grandson ! You have been an example that I will strive to follow all  my life. Kindness, humility, courage, you were witty and generous, you were all this and much more.  I will always remember how the Epicurean you were loved to share good meals with us, traditional or refined. You left us with dignity, head high, like the Lion you were, proud but wise and never complaining. I love you so ! (JF)

“Our grandfather was a rock, a beacon, a lighthouse where to look at in times of trouble. You showed us what moral rectitude and respect for anyone meant. What I learned through my grandfather’s kindness was his infinite tenderness, the mark of an unconditional love. A united family : this is  the Great Work of our grandfather, a heritage I will continue to cherish with you. (JB)

You are the grandfather everyone would have wished to have and whom I was lucky enough to have. Today we are separated physically, our pain is immense. However I feel that our sorrow will be appeased because I know you are in good hands. If Jesus takes as good care of you as you did of us, then your eternal stay in His company will be beautiful. Dear granddad, I send you millions of kisses. (V)

 

“The last thing you told me  was :

“I so wish I could walk again !”

Well, this wish I will realize for you

You will walk, run, jump, even swim

Because now I will bring you with me

Wherever I go and keep you in my heart always”

(composed, sung and played with his guitar in a rap style  by A.)

 

Papa, dessert gourmand

One of  my father’s favorite desserts : an espresso coffee with almond liqueur and chocolate ice-cream.

Merci papa, for all you were. We love you. Farewell to a place away from our eyes but in our heart you will remain.

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Christmas wishes

December 24, 2014

Wishing you all,

Dear friends and visitors,

A Merry and Blessed Christmas,

One of peace and hope and sharing.

With love and gratitude

Isabelle

Monastère Novgorod

Less is also beautiful

December 19, 2014

Strolling along the Advent’s time, trying to slow down on the path to Christmas and making a pause near those ancient walls that are part of an old castle.DSC00733

Why not take time to watch the sun through the branches and look more closely at some small wild flowers barely visible between the rough stones of an old wall ? Pinks and whites and rust emerge through the cracks.
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Exotic trees and luxuriant plants growing quietly against a shaded brick wall. A secluded garden may reveal more wild beauty.

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No flashing colors and bright lights of the Season here, no noisy and busy places, just a hint of a Light or a Star leading the way to Christmas ?

DSC00737The ruin of an ancient door joyfully decorated by ivy leaves and red flowers, under the shelter of a shower of silver leaves.

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Beauty also lies in the less visible, the shy and persistent grasses blushing under my curious and admirative look.

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The old castle, deserted on a sunny afternoon, offering a moment of peace and lending its walls to plants that only need a bit of earth, sun and rain to come back to life and bloom.

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On the way back to the city center, a narrow paved alley, a bridge between times and places, a contrast of shades and construction with the beautiful resilience of nature.

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