Advent

December 8, 2016

What a change of weather and temperatures in those first two weeks of Advent !

Snow fell – a little –  and left.

dsc03202It was followed by rather dull and foggy days . dsc01949Then we got rain, lots of it, although the mood of the Season is here : red colors.  dsc01984Crisp, cold days, trees decorated in  red  or were they goblins’ tall hats ?  dsc01942A lot of  red also in the window shops, fa sho’ !dsc01954Red but frozen, a  forgotten heart in a pot on the  terrace. Forgotten but not broken !dsc03268Outside the air is cold, a few leaves are still blooming in the late afternoon sun.dsc03090But inside, a  hot and spiced Christmas pot of tea awaits you for a quiet moment in the warm shades of candlelight. dsc00898And… a cake too, if you feel like it. A lemon scented cake.dsc03246Happy Advent’s time to you all, Friends, wherever you are.

What would they say ?

November 19, 2016

Or “If sculptures could speak”.  What  would those beautiful Caryatids say ? A stately demeanor, indecipherable  expressions on their sculpted faces. Would they talk about the endless flow of visitors coming and going around them in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens ? Or comment on the heavy burden they have been carrying on their head for so long ? Exchanging about their use as decorative supports in Greece and the ancient Near East ?

dsc02173_2What could those men in their elegant toga be discussing about ?  Would they talk about philosophy ? Would one of them be teaching the others ? Or were they engaged in a more private conversation ? In any case they will remain anonymous…dsc02176Two worlds meet in this picture. Modern buildings behind a vision of other times. In those past decades when women, mothers had to travel on the back  of a mule while taking their children with them as they went working in the fields.

dsc03079Mules were equipped with two strong sacks (jute or leather) on each side of their flanks. Inside them and well protected, mothers would put a baby or a small child. Usually, the slow and regular mule’s step would bring the children to sleep.  Maybe the little girl standing behind the mule would ask : “Mom, let me sit on the mule, please, I feel tired”. The track to the alpine village or to the pasture could be long. (Sculpture by Edouard Sandoz for the association of “The Mule”s Friends”, or  Les Amis du Mulet, Sion, Switzerland).DSC03078.JPGIn an open air museum of the village of Etroubles,  Aosta Valley/Italy, close to the Swiss border, I stopped and observed this three-dimensional sculpture by Andrea Granchi, a Florentine artist. It was entitled : “Viaggiatore sedentario incontra il  Grande”. I tried to imagine what the sculptor expressed in this particular art work. Maybe the  great (grande) man on the wall would say to the traveller (viaggiatore) : “Here you come, bumping into (incontra) other travelers like you who  try – or tried – to cross this mountain pass !” It is just my interpretation of this amazing sculpture.dsc01371

Greece, Naxos Island. On the  metallic entrance door opening to a wild garden, someone had written : “This is paradise”. After a few minutes’ walk uphill, amidst bushes and trees of all sorts, we stopped in front of a dry stone wall. At the bottom of it and protected by a fence, a huge statue  of a man, more than 17 feet,   seemed lost in a long sleep. It was the “Flerio Kouros”, built  in 570 BC in Naxian marble. What would the Kouros (young man) have said at that time ? Maybe he advised the stonecutters to be very careful when they would transport him to another site for the final touches. Apparently they weren’t enough or their artwork broke before ?  The statue remains unfinished, its leg broken, the marble has turned grey/brown in time and the mystery is unsolved.dsc02430I wonder what these  sculptures inspire you ?

Lately….

September 29, 2016

…our weather has obviously been changing. Although we still get to see a bright blue  sky during the day, temperatures have dropped.  Evenings and nights are cooler, quilts are  welcome ! Mountains are often hidden behind a morning mist and parasols stay closed, a colorful reminder of our sunny Summer.dsc02832_2

Rain has fallen. Humidity was  so much needed and no one is  complaining.dsc02136

There are still some flamboyant colors  left in the garden, like this  red/orange gorse or broom ? that are brightening up any day.

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On a clear day at the lakeside, you could even meet The Lady of The Lake (not even feeling cold😉  enjoying the late Summer sunshine.dsc02781_2

In town, Fall and Winter clothes are blooming in the shop-windows. A little dog is sitting outside; he looks at the passersby as if saying : “Here is the new Fall fashion for you, ladies”. A nice encounter with this irrresistible and patient doggie waiting for her owner who went inside the boutique. For how long ? Who knows ? He will wait for sure.dsc02927

On the way to the forest, I made another encounter that attracted my attention. A small yellow leaf was caught in a late afternoon sunray and shone in all its glory. Could this be another sign of Autumn settling down around here ?dsc02959

Ninio has felt something too and is trying to blend in. Hunting season has started, his instinct for camouflage  is awoken but I keep him on a leash…so as to be sure we walk back home together ! And avoid trouble with the hunters.dscn1581

Feeling like more color ? Then I am happy to share with you my latest quilt. One I started sewing when I received the bad news of my cancer. It has been a great help all along this past year. Sewing by hand, having it close by wherever I went and whenever I felt like adding a piece of material carefully chosen for all it inspired me. I loved searching in my  baskets of scraps for the right material or pattern. There are circles, many circles, more or less round – you could say like  cells, breasts, life circles.  Some are looking healthy but in others you can see wounds, pain, you can imagine hope too  and whatever you feel like. (if you click on the picture, you may be able to see the details).dsc03000I called this piece :

“Quilting for healing”
Circles … each one a precious life
Circles of all kinds
Circles of pain
Circles of fear
Circles of hope
Circles on the mend
Circles of gratefulness
Circles for Life
Quilting for Life

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and colorful Autumn.

White and blue and more

August 18, 2016

White and blue make me think of holidays at the seaside, Summer clothes, sailing , a bright sun,   sea and sky  of a deep blue, and….a special country  I visited last June : Greece and some of its islands.

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Santorini and its small houses huddled together on the hills and rocks overlooking the Aegean Sea. Here and there another color of a wild plant illuminates the whiteness of a house.

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A bright touch of red on a door, a blue dome in the far, an old broken wall and its multicolored layers of bricks and stones.

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More colors catch your eyes in Greece’s Summer time : a green window frame protecting a lovely embroidered curtain.

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Washing day in the sun, barely any breeze, plenty of colorful vegetation in the yard, no one around : time for a siesta indeed !DSC02236.JPG

What about the various shades of the sea, the sky, the rocks and Southern plants on this hanging garden ?DSC02228

Not to forget : the colors of History that one finds everywhere in the country; here an ancient amphitheater (Delphi) of the same shades as the mountain above.

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And when time for a rest comes, either from the brilliant sun or from too much walking and visiting, let’s close the blue shutters and enjoy the cool shade inside.

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Wishing you a colorful Summer wherever you are. Mine is turning slowly but surely towards Autumn. A transition I do not mind  and that reminds me to enjoy every minute of this brilliant Summertime.

Happiness is…

June 22, 2016

… GETTING unexpected news from friends you thought had all forgotten about you. But they did not ! An SMS on your cellphone, a letter with lots of pictures, a telephone call, all of it on your birthday.DSC02708

… LISTENING to a song from years ago by a lady who was famous as an actress, a singer, an activist and a politician (Minister for Culture in her country). A beautiful unforgettable human being, MELINA MERCOURI, from Greece.DSC02167_2

<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSz4heSSNYM&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSz4heSSNYM</a

… WALKING to the woods just after the rain has fallen, droplets of water still trembling on the branches and leaves.DSC02700

I am listening to the rain whose drops are falling one by one.

I am listening to the rain whose noise is calming my heart.

Lys Gauty

… HEARING the birds sing in the morning as you wake upDSCN1261

… EXPLORING the countryside with a determined buddy as a guideDSCN1440

… BEING MOVED by the tenderness and protection shown to a childDSC02143

… LOOKING FORWARD to the Season of strawberries

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… IMAGINING things in the sky, like a large lost feather… or an angel’s wing ?DSCN0802

… PLAYING SCRABBLE just for the pleasure of finding words and not for counting  pointsDSC02113

…  And last but not least ENJOYING POSTING AGAIN,  reading you, finding inspiration, energy and time to write to you !

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I feel sure there are many other reasons to define what HAPPINESS is. Those are just the thoughts that came to mind as I started writing about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter light

March 26, 2016

DSC02110May the sun rays over the Alps bring you light and warmth in your heart.

DSC02119.JPGI hope you will rejoice and smile at the brightness of these fresh Spring flowers. A true renewal of Season.

DSC00083.JPGPeace and love  to all in those troubled times and let us not forget to stay strong and  keep Hope alive.

Wishing you  and yours a very Happy Easter !

Isabelle

Warmth in Winter

March 6, 2016

When the weather is not exactly bright, when rain and snow compete with a tempestuous wind to remind you that Winter is not  gone yet, what do you do ? I am not sure about you but today I feel like sharing pictures of a place in a warmer climate. Will you follow me to Italy ? DSC01277Arrival in Verona in the early evening. No Juliet on the balcony nor Romeo waiting on the alley below. A  light is on though, someone must be in. The mystery will remain…

hanging gardensA brilliant  morning !  a  joy to discover Verona and its hanging gardens along the Adige river.DSC01297Let’s cross one of the many bridges in Verona. This  one, constructed with red bricks, has been partially restored and will lead us to the ancient part of the city. A picturesque link between epochs and styles.

DSC01280What a treat to sit in an old church (San Domenico), listening to the melodious  voices of  those young  and talented American singers ! They belonged to a choir and were on a musical tour in Italy. Sacred, classical and folk music from all around the world.  How lucky we were to walk into this church !DSC01314After a long guided visit through the old town of Verona, walking on uneven paved alleys on a hot morning, a pause was definitely needed. Remember the   cool pasticceria (cake shop) with so many pastries and cakes to choose from ? My choice went to a small  “Romeo” cake (chocolate/moka)  and  a strawberry tartlet with vanilla cream. With three drops of this strong Italian coffee. And a big glass of water. This was an exquisite moment.DSC01318

This was the “Flego” pasticerria. Remember ? A stylish blending of modern and old decor.

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Weren’t we happy to be back on Garda Lake in the evening ?  just in time to see the last rays of sun and its reflections on the water. Peacefulness and beauty. This was a busy and very enjoyable day.

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A few more sights of the lakeside as the sun went down.

DSC01367There was this terrace almost floating on the lake where people sat and enjoyed quiet moments or animated talks. A place for everyone and “gelati” (ice cream) for all.

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Back to the here and now… Looking outside, I see the weather has not changed, stronger rain, snow and wind. As promised to my little buddy, we will go out no matter what. You see, Ninio has been waiting, sleeping with one eye only, not even thinking of renouncing to a “promenade” in search of scents over and under the snow. So here we go, buddy ! It was nice to be back to a warmer climate for a while though. I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.cartes, quilt tree 032.jpg

More information about the ancient city of Verona here :

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/verona

Gifts of love

February 14, 2016

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !

This small heart,  made of joyful scraps weaved together like a tapestry of friendship and love between us all, is my gift for you. I had so much pleasure sewing it slowly, seeing how simple stitches could create such movement on the various materials (cotton and wild silk). This is just the beginning of a new technique I discovered in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith “Slow Stitch” (mindful and contemplative textile art).

DSC02044.JPGMany Valentine’s gifts of all kinds are shown in our shops. I chose a window presenting books for children. Love stories with happy endings, questions like “What is Love” ? and many more tales about those unforgettable friendships with a beloved dog, a horse or a rabbit.Maybe these books will remind you of those of your childhood or the ones you read to your kids later on ?  I do remember “The Family Bear’s Picnic”, a book brought back from the States and that I read countless times to my sons. Being in English, I had to translate this story for them every evening for quite a long time. Sometimes I would not find the very same word as the night before and…it was a drama: “No, no, Papa Ours  (bear) did not say that !” or “His sandwich was made with ham and not cheese”! Memories of love that made me smile today.DSC02029.jpgNature offers us hearts  and signs of love in places you do not always expect them. Like this  piece of snow stuck between two branches and that I had not noticed when taking the picture. In fact, I was more attracted by the setting sun caught in the forest. Hasn’t it got a shape of a heart too ?hiver, baies rougesAnd here is another gift of friendship and gratefulness for you on Valentine’s Day. Thankfulness for your visits and support even though I have not been regularly posting and visiting you these days. This is the landscape I saw this morning as I opened the shutters of the chalet up in the Alps. I am never tired of looking at it, morning or evening, at sunrise or sunset, in Winter or in Summer.DSC02062.JPGWishing you well on Valentine’s Day and on the other days too🙂

Isabelle

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