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

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

Summer abundance

October 13, 2013

DSCN0443

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 !

DSCN0644

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 !

Special places and moments

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.

Azulejos. The beautiful blue and white painted tiles inside houses, on the facades of churches, on  walls like here in a  hall  of Coimbra’s ancient university.Coimbra, azulejos

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.

Porto, abandonned house

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.
Porto, A Brasileira

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.

Porto, chocolate

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.Coimbra, cakes

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.Portugal, stamps

Shops and windows. Some shops still have this old or vintage look that one hardly ever sees any longer in my country. Simply delightful ! I could have photographed so many of them !Porto, shop

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.

Coimbra's roses

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. Porto, skyline 2Thank 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.

On April 8th, I posted this blog about the colour green in a way of feeling closer to a Spring that was lazying somewhere but definitely not here ! Guess what ? One week later a friend of mine, Karen at

http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/colors-of-your-world/

proposed one of her photo hunts : “Colors of your world”. The deadline is on Sunday, April 28th, please have a look at her blog if you feel like participating. I chose to send this post as my contribution to Karma’s challenge.

St Patrick’s Day has come and gone as well as the green wave that is associated with its celebration all over the world. Originally though it seemed to have been the blue colour. Green is the shade many of us long for at this Season in the Northern hemisphere. Winter is not in a hurry to give way to Spring this year. Personally I cannot dissociate green from Ireland. For having lived there years ago, I remember marveling at  the infinite array  of greens in the Emerald Isle.quilt JOK, trefle

It is  a colour I use a lot when sewing. I find it relaxing.  Like in this small scrappy quilt where I put together some Irish memories. Edna O’Brien’s “Mother Ireland” is the first non fiction and most  personal book of the famous novelist. Her memoir (1976)  includes seven essays  written in her lyrical and sensuous voice. E. O’Brien wrote many other works (she is a playwright, poet and author of short stories) and had to see some of her work banned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_O%27Brien

“Irish ? In truth I would not want to be anything else. It is a state of mind as well as an actual  country. Perhaps it is that, the unmitigated challenge of landscape, of rock, of meadow, of woodland, of rain and of sheer desolating emptiness that makes people hurry there and hurry from it”.

E. O'Brien, Mother Ireland

There are magnificent black/white pictures in this book. They were taken specially to illustrate “Mother Ireland” by the acclaimed Irish photographer Fergus Bourke.

Another Irish writer and philosopher John O’Donohue, born in the West of Ireland,  expressed so beautifully  what the colour green meant for him in a book: “The Invisible Embrace of Beauty”. Here are some excerpts of a particular chapter  entitled : “Green : The Colour of Growth”.

“One of my favourite images from childhood is of meadows. Often the sheep would be let in to graze there. When you opened the gate, you could almost feel the meadow breathing. It was absolutely carpeted with grass. The colour of this grass was so rich as to seem blue-green. The sheep needed neither introduction nor persuasion; they simply gave in and became instant addicts !”

moutons 1

“Green is the colour of youthfulness; it is full of Spring energy and direction of growth, urgent on its journey towards the light”.Verrey. grange, bisse

“Gravity cannot keep it down; the call of light is always stronger”

green lantern

“Green is the colour of relentless desire. Even under earth smothered over with concrete, tarmacadam (or if I may add, pebbles), the green blade will rise”.paved street 2

“Nothing can keep grass down, its desire endures. You can find it anywhere, on top of ancient ruins way above the ground or growing in little indentations on top of massive rocks”.green on stone

“It rests the eye, and still remains the colour of the day’s desire”.paysage, C. Breton

Easter cascarones

March 29, 2013

Wishing you all a Very Happy Easter  Weekend !

cascarones 2

Last week, I received those “cascarones” decorated for me by Mariana, a dear friend in Texas. What a surprise and a pleasure to open a long box of 12 colourful eggshells ! Only one of them had not coped with the long travel over the pond. You can see it in the basket : half broken and filled with paper confetti. More information about this Latin American, Mexican tradition here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascar%C3%B3n

I wish I could have sent you  Springful images of my surroundings. No way. As I write to you, it is snowing again and the rare flowers that I spotted a few days ago like snowdrops, crocuses, primroses, are now covered by a  layer of snow that keeps growing. So, why not stay in tune with  the “cascarones” and share pictures of a beautiful trip I did in May/June 2008 in South Texas. The vegetation was in full bloom and my friends’ gardens were enchanting. And cool to sit in.

TX, Fina's garden, bougainvilliers

Fina’s bougainvillea right outside my window.

TX, Dora's garden, art tree

Dora’s artistic tree in her magic garden.

TX, CC Carmen's garden, birdhousesBlue birdhouses and Sweet Dreams in Carmen’s lovely  garden. There was so much to look at!

TX, CC, Carmen's garden, bed

TX, CC pastries 2

The Canelas Bakery is “Serving Crystal City for three generations“. I imagine those tasty pastries are on my friends’ table on Easter Day, with a lot more delicious homemade food.

TX, CC Juan's painting

This is a painting created by Juan for his sister Mariana. For me it symbolizes  the warm welcome I received in my friends’ home. The generosity of their kind heart.  The creativity and variety of their tasty cuisine. The strong family links between all generations. Their luxuriant and inviting gardens. The unbelievable heat around midday when only a foreigner could be on the streets taking pictures…

church Crystal City

Can you feel the heat under this clear and blue sky ?

TX, end of the road

This is probably one of my favourite pictures taken during my Texas journey. A wide, straight and endless road. A flat landscape (particularly in this area) and a big, huge sky. And, last but not least for a Swiss person, no mountains on the horizon. Thank you Juan, thank you to your dear family for making me feel at home in your hometown.

Feliz Pascua !

This is my contribution to a new photography assignment proposed by Scott Thomas:  black-white photography. I find it always interesting to join in,  visit other participants’ blogs, learning more about photography and  seeing each one’s perception of a similar theme. March 20th, 2013, is the deadline to share your pictures.

All details are given here : http://viewsinfinitum.com/2013/03/06/assignment-24-black-white-photography/

Nino, regard, B&W

Ninio, my Beagle, in one of his patient looks, waiting for the photography session to end and go for a walk. I converted this picture  to see how my colourful  dog (black, white and tawny) would look in B/W. I like his somewhat softer look and particularly the expression in his hazel eyes.

magnolia B&WEarly morning in a park of Houston, a flower of magnolia that looked so fresh and brilliant. I felt like heightening this contrast in converting the picture in B/W.

Lyon, B&W, 2Lyon, France, on the deck on a barge. The colours of the boat were a bit dull and I was surprised to see the difference in shades as I converted the picture.

double click, Williamstown, Melbourne

“Here’s to the happy couple !” Williamstown’s harbour, Melbourne. And long live the daring photographer 😉

Christmas mood

December 23, 2012

Sharing some snowy

CHRISTMAS STARScarte de Noël, 1 to wish you all

  JOYEUX NOEL,  MERRY CHRISTMAS, FELIZ NAVIDAD, HYVAA JOULUA, FROEHLICHE WEIHNACHTEN, GLAEDELIG JUL, BUON NATALE

book, de Luca, mère

A beautiful little book “Au nom de la mère” or “In the name of the mother”. Erri de Luca tells about what is probably the most well-known story in humanity. The Italian author focuses on  Miriàm, a young Jewish girl engaged to Iosef. Under his hand, the story of the Nativity is seen in the Hebraic context and is a praise of all mothers, body and soul. A wonderful read particularly during Christmas time.

« Grace is the superhuman force to face the world on one’s own, without any effort, to defy it… It is a prophet’s talent. It is a gift and you received it. You are full of grace”.

Iosef to Miriàm, Mary, Marie

If you would like to see more of this magnificent painting by Andrea Solario, “Madonna with the Green Cushion” ( part of it is  pictured on the book cover),  the following  link  leads you to Le Louvre Museum in Paris.

http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/madonna-green-cushion

A special birthday gift

December 1, 2012

Last July my family celebrated my only and favourite sister’s birthday. It was special. A birthday with a round number, the type that is more striking than a yearly celebration, you know? We had planned  a beautiful celebration for my sweet little sister. Each of us had a personal and particular idea for a gift. I had mine too but I needed everone’s help. By now, you should know what I had in mind 😉

A quilt of course ! Here it is :  our common project and my personal gift for Françoise’s birthday. Improvisation for the sewing part but not for the preparation ! When I asked family members and friends to give or send me one or two pieces of their used clothing, they did not know what I was up to (at least not all of them) but they joyfully agreed. The most difficult part was to get some used clothing from my sister herself. She was not meant to know anything about our project.

quilt Françoise, 5

Spring and particularly Spring cleaning helped me. Some time in February I told Françoise of the great feeling I was experiencing in sorting out my wardrobe, getting rid of clothes I no longer wore even though I liked them a lot. Which I absolutely meant.

“What a good idea ! I think it’s time for me to do the same.” said my nice  sister.

Taking a deep breath I told her : “Great ! why don’t you send some of your used clothes to me ? I know what to do with  them”.

And this is how it all started. After a few weeks my sewing room looked like a “souk” or African market. I was a bit panicked before sorting out the clothes I could use or not (too beautiful to bring my scissors close to them). The leftover garments I gave to an “Emmaus” charity shop.

The overall blue material in the quilt comes from a pair of linen trousers my sister wore and the grey stripes used be a shirt  belonging to her companion.This silk blouse and black velvet pullover, for instance, were amongst the favourite clothes worn by Françoise. I hesitated a long time before cutting through them but I knew she would love to find pieces of them again on her quilt. Underneath the block, Ninio-the-Beagle is “stuck” in total admiration 😉

A precious block made of one of my mother’s aprons bordered by a piece of her embroidered handkerchiefs. The hook belonged to my grandfather and the heart is sewed in one of my grandmother’s dish cloths. The three of them were very present in our hearts all along the birthday celebration.

Some family men’s  silk ties that have shrunk quite a bit.

T-shirts from family and friends.

quilt F. VeniceRomantic and beautiful, one of Françoise’s  T-shirts and Summer skirt.

quilt F. mom & dadScarf and pyjama as a flower.

Sons, nephews, cousins, friends: their T-shirts and shirts tags

A weaved T-shirt and the cuff of a cotton blouse.

quilt F. Dom & F 2

Precious  : one of my sister’s best friend clothing, her checked black and white trousers and rose t-shirt. My sister immediately remembered those clothes.

“We all love you, Françoise” (title of the quilt)

quilt Francoise, détail, coeursWith all our heart !

Françoise was So surprised ! and delighted. Such  excitement as she tried to recognize what belonged to whom, including her. A lot of fun. And a happy quilting that brought back memories, places, events. Sewing together all kinds of materials was not exactly easy but I enjoyed the slightly wonky look of this quilt. Different.

Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all, here and there, who are celebrating and sharing !

Thanksgiving
The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway —
Thanksgiving comes again!
Old Rhyme.

Wishing you a beautiful day !

Peace, Love, Good Health and Joy.

Isabelle