Summer reading

July 5, 2017

Spring has come and gone bringing sun, rain and even frost that jeopardized, even destroyed many cultures (vineyards and fruits especially).  A great loss for farmers. June went by with temperatures that were as hot as in August (30-35°C – 90-100°F). Now here comes July, a time for holidays, rest or travel,  some walking and…reading. Let me share with you some of the books I chose to bring with me up in the alpine area where I am staying right now. Nature and Ecology have been very talked and written about all over the world recently. So I thought I might as well know more about it and read the followings books.books summer 171.jpg“What a Plant knows”  (or How plants experience life) by Daniel Chamovitz

“The Hidden Life of TREES” by Peter Wohlleben

“The Four Elements”, Reflections on Nature, by John O’Donohue.

For my recent birthday I received a very pretty and detailed guide, with beautiful drawings and  texts about a “Nature Guide to the Mountains”. It has been written and drawn by a group of passionate people who, after having published for years a magazine about nature for young people, decided to go a step forward and publish this precious little book which is both helpful and very informative.

Last but not least, I got for myself another great guide to learn how to draw  animals, flowers and plants in 135 ways ! Imagine that. Drawing is something I really never did since  my children and I sat around the kitchen  table and started drawing something that one of us had proposed to do. And… I was not really the best one of the three although it was great fun. So, I thought it was  high time to try doing better, right ?

DSCN1485.JPGIn the first book I already read, “What a Plant Knows” by D. Chamovitz, the author does not define  ” a vegetal intelligence”  about plants. His question is rather :

“Are plants aware ?” and in fact he writes that they are. “They are actually aware of the world around them and of their visual environment, aware of aromas, aware of being touched, aware of their past”.DSCN1492.JPGNext time you walk through a park or to the woods, ask yourself: “What does this yellow flower see ?  Or what does this grass smell ? DSC03837.JPG“Touch the branches of a beech, knowing that the tree will remember it was touched”. I found this book by Daniel Chamovits fascinating and really enlightening. It definitely brings a new light on my daily walks, makes me slow down and look more closely at plants, flowers, Nature and its wonders. And feel grateful for all our planet offers to us.

Wishing you a beautiful Summer, wherever you are.

A path that goes almost unnoticed, deep in the woods, looking like a narrow trail  from ancient times. And yet when you walk slowly and consciously along this uneven track, your imagination can see things…

 like the Green Peeks’ Grotto

the White Elves Mounta sculpture of Life Lines Memoriesa Trunk Garden in the SpringtimeDSC03676a mossy and welcoming Natural Sofa

the soft  Archway leading you back  to the Forest main trail

Trees in their Spring Glory

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What a delightful and inspiring walk in the Spring !

Happy joyful, colourful Easter time to all !

Following my previous post, off we go further across South-East Asia,  thanks to the pictures sent by JB&FL. They have been flying over the Indian Ocean to one of the most interesting  and picturesque island to visit : Sri Lanka. Layers of sand, waves and water as far as the horizon. Are you ready to follow them ?

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Let’s start with a cool drink on a guesthouse balcony. Lush greenness all around. I imagine the birds singing joyfully, peoples’ voices coming up from the gardens and houses nearby. Sweet flowers scents and maybe just a light breeze. Inviting, isn’t it ?

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These wooden decorations and paintings made me immediately think of fabrics. Yes, you know my passion for quilting and materials. I searched in my various boxes of materials  for inspiration. I found some exotic pieces that somehow I think are related to these patterns.Photo 22.03.17 11 29 38Here they are : who knows what these fabrics will inspire me someday ?…DSC03633

What a majestic alley of tall, imposing trees that reminded me of a poem by Charles Baudelaire.

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“Nature is a temple where live pillars, Sometimes whisper confused words, Man walks across it through forests of symbols, Which observe him with familiar looks.”

Excerpt of the poem “Correspondances”. Underneath is  a view of a small part of the Toolangi Forest Center, Victoria, Australia. A wilder kind of temple of eucalypts.

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What a beautiful  and colorful sight ! So many spices and Ceylan teas  and oils and pretty looking wooden spoons and so much more from this faraway island. It  makes you dream and wish you were there. I can just smell it all ! Quick, let’s  prepare a meal I love for  its taste and all the scents that will be wafting  from the kitchen. Traveling can happen over short distances too;)

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Here is a favorite recipe of mine : sweet potatoes and  zucchinis sautés with some olive oil in a delicious blending of spices : shallots, garlic, ginger, curcuma, coriander, cumin. I added a tomato to get more juice.  Mix it all and… Bon appétit !  Tasty as can be.DSC03629

Traffic in town, pretty looking taxis, special architectural style in the buildings: by foot or in those sometimes overcrowded   buses, there are surely many interesting places and sites to visit.Photo 22.03.17 15 08 03

And when you are tired of the heat and pavement,  why not  enjoy some cooler moments in the magnificent Botanical Garden of Kandy, together with many schoolchildren and their teachers ? Who  do you think are the noisiest ones ? Birds or kids ? Joy is in the air for all, certainly.

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I was fascinated by these pictures of trees. Their strength, the soft look of their leaves, their intricate branches reaching far out, twisted and so artistic at the same time.Photo 23.03.17 14 20 42Let’s share these peaceful images to end this present travel that I hope you enjoyed as much as I did. Our next destination will be quite different. I look forward to show you some more pictures that JB&FL will generously and thoughtfully share with us. Thanks a lot to both of them and good luck for your next journey.Photo 16.03.17 17 03 52

Hello Friends,

Since I did not post nor took many pictures for a while, I thought of asking dear “Jb&Fl” whether they would mind sharing with me some of their  travel pictures. They agreed happily. Both are traveling in South-East Asia. The correspondances  and contrasts between here and there  are just amazing and so interesting. Beautiful too. Then I dug into my archives and found some images that would in some way correspond to theirs but in my part of the world (Switzerland). Here is the result, I hope you will enjoy the trip as much as I did looking at these images from far away.photo-01-01-17-17-09-36As a bright parasol  opened under the warm sun of Myanmar (Burma),dsc02058snow had been falling all day long in the Swiss Alps.

photo-19-01-17-12-50-21Red: such a warm color under any sky ! Here is a typical wooden house at the edge of the  Inle  Lake (Myanmar).dsc03407On my way home on a rather dull day, I was attracted by this red barn which added some warmth to the Winter landscape.

photo-16-01-17-11-07-17Bowls and pots,  almost similar shapes but different uses according to the places and the Seasons. Teatime in South-East Asia and flower pots in standby in Switzerland.dsc03415

Dogs… don’t they all sometimes have the same worried look wherever they live ?photo-29-01-17-13-23-55A puppy in a street somewhere in Asia. “Will you adopt me ?”dsc03380Ninio at home : “Where is JB ? The only one in the family who runs almost… as fast as I do. I miss him and our games”.

Slow ways of transportphoto-24-01-17-12-50-03A “taxi” in Laos and a funicular in Switzerland. Two ways of traveling slowly but surely.dsc00657

Cool food for hot days. A tasty looking salad  in Thailandphoto-26-01-17-12-25-08and another one here at home.spring-salad

Would you care for some sweets ? How about a mango and rice dessert to end your meal ?photo-26-01-17-15-25-54 or  would you prefer a choco-pistachio  dome in Switzerland ?dsc01488

Are you ready for more visits after a pause ?  Like cruising slowly along  rice fieldsphoto-09-01-17-16-24-11whereas our own fields over here are barely out of dormancy.dsc03317

Let’s  walk uphill to the mountains of  North  Myanmar photo-16-01-17-12-30-20or walk on a mountain path facing some of the Swiss Alps ?dsc02074

It has been a long day of walking and visiting , photo-27-01-17-16-16-18 admiring the golden domes of  the many magnificent ancient temples in South-East Asia. Let’s walk into the old Gothic church (St-Michel) of Fribourg and have a rest while listening to classical music.dsc02025

The sun is setting down now, warm colors over the horizon, several dark silhouettes of  temples   in the Far-Eastphoto-14-01-17-18-08-46and, on a misty day,  an unusual pink shade  at sunset over a farm in my village.dsc03356Thanks a lot “Jb&Fl” for sharing your beautiful pictures with me and the visitors of my blog. It was a real pleasure to bring our worlds together and to see through your eyes. How difficult to choose pictures amongst all of them ! Maybe there will be another post about your future travels and visits in Asia ? Take care and all the best. Love.

2017

January 1, 2017

DSC03379.JPGHAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL and best wishes for this coming year.

Here are my new calendars for 2017 and some of my little and bigger friends who will accompany me each month. Aren’t they cute, beautiful ? These calendars were sent to me by a few rescue centers for animals. It makes me happy that they found good care and a shelter.

DSC03291.JPGStill no snow in the Alps but frosty, misty mornings that are so cold my wind chime keeps silent. Their sweet voices too frozen to sing. No swinging either.

dsc03349And when Winter rhymes with frost, colors and blue sky..this Season looks and feels just wonderful for your eyes and  heart. How can one not feel good when such a landscape welcomes you in the morning ?

Front cover of my tiny 2017 calendar

Because love, love is never finished,

It circles and circles

The memories out of order

And not always complete.

(Sara Zarr)

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.

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