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

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

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

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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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.

books, Summer 2014

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 ?

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