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.

éboulement

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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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

One week in pictures

September 8, 2012

Some weeks just go by their own quiet way and rhythm. I do not mean  a routine because there seems to be something special in each day. In some weeks though there are events out of the ordinary, people and places you will remember. The week described here was one of those.

Monday is sometimes a day when I try cooking new recipes. Pies or quiches are amongst my favourites. Some of them I find reading blogs such as Tammy’s. Her blog is not only about food but also about community supported agriculture. Well worth reading.

http://agrigirl.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/i-like-pie/#more-6508

  The recipe is about a tomato pie. Since I had a big and beautiful zuchini  waiting to be picked in the garden, I added some of it in the pie (grated and grilled a little). This is the only change I made. It tasted really delicious, Thank you very much, Tammy.

On Tuesday I had to go to town  and found a quiet lane to walk for a while with Nino-the-beagle. Guess whom we met ? Another beagle looking lonely behind a fence. What do two beagles say to each other when they meet : “Let’s escape together and go hunting !”

Wednesday morning. Brilliant clouds welcomed me as I opened the shutters. “O, beautiful golden clouds, what will you bring us on this day” ? As it happened, the warm morning turned into a stormy day. A rather temperamental weather this Summer but a rain that was well needed too.

A short break after work on Thursday afternoon. As we  were  sitting on a bench with a friend, a “school-boat” was floating down the canal. A lady was steering the little boat back to its mooring. Not as simple as it looks  and she did very well.

Friday was a rainy day. A drive over the mountains to visit long-time friends of our family. It was cold, foggy. The landscape looked  autumnal and yet beautiful in its own way.

On Saturday morning at our friend’s home, we were awaken by a ballet of helicopters. Every third minute or so, a helicopter would fly over the area, fill a big  bucket of water (700 liters) and pour it down on the forest which had caught fire during the night. It took the pilots two whole days to stop it. Nobody was injured and the damage could be stopped in time.

Sunday was a happy celebration day ! Family and friends gathered around Alima, our youngest niece. The sun shone brightly  for her. There were prayers, songs, dance and lots of African food and music. Another change of scenery in this particular week.  Alima was quite comfortable and relaxed dancing in her  proud grandmother’s arms.

Guess what I did on Sunday ? After a rest following the previous long day, I sat down on a lovely terrace between sky and earth, took my pen and some nice stationary; I wrote to a dear friend all about my recent week. Internet is not part of her world and we both enjoy exchanging letters every month.

Mother’s Day

May 8, 2011

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day in Switzerland.  My own mother is no longer here but she will be  lovingly remembered indeed. This flower is for her;  her love of nature and flowers, her pleasure to sit in the garden,  inhale scents and let her eyes wander quietly over the greenery. She sometimes started telling of her younger years in the mountains she loved so much, a life of hard work that taught her a lot about nature, its beauty and dangers. I am happy to have written down much of all she shared although her words are in my heart forever.

The weeks preceding Mother’s Day are even more busy at  school over here… My sons always brought me lovely surprises  on the second Sunday of May. They still do but at that time there was mystery and secrecy, something they could hardly keep for themselves…”I have a surprise for you but you are not allowed to see it !”

The D-Day finally came  and  the suspense was relieved.  Both would wait till I woke and then present their gifts, nicely wrapped in a paper they sometimes  had created themselves. What an excitement  and impatience for me to open those treasures ! I received many, many wonderful drawings and gifts of all sorts, made with love and care;  I cherished them all. One of them is still in our kitchen : it is a small decorative wooden panel made for me in primary school. There was an original handmade  notebook on the right hand side that has been replaced countless times since then. Very handy. What still brings a smile whenever I write a note on my “to do list” is the poem one of my sons had composed for Mother’s Day on that particular year.

He had to find rhymes. For example : Isabelle/belle  – bruns/lapins – noir/loir – maman/tendrement. In English though it may sound a bit strange to your ears but so lovely to your heart 🙂

“Dear Isabelle,

How beautiful you are

With your  eyes

As brown as rabbits

And your  hair as black

As a   dormouse

This is just to tell you, Mama

That I love you tenderly “

The  French spelling is as creative as the images/rhymes he found and I just love the fact that his teacher left it untouched 🙂


To all mothers, mamans, mamas here and there  and elsewhere I wish a Very Happy Day filled with love, sharing, joy and gratitude.

With love

This is  quilt I sewed several years ago for a Mexican mama of many children who happens to be also a dear friend of mine, Fina.

Christmas

December 24, 2010

Stars in your eyes and in your heart.

May this happy time of Christmas bring you the joy of  spending precious moments with those  dear to your heart.

Happiness also for  sharing a  smile with someone you don’t know.

May the light of Christmas shine in your heart long after this  celebration.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and yours !


Just enough time to bake a few more cookies… Those I love : with  spices and molasses.

Here is the recipe of these delicious cookies as shared by Cindy, thanks a lot Cin ! Merry Christmas to you and yours !

http://theonlycin.wordpress.com/

¾ cup butter and 1 cup sugar, beaten until fluffy.

Add in and beat well:

2 cups flour, ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 large egg, ¼ cup molasses, 1 tsp baking powder.

You’re left with a soft dough, refrigerate for an hour until firm and workable, then form into small balls and coat with sugar.  Set on a baking tray an inch apart and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.  The biscuits will harden on cooling.

The Christmas Tree quilt, decorated with sweets, hangs on a wall near our entrance door. Everyone visiting  is welcome to try and taste a chocolate or  a biscuit as they visit. Some days are more busy than others… and the   tree looks less colourful. No need to worry though since replacement is at hand in case you want to drop in ! Welcome 🙂

“In the silent night of a white Winter

The angels will come and sing

In praise of the sleeping child.

In the middle of the night

Light is shining

In the silent night.

Peace on Earth.”

by lesmotsdelle



“Listen to the Banned”

December 10, 2010

December 10 is the International Day for Human Rights.

Every year  and everywhere in the world on this day people, well-known and less so,  try to bring attention to the public about  a sad and  endless list of violations of human rights.

At this precise moment  men, women, children are suffering because of the deliberate cruelty of others. They are suffering because neither their fundamental rights nor their dignity are being respected. They are suffering as innocent victims of wars waged because of some leaders’ greed and intolerance. They are suffering and denied their freedom of speech, thoughts,  religion, sexual orientation, culture. They are suffering because of their very existence that others want to eliminate. The list is long, too long, the pain is intolerable  and the hope to see a liberating light often too weak.

In the recent magazine of Amnesty International, I read about this new CD : “Listen to the Banned”.

“A compilation and a unique musical statement by artists who are united in one single, important issue – the protection of the freedom of musical expression, a freedom many take for granted” but one that is not accepted in many countries. Censorship can be extreme.

In many  countries, musicians are targeted because their songs tell of the frustrations and aspirations of their fellow citizens. Their messages are received even by illiterates and  shared from mouth to ear independently of media and governement control.

I like to think of this day as a day of Hope, for where would we be without hope ?  Hence my small flowers of hope surrounding the Banned  and their music. A wonderful music from various continents but with a single message : freedom of expression.

Music must not be silenced

Deeyah

The following are two out of 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights :

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Here is a link to listen to some of  these banned musicians :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3fVPqvZUvY

Autumn

November 19, 2010

What is my Autumn like ? The first sign of my favourite Season  is the light haze over the horizon. It is not a fog, just a slight mist, a hazy look that tells you for sure that Fall is there.Autumn brings  a most colourful change in nature. In the mountains the larch trees needles turn into a bright yellow-orange shade before falling down into a soft carpet.

Soft and natural carpets everywhere. The kind of carpet I enjoy walking on because of its rustling sound and ever changing colours.Autumn is a Season of celebrations in my canton (state). A family tradition is the meal where everyone, young and less so, meet around a convivial table to eat roasted chestnuts. We usually eat those with various sorts of mountain cheese, “viande des Grisons” (air-dried meat, beef, produced in the canton of Grisons), rye bread and butter, grapes, apples, all local food. On this occasion we drink must (grape). Every year we so look  forward to meeting and eating this rather simple and tasty meal in good company.Autumn is also a time for grape harvest in this particularly warm area.  Vineyards have been planted for centuries on the side of the mountains and down in the valley. Never do the vineyards look as beautiful as now ! A patchwork of hard work almost all year round. What a reward and a pleasure when the vintage is a good one !This is an ancient cellar no longer in use  but I remember that “my grand-father-from-the-mountains” (as I used to call him)  had a similar one under his house in a small village. He would take my hand, bring me to his cellar and show me proudly his  yearly harvest. What a work it meant !And what a delight to savor the grapes from one’s own vineyard !Grapes and apples, the two kinds of fruits that Autumn gives in abundance over here.Gratefulness for these many gifts of nature in this wonderful Season.

Many thanks also to Scott Thomas for having brought up this new photography challenge.

http://stphoto.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/assignment-10-autumn-2010/

There is still time to participate ! Your photos have to be posted before Wednesday, November 24.