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.

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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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Summer abundance

October 13, 2013

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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 !

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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 !

Winter yes, but…

December 12, 2012

…I still wish to share some of my Fall colours just before snow fell heavily and unexpectedly. Colours from here and there along those past weeks.

Ninio is posing  in a golden forest and probably thinking: “If I were not on a leash, all you could photograph would be just a vague glimpse of one of my white legs running away like a flash or just leaves !”Ninio, Fall 1

I finally finished sewing a small quilt that brings warmth on a wall of our house. Inspiration came from a photo of a Flickr friend and artist, Eglantine.  I tried to find on fabrics the colours and patterns she painted on wood with acrylic and pastel. Thank you, dear Eglantine, for your inspiration and permission to use your picture. Underneath is the photo of my friend’s artwork.

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More pictures of Eglantine’s Flickr photostream here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/eglantine/

This is the mini-quilt I sewed and embroidered using scraps of colourful  cotton, polyester, organza and gauze ribbons.

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Colourful too were the images of a beautiful and fascinating movie I saw recently, in particular the thousands of bees’ swarms working diligently and flying in all directions. “More than Honey” by Markus Imhoof  or “What if Bees would disappear ?” in French is a documentary.  Fascinating, I wrote, but I should also say  very worrying and well worth seeing. The present situation of those precious and endangered insects was filmed in various countries of all continents. Our whole planet is concerned with the bees’ disappearance from their hives or new colonies having to be destroyed.

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What are the causes ? Pesticides or medicines used to fight them ? Parasites ? A new virus ? The stress bees are submitted to during their forced long journeys ? Industrialisation and mechanization ? Pollution or damage caused to the environment ? No sure answer is given but the documentary definitely makes you aware of this terrible danger : the bees’ disappearance and with them the absence of cross-pollination. Losing bees, as we all know, would have repercussions throughout the food supply chain.

“More than Honey” should be released abroad at the beginning of 2013. Don’t miss it if you have the opportunity to watch it. The film was presented at the Locarno Film Festival 2012, in Switzerland.

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Winter in October, first snow and warm colours, just nice enough to take a few pictures and then melt away. Fall was still present and so bright! first snow, october 2012

Since October weather has changed. Snow fell heavily in November, temperatures dropped a lot and a Siberian North wind is blowing every second day. I know, Winter is here but…one can still dream of colours, right ?first snow 1

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.

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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.

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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

Patches of Summer

September 15, 2012

Summer is still blooming, shining and giving us a bounty of Season’s delicacies we never seem to get tired of. Treasures of colours, scents, flavours and sights.

Sunflowers would highlight any day. They show us the way to the slightest sunray. “Tournesol”, from the Italian “girasole”, -“which turns with the sun”-  bears such an appropriate name.

Fine and fragile cosmos playing with the breeze, in white, pink, purple spreading out their petals like arms to better grasp the light and warmth of this Season.

And what about the fruits that abound at this Season ? Now it’s time to pick prunes, mirabelles, pears. Soon there will be grapes – a big event in our area – apples, fruits meant to last and be enjoyed during colder days. Yes, let’s face it, Summer is going to end, Fall is at the door.

“What constitutes the end of Summer for you ?”   This is the question Scott Thomas asks on his blog to anyone wishing to participate in his new photo assignment until September 26.

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2012/09/12/assignment-21-end-of-summer/

It should be very interesting to see how each participant feels about and look at the change of Season. I am going to think about it.

If you would  like to  take part in this new photography challenge, please click on the above link to get all the information.

A second life for this old fountain and a home for all kinds of pretty flowers.

White and more

March 11, 2012

Hello Dear you all,

As I just wrote in my previous post, it felt so good to find your warm thoughts and messages  as I came back home. Thank you so much for your visits, encouraging comments and good wishes, it really meant a lot to me. I feel much better and slowly but surely all my energy will come back.  As I left home, snow was falling heavily behind this window you know well by now.

Today there is still some snow around but the sun is brighter on nature green patches. I like to think that Spring is not far and that all sorts of colours will spread over our  Winter landscape.

Colours are everywhere though  even in hospitals where white used to be the norm. I tried to catch a few of them to share with you.All day long the light changes and brings out colourful details on a wardrobe or on a bouquet of flowers. Behind the curtain the evening lights look like stars and I loved to look at the houses nearby in the  soft early morning shades. Then there is this bright small lamp, companion of some sleepless nights.The lamp and the book. An interesting story and one I enjoyed reading. The story – based on true facts – takes place during  WWII when some American pilots had their planes shot down by the ennemy. Many of them died. Some  men parachuted over French Occupied territory and were lucky to be saved by members of the French Résistance (partisans). Dangerous days, weeks and months awaited all those involved in the rescue of the Allied soldiers, including the pilots themselves, of course. This book kept me awake for many hours until a nurse would check on me and say : “Now you must sleep !” But then during the day, she would ask me : “How is the story going on ?” 😉

There were quite a lot of emails waiting for me on my PC. One of them was from Scott Thomas at Views Infinitum.

The good news was that a new photography challenge has been assigned by Scott Thomas.  The subject is one I look forward to working on : Abstract Photography.

Maybe you would like to participate too ?  Please do. Deadline is March 21st, 2012.  All details are explained here :

http://viewsinfinitum.com/2012/03/07/assignment-18-abstract-photography/

A little “thank you gift” for  your thoughtfulness for me :Pour toi, for you, a choco heart !

Christmas wishes

December 24, 2011

We are almost there, aren’t we ? Christmas Eve will be celebrated later tonight . Most cards have been sent,  the Christmas tree is all lit up as I write and the menu for dinner  is ready… in my head. Our village postman has been busy delivering mail and packages. Yesterday I was on his list, he brought me a large parcel sent from the United States.

My friend Fina, from South Texas, had carefully wrapped up this lovely Christmas decoration : a Mexican musician and his sweet señorita. They looked so colourful and different from our usual decorations that I could not help but sharing them with you. I  delicately  put the pretty decoration on a branch of a pine tree in the garden. The two of them did not seem to mind the change of temperatures…

Snow had fallen a few days ago and children  spent hours in the field  near our house building a snowman. A joyful party that was still there at dusk, surrounded by parents and friends, screaming and jumping around their artwork. Today snow has melt, the only remaining sign of the snowman is his red scarf and a carrot that is looked at with greedy eyes by Nino the beagle.

Most of these handmade cards are gone, sent to family and friends here and there. My box of African fabrics scraps is almost empty. It is a good feeling to imagine that  maybe these cards will give as much pleasure as I felt sewing them. Bringing  some  thoughts, light and strong colours where and when they are needed.

This mosaic is also meant to bring you, my Friends, my best wishes for A Merry Christmas. A celebration of peace and togetherness, sharing time and affection, joy around the Christmas Tree.

Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas,  Glaedelig Jul, Hyvaa Joulua, Sretan Bosic and more good wishes wherever you are.

A call to nature

July 16, 2011

Quiet days in the mountains. A  vacation that offers plenty of time for reading, quilting, hiking and observing nature. A landscape I have been seeing for year, one I never  get tired of looking at.During a reading pause on a terrace between sky and earth, I went again through the June issue of a monthly newsletter :  “The Monastic Way” by Joan Chittister, OSB.  “Food for thought” is a very good expression to describe  what her spiritual writing means for me.  Re-reading slowly some of J. Chittister´s  words, I felt like sharing the thoughts she proposed for meditation on particular days in June.

“There is a call to nature in all of us”.  I went through my photos archives and found some images to illustrate J. Chittister´s thoughts on this  inspiring theme.

“Water calls us to explore the depth of the self. It washes away, wave after wave, the seismic shocks of the day upon our souls. It soothes the riled self”.

Sunset in South Texas. I sat with friends at the edge of this wide  lake. The day had brought happiness and sadness. We all needed some peace of mind that we found as the waves moved gently towards the shore and the sun shone over the quiet waters. Hardly any sound around us but the lapping of the waves and the occasional bird singing a few notes before night fell. Serenity.

“Fire drives us out of ourselves, it touches the spark within us that leads us to create new worlds in the face of the years gone to ashes before us”.

Sitting around a fire,  whether alone or with others, is always a special moment for me. Letting one’s  mind wander over the flames, imagining  the new paths they will follow over the logs and the shapes they create is fascinating. When a spark bursts brightly and loudly reality comes back and with it the deep pleasure of the present moment.

“Earth, the vast expanse of the plains, the colors in a far away meadow, beckons us to explore, to know, to touch, to grow with the environment around us. It makes us its own and teaches us what home is about”.

Vast plains remind me of  South  Texas and Russia, meadows  are spreading  over soft hills and in the valleys all around me. High mountain pastures, their unbelievably bright flora and rare wildlife  are very much  home for me. The varied environment I lived in taught me to explore and respect nature, to know its people and the culture they developed in their surrounding area. Nature taught me a lot about “home”.

“Air, fresh and soft, teaches us how little it takes to live, to go on, to be pure of heart, to begin to live all over again, to believe. “The whole earth”, Mohammad said, “has been made a mosque and pure for me”.

A sudden puff of wind  blew a cloud of thistles all over my camera and my face… light touches of a wonderful nature. Thistledown as light as the mountain breeze in a blue sky,  tiny seeds ready to be dispersed. So little it may take to go on and live all over again.

Many thanks to Joan Chittister http://www.joanchittister.org/ for letting me reproduce part of her writing in “The Monastic Way”  and share it with you.

Wishing you all a very pleasant weekend !