tokens of friendship

February 2, 2012

There are all sorts of connections and ways of communicating. Some more awkward than others but…when there is a will, there is a way. Personally I love writing/receiving cards or letters. For years I have been writing to friends close by or corresponding with penfriends much further away. I also like a chat with a friend, an unexpected conversation with someone in town, on a train or elsewhere. It all brings us together. Moments of sharing and smiling that may brighten up one’s day.Not too sure what these cables were meant for but they looked very picturesque ūüėČ

Who does not appreciate receiving a postcard now and then ?

Often friendship is built along the way. Once I received a card that read : “The long remembering heart requires no token”. And yet¬† tokens of friendship are exchanged sometimes. In French we are used to say : “Little gifts keep friendship alive” (Les petits cadeaux entretiennent l’amiti√©).

Like this wonderful gift – more than a token really –¬† I received shortly before Christmas. First surprise : the parcel came from Danemark. As I unwrapped the cheerful red and white paper and looked at the cover of the slim black book, I could not help wondering : “This picture looks so much like my own quilt !” I could not believe my eyes and I kept staring at the¬† quilt in total amazement. Then when I recovered,¬† my eyes went down to the title : “isathreads…”.Finally I opened the precious book and there they were : all the pictures of the quilts I posted on my blog were inside. Artfully presented on each page. A blue letter fell out of the book, words of friendship brought a wide smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. Thank you so very much, Birgitte, http://my2008blog.wordpress.com/

for this special and wonderful gift that has been admired  more than once. It will be cherished always.

My own token of friendship to Birgitte, was this small quilt representing (in my own way)  one of her colourful art mosaics.

Another lovely gift  I received is this pair of mittens sent by Dena, my English friend living in Italy. Our wonderful and lasting friendship started unexpectedly. By a great coincidence, we used to write to the same penfriend in Indiana/USA. Our common friend thought we might well like writing to each other too (Dena and I). As I received her address, I sent her a small card to introduce myself; she answered with enthusiasm and we never ceased writing  since then. We also met on various occasions during the past ten years.

This Holiday Season I sewed a little bag for Dena. She knits with some sort of round needles  and was delighted to use my gift to put them into.

Estela is another friend from abroad, I met her on flickr. She is a talented Brazilian quilter. One day she¬† suggested we exchanged fabrics. We started doing so and year after year we both enjoy sending gifts from the heart and from our sewing rooms. This lovely quilt is Estela’s gift for this past Christmas. Isn’t it pretty and thoughtful ? I love it.More treasures were packed in Estela’s parcel: samples of fabrics and patterns, a hand¬† stitched piece that I will use some day in one of my own quilts. All so appreciated !A while ago I had sewed for Estela these colourful parrots. Birds like those I imagine¬† flying in her garden near the ocean.

A token of friendship can also be a visit or a call to someone. An unexpected conversation that may bring so much pleasure. A gift of one’s own time.¬† A phone call is such a simple and direct way to stay connected. I love those surprise¬† conversations as I do enjoy the smile in¬† someone’s voice when I make a phone call after too long a time.In the recent years, I¬† have also been discovering the pleasure of blogging, of communicating with you and others all around the world. Getting to know your environment and activities, sharing your thoughts is a real gift. At the risk of repeating myself, I will say how grateful I am for all of it.

And since we talk about communicating… I must add that because of some health problem I will remain¬† silent for a while, But I do look forward to visiting and reading you again. Take care, all of you. And be well.

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At a slow pace

January 6, 2011

Walking  in the garden a few days after Christmas.  I was enjoying a fresh and early morning sun as  I spotted a branch of blackberry, shaped like a heart. A wild and  stubborn bush,  not ready to give in to  Winter.  The persistent branch made me think of this past Summer bounty and of the delicious marmelade waiting on the kitchen table for the family breakfast.

Fleeting images of particular moments during the Holiday Season.  I realize that the grandfather who once was as tall as his grandsons looked now small and frail. Emotion. A moment of love shared between generations, smiles and looks of complicity that belong to the three of them only. A wonderful bond.

My activities will not resume until mid-January.¬† These days after Christmas are “in slow-motion”. Remembering¬† family celebrations, animated talk around the table, gifts being offered, a surprise for everyone. Each family member had decided to offer a gift to one person only chosen by drawing lots.¬†¬† Each one¬† kept¬† the secret until Christmas Day. What an excitement as the time for sharing gifts came ! I was so happy that mine was meant for my Dad! I offered him a soft warm fleece jacket in his favourite colour, grey/blue. He loved it and is wearing it almost every day since¬† Christmas ūüôā

Taking time to sit for more reading and leaving aside other activities that can wait a little.

Sidney Poitier’s spiritual autobiography is one the best I have read in a long time. “The Measure of a Man” is the story of his life from his birth on Cat Island in the Bahamas until his recognition as a great actor in¬† Hollywood. When he was about 12,¬† S. Poitier told his sister : “When I grow up, I want to go to Hollywood and become a cowboy “. He had just seen his first movie in Nassau, a cowboy one of course. In 1963, S. Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his great performance in Lilies of the Field. He also received the Life Achievement Award for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment.

Reading his memoirs is like having a worthwhile conversation with an older family member, his words are powerful, reflective, generous, humane and so moving. It makes you look closer at the foundations of your own life.

Looking forward to even more reading. Family and friends know me… and I¬† received several books:

The Amish Quilts,  1870-1930, showing many reproductions of quilts from private collections in Switzerland; there are also some  very interesting chapters about the origin and history of the Amish.

Matthieu Ricard, “Spiritual Paths”, a small anthology of some of the most beautiful Tibetan writings. To be read slowly too.

“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. I have already started reading it and can hardly stop…

“The Rothko Chapel” by Domique de Menil. With her husband, John, Dominique founded the inter-religious Chapel in Houston/Texas in 1971. The de Menil’s dream was for the Chapel to promote interfaith dialogue, human rights and the arts. I am so grateful for this gift,¬† a beautiful souvenir of a memorable visit of this Chapel some years ago.

From Barbara, my English quilting friend, I received the loveliest Desk Diary you can imagine !

More gratefulness. To Marie,  http://ancientcloth.wordpress.com/ my inspiring and creative friend; she  sews and expresses herself  beautifully in  her quilts. Marie sent me those colourful parcels.

See all I found when I opened the pretty wrapping papers!

Wonderful handmade gifts and special fabrics I look forward to sewing  in my quilts. Precious  presents from here and there. Thank you so very much, Marie ! All is  truly appreciated.  My thoughts are with you.

January will be a slow month¬† for me. As my friend Marah wrote on a beautiful card :¬† “Never let the urgent crowd out the important”.

This is the first of her 12 calendar cards. Each month I will share a different one with you. I wish you  a lovely start of this New Year. May it bring  Peace in your heart and mind.