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

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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 !