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

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

Hints of Spring

April 15, 2014

Did you think Spring had come ? I did too last March. Then one morning I felt everything looked too white, too cold.  Different. A patch of Winter had covered the landscape. Again. Just to give us a fright. It did not last long though.   DSC00321 When snow melted, the soil got warmer by the day and little by little tiny flowers, daisies, appeared in the grass. Some were quicker to open to the sun, others  more shy, stayed asleep. DSC00408 Dialogue between two cotton sheets in the open. “What is Isa thinking to hang us outside today ? Early March is too cold and what a Siberian wind this morning !!”.  “I know, I am freezing. Let’s huddle up together, get warm and dry. Isa will come over, bring us down into her basket and put us back nicely onto our beds”. Spring washing Hiding in the grass ? I saw you, pretty white primrose. You made my day. Thank you. DSC00356 Spring can affect some animals, apparently not these quiet cows grazing along the railway road. As I and other passengers were waiting for the train back in Fribourg, we were told that the train would have an indeterminate delay. We waited as the same message was repeated again and again. Finally we knew what it was all about :  heifers were on the tracks and  all trains from Zurich to Geneva (half of Switzerland, North-South) were delayed. Maybe it was the cows’  first day out in the pastures  after a long stay in the barn ? Such an excitement and joy ! There must have been some serious gap in a fence somewhere  too. Fortunately nothing wrong happened to anybody, the cheerful cattle was driven back home and the train moved on. Missed connections but more time to admire the scenery.DSC00368   Spring can also make you feel more tired. This is my case. I do not seem to be the only one… I was looking for Nino at home, no sign of him. I found him upstairs, dozing lazily on a comfy quilt, eyeing gently at an exotic parrot. Oh well, change of Season, you know.quilt, Nino, KOSince we are in a patchwork mood, let me show you my new Spring project. Something I have been planing to sew for a long time : a picnic blanket for Summertime. All different scrappy squares, economy blocks or diamond in diamond. I really enjoy going through my leftovers boxes. The quilt is far from being finished; I plan to separate each square with a plain fabric, white or green.  Spring has just started and I hope to sit in the open on this blanket next Sumer. How I love picnics ! DSC00448Just a few touches of my Spring that I felt like sharing with you, hoping yours is pleasant too. Any project on the way ?

Altitudes and contrasts

March 19, 2014

Over the past weeks it seems like I did  nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in  comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.

The tall and almost bare larch trees in the Alps; snow melted in places but no green buds yet.arbres-mâts

A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.

DSC00266

Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.

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whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near  Morat.

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Snow flowers over 4000ft

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and  Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside.  So welcome !

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Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,

Ninio, snow

and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.

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Typical Winter activity…

hiver-pelle

and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.

DSC00268Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.

En route for Spring !

A doll in the Spring

April 7, 2012

She arrived with a heart as big as her maker’s. A red and soft heart of felt, arms wide open for me to welcome her and eyes bright and cheerful as her dress. Who was that ? “Mara”, the cutest doll I ever received, she was created by  Marie’s talented hands. A gift from her heart. http://ancientcloth.blogspot.com/

Ever seen such a pretty hairdo ? Mara also came with her arms full of presents, fabrics of all sorts, reproductions of antique materials that I cannot wait to use in a quilt, just for me. Thank you so much Marie ! For having lived several years in Africa, this adorable little doll touches my heart and brings back many memories of people, places, events. A time never to forget.  

My little doll from the South arrived at the same time as Spring does in the mountains. Not many colours yet to brighten the landscape but for the catkins on some trees.  Patches of snow remain in the cooler areas and green grass barely starts growing on the pastures. Still, walking along those tracks in a new Spring makes you feel good, it gives you energy and joy. It makes you feel grateful too.The new Season gives you inspiration for whatever you need or plan to do, or so I feel. No greenness outside yet ? No problem ! I can deal with it and create my own palette of colours. I did so in sewing (of course) a heart of “Forty Shades of Green” for Irish   friends of mine brought together by destiny. A happy quilting, I assure you. There were really forty different scraps of green fabrics for those who might wonder;)I thought this fresh and green quilted heart would be nice to send you my best wishes for a Happy Easter. Green like the hope and light that we all need, at any time. A renewal in nature as in our life. A promise of better times ahead in a troubled world. I do wish you all the best.

Happy Easter

April 24, 2011

Wishing you all a Happy  Easter weekend, sunny Spring days !

Easter and eggs seem to be closely related.

Earlier on, the egg was a symbol of the earth because of its shape. Also associated with the beginning of life, it has been a symbol of fertility, rebirth and the cycle of life.

For Christians in Europe, eggs became a symbol of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. In the past, Christians gave up eggs for Lent (the 40 days before Easter when it’s customary to give up different types of food). But even though people didn’t eat them, the hens kept laying them! So people would hard boil and decorate them. This would help preserve them longer and serve as part of the holiday festivities.

At the Jewish Passover holiday (in Spring) the egg is placed on the Seder plate and is a symbol of sacrifice and loss. For some though  it also symbolizes the full cycle of life, and therefore hope and rebirth.

In China, red eggs are given out at the one month birthday of a new baby. It’s customary to hold a Red Egg and Ginger Party at this time. Once again, the source seems to be the egg’s role as a symbol of fertility and the beginning of life.

The egg is a wonderful symbol of birth, renewal and rebirth. This is something wonderful to consider as Springtime has arrived in the Northern hemisphere, where the Earth is coming back to life !

Thank you to “Mama Lisa” on http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/ for sharing such great information and much more on  her wonderful blog.

Here is a poem about Easter eggs that I enjoyed reading in this blog : http://www.tastearts.com/egg-poem-easter-eggs-by-addison-erwin-sheldon/  I hope you will too 🙂

A REMINISCENCE
Seems to me like yesterday:—
Walkin’ down the beaten path,
Where the autumn aftermath
Glistened with the April wet,
Tryin’ to look green and yet
Kind of limp and lonesome lay.

Gettin’ long toward Easter time;
Days the city folks calls Lent,—
Little that we cared or spent
What they called it, prose or rhyme,
More than twenty years ago,—
Me and my old playmate Joe;
Back in dear old Yucatan
Township, where Root River ran.

What we cared fur was the wood
Filled with flowing maple sap,
And the bluff above the gap
Where the Mississippi’s flood,—
Floating many a steamboat craft,
Many a Chippewa forest raft,—
Met our boyish gaze and curled
Round the bend into the world.

Then the mill-pond and the dam;—
Spearing red horse in the race;
And below our swimming-place
Was a cave where Turkey Sam
Shot and killed a hungry bear—
Oftentimes we’d go and peer
In about the rocks and stones
Looking for dead Injuns’ bones
While our hearts felt awful queer.

But about them Easter eggs—
We had fixed it—Joe and I,—
Talked it over on the sly,
Makin’ tops and mumble-pegs;
Playin’ marble and high spy;—
Next time Easter day come round
We would know where eggs was found;
Many a jocund, boyish boast,
‘Bout the eggs we’d have to roast
Over in the poplar grove
Just this side of Knox’s cove—
Then there’d be a big surprise:—
When we’d from our hidden store
Bring our Easter eggs galore
How the folks would bug their eyes!

I remember ‘long in March,
Mild and early was the spring.
Say, how them old hens did sing!
How the folks for eggs would search.
Mother couldn’t understand—
Fed ‘em table scraps and meat —
Combs was red and slick and neat,
Cackle, and they’d kick the sand
Through their feathers with their feet.

Joe and I — we understood, —
Playin’ ’round the old barnyard,
Watched them old hens weasel hard
Tryin’ to hide away and brood;
Every secret cleft and nook, —
Underneath the horses’ stall,
High up on the smoke house wall,
Knowed ‘em better than a book; —
Out beside the pile o’ rails,
In the tool house by the nails, —
Where a hen could crawl or fly,
We went after, — Joe and I.

Then to make a hiding place,
In the corner of a stack,
Lay a weatherbeaten rack —
Crawled beneath it on our face
With a forked, crooked pole
Worked and twisted through the straw,
Roughest work I ever saw;
Made a long and narrow hole,
Then by twisting round and round,
Dug a nest close to the ground.

In it went our Easter eggs:
Many a time I hurt my back
Skoochin’ under that old rack,
Rusty nails would scratch my legs—
Still, as Easter time drew nigh,
Poked ‘em in there on the sly;—
One thing troubled us—old Nig
Our old Spanish topknot hen,
Disappeared, we couldn’t find,
Not a feather left behind
Just to show where she had been.

Last our Easter Sunday came—
Seems to me like yesterday,
In that old familiar path
With the autumn aftermath
Lying ’round like locks of hay:—
All the east was clouds of flame
Like that early Easter morn
When the Son, of woman born,
Rose and rolled the stone away.—
Bright and early did we creep
Underneath that beaten rack,
Scratched our legs and punched our back,
Reached in for them eggs, when “cheep,”
“Cheep, cheep, cheep” and “cluck, cluck, cluck”
And Joe says “Dog on our luck,
“Ef it haint that old black hen,
‘Ef she ain’t a’gone and ben
”Just a settin’ with her legs
“Straddled on our Easter eggs,
“An’ what’s more—it beats the dickens
“Half them Easter eggs is chickens.”

From “Poems And Sketches Of Nebraska” By Addison Erwin Sheldon.


This is an addition to my reply to Linda,  http://shoreacres.wordpress.com

Linda, you may enjoy reading this post http://www.mamalisa.com/blog/the-ancient-ukrainian-tradition-of-pysanka/

about the painted Ukrainian eggs, since you like them so much.


“My Ántonia” is a favourite book of mine in the American litterature. It was written by Willa Cather. Its unforgettable story takes place in Nebraska. I can well imagine that the scenes  suggested in Addison Erwin Sheldon’s lovely poem “Reminiscence” could  have been part of W. Cather’s wonderful work.

Spring connection

April 15, 2011

For the past month the internet connection in our home has been less than satisfactory. I will spare you the technical details but in short it has become more difficult to get a reliable and lasting internet connection.  It has also something to do with the age of my  PC 😦 If I add that my camera (not the youngest one either) has been  acting strange lately, you may understand my distress about these technologies I was never an expert in anyway.  This is to explain my unwanted silence on this blog.  I regret it but little by little I will visit you again and look forward to these moments indeed.

In the meantime… Spring has arrived here too. Rapidly, beautifully and unexpectedly warm. In the 20-23°C over the past few days although in the past days the North wind has lowered the temperature by ten degrees. Brrrr…

Not sitting much in front of my stubbornly silent and empty screen, I spent more time in the garden; I read or finished reading several books. I also spent more time in the room that used to be a playroom and now is a music and sewing room.

Do I see you smiling ? 😉  Don’t worry, I am not trying to compete with the drums when my son is practising  “Ska music” with his group. The sewing machine remains silent on those occasions… but when the room is quiet my sewing machine is playing its own tune,  music and inspiration are  in the air !

This is a wonderful and inspiring book by Janet Bolton (Patchwork in an orchard) about “appliqué” in patchwork. My friend Marie, in http://ancientcloth.blogspot.com/ mentioned it a while back in her blog and I was delighted to find a copy of this book  in a second hand bookstore in town.

La Pléiade is also the name if a well-known collection of books from authors of all horizons . Precious books with soft leather binding and  thin pages  (onionskin) that one turns slowly and with care.  I was telling about it to Janice, another friend and multi-faceted artist, http://postcardsfromwildwood.wordpress.com/  as I replied to her comment in my post about it. I chose Tolstoi and his “Carnets”; he is an author I like to read and re-read  now and then. Classical  and insightful works that fascinate me.

And of course, another favourite books of mine, Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” is one I read slowly, month after month. There is so much to learn about living more simply,  eating locally, being responsible for one’s own decisions and acts regarding our environment.

Regular walking through my colourful garden brought much pleasure. This constant renewal of Nature in the Spring is always  such a wonder and pleasant discovery.Poppies, wild primroses, cherry trees blossoming or anemones, all are so welcome after the cold and not so bright Winter. I really hope you  are  enjoying the same wonderful feeling.

.Happy, happy Spring to  each of you !

buds and buddies

April 23, 2010

Sometimes buds can be real buddies 🙂 what a pleasure to look more closely at nature these days ! Buds are coming out  from a long and cold Winter, holding on to each other to bloom into a new Season. Small promises of more to come, foliage,  flowers,  fruits.

Looking out of my  kitchen window I also see other buddies… I hear them before  seeing them though ! Talking, laughing, sometimes they stop and wave at me. Three young neighbours are coming back home from school apparently neither  very hungry nor in a hurry.  They took the long way across the fields. So much more interesting ! The playground is on the way, no cars around,  no cows in the field, all is theirs to linger and observe. Sometimes, when time gets real close to lunch, they pick a few wild flowers for their moms. The type of flowers that brings a smile on anyone’s face, especially mothers 🙂

“Hello Kevin, Mathias, Lori ! I saw you ;)”

Easter holiday

April 14, 2010

Hello 🙂

I have been away from the computer for a while,

Enjoying a timid Spring awakening in the Alps,

Sunny walks along mountain tracks,

Exuberant birds’ songs at all hours.

Quiet reading and sewing,

Happy meals with family and friends,

A pause at Easter, a time to reflect

While wondering at Nature’s revival

And new inner paths.

Eggs, you find them everywhere around Easter time  ! Mostly chocolate eggs over here 😉   Not all though; those are carved in various  semiprecious stones from  Madagascar. I got them as I lived in this great island and visited   market places, craftsmen’ workshops.

You may be interested in reading a few lines about eggs and their symbolism

http://crystal-cure.com/easter-eggs.html

Almost every day during Easter time, I walked along a narrow irrigation canal (the local name is “bisse”). Sometimes on wooden paths or bridges, but mostly on mountain tracks barely freed from snow. The very first flowers were blooming on the dry slopes. Delightful !

Sewing and reading, two of my favorite hobbies. The “grandmother flowers’ garden” is still growing and blooming… since it is sewed by hand, I like to bring it along wherever I travel and I added quite a few hexagonal flowers. Spring mood and also the wish to see this quilt finished at last. A low table has been waiting to be covered for… quite a while.

In my favourite second-hand bookstore I found a wonderful book by Alice Munro (Ontario, Canada): “Open Secrets”. Shorts stories about women that take place over several generations from  1850s to the present, from Canada to Australia, the Balkans and France. Unconventional women who never wanted to be contained. I so enjoyed each story!  Alice  Munr0’s writing is simply superb. Her characters  never leave you.  I already know that I will read more of her.

“In the mountains, in Maltsia e madhe, she must have tried to tell them her name, and “Lottar” was what they made of it. She had a wound in her leg, from a fall on sharp rocks when her guide was shot. She had a fever. How long did it took them to carry her through the mountains, bound up in a rug and strapped to a horse’s back, she had no idea”…

(First lines of “The Albanian Virgin”, a short story by A. Munro – just to make you feel like knowing more…)


How about you, what are you reading right now ?

? Spring, really ?

March 27, 2010

Today is a stormy day, rain and wind and cold temperatures again. 10°C less than these past days.  Such will be  our weekend according to the  weather forecast… No wonder if  some trees  have adopted the “question mark attitude” and ask themselves questions about the  real arrival of Spring !

Oh well, Happy Spring weekend to all anyway !

Spring (8 haiku)

spring breezes
blowing bubbles
puppy tails

spring breezes
whispering now
our secret

spring wind
sail boats in the fountain
my first kite

spring wind
Easter dresses
white flashes

spring wind
foul air
circus in town

spring wind
gazebo gone
April fool

spring wind
kite in the sky
pulling my hand

spring night
our last dance
song without end

Ben Gieske