Learning to Live Differently

Beautiful sparkles down by the lake one Sunday morning
before everything changed
with the arrival of the Covid-19/Coronavirus.

People were still taking public transport and mixing with friends in groups

Going out freely with my camera to capture some wild plum blossom

On my last day of freedom, I came home with two little pots of Primula

Before planting them on the balcony, 
I arranged some little flowers in my favourite circular vase.

Tulips came home with me too, the last ones before a strict lock-down
especially on people over 65 who are more at risk of catching the virus.
I'm not going to talk a lot about it here.
We all follow the news and know the devastating effects.
Switzerland is very hard hit and there are now over 8000 cases.
The more people stay at home, the less the virus will spread.

Asparagus has appeared in the shops
and that's a sure sign of spring!

Being confined in my home, I have a great deal of time to make delicious recipes,
read, do masses of crochet and choose uplifting films or comedies to watch on Netflix!
Here is my breakfast; French toast, cooked blueberries
 served with a spoonful of coconut yogurt.

I've been baking bread again too
This one is a gluten-free version and very delicious

Being confined to my home, I have set up a plan of exercises to remain supple
which I do twice a day.
I'm also fortunate enough to have a balcony
 and can take fresh air several times a day
or sit outside and read when the spring sunshine is warm enough!

The first day of spring this year will certainly be one that none of us will forget.
I have some tiny violas growing in three of my window-boxes
and can see them from each room of my apartment!

A new habit:
Ringing my Tingsha bells every evening at 9 pm, when lots of folk in my neighbourhood
go outside to shout and applaud for a few minutes.
It's to thank all the medical staff, doctors and nurses
who devote their lives to try and save as many people as possible from the Covid-19.
I also include everyone who is working to help us all survive:
the farmers who produce our food,
the delivery services which deliver it,
the postmen and women who sort and bring our mail,
the pharmacies which remain open
and the post-office workers,
and the men who pick up our dustbins twice a week.
There are so many devoted people out there.
They all deserve recognition and our appreciation.

The spring flowers are in bloom everywhere, even if I can't see them.
These Forget-me-nots were photographed before lock-down
exactly one week ago on Tuesday 17th of March.

A little sapling growing in the grass separating my building from the one in front.
So lovely to see everything come alive again.
The grass is dotted with primroses.

Do you remember the start of this blanket?  I have named it
"January Sunrise"
You can see the photo of that sunrise which I took from my balcony.
I started the project on January 1st this year and finished it six weeks later.

Here it is finished!
I have several crochet projects on the go and I'm trying out a new stitch for the first time

It's called: 'Corner to Corner' and is really fun to do
especially in this self-patterning yarn which makes it more interesting.
Not my usual colours, but very cheerful and Springlike!

Since no one can shake hands at the moment, I thought it might be a good idea
to practice a 'Windscreen-wiper wave'!
So hello to you all!
I hope you are staying safe and respecting the advice of the country and area you live in.

Another crochet project which I started in January
which had been momentarily put on one side:
This is called 'Spring Garden'
and I love using these lovely colours which make me think of spring flowers.
There are different sources for this particular pattern
and the one I am following is from Lullaby Lodge.
Isn't it beautiful?
I will be putting up more crochet flowers from the 2020 Flower Challenge in my next posting.

I hope you are well and adapting to this new and different way of living
We cannot change the course of events, but we can change how we approach them.

"You have power over your mind - not outside events.
Realize this and you will find strength."
Marcus Aurelius

Stay safe
Keep optimism shining in your heart
and only take one day at a time!

March Sunshine

Brightly coloured crocuses greet us in the park

There is still snow in the mountains - and since I took this, there have been
fresh snowfalls!
The two humps are called: Tour de Mayen on the left and Tour d'Aï on the right.
When I walk for about 25 minutes up the hill (all the way) above my neighbourhood,
I can see this lovely view!
The best part is going down the hill again all the way home!

In February, as the days got longer,
I heard the first blackbird sing in the morning and early evenings!
Such a joy!

I also love the beautiful shapes of the trees and their branches without leaves.
These two mono shots were taken in my neighbourhood.

A visit to the local florist's shop to see what beautiful blooms were available.
I asked her if I could take her photo while she prepared a bouquet for a client.
She kindly agreed.

I noticed the wonderful lines and curves of some graceful pink lilies

I brought a bouquet home with me.
They're such impressive big flowers

The stamen are glorious seen through a macro lens.

When they had passed their beauty and starting to shrivel up,
I put them on the balcony and a snowstorm made them look beautiful again.

One day I needed to go downtown and loved passing these street musicians
playing happy traditional jazz.
They were putting everyone in a good mood!

It was one of those sunny days with a perfect blue sky.
This is the St. Laurent Church
close to where the music was being played.
The pigeons were lined up enjoying the view.

Who can resist tulips in the spring?
These came home with me when the lilies had finished their blooming.

They opened up to a beautiful shade of red.

So perfect against the back lighting.

Things have been very busy on the crochet front.
This is my temperature blanket so far
January and February temperatures are represented here.
They range from 0 to 18C.
Our weather has been changeable and now we are entering a colder period again.
It seems that March is coming in like a lion
even though today is very sunny.

The weekly creations of flowers continues.
These layered ones. Really lovely to create.

Roses too, made from three different patterns.
Check out the 2020 Flower Challenge

These first two months of the year are perfect for doing handiwork,
don't you think?
Perhaps there are many lovely things that you like doing at this time of the year.

February Musings

These winter months are perfect for handiwork of any kind.
Since crochet is my passion, besides photography,
I need no excuses for playing with my colourful yarns and hook.
This little heart turned out so prettily and fit the heart-shaped dish so well.

When we do any kind of handiwork, we need good, sharp scissors.
I have several. These are perfect for cutting off loose ends once they have been sewn in.

The big surprise of this first half of the month was an unexpected
and exciting snow storm.
This house is in my street just opposite from where I live.
I took the photo from my balcony.
The snow was mostly all melted by late afternoon when the sun came out again!

Flowering plants are so welcome in the home at this time of the year.
These hyacinth flowers are beautifully long lasting on the small round table in front of the window.
It's just next to where I sit surrounded by yarns and patterns!

A detail on the beautiful fully opened flowers.

One early evening, I went to see the latest film version of Little Women
adapted from the book by Louisa May Alcott which was written in 1868.
Life was certainly much different back then.
I was disappointed by this new version of the story. The story didn't flow
and some of the actors were sadly miscast.
The settings were beautiful.
As I walked back home from the bus stop at the top of my street,
I saw this beautiful shimmering moon  framed by the branches of a pretty birch tree.

Now something different!
I do love capturing abstract images with my camera 
and I'm not going to tell you what they are!
Abstracts pull us into a new way of looking at colour, shape and texture 
without wanting to label what we see.
This was taken on a structured, shiny surface and has not been post edited.

A different colour scheme on a similar sort of surface.
I love the feel of swirling energy.

This one is made by a special technique called Intentional Camera Movement!
I used a slow shutter speed to help the process and then the camera
is intentionally moved to create a soft blur.

This is the same subject but with different movements.
I love the feeling of the energy we feel and this shimmering vortex
which seems to lift me upwards.
It feels like painting with my camera!

Back to reality with some pretty flowering Viburnam blossom
looking so bright and cheerful in the soft neutral tones we see in February.

I even picked some adorable pink-tipped daisies growing in the grassy verges in my neighbourhood.
I thought they were perfect for Valentine's Day.
This is the day when florist's charge extra for their extravagant flower arrangements
that many ladies seem to expect.

All this brings us to think about the meaning of love.
It certainly isn't necessarily in the form of some grand gesture
like a dozen red roses, diamonds or the keys to a new car.

Love, in its broadest sense, englobes (or includes) all.
Not just one person.
It's about giving of oneself to everything worthwhile.
Everything is worthwhile.
It can be something as simple as offering a smile to someone that crosses our path,
or who sits next to us on the bus.

Love is choosing to protect and nurture our environment
for ourselves,
but especially for the children of today.
Love is not conditional, nor exclusive.
Universal love is the one we need to practice the most.
The whole planet, and all those who inhabit it, need our love.

Author and spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, says it so beautifully:
"Love is a state of being. Your love is not outside. It is deep within you.
You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you.
It is not dependent on some other body."

Continuing the year-long project of crocheting a flower a week.
Here are the latest ones for weeks 4, 5 and 6.

See more details here:

Every Day in Life is Beautiful

A gentle morning sky
taken from my balcony.

Soft petals and curves in pastel colours

which remind me of the colours of my temperature blanket so far.

Under a large oak tree, these bright and charming tiny cyclamen were growing.

There's such beauty in skies at any time of the day.
This was taken today as the tiny moon rose in the pastels of the sky.

With the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp.
last Monday on January 27th,
I wanted to re-read the story of Alice Herz-Sommer.
She was a gifted concert pianist and Holocaust survivor.
She said that music kept her and her young son alive.

I have two books about this lady. 
The one above and another entitled: 'A Century of Wisdom'.
I can recommend them both.
Alice was an incredibly positive person her whole life.
She is truly inspirational.
Her quotations are really meaningful.
Here is one of them:
"Life is beautiful. You have to be thankful that we are living.
Wherever you look is beauty.
I know about the bad things, but I look for good things"
Alice Herz-Sommer

The colourful presence of tulips in our homes brings such joy.

I crocheted a reversible heart for my front door with daisies.
The month of February makes us think of hearts!
I like the plain red side, but the three colours is fun too.
That's the one that's on show today.
I may change it for the red side on February 14th.
Here is a link for the heart pattern

I went for a lovely brisk walk in my neighbourhood
and on my way back, around 6 pm,
I stopped to enjoy this beautiful sky.

When I got home,
the sky was deepening.

"Every day in life is beautiful ... every day."
Alice Herz-Sommer.

The beauty is there even when we fail to notice it.
When we look around us with awareness
we can see it or hear it in the songs of the birds at dawn and dusk.
Yesterday, on returning from my walk, I heard a blackbird sing for the first time this year.

Continuing the 2020 Flower Challenge with a new flower to crochet every week of the year.
Here is Flower number 3
A little daisy.
If you would like to join the challenge.

May you find something beautiful every day of your life.