The Christmas Spirit

The little crystal Gingerbread House always gets displayed in my home in December
It's made by Swarovski.

There were several snowfalls, but sadly it didn't last for very long.

A few autumn leaves were still hanging on
until some strong winds blew them away.

The colder days inspired me to make hot and comforting meals:
Risotto rice with cheese and courgettes and bell peppers
with a small glass of light red wine.

I don't have a Christmas tree this year, 
but I like to create candlelit scenes around my home.
This little snow-capped wooden house, which holds a candle,
was given to me by my grandson a few years' ago.

One day this week, I crossed the lake from Lausanne to Evian in France.
It only takes 35 minutes.
Although the weather was fairly grey, it wasn't too cold.
It was lovely to take the steam boat which was going on a luncheon cruise afterwards.

The clouds were clearing on the Swiss side as we left the port.

The front part of the boat, with the French flag flying, shows us grey weather ahead.

Inside the warmth of the boat, the Christmas decorations were beautiful.

With big red bows either side of the staircase leading up to the upper level.

By the late afternoon, the weather had become sunny
and the snowcapped mountains were bathed in light.

By the time I took the boat back to my side of the lake, the clouds had returned,
but the sunset was still beautiful.

At home, a cheeky little angel brings in the Christmas spirit

I've been crocheting some snowflakes to hang up.
I used a white yarn with a metallic thread running through.

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Norther Hemisphere.
It is when the days are at their darkest.
I hung up six snowflakes against two of my windows and I took this photo this morning
just as the day was starting to lighten the sky.
The colourful bokeh is created from the lights in the houses on the other side of the road.

I've been busy crocheting a two-sided cushion cover to match my Winter Blanket.

Now the two sides have been joined together with red yarn.

This is the other side of the cushion.

The traditional Christmas Cookies are being made.
Everyone's favourite are Viennese Crescents made with almonds.

The Christmas garland is on the wall

Let's shine!
In the true sense of the word.
Let's shine for ourselves
so that we may shine for others.
Where there is darkness, may there be light
Where there is sadness, may there be also joy
Where there is solitude, may there be a hand reaching out
Where there is despair ... let us give hope.

Every evening I light my red candle whose flame is reflected in the window.

Wishing all who visit me here, a very Joyful Christmas
and a Healthy New Year!


The First Snow of the Season

This week has been a mixture of blue skies and sunshine, but also dull, grey days.
On this particular day, I passed this beautiful tall Beech tree with still a few leaves hanging on.

There were also some pretty Winter Jasmine in bloom.

Two days' ago there was an icy wind blowing
and snow had been forecast!

When I got up this morning around 5 am, I put on a coat before pulling up the blinds
and going on my balcony!
It was indeed snowing and it continued to do so for most of the morning.
I took this photo just before 8 am when the street lights were still on.
The house is just across the road from me.
You can see the snowflakes falling against the dark paintwork on the house.

A pretty snow scene in-between two houses.
The first snow of the season is always so special!

I am happy to say that the roads were cleared by a snow-plough and the paths cleared by a blower.

I had a snug day at home, reading and doing crochet
I lit candles and this one looks so pretty on an orange tablecloth.
The little house is made of ceramic.

I did some reading about the life of a vet
and his love of animals.

This is a beautiful hand-painted Christmas bauble
which represents figs and their leaves.

This week, I visited a friend who lives further down the lake
We went to a Christmas Market and she gave me this lovely candle holder
with the winter trees and a moose.
A thoughtful Christmas present!
Isn't the Christmas card adorable too?

I finished crocheting my winter blanket.
It looks really pretty on my grey couch.

Now I'm crocheting some more squares in the same colours to make a cushion cover.

The little Tomte wearing a long pointed hat, is a Scandinavian gnome.
He was given to me by my daughter.
Isn't he adorable?

The tomte is an essential part of Scandinavian folklore.
He's a little gnome who is dedicated to one home or farm.
He looks out for the farm animals and children of the home.
He patters about by night, unseen, to check on everyone's welfare.

I chose this Swarovski crystal star for my blog header.
It sparkles so prettily by candlelight.

I hope that this month of December is treating you well.
Do you like this time of the year?
Do you have special traditions that you like to honour?


November Takes a Bow

A pink rose in my neighbourhood.
The first half of November was warm with blue skies
and many flowers continued blooming
for our greatest joy!

Leaves started to turn golden and orange and the red berries were plentiful

Falling leaves decorate the cars in my street

These Lantana flowers were still flowering down in the park.

The graceful white Cosmos too.

Probably one of the most beautiful leaves in the autumn
are the Maple, especially against the blue of the sky.

This tree is in my neighbourhood

The fallen leaves create a carpet of red and orange stars.

Some of them get caught in the fence

Golden leaves and generous blue skies for the month of November

I often pass a whole fence of Morning Glory blooms
when I walk home from the metro stop which brings me up away from the town centre.

American Oak leaves down in the park
right at the beginning of the month when the beech trees in the background
still had green leaves.

Now the autumn chrysanthemums have been planted and these were joined
by a fallen Tulip Tree leaf.

Pretty cloud formations dance in the sky

The wind coaxes them into different shapes continually

My daughter had her birthday at the end of October and she came to celebrate it
here at the beginning of November and we all ate birthday cake!
I made this one with dark chocolate and ground almonds.

I recently heard about something called Fika.
Fika is an important part of Swedish culture where people meet mid-morning,
or mid-afternoon for a 'fikarast' or 'fikapaus' for a coffee (or drink of one's choice)
with preferably a cinnamon bun, or something similar.
This was taken on November 7th, when I started crocheting squares
to make a winter blanket!

Here are some of the different stages
I chose the colours to represent frost and snow and snug winter days.
Can you recognize the squares that make you think of holly and red berries?
I hope to finish this blanket by mid-December.

I also crocheted some lightly stuffed hearts to give as gifts.
The pattern is called Sunburst Hearts and is from a pattern by Bunny Mummy

Since there will soon be no more flowers or colour in nature,
I wanted to end this blog entry with a collage of colour.

The days are still getting shorter and the temperatures are going down.
We'll soon be getting zero Celsius at night
and then there will be snow!

I hope that you're enjoying the season and using these long evenings for occupations
that you really enjoy!