Sunday, 21 July 2013

Quick knits

Hello again everyone,

Thank you very much for your kind messages on my knitted socks last week. They gave me enough confidence to maybe attempt knitting a third some point in the future :-)

I had some sock wool left and decided to attempt knitting some cute little baby booties for a friend's baby. I used a pattern found in this book,

, a book that had been gifted to me while I was expecting Baby Suisse and which I had already used to knit him a woolly hat last winter. I really like the colour of the booties although I can't believe how small they are (how quickly one forgets how tiny babies' hands and feet are). Using some more wool I had kicking about in my stash, I decided to slightly adapt the pattern for a hat I had used in the past for myself (which you can also find on Ravelry, follow my link on the side of the blog) and which I posted on Handmade Monday in October 2011.

The giant button on the front of the hat has always been my favourite part of this hat. It is obviously to big for the little baby girl just now but it'll be handy to survive the Glaswegian winter in a few months time. Once again, waste not, want not, I used the left over wool to make a neckwarmer for one of my nieces for this winter too (pattern found on Ravelry page once again). 

All items have been posted to their new home this week. After the socks' debacle, it was very satisfying to get not 1 but 3 projects done in a short amount of time! And no, there's nothing wrong with being a little bit smug from time to time :-)

Come and join me browsing at Handmade Monday!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Once bitten, twice shy... not I!

Despite my best intentions, I have actually managed to set a new record for the longest WIP project on my knitting needles after 2011's disaster of my first pair of knitted socks. That first attempt had taken 6 months and I had sworn never to bother with socks again.

But it's true that home-made socks are so warm and comfy in winter, and I thought that I was bound to improve my timing with the second lot...ha,ha,ha...erm...
Started in October 11, I had managed about half a sock by the time I got pregnant with Baby Suisse. As the first trimester of my pregnancy was spent wanting to sleep, and the subsequent two were spent pretty much the same way, I got very lazy craft-wise and half forgot about them. I then had dreams of a super productive maternity leave during which I could sew/knit/cross-stitch/bake/have a life and those dreams were fairly quickly shattered. Four months is not a long time and I was then off to work. To cut a long (and boring) story short, I got annoyed with myself for letting this happen again in February 13 and I picked up the project and finally finished it in July. Yep, a whole 20 months later...

At least, I had learned from my mistakes this time and grafted the toe properly! Looking at Baby Suisse's socks, I still feel his are way cooler! Nevermind...and yes, it is another ball of sock yarn in my craft cupboard...please don't ask me why! (or when!!)

Pop over to Wendy's super blog for some "up to date" craft in Handmade Monday :-)

Here... there... everywhere!

I have felt a little bit that way in the past couple of weeks and have missed out on my self-imposed bi-weekly blogging...grrrrrr!! With winter behind us, I had hoped that Baby Suisse would be relatively healthy for the next few months until the start of next winter but it seems that germs don't take holidays. We have been through 2 anginas and 1 stomach flu in the last few weeks which has been unsettling for Baby Suisse and for us as we had got used to our undisturbed nights... Couple this with 2 weekends spent abroad and here we are mid-July in the blink of an eye. In between rushing to work/nursery/home/doctor/abroad, I have had a little bit of time to:

1) make some strawberry jam (unfortunately not from our own strawberry plants which have so far this year produced a grand total of 6 berries...)

2) Finally use the chimenea we bought last year second hand from a expat who was leaving Switzerland

3) rejoice in the fact that the plants have finally picked up and started to produce small crops...about time!

4) picked a few kilos of cherries from our tree in the garden and turned some of them into a delicious cake (clafoutis if you're curious) which I brought to work.

I need to sort my pictures from our various trips to share with you soon...stay tuned :-)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Old car rally

I can't believe how much the weather still changes from one week to the next. This time last week, we were enjoying a great day out in Brugg, visiting an old car rally (and this time last year, we were experiencing the hottest day of the year on our wedding day!)... and it is raining hard today, making our small town look rather gloomy.

When we saw in the local newspaper that this event was going to be on 5 minutes away from our house, we naively thought that it would be a small gathering of local enthusiasts with less than 10 cars. Only because last time we were told about an open day in our neighbourhood, we ended up crashing the local goat breeders' association annual meeting...

But it turned out this time, that this was a huge event, with over 100 members of the Old Timer GP association travelling from all over Switzerland to race theirs cars! For a modest 10CHF a head, you could spend the whole day looking at old cars, old bikes and old military vehicles; watch them race around a 1km track and have a drink... had it not been for the noise being a bit too much for Baby Suisse, we could have spent the whole day there. 

Here are some of the special cars we spotted:

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
1936 Citroën 11 BL

1933 Morgan Three Wheeler SS
1956 Maserati 250F
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

1968 Ford Escort TC

1972 Citroën Aschigs 12 and 1969 VW Käfer

We'll never cease to be surprised with the quality of the events behind organised in our little corner of La Suisse most weekends!

For more information and pics about the event, go to

Thursday, 27 June 2013


Wedding party-releasing lanterns

In two days' time, Mr T and I will be celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary! Our wedding was one of many unexpected events in 2012 and was a very small last-minute affair with only our parents. As many people were disappointed to not have been with us on our big day, we had a belated wedding party in the UK in February and will have a small family meal with my family in France next weekend.

Anyway, I thought that with the anniversary coming up, it would be a suitable time to show you pictures of our "pork pie" wedding cake from the celebrated pork pie establishment Stanthfords (Mr T's favourite pie shop located in a small town next to his)...

Largest pie reads "Mr & Mrs"

Not a factual representation of bride and groom!

I have shared with you before our love our pies, so it only seemed natural for us to have a pie feast back in Yorkshire in February (alongside an amazing hog roast!). One of our university friends also made this very special cake for Baby Suisse...

top layer: fruit; middle layer: chocolate; bottom layer: Victoria sponge

...and a LOT of marzipan!

As Baby Suisse is half-French and half-British (well, actually he is 100% French for now as we haven't done the paperwork with the British embassy for him to get a British passport like Mr T), our friend went for casual French racism with a giant beret-wearing frog, a garland of onions, with a final garland of Yorkshire roses for good measures.

I loved my unusual "wedding-party" cakes!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

IKEA meets Africa: a one of a kind play blanket

With summer officially gracing us with its presence last week (he has since decided to go on holidays somewhere else), we had been spending a bit of time in the garden. Baby Suisse love playing outside bare foot on the grass and splish-splashing in his paddling pool. I had been on a look out for an outdoor blanket in our local supermarket in May but could not find any. Mind you, they have only recently started displaying them so they must have been waiting for warmer days too!I saw blankets in charity shops but I wanted something that was water resistant and not too warm to sit on...

During a trip to IKEA last May, while walking past the fabric aisle (my favourite aisle ! ), I saw that they had some nice strippy outdoorsy fabric, the plastified kind that you can use to make table cloth with for your garden furniture. I had bought some in the past to make the lining for a beach bag and realised it would also be perfect for what I had in mind!

I bought 150cm of the stuff and decided to use up some fabric from my "African stash" which I have used for plenty craft projects before: read more about it here, here and here. This particular fabric came from a market in Senegal. I have shared with you in the past some of my African adventures (pre- Baby Suisse days) when I was very fortunate to spend 4 years on and off working in various parts of Africa. I have done posts on my travels through Tanzania (here and here), Zanzibar and Uganda...maybe I'll take the time one day to share with you my pictures from Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

No fancy design or stitching, I just cut a piece of African fabric about 8cm smaller all around than the plastified lining, made a border as well as I could without worrying about how nice the corners would turn out and quickly machine-stitched all around. When I occasionally manage to get a bit of free time to myself to craft, it never is for more than 30 minutes so I need to be able to do the whole project in a short amount of time without overly worrying about perfection. The end result does look "home-made" but I would never get anything done otherwise!

And here it is, a perfectly suitable and one-of-a-kind summer play blanket for Baby Suisse. I wanted to take more photos of the finished product and have a mini artsy photo-shoot with toys and all...yeah that never happened due to lack of time and cooperation on Baby Suisse's side. Apologies if this post is a little bit poor photo-wise, must try harder next time!

Right, I am off to share this on Wendy's Handmade Monday. I haven't posted there on a while due to lack of crafting time so it will be nice to catch up and see what other bloggers have been up to :-)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

I'm going cuckoo!

A trip to the Black Forest would not be complete without setting foot at least once in one of the many cuckoo clocks shops in the area (literally everywhere!!).

There must be widespread fear of industrial espionage in the cuckoo clock industry as I got sent off from the shop above in Titisee for taking a photo of the clocks on display...

NOT impressed with your attitude!
You would have to try very hard in the lower Black Forest area to not stumble across one of these clocks. You don't even have to step into a shop, even houses dress up as cuckoo clocks!

While in Triberg, we checked out the shop attached to the world's largest cuckoo clock in Schonachbach. That's a controversy in itself as 2 different places within less than 3 kilometers were claiming the title, and a quick look on Wikipedia informs me that these giant cuckoo clocks are popping out all over the place. 

The size of a house, it isn't a bad looking cuckoo clock but the cuckoo itself is proportionally underwhelming. We waited for the hour to strike for 3 minutes, prepared to be amazed and could not believe how little thought was put into this. Here's a (boring) video of the world's most boring cuckoo in action.

The shop itself at the back of the clock is very nice though and people were a lot friendlier. I could take pictures of the different clocks and ended up buying some little hand-carved and painted nutcrackers to put on our Christmas tree. Alongside the more traditional clocks...

...were some very funky and modern-looking ones!

There were clocks to cater for all sorts of tastes and living room sizes, including this enormous one:

We did manage (after much hesitation on my part) to go home without a cuckoo clock as it's one thing finding them picturesque in a shop,and another thing having them on your living room wall between 2 IKEA bookcases. Very pretty things though...

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