Saturday, 30 April 2011

Posh and Beaks and babies!!!!!

Posh and Beaks are proud to announce that the eggs have hatched!!! Apologies for the rubbish photo but the chicks are so small and I did not want to disturb the nest. Their eyes are still closed, they are naked except for a little tuft on top of their heads and they're hungry!!

Wishing you all a pleasant weekend! x

Friday, 29 April 2011

Only in Switzerland...

I thought about blogging about the royal wedding today but decided it would result in a too-emotionally charged post. You see, I spent most of my (early) teenage years in love with Prince William and, aged 26 and in a relationship, I still felt a (little) bit heart-broken when the engagement was announced last year. Not that I would look twice at the soon-to-be-bald prince nowadays (or at Leonardo DiCaprio or any other boys I had a crush on 15 years ago for that matter), but still...

Anyhow, I will be blogging instead about a "sport" I hope will soon be recognised as an Olympic discipline, giving the Swiss a chance to win a gold medal during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Yes, ladies, I am talking about cow jumping, a discipline that should be for the masses what horse jumping is for the elite. Only in Switzerland will you find a cow riding school! And if cow riding in the Swiss countryside sounds too boring, or not original enough, why not try cow jumping? Just like this 16-years old girl who dreamt of having a horse but had to make do with a cow...


Thank you to Newly Swissed for bringing this udderly (is it appropriate to laugh at your own joke?) amazing video to my attention. I shall spend the rest of the day tuned in to watch the wedding online surrounded by a box of tissues, some cake and a fizzy drink ;-)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A little bit of culture

I visited the Zürich Landsmuseum with my parents when they were over a couple of weeks ago. The Landsmuseum is one of several Swiss national museums and is definitely worth a visit. The entrance fee is not too steep at CHF10 and you do get your money's worth. One afternoon is not enough to see everything though so if you can afford it, go to the museum several times to visit each section separately.

The museum is housed in this wonderful building less than 5 minutes walk from Zürich HB (the main train station). No cameras were allowed inside so I can't show you what it looks like inside but the museum website (available in English) does have photos of the different exhibitions.

The permanent exhibition "History of Switzerland" present Swiss history from its beginnings to the present, and give an insight into Swiss identity and culture. We then moved to another permanent exhibition "Swiss Furniture and Interiors" that presents interiors and furniture from the museum’s own collection. I especially liked the reconstructed period rooms. My Dad then insisted on going around the the Armoury Tower which also houses collection of costumes and traditional garments.

By that point, after 4 hours, I was getting a bit desperate to go home although there was plenty left to be seen. I'll go back!!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Hello, hello and welcome back!

The Easter weekend has been busy craft-wise in la casa Made in Suisse, putting the finishing touches to the hand-made baby gifts I made for my friend A who is about to give birth at any time now. I've known A since we were 12 and I still can't believe that she is about to be a mummy...alright, I'm disgressing. So I did buy A an actual present (odourless nappy bin anyone???) but also knitted a little baby blanket and Easter rabbit soft toy.

Now, I haven't been knitting for a long time and never ventured beyond my safety zone of scarves, mittens and baby boots. I decided to embark on my longest and biggest knitting adventure with the blanket. In an attempt to reduce my wool stash, I only used wool which I had already lying around. I guess the coloured stripes work ok together, although I will definitely make sure next time that the type of cotton/wool used is the same throughout. The white yarn is thinner than the other two and it does show. Nevertheless, still a (small) success.

I made up a simple pattern, casting on 130 stitches.
Rows 1-10 knit all in colour A
Row 11 knit all colour B
Row 12 knit 10, purl 110, knit 10 in colour B
Repeat Rows 11-12 four times in colour B
Repeat Rows 11-20 in colour C etc...

Do as many stripes as you want. Finish by knitting all stiches for the last 10 rows. Cast off.

A second small gift I made in a few hours last night was this Easter bunny soft toy from a pattern freely available online here or on Ravelry (Knitted Bunny by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer).

I made a small change to the pattern by making a pompom and sewing it in place as a fluffy tail.

Both pressies will be sent along with a little lavender sachet inspired by Laura at Bugs and Fishes

Since I have finished all of my WIPs, it means that I do have to go and motivate myself to finish knitting those socks...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Posh & Beaks update

Look at what I found in Beaksingham palace on Friday!!!!

I am soooooooooooooooo excited!! It is so sweet sitting on the balcony listening to Posh calling Beaks from inside the nestbox and watching Beaks come to the rescue carrying spiders and crickets. I always knew Posh had strange eating habits...

Monday, 25 April 2011


Osterkuchen, or Gâteau de Pâques in French-speaking Suisse, are to be found everywhere in Switzerland at this time of year- this is THE Swiss Easter cake par excellence. Apparently, I learned from this blog that a consumer test crowned the Osterkuchen purchased from Migros (our local supermarket chain) as the best in the country. Nevermind, it's Easter weekend and I've got plenty of time to bake one.

I found a recipe online here and made a couple of changes to the original recipe. I used shop-bought pastry instead of making my own and replaced lemon zest (which I did not have) with some lemon juice. Now, most recipes I have found used pudding rice to make the Osterkuchen but I used semolina instead as suggested by this recipe. Some recipes also include raisins (yuk!).

Et voilà, my first Osterkuchen Made in Suisse!

En guete ;-)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

Hello dear readers! Has the Easter bunny visited you today? It certainly feels like there has been a rabbit infestation in Zürich in the past few weeks... None of them have reached our household as 1) I tend to eat chocolate whenever I feel like it (i.e. all year round) and 2) buying chocolates from Sprüngli or other great Swiss chocolatiers would break our (Swiss) bank account. Nevertheless, I did indulge in some window shopping...

Happy Easter one and all x

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Updated page

Just a quick post to say that I have finally updated my Crafty goodness page! You will find links to posts about my finished projects and a peek at what's currently on my needles. I'll add a section soon about craft books I use as well as future projects/things I'd like to make.

I know this is off-topic but I couldn't publish a post without a picture, and you can never have too many pics of Alf ;-)

Come and check my Craft page!

Conquering your fears

Good afternoon from Switzerland!

No, this post won't be about how I went bungee-jumping or how I have managed to look at a spider in the eyes...the fear I am talking about is... cross-stitching. Yes, you read it correctly, I had THE cross-stitching fear. It just seemed like the kind of craft that looked too fiddly, where too many things could go wrong and that required patience (a quality I wasn't gifted with at birth).

However, I do not have THE fear anymore!! Thanks to a lovely friend back in Glasgow who gave me a little cross-stitch project she had purchased from Hobbycraft I believe. The packet remained untouched on a shelf for a few months until I realised that Easter was approaching fast and I really needed to get on with it!

And you know what, I actually enjoyed making it!!! I may looking into getting a few more small projects like this. Yes, it isn't perfect (I won't show you the mess on the back...) but I did an alright job of it. Yes, it is too late now to make it into a card to send for Easter but hey I have got it ready for next year ;-)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Küsnachter Tobel

Another weekend, another walk... I've just realised we have been walking faster than I can blog about so this is a post about last Sunday when we decided to ditch our traditional walk to the forest of Pfannenstiel to check out a trail recommended by friends. The trail is called the Küsnachter Tobel (yes that's a mouthful...) and starts from the pier in the town of Küsnach (10 min on the train from Meilen or Zürich HB).

And we're glad we did!! The trail is only 7km and on easy terrain inside beautiful gorges following a small river. In the Küsnachter Tobel, we found erratic boulders...

 as well as rare animal species such as this (über cute!!) pair of Mandarin ducks

The sun was shining, we'd packed a picnic, it was a perfect day!

There were loads of waterfalls to be admired and little dark caves in the rocks. I was asked to strike a Gollum pose in front of the camera but politely refused...

We walked all the way up the Tobel and found signs for Pfannenstiel there so we ended walking all the way back to Meilen through the forest so we did do our traditional Sunday walk after all!

Since we get (hang on a minute, Mr T gets, as I am currently a lady of leisure...) Friday and Monday off for the Easter weekend, there should be more adventures to be shared with you next week. And also, a crafty ta-da moment coming soon. The baby blanket should be finished really soon (and before the baby has arrived! there's progress...) and there may even be an Easter crafty surprise ;-)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Kindle craft

After introducing my Kindle yesterday, I thought I should also show you the protective sleeve I made for it at the weekend.

Now you see it...

Now you dont!

I used some leftover IKEA fabric and lined the inside with some cute polka dot brown fabric. I had in mind something slightly more sophisticated than that (although I am quite a novice sewer) but my vintage sewing machine (kindly donated by Mr T's nan) has been playing up lately. I sat down with it on my balcony on Sunday ready to assemble this pouch but the sewing machine had other ideas. (Swear) Words were exchanged, Mr T was called to the rescue but to no avail. So I ended up having to stich it by hand and gave up the idea of a pretty button/closing at the top.

Anyhow, this will still do the job and save my Kindle from scratches whilst lying at the bottom of my hand bag. And, I have (ever so slightly) reduced the size of my fabric stash!! Double hurray!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

1001 books to read before you die

In an attempt to widen my intellectual horizons, I embarked on a cultural odissey a couple of years ago, namely to attempt and read as many of the 1001 classic books recommended by some of the world's literature connoisseurs. This has been a slow, and sometimes painful, process which has been greatly helped by the arrival a couple of weeks ago of this little gadget:

I dream one day of having a room dedicated to my love of reading (I am not sure which one would be first: a craft room or a library?) with bookshelves lining all the walls from floor to ceiling filled with books, old and new, with a fireplace, comfy chairs and a giant sheep skin rug...Right, I am getting carried away into fantasy-land. The point is, I agree, books made of paper are the real thing. They smell, they tear, you may even find the occasional sand grains between the pages of a book taken on holidays...but I must admit that the Kindle has proved to be the second best thing. Pros: it is light, you can store 100s of books on it, the battery lasts ages, it does not feel like you're staring at a computer/game console screen (you cand read it outside in full sun!), it can be cheaper to buy electronic books and easier to download books in your language of choice than physically finding them in a foreign country. Cons: your bookshelves remain empty and you may sometimes miss the touch of a real paper book. However, since getting a Kindle two weeks ago, I have been reading a lot more (I have struggled a bit to find affordable books in English and French to buy in Zürich).  Anothert 4 books have been crossed off The List:

George Orwell's 1984 was, for me, quite a disappointment. Yes, I do understand why it is on the list of must-read books, but perhaps the book's impact on the readers would have been greater in 1949 than in 2011. I did not find it a particularly exciting read but I guess I am that little bit wiser for having read it.

Slaughterhouse-five, or the children's crusade, by Kurt Vonnegut was a pleasant surprise. Pleasant because I would not have picked up a book about a soldier abducted by time-traveeling aliens if it hadn't been on The List. A short page-turner, funny and quite moving in places. I'm glad I went out of my comfort zone and discovered this book.

A true classic: Aesop's fables. Not so much a book as a collection of very short stories that you can pick up and read at random. You're bound to find a new fable to fit your mood/circumstances every day!

Plateforme by Michel Houellebecq. How did a book, that reads like a soft porn movie script, make it as one of the 1001 books I absolutely need to read?? I did not see the point of this book and dread now to read Houellebecq's other books on the list.

It can be sometimes a bit tiresome to only read books because you have to (well, I don't have to but I have only read 10% of The List so far) so I am taking a short break now, reading a book recommended by a colleague.

Has anyone else set themselves a book challenge?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Our traditional Sunday walk

We never used to walk this much while living in Scotland. Not that there weren't any beautiful walks to be done around Glasgow. We often planned on a Saturday to go on a walk/picnic the following day and woke up on Sunday morning, opened the curtains and quickly decided that it simply wasn't going to happen. Now, since we moved to Switzerland in January, I think we have pretty much gone on long walks every single weekends, even before adopting Alf.

Our favourite Sunday destination is the forest of Pfannenstiel

It is a steep (but beautiful) 40 minutes ascent from our house in Meilen to reach Pfannenstiel.

We always have a 5 minutes break when we reach Pfannenstiel and take in the views onto Greifen See.

Once in Pfannenstiel, there is a multitude of trails to choose from. No two walks are the same: there is always something new to see. A lovely Jay sitting on a branch, tadpoles hatching in a pond or a bracket fungus we hadn't spotted before...

Last weekend, we followed a different path that took us through a nature reserve. We were NOT disappointed by the spectacular views...

However, the cutest pictures taken that day have to be the ones of the calves on the farm just at the entrance of Pfannenstiel. I just wanted to run towards them and hug them, squeeze them and take them home!!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend wherever you were :-)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Introducing Posh & Beaks

Grüezi mitenand!

We are expecting at the Made in Suisse household!!! We are expecting chicks (of the feathery kind)! One of the 2 nest boxes on our balcony is being occupied by a couple of great tits nicknamed Posh & Beaks. This is Beaksingham Palace...

Posh has been busy eating (can you believe it???)

While Beaks comes and goes bearing gifts of twigs and dog hair (thanks to Alf's permanent hair shedding all over the place).

We try not to disturb them or the nest box too much but I am desperate to go and see if eggs have been laid!! How very exciting, our very own celebrity "pregnancy"!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Alf's new friends

Two of our three poison dart frogs tadpoles have metamorphosed into froglets and have moved into their brand new vivarium. They are only 1/2 inch long at present so it is pretty difficult to spot them in the densely planted vivarium. The third tadpole should join them in a couple of weeks. We are very excited in the Made in Suisse household!!
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