Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Personalised postcards

Good morning,

I was so pleased the other day to receive a small parcel from where I had ordered some personalised postcards. The variety of things you can make with your photos nowadays is astonishing and I thought I would try and have a few of my best ones printed as postcards to send to people. Can you remember where the photos were taken?

From top to bottom, left to right:
Collage of Bern fountains
Collage of Spring in my garden and in Meilen
Swiss flag flying in our garden
View of Zurich's old town
Wood sculptures at the European lumberjack competition in Pfannenstiel
Collage of Morzine's shutters and balconies
Collage of forest fungi taken from our walks in and around Morzine
Bear statue in Bern
Owl fountain in Uetikon
View of Rapperswil rooftops
Pair of mandarin ducks encounter on Kusnachter tobel

I am so pleased with them ;-)

Monday, 26 September 2011

A late summer weekend

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone has had a weekend as nice as ours;-)
My body clock still hasn't adjusted to its new working rhythm and is finding coping with the more-than-usual wine at the weekend particularly hard. As a result, this is how I feel today:

Not good...however it is a fair price to pay for a great weekend. We had visitors from Glasgow for 2 days who were lucky enough to experience some of our Indian summer here in la Suisse. We spent Saturday in Zurich walking around the old town and we then took the ferry back to Meilen. I had never taken the boat back to Meilen and the weather prouved perfect for it. We spent a lovely hour on the water taking in all the sights...

Sunday morning was spent going on a long walk with Alf and collecting walnuts that had fallen on a path. They are drying on the balcony now and will be cracked in a few days.

Sunday was also a "slow Sunday" during which the whole avenue running along Lake Zurich was shut to cars and motorised vehicules between Meilen and Rapperswil, allowing thousands of people on bikes, roller skates, wheelchairs and on foot to enjoy the sunshine and travel between the towns on our side of the Lake. Such fun!

There were many food stalls along the way and we took our friends to the one outside our local vineyard for some fish and wine...bliss!

It was hard to come back down to Earth this morning after such a delightful weekend and I have suffered from that Monday feeling all day... Since I did not have time to craft this weekend, I do not have anything to show for Handmade Monday this week (but do go and see what other crafters have been up to here) but I have casted on a new winter hat so check this space!

Hoping that tomorrow will be better... ;-)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Good evening everyone!

I feel slightly more alive today as I decided to work from home, saving myself a whooping 4 hours commute. I'd like to pretend that this extra time has gone into being more productive with my work but it has been invested in dealing with some overdue paperwork, including getting a Swiss driving licence (you have 12 months to exchange your foreign licence for a Swiss one) and applying for a longer residence permit (now that I have a job, it should be possible).

The weather in the last 3 days has been so messed up. I left for work at 6.40am on Tuesday morning complete with gloves and a scarf to fight a winter-like morning chill. Today, I am wearing shorts and spent the afternoon working on my balcony...go figure. I take it it means that Autumn is truly on its way and that the swimming costume should be packed away.

The wonderful thing that came out of this messed up weather was the sunset on Monday night here in Meilen. One minute the weather was awful, the other minute I could witness this from my balcony!

The photos truly don't give this sunset justice
I thought I would also introduce you today to the latest addition to the family...

His name is Freki and he has joined our other frogs. He belonged to the person who gave us our tadpoles (that later metamorphosed into dart frogs) and was in need of a new home as his owner was going off abroad for 1 year to work as a volunteer. Freki is about 3 years old and much bigger than our younger frogs but they are catching up with him nicely.

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my African animals. I have only had the time today to properly read and go and visit other blogs feature on Handmade Monday. The giraffe and the elephant have been named Twiga and Tembo (their names in Swahili). Some of you may have also noticed that I have (finally...) updated my Crafty goodness page, so if you want to have an overview of my crafty projects in the last 6 months, here is the place to go! I have also put up a link to my (still basic) Ravelry page on the left hand side bar which may interest fellow knitters.

Right-o, I hope you've all had a good week so far and I look forward to sharing more of mine with you this week end!
PS: I have found my first item to include in my first blog giveaway! I like it so much I have dark thoughts about keeping it! The give away will be announced when I reach my 50th follower...I am (almost) half-way there ;-)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

African animals

Happy Handmade Monday to you all!

After feeling a bit tired and lazy on Saturday (as a result of starting my new job and spending far too much time commuting), I decided to be a bit more proactive on Sunday. I know myself well enough to know that when I feel a bit tired and emotional I need to keep myself busy, otherwise I enter a vicious circle of boredom, tiredness and dark mood. There's nothing worse than getting to Sunday night and feeling like a weekend has been wasted, knowing that work resumes the following day.

I cut the patterns and fabric for these a week or so ago. I found the patterns in the same book I used to make Teddy Cat (see my Crafty Goodness page for more details on the book). After the success of my dress last week (thank you kindly everyone for your sweet comments), I decided that more of my African fabrics should be make African animals!

First, there was the elephant...

...and its friend the giraffe came along...

It was so nice to get the sewing machine out to work on a small and easy project after my dress marathon. I have more patterns to make a crocodile, a zebra, a camel and an ostrich but these will have to wait for a bit (I have already started working on my next big project...a quilt! I know, madness!). Don't they look funky posing in front of my Ethiopian wooden mask?

That's all for this Handmade Monday from me, but many talented peeps are showcasing their crafty projects on here. Go and have a look!

I hope I will manage to post a couple of things on this blog this week. Working again means less time for crafting and outdoorsy adventures with Alf to share with you all, but once I have settled in my new job/office, I hope to be able to see more of Bern during my lunch breaks and to share my Bernese discoveries with you. The objective this week is to not fall asleep on the trains back home after work and to decide on plans for next weekend when we have Glaswegian visitors over.

Speak soon!

Settling into a new rhythm

Hello everyone!

I can't tell you how nice it has been to catch up with all of your blogs in the last couple of days and to come home to so many lovely comments on my monday's post about my dress. Thank you SO much! I came back on wednesday night from 6 days in France, visiting one of my sisters I hadn't seen in over a year in Amiens (north of France) at the weekend and staying at my parents for 2 nights near Lyon on my way back. It was lovely to see my niece who had changed so much in the last 12 months!

She is still a cheeky monkey and a bit of a handful at times but I loved spending 3 days with her. I also met the latest addition to my sister's family... adorable 3 months old kitten who runs riot around the flat! It was so funny to see my niece and the kitten play together and I must say that I admire the latter's patience! The weekend was spent clothes shopping (I needed a "working" wardrobe and France is so much cheaper!) and spending time at the farm where my sister keeps her horse.

My niece isn't 3 years old yet but you should see her with the horse...fearless! She has been coming to the stables since she was 2 weeks old and is therefore lucky enough to be growing up surrounded by horses, dogs and other farm animals. My sister goes to the farm every weekend to ride the horse and this is my niece's favourite time of the week. My brother-in-law has also started a little garden on the farm so we spent some time collecting vegetables and walnuts that had fallen from the walnut tree.

I started my new job in Bern on Thursday and am yet to adjust to the 6am start and the 4 hours of daily commute. This aside, things are going well and my colleagues seem a friendly bunch. My new research project is exciting and I look forward to learning more about the applied veterinary science side of my work. As I struggle to adjust to a new rhythm, I have been feeling tired and a bit lazy this week end. The weather hasn't helped, autumn is on its way in la Suisse too. I will try and be a bit more proactive today and put the finishing touches to a few crafty projects so that I have something to show tomorrow on Handmade Monday.

It has been so nice to chat with you again...although it is nice every now and then to spend a week away from the computer, I have missed catching up on all your news!


Monday, 12 September 2011

African dress

Happy Monday everyone!

This past week has been busy sewing-wise with my first ever attempt at sewing a dress for myself!! I have been filled with mixed feelings of excitement and sheer frustration. Some of you may remember my last attempt at sewing a dress for a teddy bear almost ended in tears...if you don't, come and read about it here. I did not start this project feeling very confident...

I came back from my four months working tour of Africa with yards of beautiful waxed fabric. The fabric had been sitting in a cupboard for over a year now, waiting for a special sewing project to come along. I love the fabric so much that it almost pains me to cut it, so I wanted to make something special with it. The problem is that no special project ever came along (I never looked and it wasn't going to appear out of nowhere) and I felt bad everytime I opened the cupboard to see tens of yards of fabric unused. So I bit the bullet and decided to actually make something with some of it.

Knowing my limited sewing abilities, I had in mind a simple skirt with an elastic band waist. I had a pattern for such a project but it required stretchy material which this African fabric clearly isn't. My neighbour (and sewing tutor) Heather had just the right project. She had bought the August issue of Sew magasine in the UK and it came with a Simplicity pattern by designer Cynthia Rowley. She was confident I could make the dress despite my slightly worried face when I opened the pattern and realised I could not understand a word of it. I mean it was written in English but none of the terms made sense to me. At least, there were drawings...

It turned out that the dress was a lot more complicated than I had hoped my first big project to be...This meant that it took me a while to complete it (probably 12 hours) but that I learned a lot of techniques. The bodice is made up of darts (above) and I had to gather and pleat the skirt top (below).

The bodice was by far the most complicated item to make, especially since it is lined on the inside (which I must admit does look nice).

Two new techniques for me were inserting the invisible zip and sewing an elastic into the back casing.

The dress turned out much better than I could have hoped and I am very pleased with it. I also feel more confident in tackling intermediate sewing projects now. I would like to say that it was fun to make but I found it a bit tedious, mostly because the pattern was so hard to understand and I lost a lot of time wondering what the next step should be...

So here it is, one last time because I am quite proud of my little achievement!

Go and check out on Handmade Monday what other crafty bloggers have been up to!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Exciting times

A quick post before I am off to catch a train to France where I will be spending 6 days visiting my family. I start my new job in Bern next Thursday (which I am very excited about) and wanted to spend a bit of time with my folks before life gets a bit more hectic in la Suisse.

Mr T and I also went to Brügg last night to go and visit our new home. There is still a lot of buidling work to be done but we love the place as much as we did the first time we viewed it. Brügg itself is quite different from Meilen (less bankers, more normal people) and I am looking forward to discovering more of the old town.

Bridge leading to our street
We will move on November 1st so October is going to be a quite busy (and expensive month). We will have to buy a lot of furniture for this place including a table to put in my own craft room!! I can't wait!

No photos of the inside as it is not finished yet but here is a peek of our big (shared) garden. Bet Alf is going to be happy there!

The garden and house overlook the river Aare and we are going to have splendid views from our living room.

Right, better go to the station. I hope I will have some photos from France to share with you although I may be too busy enjoying myself to remember to take pictures. Life may be a bit hectic once I start working and commuting again so I may not be able to blog as often as I did in the past. I just have to wait and see how I settled into this new phase of my life in la Suisse.

Until next time...x

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Card making

Some of you may remember my post back in April about how I conquered my fear...of cross-stitching!

Easter was long gone by the time I finished this sample so I kept it tucked away in my craft box to be put to good use next year. In the mean time, my lovely friend Vic sent me a couple more of these cross stitch packs (I think she buys them from Hobbycraft in the UK) and I completed this little fella:

I think I managed OK on both and decided to turn them into cards that I can send people for special occasions (Easter or a gecko birth?). I bought some plain cards and envelopes from Migros and put my thinking cap on.

All I needed to do was to split one of these cards in 2 and make a frame out of each halves. I glued the corner of the cross stitch sample onto the front of another card and carefully stuck the frame on top of it.

It took less than 10 minutes to make these 2 cards and it is nice to see that these small crafty bits are put to good use!

What do you think?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Beach bag

IKEA has a good choice of fabric. I had never realised IKEA sold fabric until I started sewing and must admit that they have some really original designs at an affordable price. Last time I went to IKEA in Glasgow before moving to La Suisse, I bought a small offcut of their seaside-themed fabric (I forgot what the actual IKEA name of it is) with the idea of making a toiletry bag with it. I bought a similar-sized blue waterproof fabric to line the inside of the bag (they have big rolls of waterproof fabric to make outdoors table clothes with).

Forward one year and I still hadn't made the toiletry bag... in an attempt to reduce my (small) fabric stash, I decided to use the fabric to make a beach bag instead. Easier to make and most likely to be used on a regular basis in our house. I decided to buy 2 meters of white rope to make handles with to stick to the sea  theme (I guess in my mind the rope should have been more like a boat mooring rope but I had to make do with what my local Landi sold).

Anyhow, 30 minutes on the sewing machine and for a total cost of around £8/10CHF, I now have a new beach bag! The inside is waterproof so I can throw my wet towels and swimming suits in it without worries.

This bag won't go on many outings to the beach this year as summer will draw to an end soon but it is ready for summer 2012!

Come and check the wonderful 1st Unique Gifts Blog to see what other peeps have been crafting this week in Handmade Monday :-)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A busy weekend

Grüezi mitenand!

Although we have well and truly started September here in Meilen (D-10 until I start my new job!!), it still feels like summer. The sun is shinning, the lake is warm and a delight to swim in, and we attended 2 lovely events in Meilen last night and this afternoon.

We kicked off the weekend with a walk around the "autumn" market/fair last night.The fair was much bigger than the last one we attended there (and in which I almost got arrested posing for a photo on a police motorbike). There were dozens of stalls selling various products from home-made jams/preserves...

... to Swiss farm meat and dairy...

... with quite a few craft stalls like this one selling those funky bird sculptures!

I did not come home empty-handed (to Mr T's dispair!) and bought a pretty wreath and candle to make a centerpiece with this winter.

It still feels too early to think about winter and Christmas but I am rather excited because we are going to be moving soon into a bigger (and closer to Bern) casa Made in Suisse and my mind is racing with ideas on how to decorate the place etc... so I had to buy this wreath for the new place! The move is planned for early November when we will become resident of a little town called Brugg. We will miss our fantastic lake view and Meilen but Brugg seems like a nice place and we will be living in the old town, next to the medieval tower, with great views of the river. The commute to Bern will be a lot more manageable from Brugg too as it takes 4 hours a day to commute between Meilen and Bern.

Anyhow, regressing... Apart from the market stalls at the fair, there were games for kids such as abseiling down this house!

And of course, there were plenty of food stalls to choose from, although we settled on our old favourite. The local fisherman sells battered fresh fish from the lake and it is delicious!

The second event of the week end related to these, that we have growing all over the place in Meilen:

We are very lucky to be surrounded by vineyards where we live in Meilen and it has been very nice to witness the changes taking place in the vineyards over the seasons. Today, 15 wine producers from the region gathered in Meilen for a wine tasting event and, the wino that I am, was quite giddy with the prospect of having people pouring wine into my glass for free. I have a soft spot for one of Meilen's wine producer which I have already told you about back in May : Herman Schwarzenbach,  whose family has been cultivating grapes in Meilen for five generations now.

Back in May, I sampled a few of his red wines and decided today to sample a few of his whites! Herman produces beautiful wines. My favourite today was the Räuschling, made from a variety of grapes only found today around Lake Zürich.

The day ended with a swim in the lake to sober up cool down

Hope you are all enjoying a summery weekend where you are :-)
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