Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A disappointing start to Christmas shopping

It was with a great deal of exciting that we set off to the Zürich Christmas market on Sunday. Excited because we were about to experience the privilege of  being able to go somewhere on a Sunday and find shops open; and excited because our last experience of Christmas markets four years ago was a very pleasant one. In 2007, Mr T and I spent a long weekend in Alsace (Eastern France) to stay with my sister and visit some of the local Christmas markets in Mulhouse and Strasbourg. I remember pretty city centres...

...quaint little stalls...

... and above all lots of Christmas decorations for sale!

Although I did buy some Christmas decorations at the time, I was hoping to be able to add to my collection this year now that we were in the centre of the Christmas Market world.

The Zürich Christmas market isn't the biggest of its kind in Switzerland but with 160 stalls, it is still a decent market. Maybe because it had only been opened for a few days, but I felt that the market lacked the special Christmas/winter atmosphere I was looking for (this may also be because the market is located in the middle of the train station...).

Too few stalls were selling actual Christmas craft or things you would want to buy people for Christmas...

A lot of the stalls were selling everyday items, some of it plastic tat. I was thinking I would be able to do my Christmas shopping was not to be. :-(

The main attraction remains the gigantic Christmas tree covered in 5000 glittering Swarovski crystal have to remember that this is Zürich after all! Very bling bling!

Swaroski jewels at the bottom of the tree
So, I will not bother going back to this Christmas market but shall patiently await for the other Zürich Christmas market in the old town to open to check it out... I may also be tempted to travel to Basel to see what's going on there... watch this space!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Handmade Monday: getting into the spirit

I can't believe I have almost missed Wendy's Handmade is 9.30pm and I am quickly taking 5 minutes to post a picture from my crafty weekend. I went to the annual Zibelemärit (onion market) in Bern after work today and came home later than usual, but more on this weird Swiss tradition later this week.

My inspiration for this week's Handmade Monday came from a book I shamelessly stole from my mother-in-law which is full of clever ideas for Christmas:

I decided to make some felt ornaments for my Christmas tree using felt bought from the fabulous Lupin (check out her blog Bugs and Fishes for loads of tutorials for felt accessories or her shops for felt supplies and felt badges...I love it all!).

There is still plenty of sewing to be done as I am going to need more ornaments than this but it is a start! The Christmas puddings and the gingerbread house were made by following the super easy tutorials by Lupin (available here). Templates and inspirations for the other ornaments came from the book I have just showed you.

In order to get even more into the Christmas spirit, we went to our first Christmas market of the year on Sunday in Zürich but more on that later too...

Do drop by again this week to hear about it all!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I heart shopping

Sometimes fate gives you a sign…
An amazing “Shabby treasures” shop opened in Brugg less than 5 minutes walk from our house the same week we moved in! This was a sign that we were meant to be there (in the shop buying things less than one hour into its opening day!). The friendly owner sells antique furniture that she has bought in flea markets and revamped as well as modern accessories with an antique feel. The first time we went in, we spotted these lamps which we thought would be perfect on our bedside tables. The shades are obviously new but the feet are from old lamps which have been given some TLC. The lamps lift up an otherwise rather Ikea-looking bedroom.

The second week in Brugg, temptation was too strong and we walked into the shop again on our way to the supermarket. Mr T spotted this rocking chair in a corner of the shop and absolutely loved it…fast forward a bit after a lot of Mr T’s persuasive talk, and we’re back in picking up the rocking chair (and matching pretty cushions) to bring it home. It will eventually go in the spare bedroom once it has been furnished (with some more of Ikea’s finest) but is in ours for the time being.

Not one to travel empty-handed, I picked up one small table to use for our telephone. Not the best photo of it, I realise now with all those wires but it is a very pretty table with delicate legs!

You do realise now that I heart my new local shop and that I have been “investing” my wages wisely…
PS: I did not go on our third weekend in Brugg to give other customers a chance (…ah ah, just waiting for my next pay check!)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Handmade Monday: all about recycling!

Good morning everyone, I trust you all had a great (if not chilly weekend). We definitely noticed a change in the temperature last week and fear that our short Autumn is over and Winter is at our door. The temperature drops to below zero at night and just about manages to creep back to a couple of degrees above it during the day. This will be our first full winter in La Suisse and we feel very underdressed so we need to plan some winter clothes shopping. Never mind, we layered up clothes yesterday and went for a 10km walk with Alf on Sunday morning along the river Aare I introduced you to last week.

Also the place looks desolate on the picture above, plenty of water birds were spotted but my favourite photo subject of all remains herons!

We walked across a small pine plantation in the middle of the forest and have already (mentally) shopped for our Christmas tree!

Feeling rather energised by the walk in the cold outside, I got the sewing machine out after lunch and decided to embark on a project which would use a substantial amount of my fabric stash in order to de-clutter my craft cupboard a bit. Do you remember these?

The Ikea curtains were left in our old flat in Meilen as they had (eventually) been cut to fit our living room windows properly. However, because Ikea curtains always come very long (3m) and our windows were not tall, I was left over which quite a lot of spare linen-mix beige fabric. Fast forward a bit, and we are now the owner of a rather long dining room table (>2m when extended) with only one tablecloth big enough to cover it. I decided to try and make a tablecloth with some of the Ikea curtain fabric and see how it looked. I can always take it apart and re-use the fabric if you tell me it looks naff.

Because I know from experience that Ikea curtains never are the same length/width and their stripes/marks never match up, a lot of time was spent measuring to make sure that the fabric from 2 curtain panels could be joined in a neat large rectangle.

The section where the 2 panels were joined together is not too visible but I thought that making a table runner to go across would hide it. I used some of the African fabric I had left over from making my first ever dress this summer. It was a simple cut and hem job.

What do you think? I don’t know whether the colours of the tablecloth and runner go well with the light greyish chair covers? Mr T says it looks stylish so I am thinking that it may just work! In which case I’d say “Successful recycling!”.
Happy Handmade Monday everyone! We should finally have internet at home tonight and I look forward to finally catching up with blogland!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

River walk

We have noticed since moving to Brugg, a small town surrounded by rivers and wetlands, how misty most mornings are. I guess this may not always be the case in spring and summer (we wouldn’t know yet) but there is a distinctive atmosphere to the place on a cold autumn morning.
Wikipedia informed me that the river Aare is a tributary of the High Rhine and the longest river that both rises and ends entirely within Switzerland, after a 295 km journey and a 1,565 m descent! What Wiki does not say is that the river runs past our house:
The river viewed from our living room
... and that it is heavily present  in most of the walks we do with Alf. We are slowly discovering its bridges

its colours
Its obstacles
Its users
And its oddities (can you spot it?)
All we need to find now is a wider and shallower place where the river flow slows down for our daily summer swim with Alf…the search is on!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Handmade Monday, here I am again!

The sewing machine has finally been unpacked along with the entire moving box dedicated to my crafty goodies (crazy how much I have hoarded over the last couple of years of crafting…!). We have plans to turn one of the spare rooms upstairs into an office/craft room where I’ll be able to leave my sewing project and in-progress projects out on a table at all times. However, we need to entirely furnish this room (along with others in the flat) so it is empty for now and will remain so for another few weeks at least. This did not stop me from getting the sewing machine out on Saturday onto the living room table and getting on with a project that had been at the back of my mind for about 3 months now.
Remember this?

I had fallen in love with this fabric at a French market in Morzine in August when we went on holidays. The colours and patterns had reminded me of the interior of an alpine chalet…not that I am trying to recreate that feel within our new flat… (although we are desperate to find some sheep skins this winter for our flat!). The idea when I bought the fabric was to use it to make cushion covers for the sofa to replace the ones made of flashy African material which weren’t really to Mr T’s taste. Three months later, and it is finally done!

I used a simple design with two overlapping panels at the back to secure the cushion in place without having to add buttons to shut the cover.
Once I got going, there was no stopping me until I ran out of material and I managed to get large three cushion covers out of the fabric I had bought.

I don’t have much left over fabric but I’ll try to put them to good use, making lavender sachets or other small projects with them.

The room and the sofa still look barren but the cushions are one step in the right direction! For my fix of creativity, I am off to Wendy’s blog for Handmade Monday!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Autumn in the forest

Last weekend was our first weekend in Brugg and we decided to go and explore our surroundings a bit. We like to have walks/circuits we know we can take Alf on and time them so that we know where to go with him during the week when he needs exercising. We are once again lucky to live near woods and green space (this was a criteria for choosing a new home because we need to be able to exercise Alf away from busy roads and city centres). This little path uphill starts across the street from our house and takes us within 10 minutes to a rather large wood.

We pass some interesting buildings on the way including this 1940 disused bunker which must have sheltered an infirmary judging by the red cross on the door.

We have had the most beautiful Autumn so far with mild temperatures and bright blue skies which provide the perfect background to the reds/yellows and oranges of the season. The sunlight filtering through the trees also make the most fantastic photo opportunities.

There are many different paths in the woods and we ventured on a new one on our Sunday morning walk, walking past heaps of mushrooms (you have probably realised by now that I love photographing mushrooms for some reason like I did in Morzine and Konstanz)

…and some rather scary-looking cave/burrows entrances (I dare not think about what may be living in there…)

We found a couple of vantage points along the way from which we were hoping to overlook Brugg and the neighbouring towns, but it turned out that we had climbed above the clouds and could look down on them!

I wonder, is this what it’s like for Mary Poppins?
PS: I really want to apologise for my lack of commenting on your blogs recently but we still haven't managed to sort out our telephone line and internet in the place so I am posting from work... no matter how much I'd prefer spending part of my working day browsing blogs, I think it would be frowned upon...Hopefully, I will be connected to blogland from home very soon!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Welcome back!!

Welcome back everyone to a new post from Made in Suisse live from Brugg! The last couple of weeks have been frantic at the best of times organising our move from Meilen to Brugg. We have started to settle into our new ho although there is still plenty to be done in terms of furnishing the place, but at least we have a bed to sleep on… “how many PhDs does it take to assemble an IKEA bed?” could become a new running joke in our household ...
So, it feels like I am just starting to emerge from a rather foggy period which was rather well illustrated by this picture I took from our new living room the other morning. Living so close to the river means that mornings can be quite foggy, and you can just about see the Altstadt (old town) of Brugg in the background with its medieval buildings. I’ll do a proper reportage of the quaint little town of Brugg soon I hope.

In the meantime, I will just share with you today a little housewarming present I got for our new home. Wendy at 1stuniquegifts  (the organisor of Handmade Monday) makes fabulously funny little plaques and I absolutely loved one she had made for a previous customer stating: “A very fine dog (and household staff) lives here”. I found it so funny and, let’s face it, a rather accurate description of our household. I sent Wendy a couple of pictures of Alf and she sent me this plaque to hang in our new house:
 Didn’t she do a fantastic job? This is such a count impression of Alf!

I love the bandana and the floppy ears! I was very excited to open the parcel when it arrived and it cheered me up endlessly at a time when life was quite stressful… Danke schön Wendy!
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