Sunday, 29 January 2012

Not quite a kingfisher...

Mr T sees kingfishers around our house all the times, darting across from one river bank to the other. He also claims that he has seen mermaids in the river but I will not believe that! Anyhow, I have become quite desperate to spot a kingfisher myself, not that I have never seen one before because I have on several occasions but that was in East Africa and it would be much more exciting to spot them here on my doorstep!

Malachite kingfisher, Lake Ziway, Ethiopia

Pied kingfisher, Lake Victoria, Uganda

Giant kingfisher, Lake Victoria, Uganda
Woodland kingfisher, Lake Victoria, Uganda
So I got really excited yesterday when  I spotted a bird with irisdescent plumage sat on a tree in our garden and sneaked out with a camera to try and take a picture of it. I was hoping for a kingfisher but the zoom on my camera revealed this:

Nuthatch, River Aare, Switzerland
Moral of the story (if there is one...): All that glitters isn't gold...Elusive kingfishers, I'll be back!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A craft legacy

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my hand-made card. I hope the receiver will appreciate it too. It is time for me to reveal the reason behind the card...

Mr T's parents came over last week from the UK for a few days and Mr T's mum gave me a parcel from Mr T's nan. Mr T's nan is a wonderful crafter and has a real talent for cross-stitch and embroidery. Sadly, with age, she now finds it too fiddly to work with small needles and she has had to give up. Mr T's nan has 4 grand-daughters, none of which interested in crafts, so she decided that her craft legacy should come to me. I was very touched.

So this is how I unexpectedly ended up with many packs full of cross-stitch projects:

Embroidery hoops

And a small fortune worth of embroidery thread!

I have never tried my hand at embroidery so I need to find some easy projects to start practising... Any suggestions?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Welcome to the first 2012 Handmade Monday

In my craft tray this week, a handmade  card to be sent to someone special to thank her for a very thoughtful (and completely unexpected) present:

Watch this space to know more about it ;-)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Little vandals

I received a very thoughtful and useful present from our Meilen friends at Christmas in the shape of a bird feeder. We used to have bird feeders and nest boxes on our balcony in Meilen but we had nothing in our new house in Brugg. We couldn’t find anywhere safe to hang the feeder or attach it to the wall, so Mr T came back one afternoon with my bird feeder on a long stick standing on a parasol base…

I guess it does the job! We used to see blue tits and great tits on our balcony all the time in Meilen but I kept looking at my bird feeder and not see evidence of birds using it. I mean it’s cold enough outside (below zero temperatures  day and night) for birds to accept a helping hands… It was mystery until I actually stepped onto my balcony and saw the mess those little vandals have been making. I mean there were more seeds chucked on the floor than there were in the feeder.

Sitting on our of our comfy chairs in the living room on Saturday, I kept an eye on the bird feeder to see who was coming to eat and I actually spotted two birds using the feeder which I was pleased about. They are a bit messy with their eating habits but they are cute.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of Alf guarding the bird feeder and enjoying the sunshine J

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Home Sweet Home

Good morning everyone! I have finally managed to get one fairly uninterrupted night’s sleep and feel refreshed enough to write a little post this morning about our visit back to Meilen on Sunday. Both Mr T and I have been rather sleep-deprived lately and it has taken its toll…however, the beautiful sunshine we had on Sunday made us travel back to Meilen with a spring in our steps.

One of the farms near our old house in Meilen hosts a Sunday lunch once a month over the winter in conjunction with the local fisherman. The converted barn was full, and we now understand why. The menu is rather simple: fish and chips but Swiss posh fish and chips. Two types of white fish were on offer but I couldn’t get the English names for you because they are species that are only found in Swiss lakes. The farmer also has a vineyard and produces his own wine and his wife made some cakes. Everything we ate/drank (with the exception perhaps of the potatoes) came from within a 1km radius of the farm. Brilliant! Because the barn was full and busy, I felt a bit self-conscious to get the camera out to take pics of our meal but you have to trust…it was delicious.

To make space for the cakes, we decided to go for a walk with Alf after lunch on one of the loops we used to walk with him. Look at that view of the mountains! How I miss Meilen :-(

Sunday, 15 January 2012

More Sunday baking

Happy Sunday everyone,

Spirits have been heightened ever so slightly here at casa Made in Suisse, and although I still feel under the weather, I have started taking photos again for the blog and have felt a bit more proactive in the last couple of days which can only be a good sign. I apologise once again for how quiet it has been here for the last month or so but I am quite confident that this phase is only temporary...

Anyhow, the sun has been shinning this weekend which has helped tremendously with embracing a more positive attitude. I thought yesterday that baking could only help me on the way to recovery, so I embarked on a second recipe from the Green & Black's baking book I was given for Christmas. This time, I followed a recipe to make chocolate banana bread...I knew I was onto something good!

Assisted by my faithful sous-chef:

...the recipe was very easy and the cake mix was ready in minutes

Instead of using a cake tin to make banana bread, I decided to make muffins to use my new silicone muffin tray bought at the Zürich Christmas market.

Cool or slightly warm, these were delicious although I must admit that the one I had straight out of the oven was heavenly! Banana+ chocolate = yes please!

We are off to Meilen today to enjoy a Sunday lunch of freshly caught fish in one of the farms we used to live next to. Every couple of months, that farm organises a Sunday lunch with local produces in a converted barn and we are very much looking forward to going back to Meilen for the day!

Until next time ;-)

Monday, 9 January 2012

Singing the January Blues

Good evening Made in Suisse followers,

I would like to start the New Year apologising for the lack of posting over the last couple of weeks. After a busy start to December at work, the second half of the month was spent on stay-cation in Brugg which I was quite excited about, thinking I’d be able to catch up on sleep and blogging! However, it didn’t quite work out this way; I did spend most of my holidays at home but feeling poorly and rather pathetically sorry for myself. The ubiquitous winter bug had caught up with both Mr T and myself, rather spoiling our holidays, the Christmas spirit and most of my good intentions (blogging, cleaning the carpet on the stairs, household paperwork etc…). I have started work again last week and I have been since hit by the Big Bad January Blues… the one some of you out there may also know: after the buzz of November and early December getting ready for Christmas, the holidays never really live up to your expectations and then you reach January and the weather and your post-Christmas bloated appearance make you want to cry. Yep that one…

I am still trying to shake that bad monster off and haven’t really been up to much crafting or anything really as a result. However, in an attempt to snap out of it and to make good use of a great present received by a dear friend from Glasgow for Christmas, I baked some chocolaty goodies yesterday!

 This book is full of truly scrumptious recipes using Green & Black's chocolate (although any truly dark chocolate- min. 70% cocoa- will do) and the pictures themselves make your stomach beg for attention. I am very keen to try many of the recipes but as Mr T is lactose-intolerant and otherwise very particular with his chocolate puddings I chose a safe recipe.

These are called “Brownie crisps” and are just like a thin and crisp version of brownies. We used some of the walnuts we had collected during our autumn walks in Meilen and this recipe obtained both our seals of approval. I hope to feel motivated to resume a more “normal” blogging frequency soon although I am not sure how “chatty” I will feel in the next few days after my birthday tomorrow and the inevitable “one year older” hangover that will ensue (not alcohol induced -I wished- the OTHER kind…)

Until happier days…
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