Saturday, 9 July 2016

Quilt Swap

I haven't taken part in a quilt swap for a while but when round 10 of "Another little Quilt Swap" was announced I thought it would be a good idea, not least as it would get me sewing! This swap works a bit differently as no partners are assigned at the beginning and one can join right up until the dead line when photos of the quilts have to be admitted to the administrator of the swap.

I've seen a tutorial on Julia Graber 's bog how to make a grid art quilt and as I wanted to try her method I thought it was the perfect opportunity.



I've called this little quilt "A Blackbird's Delight". It measures 11.5 inches square, is raw edge appliquéd and I've used batiks and variegated thread for quilting. 


I will definitely try this again as there's room for improvement, especially with the spacing of the grid. But all in all, I think it turned out quite nice. Hopefully someone will like it enough to put it on their wish list.

I hope you are also enjoying a relaxed weekend.

Vreni xx

Saturday, 4 June 2016

A week in Norway

I recently spent a week with my gorgeous friend Liv in Oslo. We met ages ago in Singapore at the ANZA (Australian and New Zealand Association) quilt group and have been friends ever since. She moved back to Norway - after 15 years in Singapore - a couple of years before we left, so it was very special to catch up again. 

Of course I couldn't go empty handed and made her a "sew together bag". 


It turned out quite cute and I think Liv liked it. 



We had a wonderful week of sewing and crafting together as well as some sight seeing. As it was just the two of us, we  made room on our cutting mats when we got hungry, so we could continue as soon as possible! 


Of course I had to try the famous cinnamon buns which they call kanelboller and I must say it was delicious. Yum!



I showed Liv how to make a sewing box and I made one as well.


Liv sent me this little box last Christmas. She made up the pattern herself and devised a clever way to hide the zipper. 


Of course I wanted to learn how to make it too, so we each made one. I made mine with Japanese fabric and instead of a decoration on top, I added a little handle, 


and Liv made hers with denim. I need to make another one sooner rather than later, so I won't forget how I made it, maybe a bigger one next time. 



I was lucky to be in Norway on their National Day and the flags were flying everywhere, in gardens as well as on every house we passed.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm. Nature was definitely behind by at least a couple of weeks compared to Switzerland as all the gardens were in full Spring bloom.


I was amazed to see a lot of people wearing the absolutely stunning traditional national costumes, called Bunad. Apparently every region of Norway have their own distinctive designs. They are made from wool fabric,  are beautifully embroidered and decorated with silver buttons and adorned with silver jewellery. They are often made by earlier generation and handed down.


This is a sample we saw in a quilt shop where they offer classes for those brave enough to tackle making their own Bunad.


We also also went on a few outings, mostly to quilt shops ;)! I got a few bits and pieces like zippers - which were quite a bit cheaper than they are here in Switzerland - and of course some fabric including a few fat quarter of Jen Kingwell's new "Behind the Scenes" fabric line. 


And this is something else I bought at the quilt shop (yes at the quilt shop!)


a rubber spatula with the typical Norwegian pattern called Marius. I love collecting kitchen implements from all over the wold. Now you have to excuse me as I have to go back to my kitchen to finish that cake.

Have a lovely weekend.
Vreni x

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Swiss

I don't think I'm a particularly patriotic person. Don't get me wrong, I love my country as much as the next person, because it's where my roots are. But I think by living in quite a number of different counties for half of my life I see myself more of a wold citizen. But something I do love is the Swiss Flag. When I saw Camille Roskelley's new quilt pattern "Swiss" I knew I had to make it. It's a very easy pattern and even I could manage it without messing it up too much! And the best part is that I didn't have to buy one piece of fabric for it. It all came from my stash!






Instead of putting this quilt top on the pile of "to be quilted" quilts, I think I might do it right away. My local quilt shop has a Sweet Sixteen sit down quilting machine for hire and I might give it a try.


I quite like how it looks together with my Chinese Lantern quilt. Sort of East meets West!

And here some trivia about the Swiss flag; did you know for example that the Swiss flag is only one of two country flags that are square? The other one is the flag of the Vatican. The simple design is based on the coat of arms of the canton (federal state) Schwyz, which was one of the three founding members of the Swiss confederation in 1291. Yes, that's how old our county is! And did you know that the emblem of the Red Cross is an inversion of the Swiss Flag because the founder of the Red Cross was Henry Dunant, a Swiss business man and social activist. So there you have it.

Until we "meet" again, take care and happy sewing.
Vreni x

Sunday, 31 January 2016

A finish and some progress

The daughter of one of my good friends in Australia had a baby boy last year and of course I had to make a quilt for the little bundle of joy. As the nursery's colour scheme is kept in grey, yellow and white naturally the quilt had to be in those colours too. We haven't had good weather lately, so the pictures are a bit dull. 


I've included some prairie points as little fingers love to play with something. The animals and circles are raw edge appliquéd and I have added a layer of batting to the back. After the applique was done, I carefully cut the excess batting away, which resulted in a sort of trapunto effect. 














I've also finally finished the last block for The Aunt's quilt. 


and here are all the blocks together, only the border triangles to do now. As I've mentioned before I'm using wash away paper for the applique but I decided that I don't like it. I think I will stick with the old needle turn method from now on.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Cheers
Vreni x

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Another year is coming to an end

Well Christmas is over and as always I feel a bit of an anti climax. I look forward to the festivities and put a lot of work into preparing everything and then it's over in second, or so it feels. This year it has been even worst as we only came back on the 22nd of December from a week in India - where we were invited to the wedding of one of my son's friends.

Here are some impressions from the wedding, which was a three days affair with 2'000 invited guests.



We had a few days before the wedding to explore Mumbai on our own. We really enjoyed being back in Asia.


Somehow I had problems getting my Christmas spirit back after the week away and in a totally different culture. Luckily I had almost everything organised before we left, even the tree was up and decorated and most of the shopping was done and the gifts wrapped and under the tree.



We had a lovely Christmas eve and Christmas day with the extended family and friends. Since then the house guest has left I've been pottering around at home, enjoying having the kids here, not doing much at all.

At this time of the year I usually write a post about what I've achieved during the past year. This year there isn't really much to write about, so I just leave it at that and hope, that next year I'll have lots to share again.

As you might remember, I'm not one for making New Year's resolution. But I have decided on a couple of goals for next year and they are:

1. be a better blogger!!
2. finish some UFOs, in particular The Aunt's Quilt
3. make a big effort to find a quilt group as I found that I really need the inspiration of other quilters to keep me going.

That's it for today. I want to wish everybody a Happy, Healthy, Interesting and Wonderful New Year.
Vreni xx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Missing in action!

My poor blog has been totally neglected these past few month. To say that this is a year of emotional ups and downs is definitely an understatement. Just when I started to find my feet again - after moving back to Switzerland after almost 30 years abroad -  mum passed away in August. As you might remember, she was suffering from dementia and we were aware that she had gone downhill quite a bit in the last couple of month. But it was still unexpected and a shock when the nursing staff rang to tell us that they think she's nearing the end, just when we were away for a few days in Denmark. I'm sad but also relieved that she's at peace now.


Mum was born on a farm and I think she stayed a farm girl at heart all her life. She was happiest with her hands in the soil tending her veggie garden (which she kept well into her eighties) or up a tree picking cherries. Mum had a quiet but steadfast faith which carried her through life's challenges and tribulation. She had a happy nature and she never took herself too seriously. It was sad to see her personality diminished by her dementia although once in a while her feisty nature would still come through. I'm so grateful that she still recognised us and  I'm even more grateful that we came back when we did so we could spend a bit more time with her.

At the end of August we spent a few days in Milan, Italy when we drove our daughter there to start her new job. After our return it was time for my husband to go "under the knife" as he needed a knee replacement! A combination of injuries in his younger days when he played basketball, a recently broken knee cap which didn't heal properly and probably dodgy genes made it necessary. He's now well on the way to recovery which means that I no longer have to do a all the fetching and carrying. He can even drive himself to his therapy sessions every other day.

And a milestone birthday has come and gone! According to my kids, I'm over the hill now, but let's just say that if I were a chicken, it wouldn't be Springtime anymore ;)! As I could not think of anything I wanted for my birthday I went a little crazy on the Internet and ordered myself a "bit of fabric" and a few book. I think it's safe to say that the fabric diet is well and truly over.




My son ordered me this lovely batiks bundle from a quilt shop in Switzerland (I had no idea)


and my daughter got me these wonderful Terra Australis by Emma  Jean Jansen (she asked what I wanted and I steered her in the right direction)

These lovely books I order with an Amazon gift card I got from my gorgeous friend Kate in Singapore


and this stunning Kaffe Fasset tin, filled with lovely toiletries as well as this little quilt kit arrived from another Singapore friend, who has in the meantime also relocated, back to Scotland.


Thanks Kate and Martina, I miss you both lots especially our quilting Fridays. I've been properly spoiled and I hope with all these goodies to play with my sewing mojo will at long last make a reappearance!

We've been enjoying an exceptional beautiful and warm Autumn this year. Fall is the season I always missed most in the tropics. This is the view from our balcony again.


And a few more Autumn impressions. 


With Christmas looming on the horizon, I've started with some preparations and baking. I've tried a new cookie recipe this year which I found on Pinterest and I can warmly recommend it. I have to make another batch as the first one has disappeared already. You'll find the recipe for these delicious Cranberry Pistachio Shortbreads here.


So there you have it, my last three month in a nut shell. 

Vreni xx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sight seeing in Switzerland

August already? How did that happen? Both our kids are spending some time with us here in Switzerland over the summer. As it happened, they are both moving from Asia to Europe this year too. My daughter finished the school year in Beijing and will start her new job in Milan, Italy next week. My son quit his job in Singapore as well and is now looking at two job opportunities; one in London and one in Zurich. Guess which one I want him to take ;)? On the other hand London would be a cool place for a young person to live and work and for us to visit. In any case, it's lovely to have the whole family on the same continent again.

Since the weather has been beautiful and it's been quite hot (too hot for my taste) we took the opportunity to go on a few day trips.

This is Gruyere, a small medieval village with its historical castle dating back to the 13th century.



View from the castle over the manicured garden


It was blessedly cool in the castle with its thick walls. 


As you might have guessed, Gruyere is also where the famous Gruyere cheese is made and although it was hot, we had to have an authentic Gruyere cheese fondue.


On another day we went up to Kandersteg from where we took a cable car up to Oeschinensee and a leisurely hike brought us to this wonderful little mountain lake. The fresh air up there was just heaven.


On the way back, we stopped at the Blausee (meaning blue lake) and it's easy to see why it's called that





and the obligatory selfie ;)! 


We also spent a lovely day in our cute capital city Bern. It was another scorcher of a day and lots of swimmers came down the Aare River. Unfortunately I didn't catch any on my camera. 


a cold drink under a sun umbrella in front of the Parliament Building. 


It was indeed a gorgeous day, but I still think Bern is the most beautiful in winter covered in snow. Oh boy, I can't wait!

Source
And surprise, surprise, I even did a bit of sewing. 

Block 3, 4 and 5 for the Aunts' Quilt are now finally completed. Just one more of the big blocks to finish and then I can get going with the side triangles. I know I'm hopelessly behind the "official schedule" but I'll get there as I'm still enjoying this project a lot. 




I've been very lucky as I've won a give away by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts fame, sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop. These lovely boxes of Aurifloss arrived on my doorsteps


and a look inside - can't wait to try them out. 



That's it for today. I hope you have survived the heat or the cold, depending on where you are.

Vreni x