Thursday, 31 December 2015

My books in 2015

I love statistics and so I had to copy these from goodreads. 26'372 sounds like a lot of pages and I love to see all those books filling the bookshelf. I had set myself a challenge again -  for 2015 I wanted to read 52 books, which wasn't difficult to fulfill. It seems I always read a lot right at the beginning of the year and during the last few weeks of it and much less inbetween. 

I actually prefer long books, because you can really dive into the story and get lost for a long time.

 More statistics:
  • 56 books are written in English
  • 16 books are written in German
  • 1 book (that I never finished) is written in French
  • 20 books are proper books
  • 53 books are on my iPad
My favourites of 2015:
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
  • Still Alice, Left Neglected, Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman 
  • The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  • The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter) by Marissa Meyer
What were your favourite books of 2015?

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 resumé

Last year I did this resumé for the first time on my SchnickSchnack blog, so of course I'll do it again for 2015.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I am not sure I was very adventurous or that I learnt something totally from scratch last year. Maybe I could count going on a ferry by car in Canada (I was so scared but it was the best way to travel) or having my own class (I used to do that before but never while I had my own kids). Maybe I can remember more before I get to the end of this post ;-)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I only wrote in my moleskines while we were on holiday (which is a compromise I can live with well). On the good side I am glad that I wrote many entries here on my blog. I gave my best to enjoy the moments, though I didn't always succeed. For next year I'd like to find a good balance between my job and the rest of my live, I want to pay attention to old and new friends and I want to spend important moments with Yannick and Antonia.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yep, lots of babies were born, which gave me the opportunity to knit small baby stuff ;-) Welcome Dan, Isabelle, Marlene, Yasha and Elif.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
In July and August we flew to Vancouver. We spent 9 days on Vancouver Island and then drove back to Vancouver along the Sunshine Coast. Vancouver Island was just as beautiful as I imagined and I am so glad that we did that road trip together.

In October Yannick and I went to the UK. We stayed in London for two nights and then we changed to Brighton. I enjoyed the Harry Potter Fim Studios and everything about being next to the sea.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
I could write the same as last year -  more adults to talk to. I am good at work and I can always find somebody to go out to dance or for a coffee at home, but in my everyday life I'd love to have a person to talk to regularly.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
3rd of January: Taking the photos of my dad's wooden statues.
14th to 21st of February: Skiing holidays in Tschiertschen. I just love that place!
2nd of May: An afternoon with my cousins at the gym.
2nd of July: Swimming in the Türlersee.
14th of July: Swimming in the Rhine with my parents.
5th of July: Sleeping on the balcony to escape the heat.
13th of September: A hiking weekend in Tschiertschen.
And there were many more good moments, when we had fun, when it felt just right.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
That I started my new job the way I had been dreaming about for the last few years. It has been very intense and right before christmas I was very tired, but I gave it all I had.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't find a healthy balance, I used up too much of my energy and this made the people I love suffer. I am also rather ashamed that I lost it too often with Yannick and Antonia. I wished I could find a way back with my mom, recently it's been akward whenever we meet.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a really good year. My back rarely ever hurt and I am pretty sure it's stronger than ever thanks to Kieser Training and yoga (I haven't always been good doing it, but at least I always made an effort during the holidays) I am kind of scared that something might happen, but it's  just a weird feeling I've been having.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I got a new computer and an iPhone 6S which I both love. Otherwise I didn't buy anything big, but I tried to be generous with myself.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Yannick and Antonia because they took over so many responsibilities when I had to work late. Sometimes I forget this and get angry when I think they are being lazy or difficult.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Mostly my own, especially during the last couple of weeks. I have to concentrate on not being so negative again!

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travelling was expensive but the memories are soo worth it. I bought a lot of yarn, but on the other hand I almost didn't buy any other clothes at all.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
Arriving at Tofino and seeing the beach which was responsible for my travel plans live up to my dreams.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
All that music we listened to while on the road. Next time we need a proper song list ;-)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Probably about the same. As always these days around christmas are hard for me. But it will get better again.
b) thinner or fatter? Slightly fatter. Not heavier but wobblier.
c) richer or poorer? A bit richer, which will mean more taxes later I guess.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I did what I could. I wished I could have been happier, but that's not easy to achieve.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Shouted at others.

20. How did you be spend Christmas?
Pretty much the same as the year before. With my cousin on the 16th, with my other cousins and family on the 19th, with my family on the 24th and with Andreas' family on the 25th. Too much food and alcohol for me.

21. What was your favourite month of 2014?
July and August.

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
For about 5 minutes.

23. How many one-night stands?
It wasn't just one night but not a lot more.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
A lot of old friends that I still liked...
Downton Abbey (just watched the finale today ;-(
Empire (good music and I love their clothes)
Grandfathered (John Stamos ;-)
Jane the Virgin (perfect Telenovela)
The Grinder (Rob Lowe ;-)
and many others...

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
"What Alice forgot" by Lisa Genova.
The Lunar Cronicles with "Cinder", "Scarlet", "Cress" and "Winter" which were just the perfect read over christmas, I just couldn't put them down and had to finish them before I could do anything else, even though I only bought the first one for my English student ;-)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I started listening to apple music ;-)

28. What did you want and get?
I got my own class, just when I had given up. (Which was my answer for #29 last year, wow!)

29. What did you want and not get?
A person.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The one that touched me most might have been Amateur Teens, but I haven't been to the cinema a lot.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 44 years old and I am so proud of myself that I invited everybody to my place for raclette and drinks.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I don't know.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Wooly stuff. There were days when I wore 5 different handknit items.

34. What kept you sane?
The same as last year: My kids, talking with friends, going away on holidays, knitting.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nobody really but Alicia Florrick always gets the bestest man candy ;-)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The refugees that have been arriving in Europa and the terrorist attacks in Paris. They make me afraid of the future. The world seems to be a rather shaky place at the moment.

37. Who did you miss?
Old ghosts are hard to kill.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I was happy with my old friends.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
I wished I had one.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Sadly I have to leave this one empty.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Finished Object: Heart Mitts

Pattern: Heart Mitts
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo and Purl Soho Line Weight
Colours: Natural, Jupiter and Cardamom Green
Needles: 3.25mm Round Needles
Start of project: December 20th, 2015
End of project: December 29th, 2015

On Ravelry

I've been wearing my Snowfling Mitts a lot on my way to school these past few weeks and every time I put them on I loved the soft feeling of the lining. But whenever I wore them, I wished they were wider and longer. So I had been thinking about an improved pair of lined mitts for a while. After I finished the Anders there was still a fair bit of Malabrigo Arroyo yarn left over, especially from the red one. I really loved knitting with that yarn and decided I wanted to use it again.

I started looking for a slightly wider pattern (the Snowfling Mitts have 28 stitches on each side). Thanks to ravelry I found the Fiddlehead Mittens which use a sport weight yarn and which have 30 stitches on each side. I also found a cute heart pattern by quiltingkitty (aren't ravelers the best, so many beautiful ideas). I wanted the hearts to be more dominant, so I decided to make them red all through.

Finally I was ready to cast on. I knew I wanted to use the picot edging and the stripey cuff from the Snowfling Mitts again, I think they are the perfect way to start. Then I knit the heart pattern on both sided, but after a few rows I didn't like the look of it and went back to the cuff. I really wanted mitts that had a front and a back. I can't remember where I saw the pattern for the back, but I think it's totally perfect and I am sure I will use it again and again. So simple but so effective! For the thumbs I used the Adelia Mitts pattern but changed the end of the thumb to the same pattern as the back of the mitts. I started at home, knit on the train to Hasliberg and both evenings in the hotel. On the way back I cast on the second mitt which I finished on December 25th, while sitting around the christmas tree.

Even before blocking it was obvious that the size was going to be much better, they were wider and a lot longer. Once the first one was dry, I started with the lining. I used more of my left over Purl Soho Line Weight (definitely my favourite lining yarn ;-). I think the Cardamom Green adds to the festive mood of the mitts.

So now I have a new pair of mitts for my morning bike rides and I am pretty sure that I found the perfect pattern for future ones (I am sure these weren't my last ones ;-)

By the way, could someone please explain the difference between gloves, mitts and mittens to me? I am quite confused and might have been using all three terms without any logic at all ;-)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Two days on the Hasliberg

School ended early this year which gave us a couple of days before Christmas. The boys decided to go skiing but Antonia didn't feel like it. So instead we went to the Bernese Alps and stayed at the Hotel Wetterhorn in Hofluh, Hasliberg. On the first day we were too late for the sun, when we got out of the Postauto the last rays were just disappearing behind the mountains on the other side of the valley. The view out of our window was still beautiful.

For me it was a trip back to childhood, because that's the place where I learnt to ski a very long time ago. I remembered a lot, these villages don't change very fast (we actually saw a wooden house that had been built in 1578, imagine that) The ski resort has a few new possibilites but the slopes are still the same so it was easy to remember.

On the second day we woke up to an impressive sunrise, which told us that the blue sky of the day before was not to be repeated. The sunrise was actually the best weather of the whole day, we would encounter clouds, fog, snow and even some rain during our hike.

We took the cable car up to Käserstatt where we felt like the only people alive. Because of the weather and because there was not enough snow on that side we were almost the only ones up there. We decided to hike to Mägisalp and not to be bothered by the weather.

The weather got worse instead of better, the fog started to seriously roll in. Nevertheless we wanted to go further up, so we took the next cable car up to Planplatten. By the time we'd reached the top the visibility was almost zero, but we had a cup of coffee and a hot chocolate and then we braved the fog for a few minutes before we took the cable car back down again.

The rest of the way we had to walk in the rain, but we listened to really loud music and had lots of fun even though we got seriously wet. We were back at the home quite early which gave me time to finish my first glove while we watched a movie on Netflix.

We weren't sure if we should stay on for our third day or go shopping to Lucerne instead. But once we woke up, it was clear that the sun was back and that we couldn't leave without some serious sunshine. What a difference a day can make, this is the same spot we went to the day before but it felt like a different world.

We hiked all the way down to the hotel, which took us a bit more than two hours. It was so funny to start in winter and end up almost in spring. Switzerland really needs lots of snow, these last winters have been bad for tourism and the smaller ski resorts are suffering from the lack of snow and the guests who don't come anymore.

We arrived back in Zürich just in time for another spectacular sunset. It was only a short time to be away but it felt like a proper holiday.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Finished Object: Vanilla Latte Socks 2

Pattern: Vanilla Latte by Virginia Rose-Jeanes
Yarn: Regia Design Line Ombre Stripe
Colours: green to blue (4484)
Needles: 2.75mm Round Needles
Start of project: December 4th, 2015
End of project: December 19th, 2015

On Ravelry

My new socks are done. I like the colour but the yarn isn't as nice as the one I used in my first Vanilla Latte Socks but I am sure they'll be ok to wear.

I have not really found a lot of time for comfortable knitting during the last few weeks. School has been very busy and with christmas approaching and my birthday party I barely found the time to sit down and knit a few rounds. I think I am in a bit of a knitting slump but I might just have used up too much of my energy. All I've really wanted to do recently is to sleep.

At least now we have reached the holidays. We will have our first christmas celebration tonight with my cousins, which should be relaxed and fun and then I'll go to the mountains for two nights with Antonia. There won't be a lot of snow, it's been far too warm so far, but I can't wait to get away from everything here.

I'm planning to start a new pair of lined gloves. I want to knit a mix of all the different pattern elements that I like, so I'll take ruled paper and pencils to see if I can come up with something nice.

We will be back on the 22nd and then we will celebrate christmas with my family on  the 24th and the 25th. I wish you a calm relaxed time wherever you are!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Finished Object: Anders

Pattern: Anders by Sorren Kerr
Yarns:  Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo
Colours: Neutral and Jupiter
Needle: 3.75 and 4mm Round Needle
Start of project: November 25th , 2015
End of project: December 2nd, 2015

On Ravelry

I had this pattern in my queue for a while and was just waiting for a new baby to be born. I was really happy when I heard that my friend Marietta had given birth to a baby girl with the beautiful name Elif in the middle of November. I ordered some yarn and soon I was ready to start knitting a little sweater for her.

I had never used Malabrigo Arroyo before but I am sure I'll order it again, I just loved the feeling of it and I think the colour is so beautiful. The pattern was quite easy and it grew so quickly. I did the colour work twice because there were some rather long strands on the inside which looked like traps for little arms and hands. The second time I managed to get shorter strands by trapping them after 3 or 4 stitches. I used this tutorial and it really helped me without slowing me down. I also learnt to knit Vikkel Braids which look really neat, though they take quite some time to do.

I hope I'll get the chance to see the baby and its mom soon, but there is no real hurry, because the sweater turned out quite big and should fit only in a few months.