Bernie Longarm – Christmas in Switzerland and Germany

The holiday time is a special time of year here in Switzerland and in neighboring Germany.  Here in Steckborn (the home of Bernina Sewing Machines) the town is a gingerbread fairy tale of charming buildings.  


And they are simple and engaging decorations throughout the town.



Here at the small hotel we are staying at an Advent Wreath graces the entrance. Here the candles are the traditional red for this region.  Bernine Longarm is having a little rest near the wreath

Another tradition here is that of the Advent Calendar – here is one in a store window – each ornament is filled with a little chocolate – one chocolate per day leading up to Christmas. (I think this would be total torture – only one chocolate per day???)

Another long standing tradition – dating from the 1300s is that of the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas Market.  

It is a time for everyone – but a magical time for Children.

Yes they are riding real ponies.

Christmas Markets happen for the entire time of Advent in German towns – and the tradition has spread to neighboring countries.   Vendors from the area are selling various crafts and food items.  The selection is astounding.  

Crafts abound….

And Christmas Ornaments (yep picked up a few)

And food…..

And you can 
grab a bratwurst along the way – or some freshly roasted pork (it was yummy).

Another tradition is Glühwein. It is mulled red wine (hot wine with spices) sometimes with another liquor (Amaretto,  Grappa, etc…) Recently a new tradition is that of mulled white wine.  

And the market is filled with music – enjoy this holiday carol

Merry Chritmas from Switzerland and Germany!

Bernie Longarm – A Swiss Breakfast

Longarm Bernine apologizes – Jet Lag really hit him hard -as you can see by this first picture – he looks rather pale.

But after some rest he has finally gotten some color – here he is sipping up his morning coffee at the Frohsinn Hotel in Steckborn.

So what is breakfast like here?  – Well as you can see a VERY VERY GOOD cup of coffee.

And a nice selection of breads and croissants.

And a a little bit of meat – it is sliced ham and some other deli meat – very similar to what he would get in the USA -but tastes so much better here for some reason. And a plate of fruit – Bernie has fallen in love with the pears.

And a nice selection of cheese – oh my, oh my – the cheese is SO SO SO SO GOOD ( yes Bernine loves the cheese) – By the way the butter is yummy too!

And then a choice of Yogurt and two different Granolas (One that has some honey or something to make it all lumpy and yummy and another option of just the grains and fruit for those that don’t want the first option. The front bowl on the lower left is granola mixed with yogurt (Bernine likes this because it is a one scoop breakfast)

And a nice selection of jams (pretty blue crocks) to put on the yummy bread with the yummy butter. (Oh the Cherry Jam is ……….. words do not exist to describe)

And as he eats breakfast he can gaze at Germany just across Lake Konstanz.

So this breakfast is a bit different that what Bernine would have in the USA – but it is great because it gives him the energy to work long and hard at the testing he has come over here to do at the Bernina Factory!  Check back for Bernine’s adventures at a Christmas Market!

The Adventures of Bernie Longarm – Part 1

Well, Bernie and I made it here but barely. The flight from Chicago to Buffalo was delayed (because of problems in Chicago), so my flight to Chicago was delayed. Well I landed with a total of 40 minutes at O’hare airport. I got off the plane, ran through Terminal # 1, to the monorail train, into terminal #5, went through security (why did I have the slowest person in front of me) and then onto the plane.  I made it with about 5 minutes to spare.

Shortly after takeoff we were greeted with these tasty little pretzels on Swiss Air – aren’t they fun.

And the choice was wine or a coke – so I took the wine (same price – FREE!).  This helped settle my nerves

Then a tasty dinner came (with some more wine) and then a little rest through the flight.

Also – love the packaging on the Salt and Pepper and Sugar packets – I can see another  Red and White quilt in the future

When I exited the aircraft and entered the terminal I thought I might see an add for some wonderful Swiss Chocolate – but look what greeted me.

Off we went on a drive from Zurich to Steckborn – and Steckborn is a sweet little town. I promise to take some pictures and post them tomorrow.  We checked into our Bed and Breakfast Hotel and freshened up and then headed off to the Bernina Factory.  And boy do I have things to ……. OPPS —- Can’t do that!!!!!!!!

On the way there we stopped in the local grocery store to pick up some lunch and what did I spy but some tasty looking Christmas Cookies – I didn’t buy them yet – but I think those stars will become a purchase in a day or so.

After a delightful dinner with the testing team I am back at my room ready to crash for the night – as you can see – Bernie beat me to the punch and if I don’t hurry he is going to nibble on that chocolate!

I hope to give Bernie a little more definition tomorrow – and start decorating him up with some threads!  So stay tuned for a little bit of Switzerland.

The Great Swiss Adventure Begins

Well, in just a few hours I board a plane in Buffalo, NY that will take me to Chicago, then switch planes and fly to Zurich.  I will arrive there tomorrow morning (Dec 4) and then head to Steckborn, Switzerland and the Bernina Headquarters.  Why – well as some of you know – I am going to be one of the testers on their new Longarm Machine.

While I won’t be able to tell you details about the testing I will be able to share about my adventures in Switzerland. To help me out I thought I would take along my own version of Flat Stanley. I had a little naming contest on my blog to come up with a quilting name for Flat Stanley.  And the Jude Mathena-Fishell submitted the winning name  –  Bernie Longarm.   Jude will receive a little something from Switzerland!

I was going to make my version out of fabric and have fun fusing and stitching and this and that. Well – yep ran out of time, so I am going a different route. I am going to embroider Bernie Longarm as the trip progresses.

I am using one of Pepper Cory’s new Peppered Cottons for the background (Oyster) and I am taking along Victoria Findlay Wolf’s Aurifil Thread Collection to do the embellishing – well I just had to add a few other spools of Aurifil that I had hanging around.  Hopefully by the end of my trip this month Bernine Longarm will be all stitched out.  I hope to have some fun with his shirt and pants and tie!!!!!

And I am going to take along a few other projects – a Sashiko project I started recently —

—- and I pulled out an old Hexie project that has been sitting around.  I had some left over Hexie Flower Centers from my Hexi-Flower Foursome Quilt I did for McCall’s Quilting Magazine. So I thought I would make a bunch more and make something (what that something is – I don’t yet know.)

Stay tuned to this blog for My Great Swiss Adventure and the travels of Bernie Longarm!