Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Last weekend we had glorious weather on Saturday so decided to walk over to the OFFA. This annual event is a kind of combination Spring Home & Garden Show plus Rodeo plus Carnival with lots of wurst and beer and kids screaming on scary looking rides. We spent time browsing at outdoor furniture for our terrace and bought a Kugelspirale to mesmerize our houseguests. Check out this hat booth we found! I also located a Bernina booth where I managed to speak enough German to order an English manual for my new Bernette 90e Nähmaschine. ( The book that came with mine was in French, German, Italian and Spanish. Only the book cover and machine box were in English.) One rainy week later I have the book already! The sun is shining again today so I’m heading out to enjoy Spring! K Q:-)

Friday, April 28, 2006


We live 20km from the charming Swiss village of Appenzell whose buildings are painted with folk motifs. Appenzeller cheese is my absolute favorite and I understand their folk costumes are the best in Switzerland. I have been surfing today planning an excursion up the mountain by train to see the spring display of wildflowers. What I am really hoping to see is the drive of cattle to the Alpine summer pastures which I understand is quite the ceremony with folk costumes, singing, Sennenhunde (cattle dogs) etc. Treat yourself to the Alpine sound at http://www.appenzeller-produkte.ch/ by clicking on the Musik button. Don't know why but it brings tears to my eyes everytime. Enjoy! K Q:-)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Yesterday I took the train to Zurich for the half-day holiday celebration of Sechseläuten symbolizing the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. My friends had scored front row seats for the Sechseläuten Parade which is comprised of guilds, some dating as far back as the 14th century. Once powerful political forces, the guilds are now mostly social groups but their costumes are colorful and the mood is certainly festive. These pictures represent the Zunft zur Wagg including hatters and Zunft Riesbach including winemakers. The horses are drawing a huge ancient wine press. All parade vehicles are horse drawn and decorated with spring flowers.

It seems to be the custom for ladies to award their favorites in the parade with flowers and some of these gents were toting huge bouquets. Children in the parade toss candy for the children on the street and others hand out cookies or glasses of wine. At the end of the parade the Böög, a straw man symbolizing winter, is burned putting an end to winter. Our Swiss friends tell us that this year the Böög was stolen by a leftist political group so it had to be hastily replaced by a new one for the day of the parade. It took 10 minutes and 8 seconds for the fellow’s head (loaded with fireworks) to blow off. This supposedly indicates that it will be awhile before the really hot weather begins here. Somehow I doubt they know what really hot weather is here but I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Now this one stopped me in my tracks! No sooner had the Easter bunnies disappeared from Roggwiller’s windows when this foot long critter appeared. This time I had my camera with me...or you wouldn’t believe it! I had to do some asking around to discover that this is yet another sign of Spring in Switzerland. It’s a chocolate cake in the form of a Maikäfer (cockchafer) and along with the Lily of the Valley (Glöckchen) is a sign of Spring and part of the celebration of May. Sorry, but I lived too long in both Texas and New York to find this one appetizing.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Bunnies

Here's a bit more of that Swiss chocolate. And how about these Easter bunnies?
K Q:-)


Easter is quite a big holiday here and the stores have been full of wonderful Easter goodies. I particularly loved this display of chocolates with Easter hats.
Froh Ostern!
Kate Q:-)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Contrasts of a Swiss Frühling

Last Saturday my husband and I had lunch at the Colony Cafe’s outdoor patio. The snow was gone, the breeze was mild and Spring was in the air. It seemed that everyone in St. Gallen was out strolling enjoying the fine weather. Sporting young men were strutting in T-shirts glad that the snow was behind them. I spotted tiny flowers at the Parkli (little park) just across the street and wished that I had my camera to catch their glory.

Then on Monday we had 10 inches of snow! We had to dig out our down coats and winter boots again (sigh). Spring snow doesn’t last long tho'. Rain on Thursday melted most of it away. I checked back on the Blumen today fearing the worst but here they are as glorious as ever. This time I had camera in hand to share the moment.

Happy Spring!
Kate Q:-)