Sunday, December 31, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Thanks for your wonderful comments everyone...after numerous days of thinking, crying, contemplating and relaxing I realise that I was tired. Tired from working 3 days a week, tired of seeing my kids tired, tired from not sleeping enough and tired of the direction the masses are letting themselves be directed in - usually these things don´t get to me because I can deal with them one at a time but for a short moment they all came together at once and it was like a kick in the guts. I am so looking forward to us all having 2 weeks holiday at home between Christmas and the 6th of January (3 Königs Tag). We can sleep in, go skiing and sledding(yes, it finally snowed again yesterday!), cook together, have friends over for Christmas biscuits and sit around the fire reading or talking.
Above are some photos of a Kristkindl market that I took part in, this one was indoors (in my office) and although I sold quite a few things, it was disheartening to see that many people don´t appreciate "handmade" and often compared our prices to those of "made in China" products. When we make things, we put our energy into them and pass this energy on when we sell or give away something we´ve made with our hands. When I see and use things I´ve received from other bloggers or bought from artists it enrichens my life and reminds me of all the fabulous people out there who are using their talents and sharing their energy and love. Now I´m off to paint some cups, bowls and plates for Erich´s nephews and if I have time I´ll sew place mats to go with them...I feel well again, I have energy again, I am learning.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A few years ago I bought 150 styropor balls on sale and over the next few days I´ll be showing you how I´ve decorated them. The ones pictured here are patchwork Christmas balls. When I make bags and pillow covers lots of fabric scraps are left over - this is a great way to use them up. I use wallpaper paste (which I always have mixed and ready in glass bottles), a small paintbrush for spreading the paste and a 5x5 cm (2 inch) cardboard template to cut my fabric squares the same size. The balls are easier to handle if you put a toothpick in one end, then you can hold them without touching the actual ball and pierce them onto a styropor board for drying. Cover the whole ball with paste and position fabric squares onto the ball, slightly overlapping, until the whole ball is covered with fabric. Brush over the fabric squares carefully with paste so as not to move them, this stops the squares from fraying and gives the balls a nice shine when they´re dry. Leave the balls to dry overnight. Cut short lengths of ribbon, overlap the ends and attach to the end of the ball that the toothpick was in by dipping a needle in water based glue and sticking it through the ribbon and into the ball. Make sure you use enough glue so the needle stays put and use only a water based glue, anything else will eat away at the styropor leaving a big hole. HAVE FUN!!!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
I´m getting things ready for Saturday´s "Christkindl Markt". Baking and packaging Christmas cookies and slices, putting the last coats of paint on Good Luck stones, quilting table runners and filling tissue holders. I´ve managed to get so much finished this year even though I´ve been working 20 hours a week teaching aswell. I am more organised, more motivated and more positive than last year - last year´s frustration is what led me to start this blog almost a year ago and I am amazed at the difference it´s made!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
About 2 years ago I found a book called "Message from Forever" by Marla Morgan. It´s a story about finding yourself and finding your roots. At the end of this book there are 10 "you should" commandments that the Australian Aborigines live by. I do my best to remember them and live by them and although I don´t always succeed I know that they are right for me. Here they are:
1. You are to express your own creativity
2. Recognize that you carry responsibility
3. Before your birth you consented to help others
4. You are to attain emotional maturity
5. You should be entertaining
6. You should be a good manager of your energy
7. You should enjoy music
8. You should strive for wisdom
9. You are to learn self discipline
10.You are to observe without judging
There are explanations for all of these and if you want to know more, I encourage you to read this book.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
We woke up to snow on the weekend and it had everyone jumping into action. We had the tires on the car changed from the summer to the winter ones, cleaned up the garden and put away all the summer toys, I went through all our snow and ski clothing to see what still fits and made a list of what I need to buy and I started thinking about Christmas craft markets. I will be taking part in 2 this year, the first one here in Reichenfels on the 2nd of December and the second one in Wolfsberg on the 9th of December so I´ve started making Christmas decorations and will then move onto some mini photo albums, cushions and tweed bags. Before I saw the snow I didn´t realise how close December is!
As for my list - Markus has new curtains, his room has a new layout and the ugly wardrobe is gone, the mirror is hanging in the hallway, the bathroom has a new curtain and a new plant and I´m still adding to the box of 50 things. Photos next time -the rest will have to wait until the Christmas crafting is done.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I´ve been busy with my list and although it´s taking me a little longer than planned I´m getting there. I´ve also been busy crafting - a new bag, pin cushion, scarves and my first zippered pouch. Most of these things will be for sale in my Etsy shop soon. I wish you all a productive and happy day! (P.S three books have been given away and will be heading for Canada but Goodnight Nobody, Fabulous Nobodies and Housekeeping are still up for grabs!)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
I made this a while back to remind me of what I want my house to look like. Things are quite organised around here BUT there are lots of goals that I have yet to reach...most of which I wrote on my list of 101 things in 1001 days. I´m going to try to strike as many of these off my list as I can over the next week.
1.Give away 50 things that I own to people who will appreciate them more than I do.
3.Take apart the ugly wardrobe in Markus´ room and cut it up for firewood
9.Rearrange the furniture in Markus´ room.
13.Sew a new curtain for Daniel´s room
14.New curtain for Stefan and Markus
15.Paint a mural on Markus´ wall
24.Hang up a mirror over the chest of drawers in the hallway
39.Paint the upstairs hallway
55.Put another 50 things that I´m not sure whether to keep or give away, in a box. Write a date on top (6 months later) and if I haven´t opened it to take something out by the date, give the whole box away without looking inside.
89.Buy a plant for the bathroom corner
90.Put up a new blind in the bathroom
Anyone want to join me in doing some things around the house???
Thursday, October 12, 2006
We´ve been busy lately...the boys are back at school which meant buying new shoes, clothing, books and stationary, finding new ideas for lunch boxes and ways to get the boys back into the swing of homework and study after our lovely, long 8 week summer break.
I am not one to waste or overspend BUT it was a real challenge this year. The school doesn´t need the boys old books to recycle(?), no - it´s not possible to use last years physics/biology/chemistry exercise book again this year (even though not even half of it has been written in) and it so frustrated me to see the difference in price when it came to buying "natural" clothing and shoes compared to made in China/India/Taiwan.
We spent one afternoon going through the boys old school books and tearing out anything of interest to make folders that we´ve put in the car so the boys have something to read and exercises to do on long trips or while we are waiting in the car. We made small notebooks from pages that hadn´t been written on, I´ll be making fabric covers for them and we can use them as gifts or as shopping lists and journals. There were still 3 paper carry bags full of paper to throw in the recycling bin after we´d finished. I bought glue, pencils, erasers and other stationary in bulk which will save us a lot of money in the long run but burnt a hole in my pocket on shopping day and we washed all the pencil cases and school bags which had them looking like new - I know people who buy a new school bag every year because the old one just isn´t "in" anymore. There are plenty of other things I´d rather do with €70 (per school bag).
As for school lunches...this is only one challenge amongst many when it comes to feeding 3 healthy and fast growing young boys/men. I don´t want them to eat rubbish, I don´t want them to eat products that come wrapped in 3 layers of plastic that have lots of numbers in the list of ingredients - but I also don´t want them to throw away their lunches because they taste horrible(even though they may be healthy) like I used to. So we have made a list of things that they like and that are nutritious and don´t cost a fortune. I bake bread, cakes, muffins and scones on the weekend and freeze them, we also buy locally grown apples and I make yoghurt twice a week - so they have a bit of choice and variety.
The main reason I started baking, making my own yoghurt, marmalade and cordials was to stop the flow of plastic going in and out of our house. It seems that you can´t buy a loaf of bread these days that doesn´t come in a plastic bag. We used to have a 60 litre bag full of plastic every week and now we don´t even fill one bag in a month. We refill our glass bottles with our own rasberry cordial every August, the only other drink we buy is apple juice which we buy from a local farmer in glass bottles that he takes back when they´re empty. We used to buy tetra packs of apple juice and orange juice - aswell as milk which we now buy from the farmer up the road for the same price as in the supermarket. We have 2 plastic 2 litre jugs which we fill up every second day, saving us and average of 14 tetra packs in a week just for milk. Our other main source of plastic was yoghurt containers - there is only one brand of yoghurt here which comes in a glass and it´s 3 times more expensive than other brands. I used to buy it when the children were smaller but now we need so much more and it´s just too expensive. I found an easy recipe for making my own yoghurt here and I make 2 batches from 2 litres of milk every week, mix it with jam, cordial or fresh/frozen berries and the kids love it. It´s a great drink too if you mix it with a bit of milk.
As for the clothing issue - it didn´t turn out too bad as my Mum bought loads of t-shirts for all 3 boys when we were in Australia and I decided a long time ago to buy only jeans for the boys which I brighten up with some jeans dye every 6 months or so to get rid of those faded knee patches. I love to buy things from here, I will just have to think ahead about sizes and buy things for the following year when they´re on sale. The same with shoes, I keep my eyes open for specials and the boys have a second pair of old shoes to wear at home for playing football and climbing trees. Winter is just around the corner and I will be sorting through the ski suits and winter sports equipment, selling the stuff which is too small on Ebay and buying larger things with that money.
I have come to realise that when I worked more hours I was earning more money BUT also spending more money to have things that I now am able to make myself, like healthy food. Having more time has definately improved the quality of life for me and my family and getting on the "use what you have" path has really changed our direction. If you´d like to read more about simplifying and making some changes look here.
green fox barking living the good life little brown dress everyday simplicity greenjewls
Monday, October 09, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Here are parts of some more collages I´ve made this week. Jamie left a comment that I should make a calendar and that´s what I´m going to do. I´ve found someone who´ll print them and they should be ready by the end of October - inspirational calendars for 2007.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Today I am having trouble flying...I can´t seem to get active or get into any projects so I am stopping to listen and rest. I will make a collage a day this week to celebrate the beginning of a new season and to give me time to organise my Etsy shop. My fabric labels have arrived and now I have no more excuses. There´ll be bags and pillows for sale on the 1st October.
The autumn market was yesterday and 2 of my bags plus a lot of tissue holders have new owners. People there seemed more eager to buy food and my cakes and muffins were gone in no time. The market was in the gardens of an old castle right by a lake, so beautiful! I took a couple of pictures which you can see over at Flickr.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Now when I work in the kitchen I have a view over the Lavant Valley. I see right down to the main road where I often catch a glimpse of the school bus bringing Stefan and Markus home and I can also watch the train that Daniel comes home from school on.
Here are the instructions for one of our favourite meals, One Pot Chicken;
I use a glass baking dish with a lid for this. Sprinkle a whole chicken inside and out with a paprika based chicken seasoning and place in the baking dish, put the lid on, place in the oven and turn oven on (180° celsius). After 30 minutes, add 10 medium sized peeled potatoes, carrot and pumpkin pieces to pan and bake for a further 60 minutes. Then take the lid off the pan and bake for a further 15 minutes. Veges should be tender and lightly browned, chicken should be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Place veges on a serving platter, cut chicken into pieces and place around the veges. Add 150mls of thin cream to the pan juices to make a sauce. Serve with white bread and green salad. MAHLZEIT!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Thanks for the advice on yesterday´s post - I feel less like I´ve failed the aim I had in mind when I put that point on my list and now I know better how to handle the situation.
As for my bag challenge, I´m almost done with only 2 bags to go, I´ve finished some cushions and I´ve used up a pile of fabric scraps to make tissue holders. The autumn fair on Sunday is being organised by a group called "Talente Tausch" which means talent swap. No money is exchanged within this group - you put a points price on whatever you´re offering and then use your points to purchase anything from organic produce, yoga classes, massages or holiday appartment rentals. We already have quite a number of points as I´ve done some translating work within the group and Erich has restored some furniture but it´s the first time I´ll have my own market table with my handmade items so I´m a bit nervous. I noticed that one of the group´s members has a house on the Ligurian Coast in Italy so I hope we can get enough points together to spend some time there next summer. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
One of my best friends has a boyfriend who is a complete ego-maniac and if they weren´t together I wouldn´t even give him the time of day...but I somehow couldn´t get past inviting him. And there´s another person who I used to get along great with but just don´t want to spend time with lately because of her "well-meaning" criticism and life tips that show me she has no idea who I am. She is part of the group of people I sing with and generally hang around with so I didn´t have the courage not to invite her for fear of the can of worms that this would open.
I´d really like to be courageous and honest and tell people what I think and that I don´t like being used or told what to do by people who can´t get their own lives in order but I just can´t seem to without feeling like a complete bitch. Is there a way to move on from friendships that just don´t fit anymore without having to explain? Is it my responsibility to tell my friend that her boyfriend is a jerk and that she deserves better or is it none of my business?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
5 years have passed since the day that Rose Mary Riso died while at work in New York´s twin towers. I have read a lot about her, she was a very warm hearted and generous person who put other people´s safety before her own on this day, saving 39 lives before losing her own.
I remember turning on the TV to watch the news on CNN 5 years ago and sitting down in shock from what I was witnessing on live television. I remember thinking "this may be the end of the world as we know it" and it was. Since then war, terror and loss of lives have become regulars on the daily news and there´s no sign of it stopping. I often feel a frustration that comes from not being able to do anything to stop what is so obviously wrong in the world. I hear many voices that are against war and sending young men to fight battles for the cowardly heads of state or terrorist leaders but the killing goes on. Today I ask you all to do what you can to influence your own little world by being kind, compassionate and tolerant towards each other in rememberance of all those who died on the 11th of September, 2001.
Today my children and I will plant this rose bush in our garden in rememberance of Rose Mary Riso.
Read about other victims of 9/11 here.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Above you can see the new colour of my kitchen wall which I was about to paint a cream colour when I read this and decided on aqua instead. The colour is called "sea breeze" and together with the yellow feature wall it really does remind me of the ocean. It´s a bit brighter than it looks on the photo and I finished it just in time for my 40th Birthday Party...more about that next time. In the other photo you can see bags Nr. 2, 3 &4 in my 14 day bag challenge. There´s a small shoulder bag, a cell-phone bag and an ipod bag.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I will be making a bag a day for the next 14 days to sell at a fair I´ve been asked to take part in on the 24th of September. I want to make quite a few other things aswell like some coasters, place mats, table runners, pin cushions and bigger cushions but I will let the daily bag be my inspiration for the other items. I have also ordered some "Chest of Drawers" woven name tags and as soon as they arrive I will get my etsy shop up and running.