Monday, January 30, 2006


Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
I love colour! When we moved into this house 7 years ago, the walls were all white and my husband loved it. Most Austrians I know have white walls and coming from Australia where there is colour all over the place, I was quite bored with my surroundings. I didn´t have the courage or the strength to get my ideas out there when we were decorating our house because I was preoccupied with 3 young children and my husband prefered to consult his parents about decorating. After we moved into the house, my husband went away for 3 months to work in Saudi Arabia against my wishes - there was no point in pulling my hair out about this so I painted one wall in the kitchen blue and another yellow. I loved it and when my husband got home he freaked. Then he decided to work for a company on the other side of Austria and only came home every 3 weeks...thus the 3 boys rooms are pistachio green, bright yellow and indigo blue! After a huge argument with my inlaw´s some time later, my way of handling my anger was to drive to the paint shop, buy paint in yellow and orange and go over the living room first with a roller and then a sponge -I sure felt a lot better afterwards!When I found out a few years later that my husband was having an affair, I took Feng Shui´s advice and painted my bedroom dark red in the hope that it would rekindle the passion in our marraige - but instead it drove him away for good!
When I think back to all those times when I was lonely, when I felt isolated without support, colour was my friend. How can you feel down when a sunny living room greets you each morning.
Putting colour on my walls was my way of screaming out to my husband "Look! Here I am, this is me, take it or leave it!" And I´m so grateful that he did leave it because now I have a partner who sees me and loves me for what I am.
When Erich walked into my house for the first time he said "wow, I love all the colour on the walls" and I knew my lonely days were over.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


"Life´s an Adventure" is the title of my second contribution to Swirly Girl´s 52 Figments.
How often do we daydream, making plans in our head which seem so realistic, close enough to touch but when we wake up and come back to the "real world" we let other people´s opinions and our own fears get in the way of fullfilling them. I am amazed by anyone who moves somewhere new to start a new life, leaving their old and familiar life behind to be with a new love or to start a new job. When I made these decisions in my own life I was young and carefree, open for anything new and I felt like I had nothing to lose, life was wonderful and the world was my oyster. Many years have passed since then but I can often feel the younger, carefree me wanting to break out, do something crazy so I feel really alive.
I have often dreamed about living in another country to experience a different life there...because of my love of simple interiors and the colour blue, Sweden has always been a favourite. Italy has so much history, wonderful food and a passion for all things loud and fun. Australia is a natural choice as I lived there for 20 years, from the age of 3 to 23 and the longer I am away, the more I remember only the good things and forget the frustrations. I am curious to know how life has changed there, if I idealise it too much and whether or not I would feel at home there. It wasn´t easy to grow up in a young country, with no real own identity, with parents who were themselves far from home and clinging to what they grew up with, their own morals and traditions. I never really found my own identity and it was comfortable to settle down here in Austria because everything seemed familiar to me. This summer my family and I are spending 5 weeks in Australia to celebrate my 40th Birthday and although a holiday isn´t the same as living there, it will definately be an adventure.
I do love Austria - although I am often ashamed of our politicians - I love the wonderful countryside, the history and the feeling of being right in the middle of Europe. I live in a beautiful village and we have 2 large cities only 1 hour´s drive away, Klagenfurt to the south-west and Graz to the east and it´s always an adventure for me to spend a day in the city, looking around in my favourite book shops and second hand stores, drinking milky coffee in a small café and buying home-decorating magazines to satisfy my addiction.
Crafting is an adventure too...when I work without a pattern, with only an idea in my head, I can never be really sure how the object will turn out.
Now that I´m writing about it I can see that adventure is everywhere...yes, LIFE`S AN ADVENTURE!

Friday, January 27, 2006

A new day, a new perspective!

This is what I woke up to this morning, a magnificent sunrise. The colours change drastically from season to season here and in winter you can really notice the colours of the sky against the white, snowy landscape. This is about one third of the view from our front porch. There are many areas of Austria that have sun for only a few months of the year, I think I would go crazy but someone I know who lives in one of these areas says it makes her appreciate the passing seasons more. When the sun´s rays start to come in through her kitchen window it fills her with anticipation because she knows summer is not far away. If it´s sunny and beautiful all the time then people forget to appreciate it.

I believe this to be true in many areas of life, we forget to be grateful. I went about my working day with open eyes yesterday because writing about my job made me aware that I needed a new perspective. I tried to think of ways to make my day more enjoyable...I put those family tapes in the car to listen to on my way to and from work and I will also be dropping in at the library to see if they have some books on tape. I took my collage bag with me to work on in my break and I went out for a lovely lunch between appointments.

I mostly work at an Apprentice Academy or in various companies but I also give some lessons in my office in Wolfsberg. The office is quite bland so I have decided to make it more comfortable and inviting...with some new pictures, a plant or two and some personal belongings. I work for a language school with other trainers who are all native speakers. In Wolfsberg we have trainers from Italy, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Spain and France and we have an office/conference room for the main languages, english, italian,french and spanish. I named my office "Wooloomooloo" after a small area of Sydney filled with artist studios, galleries, cafés and pubs. At Christmas we had a Christmas Market there, myself and some other trainers who make pottery and other crafts invited everyone we know to come for a Glühwein and biscuits and it was a great success.

I am feeling much better about it all today, thankyou all for the wonderful, positive comments full of ideas - now I can "hit the floor running" this weekend(thanks Jim!) without dreading next week and the working days ahead!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sew happy!

Seeing all those lovely things on other people´s sites and reading lovely comments about my stuff has really got me going. Self- doubt has plagued me in the past as I never really had much feedback but now I feel like I´m flying! I have all these wonderful materials that I´ve collected over the years and the colours are working magic on me, I can´t stop looking at these pillows I made today. I am dreading tomorrow though as I have to work all day.
I work about 20 hours a week in a job that I don´t really enjoy...I teach english which comes easy to me but I haven´t been able to bring much creativity into it as I work for a company, I have all my teaching material given to me and I must stick to a strict schedule. I live in a small rural village and the drive to work takes about an hour each way which only frustrates me more. When I got married my husband and I decided to have three kids and that I would be a stay at home mother who worked only for pleasure as my husband had a well-paid job. So we had the three kids and built a beautiful house that was easily affordable to run on my husband´s wage BUT he´s not around anymore and many things have changed. When we broke up I promised the children that I would do everything in my power to stay in the house that they love so that meant looking for a job. I know I should consider myself lucky to have one - many women who live around here have no qualifications and jobs are rare anyway - but I miss the old times when I had more time with my children and didn´t have to work so hard to make ends meet.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self portrait tuesday

When my parents decided to emigrate from Austria to Australia in 1969, we all needed passport photos and my parents decided to also have a family portrait taken. Check out my short dress! I wore a really short dress at my First Holy Communion aswell...someone gave it to me a few months earlier and it fitted perfect but then I had a growth spurt and it was shorter than short on the day. I had great legs back then but I wouldn´t be caught dead in a mini these days.
About 3 months after this photo was taken, my parents left their siblings, parents and friends behind and started a new life in Australia. They had some Austrian friends there and for the first year or so we lived in a small flat at the back of a house where my mother worked as a housekeeper. She also baked apple strudel which my father sold to his work mates at a building company. It wasn´t long before they had saved enough money for a deposit on the house in the western suburbs of Sydney where they still live now.
It wasn´t possible to call overseas as it is these days so my parents taped casettes which they sent back to Austria, talking about how they were adjusting, their homesickness and anecdotes of their new life far away from home. When my Grandmother moved into a retirement home some years ago, she gave me some old photos - including the one above, and the box of cassettes she had kept. I was amazed by the stories, how strange our voices sound and what a show-off I was, always wanting to sing new songs I´d learnt at school and talking about my teachers and friends. Many a memory would be lost without these tapes so I feel very lucky to have them.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday morning

I managed to finish one of the bags yesterday and I´m really happy with it. I have been wanting to use this birdcage material for ages and it goes really well with the orange and red tea towel. It´s quite large so I can use it for shopping or going to the library or swimming or as a picnic bag...the list goes on. The lining is a striped material with different colours.
Here is a list of questions from Connie and Rob that will help you all to get to know me better, here goes!
What were you doing 10 years ago?
My children were 4years, 2years and 6 months old at this time and we were living with my parents in law on their farm as my husband was working in Africa and our house wasn´t finished so I was going a little crazy...trying to bring the kids up my way with my traditional Austrian in law´s looking over my shoulder with raised eyebrows and no husband around to back me up - I´m not sure he would have anyway.
What were you doing one year ago?
I was enjoying my new harmonious life with a new man, Erich.
Five snacks you enjoy: Cheezels, cheese on toast, mozarella cheese with tomatoes, chocolate
cake, fruit.
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics: All Abba, Electric Light Orchestra, The Style Council, Eagles and Everything but the Girl songs. I practically listened to nothing else in my teens.
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:1.Have a makover with a professional hairdresser, stylist and wardrobe consultant.2.Spend 18 months living abroad with my family in Sweden, Italy and Australia.3.Buy a shop with an apartment upstairs, paint all the walls bright colours and have only beautiful, usefull objects in it.
4. Open a café and craft shop in one, with international newspapers and magazines, arts and crafts made by local artists and wonderful, melt in your mouth things to eat and drink.5. Invest some money for each of my children so they can one day fulfill their dreams.
Five bad habits:1.Too much daydreaming, not enough doing. 2.I´m a bit too bossy at times. 3.I say "yes" when my thoughts are screaming "NO, DON`T DO IT!!! 4.I go shopping on an empty stomach. 5. I buy too many home magazines.
Five things you like doing:1.Daydreaming.2. Collecting, looking through and reading magazines.3. reading all the amazing blogs out there.4. Going to Trash and Treasure markets and thrift stores. 5. Cooking and baking and ofcourse - crafting.
Five things you would never wear, buy or get new again:1. Leggings or tights. A mini skirt, hot pants, pale blue, icey eyeshadow, jeans worn low on the hips.
Five favourite toys:My sewing machine, my computer, my lock-up diary, my sled, my miniature gardening tools.
Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I love weekends!

Here are 2 of the projects I´ve finished this weekend. I bought some knitted gloves on sale and decorated them with buttons. It was too tedious to sew them on as I couldn´t get inside the gloves with my needle and thread so I glued them on. I was inspired by some lovely pillows I saw here.
I also crocheted some vases from yarn I´ve had for ages and put jars inside to make them sturdy. I will use one to put my paint brushes in and the other as a vase in the kitchen. I am also working on some pillows and bags made from tea towels...I´ll take photos when I´m finished. I got this great idea from Kali, a lovely lady with a beautiful blog and an amazing house.
I can´t believe how many photos have been posted on "corners of my home" I am amazed at all the creative, positive people out there that I didn´t have a clue about a couple of weeks ago. THANKYOU all for brightening my days and getting me moving aswell!

Friday, January 20, 2006


It´s Friday, my day off work, cleaning day and I am listening to the wonderful hypnotic sounds of the washing machine and the dishwasher. Soon the steam iron will join in the music before the vacuum cleaner has it´s solo performance. I will have the Friday favourite vegetable soup cooking on the stove by 11am and that old familiar smell of liebstoeckl will fill the air and there they´ll be again, the memories of my Grandmother.
She was amazing! A wonderful mother and wife and a perfect housekeeper although...she was blind. She lost her eyesight when she was young but it didn´t stop her from having 4 children and mastering life in such a positive way. She lived through war, poverty and all the hardships involved with not being able to see but she never dwelled on the negative sides of life, she was generous and found happiness in the smallest of things. Like eating vegetable soup with liebstoeckl cooked on a wood stove, eating a sweet apple on her favourite bench at the bedroom window where she could feel the sun on her face in the afternoon, listening to her favourite radio programme and spending time with other people who also liked to laugh and have a chinwag. She liked to be organised so it was very important for her not to have any unnecessary objects around so that she had important things at hand when she needed them. I can see her in my mind´s eye, touching things to feel and appreciate the texture and listening closely when someone knocked on her door and walked into her home - she recognised most people by the sound of their feet. I must try to be more like she was - live in the moment, keep my life and my home simple, surround myself with beautiful, usefull things and find happiness in small pleasures. I miss you oma!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

me and Mickey

me and Mickey
Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
I have decided to be brave and join self-portrait-tuesday.
I guess I´m about 6 months old on this photo - we were still living in Austria at the time it was taken, about 40 minutes drive from where I live now with my own family. My parents and brother still live in Australia and sometimes it seems as though it´s my destiny to uphold my family´s connection with Austria, I know that sounds a little weird. I often wonder how different I would be if my parents hadn´t moved to Australia to live, if I hadn´t experienced a mix of cultures that always excited me and a freedom in my childhood that my children growing up here don´t seem to be able to grasp. These are the things I think about when I wake up in the middle of the night to let the cat in and can´t get back to sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
When I was a child I loved to thread pearls and beads...I had forgotten all about it though until a good friend gave me a whole set of things to make jewelery for christmas. Yesterday I decided to take the time and begin and I am thrilled with my first necklace - and I´m sure it won´t be the last. While I was threading, all these ideas for other pieces of jewelery were popping into my head and I jotted a few of them down. My goal for 2006 is to enjoy myself, to make the things that give me pleasure a priority, to keep obligations like housework simple and to cut down on things that I do only because others think I should. I´m on my way!!!!!

blue and green

blue and green
Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

52 Figments :: 1.1.06 [Reichenfels, Austria]

My first contribution to

swirly girls flickr group

52 figments have a look!


Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
I love it that I´m getting a lot of comments about our mosaic. Behind the mirror - which is from a small shop in Grado, Italy, there was an ugly chimney hole which kept staring at me after we decided to move our fireplace downstairs. One evening, while sitting on the couch watching tv, my eyes kept drifting over to the hole and I decided to do something about it so I collected a few tiles left over from tiling the kitchen floor, the bathroom and others that I´d begged off friends after they´d finished various tiling and I hammered away at them. There was also some leftover building glue in the cellar so I made a rough drawing of a tree as I liked the idea of a tree growing in the middle of the house and I started glueing. I really enjoyed myself with this project...previously the wall behind it was yellow but my boyfriend talked me into filling the joints white and painting the wall white - now it´s perfect. I must admit, I love looking into other people´s homes, seeing how the different personalities shine out in the furnishings and accessories...this flickr group has made it possible for me without going for long walks around town with the hope that someone will have their curtains open so I can have a peek - and people thinking I´m a weirdo when they catch me!
THANKYOU Amanda for your amazing idea and for the lovely glimpses into your day to day life on your website.

Friday, January 13, 2006

it´s soooo cold!

It´s so cold outside, minus 6 degrees and falling. The sun is just going down and the children have been outside for hours, sledding down the hill next to our house again and again and again..... We are so lucky to live here in rural austria, the air is clean and the children are free to roam around in the forest or on the slopes where the ski lift used to be.

I have made myself a "magic scarf" named after you Jamie - to keep me warm through this amazing winter. I call it "magic scarf because it took me only 4 hours to knit...anyone can do it...and there is a great trick to it. If anyone is interested in making one, just let me know.

I found this wonderful book "Sticken und Nähen für babys und kinder" translated "embroidery and sewing for babies and children". There are some wonderful things which I´d like to make, adding my own special touches. I´ll keep you posted on my progress.

It´s been a wonderful day, I found a lovely comment on my blog from Jamie this morning, then I had a long breakfast with a good friend whom I hadn´t seen in ages and as it´s my day off work, I have been able to catch up on my blog and post some photos in the new flickr group "corners of my home". It seems as though a whole new world has opened itself up to me since I started writing here! To be cont´d!!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

how to get motivated

How to get motivated
I´m actually asking you all out there, not giving tips myself. I don´t know if anyone is reading this blog...if so, maybe you can share your motivations with me. My head is so full of ideas but somehow I get caught up with housework, kids, my day job and there doesn´t seem to be any time left for being creative.
I have included a some photos of things I have made in the past so you can get some idea of my style and what I like to get into.
I´m not really into new year´s resolutions but I´ll put some out there to keep a record of what I´m thinking today, on the 6th day of the new year.
I want to create unique things on a regular basis, have one project going at a time, finish it and then start something new. Take time for myself and have the courage to do what I want without worrying about it being 100%.
On that note...HAPPY 2006!!!