Monday, February 27, 2006

Five Food Challenges

The pictures of my skirt will have to wait until tomorrow, Meg´s tag has inspired me to write about something which has ruled my life for as long as I can remember - FOOD!

It´s only since I´ve started blogging and really thinking about my relationship to food that I am starting to understand it. I am hungry for life, hungry for acceptance and hungry for recognition and I have tried to still this hunger with food. Now I am discovering other ways to fill the void, I am admitting things to myself that I didn´t know before because I hadn´t let the thoughts be real. When I write them here, they become real. Food is finally starting to be what it should be, nourishing for my body and not for my soul. A fuel that enables me to have the energy to do all that I would like to and cooking, another way to be creative.

So, my five food challenges are:

1.Replace more "bad" carbohydrates with "good" ones.

2.Try to buy more "healthy" foods for the family.

3.Try out all those recipes cut out of magazines that are lying around in the 3rd drawer from the top in the kitchen. Throw out the ones that don´t work and put the ones that do in a recipe journal.

4. Before I do my weekly shopping - clean out the fridge, write a list and try a new recipe every week. INSPIRATION HERE.

5. Have a dinner party once a month to catch up with friends.

Above is a photo of my favourite cook books. Recipe books for Asian, Italian, BBQs and children´s favourites. My absolute favourite is "Coffeetime". It´s full of little things to have with coffee, sweet and savoury. There are 2 books which depress me, the first is "Natur Pur" which has recipes and tips for buying biological produce. The tip I couldn´t find is the one telling me how I can afford to shop this way every week. Funny how the farming methods that were once normal are now "biological" and not for everyone´s pocket. Less is more you might say, better quality and less of it - but tell that to my 3 growing, hungry sons. The other book is called "Schmeckt´s noch?" (translated, does it still taste good?). This book was written by a previous food chain manager and he writes about the way food is manipulated, treated and handled before it reaches our supermarket shelves...I should use that as a diet for half an hour before each meal to reduce appetite!

Consider yourselves tagged Frankie, Jorth, and Hobess.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

sunny, snowy Sunday

I am never really sure what my style is when it comes to clothing so I have started to make a series of collages to give myself some idea of what I like. I have lost 2 kilos (that´s about 4 pounds) in the last few weeks and as a reward to myself I will buy new clothing when I have reached my goal. So I have been looking through mail order catalogues and fashion magazines and cutting out anything that appeals to me. I have almost finished sewing my skirt for "Sew? I knit!" and I will post pictures tomorrow. I really enjoyed it and sewing my own clothes is something I never really considered in the past.
It snowed all day yesterday and I needed something to brighten the day so I made a wreath for the front door. I used some willow branches from our garden (I usually cut some in autumn and keep them in the cellar, soaking them in water for a while makes them easier to bend) aswell as ceramic butterflies, stamped wood and ribbon (thanks again Chrissange!).

This is a lovely book that I received in the mail on Thursday from Claire. It took a while to get here but it was worth waiting for. I will get started on some of these lovely tags today. I have never really been into embroidery but it´s definately growing on me.THANKS CLAIRE!
I´m thrilled that Laini received my bag, if anyone else would like me to make them one, just drop me a line on and we can work out a swap or a purchase.
I hope you´re all having a lovely Sunday!

Friday, February 24, 2006


This post was inspired by Blue Dog and Meg.
This is my journal, I don´t write in it though - I prefer to
make collages. I asked my son to draw me an owl and
I liked it so much, I stuck it on the cover. I was never really
into writing until I started this blog and I try to make my
posts interesting to read but I have no aspirations to be a
writer. I have tried to start a written journal many times
in the past but it doesn´t work for me. I consider this blog to
be my written journal - I thrive on the feedback and love to
sit down to make an entry.
Collage is a different story...a collage can help clear my mind
before I start a new project and a visual story with colour is
more appealing to me.

This is a mixture of both and I love it. Thanks for the tip marie!
These are all words and names that I have written in my posts.
If you look carefully you just might find your names in there too!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


These are the two lovely fabrics I bought from Mr. Schlinder. I don´t know what to do with them yet, maybe some more owls or bags. I´m sure I´ll find some inspiration on Flckr.

I have made 5 squares for a patchwork quilt which I will use as a cover for my bed. I´ve never made a quilt before so I wonder how I´ll go. I plan to make a whole bunch of these squares and then use a different fabric in between to put them all together. I´ll probably have to hand quilt it in the end because it will be too big for my sewing machine.
I´m so glad Thursday is over, now I can get into a more relaxed weekend mood, I am really tired after teaching all day and then driving home in snowy weather.
Have a nice Friday everyone!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


This is for those of you who didn´t grow up in Australia.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Who am I?

Inspired by Meg´s post I am asking myself today "who amI?". Hmmmmm, very good question.
Claudia is my name but since I´ve been living here in Austria I have the nick name "Skippy". Anyone from Australia will find that really amusing and I hated it at first but I´m used to it now. I did the test Alexandra suggested, "Jung typology test" and the outcome was Healer Idealist (iNFp) . I have been reading through the description and it´s funny, although I never considered myself in any way introverted, I guess I am. Until recently I sang in a choir and it used to be great fun. When I joined the choir 9 years ago I loved to get dressed up to go to choir practice, I enjoyed going out for a drink afterwards, sometimes coming home quite late and I particularly liked the concerts, mostly on weekends. But these last couple of years I noticed a change in the choir...I couldn´t handle all the noise anymore, I had to force myself out the door every Friday night to go to practice, I didn´t want to go out afterwards - I wanted to get home a.s.a.p. and I made up excuses not to attend the concerts. I wanted to sing the way I liked and I was tired of being bossed around by the 2 people who run the choir because I felt that they often came unprepared and didn´t research the songs or think much about how they should be sung. I was frustrated so I took all my courage and quit. When I look back I realise that the choir hadn´t changed in the last few years, it was me! The singing wasn´t perfect and that wasn´t good enough for me.
This affects other parts of my life too. I love this house, the furniture, the colours BUT if it´s not tidy and perfect I have trouble relaxing. I am forever moving things around, cleaning up, looking for ideas in magazines...I can´t stop! I wish I could be happy with everything the way it is and just keep the house clean and organised and enjoy it, but I´m never satisfied.
I had my hairdresser appointment yesterday and I love the new hairstyle - but for how long? When I have short hair I think of growing it long. When I´ve spent ages growing it, I see a woman with a great, sporty short haircut and spontaneously go and get my hair cut short, and the growing process starts all over again.
One thing I haven´t often admitted is that my feelings are very easily hurt. I am an honest person but before I say something honest to someone knowing that it will hurt them, I bite my tongue. It hurts all the more then when other people don´t treat me the same. I don´t like to be criticised...I get emotional and just can´t handle it so I stay away from critical people.
So, who am I? I´m Claudia, I´m Skippy, I´m a mother, a lover, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an idealist, an artist, a cook, a gardener, a blogger and so much more.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Goodbye Mr Schlinder!

Yesterday afternoon Erich and I did one of our favourite weekend things, we drove to nearby Obdach and dropped in at the one and only trash and treasure store in a radius of atleast 60km. It was near to closing time and as we approached my heart sank when I read the sign outside "Closing Down Sale!". The lovely little old man who runs the place - Mr Schlinder, says he´s tired, he´s had enough, time to retire. People don´t want to buy in his shop anymore, they prefer to buy the cheap asian imports that you can buy on every street corner in the city. In 2 weeks there will be no more T&T shop.
We talked to him for quite a while, he seemed happy and sad if you know what I mean. He has often told us about his life and it´s been a hard one. He has 6 children who are now between 18 and 30 and when his youngest son was five his wife passed away and he got the family through on a widower´s pension and the small income from the shop. Whenever anyone wanted to get rid of their junk they brought it to him and he sold it really cheap.
He told us about the time that a young Hungarian couple came to him begging for some furniture and while he helped the young man load some free stuff into the car, the woman took all the money out of the register. He didn´t notice it until over an hour later and it was too late to do anything. A "city man" once tried to sell him some old wares and when Mr S. said he doesn´t buy but he´s happy to take what other people don´t need anymore, the man laughed and said he will go elsewhere and find someone who´s happy to pay him what he´s asking. The next morning, the old wares had been left in a box outside the shop door. He was full of stories but he wasn´t bitter, just laughing and shaking his head in wonder at all of his experiences. There was a deep sadness about him and yet he seemed satisfied.
We walked out of that place yesterday with a box full of old coffee set, some lovely vintage fabric, some small glass bowls, a foot stool, a beautiful old photo of an Austrian dancing group for my parents in Australia. When I look around our house I see so many things that we´ve bought from him in the past, objects that have their own stories, and as I was cleaning and putting away the new things yesterday I remebered the words I said to him when we left "Goodbye Mr Schlinder and thankyou! Good luck! "Same to you" he said, gave us a wave and a smile and locked the door behind us.

Friday, February 17, 2006

This week´s projects

I recieved this great swap package from Lindsay in Chesapeake. It was the
Feb. swap at

Thanks Lindsay!

I have prepared this parcel to be sent off to my swap
partner in the color-iffic swap-o-rama.

I made this funny cat with a Wee Wonderfuls pattern. It was much easier than I thought it would be. The owl was inspired by this on flickr and I made it with some of the lovely materials Lindsay sent me.

I am having a real love affair with sewing, I love the colours and watching things come together. My first patchwork quilt is in the making and I will post some photos soon.
The group Sew? I knit! has inspired me to try something new and sew a skirt. I have never completed a piece of clothing I could actually wear so wish me luck. I will be making this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

self portrait (tuesday) wednesday

This is what I would like to be. Not a sunflower exactly but someone who brings joy and colour to the world, spreading sunshine and warmth and happiness. I want people to see it and feel it when they meet me. I know I´m on the right track but there are still so many things I don´t like about myself.
The scales show a loss of 1kg since last week and I am managing to keep my focus away from food and eating by keeping busy and creative BUT there are more issues to my appearance than just my weight. I must put more time and care into my appearance so this week I will be looking for ways to highlight the things I do like and also improve the things that I don´t like. A visit to the hairdresser and the beautician are on the agenda aswell as a sorting through of my clothing and shoes. I am taking the advice of Sarah B:B when she says "make peace with your hair", "only wear clothes that you feel fabulous in" and "look the part, it will make you confident". I have neglected these things in the past and now that I am on the way to losing weight I must admit that it´s not only the extra kilos that make me feel bad about myself, it´s the feeling of being unbalanced again...of not looking the way I feel.
Has this ever happened to you? You´re walking along, feeling fab and confident and then you catch a glimpse of yourself in a shop window and think "is that me? Yuck,!" I want to catch a glimpse of myself and think"Wow, look at that gorgeous woman, full of colour and vitality!" and feel good about myself, NO DOUBTS!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


A lovely sight was waiting for me at breakfast this morning!
I made this log cabin pillow for Erich, seen here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

my 3 sons!

"What does HEAVEN mean to you?"Swirly Girl asked. I didn´t have to think about this one for long because HEAVEN for me is being a Mum to these 3 boys. I love them, they are unbelievably beautiful and clever and full of life and ideas. To hear them laugh is the most beautiful noise on earth, no music can compare to it.
It breaks my heart that their Father doesn´t play a bigger role in their lives and there has been many a night I´ve laid awake, thinking of ways I can make up for this and worrying about how it will affect their lives in future.
Daniel is the oldest at 14 and he is a logical thinker who loves reading about Samurais. He is great at school, very independent and he wants to become an analytical chemist when he finishes school.
Stefan is the dreamer, he is 12 and very popular at school. He hates tests and learning and will do only the absolute minimum to get by. He loves his long hair, is very sporty and is extremely considerate and respectful of others. He wants to leave school a.s.a.p learn to be a cook.
Markus is the youngest at 10 and he is wise beyond his years. He likes school and his biggest aim is to make the teacher happy. He cannot cope well when other people are disappointed in him and he loves animals, especially cats.
They all love reading, eating chocolate cake and playing board games.
There is so much more to these boys though, they have been through hard times and they have experienced many wonders. All 3 of them have travelled to Australia and Nigeria with me and we have spent many holidays in Italy and Croatia. The most wonderful time of the year for us all is summer because they have 2 months off school and we can enjoy the few hot, sunny days that we have here.
Many people I meet ask me how I manage with 3 children and if it´s normal in today´s world to have so many children (I couldn´t believe that question!) I wouldn´t want to have it any other way.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Many of you have asked where Reichenfels is, or Carinthia. Carinthia (K√§rnten in German) is the most southern state of Austria as you can see on the map. We have a 1 hour drive to the Slovanien border, 1 1/2 hours to Italy and 2 1/2 hours to Hungary or Germany. The major cities near here are Graz and Klagenfurt, both an hour away and to our capital city Vienna there´s a 2 1/2 hour drive, so as you can see, it´s quite a central location.The reasons why I love living here are; the location; the fresh air; the fact that it´s very easy to be considered exotic and a little crazy when everyone else who lives here is conservative; our lovely and spacious house; the government policy which allows you to have children and NOT lose one income; the distinct differences from season to season; white christmas.
What I don´t like about living here; emancipation is a foreign word (both men and women are discriminated´s frowned upon when a woman has a career and when a husband is too "hands on" at home); the school day starts too early and is too short (from 7.45am to 1.10pm ) ;the long distance and price to travel from here to Australia; the much too long winters and much too short summers; people don´t speak about their problems much, they would rather complain about the weather and other things that they can´t change.
There were many times when I felt homesick and misunderstood here but I´m glad I held it out, life is good!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh Happy Day!

I got a phone call this morning that my classes today have been cancelled because so many of my students have the flue - I´m sorry they´re ill but that means I HAVE A FREE DAY!!!!!
Erich bought me a new magazine yesterday so I had time to let it work it´s magic on me, it´s full of beautiful colour, furniture and lots of ideas for sewing projects - WONDERFUL!
I had a loooong breakfast with honey on toast, coffee and fresh orange juice and then spent the morning sewing and checking blogs. It feels unusual to be home on a Wednesday, like I´m doing something forbidden!
I must try to live like this all the time, every minute of this day seems like a gift, a moment to be savoured, I can see the beauty all around me so clearly and it feels great! I FEEL GREAT!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Self PortraitTuesday

52 Figments/5
Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
I will be devoting my S.P.T. entries to the new "me". The me that´s lurking inside, waiting to be let out,the defined me that wants to look fabulous, feel great and spread energy and sunshine all over the place without being held back by feeling fat.
This is a collage I made a few years back and I have decided to use it as my entry for "52 Figments". The collage was inspired by a book I have read over and over again by Sarah Ban Breathnach called " Simple Abundance". This book is so full of inspiration, quotes and wisdom...I absolutely love it!
Here is what Sarah writes about weight-loss: "Self-love is the only weight-loss aid that really works in the long run. Don´t fight your hunger, respond to it with nutritious food that appeals to all your senses, not just taste but sight and smell aswell.Trust your body, it will tell you what you need. Eat when you´re hungry, drink when you´re thirsty, sleep when you´re tired, get in harmony with your body through regular exercise, nourish your soul with meditation.
Every woman has a weight that´s ideal for her, at which she feels the most comfortable, has the most energy, feels well and likes the way she looks.
Go within and visualise her, See what weight she carries and ask her to help you achieve it with the power of love."
Isn´t that amazingly simple!? How often do we forget to love ourselves? Forget to treat our bodies with respect? I remember that Jamie wrote a post about balance , matching what´s on the inside with what´s on the outside that opened a new perspective for me. Now, let´s get those beautiful women inside us OUT for all the world to see so we can stop dreaming about what we´d like to look like and finally become that person on the outside too!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tagged again!

I´m really enjoying this!
What were three things when you were little you wanted to be when you grew up?
A shop assistant in a newsagency
A singer
A teacher
You can live one day over again from your childhood. What day will it be?
My 12th Birthday. I got my ears pierced and my mum took me to the hairdresser for a new haircut. In the afternoon all my friends came over for a party.
You have two minutes (and a mover with you if you need heavy lifting help!) to grab 5 things from your home before it morphs into a polka dotted hobgblin and hops away. What will you take? (Food/drink/family/friends excluded!)
My computer, my photos and albums, my books, my crafts, my chest of drawers.
You have to paint one quote on your kitchen wall. Whats it going to be?
A quote I found on Megg´s blog that I love! “Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, colour, sounds, and work that nourish you.” - Sark
What is one thing you want to have accomplished by the end of this year?
14 kilos less to carry around.
You are moving to the moon for one year and can only bring one flower with you. What kind will you bring?
A big sunflower. I would give it a name and talk to it, like Tom Hanks with his ball in Cast Away.
You just received word that aside from one flower, you can also bring five books with you too! Your choices?
- Chocolat, I agree with Megg.
-a travel diary.
- a book with advice for living and surviving on the moon.
-a really thick novel by Rosamunde Pilcher or Maeve Binchy that I haven´t read.
-the newest book on my wish list “Living in the Countryside”, although it would probably make me homesick.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


It´s lovely to wake up on Sundays...I open my eyes and wonder why I´m still in bed when it´s already so light outside, I listen to the silence for a few seconds because I´m usually the first one to wake up and then it dawns on me, it´s Sunday! I am delighted that the day lies ahead of me, no stress, no appointments, we can do whatever we feel like, eat at no special time, run around in pygamas all day if we want too, WONDERFUL!
Earlier this week I took part in my first group swap...the color-iffic swap-o-rama. I received my parcel from a lovely woman in France, it´s pictured above on the left. When I found the parcel in my mail box after work it felt like christmas. What a treat! I looked to see where the parcel was from and got really excited when I saw the french postage stamps, then I went inside, cleaned up the kitchen to enjoy the feeling of anticipation a little longer. I wiped down the kitchen table, made myself a cup of coffee and then I carefully opened the parcel and unwrapped my goodies. Every little thing was lovely! I immediately put the bookmark in my current book, hung the keyrings on my bag and displayed the crafty things on the shelf above my sewing table.
This morning, daydreaming in bed with the whole lovely day ahead of me, I decided that I would make something out of the material and the rose that Christine sent. I bought some nice linen a while ago and after a few hours at the sewing machine, I now have a lovely table runner. I use to love pink when I was a girl but people teased me about it and as I got older I went for other, bolder colours but I must admit, even today I LOVE PINK!
In the afternoon Erich and I dropped into a little junk shop not far from here. I have taken a picture of what I bought...some lovely little chinese bowls, small glass bowls for ice-cream, a sugar bowl and really old cream jug and a vase that has intricate porcelain flowers on it. I am looking forward to spring when there are trash and treasure markets on almost every weekend. We sell, swap and buy and the children are really into it aswell. It´s a great way to pick up second hand books, furniture, craft materials and toys that we could never afford otherwise.
Now that Sunday is coming to an end I look forward to a new week, a new challenge and all your new posts that I find so encouraging and uplifting. Come on new week! I´m ready for you!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Tagged:4 things

Four jobs I've held
Babysitter in my neighbourhood (I was 12)
Pharmacy assistant (part-time, during high school )
waitress (for 1 year between travelling)
English trainer and translator (current job)
Four movies I could watch over and over
My big fat Greek wedding
Four Places I've lived
Rooty Hill, NSW Australia
Bondi Beach, Australia
Abuja, Nigeria
Reichenfels, Carinthia Austria
Four T.V. Shows I've Watched
Gilmore Girls (I love it!)
Northern Exposure (I am currently trying to get my hands on all the DVDs of this series)
Any home decorating show like Changing Rooms
Four Places I've Vacationed
South Africa
many places in Europe between Cologne and Rome
Four of my favourite dishes
steak with jacket potato, sour cream and onion rings
Chinese food
fried calamari with garlic
Four sites I visit daily
Starshyne Productions
Four Places I'd rather be
Australia (to get away from this winter)
Canada (to see where all these wonderful people come from)
England (to help Megg with the gardening and to buy books and magazines)
I like it where I am too!

Friday, February 03, 2006

OK...I have made a decision to change something and I´m putting it here in writing for you all to read as I am going to need some help. After reading the words of Alexandra, Megg and Laini I have decided to get my body in shape.
As long as I can remember, this has been on my mind. Was there ever a day when I didn´t wake up and think "ok, today I am going to lose weight." I haven´t felt really good in my body ever...although there are times when I have other things on my mind so I don´t think about it so much but most of the time, wanting to lose weight is a fixture in my brain. There are days when I don´t care, when I think "stuff it, you are as you are and that´s fine" but then I see a photo of myself or catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window and think"oh, is that really me!?". The picture I have of myself in my head is not the same as the one I see when I look in the mirror and I want these 2 images to come together - like when a picture is unfocused and you turn a knob to make it clear and sharp - that´s what I want. Not a perfect size anything but a healthy, defined Claudia.
Your posts have really forced me to challenge myself, to ask myself what I really want. The exercise on 52 Figments fits right in too: create a self-portrait of your most fabulous self. How can I put that on paper and then be happy with myself as I really am? I want to BE my most fabulous self!

Here are the steps I am taking as of this moment.
1. Eat only when I am hungry and don´t overeat.
2. Workout with the Pilates DVD that has been collecting dust since I bought it 3 months ago.
3. Drink 2 litres of water each day.

I hope you will all give me your advice, tell me about things which have worked for you and maybe even join me on this challenge.

my life path number

Your Life Path Number is 8
Your purpose in life is to help others succeed
You are both a natural leader and a natural success. You are also a great judge of character.You have a head for business and finance. You know how to make money.A great visionary, you can see gold where other people see nothing.
In love, you are very generous - with gifts, time, and guidance.
You love to inspire people, but it can be frustrating when they don't understand your vision.Great success comes easily for you. But so does great failure, as you are very reckless.You are confident, and sometimes this confidence borders on arrogance.
What Is Your Life Path Number?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Megg has been writing about books in her latest posts and it´s really inspired me to take a closer look at my bookshelf. As long as I can remember, I have loved books. I still have a couple of novels that I read when I was a young favourite was "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" which has just recently been popular with my children. I really liked the idea of stepping into a wardrobe and going into another world...or opening up a book and stepping into another world. I often lingered over the last page of a novel for ages because I was sad to leave the book´s world, it was so hard to say goodbye to all the characters and not know how the story continued. When I was older, my friend Bettina kept buying me the most amazing novels for my Birthday or Christmas. She introduced me to John Irving and I have most of his books. I later discovered another wonderful writer Edward Morgan Forster who wrote my 3 favourite books of all time "A Room with a View", "Where Angel´s Fear to Tread" and "A Passage To India". It´s amazing how some writers can describe things in such a way that makes it seem as though you´re right there with the characters. Rosamunde Pilcher has a reputation as a romance writer here in Austria so her books aren´t taken very seriously but I love the way she describes houses, people and landscapes.
In recent years I have had a tendency to reach for other books like decorating, cooking or craft books. I also love any type of book which depicts real people, their homes and lifestyles. There is a 3 storey book shop in Graz which I can spend hours in, I have to give myself a money limit before I walk in the door or I would buy more books than I can carry. It was there that I discovered this book, I am hoping to get it for Valentine´s Day.
In the town where I work, there is a library which has quite a wide range of books but not many in english. I usually borrow some decorating magazines and if I really like the issue I´ll buy it for my collection. I made the "I love books" bag for us to take to the library as the kids were always forgetting where they had put their library books. Now, when they are finished reading, their books go in the bag which hangs near the front door and if we decide on a spontaneous visit to the library I just grab the bag.
Now it´s all your amazing blogs that I can´t wait to read every day...a world full of inspiration and creativity right here at my finger tips. Thankyou all for letting me in!