Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sunday Scribblings!

"If you sweep a house and tend it´s fires and fill it´s stove and there is love in you all the years you are doing this, then you and that house are married, that house is yours."
Truman Capote, The Grass Harp
It was a series of coincidences that lead me here but what´s keeping me here is this house, our home. We had to save for it while we were planning it, work for it while we were building it and I had to fight for it while my marraige was breaking up when the children asked me to promise them that we could keep on living here. Here there is colour and laughter, it´s our haven, we can be ourselves here, we decide how people are treated, who comes in the door and what goes on inside these walls. Here are the people we love, some in flesh and blood and some smiling from the walls. Here we live, love and dream. I found the above quote in Realsimple magazine and it describes perfectly my relationship with this house. I am in love with my partner and I adore my children but I am married to this house and it´s the reason why I live where I live.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Happiness in my mailbox!

I received the most amazing things in the mail me materialistic, I just loooove gifts, swaps and unique hand made objects.

These little "hugs" are from Sara in Portugal, I made her a bag and received these goodies in return... 2 hugs, a notebook, a book on decorating boxes, some fabric and a little blue couple ( look here).

This amazing parcel came from Cassie, my trade partner in Open Yours trade 04. I put together a little hobby package for sewing and she sent me this knitting one. Beautiful yarns, a knitting magazine, needles and 2 bags she knitted and felted herself! Aswell as a lovely journal (this will be my gratitude journal from my 101 list!) some cute chicken tissues, 2 lovely magazines, sweets and a little surprise for the boys!

I can´t say thankyou enough!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

101 things in 1001 days!

101 things in 1001 days

1.Give away 50 things that I own to people who will appreciate them more than I do.
2.Learn more about permaculture-gardening and grow enough vegetables to feed my family for a larger part of the year according to permaculture guidelines.
3.Take apart the wardrobe in Markus´ room and cut it up for firewood.
4.Take back overdue library books.
5.Buy tiles and finish the upstairs toilet.
6.Clean the oven.
7.Finish answering my “Life Aims” questions, print the posts and put them in a journal to remember the journey.
8.Sew a pair of casual pants.
9.Rearrange the furniture in Markus´ room.
10.Help Erich finish the furniture for Daniel´s room.
11.Walk 30 minutes a day starting today.
12.Sew a messenger bag to take to work.
13.Sew a new curtain for Daniel´s room.
14.New curtain for Stefan and Markus.
15.Paint a mural on Markus´ wall.
16.Sew a bean bag for Daniel.
17.Rid the drive way of all firewood and leftover building materials.
18.Paint the woodwork on the 2 balconies and the stair-rail out the front.
19.Paint the walls in the kitchen and sew new curtains and seat cushion covers.
20.Buy wood for the steps and finish the staircase.
21.Finish the upstairs bathroom.
22.Buy and lay tiles on the steps in front of the house.
23.Change the central heating from oil to wood burning.
24.Hang up a mirror over the chest of drawers in the hallway.
25.Make a room divider for the bedroom to hide the mirror at night.
26.Make a family scrapbooking album and use up photos hiding in boxes in the living room cupboard.
27.Go freelance by the end of 2006 - teaching english with more creativity.
28.Hand in financial paperwork punctually by the 15th January 2007.
29.Hand in financial paperwork punctually by the 15th January 2008.
30.Hand in Financial paperwork punctually by the 15th January 2009.
31.Start an online shop for bags and pillows and other things made of fabric.
32.Write a poem.
33.Write a short story.
34.Write an article on interior decorating, with interviews and photos and send it to a magazine.
35.Have 3 seperate dinner parties and invite atleast 4 people to each one.
36.Spend a 2 week holiday in Italy.
37.Spend a 2 week holiday in Sweden.
38. Buy and read Cynthia Rylant´s biography.
39.Paint the upstairs hallway.
40.Decorate a shadow box for each member of the family for Christmas 2006.
41.Prepare a message in a bottle and throw it off the cliffs at Kiama, NSW.
42.Set a wedding date.
43.Paint a mural on the wall in Markus´ room.
44.Start a gratitude journal.
45.Knit a pair of socks.
46.Learn to make delicious pasta from scratch and stop buying packaged pasta.
47.Learn to make my own bottled tomato sauce for pasta.
48.Help Erich make a solar dryer for herbs and dry my own herbs from the garden.
49.Find a local farmer who sells healthy poultry and eggs.
50.Grow my own potato crop.
51.Clean out the freezer.
52.Learn how to use Excel.
53.Have a party for my 40th Birthday and invite only people I like.
54.Reach my goal weight of 85 kilos and stay that weight for 6 months.
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.
56.Finish knitting the jumper I have started.
57.Plant a native Australian tree in my garden ( a winter hardy one).
58.Take the box of old black and white photos that my grandmother left me a try to find out who is pictured from people who knew her.
59.Make a family tree book with photos and descriptions of people in our family (going back to my great grandparents).
60.Go to the dentist. ( I am terrified of dentists!)
61.Have a health check-up.
62.Find basic make-up for daily use and USE IT!!!
63.Find a perfume that I love and spray a little on every day.
64.Have a shower first thing in the morning and get dressed “to my shoes” before I do anything else for 21 days in a row.
65.Buy some espadrilles.
66.Finish sewing the shirt I have started.
67.Sew 2 new skirts to take to Australia.
68.Write down 20 ways to avoid argueing with my family while visiting them in Australia.
69.Write down 20 ways to avoid being intimidated by my family while visiting them in Australia.
70.Write down 20 ways to be nice to family while visiting them in Australia.
71.Drink 2 litres of water a day for 60 days and see if my skin really improves.
72.Hold a scrapbooking workshop.
73.Organise a Christmas market, advertise and promote it, organise a visit from the press and make sure there is an article about it in the local paper.
74.Invite 6 ladies over for a tea party.
75.Arrange for my regular payments to be booked directly from my bank account.
76.From May 2006 onwards, put an amount of money in a savings account for Stefan monthly and have it locked for 6 years so he can take out the money when he turns 18.
77.The same for Markus in December 2007.
78.Check passports and organise visas for Australia.
79.Buy a pair of good quality shoes.
80.Buy a pair of good quality boots.
81.Find jeans that fit and are comfortable.
82.Watch the sunrise on Magnetic Island.
83.Swim nude.
84.Cut sugar and white flour from my food plan for a month.
85.Look through videos, label the ones to keep and throw out the rest.
86.Fill 5 video tapes with films and tv shows to give to Mum and Dad in Australia.
87.Buy an ipod.
88.Fill the ipod with music and podcasts.
89.Buy a plant for the bathroom corner.
90.Put up a new blind in the bathroom.
91.Clear the guest room of clutter.
92.Clean the guest room and touch up the paint.
93.Throw away the old couch in the guest room and replace it with a bed.
94.Spruce up the boys´ old bikes and sell them.
95.Throw away the old toys lying around in the garden.
96.Clean the window next to the entry and plant flowers in the planter box.
97.Sweep the stairs outside aswell as all the terraces.
98.Take the garden furniture outside, clean it and paint it.
99.Make 2 cuddly owl pillows and give them away to a charity.
100.Take the children for a haircut.
101. Sort out my scrapbooking supplies and store them - easily accessible - in the bedroom cupboard.

Now I need a coffee break!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday Scribblings!


I read this book (the symbolism is much more meaningful than in the film) and I felt like Vianne. I was new in town, everyone thought I was wild and crazy, I didn´t want to adapt, I felt the power that religion has over the people here and I had neighbours who looked over my fence to check the state of my house and garden.

I want to have Vianne´s powers, to make something which awakens desire, courage and joy in others. I want them to feel my presence, to see why I love life, to feel my warmth and energy and be inspired by it. I want them to stop making so many rules, stop believing they are not worthy of happiness, stop judging and see and appreciate all this beauty they are surrounded by.

I don´t want to feel like a stranger here and have the wind calling me to move on. I want to stay and make a mark, I want justice - like in the novel - I want the bad guys to be seen for what they are and I want people who have wronged to regret their mistakes and move on unwilling to make the same mistakes with others. I want the "gypsies" to be able to stay, I want the loud music, the dancing, the friends and the food, I want to feel it all and know that it´s wonderful right there, in that moment and not afterwards when the moment has passed and I have only the memories.

That feeling when you bite into chocolate and the taste sensation hits your tongue, warms your mouth and sends the message to your brain that this is something good, something wonderful, you are alive and feeling a sensual pleasure, living in the moment. It´s that moment of pure joy that I want to carry inside me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I have been asked by Meg to "Spill Ten Beans About Myself " so here goes!

1. I lost my virginity at 17 in a car.

2. I hated science and mathematics at school...I prefered art, english and german because I didn´t have to study a lot to have good marks.

3. I went to uni after school intending to become an interpreter and translator...I dropped out after 6 months.

4. I moved out of home shortly before my 19th Birthday to live with my boyfriend.

5. My first real love was a jewish guy and we lived together for 3 years. His parents refused to talk to me because I am Austrian and the reason why I came to Europe was to get away from him.

6. I had my 1st child Daniel by ceasarian and my next 2 children naturally, my husband was not with me during all 3 births.

7. I was always the first to find out about the gender of my children ( the gynaecologist and I that is), usually around the 5th month of pregnancy and I couldn´t believe my luck with each additional boy. I lived in fear of having a daughter because I was sure I wouldn´t be a good mother to a girl.

8. I have a shower every morning and I can´t remember a day when I didn´t wash my hair before leaving the house.

9. I love having my back rubbed.

10. I am almost 40 and I still don´t know whether I believe in God...I think the catholic church has confused me more than guided me. There are times when I believe that there must be a god and a deeper meaning to this life but there are plenty of other times when I am sure that life is just one big coincidence.

Anyone else want to spill the beans???

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Life Aims continued

These are some of the things that have been keeping me busy. Erich and I were away at his parent´s farm for a few days at Easter and we had a chance to sleep in and relax. On Tuesday he started his new job and he loves it...he´s doing carpenter work for a building company in Wolfsberg and he works regular hours (no night shift!!! YAY!!!) and they have agreed to give him 5 weeks off in July so our holiday plans to Australia are secured!
As soon as I can collect my thoughts and some images I will give a summary of the 21 day Challenge which was fantastic BUT too short. I am more inclined to make a 101 Things in 1001Days list like Jaimi.
Anyway...time to answer the dreaded questions...I have been carrying them around with me and I think I know the answers now.

What have you not been successful in in the past? I have not been successful at losing weight, having my house and surroundings perfect and saying "no" out loud instead of saying "yes" while my thoughts scream NO!I have not been successful at doing what I want!
What were you only partly successful in doing? I was partly successful in various jobs, keeping up to date with taxes and paperwork and being punctual.
Where did you fail?I have failed in many things ... usually plans that I make because they seem attainable and important BUT then I don´t carry through, lose interest or have to admit that they were unrealistic. I have also failed at making the most of my money. I don´t mean earning more or wanting to be rich, I mean using what I currently earn to live a quality life within my means. I have failed in accepting myself and others but I am learning to let go of this constant drive for perfection.
Which weaknesses and deficits can you recognise which played a part in not coming through?
I recognise that often I want to do too much at once. I have a weakness for getting side tracked so staying focused has not been one of my strengths. I have some great ideas but I lack the courage to follow through. I often don´t plan ahead well enough and an obstacle (that I should have seen coming!) knocks me off my feet. I often have trouble accepting things as they are - although I must say that this has improved dramatically since I started the challenge - my character has definately become more positive and things can´t throw me so easily. I see so much negativity around me - outside the blogging world - and often can´t understand why others aren´t high on life aswell when there is so much to be happy about.

I really feel like I´m on my way, I feel more focused since I´ve started looking at myself more closely and not finding reasons for failure somewhere else. We all have the strength to improve but first we must know what it is that we´re not happy with. Whether it´s where we live, our job, the way we look, our relationships or whatever...we must find out what´s eating at us and then change it - WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HAPPY!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings!

"When we were wee."When my children are grown-ups, I hope they will remember :
"When we were wee we had a great Mum, we felt loved, we laughed a lot, read a lot of books, travelled all over the world, had great friends, loved the house we lived in, had a lot of fun, knew that we could do whatever we liked when we grew up...when we were wee, we were HAPPY!"

Friday, April 14, 2006


my spring bunny
Originally uploaded by chestofdrawers.
I am catholic but I don´t consider myself very religious. I do although, love traditions and Easter here in Austria is full of them!
On Good Friday all the Easter meats (ham, roast pork and roast beef) are cooked and roasted for Saturday´s feast but no meat is eaten, which is not easy to stick to with all the wonderful smells in the air! The cooked easter eggs are coloured with dye...this year we will have green and yellow ones. These are given to friends and family as a symbol for new life.
On Easter Saturday all the Easter meats are placed in a basket with sweet, white Easter bread, eggs, horse-radish and salt and pepper and taken to church to be blessed. Last year Erich took over this task and he was literally the only man in the church - the gathering and preparing of food is strictly women´s work here in central Europe (not at our house though!). After the blessing ceremony, the family sits down to eat a mixed platter of cold meats, we also eat salads and vegetables and cheeses but it´s not typical. One thing that Austrian´s love which I refuse to prepare ot eat is beef tongue!!! I almost fell over dead from shock the first time I saw the sausage like piece of meat and said to my mother in law "look at that funny sausage, it almost looks like a tongue!" and she replied "it is! A beef tongue, delicious!" and started cutting it into slices. I would rather starve than eat a tongue!
On Easter Sunday chocolates and Easter eggs are hidden in the garden for the children to find and most people then go to church. I am looking forward to spending a relaxing Easter Sunday with my family. It´s finally starting to warm up and resemble spring just a little so we will be outdoors as much as possible.
I wish you all a HAPPY EASTER, whatever you´re doing!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

In the mailbox!

A few months ago I had only the occasional Ikea catalogue to look forward to when I collected the mail...things have certainly changed since I started blogging!
I thought that generosity was non-existant, that people had stopped being thoughtful and that greed had taken over the world but ALAS! I am proven wrong again and again.
I have received the most wonderful things in the mail these last few months from people who I now call friends, generous, thoughtful and talented people with an interest in spreading some magic!
These are pictures of the lovely treats I have received this week...Thankyou Singasong! Thankyou Midwest-transplant! Thankyou Vintage Pleasure!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Relaxing, sitting in the sun, birds singing.
Excitement in the air, school holidays!
Apples in a ceramic bowl on the kitchen table.
Looking at the children, playing with the last bits of snow.

Laughing together, living together, loving together.
Imagination running wild, feeling good.
Far away thoughts, what if...
Eggs to colour, baskets to make, Easter around the corner.

That´s my REAL LIFE today, Sunday 9th April, 2006!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Life Aims continued

Rhonna´s quotes really hit home for me! This challenge is about change, about learning to appreciate what I have, about not wasting time and money on things that don´t give me happiness, about becoming a better, more focused person. Answering the Life Aims questions and focusing on the changes I want to make during the 21 Day Challenge is really changing me...I am having to face many truths that I´ve been putting off, I am slowly coming face to face with myself. I can see my talent, my uniqueness, my positive self...but now it´s time to look at the side of me that drags me down, that keeps me small, my "bad angel"- that little criticising voice that reminds me of all the things that can go wrong. Here is the next set of questions:

What have you not been successful in in the past?
What were you only partly successful in doing?
Where did you fail?
Which weaknesses and deficits can you recognise which played a part in not coming through?

I know it´s going to be really hard to answer these questions without regretting, without wishing to turn the clock back, without finding reasons not to like myself because of past failures. Check back soon for answers.

If you have just found my blog, you may want to start at the beginning with the Life Aims questions so here are the links. Week 1, week 2, week 3. It´s a 10 week challenge and I am really enjoying getting to know myself finally in the year of my 40th Birthday!

Monday, April 03, 2006


Rhonna´s quote is perfect for how I´m feeling on this challenge. I am ready to make the most of what I have. I am ready to answer my life aims questions...I woke up early this morning and just listened to the peace of our sleeping house. No distractions, just the calming rythm of Erich´s breathing to help my thoughts along.

What things have you been successful in, in the past?

I have been most successful when I´ve had to work under pressure. My best ideas have come out of needing NOT wanting. Needing to finish a project on time, needing to have a new idea to solve a particular problem, needing to find a job to support myself. Wanting is not enough to get me moving. When I "want" to get something done I let myself be sidetracked. When I "need" to get something done, I am a woman on a mission, centered, focused and determined. That´s why the 21 Day Challenge is perfect! There is a time frame, there are people watching. That´s another point - I love attention! There, I´ve said it. When I was a kid everyone was always telling me to stop attracting attention but I wanted people to see me, to love me and to applaud me. And I want it now be successful I need applause!

Which talents and capabilities were decisive in achieving those successes?

Creativity, seeing potential where others don´t recognise it, thinking positive and using the negative attitude of others to fire me on rather than drag me down, not giving up!

This process is really beginning to work...I am feeling calmer -although in the present situation I should be freaking out! - I am feeling more focused. And although I am not buying anything new, I feel more abundant! I can see how much I have, I can appreciate this life, these children, this home and not spend my time thinking of what I don´t have, what I´d like to have or what I can´t afford. And one thing I noticed this morning...I am not thinking about food! My stomach is getting the chance to talk to me again, to tell me when I´m hungry rather than having me ask it "are you ready to eat again?".

We must learn to recognise our talents, to be proud of who we are and what we have achieved...I know that some of us have been taught not to flaunt ourselves but why shouldn´t we?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Scribblings!

What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?
I would start freelance as a translator and english trainer. I would teach differently - now I work using the books and learning aids of a speech institute so there is a particular method and pattern I must stick to. I would love to use things like collage, talking about books (like in a book club), art and music in my lessons to make it more interesting for both the students and myself. I would be away from home only 2 full days a week and on these days I would have a cleaning lady to do my ironing, dusting and to clean the windows and floors. I would work from home as a translator aswell to earn extra money and be near the children. I would translate novels, short stories, magazine articles and travel journals...all the things I love to read myself.
I´m in a practical state of mind right now.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A challenge, within the challenge, within the challenge!

I´ve had a few days of being freaked out here but I´ve calmed down now.
First my car broke down on Wednesday and when I had it checked the mechanic told me that the turbo is broken aswell as some smaller parts - this apparently comes from driving to and from my home here in the mountains ie. driving downhill with a cold engine and alternately driving uphill and stopping the turbo too quickly while it´s hot. My car is only 4 years old and I absolutely love it because before this car I owned only old wrecks that I had problems with every other week and it´s a very safe car with 4 wheel drive.
On Thursday Erich got a call from his boss about 5weeks holiday that he asked for a while ago as we have booked a holiday to Australia this July for my 40th Birthday. His boss said that the winter was so long and there´ll be loads of work to catch up on in the timber industry for the rest of the year and under these circumstances Erich can have no time off this summer. We cannot cancel this holiday as we´ve booked everything, when Erich told his boss this he fired him. Now we have 3 months to go before our overseas holiday and only one income - my little one.
We picked up my car this morning and with all the spare parts and mechanics hours we paid €1,400. We had to use money that we´ve saved for our holiday...up to now I´ve been thinking "3 whole months to go before we fly to Australia" and now I´m thinking "Oh my God! We fly in 3 months already!".
This has put a whole new edge on my Life Aims, make the most of what you have and use what you have challenges. I must meet these challenges now, I have no choice. I am being put to the test!