Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Featuring the most original living room I know! 

My friend Stephanie is a collector extraordinaire and this is her realm. Every corner is worthy of admiration, especially when you know most of it was found or thrifted. I never get tired of looking at her things, and the place is so cosy and inviting, visits always last hours longer than planned. One day I will post photos of my apartment when it's a little more together, but it will be rather drab in comparison to this explosion of color, flora and collectibles...

Monday, April 28, 2008


"Life is nothing but noise between two unfathomable silences". 

Isabel Allende says,
"We have very busy lives - or we make them very busy. There is noise and activity everywhere. Few people know how to be still and find a quiet place inside themselves. From that place of silence and stillness the creative forces emerge. There we find faith, hope, strength and wisdom. Since childhood, however, we are taught to do things. Our heads are full of noise. Silence and solitude scare most of us".

I was one of those kids who read a lot and generally spent a lot of time alone, daydreaming and making things. A rich inner life developed which makes me feel stressed when too many outside demands are made on me. I find it hard to relate to people who feel they have to always be on the go, or have the t.v on all day so not to feel alone. 

There are so many benefits from spending time alone:
  • you can really relax and unwind
  • you can get to know yourself and take the time to discover what you like and dislike
  • you can reflect on your experiences and put things in perspective
  • you learn to be independent
  • you get to enjoy your time with others even more
I like this blogger's answer to why people need to spend time alone:
"People need to reflect on things that happen everyday - how they feel, act or respond to certain situations and how their emotions and behaviors affect others. They need to focus on their priorities, plans and relationships. They need to have time to cherish these private thoughts that may be harbingers for solutions and creativity".

So take some me-time and remember, alone does not equal lonely!

Nature and Culture

A friend and I spent the day in Klosterneuburg, wandering around the monastery and taking in the sun.

We also checked out the Jörg Immendorf exhibition at the Sammlung Essl. Immendorf died last year and the show is a tribute by his long-standing friends and art collectors, Agnes and Karlheinz Essl.

Immendorf often has so much going on in a painting, you could cut out a segment almost anywhere in it, and have a meaningful piece:



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Scarf Action

I never wore a scarf until seeing them on several style bloggers and realizing how they really pep up an otherwise dreary outfit. I also discovered how cheaply they can be thrifted. Now my collection is growing almost weekly. Here are the most photogenic:

Sunday, April 20, 2008


At the zoo (never again on a Sunday!), I was admiring the big cats as usual. They were all sleeping, but while my brother and I were standing in front of the tiger compound, one of them got up and strolled right over to chomp on a leftover lying there. It was 20 cm away, with only glass separating us. So fuzzy, you felt you could cuddle with it, but those incisors ripping through the meat told a different story...


from artfiles.art.com

I love coral. I love its color and organic shape. A while ago, I found these two swatches of coral pattern material...

...and recently made (well, I had my tailor do most of the sewing since I don't own a machine) little cushions out of them! Why do those cats always seem to know when I am about to take pictures?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finds of the Day

Thrifting on Friday yielded these raw silk curtains for the (still dreadfully bare) entrance, and cute salt and pepper shakers. Is it obvious that I am into round things?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Something to Remember Me By

Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901)

A tradition some may deem morbid, but that I find enchanting is the century-old making of art and jewelry out of human hair either to give as a token of affection, or to commemorate the loss of a loved one. The latter are called mourning pieces and reached their height of popularity during the 19th century (after the death of Prince Albert when Queen Victoria went into deep mourning). Hair was usually braided and the braided pieces sewn together, but landscapes and floral design also were created. Here are a few examples from Things Gone By:

More Victorian beauties can be purchased at Erie Basin, a lovely store in Redhook, New York, whose website I love to browse every month:

Late-Victorian peapod brooch

Coral mourning pin

Victorian classical lava cameo earrings

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beauty Transforms

Roses from a friend

Beauty is: 
the quality present in a thing or person 
that gives intense pleasure
or deep satisfaction to the mind

Right now, what gives me intense pleasure and deep satisfaction is thrifting (or charity shopping) for my home. The psychology of appreciating things more when they are hard to find definately plays a role here. It also trains the eye to spot subtle beauty in a pile of trash or to see something that looks like nothing but can be transformed when placed or combined attractively.

I've never been much of a collector, and with my regular decluttering fits, I find my new and bigger apartment extremely bare. My aim is to decorate it slowly and lovingly, because where best to create pleasing surroundings than the place one comes home to - and in my case, due to a painting phase - spends a lot of time in? Just waking up to a lovely atmosphere in the bedroom puts me in a good mood right at the start of the day!

Whatever your definition of beauty, it is worth extending it to all aspects of your life, as beauty's capacity to generate pleasure, healing and connection is divinely powerful (Carrie & Danielle) and affects maker and beholder every time. It can be found or created in things, activities, or (being with) certain persons...

What is beautiful to you? 

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wit and Wisdom

Another weekend devoted to good old BBC - this time their Jane Austen collection. I am already at the half-way mark, having watched "Northanger Abbey", "Persuasion" and "Sense and Sensibility", leaving the best - P&P - for last.  People certainly knew how to enjoy a visit with friends or relatives in those days, staying over for weeks, if not months. Enough time to get to know all their host's social circle, and make a suitable match!

The above photo is of Anne Hathaway as Ms. Austen in "Becoming Jane", also a delightful movie, with a rare and exciting meeting of minds between her and Tom Lefroy, if the story is true. But alas, no happy uniting of their two lives (as their hearts were) such as is always the case in her novels...

Thankfully times have changed since then, and people do not depend on wealthy and often imperious elders for their wedded bliss anymore. Being able to choose our partners for ourselves, however, and that from the many possibilities of meeting people literally at our fingertips, has rendered dating in this day and age a confusing affair - which is why I recommend a book I received several birthdays ago: 

From the inside cover: "With clear sight, common sense and good judgement, (Jane Austen) observed the hits and near-misses of her heroes and heroines in love. Dating certainly hasn't got any easier since then and Lauren Henderson believes that today's singletons could use some of that Regency wisdom.

This is the only dating guide based on stories that really have stood the test of time. It's a fun, insightful book, full of concrete advice and wise strategies that illustrate how honesty, self-awareness and forthrightness do win the right man in the end and weed out the losers, playboys and toxic flirts". 

Happy weeding, my dears!