Donnerstag, 24. Dezember 2015

Vienna Christmas Magic

The last four days I spent in Vienna on a pre-christmas visit with my delightful brother.

We hadn't made many plans apart from buying concert tickets to the Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach at the Musikverein. It was very festive and amazing!

Then we had a hot drink at the market. I decided to give the mulled wine a miss as it doesn't agree with me, but I can wholly recommend hot orange juice with spices.

Apart from that we had Schnitzel and Palatschinken and of course: Kaiserschmarrn!

We visited Castle Schönbrunn for a walk and a Kir Royal at the Gloriette.

We went to the Prater for a ride with the Giant Ferris Wheel.

And to the Albertina museum to see some art.

Our hotel, the Hotel Alma,  is small and quiet and beautifully located near the city centre. Only 5 minutes walk from the Stephansdom and close to the river.

I reckon Vienna is well worth a visit no matter what season but it sure knows how to decorate for Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Samstag, 19. Dezember 2015

Wonky December

This has been a really strange December and the past three weeks I’ve found myself in a terrible slump.  At the office I’ve been very busy and at the same time felt the days stretch ahead like chewing gum.
I tried to pull myself out of it with a visit to the wonderful Christmas market at the Wasmeier Farmhouse Museum and enjoyed spending time with my sister, deeply inhaling the clear alpine air and every food and drink that came into my vicinity.

This week found me at the Hypokunsthalle again, visiting the exceptional Gaultier exhibition. I can’t say that I am a fan of Haute Couture but I am deeply in awe of his creative genius and phantasmogastic costumes.

Dowager Countess of Grantham, can you see it?

Gotta love denim!



I’ve already penciled in the next exhibition, a retrospective of the Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla, on show between March and July.

Now that I have shut the office door behind me for the final time this year, I can hopefully switch off completely and find my inner Christmas elf.
There’s still a ton of presents to wrap and a suitcase to pack, cookies to bake,  a concert to go to and then a flight to board. 

Most of all, I am looking forward to the magic of New Years Day and the promise of new beginnings and opportunities, leaving tears and heartache behind.

 A Merry Christmas to all my readers!

Sonntag, 22. November 2015

November Blues

This has been a unseasonably warm and weird November! With temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius and emotions running high both at the office and at home I felt really low and drained.

On top of that I felt strangely uninspired at the sewing machine, trawling through the internet for gift ideas for christmas, fearing that my inner sewing goddess has shut up.

This past week I had leave from work and spent it at home, feeling tired and listless, frustrated that I didn't get through my chores as quickly as planned. I hardly got anything done. Only a bit of sketching which still gives me lot's of pleasure. 

But maybe I needed that. Maybe my body had decided, I needed a break and lot's of sleep. This morning, on my last day of leave I look outside my windows at the rain and snow, as the temperatures have finally dropped. Proud that I have managed to sort out my balcony with hours to spare before the snow arrived. I needed to empty the flower pots and stow away the furniture.

While I put away some stuff in the basement, as well as my winter boots I got out my Christmas decorations and from the balcony I carried in my selfgrown tree. I hope it will thrive inside. 

Thinking of Christmas, I feel optmimistic for the first time in weeks. Just before Christmas Eve I will travel to Vienna with my brother for a short break, involving lot's of mulled wine and Austrian delicacies.

After Christmas it'll be time to start in-depth planning for the next big Australian Adventure in July 2016. I'll be touring Queensland and am looking forward to countless teas and coffees with the delightful Lady A. Now if that's not enough reason to finally cheer up, I don't know....

Sonntag, 1. November 2015

Autumn Hiking

Last Friday I joined a bunch of very energetic, young colleagues on a hiking trip to the Brunnsteinhütte, right at the border to Austria. There were 18 of us and the weather was beautiful. It took us nearly to hours to reach the chalet or mountain hut where we gladly fell over some refreshments.

After a short break my colleagues headed on towards the summit but I just couldn't face it, having thouroughly overexerted myself with the climb to the hut.
So I stayed behind on my own, sitting on the sunny terrace, sketching and enjoying the breathtaking view. 

At first I regretted not having brought my Kindle e-Book-reader but in the end I enjoyed the forced time-out with nothing to distract myself. Nothing but pen and paper.

We had arranged to stay the night and watched the sun vanish behind the mountains before we headed inside for dinner.

It was amazing to watch the time pass, the fog rise, the night sky. The accomodation was very basic though with only a compost toilet about 50 metres behind the hut and  no hot water.  The dormitories were freezing and we didn't get much sleep, although the reasons for that were probably large amounts of alcohol...

In the morning, after very basic ablutions and breakfast we shouldered our backpacks and headed down the mountain again, meeting lots of early-bird hikers on the way up. 

I won't ever forget the beautiful views and ever-changing skies during our time on the mountain.  

Montag, 26. Oktober 2015

Autumn Glory

Please excuse my absence, I have been slowly adjusting to autumn and it's been fairly quiet here in my wonky world. 
I have printed out some of my Lisbon photos and assembled a photo book of my Lisbon photos.

 I continue to get inspired by my environment, e.g. yummy bread sketches in a bakery.

I am still sketching and painted the shoe box, which holds my paints, pencils and brushes. 

Only today I bought another online sketching course and will of course tell you more about it, once I started the classes.

I have woken Sissi the sewing machine from her summer hibernation and started with some light mending. All summer long I have collected ideas and inspiration on Pinterest, which I seriously love,  in preparation for the gift production. With christmas less than two months away it's time to knuckle down and get going!

Montag, 12. Oktober 2015

So what happened to the 30-sketches-challenge?

you might well ask. With all the excitement of the Lisbon adventure I forgot to tell you about it.

I did it! I managed to make one sketch every day all of September. I have to say, I was very glad when the 1st of October dawned but I'm also quite proud of myself. So here's the last few:

The most important thing now is to keep it up, to make it a habit, maybe not a daily  but perhaps a weekly one. The aim is after all the next travel sketchbook.

Here's me trying to keep it going:

Sonntag, 4. Oktober 2015

The Lisbon Sketchbook

I know, you have all been on tenterhooks how my travel sketchbook turned out. So here are my Lisbon sketches. I'm fairly happy with the result. Most of all because sketching made me pause, sit down and look. Something we should all do more often in daily life.

Number 1:


 Number 2:

At the airport.

Number 3:

First dinner

 Number 4:

Igreja de Santa Engracia

Number 5:

At the Castelo de Sao Jorge

Number 6:

Ponte 25 de Abril

Number 7:

Cristo Rei

Number 8:

Carmo Ruins

Mittwoch, 30. September 2015

Lisbon - city of light!

Lisbon is a magical place full of sun and light! 

Here are a few tips for your visit:

1. Get a Via Viagem ticket for the Metro, trams and ferries at the airport. It's a bit like an oyster card and you can upload any amount. We put 15 Euros on it and didn't use it all up in 5 days.
It's valid for one year after purchase.  Transport Lisboa 

2.  Try the local fish and wine specialities for example at "Babete" restaurant in Calcada do Duque.

3. Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge. You get marvellous views over the old town and the river. There's a restaurant and a coffeeshop, where you can get sandwiches and drinks for eating in the sun. The countless steps to the castle walls might be too much if you're not steady on your feet though.

4. Take the ferry to Cacilhas to get a different perspective on the Ponte 25 de Abril (or the Golden Gate Bridge as I call it) and the Cristo Rei statue.

5.  Visit the ruins of the Carmo Cathedral also known as the Museo Arqueologico do Carmo.

6. Have drinks in the evenings at your local outside bar.  I loved the Porto Tonic and the Caipirao.

7. Go for a ride on the legendary Tram 28!

8. If you love your custard tart go for a Pastel de Nata or any other of their baked goods!

9. Watch the sunrise or sunset from one of the many miradouros (viewpoints) around town.

10. Try to learn at least the most basic phrases like Bom dia or Boa tarde and most important of all: Obrigado/obrigada for Thank you! 

And last but not least: Don't forget to relax!