How to Map the World

You could say I'm in the mood for pinboards these days... I just did another one! I always wanted a huge map of the world to mark the spots that I've already been to - I think it's a fun way of keeping track of journeys and they usually look pretty on walls. My only problem: I'm decorating my bedroom colony-style, meaning lots of dark wood, an escritoire, rich and earthy colors... which makes it completely impossible to put up a modern map with bright colors and a glossy surface.

So *tadaa* here we go: my solution!

I bought an ancient looking map (that isn't really up-to-date, but who cares) in Venice and a simple plate made of cork in the hardware store nearby. Nothing spectacular involved, I patched the map onto the board using simple glue and then went to hunt down a fitting frame. I found one looking a bit like worn leather and I'm kind of proud of the finished product. I can't wait to stick in some needles...

What do you think of it?


A Special Dress for a Special Occasion

After some time I finally decided to use my sewing skills again, namely for making a dress to wear to a wedding in October. The fabric I wanted to use was bought about five years ago in the embroidery store Ernex in a western part of Austria. Initially, I intended to wait with the dress because it was my mother who bought the fabric and she wanted to make a blouse out of it. However, until now she didn’t have the time to make it, so she gave me permission to use whatever I need to sew my dress – and when I took a look at the fabric I remembered that we bought 5 meters of it anyway, so there should be enough left for her project.

I more or less designed the dress around the fabric and the cut I came up with is nothing too special, since the material is already very elaborate.

The first part of creating a piece of clothing is always the one I like less – making the pattern. So this is where I usually go to my grandma for help, as she used to be a seamstress and knows how to make a pattern by heart whereas I would probably have to use instructions and waste a lot of time with calculations and brooding over whether I am doing everything correctly.

The pattern of the dress was made very quickly, so please don’t look at it too thoroughly. A professional seamstress would probably scream in horror when setting eyes upon it, seeing as we didn’t exactly follow professional standards for drawing it (at least not according to today’s standards).

Anyway, after finishing the pattern we cut all the pieces and I started to sew the lining. I hung the finished part on another dress so you could see it better. After that, it was time to start on the actual piece and we had to be very careful with the material, since there were lots of delicate sequins and pearls that could easily come off if you pulled the wrong thread.

For the border of the neckline as well as for the belt I used an old fabric that I had left from making a skirt a while ago and decorated it with an ornamental seam to make it more interesting.

The creation of the whole dress took a few weeks because there were breaks in-between and sometimes I had to wait for my grandmother to stop by us again and help me. Without breaks, it would have probably taken me two or a maximum of three days to finish it.

For now, I am only showing you one picture of the finished piece and a close-up of the fancy seam so you can get an idea, but you’ll have to wait until October to see it worn properly ;)


  1. The filter I used for the pictures is once again from Carrie's lovely blog WishWishWish.


Music in Your Ears and Pictures in Your Head

As a big fan of film music I absolutely had to go to the annual “Hollywood in Vienna” event held at the Konzerthaus. I first heard about this event last year when attending a class about film music and its important part in supporting the narration as well as other elements of a movie.

The Film Music Gala Concert was first held in 2007 and has since been organized each year, except for 2008. This year, the music pieces focused on the soundtracks of Harry Potter, How To Train Your Dragon, E.T. and a few other great melodies.

All the guests were asked to appear in a ‘festive evening dress’, so naturally my mother, one of my sisters and I tried to look our very best! This was a change to last year’s gala, as in 2010 we didn’t manage to get tickets for the actual event but for the final rehearsal where the dress code wasn’t that strict.

Dress - made by me
Tights - Music Legs
Shoes - bought in Greece

As it so happens with music that you have heard before, it often produces certain pictures in your head, which is even more the case when talking about film music. The music pieces that were played on this evening all reminded me of certain scenes of the movies they were featured in, while on the big screen on stage you could also see real pictures from the specific movie.

As always, the Gala featured a few famous personalities, local as well as international. There was the Austrian designer Nhut La Hong, who was originally born in Vietnam and functioned as the official designer for this year's Gala concert.
Also in the audience was the orchestrator Alastair King who is probably most famous for conducting some of the Harry Potter movies. He also got to conduct one of the medleys from the Harry Potter series played at the gala. A few other people that came on stage during the course of the concert were the famous harpist Xavier de Maistre, Austrian singer Nadine Beiler (who interpreted the song "Believe" from The Polar Express), German actor Gedeon Burkhard (as moderator) and Alan Silvestri.

La Hong

Interviews with Alastair King.

After a short break, the second part of the evening started, which was entirely dedicated to one of Hollywood's greatest composers: Alan Silvestri. He was the recipient of this year's Max Steiner Award and therefore the second half of the concert featured only scores that he composed.
The musical pieces played during the gala were from the following motion pictures: The Abyss, Father of the Bride, Contact, Mouse Hunt, Death Becomes Her, Van Helsing, Night at the Museum, The Polar Express, Back to the Future, The Mummy Returns, and Forrest Gump.

Nadine Beiler, after singing the Grammy Award-
winning song "Believe".

The Film Music Gala Concert ended with a theme from the new movie Captain Ameria: The First Avenger and after that, the ORF Symphony Orchestra as well as the conductor, John Axelrod, left the stage to take their well-deserved break after a long, great evening of magical and inspiring music.

From left to right: Michael Balvagy, Sandra Tomek,
Alan Silvestri, Christian Oxonitsch, (don't remember),
Alastair King.
Left to right: Sandra Tomek, Michael Balvagy, Nadine
Beiler, Alan Silvestri, Christian Oxonitsch.

P.S.: I apologize for the quality of some of the pictures. Even though my camera has a really good zoom not every picture turns out perfectly, but in general I'm really satisfied with the photos it gives me.



Squid Squad goes Fashion Week

On Wednesday the Vienna Fashion Week  took place in the Museumsquartier  in Vienna. It was the third time this event was held and Sophy and I had purchased tickets for the opening show featuring the young designer Rebekka Ruétz.

Dress & Belt - from a shop in Fifth Avenue in New York
Purse - Delle Vega
Shoes - bought at a boutique in Greece
Necklace: Tiffany & Co
Dress: Fifilles Paris

Ruétz was born in Austria and finished her studies in 2008. Her own designer label was created in 2009, so it’s still pretty young and it was probably the first time for her to take part in the Fashion Week. On her website, her design is described as a combination of “the visible and the invisible in an entirely new perspective to the world of fashion”.

The most striking aspects of the collection we noticed were on one hand the fact that the designer used mostly light fabrics, in combination with leather, and secondly that the colors were mainly brown, light purple and beige. As usual, the models all had a similar hairstyle and – rather unusual – they all went barefooted.

At the event itself there were actually not as many people as we expected, but it was only the first day, so maybe more people came as it continued. Still, I had thought that the opening day would be a bit more ‘crowded’.

The advantage of the lack of guests, however, was that we were lucky enough to get seats near the front, giving us the perfect position to snap pictures without too many heads blocking our view.

The Fashion Week ended on Sunday, the 18th of September, with an “Urban Fashion Night” featuring four different labels. This year we only went to one show, but let's wait and see what next year has to offer!

Hailey & Sophy


A Pot Without Tea

When I went to buy essentials at the supermarket a few days ago, I found a pinboard shaped like a teapot among the writing materials. It looked kind of lonely the way it was lying there, so I took pity on it - now it's hanging in my small kitchen, brightening up the wall.

The corkboard is attached by screws only, so I was able to make the teapot even more pretty (at least in my opinion). I bought a small piece of the fabric pictured above at Herzilein Wien, loosened the screws of the board, cut the cloth to fit its shape, simply glued it on and - voilà - had a custom-made pinboard. Hope you like it:



La Serenissima

I've been to Venice quite a few times in my life, mostly in summer and usually only for a day trip. However, this year I've been there twice and one of these stays lasted a few days, including one very peculiar opera performance (in a broken down palazzo with only fourty or so other people in the audience), the standard tourist route, a very expensive lunch at Caffé Florian and a monastery turned hotel. But when I returned - only a few weeks later - I wanted to do something different, so we explored the lesser known parts of the city and stumbled across a few shops and nice spots worth visiting:

At the Campiello del Tintor we found this little antiquities shop with a black cat "guarding" the entrance. The store was stuffed to the ceiling with old books which were - oddly enough - stored in boats. Like, whole boats nailed to the wall or propped up in the middle of the floor. Weird, but funny - especially, since the backdoor practically leads into one of the canals. It seems that people in Venice have an abundance of old vessels, if they use them as furniture...

Cover: "Do not pet the cat"

I bought a huge mask-like brooch from Atelier Marega, one of the many shops selling - surprise! - masks. However, I didn't see these brooches anywhere else, so I'm kind of glad I picked it up the moment I saw it. Right beside that mask shop lay yet another flourishing business: A woman sold pretty funky jewellery - huge pendants made from various semi-precious stones.

Mask from Atelier Marega

Since there are rather many women in my family, the males had to bow to our superior *ahem* willpower and carry the bags collected while shopping. They even were nice enough to buy us desserts at Caffé Florian (which I come to really love, despite their insolence of charging € 6 per person for the "musical entertainment").



Portraits of Portugal

For ten days one of my sisters and I had the opportunity to explore Portugal! We started off with one week of surfing, as Portugal is the perfect location for this sport. And with us being total beginners it was no surprise that after the first day we were covered with bruises and suffering a major muscle ache! However, that did not stop us from continuing and with all our efforts we managed to stand quite well on our surfboards by the end of the week.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to take many pictures of our time in the water, since we usually didn’t take a lot with us to the beach, and when we finally wanted to bring our camera we managed to forget it … However, one of our fellow surfing novices borrowed us his camera so we have at least proof that we really did gather some surfing experience.

Our afternoons were usually free and we spent them exploring some of the cities in the neighborhood. We usually hopped into our rented car and drove to Mafra, Sintra or Ericeira to gather some cultural knowledge. One day it was really foggy, but apart from that we mostly had perfect weather!

In Mafra, we visited the National Palace while in Ericeira we usually went to a bar called “Sunset Bamboo Bar” to use the free Internet it offered. And finally, Sintra was the city we visited most. We managed to make trips to the National Palace, an old mansion called “Quinta da Regaleira”, the Castelo dos Mouros and – my personal favorite – the Palace of Pena. I had wanted to see the last one after I had found pictures of it online before we started our trip and was really looking forward to going there – and I wasn’t disappointed.
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but you can at least take a look at the palace itself, it’s the colorful one with the beautiful architecture and nice details.

Left: Top - H&M
Jeans - Vf Outlet in Florida
Right: Top - from a store in Greece
Vest - ordererd somewhere, forgot where
Shorts - Dateless

After five days in our surf camp and a last excursion to Sintra on our sixth day we returned our car and made our way to Lisbon to explore the city on the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. First we took a ride on the old tramway “Electrico 28” – that’s just part of the tourist experience! – and visited the Castelo de Sao Jorge. During our next three days there we also visited the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao dos Descobrimentos), the Tower of Belém, the Oceanarium, the Palacio dos Marqueses de Fronteira, the Convent of Carmo and some other monuments.

In the end, we felt as if we had seen nearly every part of Lisbon, which resulted in a loss of ideas on what to do on the afternoon of our last day, but fortunately the city offered a few more attractions, one of it being an exhibition celebrating fifty years of fashion Barbies. My favorite here was the puppet of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf!

Our journey around the city was documented on lots of photographs and it was not easy to choose the best ones, but I hope you’re happy with my selection.
If any of you are planning to go to Portugal soon, I can only recommend to include a visit to Sintra, since it really offers a lot of things to see but is not as well-known as Lisbon.