Saturday, October 8, 2011

About Fab Frau October 2011

Peace and Harmony for Fab Frau in Hurstbridge.

Ever had a time in your life where you've felt like every thing and every one you've ever known, and all your belongings were in a very big box with you and then some giant picks it up, gives it a damn good shake and tips the whole lot out? Splat! What next? Sitting in a pile of rubble that was one's life is rather overwhelming and painful. What do you pick up? What do you leave in the pile? 'Oh, my arm hurts, I can't pick that thing up.' Hurt and no energy to go on.

Talk about a loaded question, and over the top (or bottom) answers but that pretty much sums up what my life has been about during the last few years, the last two in particular. Three years ago my family and I moved to beautiful St Andrews in bushland in Victoria, Australia. What dreams we had for our massive tree change. 15 acres of serenity, gorgeous native animals including and featuring heaps of kangaroos, an echidna, wombats, bats, huge moths, gorgeous ducks on the pond quite literally - well, dam and lots and lots of different birds. We had a huge deck to survey our sanctuary from the world. Dusks were magical, the moon took on a fab witchy vibe and the sounds of the happy frogs singing were such a joy.

For my husband all of the above was nice but the massive machinery shed and another garage were evidence of his love of his new land....especially the contents - a Harley Davidson motorbike, a dirt motorbike, a quad bike, a ride on mower - and plans for more boy toys including a tractor. For him acreage meant not having to put his motor bike on a trailer to go off and enjoy a ride. The theory was he could 'just throw his leg over and kick it in the guts' and off he'd go.

For me my dream was to set up a gorgeous studio and follow my passion for vintage and sewing and make funky creations with vintage fabrics. This ambition followed on from a career starting as a junior in advertising to behind the scenes in media including radio and television, to running my own little PR business and then back to television and that time instead of hanging around journalists all day in current affairs I played in the wardrobe department as a personal assistant. I started sewing as a very young girl and being in wardrobe stimulated my creative juices so after that episode I went off and learned from a fab rag trade woman who taught industrial sewing techniques using the over locker. I'd also written a book that needed (and still needs) a re-write - so my plan was to sit in my haven and get creative in peace and harmony after many years of selling hot air. I wanted a piece of real, and some fiction of my own creation.

I had a vision of seeing my husband walk across a paddock in his flannelette shirt (that was yet to be purchased), fit and healthy and away from his desk and computer and his self-made chains of workaholicism.

Our 14 year old son was getting dragged along but was coping with the idea because he didn't have to change schools and his bedroom was freakin' enormous with an ensuite. It was a huge house. He also got a quad bike to get his thrill of the acreage.

Home is where your heart is.
This beautiful heart was a gift from a very talented metal sculptor
named Peter who frequents the St Andrews Market.

Well, life threw our family a massive curve ball. My healthy ambitions for my overweight and overworked husband were too late. Ironically, I kinda sorta got the quality time I'd always wanted from my marriage - just wasn't the shape or form I'd intended. One week before moving day my husband was in the ER and by the end of the day we'd learned he had the dreaded 'C' word - cancer. After several days and tests and a biopsy we found out it was advanced kidney cancer. The simple little word 'advanced' meant there were already secondary tumours in his body. I really don't want to go into all the gory details but there was a massive operation to remove his kidney and other tumours that took him three months to recover from to some degree. Lots of chemotherapy and tests and all sorts of complications following. 18 months after his ER visit he passed away surrounded by his family, including siblings and parents. To say there have been tears before, during and after bedtime is an understatement. I really don't want to wear the whole of my heart on my sleeve and I don't want to share details of hurt and pain that hasn't gone away - just pops up in different places from where I might expect. I'm viewed by many as 'strong' and I was concerned at one point during the funeral process of doing a 'Lindy Chamberlain' - but in truth my bravado, even on that horrible day was just an extension of the months and months of my routine of soldiering on for us all. So much of nursing my husband was nursing his mental attitude and placating his many 'sorries' and trying to instill a calming and positive attitude in the face of so much crap, pain and heartache. I'm a sob my heart out in private kinda girl. (I actually deleted during an emotional moment the posting I put up about losing my husband so if you see a link somewhere on my blog it won't show up.) I don't need or want every man and his dog to know of all of my woes and I don't find it comforting at all to cry in someone else's presence. That I've learned the hard way, really upsets some people. But anyway, this posting isn't supposed to be about all of that just to share the big gap in posts and explain my absence basically due to sheer exhaustion from recovering from sleep deprivation, a busted up heart, having to sell our tree change asap because my late husband left us with a whopping mortgage and quite a bit of mess. Still, it's been very hard to have to do so much moving and planning etc straight away but my son and I are so very grateful to be living in this area. We love it here.

Home sweet home, in Hurstbridge.
Our cottage from the back garden.

Anyway, lots of breaths (and wines!!!) later my darling son and I are now living in a gorgeous cottage down the road from St Andrews in Hurstbridge. A lovely village - and it really is still a village - and the wonderful bonus is that we are in easy walking distance of the train station. What a freedom for the two of us! It's fantastic. Our gorgeous cottage (to be totally honest at this point in time otherwise known as my eBay warehouse since the removalists brought all of our treasures from storage recently!) is just a lovely place to live. I'm sooo grateful to the Universe because it's quite a girly house in many respects but earthy enough for my son to love it too.

This whole story has been a long winded intro to let you know about my new life - that is finally up and running. I now have three stores on eBay - Fab Frau Fashion with a focus on Bohemian, Retro & Vintage clothes and accessories, Frock Sorceress for some more modern and polite pieces and my newest store Fab Frau Vintage Country Emporium. This last store I have opened because I realised how many fab pieces I had for my 'one day house' - and now that I'm here in my gorgeous dream cottage I can't fit them all in so I'm going to share.

I've designed my new life to be centred around the gorgeous home and area I live in. No more traffic jams for me, thank you very much. And it is so very, very important to me to 'live real' - so I've built plans to make my living selling gorgeous things that I truly love handling. I've had these aspirations, or versions thereof, for around five years now - a bit scary saying that out loud to myself but here I am - still excited with my visions. In the last few years I have been a researcher extraordinaire about working on line and despite the hardships I've managed to network with some fantastic people - so here I am in my dream home, with my wonderful son who is now 17 and our gorgeous dog, miniature schnauzer Hans who will be three in January - and I'm beginning my new life.

Hans, Fab Frau's companion ;)

I plan to update at least weekly and I'm intending to include snippets of our cottage, of lovely Hurstbridge and surrounds, my companion Hans and of course some fab found and made treasures from my stores.

If you've managed to read this far, thank you because it's a rather long posting! I'm not planning to write a book intro each post in the future *grin*

On a lighter note I'll leave you with some pics of my gorgeous 'model' - mannequin whom I've named Clara - a Barbie Doll for grown up girls - lots of fun.

The lovely Clara enjoying the afternoon air from the cottage.

Clara wondering where her cocktail is now
that she's slipped into some vintage comfort.

Fab vintage bag with some new bling.


Thanks so much for stopping by.


Suzy ;)


  1. Suze.....thank you so much for are an always were for that matter...I was always impressed with how you left school earlier than the rest of us and ventured out ON YOUR OWN! Financially supporting yourself whilst us slackers (your classmates) stayed at home cocooned with our parents, you took on adult responsibilities way before the rest of us....we should've known then that you are THE survivor amongst us. You should be so proud of have faced what we all dread and best of all, you've stayed beautiful with it all. Dave will be so proud at how you've handled this unbelievably tough situation with dignity and poise. Good job Suze, much love Nannette xx

  2. Thanks, Nannette, very much. So glad we've stayed in touch all these years. Suzy xxxooxxx