Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Technology and Children

Wild wallabies and curious children at Daisy Hill Koala Centre

Following on from yesterdays post, I have been musing about technology and children and how navigating these murky waters can be so difficult. I have seen it often with my friends and family, and I have used their experiences as inspiration in making my own decisions regarding the consumption of technology in our household. I know my children are growing up in a technological age, but I resist the possibility of them being sucked in to a world of video games and you tube clips. We are not without technology in our house. My husband and I both have smart phones, we have one lap top and one tv. However. we have no games on our phones and no games on the laptop. We have no ipads or ipods. We do have Foxtel (as part of our internet bundle) and Netflix - which is purely a luxury. So what they do get is limited access to the television, where they can choose which programs they want to watch.

What I have found is that my children do not miss what they have never had. While many of their friends are spending hours on computers and ipads each day, they have access to neither. Last year Cohen had used Reading Eggs on my computer for Prep, but he has out grown it now, reading chapter books instead. He has occasionally asked for games like minecraft, as his friends play them, but he soon looses interest in the idea.

I don't want for my children to be technologically illiterate. I know computers will be a large part of their future. But I also see how unhealthy habits develop quite young, and how important mindful carers are to ensuring children don't shun outside play in favor of virtual worlds of their creation. I'm quite sure that computer games have their merits, and that there are important lessons that can be learnt from them. But with a six, three and one year old, I also feel there is plenty of time for that in the future.

How do you handle technology in your house? 
Does the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa?


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homeschooling Mainstream Schooled Children

Frozen moments in time from the Beenleigh Historical Village

I've often thought about homeschooling my children. Guiding them in a nurturing environment to reach their potential by encouraging them to be creative and follow their passions, while avoiding many of the negative aspects of the schooling system. I have so much respect for parents who homeschool and take on the challenges and rewards of educating their own children. My husband has a much more mainstream attitude to schooling however, and I'm not sure I could balance the responsibilities of educating all three of my little ones, while still keeping my creative spirit nourished with my business. (I still think about it though!) My husband and I do share the same philosophy on early childhood, which means we don't send our children to childcare or kindy, and they start school in Prep. I understand it is such a personal thing for each family, these are the decisions that we have made that are working for us. I'm pleased to be their full time carer and be so involved in their early learning.

I find homeschooling blogs and websites are a great resource to compliment mainstream schooling. I'm engaged as much as possible with Cohen's education at school, and daily learning with all three at home. With my eldest in Grade one, this means prioritising homework and reading at home, meeting with his teacher weekly, discussing the social and educational aspects of his day to day with him, and encouraging his involvement in activities like Science Club during his lunch time. With all three children I endeavor to create a positive, fun learning environment at home and on holidays, with visits to galleries, museums, animal parks, and the Historical Village pictured above. Together is give us opportunities to explore, play, absorb, question and find answers.

I believe a well rounded education is the most important thing we can offer our children, after a safe and loving home and family. With the growth of technology we have little idea what the job market will demand of our children in ten to fifteen years time. But I believe a love of learning, strong curiosity, flexibility and creativity will put our little ones in the best position to find their way in the world. And for me, that means mixing mainstream school with homeschooling.

What does your education journey look like?


Some great resources and interesting reads I have found lately:
Motherhood, Screened Off - a great article that suggests narrating our use of smart phones to our children, so they feel included, not excluded each time we pick our phone up
Socialization: What I learnt from school - so many great points raised regarding the things we inadvertently learn in school, like that is is 'uncool' to be smart
20+ Home Science Projects for Kids - from silly putty to salt crystals
Homeschooling on Pinterest - so many great posts

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sneak Peek - 'Follow Your Dreams'

 Hand made Sterling Silver stud drops

I have been working on a new collection of everyday earrings, in a minimalist circle and oval design. Each piece will feature different finishing touches, from polished to hammer finished, brushed to oxidised. I will be releasing these handmade sterling silver earrings to my newsletter subscribers soon, so if you want to find out more, add your email address to the list!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mulberry Crumble Recipe

660 grams of Mulberries
Much more delicious than they look!

Hooray! It's Mulberry season! And the tree we planted in our back yard a few years ago is bowing under the weight of it's delicious fruity covering. I  have been picking the berries daily, eating them for breakfast, leaving a bowl out in the kitchen (so that as a result my children are often sporting berry stained faces and fingers), sharing them with friends, and stashing some in the freezer. Yesterday I had an especially fruitful forage (see what I did there?) and had an excess of Mulberries. Oh, how rich I feel to have not only an excess of Strawberries, but Mulberries too. I've been craving thinking about Crumble since the first Mulberry turned from green to deep purple. Yesterday my friend celebrated her birthday, so what better excuse to make Crumble? One for her and one for me us.

You can make this simple deliciousness with almost any fruit that you are rich in. I'm thinking of making another with Mulberries AND Strawberries. I know, yum...

Mulberry Crumble Recipe 

(makes one thick crumble, or two thinner ones as pictured.)

500 grams of Mulberries (more or less)
2/3 cup of sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 grams of butter (I use Nuttelex for a dairy free version)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Rinse berries and pinch off the green stems, pop in a large saucepan with the white sugar. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved (which smells awesome), then cover and simmer for ten minutes, or until berries are soft but chunky. 

Spoon in to an oven proof dish.

Combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, rub in butter with your finger tips. Sprinkle over berries and liquid. 

Bake for 25 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.


Enjoy with custard, yoghurt or ice cream. Or just straight from the oven....

Tip - if you have excess Mulberries that you want to freeze, but you don't want them all to stick together, wash them and pinch off the green stems, lay them on a baking dish with baking paper (or aluminium foil if you have run out) and pop them in the freezer. When they are frozen you can bag them up like berry ice cubes in resealable bags. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Two & Twenty Years

'twenty years at sea on this little paper boat...', in the front window of Paper Boat Press
A delicious display of Christmas decorations
Behind the gallery, the studio where everything is made
Three sets of hands at work filling trays and trays with ornaments

I visited Paper Boat Press this past weekend to join in their 20 year celebrations (and begin my Christmas shopping). I was so pleased to join in the festivities and support Kylie and her staff as they commemorated two decades of creativity, growth and achievement. How inspiring it is to see Kylie's talents successfully shared with so many.

As a result I found myself reflecting on the past two years, when I made the decision to turn my hobby in to a business, and how far I have come in that time. As I await the arrival of my first logo printed jewellery boxes I realised that over that two years I have crossed everything off my five year plan. From appearing at Finders Keepers Market (twice) to creating a professional logo, from making a $1,000+ sale online to orchestrating a professional photo shoot and creating a look book, from being stocked in a bricks and mortar shop to having jewellery boxes custom printed with my logo. Two years ago these were the highest goals I thought I could achieve in the next five years. They seemed so far out of reach when I made them.

I can't imagine where I will be in eighteen years time, as I am sure Kylie couldn't either. But with her inspiration as a warm, generous, welcoming member of the creative community to guide me, I am going to dream big and write another five year plan. Her positive role modeling reinforces for me that anything really is possible in the future in terms of living my creative passion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pick Your Own

Berries for days
Rule breaking one year one old...
$23 well spent

We are two days in to two weeks of school holidays in these parts. Holidays that I found myself particularly looking forward to as they approached. The idea of doing nothing in particular was so appealing; the six year old and I both needing a break from the school-day-routine. Some time to do nothing in particular. Sleep ins, reading in bed, long pajama clad mornings. And so it was we approached the holidays without plans, but rather a 'potter and play' attitude. 

Our first outing was a last minute whim organised with friends over the wonder of Facebook messenger, in which one can have a conversation with several people all at once (remember when that wasn't possible?) As a result three mothers guided seven children through row upon row of strawberries, and we all delighted in the chance to 'forage' for our own berries. Furthering our delight were the strawberry ice creams for the children, and the huge $6 boxes of 'small' strawberries each Mama brought home with her.

I recounted the details of our day to my husband as I hulled and froze that box of berries, and felt rich not only in strawberries, but friends, children and simple pleasures.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Best Seller for Anniversaries?

The Signet ring is such a classic item of jewellery and one that transcends so many styles. Its basic design can be reinvented in so many ways. From feminine, understated, minimalist and vintage to modern, bold, and covered in bling, depending upon how it is personalised and what it is paired with.

It really is the perfect canvas for personalisation. Initials, dates, names, crests and symbols can be hand engraved on top or below the plate. While gemstones can be set alone, in pave, or in a pattern. There are so many possibilities to make this handmade ring unique to you and your loved one. It is such a lasting way to express your love and celebrate a milestone.

For all these reasons it has become my best selling anniversary gift!

Love it too? Pin it to your wish list!

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Golden Pearl with a Golden Leaf

The raw materials

Rolling the silver to shape

The ring formed up and ready to be shaped

Checking the depth of the setting

 With the addition of the 9ct gold leaf

 Ready to be polished and for pearl to be set in place

Sometimes a job just flows from start to finish. There are no complications. Just a calm and joyful sense of achievement at each step of the process, as you channel years of learning and practice in to the making of an item. And so it was yesterday, making this beautiful pearl ring for a client. 

She had emailed me an inquiry about creating a piece for a Golden South Sea pearl that she had brought on her travels. I asked a few questions about what she had in mind, I sketched a few ideas and gave her a quote. She gave me further direction on the design and I produced a few more sketches, then she selected the design you see before you.

I love that technology gives me the opportunity not only to work from home and sell online, but also to work with clients all over Australia, and even all over the world, to produce custom made pieces.

This ring came together seamlessly yesterday during the babies nap time, and then after dinner. The customer has already given me her approval, as I sent her these progress shots as I went so she could see her piece being made. So today I need only polish it up, and glue the pearl in to place, before sending it off to its new home.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Little Stories

My blog turns seven next month. (Seven!) Which means my first born will celebrate his seventh birthday before the year is out, for I posted those initial, self-conscious and naive blog posts while awaiting his arrival. What started out as a way to write and encourage myself to be creative each day, also became a way to document the early days of mother hood, my creative aspirations, and eventually the beginning of my business. 

How my blog and boy have grown and changed over that time, and just as certainly, myself also. When I was pregnant and first started blogging I couldn't cast my mind forward this far and try to picture it. I couldn't even picture what my baby would look like, the scans showed grainy ghosts of images that I could never truly reconcile with an actual baby. I spent my time imaging the birth and those first few years, where we were both new and awkward in our roles, and I learnt to mother him as he learnt everything he knows up until this point. What a gift that has been. To watch him, guide him, love him and learn all there is to know about him. Then slowly let him drift off in to the world of school where he will experience things I'm not there to share, and that he will have forgotten about by the time I walk him home and ask about his day. But oh, all the little stories he does share. His favourite Pokemon character. A game they played at lunch. The boy that took his hat. The girl he is in love with. A new wish list of party attendees for his seventh birthday. The largest animal in the world. So many little stories and room for so many more. Each one perhaps inconsequential, but making up a tiny part of a greater whole.

I feel my blog is so much the same. Full of little stories that I've captured with words and images over these past seven years, with room for more. More moments captured. More musings detailed. More inspiration shared. And so I continue to write.


I found this lovely article called 15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog. It is just the thing to those who may be thinking about starting a blog, those who are feeling that they are in a bit of a blogging rut and even those that ask themselves - why do I blog?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Forgetting Kindness

Surrounding myself with beauty - $6 well spent at the grocery store I think, for this potted Kalanchoe. :)  #flowersmakemesmile

Feeling grateful for chubby baby cheeks perfect for kissing, vegetable soup on a cool day, my favourite outrageously orange thrifted cardigan, blueberries growing on the deck, and the prospect of sitting quietly with my knitting and a cup of peppermint te

Asked by the lovely @mooseandbird to share one #fromthecuttingroomfloor Windowsill ephemera that caught my eye last week. Want to join in too? @harrietbyhand @belyndahenryart @evie_barrow
I'm re-posting this blog post from August last year, as just over a year later and I find myself in the same kind of place where I forget to be kind to myself and I hit a wall. Perhaps, like me, you need a reminder right now to change your mindset in order to lighten your load.


Do you ever take a step back and look at the cycles that keep reoccurring in your life? Like the continual cycle of finding balance, maintaining balance, loosing balance and finding balance again? I've become aware of several such cycles lately and by paying attention to them, I have been making progress on changing the things I can change, and trying to accept those things I can't. One such cycle for me revolves around my expectations of myself. When things are running smoothly I expect a lot from myself. As I meet these expectations I expect more, and more, until I have put so much pressure on myself that I hit a wall. Then I have to stop, lower my expectations and be kinder to myself. I found that wall on Monday. As a result I have been reminding myself what being kind to myself means, and I think we all need that reminder sometimes.

Eat right, sleep right, exercise right
We all know it, but it's the first thing that tends to get out of balance when we are busy, and it's the thing we need to get right to feel rested, energised, and mentally and physically healthy.

Cut yourself some slack
It's time to lower your expectations, take the time frame away from the to-do list, prioritise the things that matter and practice self-compassion. Ask yourself, does 'this' matter to anyone else but me?

Let down the mask and others will too
It's easy to think that everyone except you has it all together, but the moment you open up about your perceived failings, you will find that others are experiencing them too, or are faced with their own struggles.

Take time to talk
To your partner, your family, your friends, and even strangers. A problem shared really is a problem halved. Turn off the tv and talk about your day, meet for coffee and discuss parenting tactics that are working, go for a walk and reminisce about happy memories from the past. Talking helps us feel understood and supported, and it often helps us work through what's troubling us, and find solutions.

Practice being in the moment and quieting your monkey mind
Mindfulness. Meditation. They are both ways of calming and focusing your mind. My mind goes 100 miles and hour and is full of to do lists, anxieties, future plans and a whole array of random thoughts that my brain presents to me unbidden. The mind is a machine that never stops working, not even when we sleep. So trying to quieten that machine is difficult, and I am still learning. But taking a few moments each day to really focus on a task you are doing, or sit quietly and focus on your breathing while recognising your thoughts and letting them go again can help you better manage stressful situations.

Stop comparing 
Comparison is the death of happiness, so stop comparing yourself to others. You can't have everything, do everything or be everyone, so be you. Everyone has different priorities, different goals and a different path. Keep working on finding your own. If someone has something, or achieves something, that makes you jealous, ask yourself if it's because you have that goal too, and keep working towards it.

Cut out the negativity, without and within
This is such an important one for me. If you surround yourself with supportive positive people, you will have a happier time than being surround by negative or toxic people. Take the time to recognise this people and let go of them from your life. I have also cut out watching the news, as it is filled with negativity and new horrors daily, and now I curate my own news content by reading the news online. Most importantly, question your inner dialogue. Negative thinking, negative fortune telling and beating yourself up will undermine all your hard work. Your monkey mind will throw all sorts of ideas at you, but you can ask yourself - Is this true? Is this helpful? Is this something I can change? If not, let it go. Don't forget to praise your own achievements.

Modest splurge (I learnt this from The Happiness Project)
Be kind to yourself by treating yourself to a modest splurge. It doesn't have to be a financial splurge, it might just be allowing yourself a time slurge, to do something you enjoy. It might be that you give yourself the night off from cooking and use that time to knit instead. Perhaps you want to take yourself out to a movie, get a massage, enroll yourself in a class, or shop for new shoes. I love modest splurges on things like stationary and books, because I don't feel guilty about having nice pens to use, or good books to read.

So here's to being kinder to ourselves, and in turn, kinder to those around us.
I'd love to hear what you would add to this list. xx

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New In The Shop - Haiku Necklace

I'm so excited to share with you a new piece that I have been working on! The 'Haiku' is a minimalist sterling silver pendant in nine variations that was released in the shop today. 
As the weather warms up in the southern hemisphere, and Spring buds start to blossom, I was inspired to create a piece to accompany the shift from Winter coats to Summer necklines. The 70 cm length chain means the Haiku can easily be slipped over your head to be worn with dresses, singlets or blouses. The minimalist design, and silver and oxidised tones, easily accessorise with your staples over the warmer months.
From iced coffee cafe treats, to afternoon beach side walks, this go to piece will instantly add charm to any outfit. There are nine variations to choose from, which include straight and curved pendants, with polished, textured or oxidised finishes.
Click over to the shop to make one yours now!
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