Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Been busy - honest we have!

Haven't posted for such a long time :(

Been so busy with life, family and business that I haven't had time to write it down - barely had time to record important stuff in Jack's homeschool diary records!

The homeschool community is quite active here in little old Gladstone - we have been involved in whole days of activities, Science workshops and this Friday we're off to the Fire Station for a tour and in a few weeks we have an art day.

Best day out recently was our trip with Dad (on a rare day off) to a local Crocodile farm - very interesting. We even ate crocodile kebabs for lunch - yum! The kids all got to hold a baby crocodile (mouth taped) even Lily this time who had been asleep last time at the Expo in the Botanic gardens.

Jack finished his first book, "Jack and the Lost Cow" It is fully illustrated, he dictated the text and then he copied my writing into his book - love it and so proud of him. He's writing one about pirates now - again brilliant illustrations!

My Phoenix trading business has been keeping me busy with new traders, remote parties, donations for charity events and markets.

My craft business is also taking off with me providing donations for a couple of charity events and hoping the exposure is good advertising.

Off to craft with the kids tomorrow at Calliope Crafty Capers - we love Tina - she's awesome!
Thursday we are off to Playgroup - great, relaxed gathering of like-minded mums and their kids.

Here's hoping we've seen the last of this flu that knocked us off our feet for a while there :(

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Allergy friendly chocolate cake

Chocolate cake free from dairy, gluten, wheat, eggs, soy and nuts - the true allergy friendly chocolate cake!
A friend of mine posted on facebook tonight answering a plea for a gluten and dairy free cake with my name! Knowing I have had to deal with so many allergies and intolerances these past 7 years with 3 kids to make birthday cakes for she knew I would have one.

Of all the recipes I keep coming back to it is one from the New Zealand Allergy cookbook because it always seems to work. We are now Failsafe as well as gluten, dairy and nut free. Trialling eggs at the moment so I actually used eggs this time rather than egg replacer and have to say the cake took a little longer than the recommended 40min to cook and I'm in a rental and it is only the second cake I have baked in this oven! (I didn't have any glucose syrup so I used rice malt syrup instead, I also used carob powder instead of cocoa powder and I used Nuttelex for my dairy free margarine)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil or 125g dairy-free margarine
2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp of water
3 tbsp golden syrup
2 cups rice flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup rice milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (wheat free)

1. Preheat oven to 180oC
2. Lightly grease a 20-22cm ring tin
3. Cream sugar and oil in a large bowl for a couple of minutes
4. Blend egg replacer with golden syrup, then add to sugar and oil mixture
5. Sift in flour and cocoa powder
6. Add milk with baking soda dissolved in it
7. Then add baking powder and mix together
8. Pour into prepared cake tin
9. Bake for 40minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Failsafe cooking...Thermomix?

We have a history with food allergies and intolerances.

Through hives from being kissed by someone who has eaten eggs, to peanut anaphylaxis and onto dairy and gluten intolerance - my son has been through it all. He is allergic to dustmites, pollen, cats and sometimes we think just 'life' generally. Born 3 weeks early (induced for toxaemia and low amniotic fluid) he had severe jaundice (almost requiring blood transfusion) and suffered from recurrent ear infections, tonsillitis and eczema, mouth ulcers, styes and more.... he suffered massive hour long tantrums sometimes 3 or 4 times a day! Some days were really tough. He was obstinant, a late crawler (one year), late walker (16 months), late talker (2 1/2) but could pick up a raisin at 6 months, complete jigsaws in the dark when he was only 18 months old and starting drawing the most amazing sketches while his peers were scribbling in circles! He suffered from physical/verbal tics, resisted all attempts at toilet training. Used to bang his head on floors, walls until he would have huge lumps on his head, one time he threw his head back so hard on a hearth he cut himself. We suspected that artificial food colours were causing hyperactivity and aggression. There is nothing more heartbreaking than trying to hold your child to calm them and prevent them from hurting themselves, but to prevent yourself from being thumped and slapped you have to do this with them wrapped in a blanket. Everyone said, "He'll be fine once school starts", "He'll grow out if it"! At the age of 3 we embarked on a diagnosis for ASD (Aspergers) and discovered we were coeliac gene carriers so gluten was eliminated from our diet.

Our son changed overnight and was a calmer, happier more responsive soul - we were astounded!

A few more years on and things were better but I knew there was more. As a consultant for Total Learning I used to sell Sue Dengate's Fed Up book and of course read it but decided that as we were already gluten, dairy, egg and nut free that FAILSAFE would be too hard and the Elimination diet impossible. Wish we had been stronger then.

Two years ago we went failsafe and did the elimination diet. We eliminated as many environmental nasty chemicals as we could, we reduced our intake of salicylates, amines and glutamates (natural food chemicals) and eliminated all artificial food colours, flavours, anti-oxidants and preservatives. The withdrawal was terrible - we nearly quit after 10 days because everything got worse but we made it through the two weeks to experience the best health and behaviour ever! Apparantly the worse the withdrawal the more you need to continue with it. After a few weeks at elimination we did our first challenges: salicylates (we ate all the high salicylate foods we had been avoiding and paid dearly within a few hours/days can't remember now), we challenged amines too and faired a bit better! Glutamates we never bothered trialling because most of the glutamate sources were high salicylate and amine anyhow and no-one fairs well with MSG!

Colours, flavours etc we continue to avoid but since moving to Australia we have let some preservatives into our diet. We have also been letting the kids try small amounts of dairy and eggs - eldest son (nearly 7) especially is starting to look very pale, thin and his temperament could be better. Had blood tests done to satisfy myself we didn't have vitamin or mineral deficiencies from our restricted diet over the past 7 years. All good - just need to check Vitamin D levels after some recent research I read.

So, we are about to embark on elimination again and get back down to baseline.

How does this post relate to ThermoMix?

Many failsafers have one because we make most products from scratch and this machine does it all with ease allowing you to: chop, beat, mix, whip, grind, knead, mince, grate, juice, blend, heat, stir, steam and weigh with ease!

I want one but need to seriously think about how to justify $2000 for a kitchen appliance which admittedly is the equivalent of 10 different machines!

Feeling much more positive today!

The kids decided to build their own little restaurant this morning, they made a kitchen out of their Maxamec (giant Meccano) and used their playfood to serve me up chicken drumsticks and chips with gluten free cake for dessert. Jack even wrote down my order and created a menu in his own made-up srcibble language (Literacy - hey the thought was there). On realising they only had 4 pieces of playfood pizza, Jack set about drawing 2 extra pieces to fill in the circle (Maths) complete with toppings.

Decided we needed some exercise (PE) and Vitamin D exposure and husband wasn't asleep so we went for a bike ride down by the river (haven't been brave enough to go by myself for fear of crocodiles and snakes!) Boys rode their bikes and we pushed Lily on her trike. Met two dog walkers and one older couple out for a stroll in just under an hour. Happy to report no crocs sighted - looked in all the bushes though! Lots of birds and butterflies and some monster sized ants (nature study)!

For lunch I stir-fried mince with courgettes, beansprouts and red cabbage and served with rice noodles.

We made vanilla cookies (Cooking and shapes (how to get the most cookie shapes per roll)) from Kersten's recipe E-book - fabulous - no sooner were they cooled down then we ate the whole batch (not bad for sugarless cookies).

The boys went on Reading Eggs for a while and then continued with their playfood restaurant. When I start to wonder about them spending time on Clever Dragons and Reading Eggs I usually get an email report letting me know what they've been up to - yesterday they watched heaps of educational videos on Clever Dragons and my report listed them:

 -  How Its Made-Doughnuts
 -  Sid the Science Kid: The Journey of a Germ
 -  SUPER WHY! Alpha Pigs Pumpkin game
 -  How strong is a strand of hair?  
 -  Making coins
 -  How It's Made Hot Dogs
 -  How It's Made: Violins
 -  Apolo Anton Ohno, Salt Lake City, World Cup Short Track 2008
  -  How its Made - Oil Tanker Ships
 -  1 Learning: Playing Tuba/Trumpet/Euphonium/Baritone/Flugelhorn/French
 -  Learning About Diabetes: A Walk with Tim and Lindsey
 -  How It's Made: Gold
 -  How its made-potato chips
 -  Polar Bear Moms and Cubs  
 -  megalodon monster sharks - still alive?
 -  Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel - Steven Sharp Nelson
 -  Pony birthday cake - How to make a pony cake
 -  Tim and Moby tell you about Swine Flu
 -  BrainPOP UK- Flu and Flu vaccines
 -  How It's Made - Fluorescent Tubes
 -  Cool Fish!
 -  How It''s Made: Helicopters
 -  Bill Nye The Science Guy on Static Electricity (Full Clip)
 -  How Mozzarella is made  
 -  Dr Suess - Green Eggs And Ham
 -  How It's Made - Darts
 -  How It's Made Swords
 -  Rocket Balloon
 -  How much sugar is in a can of soda?
 -  how its made s5 ep13- toothbrushes
 -  Dry Ice Bubble  
 -  How It's Made Baseballs
 -  How It's Made Skateboards

What a fantastic resource!

See for yourself - they both have FREE trials!

For dinner we had leftover lunch mince with rice this time and fried courgette slices which the boys reliably informed me were 'YUM'.

Now I feel the need to make carrot cake but it's 9.30pm!
So maybe tomorrow?

Friday, June 15, 2012


Warning: This blog post contains personal information some readers may be uncomfortable with!

I owe some apologies....I have allowed the self obssessive part of me to take over for a little bit (sometimes it just catches up with me and I can't stop OR choose not to). If I hold it under control for too long it takes over, I can feel it happening and the majority of the time I can check it before it gets out of control. What have I been obsessing about? Homeschool, food allergies, renting in suburbia, marriage, kids, my businesses, cars, money? A little...but....


There I said it - Facebook - it has become an obsession - I have tried not turning the computer on - lasts until about my second cup of decaf (ditched the caffeine again about 2 weeks ago), have tried setting aside a time to check posts, notifications and messages - I hear that ping of a new message or a chat box opens up and I have to answer (one friend actually asked me a question once joking that I would be quicker than Google! - I wasn't because I hadn't been at my computer - I know rare!)

Maybe, it's not Facebook I'm obsessed with but more what it provides - access to people, their comments, their businesses and their lives. I have always been pretty awful at making friends and then maintaining those friendships (problem with being Aspergers - I know that now and working hard to change a little but within my rules/comfort zone). I want to help, want to share my knowledge of allergies, food intolerances and their links with autism, health, behaviour and general well being. I see so many posts from people hurting and dealing with the situations we have been threw and I want to point them in a direction that may help - I wish someone had shown us where to look for help years ago. Everything I have learned from my own extensive research and experience with my family.

I started my own website years ago - when I was just learning about websites, blogs and the big 'world wide web' Sensitive to Food if you care to look (little neglected these past few months but still some basic info to start you off). Need to add more about our FAILSAFE journey and elimination diets.


Oops back again - sorry new post in one of my many facebook groups and an email from one of my Phoenix team. I am beginning to think I am spreading myself too thin again, in danger of losing me! Actually to be honest - I haven't be able to find me yet - lost somewhere between wife, mother, sister, daughter and teacher! In danger of getting grumpy with my kids and husband because I am too busy and have too many little projects started and nothing nearing completion. Haven't written any dates down in my diary and I know there are things I need to deal with because I have been opening the letters and filing them away in a big pile on the kitchen bench next to the computer - actually they're in a box around here somewhere (had guests visit so had to hid the disorganised chaos) - bills to pay, stalls to book, email newsletters to write, customers to follow up with, meals to plan and a budget to get on top of etc...

I still dream of writing my autobiography one day. Every night as I fall asleep I write another imaginary paragraph in my head - I wonder if I actually had written these down I probably would have most of it written by now? I remember reading "Look me in the eye" by John Robison, about a boy who grew up with Aspergers but wasn't diagnosed until he was a lot older - he wrote his book in 2 weeks. I know that if I let myself go I would do that too, but then who would look after the family if I went off on a manic! I am not a diagnosed manic depressive but I could be? I fill out those online questionnaires - don't you? I can usually tick all the symptoms in the conditions lists!

I have suffered postnataldepression each time with 3 children - but on reflection think I have always been depressed with periods of highs and that post babies were just a periods of intense lows, an exacerbation of underlying symptoms (tried medication and refer to that period of time as zombie mum - had no feelings). Ever read a book called MotherGuilt? We are on a no win from day one of even thinking about starting a family!

The elimination diet and prior to that having to finally admit I had issues with gluten and dairy and eliminate from them my diet (gf/cf for autism is well documented) have clarified many ills I had. I seem to be more in control of my moods but having recently suffered my 6th miscarriage in 7 years the cracks are starting to show again. I have 3 beautiful unique children and just want to try for one more time (have had 2 miscarriages in the last 12 months and am not recovering well from the last one). I'm 38 this year and don't feel I am too old - the pregnancies with the boys were hard, but our daughter was a breeze.

Mine has been a tale of love, sex, grief, relationships, travel, adventure, risks, higher education, employment, family, children, depression, allergies and autism - all the key ingredients for a cracking good read!

Well, if you came looking for a blog about homeschooling - my apologies. As well as blogging about being a homeschool mum I also try and cover autism, allergies, FAILSAFE eating and living, websites, internet marketing, running my own business as an Independent Phoenix Trader and also exploring my craft side by creating jewellery and accessories from buttons and fashioning womens neckwear from mens neckties! See my latest website Ties'n'Buttons!

I have Facebook pages for both my businesses (of course I do!)

Follow Phoenix on Facebook - Greeting cards, giftwrap, postcards, invites, stationery, accessories and more from Phoenix Trading.

Follow Ties'n'Buttons on Facebook.

Apologies for the lack of posts, promoting my businesses, the randomness of this post and for sharing personal information you may find uncomfortable - I have a habit of doing that - sorry!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Been too busy to write :(
Have photographic evidence of my existence for the last 2 weeks!!!
Stormy sunset over Gladstone

Lily getting close to the fish dissection action of Jack's first ever fish!

Too busy being creative to put it aside for lunch!

Lily multi-tasking on the banana phone (very important phonecall) whilst eating lunch!

Fabulous recycled music area at Ecofest

Tom holding a 2 year old crocodile

Jack with 2 year old crocodile

Boys watching a 4 year old crocodile who liked having his head and back stroked

Me holding the 2 year old crocodile - glad his jaws were taped closed!

Jack getting close with a carpet python

Tom no fear having python's head on his hand!

More Jack with snake - check out the scary snake lady!

Tom's turn with the python

No problem Mum!

My turn!

Very brave Mum working hard on conquering her fear of snakes! She was terribly heavy and so strong - and the snake lady was behind my camera - I was starting to get nervous by now and shook for 10 min after! So glad I did this though just to prove I can!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Finally submitted my application to the HEU to homeschool Jack - posted yesterday - now the waiting game to see if the application is up to scratch for at least provisional registration. Have been enjoying spending time with the kids, trying a few things out - basically what is referred to as deschooling and then unschooling.

We read together, watch You Tube videos, utilise online kids programs such as Clever Dragons and Reading Eggs (interactive learning fun for the boys - and Lily too!), CD Roms, jigsaws and most importantly a serious amount of time creating amazing things out of Lego.

Recently decided to get blood tests done to check for vitamin deficiencies - been mucking around with families diet for years now due to allergies and intolerances and have seen huge improvements being gf/cf and failsafe.

Jack was a shining star - said the needle didn't even hurt and sat so still while the nurse took 5 tubes of blood off him! Last time we had to get blood was a fight and his Dad had to hold him still :) As a reward we bought him a new wooden domino rally set we spotted in the chemist window on the way to get a new water pistol. Couldn't resist the wooden block set for Tom and a set of fairy wings for Lily either!

Our days are filled with spending time together and answering questions as the kids come up with them or I see a photo or video on facebook and it starts us off on a learning journey :)

Blood test results tomorrow - hope it's good?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A simpler life!

I keep thinking lately about my babies - cannot believe my eldest will be 7 at the end of this coming September - I still remember cuddling him to sleep and trying the letting him cry and it breaking my heart - couldn't do it - all my babies get a cuddle when they need one!

Read this post just now and it had me in tears - how have we lost natural parenting and why is it so hard to find a way back?

As we embrace natural learning in our homeschooling life I wish I had had the courage to do what felt right and not follow the advice of some of the parenting books I chose to read and believe briefly when my eldest was a baby. Our third is very different - we are more relaxed as parents and she is having a fabulous time growing up with two big brothers.

There is too much pressure on families these days to have big houses, room per child shows wealth, new cars, boats, TV's gadgets etc ..... we have become so materialistic....I want more, indeed I need less....I was happy with my 7 year old mobile phone (only bought a new one because I moved country and my old one wouldn't work!), a TV that I don't have to sit 50ft away from because it is 'too' big.

I crave a simpler life with a plot of land, an easy care home with space for a vegetable garden and chickens.....not for me is suburbia and polite conversations with neighbours over fencelines.....need a little space and quiet to be a family!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Socialisation, anxiety and fear of dogs!

Today we attempted some socialisation as a family - we had been invited to a 41st Birthday BBQ (one of the ladies from my husband's work). I always get very tense prior to a planned social event, anxiety kicks in, I feel sick, clammy and try hard to think of any excuse not to go and usually we don't go. We decided this time to be brave and go.

She had two kids who Jack and Tom dutifully went off to play with, Tom saying, "Maybe they'll want to be friends with us?" They had a great time collecting eggs, jumping on the trampoline and ultimately watching some TV. Only horrible bit was towards the end as we were all showing the strain when the girl thought it would be funny to take Jack's cap. He politely and repeatedly asked for it back and she refused and kept running away - she wanted to put it on his head for him! Jack got very upset because he couldn't understand why she wouldn't give it back because he had asked her really nicely. I had to explain to this girl who when i questioned her, said "We were just having fun!" I replied, "It's not fun if the other person isn't enjoying the 'game'!" Hat was returned to Jack and she promptly ran off with Tom's - lesson not learned and cross Me got upset with her meanness and pointed out that making a 3 year old with asthma chase after you is just mean :( I just don't get why people have to be mean to each other.

Much of the conversation was around school bullying stories (a great reason to homeschool - we didn't bring it up), positive racism towards aborigines and lack of action by police in some nasty situations (so not having a night out in Gladstone's one night club), diets (obvious that we weren't eating hosts food-with multiple allergies and intolerances we never expect to be catered for and always take snacks for us and the kids).  Autism is considered a disease by one of the guests - so we didn't take that conversation any further either.

Nice people, nice plot (lovely tour of the fruit trees, chook house, introduced to the cows and horse) - makes me want a lifestyle plot of my own with veg garden, pear and apple trees and room for a couple for cows, pigs, chickens and maybe a goat or pony. We found a dead bird of prey - possibly a falcon?

They had two friendly dogs and an elderly cat. Problem: Lily freaked out crying at the dog - seems her encounter a few months back with 3 untrained labradors may well have had more of an impact than I realised - damn! Had noticed that hearing the neighbours dog barking had been causing her to run away of late (but then the vacuum cleaner, big trucks, motorbikes and blender cause a similar reaction at the moment) maybe it is just a temporary noise fear?

When leaving we saw an enormous eagle? eating a dead kangaroo by the roadside - easily stood as tall as Lily!

Treated the kids to some gluten and dairy free ice-cream I spotted in the fridge at the local garage on the way home - and thanked them for being so well-behaved!

If you are not a regular follower of my blog - I should explain that we have Aspergers in our family and social situations are a challenge for us and we can now tick off socialisation for the month on our homeschool checklist!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homeschool transition

We slowly continue the transition from distance education to natural learning. The homeschool Australia facebook page continues to be truly inpsirational. There is no right way to homeschool. There are so many different ways simply because all situations are different, each family is different, the children are individuals. I only hope that I emerge from this transition having some clue about where we are headed as a homeschool family.

Presently, we are working on strengthening the family unit after a traumatic year and a half post September earthquake in Canterbury, moving to a small rural community with close knit school of less than 10 children on to a move across the Tasman to Queensland. For a while we were lost and what we thought we needed we don't. Husband has read through the information on natural learning and as he sees how motivated the kids are and how happy Mum is at the moment he can see that it is right for us at this moment in time. Who knows about the future - we can't predict it we can only work with the path in front of us and try to make the best decisions for us at the time!

I have read so much about homeschooling these last 4 weeks and in the previous 4 years when we first thought it might be an option, that truly my head hurts. I have finally handed in our resignation to BSDE and am posting their resources back tomorrow (Unit 3 never even got opened this term - we switched off around Easter holidays sometime).

My next challenge is to finish writing Jack's home education application and plan for the next 10 months or so. After 10 months I am required to submit a report on his progress. We hope that we will be accepted for homeschooling. We are leaning towards a Charlotte Mason, Montessori, unschooling approach and will use the next few months to find our rhythm!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dinosaurs, mosquitos, turtles and Kookaburras!

What a wildlife day today was!
First we had the Erth's dinosaur petting zoo show. Pretty cool - no big dinosaurs as we were expecting, no T-Rex or Brachiosaurus. They had baby dinosaurs that the kids were encouraged to stroke, a gigantic dragonfly, small friendly one - can't remember it's name and then a Lianasaurus that was found in Victoria in 1999 and named after the discoverers daughter. Jack now desperately wants to discover dragon fossils so he can name them!

I was driving home past the gates of the Botanic Gardens when I decided an impromptu first visit was in order. We bought turtle pellets and fed most of it to the ducks - we tried to feed the turtles but they were trampled/swamped by the ducks. The map the information centre gave us was useless and we got very lost/disorientated whilst being attacked by mosquitos. Friendly brush turkeys and close encounters with Kookaburras made up for that though. Kids had fun on the playground and we all went home happy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pet a dinosaur?

Been super busy doing nothing much today!
Really looking forward to tomorrow though as taking the kids to see Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo at the Gladstone Entertainment Centre ~ very excited.

Found this video on You Tube - wonder if we'll be lucky enough to be sat on the stage?

Monday, May 7, 2012

I love Pinterest - sometimes you find great ideas, sometimes just an awesome picture. Tonight I found an image I really liked - I followed the chain of links to find the artists website and her Etsy store.
I ended up purchasing three prints because they are so beautiful and for three very different reasons.

1. The first image is "The Reader" and is apt as we encourage our 6 year old to read.
2. The second is because we really all should make time to sit down and just listen to the sounds of the world we live in - preferably the sounds of nature.
3. The dragon nest hidden in the box with the newly hatched dragon will be for Jack as he is infatuated with dragons and is determined to find evidence of their existence whether fossils or real lives ones. His favourite movie at the moment is "How To Train Your Dragon" - had a fabulous time watching the stage show in Brisbane a few weekends back.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Want to share two quick sales stories with you.

1. At market on Saturday a lady came in to my stall looking for a birthday card for a male. She had a quick look and found L181 Owl Birthday "Happy Birthday Too-Woo!" Perfect because the male in question sculpts owls for his wife who loves owls. Panic as the customer spotted the recipient heading their way from another nearby stall - she asked for a pen, wrote it there and then hiding behind me whilst her husband and his wife did an impromptu Happy Birthday singing - she gave him the card and then he opened it on the spot. Customer paid and I am left with a funny story about the quickest ever sale to recipient Phoenix story!

2. Although very tired on Friday night I decided to make one more women's necktie from a 100% silk tie I had washed but hadn't gotten around to pressing - I wasn't sure whether to add a button or not to the design when I remembered the gold buckle that I had happened to replace the removed stones with some beads I had from a necklace I had deconstructed. Worked prefectly and I stitched it into place. Finished it at 11.30pm and went off to bed happy. A lady spotted it on one of my stands, tried it on and bought it that afternoon - she was very happy with the colours and it suited many items of clothing in her wardrobe. I am once again reassured as I make each one that they will find that someone who falls in love with and just has to have. Same happened on the Sunday with a gorgeous blue one, but the lady was out of cash and has decided to take a chance and wait for the next market (hoping she'll email/phone me before then).

 Next market will be my local again and then a double weekend of Arts and Crafts - so will need to make lots more before then so there are plenty for people to choose from and see what I can create - custom orders would be easier rather than me just choosing and making up individual ties!

In the meantime view creations old, new and sold at www.tiesnbuttons.com

To market, to market....

Have had a fabulous weekend of markets sharing the Phoenix love and spreading the word about my creative work with ties and buttons. Saturday saw my first afternoon/evening market which was a challenge having the lighting good - one strip set of lights worked really well but the camplight did not - glad I had a hand torch to show people what they were looking at! Had just started setting up when  huge gust of wind nearly blew my gazebo away - a couple walking by grabbed a leg each while I attached water bottle weights to each leg - no further gust to test my weights - oh well next time! Home by 8.30pm and left car packed for the early morning start - up at 4am for a set-up by 7.30am at the Calliope Historical River Village market day. Had a site right next to the toilets - handy for my 6 year old son who was helper for the day.

Great days with lots of new people introduced to Phoenix Trading and a few new fans on my facebook page and website Ties'n'Buttons. Going to need to order more stock and also get crafting - especially the button rings as at $4 these are a great little novelty buy for ladies of all ages - most customers leave wearing their rings :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Latest upcycled necktie creation from TiesnButtons!

One of the things I like to do in my spare time is craft womens neckties using mens neckties and buttons, buckles, brooches and lace. Tomorrow I am off to market to show some more of my creations. I have a huge collection of ties, new, preloved and vintage, silk and polyester. I also have a rather large collection of vintage, new and preloved buttons in all colours. As well as making the upcycled neckties for women I also make button jewellery including necklaces, bracelets, rings, hair clips, brooches and ear-rings. I wear what I make and always get compliments on my styles. Ties and buttons are fun to wear and will make a statement!

I have many designs, colours, styles available and am more than happy to take custom orders if there is a colour you need or an outfit to complement and add a WOW!

www.tiesnbuttons.com is my website where you will find links to Etsy or Made-It and also a gallery of sold images.

Latest creation used a 100% silk tie in navy and burgundy with a beautiful gold swirly pattern throughout (has photographed red rather than burgundy and a brighter blue than the navy it really is) - too late for natural light. This one uses an old belt gold coloured belt buckle which I have glued beads into since someone saw fit to remove whatever was in there. (engraved with zechoslov.252 on the back - czech gold?) No fancy knots required to wear this one - each tie is carefully folded into its design and then neatly handstitched by me using a cotton colour to suit the tie (burgundy in this case) and no stitches are visible from the front and I even try to hide the reverse stitches as much as possible. A snap fastener is then sewn to either end of the design/tie/knot for easy on/off
Follow me on facebook to see latest designs and for special offers from time to time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cars - hate them!

I hate my Kia Carnival - just got it back from garage yesterday after they put in a new gearbox (under 3 month warranty) driving around today and whilst changing gear heard the most horrendous noise and car shuddered to a halt and refused to move - got out of the car to check the engine hadn't fallen out! Wouldn't have been so bad but I was due to pick the boys up across town in less than 30min. Phoned the garage who sold us the car and they came out with a lender and rang RACQ to get the Kia towed - managed to get the children with minutes to spare!

Heron Island

Had an interesting weekend away on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Was rough weather for the boat trip out of port Gladstone. All 5 of us struggled to hold our stomach contents in (youngest fell asleep, middle chucked then fell asleep, eldest looked a little green but watched underwater videos anyhow) me and husband put a very brave face on it - eating ginger may have helped a little!
Beautiful island even in the rain - still warm so much snorkelling was dond by husband and 6 year old who has learnt very quickly - they had a fab time. As soon as we stepped into the water a black tipped reef shark approx 1m long popped over to say a quick hello! Saw a few fish with my two youngest just standing knee deep in the shallows - 20 month old got very good at spotting the black and white striped ones.

Took a few photos - still getting used to all the modes on our new camera - seems the beach, landscape and underwater modes take good pictures, however the spport mode for moving wildlife and kids as well as the portrait ones need a little work. The kids had fun walking on the beaches - was a little hard on the feet the coral beach - still a few sharper bits! We tried twice to spot turtle hatchlings but no luck - it is the end of the season so we weren't expecting too but it would have been nice. Fell asleep listening to the not so quiet sounds of the mutton birds first night and a staff/research student party the second night (preferred the mutton birds!) Woke to second power cut - but this time no water - so no showers after a last dip in the sea or toilet flushing or settling of accounts until the last 30min.

Thank goodness the weather was calmer for our return trip - definitely planning on going back - in fact dear husband is looking at a dive package for July!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Queen of Procrastination

Today I have mostly been avoiding housework and all the others things I am supposed to be doing - my excuse - my back is hurting and I am resting it whilst spending time on Pinterest, Etsy, facebook and checking out the website of Heron Island ~ our destination for 2 nights - we leave on the 11am boat in the morning - so really I should be packing the swimsuits, sunscreen and bug off!

Husband is picking up an underwater camera on his way home from work today so we can try and get some great shots of our own - would be awesome to get this close to a turtle! Sons have been practicing their snorkeling, personally as youngest is only 21 months old I will be using the clear bottom buckets for my underwater viewing this time, and the 3 year old is still learning to swim. The 6 year old son will likely be off with Dad having a fantastic time snorkelling - he was a natural in the pool - really helped with his floating and confidence once he began to trust the snorkel. 

Although me and husband are qualified scuba divers, neither of us have actually dived in years!

Will be sure to post some photos when we get back on Sunday.......watch this space!

Oops - I'm back after an extended leave of absence!

So....it would appear that I was unable to sustain writing a blog - indeed I had forgotten I had even started one or what it was called!

So, why start again now and not start with a new name and everything - pretend this one never existed - well I like the title - there was a reason I chose it and this past year has been one incredible journey - too busy to remember to blog and most certainly following my motto of No What If's or If Only's....!

Apologies if this ends up being one of the longest posts you'll read in a while - I promise the ones that follow will be shorter . . . I shall see if I can condense one year into a few paragraphs or perhaps bullet points would be clearer?

My last post indicated we were moving and indeed we did move to a beautful part of the world called Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsula in Canterbury, New Zealand.
  • Moved to Le Bons bay - multiple trips with horse float and father-in-law in tow - moved in 11th Feb, friends arrived 14th Feb - devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch 22nd Feb - felt it as a large aftershock because I was in a carpark on the other side of the Port Hills - such a sad day for the people of Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand - wasn't as large as the original 7.1 that hit on the 4th September 2010 but it did kill 185 people, injured 100's more and left 1000's homeless
  • Jack started school joining 8 other local children in a mixed age classroom - he felt quite grown up!
  • The continuing aftershocks brought continued strain on families and lives - quite a few days school was closed so we could have our scared kids home with us - was hard to let them out of my sight - I wanted us to all be together if another one hit.
  • Started a new business - I am now an Independent Phoenix Trader Follow me on Facebook too!
  • Husband accepted a job in Perth, Australia due to continued effects of recession and farmers not responding to our invoices, phone calls or pleas :(
  • We visited Perth for 6 weeks and had a fabulous time being tourists and visting everything (husband had a car accident that wasn't fabulous - whiplash and almost broken shoulder - still needs physio)
  • Le Bons Bay life carried on - making friends with local ladies and their families - got chickens, dug a veg garden and tried really hard to settle, even let the chickens have chicks - but couldn't do it - made a decision to pack the house and kids up and head for Perth - sold cars, furniture and anything that might have held our stuff up in customs - spent 2 weeks in Perth and headed for the east coast instead with husband accepting a new challenging role in Gladstone, Queensland.
  • Spent 3 weeks in a caravan park trying to break into the terribly expensive rental market - succeeded with a 4 bedroom home with pool - such fun :)
  • Restarted my Phoenix business after a bit of a false start in New Zealand - had been tricky with husband away and parents almost 2 hours away in Darfield.
  • Having fun with my new craft (always been creative and needed a new outlet) making women's neckties out of men's ties and jewellery out of buttons. Visit Ties'n'Buttons for updates but will be posting images and tutorials on here as I get time to make new ones. Can follow on Facebook too!
  • Been busy promoting my businesses online and at local markets - a few custom orders and lots of sales reassures me that someone loves what I am making and wants to wear them - I love wearing them too!
  • Tried Distance Education with eldest son - not fun for either of us so now we are almost officially homeschooling the natural way (just need to finish off some paperwork).
So, if you want to read more about our life of homeschool, craft, food allergies and Failsafe living through the haze that is Aspergers - then please follow my blog and we'll see where this next stage of the journey takes us!