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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tulip Tourists - in my own town

With the arrival of visitors to our house to visit the new little man we have had the opportunity to go touring in our home town. 

In two weeks our little region comes alive with one of our biggest weekends. The Tulip Festival is lead by the planting out of the tulips on the  farm on top of Wynyard's Table Cape and hosted by the local council. The Tulip Festival has taken many forms over the years but has settled into being centralised in the local gardens. This year will be the first in four that I will not be manager of The Made With Love Market. I cannot wait to be free to roam the festival without the restriction.

Today we went for a drive to take a peak over the fence at the growing tulips. A lot of the flowers were already in bloom and quite often the flower heads don't make it to festival time. Our region is known for strong winds around that time of the year and the big tulip blooms get blown to pieces.

The weather was particularly Tasmanian whilst we were, windy, sunny and showering. It is invigorating to be a Tasmanian at this time of year. Isn't it funny that even though we live so close to the Cape and to the Lighthouse, we rarely visit. My little girl could not remember seeing the light house before, even though she had been there when she was younger. I must remember to tour our local region more often.

In two weeks I'll share with you a little more about the festival.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baby Boy Quilt

When I had a little girl I was disturbed by the amount of pink involved. I feel the same way with blue and boys. I am not really into gender colours en-mass. Some blue and some pink are fine but I cannot deal with the colour washing of children.

Prior to giving birth I started making this quilt for the new baby. However due to my roundness I was unable to finish it becasue I couldn't get on the floor to iron and sandwich the layers together. I struggled with what colour to use in a quilt for a boy but was inspired by a quilt I saw in a store. It was nice to realise I didn't have to limit the new baby boys quilt to blues or greys. 

I feel like the colours in this quilt are of a 'circus' palette but obviously the colours are mainly primary tones. On one side I used a blue from spotlight and made a large cross. I blanket stitched the edges on my sewing machine (not by hand) and appliqued it on top of the white calico rather than piece it together in a traditional quilting technique (call me lazy - I don't care- it worked and didn't pucker ... thank goodness!). On the second side I used the same blue in a strip down the centre and some red and white stripe at either end that I found in my stash (probably thrifted but new). Inside the quilt sandwich is a up-cycled woolen blanket and the edges are bound in yellow.

The quilt is simple in nature and was an easy project but I feel it will perfectly compliment the grey feature wall in his newly painted room, adding a pop of well needed colour. 

I have some fabric to make some bunting and some curtains to hem and then the little man will finally have a room of his own (not that he will be down there for a while yet).

When I finished decorating the room I will make sure to give blogland a tour. What have you been making lately?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Born Photography - Tasmania

In between feeding my own newborn I was honored to be asked to capture another newborn. This lovely new family were a joy to photograph and you can see the love between these three in this small collection of photos. This was my first new born shoot and I hope I get to complete a few more. 
It was a lot of fun and I especially enjoyed making some props (most I didn't get to use) in preparation for the shoot. Apparently my hoards collections in my woman cave housed everything I needed to compile a huge range of props just screaming out for newborn sessions.

Below are some practice shots of my little one that I took in preparation for this session. He was not as well behaved as the little lady in the pictures above and I fear I may not get him happy enough to take some more. Apparently he does not enjoy being naked as much as his father does.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome Baby Jedd

I am thrilled to announce that our little bundle is finally here.

Baby Jedd Tasman was born on 6th of September, Saturday morning at 10:15.

We are now enduring the first few days of sleepless haze and working out a newborn. I am mentally handling this baby better than last time and he is feeding like a real Bewbs man.

I wont talk about the birth just yet. It was horrific again in all sorts of different ways. I think my happiness, even in the face of all the normal newborn strains, is becasue I know that I will never have to endure that birthing experience again.... like EVER.

I adore this little man in our lives and I am so very happy he is now part of our family xxx

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It is OK to be that 'mean' parent.

What is so wrong with structure? What is so wrong saying no to your children? What is so wrong with formal education?

Constantly I am bombarded with the 'How to be a perfect parent" post. How not to get angry with your children, how to disipline the 'right' way, how to let your children educate themselves.

On my social media feeds I see strange posts such as "Oh (insert child's name here)! Why wont you go to bed?" or complaints about discipline issues and using tiredness as an excuse for bad behavior.

Well you know what?? I say poo to that.

YOU are the parent. You are in charge of bed times. Put the bloody kid to bed! Personally we set up a routine for bed time - toilet - teeth - story and leaving the bedside night light on to read herself to sleep. This may not work for you, do what works for you. However - do something, do something that involves making parenting decisions.

Since when does a child know the right thing for itself? Why do parents let the child parent? I believe in giving children choice, but limit the choice to two things or things that are acceptable to you. The child should never be given endless choice as, I swear, they will never choose the 'right' choice.

It is OK, as a Mum/Dad/Parent to have 'you' time once the kid is in bed. It is OK to think that you do not have to co-sleep or be an 'attachment parent' to be a good parent. It is OK not to breast feed till the kid enters high school. It is OK to seek out childcare a little each week for your own personal sanity. It is Ok to be something other than a kids parent 24/7.

Some parents have great births, their kid sleeps all night in their bed and they are happy to have the child on their hip 24/7. I don't judge these parents. It works for them but it doesn't work for me. I feel that I am a Mum but I am also a person that needs routine to sort out how my head works and how I can make being a Mum not turn me into a crazy person. There have been days where I admit to letting my kid have all day movie days, yes... all day! This was the only way I could study when I couldn't afford childcare, not becasue I am a crap parent but because I want to be the best and happiest human I can be... and that involved me educating myself. I feel we don't have to cotton wool our children and it is OK to be that woman in the park on her iPhone. I feel that treating your child as 'princess special' all the time does not give them a sense of reality.

I have seen posts of 'I miss the village' of multiple people raising your children. I also have seen anger at a stranger for saying no to their obviously miss behaving child. Shouldn't a village be able to guide your child to the right choice in your absence? Shouldn't the village include extended family, childcare and educational institutions? Recently in the mid-wives clinic I got slapped by a three year old. I was too gobsmacked to say anything to the child especially when all I heard was the child being slightly disciplined for smacking only his Mum before he had slapped me. Seriously, my kid would have been on the naughty step for a week if they ever hit a stranger let alone me.

When did it become not OK to say NO to your child? Yes bad behavior happens, often in public and induces judging looks from other 'perfect' parents. Yes you will have to take the offending child back to his/her own bed 100 times before they get the hint it is not OK to stay up or keep coming out. It is OK for the child to cry and chuck a tantrum when they don't get their way. It is after all their only method of rebellion right now. But wouldn't you rather rebellion at age 2 than at 12?

Teaching this year I found many kids that are not self motivated or supporting. It is disturbing that parents have let their children have the last say in their house and know that a bad report at school will have little consequence at home. How will these kids cope when they try to find employment and the boss does not let them 'sook' to get their way. How will these kids cope with bad grades if they have never had to work for good ones or been told that they have ever done anything wrong?

I completely reject the idea of 'Unschooling' which is said to let the child self direct their own learning. How does this benefit the child in the real world? Imagine a boss letting an employee 'find their own way' in a job... I don't think so. Formal education can inspire the the child with multiple points of view from the school 'village', gives the child social interaction (positive and negative), lets them attempt many subjects and ultimately they get to major in their subject of choice (sports, arts, whatever). They learn they have to get out of bed and keep to timetables. I believe the social instructions of school are just as important as the educational content.

Recently, I had to run into one of those discount stores to grab something. I told the little girl we were in a hurry and there would be no treats prior to entering. We walked in, we stopped briefly to look at loom bands as that was her current obsession. After 30 seconds I said 'lets go' and she continued walking with me to the place where my item was. A woman looked at me with her mouth agape. She said,"How did you do that?". I didn't understand. I wondered whether I had said something harsh to get the little girl moving and that had been perceived badly in public. I said,"What do you mean?" she said "Get her to do as she was told?". I laughed. It was natural for her to do as she was told. She understood what we were there for and it was a natural occurrence for us to have incident free shopping trips these days. Don't get me wrong, this was not always the case - I have endured my fair share of public tantrums before she realised I don't give in. After a brief conversation I found that the woman would only shop alone these days but she did have FOUR children.... I have one (nearly two) children, it is not the same as shopping with four. I imagine that maintaining consistent discipline for four children was a completely different ball game. I cannot even imagine. However I was proud of this natural discipline my daughter had achieved. I did not even know we had gotten to that point of calm. I was suddenly proud but felt sorry for the poor sad faced woman I left in my wake.

Despite my 'mean' approach I find that my child loves the discipline, the structure and the routine. I always tell my child that I love her even even when I am angry.  She is happy and enjoys going to school. She has the freedom to argue and state her point of view knowing that I will listen but not necessarily say yes.

I love Super Nanny's (Jo Frost) techniques. Consistency is the key. I believe I will never be perfect. I believe I will never be completely right. But I do know that I am doing what is right for my family, for my child and for me personally. I make mistakes, I raise my voice often but I think I am raising a very well rounded young lady that can support her own emotions and will make sensible decisions in the future.

We all need to find our own way as parents. They only thing I know 100% is that every parent makes different choices in their parenting. I can only hope that I can maybe encourage parents to be parents in the family structure and not the child.

With the birth of my second child I hope that I can continue to parent. I fear that I have forgotten all the hard work that got us to this point. I guess we shall see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Challenge

Photo taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 - imported into my iPhone and edited on my favorite App

I started this post with the intention of combining a comment on valuing yourself as an artist whilst not devaluing all those creatives around you. I thought the post would tie nicely into trialling the Art Filter functions on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 that I am currently trialling.

Photo taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 - imported into my iPhone and edited on my favorite App

However the post has turned into an essay and gets a little bit ranty. So I started afresh and I will keep it a simple comment on the Art Filter function on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 as this will be my last post on the camera before I reluctantly send it back. 

Maybe I will save the heartfelt rant for a later date. Maybe I will just leave it as a hidden draft so as not to offend anyone should they take it the wrong way.

Photo taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 - imported into my iPhone and edited on my favorite App

I have been honored to have taken part in this trial and it has been nice to play with a different brand of camera and a much more modern and light weight version of my current DSLR.

As I said in other posts, the most impressive function and personally useful function on this camera is the WiFi capabilities. My next upgrade of DSLR will have to include this function. It is something that I definitely don't ever want to be without in my future cameras. 

I love using it as a remote where you see on your smart phones screen exactly what the lens is seeing. I love how you can import the cameras content onto your smart phone and post your proper DSLR photos directly to Instagram or edit in your favorite app. Lastly I love how you can import your photos onto your camera roll and edit them directly with their in-built filters within the app. 

The Art Filters are also located directly inside your camera so you can take pictures in the Filter modes without transporting them to your phone. So many options and each person can use them dependent on their technical skills or technologies on hand.

Personally these days I lean towards a 'clean image' with any edits being of a subtle nature however I still think there are a lot of people that will find these features very relevant. So I have included the before image and the after image that has been edited with the art filters for examples.

Original - Top
Grainy Film Filter - Bottom

Original - Top
Pin Hole Filter - Bottom

Original - Top
Gentle Sepia - Bottom

Original - Top
Pale and Light Colour Filter - Bottom

Original - Top
Keyline Filter - Bottom

Another unique function of the in-house editing tool is the addition of wording. To place on top of your photo you can hand draw a personal signature, upload a logo image or use their fonts to write your own words. This is great for those that want to watermark their image or maybe even just add some words to the final picture.

Lastly I would like to thank Olympus for the loan of this camera and to Kidspot for providing me with the opportunity. I have enjoyed playing with your product immensely and I have certainly learned a thing or three along the way. I hope that my readers have got an overview of the product and I would be happy to answer any questions you have in reference to my experience with the camera should you be looking into purchasing one.

If you want to follow other bloggers trailing this great camera then seek out the hashtags #myfamilylens and #VoicesOf2014.

Thanks again Olympus :)


Sunday, August 24, 2014

{Impending} Arrival

It is two weeks left till 'A' day (That's expected arrival day to the rest of you).

It feels a bit like ground hog day around this house since I finished full time work. I only leave the house to go to mid wife appointments and pick up the wee child from school. The house work and the laundry is on repeat. It is a never ending battle between tiredness and completing chores.

Any changes in routine are subtle but important.

This week something in the laundry changed. I made my first pile of washed clothes for the new arrival. Three piles turned into four.

Miss six announced she was old enough to walk herself into the classroom. The next day not only was she old enough to walk in by herself she also didn't want to kiss me goodbye. It will be useful when I have a newborn to get out of the car but it still does not make me feel any better about the arrival of new independence. I treated myself to breakfast and a nice coffee at my favorite cafe. It helped a little.

The winter has been pleasant thanks to my internal heating system. Tasmania has had huge dumps of snow but the weather has been mostly mild and blue skied. The shadows have shifted, they are becoming shorter, and I can feel spring has begun.

Outside the wattles are in full flower and the bulbs are popping up through the ground. We had a chicken pass away after a short illness and a couple of new lady additions to increase our egg yields.

Outside activities include bike riding, skipping, swinging, bouncing, cow feeding, shed building between the showers of rain. I don't participate in too many outside activities as I prefer to watch or be inside doing something a bit calmer. I sew, knit and try not to wear myself out. The most energetic activity was painting some frames and changing my feature wall around, doing a bit of weeding and completing housework on top of house work. 
These small activities are enough to put me to bed early, I'm tired and I forget to it is OK to be nice to myself right now. My gall bladder is hanging in there but aches regularly. I think it's more about where the baby is sitting than the food I am eating. However I feel that sugar drastically effects it, rather than fat, since the glucose test pushed its boundaries. The scare of heartburn effects what I am eating rather than my gall bladder. I am so looking forward to eating - just eating - without fear in the future. I'm also looking forward to bending again and sleeping without my hips aching.

We emptied out and sorted a spare room. It has a lot of baby things in it already. I feel we wont start the painting of the room till after the baby arrives. I am petrified of giving birth again. I have looked into 'calm birth' techniques and various other ideas but to be honest I just can't take it seriously. What will be will be and I can't change or control any of it.

I have been making the new arrival its own 'Graeme' doll. It is a 'must' kids toy in our household. I am also packing him in my hospital bag in hope that Graeme will become the babies favorite 'ted'. It is hard to pick my favorite Graeme but I can't keep them all. The rest will go into an online store I am currently building (to be launched soon).

This post has been my last 'themed' post for my loan of the Olympus OM-D E-M10. I wont say I wont do more with this camera and posting (I am still yet to explore the in-camera Art Filter functions) but I couldn't risk that my little bundle wouldn't arrive before I had time to do the last of my three themed posts.

I have enjoyed trialling this camera and learning new skills. I am grateful that I have had the experience of this new technology and I have found it really easy to keep on me and take 'proper' camera photos on the run without lugging around my more bulky personal DSLR.

You can follow the other bloggers trialing this camera by searching out the hashtags #myfamilylens and #VoicesOf2014.