Youth Week Continues

Last Friday night was the launch of the National Youth Week photography exhibition entitled 'It starts with us" and the launch of youth week in our region.
It was fanstic. We had a huge turn out - we gave away so many prizes and the youth were so excited to be on a galleries walls for the first time (and win prizes). I was very proud of our youth that night.

It was a mammoth effort to get it all done and coordinated but somehow these thing eventually come together. 

You can read two other blog posts about it Here and Here

The exhibition is now open till the end of youth week at ArtsCape most days from 10-2pm.

On Friday I will be hosting another youth week event where we do a walking art tour of our town. I want to present to the young people the options available to them as artists. I want them to see that you do not need to go anywhere to be an arts worker or an artist (or both). All youth are free to attend but I do ask for RSVPs to the address to be placed. Please share with any local youth you know interested.

Youth Week Exhibition Opening

Tonight is the opening of the Youth Week photographic exhibition "It Starts With Us" at ArtsCape.

I have frantically spent the last week printing, naming, curating, designing extras and preparing for its launch. Thankfully I had some brilliant help putting up the exhibition and judging from some ever faithful volunteers from ArtsCape. Next step it food and drink preparation and then it can all just flow. It's the fiddly bit that become time suckers.

I have been super impressed with the work form the young people and I cant wait to give out the prizes tonight. 

Please feel free to come along to the opening tonight and have some of my special (still non-alcoholic) punch and nibbles.

It's going to be an uplifting experience.

Iphoneography Workshop

On Sunday something amazing happened. Naomi Fenton and myself hosted our very first iPhoneography workshop for Seedsmiths. It was a fantastic day.

This is something we have been developing for a while but with some funding from the local council and the National Youth Week people we were fortunate to be able to offer it to the local youth for FREE.

It was a funny thing to be teaching a class and encouraging device use. It was not something I have ever done, not even when I was teaching photography at school last year.

The kids were amazing. They were like little sponges and took everything in. I saw minds and perspectives change in a small amount of time. I saw concentration and enthusiasm in creating better works of art. You can look at some of their works on instagram under the hash tags #itstartswithus #YW2015 #getyourgridon. The workshop was also blogged about on our Seedsmiths Website.

The next project for me is to put together an art exhibition at ArtsCape from the youth. The competition is not just open to these workshop participants but to any youth 12-18 yrs old. It's a great project for the youth to work on in their holidays.

The next step will be creating an adults version of this course. With my photography and art teaching experience and Naomi's great personal interest in photography I am positive we can make it something special to present.

Acoustic Life of Sheds - Ten Days

Acoustic Life of Sheds was bought to the north west coast of Tasmania by Big hART for the  Tasmanian International Arts Festival or you might know it as Ten Days.

There is something about feeding your soul on occasions like this. Sometimes it is tough being an artist in a regional area and it is installations like this that can give you a deep breath in the drowning of normal life.

The project encompasses five sheds on a tour where you were exposed to an experience of light, sound, smell, visual and emotional torrents. Each shed has its own personality and each performance was entirely different than the last. There were stories to be shared at each place, hidden moments to find and intriguing conversations of overheard reactions and experiences.

Today I manged to visit all five sheds on the map. The comradery of the explorers meant that we were all in the experience together. Each shed was both fulfilling and draining. The whole tour becomes moments that will never be repeated.

The last day to participate is tomorrow. I recommend you take the time out of your life and live a lucid dream for the day.

Lately Via Instagram

Oh man have I been busy. Not busy in a 'go to work kinda way' but in a 24/7 round the clock brain clog.

 I have learned some stuff:
+ That I was extremely privileged to be invited to my friends wedding where she looked devine
+ That real smooshy love still exists in the world
+ That I am a lightweight when it comes to drinking these days - oh - and so very tired!
+ That being a parent the day after an event is reeeeeaaaalllyy hard work

+ That my garden has been surprisingly productive this year even after early summer neglect by a parent with a new born
+ That I am not dreading winter as much this year. I am actually looking forward to fires, comfort food and woolen wearing
+ That I am beginning to get a little head tick and over thinking simple things again.

What I have on the go:
+ I am currently working on stuff for the iPhoneography workshop happening this weekend - Food, prizes, materials, students, emails, course guide. Followed by preparing of the exhibition to go along with it. I am also curating another exhibition for ArtsCape due in May.
+ I am creating a new design for a t-shirt for a band that is bringing out an original song
+ I have been commissioned to make a cot quilt for new baby boy
+ Laundry (more laundry)
+Admin and teacher organisation for Seedsmiths

What I want for the future:
+ I think I need to find a job - why are there no art teacher jobs round here?? Sigh.
+ To not go crazy.

How are you coping with life right now?

Youth Week Photography Competition and iPhonegraphy Workshop

I am putting together this thing. Its going to be awesome. If you are a youth (or know a youth) between the ages of 12-18 years old, and into photography then these are some amazing opening for you (them)!!

The first opportunity is open to anyone that would like to learn how to take better photos. We are aiming it at devices (not just iphones) but are happy to take digital camera owners as well. Tips and tricks in a theory session will be in the morning followed by a free lunch and a practical session in the afternoon, putting their new skills into action.
There will be extra giveaways on the day. All participants will also get a paid opportunity to work in the ArtsCape gallery during the exhibition period.
The workshop will be held on Sunday 29th from 10am - 2pm at ArtsCape building 45 Jackson Street Wynyard.

Youth that are interested should sign up ASAP so we can account for the catering. They can sign up by emailing or by going to
The second component is an exhibition open to all 12-18 yr olds to be held at ArtsCape over youth week. There is $500 in prizes to be won, so well worth an entry.
To enter students should take a digital image, relating to the theme "It starts with us" and send it to . Students can send up to three images each and the best images will be displayed in an exhibition which will include an opening night and prizes presentation. Entrants should send their highest quality images with an explanation on how it relates to the theme as part of their entry. Entries close on Monday 6th of April and the exhibition opening will be on Friday 10th at 6pm.
How cool is that. Please share!

How I 'Mum" - 0 to 6 months

To be fair I bragged yesterday that my baby was sleeping through the night, he had been for ages. Last night my baby woke up ...all. night. I'm tired. Even though I had this post written in my head yesterday I now feel like a fraud writing this. Yet, I will go on. I want to pass on things that helped me in the early days. They may not work for you and I can only pass on information I found invaluable.

This is a secret I want to pass on to all ladies with babies under the age of 6 months... Just when you think you have it sorted your baby will prove you wrong. Routine (loosely used term) is fantastic and I highly recommend it but just when it is all sorted ... it will change.

I have read a lot of baby articles sitting in my chair under a feeding baby and looking for answers to my questions. Even though this was my second baby I was by no means an expert. I feel like the second time round I had more questions. I wanted to get this baby rearing thing right (or at least do it better) as I feel I completely flapped about the first time and did not enjoy the early days. Basically, I did not want to go as crazy this time round. The articles that helped me were read in a sleep deprived haze and I cannot remember sources. If you know of any articles I talk about here, please, feel free to drop me the citation. I follow a lot of Mums pages and read quite a few blogs so my information could have come from anywhere. Apologies. My knowledge is now a collaboration between people that I have never met and will never know how they helped me.

The first 6-8 weeks

So lets start in the beginning of a babies life. Firstly as a Mum you have been through pregnancy (awful), you have been through birthing (beyond awful) and now you have a small baby that needs feeding every 2 hours. Some people get lucky, they get 4 hours. This is the period of time with your baby where you need to let everything go. You need to let other people help you if it is available to you and sleep when you can. Do not fight for routine, the baby will do what it wants regardless of your agenda. You will have bad nights - you will have good nights but just remember, and this is so important, This Shall Pass.

An article that resonated with me at this time gave this advice... fill your baby up. Use boob... use bottle...use a combination but do what you need to do to fill your baby up and the sleep will follow. This required me to sit under a baby for 6 weeks. I do not sit well. I said that I would never be a mattress and a dummy for a baby. I did not want to set up a routine of a clingy baby. The funny thing was that I had no choice. I did all the things I said I would not do and it did not end with a baby clinging to me constantly at 6 months old. Babies need far more sleep than you think. At this early stage I found that baby would want to go back to bed/sleep no more than 10 mins after a feed. Keep your baby up past this, miss the tired signs and you are setting yourself up for one cranky baby. Let your baby eat, sleep and change its nappy. That is all. Put your baby down in a cot if at all possible during this time.

The worst thing about babies is how lovely they are when they sleep. You will never feel as much love as you do for your child as when they are sleeping. Often new Mums will rush to pick up a waking baby, eager to hold the freshness and smell the little creature. My advice is to wait to pick up baby if the sleep has only lasted around 20 mins. Let baby settle themselves back to a longer sleep if its possible and the baby is not screaming. I strongly believe it stops the routine of nanna napping and goes a long way to your baby self settling in the future. I found that if my baby woke up goo'ing and ga'ing then that baby was ready to get up. If my baby wakes up screaming it often meant that he had not gotten enough sleep. Sometimes a quick feed, a burp or a nappy change and straight back to bed was the secret.

I did not want to co-sleep with my baby. Personally I think its dangerous especially at this age. However there were a couple of nights in which the baby just wanted to sleep on me. It was awful. I keep drifting to sleep and waking in a panic thinking that I had hurt my baby. I would sleep sitting up or laying him in the crook of my arm to protect the baby. I would worry that my husband would hurt the baby. However it was something that had to be done at the time. I did what worked for me and the baby.
I think a child in a parents bed does a lot to hurt a marriage and your sleep patterns. Even though I let it happen a handful of times I always put the baby in his own bed as often as possible. The cot was right next to my side of the bed which meant he was in arms reach and I could sleep deeper, the baby could sleep better and it felt safer.

6-8 weeks to 4 months old

At this point I needed to get out of my chair and operation 'Lap Regain' was initiated. I started my routine that worked with my first child. Baby wakes up, baby feeds while not tired, play time/awake time and finally baby lays back in cot drowsy but not asleep. This routine means that baby feeds and gets what it needs while not too tired to suck. It also doesn't allow for feeds as a requirement to a sleeping baby.
It took me three days of consistency to get my lap back and some proper sleeping in the cot. I spent a lot of time picking up the baby to resettle and then laying him back down. I never let him 'cry it out' but I also didn't rush in for grumbles. It was a long three days, exhausting, but the pay off was worth it. Within days of our new routing he began sleeping through the night. Baby slept and I slept - it was heaven.

For my second baby I wanted to breast feed till at least six months had passed. I can happily say that we have achieved this. It was hard. There have been lumps, pain, frustration of being trapped under a baby for weeks and moments of just wishing someone else could do a night feed. This also means that I demand feed and if baby wants to feed through the night then I let him. Routine is great but routine also means that things do not happen at the same time each day. Time has little to do with routine and has everything to do with consistency. Do what ever works for you but always be consistent in what you do. Your baby loves it and your sanity will love it. If you know the baby has had enough sleep, if your baby is not hungry or has a mess in its nappy then you can start to sort out other options in your head without second guessing yourself. Don't forget to burp the baby. Tummy pains are awful and best prevented.

This period of time with baby was great. We were getting good day and night sleeps. Feeding was going well and he was always in the same spot you placed him when you put him down. My baby got so good at sleeping it was incredibly hard to get out of the house. Often I had to throw caution to our routine and just leave. It was fine and no serious routine issues occurred if the break wasn't carried on for more than a few days at a time.

At around 4 months you will hit a wonder week. With my first child I didn't know about wonder weeks and I suggest if you don't know then look them up. The first indication is your baby will be really unsettled, begin waking back up in the night and you feel like all the work you have done so far is lost. If you find this happen at any stage with your baby then check it is not a wonder week and know that This Shall Pass.

After this wonder week period I noticed a lot of developmental changes and you understand that your baby was going through some pretty heavy stuff and needed your support at this time. I also found that unlike my girl baby, my boy baby was interested in food. I didn't feed my girl till after 6 months. With the boy I started feeding him at about 4.5 months. He was eager and he was hungry. I feed him and he went back to be a very happy baby. Again - feed them and they will sleep. Although I would never endorse feeding a baby 'food' prior to 4 months old.

Almost spot on 6 months the baby started to get teeth and you will have small grumpy times with imunisations on top of everything else. Yet another period has begun and the changes continue to  happen. I know when it comes to toddler behaviors and beyond I got a lot of success out of Super Nanny techniques. I plan to do this again.

I hope that the few things I have outlined in this long rant help someone out in their motherhood journey. It's a tough road but I am pleased on how I am feeling after the first six months. I know this time with baby number one I was not handling it as well. I also marvel at how long the last 6 months of pregnancy were compared to the first six months of a babies life.

At the end of the day we are all doing our very best. I try not to read extremist parenting articles as they do no good for a mother prone to second guessing what they are doing. I wish you all the happy mothering vibes and remember that your worst day is just that ... one day of hardship... and everyday  ... completely worth it.

Chicken Story

For a  long time we have had chickens and ducks. Now - I don't eat eggs straight up but I do use them all the time in cooking and the rest of the family will eat them. 

They make great quick meals and I encouraged my girl to eat them when she was little so she didn't end up like me. Do you know how hard it is to not screw up your face as you are positively re-enforcing a child's eating of something you don't like? ... It's hard.

Over the years we have gone through many chickens. We have had random deaths and hens living to a ripe old age. We don't kill them for food and have had to give away spare roosters on occasion. I adore the Isa Brown variety for their lovely nature and great egg production. Our 'now' rooster comes from a long line of Bantoms - Leghorns and Isa browns grown by us.

Breeding our own chooks has been hard. The reason we have had this long line of roosters is becasue the only thing we have managed to 'grow' are roosters. We often buy 16 week old hens becasue I have been sick to the stomach each time we have tried to raise our own. I hate watching them slowly die, get taken randomly over night by (I'm assuming) bush rats or carried off by the crows. The duck (Indian Runners) breeding has been equally heart breaking as they are the worst mothers, trampling them - letting them get too water logged or carried off by the crows.

I had had enough of bringing them inside trying to save the little ones. I always felt inclined to let the mums have their babies but always it ended up with heart break. Breading is also made more difficult by thunder storms ruining batches of sitting eggs or hens not going clucky for three years. 

So for Christmas I bought my husband an incubator. It has been increasingly hard to buy chickens around here and I really I hope that this stops our breeding problems. We just had our first batch of eggs hatch and we now have five babies, safe, under the light. Every morning I know they are safe in their box and had not been carried off in the dark of the night. It just so happened that we had a chicken go clucky at the same time, the first time a hen had gone clucky in three years. What are the odds? This morning two of her eggs have hatched despite two thunderstorms in her sitting period. I'm really unsure what to do. Should I join the two batches together and give the incubator babies a Mum or grow them safely under the warmth till they are old enough to join in with the big ladies in the hen house.

I'll keep you updated on here. fingers crossed for a lovely batch of home grown chickens.

Seedsmiths - Instameet - Table Cape Lighthouse

On the last day of summer we held our first north west coast Tasmania instameet for the launch of Seesmiths - our new adult education program for the region.

In typical Tasmanian Fashion it rained. The mist rolled in but in spite of that there was no wind and the most romantic and moody atmosphere was presented to us.

Regardless of weather, those true Tasmanian types attended and we had the most fantastic tour given to us by the Table Cape Light house tours people. It is not often that people get to go up a light house and hear the stories. We are lucky that we now have a running lighthouse tour in our back yard with some lovely people presenting it for us.

Thankyou for attending everyone we really appreciate it.

You can now view some courses we have on offer through the Seedsmiths program HERE