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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.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Local Arts Culture

It is  with pride that I say things are getting all cultural in our regional coast of Tasmania. It is soooo nice to see arts being made and shared within the community.

Most of the arts in this region is still conducted at a grass roots level and supported by those that are the most passionate about the arts. It's unfortunate that the government and higher bodies STILL do not see the benefit of arts in supporting isolated regional people and the health and well being of its populations. It is a never ending battle and one that is completely undervalued in the community. I do not know ANY other expert in their field that is constantly asked to work for free. It is frustrating.

After that little vent I'll go back to the original intention of this post.

Last week I went to Wynyard High's production of 'To the beat of a different drum'. A completely original production supported by the ever innovative crew of Big hART. The sets were beautiful and the students had created most of the choreography themselves. These kids are so lucky to have a company like Big hART supporting and encouraging them.

I was so proud of their production but left feeling a bit sad that this year I had not been involved. The last production (you can see here and here) was an amazing thing to be a part of and those are experiences you can't forget.

Secondly this weekend I am attending Marist Regional Collages production of 'Bats'

This production is performed by my former students and I have been witnessing the lead up to this event prior to my maternity leave. I am very intrigued to go and watch them perform.

As I knew I would be leaving the school before the opening I limited my participation to things I could get done before I left. I was asked to design this poster for them and the little graphic designer in me had great fun in co-ordinating all the fonts and images to be used in all the media produced after this.

The other project I completed around the Bats production was to get my photography students to pose for portraits in class. We then worked on turning their images 'Gothic'. They had so much fun manipulating each other, learning how to add masks, stamps and incorporated some other images in the process. I was so impressed with some of the outcomes. The final images were framed and put up in the sets backgrounds and will decorate the foyer of the theater.

Lastly this exciting thing is happening in town.

The Runcible Ensemble is a project started by my friend and cool cafe owner Lisa, who is drama teacher trained and is into 'words'. It is a modern and contemporary alternative to the various musical and traditional 'word' groups in our area.

Although I am not a 'word' person I really wish her much success with this new venture. It is so nice to see innovative people seeing a need in the community and stepping up to fill the void.

It is often assumed that the people involved in these things are 'given' opportunities. I can tell you from experience, NO ONE gives you anything in the arts world. NO ONE will come to your home studio and beg to buy your art work - NO ONE will knock on your door and give you paid art work. All of these things happen becauce the passionate people get off their butt and either promote themselves or make the events happen. 

These are the people that I most admire.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blanket Vest For Big People

...and when I 'big' people I don't mean you have to be 8.5 months up the duff like me. I mean adults. This is a grown up version of the vest I made for my daughter.

I drafted the pattern from another vest I had. I drafted the hood and pockets from my favorite hoodie. I lined this old H.E.C. blanket vest with the most beautiful flannelette sheet I had been hoarding for quite sometime.

I decided not to put buttons on the front till I have done the big deed of deliverance as I figure that I will find out where I need to place them once I am 'smaller'. I also have plans of embroidering some arrows on the front for detail in white cotton. 

This will be the perfect camping accessory.

I took these photos on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 using the WiFi remote function. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrated I have been in the past when asking my husband to help capture me in my handmade garments. I'm sorry to be awful but he really does have the worst sort of eye to be taking proper/flattering/nice photos.

I regularly resort to photographing everything I make on clothes hangers. I don't think this gives a realistic view to the items. They come off 'flat' and really don't show them off as they are in real life. 

Being able to set up my own shots with the WiFi function gives me a lot more creative freedom. I make most of the clothes for myself, in my size, so trying to get hold of someone to model for me on a regular basis is just not do-able.

I do believe a WiFi remote function is a must if you are a fashion blogger, a handmade blogger like myself or even just into taking a lot of selfies on a proper camera. I don't think I would own a camera in the future that does not have this function. It's pretty cool.

Gawd I love technology.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blanket Vest

I do believe the novelty of 'lets pose for Mummy' is wearing off.

I made this hooded vest out of a woolen blanket and lined it with some fabric I found at Vinnies. Except for the toggle at the front the whole thing is completely upcycled.

I drafted the pattern for the vest body from a vest she used to wear all the time as a wee one. I added extra length through the shoulders, sides and length. The hood was the same pattern that I used for the Woolen Coat. Should I do it again, I would make the front panels a lot bigger for a proper cross over (and I think I will).

I managed to sew the leather and blanket sandwich (for the toggle) with much persistence on my sewing machine. A task, for the blanket coat, I had to complete by hand. I'm sure my machine hates me.

I top stitched the front of the vest (right up over the hood) with one of those fancy stitches on my machine. White cotton on cream blanket is subtle but so very pretty a finishing touch. Another task my machine must resent me for making it perform.

I do believe I will have to make me a grown ups version for camping. I think I might even add a touch of embroidery to mine for extra loveliness.

*** This was my 600th Post!!! I can't believe I have that much to ramble on about. Thankyou to everyone that reads about my makings. I heart you xxx***

These photos were taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10. I do believe the more I use this camera the more I am liking it. Its portability and clarity of image is just stunning.

One of the main things I have had to get use to was the difference between what you were seeing in the view finder, what you were seeing on the screen at the back of the camera and what the final outcome actually was. To be honest it kind of did my head in for a while. I guess the 'unsureness' of capturing a correct image was worrying to me. 

I have started trusting the camera to capture the correct image if all the settings are saying it is fine.

Another thing I found interesting was when using the view finder to take the photo you will notice that it adjusts and accurately shows you if the final image is under or over exposed. A tool I do not have on the DSLR I own.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014


Oldina is a place near my home and a place close to my heart.

It is a pine forest open to the public. Its appearance changes with the intermittent logging for the forestry and the re-growing of the pines for the future.

It is not a 'nice' place. It is damp underfoot, it is chilly under the shade of the looming pines and often looks desecrated by either the forestry operations or by the hoons on their motor bikes. It is always cool beneath the pines on the hottest of summer days.

Still this place warms my heart. The memories of the many times spent, the smell of the needles under foot and the exploring that I did here as a child.

To one side is a steep looming hill. In my youth it was covered in huge pines and was a regular achievement to reach the top with your friends or youth groups. Along the way you would slip, slide, brace yourself against trees to catch your breath and find forts left by others.

In the BBQ areas by the river I hear ancient voices of sausages being cooked, laughter and a spot of light camping on the most Australian of days.

There are secrets hidden amongst the trees and memories that can now only be treasured. The pines hold my thoughts, wishes and desires as I walk through the imposing giants of trees. Memories that only I can capture in my head. Fleeting moments and thoughts that link my authentic Tasmanian self back to this place.


I captured these images with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 that I am currently trialling. I went to this space to capture this story of memory. 

I was intent on using and mastering the wifi remote function of this camera. Before I left home I downloaded the free app that connects my iphone (also works on an iPad) directly to the camera. I set up my tri-pod and camera and within a matter of seconds I had connected my iPhone to the Olympus camera. In the field I used the remote function within the app to stand away from the camera and take the shots. I can't imagine how invaluable this function would be to the fashion blogger or the photographer taking a long shutter exposure without outlaying the extra expense of buying a camera remote.

I seem to never appear within photos as I am always the one behind the camera, however with this remote function I did manage to take my own portrait. The remote allows you to control all functions as you would on the camera body itself, all whilst viewing exactly what the camera is seeing directly on your screen. Now that's pretty cool.

The second amazing thing about the wifi function was how easy I could import my proper DSLR photos to my phone. With my current obsession with instagram I would buy this camera just so I could import my photos directly to my phone and edit them through my apps. 

As far as my coveted iPhone has evolved it still lacks in its picture taking ability. You can imagine how much the quality of your instafeeds will increase should you use the wifi function on the Olympus to import some proper DSLR photos.

These functions are not hard to master. Installation is easy and so accessible to even the most novice of technical types. You can see by the photos I have taken (above) that after a light play around with my in-phone apps you can create some pretty amazing images...and fast. All without cords or carting around a ton of computer equipment. This gives new meaning to editing on the run.

This is a bloggers camera. Its portability, its size and its quality all give it huge ticks to those wanting to increase their skills and online professionalism.

You can follow the other bloggers trialing this camera by searching out the hashtags #myfamilylens and #VoicesOf2014. It has been fantastic to watch everyone explore their cameras and what they can produce. It's also nice to see everyone's experience so far, its worth your time to take a look at what is being produced.