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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 seedsmithstasmania@gmail.com 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 seedsmithstasmania@gmail.com . 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




Instameet - Northwest Tasmania - Seedsmiths



We have been really happy to be featured prominently in two newspapers for our new venture Seedsmiths. You can find our facebook page here.

I also had an early morning wake up call from the ABC radio in which I had to a very impromptu and scratchy radio interview.

This weekend we are launching our new venture with an Instameet at our local lighthouse. We would love to see as many people come along, meet us, create community and take advantage of the $1 lighthouse tour. Please feel free to sign up and find more information here.


We can't wait for it all to begin. I am currently working on the logistics for multiple courses and I can't wait to start sharing them with you. We are still looking for more teachers and if you are one of those people with skills then please have a look at this link. It's not scary - I promise.

And here's a little read for you from the local rag The Advocate about the instameet:
(Why do all newspaper photos have to be so unkind! - Stupid side face)


AFTER being fed up with the lack of arts and craft courses on the North-West, two Coastal teachers decided to do something about it.

Marist Regional College teacher Naomi Fenton is an avid photographer and after spending several years travelling to Hobart and Launceston to undertake photography classes, she's decided to bring those skills to the Coast.

Along with fellow teacher and friend Michelle Walker, Miss Fenton plans to build a community exchange where people can teach others skills they've learnt, calling it Seedsmiths.

"The two of us had been talking about something like this with different workshops for years," Miss Fenton said.

"With the contacts both I and Michelle have and us both being teachers we thought why not do it ourselves if no one else was going to do it.

"We started with the plan of organising two groups of people, those with the skills and bringing them together with the people who want to learn those skills through the internet."

With Seedsmiths, the idea is to give the North-West community an opportunity to learn certain skills in an affordable way, rather than having to pay for expensive courses and accommodation elsewhere.
"Costs depend on the course, the teacher outlines how much each course will cost based off material costings and their personal time," Miss Fenton said.

Miss Fenton said courses would range from free to several hundred dollars, whether that be a beginners photography class or building a backyard pizza oven.

Despite running a few smaller classes recently, Seedsmiths will officially launch on February 28 with a free instameet at Table Cape.

Instameets allows people to learn the basics of smartphone photography and publishing those photos to popular photo-based social media, Instagram.

An instameet also allows people to take their online network of followers and bring it into the real world.

"We'll be teaching people who come along the little tips and tricks of photography," Miss Fenton said.

"Though it's really about the social side of things and meeting new people, or meeting people you may already be following on Instagram, along with gaining some new followers on Instagram."
Seedsmiths free inaugural event will be held on Saturday February 28 at 2.30pm beginning at the Table Cape Lighthouse.

For more information on Seedsmiths or to become a teacher visit www.seedsmithstasmania.com.

DIY Kids Hammock Chair



After all the baby swings I had been making I was told I had left out the big girl (stated by the big girl) and she wanted a hanging chair of her own.

Last week I threw out these vintage curtains to the vinnie's bin, they had been sitting in my stash forever and I felt I had moved past their style. This week I went back through the bags and pulled the strong material back out (oh! so naughty). 

Much to my delight they were the perfect size for making this hanging child's chair tutorial I found HERE over on A Beautiful Mess blog. The fabric choice made even more perfect by using the original hemming on the top and bottom without re-doing it. Any one that has sewn with me knows my hate for hemming so... winning!

The kid loves it. I love it and we are now lazily sitting around in the sun, reading and listening to Chet Faker, Kingswood and Milky Chance. Noiiiise.

DIY Plastic Shopping Bag Holder - Tutorial




I think it's fantastic that we all take our own bags to the supermarkets these days. What I do not think is fantastic is all the bought plastic bags littering the boot of my car because I have forgotten to take them in. I keep a couple in my handbag made from thrifted pillowcases which fold up easily but they wont cover a big shop.

So I got about making a plastic shopping bag holder and I thought I would share it with you all as a little tutorial. You can make one with limited equipment in less than half an hour.


What you need:
  • Bias Binding ( I am using some I handmade but you can use commercial binding as well)
  • Gripper Studs or Press Studs

Step 1
Cut two pieces of binding 110cm long (seen here in pink and blue) and one piece of binding 44 cm long (seen here in green/yellow). As you can see I have used contrasting colours for all three of my bits. If you were using the same colour for all bits you could cut the first two pieces as one long 220cm length folded in half and skip the next step.



Step 2
With right sides facing, sew together the two long pieces on one end. With the short piece, fold it in half vertical and sew down the entire length. Fold one end in to hide the cut edge.


Step 3
Fold long piece in half with the wrong sides together. Begin sewing the two pieces together at the folded end. Keep the sewing line right near the edge. When you reach the end place the short piece of binding in between the two layers and sew along the short end and then back down the other side.


Step 4
Ignore the short binding piece and fold the long piece in half to find the center. Every 7.5cm hammer a gripper stud or sew on press studs along the length till you reach the end. On the short binding piece place one half of the stud at the start and the opposite matching stud at the end.

Congratulations! You're done!



Roll up some bags and place them between each stud point. You can store seven plastic bags in each carrier. You can use the short binding piece in two ways. You can make a loop to hang the carrier in your pantry or roll up the whole carrier into a spiral and wrap the small binding piece around the whole roll to secure them in a bunch.


Beats them laying around in the car boot that's for sure.

Bohemian Baby Swings


You may have noticed I have been blogging and making a bit more recently. Last week I had the long awaited gall bladder surgery which means I can come off pain killers and eat for the first time in over a year. I have indulged this week just to prove I can. Promise I will get back on the good eating bandwagon again soon ...ha ha ....maybe. I may write about the surgery experience soon but at the moment it all feels a bit raw and I am over thinking about and being in pain. Things didn't go that well for me in hospital but I feel like its time for me to shine again and return to being me.

Anyway as I said in my last post I have been inspired to make these vintage styled swings for babies and toddlers. I have just placed two new bohemian styled swings in my online shop. I just love them so. They fill me with romantic ideas of summer and lazy garden time. If you would like to purchase one then please pop over HERE. All my swings will be individual and unique. No two will ever be the same.

I already have a few more colours cut so hopefully you will see them appear soon. Lets cheers to summer and enjoy it while its here. Bottoms up.