Monthly Archives: April 2012

Bike Adventuring



Step 1. Grab your bikes and helmets, pump up your tyres, fill your bike bags with treats and drinks.
Step 2. Jump on the train and get off a few stops down the line.
Step 3. Explore!








Artist’s Books Progress Report


OMG! Only two weeks to before my work needs to be ready for the Artist’s Books Exhibition at the Riddoch Art Gallery. This is part of a group exhibition with the Thumbprint Printers Group, and I am pretty excited about it because the Riddoch Gallery is a wonderful regional gallery.
At this stage things are coming together quite nicely, but I still have a lot of finishing off to do and that always takes more time than you think it will.
I have a collection of books called Specimens.
It includes this Crabs book…



I still need to print the pages for this book and make up a latch system. The crabs are made out of recycled parts from my old electric organ that I played as a child (when they were all the fashion).
Also, this birds book…

…which may challenge some people’s ideas of what constitutes a book, but I like it. I have filled the flask with name labels for different birds – those which the collector has been unable to find specimens of because they have been collected into extinction.
There is also a book of Jellyfish specimens. This book just needs to have some text added and be bound now.

Oh, and I need to find some more old rubber stoppers to go in the tops of the test tubes.
I wanted to get some waterry looking jellyfish pictures to go inside this book, so I have made monoprints using water soluble oil pastels.




I was quite happy with the results although I am still experimenting with the idea if adding a little ink painting to them.
There is also a book of Fish specimens on microscope slides, but this one is the least developed at this stage.

I am using an encaustic technique on the microscope slides and am incorporating bits of rubbish that I find when I am walking my dog.
All if the Specimens books use mostly recycled or found objects.

I have two other books as well. This one is called Fly and is a necklace book.

I still need to string it up on some rings and a chain.

Finally, I have this one that I call Mehetibal in the Garden. I have used a cyanotype printing technique and also some lino prints on to clear plastic.

It is also still waiting to be bound. I am intending to make a simple concertina binding incorporating sticks, and I am also planning to add some broken egg shell to some of the pages.

Looks like a busy couple of weeks coming up for me. Stay tuned for a sneak peak at the finished products soon.
All the best,

My Favourite Home Made Body Products


People who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have been making a lot of products at home instead of buying them in order to try and save money. I thought that today I would do an update on how these products have been going.
Two products that I really love and have made a couple of times now, are home made deodorant and home made hair gel/ curl definer.

Here is the recipe I have been using for home made deodorant. It is so simple and takes only a couple of minutes to make.

Home Made Deodorant

1/2 cup bicarb soda
1/2 cup cornflour
coconut oil
a few drops tea tree oil

Mix together carb soda and cornflour, then gradually mix in enough coconut oil to form a paste (about the consistency of thick cream). Stir in tea tree oil and scrape into a wide mouth container.
To use, scoop a little bit on to fingers and rub under arms – you don’t need very much.



If you have ever worried about the health effects of deodorants, or just want to save a little bit of money – try it, try it, try it! Honestly, this works really, really well. I have used it while exercising on a hot Queensland day with no problems – amazing!

This recipe came from
homestead Revival Blog

My next favourite recipe was originally called home made hair gel, but I prefer to call it home made curl definer.
This is the product I was using, it is quite an expensive product.


This is a big statement, but I think the home made gel is much better (at least it is on my hair).

Hair Gel Recipe

2 tablespoons linseed
1 cup water

Put linseeds and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 10 minutes (no longer).
Pour mixture through a fine sieve to remove linseeds and discard these.
When mixture has cooled beat it with a whisk or beaters for a minute to break up the gel. Store in the fridge and discard if it starts to smell bad.
Use the same way that you would use a purchased product.

I have adapted this recipe from one I found at The Hairpin


It is a little gross and slimy, but it works great and is so cheap, so try to get past that.



I am also loving the home made soap that we made. You have to leave soap for about a month before you can use it, so it’s very exciting to be able to finally try it out. It is beautiful and soft and silky to use and I can use it on my face with no problems. It is still a bit soft so a block doesn’t last all that long, but I think it will get harder if we wait longer.


I have a book of gorgeous soap recipes so I am looking forward to trying a few of those now. It is really very easy and you can buy everything you need from the supermarket, so why not give it a go.
I used Rhonda’s recipe from the Down to Earth Blog

My purchased face moisturiser has almost run out, so I think my next experiment will be making moisturiser. I’m slightly nervous about this as my face is fairly sensitive, but we’ll see how we go. I know that it is certainly worth a try though because the savings can be huge, and it is a lot of fun.
Give it a try, I’m sure you will be amazed too.

All the best,

Learning doesn’t stop for the holidays


First day of school holidays here in Queensland but as most homeschoolers will know, natural learning just doesn’t stop for the holidays. In fact, we have had a very productive day in our house today.
My youngest son is getting very excited that Easter is almost here. He had the idea that we should have an Advent style calendar to count down to Easter. OK, I know he was only after the chocolate, but never one to miss an educational opportunity, I told him that we could make a countdown calendar if he could find a way to incorporate some writing into it.
This turned out to be a very good plan. This very reluctant writer was hard at work copying the days of the week onto his countdown calendar in no time.


He used an egg carton to make the countdown calendar, by simply cutting the lid into sections for each day of the week (unfortunately that only gave us 6 days, but we decided we didn’t need to count Easter Sunday). A small Easter egg was placed in each section.


He was pretty pleased with the end product. This would be a great activity to do with children for learning the days of the week. Different treats could be used – lollies, stickers, lego blocks etc, and you could count down the days to any upcoming event such as a birthday, outing or just the weekend.

I am making some Artist’s books at the moment and using a lot of leather in them. This gave him his next idea. He decided to cover an old sketch book in leather and turn it into a ‘Professor’s Journal’.
He is now busy filling the journal with pictures of amazing imaginary animals that the Professor has discovered.

A lot of reading is going on in our house at the moment. My 12 year old son is loving the Skulduggery Pleasant series. In fact these books have taken him from being an ‘I’ll read if I have to’ reader to an ‘always has his nose in a book’ reader. I highly recommend them. He has almost polished this one off in 2 days.
I was excited to find the ‘Hey Jack’ series in KMart today. It is quite common for natural learners to learn to read much later than their school based peers. In fact there are many natural learners who have not started reading until they were 10 or 12years old, but have then been reading novels within a couple of weeks. The one problem this does cause is that when they are first learning, they do not want to read the simple picture books that are designed for beginner readers. That’s why it is always great when you can find novels with nice simple writing – just what these kids need to help build their confidence. The Hey Jack series have very easy language and not too much writing, while still having that look of being a novel.
Another recent find was the Mega Mash Up Series. I found these ones at the Museum gift shop. Once again, it is a series that looks like a novel but has not too much writing, although there are some quite difficult words.
These books have the added fun of being a ‘draw your own adventure’. All the pictures have sections of drawings that can be filled in, with great open ended suggestions that allow for lots of creative thinking and drawing.


Do you watch Letters and Numbers? It is a game show on SBS where people try to make the longest word they can out a selection of letters, then they get a selection of numbers which
they have to use in a calculation that equals the target number. Our family love watching it and trying to beat the contestants. If you haven’t seen the show the latest episode is on their website here.
We were pretty excited to find that there is also a series of Letters and Numbers puzzle books.
We are all hard at work now training for the show. You never know, one day we might be the lucky contestant who walks away with the Macquarie Dictionary prize!
Seriously though, I couldn’t have planned a better maths lesson. My daughter and my middle son spent an hour or two working through the puzzles tonight. I think we’ll have to keep practicing to get up to the impressive speed of the contestants though.
Well, that pretty much wraps up the first day of the holidays for us. It was a day full of playing, making, reading and having fun, but please, just don’t tell them they were actually learning!
Happy Holidays,