25 February 2010

Our creative space....

Well its the big owlet's, really. I've been working on some new simple shapes for appliques for baby and kids stuff for the owlet shop for autumn. Big owlet has been playing with shapes too. First she traces all the shapes on my old school math-o-mat. Then she adds character to them. I think they're just brilliant. So we're collaborating. One or two might make it onto clothes for the owlet shop and another one or two just for big owlet to wear with pride. I'm particularly loving the confused looking owl...

See some creative brilliance at Kirsty's place, as usual.

Spiced Banana and Yoghurt Cake

This is a cake Mum used to make when we were owlets. I've altered it slightly with more wholemeal flour, and rapadura instead of brown sugar. I'm using Mum's old cake tin and it sometimes gets stuck to it and looks all rough, like in the picture, (usually if we've removed it from the tin too soon due to hungry owlets), but it tastes just brilliant with a cuppa, or served warm with ice cream or yoghurt.

1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 tspn bicarb soda
2 tspns cinnamon
2 tspns nutmeg
1 cup rapadura
125g butter
1 tbspn honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup yoghurt
3 ripe mashed bananas

Melt butter, rapadura, honey in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, add flour, soda & spices. Add melted mixture to flour mixture. In another small bowl, put two eggs & 1/2 cup yoghurt and beat until well mixed. Add to the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Add 3 mashed bananas and stir through evenly. Place in a greased cake tin (2 small loaves or a ring tin like mine work). Bake in a moderately slow oven (160 deg. C) for 45 minutes or until ready. Stand a few minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

22 February 2010

unschool monday :: why?

We are fortunate to live in a lovely neighbourhood. The school two streets away is deemed to be one of the best around, with a high school next door. It has great facilities and lies right on the river. The educational programs are supposedly great. A princess went there for goodness sake!! Yeah, ok, its a great school. So then why do we choose not to wander round there with the owlets? Because we can. We have tried to provide a non-competetive environment for our owlets.Praise and rewards based systems do not fit with our home life. When it came time for us to find somewhere for big owlet to begin her learning, we discovered that many of our options didn't fit with our parenting... and our owlets are unhappiest when in situations that involve competition and rewards and lots of structure... for example, at a party they will happily dance around, but would prefer to sit out musical chairs. So that ruled out the local school. The Steiner school was lovely and big owlet attended for two kinder years, but it was still not 100% right for us... and expensive!! We could afford to travel to Europe several times over for what it would cost us to send the owlets there for all of their schooling!! Lets do that instead!!

But what about me? Do I get time to myself? Yes. As learning happens all the time, Huz is involved too, so its not all on me to edumacate while he's at work. Sometimes we'll do maths at bedtime or writing at the dinner table, figuring out how to write THE! in carrots.

So I have nights to myself and for the moment an afternoon a week where the owlets spend time with their grandmother. There are also playdates, sleepovers, weekends... They'll want to spend less time with me soon enough. Often people will comment "gee you must really like spending time your children".. Sure, but its not a life sentence. We make it work week by week just as any family does. "Oh, but its such a big commitment!"... Actually I found it harder to commit to handing our children over to an institution or teacher for most of their days. I think we took the easy way out. We know exactly what they are learning and when and we know that their needs are being met. If there comes a time that their needs are not being met and school can meet those needs, then we'll look for the right one. I have one or two in mind when and if that happens... I think if we said this is forever, no room for change, we'd all go mad. We just keep checking in and make sure we are all happy. So far so good...

21 February 2010

Dream catcher take two

Big owlet has been suffering very vivid, very bad dreams of late. She requested a dream catcher. We've made one before, but not quite a proper one... this time we needed the real thing. So after a google and a rummage, we had a go. Its blue. Her favourite colour - pink is sooo last year!! Oh dear. Must say, I'm happy to see the back of the pink phase, but as you can tell from the pic, we're in for a bedroom makeover... to match the dream catcher...

18 February 2010

My creative space... mobile

We're about to leave the house for the day... leggings to buy, a rally to go to, little owlet's first gym class, the library, back to gym for big owlet... oh I'm exhausted already!! On days like this, I make sure we go prepared with things to do in a quiet moment so we can feel a bit centred. While the owlets somersault about I should be able to add to my hair clip stash for the next market - not so much creative as therapeutic. I'm hoping big owlet will finish reading me Frog and Toad while I sew... I'm so loving watching her enjoy the same books I enjoyed when I began reading!

Visit Kirsty for some creative space fabulousness!

16 February 2010

tweed, tweed!

Tuesday afternoon is my time at home sans owlets. Mysteriously, the phone rings constantly, I catch up with a blog or two and its gone... Theoretically its my time to make stuff and work on the owlet shop a bit... here's what I should have done: made more pants like this for the next market. They are wool, fully lined with cotton and warm!! Sadly though, no elastic. Will work on that for next tuesday. I'm hoping to make it to crafternoon this evening and make up for my lack of Tuesday craft thus far... hey if you're in Hobart and would like to be a part of crafternoon (read: drinking tea, eating biscuits and chatting about magazines, design, etc., while pretending to finish off craft projects), let Bec know.

15 February 2010

unschool monday :: unschool social

So the next question we usually encounter when we chat about our owlets learning is: "But what about socialisation?" The simple answer is that they do loads of activities with kids their own age... gym, ballet, school holiday activities... we meet twice a week with local home educators and their families to play in the park... Big owlet's closest friend is home educated too... But beyond that, we like to think that they are learning in a more natural social environment day to day. They encounter people from many different backgrounds and witness a range of social interactions in a trip to town. They spend time with the neighbours, extended family, experience life with a community around them. They do not spend days with children their own age and adults who work with children, but people of all ages, working in different fields and living in the real world. If they want for company, we find it for them. We meet their needs, surround them with community. Simple really. "But what about developing a tolerance for others, even those you don't get along with?" Try spending 24/7 with a strong willed 3yo and see how your tolerance level is...Seriously though, they encounter all sorts of people in daily life and witness us dealing with social situations. They are living in the real world already. "But what about social etiquette, and how to behave in the real world?" Well they miss out on learning to sit up straight, raise their hand to speak, ask to go to the bathroom, queue up at the tuck shop, sure... but we treat them like people and they manage to figure out most stuff. The owlets are free, but that doesn't make them completely wild... well not always...

You can read more about socialisation and kids here...

14 February 2010

We heart odd + even

What a fantastic day!! We had such a wonderful time at odd + even yesterday. I was given a rather large space in the open and airy Long Gallery. There was a huge area set up with comfy chairs right next to me where Bec held the Crafternoon stand and taught people how to crochet throughout the day. A band played, children (and adults) coloured in valentines day cards, people shopped, wandered, chatted, stopped for a cup of tea... Michelle was there selling her beautiful, famous cupcakes and she had a special treat - Raw chocolate truffles. They were sugar free and so smooth and delicious. So we tried one. Each. It was the first chocolate we'd had since christmas and all we could say was WOW!! Huz got a bit teary, like saying hello to an old, long lost friend.

Unfortunately Jess + Cat have decided to call it a day and Odd + Even may be no more. Very sad for two reasons... it was my first market and encouraged me to get going with making and selling stuff, and also because its such a lovely day and quite different to the other markets I've done. I've loved being part of it and my hat goes off to Jess + Cat for creating something so special. x

11 February 2010

My creative space...

I would love to show you all the beautiful things I've made, or give you a sneak peak of something in progress... but the truth is... I haven't made a thing, or started or even so much a picked up needle and thread since the clip I made last week, and even that was with my eyes closed. The weather's just been too good, the company too lovely, and I'm still thoroughly entrenched in holiday mode. Much of my creativity has been spent daydreaming and cloud watching. Never fear though, its coming, its just mostly in my head. I have a stall at odd + even on the weekend so no doubt there'll be a last minute flurry of activity. I may manage one or two new things too... if we get rain perhaps...

See some more productive creative spaces over at Kirsty's.

8 February 2010

unschool monday :: an apple for the teacher...

When I talk to people about how our owlets learn at home, usually it sparks a bunch of questions and discussion. First question is usually "Is that legal?" Answer: Yes. We register through the local advisory council who send someone out to see what we've been up to every two years. Its a bit of a chat about what we've done and what we plan to do and a huge show and tell session... lots of photos to look at!!

Next question is usually "Do you have a teaching background?" Answer: No. Sometimes a parent will state "Oh I could never teach my child. We'd be a loggerheads all day. They just wouldn't want to learn from me". To that I usually say: "Me too". We are merely here to facilitate their learning. Help them access stuff they need to learn. Show them cool things that might inspire them, or just leave them alone and watch them out of the corner of one eye. They say that the average amount of time spent actually teaching in one day at a regular school is 1.5hrs. Of that, one on one time between student and teacher averages at just 8 minutes. Looking back at my schooling, I suppose that could be true, there was a bit of work done on standing in line, learning to sit still, keep quiet, speak when spoken to... I also remember that not much notice was taken as to HOW I learned. I'm a visual learner, remembering things as images and gaining my understanding through pictures. Often I'd take work home and Mum would explain it to me. In pictures. Or in a way I could visualise and understand. My parents were a great unschoolers. Simply removing the idea that they had to teach me (they already paid people loads to do that), and answering questions, providing opportunities for me to learn. Little did they know, most of the things that have stuck, I learned from them.

So our approach is to remove the word TEACH from our vocabulary. Instead we take the opportunity to watch them learn and find their way in the world... and they do.

If you feel like reading more, I rather enjoyed this article when I first happened upon it.

6 February 2010

Mama nurture...

I have very dry skin. In the past six months I've noticed that it can go through a cycle of anger and inflammation that matches my moods... It gets red, puffy, itchy, flakey. I can age ten years in a week and then lose them again a week later... Its always a surprise to look in the mirror and see how I'm feeling today. So as a way to take notice of that, to find some balance and to nurture my skin, I've been playing in the kitchen. Not only is my skin very dry, its also very sensitive, so sticking to nurturing foods inside and out seems the way to go. I ran out of a favourite facial scrub a couple of months ago, but reading the list of ingredients realised I could make something similar. Then I saw Lisa and Heather's posts and got inspired to play with what was at hand. I've got to say that my skin went from crazy to glowing in an afternoon. Huz noticed as soon as he walked in the door. Maybe its stopping and pausing that did it, not sure, but I'll be playing in the kitchen some more...

Oat and Calendula Scrub...

1/2 cup oatmeal - or oat bran which is what I had in the cupboard
1 tablespoon dried calendula flowers - we had some marigolds in the garden, so I dried them
1 tablespoon salt or raw sugar - I went with salt

Put some in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water. Stir around a bit to make it pasty, then apply to your skin, rubbing in a circular motion. Rinse off with cool water.

Avocado and Oat Face Mask...

1/2 Avocado, mashed.
1 egg
1 tablespoon oatmeal/rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until you have an even paste (lumpy because of the oats). Apply all over your face and leave it on for about 10mins or until it feels dry. Remove with cold water and a face washer.

4 February 2010

My creative space...

Argh!! Its late! Where did the day go? Here's what I did today... Made a hair clip for a gift for our new neighbour Ruby Rose who turned five today. The owlets are super chuffed that there seems to be an influx of children around about their age to the street, and then to get a party invite!! Wow!! Of course, parties and sugar go hand in hand, so a rather large party bag full of the stuff made its way home in each owlet's hand. Partys are not included in our new sugar free regime, it would seem... Consequence? Little owlet is still awake... So you see, that's why I'm late today. See many more punctual and creative spaces over at Kirsty's.

2 February 2010

Owlet on sale

For this week only... or until I remember... I'm reducing certain items in my etsy and madeit shops in an effort to make more room for autumnal things. Some items are between 15-20% off the regular price.

All garden skirts were $35, now $30.
Lounge pants were $35, now $30
Luxury play capes were $45, now $30!!

Some items are new, just listed today. I'll be popping extra bits and pieces on here and there during the week too, so check back from time to time!

1 February 2010

unschool monday :: how owlets learn...

Well since its back to school week for many this week, I thought I'd start a little Monday series on our learning adventures. I hope you'll follow along and that I can answer any questions that arise... Our penchant for choosing the road less travelled led us to home learning rather than school for our owlets. Big owlet attended a lovely steiner kindy and we found many of the principles of steiner suited us beautifully, but some didn't... So we take some of our favourite elements from that and call ourselves steiner inspired natural learners, or unschoolers. We don't follow a particular curriculum, but we follow the owlets interests, the rhythm of our home life and the rhythm of the seasons. They learn because they want to and because that's what children do. They learn all the time, through doing, and living and just being...

My neighbour asked me if we had holidays and stopped learning over the summer, a question we've been asked lots. When we reply "no", we are usually met with a look of concern, but then go on to explain that we don't really have anything to be on holidays from. Unschooling is a lifestyle choice, that's for sure. Like I said to my neighbour who has a one year old son, you wouldn't say "no, darling, we're not learning to walk today, we're having a day off..." You can't stop it. It happens naturally, all the time. And so our days are varied. Some busy and full of activity. Some are slow and restful. Learning happens at 8am around the breakfast table, or on the way to bed... in the car, the supermarket, the beach... wherever, whenever. We learn from nature, from the world around us. Collecting seaweed at the beach or counting the steps in the backyard and jumping two at a time. It requires a leap of faith and a large amount of trust in your children and that they will learn what they need... and they will, while their needs are met. Its what we've been doing since they were born. What we do then is sit back, watch and enjoy the ride.