Successes and Great Things!

I made some gluten, milk and egg free bread in my slow cooker and it came out the most like bread of any recipe I have tried πŸ™‚

Umbreon has a head. Crash course in crochet going well πŸ™‚ (only made a granny square before)

Good day at school for small Boo πŸ™‚

Everything is ready for my daughter’s birthday πŸ™‚ (12! where do the years go?)

Good and understanding friends πŸ™‚

Getting some good and paid writing work πŸ™‚

New fans, positive comments and rising hub scores on HubPages πŸ™‚

My family and friends being healthy, well and here πŸ™‚

Dairy free, chocolate – banana sushi πŸ™‚

Today turned out pretty well πŸ™‚

Uh oh, another craft to add ;)

Half term week was a busy but good one πŸ˜€ Spent time with good friends, creating memories and adventures as well as having some quiet days home.
Having never crocheted much I have discovered arigurami and have made a Pokeball and am currently working on an Umbreon toy. Well, lets face it; it had to be Pokemon lol I bought myself a book of very cute characters from Hobby Craft at the weekend and will make a few of those too. Once again way to many things I want to do and simply not enough time in the days! (or life most likely) My daughter is also having a go and making a dog from a kit she had as a present.
I contacted a whole load of magazines over the last couple of weeks and think next time I will pace it a bit more as I now have quite a bit of writing to do. Fortunately I have a long list of ideas. I am also going to try a ‘7 hubs in 7 days’ challenge this week, well it is Tuesday to Tuesday to help get me motivated and some mojo flowing. My earnings at HubPages are building up now which is good too.

Some Magazine Article and Projects

I have been collecting together some of the magazine articles and projects that I have written and though I would share some photos.



I have some to scan from magazines so will add those soon.


e-petition to get PCs (picture communications) an official language in the UK

“PCs (Picture Communication) to be recognised as an official language in the UK

Responsible department: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

1 in 100 children in the UK are on the Autistic Spectrum, Majority of AS and Non Verbal Special Needs Children use PCs (Picture Communications) We needed PCs to be adopted and used by Medical professionals, Public services and Business through out the UK. Adopting PCs would reduce anxiety and create familiarity. All other minority languages are recognised and form are issued in varies languages, PCs is more widely used in the UK then Welsh, and as yet nothing has been done for this ever growing population to understand what their form is about. We would like PCs to recognised as an official language in the UK.”

This could make such a difference to so many children making life so much better and easier for them and the people round them.

Just a Typical Day

The last couple of days I have been waking up around 5:30am and not being able to get back to sleep. Well, not until 10 minutes before my alarm is due to go at least, just typical! Then it’s up and wake my boys up, both are on the autism spectrum and really don’t like getting up and take so long over it. My daughter gets up before me to get ready and then go to her friends to walk to school. Coax smallest boy out of bed, get dressed, make porridge, shout upstairs to big boy (well, he is 15…) and make bento lunch and snack box – Pac man wheat free roll with chicken, grapes, jelly with peach pieces, dried fruit and some gluten free mini animal biscuits for lunch and stars cut outs of chicken breast, slices of egg white and sliced smoked sausage with flower shapes cut out.

It’s freezing out, small Boo hates the cold so much. I bought him a coat meant for skiing and still he feels cold :s but we get to school ok. My older son has a hospital appointment at the endocrine clinic so we walk to the hospital which is only ten minutes away. They had a Scooby Doo film playing in the waiting room. I’ve lost count of the number of these films I’ve seen, Boo LOVES Scooby (and so do I lol ;)) Appointment seemed a bit pointless in the end as we only went over what I already knew but everything is good on that side of things.

Come home to get on with uni work, which was a ton of reading on policies and services for children, post war welfare state, Sure Start… Read some and let ClaroRead do it’s thing, this is what I have it for, right? The rest of the day seemed to just vanish into nowhere with school pick up, adding some new aromatherapy oils to Elderberry Arts and listening too and singing too some music while Boo played Skylanders. He is not very tolerant of people singing in general, though he loves live music but is mostly ok if I sing. I wouldn’t say I can sing but I’m not terrible either lol My daughter had to go back to school for her school play (she is playing the flute in the orchestra) Before I know it, it’s dinner time and ‘doh, what am I going to cook with such short time?’ I love batch cooking πŸ˜€ I used to it a lot and keep saying I will again and never get round to it but on Monday I planned and cook and freezer draw full of meals. I couldn’t sleep and logged onto Facebook to see a friend had posted photos of her latest batches for the freezer so I made a menu and shopping list and the spent most of Monday during school time cooking. I like cooking anyway but it’s not as bad as you might expect. Now I have loads of prepared meals ready to go, kinda like healthy home made ready meals!

I made:

6 portions of chicken korma
2 portions of quorn chicken korma
4 portions of spaghetti bolegnase
6 portions of 100% beef meatballs
6 pitta pizzas
8 french bread pizzas
3 portions of shepherds pie
4 portions of mashed sweet and normal potato
6 portions of veggie chilli (quorn mince, mixed beans and carrots)
2 portions of sweet and sour veg with chicken quorn
4 portions of my secret veg pasta sauce
4 portions of ratatouille

Everything but the pizzas, meatballs and quorn meals just need defrosting and reheating so are perfect when we’re in a rush, have a ‘can’t be bothered’ day or if just one person is eating at a different time etc. I keep the quorn uncooked and cook it when I am eating as it cooks really quick anyway and it cut down on jobs to do.
So after picking up my daughter at 8:45pm I could very easily cook a set of mealballs, reheat the pasta sauce and cook some spaghetti and we all get a good, nutrition meal with minimum effort needed πŸ™‚
Hoping to do a big batch of baking too very soon.

Everyone goes to bed and a while later Boo comes down upset but doesn’t know or can’t tell me why. He sits down on the floor next to me and says he’s sleepy but doesn’t want to lie down. So, at 10:30pm I find myself editing a graphic for Elderberry Arts and quietly singing Jennifer Juniper to him. (Awesome song!) He was asleep by the end and once he’s asleep he’s asleep. I have dressed and undressed him before now so getting him up to bed will be no trouble.


My oldest son loves Japanese culture. At one point he was completely obsessed, watching animΓ©, playing games and teaching himself to speak Japanese. He is 15 but in the future he would like to live in Japan for a while either studying or teaching English. As I love cooking and especially trying out new recipes and ways of using ingredients I was more than happy to experiment with Japanese cooking and ingredients, and of course buying Japanese cookery books πŸ˜‰

Sushi has become a regular thing I eat now.The first time I had it I really wasn’t sure. I liked it but at the same time didn’t. I persevered and tried a few types and found I prefer the

Hosomaki Sushi Roll

Hosomaki Sushi Roll
Source – JΓΆrn Menning [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

thinner type known as hosomaki. Sometimes I make it myself but have noticed recently that more and more shops are stocking little lunch packs which are perfect.

As I am vegetarian and also wheat, egg and milk intolerant they are also an easy way to find something to eat when out. The packages will say they contain wheat but this is in the soy sauce which is always in a small plastic container and so can easily be avoided.
One great thing about making your own is that you can include the fillings of your choice, traditional or otherwise. One we tried once was frankfurter sausages, ketchup and mustard. You can also colour or flavour the rice and add sauces such as wasabi (hot! you really do only need a little bit) or hummus.

Experimenting with sushi and other Japanese foods lead to me discovering bento lunches. Bento lunches are basically a Japanese packed lunch, only ten times better than the contents contents often found in the English version. They mainly contain rice, meats, fish and vegetables in various forms including fresh or as pickles. They are served in a bento lunch box and it is even possible to buy bento lunch boxes that can heat your food at lunch time. But what really caught my eye was the bentos known as “kyara-ben” and “oekakiben”. These are cute and fun lunches arranged with themes, often Japanese cartoons or games but also more simply such as cars, animals or flowers. They were originally devised as a way to get picky children to eat a wider range of foods but this has grown into almost an art and the creatively that goes into them is amazing!

Cute panda kyara-ben bento

Cute panda kyara-ben bento. The pandas are made using rice and decorated with nori (seaweed) sheets.
Source – luckysundae [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cute polar bear bento

Another cute lunch made using rice and vegtables. The hard boiled egg in the background has been decorated with nori with a paw print.
Source – luckysundae [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost too cute to eat, right? πŸ˜€ So, of course I had to have a go at making my own and set off reading and researching, I’d been making shaped sandwiches for years but this was way cooler. I don’t make a bento lunch every day but generally do include elements into my youngest sons pack lunch every day, maybe a shaped sandwich or some sausage or other food cut into shapes with mini cookie cutters. I also pack his lunch differently, thinking more about how it will look when he opens the lid. My son has autism and we went through a really bad time of him literally only eating 3 or 4 foods. Granted they were mainly healthy like grapes and peas but not giving him much variety or nutritional balance. He is much better now but can still be picky so anything that makes foods attractive and fun is good by me. Plus I get to experiment with foods, cookery and creativity in one!

Here are some examples of my kyara-ben creations.

Fruit bento

Home made apple fruit leather hearts with banana and apple slices


Frankfurter  sausages shaped like octopus'

Frankfurter sausages cut to look like octopus – just snip the legs with scissors and then cook.


Dinosaur shaped sandwiches

Home made dairy free choc/nut spread dinosaur sandwiches (brown bread) with carrot letters


Egg and rice panda bento

Egg and rice panda with cheese slice and nori decorations


Princess bento with veg

Shepherds pie princess bento with cheese hair and salad


Shaped sausages

Smoked sausage cut with mini cutters, chicken chunks and brown bread and butter.



Latest Issue of Creative Crafting Magazine

The latest issue of Creative Crafting magazine is now available at and is completely free! Packed full of great information and craft projects to try including twoΒ I have written.

Hope you enjoying browsing and reading.

04/02/2013 – Massive Update

I have been really bad about blogging, I admit I keep forgetting and really need to get into the habit of doing regular posts here.

Loads has happened since my last post. All my pride jewellery is now available from Lavender Lifestyles and I will be closing the shop at RainBi Pride as it is just too much to keep up day to day. My hub page articles have reached 10,000 views! The current most popular hub is Pagan symbols and their meanings. That one hasn’t dropped beyond the top few places since I wrote it over a year ago . I have updated it several time since it was first published and it now includes a poll to take part in and information on 15 different pagan symbols. Most of the pictures I used are also public domain or licensed for use if attributed so feel free to use them yourselves.

Other new hubs include Raw vegan desserts, raw soups and healthy lunchbox ideas for children as well as others on topics such as feeding garden birds, and wheat and dairy free recipes. Hope you will enjoy reading and look out for updates and new hubs in the future. I am also still writing regularly for various crafting magazines and working on a book of my own.

Our main site, Elderberry Arts now has a large range of spiritual and pagan related items. Why not take a look at our range of tumble stones, or crystal wands?

Amethyst Crystal Wand

Our range of spell, altar and smudging supplies including various scented smudging sticks, cauldrons, bowls, quilts and magical inks.


Pentacle cauldron


Sage and Sweetgrass Smudge Stick

Bats Blood Ink