BFG Dream Jar Trail

This week we have mostly been doing things at home and in the garden, though we did have an afternoon Pokemon hunting in town on Friday.

On Tuesday we headed into London to search for some of the Bfg dream jars. We visited Southbank, the Shard,  the Tower of London, the Monument and St Pauls Cathedral and took photos of each jar. We had lunch by the river at the Tower Bridge and Jack had fun playing a game to see how fast he could run to certain things and back.

 

Kids Art Week

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Leaf Bugs!

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Cityscape

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This week of daily art tutorials was great fun and gave Jack some new ways of looking at creating his work. Picasso dog kinda reminds me of Pac Man 🙂 Although the week has now finished you can still sign up and watch the video tutorials and create your own at http://www.carlasonheim.com/free-kids-online-art-class-6-lessons/

03/08/2014

Well… project giant Kirby didn’t work out as planned at all. Jack freaked out at the paper mache getting his hands all messy and didn’t want to touch it any more. Emily and myself finished off the body, which is now hanging from the kitchen ceiling… home ed home – giant paper mache ball hanging from the celling is perfectly normal, right? lol If I can think of a way to make the hands and feet we can finish it off but I think any further paper mache is a no-go.

Jack hasn’t wanted to go out much, he’s even gone off playing with water and balloons. So we have been doing bits and pieces at home mostly other than taking a trip into Godalming last week and having lunch by the river Wey. We bought a Techni Lego excavator but it had two pieces missing so had to wait for Lego to send out replacements. Though now it is finished, I’ve found I must have got something wrong somewhere as the cog mechanism to make it move doesn’t work 😦

We have finished up Backyard Farmer and Gardener DIY patches (using different projects for each). I am thinking of completing all six challenges to master a sill before ordering the patches in the future rather than just the three that are required.In a lot of cases it is easy to do several a day so they are completed in no time.  Puts a bit more work and challenge into each I think.

Bought the Lego movie when it was released on DVD and jack has watched it before bed every night since! He bought himself the game in Argos and is having fun with that and constantly quoting the film, I’m sure he knows it word for word!

Last month I finally have managed to finally get around to publishing some tutorials to the Kindle store. They are mostly macramé but there are also a couple of chain maille ones with more to come soon. I am planning to get all my tutorials formatted and published for Kindle so that they are available in a different format and hopefully a whole new audience in the next couple of weeks. After that point I can create two versions at the time of writing, one PDF and one Kindle.

23/04/2014

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Two more DIY patches arrived this morning to add to the frame, salvager and chiller which Jack is really pleased with. He is currently working on the backyard farmer patch and waiting for sunflower and pea seeds to come up and join the rest in the veg garden. Checking the bin this week we found that our compost is ready and looking really good. I dug and good pot full into the new raspberry bed and used some in repotting the chocolate mint and rosemary. Slugs have visited already and munched on the baby broad bean plants so time for some beer traps! The patio apple tree, that was just a twig when we bought it a few weeks ago has quite a lot of leaves already and so I think is happy in it’s pot. Which makes jack happy as he wanted the tree and chose the pot as it is his favourite colour – black.

I have also discovered the Roald Dahl museum and may take Jack there as he developed quite and interest after watching a Roald Dahl video on Brain Pop. I haven’t been able to tempt him into actually reading any of his books but he has never been one for reading for pleasure so I am not surprised. Keeping my eyes out for any of the DVDs. He has been talking a lot about designing his own ideas about what certain Pokemon evolutions would look like it they existed but I’ve not yet been able to actually encourage him to draw anything. Not even pokemon can tempt him to want to write/draw that much. I have been thinking about the drawing tablets that connect to the PC and you draw with an electronic pen or the mouse. Perhaps the technology and move away from the dreaded pen and paper would help?

In the last week weeks Jack has been able to ride a scooter and buying one was a good move. Although his legs ache him when walking, it seems riding a scooter doesn’t and now he is more than willing to walk anywhere even the few miles into town. There and back is pushing it but 5/6 miles is a lot for any 7 year old. Any progress is good and he has asked for a bike next. The old Kirby games and cartoon are his current obsession and in a week and a half he has managed to complete Pokemon Colosseum!

This week I seem to have had a burst of mojo, thankfully; finally! Has been a bit lacking the last month or two. I had a rough plan to make it to 200 hubs by the summer but I don’t think I have much chance of that now. I am currently at 128 so that’s 72 more needed which comes in at about 70,000 words! True I did NaNoWriMo which is 50,000 in a month but that was pretty hard going and I didn’t have HE to think about then either… This week I have written three so far with another to type up tonight and three jewellery tutorials, which has doubled what I had done the rest of the month. I have had quite a bit of work through Fiverr too. Being a designer and writer with no inspiration is not a good place at all… In better news it is looking a lot like Jack’s seizures are coming under control and are down to one or two a day at most. He isn’t on the maximum medication dose either so if anything changes at least an increase is a possibility. Options were running out fast. The only downside is that it may be causing what appear to be tics. Feels like trading one bad thing for another…

06/12/13

On Wednesday I showed Jack how to gut and prepare the herring we bought at the farmers market (the videos on Youtube made it look much easier than it is!) and we had a look at the insides and gills which Jack enjoyed. He wanted to touch the eyes and said the mouth looked scary when I opened it up. Never had to prepare a fish like that before so it was my first try as I didn’t eat much fish even before I was vegetarian. I cooked some of the meat but Jack didn’t like it.

Yesterday we seemed to get loads done and time went really fast. First was the BBC Science clips website, which has loads of great interactive science activities for various ages. I left Jack to chose which he looked at and he ended up doing a bit of everything including and spend over an hour working through the activities. After that he had a look at an anatomy site I found called Inner Body but lost interest quickly. I think it is intended for older children and didn’t catch his attention enough. Then he went back onto Sumdog to do some maths and came 1st in a couple of challenges with other children playing as well as some 2nd and 3rd places. Then a couple of EdPlace sheets, reading a Spot book (Ladybird) and after lunch Jack wanted to listen to some of the books from the Reading Eggspress library and do the quizzes to earn some eggs for his character.

Later on we went bowling and Jack won the first game.

This morning was more reading and Reading Eggspress and then deciding what cake to bake. First it was going to be a chocolate ladybird but then after looking through some books Jack decided he wanted to decorate it to look like a pizza. So we went to Tesco for ‘toppings’ and decided to make half the top dairy free and half normal as Emily isn’t keen on the dairy free chocolate. Must remember to take a picture before it gets cut.

After a mix up with moving the domain name my new site is now working properly which is good news. Pretty pleased with it too 😀 One hub and two new macramé tutorials written this week as well as a social policy assignment. I am working on learning a couple of new techniques and with using half hitch and double half hitch knots and have a few designs in mind. My big order of rattail cord came yesterday and although it is a little harder to knot with than waxed cord I think the smaller diameter cord look neater than 1mm waxed cord when knotted, it comes in lots of colours and doesn’t set off my dyshidrotic eczema like waxed cotton cord seems to when I work with it a lot. Really need a new knotting board though as mine is getting really tatty after years of use.

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One of my newest tutorials.

Rasta macrame

Second new project in Rasta colours.

 

Body Project and New Foods.

Body project is still well underway – adding in some lapbook type resources so lots of cutting, gluing and matching going on. Jack had fun doing the jigsaws over at http://www.anatomyarcade.com (anatomically correct pictures of eye, digestive system, heart etc.) and we also made a ‘bran hat’ from http://www.ellenjmchenry.com/.

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I also downloaded a compound word matching game from Twinkl that Jack likes so have been making some more word cards to add to those using other compound words. Laminated they make a good and fun activity, will post a photo once I have them all cut out and see if I can add a link to make my cards downloadable. Bit of an up and down day due to last minute plan changes but not terrible. Jack bought some squid and tried that today just cooked in some dairy free spread. He said it was nice and ate it all so that’s another thing added to the list and pretty easy to get as Tesco ten minutes from us has a fish counter. He had his eye on octopus yesterday so maybe that will be next? He was also most impressed by the giant ‘Raymond’ (butternut squash) in our Tesco delivery this morning lol I hope it is not just my children that descend on the driver like they have never been fed!
Feeling we need to get out for a long walk very soon so hopefully a trip to the downs or Alice Holt this week if the weather stays good or may head down to Chantry woods for a better look.

HubPages is picking up again and one of my hubs has a 100 score! Got over 100 featured articles there now and 10 that have been awarded Editors Choice and my macramé tutorials are still selling well. Sometimes surprises me which are the most popular. I have added a few to Etsy as well to see how they do on there. Hoping to get one or two new ones added this week and have a few ideas in mind. I have a chain maille design planed for Christmas as well that I need to get written up.

09/09/13

Another week begins but what happened to the sun?

Today Jack went to the first session of reading group at the library called Funky Fiction. I wasn’t sure how he was going to be as he can be quite unsettled and disruptive at times but he was fine and enjoyed it too. I had a feeling that the book Revolting Rhymes would appeal to him! We also tracked down some bamboo canes and a wooden box that will be perfect for our bug hotel project. The rest of the day has been smooth and transitioning between activities, especially between what he wants to do and learning is still good. I’m using a countdown technique and as Jack gets better at understanding time will move onto pointing out on the clock. Although he can tell me what time it is fairly accurately, he struggles with the passage of time, 60 minutes sounds like a long time to him purely because 60 is a big number. He didn’t want to watch a 130 minute film as he said ‘it will go on forever’. I’m sure it will get easier in time.

I received the paperwork for Jack’s proposed statement, which was huge and had me in tears. I feel bad for sending him back for so long and wish he had said more. Though I know he was anxious about getting in to trouble for not going to school so maybe he thought there was no way out and so no point? 😦 Makes me worry about what else he could be keeping inside. I feel a little cross that school did not make it clearer just how much Jack was struggling because I would of taken him out long ago. Although sad, what I read confirmed for me again that I have made the right decision in de-registering him. I also received a letter from our LA today which actually seemed very friendly and accepting. I had been a little worried after the stories I have heard from some people. They are going to write again in a few weeks to ask how I intend to provide information about educational  provision and plans for Jack. I have seven weeks of records already and some rough idea what we are doing between now and Christmas so that shouldn’t be any problem at all.

Work wise I am mostly writing tutorials at the moment for Jewelry Lessons. I have a head full of ideas and past made projects so building up a good selection of tutorials for sale shouldn’t be a problem. It is also something I can pick up and put down easily in between other things or if I am needed. Passive income is definitely the way to go. Now I have over 100 hubs on HubPages that is picking up as well. I am planning to write some more jewellery designing articles and some on other crafts but as for making actual jewellery will be mostly sticking to only creating commissioned designs. Although I closed the shop on my main site, I will be moving all the items over to a new shop on Mystic Bid as that is easier to maintain and also a lot cheaper. I am working on designing a portfolio type site that brings everything together in one place, bit like a digital business card I guess 😀

Our garden tile projects are all finished, dry and in place now. Mine and Jack’s are in the veg garden and Emily made hers to go by the front door and including the door number. Pleased with the results and am thinking of using the technique again to create some other decorations or maybe stepping stones. I thought maybe some small stepping stones with footprints in could be nice, not so sure about the sensory experience though!

Garden tile Garden tile Garden tile

August… A time for changes.

August seems to be a time of change for us. Last August certainly was and the August before we moved over 200 miles across the country, making real something I had wanted to do for several years.

Now this August has been the same. Lots of things are changing work wise for me, I am focusing more on my writing and have been writing a lot of jewellery making tutorials over the last couple of months; as well as hitting 100 hubs on HubPages last week. I have a good layout for my cook book (wheat free vegan) worked out and have chosen which of my recipes I am going to use, pretty much I am just need to lay it out and make and photograph each of the 26 recipes and it is done. Still looking into formats for eBooks though and what will be the best way to go. I can do PDF as well, which I have noticed quite a few downloadable books use but I don’t know how well they work as a file format on other devices. They download ok on my android phone but too small to read really.

I will be closing the shop on Elderberry Arts at least temporally before the end of the month as my supplier is closing down. I had been thinking about it for a while anyway as it takes up a lot of time and to be honest, I don’t have what it takes to do all the networking and marketing side of things. It’s just not me really. I will probably continue to sell on Mystic Bid once I figure out what and find a new supplier. I have some ideas but we’ll see. I still have my jewellery, but after over ten years I am not making so much any more and am prefering to do more complex and custom pieces when I do. I am working on a new chain maille design at the moment. This blog is going to be more general rather than focusing on the site too.

I have almost finished my Special Needs Teaching Assistant course and in October start my second to last Open University module. Next Augusts big change could be that I have finished depending on the start dates of my final module. At the beginning of the month I started trialling home educating my youngest. He has been having problems at school because of his special needs and in the near future would be transferring to a specialist school. On top of the fact that the school is quite far from me, I don’t believe another school is the answer however trained they may be as it is ‘school’ that is creating the problems. He does not do well be surrounded by lots of people and noise, he struggles and panics when he feels pressured and finds it hard to write at all. He can also be quite loud and lash out at times which has caused problems. His report stated he was behind in almost every subject, resistant to working, argumentative… I do a lot of what could be called home educating with him anyway and I never find he is like that so something is not right somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, his school have done a lot for him an have tolerated a lot, including him biting his teacher and kicking the headteacher which I am grateful for but there has to be a better alternative to the way this school year has been.
Home education is something I have often thought about but I guess it comes down to the fact that I simply wasn’t brave enough to give it a go. I explained to Jack about home education and at first he was afraid he would get into trouble for not going to school, which was solved the first time we went to a home ed group and he saw all the other children and now after a month he loves it and I have a much happier boy back. Meltdowns are lessening and he is happily completing tasks and even asking for things to do. This morning I got up and he was on Reading Eggs already and this afternoon has achieved a gold award on there. He wants to stay home and has said that school makes his head mad and as I suspected writing hurts his hands. Have to admit that I had set my heart on home ed so am glad he is enjoying it too! 😀

July 2013

My target this challenge was 15,000 words of blogs, articles, hubs or projects. I started out well and was half way just over a week in but then with one thing and another lost motivation and slowed right down. I am currently at 13517 so may still make it yet! I have written a few more hubs on autism and some on jewellery design as well as twelve new tutorials. Going to try and get the last 1,500 done today as we are busy tomorrow and Wednesday now.

Thinking hard about my website at the moment and considering shutting the shop other than the jewellery pages and maybe the odd other bit of craft work. Or maybe I will open an etsy shop or something similar instead. The site takes a fair bit of time and money and brings little return to be honest. I feel I would be better off concentrating on my writing, especially jewellery making tutorials as these do much better and sales are much more consistent. Age I am considering selling beads and other jewellery making materials but have a friend that does so feel a little bad about stepping on her toes perhaps. I’m not cut out for all the marketing and social side of getting a site and products out there, 2 1/2 years in I am no better. I used to sell well on eBay but that has changed so much, not to mention gotten so much more expensive fee wise! Not sure what would work out best.

02/04/2013 – April Plans

After competing NaNoWriMo last November I am going to attempt Camp NaNoWriMo this April and maybe again for the second one in June (I think it is) But rather than working on a novel again I am joining the rebels and aiming to write a least 10,000 words of blog posts, hubs and other articles in the month. I have a list of ideas that will hopefully at least give me a start point.

Having done 50,000 words in a month 10,000 shouldn’t be so bad, though these will need researching in some cases which my novel didn’t so time is a factor there. I also have one uni module part way through and another starting on the 6th along with work and all the normally day to day stuff and getting started in the veg patch now the weather is warming up. Well, I do always say I’d rather be busy! Lol