We have been slow getting fully back into things since the holidays but despite two hospital appointments (one for an operation) we have got loads done so far this week. Jack has been loving Sum Dog as always and has been getting to grips with taking photos and videos using his 2DS.

Last week we did the mentos/coke experiment with good results and are planning to repeat it using a whole packet of mentos instead of just one and complete a few more DIY challenges including making bird seed feeders. Last Monday was also the monthly PDA group meet up near us which we went along too.

Monday ended up being very much a computer day with Sum Dog, Reading Eggspress and lots of BBC Bitesize and then some junk modelling and cutting and sticking for creativity and fine motor skills. Seemed to be a lot of cutting and not much sticking to me though! lol Jack made a mask and then said his eyes weren’t ‘long enough’ to see through both holes at the same time but a couple of toilet rolls made a perfect set of binoculars. Yesterday we read some ocean books and make oobleck to complete the chemist badge on DIY as well as some Studyladder tasks and various maths games.

Oobleck 2


Tomorrow I am planning to take it easy as jack had an operation today (on his teeth) and do some science work book or body project and then maybe make play dough or bake something before it’s back off to the hospital to see the ophthalmologist for a check up. Also hoping to finish off the geologist patch this week so I can order a few at a time and hopefully save a bit on postage as teh patches come from America. Then he will have baker, Lego master, geologist and chemist patches. Time to make a decision on what to stitch them on to as well.

I have learnt a new chain maille weave that I have tried several times and failed at, completely by accident while making something else.





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.


One of my newest tutorials.

Rasta macrame

Second new project in Rasta colours.


This week

I also found this site which looks like it could be really good for our body project : http://www.anatomyarcade.com which looks really good for some fun resources and some learning without realising 🙂 Another idea I had was to draw a life-sized body (draw around the child) and then draw and colour or print out organs and any other parts you’d like to include and stick them on.

On Wednesday we went to Aldershot to met up with friends. We went to a soft play centre and then to the military museum there. I wasn’t sure how Jack would be with the museum as he has never shown an interest in anything remotely military and although he likes museums, it is only when something has his attention. The museum gave the children a list of items to spot and he really loved doing that. We couldn’t stay as long as we would of liked to but it was still a good day out.

Friday we went ice skating and it was Jack’s birthday. We were thinking of going bowling again as he enjoyed that but as the day went on he was getting more and more stressed and later had a huge meltdown. Birthdays are always he same and he’s not really settled yet since. In that way I am glad that we don’t have big family birthday days because he simply couldn’t handle it. The birthday thing overall is too much with all the waiting and anticipation, waiting to see what presents are etc. Decided to try telling him what his present was this year and that helped a little as that anxiety over what it might be was gone but then I think the excitement of finally having it was too much! He loved his cake too, which came out pretty well considering it is only the second time I have used that type of icing.

Om Nom Cake




Preserving time

Most of last weekend was spend processing and preserving. I have had a go at bottling/canning for the first time this year and have six jars of my seven veg sauce all ready for future use. Also jarred some pears in sugar syrup and have made blackberry and pear, pear and mixed berry, strawberry and pear and banana and blackberry jams. Managed to find enough elderberries for a few bottles of syrup for colds etc. but none going into the jam this year. I am going to look into buy a young tree or two for my garden as there do not seem to be many trees in the area and our other two houses both had elderberry trees so I am missing using them.


The weather has warmed up a bit and my strawberries and runner beans are both flowering and fruiting again so hopefully we will have some more of those to come. The patio/pot veg garden has done great this year so I will be sticking with that for future. Planning on evicting the patio table and chairs and expanding too 😀

Skating was a success on Friday again and we met up with friends on the way. Jack was happy as they have a son his age and the two of them went round together and had a few races. It is good to see him spending quality time with other children out of choice rather than struggling because it is being forced on him in an uncomfortable environment. This week we are working on the ocean as a project topic and enjoying the virtual library on Reading  Eggspress. Jack is fascinated by the daddy long legs that are suddenly everywhere and wants to keep them as pets. Should have my new site finished this week and back to uni on the 3rd as well.


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.

Gemstone Arrow Head Pendulum For Dowsing and Spiritual Work

Arrowhead Pendulum

Arrowhead Pendulum

I’ve chosen Rose Quartz and Hematite for this project as they are two of my favourite stones and I think they go well together especially with silver. You can choose any stones you like or already have or even use another material such as glass or crystal. The stones can all be the same or in complementing colours and types and you could use sterling or gold plated findings if you prefer.


Materials List

1 inch head pin
One gemstone pendant approx 3 cm long
One 8 or 10mm gemstone bead
Three 4mm gemstone oval beads
Four 4mm silver plated round beads
Two silver plated side opening calottes (necklace ends)
Three 4mm silver plated jump rings
16cm of 2mm silver plated ball chain
2 inch piece of 0.8mm silver plated wire

Step 1

Make a small loop in one end of the 0.8mm wire
Thread on beads in this order – 4mm silver bead, gemstone oval and continue until you have three gemstone ovals and four silver beads on the wire.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Trim any excess wire and make a small loop in the wire end yo created the beaded section for your pendulum.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Attach a calotte to one end of the ball chain. Use a jump ring to attach the beaded section to the calotte.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Use a second jump ring to attach the gemstone pendant to the other end of the beaded section.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5

Attach the second calotte to the other end of the ball chain. Thread the gemstone bead on to the 1 inch head pin. Trim of any excess wire and make a loop in the end to create a charm.

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6

Use the remaining jump ring to attach the charm to the calotte.


Throughout history people have used pendulums to help them including to locate water, oil and minerals, detect illness and allergies and in divination.

A pendulum works in a similar way to a radio antenna picking up information from unseen radio waves. A pendulum receives it’s information from the vibrations and energy given off my people, places and thoughts. Albert Einstein believed pendulums used electromagnetism to work and other scientific research has indicated he could ell of been correct.
Even though no one fully understands how and why pendulums work we can still use them to benefit ourselves and the people around us.

Some uses for pendulums include:

Locating – water, gold, oil, minerals, lost items, missing persons, underground pipes and illness and other problems within the human body.

Testing – for allergies, freshness of food and water and the presence of chemicals or bacteria.

Determining – the health of people, plants or animals, negative and positive energies in a place or the compatibility between people.

In choosing – investments, career, relationships and timing of events.







Jewellery in the Spotlight

Some examples of the hand crafted gemstone jewellery available at Elderberry Arts

Click on the pictures to view the items page.

White jade Bracelet

White Jade Bracelet

One of a kind design bracelet designed and created using 6mm black glass and 4mm white Jade gemstone beads. These have been spaced with 4mm silver plated rounds to create this uncomplicated and timeless piece of jewellery.

This bracelet has been finished with a silver plated clasp and measures 7.5 inches (19.5 cm) long.

£6.50 (Free p&p)

Chain Maille Pentagram Bracelet

Chain Maille Pentagram Bracelet

Lightweight one of a kind Japanese style chain maille bracelet. Created using purple and silver aluminium 6 and 4 mm rings and finished with a pentacle charm.

This bracelet has a silver plated clasp and measures 7 1/2 inches long. Length can be adjusted, please email for further details.

£16.00 (Free p&p)

Hematite and Rose Quartz Spiral Pendant

Hematite and Rose Quartz Spiral Pendant

Pretty and unusual pendant of hematite and rose quartz gemstones enclosed in a silver plated spiral.

Pendant measures approximately 4.5 cm and is ready to hang from a chain or necklace of your choice.

£12.00 (Free p&p)

Rose Quartz Angel Earrings

Rose Quartz Angel Earrings

Pretty angel earrings hand crafted using rose quartz gemstones.

These earrings are 5 cm long and are available with silver plated or sterling silver ear wires.

£6.00 (Free p&p)




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 😀 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 🙂
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.