Curious Bazaar is here!

179 products so far (and I haven't added any magnets, bags, dresses or skirts yet!), some fun time playing with design and html, and some linky love happening on Facebook. Here we are, Curious Bazaar is officially live! I'm stealing Kell's nifty idea of introducing it with the 'About' page content ;) but before I do, there is a promotion going on to help with our launch.

Help us grow:

As mentioned on the Curious Bazaar facebook page, obviously, we are very new and would love your help to grow. Share the 'Curious Bazaar' store, or one of your favourite items from the store, on your facebook wall or personal blog and I will send you an exclusive discount code! Don't forget to let me know that you've shared (either here or via messages)...

Of course, you'll also have our happy go lucky gratitude and some warm fuzzy feelings to go along with it, which is always nice.

What we're doing:

Curious Bazaar was launched on 28th November 2011 as a result of long chats with friends about craftiness and market stalls. We thought it would be great if customers could go to one single online space to browse a wide variety of things we make, from our various brands, and have them combined in one parcel for a single delivery price.

In this, we present you with a unique niche market of whimsical, creative and handmade, arising mainly from the Dandenong Ranges area east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Shopping at Curious Bazaar is part of supporting handmade, supporting local artists and craftspeople, people who make things because they love to and want to share those products with you. Poppytalk share a fab list of 101 reasons to buy handmade if you need any more inspiration! Speaking for myself and the women behind the brands stocked here, we're proud and excited to be part of the handmade landscape!

Amazing Creativity (and a bit of a bargain!)

Jude Craig is a local artist, she actually leaves next-door-plus-one from my sister here in Upwey, who does amazing dying of natural fibres with all sorts of creative things :)

She's running some one-day workshops where you can learn to dye silks and wools with natural bits and pieces like onion skins, cabbage, leaves, rusty bits of wire and all sorts of other stuff!

The details are here on Jude's blog :)

More teeth and a new project

So yesterday's dental appointment didn't go exactly as planned, as the two fillings ended up taking ages to do (apparently they were tiny cavities and my teeth are small-ish which made it a bit tricky), so she only extracted one wisdom tooth. After all the tension of the drilling and whatnot for the fillings, the extraction was a bit of an anti-climax! Didn't hurt, but now is a bit achy there and tastes disgustingly fleshy - reminding me of Cass's comments on my last post. Anyway, the next two are coming out tomorrow, I'm getting the occlusal splint mould (for the teeth grinding) taken next week and leaving the specialist until another year ;)

Thank you so much everyone for your stories, it was great to hear different experiences before going in, as it's not pain I'm worried about as much as feeling out of control, not knowing what to expect. I might be a tiny bit control-freakish ;) So I felt loads better reading about what happened for other people.

If you're on Facebook, you would have seen news of my latest project, which I'm very excited about. It's been theoretically in progress for a couple of months now, and arises from attending markets with my sister and friends. Some weeks ago I sat down with Ben and evaluated my business, all the different bits and pieces I do, and we prioritised / reshuffled my direction for the next couple of years. One big change was no markets, but to replace market attendance with one online shop that also promotes and sells the work of friends and others over time. A few other changes are also lined up, but more about them another time.

So I'll be running a new 'whimsical gift shop' online and stocking the creations from various local crafty people, such as The Kooky Green Owl and Polkadot Lane, as well as my own art prints, canvases and cards. You'll be able to buy gorgeous jewellery, hairclips and bands, handmade children's clothes, funky screen-printed totes and t-shirts, art prints, a range of cards, art prints, magnets and original art. Yay!

Curious Bazaar launches on November 28th, but in the meantime 'like' us on Facebook to keep up with the news!

Bite worthy

A few weeks back, I visited the dentist for the first time since I was in school. So, maybe 15 years? I'm 30, I finished school at 16 but don't recall going to the dentist during year 12, though I could be wrong. Anyhow, a long time. It just seemed like an unnecessary use of money, when on a strict budget, and then time drags out, and before you know it... 15 years. Or so. The closest I've gotten to an examination until now was taking the kids in for their check ups.

So I went and had one of those super-thorough and it turns out quite painful cleans, and an examination. Tomorrow I'm going back for my two fillings (I thought that wasn't too bad for such a long time without dental care) and three - count them, three! - wisdom teeth extractions. Yes, in the chair, and no, I'm not going under. It has been kind of freaking me out ever since that a lot of people I've told have been like "Oh, no, not in the chair!"... I don't know what that means! Is it a bad idea? It's what the dentist said to have done, so that's what I'm doing.

I'm quite apprehensive. But this time tomorrow I will have three less wisdom teeth, and I believe a referral to a specialist who will need to perform surgery to remove the final wisdom tooth. I doubt I'll be in a hurry to get that done, given the expense. I also have to get an occlusal splint (or something like that), because I am apparently grinding my canine teeth away as I sleep. As for the recovery, I have made sure I don't have too busy a week, at least that I only have work I can do easily from home and without too much pressure. But life waits for no pain, so I expect it will be juggling kidlets and such like it is normally. I have relief tomorrow, with my lovely sister Kell taking Cedar and the older kids in school and after school care. So it should be fine, I'm thinking.

Do I have any idea what I'm talking about? What have been your wisdom teeth experiences?

Favourites from a family

I often wonder where my faves from a shoot and the actual family / bride & groom's faves differ.... Here are some of mine from this recent session :)

RedBubble and a Discount

Ooh that arty farty bubble site has a discount code for you all (and me too!) on calendars. You can find my calendars here and there are also a lot of other art and photography calendars to check out. Enter the code BIGCAL15 for 15% off, until November 18th!

October pages

 This page is of Sienna's bestie Imogen and was obviously inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night, using Martha Stewart products for Aussie Scrap Source (click through to the Aussie blog to see detail shots!). I used flocking powder for the swirls, the punch-all-over-the-page stars punch to cut out all the tiny stars and the cute doily embellishments.

Another creation for Aussie Scrap Source, this time featuring Fancy Pants Designs 'Off to School' range :)

These last two were created for Scrapboxx and use a lot of Crate Paper's 'Random' range, which I'm still loving. The first one 'Daddy's Turn' was for a DT challenge with the dad theme, plus had to include chipboard. I made these at Kell's place and stole one of her BasicGrey chipboard bits for the clouds.

Finally, 'Sweet and Beautiful' was for the Scrapboxx newsletter scraplift feature, where I used a layout from the Boxx gallery by Jess Mackenzie as my page inspiration. I have a couple of pages from the latest Scrapbook Creations to share, I just have to double-check which issue is out first :)

Genius Fish (a bit of a rant) #aspergers #autism

I just found this Typo thingy on Facebook, shared by Jenae. I've read it before - it's very true and something often forgotten. Today it made me really think about people with autism, and how this quote totally applies.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein

I was chatting to another mum a couple of months ago and we were talking a little bit about parenting. At one point, I said that my eldest two are on the Autism Spectrum, so things aren't always typical. She replied with "Mine is the opposite, he's gifted and needs extra stimulation".

Now, I didn't say anything much about that at the time, but I confess I was kind of annoyed inside* at the response. Since when was autism the opposite of smart? I mean, severe autism can come with an intellectual disability, that's true, but even then it is unfair to perceive people as stupid. Each person still has strengths beyond what is expected, and often offer connection or responses to people and situations that are far more genuine that you get from many 'normal' people.

In the case of Aspergers, though, and also high-functioning Autism (so, Sienna and Ash) they do not lack intelligence at all. It is actually typical of people with Aspergers, that they are actually incredibly intelligent - above average - but their intelligence has a narrower range than other people. Generally the lack is in social intelligence and interpersonal skills, due to pragmatic language difficulties, but their area of intelligence gives them a different kind of edge.

With my two, the professionals couldn't actually composite an IQ score for either of them due to the disparity in the results. This vast difference between their strengths and weaknesses is actually one of the diagnostic points that came up for both of them, though in slightly different ways. Ash, for instance, was around the 20-something-th percentile for verbal language at age 5, but was at the 88th percentile for visual processing index. So he can present as needing extra help and being a lot slower to learn than his peers, and has difficulty (for his age) understanding verbal language, but he actually has much higher than average intelligence in a visually specific learning style. He figures things out visually at a higher level.

The psychologists and paediatrician noted that this was quite a dramatic difference, in Ash's case, due to his language problems. But Sienna had the same issue, just not as extreme. The difference between her strongest score and her weakest one was too big for an average IQ to be concluded. I can't remember what it's called, but there is a sort of allowance of difference - say, 20 points - that is allowed for the results to be able to be compiled. Anything further apart from that means that an average isn't accurate enough.

I find the way their brains work so interesting, though it is hard to keep it in mind in the every day. I've told you 3 times to get your socks, for instance, isn't fair if you haven't made sure that Ash has heard and understood each of those times. I often get frustrated that they ask me questions but don't listen to the answers, but the truth is that as long as their eyes are open it is difficult for them to focus on listening to something when there is so much they are taking in visually. Then you say, look at me, to make sure they listen but that can also be too confronting, it's too much pressure to have that solid eye contact. But sometimes it's ok. So you've just gotta wing it, do a lot of biting your tongue and pay a lot of attention!

LOL my rant turned into some sort of education / everyday life mish mash!

The truth is, I believe that Einstein's words apply to ALL people, high IQ, low IQ, no specific IQ at all, just all sorts. We all have some way of being a genius. For some people you need to dig deeper. And for others you just need to look at things a little differently. And that's fine with me.

*I just want to clarify that I wasn't really that annoyed at the person who said this, just momentarily, but that is why I kept it inside. I wasn't annoyed at the person, I was annoyed at the misconceptions which are so common, they were just represented by that statement at that time.

Pinterest Pretties

Pinterest is a mighty addictive website, that's true, but I've started realising how useful it is as an alternative to bookmarking things in your browser.

So, see a yum recipe with an inspiring photo? Pin it to your Pinterest boards and both the image and the link to the original source will be saved for you AND shared with others! Yay! Same for craft tutorials (I have a mega long bookmark folder just for tutorials). Pin one of the images, and it will link to the source. It's also handier to have a visual bookmark instead of trying to remember what the page names mean in normal browser bookmarks.

Some of the categories I save things in are 'For the home', 'Photography Inspo', 'Scrapbooking Inspiration' and 'Garden love'. I'm slowly building collections, and a lot of them are from following the pins and boards of people I know and who inspire me.You can follow my boards too. Feel free to pin anything from my blogs or website that inspire you :) Fair warning, though, Pinterest is a visual wonderland, it's easy to lose time there!

Ooh, I just posted a recipe for one of my faves, Wattleseed Affogato, on SWS.

Another Sienna song

Untitled from Danielle Quarmby on Vimeo.

I was taking photos of the kids the other day and Sienna started making up a little song while swinging on the swing in the backyard... this makes me laugh ;)

3 things swirling around in this head of mine

This is my first time joining in with 'Grateful' via Maxabella.

Grateful for... dreams and aspirations. While it can be frustrating at times, or confusing when trying to work out what those dreams are, I am grateful that the dreams and aspirations just keep coming. They change, but there are more than enough to choose from and that is more than enough to keep things going. From business direction to armchair travel to redecorating the house. Yesterday visiting IKEA, today booking in advertising for Curiouser in a wedding mag and planting more herbs in the garden with the kids. Inspiration.

Grateful for... Sienna. She turned 8 a week ago and she is still quirky, a bit crazy, very creative and very funny, but she is also growing up. I'm glad that she is growing up slowly, it means I can usually keep up with where she is at. I can laugh at her teacher telling me (in a nice way, though it sounds weird) how exhausting she finds Sienna with how easily distracted she is and slow to do, well, anything. LOL. It's true, but she is also growing such a lot in her understanding of things and the way she is able to think about things more fully, even if it takes her more time than you might expect from neuro-typical (non-Autism-spectrum) kids. She has such a good heart, despite those things that don't come naturally for her getting in the way.

She is also hilarious, kind of like those dogs in the movie 'Up' distracted by squirrels. Shopping with her and her friend Imogen at Chadstone last week was super funny. It's like 'oh, tree!' and 'oh, mirror!' and 'oh, pretty!' with all sorts of things OTHER than what we were looking for. Gotta love her.

Grateful for... google calendar. Making plans and looking ahead, keeping on top of to-do lists and getting deadlines straight is so important to my ability to keep my head on straight! Ben and I share a google calendar that I use for pretty much everything around here. Sessions, editing and scrapbooking deadlines, appointments, playdates, whatever. Gives me a clearer picture of where we are at.

Planning and Doing

I've got a quite specific to do list at the moment - on this day do that, do those things by these dates and so on - to last me most of the month. One of the things on my list was planning my Newcastle trip, which is now mostly organised, flights are booked and it's definitely on. The photo above is from a family session I did in the Hunter Valley in March. I remember thinking that the Hunter area was more scrubby and Aussie bush than I expected (compared to the Yarra Valley quite near here) and that there were so many more rivers and waterways than I knew about.

This trip I have a couple of slots left for sessions, and I'm also putting on a Loving Light Chapter One photography workshop. Saturday 10th December, 4-7pm, in Newcastle. I'm not sure where exactly, yet, as I am still asking around and doing research from a distance! I usually choose a fairly quiet reserve or park, preferably one with slightly overgrown grass or something a bit more relaxed like that. If anyone has any spots in Newcastle that they know of, let me know :)

Today was a public holiday here in Melbourne, so I had the kids home all day with me, but Ben was still working. I set up crafts at the kitchen table, which kept Sienna and Ash occupied for quite a few hours. I ended up spending a couple of those hours fashioning wheels and axels out of cardboard and foam for their various constructions. Sienna's was a small toy train out of an empty baking powder canister. Ash had made a space ship that was also a car (I talked him out of the boat part, it was supposed to be all three but he would have then put his cardboard creation straight in the water).

Cedar's been unwell all week, so he's pretty cranky, but nothing serious. I'm a little cranky this evening as I put my full memory card down on my laptop table and came back to plug it in, but it had vanished. Since I had photographed two scrapbooking projects on it that need to be uploaded tomorrow (one of those deadlines), I'm hoping it just miraculously turns up during the night! Either way, I'm sure I'll be less frustrated about it in the morning.

Also, the kids have swimming lessons through school for the rest of this week and all of next, so they are super excited. Sienna has been debating the pros and cons of allowing her head in the water ;) It'll be interesting to hear what they have to say about it when they get home, they both loved their lessons last Summer and I love the fact that getting them out of the pool and dressed won't be my problem this time!