Monday, July 13, 2009

Launching "The Boomerang Returns"

My Mum who wrote "Pavlovas to Popcorn" has just released her sequel, "The Boomerang Returns" on her own blog so anyone can read it. All her writing is based on her life story. She is, in my opinion a phenomenal story teller. She writes the way she talks. If you get a chance go to and enjoy her story. The Boomerang is a reference to her Aussie heritage and her return visit after living in the US for 14 years.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More news from Nepal

The first Australian clay has arrived and Wendy feels this is an auspicious moment! Posting anything to Nepal and actually have it arrive is apparently a hit and miss adventure. I sent some Kato polymer clay via a A4 envelope conditioned flat so it actually looked like reading material. How boring is that but it worked. Many thanks to the person who came up with the idea on the Aussie Poly Clayers forum. I just took the idea and ran with it.
Soon these beautiful Nepali women will have a website produced by the amazing polymer clay artist Cynthia Tinapple. It should be launched on 20th July which I’m looking forward to very much.

Wendy tells me in her email:
"I am just back from four days training where the ladies learnt to make the "Sari beads" which I'd first toyed around with as an idea for them in 2007. THEY LOVED THEM. They loved the name, they loved the multi-coloured stranded wedding beads with them, and they thought they would sell like hotcakes locally.

We chose four colours from a sari we liked and made "hair" and "ribbons" (with the extruders that Jen Tattam from Makin' Clay donated) and decorated the beads. What 5 women achieved, working on a coffee table sized table sitting on tiny stools in a very small cluttered room, was remarkable. They ADORED the necklaces they made from them. The sense of excitement in that tiny room was palpable. They all wore their own creations home and EACH WOMAN had at least one positive comment about what they wore, whether from a home member (if home was a nice place), or someone in the market, or both. One lady, took an order for an earring, necklace and bracelet set that another lady wanted to pay for and take to take to hill town (the next day!!) to get more orders for us and another, see photo, had gone home and come up with a design for a bead she knew would sell like hotcakes in the bazaar in the next Nepali month, Shrawan, when all women wear green and orange saris and necklaces to celebrate the lushness, fertility and dense greenness of the monsoon."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Photos from Nepal

Making the first Bahini Beads

Monday, June 15, 2009

People Making a Difference

I love making things with polymer clay, it is my way to relax and be creative at the same time but recently I was led to this letter (below) at the Aussie Polymer Clayers site and was moved by the plight of women in Nepal and also by the lovely and very colourful lady, Wendy, who is trying to make a difference in the lives of these women. She has introduced them to the art of polymer clay amongst other things and on her yearly trip home to Australia she fills her suitcase with supplies to take back.

Polymer Clay, Picnics and Perseverance!

Jhapa, in eastern Nepal, has a bad reputation. It is “known” for mosquitoes, malaria, heat and drug and human trafficking. There is widespread poverty and, for women particularly, life can be dreadful. But, Jhapa is also the home of some amazing people. People who would say they are very “ordinary” but who are anything but. A group of young Nepali friends were concerned about the lives of local women who were subjected to violence-usually domestic violence but sometimes related to trafficking. Women are “tricked” into marriages and then sold into the tragically huge sex industry in India. Some are “rescued” or escape but they are often not welcomed back by their families and have to try and make life for themselves (and children) as best they can. The friends knew that hand-outs were only a short term solution for these very vulnerable women so they got together to create “Sammunat”. Their goal was to work WITH the ladies to develop sources of income generation so that these ladies could gain independence, dignity and hope. It has been inspiring to have been involved with the board members and the courageous and resilient women of Sammunat. Together we have been working on jewellery designs using pote (pronounced poh-teh like…um…no English word I can think of!), which are Nepal’s traditional wedding beads-made in Czechoslovakia! Jewellery is an integral part of the Nepali culture and one of the reasons I love living here is that it is a country where too much jewellery is not enough. If I head down to the market without earrings, necklaces, bracelets (not to mention face ornamentation if you so choose) I may as well go naked. We’ve long wanted to incorporate traditional designs into polymer clay to make our own beads but have been hindered by a number of factors. Firstly, the organisation runs on the smell of an oily rag. We can only buy materials as we sell items and this has been very small scale to date. Even if we had rupees, polymer clay has proven VERY hard to get here. Tracking it down in India (to avoid hefty postage costs and the dodgy postal system) has been unsuccessful to date. Thirdly, ovens are as rare as hen’s teeth in Jhapa! Cooking is done on open fires or in clay ovens and I haven’t been able to get hold of the “Hardening Polymer Clay in clay ovens with inconsistent temperature control” DVD for love nor money. Despite this, the ladies were desperate to “play with clay” and make a “Fruit Salad” necklace they’d seen me wear. I said this would be “just for fun” which was a hard concept for these ladies to get. Heavy domestic work for little Nepali girls starts by 9 and they marry young. We made citrus canes and leaf canes. Because we only had one pasta machine between 10 of us, I’d made most of the Skinner blends in advance then demonstrated one and we did one together. You soften Kato clay with a pasta machine so that was done in advance. Nepal has ‘load shedding’ which sounds a bit like “We have so much electricity we have to shed it” but is in fact the opposite. Most people have two four-hour blocks of electricity and often one of those starts at midnight! Cooking has to be timed with power. Bring on that clay oven DVD. We incorporated the bead assembly with a long planned picnic. It was the hottest experience I have EVER had (can you have 100% humidity?) and thank goodness Kato clay copes with the heat. Now the ladies are full of ideas about using polymer clay. They want to make hand-made beads, using Nepali designs, which they can combine with existing beads in new and exciting ways. We don’t have a website yet (something else in the “one day” category) but I’d love to answer any questions. Until we make the polymer clay jewellery that changes the world – well, their world - the ladies will make aprons that turn you into a sensational cook, pote fringed scarves that take ten kilos off and make you look ten years younger and silver and bead jewellery that will make your heart sing. Would I lie to you? Maybe, as well as the mixture of things Jhapa is known for, it will now be known as the birthplace of the Nepal Polymer Clay Guild.

Wendy Moore Dharan, NEPAL

Photos of some of these women can be seen at Mel's site

Monday, May 4, 2009

First of my Toner Transfer pins

I downloaded the Donna Kato tutorial on Toner Transfer Pins and at last I have a method of transfering photos to polymer clay which actually works. I am thrilled, now I just have to keep practicing my technique. Donna Kato is an amazing artist. I made this pin to go on my wrap which I recently bought to take to cold old Melbourne next week. Ty is singing in the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus. I've never seen him or heard him sing in a big concert so I wanted to make the trip to Melbourne to hear the Chorus. They are doing a Beatles concert.
Well I think I'll go to my work/play room and do some more pins or pendants.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


These are not the best photos in the world but I just needed to get them up on my blog because I am excited that I'm creating again. All of them are pendants.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's been a long time

Life is returning to some form of normality now after Dad was in hospital for over 5 weeks. I don't miss the daily trips to the hospital and the headache producing activity of trying to find a park. We are so glad to have Dad home again. Growing old is definitely not for wimps.
I had a dear friend come and organise my work space for me which was great and now my muse feels inclined to return. The photo here is my attempt to make a faux jade bracelet from Dotty McMillan's book "Artful Ways with Polymer Clay". It's definitely for someone who likes the chunky look. Yesterday I spent the entire day in the kitchen trying to get ahead on cooking so I can spend some time out in my work space and play. Today is devoted mainly to cleaning the house so maybe later this afternoon I will get to play. Oh Happy Days!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An attempt to stimulate creativity again

Feeling a little lost at the moment, like looking in from the outside sort of feeling. I started the Low Dose Naltrexone almost 3 weeks ago and was pleased to say I started feeling better but today I've slipped backwards and that can sometimes happen when the healing starts. I'm still optimistic about it all but it's too soon to tell. In the meantime I thought I'd try and motivate the creativity in me by playing with some clay but so far it hasn't been a roaring success so I thought I'd post some of the things I did before Christmas. They are covered boxes and some pendant jewellery.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

LDN-Low Dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia

The year has started out painfully slow with absolutely no interest in participating in any of my favourite pastimes. The pain and stiffness in my body has increased in the last couple of months. The antidepressants prescribed for my mood and muscle spasms have reduced the number of spasms in my legs however the stiffness first thing in the morning is debilitating. I am not writing this to offload my woes onto anyone who reads this or to obtain sympathy. It is a story of investigation and I’m positive that things will get better just like the economy. Just like there is no magic bullet for the economy there is none for me or thousands of others. However!
I’ve been very busy researching the drug Naltrexone after receiving a Newsletter from Dr. Mercola. In his newsletter he talks about the use of low dose Naltrexone for things like MS, cancer, autoimmune diseases etc and I wondered if anyone had tried it for Fibromyalgia. I Googled it and low and behold clinical trials have begun at Stanford University in California and if you go to this site you will read that there are no pharmaceutical industry or business interests involved in this study. It is funded by the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association (AFSA) which means, dare I say it, that the study is not driven by profits for the pharmaceutical industry. Am I being unfair? Let’s just say I would tend to trust the outcome of these trials far more. My next step in my hunt for answers came with the website which has given me a wealth of information and encouragement. I then joined the yahoo forum on LDN and I have spoken to many people on this site both here in Australia and the US and have come to the conclusion that they are on to something. The only reason I can ascertain as to why it is not widely known about is because Naltrexone was approved for heroin addiction and alcoholism at much higher doses and there is no money to be made at lower doses for this alternate use. After my research effort I came to the conclusion that I have nothing to lose by trying it myself. Then I came to a stumbling block, doctors, not many in Australia prescribe it or at least advertise the fact. I was one of the lucky ones as I have a very open minded psychiatrist who has prescribed it. Ironically he was the psychiatrist I was told to go see because my symptoms were all in my head. And he confirmed for me that they weren’t all in my head, they were real. The next problem was to find a reliable compounding chemist to make these pills up for me. They are only available in 50 mg doses and I only want to start taking 1.5 mg. I found a chemist recommended by others because they have a history of preparing these low dose capsules. Now I am at the point of waiting for them to arrive in the mail. Today is Saturday and with a bit of luck they should arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday. I do plan on keeping a journal of my progress here on my blog if anyone is interested. I have found the best information and greatest support come from people who are willing to share their journey. The most surprising aspect of this has been that in talking to both my current GP and former GP (who said there was nothing wrong with me) that they are genuinely curious and interested with my results and want me to keep them updated. It would seem there is interest in the alternate use of this drug by doctors but they tend to be a reluctant to be the first to try it. I am happy to be their guinea pig. Ah, I hear you say but what about side effects? To date the only reported side effects are vivid weird dreams and a bit of insomnia in the first couple of weeks and that only affects a small proportion. It is also reported that about 15 % receive no benefit at all. The way I understand LDN’s method of working is, at a low dose it temporarily (4 hours?) blocks the feel good natural chemicals in the brain and then when it wears off the endorphins get anxious and kick in again but at an increased volume. In turn this boosts the immune system and allows the immune system to kick ass on those nasties that cause problems in our body. People have reported results that vary from a halt in the progression of their disease and an increase in energy to complete remission. If anyone is interested in Low Dose Naltrexone nothing beats your own research so don’t take my word for it, investigate for yourself.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Boomerang Returns coming to a website near you!

Another precious gift my son gave recently was to his grandmother. My mum wants to put her second book, "The Boomerang Returns" on a website so everyone can read it. Ty has organised a website and will upload the book soon. Mum's first book, "Pavlovas to Popcorn", her own personal War Bride story was published 20 months ago. The sequel is free of charge to anyone who wants to read it. My mum is an amazing woman who manages to see everything and everyone through rose coloured glasses. She has the ability to see every setback as a positive and pushes on to turn things around. I will post the website address as soon as I know it is done.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year Inspiration!

My son really put a lot of thought into what to give me for Christmas and Birthday(but then he usually does) . He lives in Smith St Collingwood so he didn't have far to find a bead shop. He bought a bead container and then went shopping for different beads to fit into the container. He also found some clay and was told it was polymer clay but it wasn't the bakeable type or the dryable type. It is modelling clay and I love it anyway because of the effort he went to to get it. For my birthday the next day he organised the host site for my new website (still in production) and will maintain it for me (now ain't he a sweet boy). Then he surprised me with a return flight to Melbourne from Qld to see him in concert when he sings with the Gay and Lesbian Chorus. Their next concert is a tribute to the Beatles which I will love. His support means a great deal to me. Now he's going to give me some help to extend my knowledge of Dreamweaver to get my website up and running. Now to find the time to actually produce something to put onto the website to sell would help. I know I block my creativity because I feel that what I make is not good enough to sell. I have just read a blog that I subscribe to by Linda Peterson and her latest entry has inspired me to just have a go. On the issue of time I know that I have all the time in the world so lack of time is just an excuse not to try. Right, okay so I'd better finish this entry get off the computer and get busy.