Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You can't take the boy out of the man even at 91 and a half

My Dad never ceases to amaze me.  He gave up his HO model railroad because he couldn't see well enough to run it anymore or to do repairs and now at 91 and a half (which he insists on emphasising) he's been  bugging me to find a www store so he can buy track to set up a model railroad in time for Christmas.  He still has an engine and some carriages.  He wants a train to go around the Christmas tree this year.  So last Wednesday Mum and Dad went out shopping and found 4 three foot lengths of track.  Guess who gets the job of putting it all together, yep me and you know I'm looking forward to it.  We had a garage sale last week and in cleaning out the garage I found Dad's model train control for running the trains, somehow it got overlooked when we sold his last set up. I'm looking forward to building something for his set up in polymer clay.  Not sure what yet but I'll be sure to post some pictures when it's done.  As I said he amazes me.  I guess age changes us all and illness certainly does and he is fighting back with his usual good humour and determination to enjoy what time he has left.  Some days he doesn't remember where he is or how he got here but his sense of humour pulls him through the void most times.  Just when I think that old age is nothing but a cruel joke I realise that I'm learning valuable life lessons from watching my parents and I'm so grateful to still have them in my life. It's no joke, cruel or otherwise just a palate of colours to be savoured no matter what the hue.   

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Great Day at the Mapleton Market and Quilt Expo

We really enjoyed our weekend at the Mapleton market and Quilt Expo.  Here is Cheryle with some of our buttons.   Saturday 11 Sept we will be at "Artists on the Green" at the Montville market demonstrating our art and selling our beautiful creations.  We simply love what we do and look forward to talking to people this weekend. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buttons, Buttons and more buttons.

I can't believe it's the end of August already.  Time really does fly when you're having fun and I'm having fun.  Clay Playful is getting stronger every day, we're doing very well and gaining ground every week.  Our recent creative plunge in the area of polymer clay is buttons, buttons and more buttons.  We will be showcasing our range at the Mapleton Quilt Exhibition this weekend, 28 and 29 August.
This button was reproduced using the photo above.  It's an adorable one taken of my son when he was 2 years old, some 35 years ago.  It's only 2 cm wide which is why it looks so grainy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Clay Playful is gaining momentum

Clay Playful is developing at a steady pace.  Our website is progressing and the number of markets we are attending is increasing.  We are of course, discovering that there are not enough hours in a day to fit everything in but we are having fun in amongst the hard work.  Creating our own art and then marketing it along with full time jobs within the home is not an easy task but worth ever minute.  Here is a sample of my latest creations.  Rainsticks are not only pleasing visually but appeal the the tactile of us who like to handle things and they make a pleasant sound of falling rain on a tin roof.  It is probably why I like rainsticks so much because it involves 3 of our 5 senses.
A history of rainsticks can be found at  The traditional rainsticks are made from Cacti whereas I use the sturdy cardboard inserts from roles of fabric etc.  In fact in nearly all the pieces I create I try to use recyclable or secondhand objects as the starting point.
For more information please check out the website of Clay Playful where you will see our creations in Polymer Clay by myself, Cheryle Penrose and Desley Law.  We love what we do!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Clay Playful has launched.

I'm very excited to say that we have registered a business name "Clay Playful" and we have started building our website.  Please take a peek from time to time as it will grow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A new business venture

Friends and I got our heads together a few weeks ago and decided to form our own business.  We were each looking for something to satisfy our creative urges, make money and enable us to stay at home.  My friends have children and I take care of both my parents so we need a business that is home based.  We are polymer clay artists so we have started there.  Each of us has developed different uses for polymer clay so we don't clash.  We will present a variety of items for sale that range from Art Jewellery, Collectible Jack in the Boxes and other Functional Art.  As soon as we are up and running which ought to be very soon I will post a message.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Biting the Bullet

My New Year's Resolution started back in August 2009 when I made an appointment to see Dr.Greg Emerson at  Emerson Health and Wellness centre in Brisbane ( ).  It took me 5 months to get into see him but worth the wait.  I am now on the Initial Phase Diet and antifungals to rid my body of fungus.  I am doing this because I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired and now that I'm beginning to understand the cause behind my fatigued and painful body I have bitten the bullet and moved forward.  It is not easy because after a life of eating whatever I felt like (and wearing it) it feels like I'm on a no food diet.  I have managed to give up everything with gluten it, all grains, all processed foods, milk, sugar, potatoes, mushrooms, alcohol and fruit high in sugar.  The only stumbling block is my one cup of coffee in the morning.  I am having a hard time letting that go.  I try to eat organic meat, vegetables and fruit whenever possible and my one treat for the day is frozen mixed berries with yogurt and crushed brazil nuts on top.  I've had all my amalgam fillings removed as well.  My plan is to discover optimal health or as close to it as I can get.  Now the good news is I lost 3.5 kg in the first two weeks but the third week hasn't produced any weight loss.  My next visit with Dr. Emerson in March will tackle the issue of my underfunctioning thyroid and hopefully that will help.  I have also noticed a reduction in soft tissue pain when having chiropractic adjustments or massages.  This is a huge step forward for me as some areas of my body have been so sensitive to pressure and now I can start to enjoy these sessions more.  This, I've come to realise is a long process and will take me some time to feel well again.  Another website of interest is 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Where have the last 6 months gone

I can't believe where the last 6 months have gone. Here is my 2009 Christmas letter. The blurry photo of my dog Bridge is a reflection of how I view the last 6 months.

Merry Christmas 2009

Life is relatively simple here in paradise. I wake before dawn to the cacophonous bird life that inhabits this coastal area and a dog which won’t be deterred by my need for more sleep. She thinks the birds are up and so I should be. This happens at about 4 am every morning. It’s not hard to get used to an early start to the day because it’s at its coolest then. Mooloolaba used to be a quiet sleepy seaside town but now the tourist trade is in full swing and because of the beautiful weather all year round (mostly) it’s always holiday time, busy and noisy.

As I sit here thinking about the year about to end I can hear the waves crashing on the shore and it’s only at this time early in the morning that I can hear the waves because traffic noises soon drown out this glorious mood setter.

Late January Dad went into hospital with a possible bladder infection but it turned out to be a blockage in his urethra. Then he developed blood clots and a skin tear inflicted by a careless nurse which required surgery. He would have been better off to have stayed at home. Nearly 6 weeks later he finally came home. Before we knew it was March and Dad’s 90th birthday. I fixed him some of his favourite food and a banana cake. We have only recently taken down his birthday cards to make room for Christmas ones. We thought that at 90 and surviving hospital he deserved to have them displayed for nearly the entire year. When Dad came home we had weekly visits by nurses, personal care assistants, speech pathologists and dieticians to help attend to Dad’s needs which took the pressure of Mom and me. Dad also came home with a supra pubic catheter which required me to learn how to take care of it. Dad comes up with some pretty interesting euphemisms for his indwelling device, if I can call them that. When it bothers him it is a telephone pole or fire hose or some other equally descriptive word. He also refers to his bladder as the duck pond as in, “My duck pond gave me trouble last night or my duck pond is not draining.” Dad’s Frost sense of humour always shines through although this year it has taken a bit of a battering. He’s doing okay now despite the memory developing a bit of rust, constant duck pond algae build up and a waxing/waning appetite.

Mom has weathered this last year with her usual sense of humour and positive perspective. She’s only had one trip to the emergency department of our local hospital this year and came home the same day. She sees these hiccups in her health as opportunities to sell her book; she is forever the entertainer and perennial people collector. She is writing her 4th or 5th book now and that is what drives her to

keep going but she gets waylaid by mountains of emails. She insists on sorting through them meticulously so she doesn’t miss a personal message and then grumbles that these forwarded emails have taken up all her writing time despite enjoying most of them.

May, I had a holiday. I went to Melbourne to hear my son Ty sing in the Gay and Lesbian Choir and thoroughly enjoyed it. He also had a solo which made me tear up with pride. I caught up with friends and also met Ty’s flat mates. I was only away a week and while I was gone Mom and Dad had a respite worker call in each day for two hours.

June, July and August were fairly unremarkable except for the constant trips back and forward to emergency with Dad and his blocked fire hose and backed up duck pond.

September was the highlight of the year with Jeri and Diane’s visit but boy they didn’t know what they were in for when they arrived. A visit to the emergency ward the day after they arrived with Mom, who was having mini blackouts, was the start. The next day it was a duck pond emergency with it filling up to overflowing with nowhere to go. The weekend was quiet and we caught up with Jeri and Diane. Monday was a different kettle of fish which began with me dropping the sisters off at the shopping centre and me taking Mom and Dad to the doctor to check on their recent health issues when I was taken by surprise by a visit from a kidney stone right there in the doctor’s office. I knew then it had come time for my trip to emergency but I couldn’t drive. We went to the shopping centre and for a very painful hour I searched the shops for my dear shopaholic sisters. Found them, threw Jeri the keys to the car and said drive. By this time writhing doesn’t come close to describing the level of pain. Mom, Dad, Diane and a slightly pale Jeri (driving on the left hand side of the road shouldn’t be thrust upon someone suddenly especially when they don’t know where they were going either) left me to writhe in solitude until the morphine kicked in. I spent the night in hospital while Jeri and Diane were left to cope with the routine at home. I came home but the stone and pain came with me so it was back to hospital for another two days and stent placed in the ureter to stop the pain. The difference between renal colic and labour pain is that one is forgotten and the other haunts you forever with nothing to show for your extreme discomfort.

In comparison Oct was mundane, thank goodness. In November I took two weeks holiday down in Victoria. I started with a visit with Ty and we both went to see the Psychic John Edward who was visiting from the States which very entertaining and poignant for so many. I then took a train to Hamilton and spent the rest of my holiday visiting friends which I love doing. Mom and Dad were in care because they can no longer cope with being alone. Mom was her usual entertaining self, sold lots of books and Dad spent his time wondering where she was and looking for her.

Other highlights of the year were weekly seminars in Resilience for Carers and monthly seminars from a Life Coach. Trust me I need all the help I can get. Mom’s uncanny knack of ‘what she hears is not what I said’ always has me in fits. While driving one day she asked me a question about these seminars I go to and in the middle of it she says, “So most of the participants are from South America”. It is really hard to comprehend how she starts at point A only to arrive somewhere Over the Rainbow. There doesn’t seem to be a logical transition to the next point in our conversations. I answer, “WHAT? No they are all Australian.”

“But you said they were Brazilians”.

Through tears of complete hysterics while driving I managed to say, “NO Mom, the name of the seminars is Resilience.”

I really thought a trip to the audiologist would sort this problem out but apparently there is no problem with her hearing and Mom’s conclusion is I need elocution lessons.

Suddenly December is here and Christmas is only 4 days away. Where did the year go? I am so glad I can look back on the year and smile.