Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Kiln

About time I actually put a pic of my kiln up...

So here it is Paragon Caldera with Bead Collar added, so I can make my glass beads.

It really is a great little kiln for lampwork bead making. I haven't had the time to test it with clay yet. I really need to make the time to do it!

PACKING PACKING and repacking for Europe - traveling with 2 kids to a cold place certainly requires a lot more clothing than previously estimated. We have certainly spent a lot of money buying a lot of jumpers and tracksuit pants that will only be used for possibly the next 3 weeks in the cold. (Well there is always Australia in June - but that's if it is cold AND if they haven't grown out of them - which my second child seems to be doing faster than his older brother did. Maybe he is going to have his father's height!)

I am starting to get excited!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Ok so my husband got the job and next June we will sadly be leaving Oman. Home to Australia for a few weeks then to Singapore in August to start our new life there....

I am EXCITED BUT i think because it is soo long till we move that a little of the excitement is gone as the waiting has set in...

What can I do. Too early to pack or organise anything really. Go on living life like normal - but no. Every time I have been shopping the last couple of weeks I think NO shouldn't buy that or wouldn't the kids love that - NO - cause I HAVE to downsize.

So the camping stuff is pretty much sold. Did that today. Yesterday I sorted out under the stairs and now have a room with stuff to sell in it - lots of baby stuff etc that we don't need to take with us. Then only the stuff we intend to keep went back under the stairs.

Crazy you are probably thinking - BUT this time I figure if I do little by little it won't be such a burden to sell all the things we don't want to take with us at the end just before we send off our shipping. When we moved here from Germany I only had a couple of weeks and that was not fun.

Don't get me wrong though we are not living in a half packed up house for the next few months. All I am doing is getting rid of the excess (and we have way too much stuff that we don't use) so I don't have as much to sell at the last minute.

BUT next week we are off to Europe for a 3 wk holiday. A cold winter YEEES! Don't know how I feel about it yet but anyway... have pulled all our winter clothing out and bought heaps more for the 2 boys. My youngest has never experienced COLD and oldest who was born in Germany does not really remember what COLD is like either. So it is going to be an adventure. After a 45 degree + summer here it is going to be fun. My brother is also living in the UK now and will be great to visit him.

OH BUT I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE - a white Christmas would really be nice!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

To go or stay!

Ok so this is probably a little bit of a follow on from (or perhaps reason why I wrote) the previous blog. But now I can actually talk about what's going on.

So my husband has an interview in Singapore on Friday! There were nearly 1000 applicants for around 20 jobs and at the time we thought he had absolutely no chance. We do have friends that work at this school and put in a good word - so this probably contributed a lot!

But after the initial excitement of going somewhere new and after it sank in and the reality that he wouldn't probably even get an interview, I had resigned myself to staying and was actually hoping he wouldn't get an interview. So typically after we had decided that it was a no go - the next day he gets the offer! So I had mixed feelings of course! BUT now I am actually quite happy to go. There are many benefits of living in Singapore.

1. We will be soo much closer to home - only 7 hr direct flight!!!
2. Huge diverse expat population.
3. Many activities and experiences for kids.
4. Great professional dev opportunities for my husband and myself.
5. I can continue to stay at home with the kids.
6. Still have a housemaid.
7. Great public transport.
8. Easy to travel to other countries.
9. I can continue silversmithing, beading, glass bead making etc
10. Easier for family and friends to come to us!

There are lots more and I could go on and on...

So now here's hoping he has a successful interview and we can plan to move!!! But it won't be until June that we leave here and Aug that we move to Singapore

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Sometimes I do feel a bit lost in this world. Where do we fit in? Family so far away... friends come and go.

Being an expat isn't easy and being an expat for the last 6 years means that we have lost touch with a lot of our friends from our home country. We have many we are still in contact with and see when we visit Australia every year - BUT it isn't the same as being around them on a regular basis. I think a big aspect of it as well is that WE have changed. Our lives have significantly changed since moving overseas. We now not only have 2 children but we have experienced and seen things that we would never have had the opportunity to do or learn about had we stayed in Australia. We have less things in common with many of them.

A friend who had traveled a lot once gave me this piece of advice before we started traveling and it has stuck with me ever since-

Don't expect that people will want to see your photos or understand what you are talking about or your excitement. Carry around a few photos with you when you come back and only bother to show and talk about them to those who ask to see them. A lot of my friends sat through photos out of politeness and I soon learnt that people really weren't genuinely interested unless they asked me about my travels and wanted to see pics.

I found that my friend was soo right. I could see the glazed over look that people got when they had tuned out of listening to our adventures. So now I don't even carry photos around or even talk about it much - But I suppose I have facebook etc to thank for that now as it is the perfect way to make photos available to those who want to look at them and comment - and they can pick and choose (they don't have to sit through the whole 200+ photos!!).

Another aspect that impacts on expat friendships is the transient nature of the community. You make friends - they leave, you make friends - you leave! I left behind a great lot of friends in Frankfurt and I really miss that. They were supportive, non judgmental and jealousy did not exist. However Frankfurt has a large expat community.

I have found that living here the expat community is far more fish bowl in nature. Your friends are often your colleagues and you are "forced" into friendships that are superficial. Many of the people we become friends with we would never have mixed with had we been in Aus. That's not to say all are like this... or this is the norm - I just mean it is more prominent in a smaller expat community. I have really pushed myself to make friends out of our workplace. I do not like "fake" friendships or those that are only friends with you when it is convenient or they want something! I don't "need" to have friends that are in my pocket all the time - so I would rather have genuine friendships.

So that leads me back to where do we fit in... I really don't know - I suppose there is somewhere out there that we will feel like we really fit in... perhaps it's all a matter of timing.

But it has lead us to start asking questions like - Do we want to return home... not really. Move on to somewhere else... well yes in a way for some reasons. Or stay here... well yes I have made some great friends here and the lifestyle is great - so perhaps it's all about perseverance.

Friday, October 30, 2009

As the Weather Changes

The days are getting more bearable. Time to get all the outdoor stuff organised again. A few weeks ago we made a trip to dubai and bought a great new swing for 4yr old. So now 1yr old and 4yr old can swing at the same time. Makes life much easier. We made a great soccer (football) goal post out of pvc pipe and when we were on holidays in australia found some netting. Now to put the netting on and get the soccer ball out.

The garden is looking a little better as we got our old gardener back and he's cleaned the place up after the other gardener let it grow into a mess. Flowers are growing and grass is looking good again.

The pool is a nice temp now - not like hot bath water anymore and even feels a bit cool in the evening. But so nice to just walk out the back door and get into the pool! 1yr old looooves the water!

1yr old also looooves to be outside - sooo glad it is getting cooler, as his persistent going to the door and saying pa pa pa (play), often leading to crying is getting a little too much.

Don't want to complain as we have like the best house compared to what we could have here! But our next house definitely has to have a patio area where the kids can play safely, while I can still be sitting inside. Our townhouse has a fully enclosed small courtyard area leading directly out from the lounge room - would be soo convenient - BUT we can't live there... so I need to stop dreaming. On that matter we are still looking for tenants but hopefully this week.

Have a few silver custom orders to make - a ring, some tags, a few bangles so off to finish making them today. Preparing for my next sale and trying to get more glass beads made, not to mention trying out my kiln with clay which I still haven't got around to doing.

OH plus 1 unhappy child with 4 back teeth coming through all at once!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So my Caldera Kiln from Paragon arrived last week and over the weekend I finally had the chance to use it. It is absolutely a great kiln. It works really well and is sooo easy to use with digital controls. I made a few glass beads and used the kiln to anneal them and it was perfect! Not that I can say that about the beads yet. I need more practice but I am getting there. They look good and the colours are such fun to play with. I get the feeling though that I am going to go through glass fast and need to buy more... only problem is I have to ship it to oman.

Another exciting purchase to add to my tools is a ring sizer. I found a great one in the souk the other night at a silversmith supply shop. I was going to eventually buy one online (BUT they are very heavy) and so was excited when I actually found one here AND it was only 33OR. HOWEVER it is made in India - not US or Italy so here's hoping it works just as well. I am still waiting for my silver order to come to test it out.

SLOW mail - it's so frustrating when I need something quick. Fire mountain gems use fed ex and it always gets here within 3-5 days. Some other purchases I ordered nearly 2 weeks ago still haven't come and since then I have got 2 orders from fire moutain.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Our new townhouse is built and we are about 1 week away from getting the keys... Insha'Allah!

It has been a battle right from the first moment we decided to invest... everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Not with the building of it but of course with the bank! I won't go into details now I am too angry.

UNFORTUNATELY we will NOT get to live in it at this point...for 1 we have soo much stuff we wouldn't fit:-)
But because we had always intended on renting it out. Disappointing as it is sooo nice! So one lucky couple/family get to enjoy our brand new house!


3 Bedroom / 4 bathroom Townhouse with OCEAN and MOUNTAIN views

Fully fitted kitchen with built in appliances
Double glazing throughout
Underground car parking
Washing machine and dryer

Large sun terrace and balconies

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good to be home!

Well after spending the summer in Australia it is good to be home. We did have a great holiday and really enjoyed the beach house and an unusually warm winter. BUT it is nice to have the kids back home with their toys and settled into "normal" life once again.

Now I have lots of organising and sorting of all my goodies bought in Australia and Thailand. New beads and sooo many new ideas floating around in my head. Plus my kiln arrives next week - can't wait! Glass bead making here I come!

Over the summer I did a silversmith course and lampwork glass bead course to further my skills and can't wait to put them into action.

I am now thinking about what I can do on the teaching side of things - maybe offer a workshop pretty soon...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I was THAT mum!

Well for a short time anyway...

We have flown a lot with our children. Well more than most children their age. My first son was 9 weeks old when he went on his first long haul flight of 20hrs. By the time he was 1 he had flown more than 20 times and to almost 20 countries. I can't even count up the number he has flown now. Our second child flew at the age of 6 weeks long haul and currently at 10 mnths has flown more than 10 times.

We always take lots for them to do - plenty of snacks and toys and hardly use them. Our oldest sleeps, watches kids tv, eats and plays with the toys the airline gives. Our second son eats and sleeps and plays a little. They have never played up, been upset for more than a couple of minutes or wanted to run around the aircraft. We set the rule that you sit in your seat like the car and can only get up for toilet and it has worked really well. I flew alone with both of them for Christmas this last year (20 hours or more of travel time) and all went really well.

UNTIL this time taking off we got stuck in Bkk on the tarmac with no air con and it was HOT - plus the cabin had bee pressurised - possibly his ears were hurting . He had not slept all day and was very tired. It was late evening taking off and he wanted to go to sleep - had been constantly woken up through security etc. SO I became THAT mum...with the crying baby who was really upset. NOTHING would calm him - neither of my children have ever done this before. But I kept calm and soon enough we were in the air and he was asleep with no repeat of the crying. YES I do feel sorry for those mums who have children that get upset and they are at ends of what to do. BUT there are soo many that I have seen on my travels who have nothing for their children to do, no snacks, no toys and really don't make any effort to attempt to keep their children from getting to that point. I suppose now I do have more compassion though and know that it can happen to anyone. I was congratulated by the airline staff once we were in the air at how calm I had been and held myself together in a tough situation. By the way I have never seen my son soo distressed before...

So that leads me to wonder WHY do we live so far away again.... lucky we only have to do this every 6-12 months...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Well tonight we head off on our holiday. I have gotten to the point where I have flown soo much that I HATE flying. It's not that its bad (both kids are excellent fliers) it's more the effort, time and zombie feeling after, that I have started to dislike. WHY does Australia have to be so far away....

WELL this time we have done the sensible thing and broken our trip up - previously we would make the mad dash home and straight through - CRAZY. Now we are going to spend 4 nights in Bangkok. Enough time for shopping - stock up on clothes and me to stock up on silver and beads. PLUS adjust to time zones! Not that we have ever really suffered jet lag - we do the sensible thing and stay awake all day as most of the flights we take have arrived in the morning. Then go to bed early that night get a good nights sleep and wake up ok the next day. So far so good and we've been doing that for 6 years.

So we leave at 1:45 in the morning - yes a night flight horrible time to leave - would love it if it was earlier cause the kids get disturbed - BUT this flight is our best option direct to BKK. I am hoping the kids will sleep - they did last time we took this flight to BKK. Have to get a taxi at 11pm tonight - we hope that the taxi driver will turn up and with a bigger car like we requested (nothing is guaranteed here even though we have booked it).

So off to finish packing. We still have a couple of runaround things to do this afternoon. Then maybe a rest (ha ha!)....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I am going on holidays so I am clearing out my etsy store.

20% off EVERYTHING over the next few days!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Birth Experience 3


The next week was a nightmare to put it mildly... I spent the week on a rollercoaster of emotions and decisions made by the Drs. who couldn't agree on whether to deliver me then and there. At 27 weeks this was scary - too soon. Plus to make it just great I was in a lot of pain from the cannula which of course like all other foreign things does not like my body or veins.

I am really having a hard time writing this. I really at times don't want to revisit it but then I do so it sits on my computer day after day until I add little by little...

Ok to condense it down a bit at the end of the week I discharged myself so that I could go back to my Dr and because they couldn't say for sure that I had even been leaking in the first place - even after doing a number of tests. But little did I know that this was probably an unwise and unnecessary decision as I ended up back here a week later (but in retrospect also I needed to go through this emotionally to realise that hosptial was the best place for me and baby).

In the meantime however I went to see my Dr the next day at the private hospital and was straight away admitted to hospital again. The same hospital I went to initally and there I stayed for the next week.

OK to sideline a little ... during this time emotionally it was very difficult having my 3 year old son at home. I left home saying to him that I would see him in an hour or so and was sent straight to hospital and then due to hospital policy (no children allowed to visit) didn't see him for nearly a week!! We are very close and he is very attached to me and to see him upset was heartbraking and of course when you have hours to while away in a hosptial bed your mind tends to run in the wrong direction. This was really hard on him. The gov. hospitals have some very strict rules I will outline some of them...

In the first hospital (which was stricter than the others) -

1. No children
2. Visitors only allowed during visiting hours
3. My husband had to get a special certificate to say he could visit me and even then would often get kicked out. The security officers would come around and check the rooms.
4. No electrical devices - I had to get special permission to have my portable DVD player. Oh and to top things off the TV was mainly in Arabic and was horrible reception on the English channels!
5. Had to sneak my big long pillow in as I wasn't allowed any other bedding to be bought in.
6. Had to sneak food into me also as food from 'outside' was not allowed. This was quite difficult as I got to the point where meat and rice made me gag! GROSS... not that Omani food is bad but Omani hospital food the same thing day in day out was terrible.
7. There are probably heaps of other rules that I have forgotten but these were the most significant at the time.

In the Second hospital which in the end I was lucky to stay in they were not so strict and I was allowed to have food bought in and my DVD player and pillows etc. The only thing they were still strict on was visitors and no children. So we had to use "Wusta" and go above everyone's heads and get special permission to have my son Joshua come and visit me and even then it was a battle at times to get him past the guard. There was no way though that after driving more than half an hour my husband and mother were going to turn around again without seeing me.

(Wusta - the whole country works on this and the connections you have - basically what power you have. There are varying levels of wusta and it depends on who you are and what position you hold.)

I was lucky enough to have my own room. I do not think that I would have survived in a ward full of Omani women with screaming babies. The only thing that saved my sanity was that I had a bedroom and bathroom to myself - oh i don't even want to delve into the toilet story but you can just imagine what a middle eastern communal bathroom/toilet is like...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Australian Mother of 4 Arrested - Thai Jail

Ok so while we don't know all the details and she may well have been abusive

BUT i can tell you this from talking to the locals that the Thai police are corrupt and "typically" do things like this.

How can they hold a mother of 4 away from her chn and have her possiblly serve a term of 5 yrs in jail for "petty" theft...

This is disgraceful and I really do hope the embassy is doing all it can. But a lesson to all of us who travel - you can never be to careful.

and we head to Thailand in less than a month...

Birth Experience 2

I can't seem to get my head around this... there is soo much to write and I don't want to bore you with every detail. I guess this is the problem with back blogging - if I wrote it at the time it would have been much easier and broken into way smaller pieces.

So where to start...

Well a brief rundown of the pregnancy. I had problems right from day 1 of being pregnant. I bled for the first 4 months - so was a constant worry that I would lose baby. Before 20 weeks I started to feel braxton hick's contractions. With my first it was around 24 weeks. This time I knew what they were. They started to increase and I tried my hardest to avoid the hot weather and anything that might aggravate them. The Dr kept monitoring me to check that nothing was happening. Well at 26 weeks they started to increase and my cervix started shortening...yipes so on bed rest and told if I wanted to fly home to Australia then I should think about doing it very soon. So we arranged for my Dad to meet us in Thailand (my son and I) and Jon (my husband) managed to be able to arrange to fly to Thailand with us and then come back to work). I was terrified of flying and I just new at the time that I shouldn't do it.

What if the baby came in the plane?
What if the baby came in Thailand?
What if the baby came while I was in Australia and Jon hadn't made it there yet (he still had 2 weeks of school to go)?

So on the night I was to fly I was admitted to hospital. My dad continued on from Thailand to here and I faced an uncertain next few days, weeks... what... well in the end months.

(Let me just back track a little - I went to the hospital the day before worried that I was leaking and wanted to check all ok before I flew. My Dr was not available so I saw another Dr. I was naieve enough to think that all would be ok and it would be a false alarm... was I wrong. SO I was told to go home and ring my Dr the next day - because they don't have facilities at the private hospital for premi babies - I would have to be admitted to Omani hosp and that would have to be done by my Dr as she works also at Omani hosp - it is very complicated here. SO next day I rang my Dr and was she MAD that the other Dr had not contacted her. Anyway to make a long story short she spent the entire day trying to find me a bed and the baby a bed.)

A little hospital history - the closest hospital (Omani gov hosp) is a surgical Neonatal intensive Care Unit - that means priority is given to babies needing surgery. So no beds can be "booked" as such - they won't hold a bed in "case" i give birth. They will transfer people out of the hospital as necessary and you could along with your baby be transferred to ANY hospital in the area - up to 3 hours away.

Firstly I went to the delivery ward at the closest Omani hospital - the surgical hospital. There I was put on a drip, examined. My husband was not allowed in with me - as it was a room full of beds. This was the initial exam room you are taken into. WHile I waited I could hear the screams of other women and the crying of babies. Let's just say I was glad to get out of there - they turn them out like a factory - they have a very high birth rate in this hospital about 30 on average per day. So I was transferred to another hospital where they had a bed available for me and an intensive care baby bed just in case. I was very lucky it was only 30-40 minutes away...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hijab Pins

I have an order to fill for lots of Hijab pins. The hijab is the headscarf worn by Muslim women.
Seeings we live in a Muslim country there is demand for this type of thing. I have made some more modern looking pieces - but these ones are special order and are more typically Omani style - fancy. A lot of Omani women love very fancy jewellery.

Here is a sample of some I have made... (I quickly took these pics and didn't use my light box - so not impressed with the photography - but oh well... you get the idea)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


YEAH - I got an etsy treasury!!



Monday, May 11, 2009

Birth Experience

Lately a few people have asked my what it was like having 2 kids overseas. So I have decided to blog a little (well it will probably end up being a lot- because a lot happened) about my experiences. So I might divide it into parts.

Firstly to make it clear I had complications with both pregnancies and spent time in hospital during my pregnancy.

First son - 2005 - Frankfurt, Germany (Private and Public patients - no difference)
I went to 2 different hospitals. The first hospital was when I went into premature labour and the second was for the actual birth.

Second son - 2008 - Muscat, Oman This is a little more complicated. Firstly if you are an expat and do not work for the Omani government you can only attend the private hospital. However, if they cannot cater for your needs then you will be transferred or admitted to an Omani hospital. I went to 2 of the Omani hospitals during pregnancy and then the private hospital to give birth.

I will start with my second pregnancy as it is easier to remember...

Having a baby overseas is a challenge I can tell you that now. Not only are you away from family, in an unfamiliar environment, unsure of cultural differences, different procedures, rules, regulations and hospital policies BUT you are also PREGNANT! I was fortunate enough to have my mother around after the birth of my first and for my second she was here for the time I was in hospital until I had my baby - over 10 weeks. My Dad also dropped everything for me and came as soon as I was admitted to hospital and stayed for 4 weeks. For that I will be forever grateful. But it still isn't the same.

PLUS to make things more difficult for myself the only people that came to visit me (aside from a couple of friends before the holiday) was my husband, my mum, my dad and my son at times (although this is another whole story in itself - one I will address at a later stage). This was mainly because everyone was busy with end of school year stuff and then everyone left for summer break which was 8 weeks and the hospital I was in for the majority of the time was about 30 minutes away.

So here I was stuck in a hospital bed facing the scary possibility of delivering a premi-baby, infection and doctors wanting to deliver baby straight away...

BUT I managed to stay as positive as I could and hang in there...

Will continue when I get a chance...

Friday, May 8, 2009

My husband's Trip

Last week my husband went to China for work...

A benefit of the expat lifestyle...well this time for him and somewhat for me - YES he did bring back beads - and I have been TOLD i should be grateful (which I am of course very much so) BUT and yes there is a BUT - this is the 3rd time I have given him a list of things to buy and he didn't get what was on my list. I know it is hard to understand perhaps exactly what I want - but this time I even included photos. I suppose my bias exists as it extends beyond this from presents to simple shopping etc etc - men just don't seem to get it. Oh well we will be in Thailand in a few weeks. BUT I had some custom orders to fill that I needed some items - now my mum has to post them from Australia and that's expensive. On a good note though - I have created some great pieces from some of the beads he did bring back for me and he bought some stunning white jade of which i wish i had more it looks soo good. So thanks very much!

Meanwhile while he was away I had a sick child to deal with (he's hardly ever sick - but this time was probably his worst) and a cranky baby - working full time (took over my husbands job while he was away) and creating jewellery - so by the time he got back I was exhausted. I really do appreciate all that he does and so really miss when he is not around eg. bedtime - trying to get 1 sick boy to sleep who didn't want to leave my side, an upset baby who wanted my comfort too and trying to get ready for bed myself - fun juggling but we did survive. I really feel for all those single mums or dads who have to do it all themselves. Plus I am very privileged to live somewhere where I can have a maid and someone to look after my children at home while I am at work. It really is going to be hard to leave this it makes me wonder - will we ever return to Australia???? NO plans anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Having an 8 month old in the house means that I have a lot of baby food jars. So now I am going to put them to good use and use them to store my silver and beads. Only problem is now I have to remove the sticky labels. Not the most fun job and not the easiest job. I have done a search on the internet on ways to remove them. Most popular seems to be using a hairdryer - but the effort of finding the hairdryer (I don't usually use it), finding an adaptor for the wall (in Oman everything is British plugs - but most of our stuff is Germany, Australia etc.) and then carefully doing each one - well I am going to give it a try anyway...

EEEWWWWW... I just read something about using saliva - now I really think I am going to give the hairdryer a try.

Ok so I tried the hairdryer and persevered - even though it wasn't as good as it was supposed to be. It still left sticky residue on the jars. So then I resorted to nail polish remover to do the final job. Took a lot of elbow grease but eventually I got the job done and the jars are clean. Now to fill them with beads and I certainly have plenty of them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

4th Birthday

My son had his 4th Birthday and he wanted a mickey mouse clubhouse party.
This is the cake I made him. It turned out better than I had imagined it - especially considering I did it all freehand.

I also made mickey mouse ears for the boys and minnie mouse ears for the girls. They looked soo cute. I made some plaster of paris pieces for the kids to paint and we ate Hot Dogs and Donuts... The kids had a ball.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Well my sale went really well and now I am busy busy busy making custom orders. I really enjoy creating custom items. It gives me a base to start and love it when something turns out really well.

I had huge success on my hunt through the souk the other night too and found a way of getting any size silver sheeting I need or strips of silver. Perfect - now I can really set to work on my silversmithing ideas.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This Monday and Tuesday I am having a jewelry sale at home. I can't wait. I have everything set up in the dining room. I really hope it is a success. One of the great things about living here. I can have a sale from home. I really don't know if I have enough stuff for 2 days but thought it might be worth doing two days rather than 1. Oh well I still have a couple of days to create more...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life's Lessons

Sometimes things happen and you don't know what you did to deserve it! Well yesterday was one of those days and today it continued.

But it's moments like the following that make you realise that the small things are not worth worrying about. My 3yr old came home from school this morning - when he got inside the gate and saw me waiting for him he ran over to me with a huge smile and shouted out "Mummy this is for you!". He handed me a flower. Here is the flower - i used my new lightbox to take the photo.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DIY Photography Light Tent

WOW! I am soo impressed with my light tent. I made it all myself with a little help from my 3 yr old son - all in 1 afternoon. At the moment I have just used lamps I had at home - but intend on getting some white halogen portables - the brighter light is needed. I sewed up the cover from cheap white fabric 2 Rials for 2 meters - bargain! The frame is made from pvc pipes. I couldn't get 3 way curved join - so made do with 2 way curved and 3 way straight joins to form a box, cutting smaller bits to fit from the 3 way into the 2 way. Then carboard background taped on. I love that it is portable and easy to use. A cheap alternative to an expensive box that produces great results!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Well after a few paint setbacks we have finally finished the play kitchen for our son! He absolutely loves it and was completely thrilled to have it finally sitting in his play room. Now we just have to find some hinges for the oven door - not the easiest task to find the right ones here - but will hunt tomorrow. Then we will put some hooks under the top shelf to hang some cutlery and then its done!! It was soo worth the effort - just to see the look on our son's face!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Souk Wandering Wonderings!? Be thankful...

The other night we went on a trip to the souk. I had a few items in mind that I wanted and of course ended up with completely the opposite. I didn't even get to my usual silver shop.

We have a friend right at one of the front shops who runs a Kashmiri shop for his family. They have a factory back home in Kashmir where they make the majority of items he sells in the shop. We usually don't stop there for long but we know how lonely he gets (he works every day mornings and evenings), so last night we made extra effort to stop and chat with him. He has been really kind to us and always gives us "best price"!

Of course he had new items in and usually it's our friends or family that buy from him - but this time he had a rare find wall hanging made with a lot of silk thread and we couldn't resist. It is beautiful and the thread has a special name in Arabic (zari).
"Zari is a type of thread made of fine gold or silver wire used in traditional Indian and Pakistani garments. This thread is woven into fabrics, primarily made of silk to create intricate patterns. It is believed this tradition started during the Mughal era."

Then we headed off to the Silversmith Supply shop! It's not at all organised like you would think of a shop in Australia or many other places. Finding things is by pure luck or chance or sometimes surprise that they even have it! I can ask for an item but there is no guarantee that they will know what I am talking about. Last time I took pictures of items I wanted with me and that was the best way. Nothing is really displayed in the shop - just crammed into every spare space and odd boxes, although they seem to know where everything is. I got an assortment of items including pure silver granules and a small amount of sheet silver as well. What he did bring out this time was a great find - not cheap but worth it and exaclty what i had been looking for. Steel blocks with designs in them - to put designs onto the silver. Some really nice omani looking designs and i got an elephant! I also got some copper wire and sheeting to play around with - far cheaper than practicing with silver! A few other supplies were found also. But all set me back a fair bit again. Oh well it's worth it when you see the end product!

My most interesting part of the night, other than my jewelry making finds, was my little insight into the way these men live! My baby became quite upset and I needed to feed him! As it is not appropriate to breastfeed in public here the owner of the shop offered me a room to go feed my baby! One of his indian workers who was in the shop lives next door in a small room with his wife. No one was there at the time and I was able to sit on the small bed and feed him. To me this was not a shock (the room I mean) - but to many it would be. A room about half the size of my bedroom contained a small bed for the 2, a table with a gas burner (the hose ran out through old louvers in a window), a broken cupboard and a small fridge. There were a few other possessions around but otherwise fairly bare. No sink, no bathroom - I suppose they share a toilet with others and wash up in a tub in the room. The air-con was switched on for me and the thump thump started over the hum of the old "wall banger" as they are known locally.

By standards this would be considered a good place to live by many! For me the stench of the cat pee wafting in from outside, the musty dampness of the room and the overpowering frankinscence wafting in from the souk was all a little too much. Another reminder of how lucky we are to have such high living standards. Even if we do get the odd rat outside our house - I think the threat of rodents in those conditions would be even worse!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Painting

I recently purchased a painting from

When I first saw it I couldn't take my eyes off it and I hearted it and kept going back to it! Then finally I couldn't resist any longer and bought it. Helen (the painter) was fantastic and provided excellent customer service. The painting arrived in Oman in around 2 weeks I think and Helen had packaged it carefully so it arrived in perfect condition!

It now takes pride of place on the wall directly as you enter our house! I love it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I love to browse Etsy!! Here is one of my recent great find shops!! I am totally in AWE of Jen's beautiful photographs!! I love the vibrant colours and the story that each individual picture tells!

Check out her other store also

Q1. How did you find out about Etsy?
It was a long time ago now but I think I found out about it when I saw it linked to someones blog. I clicked on that link and got lost in Etsy World!

Q2. Why did you decided to sell on Etsy?
I started out as a buyer and thought - hey maybe I can sell some of my own earrings and photographs, hoping it would support my buying habit on etsy! I've been lucky to have made some sales (yay!) but not enough to fully support my etsy shopping habit :)

Q3. What started your interest in Photography?
I've always been a snap-a-holic even from when I was very little. I used to take rolls and rolls of film whether i'd be at school camp, local holidays away or just at friends places. Ofcourse when I got older and was able to venture out to wonderful and far away places I was even more into it trying to capture the beautiful beautiful scenery and views so I could share some of it with family and friends back home.

Q4. Do you have a favourite photograph and if so why?
I was just thinking about this as I was trying to decide which photos I wanted to enlarge and frame to put up in our new house. It's quite hard to decide I guess because every image has a memory attached to it for me.

I'm liking my 'Waterfall at Plitvice Lakes' photo quite abit at the moment. I have it as my laptop wallpaper. I like going to look at it when i'm tired of doing other stuff because its paradise like and I love escaping to paradise!

But to be honest I'm finding it really hard to pick a favourite!

Q5. Do you have an interesting story involved in getting one of your shots?
Well when we were in Norway we got stuck in a small town as we didn't realise buses didn't run on Sundays. The only thing was that we really needed to get to the next little town as we had to get connecting trains to get our ship out to Denmark which we had already paid for. So we were forced to get the one and only taxi in the town to drive us there and it cost us a massive 110GBP (150USD) to get there!! We almost died when we realised the price but I guess it was worth it for the gorgeous photographs we took at the Fjords.

Q6. What do you enjoy photographing the most?
I never really thought about this before until I started my shop and realised that all the photos that I chose to include in my shop were landscape/scenic type shots. So I guess I must be drawn to photographing that! I think it must be because I get blown away by the beauty of it all that i am desperate to try and capture it so I can share with family and friends and also so I won't forget when i'm 90 or something or rather.

Q7. What inspires you most?
This giant world of ours inspires me the most. I love to travel and see different places, experience different cultures and meet people from all sorts of backgrounds. happy. Its refreshing and eye opening at the same time. It reminds me that the world is much much bigger than my backyard and I shouldn't forget that when stressing about little things so much. If I can capture just a little of what this world has to offer in my photographs i'm a very happy chappy :)

Q8. You have another shop on Etsy also. What prompted the start of this shop?
I started when I returned to Sydney at the end of 2008 (I was living in London the last 3.5years). I got reacquainted with my sewing machine when I returned and because the economy is so dead at the moment I had some (lots of) spare time while looking for a job (i'm still looking!). It's kept me busy and given me great little projects to do so I thought why not try and open another shop with all my hand crafted goodies. Maybe it will sustain me just a teeny tiny bit (or at least pay for all my fabric purchases!), while i'm still looking for a job. And thus Jumpy Frog was born!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And the story goes on...

I wasn't going to comment on this at all... But after reading the following article I continue to be annoyed by this "hot" topic.

Now of course Dr Phill is involved!!
"McGraw became involved in discussions between Suleman and Angels in Waiting after she confided to him fears of not being allowed to take her newborns home from the hospital until she could prove she had the means to care for the infants."
Is anyone else not annoyed by the fact that doctors should never have implanted that many embryos, knowing that it would be impossible for her to care for all her children?
"But Suleman become a lightning rod for public ridicule after it was learned that she already was a divorced, jobless mother of six living with her parents on food stamps when she became pregnant with octuplets through in vitro fertilizationon."
"A statement from his nationally syndicated TV show, "Dr. Phil," said the nonprofit agency "initially will be providing around-the-clock services of skilled neonatal intensive care nurses who specialize in premature infant developmental care."

What parents wouldn't LOVE to have a neonatal nurse available 24/7 after having a premi-baby!! Having faced having a premi baby myself the option of a nurse would have been nice. Understandably she has not 1 but 8 premi babies to deal with. But it just astonishes me that she did not contemplate these things before going ahead with this. I certainly wouldn't want this for my children and I LOVE the fact that each of my children have had 1 on 1.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I am very honored to be featured on Helen's blog page. I recently bought one of her paintings and love her work!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekend with Friends

We had some friends from Australia spend the weekend with us and we showed them some of the sights of Oman. The weekend here is Thursday / Friday.

Wednesday we spent the day at a shopping center. Then Wednesday evening we went to the souk (local market), where we visited our regular shop owners and of course I HAD to get some more silver. Bargaining, eating looking out over the harbour, browsing the shops and smelling the frankincense made for a very enjoyable evening.

Thursday we set off down south along the new highway to Tiwi (a popular white beach and popular for camping). We spent the afternoon on the beach collecting flat rocks, playing in the sand and toasting marshmallows on the fire. Then back to the sink hole for a quick look and home again.

Friday was an early start and off to Nizwa (the old capital) and to the goat market. I poked around the souk but was quite unhappy with the high prices aimed at tourists. I pay considerably less in Muscat. However, I went back to a shop I had been to before and he was willing to bargain a little and I acquired a beautiful silver ring. A new Omani ring but old design. AND an old Omani pendant necklace. I am not quite sure of the age... I am going to have to reasearch some more.

I have started buying books on Omani silver and found an interesting one the other day. I hope to reasearch and investigate the history of omani silver and the designs...

Last night I was too tired to head back to the souk here in muscat. So my husband took our guests while I stayed at home with the kids. He did a bit of research for me and found an Omani silversmith. Two of his apprentices were on leave but invited me to come when they return. I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Surprises come in small bundles!

Well after my excitement of getting a treasury!! One of my necklaces is now featured in a treasury too!! Here it is...

Plus to top if off my husband just called to say I have a package to pick up from the post office - I am hoping it is my gas regulator for my Nortel torch!!


I just got an etsy treasury!!!

I am soo excited. Now I hope to have more of a profile across etsy and get some more customers!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Finally something Happening

WOW one of my necklaces made a ByHand Spotlight page!!,com_content/Itemid,70/id,2432/task,view/

It was a treasury page for etsy - but the person who created it did not make it into the treasury - hopes to soon!!! I really hope so it will bring more traffic to my website.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

ETSY - Time to make it happen

So far I have had 3 sales on etsy. But not any of my necklaces. I get lots of good feedback from people saying they are unique and sure to do well. BUT no sales...

Are they too expensive - well with the exchange rate soo bad at the moment I really have no choice or I will loose money.

SO what is it? I don't know.

I think I am going to try some paid advertising and see how I go...


Finally we have finished my studio and I now have a wonderful space to work in and make a "mess". My bench didn't turn out how I wanted it. It wasn't cut to the correct size so we had to do it ourselves, but that meant pulling the legs apart and cutting everything down - something I didn't want to have to do. I want to use it - so we just adapted and even though there is part of the frame sticking out the side I think I will find it useful for using to clamp things etc.

Now I have purchased some supplies from the US and I am waiting for them to come, along with my KILN. Yeah I have got a Paragon SC2. I wanted the SC3 but was too expensive to ship to Oman!!! More than 250US dollars so that was not such a viable option.

So now I can really get into my lampworking and silversmithing!!


on a sad note for me...

I am going to have to go back to work for 1 or 2 days a week or so. Nothing set just some temp work. I don't want to leave my babies... and I want as much time as possible to use my creativity. But has to happen sometime so...

Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Last night I finally listed my first 3 items in my ETSY shop!! I am very happy with how it looks. Now I just have to build up my profile around the world so people get to know my shop. I think it is going to be a hard task but anyway will see how it goes...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009



I have been working on my etsy website all day. Took photos of some of my jewellery this afternoon but i am not completely happy with the pics. Will try again tomorrow. I am really happy with my avatar. It looks great. So hopefully in the next day or 2 I will have a few things up for sale!!!

Thai Hill Tribe Silver

My favourite kind of silver - Hill Tribe Fine Silver

I came across their blog tonight and found these exquisite pieces!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Feel Bad!

Ok so our maid lasted 3 days... It wasn't that she was bad - but she wasn't GOOD either. We did make a mistake though. We thought her english was ok but in the end we spent too long trying to get the message across and we just didn't want to deal with that, let alone our 3 year old son trying to communicate with her. Plus she was very slow at everything. So she spent the entire time getting absolutely no where. Therefore I have had to look after the kids all the time while she worked and my studio has not been touched since the weekend. I feel bad that we had to ask her to leave - she really did have a good situation here and she didn't make it easy for us - she begged me to let her stay. But how can I leave my 2 boys with her and feel completely at ease - I can't. So that's why we have to find someone else.

SOO now we are back to the start again!!! It is not easy to find someone good. Plus our expectations just keep increasing as we gain more experience with what we don't want. I hope we find someone soon cause I really want to get jewellery making...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Our New Maid

Coming soon...

Diana starts tomorrow - so I will update on how it goes.

I don't know how I feel completely about it. Excited to perhaps finally have someone willing and wanting to work. Someone to do everything! I still HATE saying maid and Nanny sounds better - but they don't really fit the typical "nanny" mould as they really are maids. 2 1/2 years and I am still not comfortable - I guess that comes with the fact that in Australia it is not viewed in the best light to have a "maid" in the way that we do. But it is the norm here. I have actually been viewed as "abnormal" for not having a maid for 3 months now.

So I am looking forward to having someone cook, clean, wash, iron and babysit.


I mainly have my childhood and upbringing to thank for my creative abilities. My Nanna and Grandmother both being artistic in different ways - exposed me to a variety of media and techniques. My mother also extremely creative encouraged my abilities and provided me with the necessary materials to "experiment". Being early childhood trained I have developed an awareness and appreciation of the importance of creative exploration - particularly in the early years... I am a strong advocate of "creativity in the classroom"!

In later years my travel throughout many countries of the world has shaped my ideas about creativity and broadened my interests. My move to Oman has enabled me to explore ideas and experiment with materials that I did not imagine possible.

TOP 5 Holidays

1. Gran Canaria
2. Thailand
3. Barcelona
4. Greek Islands
5. Jordan

Travels that have impacted on my creativity - changed my perspective...

1. Venice
2. Paris
3. Oman
4. Dubai
5. Bangkok

Now I start to think about WHY?

For many it was not at the time - it is now that I look back that I realise how much one particular trip impacted on my thinking or ideas. When I sit down now to make something or create - inspiration comes from those experiences.

I almost forgot how important Australia is to me also and how our yearly trips home have certainly changed my style and ideas.

MY NEW STUDIO - Taking Shape

Yesterday we started on my new studio. We got a painter in to save us some time. So now the walls are painted. Today we put the underlay down in 1 room. The other will have to wait. (We got sidetracked making the kitchen for Josh.) It's amazing what a little bit of paint and new flooring can do to a room. The rooms looked pretty bad before we started. They were supposed to be maid's quarters. There are 2 rooms and a bathroom. We decided we may as well do both rooms and clean them up. Then I have 2 rooms to set myself up in.

I can't wait to actually get started on making the lampwork beads and silversmithing. I have a few more supplies to get and then I will be organised. I found a great silversmith supply shop in the Souk. When I set out to find something I eventually find it here in Muscat. It may take me ages but I will search the entire city to find what I need.

Once we have done the flooring then we can put my workbench and storage together. Then setup the torch, oxygen and gas. I can't wait.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Scrap Clock

Well I finally finished my Scrap Clock. It took me nearly 1 1/2 weeks. But we did just arrive back from our holiday in australia and the boys needed to be settled back to school and home also. I wanted to get it done so that I could focus back on my jewellery making and setting up my lampwork bead studio.

I love the stamping I did on the lettering - it really added extra dimension to the colour. I found it difficult to cut out the circles as all of the circle cutting gadgets I have just don't seem to function that well. Maybe it's the user... I would love one of those electronic cutout devices!!

Initially I found it difficult to blend the colour - from the photos. I don't just have a shop down the road where I can take my photos and match my paper. I have to use and work with what I have here and accumulate on my trips home to Australia. The odd trip to Dubai is a possibility - but there is 1 shop and it is not exaclty cheap and I am usually not organised enough to have my photos and other embelishments etc at the ready.

I am very pleased with how it turned out and think my boys make gorgeous photos to work with. But thanks must go to Anna Mair (The Unveiled Eye) for the great photos she took!