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.