Monday, 30 April 2012

blue is my favourite colour

I like to use the last day of the month to post about my hot-by-forty quest. Still on the quest but my scale is broken so no boring [but so exciting for me!] figures to broadcast.

April 2nd was World Autism Awareness Day and different landmarks around the world were illuminated blue to heighten awareness.

A friend on fb designated the whole of April to awareness and has posted a clip, funny picture or just something blue everyday this month.

I can't watch this clip without crying.

And this quote makes me tear up a little too:

Doctors used to recommend institutions for people with we're aiming for University.Early intensive behavioural intervention can help families achieve the best outcome for their child.

It is Autism Awareness Day everyday in our home. We experience joy, frustration, despair, impatience and love - like any other family.

Y Cate

blue topaz ring

I love you to Eris and back...

I was snuggled up reading a book with my little branch last night, when she said that her teacher read her this book at kindy. Oh lovely, I say. Because it was one of those beautiful, almost sickly sweet mummy-loves you-forever-to-that-planet-past- Pluto, that’s not really a planet…. You get the idea.

Yes, little branch says, “I told my teacher that you don’t love me.” Pardon?! Me, who is reading you the third book for the night, who plays fairies with you, even acknowledges you at the shops when you have a massive tantrum? Me, who gets up to you in the night, tucks you back in, kisses you on the forehead and says I love you every time?

Yes, me. She smiles cutely and snuggles in to me. So I explain to her that I love her and we talk about all the ways people show they love each other. About forgiveness. She has well lost interest by now, keen to get back to the great book.

I think that is why I do love reading to my kids at the end of the day, no matter how old they are. You discover the most interesting things. Like how I have now learned that I have to go and do OTT displays of affection at kindy so the teacher doesn’t think I am awful!

I also think that there aren’t many problems in kids' lives that can’t be solved by reading just the right book. They are such visual learners and stories help us connect to children. 

My favourite non-sickly sweet books are anything by Peter Carnavas. 
and "I love you forever" by Robert Munsch which is also a subtle story about the life cycle.

A not too sickly sweet recipe to pair with your reading:

Key Lime Pie

• combine 1 cup SR flour, ½ cup plain flour, ¼ cup cornflour, ¼ cup custard powder, ¼ cup sugar 
• rub through 125 grams chopped butter til you get the breadcrumb thing happening 
• knife through an egg or two depending on the size 
• when it's combined, knead into a ball 
• cut the ball in half 
• press one half into a large pie pate (and freeze the other half for next time!) 
• bake the pie shell for 10 mins at 1800C then remove from the oven

• combine tin of condensed milk, 3 eggs, juice of 3 limes (don’t throw the skins away) 
• pour into the half baked pie shell and return to oven for approx 20 mins 
• remove from oven (should be a bit wobbly in the middle) and allow to cool 
• refrigerate

• whip 300 ml cream with 1 tablespoon icing sugar 
• fold through zest of 3 lime skins (told you not to throw them away) 
• spread cream over the filled pie, and back into the fridge for at least 1 hour before

I would love to hear other people's suggestions on their favourite books to read.

Holly Treechange

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Grandma's Pin

Zillions of French and Colonial Knots stitched with embroidery thread onto a circle of black velvet. Beautiful glass seed beads stitched on too and then gathered around a large bead.

Terrible photos - I have since learned NOT to use my flash. But this pin is very pretty in real life. I'd like to make 
a few more in different colours - 
and keep one for myself to wear on my winter coat.
Grandma loves this one I made for her. 

Y Cate

Monday, 23 April 2012

worth a thousand words

Just watched this amazing film clip: it’s hypnotising and made me stop the housework for a full 4 minutes. It's great photos of now and then, an awesome song too!

There are some blurry booby images, so avert the kiddies eyes if you are so inclined.

Made me think of my own childhood photos, most of which would need blurring too given I was very anti-clothes.

Wouldn’t it be great to take some photos like this with your siblings now? We all use photos for the standard dragging out and embarrassing kids at birthdays as they get older, some ‘scrappers’ use them to make amazing artwork. I love using kid’s photos to help them with worries and learning new skills. 

When kids start school, a great idea is to make a story out of their photos of the new things that have done in the past- first swim, day at kindy, poop in the potty! You can then create the story of how they faced new things in the past, how at first it was a little scary or worrying but soon it became natural.

I love this kind of visual work with kids, who are by nature visual learners. Carol Gray’s Social Stories TM( are an extended form of this story telling, and are fantastic for children with anxiety, on the Autism Spectrum or any child who is struggling to learn a new skill. Photos of kids doing the activity work best, but If you don’t have a photo don’t let that stop you being a Social Story Teller. Download some pics on the web, or some of my best Social Stories have been spur-of-the moment stick men completed by the kids themselves. 

Now back to talking about siblings - have to link to food somehow! My sister and I used to love to cook together. We would pretend we had our own cooking show. I don't remember what we used to actually cook. But we remember the shows!
This recipe is one of our favourites, it's from the fabulous Edmonds Cookbook.

Recipe here: Afghan Biscuits

I make the icing without butter. Mainly because when we made it as kids we used up all the butter in the recipe! But I think it makes it even more delicious.

Holly Treechange

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunshine in gloomsville

“One can never had too many librarian friends.” 
Jennifer Chiaverini, The Wedding Quilt

Work makes me mad. It also takes an enormous amount of willpower to go there. And that makes me sad...

After dragging through my list of excuses and realising that none of them would cut it - I turned up for work the other day. A colleague experiencing similar work-related feelings to mine explained her coping strategy: a three point gratitude list to re-frame her mind set at work. The first two ideas are hers alone to share but the third one was about me. She is grateful for work because that's where she met me. 

I am amazed at the amount of 'gratitude accounting' that seems to be going around at the moment. One particular fb friend regularly posts her one line of gratitude. Just simple things. Fresh raspberries that taste like the smell of roses. Things that make me think: Oh yes - I am grateful for that too!

Thank you friends {long list} for that timely little burst of sunshine into my gloomsville.  

Y Cate

Saturday, 21 April 2012

In a jar...

I've started another bucket list. This one varies enormously from the one I made in my early 20's which featured largely unrealistic and idealistic goals like: learn French, learn the double bass and play in a quartet, discover a medical miracle [yes other people may have accomplished those things..I admire them, I thank them... but my easy going nature just lacks the discipline, c’est la vie].

This new bucket list is a lot more whimsical and includes things like: get eyelash extensions and make a terrarium[and lots more deep stuff like that].

I do love terrariums and I've got my fingers crossed to win one from the ah-maze-ing Squiggly Rainbow.

You can follow the link too I suppose. You can enter too if you like but remember it will reduce my chance of winning!

Here it is again: Squiggly Rainbow giveaway. Just don't get your hopes up - it will be mine! ...or yours [sigh].

More cool stuff in a jar. I'd like to try this for Mother's Day.

Y Cate

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


My day so far...

A little bit of beauty therapy. 
I've started a scarf wrap using the softest, prettiest bamboo yarn. When I'm finished I'll write up the pattern and share.

My friend has safely delivered her much anticipated, miraculous baby daughter. Welcome to the world baby Jane.

Have enjoyed the morning with Little Bear who has every Wednesday at home. He enjoys a four day school week: an arrangement with his school that suits us all perfectly.

Now off to work, alas I'd rather not but it pays {some} of the bills. 

I'll leave you with Tori Amos' Wednesday song.

Y Cate

Monday, 16 April 2012

a little green spot of happiness

I don't love Mondays...
And so I try to inject a little shot of cheer in to every one that comes along.

I do love Kermit.
And this song makes me feel happy.
Not sure who's cuter...Kermit?
Or Brett McKenzie?

And if you don't love Kermit
{that's okay I guess}
we can still be friends.

Y Cate

Sunday, 15 April 2012

bubble thoughts for relaxation

Script for bubble thoughts:

Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. 

Softly close your eyes. 

Imagine bubbles slowly rising up in front of you. 
Each bubble contains a thought, feeling, or perception.

See the first bubble rise up. 

What is inside? 

See the thought, observe it, and watch it slowly float away.
Try not to judge, evaluate, or think about it more deeply.

Once it has floated out of sight, watch the next bubble appear.

What is inside? 

Observe it, and watch it slowly float away. 

What colour is the bubble?

Is the bubble empty? Then watch the bubble rise up with “blank” inside and slowly float away.

This script can be used to help your child relax at bedtime.

for more information visit:

Link back to this post to read about a healthy sleep routine.

Another post about relaxation.

Holly Treechange

Thursday, 12 April 2012

first Little Blossoms workshop

Yesterday I held a workshop 
for Little Blossoms.

We used pretty things...

In gorgeous colours...
{Oh if you'd like to make some of these head over here: }

To make these.

Twigs hold materials and examples 
of what we're about to make.

Everything ready...

for Little Blossoms to start creating.

A work in progress.

A pendant ready to be threaded.

Morning tea included pretty 
musk flavoured cupcakes...

And yummy fruit skewers!
We shared our morning tea outside on the lawn, 
sitting on a quilt while we waited for the paint to dry.

One Little Blossom wearing her 
finished necklace.

Thank you to all the lovely Little Blossoms and their Mums for a lovely morning of being beautiful!

Y Cate

Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter Violets

A tiny bundle of violet chrysanthemums & a vintage postcard. 

A hand stitched rabbit, violets printed on calico, a chocolate ribbon around his neck.

A shy little rabbit. Hand stitched with embroidered violets and a lavender ribbon bow for her neck.

A collection of violet embellished china.

A lichen encrusted branch. Everything tied with kitchen twine.

Happy Easter.

Y Cate

Where do Easter Eggs come from?

Easter eggs grow on trees of course!

Retiree Volker Kraft decorates a tree with 10,000 Easter eggs his garden in Saalfeld, Germany March 21, 2012. (AP)

76 year old Volker Kraft has decorated his tree with 10, 000 eggs this year! He and his family use blown eggs and decorate them by hand. They live in Saalfeld, Germany and their amazing tree attracts thousands of visitors.

I've also heard that Easter Eggs grow from seeds. Little teeny tiny round 100's and 1000's seeds.

Kids just sprinkle them on the grass the night before...then Easter morning the eggs have magically grown and are nestled in the grass ready to be found!
Wow! That should simplify things for the Easter Bunny.

Y Cate

Thursday, 5 April 2012

despair is inevitable

The five tenets of social injustice identified by researcher Professor Daniel Dorling are:

elitism is efficient
exclusion is necessary
prejudice is natural
greed is good
despair is inevitable

I'm reading Professor Dorling's book at the moment. I feel at turns angry, stunned and called to action (or at least deeper thinking and self reflection) by what I'm reading. He posits that:

Elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair will not end just by being recognised more clearly as unjust. Slavery did not end by abolishment. Women were not emancipated by being allowed to vote. Child abuse by dangerous labour did not end with the Factory Acts.
It is in our minds that injustice continues most strongly, in what we think is permissible, in whether we think we can use others in ways we would not wish to be used ourselves.

My most favourite part I've read so far is the rejection of the fiction of inherent intelligence and the description of the very few adults in European history who helped rescue and shelter Jewish people in occupied Europe.

It is worth repeating that when the rescuers' backgrounds were looked into it was commonly found that their parents had set high standards for them as children, high standards as to how they should view others, and their parents did not treat them as if their were limits to their abilities, nor did they tell them that others were limited.

I would like to think that despair is not inevitable...I would like to be part of that revolution.

Y Cate

image from

Monday, 2 April 2012

the two doctors in my life

I have lost 12 kilograms {26 pounds} since the 1st of February.
I have followed the advice of two doctors to get to this point.


The first doctor, Dr Pierre Dukan advises: 
"Using spices and herbs is highly recommended.

They bring out the flavour of foods and heighten their sensory value. 
Spices are not just taste enhancers: they are foods which encourage weight loss.

What certain spices such as vanilla or cinnamon do is offer their warm and reassuring taste in exchange for sugary flavours."

Bless his dear little quirky French heart: he has acknowledged that my food needs to be reassuring!

"Buy fresh flowers for your home and eat more broccoli."
The second doctor, Dr Andrew Weil includes an 8 week program for healing in his book, Spontaneous Healing.
The week one to-do-list (is rather longish) and includes the prescription to buy fresh flowers so that you can enjoy them and eat more broccoli.

I have been following week one for roughly 3 months now. 
Am rather afraid to move to the more imposing week two...

Hot-by-forty plan formula:
{herbs and spices} + {fresh flowers and brocolli} = 12 kilogram weight loss

Well there has been a little bit more to it than that... but following these two doctors is truly changing my life.

Y Cate

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Healthy Mind Platter

With so much focus on obesity in the media, many parents I talk to want their children to be healthy. We have all heard of the healthy eating pyramid, that tells us how much of each type of food to eat. Being healthy is more than this focus, and Dr Dan Seigal and Dr David Rock recently came up with healthy diet for our mind. The Healthy Mind Platter.

Do you feast each day from one section of the platter? Imagine if we focused on the healthy mind diet. I think the next time I went out for coffee I would say “I’m sorry, I have been pigging out on ‘focus time’ all week at work, I think I will just have a little slice of down time”. And promptly lie on the grass, recharging my brain.

“Down time: when we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.”        
     Dr Siegal

You may have started to notice I’m all about parenting, and all about food. A healthy recipe is called for today: make it with your children so that you are also having a healthy mind platter.

Take these scrumptious healthy carrot muffins to the park or back yard, lie down on the grass and tell their children it’s time to feast from the healthy mind platter.  

Holly Treechange

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