Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Power of 'No' Words

"(The) speech before words is the vernacular of all beings. It is the original mother tongue, the language of paradise ... that few adults care to re-enter," says Horst Kornberger in The Power of Stories: Nurturing Childrens Imagination and Consciousness Shaun Tan's The Arrival- without words - is a captivating picture book about an immigrant who leaves his old familiar home and goes to a new land across the sea where everything's strange, from the food, the language, the writing script, the symbols, the customs ... even the plants and animals are like nothing he's ever seen before. Trains are floating ships and taxis are hot-air balloons. He has to navigate this strange land, and the story is told through the man's facial expressions and body language. The Arrival is a perfect metaphor for Autism. The social world of the autistic is just like a stranger in a new land where he can't understand what's going on. We've been going through the book page by page each night. As there are no words, only pictures, they highlight the emotions and body language of the man as he tries to make sense of his world. We love this book its expressive pictures.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Baby Turtle

We found this baby turtle on the footpath and my son begged me to bring him home just for a couple of days. It's a Snake-necked turtle.Isn't he cute?!
We made a habitat for him and researched what they eat, which is apparently anything from insects to plants. My son named him Inka.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bread - The Easy Way

I've been making bread for over 20 years and I've found many shortcuts along the way! First the recipe: 8 1/2 cups of flour (I use half wm and half white), 2T of sugar, 1t salt, about 4T dry yeast, and 800mls of warm water. You don't have to mix the yeast and water separately: that's a myth. Mix all the dry ingredients together: Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and stir until thick, then mix with your hand until you have a ball of dough to play with:
Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough spings back quickly when you pinch it:
Have your child knead a small piece of dough and create a shape (my son made a snake):
push the dough into 2 or 3 containers like this, and cover with a warm wet teatowel:Leave for at least an hour, even 2 hours in cold weather. You do NOT need to punch it down half way through the rising: that's another big myth! The proof is in the pudding, and here my loaf has more than doubled in 1 hour 15 mins without re-kneading:
You will have already set your oven to 220C, so bake in the middle of the oven for 5 mins on 220C, then reduce the heat to 190C. Bake for 25-30 mins and "voila!"Your child will love home made bread they made themselves:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Hobbit Cape

This Hobbit Cape is made from a medium-weight grey cotton jersey fabric I found in Spotlight. It hangs really well. This pic is a bit blurry, but my son got a lot of compliments when he wore it to the school performance:

And here's the doll's version:

The cape
You will need some string, some chalk and your fabric opened out on the floor. Take the string and tie a knot in one end (we'll call this the neck knot). Hold the neck knot at the back of your child's or doll's neck and then measure down to see how long you want the cape to be. Tie another knot in the string at this point (we'll call this the heel knot). Fold the fabric once width wise. Take your string and place the neck knot a the corner of the folded side. With your other hand hold the heel knot and a piece of chalk along the fold of the fabric. Keeping the string taught, chalk a quarter circle onto the fabric. To make the neckline, measure about 2.5 inches from the neck knot and make another knot. Holding the neck knot at the folded corner and the chalk in your other hand with the new neckline knot, chalk a quarter circle neck line. Cut along these two lines and you will have your cape shape.

The Hood
For the hood, I cut out 2 diamond shapes, with one side of the diamond half the size of the opening I want for the head. I machined 2 sides together, opened it out and layed it along the neckline and machined along there.

The Leaf fastener
I sewed a hook and eye at the neck. Since I couldn't find anything like a large leaf button in Spotlight, I cut some doll angel wings in half and attached it to the neck fastener.