The power of the pen……and the computer keyboard

The most precious thing my mother saved for me was not jewellry or furniture but a box of letters I had written to she and my father after they moved interstate. Each time I read them they have even deeper meaning than the time before and every word takes me back to an era that is fast becoming more distant.

I grew up in a family of story tellers and writers and have always appreciated the power of the pen and more recently the computer keyboard. Both of my parents loved to tell stories of their early years before we were born. My Dad once worked as a proof reader for the Sydney Morning Herald and through all his life continued to read and write prolifically and instill in me a love of words, in particular well spelt ones. As a child ‘composition’ was one of my favourite subjects and even at age eleven I had a penfriend in the UK. We kept in touch right up until our own children stared to arrive. Since then I have both hand written and typed long letters to other penfriends and friends and family, kept journals, written letters to and articles for various magazines and more recently discovered email communication, facebooking and blogging. 

So far rather than modern technology destroying my words and stories it has increased my love of communicating by giving me options and enhancing the means to do it. I find it fascinating and heartwarming that strangers across the other side of the world are interested in what I do, whether they be fellow teachers or doll and bear collectors – and how quickly they become friends with common interests and goals.

As I enter a whole new world of sharing some of my life verbally and musically on youtube, I am determined not to entirely replace the written word with the spoken word or to forever give up my favourite black ink fineline pen for the iPad stylus.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  


The boys’ basket

Although I am very sentimental, very few of our baby nursery supplies remain today aside from a cot and a change table once shared by the twins – and this cane carry basket from 1982. It was Timothy’s first little bed….later handed down to Geoffrey and Paddy then used for a short time by Sammy and Mikey too. I’d also bought another similar basket second hand when we found out we were having a multiple birth but unfortunately it was totally destroyed by termites a few years ago. Thankfully this one survived and is in good condition other than a slight ink stain. A thirty year old treasure that stirs many special memories and makes me wonder ‘”Where did the years go?”.  After my baby making days ended this bassinette held various things including washing, teddies and porcelain dolls. I wonder what the future holds for it……sleeping cats and kittens perhaps?

Baby Timothy in the basket 

Baby Geoffrey in the basket

Baby Paddy in the basket

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm  Comments (2)  


Please visit part of my doll collection in my facebook ‘Dolls’ album

Link to my blog for reborn and silicone baby dolls

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  


Introducing ‘Amy Tabitha’

There are so many beautiful reborn babies on display at doll shows that I just want to pick them up, cuddle them and adopt them all! And yet when the time comes to make the final ‘could be difficult’ decision on which one to take home, I am always certain that “this is the one” and suddenly the choosing is easy. “I cannot leave this one behind”…… 

During a recent doll fair outing with my sister, I immediately fell in love with this sleepy baby girl. After walking around and around the aisles among many tables of displays I still kept coming back to this precious baby with her realistic blotchy complexion, dark brown hair, half opened eyes and little tongue peeking out of a slightly opened mouth. She reminds me so much of our own children as newborns and it wasn’t until after I’d bought her that I saw the name ‘Amy’ on her certificate, the same name as our firstborn child! 

Even though little reborn Amy came home dressed beautifully in pale pink, I pictured her looking adorable in red and white. When I was about 17 my Mum took me to visit a friend who was just about to have a baby (was there ever a time in my life when I wasn’t clucky?) It was the first fully decorated nursery I had ever seen and I’ll never forget the red and white colour scheme that later welcomed new baby Tabitha into the world – one of the reasons why I settled on the middle name ‘Tabitha’ for my latest reborn. Also because growing up I was a big fan of the TV show ‘Bewitched’ and I loved watching the nose twitching antics of mum Samantha and daughter Tabitha.

After a trip to Myer with my Christmas gift voucher, a stop at the local country market doll clothes stall and a visit to the Best and Less babywear sale, Amy Tabitha has three new outfits. And I have just rescued from a water damaged bag of baby clothes a little white baby nightgown with red smocking that our Amy used to wear – and I’m in the process of restoring it to its former glory. Photo to be added later.

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  


My reborn orangutans and gorilla

I’d wanted some kind of monkey doll ever since I saw little Umi the orangutan in an Ashton Drake catalogue years ago but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right and the price too great.

Then while visiting a doll fair with my sister I totally fell in love with – and took home with me – a Denise Pratt ‘Binki’ orangutan reborned by Margaret Willis from ‘Noonsie’s Cradle’.

The following year my sister ordered a ‘Binki’ from the same artist and when we went to pick her up there was also a ‘Bindi’ for sale. I took ‘Bindi’ home too.

I was delighted to reunite a little orangutan sister and her brother and felt my reborn ape collection was now complete.


during a wonderful trip to the doll fair with my sister in April, it was another case of love at first sight and I bought this precious ‘Kiwi’ gorilla and named him ‘Keanu’.

Although I originally intended for my reborns to be collectibles that sit on a shelf, my recent struggle with ’empty nest syndrome’ led me to find comfort in cuddling and dressing these new additions to the family. And a sudden fascination with ‘reborn’ youtube clips made me aware that there are many others out there with this special hobby. In particular the videos posted by Katie of her gorilla ‘Gaby’  captured my attention.

This one is the sweetest thing I have ever seen

I can’t upload videos yet but here are some photos to go on with……

Keanu re-dressed in baby clothes

Keanu with the monkey patterned taggies that I found brand new in a thrift shop

Bad hair day for just awake Keanu wearing new PJ’s from the country market

Keanu with his Beanie Boo gorilla

Feeding time at the zoo, Binki and Bindi in pink and blue

In my spare time (?) – proud to be a reborn mummy 

My grandson Sebastian was very patient and helpful while joining in with reborn gorilla Keanu’s first outing and photo session….


See my facebook album ‘Little gorilla’s big adventure’

Published in: on May 19, 2012 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  


‘Four generations’

A photo tribute, Mother’s Day Sunday 13th May 2012

My paternal grandmother – Annie Julia

My maternal grandmother – Elizabeth Mary

My mother – Dulcie Joan

My sister – Lesley Ann

Me – Susan Kaye

My daughter – Amy Mellicent

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh


Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  


I first stumbled across this teddy in a newsagent over a year ago, far from home where I rarely venture, the morning Michael announced he was going to join the army. In search of comfort I reached to the highest shelf where the bear sat alone and unique. I took him down, held him close then quickly placed him back and reached for a tissue instead. No amount of soft toy therapy was going to brighten my day or help me to avoid facing reality. If I didn’t want to see my youngest son in a slouch hat and camouflage gear, I surely didn’t want this cuddly little soldier in my collection as a reminder of the changing times ahead.

I recall wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre that day and at the end of my expedition, laden with a trolley full of groceries and thrift shop finds, stopped by for another glimpse of the bear who by then was calling to me, as all bears do, “Please take me home”. I walked away.

Weeks passed. Many times I thought of phoning and asking “Do you still have that army teddy bear?” Perhaps it would make a nice farewell gift for Michael and I’d even read stories of military men who kept such mascots with them during training and overseas postings. I didn’t phone.

Then months later while driving past the same shopping centre on my way to somewhere else, I suddenly felt compelled to stop. If the bear was still there, I’d rescue him. He was…..and I did.

Once home I found it difficult to decide what to do with him. I certainly didn’t want to put him on display.  I was still moving in and out of denial phase and thought his presence would imply acceptance. Confused, I tossed the newest addition to my ‘hug’ of bears into the back bedroom. And there he stayed out of sight and out of mind until now.

His tag reads ‘Tic Toc Teddies’ and today at 0800 hours I sat him on Michael’s bed. It seems this bear wasn’t meant to be a good luck or a graduation gift. Rather he will sit and wait patiently, as we will all try to do, for our real soldier to come home safely from a job he is enjoying so many miles away. In the meantime we can stop by and smile at the furry friend keeping his pillow warm.

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment  


For ‘spooktacular’ ideas and links see my blog ‘Each Halloween and in between’ at

Published in: on April 11, 2012 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  


How quickly we are expected to slip back into our normal routines after life changing events. Understandably we are all busy, workplaces require our return, study shouldn’t be put on hold, household chores need our attention and pets can’t look after themselves. Still, there are days when it would be a blessing to cry uninhibitedly on someone’s shoulder or to have the ability and the opportunity to completely shut down  or to ‘crawl into a hole’ as the saying goes. For some of us, some of the time, keeping occupied is a comfort. Indeed, I have just spent the last eighty days of my youngest son’s absence focussed on a job I love with a passion while desperately trying to do more than my best in order to not only remain distracted but to begin the holidays stress free. Unfortunately running a business from home is rarely straightforward and I am not resting as easy as I’d hoped. Nevertheless I am fortunate to be in a position where I could do whatever comforted me the most today, aiming to put aside any teaching issues while I tried to think positively and share photographs of a ceremony that for better or worse has altered our family dynamics, tugged at our heart strings and at the same time made us all proud. I am certain by the look on my husband Mark’s face and by his quietly spoken words as he left for work this morning that he too found it difficult to accept normality on the second day of this new era – an era that began yesterday at the march out parade or perhaps a few months ago with the signing of a form or even years ago with an unfulfilled dream and a goal. So once again we wished our youngest son Michael a safe journey, even more significantly this time, because he was no longer an army recruit but an Australian soldier. 

Sadly, in the past few weeks we have heard through friends and family members of four lives tragically lost under various circumstances unrelated to war. May they rest in peace – and we thank God that no matter how real our concerns, ours is a very different kind of heartache, one that is possibly based on a fear of the unknown. 

I have been a part of many life changing events in my 54 years such as moving house, moving interstate, school transfers, taking different study and career paths, miscarriages, early menopause, debilitating migraines, relationship breakups, losing touch with a sibling for a while, seeing my beloved sister ill after her heart attack, having my own heart health scares and losing both of my dear parents to heart attacks. But the biggest life changing events in anyone’s history must surely be the births of our children and in the years that follow the different paths they choose to take. At the moment I am struggling with, among other things, examining and making sense of our strong reaction to Michael’s particular change in path. 

I have watched daughter Amy leave home to raise a family and start a career, son Tim to study further in Melbourne, son Geoff to live and work in the UK for almost two years, son Patrick to work and travel several times in the USA, son Samuel to play gridiron in American Samoa and son Michael to play drums in Japan.  With every wave, every goodbye and every wish for good luck it is like a piece of me is leaving or altering amidst mixed feelings of  worry and of pride and joy. I believe that is being a mother and I would not give up my protective maternal nature for anything or anyone. 

I don’t want to hear reassurance that it will all turn out for the best or empty promises that Michael will stay safe. I don’t want to be told I’m over reacting. I want people to know that grieving for a 19 year old son in the armed forces does not make me weak. I want someone to listen and tell me they understand how I must be feeling. I want permission to feel the way I feel and I want time to adapt. I want to know what my father would have thought about his grandson joining the army. I want to cry with my mother like we did when my brother had to enlist and fight in Vietnam. I want to write and think and remember and look at photos. I want to make sure Michael’s sister and brothers understand this is not because I love him any more than I love them.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

From ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’ by John Lennon 

Keep smiling Mikey.

We love and miss you xo

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 6:44 am  Comments (2)  


Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment