Scallyoop Scoop!

November 26, 2012

Tuxedo Sam (other characters available) USB sticks.

Today I want to tell you all about a fantastic online store.

It’s owned by my fabulous little sister Hayley and a friend… so I am a little bias in my recommendation…. but after I have shown you a small selection of an enormous range of products, I am sure you will agree with me.

Firstly, I will show you some of the items we have enjoyed from Scallyoop and a few reasons why I like them…. and then give you my recommendations for Christmas….. and leave you with a special offer!

Tuxedo Sam (and Friends) USB stick. 14 year old has one and loves it! Once the kids get to high school the USB becomes their best friend. These little guys wont be lost like the boring generic kind…. and are easily recognisable. Even Dad’s and nephew’s would enjoy these.

Djeco Art Nouveau Workshop.

Djeco make fabulous product. They provide great structured art projects which are vital for building skills. Over the years we have enjoyed many of these craft boxes. They are beautiful indeed.

Covering crafts from colouring, collage, puppet making, folding and knitting these sets ….made for boys as well as girls are highly recommended.

Made by the same company (and often included in the kits) are these felt painting textas and oil pastels. Be warned however….once you buy a child these beautiful textas they will never want normal ones. They make truly beautiful marks and last and last. Well worth the investment.

The oil pastels are also lovely to create art with. you will want to sit alongside your child and draw with them. I think they are better for older children ….. maybe 8+ as they can be a little messy (like oil pastels are)

Felt paint textas.

Oil Pastels.







Ni Hao Noodle Bowl. Now $19.95

The Ni Hao Noodle bowl is a fun way to introduce chopsticks to your children. The set comes with a noodle bowl, a patterned plate and a cute set of ‘kid friendly’ chopsticks. The little rubber man holds the chopsticks together making the pinching action that much easier! ….almost like holding a pencil and squeezing. A great gift for 6+ noodle lovers.


Roll-up chalk placemat.

We have enjoyed our chalk placement outside and inside. The girls use it to make signs on the cubby house and I sometimes use it to write a list of jobs for them to do…. It’s so much more fun to rub a job off with your hand after doing it!

Alice in Wonderland necklace or brooch.

What is not to love about this sweet Alice in Wonderland necklace (also available as a brooch)? Wood cut and light. Beautiful. You can also get other Alice in Wonderland characters.

Ride on Lady Bug.

The ride on bug.… yes, sadly we are past this, but have many fond memories of the girls zooming around on these. Stylistically so much more beautiful than the plastic ride on…and great for imaginary play.

Skwish classic.

Past this one too but loved it when the girls were very little. I loved the lightness of the elastic and wood….didn’t hurt when it inevitably hit them in the face! Skish Classic.

Throwing Game Klop.

I think my all time favourite gift from Scallyoop is Klop. A fantastic park game. It plays like a cross between bowls and boules with a twist or two.

Our family regularly take Klop to the park just with us or with friends and play across generations. The game is well weighted so adult or child can win….. but it’s not all luck. Brilliant!

Now….. my picks for this Christmas and beyond.

Ziggy Platter….. How groovy!

This one is for me! Yes there are gifts for adults too!

Balsam wood postcard…… can think of a few granddads who would like one of these.

Love this idea! …..and Balsam wood Plane Card just $7.95

Kokeshis Paper Dolls…. great holiday fun.

Another Djeco kit! Un-tricky origami Only $12.50

Beautiful wooden 3 layer puzzle.

How about this exquisite wooden puzzle? Lovely.

Make-a-do. Reusable connective pieces for creating straight from the recycling box.

I have loved these for a while. Such a great idea for the ‘construction kids’. Make-a-do kits.

There you have it!

Some of the best gifts you will find…. and you don’t need to go to the shops! Yay.

The site has soooo many more things to love….. and if you get in quick (before Dec 9) adding the code scallyoop10 will give you $10 off if you spend over $30 and put you into the draw for a $150 scallyoop shopping spree.

Why are you still here?




More details of ‘Three pears and a pomegranate’ Click on image.

Artmaking Part 1

August 4, 2012

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on where to start creating again.

These are some shots from the classes so far.

I was a bit out of practise and unsure so I spent some time sketching, using the inspiration you all suggested.

This is what the first week produced.

This image from decor8 became…..

…. became this pencil sketch.

Image from the house of turquoise became……

…. this very ‘not really convincing’ pencil sketch.

I cropped the image from decor8 to become……

….. this little A3 collage (brown paper with ‘pencil paper’, charcole ad pencil. I am quite pleased with this one.

During the making of the collage I put a sheet of graphite carbon paper underneath as I worked. This was the result. Interesting as every mark comes out the same colour.

This image from ‘the bottom of my ironing basket’……

…..became this pencil ‘hatching’. Surprising myself a little by how much I enjoyed making this. I am pleased with the result.

During the second week I developed a couple of these ideas.

Using the pears and pomegranate I worked with crumpled handmade paper, collagecross hatching, ink, pencil and stitching to start creating an artwork. It will take a while to finish….. lots of stitching to come.

The beginning of the A1(ish) work.

I have decided to keep an online visual art diary with another blog. It’s called ‘Art is cheaper than therapy’

If you would like to follow along with the creations, that is the place to go.

I will link to it occasionally, and it will be purely notes and pictures.

I would love and welcome any feedback via comments….. even negative ones.

See you soon when you can help me decide where to go next.

Recycled Box City Scape by Redefining Creativity.

I love this idea for straight after Christmas and at the beginning of the holidays……

Lots of interesting boxes floating around.

Lots of time to continue for days on this one.

Illustration from Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne. Image from The apple and the egg.

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: Pencil and very controlled watercolour.

Age Appropriateness: a bit book dependent…. baby to older primary…… through to adults.

Introduction: Although Anthony Browne is best known for his books featuring gorillas, my first real exposure was very recently while in the library with 5 year old ….researching for this series of posts. I came across and read ‘In the forest’. I love how the pictures are predominantly  black and white with the subject being in colour. I also loved the way the story required other book knowledge.

This book lead us on the path of revisiting fairy tales (which we hadn’t read a lot of recently). The experience reminded me of Tim’s english literature lecturer who said (20 years ago) …. much of the imagery in literature is lost because students don’t have a good grounding in biblical literature….I wondered how much children miss out on when not exposed to the ‘old fairy tales’. Interestingly enough….at least to me … academics are starting to acknowledge that reading the ‘old fairy tales’ and experiencing books from moments in history when thinking was different to ours, aids in encouraging the imagination. Nic blogs about it  this idea here.

Other work: Voices in the park, My Dad, My Mum, Zoo, Willy and  Hugh, Little Beauty, Gorilla, Willy the Wimp, the tunnel, Silly Billy, Piggybook, Changes, Willy the dreamer, Look what I’ve got, Hansel and Gretel, Bear Hunt, Willy the Champ, The Shape Game, Willy the Wizard, Through the magic mirror, Willy’s pictures, Bears Magic Pencil, Me and You, The night Shimmy, My Brother, Things I like, King Kong, I Like Books, The Tunnel, Willy’s pictures. (Over 40 books if you include translations)


…again too many books to show the covers of all of them


 Anthony Browne is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books, with nearly 40 titles to his name. He creates strongly narrative watercolours that blend near-photographic realism with fantastical, surreal touches and ingenious visual puns. His skilful use of colour, pattern and background detail subtly conveys an exquisite empathy for his lonely and sensitive child protagonists (both human and ape). Gorillas feature in many of Anthony’s books. He says, ‘I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They’re thought of as being very fierce creatures and they’re not.’

Children’s laureate website.

Interviews: You can read CBBS’ author spotlight…including questions from kids here.


Activities from books: Play the Shape game.

Art: book illustration plates available as artworks from the Illustration Cupboard.


Image from 'Can you catch a mermaid?' by Jane Ray

Author/Illustrator: Jane Ray

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: mixed media

Age Appropriateness: kids get it at about 4…… It’s very girlie…..

Introduction: I bought ‘Can you catch a mermaid’ for our oldest when she was in kindergarten. I picked it up in the book shop because it was so beautiful and my daughter loved/s mermaids. When I read the story I cried at just how suited this book was at the time. The girl in the book struggles with understanding friendship and lives in her own little world. That’s exactly where she was…….

Other work: Noah’s Ark, The story of Creation, Snow White, The Apple-pip Princess, The Doll’s House Fairy, The story of Christmas, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, Clasic Fairy Tales, Ahmed and the feathered girl, the twelve days of Christmas, Lines in the Sand, Nativity, The Children’s book of bible stories-Let there be light, Hansel and Gretel…..and an advent calendar.


Her Words:

 “Historically, from medieval times through Victorian and Georgian periods there has been a strong tradition of exquisitely illustrated books for very wealthy people,” she says. “It is only recently we have stopped putting pictures in books for adults. I love the idea of adults having pictures in their books. It’s a great shame that you’re not allowed to have illustrations in your book if you’re over seven.”

Video Interview: A look inside the theatrical Snow white pop-up book

Other things they do: Look here for some colouring bookplates based on some of here books.

Art: Jane Ray illustrates for other authors.

She has illustrated  Christmas cards for a variety of organisations including greenpeace and UNICEF.

The Circus Trundled..... by Jane Grey from the book Ahmed and the feathered girl.

Dreamed of Aurelia From the book Ahmed and the Feather Girl by Jane Ray.

Painting by Jane Ray. Image from Primaverauk site.

Painting by Jane Ray. Image from Primaverauk site



The Self-Portrait by Shaun Tan. From 'The Red Tree' Image his.

Author/Illustrator: Shaun Tan

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: painting, mixed media

Age Appropriateness: The pictures can be a little scary and melancholy, so probably not before school age…..and on. Think adult fables rather than children’s books.

Introduction: During a library visit about 7 years ago I first came across ‘The Red Tree’. I loved the book but it felt too sad to own. I remember being intrigued by the art of Jeffery Smart and Martin Sharp as an early teen and by the great skill of cartoon artists. Shaun Tan combines these artistic ‘looks’ in a thoughtful whimsical way to explore complex issues. His work reminds me a little of the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ creations of the Aardman group…..but with less of a sheen.

Other work: The Bird King, Tales from outer suburbia, eric, the arrival, Sketches from a nameless land, The Lost Thing, Lost and Found and What Miscellaneous Abnormality Is That?


‘The lost thing of the title is a curious amalgam of what could be best described as a teapot melded with a crab. 

The environment Tan creates is deliberately unsettling. Buildings and concrete slabs are old and decayed with rusted pipes jutting out at strange angles. The city looks worn out and tired, and there is a complete abscence of plant life. 

The city is populated by self absorbed adults, preoccupied with their ritual habits. Too busy with their dreary and gray lives, they neither notice nor care about the lost thing. But the unnamed protagonist does care. He is a beacon of goodness and decency in a dark, detached environment. 

The youth, a tireless collector of bottle tops, takes on the responsibility of finding the lost thing a home. 

Shaun Tan’s illustrations are a homage to several artists, such as John Brack and Jeffrey Smart.’

Review from Speechlanguage- resources

Video Interviews: A preview of Tans Award winning short film The Lost Thing.

An interview with Shaun Tan on madness and Nonsense and the Writing and Illustrating process.

Tan talks about the idea of an adult fable and the process

Other things: As well as working on concept drawings for Wall-e and Horton Hears a who, Tan has created murals, made award winning short films and had his work adapted by artists in different fields. You may recognise his drawings from “Fuel Your Mind’ Book Week 2008 .

Shaun Tan's illustration for 'Fuel the mind' Book Week 2008

The ACO adapted ‘The Red Tree’ into a musical production, puppets have been used to bring his books to life and theatre productions have also been made of his works.

Art: Like many Illustrators Tan’s artwork can be purchased through the illustration cupboard and is the feature artist of the moment.…as it turns out.

Norseman by Shaun Tan.

'Estuary' by Shaun Tan.

'Fighting Crows' by Shaun Tan.

'Track Layers' by Shaun Tan.

'Alert but not armed' by Shaun Tan.

'Never leave a red sock on the line' by Shaun Tan.

'The Gift' by Shaun Tan.

* All images are the copyright of the artist. Click through on the images to go to original source.


5 year olds favourite illustration from her favourite PA book.

Author/Illustrator: Pamela Allen

Genre: children’s picture books

Artists medium: Pen and watercolour paint.

Age Appropriateness: From very young.

Introduction: One of the first books that I every bought when our first was born was ‘Who sank the boat?’ I loved the illustrated animals with human abilities like knitting. I loved the scientific principles behind the story. I loved it’s readability. We now own many Pamela Allen books and give them to others often as gifts. This one, ‘Belinda’ formed the beginnings of a book character birthday party two years ago for our youngest ….then 3. ‘Belinda’ remains her absolute favourite book…..’Herbert and Harry’,’Inside Mary Elizabeth’s House’ and the Mr McGee series are also standards in the pile of books she brings me to read. Whenever we are at the library I search out other Pamela Allen books to share with her, as I know she will love them.

All books by Pamela Allen: A lion in the night, Alexander’s outing, Bertie and the Bear, Black Dog, Brown bread and honey, Can you keep a secret?, Clippity Clop, Cuthbert’s babies, Daisy All-sorts, Fancy that, Grandpa & Thomas, Grandpa &Thomas & the green umbrella, Herbert and harry, Inside Mary Elizabeth’s house, I wish I had a pirate suit, Mr Archimedes Bath, Mr McGee, Mr McGee & the Big Bag of Bread, Mr McGee & the Biting Flea, Mr McGee & the Blackberry Jam, Mr McGee goes to sea, Mr McGee and the Perfect Nest, My Cat Maisie, My first ABC, Shhh! Little  Mouse, Share Said the Rooster, The Bears Lunch, The Pear in the Pear Tree, The Potato People, Waddle Giggle Gargle, Who sank the Boat?, Where’s the Gold?


….not all the covers ….just a sample.


From Pamela Allen’s first publication in 1980 it was clear that here was a creator of picture books with all the glow, gesture, din and dance to capture the attention, engage the imagination, teach, show, tickle and excite small children.’ 

Meg Sorensen, Australian Book Review via Puffin Books 

Other things: 8 of Pamela’s books have been adapted for theatrical performance by the Patch Theatre Company. If you are in Adelaide they are performing Mr McGee &the Biting Flea (and other Pamela Allen stories) this Saturday at the Oden Theatre.

* All images are the copyright of the artist. Click through on the images to go to original source.

Image from The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers.

Author/Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: collage, paint, ink, everything!

Age Appropriateness: kids get it at about 4…… I know lots of adults who like this one too. Very readable aloud.

Introduction: a few years ago Cathy  gave one of the girls the fabulous book….. “The incredible Book Eating Boy”

Other work: How to catch a star, Up and Down, The great paper caper, The heart and the bottle, The way back home, Once there was a boy.



‘Exquisitely trained art critics and recently potty-trained children equally love Oliver Jeffers’s work. The Brooklyn-based artist, originally from Belfast, Ireland, leaves viewers of all ages and backgrounds in awe with his whimsical paintings, installations, illustrations and picture books. He is best known for the latter, which led The Times naming Oliver as one of “The Best New Picture Book Illustrators” in 2008. Following that praise, his book Lost and Found was made into a short film that went on to win 60 international awards, including a BAFTA for Best Animation in 2009. Oliver remains humble and charming despite his substantial success…’


Taken from 10 answers

Video InterviewsAuthor video fun guy…interesting to see the process.

                                  Kids talking about what they like about Oliver Jeffers books.

Other things they do: You can see more of his artiness at the design label You and Me  The Royal We


The Before and After Painting No 1 by Oliver Jeffers.

Still Life with Logic and a Choice of Beverage by Oliver Jeffers.

Landscape with metal and Trajectory by Oliver Jeffers.

Ta da......

But now….. the room is know as the ‘room of requirement’.

Those of you familiar with the Harry Potter books will understand the reference. After having it up and functioning for a couple of months now…. I firmly believe every house needs one.

The room of requirement appears when you have greatest need for it. (the room is in a slightly hidden location in the house)

The room becomes what you need it to be….. more on this later.

It cannot conjure food (no food allowed in here)

For a time it was known as the ‘spare oom’ (of “The Lion, The witch and The Wardrobe fame)….. but there is nothing spare about this one!

So far it has been used as studio, extra homework space, computer room, guest bedroom for between 1 and 3 guests, a games room, a quiet reading room, a nap during the day room, a sick room (infirmary), a sewing room, a dressing room and a washing rack room. We have loved it! Who knew that a space approx 3m x 3.5 m could change the way our whole house operates.

Yes the room has two doors! This shot is looking back from the room to the door leading back the rest of the house.

The other grey door (near the sewing machine) is a funny cupboard containing a hot water system and other storage. As part of the comment stream on this post I stupidly said I would let you know if i found anything dead…… well I did in this cupboard. A petrified mouse ( and I don’t think their was anything magic about it…. let the reader know…. ) just plain old got stuck behind things and …..well…. didn’t make it!

Enough of that….just look at the pretty pictures and forget I said anything!

My lovely machine and cubed storage.....

I’m loving the cubes (another Ikea gem…… given to us by a friendly neighbour). The red bags and boxes have all been found at the op shop over the past year or so. As I see more of them I will replace the cardboard boxes, but I am being patient. So much stuff is thrown away that is perfectly good. No need to buy new here.

The cubes work brilliantly for organising the multiple projects that are going on. You will notice the contents of them changes across the days the photos were taken, as I finish one project and other projects come in to replace them. Nothing like a matrix to order a disordered mind! It also gives my brain a sense of progression which I need (sometimes being a mother can feel like ‘Groundhog Day’).

....inside the 'funny cupboard' Yes that's a hot water system...and a squeezed in bookshelf.... along with a travel cot for visiting guests.

...the beginning of some little owl collections.....

Price-wise it cost a bit more than the last room.

The big, big purchase of this room was the bed. I have been thinking about this bed on and off ever since I first saw it. It’s such an amazing design! Not just great to look at, but 3 huge underbed draws…… not only that…. it coverts to a full size queen bed! Perfect for this room. We looked for about a month trying to get one on ebay and gumtree, but they all went for so close to the new purchase price (and we were unsure if we could get it into the room finished) that we decided to buy this one new. It’s Ikea and they come in at around $800 when you buy it with foam matresses. Pretty great we thought. Of course it came needed to be assembled……so it was the first thing I made in the room!

The amazing bed!

.... how it converts into the queen bed...

Massive (about twice as deep as you can see) draws to store my ties.

We also bought the small desk (again ikea) for around $40.

Paint and wall fixing came to approx $120

Everything else in the room we already had….. scattered throughout the house.

So all together about $960.

.... laying on the bed looking back toward the window... (yes that's my lime green shoe in the foreground). This photo was taken on a different day. See my little owls and foxes on the curtain?

Ideally I would have put the bed on the purple wall so I could see more of it….. but it just won’t fit . This is the only configuration the funny little room will do with all it’s doors and wall jutting and giant power point.
I really enjoy being in here and really love it that we essentially have a guest room! Who would have thought that could be possible in a 3 bedroom flat (with 6 people living there already).