Saturday, 24 May 2014

Something Stinks! Interview with Gail Hedrick

Author Gail Hedrick talks about how she comes up with ideas for writing, particularly the idea for her science based picture book, what gives her inspiration and so much more!
Originally posted on Jessica Schaub Books:
If there was anyone who even deserved a gold star for being patient with me, it is Gail Hedrick. Life as a homeschooler, despite all my careful planning, side-swiped me two weeks ago and I was late in sending these questions to her. Gail, again my apologies. Thank you for your gracious patience :)
Not only is Gail a sweetheart, she is an award-winning author. Her book, Something Stinks!, was brand new in our house a few weeks ago and is now a little tattered looking as my three daughters have been reading it – and loving it! It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Gail Hedrick!
Gail Hedrick
Gail Hedrick
I’ve spent quite a bit of time admiring your website. Did you put this together or did you go through a service?
Gosh, thanks! I was a total infant in the website process, but luckily knew how to ask…
View original 1,537 more words

Friday, 16 May 2014

A Tantalizing Tale of Tasmania

Back in March I had the wonderful opportunity to be invited to the book launch of “Links in the Chain. A Pioneer’s Tale. “ linksThe book launch was fabulous as usual, a very special ocassion as it was one of the final engagements of Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce Governor General of Australia before her retirement. It was a wonderful honour to have the opportunity to meet this amazing and inspirational woman for the second time.
“Links in the Chain” is the second book released by author Caroline Cooper. I very much enjoyed her first novel,  “The Forgotten Holocaust: A Gypsy’s Journey from Auschwitz to Freedom,”
( To read my review  please go to
After discovering how talented a writer Caroline is, I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into her second novel. I admit that I was intrigued that Caroline had chosen once again to set another story amongst the confines of prison walls. What could possibly have her so drawn to such horrific places? When visiting Port Arthur by day or night, one cannot help but feel it is haunted by the ghosts of so many poor souls that were left to rot in chains or made to serve out their lives in hard labour for the sake of stealing a simple loaf of bread. However, as horrific as Port Arthur is, it holds a special place in the soul of many Australians. It represents the struggling pioneering spirit that so many of us have all grown up experiencing as this nation grew to what it has become today. I admit to having a fondness for Port Arthur, Hobart and Tasmania itself as they bring back wonderful memories of the 6 months my husband and I spent there during our early years of marriage before we started our family so many years ago. Tasmania can be a harsh, cold wilderness that at the turn of the 19th Century would not have been a very easy or pleasant place to start a new life in a new world.
Caroline did not disappoint. The story had me engrossed from the start. She has done her research well. The Port Arthur she described was forbidding and hauntingly true. So much so that I found the story gripping and believable. I had empathy for both the convict and the Commandant’s daughter. When their lives predictably collide (as they must) it is not how you may expect, the collision turns both their worlds upside down. The course of events that follow are wonderful page turners as we go from High tea English society to the clanking depressing darkness of chain cluttered cells and on to the back streets of Hobart Town and beyond.
To pique your curiosity without giving away any spoilers, the best I can do is leave you with the words of Caroline Cooper in her own dedication.
“to the early pioneers, full of energy and optimism, to the convicts, to the freed settlers, the free settlers, and to those who simply pretended they’d always been free.’‘ we will always remember your sacrifce and ambition to strive and make good in a new life so far away from the world which you left behind.
“Links In the Chain”  represents  the world of all who settled here in the early years of Australia. Whether they came here willingly or not so willingly. It is a marvelous tale to honour our past pioneers and a must read for anyone interested in Australian history. Thanks Caroline.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

20 Easy Steps to Knit a Cute and Cuddley Gingerbread Alien

This cute idea follows the pattern based on knitting a Red Cross trauma teddy bear with a few simple little changes along the way. 20140508_154910
The Australian Red Cross is a wonderful organisation that organises the collection of teddies that are then distributed via the Ambulance service, the Fire Brigade and hospitals to children and others who may have suffered from trauma. These teddies provide a fantastic source of comfort when children are at their most sick and vulnerable. It is a very worthwhile cause.
My hope is that perhaps along with sharing the joy and laughter of my book, a little gingerbread alien teddy may also bring a little light into someone’s life also. After all, laughter really is the best medicine. :)
Use 8ply wool (nothing scratchy or itchy like angora or mohair)
Needles: 3.75mm or 3.25mm for looser knitters.
Leg 1.
1. Cast on 12 stitches
2. Knit 42 rows
Leave stitches on needle.
Leg 2.
4. Repeat same as leg 1.
5. Join both legs by knitting across both legs.
6. Knit 32 rows.
7. Cast on 12 stitches at the beginning of next two rows.
8. Knit 18 rows.
9. Next cast off 12 stitches (this forms the arms – 24 stitches should remain).
10. Knit 2 rows.
11. Cast on one stitch every row next 20 rows.
12. Knit 12 more rows.
13. Cast off.
14. Repeat this procedure to make the other side of the gingerbread alien teddy.
To Finish.2014-05-08 15.52.14
15. Crochet a string of chains to sew onto the tummy for the aliens intestines.
16. Knit 2 eyes  (I made diamond shapes, beginning with 1 stitch, cast on one each row for 10 rows, then cast off back to one)
17. Knit 7 sultanas. (cast on one at a time for 6 rows, then cast off)
18. I have tried to sew on both before and after sewing up teddy, the choice is up to you. I find he stretches quite a bit depending on how much stuffing you choose to use, so the effect changes depending on when you decide to sew the face on before or after stuffing teddy.I found it easiest to sew on the intestines before stuffing, but sewing on the face was better after stuffing. I leave that decision up to you.
19. Sew on mouth and nostrils.
20. Sew up teddy and stuff before sewing across the top of the head.