From paling to sword!

  Recycling or upcycling has become so popular!  And why not!  Many parents & grandparents are tired of broken plastic toys or flat batteries.  I know in our household, disappointment reigns when the latest brightly coloured, cheaply bought, plastic item doesn’t last the week.  And it’s not that my kids are overly rough or careless with their possessions either!

Enter: handcrafted toys from wood or fabric!  Even better when it’s made from recycled materials.  Tim loves sanding back a weathered fence paling or worn floorboard to give a new life to a discarded item.  And there is something wonderful about holding the smooth hilt of a timber sword, feeling the old life within ones hands. 

Which brings me to the sword vs gun argument.  Yes, they are both weapons of war, but I’ve found that holding a sword, a person (or child) can feel brave, noble, protective…while holding a gun (real or otherwise)???  It certainly doesn’t evoke any resemblance of these feeling in me or my offspring!  Maybe it’s the romantic idea we can easily have of knights protecting the defenceless, of standing up against some injustice….thoughts anyone???

Here are some links to some great stockists or makers of non-plastic, non-battery toys:,,,


Medieval weekends

Three Medieval Fayre’s in 3 months and still not tired of knights, jousting, costumes, vikings and festivities!  This last weekend, our family packed up and headed off to Parramatta Park (Sydney) for Winterfest 2012

Arriving on Friday night to set up our “home” for the weekend in our old Girl Guide ‘teepee’, we surveyed the layout and I must say, how beautiful is Parramatta Park?!  It is easy to forget that you’re in Sydney!  It was awesome to see old friends amongst the stall holders, share a drink around a fire and prepare for the weekend.

While the nights were just a wee bit chilly, the days were sunny and bright.  Saturday even had many of us out of winter clothes for a few hours and the kids devouring icecreams! 

Highlights for the weekend….Well, the jousting was great fun to watch with  “Mitch the viking” giving out pieces of broken lance to the kids.  They, of course, were pretty pleased with these souvenirs!  The Birds of Prey display was fabulous.  Did you know, that owls aren’t actually more wise than any other birds?  Probably on par with chickens (this somewhat lowered my opinion of owls after keeping chickens in our yard for the last 4yrs!) The Kestrel was amazing…flies in figure 8’s before swooping down on it’s prey.  Man! it was fast!  Some birds of prey have been clocked doing up to 400km per hour!

There was also quite a collection of re-enactors and displays.  We listened with interest as one woman showed and explained how teeth were cleaned, breath freshened, and hair perfumed during Medieval times.  Quite a lot more hygenic than I had imagined (we’re keen to try some recipes for sage and salt teeth cleaner and some of the beautiful hair rinses…they smelt divine!  Far nicer than the artificial fragrances mostly used these days).

There were many people in costume and most of them wonderful.  One lady I met had made all of her costume, right down to the beautiful embroidery around her sleeves and all made from natural materials (no synthetic materials).  Next to our stall, was a couple who make and sell gorgeous cloaks and capes (T was particularly eyeing off a cloak that would have looked quite at home in “The Matrix”!) 

If any of you who haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Medieval Fayre yet, take the opportunity and enjoy the step back to older times!  Next weekend the Abbey Tournement is on in QLD (unfortunately we won’t make that one) but is said to be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere!  At Abbey, you won’t find plastic swords, plastic crowns, plastic anything for that matter.  This is about as authentic as Medieval Fayre’s get!  We are starting our preparations now for 2013 so we and our stall can be dressed to suit the time!

Well, a somewhat quieter weekend ahead for Schloss.  The Olive Tree Market on Saturday 7 July, followed by The Newcastle Farmers Market on Sunday 8 July.  Hope to see some of you there!  R