Arting around

At our school we had our big event of the year – the Arts Show. I volunteered to help with the sock puppet activity with the community. A super easy craft consisting of, just socks, buttons/eyes, fabrics and hot glue – super easy and fun for all! It was such a great event with food trucks, music and art in every room. What I really enjoyed was the added element of technology, the kids in my daughters class were studying local birdlife so they used a Makey Makey and Scratch to program bird sounds. On the televisions in the classrooms were slideshows of artwork such as the nature mandalas and stories about the birds or animals narrated by the kids which created a whole atmosphere.

The other fun thing I did this week was volunteer at an art studio and work with early childhood children. As I have been contemplating changing my degree to early childhood/primary. It certainly was different compared to what I am used to and it requires a whole different mindset. I had prepared a watercolour drawing lesson using shapes inspired by Ed Emberley but when the ages of the children were from 2 to 5 years old, you are switching up your lesson ideas on the fly, these kids just want to get into it! I would have to say, even though the kids are super cute at this age – I have decided to stay with kiddos in Primary school. Below is the example I showed the kids to work with shape and line and walked through each shape step by step. I could really tell who the older kids were as they knew their shapes, as for the littles it is marks on paper.

Santa has recently visited our house with an iPad and an Apple Pencil. So to balance my left brain that has been writing essays for Uni, I have been drawing in the evening using my right brain and it has been so good to draw again. We bought this amazing app called Procreate for $10 and it is super powerful, just like Adobe Illustrator with many aspects of Photoshop so I am so in love with this program and very happy to be drawing again. Procreate is amazing with an art shop at your fingertips! I am tracing a lot of my photographs to get used to drawing again and it has been so fun, I am loving it. Here are some illustrations of what I have been creating – too easy.

Springing in the sunshine!

The week began last week with some celebrations with our neighbour from Mountain View coming over for dinner (Tess lived right across the path from us and we did cat sitting for each other). Back in Mountain View, we had a couple of dinners with a savoury salmon pie, so I said to my friend, “come on over to our place in Melbourne, for some salmon pie and whatever treat you would like!” And the treat ended up being a special request with a pavlova decorated by Missy, our future baker. We did cheat a little by buying the base as the oven in this rental property is very unpredictable. We all enjoyed the Pav as a finale to our feast with a special Aussie wine with the name of Petaluma to remind us of California!

At the end of last week I went to secure my practicum placement at a local community kindergarten. It is perfect with an amazing outdoor space and an open plan indoor space and I will be working with the 4 year olds. Apparently in December just before Christmas all the kids go a bit cray cray as they are excited to start primary school and reckon they are big kids! I a thrilled as it is a 15 minute bike ride away from our house and I am pretty excited to be working in early childhood. Before I went to the kinder I had a magpie come and swoop me on my bike, now when I approach the kinder I have to walk my bike. Here is a little know fact, maggies remember their victims, and as I was leaving the maggie came flying at me. I was walking my bike across the road with my bag on my head, then we just looked at each other and I think she realised I would not harm her nest. Her red eyes were intense I have to say they are still one of my favourite birds – they have the best song.

After my ride to the kinder I went to take my bike in for a service and by the time I arrived it was time for lunch, so I had a treat of a lunch out at Small Block and came home to do some Uni work. Later that arvo Sam from Bikes Please called and said my bike was ready for pick up – I have to say it is a dream to ride now with its new brakes and shiny chain! Riding home see the pics above of what spring is doing in Melbourne πŸ˜€

My hubby went our house to see the concrete in our yard last week. See those big boulders, the excavator could not move them so has had to work around them and just pour the concrete in between adding another $9K to the bill – hopefully now that we have dealt with “the ground”, the future surprise costs will be minimal!!

Whilst my hubby went to our house, I was enjoying my volunteer shift at the farmers market gate and welcoming the community and patting the dogs in the sunshine. It certainly is a pretty sweet volunteer gig as I enjoy chatting to the locals. I found some amazing shiitake mushrooms and fermented garlic there and tasted some water kefir. Every time I go there there is always amazing finds! This is the rice bowl I made with the mushrooms and the garlic, with roasted SMALT BBQ Rub (my friends amazing company!!) chick peas, roasted tarragon pumpkin and topped with hemp seeds – it was absolutely divine.

Local discoveries

Last week was so nice just to hang out and catch up on my Uni work and have a little bit of freedom to meet a friend for lunch and do some volunteering at my daughters primary school. I am back to Uni again this week and after being caught up, I now have two more assignments to complete in the next two weeks. Still it keeps me occupied and I enjoy it.

See those delicious rice paper rolls up there – they are from a local vegan Vietamese cafe in Coburg that I was really excited to check out. The food was so fresh and the tea was divine so I am looking forward to going back again soon!

Apart from chilling last week, I enjoyed some time at the gym and seeing the blooms of spring appearing – bring it on I say! I do miss the sunshine of California but it is winter, so it is to be expected. I have also been uploading DVDs from way back when and they are hilarious, if you want to check them out and see the kiddos and the cats back in the day they are on Vimeo.

And more exciting news on the house this week, with the bobcat excavating the back yard getting ready for the concrete foundation. We got a call the other day that these guys said they were digging out massive rocks and as you can see there are plenty. My hubby went out to have a chat with our architect and they decided that there’s enough stone underneath that the concrete can just go around them. So hopefully come Saturday we will see some concrete happening.

Here’s to more sunshine!

This weeks update of the renovations are looking good as the whole garden is cleared and the windows are out. The only part left is what we are keeping minus the front door, with the neighbourhood cat was enjoying itself in our digs. After all the rain this week we are quite impressed to see the work moving along!

Last week, I was studying away after a hectic couple of weeks of writing assignments and it was time to have a break. This weekend the weather has been stunning, with lots of sunshine! So we enjoyed some family time as we had to pick up a cat tree for a fave feline on the other side of the city. It is so good to have a break and just relax far away from my computer and drive a car to the other side of the city and head to the beach.

There has been a lot going on in life, and I have found it hard to focus on my studies. This week I booked an appointment with my acupuncturist. As my acupuncturist says, humans regularly need a tune up, so I will have to go more often. Now I am feeling so much more centred and relaxed. Each morning, I enjoy some time at the gym and doing weights, classes and cardio so after class I make this delicious matcha hemp protein drink with a spoonful of hemp seed oil to help with body recovery. This one was extra creamy with the addition of raw cashews.

Looking forward to a week off this week and catching up on some uni readings and planning my practicum unit for the end of the year. I have to organise myself, recharge and hit these three units to get them done and dusted.

Our House Build begins

This week the demolition began on our house. We met with our architect and builder on Monday and then our builder got his spray can out all over the house! Today (Saturday) we went to check out the progress, as the demolishers were at the house on Wednesday. So now you just see the frame of the front of the house (this is taken from the alleyway out the back) with a little bit of roof. There is still some more demo work to come next week, and it is very exciting. We will drop by again next weekend, and peek through the back fence to see what is going on as it is not safe for us to be at the site.

The rest of my time this week has been here at my desk studying away writing two papers. A 2500 word essay on socialisation and another 1500 unit plan for English. Man there has been no escape and now I am behind one week in my readings but I will have next week to catch up! I got this great screen to keep me hidden from distractions but still it is really noisy as I am right near the kitchen. The bonus is that I have the fridge right in front of me, which is great! I have had to do hand sewing or knitting. after dinner, as I have been hammered with too much time on the computer – researching, writing and editing. Every morning I have been going to the gym for a bit of stress relief and it really helps with sitting down most of the day – I do not think I could ever do an office job again in my life. Still I am enjoying myself with this B. Ed as it is so comprehensive, as a lot of the theoretical components I can totally relate to. My plants have been keeping me happy at home while I have had to keep my brain focussed with my fave store in Coburg is the health store with their collection of bush flower essences – aaaah, just breathe…

What I have been doing when I have not been studying? My Saturday morning is looking after the chickens at my sons High School. They are so fun as they have a friend, a big black pig called Gigi who always wants to eat everything!! The family enjoyed the antics today when I was feeding the pig, as I was trying not to step in big mud puddles and get some treats to the chickens. I have to plan some strategic moves with distracting the pig, with her treats, when I give some treats to the chickens! And of course, in the evenings making dinner is a little creative outlet where I have been enjoying the tortillas from La Tortilleria – where I found some great videos from them this week. This fish taco is a baked Hoki taco with a zucchini slaw, topped with BBQ sauce – tasty!

So I had better get back to business as my assignments are due Monday and I need to get busy tomorrow!

Vinyl is vinyl

Life has been pretty routine of late. Heading over the gym in the morning and coming home and studying i.e. working all day. I have been slammed with lots of readings and assignments so that has left me zero time to just hang. Still to be productive in study, it is important to carve some time out in your schedule for yourself and sell stuff on FB Marketplace! So in my mission to get rid of stuff in our house I listed all our records online and the posts went crazy, so in honour of our record collection that has been distributed to vinyl collectors around Melbourne – here they are

So the good thing is that I still enjoy a good night out as friend of mine suggested we go out and see Jess Ribero (a very cool Melbourne artist, I must add) at the Northcote Social Club on Friday night. It has been in my diary for months and I was pretty excited to actually go out on the town by myself, we had a great night though we were a bit knackered when it was 12am and time go home πŸ˜€ I remember back in the day, that was the time to go out and hit the nightclubs!!

Winter thoughts

The time is slowly approaching and we will have been six months since we have been back home in Australia. Whoa the time has flown by and we finally feel like we have a handle on things. The only variable up in the air in the starting date of our house build and all I can say is that it is going to happen real soon! There have been many learning experiences which we have experienced over the last few months and because it is winter and time to ruminate, here they are:

Eat ramen as much as you can in winter though make sure to blend the shitake mushrooms through for a depth of flavour – oh and I gotta find that Kombu!
  • When moving back to your home country have a bit of a plan about where you will live – lucky we our friend offered their place for house sitting until we decided to move back into our vacant house.
  • When looking for rental properties make sure you check the glass and if it is not double pane, forget it! I know it is hard when looking for places to rent as it has to be the perfect fit but we are freezing here in our place as there are lots of windows in this house built in 1990. It is part of a bunch of cheaply built row houses and man we enjoy the location and get this – the electricity bill for 3 months was $1379!! We blame the electric wall heaters which suck up the power and we have been leaving them on overnight 😦 which is a bit silly.
  • Again this rental has had its issues with replacing the range hood, the oven is bad, the dishwasher is loud, the water heater had to be replaced and we were without hot water for two days, the water pressure is terrible when you have a shower and are doing the washing at the same time, the curtains need an extra layer to keep the cold out and the doors and windows are not sealed properly, so the wind blows in (I have made door snakes!). Still it is a house with space which is what we were looking for and we will make the most of it. This is an experience and we are noting all these problems so when our house is built we will make sure that these problems do not exist!
  • Watch for stupid laws like no animals at rentals, apparently the laws in Victoria have changed and a landlord cannot deny you without a great excuse but still we had it good in California at the fancy rental haven of Central Park with our pets.
  • Make sure everything you need is in walking/PT distance – I still do not have a car but I borrow them or catch an Uber which works but I am sure that the money is adding up for each trip. The problem I find with that is that it all takes time and that time cannot be reimbursed, therefore I lose valuable study/work time.
  • My study zone is now in the dining room right by a massive window which leads to the courtyard and it is freezing so I have had to add another curtain to the existing to keep the cold out – the landlord refuses to listen to our complaints of the broken curtain mechanism? When we were landlords we happily helped out our tenants with any problem but it seems that this guy is a tight arse, at over $600 a week he should be laughing to the bank.
  • I am grateful that we are close to school and the kids can walk, I can walk to the gym and I have found some cool classes to go to – I love my weights workout and running 5kms on the cross trainer (who knew I could run!!), the library is close, Office works has 8 cent copies for Uni printouts – which is a walk or $10 Uber ride away, we have the best felafel down the road, I love our new community, Aussies are so friendly and helpful, there is a super cool bike path by the creek or the railway line that goes for kilometres, I have some amazing local nurseries just a walk away, I found a happy place to volunteer at the community nursery, we get to look after chickens and a beautiful pig named Gigi, chickens are at school and the community garden and in general life is good and we are happy back in Melbourne.
  • Oh and patience is everything and if Plan A does not work out – be ready with Plan B.

I enjoy walking around the streets to explore because that is how I experience a city that I visit or live. And yesterday I got stuck on one side of the tracks because the train was coming so I decided rather than wait I will go up the path. So what did I find? Some street art, a community garden by the railway tracks and a cute little book library. I was on a mission to Office works so I stopped at the local cafe Eighth Nerve and enjoyed an amazing coffee – that is one thing to appreciate about being back here, the coffee is amazing and made with local almond milk!

I also know that living in Melbourne in winter it is damn cold but thank goodness for my knitting skills I am snug as a bug – when going outside I always wear a knitted hat, have my gloves on standby and wear a coat and you will be comfortable (just watch out for that wind!!) Overall I reckon the move back has been a struggle for all of us as we miss our friends in California and the amazing weather over there but that was a wonderful growth experience and now we are ready for our next phase in life. I promise we will really appreciate our new house when it is built πŸ˜€

Winter holiday in Queensland :: it’s a wrap!

For the last couple of days we enjoyed some cousin time with making some Legos and hanging out together. It had to be a low key experience as my nephew, just had an operation of getting his adenoids and tonsils out – so he was in recovery mode. This was fine with us and we enjoyed some downtime over lunch and cups of tea.

Our last day at the Sunshine Coast was spent climbing walls at Rockit climbing gym where I managed to get pretty high for someone scared of heights! We did auto belays which is so fun as you just drop to the ground gradually, though my landings were not as graceful as the kids. I reckon we will be doing more climbing after this experience – there are no pics unfortunately as everything had to be put away safely including jewellery. Afterwards we were starving after using so much energy to climb, so we went to Mint for a lovely lunch and some treats – check out this cabinet of goodness!

Later in the arvo it was time to head on over to the airport and after a quick walk by the ocean to say farewell to our relaxing time away. Where at night I got to watch Stranger Things 3 on my little biddy phone screen enjoying the soundtrack on my headphones! Here we are leaving the Sunny Coast at sunset and arriving Melbourne later that evening.

Winter holiday in Queensland :: Peregian Beach

After the rainy days we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunny Sunday which was too good to stay inside, so I said to the kids let’s go to the beach! We made it to Peregian Beach – a place where I used to live years and years ago as an art student. I love it there and remember the afternoons after my days at school I would come home and go for long walks along the beach to watch the sunsets – it was so special. The beach there is stunning and I found it very upmarket these days with an incredible bakery and a fave shop selling mid century furniture and artwork midmodoz. Unfortunately I cannot purchase anything as I have no idea what we need for our new house as yet! I did love the artwork above and a patio setting, so I went in and chatted to the owner and she said you should see the warehouse πŸ˜€ Yes please!!

Later that day we met some friends and took a walk up Mt Ninderry – a hike recommended by our Air Bnb host. It was absolutely stunning from way up high and we enjoyed the scenery as we wandered along the track, there were so many rocks formations and flora to admire.

From way up high we saw Mt Coolum, where we hiked the day before as one of the many vistas you could capture from the top of the mountain. I loved the ferns and the rocks, the mushrooms and this amazing fan leaf palm as we were going back to the car. It was such a beautiful, relaxed hike and way easier than Mt Coolum even though it was that little bit higher at 304 metres.