A Birthday, some city disruption and creative vibes

Last week turned out to be quite a busy week with Ash turning 14 on Friday! We enjoyed “our own birthday” school strike for climate change in the Melbourne CBD with Extinction Rebellion with their Disco Disruption dancing and marching in the streets. It was the best climate action rally I have experienced, with dancing in the streets in the middle of an intersection and then a die in in the middle of Bourke Street mall. I do hope we managed to create an awareness for a lot of the people who were taking video and photos with their phones .

Creating civil disruption works up an appetite so Ash wanted to go to ramen for dinner and we took the tram down to Brunswick to Misoya Sake Bar. I had a vegan ramen which was delish and the rest of the fam had special ramen and chicken broth ramen which they loved!

While we were there we found this beautiful artwork which was drawn on the loo, I love Barek’s style and would love to have some of this art in our house in the future.

Saturday came around and I was volunteering at Peppertree community nursery working at the cafe making coffees and toasties for the locals in the morning. It was very exciting for me as this was the first time for me making coffee and working at a cafe rather than eating there! I really enjoyed hanging out with the community and chatting to the local peeps. Afterwards it was a stunning day, I went for a bike ride – only to be swooped by a magpie at the back of my head and on my back. Luckily there was no blood but I did not want to take any chances as maggies remember the people they have attacked so I took an alternative route home and found the drive in! It is a shame we do not have a car to take there 😦

Then Sunday came around and we hired a rental car and drove to Bendigo. We stopped off at Kyneton for a cuppa and to meet up with our friends and then we drove over to the Bendigo Art Gallery. It was so beautiful to see the churches and heritage buildings in the countryside, and Bendigo is about 1 hour 30 mins away from Melbourne so a perfect drive time for a Sunday day trip. We parked our car at the beautiful Rosalind Park and found these tulips planted amongst the green, then we heard the sounds of flying foxes in the trees, it would be lovely to go back and wander the gardens. I just realised they have a sister city of Los Altos, and is represented with a garden of dry climate plants from California – cool!

The main focus of our Sunday day trip to Bendigo was to see the Balenciaga exhibition from the V&A in London. It was a truly inspirational exhibition for me as I loved his attention to detail and the way he worked was to use the fabric as the inspiration for the designs. The x ray pieces were presented to show how the fabric was in relation to the body. One of his dresses was designed to puff up with air as you walked and the inspiration was from harem pants to puff out a ball gown – he was an absolute genius. Having the combination of tailoring and design Balenciagia created some contemporary silhouettes that truly shaped and inspired fashion throughout time.

This is an item we could play with in the exhibit and it was made from muslin. It was an ingenious piece as it was presented in the collection as a gorgeous skirt. We had the opportunity to work it as a cape or a skirt, I love how clothes can be designed this way to have the ability to be worn various ways. Using inspiration from cultures around the world Balenciagia used fabrics to create bold shapes and designs.

As we were leaving the gallery an exhibition called Desert Lines with a collection of fabric by Australian Indigenous women was on display. I am such a fabric fan but we were in a hurry to go to lunch so I just captured their colour and design as I wandered by and they are absolutely beautiful.

And as I was on my first week of holidays away from Uni work I took a small break and did a little bit of sewing using a Japanese pattern book I found as I had a bolt of stretch fabric my friend gave me to work with – the red top at the end was my fave. But as I was enjoying working with the patterns so much I found some of my vintage fabric and made a summer top from Hawaiian fabric. I also used the eyelet fabric using the Square top pattern from She Wears the Pants – another Japanese sewing book. Now I have a bunch of tops to wear but I need to wait for the weather to get warmer first!

Spring break fun with the kids and the cats

As it was the last week of holidays and I needed a goal to work towards for my Uni assignments, we made a trip to Narre Warren to see the Katena Luminarium. It is an hour away on the freeway from the north side of the city – who knew! Once we hit the Eastlink it was 30km straight across and not very exciting at all in our little Car Next Door. Lucky for us, it was a beautiful sunny day but the Katena Luminarium was one hot little space on a warm day and it felt like we were being depleted of oxygen. Being inside is just like being inside a closed up bounce house. I have to say the inside was incredible to walk into as I have never seen anything like it in my life, the design of the curves and the colour was stunning and made gorgeous pics!

Friday was our first site meeting and the first time we had access to the property and to see the demo was intense, this is what is left of our front rooms! You can see the IKEA light just hanging in there. Our little Edwardian house is so old, as it had lath and plaster on the walls. The plaster needed to be removed as we are insulating the whole house which will be amazing!! It was so fun to walk around on the slab and imagine the kitchen and the living room. The builder was there outlining where the timber frame is going to be.

After our site meeting we took the kids out to the city for a bit of cat cafe action! We were ready but it was a rainy afternoon and the cats were napping so my cat fishing mission was a bit of a failure! Though we did get to travel down a lovely plant filled laneway to find the cat cafe and eat a rainbow toastie before we went in. After we were on a mission to find bubble tea and do a little bit of shopping for the kids and in the end we decided on a Japanese dinner feast with the kids where my hubby and I had our first date. All four of us rolled out, just like the cat bus in the film Totoro 😀

Saturday was my volunteer day. First at the gate of the farmers market, greeting the locals and meeting the dogs. After the market I went to Peppertree Place, another place where I have had to register to volunteer lately with a police check. So I paid to get that done and it was my first volunteer gig on a Saturday and it was amazing. The whole place was so busy, as there was a food swap where local gardeners bring in their bounty from their garden and swap with their neighbours plus there was some local entertainment with the Thornberries playing ukelele and singing! On this table there is sauerkraut, kombucha scobys, worm tea, flowers, herbs – lots of parsley, lettuces and silver beet. It was such an incredible energy to chat to the local community about what they grow and cook, as I love to cook it was a heavenly gig for me. Meeting the local peeps was so fun! I will be heading back in the future to help out at the cafe, which is something to look forward to.

Holidays, house and assignments done!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur with having to write 3 assignments! I am finally done with the assignments and at my last week of Uni now just wrapping up some readings and I will have a break for a month, yipee!! It is quite an achievement that I worked through 3 units and have come out at the end of the three weeks in one piece and not too frazzled.

Our house has finally moved on from a hole in the ground, to the black membrane which separates the concrete and now finally a massive concrete foundation, better get my skates on and start rollerskating!

As I was in full on study mode it was good to have Sunday brunch with some friends at South Wharf, I had no idea where it was in the city but it was a beautiful morning out. We were right next to the tall ship Polly Woodside – that I will have to take the kiddos out to one day!

It was James birthday week and I organised a little getaway on the Monday before his birthday – again, another study break but oh so worth it. It was the first day of the school holidays for the kiddos too! We all loved it as it was a totally meditative experience as you had to walk really slow so you did not get rained on. The immersive experience of the Rain Room was so cool as walked you stayed dry and even looking around you the rain was there and you were in your protected area with no rain. It was such an amazing experience with fantastic technology and art!

And here is the birthday dude with is cake made by me and decorated by Miss Hol with white chocolate hand drawn cat decorations with Happy Birthday stuck in the cake. Of course for a special dinner, I made a smoked salmon and goat cheese quiche and a pumpkin and cheddar quiche with a beautiful Pinot Noir wine from the Mornington Peninsula.

And to wrap up my week, Grammarly sent me my writing stats and man that is a lot of writing since I started Uni over 1 million! I reckon I looked that that cat by the time the last 12 weeks were over, my eyes bugging out of my head.

What do we want – Climate action!

Friday the 20th September 2019, was school strike for the climate and I went with my son and two of his grade 8 buddies. The boys had a fossil theme going on (see the signs above), with my favourite one being the Scomo skeleton the prime minister in a museum on my sons sign. Apparently there were 100,000 people in Melbourne and that is fantastic. Now we just gotta keep the momentum going and I need to join extinction rebellion as this video from Jane Goodall laid it all out for me today. It is so frustrating dealing with a government who does not listen to the people, as I read in the news on the day of the protests our PM was being wined and dined at the white house by Dump, ridiculous! The dinner of idiots and backward thinkers is all we need in this world, conspiring about who they can screw with next!! 😦

As we were enjoying our time in the streets with the people, we wandered out of the crowds for a feed. As I was hanging to try out Lord of the Fries – who knew the whole menu is vegan!! I just thought it was just chips, but hey you learn something new everyday. And as we were wandering down to Swanston Street, to some food we went down Collins Street totally void of moving cars (see above) and what a lovely sight that was! Back to my burger, I tried the Beyond Meat burgers which I had in America and it was so good – as a burger with the lot, Aussie style! And we all know what that means, beetroot and vegan egg on a burger and it was yummo and their fries, well you can choose to have chunky chips and they were so good!! Perfect after a lot of walking and hanging in the crowds.

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 😀

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!