Maker Faire 2018 – a big week

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It was another crazy busy week including a very full weekend! Last week I missed the Market Day at my daughter’s school for the first time in years as I was working and I heard these mealworm races were excellent, I suggested that they add a chicken next time and the mealworm that survives is the winner!

 

Thursday evening we had the Celebration of Learning at my work where the kids present their projects. For the 1st-grade class, they presented their Global Village which they made from foam core and upcycled materials. Inspired by the book, If the World Were a Village read by my co-teacher, we chatted to the kids and documented their discussion to get the project off the ground. We asked the science teacher to help with the materials and organising the footprint of the village where everything should go. Our art teacher helped with the details of the ground and road and supplying the paint. I helped the kids with the paint colours, some of the construction and documenting the info. To make it a truly collaborative experience the 2nd and 3rd-grade classes helped set up the LED power station. The idea from the beginning is that each child who made their pieces/places can take them home to play with them.

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The photo booth!
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Shooing the birds

 

 

 

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Henna tattoo fun
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Waiting for my Lyft!
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Hello from Bollywood!

Saturday evening I went to the 2nd Annual Bollywood party as a gift to myself for studying even though I still have 3 weeks to go! The party is organised by some parents from Stevenson Elementary school as an auction prize. Somehow over the evening, I had a few too many vodka mango cocktails and I was dancing the night away, shooing away the birds (my new Bollywood move!). It is always such a fun night and so good to meet some new families and catch up with friends.

 

 

Sunday we had to get up early and go to our volunteer shift at the Maker Faire for Stevenson Elementary Schools booth where the 4th grade was showcasing their gold rush sluice boxes and the 2nd grade had their air plants art installation on display. We worked our 2-hour shift and off we went to enjoy the fun of the Maker Faire and by then Missy was hungry and ready for a hot dog! Not me I really do not like the food at Maker Faire all carnival deep fried disgusting food.

 

We lived the dream by checking out a teardrop trailer to see if we could fit in and then we found this refurbished trailer the kids really enjoyed, perfect for 2 people and the kids can camp in the tent outside 😀

 

As we ran into some Australian friends after checking out Homegrown – a place where you find the artisanal yummy food including hot cocoa, we saw a parade of cupcakes and another friend of ours from school riding the horse-drawn solar carriage.

 

Wandering through the rest of the Faire we had fun with Big Face Box while we caught up with friends from our old school plus so much art was on show and SO many useless robots. We had such a cool time, running into friends and checking out all sorts of new gadgets and games.

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I happened to be taking a break from walking when I came across this talk from Ted Dintersmith and he talked about the future of education in America and how there needs to be a bit of a shake-up in regards to the system. He showed videos of jobs will not be available in the future due to advances in technology and how there is a need for students to be able to be innovators and makers. He is out there to inspire students and educators to feature project-based learning schools allowing kids to become critical thinkers. The timing of this talk was perfect as I have to write a reflection of my educational philosophy for my next assignment!

 

Plus at the Maker Faire, I found this artist Miss Velvet Cream by chatting with someone at a food truck – so inspiring to see her work plus she had won all these blue ribbons including the editors choice. Oh, and how can I forget running into a fellow chicken lover Stoneface Project (we did a craft show together in SF ages ago!) at the SF Bazaar and she gave me some super cool earrings – a huge thank you! A couple of other fun discoveries were Escama Studio – pieces made from soft drink pulls by artisans in Brazil. And my daughter loved Bottle of Clouds laser cut hand painted pins and earrings, I could not resist her cat and teapot earrings, perfect for a cat and tea lover!

Such a great time was had by everyone and we were very tired at the end of the weekend, time to catch up on some sleep…

A week of Melbourne Art Immersion

Farewell to the tropics and Hello Melbourne! It is so wonderful to be immersed in the beauty of this city, and I honestly feel like I am home when I am here as this is where my life truly began in my mid-twenties. Studying at RMIT and working as a Graphic Artist then meeting my soul partner and having our baby – who is now 11! So many amazing memories that resonate with life in another world. Now only to get back home that is in Melbourne and settled again!

To start off the holidays we met the cousins at the Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers special exhibit designed by Weta Workshop in New Zealand as a travelling exhibit from NZ. The installations are so lifelike, and the bugs were huge and gave the visitors insight into the amazing world of bugs and even spiders! I really loved it though the kids really zipped through the exhibit we wanted repeat viewings of the zoetrope dragonfly installation where the idea was that saw what it was like to fly like a dragonfly and it was just spectacular.

I met a friend with her daughter at the NGV International Kids area to do free craft activities, and it was perfect for all of our kid’s ages 7 to 11. They could craft away while we caught up with news and happenings in life.

That afternoon I found some yarn bombed trees in Federation Square and knew this is where I belong – the yarn is keeping the trees warm over the winter! I took the kids to see Kedi finally at ACMI, and we just loved it, I would love to see it again just to see all those cats closeup and listen to their fascinating stories.

Friday was a big day, and we went to the zoo with our family – an incredible photo exhibit called Photo Ark was on display. The photographer Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer, has documented 6,531 species in human care. I just loved these images so much, a book is available as well which has many beautiful animal personalities captured. I was in love with the sloth pic!

I really enjoyed the enclosures at the zoo, and there were many opportunities to take pics of these animals my favourite being the lemurs as you could walk around with lemurs in their space staying a metre away from them. Missy’s favourite was the butterfly house where I felt home among the tropics. We stayed all afternoon until the meerkats showed us how cold it was and it was time to go home.

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Saturday I met a good friend and her kids for tea, and we wandered down to the local cafe for a coffee and smashed avo on toast – now that is the business! It makes me so happy to catch up with my friends here 😀

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In the evening we were having a farewell dinner with my mother in law before they drove back to Adelaide – we are getting our cat fixes by hanging out at my sister in laws place and loving their new kitten Izzy!

Sunday was another incredible day of eating Melbourne style with good friends and fantastic food – we went to Maha for a 4 course Sunday session lunch for 2 hours of eating the most incredible food! To me, it is so inspirational the way this restaurant redefines middle eastern flavours, my absolute favourite cuisine. The restaurant had a beautiful ambience with music and comfortable chairs to enjoy a long lunch of divine delicacies. A true Melbourne experience that I would love to do again with everything cooked to perfection and no problem with the Lacto-Ovo pescatarian that I am.

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After lunch I caught up with friends from Choice Hotels International where we met and enjoyed our time together as a Marketing team, it feels so long ago and so much has happened in our lives and lovely to see my work friends again and reminisce on the fun times we had.

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We just happened to be in the city for the Boho Luxe Market in Federation Square where I had to have a quick run through to see what was on offer and of course I was attracted to this vintage bus with vintage clothes, so cool! It is so good to be back in Melbourne with art everywhere.

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The kid’s really enjoyed ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) the place where my husband and I first met 12 years ago, so we had to capture a shot outside. I love Melbourne, and it is so good to be immersed in all these art experiences that will live with me for another year until I come home again!

Exploring Beauty

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With all the wonderful rain we have been having our Sunday family day was an inside affair with a trip to the San Jose Museum of Art to check out the Beauty exhibition. I have been studying for an exam on literacy and math as part of the degree program I am undertaking for Education – apparently, it is a new initiative by the Australian Government to examine the skills of potential educators. A lot of the work is for me to revise a lot of the concepts and will come in handy for my next units of math and science and thank goodness for Khan Academy helping me understand some of the math concepts that have completely left my mind.

Rather than spending my weekend away revising on the computer, I granted myself a break in exchange for working in the evenings. It was so refreshing going to a gallery and checking out art that I can totally relate to in this exhibit covered the gamut of design including industrial, textile, scientific, graphic, fine art, fashion, technological and architectural.  The exhibit was the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial and brought together innovative designers from around the world and really appealed to my design background. I especially loved the fine arts, technological and fashion design.

A couple of my favourite pieces included some 3D printing inspired by the interior of bones. To the right is an amazing blown glass sculpture with incredible detail which to me looks like intestines.

As I love textiles and fashion I enjoy checking out the innovation in the industry I found these a the show. A jacquard woven wool tapestry with incredible detail by the Finnish designer Kustaa Saski using a combination of rubber, acrylic, lurex, and phosphorescent yarn with mohair and cashmere wool.

The white crochet armour was so detailed I wonder about the math that went into designing the pattern. Next to the crochet was this incredible printing technique by a company out of the Netherlands, Vlisco who specialise in Dutch wax prints popular in West and Central Africa and made using an industrialised version of the Indonesian batik process. The prints are created in conjunction with local African traders who suggest colorways or themes to Vlisco. I really enjoyed seeing this much colour together, and I had always enjoyed African textiles when my friend married her husband from Mali she came back to Australia with this incredible collection of clothes from Africa that I absolutely adored.

The skirt with the pyjama top was breathtaking with that amount of fabric on the skirt, and the design of the top is something I would love to create for a summer top. I loved the details in the skirt with the changes in colour gradations, and I just love the combination of colours! The final pic

The image with the detail was created by a student from Central St Martin’s in London who uses plastic in her work – the skirt was made of ruffles of plastic including the detail on the blouse creating a three-dimensional effect.

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The exhibition continued upstairs where I found a collection the Haas Brothers from Los Angeles. This was the first time I had seen their work, so the impact of the colour attracted me to investigate further. Their collection was entitled the Afreaks series created in conjunction with the Haas Sisters in South Africa – using a specific beading technique. Their work is highly sought after and these guys are true renaissance men with their knowledge of various artistic and traditional techniques.

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To complete the visit to the gallery the San Jose Museum of Art has an exhibition entitled Your Mind, This Moment – art and the practice of attention. This is a peaceful part of the gallery that encourages you to sit down and admire the art and embrace the space of meditation.

Our family day out was enjoyed by the kids and as this was the last day of the Beauty exhibit we were very lucky to have had the opportunity to see it. The kids always rush through exhibitions, but at least there were some interactive pieces for them to enjoy and introduce them to art and technology. Hopefully, we can have more of this art here in this valley as it is something that I feel I have to travel to the city to get my fix of inspiration!

The Love Cats

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New discoveries abound when you are a tourist in your own home country. As we were investigating places to walk and play we found the Coburg Lake, an easy 30-minute walk from where we are staying. We wandered through the new developments of Pentridge Prison where new apartments are popping up within the old wallls of the jail – there are some good views to be had for the apartments up high. Walking past the prison walls and out we finally found the lake and a super cool playground with this really comfortable swing and very high slide, that you just had to climb!

To get to the top of the slide you are climbing and climbing until finally, you reach the hole where you hop in and go down really, really fast due to the great curve in the slide. So much fun to be had! Of course, when we lived here we had no interest in playgrounds, slides, and roundabouts. As we walked over the bridge up the stairs we found many sculptures including this selection of yarn balls – I think they were designed to be rope balls found on a wharf.

Midweek I had organised a playdate with my fellow vegetarian food-loving friend and her daughter. We had such an amazing lunch at Monk Bodhi  Dharma. The hardest thing for me when we go to these establishments is what do I choose as I can eat absolutely anything on the menu!! I opted for the Umami Mushrooms which was a bowl full of Roasted King Oyster, Shitake, Oyster and Swiss Brown Mushrooms on a house-made polenta pumpkin bread – for a mushroom fan, it was heaven! The kids were, of course, were a bit perplexed by the menu so I said just eat the buckwheat apple pancakes with ice cream and apple chips – they did protest, but wolfed them down in seconds. The chai was the best chai I have drunk in a very long time, spices roasted in-house and made with soy milk it was to be savored to the last drop. I can eat so well when I live in this beautiful city of Melbourne, this time, the weather isn’t bothering me so much as I love this city, even its seasons!

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It was a rainy day and we had a mission to go down to St Kilda Readings to pick up another book of the kid’s new favorite author David Walliams, sometimes you cannot find these books in the USA. Of course, I can buy it on the internet but it is way better to support a local independent bookstore! We braved the showers and got totally wet at the St Kilda City Gardens and the kids enjoyed the climbing and play structures. To keep ourselves dry we found the greenhouse and off we went with to play ball.

Down an alleyway for our next adventure to the Cat Cafe we found lots of street art and graffiti. Ash was a bit confused about the fine line between art and graffiti – I had to explain to him that artists are sometimes commissioned for the works or the City of Melbourne enjoys the alley art and it is used in photography shoots, tourism and the like. In the ‘What Good Shall I do this Day?’ the plaque I showed it to my son and he gave me a big hug!

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These alleyway posters are something different and maybe considered messy but as a graphic designer, I appreciated how all this works together especially the facebook and Instagram logos.

The cat cafe was such a relaxing experience. We each paid $12 per hour to spend time with the cats, 16 cats in total. As it is coming to the end of our holiday I am really missing our 2 cats and cannot wait to see them. In the interim, this was such an enjoyable experience patting these cuties gently and playing with the younger kittens. These cats are all living together in this warehouse style space built with a see through ladder for them to climb and see the world from up on high. The kids were in kittie heaven playing with the kittens and cats. It is just the perfect space for the cats with lots of places to jump on, sleep on, plenty of cat trees and places to hide if they don’t want any attention. These cats were so sociable and lovable we did not want to leave. Unlike the cat cafes in the USA where the cats are up for adoption, these cats live down an alleyway in a luxurious Melbourne warehouse apartment.

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While we were in the city we met Graham at the State Library Gallery. Project Graham showed us what we might look like if we were built to survive on our roads. He’s a reminder of just how vulnerable our bodies really are when speed and impact forces as low as 30km/h are at play. The Australian Artist Patricia Piccinini designed Graham and her work is always so lifelike using latex and human hair. In conjunction with the sculpture, it had an Augmented Reality experience using Google Tango tablets for the first time in Australia. The kids really enjoyed the interaction with Graham learning about why he had hoof-like feet. Watching the video from the tablet they found out that this was so he could jump out of the way of a car and protect himself.

 

Quokka Whole Lotta Love​

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We made a trek across from Melbourne to Adelaide by Tigerair – I thought let’s fly like the locals on their cheapo airline which gave us a really good deal through lastminute.com.au. The flight was on time and we travelled in comfort for our 1-hour flight nice and early in the morning with a 5am start!

When we arrived it was time to chill out have a chat and a cuppa tea with my mum in law and her hubby and Tigger the dog. We went out to Sarah’s Sisters sustainable cafe for lunch and enjoyed some vegetarian delicacies. I enjoyed The Pastry with Mushroom, broccoli, and cheese in a lemon and herb sauce with a fresh salad on the side, which hit the spot on a cold and just about to rain day. After lunch, we checked out the SA Maritime Museum and saw this excellent exhibition of Naturalist Artwork The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800 to 1804. This is from the website:

Baudin’s ships, Géographe and Naturaliste embarked from Le Havre in October 1800 for the southern continent carrying an impressive contingent of scientists and scientific assistants.  Lavishly funded by Napoleon Bonaparte, the expedition’s agenda was the discovery and study of natural sciences, underpinned by the emergence of new ideas and philosophies of reason and the rights of man.

It brings a fabulous collection of the original paintings and drawings from the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, France to South Australian audiences for the first time. 

The work was beautifully painted in watercolour to fine detail and to see the artists little paint box was such a treat. Certainly, there were some creatures documented in this exhibit in watercolour that looked 3D and realistic, they were such talented artists!

Tuesday we went to a cafe to visit our family members in Adelaide for morning tea by the sea. Unfortunately, the weather was super cold so beach time was slim. When the kids went out with Grandma they came back like ice blocks. In the afternoon I went with Jane (my mother in law) to drop off her ceramic pieces for a show opening – it is a huge show called SALA the South Australia Living Arts Festival. She made this beautiful Heron, a couple of bowls pictured is one with lizards and a little garden snail. With some luck, these will be sold, here’s to successful sales everyone!

On our way back home I toured her ceramics studio at Pottery on Fourth – it is such a beautiful space with a gallery space at the front. From the gallery, you can walk through the studio to the wedging, kiln, glaze room and to the side were the wheels with mirrors so you can see your form as you throw. For me, as a newbie had never seen mirrors in front of the wheel before. Jane has been a studio potter for over 35 years and her work is just amazing and has so much knowledge. It is not until you are exposed to an art form it is then you can really appreciate it for what it is. In the pics above, her friend and co-collaborator Danny created the blue pieces and the huge thrown pots fired with seaweed to get an organic feel to the glaze. The bottom piece is a teapot inspired by a stingray was a Turkish potter who belongs to the club. Such an inspiring place and it was so much fun going with Jane learning about how the pieces are glazed or made – thanks for the tour Jane!

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Where do we go with this chilly rainy weather says Missy?? Lucky there was a playground close by on the walk to Grandmas house!

On Wednesday we finally got a clear day without the rain and visited the Adelaide Zoo. The second oldest zoo in Australia (after Melbourne Zoo). The Adelaide Zoo has been opened since 1883 and one of their oldest animals at the zoo, the flamingo died in 2015 at the age of 83. Their only flamingo they have left is called Chilli who has hidden away in the heated room for the day as poor ol’ Chilli was very chilly and suffering from the cold this winter!

The zoo is a non-profit, focusing on endangered species and educating people about animals throughout the world. The zoo currently houses a couple of Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi who were brought into the zoo when they were really small and are on loan from China for 10 years. These two have so far been unsuccessful in the breeding program as female pandas ovulate only once a year, in the spring. A short period of two to three days around ovulation is the only time she is able to conceive. The giant pandas’ naturally slow breeding rate prevents a population from recovering quickly from illegal hunting, habitat loss, and other human-related causes of mortality. We loved seeing these Giant Pandas in real life seeing how their size and habits we became aware that this is a species that we have to learn from, see ‘The Way of the Panda’ in the pic above.

From the Giant Panda exhibit, we went to the birds of Australasia, this exhibit was a massive enclosed cage to walk through and be with the birds in their habitat. When we went it we saw that there was an echidna in with the birds and we were so lucky that we found the echidna in action! We spent ages observing the birds and even the green parrot we checked out flew straight at us and we could feel the energy of his wings right above our head.

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The exhibits are beautifully designed with water and rocks for the gibbons with lots of trees and toys to play with. I said to my daughter look there is your spirit animal climbing the trees – something she was not too happy to hear! The Patagonian Cavy (Mara) was just like a jackrabbit enjoyed its small mountainous habitat and the tree kangaroo, the tree hugger was very active in its exhibit balancing on the branch using its tail. To observe and learn about animals we may not encounter in our day to day existence is something that I really love about zoos

The Australian Pelican was putting on quite a show with its bathing routine splashing about and then it extended its wings to dry. Such a handsome looking bird.

Through the reptile enclosure which is a work in progress then we went to the Froggery and we came out and the kids found this fun frog slide!

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After lunch, we worked out we wanted to see before we left for the day. The African exhibit is small due to most of the African animals living at an open range zoo called Monarto Zoo . We can always check it out next time we are in Oz. When we wandered by the Capybara they were resting but lucky for us the zoo keeper came in and gave them some fresh bamboo cuts to eat which were rejected by the pandas! So we saw the sister capybaras in slo-mo action!

And on to my favorite animals of all time the Pygmy Marmoset and the Golden Lion Tamarin. The Emperor Tamarin was in the enclosure as well but they are so full of energy and really difficult to photograph. Lucky for me I saw these little guys coming in for snacks and a bit of a relax. The conservation status of the emperor tamarin and the pygmy marmoset are of least concern, still, they are fun to watch. The golden lion tamarin is an endangered species with an estimated wild population of about 3,200 individuals spread between four places along southeastern Brazil, and a captive population maintained at about 490 individuals among 150 zoos. Their enclosure at the Adelaide zoo is wonderful as they have little cage tunnels so they can venture outside and then come in to eat and rest. Observing them outside you have to be careful that they don’t accidentally pee on you as they are above your head! I love watching them eating and playing and the colour of their fur is just so vibrant.

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The highlight for everyone was the kid’s area and the petting zoo with free range chickens and the Quokkas – the conservation status for these little fellows is vulnerable and they only live in small areas in the southern corner of Western Australia. A perfect cat-sized critter who is super soft and very friendly if you have the fresh leaves for them.

The free range chickens were a lot of fun and the kids knew how to handle them so they took the opportunity to give one of the girls a big hug.

We loved the Adelaide Zoo for the animal encounters and the enclosures.

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Oh and this little fellow and his buddy who are an African Grey Parrot was seized at customs as they were being smuggled into the country. Looking at their head feathers they were severely damaged in transit and will not recover. They are such social birds and I love the fact they enjoy interacting with people which with that trust they feel they were taken advantage of and smuggled across the Indian Ocean. They both are happy in their enclosure at the zoo and it brought to light the awareness of animal smuggling and how lucky these guys were to survive.

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Finally, it was time to say farewell, so we enjoyed a wander around foodie paradise at the Adelaide Central Market and just before we left we enjoyed a very delicious Greek farewell lunch with Grandma and Grandpa!

A piece a week – A craft organizer made from Jeans & Spring break fun/food plus artwork for the school play, yay!

We had no plans on Spring Break except to hang around and catch up with friends. It was excellent to just run errands and chill out for the rest of the day. Currently I am in Spring cleaning mode 😀 Which is a good thing! I have been reading about clearing clutter and throwing away your stuff but it is just not very motivating to go through absolutely everything… So I chose a few spaces that I enjoy being in and want to keep them tidy and free from clutter – well let me tell you, with kiddos that is a hard task to keep spaces in shape!! 
My craft room needed a major clean out so I got to that room (after the kids room) and decided that my projects needed to be near my machines and in easy access or they may get fur all over them by the kitties, as anything is a target for my two cats – one sheds more than the other. Any fabric that is wool is like a magnet for fur – there’s a scarf in one on the pockets of this organizer that I need to complete that has the furry treatment all over it, even the cats create work for me!!  
So to make this lovely organizer I used a pair of my husbands old jeans and cut off a leg and folded the top down and added FabMo fabric samples under the back pocket! Next time I am looking for my next project – there they are waiting in the queue on the wall…
The organizer made from an old pair of jeans and some FabMo samples
The week went by really fast and we enjoyed some sleeping in and going down the park, going to the library, catching up with friends and eating out (this is a treat for us!) I even took the kids on a car service trip to Subaru, San Jose and we went to Santana Row for a bit of shopping – everything is high end there except places for fast fashion like H&M (excellent for the kiddos clothes and shoes) and this cute little Japanese store the kids really enjoyed with me! Of course I love Anthropologie to check out the fabrics and dresses. It was a fun day out and we went to my new fave vegetarian place Veggie Grill. This is the Tres ‘fish’ tacos – yes fake fish but yummy nonetheless and perfect for lunch with the kids. Their kids menu was yum too with veggie burgers and mac and cheese with nutritional yeast for extra flavour.
Tres ‘fish” tacos and jalapeno green salad 
And another lovely feast we had at Yam Leaf Bistro in Mountain View – this is an $8 lunch and everything here is vegetarian too which I love! Oh and their Pupusas and horchata are delicious and filling, ever since I tried them at El Calderon (their previous entity) I still love them except the horchata is not served in a hollowed out gourd anymore 😦
The Salvadorian Style Tostada

Park play was a lot of fun in the afternoons and we visited a friend in Sunnyvale at their local park Las Palmas. This park has always been a favorite of mine and now it has been renovated the kids love it. There is this huge volcano climbing structure and slide and statues from Easter Island that are in the pond. As you can see the kids enjoyed being in the pond with their scooters. Though due to water restrictions at the moment there is no pond – this is a collection of rain water from the small downfall overnight.

Scooting through the water!

Friday I had my first wheel throwing class through the city of Sunnyvale – it was so exciting to be in a pottery studio with 3 huge kilns and lots of pottery wheels overlooking a lake with fake swans. My teacher walked me through the space and told me where everything was and the processes. Man it is going to be a huge learning curve for me but I am loving it, the challenge of it all is so stimulating and I cannot wait to go back this Friday. The kiddos were at gymnastics camp for the day and they had a great time too! Afterwards we went down to the park and the kids made art with chalk, flowers and leaves.

Missy creating her masterpiece

I volunteered for doing the art for the school play as Missy is in it this year, every parent has to help behind the scenes. As my life before kids was a graphic designer this should be a super fun gig! My brief for the school play was Alice in Wonderland meets Steampunk so I had to design graphics for the program and the tee shirt – I love playing in Illustrator and here are the finished pieces. And I got the OK from our Director today – yay!!

A piece a Week – All day Summer Camp = Super productive sewing space! Oh and we saw Whales!!!!!!

Last week was a fantasy week and it was so worth having the kids in a full day camp, it really makes you realise how valuable time alone to create is! I had a list of many projects that I had to start or even complete. Now it does feel so good to have a sense of organisation of how I am going to attempt to stock my booth for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique in October. Time for experimentation when designing is a rare thing in the “mum’s world” of bite size time blocks so I have to just make what I know and make it well. So last week allowed me some time to play and experiment a bit more with the fabrics in my stash and ideas in my journal.

I came out with 6 tote bags in process and a quilted feather applique – it looks more like an arrow so I added it to a tote it it came out well. I also had a play around with the digital programs that I used as a designer back in the day so I made up some art prints and tees on Society 6 and Redbubble. The fun thing is that I downloaded a copy of Adobe Illustrator for a 30 day trial and it is so much fun to play with it rather than use it as a work tool. But for efficiency of time, the work shortcuts came in handy to create the pieces I wanted to make. I was introduced to Society 6 by a friend who had scored this really cool pillow on etsy so I thought there is time for some photography so I wanted make it happen with some of my pictures! I like having a presence in both the digital art world as well as the textile arts.

A bag I with my yarn cat design
Pieces to check out on Society 6

Still after I had completed the photography / graphic art project, it was time to move to the more tactile arts and my textile pieces. The quilting experiment was a quilted feather from a quilt design – I did see it on a skirt which looked very cool arranged vertically on the hem. Still with experimenting it is important to play to see how it will turn out. And as it did it was a huge feather. Still a couple of ideas came through that are in production this week! The pieces I did complete last week were a couple of bags quilting different colours together of the same fabric and the other was a floral fabric I found that needed to show off the flowers. Here are the finished pieces – I still have another 4 to complete, hopefully this week??

Beautiful big tulip with a gorgeous green background

The reverse of the bag with a different background

Super shiny disco design using strips of the same fabric
After the week was out we celebrated down the park with a lovely bottle of Malbec from Argentina – there has been some really good wine coming out of Argentina that we have scored and I even think I had some at our wedding. Ahh a good glass of wine on a cool summer evening with your friends on a picnic while the kids are playing, that was heavenly…

On Saturday we went whale watching to Moss Landing with Blue Ocean Whale Watch. How can I imagine that the first time we go whale watching we see whales feeding, playing and breaching just a short distance away from the harbor. We were in a 60 foot boat cruising along and there were the whales – so graceful and elegant. That tail of theirs gently curling through the surface of the water beneath. They are wonderful to watch and it is truly an experience that will live forever in my memory. After the whales had fed and were not showing off as much, we went over into the deep water and saw so many dolphins swimming and playing around with sea lions. It was so special to see dolphins in their natural environment happily playing with the boat and enjoying the interaction with the people – they are such happy creatures. We saw such an abundance of sea creatures from the sea otter and sea lion in the harbor to the whales and then the dolphins. The ocean really is a mysterious place that we have to respect and I think experiencing how fragile the ocean can be with over fishing and pollution. This tour made me realise that we really need to respect the beings that live in it and do whatever we can to preserve this very special place. I made this video of the footage I took that day – I did not take my camera as the operator takes amazing pics and sells them on her site, easy just go for a boat ride and watch the whales!

One of Kate’s amazing pictures on her website – how amazing is this picture!!