Feeling the love

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The week of thanksgiving just went by in at such a slow pace and it was so luxurious to stay up late and watch ‘Outlander’ and then sleep in on the rainy mornings – oh so divine! The week was full of essay writing for my first academic essay for my course and it was due on Monday plus I had a quiz for my other unit! It was great to hibernate and study which I am doing mostly these days – I don’t mind it at all. The Education course is fascinating and I am learning a lot each week, the content is so relevant to this day and age and I am quite excited about it all!

When we returned to school on Monday my daughter’s teacher had found a little baggie with this super cute stegosaurus button inside it (sewn on the coat above). It was distributed by the Humboldt Art Abandonment Project, such a treat to pass this onto my coat which needed a fun little button. It just had a note that said TAKE ME HOME PLEASE – YOU HAVE JUST BEEN BLESSED by Humboldt Art Abandonment Project. And yes I am so happy to join you in your quest to share art with the community, these peeps are speaking my language.

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As I was watching Outlander I have been inspired to knit again as there is plenty of knitwear to be worn in the Scottish Highlands! While I have been knitting I have been sharing the couch with my little Love cats!

The Friday after Thanksgiving we went hiking to Hidden Villa for #GreenFriday I would love #GreenEveryday! Still, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up with our friends and go for a low key wander in amongst the green. It was all wet from the rain and cool but still so lovely to be out and about at the farm enjoying the day. My friend and I are both studying Education at the moment so we shared our challenges and class experiences on our walk, it is a good thing to get together every so often and the kids loved checking out the creek.

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Which way to the chickens – there are plenty of chickens at Hidden Villa in Los Altos and running free everywhere, it was so good to be with them. So many breeds 🙂

 

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Here is the door to the villa – such a charming place to visit, it is open certain days of the week so you can check it out. The surrounding garden is just beautiful with lots of succulents – they are my favourite.

Thanksgiving we drove over to the East Bay to see our friends for the day it was a chilled out day with some delicious food. My friends hubby made the turkey with yummy vegetarian sides with a sweet potato recipe by his mum. The vegetarians, myself and my friend had all the sides with Quorn and mushroom gravy. I made this goat cheese butternut squash salad and vegan lime pies, a perfect addition to the table. The kids were announcing themselves as the United Kids of America with the sign they made as they heard the adults vent about the election results. As friends, it is important to share perspectives and we all feel the same so it was such a great feeling to talk about what the future holds. It looks like we will be having a lot of visitors back home in Australia in the future 🙂

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After our Thanksgiving feast and a few glasses of wine we went to check out the view from the top of the hill – here you can see the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate is way down the back. It was great exercise up and down the hill in the cold and we headed back had some dessert played Dragonwood (a kids card game) that went on forever and headed on back home in the dark. It was a peaceful week full of well-needed rest, aaaah!

Spooking about the town

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The inspiration for my Halloween costume came late one evening as I was trying on the costumes in my collection to find nothing that I felt like being or wearing for Halloween. It is nice to have a lot of ideas like a Hawaiian tourist, disco ball, square dancer but I really wanted a dance inspired costume so off to my fabric stash I went.I found this black and white fabric at an estate sale and it was just perfect for a swinging 1960s theme dress. This was a lot of fun to dance in as the primary reason for my costumes are wearing them to my aerobic dance class!

The makeup I worked with on Friday night was for Trunk or Treat with the kids and I used a black eyeliner underneath my lipstick for some Halloween depth. Monday when I went to class it was a lot of fun with a similar hairdo but not as dark on the makeup. Each year we do a group photograph to inspire us for Halloween next year. Our teacher Joan, is Carmen Miranda in the front row.

In amongst all the Halloween activities this weekend we went to the SFMOMA to meet friends from Oakland and check out the new exhibits. It was a beautiful rainy morning so after wandering a couple of galleries we had a break with some Dick Taylor Hot Chocolate crafted in Eureka – it was divine! Oh, and I have an inside hint for coat check – there is one on the 2nd Floor where you get your tickets and that is where you find the red bathroom (see the pic above) – the line is not as long when you want to take off!

For lunch in San Francisco, we went to Lemonade and my vegetarian friend and I enjoyed a yummy artichoke and provolone toasted sandwich and I shared a grasshopper pie (mint with chocolate cookie crumbs) with Mr. Ash for dessert. It is lovely to check out the area of SOMA and Lemonade was the perfect place for a family friendly meal. Everyone was happy and it has a seasonal menu as well – now that is the business.

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Man, look who hijacked my camera when I was not looking – Mack and Ash!

For Halloween day after school, we went to the farm to do the weekly chicken chores as we were in the car a lot and listening to my favorite radio station KDFC – the classical music station of the Bay Area was playing Halloween themed music all day, check out the playlist here. It got us into the mood for a very long evening ahead of us for the start of the week – whew!

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Trick or Treating after the chicken chores we met with Missy’s school friends in the Bubb neighborhood and wandered a street or two there before heading over to see another friend in the Sylvan Park neighborhood and checked out their dragon sculpture – the kids had a super time but after their sugar high were very tired by the time they went to bed.

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When I was shopping in the morning I loved the makeup of one of the Whole Foods employees who I regularly chat with. She is from Mexico and we were talking about Day of the Dead which is on November 1st. I loved her makeup and I was getting some hints on how to achieve this stunning design which took her 3 hours. Halloween and its festivities are one of my favorite times of the year and I will have to start thinking of my costume for next year – maybe a crazy cat lady!

The week of wearing many hats

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The week finally came for the Textile Art Boutique and it was time to put on my retail hat and sell my stock inventory at my booth. Unfortunately for me the lack of people visiting the show this year was down 300 from 900 last year and I had to reconfigure my booth at the last minute which made me practically invisible at the show.

I really needed to be in a different location where I could display my rack without getting in the way of my neighbors – live and learn and I know for what to request for next year! Whether I will be making clothes is another thing? I really enjoy making and sharing my fun pieces but I really am in the wrong area to sell fashion – my ideal market is most likely Los Angeles or San Francisco where people are willing to dress up a bit more rather than wearing their exercise clothes everywhere they go! Still I am here in the suburbs and for now, I enjoy making what I would like to wear and I enjoy sharing these fun pieces. So on with the show and let me critique my booth below…

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For one the way the booth is aligned means people have to walk into the space to check out my wares, according to a fellow artist at the show. She mentioned she used this configuration and it is intimidating for a lot of people to walk into a booth to look and I certainly did feel that way when I was knitting away and watching the crowd go by. Being at the back of my booth behind my stock was another problem as I could not really engage in conversation. When I stood up to chat people got frightened and left – I think I wandered too deep into their personal space barrier! I find that I can talk to anyone, this is from experience as a freelancer coupled with my personality but from where I was in my booth I hardly engaged with the customers. The customers would just look at my sunglasses pouch, check out how it worked and walk off. Another problem was that on either side of me the displays of the booth were huge with using massive room divider screens to display their fabric canvases and cards on one side and on the other side lots of wooden risers to display stuffed animals and 3D textile pieces so my booth just got lost as people wandered by. Lessons learned from this year is to streamline my product line and work on my display at home before I head to the show.

Now to put on my teacher’s hat for the Halloween Goodie Bag workshop at the Mountain View Public Library. We now have a total of 8 machines for the libraries drop in sewing on Saturdays and for the Sew Sew with FabMo classes that I teach. We had about 13 students in this beginner class last Tuesday. The class made a goodie bag for Halloween from four 8″ squares and a felt stencil of a Halloween image. The class went for 2.5 hours until the library closed as some folks really enjoyed detailing their stencils. I really enjoy seeing what people create when they come to my classes, how they take my tutorial and customize it. November 15 will be the next workshop with an infinity scarf made from stretch fabric to take home all compliments of FabMo for the fabric and Friends of the Library for the machines, thread, and supplies.

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On Wednesday I took a small break and went to the hairdresser for a mom’s time out and used the Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink this time to dye my hair and I just love it! It is so vibrant on the lighter parts of my hair (the gray) and it takes so well! I love how I can change the color of my hair so often with such fun colors – I wish I knew about Manic Panic years ago as it is Vegan and a Semi Permanent!

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Sunday I put on my helmet and got on my red bicycle for a ride early in the morning. There was quite a chill in the morning with the added bonus of the trail being very quiet. I had planned on just doing my usual 30-minute ride up and down the trail but then I decided I would try and find a way to the middle school from the trail. I hopped off the trail at Crittenden right next door to one of the Google buildings and I spied this cool sculpture so I had to stop and check it out. I found the plaque and it read ‘Cast Bronze Horse – Deborah Butterfield May 2001’ and underneath it read ‘A Gift to the People of Mountain View From SGI’. SGI would have been in their heyday back then before Google had taken over the Shoreline area and I think the building (where Google is now) would have been the one my husband visited when he came to the Valley many years ago when he was working for SGI. And as my MIL mentioned, there is one of these sculptures in the lobby of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford – I knew I had seen this before but I could not remember where.

So the week ended on a beautiful 1-hour bike ride and all was good again. I just finished Missy’s Halloween Poo Emoji costume yesterday for Trunk or Treat this Friday! With Halloween this weekend it is very exciting!

Now to wear my student hat to get to studying as my classes start November 6th, for my Bachelor of Education so I can teach when we return to Australia in a couple of years. At least it is inside weather now and I can hang out at the library and study!

Something borrowed, something new

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I found this interesting info about camping in a book from my daughter’s classroom when I was waiting to go home from school. This is what we enjoyed for my husband’s birthday over the weekend. Friends from our school organized this trip to Memorial Park near Pescadero, in the summer and we thought what a lovely way to spend a birthday weekend under the redwoods! Yes, I can say camping is quite relaxing though the preparation and organizing for a night out in the woods can be quite demanding especially after a big week!

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A banana slug found by the creek where we were hanging out and relaxing after a big week. Hopefully, this guy found some tasty foliage and was kept out of harm’s way!

The week started out with my monthly program at the Mountain View Public Library with Sew Sew with FabMo. I am the FabMo representative who creates little take home projects working with FabMo fabric from interior designers and smaller textile design companies that would otherwise end up in the landfill. I had a class of 8 people who enjoyed making embroidered cuffs – a cuff is a bracelet with a snap to hold it together and we go through the process of sewing a front and back, sewing a snap and embellishing the fabric and then sewing the whole cuff together. I have a link to the tutorial on this blog if you want to try your hand at sewing one. Everyone is so happy when they leave with something that they made themselves and very thankful for the class, so it is a joy to volunteer to teach something that I really love.

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Another side project I am enjoying with my Italian friend Cristiana from Pebble and Fire is an Art Play every 2 weeks sharing our skills. We visit each other and work together, have lunch and finish a project. Our first project was a ceramic pinch pot that Cristiana helped me create – it is a geometric salt cellar. It was so fun to create and learn new skills in ceramics that I may have missed when I went to the adult education classes. Cristiana is super skilled at hand building I love her style, so it is such a treat.

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And this week we worked upstairs in my sewing room and Cristiana wanted to make a pillow case so I made her the pattern and we did some applique and made an envelope backed pillow cover. It looks just lovely on her couch and the little whale is made from denim and we embellished the heart from the red fabric we used on the back. It was so much fun to see my friend enjoy sewing as last time we went sewing together it was at an Etsy event in San Jose making lunch bags which was easy for me but not so for Cristiana. At least, this time when we worked together it was a bit more relaxing. I am looking forward to our next project together and it is such a great thing to do to learn something new and spend some time out of the usual.

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In between, I have also been preparing work for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique that I am working towards. Here is another denim tote I have made using some beautiful linen I found at FabMo. I also made completed the sunglass pouches I worked on last week and made 3 skirts from stretch fabric – whew that inventory is coming along nicely!

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Today I worked with the kids at school helping them choose colours for their cubby project where they are making an art installation using fabric I found at FabMo. They are staining the wood with a 1 part acrylic paint and 2 parts water where the wood absorbs the colour and creates a translucent effect with the wood grain. I love it and cannot wait to see the finished installation in the classroom.

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!

Home is whenever i’m with you

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Home, let me come home
Home is whenever I’m with you
Home, yes I am home
Home is wherever I’m with you

Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

This week we have spent a lot of time in the city – meeting friends, catching up eating and drinking! Melbourne is at it’s finest with the incredible food that is available for whatever cuisine that takes your fancy. We found vegan superfood at a fancy shopping centre and enjoyed sushi and juice with a former work friend, in fact, the editor of the magazine I used to work for. We enjoyed many a deadline together working late into the night with the publishers. He is coming stateside next week for a while to see what goes on, so with some luck, we will catch up and chat – living life in the U S of A.

In exploring our local hood we discovered a kitschy cafe called True North down the road and hidden amongst the cafe are cats. Cats in the loo, cats on the wall, cats on the shelves and cats up high. The kids really enjoyed the American influenced menu with Quesadillas, bagels with cream cheese and a passionfruit jam, Rueben sandwiches and granola, food that they are totally familiar with! They enjoyed the hot chocolate and was gulped down so fast I didn’t even get to try it! The flat white coffee was so strong and damn good – I enjoyed a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and jam rather than a slice of pie with that coffee. Next time we go I will try their sweet pies from Blackberry Belle Homemade Pies – as I am a big pastry fan!

Shining in all its glory on a Wednesday night throughout the winter are the Winter night markets at the Queen Victoria Market. Being a food lover this is a foodie paradise! I had seen the Okonomiyaki (the Japanese omelette) on their Instagram but I did not realise it was on chopsticks and ready to eat covered in Kewpie mayo – just divine, I wanted more! The hubby went for smokey baked beans and brisket from Burn City Smokers, who love American BBQ. Missy went for a Sicilian margarita pizza with a base so thin and cooked to perfection. Dessert was a hard call – do we go for the M&M sundae, no thanks M&Ms suck so instead we went for the Creme Brulee and Chocolate Cannoli. Holy moly cannoli so glad I ran out of cash as I could have been eating way more dessert and staying for late night movie shorts and eating popcorn, it was such a fun night out with the kids.

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I had a hole in the calendar and I thought, ‘Maybe I can carve out some Mama time?’ I asked my hubby to hang with the munchkins and managed to score a trip all on my lonesome to the 200 years of Australian Fashion exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia. I am happiest wandering through a gallery solo at my own pace learning and being inspired so it was a wonderful way to spend the morning. On the train, I was listening to Big Magic read by Elizabeth Gilbert – such a perfect way to spend my free time being inspired for when we get back to our other home in California.

In wandering through the 200 years of fashion to a more contemporary time the 1980’s I found the queen of knitwear of that era Jenny Kee and her co-collaborator Linda Jackson. I watched a video of the history of how these twin souls met in Sydney. They enjoyed creating clothes just for fun and with this collaboration their Flamingo Park Frock Salon began. The ladies work with colour reflecting the Australian landscape and to this day they still enjoy colour!

There was a cool soundtrack to the exhibition and the sounds of the 1990’s  were coming through the next room I knew I had to be in there! This room was full of the 1990s clubbing fashion and disco tiles for the dance floor. Again by some strange serendipity, I found an Australian star of upcycling, Jenny Bannister. To think that back there in the early 70’s she was making sun dresses out of curtains. She was such an innovator back in the day using whatever she had on hand to create art. I enjoyed seeing the fusion of art and craft in fashion at this part of the exhibition.

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For the finale, this piece was commissioned by the designer Dion Lee – a young designer out of Sydney. It was a larger than life dress made out of stretch jersey fabric covered with Swarovski crystals – in the light this was breathtaking. I loved his architectural line detail in his clothes especially on the braided felt detail on the back of the jacket he created for Woolmark.

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I couldn’t leave the gallery without wandering through the collection to see what the gallery has in its collection. One sculpture I remember from long ago is this larger than life Ricky Swallow piece entitled Model for a Sunken Monument.

To enjoy this time out is a true blessing and I am so thankful for the time I get to spend alone and surrounded by art.

 

We’re going to the Zoo zoo zoo…

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Onto the tourist destinations of the Sunshine coast and to step back in time with a visit to the Big Pineapple! In it’s heyday when this highway was the only one to travel we would stop and visit the Big Pineapple take a walk to the top and see the displays, take some classic pics and then enjoy a pineapple sundae – yummo! Now the Big Pineapple is Heritage listed and needs a little bit of work and love. A lot of the us who enjoyed it as a tourist destination when we were kiddos still appreciate it for it’s nostalgia and it’s grandeur.

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On this rainy Monday we also took a wander through the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden and was an excellent place to take the kids for a wander through the sculpture garden. For a change they all enjoyed posing with the sculptures especially the sculptures of the animals – the bottom pic is a wombat that they all loved by an artist from South Australia.

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A couple of my favourite sculptures in the garden – Snake made from Black Chillagoe Marble and Man of Nature carved from Sandstone.

Definitely on the tour itinerary this year was a trip to the legendary Australia Zoo! The kids really enjoyed their time at the zoo especially seeing the show of the crocodiles at the Crocoseum. We had lunch at the food court and managed to see a spectacular display of birds flying around the stadium and landing right in the audience as a warm up for the big crocs!

Finally the kids got to touch a kangaroo – the kangas were in their rest area, some were quite confident and hopped right up to the visitors for a pat and the hope of some food. Koalas are always cute and generally always asleep! The croc in the pic above was with the Australia Zoo stars Terri, Bindi and Bob showing us how these crocs in action. Steve Irwin was an Aussie legend and Australia Zoo is a testament to his dedication and care for the conservation of animals especially the crocodile.

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Yikes someone is getting eaten by a dinosaur!

Australia Zoo is huge and requires a bit of planning to navigate to the animals you would like to see. We choose to see the African animals instead of Bindi’s Island with animals inspired by the tropics. The Giraffes are always cool to see and we saw them having their afternoon snack and saw a baby giraffe close by just looking on as he couldn’t reach the food! On our way to Africa we wandered through the Asian animal display and saw the ever popular tigers – you can see what the crowd was like when we went, it was busy with school holiday traffic.

We enjoyed spending the day at the zoo with our friends from Portland walking many trails that day and seeing quite a few animals! Good times at the zoo, how about you?

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Through the streets of your town

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Monday we had an adventure day out into the big city! I am currently living an hour away from the city on the Peninsula which has been fine with me and the kids. The city is where I spent a lot of my time when I left home and lived in the inner city of Brizvegas. Good times were had in the city and usually every weekend we would get dressed up and head on into the city for a night out on the town. On Monday our primary objective was to get some yummy food from the Miel Container on Mary Street in the city. The food there is primarily customized burgers but for a non-meat eater, pescaterian I had a meal of beer battered chips and crumbed flathead  topped with parmesan cheese and balsamic and a bit of tartare sauce on the side.

Lucky for us we went in for an early lunch, as the plan was to head into the container (a shipping container space) with a few tables outside which we snagged. Thank goodness for the rain combined with the school holidays the crowds were non-existent and we could sit down and enjoy our early lunch. The kids loved the chilli con-carne to share and Rupert our guide for the day enjoyed the burger with a brioche bun. Lunch for me was definitely worth the journey and I need to try this at home – that is the parmesan on the fish and chips.

To complete our quick trip to the city we wanted to check out GOMA – the Gallery of Modern Art which has been opened for a while – I had not been to the Galleries of Southbank in years. This is a welcome addition to the Brisbane Art scene and it was refreshing to see that there was a kids event and around the galleries the theme was a welcome mat focusing on the Indian Art of Rangoli. The kids worked with the artist My Aunty Anna – Kate Jefferay to create a large installation outside weaving fabric into the piece and making pom poms. With each pom pom the kids made they got to make a wish and eventually it formed a massive lotus flower and looked so beautiful (see on the link above). It was a perfect time to visit, even though it was raining.

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Inside GOMA and ready to check out some modern art, we found this massive still life of fruit and enjoyed power posing!

Other exhibits we checked out were Ah Xian and the Gabori sisters for the kiddos with a super cool interactive under sea exhibit. We wandered around the space and found this room with time capsules that used video tape to form a cylinder – I had no idea what it was made from until I spoke to one of the docents.

By the time we left the skies were blue and from the GOMA I captured this great shot of the river in the sunshine with some fancy new buildings. By the end of our day the kids enjoyed an ice block and we were ready to head home before the commuter traffic set in.