A piece a Week – Patchwork snakes and Sea creatures

Another week and more action – this weekend we had a date with the beach! We went to a place called Davenport near Santa Cruz for the morning. It was quite overcast in the morning but still warm, we even found people camping on the beach. Yes that is illegal & we asked them about how they went about it and as long as your car is out of the way and you don’t get a ticket you are golden! Still it is a haul carrying all your gear up and down the steep slopes. 
The feeling of walking in the sand is perfect to melt away any stress or worry after a busy week. Even playing in the cold water was exhilarating and woke me up, igniting my appetite. So the plan was to go to a favorite bakery of mine in Santa Cruz, Kelly’s French Bakery and I found the gooiest eclair with a custard filling that I had been craving for all week – it is amazing how the universe works! 
The plan for the Santa Cruz day trip was to go to a lecture at the Seymour Center at UCSC to hear about the book ‘The Extreme Life of the Sea ‘which was fascinating for everyone, I did feel somewhat sleepy after an amazing lunch of smoked salmon, avocado and poached eggs on sourdough toast. Ash  was so excited to get the book signed by the authors (a father and son team) and he finally met an ‘actual’ author of a book! Let’s hope that it inspires him to continue his writing in class 🙂 he has a very creative writing style and at 8 years old how lucky is he to be encouraged to write creative poetry about his loves in his life!
Kids enjoyed a wave waterfall
Love heart in the sand from Missy to Mamma
Kids create a path of rocks around their little creek of water
Ash being daring by the waterfall from the waves
Finding a ‘By the Wind Sailor’ or Velellla
We took this guy, in the above pic, back to the Marine Lab at UCSC to find out what it was and they are meant to be blue – this guy was a bit sun burnt! And as we talking about this guy there has been thousands of these them washing up on the beach along the west coast this year. Last time we saw one was our weekend away at Carmel 3 weeks ago. 
At the marine lab – a nudibranch creeps up the side of the tank, I loved the colors

A shark egg sac awaiting fertilization
A sea hare moves very fast indeed

After the lecture we wandered around the lab to check out the sea creatures that were on display and this guy the Sea Hare was enjoying sea lettuce and apparently they grow to 20 lbs – that is one huge slug! The volunteer we were chatting to was enjoying getting him fresh lettuce from the beach outside every day and watching him grow very, very fast!

This week’s projects are in production mode so slowly but surely the inventory will get there as I have less than 4 weeks to get it all together! I found these bows to experiment with and as they were huge and I wanted to jazz them up somewhat so out came the scissors and the metallic markers and what a transformation! They look like watercolor on silk and I just love them!

Bows Redux – a perfect size for your hair

 The other project I had on the calendar was to get these snakes made for the show. I had made a couple for the kiddos and I have a lot of scraps so to add to my quilt / patchwork theme the four of these came together.

A snake posse

A close up of the snake eyes!

And here is another patchwork bag nearly ready to go, it just needs the straps and then another 2 more to make for inventory… Step by step everything is coming together – yay!

Another bag for the collection, nearly completed!

A piece a Week – My Ukelele Gig Bag (not that can play any tunes on my Uke yet!!)

Again this week was another big one with only 9 days left of school it seems like there is so much to do with field trips and pot lucks. So this week I wanted to get my ukelele gig bag made for a field trip my son was going to during the week plus I also needed it for a weekend away to the Sonoma Coast for a camp trip – yay!!

So I found this fabulous tutorial here I had to modify it a little as my zip that was on hand was a bit short and I inserted it on the bottom of the uke which means each time I insert my ukelele into it’s bag it goes out of tune! It served it’s purpose and travelled to Point Montara and to Bodega Bay to sit by a campfire which is just perfect.

The future musician with my ukelele gig bag in a barkcloth hawaiian fabric

While the boys were out on the field trip the girls hit downtown and went to the vintage store on Villa Street – yay Mountain View finally has a vintage store and that is so awesome!!! I found this beautiful silk dress from the 1960s with a water colour neon print that I just love 🙂 Miss Holly and I wanted to go out and try the new pizza joint. A pizza with a thin crust and tasty toppings such as cream of walnut, cremini mushrooms, pecorino and homemade mozzarella – delicious. The baguette and olive and balsamic was incredibly fresh and fancy and reminded my of my times eating out in Melbourne so bring it on Doppio Zero! After dinner we strolled to froyo for dessert, then the music store and the pet store to check out the fishes.

Fresh baguette with olive oil and balsamic – yum!
Cool fish at the pet shop – Seascapes

As it was the Memorial Day long weekend the next day we had to prepare for our camping adventure to Bodega Dunes campground. We travelled via Petaluma to go to the Petaluma Pie Shop for an early lunch before heading down to Bodega Bay. Sonoma Coast is so wild with the winds and the ocean battering us as we trudged to the beach. We walked from the campground to the beach but little did we know that it was not that close to the camp ground and it seemed forever till we found the beach on the horizon – the calves on our legs really did get a workout and we were covered in sand. I love Bodega Bay for its views of the bay and the ocean and this time of year there are wild flowers everywhere. The fish and chips were super tasty too – certainly a treat with the beer battered deep fried fish! That is not food I usually consume :/ The kids had a blast on the beach building forts from drift wood to protect us all from the wild winds.

Finally a view of the ocean – just beyond those succulents, the grass and the sand dune!
The first fort the kids built 
The monkeys on the trees out by our camp site number 77
As the sun went down the monkeys enjoyed the tree climbing 
Teriyaki tofu with shitake mushrooms with spring onions straight off the camp fire grill
Waiting for the campfire cones by the fire!

We went to the Bodega Bay Farmers Market on the Sunday and oh my I was in heaven with the wool and yarn straight from the Corriedale sheep that lived 3 miles away. The Woodenware by Brian was just incredible and he had a stitch ripper that was so beautiful that I could not leave behind – perfect for my sewing collection!

Shorn fleece ready for sale by Hazel
Corriedale yarn that I could not resist 
Roving for our summer project of making felted stones
Brian and Linda at their stall with the amazing Woodenware
Walking on the edge of the earth at Bodega Head
Kids in the belly of a whale tree
A very good looking but not very practical drift wood house by mouth of the Russian River
Saying farewell to the campground – a runaway on the side of the shot!

A piece a Week – Something Small a Spool Necklace and a Mothers Day sale!

The last week was crazy busy with a camp trip to Butano State Park on Friday with our Grade 3 class families, teacher and school principal. We had a lot of fun and I have not laughed so much in a very long time. I was laughing so much at our singing around the campfire trying to come up with songs for a campfire guitar?? Anyone have any suggestions?? We did the Beatles, The Eagles, Men at Work (for the token Australians), some European folk songs and ended it all with Oh Sole Mio! 
A Banana Slug strikes a pose

We also did this amazing hike in Butano Creek looking for newts, fish and banana slugs! It was very tricky looking at where to step next and which log to climb on and which rock to hop over – it was quite a workout! In the afternoon we went to the beach to see some waves and get some beach air at Bean Hollow. Pebble Beach at Bean Hollow State Beach felt so wonderful under your feet, it was just like a reflexology massage on many pressure points invigorating the soul or maybe it was just the icy cold surf?! The pebbles felt so good in your hands and the beach reminded me of Agate Beach at Patricks Point State Park way up north near the Oregon border.

An ombre seaweed in effect

Pebbles on the beach

A cairn made by the kiddos

The spool necklace is something I found and pinned on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago when I felt that I wanted a quickie project. So here it is inspired by the colors I was wearing that day – I may add a couple of more spools one day. The spools were given to me by a friend who likes to collect stuff for crafts that she may do “one day?” Lucky for me these now have a new life sitting on a necklace I found somewhere in my beading box.

Spools close up

Goes well with the orange top!

And last but not least a mothers day sale is happening at the http://beehive.coop with lots of special goodies for yourself or your mama. Feel free to shop locally with 5% of all sales going to our local Community Services Agency. And if you are reading this check out the information on my etsy site for a special code for zero shipping.

Some of the goodies available on my etsy site

A piece a Week – Inspiration from a Kelp Monster

I found this great mask washed ashore on the beach when walking along the Morro Strand State Beach. Just doing my usual beach cleanup getting rid of things that I feel should not be part of the beach environment I stash in my pockets until I see a trash can and dispose of whatever it may be. In amongst the kelp I found a halloween mask I imagine that was covered in sand that did not belong in the landscape so I put in in my pocket for throwing away later.

The kelp monster complete with kelp attached

As it turns out I was inspired by this to make some cushions for the kiddos and so far I have managed to make one this week with my stash of FabMo fabrics and trims that I have in my cleaned out studio/spare room!

I wanted to try out a version using greens and of course using the inspiration of kelp made it green too! Using interior design velvet fabric with felt and stretch fabric from an old top it all came together. I like the face and the moveable arms and my son really liked it too which is always a bonus as it was designed with kids in mind. So expect to see some of these in my etsy store in the near future.

Wassup! Mr Kelp Monster!
Flexible arms of kelp – full of action
Secret back pocket to add your pajamas

Relaxation for the end of the year at Morro Bay and a very Happy 2014!

Happy New Year and it has been a while since posts! I think the idea of holiday was not doing anything except finishing up knitting UFO’s (unfinished objects). We went on a great holiday vacation to the Central Coast of California for some relaxation and chilling out from the regular schedule. 
Heading out on our hike up the beach to the pier

The hike to the Cayucos Pier was long and apparently only 2 miles long, it ended up being twice as long and some! Lucky for us there was food at Cayucos and my hubby had his wallet so we could get some tasty fish tacos at Duckies and some ice cream from the Cayucos Candy Counter.

Christmas Day at Moonstone Beach, Cambria

We had a relaxing Christmas Day and up early with the kiddos to open their gifts from Santa and later in the afternoon we went driving up to Cambria to check out the beaches up there. We found a reserve that we could check out some tide pools with hermit crabs and plenty of kelp. As the sun was going down we headed over to Moonstone Beach to see if we could find some moon stones, instead of moon stones we found some lovely rocks for the garden.

Sassy the cute cat living on the pier

We had checked out what the embarcadero had to offer and went to the visitors center to see what fun stuff Morro Bay had to offer. We wanted to see the sea life so we opted for a cruise as Missy Moo cannot be trusted on a canoe!! The guys who took us on our cruise were the Lost Isle Bay Cruisers with a Tiki theme boat – that I loved! We saw sea otters and their babies and seals and plenty of birds – our captain took us to a a secret beach across the estuary to hang in the sand dunes for some solitude.

Ready for our cruise in the estuary

We knew we were back in Morro Bay when we saw Morro Rock on the horizon – it is huge but it used to be a third bigger until the military blew it up to use the rocks to connect the land to the rock as a tourist attraction many moons ago. Still it is a illegal to climb it and you will be jailed and fined if you do – which is fair enough as it is a burial site for the indigenous people and a nesting ground for a peregrine falcons.

Morro Bay’s icon Morro rock – a volcanic plug

The seals that we encountered on our boat cruise were sequestered to a dock that was built specially for them to hang out on. We found out from our cruise captain that sea lions have ears and that is how you can tell the difference between seals and sea lions.

Sea Lions hanging out in the winter sunshine

We had a couple of friends visit after Christmas so we decided to take a trip down to Pismo Beach to see the Monarch Butterflies over wintering in the eucalyptus trees. What a special thing to see as we saw plenty of butterflies fluttering about in the warm sunshine as we were checking out the butterflies in close up through the huge scopes the visitor center had set up.

Clusters of monarch butterflies at Pismo Beach

I had seen many a monarch flying around but I had only seen the caterpillars in pictures and never in real life and here is one of the superbly designed caterpillars grazing on a leaf of the milkweed.

A Monarch caterpillar – so tiny in real life!

Some wonderful photo opportunities were to be had on Pismo Beach with it’s collection of wind blown eucalyptus trees. Being familiar with eucalyptus trees I did not know that they could grow on the beach and be shaped into tree sculptures that are just perfect for climbing or just hanging out in!

Eucalyptus in the sunshine

There were plenty of sea otter photo opportunities – if only I had a telephoto lens with me!! This is one of the better pictures of the sea otters, I love them as they are so cute and a wonder to watch. They eat 25% of their body weight daily and are constantly grooming their fur to distribute natural oils to repel water. The cuteness of them somersaulting while grooming was such a pleasure to watch 🙂

My favorite animal – the sea otter – doing it’s thing 

Another wonderful bird to watch is the Great Blue Heron – these guys have a stunning coat of feathers and their shape is so distinct.

A great blue heron checking out it’s prey
When our friends visited the older kids and the guys were keen for a kayak the girls did another cruise on the bay to visit the rock and the otters. Here we are on the sand dunes playing around. 

On the sand dunes by the rock

At our vacation rental we had the pleasure of using this vintage gas stove. I loved cooking with gas!!

The gorgeous vintage stove at our vacation rental

The day we left it was sad to leave the beach so we filled our lungs with lots of fresh beach air before we left the central coast to head back to the bay…

Our farewell to Morro Bay

NaBloPoMo – Day 18 – A day with errands – Marin piccies from 2012

Today was exciting as it is Monday and my usual is exercise class, Whole Foods and pick up the kiddos. The excitement at Whole Foods was that the lights went out when I was there – they lost the power and the music went out, it was very strange shopping in the dark without the fluorescent lighting! Soon the music came on and I was back to shopping in the dark 🙂 After check out, just to be safe I sent my cart in the lift and walked down the stairs just in case I got stuck – yikes! Anyway after all of those thrills I came home only to go and hang at school for the rest of the day, yawn I need to get to my yarn and start knitting and being productive! 

So with the lack of thrills in my day I have been clearing out the pics in my phone to make room to update to the new OS & I found some super cool pics from a Marin weekend away last year.

Wild mustard with a blue sky – the day before was freezing!

A huge gum tree on the trail to the beach from the YMCA Hostel

Missy moo and the huge tree!
Where are the hobbits? At the Sausalito Childrens Museum 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

The Golden Gate Bridge – with some filter from my phone

A cairn by the waves on the beach in Marin

Let us hike to the beach! 

Day out to the Beach

A visit to Santa Cruz to go to see a lecture by Dr Love about Rockfish was the trigger for this day out to the Seymour Centre at UCSC. We wandered around the boardwalk before heading off to lunch at The Picnic Basket which was full of tasty goodness.

Ash hanging on the beach 

A gargoyle and a pigeon at the Haunted House – whooo!!

 After the beach and lunch we went on over to the Seymour Centre for the lecture – my youngest one was not too keen so we wandered around and checked out the starfish and sharks. There was even an amazing looking lobster on display. Though the starfish touch pool is always popular!

Swell shark sleeping

Lovely lobster

A trip to the beach G

We had a lovely day planned to go tide pooling with friends of our from the East Bay so Half Moon Bay turned out to be a great half way point for the both of our crews. We decided to eat first and then head on down to the cold beach for some tide pooling action! As it was a cold and winter type of day we found this amazing restaurant called Flavor at El Granada. It was one of the best meals I had enjoyed in the 5 years I’ve lived in California – locally sourced ingredients, food made with attention to detail and excellent staff. The freshest of ingredients and homemade pastry is what I thoroughly enjoy. As an added bonus the ice cream is also made in house – I was eyeing off the goat cheese and Pecan but I didn’t try it … maybe next time. Here is a picture of the vegetarian pot pie that my friend and I enjoyed with a spinach and pear salad.

Vegetarian pot pie and look at that green salad

Here is the bathroom which is beautifully designed – I just love the colours! And check out the tiles – now that is a bathroom worth visiting – decent looking bathrooms are few and far between compared to Melbourne. 

Bathroom tile and orange love
After our feast we went on down to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve where it was absolutely freezing and so windy – there was a bunch of Harbor Seals but no marine life in the tide pools due to the fresh water from the rain, according to the ranger. The ranger redirected us to the bluff and through the woods to the beach where we could get a better look see of the marine action. 
These trees are so big! 

It was quite spooky with the dull day and the cold in the air and the kiddos had a fun time chasing us through the trees. Missy Moo checking out the size of the trees.

Abalone shell

The lack of marine life was fine as it was a beautiful quiet beach, I still managed to capture some interesting shots of shells and moss as the over cast light was perfect. 

Crab hanging on for dear life

The ranger was telling us that there was a lot of wild waves over the last few days and as we were wandering the shore we found bits and pieces of kelp, crabs and seaweed. I found this lone crab claw probably hanging on for it’s life while it was being battered underneath the swell. It was well worth the day out to catch up with our friends and breathe some fresh air – aaaah…

Tidepooling at Pillar Point

Vibrant sea grass
Sea anemone – open in the shallow waters

One of the parents at my son’s school had a fantastic idea for the holidays and that is to go tidepooling near Half Moon Bay. It was lovely to be by the beach and looking for little critters in amongst the rocks and breathing the fresh sea air.

The gang walking on the sea grass
An orange sea star

The kids were having so much fun, though my oldest son was not too keen on stepping on the sea anemones – somehow that freaked him out so he got back to the shore earlier than planned. As for my daughter she was keen to explore some more and so we went right over to where the waves were breaking and that was just so special. There were sea stars in exposed amongst rocks and a guy who had caught an eel for his dinner, and for our dinner we ended the evening having fish and chips – for me corn cakes and chips (a vegetarian alternative). 

Banana slug wanting to go for a surf!

As we were walking back to the car we found 8 banana slugs in the bushes – I had never even seen a banana slug near the beach before so it was a strange site indeed! This pic above looks quite healthy and maybe even likes salty sand? We had found one that had crossed the path and was heading for the shore that was just like a slug covered in flour – who knows the slugs may enjoy a twilight dip? 

The evening sunset

As the sun set and the weather got cooler it was time to dash back to the warmth of the car and get to dinner. Here is the low tide at the contaminated beach side of Pillar Point which was very sketchy compared to the beautiful beach around the corner.