Sunny days and study days

It was back to routine and hanging with the ladies at the farm – this is Ruby and Luna.

Tuesday was an exciting night for my son as he went to his first concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, just in our backyard – 10 minutes away. We went out as a family to see the Pixies, it was so fun! Ash and I found it a bit loud so we left early and Daddy was left to rock on to Weezer with his friend.

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Kushi and I spent a lot of time together last week where I went to his house (our neighbour) and gave him food and pats while I did my studies. Friday night Missy came with me and we all hung out with Kush and watched Grand Designs Australia together.

The weekend my schedule is rocking with a yoga class with Mark, riding my bike to the studio and back is a great warm up. The weather is perfect bike weather! Sunday I did a long bike ride and saw some egrets doing their Sunday morning training, along with a lone pelican.

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My son drew this cool picture on the whiteboard after his big night out with his friends for a sleepover on Saturday night. I do not know what it is, but I like it!

Going wild in nature

Well, my first week of the summer holidays was just a dream with catching up on so much stuff Рnamely sewing! It was so good to feel so free and not have any responsibilities of going to work or even study! I still need the calendar to get the kids to their chicken duties and the like but nothing dramatic. In exchange for credit card points, I got my hands on the Nikon Coolpix P900, this is a recommendation from a friend of mine in Queensland when we visited and I was blown away with the pictures of the kangaroos with their joeys.  This camera has the convenience of a point and shoot camera with a 24mm to 2000mm lens that is lightweight and perfect for travel. The pictures above are a few of the earlier shots in the day of a favourite subject of mine, birds Рwho knew!!

Here are my little monkeys in a paperbark tree striking their Anime poses – I love this camera to capture these shots when the kids are high up in a tree.

From afar I was checking out the Canada Geese taking their bath on the shore of the lake, the zoom in on the detail of the water over the feathers is spectacular. The best part of this is that we went out for a picnic by the lake for Fathers Day and I had the camera sitting in the basket of my bike as we were on the trail and whenever we found something to photograph we hopped off the trail to check it out – like these ducklings and a mama duck. The butterfly was a random find and I had no idea this little guy had broken wings until I looked at the image later.

The highlight for me for the day was going to see the baby egrets on Shorebird Way where Google has closed off the street for a few months so they can nest in peace high in the trees. I have always wanted to see these birds close up and now I can, it was so exciting! Again we just parked our bikes and hung out with the wildlife show, it felt like a David Attenborough episode in real life.

Afterwards, my son and I enjoyed time out in the big chair at the Google employee park next door with a couple of crocodiles and the bikes of many colours.

Today I was on a mission to take pictures of the ladies at McClellan Ranch as the kids cleaned out the chicken coop. I took a wander around the farm and found baby goats doing yoga on mama. The market pigs are getting ready for their time at the show, I asked Missy what she sees when she looks at the pigs and she said bacon! It is hard for me as a vegetarian but one day they can decide on their own whether they would like to keep on eating animals. Plus I had no idea how beautiful pidgeons could be until I was photographing them today. The quails in the coop are Flash and Steve, they just need a lady friend.

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It has been quite an eventful week after all with the new camera and getting out an about checking out what Mountain View and the surrounds has to offer. The best thing is getting on my bike and photographing whatever I find on the trail, I had been meaning to take my camera down the trail but my Canon camera has such a heavy lens but now I have no excuse for taking a crap picture with my phone camera of a rabbit on the trail. Next stop Australia and I will be taking some pictures of some flying foxes for my friend in O-town.

Relaxation at last

It is no wonder my lack of sleep is catching up with me now Рit all started with staying up each night finalising my Case Study for my final assignment for the teaching period. Now that I am done this week it is such a weight lifted and I feel free for a month and I can catch up on other things that I have left behind!

The fun last week was the Super Blue Blood Moon which we woke up for at 5:30am on Wednesday morning – it was very early but so worth it just to see the red moon – incredible! I have pictures from the NASA Live coverage plus a couple of pictures I took with my phone camera and you can see the tiny dot in a sea of black!

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Thursday we had week 3 of Arts Focus and it was embroidery and fleece pillows with a button and as our class has been working so well and completing their projects, my co-lead came up with the button tree blankie so the kids can have practice sewing buttons!

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I was back at work on Friday morning and the kids found a freshly hatched monarch butterfly drying in the sunshine, it was just beautiful to experience – you can see the cocoon just above in the bush.

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Come Friday the opening of the Community School of Music and Art School show was on display and work by Miss H was there so I dashed in to take a pic of it. This is her second piece on display with the CSMA over the last year and hopefully, we get her peacock pastel drawing back from the school soon.

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Saturday was a Ride with Lenny the Mountain View Mayor and Safe Mountain View and Great Streets were there to help out on the day and I found peeps who love Public bikes and here is mine in red, Janet’s in white and Tracy’s in Green – looking very Italian! We are all bike advocacy folks who enjoy our commuter bikes ūüėÄ

Sunday we finally had a family day of relaxation at the beach and enjoyed a small amount of time at the beach with a walk and a dip in the icy cold Pacific Ocean, it felt so good to be burying my feet in the sand and grounding with the earth.

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The kids were hungry so we wandered to downtown Santa Cruz and it was so quiet and lovely – maybe because the Superball/bowl was on and everyone was partying with their big screen TVs and dip? Anyway, we were out and about and found this brunch place right at the end of the main drag with these delicious poached eggs on a couple of muffins with avocado and hollandaise sauce with a pot of Japanese green tea – now that is what I like and thank you, Santa Cruz, for being so cool!

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Lulu Carpenter’s was a very lovely cafe with outdoor seating both on the main drag and out the back in a courtyard with a bunch of tables in the middle with students working away on their computers – I was glad not to be one this weekend! The range of teas was just divine and I really enjoy a good cup of tea I even had a decent cup rather than a mug to drink my tea which is refreshing for a cafe in America.

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And for our next visit to Santa Cruz, the Museum of Art and History looks like fun – we missed an event on yarn bombing, these guys are speaking my language!!

A Birthday and Smoke and Fire

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We had a very exciting birthday this week with Mr Ash turning 12 this week! We always go out to dinner for birthdays, and it is usually Japanese. So we went to Shalala an old fave downtown as the kids wanted to have their favourite, rice balls! The week began with news of forest fires in the North Bay where we felt the repercussions 100 miles away of smoke and really bad air quality – the fires scorched over 200,000 acres of land.

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We went out Wednesday evening, and the smell of smoke was everywhere. So many folks have been displaced, and it is such a disaster of immense proportions. The hardest thing has been trying to find out where help is needed the most but luckily a friend has posted some information from a local paper that highlighted how to help as an excellent resource.

At work, the kids enjoyed some new math games for addition¬†called ‘Playful Pets’, and we played this visual-spatial game Q-bitz¬†– there were so many games available this week with inside recess the whole week! It was exhausting to be inside all day and eating snack and lunch with the kids. We finally had some time out on Friday afternoon and it felt so good!

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Lucky for science the kids got out to do some building of their weather stations and nail up some signs for the thermometer, rain gauge and anemometer. They will be placing these at various locations around the school to observe the weather.

We had an observational drawing time in class this week with the kids trying many mediums to complete their pieces with pastels, pencils and crayons. That really reset the class energy with quiet drawing and peaceful music.

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We have been going a little screen crazy in this household as we had to stay inside because of the smoke and bad air quality but I finally convinced the screen trio, i.e. the rest of my family, to go on a bike ride together and spend some family time outside. It was a relaxing ride, and we did about 8 miles stopping and starting. On the way, we spotted herons, egrets and a squadron of pelicans. Our mission for the day was to find four white herons Рwe did not find that many but we did see two. The kids enjoyed the birding binoculars we bought second hand at the Audubon store, with the close up of the pelicans and we counted 30 pelicans feeding together. My ride on Saturday in the headwind encountered a Great Blue Heron and a hawk being attacked by a murder of crows, I just love riding around the Shoreline area with so much wildlife around providing a sense of solitude. I find I crave that time alone these days as I do not get much time off anymore with work, coming home, cooking, eating, a small amount of playing and then its early bedtime!

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Riding around the town

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Last week was my first week in a full-time job with a class of 2nd-grade kids. It went by so fast, and I was quite exhausted by the end of the week, and I was ready to celebrate my first week in the classroom with a glass of wine at the park on Friday afternoon with my own kids and neighbors. As I am doing an Education degree, my posts will reflect on my time in the classroom and help me compile resources for the future to use, this way I can always share with my teacher friends fun ideas for math as well!

Some of the fun stuff we enjoyed this week was math manipulatives in the math centers, after each 20-minute rotation, the kids will reset the space ready for the next group of children to play. The kids just love math time, and for the first couple of days the Mystery House Place Value game was a hit but as the week went by the popular place was the Geo boards – creating patterns with rubber bands.

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Race to 1000

This is always a hit with the kids and the kids adding up in 1s, 10,s 100s and 1000s in their head by rolling the dice, and they sometimes work in pairs to race to 1,000. The cool thing is that my co-teacher has wooden dice that we customised with larger numbers to travel to 1,000 quicker rather than using dice up to 6. The kids have also tracked down Dungeons and Dragons game dice which can be challenging with many random numbers coming up.

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Geo Boards – design creation

The Geo Boards are always very popular with the DIY your own pattern to share with the class I did see many animals that were already designed to use as a reference, but I think what the kids enjoy most is creating their own patterns after they have made them.

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The game of Blokus

Another fun game is Blokus where the kids have to take over territory on the board, and the shapes of your own color cannot touch and are usually placed on the diagonal to go across the board. The boys here have designated each color fire for red, water for blue, grass for green and lava for yellow all the way making a story to add to this super fun math game.

Oh and some other fun resources for the maths growth mindset is Jo Boalers student and parent resources.

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Building a car

What I really love about the school I work at is their emphasis on team building and collaboration. This was a fun team building activity where the children were working in pairs with each group designing a part of their dream car – after everyone had developed their part, the pieces were assembled together to see what it would look like. The idea was to make a flying car which is what the red wings were, the kids really enjoyed this project and working together with a small team.

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The Marshmallow challenge

For science class this week we wanted to work again in teams and were inspired by the Marshmallow challenge as a design challenge for the kids. This video was featured in one of my units for University last year, and I just loved it, it was so good to see the kids in action. Each group had their own interpretation on how to build the structure to test out what would work. The presentations and gallery walk around the class were quite impressive Рwe are doing it again this week with different materials such as a wooden skewer instead of spaghetti to see how high the towers can get.

Some highlights of our class time this week was when we spoke about goals, and one one of the children mentioned that when there are problems or challenges, there may be gaps in the way to help. This makes sure that you are not making your goal too high and unattainable.

The kids also love Story Workshop where the children make a dry collage using materials such as:

  • an octopus and other sea¬†creatures in amongst shades of blue fabric with sea related objects in the scene arranged on the desk.

This helps captures the idea, and the children use these props to talk through an idea. This has to be the best way to create ideas for stories, and the kids are so enthusiastic when creating their scenes that they either want to make a movie from them or to capture a still photograph to remember what they made.

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The weekend was not a time of rest for me as I volunteered to help with the 3rd Annual Safe Mountain View Summer Bike ride. We had such an incredible turnout with 149 people turn up with their bikes for a 28 degree Celsius day Рthe perfect weather in the California sunshine.

Initially, I had signed up to scoop ice cream, but the energy of volunteering got a hold of me, and in the end, my post was directing bike traffic through Mariposa Park, it was so much fun! I loved seeing so many bikes parked ready to go on the ride while we waited for people to sign in their waivers, decorate their bikes, get their face painted and get a bike tune up courtesy of a local bike store.

Here are my friends beautifully decorated bikes ready to hit the road. It was so good to be riding on the road with so many other cyclists Рanother time where I participated with many bikes on the road was with Critical Mass in Melbourne to stop traffic. Hey, I was a student at the time and did not really think about the consequences of really annoying commuters!

After a lovely dinner at our friend’s place on Saturday night, I was well and truly knackered but the weekend did not end there! I still had one more event to attend for our Home Owners Association annual BBQ, and I made a raw chard salad topped with slivered almonds and my fave fig tart with a cornmeal crust. After this was all over I managed about 2 hours of study, I think I had better get myself organized this week so I can add more hours to the study time to get my final report written!!

Jammed pack family fun

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My final week in Queensland with my family was filled with so much action interspersed with food which I love! We began our relaxing weekend with my sister and her crew coming to stay with us at our Air BnB we enjoyed a Sri Lankan feast with lots of wine for dinner and the kids enjoyed their fidget spinner collection and enjoyed the challenges of timing them.

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We spent Sunday at my parent’s place and the kids watched a movie after a lunch of tasty pastries from the bakery and took some fun photos in the garden.

Monday we went on a family trip with my uncle into the city to see the Marvel exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art AKA GOMA – it was a super fun exhibit and displayed behind the scenes costumes and sets but the kids just zoomed through it! For lunch we went to this delicious gyoza place for a sushi burrito for me covered in wasabi pea powder, yummo! The kids loved their doughnuts and ice cream by Mr Fitz.

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Tuesday we enjoyed a family pub lunch for my aunts birthday celebrating with cake and balloons, scoring some super photos with balloons as props!

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Wednesday my sister found this great German guy who custom creates bikes as well as hires bikes to visitors on the peninsula for $25 per hour – Street Art Cycles come highly recommended and as it is an excellent bike riding destination, this was a perfect score for a day trip and we rode 20 kilometers in total for the day. The kids were really enjoying the 24″ frames and really took off riding on this dedicated pedestrian / cycleway parallel to the beach front! I rode this Breezer bike called Uptown designed by a mountain bike pioneer Joe Breeze whose history in biking began in Marin, San Francisco (so random and so fun).

We also found some local cats of the neighbourhood that were just like our dearly departed. Monty the cat across the road was just like Yeti the Himalayan Persian who belonged to my parents. And on our side of the street was an orange cat just like our lovely boy Mack who enjoyed pats from strangers.

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And my sisters beautiful black cat Millie gave us a bit of a scare when she disappeared for hours and we found her stuck behind the washing machine!

Towards the end of the week I realised I really had to get out and enjoy the sunny mornings and find some local wild life – I found some rainbow lorikeets on my morning walk / run having a party at a local mansion by the beach in this amazing tropical native garden. My friend Markus came to visit for lunch and we enjoyed another meal of fish and chips and went to find Gollums door on a tree by the beach. My last Sri Lankan meal of rice sticks, pan rolls, vadas with salad was enjoyed and it was such a treat!

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Friday came around and it was peoples day at the show so we went together with my nephew and enjoyed the pastel chickens, checking out sideshow alley with all the crazy clowns and toys and riding the ferris wheel yet again, I was a bit nervous of heights but I had to be brave as I was with Mr Ash and mum had to ‘make it work’.

Saturday we planned for our sausage sizzle and bought a variety of meat sausages from The Meat-ting Place – an organic butcher who could tell me where they sourced all their meat. The bonus was that they also had fish and I found Wild Barramundi from the Northern Territory which was perfect cooked in a foil packet with herbs and spices on the BBQ.

Sunday was our final “together” day where we went out for a day trip into BrisVegas to ride the free CityHopper ferry and eat some delicious Greek street food at Zeus Cafe in Southbank. We caught ferry down to the place where I moved to when I first left home and wandered the streets of New Farm before we went to New Farm Park with the kids. They loved it there and so did we, as we enjoyed the big old Jacarandas and the way the playground was built with a Strangler Fig!

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Before long it was my last morning walk on the beach where I said goodbye to the pelicans and our time in the peace and quiet of the Redcliffe Peninsula. I have to say it was an enjoyable couple of weeks with my family and catching up with friends!

Celebrations and Mothers Day relaxation

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Last week marked the 20th anniversary of our beloved school Stevenson PACT Elementary School – it was such a fun filled event full of entertainment, dessert, food trucks, art – a mosaic, and what the kids loved most of all was balloon swords. It was hilarious to see all the kids out on the field sword fighting with balloon swords, and everyone was having such a grand old time doing it!

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The alumni enjoyed seeing their friends who were at other schools and had an excellent time playing, and the adults of the community enjoyed catching up on life.

The school was decorated with some very thoughtful ideas like this tree full of favourite memories and the watercolour flowers made by the kids.

At the end of this week, we say farewell to the beloved spiderweb that I am climbing – it will be removed over the summer to place the new temporary school buildings in its place. It is such a fun play structure, and apparently, the new play structure is nature inspired so we will see how that compares to this super cool spiderweb.

In quiet times when not studying or driving the kids around I sit and knit and made a couple of pussyhats this week for one of our teachers – this is my son’s 1st-grade teacher who wanted a hat for herself and for her daughter. We saw each other at the Women’s March, and I suggested I¬†knit a hat for her in the beautiful Malabrigo Rasta.

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Saturday was a busy day with a yoga class and helping my friend out with a knitting party in the afternoon. So Sunday I really had to get into gear with my last 2 assessments for this teaching period and get on track and now after devoting a few hours of my mothers day to study I feel I can get through it all! Mother’s day was lovely with the kids making a beautiful spread of pancakes, kombucha and a cup of tea complete with flowers freshly picked from the neighbourhood.¬†I said to Ash to come on a bike ride with me as I wanted to take him out for some exercise and we¬†rode a nice 10 miles (16 km) out on the bay. The head wind was not very enjoyable, but it was so lovely to get out and about on such a beautiful day!

And there is my beloved bike on the trail with no one around, we found some binoculars and spotted a pelican – next time we will take our bird watching binoculars!

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Brothers gonna work it out

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That’s the Public Enemy song we used to listen to in the car hanging out down at the beach – now that is da biz!

Following last weeks cubby project with my daughter’s 3rd-grade class, here is what they looked like as a completed collection – I love this as an art installation and the bonus is that it is used to hold the kid’s binders and their work.

As I have two weeks of minimum days my days of preparing for the Textile Art Boutique have been shortened! I had to work extra hard last week and do a lot of prep and make to up the inventory so I can get going when I get time this week to do anything. Today was a complete right off with zero time to do anything except hand sewing and unpicking. With some luck and preparation, I can get some work done this week.

Last week I finished two smaller tote bags with outside pockets. Also, the denim tote bag collection is continuing with a checked pink bag. Plus as I felt a bit of a robot with just doing and making I needed a break to do some prototype design with a clutch purse. I love the Missoni fabric sample I have used though it needs some fine tuning for the next one I make.

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Pic by John Scarboro

Sunday was a family day with Bike Palo Alto! and my friend Cherie’s birthday gathering so we made some yummy baked goods such as a chocolate chip banana bread and lime coconut muffins. I volunteer with Safe Mountain¬†View¬†with Cherie and John, to promote safe riding for all in the city and it was fun to ride in a protected bike lane that led directly to a middle school. As Safe Mountain View we are trying to get some of these throughout the city so it is safe for all of us to get around. Hopefully, the City of Palo Alto can advise Mountain View that it is super easy to install and does not cost too much!

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Pic by John Scarboro

The kids are enjoying riding in the protected bike lane and feeling safe from the cars. At least the cars know that you cannot cross the white bollards on the road and cut off a cyclist.

 

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Pic by John Scarboro

 

One of the reasons we joke about why the bike lanes are not happening is how expensive the green paint is in Mountain View! Just to see this paint creates an awareness and not to drive in them, I am just pointing to the green paint right there in the city right next to Mountain View that it is possible.

 

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Pic by John Scarboro

 

Currently, my middle schooler is driven to school every day as I do not trust the roads he would ride on to get to his school – too many people distracted on their phones going to work. If this was a reality in the city I live in maybe he could ride to school on his own and I would feel confident that there is an awareness on the road for cyclists. Unfortunately, for now, construction of apartment buildings and development are a number 1 priority of this city without thinking of the impact of the infrastructure of the city and what does this mean for the traffic – just more cars and pollution!

Keep on moving don’t stop…

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What a crazy week it was last week with 3 minimum days and the schedule totally upside down – I really felt like this doll, flat out by the end of the week!

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Still, the weekend was big and the 2nd Annual Summer Bike Ride was something Safe Mountain View has had in the pipeline for the last 6 months. I was a part of the ride committee as I volunteer for Safe Mountain View, to promote safety on the streets. Our bike ride on the weekend was a success with just under 100 people showing up with their families to ride their bike around the city of Mountain View.

We rode in ‘bike buses’ of groups of 6-8 people taking it to the streets and riding together creating this amazing feeling as cyclists on the road. To have that sense of empowerment and pausing traffic ever so slightly was the best! Even some of the motorist were keen to join in the fun!

To ride in a group the kids felt safe too and I am thankful for this ride as it really encouraged my daughter and gave her the confidence that on a bike you can go where ever you like as long as you are safe and aware on the road. Now she wants to ride to school, sounds good to me as I like any excuse to get on my red bike and ride around. After the ride, we had a picnic back at Bubb Park and enjoyed ice cream after our well-deserved picnic lunches. Everyone was happy to have some ice cream and there were even seconds for anyone who wanted more!

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On Sunday we met some friends who live in San Francisco at the Treasure Island Flea Market for the day. Coincidentally on this day, there was a vintage trailer display and the interiors were so inspiring. The only thing to get a family trailer in action you need some sort of big truck so our Subaru sedan will not do the job. The teardrop or canned ham trailers are perfect for sleeping two which means we leave the kids out camping in a tent, maybe not! I have to get my hands on the book that was being displayed at the sites just to get an inside on design ideas.

I absolutely loved the colour schemes of the trailers – mid-century blues, pinks, and greens. The Shasta trailer was a popular choice of the day with a cost of just under $10,000 with an original interior it seems like a dream at this moment in time!

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As it was a fun flea market I wanted to road test a new skirt I made last week for the upcoming Textile Art Boutique I will be a part of. The skirt worked well with the wind and just created a little bell when the gusts of wind came underneath Рso no flashes of my leggings! The other bonus as Treasure Island is about an hours drive away in the car the minimal crushing of the fabric for the drive was excellent, so I will be making more of these this week and getting my inventory up and happening. I have until mid-October to get a bunch of new stock together so I better get moving!!