A piece a Week – Waves Handspun Wool Scarf

My sister found me this gorgeous handspun yarn in Maleny, Australia for Christmas from a local craft guild and I finally found a pattern to make with it – an easy lace 13 row pattern repeat. The Waves of the Atlantic pattern I found on Ravelry was perfect for the weight of the yarn and the color is just beautiful. It is yellow with tiny specks of pink spun through which makes me very happy! I love when the yarn and the pattern fit just right and sometimes it takes more time to make that happen which can be well worth the tries and fails.

Beautiful detail of this sunshine yarn

The scarf being blocked – the drape will be so soft with the lightness of the yarn

Over the weekend we went on our second camping trip for the summer – this time to Little Basin. I was dreading the drive as I thought it was via Big Basin. As it turned out the drive is up through Boulder Creek and we avoid the 9 miles of squirrelly road that made my son throw up in the car last time we visited Big Basin for a hike. The drive was 1 hour and 30 minutes away from our house and it was the usual drive through the redwood and oak forests to get there. Back in the day Little Basin used to be used by Hewlett Packard for their employees until the land was sold to the Peninsula Open Space Trust and Sempervirens Fund and now it is park of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the California State Parks (amazing) system!! This campground was open to the public in 2011 and is perfect for families. We arrived on the Saturday morning enjoyed lunch at our campground surrounded by redwood trees with our cabin neighbors close by. Still when night came the stars were beautiful as the open meadow was steps away from our campsite and we could look up and see the clear night. We enjoyed this campground so much we have booked the cabins for a Thanksgiving getaway – hopefully we will get to see some banana slugs in the rain, bring on some rain!! 

Tom Riddle the Gopher snake in his burial ground after he got run over by a car

The kids had such a fun time with Kaki the ranger on duty from the WOLF school. The WOLF (Web of Life Field) school is open to kids aged 11-13 for a sleepover for a week in the redwoods to learn all about life and science – in a couple of years our kids will get a chance to join in the fun. We met Kaki as we were enquiring about the Junior Ranger program and the next thing we were invited to help build a bug box for the afternoons kids camp program called Sense-o-Rama. The bug box was fun and we got an opportunity to learn about our ranger Kaki. Everything the kids were doing around camp centered around wanting to go back to Kaki to ask her questions about the goings on. Missy found a snake in the morning, as the kids were wandering around the campground while we were packing up and wanted to have a funeral for it. Next thing they had Kaki by their side with reference books identifying this road kill snake. It made for an interesting lesson on this little guy. The night before at the campfire the kids were making Ranger Apples, that is roasted apples on a stick that taste like a hot apple pie without the pastry – yum!

The kids with Kaki their hero – when can we see Kaki again??

We had to go for a hike before we left Little Basin and it seemed like we were up for it until we started and everyone was all a bit out of breath by the time we conquered the elevation of the first hill. I think a better breakfast of a smoothie and some fruit would have been helpful rather than the s’mores the kids had!!

Wandering the forest after our elevation climb

Just outside our campground this redwood stretching out it’s branches

Up up high in the sky a family circle or fairy ring of redwood trees surrounding it’s long gone great grandfather tree
The workshop that I was supposed to have next week is moving to the end of July due to hiccups at the library and my lack of time with being “on” for the school holidays and being mama taxi and the like with the kids. Lucky, I can make time to write this while the kids play with Legos or go bike riding around the trees outside. This is another sample for the video I am making as it has French seams on the inside. I will post that sometime but it is definitely a work in progress until I can find some quiet time in the house to record the sound!! 
Another sample for the library workshop

A piece a Week – A super Easy Skirt for my Little Moo and Labor Day Camping!

What a week it was last week with two minimum days in a row and Back to School night plus on top of all that Ash sprained his foot and had crutches. I thought there is no way we would make it to our camp trip Friday night for the long weekend! Though really it was motivation to make it happen and leave all that stuff behind and go and hang out in the woods for the long weekend and relax. 
My friend and I booked our accommodation early this year at Saddle Mountain Ranch for a couple of campsites around $50 each for a premium site (your car is accessible and you don’t have to lug your stuff down hill). The site was fine and up on a hill though unfortunately the sound carries up the hill and the first night we were there was party night down the stairs! Actually the whole weekend was filled with noisy, obnoxious folks with bad music taste that they wanted to share with us, boo! In the end we spent the days away from the site and just made our own noise once our friends arrived after we had enjoyed some wine together. The whole idea of camping in Carmel and booking it for the long weekend was to go to the beach and visit Point Lobos anyhow – the bonus is that the campsite is only 20 minutes away from the beach! So really putting up with the noisy neighbours was worth it! 
Here is the campsite with charcoal – no wood fires allowed here,
which is fine as it could be dangerous with all the dry brush and trees!
I had hardly any time to do any work last week due to the minimum days and getting the kids down the park to play. The only project I could muster was a skirt that has been in my pile of ‘to dos’ since the summer. I had the materials, it was just working out how to put it together. You will see in the picture that the skirt is puffy as it has a tulle underskirt sewn into it. Super cute on especially with crocs! 
The skirt and missy climbing up a tree
After our first night at the campground we had to get out early as we were not prepared for breakfast so we went down the road to Earthbound Farms and had breakfast in their farm stand / cafe. They had freshly squeezed green juice (my favorite!), tasty panini with a lot of veges, grilled cheese for the kiddos and tonnes of produce for sale. These guys do all the organic packaged salad leaves you see at Whole Foods. It was a wonderful place to visit as the cafe had a seating area to relax and read the local paper. There were redwoods for the kids to play and after breakfast you we wandered around the farm and visited the herb garden, kitchen garden, kids area complete with herbs to touch and smell, the berry vines and a garden with a scarecrow. The farm also had a stunning view of the mountains and the valley – definitely worth a visit with it’s emphasis on organic farming, support Organic!!
Wonderful signage around the farm
Making friends with the scarecrow!

My friend Kale in close up – now I am inspired to grow this at home!
It grows like a small bush with tonnes of leaves, how perfect Kale from your own garden – love it!!
Can you find the hummingbird – we found a couple as we were about to leave having their morning nectar

After our trip to the farm stand we wanted to check out downtown Carmel… All I can say it was not for me. The art is boring and the strip has a bunch of shops selling pretty average nick nacks from China. I found a cute store called ‘Adam Fox since 1964’ selling some local designer jewelry which I bought for gifts but that was about it, she also had some beautiful masks from Italy too. The lady who was at the shop had been there for 39 years and she seemed to be enjoying herself! Another shop caught my eye, it was the Artemis boot shop with their boots from Istanbul, Turkey. We were waiting for our lunch at Carmel Belle in the Doud Craft Studios and the boot shop was nearby so I wandered in to chat to the guys about how they are made – they are embroidered on velvet and made into classic style boots with the prices starting around $250 that was not too bad for the amount of work involved. I really liked these but they are a bit boho for my wardrobe, though if I had the spare $ I could make room 😉 Oh and about lunch, the Carmel Belle had delicious food and the truffle egg toast with fontina was yummy with bits of asparagus on the side – some truffle oil would have really added to the flavor! Again a cafe that supports the local farmers of the area and why not Carmel is surrounded by farms.

Artemis Boots – embroidered onto leather

 After lunch we HAD to check out the beach! The weather was warm and the beach was calling… We found Carmel River State Beach and managed to park up top in a residential area which was a short walk down the stairs to the beach. We had our picnic rug and snacks and were ready to play. A beach umbrella would be an added bonus as there was no shade to be had. We found the sunscreen and enjoyed this beautiful beach for a couple of hours, enjoying the rays. I would compare this beach to a beach in Australia with the crystal clear water and the white sand, it was a very happy place to be. There is a huge drop in the sand which creates an undertow, so no swimming for us – with the undertow it is hard to stand up and the water was still very cold. There was not stopping the kiddos enjoying themselves chasing the waves on the shore and catching seaweed floating in the water.

Yay I caught some seaweed!
Having a good time on the beach!!

Our friends arrived very late Saturday afternoon after spending 4 hours in traffic – long weekend + beautiful sunshine = a migration to the beach for everyone!! Still we caught up back at the campground and discussed our travels the next day and we went back to the beach of course and visited Point Lobos Natural Reserve. Heads up for this place – go early! We got there after 10am and had to wait in the traffic for a while before we even got to the ranger gates (the fee is $10 for parking). If you want day trips at State Parks become a member at the California State Parks Foundation and one of the benefits are day pass vouchers, we use ours all the time! It is a wonderful way to see many State Parks some within an hour of our house.

Point Lobos sandstone rock formations

 I met these guys taking pictures with a 5 x 7 camera. In all my days of studying photography I have only read about these and have never had the opportunity to see one in real life so it was very exciting to talk to these guys about their camera. It is fully mechanical with no digital aspect at all and takes pictures on the film holder at the back of the camera. The guys let me look through the camera and the picture was upside down and back to front so you have to really look at your image and focus completely before you take the shot. As you see the guy is under a hood to look at the image – this way you can see the image clearly with no glare and hopefully get a crystal clear shot. The guys were laughing as I was asking them questions and said they are complete luddites here with no digital technology whatsoever – doing this type of photography you really want to look at your subject for a long time. We all agreed it was yoga and meditation for photographers!

Photographic yoga with a large format camer

After our chat to the photographers we did some rock hopping by the ocean and enjoyed the formation in the sandstone. This one is just like a bear claw.

It looks like a giant bear stepped here 
We played around on the rocks some more – check out this ball rock in the centre of a perfect place to jump! After the rock hopping we wanted to hike and we found a path to the Whalers Cove to learn about the history of whaling back in the day and see the bones of these amazing creatures. I am so happy that it is all over and whales are protected, well mostly around the world! Sometimes here you can see the whales out at sea, this day we just saw harbor seals 😀
We had a ‘ball’ – rock hopping!

The kids enjoyed the wizards beard – I think Gandalf was the inspiration here!

Entrance to the Whalers Cabin Museum – a shack built by Chinese fishermen in the 1850s

No hike is complete without climbing every tree
Whale rock – well not really! A huge rock formation jutting into the ocean. 

Look closely on this rock and you will see harbor seals sunning themselves
– we had binoculars and enjoyed a close up view of these guys!  

After our hike some beach time playing our fave summer activity Frisbee 

The waves lapping the shore – an amazing blue!

Love the light in this picture – some random sunshine glowing, ahhh the joy of the beach & sunshine!

Dancing underneath the jetty

A cool place to be under the jetty on a warm sunny day

Seacliff beach after lunch and hiking through the Forest of Nisene Marks. At the end of the jetty is the remains of a cement ship that was too late for duty for WW 1 so the SS Palo Alto was beached as an entertainment boat – the entertainment these days include many birds.