A piece a Week – A lesson in Kombucha Brewing!

Last weekend we had friends visit from Seattle and our friend brews Kombucha back at her place and shared some Scoby with me to make some! I found a great tutorial on the Kitchn after my friend explained that all I need is to follow these instructions:


4 x tea bags 
1/4 cup sugar

How to:

brew tea and wait for room temperature to add scoby
scoby should multiply in a couple of days
taste tea and bottle kombucha

Yep it is that easy! 

This week was big as my husband turned 40 and we went away to Carmel to stay at a yurt for a family getaway to relax and go to the aquarium for his birthday! I have to say it was super fun to hang out at the aquarium for a whole day and eat dinner locally at this great restaurant called Peppers MexiCali cafe in Pacific Grove and head on back to the yurt for a hot tub at sunset – perfect! On our way out of Carmel on Saturday at the Earthbound Farm Stand less than 5 minutes away from the yurt we found Camp Vintage – an antique show held each year in the Summer. What perfect timing as it gave us an opportunity to wander around and see what we could find. I was on the lookout for a container for Kombucha and I found this super cool ceramic bean pot from the 1950s!
That Kombucha is a brewing

Batch number 1 and number 2 in the bean pot ready to go! 

Bottled Kombucha – trying a fig flavour and a ginger flavour

At our getaway in Carmel we wandered out to the aquarium for the day and saw such amazing creatures – it really makes me want to protect the ocean. The mission of the aquarium to inspire conservation of the oceans and they have me totally in line with their mission. I loved being immersed in an underwater world for the day and I had my SLR with me and here are my favorite pictures of the day.

Welcome to my world  says the Crystal Jelly

This puffin can fly underwater – it is amazing to watch

I loved the subtle colors on this squid

The flamboyant cuttlefish in all their glory – I could not believe how small these guys were!

Sitting in a giant clam

The color on this sea anemone are inspiring – what can I make with these colours? 

The birthday boy having a rest by the ocean

My favorite animal the sea otter under the water – looking so peaceful!

I loved this so much, a quote at the tentacles exhibit – marvelous indeed, Aristotle 

Missy as a diver in the aquarium shop!

Every time I stay in a yurt I just want one even more – which is a good thing as it will encourage me to save and manifest that yurt in our future so we will have that yurt (or yurt village) of our own one day! To sleep in a yurt is an experience everyone should have and the feeling of living in the round has a profound effect on your soul.

Morning light and playing Bananagrams

Inside the yurt with the Solar Skylight Arc – I imagine an artists studio with this amazing light!

At the hot tub relaxing at the sunset – my fractured toe enjoyed this time out to heal

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!