Quokka Whole Lotta Love​


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!

A piece a Week – A Pencil Roll for the Sewing Workshop at the Library

After coming back from camping I created a list of things to do before end of April and this is one of the projects. I needed to have this done so I could get some help with the prep work of  cutting the fabric from the library. This idea I found on the Small & Friendly blog which was a no sew pencil holder. I wanted to combine the use of FabMo fabric for the exterior so I used some silk and linen fabric samples for the exterior and created an outer lining and added the ribbon to tie it all together. Once I have the tutorial ready I will have to have add it here. The sewing workshop is on May 17 so if you are in Mountain View and like to make one of these then is the workshop for you, register online at the Mountain View Library. These also will make an awesome gift for the coloring in fan in your life – my daughter is borrowing until I need it for the workshop. 
Wrap and Roll your Pencils and off you go…
I visited the ceramic studio after the Spring Break and found some goodies that had come from the kiln. I have been experimenting with my trimming tools on the pieces I have been making and it is interesting to see what happens once they are glazed – these are all high fire stoneware pieces that are super heavy duty so they make perfect pots for my plants – so I will be making more in the future. 
Green speckle glaze on this beehive inspired pot
A slab rolled bowl with slip and dipped in two glazes
Trimmed to create bumps on the bowl and dipped in copper red and matte white
We had a very relaxed weekend with family time at the Cherry Blossom Festival on a beautiful spring day minus the cherry blossoms (they bloomed a couple of months ago)! Still it was fun to check out the Japanese craft displays – Sumi-e, bonsai, sword display, dogs to pat, hula dancing and crafts for the kids. The kids wanted to make a bamboo flute so that was an interesting project though playing the flute is way harder than it looks! Michael the vendor at the stall made it look super easy! Think we will have to chat to my MIL about her flute playing and see if she has any tips 🙂 
Using a heated up drill bit to melt holes in the bamboo
Ikebana display with a favorite flower of mine the Peony

Bonsai succulent – a great name for a band!

A piece a week – Ceramics out of the Kiln

This week I finally made it an Open Studio Pottery Session for 4 hours. I figured this week is going to be super busy so why not take some time out and make some bowls. As I was there I found 5 of my bowls had come out of the kiln. I was experimenting with wax resist and the glaze that made it easy to find the bowls I had made though the look was OK and would be way better if I take it an extra step and work out how this whole process works 🙂 Still it was fun and the colours that came out were very interesting combinations and I love how the glazes react with each other too – a couple of my favorites are in the close up shots. 
A bunch of bowls working away in the kitchen
A favorite combination of colors
Another favorite though this is a matte and gloss glaze combo

A close up of the wax resist
Tuesday night it was Sew Sew with FabMo at the Mountain View Library and here is one of the attendees with her Infinity scarf. We had 12 people who came to the workshop and we could have used another 3 sewing machines as there was a bit of waiting around. Still it gave people time to discuss the steps to be organized once it was time for them to go on the machine. It was a pretty easy project that everyone enjoyed! 
Finished scarf out into the night

At the library some promo material – time for me to start the next months project!

Thursday it was Arts Focus with the kids at school and we made stuffed animals – here is a little one made with some beautiful stitches – I am looking forward to seeing how these animals turn out as the kids really love this project!

A little red elephant!

Friday was a night out at the museum and we went behind the Project Lab to peek at a small amount of the Academy’s gem collection – I love seeing gems in their raw form and these were presented beautifully. Hopefully they will have a show in the future!

Love the colours of these stones

Sunday was a family bike ride before heading over to the theater to see Annie in the afternoon – it was such a lovely morning for a ride and here we are at the end of the road looking over the water! We rode about 8 miles at a steady pace which accounts for some exercise 🙂

On the jetty!

I love my bike! 

Checking out the stinky shoreline!

A piece a Week – A fun party skirt

Following on the grand success of the circle skirt pattern from last week I had found the perfect fabric with a lovely soft drape for a circle skirt! As it was Ash’s 10th dodge ball birthday party what a great excuse for a party skirt and to dress up 🙂

Let us party down at the park on this hot October day!!
On top of my usual boutique preparations and general house management I also made this amazing cinnamon roll pound cake from Grandbaby Cakes – it was such a hit with everyone! It was perfectly moist and the flavor was not too sweet. Super easy to make and the bundt tin was perfect for a party of 20 people. It was fun to break away from the theme cakes of the past and make a big boy cake 🙂 with a little hint from mum to say, you like cinnamon right?

The birthday boy and his yummy cake
And the beginning of my week I went to open studio to collect some ceramic pieces – yes more bowls but in an interesting array of glazes. I was so happy with some of them that I would love to repeat the experiments and see what happens – as it goes with glazing you never know what to expect! 
A stack of bowls – now only to get them all the same size?!?

A piece a Week – A new tote and some ceramics, yet more bowls! And farewell to summer camping!

This week my tote from last year had a breakdown of buttons so I had to quickly whip one up – this is just a sample of the pattern I will be trying out for the FabMo Show in October. There are generally plenty of bags and I will road test this one first, to see if it is worth the time. The fabric reminds me of bamboo and there is a surprise patchwork inside that I added – as it was meant to be on the outside, the fun of working with unfamiliar patterns. The tote is lined with an interior pocket for organization of your bits and bobs. 
A new tote to carry the day to day bits and bobs

Surprise patchwork interior

This week I was happy to find in the pottery studio two bowls I made in a matte black and white crackle glaze. I love the effect of calligraphy ink into the glaze – though this bowl is just for decoration now as you cannot eat from it. I am so happy to be able to throw on the wheel and made 3 in the class last week – now to trim and glaze them all!

Amazing bowls that are similar in size!!

The detail of the glaze, it makes it look antique 🙂
Over the weekend we ventured out with some Australian friends of ours to a site I booked in January to Manresa State Beach. The fun thing was that same weekend my friend celebrated his 50th birthday at the beach and we were camping at the campsite down the road. So it has been a very busy weekend which explains why this posting is so late!! It is a beautiful campsite and so hard to get into as it is super close to the Bay Area and the walk to the beach is down a ramp rather than up a hill and back down again at Sunset State Beach just next door. We loved it, though we were dust balls by the time we returned on Sunday. 
A tree climbing monkey

Falling into the backwash

Enjoying the really cold water

Looking cool at the beach – why not go swimming in your clothes??

Missy gets some air

A future naturalist checking out the seaweed

Our dusty campsite!!

This beach is beautiful – Manresa State Beach, go there!

A piece a Week – A summer sojourn by the beach

With the summer vacation coming to a close we had a last sojourn by the sand dunes in Monterey Bay. I found this lovely Air BnB right on the beach by the sand dunes of Pajaro Dunes Resort for our neighbors family and ours. It was just one night but being right near the beach bought an incredible sense of relaxation to all of us with healthy and delicious meals, reading and chatting. The kids enjoyed the walk along the beach this morning with following the dolphins and sea lions jumping happily in the waves eating their breakfast of fresh anchovies. 
This week I celebrated a much needed clean and dust free house with a vegan strawberry ice cream using a favorite recipe from Food 52. I used brown sugar and lemon to macerate the strawberries to add to the ice cream maker – delish.
Strawberries macerating

Coconut cream in a ceramic bowl I made

Ready to eat and a job well done!

I am in the middle of making a cardigan at the moment which has taken me ages to knit – I think it take me up to half an hour to knit one row as there are so many stitches. This is the Noro yarn I have left for the rest of the cardi and the sleeves – hopefully there will be enough!! This has been an excellent summer project whilst watching the kids flicks at the local cinema each week and our marathon of Harry Potter films!

Goodness Gracious – Great balls of yarn!

And now for our last sojurn of the summer in the sand dunes of Monterey Bay. When we stayed at Sunset State Beach I always wondered how to find accommodation at the condos right on the beach nearby and there we were living it up and relaxing to the sound of the ocean right at your doorstep. We had fig tart for elevenses after our walk along the beach watching the dolphins play and jump up in the water showing their underbelly – it made us all so happy! And yes we have been watching The Lord of the Rings films too over the summer.

Fig tart – perfect with a cup of tea for elevenses 

The sunset by the dunes at our back patio

We found the shells of the sand dollars and I have seen them at the California Academy of Sciences but to see them move is pretty cool I found this video of sand dollars in action.

The kids check out a live sand dollar 

Let’s chase the birds said one kiddo and off they went – just like a Hitchcock film!

Our walk this morning and the sun coming out

Enjoying the freezing cold sea water between my toes

Find the busy bumblebee in the gardens of Pajaro Dunes Resort

A piece a Week – Skirting is the Issue

This week is the last week of school before 10 weeks of summer holidays!! So I have had to get myself into gear and start my clean up plan for the summer. So with the time I had this week on my creative day on Tuesday I made a couple of skirts from some vintage finds I found on my travels. This is a super cute project with adding a elastic waistband and the bottom of a dress and the Box pleated skirt was using the waistband from a vintage dress – the top of vintage finds is usually small and tight for women these days. This skirt works with the waistband from the dress and I added a bit of velcro under the button to close up the skirt. These are smaller doable projects as there are many more things to organize this week!

Butterflies flying away!

Box pleats for a school uniform look!

My last sweet 4 hours of my alone time (for the next 10 weeks!) was spent cleaning out my closet using the famous KonMari Method from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It took me the 4 hours to just go through everything. After that I then made a huge mountain of clothes I did not want anymore – the clothes that did not give me joy 🙂 I really like this method and I feel it will be good for me but I am not the only person living here and there is constant chaos around me, so whether my plan can be put into action – who knows!!

I like to be organized and I must admit that when I went to find an outfit this morning it made life a heck of a lot easier to just look in the drawer and see everything neatly folded – let us hope this lasts! The closet was lovely to clear out and hang items of clothing together. that way it is much easier to put outfits together. So I spent the 4 hours during the day to clear out and sort and then I spent another 3 hours in the evening putting everything away and bagging and sorting clothes for donation – whew! I am hoping with some time on my hands over the next ten weeks I can look at other areas of the house too while the kids are playing outside happily!! We can all dream…

Nicely folded and organized

Hanging around in the closet

There has been many a goodbye this week and here is the cake top I designed for a favorite teacher who is moving South. We have all been inspired by his class and enjoyed reading Roald Dahl immensely and I wanted to show our appreciation. I used the cover of Fantastic Mr Fox and gave it a bit of a Photoshop makeover with our teacher as the Fantastic Mr Fox himself!

Farewell to our favorite teacher!

At home my haven is my kitchen and at the end of a day of business it is wonderful to come and cook and make dinner with a glass of wine or two. Here are bowls I have purchased from the ceramics studio I play at, plus a couple of bowls that I made – the yellow hand built bowl and the turquoise thrown bowl with nectarines and cucumbers. There will be more made in the future as clay can be addicting. I love using beautiful bowls when I cook!

Ceramics in action 

A piece a week – A little Amigurimi friend for my little buddy and a very busy week!

This week was a busy one indeed with a lot of dramas back home in Australia and living the day to day of live here! So I have become extra crafty and channeling my worries into challenging crafting projects. This little Panda is for a friend’s birthday. The whole panda is made up of little bits and pieces of crochet and then sewn to life. The process is excellent and I am very happy to have finished him and he is ready to be given to his new owner. 
A Koanda Bear for my little friend – A Koala cross between a Panda

The weekend went by in a flash as I was volunteering at FabMo on Saturday morning (after a nice sleep in I must add). I volunteer as a greeter and it is always a good time to see what people find and talk about what people make with their finds. I found this fantastic stretch fabric from a screen printer that I am going to reverse applique and make a skirt – the inspiration is from the Alabama Stitch book. The hand stitching in the pieces throughout this book is just incredible and has been something I have been wanting to try since a friend introduced the book to me years ago!
Saturday afternoon the SF Etsy South Bay team had a Meet-up at Empire Vintage Clothing in Downtown Mountain View. The owner Tiffany has this amazing pop up space for hire that indie makers need to take advantage of! Tiffany introduced herself to us with a presentation on sales and marketing, which was super helpful for all of us – especially those of us who do shows! How to lure a customer, “it’s just like fishing,” she says. We had a really great turnout and people wandering by were checking it out wondering what’s going on there? This space has so much potential and makers with a decent size inventory can come in and take advantage of this super central space with lots of walk by traffic. 
Outside the pop up space and Empire Vintage, Mountain View

The makers who came by to Empire – inspired for a pop up opportunity

Saturday evening my son had a retro games night as a silent auction prize and here is Frogger in all it’s glory played on the Atari 2600. I have one of these machines back home in Australia and used to play it all the time when I was his age 😉 I have to reveal to him that it is OK to spend hours in front of computer games!!

Later on I had a cheap wine tasting evening with some ladies from school till the wee hours at night. Most of the wine I tried I threw back as it was full of sulfites and quite awful. Being from Australia I do like a good wine and next time I think the plan will be to take our favorite wine under $20 and enjoy drinking! By this I mean I can buy a great Australian Shiraz here for less than $10 – sometimes BevMo have it on sale and that is when I buy the lot. There are some excellent imports of wine here from Barossa and McLaren Vale, South Australia that are under $20 and are generally guaranteed to be a good drop. Though with summer coming up it is time to fill my dungeon with my favorite Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand!

Frogger and the Atari 2600

Sunday it was time to chill out for the morning and do some yoga and come back and catch up on a few chores like potting some succulents in the pots I have made fresh from the kiln. This velvety succulent is called the chocolate soldier – it reminded me of chocolate and feels lovely so it now lives in this crochet textured square planter that I made.

Deeper green and chocolate leaves on top of the white glazed planter

And to wrap up the weekend Missy had high tea with her Kindergarten teachers as another Auction prize. There were scones, jam and cream and cucumber sandwiches paired with Cherry/Berry Tea. The teachers read some stories about New Zealand (Missy’s teacher is from there) and chatted while dropping sugar cubes into their tea! So fun, thank you Ms Terri and Ms Bonnie for your time with the kiddos!!

Ready for tea lovelies?

A piece a Week – Some ceramics and some kids art

I had big plans this week to make a pattern for a geometric design top I want to make and somehow the drafting of the pattern has taken a lot longer than I expected so I am posting what was happening on the art circuit this week…
I took the kids to their Art Show down at City Hall before we (of the Arts Focus team) took it down. I wanted to take them before the reception so they could talk about their artwork with me. My son loves his Origami Yoda from the paper class and he enjoyed making paper and doing the collage, that I have to track down. 
Yoda forever!

Missy did a Global Beats Art class focusing on dances around the world and she even made these beautiful bells for an Indian Dance. The kids also got to make and decorate their own drum and rhythm sticks. For me I think the fun part would be getting dressed up for the dancing and hearing some new sounds.

Ghungroos – a musical anklet tied to the feet of classical Indian dancers

I finally glazed and fired clay pieces that I was working on from last October. The puzzle box pumpkin took ages to dry as the walls are super thick and we have to make sure that it does not crack so I dried it for months till it was even ready to go for a first bisque fire.

Punkin’ out in the garden

I decided to use a underglaze and paint on yellow and orange and rub it back before I applied a super glaze over the top. I wanted the inside to break away from the Autumn theme and used a dark turquoise – I was lucky as I forgot my teacher said not to glaze the top of the pumpkin, this guy could have been stuck to the clay feet used in the kiln – whew!!

Punkin’ inside the puzzle box

I love playing around with texture and clay and I found this doily at FabMo (where else do I find the good stuff!?!) and used a tennis ball to transfer the pattern to the hand built plate. I like the look of the transfer and I wanted to show up the pattern so I used three different glazes to see what would happen and I really like the finished product. The plate is quite asymmetrical but I have only been doing clay for 12 months now and it is all a learning process that each time I make a piece I learn something new. Next stop wheel throwing in the Spring!!

Fancy some bananas on a doily appetizer plate?

This strange looking experiment is a salt cellar – I like to take a pinch of salt here and there when I am cooking so I made this! It again had really thick sides and took months to dry. Certainly a lesson in hand building as I rolled this into a cylinder and carved out the inside – there is definitely an easier way to make this, maybe using a slab and cylinder. Still I will see how I go with this and if I get bored with it, I can take it outside and put a succulent in it!

A salt cellar living large in it’s new home