Hunting high and low

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A week of peace and contemplation and I managed to clear my mind to enjoy some creative endeavours. I had a pile of my husband’s jeans ready to be repurposed into something fun, so I created these tote bags. The fabric is from a sample from Designer’s Republic in the UK I love the colours and so did a friend of mine in Melbourne and purchased it as a gift for her niece in New Zealand.

The first prototype was sold and take two is with the black and white print with an interesting vintage fabric lining and red details on one strap going across. I still have 4 to work, though – as I design them they take a life on their own.

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Cute kitten picture from swimming class with the kiddos this week – so much fun to have kittens by the pool!

The weekend was a good mix of relaxation and fun with the Mini Maker Faire on Sunday at History San Jose. I highly recommend this event as an alternative to Maker Faire. The location is perfect for the Makers and space is the perfect size for a family so you don’t feel so overwhelmed to keep your eyes on the kiddos and their activities constantly. There’s plenty of shady trees and cool redwoods to enjoy and the bonus is that with the activities all kids can create, take away and learn some new skills in the process.

At one of the tables was a hexagonal quilt making project which was very insightful to how a hexagonal quilt is put together. It is a cute little hand sewing project and the perfect project for an 8-year-old and for me too! Still, to make a quilt with so many hexagons it will take forever, we can always do a small portion as a detail for a skirt or something! As an introduction to hexagon quilt making, you can make a group of 7 and form a flower with your colours or patterns of choice.

As we were on our way out we had the chance to look at a letterpress and as my background is in printing – the commercial type of lithographic printing on a printing press, I was intrigued to see the traditional wood type letterpress in action. Missy had the chance to sweep the press across the print that had a coating of gold studio quality printing ink. This was such a treat to see!

This Mini Maker Faire was the 2nd annual and I hope to see more in the future as there are many vendors scattered throughout the activity tables and it is such a pleasant day out with the family as a lot of local museums from San Jose and surrounds are presenting projects and crafts such as the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, the Lace Museum and an Embroidery guild – yay for the inspiration.

Sunday we were hiking on a 2.5-mile hike through the dry oak woodland forest with our friends from Oakland. Hikes up in the hills are beautiful in the rainy season but as there has been zero rain for months the marsh is non-existent and the grasses are brown, this is  very normal for summer. The hike was on the San Andreas fault line and offers the opportunity to learn about the area’s geology. Unfortunately, the kids were on a mission to complete the hike and eat as soon as possible. Off one of the trails, we had the chance to hang out with a buddha hidden in a rock formation.

Still, the peace of hiking with no one else around was a pleasurable experience and the colors of the leaves are starting to change to their fall colours as you can see with this poison oak trio – leaves of three let them be! Soon with some luck the rains will come and make the grasses green again and the forests lush with moss, though it is hard to imagine with this last blast of summer this week.

Tote for Jetting Away

Leaving the USA for two months I am trying to minimize carry on luggage as I have two kids to keep an eye on at the airport too, so everything I carry has to be accounted for. I made this tote from the book Handmade Style by by Anna Graham from the sewing blog noodle-head.com. A friend of mine introduced me to the blog and this book is full of practical patterns that are super easy to follow. I increased the size of the pocket on the exterior as I wanted to use the width of the kimono fabric and I had to adjust the height of the bag to fit my 15″ laptop and it’s little padded pocket to keep it safe. At least it will make it easy to slip in and out when going through security! The zipped pocket on the outside can be used to store smaller devices like the iPad to keep the kiddos entertained. And the interior has pockets for the power supply, snacks and a water bottle. There is a longer strap with two handles as well, which I like the option of having. I love the colors and the combination of the kimono fabric and the linen interior, so let’s see how it travels.