Home sweet home

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The big news that made me so happy last week was the approval of my hubby working remotely in Australia. Now with all the plans moving along it was a hard decision to up and leave a job but now with this in the pipeline and a presentation from our architect in Melbourne shortly I am getting excited to be back in Australia. This illustration was found at the park after I took the kids for a walk as I could not sit still after my hubby gave me the news. Day by day I am patiently waiting for the green light that says now start packing and selling everything it is time to go. But until then I am enjoying myself here and having fun carving out my future career in education.

I was still on a balanced nutrition diet last week had me caving and wanting extra flavour in my food with sriracha and miso mayo. Tacos have carbohydrates that I do not want to be eating in the evening, so I turned Taco Tuesday into a bowl minus the taco of salad, avocado salsa and beer battered fish. I know my diet of no bad stuff, but hey it fitted into my macro plan for the day! The bowl on the right is smoked salmon on a kale salad with miso mayo and spring onions. I am finding with eating fish is helping me reach my protein limit to build muscle, fingers crossed I am doing this thing right! I love food too much to eat bland food all the time…

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At Ventana School where I work we made some pipe cleaner dolls for the dollhouse the kids built, and here they are all ready to be sold at the auction.

Speaking of the auction my hubby and I had a lovely night out on Saturday night at the adults-only event with cocktails, wine and a delicious catered dinner by Opa! It was a game theme, so my outfit was my own interpretation of a Candy Land princess :D. It was a bit wacky but anyway it gave me the opportunity to wear the lovely raw silk vintage beaded jacket (from my fave vintage store in Mountain View, which is now gone!) with a dress I made out of FabMo silk pieces.

The quilt that is pictured was created with help by the 1st-grade class I help teach. A grandma of the students (who is a star quilter) designed and made the quilt, and it is incredible. It was won by the parents of the class and will be shared by the parents to travel with this cohort of children at the school. It is an absolute treasure and captures the spirit of the community at the school.

My daughter came with me to work today, and we had a fun time in the classroom together. She was a bit tired by the end of the day, so she did some reading when I was working with the kindergarten kids. She had a fun time with the 1st grade and enjoyed the tinkering with the kids at lunchtime and ate and played with them all which was so good!

After work, we went to visit the lovely ladies AKA the chickens at the ranch, and they have a new addition an Easter Egger whom we call chicken cheeks which is just beautiful and tiny. Apparently, these ladies lay different coloured eggs which are how they get their name. I cannot wait until she starts laying. I was so happy to spend time with the chickens where at one point I turned around, and the whole flock of standard hens had followed me out into the grass, I am so looking forward to having chickens of our own one day!! At the coop we now have 13 bantams and 10 standard chickens so that is quite a flock and they are all very entertaining, I am sure they remember the people they interact with and most especially whoever gives them the best treats like strawberry tops and kombucha!

The Rainbow Connection

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I love reconnecting with long lost friends after a long time when we come home. My friend Markus & I used to have such a fun time together going out dancing all night long back in the day. We were reminiscing about the fun times we had together and caught up with what our lives are now – we had not seen each since 2009! The great thing is about good friends is that when you leave and come back the connection is still the same.

We planned for a big day out to the Redcliffe show with my uncle and the kids – as we went in the plan was to track down the farm animals and the one thing I remember from when I was a kid going to the show was the pastel colored chicks! Here are some Frizzle chicks washed with wool mix and dipped in food coloring and then blow dried for extra fluff. Apparently their feathers take ages to dry!

Soon we wandered down to side show alley and found these crazy gangster bananas – who designs these things?!? There were plenty of clown heads and certainly plenty of photo opportunities! The highlight of the day was the pig races with these cute little piggies with sequin outfits on. They were not racing on who was the fastest pig, they had a little obstacle course and the first one to the feed dish is the winner! Of course in Australia you buy some raffle tickets for which pig will be yours and whether you win a meat tray – thank goodness our numbers did not come up!! I am a vegetarian who enjoys fish.

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After our lunch it was time to go on some rides – the Gravitron was there and we were saying it was the original from back in the day, complete with ripped vinyl inside. Thank goodness these days my stomach cannot deal with that centrifugal force, so we gave that one a miss. So we opted to go on the ferris wheel – it was hilarious, as we had to separate as a group to balance out the ride as no one was riding it! So Markus and I hopped in and held on tight making sure not to rock the cage as it went higher and higher. The view was quite lovely up there and we held on tight! There were visions of us going round and round all day and night as the ride operator watched movies on his mobile phone and left us circling. Soon it was all over, we survived and made it back down to earth in one piece.

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Markus commenting that this was higher than he planned to go!

There were lots of fun shopping opportunities though traveling for a couple of months makes sure that we cannot add more to the weight of the luggage. Ash enjoyed himself checking out the hats but the kids ended up with no show bag and found themselves with yet another stuffie – this time an ocelot and a rabbit from Minecraft. Minecraft is a big thing here too with the kiddos!

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Thursday we went on a walk from one beach to another along the shore. It was lovely to take the kids and share with them what we used to do when we were kids growing up by the water. Lots of old Queenslanders are still there but in a state of repair and next to them the apartment developments facing the beach selling for the thousands. Lucky there still is a height limit on buildings in place though it does make me wonder who is buying these apartments – maybe they are vacation rentals, who knows? I still love the big verandahs on the big old Queenslanders, they have such character and inside they are designed to be cool in the summer and great for entertaining. We walked back to the main beach called Sutton’s Beach in Margate and found this great place called Pilpel by the Sea and ordered some takeaway shish kebabs with mediterranean couscous and rice and sat by the water watching the kiddos play. It was perfect as I just love Mediterranean food and it looks like we will be going back for more later in the week when we bid Redcliffe a fond farewell.

A piece a Week – Bias detailing on a Black Dress

This week was the final week of teaching the Arts Focus program at school and for the final class I thought I would wear a new dress. As one of my students likes to observe what I am wearing! She is one of my students who absolutely enjoys the class and everything sewing encompasses – so hopefully I will see her in 5th grade if she chooses sewing again as her final Arts Focus class 🙂

I did not have much time to make something from scratch as other projects and life generally take over my creative time. But I did have a chance to jazz up a dress with some bias fabric I made that I was using to add detail to cashmere cardigans I cut and bound in the center. The bias fabric idea is from a great book called The Party Dress book where you can see the use of bias fabric on the dress on the front cover. It is just beautifully applied in so many of the dresses in the book. My job was more experimental and to see if I enjoyed the process? I found it was like throwing on the wheel where I am working on the machine in a spiral pattern first attaching the bias binding and then continually going around and around in a spiral on the skirt. I love how my the symbiosis of my art projects sometimes blend together.

This dress I wore when I was a witch one Halloween and had not worn again since but as it has long sleeves and pockets it works as a great dress for teaching. I like to have pockets when I am teaching as I can have my phone for photos or even a pencil for drawing lines ready to go! So as I enjoyed the application and adding an interesting detail to the dress I think I will use this process in skirts for my upcoming collection in October for the Textile Art Boutique.

Detail of the bias on the dress
The dress hanging with pockets and all

It was a rainy weekend and we enjoyed our Saturday catching up on things and preparing to Spring forward for daylight saving!! Yes I lost an hour of sleep and it was quite annoying but still we managed to get up in time on Sunday to drive to Modesto – 1.5 hours away to check out a Poultry Show. Yes, why drive all that way to see Poultry LOL?? Well it was our family excursion for the day and my daughter has taken on the Poultry Project at our local 4H Club Rolling Hills. She is enjoying it so far and really wanting to get chickens for our small little garden! We will see as there is a bit of research first we have to do before setting up a coop in the back garden. 

We eventually managed to find the Agriculture Pavilion at the Modesto Junior College campus after many failed attempts at finding a decent map! I was already feeling very tired as I came home from hanging out with friends the night before starting off with a happy hour with friends from my dance class and afterwards a Downton Abbey finale party which finished at midnight – which is way past my bedtime!! Still stay positive I thought and see what you can learn from this experience! Most of the judging had happened by the time we arrived at lunch time but all the chickens were on display. I had never seen so many breeds and such beautiful birds too! So with that positive spin check out some of the fancy breeds we saw at the show…

Cool looking chicken – White Crested Black Polish Cockerel.
You really can tell the difference between the males and females in the bird world, this guy is very fancy!

A Seabright Chicken – I love the feather detail

Super cute chicken

An arty chicken butt

A Frizzle chicken – their feathers are everywhere and such a mess but they still look good!

Fancy chicken feathers

Ash and the New Jersey giant – the biggest chicken I have ever seen!!!
Yes it was bigger than his head – there is no distortion in this pic!

Now I know I am in the country with the trucks and the tractors

A chicken at the judging table doing the funky chicken

Another unusual breed – the naked neck chicken

 

Someone who should be doing the chicken project – who loves chickens more than his sister

This chicken had enough and was ready for bed!

So there you go a lesson in chicken breeds and how beautiful chickens are! My vegetarian diet appreciates these little guys and look in their eyes to see what a lovely companion animal they can be. The kids seem to enjoy them very much, so maybe we can build a coop later on in the summer as a project? Their favorite chicken is a bantam – not very fancy at all. They are a a nice size for handling and a Pullet is a hen less than a year old – so I am learning new things about chickens too!

One day the kids hope to get a couple of these chicks