A piece A Week :: Check Meowt Tee-Shirt

This tee has nothing to do with cats but a lot to do with checks! I found this check wool fabric at my fave place of treasure – FabMo, when they had their sewing sale. This is a tailors suiting fabric which I thought would make a great layering top. I found this Tee pattern in this great book The Great British Sewing Bee – Sew Your Own Wardrobe. It is a perfect layering piece and a lot of fun to play tennis in. As you can see I was out on the court again last week chasing those little yellow balls around though my son and I did manage a rally of hitting the ball 6 times – we were so excited!! 
Getting Sporty in this checked tee! 
Last week I also had my class at the local library making some felt heart pins with hand sewing and hot glue. There is something about the hand sewing classes that I love with everyone sitting around crafting and chatting. In this day and age times like these are truly enjoyed by all, so I am happy to be volunteering and making this crafting community happen and seeing familiar faces every month. 
A finished sock monkey from January’s sock monkey class

The How To sheet and one of the students heart pins

A heart pin in progress with diamond buttons – by a lady who recently moved to Mountain View 

The weekend was absolutely stunning and we got a taste of what spring will be like with some warm sunshine and blue skies! Saturday our family volunteered as part of the Boy Scouts community service with Save the Bay at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto. We were weeding out wild mustard and Ox Tongue Spiky Plants and planting in their place some native vegetation including California Poppies. We will have to visit or take a bike ride in the Spring time to see them in bloom.

A bike in the distance on this beautiful hill covered in telephone poles – I love the environmental art here!

Grown little Poppy grow!!

The kids playing after all their hard work weeding and digging

Sunday we had a planned family bike ride as it was Super Bowl weekend here in the Bay Area we enjoyed the peace of the trail and rode for a good 8 miles return trip. I picked up some spring blossoms on our way in my bike basket and enjoyed the quiet of the end of the trail at the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, just a bike ride away.

I love my bike! With a pannier to carry the drink bottles

Digging deep in nature we found lots of ladybugs

My bouquet of local flora including a succulent from my garden

A piece a Week – The end of the summer Vacay Limoncello Wrapup

The culmination of 10 weeks of summer holidays is finally here! I cannot believe that the kids will be back at school tomorrow – yet only for a half day! Still that will grant me enough time to exercise and get the food for the week and with a bit of luck some rest?!? This week I finished a project I started earlier in the year my Limoncello that has been sitting in the dungeon since end of December!! That is crazy that it took me that long to make a sugar syrup, cool it and then bottle it for the freezer. It tastes so good and is the perfect summer cocktail addition – it has been super hot here this whole weekend, whew I need to find a pool!!
Limoncello ready for the freezer

As I had both of the kiddos booked into art camp this week I was granted 2 hours each day to do a project – I am currently working on a wrap skirt to ride my bike in but I have not had a chance to fully complete it due to the hot weekend and bike riding, a bbq and some jazz! During the week by the art school we found a passion flower vine and the kids made some super cool artwork. 
Beautiful passion flower on the vine

A passion flower embrace 

Ash was in a Graphic Novel camp and Missy did a Mummies and Pyramids camp creating art inspired by Egypt. Here is what Ash created with his a banana slug  and his adventures…

Super cool graphic novel idea inspired by the great banana slug who lives in the Redwoods

Missy’s crown with a snake

Chilling out on a Sunday afternoon with jazz at Rengstorff House at Shoreline Park we enjoyed a bike ride in the hot sun to get there! By the time we left the breeze was blowing and we enjoyed the ride back home in the cool! We saw a very talented Mo Chi Quartet and headlining on the Flugelhorn was my ceramic teachers husband John Worley and it was so good to finally see him play.

The boys at R House enjoying some jazz

A piece a Week – A dress for the trunk show and the season!

Last week was another doozy! I only stayed at home only one night the whole week and I had something each night after school, boy it was exhausting. On top of it all I had to make inventory for the show on Saturday here is a picture of my table and the current stock – yay!
At the Beehive Co-op holiday show! 
Here is literally the bottom of the dress 🙂 I made this week for the show – I like the shadows of the basil flowers on my legs. This is some fabric my friend from Germany gave me, it is a lovely light corduroy print.

Back side of the dress

 The dress as a whole is a top made of a light wool felt and is fab with a top underneath. Tunics are just the thing for me at the mo!

Wandering the flagstone steps near the succulent garden 
Oh and the tunic has lined pockets too with a different striped fabric I used in the infinity scarf I made last week. 
Got my hands in my pockets looking for some change?!?
While I was out taking pics today my little kitty came by to say hello and I could not resist the flowers in my garden. 
Bella the beautiful cat

Flowers on the jade succulent

Lovely in the afternoon sunlight

A piece a Week – Some of my ceramic pieces, at last and something knitted…

In the lead up to the last week of school it has been quite frantic, hence the late posting! I finally fired my set of bowls I have been working on in ceramics class which are slab built into a mould and my pumpkin fruit bowl was finished a while ago and that was my first big piece that I am very happy with! At the moment I am completing a textured succulent container and some other planters for the garden as I want to add a bit of colour to all the green.

The pumpkin fruit bowl and my sunshine yellow bowls with Ms Hollys cat and candle holder from ceramics at her school

At the end of the week we had Market Day at school. This is where each class sells a product related to subjects that they have been studying in class. The kinders have been studying insects so they sold Ants on a log (celery, cream cheese and sultanas) for 2 pony beads and the 3rd grade class have been studying Roald Dahl and they created sock puppets inspired by a character from the Roald Dahl books they have been reading. And the idea was to have your picture taken with a sock puppet in their photo booth. Mr Ash designed the Tiny chicken from George’s Marvelous Medicine. The teachers needed help with this project so I went in and helped with the prep for the sock puppets. Also help was needed on Market Day itself so I helped organize the Kinder kids on their stall duties and helping them earn beads to spend on whatever they wanted to. I absolutely love Market Day and the kids had such a great time as well wandering around the different classrooms looking at their wares.

Bug eyes borrowed from the other kinder class
Mr Ash and his tiny chicken puppet

The weekend was a bit of a blur with some friends over for dinner with a tasty couple of smoked salmon and asparagus tarts, salad, bread, wine and a mango dessert. So with having people over for dinner I went to the Sunnyvale market and enjoyed what is around this time of year and the strawberries are amazing as well as the dates. I found this vendor who had a lot of greens, perfect for my salad and they had these beautiful posies of flowers full of color for the table. I love the market and I really should go a lot more often. It was so much fun that I nearly forgot an appointment with a sewing machine at the local library that morning!!

Flowers that make me happy from the Sunnyvale market – see the sweet peas!
Asparagus, leek and smoked salmon tart fresh from the oven

On the Sunday we went to the Computer History Museum! We have never been there all the time we have been living here and it is only about 10 minutes from our house!! It was community day so it was free to go in and play so we took advantage as a friend of ours has his self driving cars project by Google on display. It was certainly a trip down to old school computer days with the fun toys we had in the 1970’s and showing the kids but they do not care for such things as they would rather have an iPad to play with. The kids favorite area was the computer games and they loved Pac Man – with my son saying, ‘Mum you are such a great player!’ Little did he know that gaming was such a huge part of my child hood growing up. We got to sit in the self driving car and check out the controls, though you had to sign up about a month ago to go for a ride in the car. A couple of friends went on the weekend and enjoyed a trip in a self driving car on the highway – it was very exciting for them! Google Earth was set up on some huge screens and I nearly zoomed in on our house in Australia but the kids got a hold of the control and you can see what happens to the earth then in the picture below…

The kids in the self driving car
Where in the world are they??

Oh and I did manage to create a gift for my son’s math tutor who is having a baby in a couple of weeks something I did make in 1 week! A bunny blanket buddy by Lion Brand Yarn – a super cute baby present in green.

The bunny blanket buddy without a face

A piece a Week – A cross back top for the summer, Cotton Candy!

I have this stash of fabric that I just buy not knowing what I am going to make with it, so I finally that I design a pattern from a little top of Holly’s that I just loved. I enlarged the pattern pieces and made a fabric version from the paper that I could modify on my body which I used to transfer back to the pattern pieces I had made and it turns out for me that this is a great way to make a custom pattern!

The fabric I found was from my trip to Portland last year to this amazing fabric store called the Mill End Store. I had such a fun time finding all these treasures from back in the day – the owners had scored a collection of fabrics from as far back as the 1950’s that I could not resist! The justification was I will never see fabric like this again so it has to go home with me 🙂

So the cross back top was a fun and challenging project to make as I had to use lining as the fabric was see-through. After I decided to use lining then came the challenge of sewing the straps together with the seam on the inside. Lucky that I had made bags that are of a similar design and I just crossed the straps at the back and with a bit of unpicking and resewing they came together. There is no zip or buttons on this top as it just crosses at the back and it is flowing. The only thing I will look at for the next version is not to cut the neck too wide as it just sits on the shoulder and may fall down, still I think it looks cute the way it balances on edge of the shoulder.

This is definitely designed for a really hot day as there is lots of space to breathe and you can never have enough cute tops to go with the utilitarian jeans that mammas wear around the traps. I will have to see how this goes with a skirt? Still the challenge of making a pattern from scratch and designing it to customize me was something that I have been missing in my sewing for a while – looks like in future posts I will be playing a bit more with missing pieces for my spring/summer wardrobe!

Flowers outside my craft room

The flowers for the tree above are just so beautiful in the Spring and remind me of fairy floss or what is it called here cotton candy. That’s a great name for the top that I made as the neon of the check fabric against all the other pastels really made this fabric pop. The lining of the top is a vintage feed bag cotton that is of such an incredible quality. They made a perfect pair!

Wearing the top, to see a full shot – I have to work on finding my tripod?!?

The front of the cross back top – with a statement necklace it would be perfect

The cross back that was a bit of a challenge 🙂