Happy halloween

Well the time has come to get back into the study zone after my month of catching up on stuff. While I was free to catch up on stuff, I was investigating vegan makeup options. I found this great brand with a perfect price point in Sydney called MOMMA. So I ordered their samples to check the colours for a BB cream which includes a sunscreen (you need it in Australia) and found the perfect colour. Their lipsticks are just divine, long lasting and super smooth with shea butter. They also have a mineral matt powder to dust all over the place, as you can see in the pic! Anyway it is good to know that I have found a local makeup company to gather my makeup supplies and know that no animals were harmed in the process. Thanks to PETA for the extensive list.

Last week was Halloween and it was hot as at 32 degrees celsius. For me it was very strange to experience a hot Halloween. For the last 12 years it has been autumn in the northern hemisphere. So I ditched my costume and just wore my sundress and became a tourist for the afternoon to take the girls from my daughters school down to the shops for a bit of trick or treat action. Next year when we move into our house, I reckon I will be more festive for Halloween, as all my costumes are boxed up in the garage it was a bit of a mission to dig through it all.

Speaking of the house build, here it is and I am standing on the back deck in the picture on the left looking over to the dining room and lounge. The other pic is I am in the laundry looking towards the hallway and stairs. It is so exciting to see the progress this week but this week it is raining and fingers crossed we can see some more action this week!

Halloween the best time of the year

For the last four weeks my daughter and I attended a Girls Leadership workshop at the school I worked at last year. The new art teacher had set up a lovely area for knitting and fibre arts with an invitation for the kids to enjoy when they are in the hall, the weaving was made from two branches with hooks and string and designed so the kids can add their finger knitting to make a pattern – a very cool idea!

The workshop was empowering for me but hopefully, Missy will get something out of it eventually. Being 10 years old is difficult and if your friends are not so keen the influence rubs off and its all over, so she found it boring. Whereas I found it enlightening with using the tools below to help with kiddo conversations.

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I think these skills are universal especially with my kids who are 10 and 13 and sometimes there is a power struggle with wanting independence, I highly recommend these workshops for anyone who has girls.

On Wednesday it was my favourite time of the year – Halloween! I wore my owl costume from last year which earned me the costume prize at my dance class, which was cool 😀 My teacher went as a sailor lady and it was so fun to see everyone dressed up and dancing. I thank Joan’s class for the excitement of getting dressed up for Halloween as it was encouraged year after year and once I finally scored a sewing machine that’s when the magic happened!

Missy was a hummingbird for Halloween as you can see in the wings, she did not want a mask or a beak. We made the skirt and she glued on all the sequins and she helped sew the wings onto the blue top. Here is a barn cat from the ranch where the chickens live, one of the other kids told us this cats mama was killed by a coyote so this cutie is all alone and the humans are super protective of him by locking him away in his cage when they have completed their farm chores.

Finally, the time was right for trick or treating in the evening and we went to my daughter’s friends place where they were playing a bunch of videos on a loop such as Thriller, This is Halloween, Macarena and a song from The Greatest Showman. The kids scored a lot of candy and I even scored some for Ash who was away in Yosemite for Halloween, thanks so much G’s family!

Thursday we had our second week of Arts Focus and had decided to limit the direct instruction and just get the kids working after their big night of eating sugar and staying up late trick or treating. We managed to get these cool yarn octopuses made and the kids just loved making them but I had to make a new tutorial video due to the difficulty of following the YouTube vid we had found. Check out our new one and make your own.

Getting ready to farewell SF

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Cruising along last week prepared me for my weekend full of fun, starting with Trunk or Treat at our school. It was the first time we had signed up and it was such a good time with kids walking up and down the carpark filling their treat bags with tonnes of candy. I gave away two baskets full starting with around 800 Hersheys chocolate kisses.

The evening was a good time and I started the night off with some delicious tacos from the food truck, which really helped get through the Friday night. My outfit was a 1980s dance outfit – channelling my youth with the bubble skirt, sequins and big hair. The trunks were so creative and ours was a crafty dancy party as I have given away a lot of stuff and I do not have a lot of Halloween decorations. We shone our disco lights through the crochet blanket but the sound of the food truck drowned out our little speaker of tunes!

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My favourite trunk was our friends who designed their trunk with the theme of The Book of Life – it is such a beautiful film.

A couple of standout costumes of the evening was My friend’s costume with the lights on her hat from the character La Muerte from the Book of Life and another fave was the LED jellyfish and her sibling was a stingray – their mum told me that she was the ocean and wrapped in a blue ocean themed throw.

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After all the fun and excitement of trunk or treat my friends and I planned a hop on hop off tour of San Francisco months ago.

It was a bit strange to get the hang of as you waited around at a random bus stop and then when the bus came we had to get the ticket authorised for the Sausalito leg by the office at Pier 39. After we worked all that out half the day had gone but we packed it in and had a late lunch at this lovely traditional Italian restaurant San Drino in Sausalito (see the gnocchi and ravioli before we ate the thin crust pizza, amazing!) and had some ice cream from Lapperts as we were waiting for the bus. My ice cream was the right amount of sweetness the Ube Macapuno – Philippine Ube root with coconut puree, yummo!

Just travelling beneath the arches of the golden gate bridge atop the open bus was so cold but worth it for the incredible views of the bridge and the bay. I highly recommend these tours as you get a great overview of the city the view from the top of the bus allow for some magical photo opportunities. I plan on doing one in Melbourne when I get home to see what is new in the city 😀

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This is one of my fave shots of the day from the top of the bus while it was moving! Still, it was lucky to get this in focus with Karl the fog floating atop the water.

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After our trip to Sausalito, we went to see the rest of the loop and to check out one final destination – Lombard Street, AKA “the crookedest street in the world”. The views were spectacular and the sun was about to set so the sky was just gorgeous! As we were heading down the steep hill to go and get a quick snack for the way home we stumbled across this amazing sunset with the Golden Gate bridge in the foreground – so special and what a magnificent end to the day. That will most likely be my farewell to this beautiful city as I have two months left until we go home for good.

Sunday I had another early start with volunteering for the annual FabMo Textile Art Boutique. I wore my dress made from FabMo squares which received many comments of “cute skirt”, it is always so fun to wear it as it is the special souvenir of my time spent volunteering with FabMo – their ethos and approach to saving fabric from the landfill is something that I aspire to and maybe if I make the connections in Melbourne where I can create a FabMo there too!

This week is my last before I get into my next subject of Teaching Science and Technology – it should be a lot of fun juggling the study with moving home!

The best day of the year

My favourite day of the year was yesterday – Halloween! I love the dressing up and pumpkins, spending time with friends and wandering the streets at night checking out the decorations. These pumpkins were made by the kids and my pumpkin was made with a power drill and a spade drill bit to get big circles – if I had more time I would have been more creative with it but still, it was a great experience to power drill a pumpkin!

My daughter has been enjoying Halloween with her friend each year where their house is fully decked out with lights and even a projector playing Thriller and Can’t Stop the Feeling on rotation which was so much fun as the kids got candy to dance! We stayed up till 8:45pm, and I said to the kids, now is the time for bed put all of their haul of candy away until tomorrow. Two different neighbourhoods yield a fair amount of candy that my son is trading in for something fun, like a Beyblade!

Sunday was so much fun with catching up with my peeps from FabMo at their annual Textile Art Boutique! This year I could not be a vendor as I have a full-time job in the classroom, so I was there as a buyer and found some beautiful pieces to take home. I really enjoyed the Japanese artisans, and a couple of booths caught my eye with Sarah from The Folly Garden who made these fantastic fabric flowers that I could not resist decorating the lounge room. I only bought a leaf and a flower but the colours and fabrics were just beautiful, and I really loved her work as I am drawn to colour just like a pollinator. Next door was the beautiful spirit Miko Kami dolls by Bahira where every doll is one of a kind. I planned to be at the boutique for just one hour and ended up staying close to three hours as I had so many friends to catch up with, it was wonderful to be with my textile loving friends!

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Finally I finished sewing all my feathers onto my owl costume and wore it to work on Hallloween. The outfit was inspired by Eva from the Owl Diaries book series where she is a creative little owl who hangs out with her pet bat and enjoys her time at school. The teaching staff wanted to tap into our inner superhero, so my owl cape/wings channelled “my inner wisdom and creativity” – quoted by teacher Marla.

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Halloween evening we hung out at this house and danced and wandered the streets with the kids to do their Trick or Treating – it was the perfect night to be out and about.

A favourite pumpkin carving I found was this little Japanese ghoul when we took the kids to the houses in my friend’s neighbourhood. Here is the gang of kiddos in their costumes a skeleton pirate, a phoenix, Happy from Fairy Tale, a grim reaper and a skeleton (their family theme of Jack and Sally from the film The Nightmare before Christmas).

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Today we experienced a Day of the Dead celebration/presentation at school with our Spanish teacher sharing her tradition of the altar where the kids helped with decorating and we learned about honouring relatives that have passed on. Plus one of my favourite animated films ‘The Book of Life’ explains this tradition with such humour and colour including the Radiohead classic ‘Creep’.

Now I had better rest to get through the week, so I can watch more episodes of Stranger Things!

Halloween is creeping up on us!

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Boo! So exciting that Halloween is just around the corner though at the moment it does not feel like Autumn with its 32-degree weather today – so hot for this time of year! Last week was all about work with many meetings, covering for another staff member and at least we ended the week with a staff gathering to relax!

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I have been trying to get into the swing of fall and I got a start on my Halloween ensemble last weekend with cutting out bits of fabric to make into an owl costume. Having to work in a classroom the costume has to be comfortable and adaptable to working with the kids so I was inspired by this cute dress DIY but my feathers were cut a bit too small so I had to cut a fair amount of them! After they were cut they were very easy to attach but it did take a while, this is my favourite part – the actual time on the machine and seeing how everything comes together.

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So the idea was to be Eva from Owl Diaries but this may be a bit too colourful for an owl costume still the inspiration for a bird is there with the feathers.

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There were many scraps of fabric that I decided to cut into little feathers, actually, I still have some so if time allows maybe I can add some capelet wings?

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Looking forward to putting this costume together piece by piece and next week is the deadline so I am getting my final touches done this weekend! I have really enjoyed the time away from studying and having time to do some sewing 😀

Pick a pumpkin or two?

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Sunday we finally had a day out! Even though I still have not handed in my 3850-word report which is due this week, I felt good as I had edited the day before. So I got to go out to Ardenwood in Fremont and meet our friends for a catch up in the pumpkin patch and of course, ride the train and see the animals. I remember going ages ago when the kids were babies, now they just like to run around and chase the cool looking rooster away from his harem of ladies. It was quite random to land there and say oh the pumpkins are ready for Halloween and it is 30 days away!! In the wheelbarrow, the kids collected the pumpkins – that big mother pumpkin went to our friends and I just wanted a fairly small pumpkin to look festive around the place.

The kids were very excited to check out the pumpkins as I said to my hubby, “Who buys their pumpkin this early in October?” Well, it turns out we do, at least that errand is out of the way for this year! Our friends were laughing at the memories we have at pumpkin patches over the years – in Pescadero one year we went to a farm and saw gorillas pooping pumpkins 😀

As we met our friends on Sunday we did a bit of Fall shopping for Halloween decorations. I really like Halloween though I am not a fan of the crappy candy the kids get, we send it away with the Girl Scouts somewhere or overseas to my family to taste what bad candy is like. We found this Indian corn for sale to decorate around the place and the colours are just amazing – you can make beautiful necklaces with the kernels and they are so pretty.

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Our lovely pumpkin from the farm bought on the 1st day of October – no we really are not that organised otherwise the costumes would be with us too! The kids are still deciding on that?

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Back to work and reality, the observational drawings from our class of the cacti – the colours look amazing in real life. I really need to get out some watercolour and have a play when I am free again in the next couple of weeks only a couple of more days and my report will be handed in – yippee!

This week we were doing 3 digit addition and a new game was bought in the classroom to play – this is Addition Spinners, where you spin to find two numbers and add them together to find the answer on the sheet and the first player to line up 4 numbers is the winner.

Variety of resources for fun Storytelling, Math, Science and Literacy (collected from my co-teacher):

Mystery Math Town provides a math challenge at various levels for children comfortable with math symbols and operations.

EPIC! – A fun reading app (used in class) – listen to stories, read a variety of books

You Cubed – Mathematics with Growth Mindset.

Make your own math kit – use “stuff” from home to make developmental math manipulatives – with explanations and activity suggestions.

Greater Good Science Center – SEL for family and schools.

Thinking Blocks – bar models, story problems (iPad app used in class)

Problem of the Month – Math

National Geographic Kids – variety of activities, research projects, games, videos

Dream Box – math

My Story – great way to tell a story – upload photos, pictures, record and write, then share.

http://galileo.org/

http://wild.maths.org

http://nrich.maths.org

http://cut-the-knot.org

http://brilliant.org/

http://mathplayground.com

Today as I wanted the kids to have a bit of a stretch we ended up having a bit of fun with GoNoodle.

It was a hectic week and I am happy that I am nearly done with my report – this time my reward for this teaching period is to watch Twin Peaks new series so I am really excited about that as it came out when we were in Australia over the summer.

 

Spooking about the town

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The inspiration for my Halloween costume came late one evening as I was trying on the costumes in my collection to find nothing that I felt like being or wearing for Halloween. It is nice to have a lot of ideas like a Hawaiian tourist, disco ball, square dancer but I really wanted a dance inspired costume so off to my fabric stash I went.I found this black and white fabric at an estate sale and it was just perfect for a swinging 1960s theme dress. This was a lot of fun to dance in as the primary reason for my costumes are wearing them to my aerobic dance class!

The makeup I worked with on Friday night was for Trunk or Treat with the kids and I used a black eyeliner underneath my lipstick for some Halloween depth. Monday when I went to class it was a lot of fun with a similar hairdo but not as dark on the makeup. Each year we do a group photograph to inspire us for Halloween next year. Our teacher Joan, is Carmen Miranda in the front row.

In amongst all the Halloween activities this weekend we went to the SFMOMA to meet friends from Oakland and check out the new exhibits. It was a beautiful rainy morning so after wandering a couple of galleries we had a break with some Dick Taylor Hot Chocolate crafted in Eureka – it was divine! Oh, and I have an inside hint for coat check – there is one on the 2nd Floor where you get your tickets and that is where you find the red bathroom (see the pic above) – the line is not as long when you want to take off!

For lunch in San Francisco, we went to Lemonade and my vegetarian friend and I enjoyed a yummy artichoke and provolone toasted sandwich and I shared a grasshopper pie (mint with chocolate cookie crumbs) with Mr. Ash for dessert. It is lovely to check out the area of SOMA and Lemonade was the perfect place for a family friendly meal. Everyone was happy and it has a seasonal menu as well – now that is the business.

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Man, look who hijacked my camera when I was not looking – Mack and Ash!

For Halloween day after school, we went to the farm to do the weekly chicken chores as we were in the car a lot and listening to my favorite radio station KDFC – the classical music station of the Bay Area was playing Halloween themed music all day, check out the playlist here. It got us into the mood for a very long evening ahead of us for the start of the week – whew!

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Trick or Treating after the chicken chores we met with Missy’s school friends in the Bubb neighborhood and wandered a street or two there before heading over to see another friend in the Sylvan Park neighborhood and checked out their dragon sculpture – the kids had a super time but after their sugar high were very tired by the time they went to bed.

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When I was shopping in the morning I loved the makeup of one of the Whole Foods employees who I regularly chat with. She is from Mexico and we were talking about Day of the Dead which is on November 1st. I loved her makeup and I was getting some hints on how to achieve this stunning design which took her 3 hours. Halloween and its festivities are one of my favorite times of the year and I will have to start thinking of my costume for next year – maybe a crazy cat lady!

A piece a Week – Halloween Treat Bags at the library workshop and Halloween Fun!

The lead up to Halloween was busy with preparing costumes and also a workshop at the Mountain View Public Library. I volunteer at the library presenting workshops to future sewers 🙂 It is part of a collaboration with FabMo who provide some of the materials and Friends of the Library and in this workshop we made Halloween Goodie Bags using sewing machines. Everyone was very excited about the class and below is one of my favorites with a cat on it! 
Sew Sew with FabMo at the library – once a month!
Cat treat bag nearly finished!
On Tuesday I presented the workshop to adults and on Thursday I was presenting our first week of Arts Focus at our school to the kids. I had a class 26 kids from Kinder to 5th Grade who were eager to start on their first project – a pin cushion for their sewing tool kit. After morning recess the kids who finished their first project were all set for making a Fleece Hat, Robin Hood style to applique and embellish to their hearts content. 
A little friend sewing away before he cut all his threads away – yikes! 
Then come Friday it was costume time on the dance floor for my aerobic dance class. We have such a good time together it is hard to believe we are exercising! So every Halloween we wear a costume that we can dance in! I found this beautiful vintage green dress from the 1960s so I could be a Go Go Dancer – the dress had a lovely little train on the back that flounced out for dancing so it was perfect. The dress was a bit too tight for dancing in the tummy so I added panels to the side which made it way more comfortable. The wig I bought online from Manic Panic – the place where I find my hair dye favorite – Vampire Red. 
Enjoying a cuddle from my favorite little kitten Bella
Don’t touch that hose in the garden – we are in a drought! 
Friday night and the festivities began with Trunk or Treat for the kiddos at school with friends. Families would decorate their trunk to hand out candy to the kids and they can hang with their buddies and have a good time. My little trick or treaters were Garfield and a lady from the Renaissance – the olden days. 
Garfield stripes – I cannot see the tail pinned to his pants, when you are 10 you make your own costume! 
Halloween was on Saturday so it was a perfect day for a party! Friends of ours had a Dungeons and Dragons game with the boys and then dinner and after a quick dinner the kids were so excited about Trick or Treating! There were a gang of over 10 kids in our group which was a lot of fun and the houses they went to enjoyed giving out treats to a group. It was a very hot day which is why I did not wear the wig and decided to change into a costume inspired by Effie from the Hunger Games. Maybe next year I will try and track down that amazing hair of hers!! 
The gang all ready to party – Missy hiding behind Dad!

Here is our gang of kids and parents including a wizard, a zombie, Indiana Jones, a Knight, Maleficient, a Fairy Godmother, a Vampire, Garfield, a Gangster, superhero, A dude from Steampunk, a Grim Reaper, a Cowgirl – also we had in the house a Badminton player and his shuttlecock!

Everyone before they departed

Cannot wait to go Trick or Treating! 

The fun part of trick or treating is what you can score in the treats and Missy was very excited about her vampire fangs that someone handed out to her in a handful of treats! Boo!! Halloween is my favorite time of the year!

Check out my fangs!

A piece a Week – Real world Math in a Genius Circle Skirt Pattern

This week was a week of meetings for Arts Focus and the preparation of the next session and lack of time for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique so I had to take time out this whole weekend to work on my projects for the show and get a sense of organization to what I will be doing…

I managed to work on a bunch of projects and wrap them up which is very exciting and I also worked on something new for the yards of tulle fabric that I have. I found a pattern at A Beautiful Mess while looking through skirt ideas on Pinterest and this pattern is genius. When I initially started the pattern I was not concentrating too much so I lay down the pattern on the fabric to the fold and created a seam on either side of the skirt. Looking at the pattern again and wondering about the waistband I thought what is this ‘doughnut’ they are referring too and then it dawned on me that the pattern is a quarter of a circle and when you fold the fabric so there are two folds you will make a perfect circle with zero seams!! I love it and have to make more as this pattern is super cute and any fabric with drape will work perfectly. For this skirt I have used all FabMo fabrics I have collected over time for this skirt and I just love it – this is a 4 layer and I also make a 7 layer skirt which is super poofy for Halloween fun!

Get twirling in this circle skirt

So far the wrap skirts have been made and completed and I have 3 different designs and they were all fun to customize!

Multicolor dreams

Painterly linen

Inspired by the linen and working in the kitchen

The other fun skirts I made and will be super fun to ride your bike in are these two elastic waist skirts with a cute velvet bow – also a FabMo find! Both of these are lined with a layer of tulle for the extra flounce at the hem. The theme for my designs this year is urban bike riding and I have enjoyed taking the prototypes out on my bike to literally road test them 🙂

Pink pattern which I love and so does my daughter!

Geometric 80s fabric 

Now to go and work on the management of how the heck will I pull this show off – I need a clothing rack and have to work out ways to display my designs…