Party time after a busy week!


Last week felt like a turbulent wind had taken me up into the gusts with the many things I had to do. It all started fairly relaxed – I baked Anzac biscuits for International Day which was Thursday at our school. The map above is a snapshot of our school community including where ancestors were from and where everyone is now – here in California. I have a little string beginning in Sri Lanka and then to Melbourne and then to Cali. I love how this visual map of the world shows that we are all immigrants and a school community of just over 300 families can create such representation from many countries throughout the world. It helps we are here in the Valley where the population is so multi-cultural with thanks to all the tech jobs. I think I will think of this every time I hear any racist comments from the many idiots running this place.

My week began with research for my Science assignment which I completed the 1st draft on Sunday – yay! Plus I had my math unit as well which I have to keep on top of. The fun then began with planning the rest of the week with the party on Saturday and the middle school Walkathon on Friday (which I foolishly signed up to volunteer for). Still it was good to get the study done in the first couple of days of the week so I could focus on the rest of the stuff I had to do, like baking, sewing, volunteering, researching and driving the kids around.

Saturday came around and it was so sunny and beautiful! We were worried that it was going to rain but the sun came out for us in the morning and the warmth was the best šŸ˜€ We had a party by the lake and Ā hired out some paddle boats for the kids to play on and enjoy some exercise. They were knackered by the time our hour was up!!


The fun part was getting around the lake with just a little bit of wind – the power of nature and pedalling around on the water is then that little bit challenging.

After the boat rides we had a picnic lunch of pizza, chips, fruit and juice boxes. Everyone just played and were checking out this lovely mama goose and her nest with 4 eggs in it. This is why I love Shoreline Park so much because of the nature sightings – the egret above, the yoga sand piper and the mama goose.


In between studying and organising I made this dress in the evenings when my brain was too foggy to concentrate on reading and research. The cat fabric is super cool and it looks beautiful on. Missy did have purple dye in her hair but it seems to have not taken too well, I think it was because the ladies had to use an oil to brush out her dreadlocks before dying it. Oh well it was a fun experience for her and also for me to go to the salon to get hair dyed.

Then came the cake after a bit of playing – I planned to make fairy bread lamingtons but I could not get it together to make them beautiful on Friday evening so it was a complete cake fail! So in the end I made a food processor carrot cake (made in 5 minutes!!) by Donna Hay which was very tasty with its cream cheese, ricotta and lemon icing. It was a hit or a miss with the kids – though I did have one little friend who really enjoyed it so I shared the recipe with his mum.


The week was an absolute whirlwind with the many things that managed to get done and it all paid off on Saturday with the most amazing weather and sunshine. We did have a very bold ground squirrel who really enjoyed the crumbs from our table and did not mind his photo being taken šŸ™‚ And here is mama goose on her nest of down about to take care of her little ones – spring is here so we will have to look out for some little goslings around the lake soon, so sweet!


Falling for you!


Despite my complete lack of time to be productive last week with a whole week of minimum days with the middle school child, I Ā did manage to make some tote bags as they are a project that can be completed in a 2-hour gap. The dress and skirts I have made over the last couple of weeks IĀ finally completed them and wanted to style them for a photo shoot with a Fall theme. Check out my sugar pie pumpkin!

I have always loved the red fabric ever since I found it at FabMo and I have made a bag with it and it was beautiful, I did always want to make an item of clothing with it. I love the tunic dress and as this fabric is quite heavy it works as a dress for the Fall weather. And I love it with the booties I found in Melbourne when I “accidentally” wandered into a Camper store while waiting for my friend for lunch. They are very comfortable with a chunky heel and I love how versatile they are. When I came back to California I looked over my collection of Camper shoes – now I know what to say when people say do you collect anything? Yeah, Camper shoes I now have 6 pairs and 2 of the same style Ā šŸ™‚


I also wanted to showcase the skirts I have been making and combining it with a vintage top I found. The tights are from Treasure Island Flea Market and the boots are a pair of Camper boots I bought 5 years ago! That is what I love about Camper shoes are their quality and their lifespan. I have found some lovely fabric in my stash from FabMo and each of these skirts pairs well with the top. The accessories are Swarovski crystal pieces my mum gave me when I was in Australia and they are rocking the outfits – get it!!

Here are some of the bags I completed this week using denim jeans for an oversize tote that I road tested the other day and they are perfect for carrying all sorts of goods such as water, sunscreen, and food. The pockets on the exterior are super handy for keys, smaller containers, and snacks on the go. As I was looking through my fabric stash I found the forest fabric that I found a very long time ago and wanted to make something that kept the fabric intact as it is a beautiful linen, another big tote came to mind and I found the perfect fabric for the back – see here on my Instagram post. The diamond pattern fabric is by a legendary fabric company out of Thailand Jim Thompson and this was a fabric sample I picked up which was too small for apparel but perfect for a bag. And I found the perfect pocket fabric sample in a chevronĀ fabric to match.

Friday was busy with the school Walkathon at the end of the day. Whew, it was a big week but we gotta keep on walking or even dancing and maybe we can catch a Pikachu in the field – no Pokemon GO for us!

Missy walked 67 laps only 8 laps shy of getting the coveted tie dye t-shirt. She was walking and walking and not wanting to give up – the kids were allowed to run at the end but her feet were hurting. So I said to her, hopefully, next year we will have some better shoes for you and be prepared, maybe with some extra hiking! This year she threw off her Converse and walked in her socks and at the end of that, she said her feet and legs were so sore after walking many miles and she is still recovering today which is Monday.

Next on the agenda for the weekend, was a sleepover party for my soon to be 11-year old! I enjoyed a bike ride and yoga on the Saturday morning so I could be prepared for 6 boys sleeping downstairs in the lounge room. I made an amazing blueberry lemon pound cake as the birthday cake and it was delicious especially enjoyed by the birthday boy. The sleepover for the kids was a lot of fun but as for the parents with the interrupted sleep, it was all over rover – still, I remember sleepovers and how late we stayed up chatting to our friends. This time, however, the kids had their little electronic devices to play too, I think they all appreciated the freedom and the next day it was down to the park to play with zero screen time all day! (For my kids anyway).


A Piece a Week – A 6th Birthday – A Cat Tea Party

This week I have many pieces to the major piece I orchestrated on Sunday! It was my daughters 6th birthday party and the theme for the day was a cat birthday tea party. So I gathered lots of afternoon tea goodies such as madeleines, ginger snaps, chips, crackers and cheese, salsa and chips (as we are in California after all!) and an apple juice substitute for the tea. I did not think that actual tea would go down too well with 6 year olds.

The week started with baking the 4 cakes I used for the cat cake. It was a whole wheat chocolate, cherry pound cake. I have used it many times for birthdays from the King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Baking book. And for the center of the double layer cake, I made a white chocolate ganache and I iced the cake with vienna cream. While the cake was baking I made yarn balloons as Holly had wanted these as decorations. I read a couple of tutorials on them and the best one was this. I made 9 of them and only 3 were a success, to me that is a craft fail – they take a long time to make and they are really messy this is all fine but the consistency of the glue and the water and the strength of the balloons plus the yarn all make a difference to the final product. I don’t think I will be doing that one again – yikes I put them on the tree outside and they are out hanging in the rain at the moment, not good at all (they are now piles of hanging yarn!) I really think they will make great centerpiece decos if I plan to use my yarn that way again?!?

The Cat Cake from my favorite cake book – The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book
Yarn balls in theme with a cat tea party but a complete craft fail, boo hoo!

Then it was onto getting the planning done for the crafts and Missy wanted crowns and masks. The idea was to wear them while we are having tea and cake. The crowns were a stained glass crown design from the Artful ParentĀ and we die cut hearts out of magazines with a heart punch and had metallic markers for the stained glass with jewels for added decoration. The masks were easy though I had to thread the elastic on each of them and it was up to the kids to use the metallic pens to decorate them how they liked. All the girls and my son had a fun time with the masks on running around the park and being super heroes and such! Here is my pinterest board of the ideas we had for the cat party!

The Superhero – Mr Ash!

Coloring in action!

Mask in progressĀ 

The story of the teacups was a last minute decision and I was hoping for the hunt for lovely china cups but then I thought well they may break on a concrete floor with a bunch of 6 year olds mucking about at the park. In the end I found these mid century melamine tea cups on ebay and thought just perfect – they will also come in handy for picnics and are fancy for drinking wine over the summer!

The table and teacups ready for crafting and some tea and cakeĀ 
And here is the birthday girl and her cat cake with her candles already blown out by her friend – hey we can blame it on the wind! I love the look of the crown with the picture through the ‘glass’. A very sweet end to the afternoon with some very tasty chocolate cake and a lovely glass of Australian Shiraz! And lot of fun with the girls and friends šŸ™‚

The birthday girl blows out her candles – or tries to!Ā 

A Rainbow and Fairy Birthday Party – ROY G BIV is a colourful man and his name spells out the whole colour spectrum!

My little one is turning 5 – being such a milestone we celebrated with colour and magic. There is nothing like a rainbow to make you happy so my daughter wanted to have a rainbow cake for the party. We found a couple in cake books and there began the seed of an idea for her rainbow birthday. As with rainbows come magic and we found a lovely fairy called Briar from Happily Ever Laughter who did some magic and bought some animal friends. We had a small collection of friends and Miss Briar even bought this rainbow parachute so the kids could play some games in and out and on top of the rainbow, of course!

Rainbow Mermaid face painting

Oh and the face painting was so much fun with the kids enjoying the character that Miss Briar drew on their faces.

The rainbow birthday cake – the magic was inside!

Miss Briar and one of her furry friends

The magic inside the cakeĀ 

This cake was from the Not Quite Nigella website where she did the top layer of the cake just perfectly – the bottom layer of the cake was a bit of an experiment! And the cake was a whole wheat vanilla pound cake with sour cream and lemon frosting – yum!

Games underneath the parachute