New Year, New Beginnings

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This is the year 2017 and time for all those resolutions and all that jazz that never manifest. Last year I was supposed to play my ukelele but did I even pick it up and learn one song – no! I love my ukelele and it is so good to own one and I do need to make time to play if only there were more hours in the day, then maybe?

Now it is back to reality and to regular routine… I have my two subjects a week for this teaching period plus 3 assignments to complete in the next 2 weeks so my time is very limited to socialising and the like. I still need to get out and exercise for my mind, so time on my yoga mat and dancing are priorities. I am really enjoying studying and it gives me a sense of purpose and a goal (at the end of a very long tunnel!) My first group assignment is going along well and it was not as hard as I perceived it to be in fact communicating across the world online with different timezones is so do-able, every day it is done in business which makes me wonder why do business folks still have to have face to face contact and jet around the world constantly? Anyway, that is not my worry, I have to get this blog post written and get on with my reading and weekly tasks for this week for my Education degree…

Our new years eve this year was just the four of us enjoying a lovely dinner of DIY pizza, cocktails using Sonoma organic ginger vodka, loganberry liqueur from Whidbey Island distillers and lemon shrub I made over the summer and tonic water Рthey went down a treat. A collaboration with my hubby where he made the meringue and I decorated the pavlova sans the cream (as I forgot) turned out to be quite the success. It went down a treat and we shared it with our neighbour who also is a fan of Australia Рmy good friend in Australia said to me the pavlova was super easy to make and she is a Kiwi and it turned out to be so, though he did spend a lot of time with the hand mixer (I hear the Kitchen Aid is the biz!!).

For New Years Day we mixed it up a bit this year and we abandoned the idea of brunching with friends and decided to start the year off with something we have not done in the 10 years we have lived in the Bay Area. Why we have not done this is a complete mystery but as it turned out the 1st day of the year was a perfectly, clear, sunny day to walk the Golden Gate Bridge! Every time we drive over it seems so surreal that we are living here – well we live in the suburbs of San Francisco so it is not like living in a city! Anyway, I will not complain, I do love the sunshine ūüôā To start the year off on something new was a bold move for us and we plan to do many more adventures like this in the time we have left in the United States. That is if my plan works to escape and head on back home!

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The views from the bridge are absolutely spectacular and on a day with zero fog and sunshine, it was just amazing to see what this city has to offer. I loved the views of the bridge walking under it and I loved to admire the incredible engineering. The cables viewed from the walking paths with their curves were to behold and the view of the city just wonderful – it is such a beautiful bridge and a glorious bay it is no wonder that people love living here!

Here is a rare image of my hubby and myself finally in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – we had some time to talk about our future while we were away on vacay. Time alone without children screaming the background or media to distract us – now we know where we both stand it is up to us to take life where we want to go. The future can always be scary so a bit of investigation in the job market and where we are both going in life has to be examined before any big decisions are made! The love locks we found on the Golden Gate are from lovers who have used a lock as a symbol of their love and then thrown away the key – what a sweet gesture, I thought it was for suicide victims whew thank goodness they were not as that would be a lot of unnecessary deaths of couples!

I really enjoyed the light of the day the other day with the bridge and wandering along being together as a family. This holiday has really brought us together and it is so good to see the kids in a relaxed mode and enjoying each others company which is why I captured this pic of the two of them chatting away, they are both growing up so fast! Oh and check out the tunnel we had to travel through to get to the bridge, it is quite the adventure going into a little Hobbit tunnel.

So to new beginnings and how to move along 2017 in such a positive light! I plan to do more photography, ride my bike often (see this ride across the bridge for a bit of a long day of riding!) and bake more – this is a clafoutis that I made from apple and berries and it was divine. It is such a simple recipe I found in Sunset magazine using my Vitamix and oh yes I need to use my blender to make smoothies and all that goodness. Really it is so important to stay positive and full of light in the coming year and be there to support each other – I don’t want to mention here why but I think most people know the doom that exists on the horizon.

The week of wearing many hats

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The week finally came for the Textile Art Boutique and it was time to put on my retail hat and sell my stock inventory at my booth. Unfortunately for me the lack of people visiting the show this year was down 300 from 900 last year and I had to reconfigure my booth at the last minute which made me practically invisible at the show.

I really needed to be in a different location where I could display my rack without getting in the way of my neighbors – live and learn and I know for what to request for next year! Whether I will be making clothes is another thing? I really enjoy making and sharing my fun pieces but I really am in the wrong area to sell fashion – my ideal market is most likely Los Angeles or San Francisco where people are willing to dress up a bit more rather than wearing their exercise clothes everywhere they go! Still I am here in the suburbs and for now, I enjoy making what I would like to wear and I enjoy sharing these fun pieces. So on with the show and let me critique¬†my booth below…

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For one the way the booth is aligned means people have to walk into the space to check out my wares, according to a fellow artist at the show. She mentioned she used this configuration and it is intimidating for a lot of people to walk into a booth to look and I certainly did feel that way when I was knitting away and watching the crowd go by. Being at the back of my booth behind my stock was another problem as I could not really engage in conversation. When I stood up to chat people got frightened and left – I think I wandered too deep into their personal space barrier! I find that I can talk to anyone, this is from experience as a freelancer coupled with my personality but from where I was in my booth I hardly engaged with the customers. The customers would just look at my sunglasses pouch, check out how it worked and walk off. Another problem was that on either side of me the displays of the booth were huge with using massive room divider screens to display their fabric canvases and cards on one side and on the other side lots of wooden risers to display stuffed animals and 3D textile pieces so my booth just got lost as people wandered by. Lessons learned from this year is to streamline my product line and work on my display at home before I head to the show.

Now to put on my teacher’s hat for the Halloween Goodie Bag workshop at the Mountain View Public Library. We now have a total of 8 machines for the libraries drop in sewing on Saturdays and for the Sew Sew with FabMo classes that I teach. We had about 13 students in this beginner class last Tuesday. The class made a goodie bag for Halloween from four 8″ squares and a felt stencil of a Halloween image. The class went for 2.5 hours until the library closed as some folks really enjoyed detailing their stencils. I really enjoy seeing what people create when they come to my classes, how they take my tutorial and customize it. November 15 will be the next workshop with an infinity scarf made from stretch fabric to take home all compliments of FabMo for the fabric and Friends of the Library for the machines, thread, and supplies.

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On Wednesday I took a small break and went to the hairdresser for a mom’s time out and used the Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink this time to dye my hair and I just love it! It is so vibrant on the lighter parts of my hair (the gray) and it takes so well! I love how I can change the color of my hair so often with such fun colors – I wish I knew about Manic Panic years ago as it is Vegan and a Semi Permanent!

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Sunday I put on my helmet and got on my red bicycle for a ride early in the morning. There was quite a chill in the morning with the added bonus of the trail being very quiet. I had planned on just doing my usual 30-minute ride up and down the trail but then I decided I would try and find a way to the middle school from the trail. I hopped off the trail at Crittenden right next door to one of the Google buildings and I spied this cool sculpture so I had to stop and check it out.¬†I found the plaque and it read ‘Cast Bronze Horse – Deborah Butterfield May 2001’ and underneath it read ‘A Gift to the People of Mountain View From SGI’. SGI would have been in their heyday back then before Google had taken over the Shoreline area and I think the building (where Google is now) would have been the one my husband visited when he came to the Valley many years ago when he was working for SGI. And as my MIL mentioned, there is one of these sculptures in the lobby of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford – I knew I had seen this before but I could not remember where.

So the week ended on a beautiful 1-hour bike ride¬†and all was good again. I just finished Missy’s Halloween Poo Emoji costume yesterday for Trunk or Treat this Friday! With Halloween this weekend it is very exciting!

Now to wear my student hat to get to studying as my classes start November 6th, for my Bachelor of Education so I can teach when we return to Australia in a couple of years. At least it is inside weather now and I can hang out at the library and study!

A piece a Week – Mama time out in Portland

Friday finally came and I was so tired and the thought of getting on a plane was exhausting! The family dropped me off at San Francisco International to board my flight in time Рyou know to allow for the security and all and once I was through all that it was time to relax!!! 
I got out my knitting and waited for the announcement to board the plane to have a nice little nap before my friend picked me up around 10:30 at night. It was worth getting there in the evening though we all managed to chat until 1 o’clock in the morning, so it was a late night!¬†2013¬† was the last time I had visited Portland!!¬†
After a bit of a sleep in we headed out to brunch and a bit of shopping at vintage store and my favorite shoe store Imeldas. And shopping in Portland is so much fun as I love the clothes plus the bonus is having no sales tax, especially when buying shoes!!
Waiting in the rain for brunch at Roost
So the first stop was Harlow in Hawthorne and I enjoyed the Mercy Blues for Brunch – sitting on top of herbed polenta were two poached eggs, steamed kale, black beans, corn and slow roasted tomatoes with a creamy chipotle cashew hollandaise, paprika and scallions with a side of avocado. Now that is what I call a wonderful start to the day – I paired it with the kombucha on tap, my favorite Yerba Mate. Sure if I am living in San Francisco I can get a brunch like this but Portland is my haven for food! I love how all the cafes take a responsibility to serve ethically and sustainably and most importantly locally!! I never eat brunch in Mountain View the offerings are very slim.
After brunch we headed out onto SE Hawthorne Boulevard for some shopping and finally scoring some gifts, a book at Powells and I found some boots then it was time for dinner at the Block and Tackle. We had a plate of fresh oysters which were divine followed by an amazing roast vegetable salad with a yoghurt curry dressing. My friend and I shared the most amazing Black Cod that melted in your mouth and an Octopus dish in a chowder broth Рgoing out and experiencing food like this is what I live for. 
Dinner at the Block and Tackle – cocktails, oysters and seafood

Sunday we headed out to brunch at Roost – yet another delicious brunch with their ‘eggs till 2’ menu with smoked trout, eggs, onions on a thick toast with a creamy sauce – just look at that, this is how I get the inspiration for my own cooking at home!

My what an amazing way to start the day!
Bloody Marys all around with our brunch
What trigged a mama vacay away was a trip to see the Italian Style exhibition at the Portland Art Museum. What an inspiring exhibition especially for me to see the designs from 1945 to present day and to see the influence Italy has had on fashion. From the most beautifully designed dresses, to the fabric design and textiles, to the weaving mills with the knitwear and cashmere, the shoes (of course!!) and the exquisite beading and detailing. Filming in Italy with such classics as Roman Holiday were featured as well as the Alfa Romeo Spider and a Vespa Рan original Vespa, one of only 3 left in the world. 
Just outside the exhibit 
Hanging outside the exhibition reflections on a sculpture

Traveling around Portland in style with my friends listening to 80s and wandering around every store with the same 80s mix is what this weekend was about. No I didn’t bring home any 80’s fashions unfortunately, as I have been there before!!

Nothing like the 1980’s
For my last dinner with my friends family was at Dick’s – a little innuendo is always appreciated and a lot of fun. We had burgers and fries, I enjoyed a salmon burger and very tasty sweet potato fries that are air baked. And these guys had Kombucha on tap too – Portland to me is a foodie lovers paradise. For dessert I enjoyed the Paleo Parfait and was ready for the flight back home. The pic below is in the back streets from the main drag in the Sunnyside neighborhood – I found lots of little sculptures in the street and a mandala painted on the road, my people!

Happy to drive this roundabout! 

Farewell to Portland and hopefully I will be back soon maybe to get another tattoo – a wonderful respite from the Bay Area craziness and back to a creative heaven where people care about the earth, their food and a slower pace to life.

At the airport – art and a piano playing, aaah!

This weeks ceramics pieces I made at home and glazed in class – a couple of succulent pots and small sauce bowls. The kids bought me a succulent from the market this weekend and it fits perfectly.

Multi coloured ceramics
Monday was a day off school so we went looking for a USPS mailbox! They are rare creatures indeed, I looked it up on USPS and found this one. 
Hello Mailbox, nice to meet  you!

Oh and Monday night I had planned a night out on the town at my favorite restaurant in Mountain View Xahn check out the presentation and the feast we had. This is the vegetarian tacos, papaya salad, vege buddha rolls and smoked salmon on prawn crackers. This spread is what is on offer for Happy Hour and I am always happy with the Lychee Martini at $5 each it is the best way to spend a couple of hours with the ladies.

Xahn for happy hour is the best!

A Local Trunk Show coming up!

The latest news featuring my up cycled textiles is the Beehive Collective Trunk Show coming up on September 14. If you would like to receive an invite to come to the show in Mountain View, CA, just email me trish.rode (at) gmail.com and I can add you to the list. I will feature some infinity scarves made from up cycled Sari fabric, silk bow hairbands for kids, craft bags and small purses. 

Join us on a trip to India. Chaat, samosas and lassi, henna, wonderful trinkets and gifts will transport you to India. 

We have been working hard to make sure that we have a variety of gift items that will be great hostess gifts and, most importantly, to give to all your beloved ones during Navratri and Diwali. And if you are in the mood to get a start on your Holiday shopping, we have you covered as well.
As always, this is an adults-only affair. Please feel free to bring your friends. Just let us know how many…please let us know by Sept. 8th.
Please visit http://beehive.coop for more information about the featured entrepreneurs.

A trip to the beach G

We had a lovely day planned to go tide pooling with friends of our from the East Bay so Half Moon Bay turned out to be a great half way point for the both of our crews. We decided to eat first and then head on down to the cold beach for some tide pooling action! As it was a cold and winter type of day we found this amazing restaurant called Flavor at El Granada. It was one of the best meals I had enjoyed in the 5 years I’ve lived in California – locally sourced ingredients, food made with attention to detail and excellent staff. The freshest of ingredients and homemade pastry is what I thoroughly enjoy. As an added bonus the ice cream is also made in house – I was eyeing off the goat cheese and Pecan but I didn’t try it … maybe next time. Here is a picture of the vegetarian pot pie that my friend and I enjoyed with a spinach and pear salad.

Vegetarian pot pie and look at that green salad

Here is the bathroom which is beautifully designed РI just love the colours! And check out the tiles Рnow that is a bathroom worth visiting Рdecent looking bathrooms are few and far between compared to Melbourne. 

Bathroom tile and orange love
After our feast we went on down to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve where it was absolutely freezing and so windy Рthere was a bunch of Harbor Seals but no marine life in the tide pools due to the fresh water from the rain, according to the ranger. The ranger redirected us to the bluff and through the woods to the beach where we could get a better look see of the marine action. 
These trees are so big! 

It was quite spooky with the dull day and the cold in the air and the kiddos had a fun time chasing us through the trees. Missy Moo checking out the size of the trees.

Abalone shell

The lack of marine life was fine as it was a beautiful quiet beach, I still managed to capture some interesting shots of shells and moss as the over cast light was perfect. 

Crab hanging on for dear life

The ranger was telling us that there was a lot of wild waves over the last few days and as we were wandering the shore we found bits and pieces of kelp, crabs and seaweed. I found this lone crab claw probably hanging on for it’s life while it was being battered underneath the swell. It was well worth the day out to catch up with our friends and breathe some fresh air – aaaah…