As our class will be going on a field trip to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens next month our Atelierista (Art Specialist) bought in some cacti for the kids to practice their observational drawing. They used Indian ink and pastel, to apply the ink the kids used a variety of brushes, plastic forks and skewers.
A Problem of the Month in maths was this worksheet looking at the patterns in bowling pins and using repeating patterns to work out how many pins were set up. It is interesting how the kids approached this with their super cute drawings, most of them getting messier and messier at each line of the x pattern. More math resources for the classroom for working in small groups and coming together as a math congress to discuss their findings in the end.
After assembly this week the whole school all sang a song to the birds – yes this is the whole school including the teachers and the specialists. It was a cute little song I am sure the birds really enjoyed! We all danced in a circle around the labyrinth near the upper playground, it is such a wonderful place to work!
My discoveries this week were overnight oats and how good they are as a study snack! All I did was get this recipe from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon, I store it in the fridge adding fresh fruit and coconut to the bowl for the healthiest snack ever.
Apple Pie Overnight Oats
(this is my slacker version adapted from the cookbook)
1 cup oats
1.5 cups cashew milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Small pinch of fine sea salt
1 Fuji apple unpeeled – chopped up finely
2 tablespoons chia seeds
I just used a large mason jar put all the ingredients in there gave it a shake and left it for the morning and the next day and the day after, it keeps a few days in the fridge and is a great snack anytime!
The avocado with Siracha is sitting atop a super easy recipe for baked zucchini patties from the Vitamix cookbook I found at the library.
I love the library and one of the books I found there this week was this amazing Lebanese cookbook, and it made me so hungry just looking through it. If only I could get decent Lebanese food here like I do back home in Melbourne!! The good thing about working full-time is discovering shortcuts to eating well and the best place to find good recipes is at the local library, go Mountain View Public Library you are my best friend 😀
What a lovely collection of books and placing Myths right next to the Orwell book 1984 is pretty funny as 1984 does not really feel like a myth anymore! Still, the legends are the books next door a bunch of Star Wars parody books – yes more humour is what we need. Now on to last week that went by in a flash! It was a night of teaching double drawstring bags at the library followed by my birthday then a night out to the Arts Focus exhibition, and then Thursday night it was PBL (Project Based Learning) night and Open house at school. Friday night I still had to polish up my science essay so I could submit it this week! Just too much – I think I need to stop and breathe, which is why I went to Yoga on Saturday!
The double drawstring bag sewing workshop at the library was a hit with a full class of 12 students who were eager to get their bags completed. We have 1.5 hours in the community room – so it is over pretty quickly. A lucky few did get them done, but lucky the library has open hours for sewing over the weekend and during the weekend for the students to complete their bags. The prep for this workshop is just cutting the fabric to size, and lucky my friend gave me a box of fabric I could use for this class that was just perfect.
Myth – I do not like alcohol! I have not been drinking as I need a clear head to write essays and focus on my University work, but it was lovely to have just one cocktail and feel pretty good! A fact I do love food, feeling uninspired by the Bay Area offerings for food locally I opted for a ‘sustainable seafood’ restaurant called Pacific Catch that opened up in the local shopping centre. Ideally, I am wanting one of those fantastic Portland restaurants that serve alcohol and raw vegan, local, organic food, but alas that is not to happen here, it’s more about the beers and the burgers – boring! Anyway, I will be back home in Melbourne soon and the food there is the best. Still, I had a lovely feast at Pacific Catch with some appetisers starting with some Poke – absolutely delicious! The coconut shrimp – very moreish but not too good for someone who doesn’t eat fried food too often. My main was fish tacos served with black beans and creole fries, yummo! Though the fries had to be passed on to my hubby and the kids as they were too much fried goodness for me. Afterwards (as there were no real exciting dessert options at this restaurant) we wandered downtown Mountain View to my fave treat place – Alexanders Patisserie and had a lemon tart and some other incredible mascarpone based deliciousness! Such a lovely evening of eating with the family 😀
Wednesday was another night out with the Arts where I have a job of interviewing the kids for a newsletter article about the joys of the Arts Focus program. A program entirely run by parent volunteers who teach in the classroom for 12 weeks of the year – with an exhibition in between each one. A totally immersive hands-on experience with art that the kids absolutely adore. I am so happy to be a part of the team and teach the kids sewing. This program has inspired me to do my Degree in Teaching for when we return to Australia, though I have less than 4 years or so to completion. I am enjoying the classes, and it is quite exciting to use what I have experienced and bring it to my lessons. I am learning so much new information, and I love it. Now back to writing my World of Maths essay about ‘How Constructivism is the best way to teach math.’
Happenstance – serendipity, all those wonderful unexplainable events that happen in your life that generally are good intentions. This is what happened with this skirt as I happened to take a break from essay writing this week to fix a pair of pants. When I am with my new sewing machine, it starts to take me on a bit a creative ride, and as I am just sitting next to it writing assessments at the moment, it was a great excuse to make something. So I went through my basket of unfinished objects and found the top of a pair of jeans that I was going to make into a bag. I love those bags, but unfortunately, even though they were such a novelty they made a great talking point at craft fairs, though no one was very keen to purchase one – live and learn on that one! Anyhow this skirt came to be via a pair of old jeans and an unfinished skirt I made for Missy when she was a baby?!? I like how it has turned out, but the problem with this is that it is a little big still it was the joy of making something that made me happy yesterday!
What other joy and happiness came to me this week? Tuesday I was teaching at the local library my usual monthly event started up for this year – we will be doing the last class in June and starting up again after the summer. This month is a Valentine craft, and we made felt heart pins from a bunch of buttons, trim and embroidery floss. The tutorial is here on this site if you would like to make one of your own. What the world needs now is love so it was a perfect craft to do and everyone was very creative with their hearts and most of the class of 14 made 2 each. Next month we will be making a clutch from repurposed 8″ squares of interior design fabric – gotta start writing the tutorial soon!
I also was very lucky to be looking after my friend’s cat for the weekend this little black guy is such a love bug and really appreciated the pats and the company when his humans were away. Any excuse to be with animals for me at the moment, they are so loving!
And another wonderful random act of happenstance happened on Friday when I rewarded myself a trip downtown to Oren’s Hummus Shop for lunch with a friend who I hardly see anymore because she is studying too! I love the falafel there, and the hummus is so creamy and delicious. Afterwards, we were so full we went for a wander downtown and went to City Hall to check out this inspiring CSMA (Community School of Music and Art) Art Exhibit. The classes are taught by CSMA teachers in local schools including our school. The work from our 5th-grade class was artwork inspired by human rights and boy they were powerful! The art teacher created the watercolour with the V to discuss tenants rights here in our own city. The ‘Measure V’ bill for rent stabilisation, is still under contention (the latest news it is being challenged by landlord advocates!) FYI the rent here is already way above market rate, and still, they want more!! I have lost many friends who have moved out of the area because it is so expensive to live here yes close to $2,000 for a 650 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment per month – insane!
Sorry, I digress… anyway my friend, and I was really inspired by the artwork by the children at City Hall and how powerful art can be in the classroom for reflecting on what is going on in the world. My favourite piece is this white woven wall hanging with the many textures, I am a textile lover, that I might have to get my yarn and roving out and make one in colour! We will see as I have many other things to do in the meantime… including studying for my maths and literacy exam for my teaching degree!!
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…
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.
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!
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!
I found this interesting info about camping in a book from my daughter’s classroom when I was waiting to go home from school. This is what we enjoyed for my husband’s birthday over the weekend. Friends from our school organized this trip to Memorial Park near Pescadero, in the summer and we thought what a lovely way to spend a birthday weekend under the redwoods! Yes, I can say camping is quite relaxing though the preparation and organizing for a night out in the woods can be quite demanding especially after a big week!
A banana slug found by the creek where we were hanging out and relaxing after a big week. Hopefully, this guy found some tasty foliage and was kept out of harm’s way!
The week started out with my monthly program at the Mountain View Public Library with Sew Sew with FabMo. I am the FabMo representative who creates little take home projects working with FabMo fabric from interior designers and smaller textile design companies that would otherwise end up in the landfill. I had a class of 8 people who enjoyed making embroidered cuffs – a cuff is a bracelet with a snap to hold it together and we go through the process of sewing a front and back, sewing a snap and embellishing the fabric and then sewing the whole cuff together. I have a link to the tutorial on this blog if you want to try your hand at sewing one. Everyone is so happy when they leave with something that they made themselves and very thankful for the class, so it is a joy to volunteer to teach something that I really love.
Another side project I am enjoying with my Italian friend Cristiana from Pebble and Fire is an Art Play every 2 weeks sharing our skills. We visit each other and work together, have lunch and finish a project. Our first project was a ceramic pinch pot that Cristiana helped me create – it is a geometric salt cellar. It was so fun to create and learn new skills in ceramics that I may have missed when I went to the adult education classes. Cristiana is super skilled at hand building I love her style, so it is such a treat.
And this week we worked upstairs in my sewing room and Cristiana wanted to make a pillow case so I made her the pattern and we did some applique and made an envelope backed pillow cover. It looks just lovely on her couch and the little whale is made from denim and we embellished the heart from the red fabric we used on the back. It was so much fun to see my friend enjoy sewing as last time we went sewing together it was at an Etsy event in San Jose making lunch bags which was easy for me but not so for Cristiana. At least, this time when we worked together it was a bit more relaxing. I am looking forward to our next project together and it is such a great thing to do to learn something new and spend some time out of the usual.
In between, I have also been preparing work for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique that I am working towards. Here is another denim tote I have made using some beautiful linen I found at FabMo. I also made completed the sunglass pouches I worked on last week and made 3 skirts from stretch fabric – whew that inventory is coming along nicely!
Today I worked with the kids at school helping them choose colours for their cubby project where they are making an art installation using fabric I found at FabMo. They are staining the wood with a 1 part acrylic paint and 2 parts water where the wood absorbs the colour and creates a translucent effect with the wood grain. I love it and cannot wait to see the finished installation in the classroom.
Spring Break last week caused me to put projects on hold for the week as with entertaining the kids with trips to the park, library and their friends hamster sitting took up a lot of the time. It was hard for me to focus so I took solitude in my garden when the sun was shining. We also visited a friends community garden at the senior center and made Kale chips with this recipe which were delish!
So I am posting a project I made at the end of March and have not had the opportunity to wear it – so I need an outfit for the Maker Faire. I will be volunteering with FabMo this year and I will be able to say that I made the top out of the fabric found at a distribution of theirs. This is a corset top made from a cotton jersey screen printed fabric and the skirt is fabric from a sari a friend gave me to repurpose. I loved the colors in the sari fabric and have been saving it for something special so this is the perfect opportunity.
The colors in the skirt are that beautiful! (even though a filter has been used here)
Here it is on my model – I love how it works together
I had the library workshop on Tuesday night and I was at the park cutting fabric with my rotary cutter and mat prepping while the kids were playing. They decided it would be fun to use my scraps and tie them together to make a pulley so they were completely entertained while I cut out 15 sets of fabric for the workshop. I am happy to say that it was a complete success and everyone completed their bag! Each one I do now I learn something new myself how to gauge the project so it can be successful for everyone as we do only have a limited amount of time. A big thank you to my friend Nicole from nicoleathome.com for letting me use her tutorial! Now I need to create the next project for May – the wrap around pencil case…
The instruction sheet and a completed bag – a success
This is a lovely little find from the hardware store that I put up using my husbands drill and a couple of hooks on the fence. We first had to remove a renegade tree (with the help of my 10 year old and his Dads axe) that was taking up valuable real estate in the garden to make way for the trellis for the vine. I was wondering how this is going to work out with such a small garden but I am going to make it a succulent garden with the passionfruit climbing up the fence. I cannot have many deep rooted plants in this mini space as the redwood is right next door and with its veins of roots distributed throughout the soil so the succulents with the shallow root systems work well. I used mason twine in neon colors (an idea from my sister who uses it for macrame) for training the branches up the bamboo trellis and will add to this as time goes on – but for now we will see this little guy reaching for the sky!
Go passionfruit go!
Friday and Saturday we went to a group camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park with our camping group from school – I did not know many of the families before the trip but by the end we are all sharing our pics on Google drive and will now chat to each other on campus. Group camping is fun with the kids hanging out together and entertaining each other while the adults get to know each other and enjoy snacks and wine in between prepping meals and the like.
Kids on a big fallen redwood log
Saturday we had no real plans so we ended up hiking with the kids and what a hike it was! We ended up going on the Berry Creek Falls hike which is around 11 miles (17 kilometers), by the end my feet were so sore as well as my whole body from the traveling down the falls and once you travel down you have to come back up again! See the sign below, I really should have taken note but the kids were so excited to check it out that we powered on ahead and made it!
Strenuous hike – I can agree with that!
Wandering on the fallen redwoods
Home of some spectacular redwoods
A banana slug in action
We stopped by Tim’s Creek for a snack – really it was lunch and I was so unprepared!! We had rice cakes, sesame snacks and chips in our backpack with only 3 bottles of water – for a 6 hour hike that is not too good at all. I ate as many sesame sticks I could handle and tried not to think about food. The water is a huge issue on such a long hike on a fairly hot day – lucky for us one of the parents is super organized and carried 2 backpacks full of food and extra water saving us from dehydration and starvation. That may be a bit exaggerated but even though there was water in the creek bed do not drink it due to the microscopic bacteria that can make you very sick. We made it back to camp in the end with my motivation to have an ice cold bottle of kombucha waiting for me in the cooler.
Snacking out at lunchtime
From our lunch / snack time break we ended up hiking the last 1.1 miles down and down into the falls area. The scenery was so beautiful as we were wandering the trail but you have to be super careful and look out for stray tree roots and also fallen trees from the recent rains we have had. One part of the trail I had to climb up and around a fallen tree root to get back to the trail. Finally I turned a corner to a little vista point and there I found my daughter sitting and looking at this beautiful waterfall – she was complaining that she wanted to go straight away and I said wait for the rest of the group to come back from viewing the falls from the platform on the path further down. So off I went to check it out close up and take some pictures. It was so beautiful and super shallow too. It is a highly recommended hike but if you go be prepared with lots of water and snacks that will help you power through the many ups and downs of the hike.
The kids made it back to camp together with one of the other adults while I slowly made it back with the motivation of getting back to relax with a drink by the fire. What a super cool camp trip with one spectacular hike.
Berry Creek Falls in the afternoon sunlight
A close up of the falls with a rainbow
Using the platform to keep me standing – man we have to walk back uphill now!!