Well, my first week of the summer holidays was just a dream with catching up on so much stuff – namely sewing! It was so good to feel so free and not have any responsibilities of going to work or even study! I still need the calendar to get the kids to their chicken duties and the like but nothing dramatic. In exchange for credit card points, I got my hands on the Nikon Coolpix P900, this is a recommendation from a friend of mine in Queensland when we visited and I was blown away with the pictures of the kangaroos with their joeys. This camera has the convenience of a point and shoot camera with a 24mm to 2000mm lens that is lightweight and perfect for travel. The pictures above are a few of the earlier shots in the day of a favourite subject of mine, birds – who knew!!
Here are my little monkeys in a paperbark tree striking their Anime poses – I love this camera to capture these shots when the kids are high up in a tree.
From afar I was checking out the Canada Geese taking their bath on the shore of the lake, the zoom in on the detail of the water over the feathers is spectacular. The best part of this is that we went out for a picnic by the lake for Fathers Day and I had the camera sitting in the basket of my bike as we were on the trail and whenever we found something to photograph we hopped off the trail to check it out – like these ducklings and a mama duck. The butterfly was a random find and I had no idea this little guy had broken wings until I looked at the image later.
The highlight for me for the day was going to see the baby egrets on Shorebird Way where Google has closed off the street for a few months so they can nest in peace high in the trees. I have always wanted to see these birds close up and now I can, it was so exciting! Again we just parked our bikes and hung out with the wildlife show, it felt like a David Attenborough episode in real life.
Afterwards, my son and I enjoyed time out in the big chair at the Google employee park next door with a couple of crocodiles and the bikes of many colours.
Today I was on a mission to take pictures of the ladies at McClellan Ranch as the kids cleaned out the chicken coop. I took a wander around the farm and found baby goats doing yoga on mama. The market pigs are getting ready for their time at the show, I asked Missy what she sees when she looks at the pigs and she said bacon! It is hard for me as a vegetarian but one day they can decide on their own whether they would like to keep on eating animals. Plus I had no idea how beautiful pidgeons could be until I was photographing them today. The quails in the coop are Flash and Steve, they just need a lady friend.
It has been quite an eventful week after all with the new camera and getting out an about checking out what Mountain View and the surrounds has to offer. The best thing is getting on my bike and photographing whatever I find on the trail, I had been meaning to take my camera down the trail but my Canon camera has such a heavy lens but now I have no excuse for taking a crap picture with my phone camera of a rabbit on the trail. Next stop Australia and I will be taking some pictures of some flying foxes for my friend in O-town.
This time of year there is so much to do, and we catch up with many people before the summer is out. The one big event at our school last Friday was saying farewell to the playground before construction comes in to take it away, tear down some trees and place our temporary school in the same spot as the playground. The new school will be built at the current location while our school of over 300 kids in their portable classrooms with a grass playground – it will be a tight fit I imagine! It is going to be our last and quite a dramatic year at school next year!
So Friday night I went out with my lady friends to enjoy cocktails and a lovely dinner at Scratch to relax. We all needed it, and this is a great tradition we have to 1. catch up with each other and 2. to celebrate each others birthdays. This pic was taken to remind me of the good times in Mountain View and the city I have called home for the last ten years – it is now time to go back to “our home” in Australia in 2018 and be with our families!
I have been studying mostly and writing my final two assessments worth 50% each on the subjects of mathematics and science, very current topics that I feel are so important in education. So I am enjoying the assessments but every moment of my time is spent studying and even in the evenings! So between social engagements (three last weekend) and my life and study, there is not much room for much else. Still, each day learning something new and making the most of every day encourages me to have still the energy to continue with the resistance. One of the ways I am giving back is to knit pussyhats for friends, and they can donate $ to a cause that needs it at the time – which indeed are many at the moment. My friend managed to find this gorgeous fuschia in my favourite yarn Malabrigo Rasta – here’s to taking it to the streets and continue to fight for our rights!
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.’
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 😀 We had a party by the lake and 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 🙂 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!
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!!
What a crazy week it was last week with 3 minimum days and the schedule totally upside down – I really felt like this doll, flat out by the end of the week!
Still, the weekend was big and the 2nd Annual Summer Bike Ride was something Safe Mountain View has had in the pipeline for the last 6 months. I was a part of the ride committee as I volunteer for Safe Mountain View, to promote safety on the streets. Our bike ride on the weekend was a success with just under 100 people showing up with their families to ride their bike around the city of Mountain View.
We rode in ‘bike buses’ of groups of 6-8 people taking it to the streets and riding together creating this amazing feeling as cyclists on the road. To have that sense of empowerment and pausing traffic ever so slightly was the best! Even some of the motorist were keen to join in the fun!
To ride in a group the kids felt safe too and I am thankful for this ride as it really encouraged my daughter and gave her the confidence that on a bike you can go where ever you like as long as you are safe and aware on the road. Now she wants to ride to school, sounds good to me as I like any excuse to get on my red bike and ride around. After the ride, we had a picnic back at Bubb Park and enjoyed ice cream after our well-deserved picnic lunches. Everyone was happy to have some ice cream and there were even seconds for anyone who wanted more!
On Sunday we met some friends who live in San Francisco at the Treasure Island Flea Market for the day. Coincidentally on this day, there was a vintage trailer display and the interiors were so inspiring. The only thing to get a family trailer in action you need some sort of big truck so our Subaru sedan will not do the job. The teardrop or canned ham trailers are perfect for sleeping two which means we leave the kids out camping in a tent, maybe not! I have to get my hands on the book that was being displayed at the sites just to get an inside on design ideas.
I absolutely loved the colour schemes of the trailers – mid-century blues, pinks, and greens. The Shasta trailer was a popular choice of the day with a cost of just under $10,000 with an original interior it seems like a dream at this moment in time!
As it was a fun flea market I wanted to road test a new skirt I made last week for the upcoming Textile Art Boutique I will be a part of. The skirt worked well with the wind and just created a little bell when the gusts of wind came underneath – so no flashes of my leggings! The other bonus as Treasure Island is about an hours drive away in the car the minimal crushing of the fabric for the drive was excellent, so I will be making more of these this week and getting my inventory up and happening. I have until mid-October to get a bunch of new stock together so I better get moving!!
Coming up this Tuesday at the Mountain View Public Library is Sew Sew with FabMo and I will be hosting a sock monkey workshop in conjunction with this years animal for Chinese New Year. We were brainstorming at the last sewing event and we wondering what could be a fun project for the new year ? Downtown Abbey and tea cosys were an option but then we thought Year of the Monkey and Sock Monkey it was! The class is free so anyone who is available this Tuesday evening from 6:30pm can register at the library website BYO crew socks.
Time to repurpose your socks for the New Year!
Another piece I worked on this week were PJ pants for my Mum in Australia. She loved the fox with a bandana fabric so much I am making a pair for her birthday this week!
Custom designed Super comfy PJ pants
Finally the kids went back to school and it was all on and back to reality and I had to set up for the Arts Focus Art Show at Mountain View City Hall. The show is up for everyone to see until the 21st January where we have our reception at 5:30pm.
Our 6 weeks of Sewing class with a pillow, stuffed animal, pipe cleaner doll, LED Cuff, Hat and lots of Fabric Collages
Lots of Fabric Collages, Pipe Cleaner Dolls, Tassels, an LED Cuff and some embroidery Plus our group projects 2 Quilts to be hung
This week was all hands on deck to get everything done for my craft show. At least I only had one child to take care of as my eldest was in Science Camp for the week! As it turned out I had the time on minimum day to get a Halloween costume started for Missy. I let her loose in my craft room and she found two totally different florals that work together quite well. The idea for this costume comes from the renaissance fair and all the ladies there in their fine Victorian garb. I found a great tutorial online for the bodice and ended up making the skirt a circle skirt as the fabric on the skirt had such excellent drape that it cried out to be spun around.
To me the outfit looks more Harajuku Girl in Japan (not the Gwen Stefani kind!) check out the link for inspiration with the way they mix and match the patterns on their high fashion outfits. Still Missy loves it and has found the right shoes and tights to match the outfit – we worked together to make it happen and she was so excited to wear it! We went on down the park for a photo shoot and got some excellent pics of the outfit though Missy is looking way too serious in these pics 😉
The dress with the added apron on the front
The big circle skirt with a ribbon down the center
Fun with the umbrella in light and shade
Swirling around in an action shot
So it was Sunday I wrapped up the costume as I had some free time to play and not concentrate on inventory!
And on Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm I was at the FabMo Textile Art Boutique selling my ‘Urban Bicycling’ collection. I have to say that the show was an absolute success with 350 people coming through in the first hour and a half. I had a breather to eat lunch at my booth but afterwards it was all go, go, go. I spoke to so many people and got many wonderful comments such as you are very creative, the tulle skirt is just like Carrie from Sex and the City, you know what to do with this fabric (a lot of FabMo folks were inspired to make skirts with their fabric finds), you have such talent, the skirts remind me of Desigual a label from Spain (which was awesome to hear!) and gave out 21 business cards plus half my stock sold – I would say that the show was my best and I loved making the pieces for the show and it has given me faith that this is what I was meant to be doing all along!
My booth in the morning with all the stock ready to go – my $50 A line bedazzled skirt went to a lady who loved it!
I found at some stretch fabric at FabMo recently and I thought to make a summer top – my wardrobe is lacking cute tops these days so I am on a mission to find the perfect one. So I found this book Casual Sweet Clothes when I was shopping at Powells book store in Portland – their collection of craft books cannot be beat. This is a Japanese pattern book that has really interesting basic wardrobe pieces to wear with jeans – my utilitarian wardrobe these days with the kids. The Japanese sewing books have so many patterns in them and if I can find 5 I like then the book makes up for the cost of a pattern. To copy the patterns you have to trace them onto kraft paper or whatever paper you have available (I save the brown packing paper and iron it and it is perfect for sewing patterns). This top is very easy construction and quite fun to make and learn new stitches like blind hemming on my sewing machine! I am now on a mission to create more pieces from this super cool Japanese pattern book!
Back view of the top – lovely draped sleeve!
I added silver seam binding to the neck – what a discovery seam binding is for stretch fabrics!
Hanging out with Mack
Captured my baby girl Bella!
Last Saturday we were meeting long lost friends / neighbors of ours for a hike but as we underestimated time from our Scouting event in San Bruno to Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz we met for brunch at Whale City Bakery in Davenport, just down the road from the scheduled hike! This place is a find for it’s bakery with all their goodies made from scratch. This eclair from their case of goodies was delicious and looking at their pastry case I could have eaten much more but I went for an omelet with an english muffin for brunch and it was perfect with their chai tea. Afterwards we wandered across Highway 1 to the beach and explored for a little while. This beach is popular for local campers – though hauling your stuff down the cliff does not look appealing to me but I am sure it will be beautiful and quiet at night with the added bonus of being free to camp!!! Anyway I took some pictures of the landscape and turned them into clothing – I just love the textures!
Looking down into a tunnel that led to a forest of trees!
Sunday we went over to Oakland for a day trip to visit the Cat Town Cafe and have brunch at a Jamaican place down the road. It was a lovely hour with the cats up for adoption at $50 each or $75 for two with their shots and their microchip all ready to go. I love the time we spent there and the kids enjoyed themselves too. It was $10 for the hour with snacks and coffee outside the cat enclosure while you are waiting for your appointment – I really recommend booking ahead on the weekend at their website as it is very popular.
Hanging in a cat tree using Oakland Architecture
You beautiful kitty pooping rainbows!
This week at school flew by with Market day on Thursday! Market Day at our school is a day where the kids make up projects in class and sell them for pony beads. Everyone gets 2 pony beads to work their “stall” for 15 minutes for their class. It is a wonderful morning out and the theme for the 1st grade class was a cardboard arcade, inspired by the Caine’s Arcade video. This is a peacock ride that cost 3 pony beads – made from cardboard and painted by Team Peacock and rolled upon a child’s sled engineered by one of our parents to make it safe for the kiddos to ride upon! Pulling the kids around the loop was quite a workout – volunteering and exercise what a score!