Two O 1 8 make it great!

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Looking through the lens of last year made me realise that we all just carry on with our lives and make the most of the year even though there may be sh*t happening on the periphery. 2017 was off to a dodgy start but then with how everything panned out in the end life really kicked off into full motion and things are now moving along!

What makes me happy are these chickens! Who knew that I would end up being a chicken lady who absolutely adores the personalities of these little ladies. We visited them for Christmas day, and we had some kombucha scoby treats for them that they truly enjoyed. The stress these little ladies release is just the best, so when we move home, I am planning to have a small coop with a couple of ladies in the yard!

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Thankful for these Peaches as they have just rolled with the last 4 months of Mama working full time and juggling study fitting in family time when I can. This year is a plan for more of a work, study, life and dancing balance – hey if family time is stretched where we cannot get out of the house we have the Nintendo Switch and Just Dance 2018 to get us all up and about in the lounge room. Quality family time, after all, combining the love of the Nintendo Switch (purchased in Australia) who possessed my family with Zelda.

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We wrapped up the year with a fantastic spread of hummus and pita chips, kale chips, home cooked pizza (Ken Forkish’s dough), salsa and tortilla chips, vegetable lasagne and salad. For lunch, we enjoyed my hubby’s homemade bread, chips and these tasty little goat cheese mini quiches made with my fave dough from A Year of Pies. Missy rolled my dough and put it in muffin tins. I added the filling of goat cheese and leaves or zucchini and gouda, I have to remember for next time to grease and flour the muffin tins for an easier release of the quiche but all in all they looked so good on the table and were quite a treat. We made 32 and have a few left over for lunch this week at work, so that is perfect. Our NYE was a relaxed night with our friends from Oakland coming by after lunch and our neighbours and friends joining us later for pizza, it was a late afternoon and evening of fun dancing, gaming and chatting with old friends and new.

Heres to a year of good health, delicious food, family time, friend time and lots of dancing!

Party time after a busy week!

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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!!

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Time to celebrate Spring with Holi

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This pic is most likely after I had a second bucket of water poured all over me – obviously California is no longer in drought and we had a very wet Holi celebration at my friends house this year. The Holi colour was incredible so much neon and so much fun! We started with an amazing spread of food with a potluck of many delicacies. I found a delicious vegan rice paper roll recipe with a chickpea spread on the inside of the rolls with cabbage, carrots, tomato, avocado and mint yummo!

Here is where it all started where we are nice and dry and we are just getting started with the colour and the next second everyone was covering each other in Holi colour!

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The kids were in two minds about the festivities but in the end it looks like they had a grand old time with the water guns and all the colour. It was so good the sun was out though we did need a bit more heat after getting covered in water.

There were so many funny moments with the hose, water guns and buckets of water. According to my friend ‘Resistance is Futile’ when playing Holi and it was not very funny when I got drenched. The kids first got me by wetting my pants and then it was all over once I had a bucket or two poured down my back, brrrr. After the first bucket of water, it felt like I had jumped in a pool and then it was all over!

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It was so much fun and I cannot wait to do it again though I will have to wait until next year! This is a picture of the aftermath back at home with lots of colour all over me – such a great combination of colours and a splendid way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends.

Riding into the Holidays

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This weekend was a bike celebration weekend starting with a SVBC (Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition) party on Friday night and then our own Safe Mountain View holiday party on Sunday. I found this great poster from when I was in Australia where “A metre matters”  when driving by a cyclist that is 0.09 less than a yard so maybe here in the US they can start creating posters where ‘A Yard Matters’ and have a picture of a SUV next to a cyclist to promote bicycle safety on the road. First we need to see more green paint and some protected bike lanes which leads me to….

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Safe Mountain View (who I vounteer with) who is an independent pedestrian and bicycle advocacy where “We envision a network of safe trails, and bike boulevards that enable children and families to get anywhere in Mountain View and beyond by cycling or walking. This network will connect neighbourhoods to schools, parks, the public library, nearby shops and restaurants, and public transit”. I joined my friends Cherie and John on this mission and we are trying to make this a reality in the future. In fact our night ride the other night to the party was loads of fun and I suggested we have our board meetings on the bike 🙂

We had our party on Sunday at a friends house (who were generous enough to offer their house for the event). We had about 30 or so people come and chat about the dream of having protected bike lanes in Mountain View and to have 35 miles of connected trails by 2025. We have a council member chatting to a founding member of Safe Mountain View, Pat on the left and John on the right is chatting to my hubby about the future on the roads with protected bike lanes. So many European countries have this in place so to have protected bike lanes on the road is possible – let’s make it happen!

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Thursday we had our LED Cuff making day in the Arts Focus class and the kids absolutely love it. We always need extra volunteers with this project as it is really important to follow the directions carefully so the light comes on and the project works. This green LED cuff is by one of the kinder kids who embellished it with a little heart – he was so happy!

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I have been sharing making skills with my friend Cristiana from Pebble and Fire we have been sharing ceramics and sewing tricks. This time Cristiana wanted to make a table runner with a little pocket for a napkin and the cutlery out of this super beautiful fabric from Harts Fabrics in Santa Cruz. It looks fabulous with this setting and it came out so well, to be honest I did not know how it would look or sit on the table until I saw the pic and it’s perfect.

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Saturday was another holiday show over at Graham Middle School with friends of mine from the community who make these super cool craft kits – check them out at Kraft Kaboodle. I wanted to buy a gift for one of my sewing students who had a birthday party on the weekend. The added bonus was that I bought their next kit which is a beautful flower petal ball that is perfect for the holidays, I think I will take it with us on our winter break and make it for the tree. The excellent thing about it is that it teaches the running stitch by using pins to pin the petals on the stryfoam ball and it is such a beautiful finished product. As for my booth down the end of the aisle with my textile bags, hairbands, glasses pouch, coin purses and clothes with $5 infinity scarves and 20% off still could not draw in the crowds – it was a quiet day but the fact that my product was not in the stocking filler bracket of $5 and under it was a tough sell. Still each show I will learn from my experiences and with my plate full of study at the moment as soon as this stock is done so am I. It is nice to be walking a different path – time to sew just for fun!

 

A piece a Week – A fun party skirt


Following on the grand success of the circle skirt pattern from last week I had found the perfect fabric with a lovely soft drape for a circle skirt! As it was Ash’s 10th dodge ball birthday party what a great excuse for a party skirt and to dress up 🙂

Let us party down at the park on this hot October day!!
On top of my usual boutique preparations and general house management I also made this amazing cinnamon roll pound cake from Grandbaby Cakes – it was such a hit with everyone! It was perfectly moist and the flavor was not too sweet. Super easy to make and the bundt tin was perfect for a party of 20 people. It was fun to break away from the theme cakes of the past and make a big boy cake 🙂 with a little hint from mum to say, you like cinnamon right?

The birthday boy and his yummy cake
And the beginning of my week I went to open studio to collect some ceramic pieces – yes more bowls but in an interesting array of glazes. I was so happy with some of them that I would love to repeat the experiments and see what happens – as it goes with glazing you never know what to expect! 
A stack of bowls – now only to get them all the same size?!?

A very successful Spring Trunk Show!

I just wanted to say a big thank you to the local peeps who made it to the Trunk Show last Saturday. Our theme was Mothers Day and Fathers Day and of course Spring! The weather was in full force last week and it was beautiful, sunny and very HOT. Still for those who came there was a bounty of goodies to check out and some very tasty treats. Here are some of my dyed scarves that I just love and also pictures of the show – enjoy!

Dyed Silk scarf – I love this colour!

Shibori dyed scarf in purple – my neighbour luckily scored this beauty!

Purple shibori dyed scarf

Dip dyed watermelon and lemon circle scarf – what a great Mothers Day prezzo

The Trunk Show ready to go

My array of goodies for sale

The delicious food and drinks 

I love these Macaroons by Audrey from Macaron & More

25 days of post #4 A lovely coffee morning

Today was a lovely morning for a get together of a bunch of ladies who usually exercise together 3 times per week. It was great to see everyone all dressed up & out of their sweats. Getting dressed up & taking my new boots out was a lot of fun & I enjoyed wearing a hello my name is… Sticker on my dress!

Countdown and today is one crazy day…

For my little sea lover Ash who turned 7 today… I had a crazy busy day of gathering last minute party supplies, then into his classroom for his Star of the Week project that involved decorating cookies with kids in small groups of 6. It went pretty smoothly I would say! There were rules with no sugar and no nuts so I found a super oat cookie recipe from my favourite cookbook – King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking and made an icing from this recipe here which was quite tasty as it had a slight coconut flavour to it.

I would say that around 90% of the class enjoyed it, which was good to see as I am not a fan of frosting on American cakes at all! So the decorations were orange flavoured cranberries (thanks to TJs), raisins, dried papaya and coated dates (which looked like licorice bullets). The most popular of course was the dried papaya as it is super sweet – I asked the kids if they knew what it was and most of them did not know. Maybe I was lucky growing up in the tropics in Australia and living in a family who came from tropical Sri Lanka. After all that, the kids did enjoy the cookies and scoffed them down – a few keeping the cookies for later with their lunch.

So after the fun with cookies and the classroom I dashed home to get my lunch of buckwheat noodles and tofu and hung out while my son enjoyed soccer in a class of older kids thanks to his birthday today. But the day did not end there… a parent/teacher conference was next which went well and a huge thank you to his amazing and caring teacher. After that was over it was homeward bound yay!

Dinner was a lovely gnocchi primavera with a very tasty banana cake recipe from A Homemade Life what a glorious way to end a crazy day. So here’s to my big boy my latest inspiration a tidepool inspired cushion – it will add colour to where ever you throw it!

Starfish cushion – under the sea, under the sea, anyone seen Finding Nemo?

Party time

Peach blossom

I haven’t been blogging as I was busy organising a party for my now 4 year old. We had a garden party in our back yard and it was such a beautiful day. While out buying supplies I found a bunch of peach blossoms which were a perfect addition for the table. I planned on getting a huge glass vase but I couldn’t justify spending the time and money to find it. Instead I found an old vase from a yard sale and dressed it up in ribbon. The flowers were the standout and we had a enjoyable afternoon feast with a cake in the shape of a butterfly – what a day for a spring fling. 

Butterfly cake with 4 candles as antennae 
The idea for the cake was found in a cake book I picked up at the library and I was impressed by the design and the fact that it was just one 9″ round cake cut into the shape of a butterfly. I think I made a 2 layer cake and the body was a genoise cake that failed miserably due to my lack of a KitchenAid Artisan. Still the cake was delicious and loved by my daughter 🙂 I love making cakes for the kids for their birthdays.