A piece a Week – A new tote and some ceramics, yet more bowls! And farewell to summer camping!

This week my tote from last year had a breakdown of buttons so I had to quickly whip one up – this is just a sample of the pattern I will be trying out for the FabMo Show in October. There are generally plenty of bags and I will road test this one first, to see if it is worth the time. The fabric reminds me of bamboo and there is a surprise patchwork inside that I added – as it was meant to be on the outside, the fun of working with unfamiliar patterns. The tote is lined with an interior pocket for organization of your bits and bobs. 
A new tote to carry the day to day bits and bobs

Surprise patchwork interior

This week I was happy to find in the pottery studio two bowls I made in a matte black and white crackle glaze. I love the effect of calligraphy ink into the glaze – though this bowl is just for decoration now as you cannot eat from it. I am so happy to be able to throw on the wheel and made 3 in the class last week – now to trim and glaze them all!

Amazing bowls that are similar in size!!

The detail of the glaze, it makes it look antique 🙂
Over the weekend we ventured out with some Australian friends of ours to a site I booked in January to Manresa State Beach. The fun thing was that same weekend my friend celebrated his 50th birthday at the beach and we were camping at the campsite down the road. So it has been a very busy weekend which explains why this posting is so late!! It is a beautiful campsite and so hard to get into as it is super close to the Bay Area and the walk to the beach is down a ramp rather than up a hill and back down again at Sunset State Beach just next door. We loved it, though we were dust balls by the time we returned on Sunday. 
A tree climbing monkey

Falling into the backwash

Enjoying the really cold water

Looking cool at the beach – why not go swimming in your clothes??

Missy gets some air

A future naturalist checking out the seaweed

Our dusty campsite!!

This beach is beautiful – Manresa State Beach, go there!

A piece a Week – Tote Bags for lots of stuff… and some tasty vegan ice cream!

A sneak peek of what I will be showing at the FabMo Textile Art Boutique coming up on October 25th. In production mode I finished a small park tote and 3 patchwork large tote bags, perfect for picnics or your camera (they are quilted with a lining and pockets on the inside, so super soft). I found a couple of unfinished quilt tops at FabMo one distribution that had so much work put into them that I saw that they needed to be reworked into to something to be used and appreciated for its quirky beauty. Plus I really did like a lot of the fabrics quilted throughout. 
Small X body park tote

Large patchwork tote bag with ribbon detail – repurposed from FabMo fabric

Very subtle design on this quilt with a martial arts belt as a handle

For those who like checks with their flowers – quirky is the key here!

This week just flew by and last week was a doozy! The beginning of the week was cruising along until I got myself a flat tyre – boo! Fine and dandy and AAA came and saved my distress and then I had to drive to San Jose to take my car in to get a new tyre. The tyre was not in stock so I got to drive around in an SUV for a couple of days – the kiddos really loved the sunroof! And yes, secretly I did enjoy driving around in it too – the environmental activist inside me does not agree!! Anyway while waiting to go to my appointment I had time to whip up some strawberry and fig ice cream, just the thing to get your day on the right track. It was a vegan vanilla ice cream found on Food52 – I am so happy that I can eat ice cream and it does not mess with my insides like dairy ice cream. I think the picture below is straight out of the ice cream maker in a soft serve form with macerated strawberry juice on top – delicious.
Macerated Fig and Strawberry Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream – fun with my ice cream maker

My wheels for a couple of days – the Subaru Forrester!

 Oh and this week Mr Ash took up Martial Arts – here he is in his little outfit! I love it and watching the class and the kids in action is wonderful. I just need to get him to practice everyday which isn’t too hard as it is really good exercise for him after a day at school. I am hoping that he sticks with it and enjoys the benefits of martial arts.

The next Bruce Lee

Thursday night I went to the SF Etsy Meet and Make with the San Francisco Etsy team at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. We made super cute gold dipped geode jewelry. My friend Cristiana from Pebble and Fire made a necklace and I made a ring. It was a fun class using the supplies found on this Pinterest page from Katy Atchison who taught the us this fun craft. The gold liquid gilding mix was intense (keep the lid on as it stinks like chemicals) but looks so good! Any jewelry you have just sitting around can be jazzed up with this stuff and it goes a long way!!

At the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco – needle in a haystack!

Sunday I made more ice cream as the end of another weekend was upon us! I had a couple of mangos from my CSA box and they were so tasty (not as good as Bowen Mangos from Queensland), still these were California grown and local – yay!!

Vegan Mango Ice Cream

For this amazing mango ice cream with a base of coconut milk – here is the recipe, an adaptation from a recipe for vanilla ice cream I found on Food52 and another Vegan Mango Ice Cream recipe.

2 cans coconut milk (I used one light and one full cream)
2 cups mango chunks – cut 1/2 inch square or smaller
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1/2 cup agave sweetner
1 tablespoon vodka
1. Mix 1/4 cup of the coconut milk with the arrowroot starch and keep aside. 
2. Puree half the mango chunks. 
3. Combine the pureed mango, remaining coconut milk, agave and lime together in a saucepan and bring gently to a boil, take off the heat immediately and stir in the arrowroot mixture. This should cause the mixture to thicken slightly. 
4. Whisk through the 1 tablespoon vodka (alcohol does not freeze and this is added to keep the ice cream smooth and creamy).
5. Let the mixture cool and keep in the fridge overnight – it will be nice and custardy the next day. 
6. Once cold and thick, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufcturers directions. My Cuinsinart ice cream maker takes less than 20 mins to get this going and it is so good straight from the ice cream maker! Eat straight away if you like a soft serve type texture.
7. Alternatively put the ice cream in a loaf tin and freeze for 2 hours or more with parchment and a rubber band to keep it sealed in the freezer. 
8. Serve covered in mango – this was fresh mango from my CSA and it was amazing once it was ripe!!

We all scream for ice cream – Enjoy!!!

A piece a Week – Patchwork Snakes and Summer memories in a Photo book

This week did not pan out as I had planned – instead of having a full day to design and create it was down to less than 3 hours on two days and around an hour the other two… I was being the chauffeur to and from the summer camp, two trips daily! After the initial shock of losing all that time, I had to plan those little blocks with projects that had a deadline such as my summer photo book – see the final product here. So that book had a deadline of Wednesday so I could get my $10 Groupon deal – which is just super as I do a book every year of our summer adventures. This year was exceptional with the time we had away up in Northern California. After that was all sorted, it was time to get ready for the rest of the week which was dinner with friends on Saturday night with a vegetarian lasagne to prepare and a fig tart for dessert, both turned out delicious and I am happy to be enjoying figs while they are in season at the moment! I think this was the third week in a row of making this tart – it still tastes so scrumptious!

After all the preparations for the cooking were done that left me a part of an afternoon and a morning over the weekend to do a little bit of sewing. I was inspired to make a patchwork snake as I saw it in this great book Minieco – I cannot wait to do more of the projects in this book especially the macrame which I have started, yet to finish… There are a lot of scraps in my craft room and as I am enjoying the quilting at the moment I decided to give this snake a go and see how it came out. I made one and then of course I had to make another one for child number 2! So far they are being road tested by the kiddos and we will see how they go after a couple of weeks and what I need to do to make them withstand the tests of time as toys!

Helping out with the stuffing

Stuffing away… you will see how long this guy is!

Snake in the succulents

Yikes there is a super long snake near the tomato plants!!

Snake number 2 in red and yellow as requested!

Look out here he comes!

Why not turn your snake into a guitar?!?