Back home by the beach

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The trip I have patiently been waiting for has arrived, and I am now back at home with my family. It is so good to be at home with everyone and being at a place where my feet feel firmly planted on the ground – this is the place where my roots feel the most grounded and somewhere I belong. It is funny when you go back home you really appreciate the depth of family love and experience that can never be replicated even by close friends. That is the hardest thing I find living miles away from my family.

I am creating experiences and memories for my kids with bringing them to this place we call home – a place where they can enjoy the freedom and the friendliness of this wonderful country. I have been enjoying walking along the beachfront every day and saying hello to the people passing by. This alone is something the children really love, and they ask me, “do you know that person”, and it is always a no, but here in Australia, people don’t mind saying hello to each other as it does not cost a thing. In the USA this was hard for me to get used to – being in a place where even in the same apartment complex everyone is way too busy even to say a Good Morning. I am used to it now after being there for 10 years, and you just acclimate to whatever is the norm of the culture you are living in – eventually.

Walking along the beach and the rocks with or without shoes have been just beautiful as it is so relaxing and quiet around here away from the rushed life of the everyday. The red cliffs of Redcliffe have such a variation in colour, and I am looking at them in a new light and enjoying the patterns and formations.

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The incredible food is one of my fave things when coming home and enjoying Smoked Tasmanian Salmon over a quinoa rice bowl with locally grown avocados and salad with the newfound seeds and flavours of Dukkah.

In my wanderings around the neighbourhood, I finally found some frangipani even though it is the middle of winter. The sunrise and sunsets have been absolutely breathtaking in the big Australian skies. And I found a cocoon of the case moth a caterpillar who travels with his cocoon wherever they go – I have not seen one of these for ages!

When we come here we enjoy going to the library to source out some new books, I found ‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein that I have been wanting to read for ages. No way will I be able to read this by the end of next week, but it has been fascinating. Next to the library is a gallery space and this time there was a quilting exhibition that I could not resist going to so I said to my Mum and Dad I will just be 5 minutes and 15 minutes later my Dad was saying its time to go now! They were with Missy who had said to them this happens all the time, my mum likes to talk to people and she was right, I really enjoyed chatting to a couple of the ladies who were part of the quilting collective, and we talked quilts and fabrics. Such a great opportunity to share information about fabric stores and sewing techniques and one day I will make my own quilt too! Afterwards, Mum wanted to go to the bakery – a real Aussie bakery complete with custard and neenish tarts, vanilla slices and fresh sausage rolls, that was worth leaving the exhibition for!

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I am getting used to the new face of Redcliffe with its cinder block base house construction, big window houses overlooking the sea. From what I can see the blocks of land are gigantic with a double block property a few houses down from this place currently for sale at over $3 million dollars. Though it is evident that the blocks of land are subdivided and smaller, taller properties are built and sold in a very contemporary house design that maximises space. Still, it is always good for inspiration to wander new neighbourhoods for ideas!

A piece a Week – A Geometric top and a trip to the SF Symphony

The joy of field trips with the kiddos and this week was wonderful as we did a full school day trip to San Francisco to see the Symphony at Davies Hall. It was a splendid day though very tiring with so many kids to keep an eye on. We had all 3 classes of our 1st graders on the trip so it was extra busy! The day started off on a bus ride and then the kids made it to the line for their snack with another 300 kids from around the Bay Area – whoa chaos, yes!!
Inside Davies Hall is beautiful with the symphony at the front – I loved the lighting and the sound was just incredible. We were in the front so we got to see the musicians and the conductor way up close. The conductor was so good with the kids and the kids really enjoyed him too! 
Are you ready for the Symphony??

The SF Symphony warm up

I found this stunning watermelon radish in my CSA box this week and it is just delicious in this salad of arugula and carrot sticks with a lemon balsamic dressing. I loved the colour of the watermelon radish when I cut it and seeing how vibrant it is, it just had to be placed on a plate to look at and then devoured 🙂

Delicious watermelon radish jazzing up the plate

It was finally the weekend though it was no rest for the wicked with a Scouting event on Saturday – it was race day and the Pinewood Derby was happening. I volunteered with the decorations with some friends and we got the place looking fancy in no time. After all was settled it was time to go out for lunch and conveniently for us there was an amazing French Bakery across the road. It was serendipitous as I had read about Voyageur du Temps in the local paper that week and could not wait to try it out!  I had the Salmon Tartine with capers, french shallots and a hard boiled egg sliced on top of the salmon and slice of thick bread. With the lunch I had a dessert of a Marron Danish which was puff pastry with a chestnut creme in the centre and a roasted chestnut inside – divine! And to drink I had a Afghani Chai Tea with organic Indian tea, ginger, organic red poppy flowers, green cardamon, star anise, close, black pepper and organic spices – it was an hour well spent being happy with food!

A beautiful lunch for two – my hubby and me (he had the Salami Sandwich on a croissant)

Sunday I spent getting Meyer Lemons ready for something new – dehydrated lemons for tea over the summer time. Here they are though some may be a bit overdone. I had them in the oven on 170 degrees F for hours on end as I do not have a dehydrator – I tried them in tea and they are quite lovely hydrated again.

Lemons ready for summer

I bottled up my first batch of Limoncello as it was ready for it’s sugar syrup and as I was making up the lemons with the sugar, honey and water I used an immersion blender to squish up the lemons and oops not a good thing with squashing all the white pith into the sugar water making it a little bitter. My solution was to strain out all the white bits through a nut milk bag and hopefully getting the sweetness back – tonight I tried it and it is very lemony though not as sweet as my batch last year. Now I am trying it the Internet recipe way with Everclear Grain Alcohol and leaving the lemon zests for around 48 days – let us see how this batch turns out!

Woot 75.5% alcohol – do not drink this stuff! Though it is OK for Limoncello, apparently?!?

Sunday afternoon and the weather was still beautiful so we went on a 9 mile bike cruise with the kiddos along the bay trail. We saw lots of birds and a Great Blue Heron and its buddy the Snowy Egret on the trail. Unfortunately as we were cruising along we saw a few skeletons of birds from the land predators -bobcats, racoons and feral cats looking for easy prey.

Getting home before the sun sets!

On Friday I finally drafted my pattern for the Geometric top I have been working on – drafting and correcting with fabric is a job that requires a heck of a lot of concentration. Friday I had the time to fine tune the pattern and finally here is the top. It was certainly a bit tricky to put together but once I worked out the ‘tangrams’ with the fabric it all came together. I am looking forward to making more out of the sari fabric I have in my stash. This pattern was from the book Burda Sewing Vintage Modern – published two years ago but for me nothing but classic styles throughout. I am looking forward to making more outfits from this book.

The front with an abstract shadow

All Ready to go! 

Lovely back V of the top