A piece a Week – Crafting a show in SF and our Winter Vacay!

The last week of school and there was a lot to do preparing for a craft show on the Saturday and Sunday in San Francisco in the Dogpatch. We also had our winter vacation in San Francisco at an  Air BnB in Potrero Hill to pack for – whew! We wished our friends a Happy Holiday, wrote holiday cards online and finished school for 2 weeks, yay so looking forward to a break and relaxing! 
As it turned out – all was ready for our early departure Saturday morning and we were on our way to the Holiday Show at the Dogpatch Cafe and Gallery. The space was very cool though the location was a bit far from the main drag so it was a bit tricky to get folks in. I really enjoyed the experience of meeting some new crafty folk and all round beautiful folks. I worked with these ladies, Tuesday from Headless Designs,  Vonnie from Stoneface Project, Kim from Beautiful Symptoms Jewelry, Ronisha from Rahne’, Lani from Lani Asher.com, Jennifer from Smells and Bells and our chair masseuse Cat from In-Symmetry in the Mission. Though I did not sell a great deal I reduced stock as we all bartered our wares together to trade for some lovely pieces of each others work! So all in all it was a wonderful weekend meeting some beautiful people living in and around the city! 
My booth at the Dogpatch Gallery and Cafe Holiday Show
As we decided to stay on from the weekend we spent another couple of days wandering San Francisco. I wanted to show the kids the big tree in Union Square and the kitties in the Macys window up from adoption by the SPCA. It is an excellent thing to do for these little creatures! As much as I would love to have more cats in the household, I already have two!! As a family we all have to agree on more cats and I will be the carer of the kitties too! Still it was a comfortable setup for the animals in the windows of the store and Missy loved to see the cats in the windows too!
That’s a mighty big tree there!
A skating dog named Bella
A beautiful kitty up for adoption
Down Market Street we found a fancy Mochi store so we stocked up on desserts to treat ourselves for later after our dinner at Papito in Potrero Hill. It was organic Mexican food with excellent service and very tasty ceviche with shrimp and mango! After dinner we went to the local food market for ice cream treats, just perfect for a night out.  
Mochi all packaged up from Japan
Here are some pics from our visit to the California Academy of Sciences and the reindeer kiddos!
You gonna hear me roar!
What is going on here – I just want to be a Junior Scientist!
I was taking my Xmas gift for a spin and I must say I love the iPhone 6 camera – super crisp images and the burst feature for selfies and the like! Here is a butterfly resting in the rainforest. 

Super detail of a butterfly in the rainforest

On our walk to the Cal Academy through Golden Gate Park I promised a picture of this dress in action – this is the outfit in front of the De Young Museum with my latest accessory from Betabrand in San Francisco the Wholester. Perfect for day trips out on the town to carry your phone, keys, cards and cash. 

Missy’s cat is in my hand

This is a fun picture inside our Air BnB with the kiddos playing hairdresser.

Kids play hairdresser and make the hair silky

We loved our place in SF where we stayed as there was a cat we were looking after while the owners were on vacation. The Burmese cat’s name is Misto and here are the kiddos with their new best friend!
Kids love Misto
Misto we love you!

And a very happy holidays from the peaches! Here we are in our holiday house in San Francisco – we love the city even more spending a few days living there!
Peace out cats!

A piece a week – Another cross back top with fabric from Sri Lanka and Indonesia

As I really liked the pattern from last week I wanted to try out another top as I find that I am happiest when making clothes! Maybe it is because that was what I first learned to do when I started sewing. I have such a stash of fabric that is calling to be used and I need tops for the summer, so why not! The fabric that came out of my stash this time is fabric my uncle bought me back from Sri Lanka – which I love and another fabric I found on free cycle – some batik fabric from Indonesia. When I pieced them together I thought what a wonderful idea of putting these islands together – one day I might feel like Sri Lanka and another day could be Indonesia. Both hot and tropical so that is something else I really enjoy – come to think of it I don’t know if I could handle the humid tropic heat anymore! Living in California has spoilt me big time with it’s wonderful weather 😀

Back to the fun of making this top again – I decided to redo the neckline and make it higher so it sits better on the shoulder and it sits very much like a trapeze top now which I like as it will be cool for the hotter weather. The fabrics go together very well and even though there is a lot of black that is fine as it will go with many different colored pants or skirts. Anyway enough of my wardrobe and updating – it is fun to do and maybe this well I will work on something new.

The back of the top with the Sri Lankan elephants

The front of the top with the Indonesian batik – the pattern is gorgeous

The side view with a bit of the Sri Lankan fabric peeking though

The Sri Lankan fabric in full view from the front. 

Last week flew by and I had a full weekend of camping and taking a walk about Sutro Baths in San Francisco starting at Lands End. It was just beautiful as you could hike up in between the Monterey Cypress and get the perfect shot of the Golden Gate bridge. The camping was pretty awesome at China Camp with a near full moon and being out in front of the fire. The smell of the campfire just takes me back to summer and the knowing that there is more to come makes me so happy. I love being outside and it is a small price to pay to be sleeping on the ground in a tiny tent with my whole family – it is such an amazing thing to do for your soul. We had a whirl wind journey as we had planned to go Friday but the traffic was a nightmare so we went first thing Saturday morning and the day was absolutely perfect with sunshine a a teeny bit of fog when we were walking around.

The afternoon at the campground we set up camp and had a couple of glasses of wine prepping a chili for dinner – super easy to throw a vegetarian chili on the open fire but be careful of the beans. The evening dessert was the hit of last summer – Campfire Cones. This time we threw in some Girl Scout Thin Mints and marshmallows and that was enjoyed by all even without the melty chocolate minty marshmallow combo. On the way back home Sunday, we stopped at China Camp – an old shrimp fishing village from the 1800s. There will be a next time – as the camping was super and I have a couple of good spots we would like to stay at next time we go there and definitely check out the hiking around the camp sites. One thing I remember was that I heard frogs singing away in the evening – what a perfect sound to sleep by!

Through a tunnel at Sutro Baths to see the rough surf
A stunning grove of Monterey Cypress tress
Action by the kiddos on the hike
A perfect day with the Golden Gate bridge
Our camp site and tent – fly less, what’s going on it isn’t even Summer!
The kids on the beach at China Camp
Sunday and the bridge is shrouded in fog – and we hear the fog horn

NaBloPoMo – Day 18 – A day with errands – Marin piccies from 2012

Today was exciting as it is Monday and my usual is exercise class, Whole Foods and pick up the kiddos. The excitement at Whole Foods was that the lights went out when I was there – they lost the power and the music went out, it was very strange shopping in the dark without the fluorescent lighting! Soon the music came on and I was back to shopping in the dark 🙂 After check out, just to be safe I sent my cart in the lift and walked down the stairs just in case I got stuck – yikes! Anyway after all of those thrills I came home only to go and hang at school for the rest of the day, yawn I need to get to my yarn and start knitting and being productive! 

So with the lack of thrills in my day I have been clearing out the pics in my phone to make room to update to the new OS & I found some super cool pics from a Marin weekend away last year.

Wild mustard with a blue sky – the day before was freezing!

A huge gum tree on the trail to the beach from the YMCA Hostel

Missy moo and the huge tree!
Where are the hobbits? At the Sausalito Childrens Museum 

Point Bonita Lighthouse 

The Golden Gate Bridge – with some filter from my phone

A cairn by the waves on the beach in Marin

Let us hike to the beach! 

Day out to San Francisco and a trip to the Aquarium of the Bay

As a silent auction prize from school we bought tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. Honestly I am not a fan of Pier 39, there are too many people and not enough good places to eat. Anyway we decided to be tourists of a day and met some Aussie friends of ours at the Aquarium and decided to explore a little bit more away from the tourist traps at Pier 39. Of course the little ones loved the Aquarium, it is small but fits in a lot of information about taking care of the ocean and its creatures. The Giant Pacific Octopus came out and it was a wonderful site to see, the kids of course enjoyed the tropical fish and the starfish in the touch pool. The tunnel of rays and sharks is a lot of fun to wander through and they have an a new exhibit of river otters that we found had climbed a tree in their enclosure to watch the passers by.

My favorite creature of the Aquarium the Giant Pacific Octopus

As the aquarium excitement wore off and we had seen all the exhibits twice, we took a walk to the Musee Mecanique – The Mechanical Museum. Here you can take a bunch of quarters and play old arcade games like my favorite Galaxian and the like or even check out the dioramas from back in the day. A wonderful way to see what people enjoyed playing before everything went computerized. Be warned that Laughing Sal can be a bit freaky – she is huge, I had seen her before at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Love the artwork on this game – an original stand up game!

An interview with a fellow SF Etsy Member meet Usha from UshaDesigns

As part of a fun team member project we were assigned fellow SF Etsy team members to work with for this online meet another creative person Q&A. I met the wonderfully talented Usha from UshaDesigns – Handcrafted Accessories made in San Francisco. I just love the embroidery work, Usha does an absolutely wonderful job! Enjoy this interview – we had a lot of fun emails along the way to make this happen…
Embroidered henna inspired notecard – find them here
1. When did you first pick up your craft?
My first memories of sewing & crafts are from when I was 4 or 5 years old. I had one of those plastic square loop-weaving looms (yes, it was the ‘70s!) where I could weave potholders. I also distinctly remember making a bubble-gum pink half apron (all hand-sewing) from some scraps of fabric my mom’s friend had.  And I used to make necklaces by stringing berries using a needle & thread from a shrub in the front yard.  When I was 7 years old, a neighbor started giving me sewing lessons at home.  I’d go to the fabric store with her and my mom and select a pattern, read all of the yardage & notions guidelines, and select fabrics.  By the time I was in 4th grade, I remember making my own outfits to wear to school!  I ended up taking home economics in middle school, and advanced sewing in high school.  By the time I was in college, I took a pattern-making class, a costume design class, and started working in the costume shop in our theatre department.  That turned into working summers at the Utah Shakespearean Festival in their costume shop, and eventually working for several theatre companies in San Jose.
Beautiful freehand embroidery experiement
2. Following on so when did you decide that you wanted to be an artist or a creative person?
I don’t think I ever “decided” to be creative.  I was actually a studio art major in college, primarily doing abstract oil painting.  But working professionally in the theatre made me realize that I missed being creative for the sake of being creative.  I would spend 40 hours (or more) per week sewing for work, which left little mental or physical energy to work on my own projects.  I definitely remember moving to San Francisco in the mid-‘90s and conscientiously deciding to NOT work in the theatre.  Ironically, my first job was working at a clothing boutique on Haight Street where I was hired to do on-site production and alterations.  But I also remember realizing that I got much more enjoyment from working on things for myself or for my friends than working on other people’s ideas.
Floral appliqued fleece hat to keep you nice and toasty
3. We all have that product that people always ask for and we’ve made a few of them – what do people ask you for? Also, what product would you wish more people would “show some love”?
I don’t get too many requests, and I want to encourage my customers to ask for something specific if they don’t see exactly what they want in my shop!  Last year, my main focus was on machine-embroidered coasters and fleece beanie hats.  I did get a couple of custom orders for specific flower (accent) colors on the hats, and I worked with one customer on a batch of custom fleece scarves that she wanted to give as holiday gifts.  But I wish more people would check out my coasters – I think they’re really cute and make perfect gifts (for yourself or for a friend).  And I’d love to get requests for different color embroidery – sometimes changing the color can make the design look really different, and I love discovering the endless looks one technique can produce.
Embroidered coasters make perfect gifts
4. What drives you to continue to work with textiles and sew?
Wow, I thought this would be an easy question to answer! I’m a really tactile person – I get really excited about fabric.  But I think there are a few things that drive me: I have endless ideas for projects I want to make, and so many techniques I read about and want to incorporate in a unique way in my own items.  There are so many creative people out there who write blogs and create tutorials, and there are so many projects that look like tons of fun to make.  I’m always really careful to find out whether those tutorials are for personal use only or if they can be used for commercial production – the ones for personal use are the ones I love to make as a special gift for a family member or friend (of course, I still blog about it and give creative credit where it’s due!).  My newest motivation is that I’m about to become a mom, and I am just bursting with joy about the prospect of me making things for my little one!
Tote bag created from upcycled curtains – love it!
5. Any new items coming out in your collection soon?
I’ve been talking for a while about creating a line of iPad placemats.  I got the idea when I took a beginning quilting class.  Our project was the perfect size for me to carry around with my iPad and use it as a mat on a café table.  One of the best things about an iPad is that you can take it anywhere with you.  But the tables at coffee shops are usually a bit dirty.  I found myself always grabbing 2 napkins – one to wipe down the table, and one to open up and use as a barrier between the table and my iPad.  I hope to make a couple of those and put them in my shop soon.  
I also have a lot of material I was using years ago to make tote bags (before taking your own bag to a store was fashionable!) but I got tired of making those bags.  Recently, I was playing with some ideas of how to use that material for placemats, so hopefully those will be in my shop soon, too.
Another line I’ve been working on for the past few years is upcycling vintage Indian clothing (mostly embellished silks) into beautiful decorative pillows.  Each pillow/set is one-of-a-kind, and I plan to put those items in my shop later this year.
For more information and beautifully made products you can find Usha at the following:

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ushadesigns/

A field trip with SF Etsy… to the Zoo!

For a fantastic day out – the SF Etsy team leaders organised to meet up with some of the team at the San Francisco Zoo. We were invited back to the ARC (Animal Resource Centre) at the zoo to get close and personal with some of the animals I have some pictures here. For the trip we all had to do an art project on an animal that inspired us. I saw some wonderful animals at the zoo that day but the animal that I was truly fascinated by was the Great Horned Owl. I had only seen a Great Horned Owl as a puppet or in a diorama at State Parks and the Natural History Museum, so to see him in real life took my breath away.

So, I created my art piece inspired the Archimedes the Great Horned Owl. I wanted include fabric that was woven as a connection to the story in my art piece. I loved the owl’s feather pattern and with fabric patterns are woven or even designed. So I scanned a piece of woven silk and used that as a backdrop. I enjoy working with fabric therefore using this in my digital art was important – I wanted to make the owl look powerful against the background so I painted his feathers with colours that are in contrast. Usually owls have the perfect camouflage but as I wanted him to look strong I emphasised his coat of feathers with bright highlights. The idea of this piece is that nature and animals are woven within the threads of our being – so enjoy… Archimedes the Great Horned Owl.

And if you want your own copy go to this site here

My submission art piece for the SF Etsy Zoo Field Trip 

A few of my favourite things this summer…

This is a long post as I am super busy crafting for the FabMo Textile event on the 27th October – more about that later. So for now here is my summer in pictures…
Holly Wolly at Webb Ranch Farms

Berry picking at the farm with the kiddos – it was way too hot by the time we got there, we know for next year to go super early in the morning!

Mackaroni & Rydey

My nephew visiting from Australia with my sister – here he is on the first weekend in Cali… feeling the heat but thank goodness for berry frozen treats.

My sister & a cream puff with Rydey

A Hula show at Yerba Buena in San Francisco with my sister and my nephew and of course my family and friends eating cream puffs – yay!

Asheba @ the library

Going to an Asheba show at the local library on a gorgeous sunny summer’s day!

Oh my we are off somewhere very exciting….

Yes we are in Disneyland!!
What an amazing day!
Spending time in Disneyland was very exciting for everyone concerned – initially it was all very scary with heat, crowds and travelling but after we got through all that and experienced the fun to be had it was just a super place to visit and looking forward to going back again! 
Hanging with some Pixar friends
The kids loved It’s a Bug’s Land at California Adventure as it was just perfect for our 3 kiddos aged 6, 4 and 17 months. 
Going on a ride…
Not realising that I was afraid of heights on the Jellyfish ride at California Adventure – see more excitement here
The gang’s all here in our official Disney pic
Take me to your leader
 Nothing like TV in the morning before breakfast, kids watching the Disney channel on cable of course! What a magical time we had in Anaheim, So Cal!
My nephew and my sister
Hanging with my sister and nephew and checking out local haunts like Rengstorff House for a tour – it was a very educational tour by a docent learning of the history of the house and of the local hood.
Ground squirrel ready for action!
Capturing the ground squirrels with my SLR down at Shoreline park, the best local place to cool off on a warm summers day. 
Rainbow Sno
One buck for a sno cone full of sugar and ice – there is nothing like it while enjoying the shade of a big oak tree at Vasona Park. Oh and while we were there the op shop at Los Gatos has the best shoes – lots of gorgeous Italian shoes for women with bigger feet than me!
El Savadorian lunch
Papusas and Horchata (favourite track of mine from the Vampire Weekend album Contra) at El Calderon. A relaxing lunch with my sister and nephew – thanks to Bobbie and the crew 🙂
A picture of the gang of six
A photo shoot of all of us – and finally making a picture work after the many shots we took with the kids all over the shop. 
Marin in the summer
Staying in a hostel with our friends and enjoying the San Francisco blanket of fog on a summers day. We ended up at the Sausalito Childrens Museum for the day due to the chilly weather. 
Enjoying views of the Golden Gate Bridge
This was the next day – yes the above pic of the stairs was edited somewhat but it conveys the chill of the day. This was the Sunday and the sun was warm and the weather was just beautiful – with a chilly wind but yes we are at the city by the bay. 
Golden Gate Bridge – yes with some crazy filter from my Camera! app
There a picture of the bridge – an OK picture considering I did not have my SLR with me and I was using my iPhone camera.
Fruit pie crumble – oh my!
A Cuisinart 9 cup food processor and it is the best thing for making lots of pastry and helping me prep in the kitchen – I just love it! And by the way this pie was so tasty – it had peaches, pears and apples for the filling all sliced beautifully by the Cuisinart

Salt Point State Park
Camping at Salt Point State Park – such an amazing coastline with hardly any access to the beach, see the cliffs and the sea in this pic. We bush bashed to this spot by the coast as we could not find the trail, we were lucky to get out in one piece 🙂

Gerstle Cove with the fog
At Gerstle Cove we spent the day relaxing at a perfect little house made of logs of driftwood and rocks – we had fog for shade and the kids had a ball in the little inlet. 
Smores by the campfire
Camping and this is one of my favourite summer activities and next year we have to do much more – I’ll be there booking my summer vacay in January just to get the super camp spots.
Banana waffle with grated chocolate and maple syrup
Camp breakfast is the best with the morning light and the campfire – and everyone patiently waiting for our experimental breakfast using the waffle iron. Take waffle mix, sliced banana and pop it in your waffle iron. Place it over the open fire and cook away till the waffle is ready. Get your plate ready and grate some chocolate over the top and pour over as much maple syrup as you wish – what a way to start the day! 
Well that is it for now for my summer of 2012 – lots of family, friends, food and good times! Not long now till we hit the Autumnal Equinox and another good time of year Halloween – whooooo!!