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 was the final week of our Arts Focus classes at our school, it is always a fun ride for the 12 weeks of the year with the art show after the first session of 6 weeks. Following on is the second six-week session, and the art show will be on view at City Hall beginning next week. I have my class of 26 kids artwork on show, and this time I managed to get a broad range of pieces from hats, fabric collages, pipe cleaner dolls, embroidery, Felt LED cuffs and Felt Animals. The quilts are just beautiful with is super cool cat fabric and a dragon quilt as well – thanks to the parent volunteers of the sewing team who choose and sew up the quilts for this session. The quilt will be offered for bids at the Silent Auction to the parents of the kiddos who were in the sewing class.
I always enjoy what the kids create, and this time we had some extra time, and they could make another project focussing on their stitch work and embellishing. The hat and the bunny were created by kindergarten children who used their stitches in an interesting way. The bear in the centre pic is made by a 2nd grader who took great pride in her work. I love to see anyone enjoying the needle arts and to see kids stretch themselves by experimenting is such a joyful experience!
Speaking of seeing experimental needle arts in action… Monday I taught a sewing workshop at the Mountain View Public Library on making a small purse from repurposed interior design fabric from FabMo. The fun part is always seeing what fabrics people choose for the purses – this project only needed 3 pieces. I like to see how people matched or mismatched their fabric to get the desired effect. I have worked with these fabrics for a long time, and it took me ages to feel free working with a tonal collection of fabrics or even just mixing the patterns. The class was 12 adults and about a quarter of the class completed the project in the 1.5-hour class – a lot of time was spent deliberating on the fabric choice! Still, once it is on the sewing machine, this project is a breeze.
I will leave this week with my International Women’s day, A day without a woman picture. The Pussyhat project wanted to see some hats up on their website for the day, so I found my rainbow and pink pussyhat. To go with the rainbow theme, I found this delightful picture my daughter made for me years ago with rainbows and black crows. It seemed relevant for the moment showing that no matter how many black crows (or darkness) is on the horizon there is always love and rainbows. I enjoy being part of a community be it at the library or my school, and we work together for the common good of all – now and always. Peace xo
The week finally came for the Textile Art Boutique and it was time to put on my retail hat and sell my stock inventory at my booth. Unfortunately for me the lack of people visiting the show this year was down 300 from 900 last year and I had to reconfigure my booth at the last minute which made me practically invisible at the show.
I really needed to be in a different location where I could display my rack without getting in the way of my neighbors – live and learn and I know for what to request for next year! Whether I will be making clothes is another thing? I really enjoy making and sharing my fun pieces but I really am in the wrong area to sell fashion – my ideal market is most likely Los Angeles or San Francisco where people are willing to dress up a bit more rather than wearing their exercise clothes everywhere they go! Still I am here in the suburbs and for now, I enjoy making what I would like to wear and I enjoy sharing these fun pieces. So on with the show and let me critique my booth below…
For one the way the booth is aligned means people have to walk into the space to check out my wares, according to a fellow artist at the show. She mentioned she used this configuration and it is intimidating for a lot of people to walk into a booth to look and I certainly did feel that way when I was knitting away and watching the crowd go by. Being at the back of my booth behind my stock was another problem as I could not really engage in conversation. When I stood up to chat people got frightened and left – I think I wandered too deep into their personal space barrier! I find that I can talk to anyone, this is from experience as a freelancer coupled with my personality but from where I was in my booth I hardly engaged with the customers. The customers would just look at my sunglasses pouch, check out how it worked and walk off. Another problem was that on either side of me the displays of the booth were huge with using massive room divider screens to display their fabric canvases and cards on one side and on the other side lots of wooden risers to display stuffed animals and 3D textile pieces so my booth just got lost as people wandered by. Lessons learned from this year is to streamline my product line and work on my display at home before I head to the show.
Now to put on my teacher’s hat for the Halloween Goodie Bag workshop at the Mountain View Public Library. We now have a total of 8 machines for the libraries drop in sewing on Saturdays and for the Sew Sew with FabMo classes that I teach. We had about 13 students in this beginner class last Tuesday. The class made a goodie bag for Halloween from four 8″ squares and a felt stencil of a Halloween image. The class went for 2.5 hours until the library closed as some folks really enjoyed detailing their stencils. I really enjoy seeing what people create when they come to my classes, how they take my tutorial and customize it. November 15 will be the next workshop with an infinity scarf made from stretch fabric to take home all compliments of FabMo for the fabric and Friends of the Library for the machines, thread, and supplies.
On Wednesday I took a small break and went to the hairdresser for a mom’s time out and used the Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink this time to dye my hair and I just love it! It is so vibrant on the lighter parts of my hair (the gray) and it takes so well! I love how I can change the color of my hair so often with such fun colors – I wish I knew about Manic Panic years ago as it is Vegan and a Semi Permanent!
Sunday I put on my helmet and got on my red bicycle for a ride early in the morning. There was quite a chill in the morning with the added bonus of the trail being very quiet. I had planned on just doing my usual 30-minute ride up and down the trail but then I decided I would try and find a way to the middle school from the trail. I hopped off the trail at Crittenden right next door to one of the Google buildings and I spied this cool sculpture so I had to stop and check it out. I found the plaque and it read ‘Cast Bronze Horse – Deborah Butterfield May 2001’ and underneath it read ‘A Gift to the People of Mountain View From SGI’. SGI would have been in their heyday back then before Google had taken over the Shoreline area and I think the building (where Google is now) would have been the one my husband visited when he came to the Valley many years ago when he was working for SGI. And as my MIL mentioned, there is one of these sculptures in the lobby of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford – I knew I had seen this before but I could not remember where.
So the week ended on a beautiful 1-hour bike ride and all was good again. I just finished Missy’s Halloween Poo Emoji costume yesterday for Trunk or Treat this Friday! With Halloween this weekend it is very exciting!
Now to wear my student hat to get to studying as my classes start November 6th, for my Bachelor of Education so I can teach when we return to Australia in a couple of years. At least it is inside weather now and I can hang out at the library and study!
I found this interesting info about camping in a book from my daughter’s classroom when I was waiting to go home from school. This is what we enjoyed for my husband’s birthday over the weekend. Friends from our school organized this trip to Memorial Park near Pescadero, in the summer and we thought what a lovely way to spend a birthday weekend under the redwoods! Yes, I can say camping is quite relaxing though the preparation and organizing for a night out in the woods can be quite demanding especially after a big week!
A banana slug found by the creek where we were hanging out and relaxing after a big week. Hopefully, this guy found some tasty foliage and was kept out of harm’s way!
The week started out with my monthly program at the Mountain View Public Library with Sew Sew with FabMo. I am the FabMo representative who creates little take home projects working with FabMo fabric from interior designers and smaller textile design companies that would otherwise end up in the landfill. I had a class of 8 people who enjoyed making embroidered cuffs – a cuff is a bracelet with a snap to hold it together and we go through the process of sewing a front and back, sewing a snap and embellishing the fabric and then sewing the whole cuff together. I have a link to the tutorial on this blog if you want to try your hand at sewing one. Everyone is so happy when they leave with something that they made themselves and very thankful for the class, so it is a joy to volunteer to teach something that I really love.
Another side project I am enjoying with my Italian friend Cristiana from Pebble and Fire is an Art Play every 2 weeks sharing our skills. We visit each other and work together, have lunch and finish a project. Our first project was a ceramic pinch pot that Cristiana helped me create – it is a geometric salt cellar. It was so fun to create and learn new skills in ceramics that I may have missed when I went to the adult education classes. Cristiana is super skilled at hand building I love her style, so it is such a treat.
And this week we worked upstairs in my sewing room and Cristiana wanted to make a pillow case so I made her the pattern and we did some applique and made an envelope backed pillow cover. It looks just lovely on her couch and the little whale is made from denim and we embellished the heart from the red fabric we used on the back. It was so much fun to see my friend enjoy sewing as last time we went sewing together it was at an Etsy event in San Jose making lunch bags which was easy for me but not so for Cristiana. At least, this time when we worked together it was a bit more relaxing. I am looking forward to our next project together and it is such a great thing to do to learn something new and spend some time out of the usual.
In between, I have also been preparing work for the FabMo Textile Art Boutique that I am working towards. Here is another denim tote I have made using some beautiful linen I found at FabMo. I also made completed the sunglass pouches I worked on last week and made 3 skirts from stretch fabric – whew that inventory is coming along nicely!
Today I worked with the kids at school helping them choose colours for their cubby project where they are making an art installation using fabric I found at FabMo. They are staining the wood with a 1 part acrylic paint and 2 parts water where the wood absorbs the colour and creates a translucent effect with the wood grain. I love it and cannot wait to see the finished installation in the classroom.
After coming back from camping I created a list of things to do before end of April and this is one of the projects. I needed to have this done so I could get some help with the prep work of cutting the fabric from the library. This idea I found on the Small & Friendly blog which was a no sew pencil holder. I wanted to combine the use of FabMo fabric for the exterior so I used some silk and linen fabric samples for the exterior and created an outer lining and added the ribbon to tie it all together. Once I have the tutorial ready I will have to have add it here. The sewing workshop is on May 17 so if you are in Mountain View and like to make one of these then is the workshop for you, register online at the Mountain View Library. These also will make an awesome gift for the coloring in fan in your life – my daughter is borrowing until I need it for the workshop.
Wrap and Roll your Pencils and off you go…
I visited the ceramic studio after the Spring Break and found some goodies that had come from the kiln. I have been experimenting with my trimming tools on the pieces I have been making and it is interesting to see what happens once they are glazed – these are all high fire stoneware pieces that are super heavy duty so they make perfect pots for my plants – so I will be making more in the future.
Green speckle glaze on this beehive inspired pot
A slab rolled bowl with slip and dipped in two glazes
Trimmed to create bumps on the bowl and dipped in copper red and matte white
We had a very relaxed weekend with family time at the Cherry Blossom Festival on a beautiful spring day minus the cherry blossoms (they bloomed a couple of months ago)! Still it was fun to check out the Japanese craft displays – Sumi-e, bonsai, sword display, dogs to pat, hula dancing and crafts for the kids. The kids wanted to make a bamboo flute so that was an interesting project though playing the flute is way harder than it looks! Michael the vendor at the stall made it look super easy! Think we will have to chat to my MIL about her flute playing and see if she has any tips 🙂
Using a heated up drill bit to melt holes in the bamboo
Ikebana display with a favorite flower of mine the Peony
Last week after the fun of my daughters 8th birthday it was my birthday week beginning with a lovely crepe breakfast with green smoothie on a Monday morning prepared by my family! We went out the Kumino the night before for dinner and as it is my birthday I don’t do any cooking – just catch up on projects to do and relax – hey it is your day so you have to make the most of it!
So it was time to make away and I wanted to make a special birthday dress – this is a favorite pattern of mine as it can be worn in winter with layers or on it’s own in the summer time. This fabric was found at FabMo and it reminds me of an African tribal fabric so I have added interesting accessories like my scarab beetle earrings and a necklace I made out of tiger’s eye and random beads I inherited. I went out with my friends for my birthday on Friday to a favorite restaurant of mine in Sunnyvale – DishDash, beautiful cocktails and the food is Mediterranean and delicious! So much vegetarian to choose from and fresh flatbread and innovative cocktails is always a winner in my book.
Get ready to celebrate
It was such a busy week with the school’s open house, PBL and Art show on Wednesday and the Art Show Reception on Thursday night. That the time in between was minimal so I had to quickly cut the dress and work on it in the evenings when I felt I had the energy – completing it with hemming on Friday when I helped take the CSMA art show down at school – whew! Hardly any time to read but my hubby found this dreamy book called Cabin P*rn at the local library – time to set up our future residence in the forest, where is that yurt??
Checking out the Cabins – for our future retirement Air BnB
Celebrating with the Funfetti cake the family made me!
Here I am with my cat boy – Mack
Just before hitting the restaurant for dinner – I was starving and we had to wait 30 mins to get in!
Oh and another Badass selfie – this one with some wisteria, it smells amazing!
The weekend was rainy so we went on a bike ride with the Superintendent from our school district and our school principal. Both Dr Rudolph and Ms Westover love riding so it was perfect for them, though not so perfect with the weather. The sprinkles managed to get us wet slowly but surely still it was refreshing and not too cold for riding. We stopped to check out the egret nesting area near Google and enjoyed some chocolate and some snacks for the slow ride back with the kids pace. Riding on the dedicated bike lane was such a treat in itself and if only the city can add more to make cycling safer – I volunteer with Safe Mountain View and with some perseverance we can make it happen!
Riding along in the rain
Love this bike lane crossing at Shoreline
Sunday was adopt a chicken day with the 4H Rolling Hills Poultry Project. As we enjoy getting up early and out and about on the weekends we hit the freeway early and headed over to Half Moon Bay to do some tide pooling – by the time we got there the tide was coming in super fast. Still we found something to do, breathe in the fresh and and go searching for crabs. The day was overcast and you can see the fog in these pics still it wasn’t too cold so we could hang out and enjoy our beach time.
Looking for critters on their little island before the tide came in
Fishing with kelp
Finding baby crabs
We were lucky to find this guy – he quickly skittered away
I always like to take my camera out on the weekends to see what we can find and as the weather was overcast that can be a great opportunity to take some pictures without any shadow so it was an excellent opportunity to take close ups of what I found on the beach. We are at Pillar Point as we went there on a super low tide one year and it was so good. This time we had to make do with the still creatures washed ashore which still are beautiful.
Sea glass AKA a broken coke bottle in the sand, the shells trying to shoo it away
Beautiful seaweed growing on a rock
The colors of the seaweed and shells always are impressive
Sheltering from the winds – a ladybug on a rock
The kids enjoyed picking up the seaweed and exploring the rocks to look for elusive crabs. The snow boots did come in handy though by the end of this the tights and the boots my daughter wore were drenched from walking in the water! Examining the seaweed colors in and out of the water was fascinating for my daughter and then she found a mussel and wanted to open it, I said to her I think it will be happier in the water.
Fly and be free little seaweed
Walking out looking for little critters in small tide pools
Coming back after a wander
Finally after lunch of some local fish and fish tacos at the Princeton Seafood Company – super fresh fish and chips with local fish on the menu. They also had a fish market with super fresh fish ready to go home with you. The cool thing was seeing the boats bring in the fresh live Dungeness crab at $6 a pound – so many crabs going to peoples homes in bags fresh for their dinner.
We met the Poultry project kids at the Half Moon Feed and Fuel to choose our foster chick – Missy chose a Production Red chick that we will be looking after in a couple of weeks. Each child looks after the chicks for a week with all the supplies and the heat lamp to keep them warm – we are looking forward to our time with the chicks.
Chicks ready to be fostered
On our way home we stopped by at the Worlds Rare Plants who came and spoke to the 2nd grade class about their Venus Fly Trap habitat project. Right next door is Highway 92 Succulents – now that was a treat for a succulent collector like me!
Love the colors of this plant now it lives in our place – an Echeveria – gibbiflora
A display of sundews, venus fly traps and pitcher plants by the owner who used to be a landscape architect
Tonight I am teaching this class at the local library, we have 11 signups so it will be fun – I better go get myself prepared and start cutting some fabric. All in all it was a fun week – how do you celebrate with your special day – week – month?
This tee has nothing to do with cats but a lot to do with checks! I found this check wool fabric at my fave place of treasure – FabMo, when they had their sewing sale. This is a tailors suiting fabric which I thought would make a great layering top. I found this Tee pattern in this great book The Great British Sewing Bee – Sew Your Own Wardrobe. It is a perfect layering piece and a lot of fun to play tennis in. As you can see I was out on the court again last week chasing those little yellow balls around though my son and I did manage a rally of hitting the ball 6 times – we were so excited!!
Getting Sporty in this checked tee!
Last week I also had my class at the local library making some felt heart pins with hand sewing and hot glue. There is something about the hand sewing classes that I love with everyone sitting around crafting and chatting. In this day and age times like these are truly enjoyed by all, so I am happy to be volunteering and making this crafting community happen and seeing familiar faces every month.
A finished sock monkey from January’s sock monkey class
The How To sheet and one of the students heart pins
A heart pin in progress with diamond buttons – by a lady who recently moved to Mountain View
The weekend was absolutely stunning and we got a taste of what spring will be like with some warm sunshine and blue skies! Saturday our family volunteered as part of the Boy Scouts community service with Save the Bay at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto. We were weeding out wild mustard and Ox Tongue Spiky Plants and planting in their place some native vegetation including California Poppies. We will have to visit or take a bike ride in the Spring time to see them in bloom.
A bike in the distance on this beautiful hill covered in telephone poles – I love the environmental art here!
Grown little Poppy grow!!
The kids playing after all their hard work weeding and digging
Sunday we had a planned family bike ride as it was Super Bowl weekend here in the Bay Area we enjoyed the peace of the trail and rode for a good 8 miles return trip. I picked up some spring blossoms on our way in my bike basket and enjoyed the quiet of the end of the trail at the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, just a bike ride away.
I love my bike! With a pannier to carry the drink bottles
Digging deep in nature we found lots of ladybugs
My bouquet of local flora including a succulent from my garden
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
With the start of the holidays I taught my last adult class at the Mountain View Library for the year with holiday decorations. We had a full class booked full but due to the rain a lot of people decided not to rock up 😦 Still I had an enthusiastic amount of folks who were ready to start cutting and hand sewing with craft thread.
We used FabMo fabric, felt, fabric scraps, sequins, various laces and ribbon (from donations to the library) and thin ribbon for hanging the decoration. I had made the patterns from traced cookie cutters and drawings of animals and objects onto a card stock. This is a super easy project to make from scraps around the house. I really liked the little bird below that I found online and made it completely out of felt and completed the sewing around the body with blanket stitch.
Tweet, tweet little bird
A cute stocking by a student
A beautifully stitched cat
A Scottie dog
A complete gingerbread inspired star with the instructions
This cat has whiskers and sequins for eyes
A stocking and a gift with sequins
As a farewell to our friends in O-town for the Chrissy break we visited the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio for the day. As you can see it was one rainy day in San Francisco with the Hello Kitty umbrella. The rain worked out perfectly as we planned to see the Disney Dali exhibition before it closes in the new year. The exhibit was fascinating with the collaboration of Dali and Disney with their film Destino – due to the financial difficulties with World War II the film was not made. Elements of the film were preserved and Disney’s nephew eventually made the film in 2003. The interactions of the two artists and the similarities in their work with surrealism from Dalis paintings to Disneys Fantasia film.
Hanging out in the rain before the trip to the museum
At the Disney museum we were waiting for our friends to show so we entertained ourselves with a bit of crafting at the Open Studio. There were two workshops that day – one was pet portraits and the afternoon session was 4 leg animation with drawing and animating on an app called iMotion. The kids and the adults really enjoyed the pet portraits in the morning with many of us drawing cats!
Examples of past projects at the Disney Museum Open Studio – Egg head faces with toilet roll bodies
My orange cat illustration and my friends cats of every colour!
The cool thing in the Disney Dali exhibit was a mockup studio and a place for the kids to draw different characters based on the cards that they pulled out – a character trait, a location and a character. Here are a couple of drawings by Mr Ash.
Heroic Desert Skeleton
Ominous Forest Dragon
Soon the week was over and it was Christmas Day – we had a lovely relaxing day cooking and eating and not doing much at all except talk to relatives on the other side of the planet. FaceTime is an amazing thing and it is so good to have had the time just to sit around and chat!
Mr Ash made the family Lego mini figures – Dad the epic reader, Mum the controller of the household and Missy with her deep imagination (which is why she had a space helmet on!). So very thoughtful capturing our own little character traits in his own imagination!