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
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….
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!
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!
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.
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!
The time has finally come with 3 days to the show I have been working towards. My inventory of stock has finally come together! This weekend is the FabMo Textile Art Boutique from 10am to 4pm at the Elks Lodge in Palo Alto. I finally completed my final piece for the day of the show which is a dress made from the cascades of colored fabric I have collected over time which I made into the skirt for the dress. As well the bodice is fabric that I found at FabMo – I love how it turned out and the skirt is a lot of fun to wear as I puffed up the hem with gathers to enhance the differences in the fabric.
My last few garments have been completed somewhat slowly in the last couple of weeks with little bits of time here and there and I finally made all the pieces that I have cut out ready to be sewn. The shift dress in the 1960s green and orange fabric has terrific hanger appeal and is very fun to wear – fancy a bloody mary anyone? The checked yoga PJs are super comfortable to wear and the feel of the fabric is wonderful, I am sure they will find a good home with someone. I know I used my fox yoga PJs all throughout my Australia holiday in the winter mornings doing my yoga sessions.
I found this velvet collection of cascades on my last visit to FabMo and it makes an amazing looking huge tote with denim straps – it is a mix of the luxurious and the utilitarian that will hold a heck load of stuff!
As much as I would like to make more denim totes this is the last one as time is fleeting away and I think I have a lot in my collection and I need to have room on my table too! This beautiful butterfly fabric worked so well with this final bag for the show.
So anyone in the Bay Area who is wanting to check out an inspiring textile show head on over to the FabMo Textile Art Boutique this Saturday, October 22, 2016 – hopefully I will see some of you there. I am looking forward to presenting my ‘Traveling Not So Light’ range inspired by my 8 weeks of travels and coming home to my sewing room.
This is what I found when I went back to ceramics last week – this cute little bowl was found on the pick up shelf and it was a bit of a mess on the foot so I got the Dremel and cleaned up the glaze and I just love it!
3 boiled eggs in a little bowl
After last weeks sock monkey project on the fly at the library I wanted to get a bit organized for next months class so we are doing Felt Heart Pins. A hand sewing project with buttons to add another dimension. We are doing the project at a smallish room at the library and it is way easier to do a little hand sewing project so if you are free on the 2nd February come on down to the Mountain View Public Library and get your Valentines on!
Make your own Valentine pin in February at the library
Here is a pic from last weeks sock monkey workshop at the library – the time was a bit of a struggle with everyone so a lot of the students left with their monkey in pieces to hand sew at home.
The bottom of the monkey, legs, mouth and ears
Today we went for a lovely walk out to see Mc Clellan Ranch Preserve to see where the kids are doing their new little projects for this year with the Rolling Hills 4H program. Missy is wanting to work on projects with the Chickens and Ash is wanting to the Pack Goat project – taking goats for hikes, now that sounds like a lot of fun! And both kids are interested in Beekeeping as are we so it works for the whole family. At the ranch there is a nature preserve which teaches the kids about the local critters and also some visitors hatched in California native to Australia. Meet Draco the Bearded Dragon – we fed him meal worms and he was just loving it! Such a handsome lizard!!
This project started with the idea that I can make a flat pattern from this book and transfer it to a mock up of a dress to see if it would fit before I attempted to cut it out from the fabric out of my stash. It took a long time to measure the pattern accurately and then I used an old sheet for ‘scrap’ fabric and cut out the pattern. The first thing I noticed on the bodice was how small it is! So I then had to add a few inches here and there to compensate for the bust measurement. The skirt part was fine as it is a straight skirt and once I got the sizing of the top right everything was all fine.
The book – I Am Cute Dresses
The pattern from the book – the shift tunic
The plan was to use a silk fabric I have been saving but as it turns out I did not have enough! Instead I found a cotton which does not have the drape but still sits nicely around the shoulders and bust. It looks kind of space age in the pictures on the shoulders and back but that is the design of the dresses in this book, using straight and angular lines. I never thought I would see it finished with all the alterations and in the end I got there once the sizing of the pattern was spot on! The good thing I am enjoying about this is that you can make the dress to exactly suit your body measurement and these are somewhat easy to fit as they just hang straight.
I have bought a rayon fabric to see how this will come out in a softer fabric as I like the way the buttons on the original dress float in the fabric. I will try it soon, as this week is Spring Break so who knows how much free time I am going to have to play in the craft room.
The finished dress in a cotton – perfect for summer!
This week has been crazy busy with the start of the week with a trip to San Francisco with my son’s 3rd Grade class for their storytelling and book writing field trip to 826 Valencia a writing center dedicated to supporting ages 6-18 with their writing skills. The kids had such a fun time collaborating together to create a story called ‘Food Fight on Planet Bakery’. Everyone had a character to work on and it was amazing to watch the story unfold before your eyes with help from the kids. The kids were given paper to complete their own ending for the story and this was sent up to the Captain to be ‘approved’ and read out to everyone. After the ‘approval’ the kids books are bound and given to their teacher to be given out back at school. We had lunch in the city and then had a play at the playground with this awesome merry go round / spiderweb structure that the kids just loved at the Mission Playground and Pool. It was a bit of a crazy thing to do after I had eaten but I could not resist as it looked like so much fun! At one stage it was so hard to get off that I felt my lunch coming up from my tummy After this fun day in the city I had two other errands ahead of me till my evening finished at 8:15pm – whew!
The next day I did my ceramics class which balanced hump day Wednesday very well. I love playing with clay and we were learning about under glazing this week. This is my third week and it is such a fun thing to do as each week I am learning to relax with the clay and just play – I hope my pieces come out well after they are fired and glazed. I learn to appreciate how much work it is to make ceramic objects that I admire.
Thursday it was Arts Focus day and volunteering at school teaching the kids sewing and lucky for me the afternoon was free for some creative tasks. I found this pattern from the book Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara and the fabric is from my last trip to FabMo straight out of a fabric sample book. It is so luxurious. I was so thankful to have some time to do some sewing this week as my usual work day was volunteering with the field trip. Lucky this project did not take much time and I did learn a new way to finish the base of a tote bag which I love! I am making a crochet pouf / foot stool for my lounge as a crochet practice project this year – I like to use the hook instead of the knitting needles sometimes. With ends of yarns from other projects it is coming together slowly.
Now to the weekend and it is relaxing with a hike with friends tomorrow…