Last week it was our final week of Arts Focus with some very talented sewers from our school. I was really impressed with this owl fleece hat – I think this student has set the bar high for the next session! The quilt we made was given to our school principal as a gift for her baby, here is a detail of it – embroidered by one of the students.
This 2017-2018 session we brought in some new projects such as the yarn octopus and felt emoji. For the second session, we introduced the button tree to fill in some time as we had a lot of older grade kids (5th grade choose what class they would like to do as their final class). My co-lead also made the kids get fancy with their pillow making which is always a plus to see the kids stretch their creativity. The pipe cleaner doll and embroidery on the bottom left was made by a kinder girl who sewed such beautiful stitches. A favourite of mine is the platypus embroidery sewn by one of the 5th-grade girls in the class.
At the school where I work the students have been busy making a dollhouse for the auction coming up this weekend. The kids started with making little dolls of themselves and in true Reggio fashion, it evolved into something magical – this dollhouse. With some help from their science and art specialists, this all came together. I am helping them with pipe cleaner dolls this week to give away with the house when it goes up for auction this Saturday evening. Tomorrow we will wrap the yarn around the pipe cleaners and define the bodies of all these dolls lazing around in the playroom of the house 😀
It was back to University over the weekend and what better way to get the brain going on this clean eating diet I am currently on is to have grilled sardines over sauteed kale and roasted garlic topped with watermelon radish and tomato – very tasty with a dash of sriracha.
The annual Holi celebration my friend celebrates each year was a lot of fun on Sunday. We were very lucky to have the sunshine and warm weather after our all out splash of colour followed by buckets of water.
To add to this weeks collection of food I am looking at lentils as a high protein food so I needed to discover new recipes to eat them and this came to mind after enjoying lentils in Melbourne last year.
Black Lentils with Grilled Asparagus topped with watercress and goat cheese salad
1 cup black lentils (cooked)
1 small onion (cut finely)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
1 tablespoon miso mixed in a small amount of stock (a thick consistency)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Bunch of watercress
Goat cheese (as much as you would like!)
While waiting for the lentils put the asparagus in some oil on the grill.
Simmer onion on a skillet in a little oil until transparent, add lentils.
Mix onions and lentils and add diced tomatoes.
Mix through miso and stock through the lentils and add salt and pepper to taste.
Another week flies by, and it was back to Arts Focus on Thursday. Our little button tree extra project is looking really good now, and it gives the kids a good reason to sew a button onto something as a group project. The class for the LED cuffs went well as I made a video this year for the LED cuffs to show on the big TVs in the classroom. An excellent outcome of the class is when the kids hardly make any mistakes and hopefully follow the correct steps from the diagram and the video, so I call that class a win. Next time though I will not be stressing out from stopping and starting the video and handing out the materials required, the kids do not realise how much energy goes into these classes and we DO need more volunteers!
This week I am eating like a rabbit with many takes on salads for this low-fat exercise diet I will be on for the next 3 months. Checking out my calories on the Fat Secret app I need to up my protein intake to build muscle. So at a confused point on how to make this happen last week, I made an Asian salad with tofu and nori. Saturday was an eat anything day as friends invited us over for a delicious quiche dinner with ice cream sandwich for dessert and to top it off, a couple of glasses of red wine. I made a kale salad with Brussels, beets and sunflower seeds to go with the quiche and it was perfect.
Sunday we caught up with friends who moved out of our neighbourhood and now live in San Jose by this beautiful stretch of rolling green hills and oak trees. It was so lovely to be outside after the rain and see new leaves on the trees. The kids even found a geocache box full of crap!
I am hoping I get the hang of this exercise diet thing this week before I head on back to my studies this weekend – whoo hoo here’s to another 12 weeks of work, study and life!
Boo! So exciting that Halloween is just around the corner though at the moment it does not feel like Autumn with its 32-degree weather today – so hot for this time of year! Last week was all about work with many meetings, covering for another staff member and at least we ended the week with a staff gathering to relax!
I have been trying to get into the swing of fall and I got a start on my Halloween ensemble last weekend with cutting out bits of fabric to make into an owl costume. Having to work in a classroom the costume has to be comfortable and adaptable to working with the kids so I was inspired by this cute dress DIY but my feathers were cut a bit too small so I had to cut a fair amount of them! After they were cut they were very easy to attach but it did take a while, this is my favourite part – the actual time on the machine and seeing how everything comes together.
So the idea was to be Eva from Owl Diaries but this may be a bit too colourful for an owl costume still the inspiration for a bird is there with the feathers.
There were many scraps of fabric that I decided to cut into little feathers, actually, I still have some so if time allows maybe I can add some capelet wings?
Looking forward to putting this costume together piece by piece and next week is the deadline so I am getting my final touches done this weekend! I have really enjoyed the time away from studying and having time to do some sewing 😀
Happenstance – serendipity, all those wonderful unexplainable events that happen in your life that generally are good intentions. This is what happened with this skirt as I happened to take a break from essay writing this week to fix a pair of pants. When I am with my new sewing machine, it starts to take me on a bit a creative ride, and as I am just sitting next to it writing assessments at the moment, it was a great excuse to make something. So I went through my basket of unfinished objects and found the top of a pair of jeans that I was going to make into a bag. I love those bags, but unfortunately, even though they were such a novelty they made a great talking point at craft fairs, though no one was very keen to purchase one – live and learn on that one! Anyhow this skirt came to be via a pair of old jeans and an unfinished skirt I made for Missy when she was a baby?!? I like how it has turned out, but the problem with this is that it is a little big still it was the joy of making something that made me happy yesterday!
What other joy and happiness came to me this week? Tuesday I was teaching at the local library my usual monthly event started up for this year – we will be doing the last class in June and starting up again after the summer. This month is a Valentine craft, and we made felt heart pins from a bunch of buttons, trim and embroidery floss. The tutorial is here on this site if you would like to make one of your own. What the world needs now is love so it was a perfect craft to do and everyone was very creative with their hearts and most of the class of 14 made 2 each. Next month we will be making a clutch from repurposed 8″ squares of interior design fabric – gotta start writing the tutorial soon!
I also was very lucky to be looking after my friend’s cat for the weekend this little black guy is such a love bug and really appreciated the pats and the company when his humans were away. Any excuse to be with animals for me at the moment, they are so loving!
And another wonderful random act of happenstance happened on Friday when I rewarded myself a trip downtown to Oren’s Hummus Shop for lunch with a friend who I hardly see anymore because she is studying too! I love the falafel there, and the hummus is so creamy and delicious. Afterwards, we were so full we went for a wander downtown and went to City Hall to check out this inspiring CSMA (Community School of Music and Art) Art Exhibit. The classes are taught by CSMA teachers in local schools including our school. The work from our 5th-grade class was artwork inspired by human rights and boy they were powerful! The art teacher created the watercolour with the V to discuss tenants rights here in our own city. The ‘Measure V’ bill for rent stabilisation, is still under contention (the latest news it is being challenged by landlord advocates!) FYI the rent here is already way above market rate, and still, they want more!! I have lost many friends who have moved out of the area because it is so expensive to live here yes close to $2,000 for a 650 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment per month – insane!
Sorry, I digress… anyway my friend, and I was really inspired by the artwork by the children at City Hall and how powerful art can be in the classroom for reflecting on what is going on in the world. My favourite piece is this white woven wall hanging with the many textures, I am a textile lover, that I might have to get my yarn and roving out and make one in colour! We will see as I have many other things to do in the meantime… including studying for my maths and literacy exam for my teaching degree!!
I am into a knitting groove obviously because the weather has a lot to do with it but I have really been inspired by the UK television series ‘Outlander’ with all the amazing knitwear in the costumes. This big cowl capelet was inspired by the main character and knitted flat and double stranded so it is super warm. It can be worn bundled up or as a capelet around the shoulders. As I was wandering outside with it the other day I managed to catch a Japanese Maple leaf.
One thing I love about this year is the Fall colours the leaves of the gingko fallen to the ground are like moth wings.
This week it was the finale of teaching the Arts Focus Sewing class and we finished with the kids making pipe cleaner dolls. I love the creativity of the kids when they make this project, some just want to make a naked superhero with a cape or others want to dress up their doll and even braid their hair. 12 out of the 26 kids I had in the class were K and 1st grade and having to sew with all the fine motor and focus these kids did a wonderful job and were so enthusiastic!
Friday we enjoyed our holiday boutique at school from 3pm to 5:30pm – the turnout was fabulous! I really enjoyed chatting with friends I never see anymore and the focus this year was on kid vendors. The adults were there to inspire the kids and it was so good to hear that one of my sewing students had her table sewing scarves and accessories inspired by the scarf she purchased from me last year. It is so good to see sewing skills passed on and the kids create their own little ventures.
Yes Bella just say what I mean – I have been preparing packages for Christmas to send to Australia and yes it is always a mission to do but once it is done, party! Here is Bella ready to go on a priority mail trip somewhere fun! Well, we will be too when we head on over to Whidbey Island this Friday, looking forward to some rest and relaxation and looking after 3 kitties but we will be missing out little fur babies 😦
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!
Last week I was in a flurry of making for a show with the Mountain View Parents Association on Saturday. It is a new energy of folks so it should be fun and the bonus is that it is at the community centre. I have made a lot of pouches for your glasses plus little coin or credit card purses that fit neatly into your pocket or evening bag. As I was chatting with my son I found this great little tool box he made with the scouts and I bought it off him for my table display. I had some gold spray paint and here it is living a new life holding my handmade goods.
Some information on the holiday show here that I will be doing this weekend – if you are coming mention this post and get 20% off your total order. Shop local this holiday and support local makers – all good for everyone!
As I was a bit of a busy bee this week with the sewing and then teaching at the end of the week and then I had to cook as a long lost friend was coming over for dinner – the week was over. Then came the weekend and now I am focussing on my studies!
The pic above is an amazing Green Tea Soba Noodle Salad I made on Thursday.
Green Tea Soba Noodles
Watermelon Radish / Radish
For the chickpeas
Cook your green tea soba noodles in boiling water following the packet instructions – I buy a brand from Australia.
Cut up all your veggies – I like mine raw – add them to a big bowl. Reserving the watermelon radish for finishing the dish
Have your chick peas cooked and ready (use canned chickpeas, otherwise soak them overnight and cook them in a pressure cooker) and in a bowl mix the miso, olive oil and warm water slowly to create a sauce consistency. Add to the chickpeas and coat them in the sauce.
In an iron skillet add some coconut oil and cook the miso coated chickpeas.
Keeping an eye on the roll them around on the skillet until they look cooked – careful they do not burn!
Take the chickpeas off the heat while you are draining the noodles with cold water. Add the drained noodles to the big bowl of vegetables and mix together.
Pour a dressing amount of sesame oil over the veggies and coat them until they are shiny.
Top with the chickpeas and watermelon radish and enjoy!
Such a super easy recipe and great for a weeknight – the prep is what takes the longest. Of course you can sub whatever vegetables you have on hand for any season – all it takes is some imagination!
And to finish my post this week with some inspiration I heard on the radio this morning from a favourite place of mine in the world – Hobart, Tasmania. This little boy is sewing teddy bears for charity and he taught himself to sew, I was so happy to hear this story it gives me hope for all those little fingers I teach sewing that it will not be a lost art after all!
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.
As I write this, it is Monday evening and thank goodness it is over! What a way to start the week and a friend was mentioning that good ol’ Mercury retrograde is up to it’s old tricks again. Expect delays and the like but I did not imagine a Monday would start with a nail in the tyre of our car – oh well, take a breath and get on with it and take your Monday down a notch or two and enjoy some reading and a cup of white peony tea!
As for my creative project this week I made this lovely long sleeve tunic I found in a book Handmade Style. What a wonderful pattern and easy to make and super comfortable to wear – though I will be making it a wee bit longer next time! This works well with leggings but I do have to be careful when I bend over…
In the pic above I am channeling my urban gardener or this outfit could be worn on holiday somewhere by the beach – perhaps Australia? We will be returning down under next June, I cannot wait!
Another fun thing I channeled this week was my inner hula hooper. As I was watching my daughter effortlessly hoop for many revolutions, every time I tried the hoop kept on dropping to the ground. Thanks to some help from some YouTube videos and practice I managed to get some hoop action happening while listening to Cat Power, it is so amazing how centered it can make you feel as it does require a great deal of focus to have your body in the correct space.
Last Friday was a big score day for me as I subscribe to an email list of estate sales around the Bay Area. There was one in Mountain View last week which had a collection of stuff that spanned over 50 years! I usually scour estate sales for vintage fabric which I did find and cannot wait to make stuff from. At this sale, I found a big olive pot for my plants, costume jewelry, and vintage champagne glasses – for whenever I feel like having a party. And as a special request from my hubby he wanted to some tools – check out this good looking vintage saw I found. I had to ask the dude at the sale if I could give it a go to see how sharp it was, so he found me some wood and thanks to some recent lessons with the 5th graders I tried it out – perfect! This saw would also make a great home decor piece for our cabin or yurt in the woods as the handle is decorated and shaped beautifully – dream on!
All in all a very productive 4 day week with just the right balance of creativity, exercise and treasure finding.