Nothing like a holiday!

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Now we are on holidays and it is so good to sleep in and catch up with so much stuff that has been waiting to be done such as getting rid of stuff for our move! So far I have cleaned out the sewing room but I still do not have a cupboard’s worth of fabric, hey I could be here up to another year so I have to keep some fabric to keep me occupied in my spare time!

Yesterday we did a coop clean out with another 4H family and we came home covered in dust. It was so much fun to see the chickens again, Ruby even got to go on a walk with a chicken leash ūüėÄ Now their coop is super clean complete with an indoor dust bath made from play sand and diatomaceous¬†earth to help keep the feather mites at bay.

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Saturday I went to yoga after weeks and it was a brilliant start to the weekend with my idea of cleaning my house I may as well cleanse my body too with some hot yoga! The spring flowers are starting to pop up but with the current weather with overnight lows of 2-4 degrees, I only see it in the sunshine during the day.

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These lovely watercolour pictures are created with salt on the watercolour to create the sky in the background. This was a discovery for me as I have not had much experience with watercolour. Our art teacher worked on planet paintings with the kids and these were my favourites with the bottom on looking like Salvador Dali.

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Wednesday we had wandering time in the chapel and the kids worked on an exercise of what feelings arise when you look at particular colours and this is what happens when you give a 1st-grade girl the colour brown.

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These made great gifts though next time I will wrap them individually on cardstock so they do not tangle plus they need to be made long so the string can get over the child’s head. In the end one was so small it went on one of the kindergartens¬†stuffies!

Bollywood and Into the woods

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The wonderful summer heat was here this week for a fleeting moment and then by the time Friday rolled around the fresh winds came by in time for the Bollywood dance party organised by my friends as an auction item for the school! It was such a fun night with amazing food, cocktails and dancing! It was a gift to myself for submitting my second maths assessment a video presentation on a natural maths phenomenon, which I really enjoyed doing!

 

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The ladies ready to drink
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It’s selfie time¬†
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Enjoying cocktails together! 

 

There was even a dress up corner where you could put on a sari and add accessories of bindis and bangles – we had so much fun! The drinks were flowing, and friends came from the school community, and we were ready to party ūüėÄ

Check out the dance floor action here in the video – I loved every minute of this.

Sunday we met our friends from Oakland at Sunol Regional Wilderness Area, and it was the perfect day for a hike with friends. The sun was out as were the butterflies and the bees! It took us a while to find the trail as we wandered along the creek for a while through poison oak until finally, we saw the up arrow!

Along the hike, we spotted so many wildflowers. I have no idea what most of these are called except for the milk thistle and the California poppies.

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The boys work on getting us on the right track after we messed up the first attempt bush bashing through the woods.

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Finally, we were rewarded with open fields of grasses and wildflowers, and my hayfever was in full swing with all the blooms and pollen flying around everywhere. We wandered up to the top of the hill to see the view of Little Yosemite with all the falls below us. Once we got down there, it felt just like Yosemite with lots and lots of people wandering down this one little goat trail to get to the falls and rock scrambling.

I don’t know if the hills on the left are being mined for rocks, but they do look strange. We wandered down many paths, to get to the falls and to check out the water and rocks. It was just beautiful though it would be lovely with not at many folks around so I opted to sit quietly under a tree in the shade for a while to just listen to the water.

The kids really liked rock scrambling around the falls that were not very deep – off went their shoes so they could get their grip on the rocks and explore the area. I enjoyed watching them on a rock as I had a camera that I don’t like to get wet or to hit against rocks, which was fine to just bask in the sunshine.

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It was so fun to get together at last with our friends from O-town and enjoy a hike together amongst the wildflowers and the woods.

Sunshine and springtime chicks

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Finally, the weather has been consistent for the last few days and the weekend was just amazing! These roses are in a garden in the Los Altos Hills where the kids go swimming – the colours are breathtaking.

It is the best time of year to go bike riding as the wildlife and the flowers after the rain are super and there is also a super bloom that you can see from space. Now that the flowers are settled so is my allergies, so it was the perfect day to go riding on Sunday on the path where there were hardly any people and enjoy the peace of the bay. Check out that trail Рthere is no one there! This is off the main trail heading out to the Bay, but I allowed myself a short ride so I could get back home to clean out the garden and do some sewing and study.

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Missy’s Bantam Silkie chick – fingers crossed it is a girl

 

 

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A Bantam Polish chick
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My fave cute Bantam chick
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Another cute chick
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Cleaning chick feet
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The world’s smallest chicken – a Serama

 

Friday we picked up some Bantam chicks that have just hatched from an egg project from a homeschool family. The eggs were from a very special place in Sonoma where rare breeds of chickens are raised in an organic environment – they are closed to the public due to their breeding programs and having to keep the farm safe from any biohazards. Their collection of chicks and images on their site is so inspiring and make me want to move to the country to a yurt and raise chickens – it is always nice to dream! Still, we are fostering these chicks for the 4H poultry project where the kids will take care of them at home until they are ready to go into the coop with the other 2 bantam chicks. This time we are raising quite a few bantams, and it will be so exciting to watch them grow, they are quite small chickens but oh so cute! I love how the kids are so mesmerised by the chicks and how gentle they are taking care of them every day, 4H really is an incredible program for kids. The chicks sleep a lot of the time flat out on their bellies with their heads in front of them – I had no idea how chicks slept, and they are just gorgeous to watch and such a distraction.

 

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Miss Bella

 

Bella has been sad for the last month or so and has been hanging out with us more as she is really missing her brother Mack Рthey were the best of friends. She is such a loving cat when she wants to be and is sleeping on our bed a lot at night which we love! I am still missing my best cat friend though as each day passes, I think of all the good times we had together.

Time to celebrate Spring with Holi

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This pic is most likely after I had a second bucket of water poured all over me Рobviously California is no longer in drought and we had a very wet Holi celebration at my friends house this year. The Holi colour was incredible so much neon and so much fun! We started with an amazing spread of food with a potluck of many delicacies. I found a delicious vegan rice paper roll recipe with a chickpea spread on the inside of the rolls with cabbage, carrots, tomato, avocado and mint yummo!

Here is where it all started where we are nice and dry and we are just getting started with the colour and the next second everyone was covering each other in Holi colour!

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The kids were in two minds about the festivities but in the end it looks like they had a grand old time with the water guns and all the colour. It was so good the sun was out though we did need a bit more heat after getting covered in water.

There were so many funny moments with the hose, water guns and buckets of water. According to my friend ‘Resistance is Futile’ when playing Holi and¬†it was not very¬†funny when I got drenched.¬†The kids first got me by wetting my pants and then it was all over once I had a bucket or two poured down¬†my back, brrrr.¬†After the first¬†bucket of water, it felt like I had jumped in a pool and then it was all over!

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It was so much fun and I cannot wait to do it again though I will have to wait until next year! This is a picture of the aftermath back at home with lots of colour all over me – such a great combination of colours and a splendid way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends.

A piece a Week – Spring Forward in a Japanese Silk Shift Dress

I am off to Portland this weekend to visit my friends and to go to visit an art exhibit at the Portland Art Museum – Italian Style, Fashion since 1945. And as it is just me going on a weekend away, this week has been so busy with lots of happenings, maybe just too much! Mama has to work hard for some time off with friends and cocktails ūüôā
The clocks went forward on Saturday night and it sucked getting up early on Monday at 6am as it is dark and cold. I was just enjoying getting up early and watching the sun rise but now no dice ūüė¶ So with an early morning and a busy Monday – Exercise, Creative Advice Meeting with a friend at the library, Lunch at Chef Chu’s with the exercise ladies and errands I was beat. On top of all that my husband and son were off on a school field trip to Sacramento by train. With the inspiration of a lunch date I wanted to make a new dress (as you can never have enough dresses in your closet!!) I found this Japanese silk fabric I had been saving forever, I cannot even remember where it came from but I dearly love it. I found a dress pattern with pockets in the front that I enjoy making and is very versatile so I used that and came up with this cute, short shift dress. I wore a lemon vintage cardi as it was chilly and ombre tights with mary jane heels. It is always fun to get dressed up especially for a 3 hour weekday lunch with vino!
Japanese silk shift with beads from Prague
At Chef Chu’s – the outfit after a couple of glasses of wine
Lunch was pretty amazing and presented beautifully! We somehow manage to always visit Chef Chu around Chinese New Year and it is such a pleasure to enjoy the food, tea, wine and friends. Chatting to someone new each year and sharing common interests is fun in a class of around 40 plus ladies. 
The appetizer – shrimp with a lotus root chip in a martini glass!

Deep fried Rock Cod

I loved my fortune from dessert
This one thing I love about spring and that is the smell of flowers – imagine the scent of jasmine in this picture, ahhhh!
Going back to Sunday we celebrated Holi with some friends of ours – unfortunately we got there late and caught the tail end but lucky there was still color ready to be cover everything! I loved the effect of all the colors mingling together, what a beautiful way to celebrate spring!

Hey who did that?? There is pink all over my face!!
So with the boys out of town we had another field trip with the younger grades to Deer Hollow Farm Рthis has to be my favorite field trip for 1st grade! This trip focuses on animals and products. The meat side of things is something I do not really appreciate but the fibre and textile arts is my cup of tea! See this little lamb named Pepper she just made my day!! 
Baaa – what a cutie you are Pepper!!

Weaving strips of fabric after my knitting and crochet demonstration

And to top the day off I was not cooking for two we went out to sushi and dessert at Alexanders Patisserie. Any excuse to go to Alexanders, it has to be my favorite luxurious outing downtown. To sit and enjoy a cup of tea and an impeccable dessert is just heaven.

New to the line up – bon bons with a chocolate ganache inside (kind of like a Lindt ball)

White chocolate Mousse with a vanilla pod, heavenly

A piece a Week – Getting back into the swing of things via Micro Greens!

This week after a week away in Hawaii it was tough going getting back into the swing of things. So much to catch up on and time for creativity was limited to the kitchen. I have found a love of salads and all things micro green coming into spring. So the inspiration from Hawaii was high and reflected in the dinners this week.

The grilled shrimp is from the Zippy Kale Pesto I found on taste.com.au – I used a rice noodle instead of pasta noodles and added radish, micro greens and lemon zest, yummo!

Grilled Shrimp on Kale Pesto noodles with micro greens and radish

The kitties missed us so much when we were gone that they lay with us when we were relaxing on the couch in the evenings. We missed them too ^..^

Kitties

 I started a crochet hat for my friend many times and finally worked out how to do it after many attempts and tutorials online. The eureka moment was when I found out how to actually work the stitch of the front and back loop. And then I could get on with it РI am still working it as there is other work to be completed for the Arts Focus Sewing session this week at school!

A hat for my friend

 Finally we enjoyed some incredible lentil tacos for dinner towards the end of the week with this incredible recipe. I accidentally added coconut oil to the lentils as they were cooking and that made such a tasty addition to the lentils and shitake mushrooms.The miso herb sauce I used kale instead of herbs and on top the salad of radish, carrots and microgreens. Oh so fresh.

Maybe it is the yoga classes I am checking out at the moment too! I went to my neighbors class in Palo Alto which was wonderful as my friend is a super amazing yoga teacher and I really felt it in my shoulders and body the next day. Later in the week I went to another local yoga studio downtown and enjoyed a hot yoga class – I did not realize how much I would enjoy it, now I am going back for more! I was enjoying the beach yoga in Hawaii and now it has had an effect on my exercise routine!

Lentil tacos with micro greens and salad

A piece a Week – A cross back top for the summer, Cotton Candy!

I have this stash of fabric that I just buy not knowing what I am going to make with it, so I finally that I design a pattern from a little top of Holly’s that I just loved. I enlarged the pattern pieces and made a fabric version from the paper that I could modify on my body which I used to transfer back to the pattern pieces I had made and it turns out for me that this is a great way to make a custom pattern!

The fabric I found was from my trip to Portland last year to this amazing fabric store called the Mill End Store. I had such a fun time finding all these treasures from back in the day – the owners had scored a collection of fabrics from as far back as the 1950’s that I could not resist! The justification was I will never see fabric like this again so it has to go home with me ūüôā

So the cross back top was a fun and challenging project to make as I had to use lining as the fabric was see-through. After I decided to use lining then came the challenge of sewing the straps together with the seam on the inside. Lucky that I had made bags that are of a similar design and I just crossed the straps at the back and with a bit of unpicking and resewing they came together. There is no zip or buttons on this top as it just crosses at the back and it is flowing. The only thing I will look at for the next version is not to cut the neck too wide as it just sits on the shoulder and may fall down, still I think it looks cute the way it balances on edge of the shoulder.

This is definitely designed for a really hot day as there is lots of space to breathe and you can never have enough cute tops to go with the utilitarian jeans that mammas wear around the traps. I will have to see how this goes with a skirt? Still the challenge of making a pattern from scratch and designing it to customize me was something that I have been missing in my sewing for a while – looks like in future posts I will be playing a bit more with missing pieces for my spring/summer wardrobe!

Flowers outside my craft room

The flowers for the tree above are just so beautiful in the Spring and remind me of fairy floss or what is it called here cotton candy. That’s a great name for the top that I made as the neon of the check fabric against all the other pastels really made this fabric pop. The lining of the top is a vintage feed bag cotton that is of such an incredible quality. They made a perfect pair!

Wearing the top, to see a full shot – I have to work on finding my tripod?!?

The front of the cross back top Рwith a statement necklace it would be perfect

The cross back that was a bit of a challenge ūüôā

Mothers Day hike

An beautiful looking wildflower for all the wonderful mums out there

We planned a hike with a couple of friends who wanted a low impact walk and we thought that Edgewood Park and Preserve would be a great option and it was! Again a lovely sunny day with great friends, a recipe for a grand day out. And certainly a perfect day to enjoy Mothers Day!

First camp trip in time for Spring!

Our first camp trip this year was at the end of April and how beautiful the weather was this time of year with all the sunshine and wildflowers. It was just one night out at a magnificent state park called Henry Coe. Sad to say that this huge park was due to be closed to save California some cashola so our friends booked a spot before it was shut down. In light of the closing a nonprofit has saved the park for another 3 years, keeping it open so go and visit – why close down a state park when it provides so much happiness to all? The madness of the great American Monopoly game continues….
See the sign – I would like to picnic under this tree instead, thank you!

 We enjoyed hiking around to the Frog Trail up and down steep trails, lucky for us the weather was just perfect and not too hot. In the end a ranger came by and saved us from the steep hill trails and said go back to camp on the 4 mile trail, so we were happy he came by. The kids had a fun time on the long walk back to camp and we made it back in time for dinner to our friends who were busy recovering from their own adventure on the steep hills with two kids in toe.

Baby poppy in the spring grass

The highlight of the walk was the huge amount of wildflowers we came across and Henry Coe State Park is just the place to see them in all their glory.

A cool looking wildflower

We survived our first camp trip of the year with a list of things that we forgot to take in with us. Now we are prepared for our next one and I cannot forget the fleece as our next trip will be near the beach Рyep it is summer with those warm days and cool nights!