Exploring Beauty

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With all the wonderful rain we have been having our Sunday family day was an inside affair with a trip to the San Jose Museum of Art to check out the Beauty exhibition. I have been studying for an exam on literacy and math as part of the degree program I am undertaking for Education – apparently, it is a new initiative by the Australian Government to examine the skills of potential educators. A lot of the work is for me to revise a lot of the concepts and will come in handy for my next units of math and science and thank goodness for Khan Academy helping me understand some of the math concepts that have completely left my mind.

Rather than spending my weekend away revising on the computer, I granted myself a break in exchange for working in the evenings. It was so refreshing going to a gallery and checking out art that I can totally relate to in this exhibit covered the gamut of design including industrial, textile, scientific, graphic, fine art, fashion, technological and architectural.  The exhibit was the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial and brought together innovative designers from around the world and really appealed to my design background. I especially loved the fine arts, technological and fashion design.

A couple of my favourite pieces included some 3D printing inspired by the interior of bones. To the right is an amazing blown glass sculpture with incredible detail which to me looks like intestines.

As I love textiles and fashion I enjoy checking out the innovation in the industry I found these a the show. A jacquard woven wool tapestry with incredible detail by the Finnish designer Kustaa Saski using a combination of rubber, acrylic, lurex, and phosphorescent yarn with mohair and cashmere wool.

The white crochet armour was so detailed I wonder about the math that went into designing the pattern. Next to the crochet was this incredible printing technique by a company out of the Netherlands, Vlisco who specialise in Dutch wax prints popular in West and Central Africa and made using an industrialised version of the Indonesian batik process. The prints are created in conjunction with local African traders who suggest colorways or themes to Vlisco. I really enjoyed seeing this much colour together, and I had always enjoyed African textiles when my friend married her husband from Mali she came back to Australia with this incredible collection of clothes from Africa that I absolutely adored.

The skirt with the pyjama top was breathtaking with that amount of fabric on the skirt, and the design of the top is something I would love to create for a summer top. I loved the details in the skirt with the changes in colour gradations, and I just love the combination of colours! The final pic

The image with the detail was created by a student from Central St Martin’s in London who uses plastic in her work – the skirt was made of ruffles of plastic including the detail on the blouse creating a three-dimensional effect.

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The exhibition continued upstairs where I found a collection the Haas Brothers from Los Angeles. This was the first time I had seen their work, so the impact of the colour attracted me to investigate further. Their collection was entitled the Afreaks series created in conjunction with the Haas Sisters in South Africa – using a specific beading technique. Their work is highly sought after and these guys are true renaissance men with their knowledge of various artistic and traditional techniques.

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To complete the visit to the gallery the San Jose Museum of Art has an exhibition entitled Your Mind, This Moment – art and the practice of attention. This is a peaceful part of the gallery that encourages you to sit down and admire the art and embrace the space of meditation.

Our family day out was enjoyed by the kids and as this was the last day of the Beauty exhibit we were very lucky to have had the opportunity to see it. The kids always rush through exhibitions, but at least there were some interactive pieces for them to enjoy and introduce them to art and technology. Hopefully, we can have more of this art here in this valley as it is something that I feel I have to travel to the city to get my fix of inspiration!

The views from up high!

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Finally, I had a free weekend to relax with friends and the family as I have finished my essay writing at the moment, so it’s time to catch up on my To Do list! The weekend was absolutely stunning with its sunshine and warmth – not enough to take off your cardigan yet, though! I spent time hanging out down at the park knitting with my friend and the kids created a tree sculpture in the sandpit dedicated to the environment entitled ‘Protect the Trees’. They kept on finding pieces of foliage and rocks and twigs around the park to add to their group installation.

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Sunday being our family day we went out for a hike up to Sierra Azul Preserve in Los Gatos. Another hike we haven’t visited in our 10 years of living here. Little did we know what to expect once we started hiking…

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Look for the hangar in the centre of the pic, and we find our house

 

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A perfect place for a picnic or to camp – though you would have to haul it up here!
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A dragon cloud
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Walking in the woods

 

 

We ended up hiking 4.5 miles up the hill as you can see from the pictures we were looking over the whole valley from where we were from Palo Alto to San Jose. The urban sprawl at its finest on this beautiful and bright day. It was a great hike for exercise walking for miles uphill though the kids constantly wanted to stop!

 

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“No!! We can’t walk another step!!”
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“This is boring, my legs are tired,” say the kids!

 

It was too hard for them to walk up and up and up. In the end, we decided to walk to the oak tree on the trail which was 2.25 miles, and from there the kids were a bit annoyed as it really was not that exciting for them to see the oak tree.

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The good thing was that once the hike was done and we saw the tree we went back downhill – it is hard on your legs and knees. I would totally recommend this hike for a family who wants a bit more of a workout on a hike as it is all uphill to the top the views are perfect on a bright day, and it is so good to see the valley from up high!!

Oh, and the bonus was that I watched two really wonderful films – Hello my name is Doris and Girl Asleep. Both quirky and a lot of fun. A favourite character was Doris as she was an older lady with such a crazy fashion sense who is cracking onto her co-worker. This leads to some funny scenes and the best being when she joined him for a gig out to see an electro-pop band, that outfit is the best!

Girl Asleep is an Australian film set in the 1970s so I loved the film from the beginning seeing the clothes and the 1970s cars in Australia. My favourite sequence of the film is when Greta had her 15th birthday party and everyone who came danced their way into the room and then it was all on – a scene of dancers at the party, I gave this film 5 stars just for this scene of 1970s dancing!

It’s a sun sunny day!

 

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Enjoying the rays with the family

 

As the rain has been keeping us inside most of the time for the last couple of weeks! Sunday was literally a sunny day so we took full advantage of the morning and went for a wander to explore more of the bay. Over the week a friend of mine told me about a park with amazing views of San Francisco, Oakland and the bay where she volunteers to feed a feral cat colony! I was so excited so we went on a mission to look for it via Seal Point Park and it is right next door to Ryder Park – named after my nephew! It is a dog park with a hill with sweeping views of the Bay all around. Plus the added bonus is that the trail is perfect for riding so one day we will have to catch the Caltrain over there as it is 12 minutes away from the stop – it is a 21-mile bike ride via the Bay trail from Shoreline Park, whew I get sore legs thinking about it!

The pics above are from the top of the hill and looking down onto the sights, like San Francisco on the left behind all the fog. On the right is a pic of some of the sculptures along the trail.

Now, this is what we need more of here where I live super cool looking interactive sculptures. The two discs act like an echo chamber and it’s so good to go in there and sing! This lotus looking sculpture looks like it would spin if it is windy!

 

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A giant pokemon in real life in front of the binoculars
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Attack of the wild fennel
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The San Mateo Bridge and a fishing bridge (the old bridge!)

 

We decided to go and find Project Baycat to see if we could see any cats but unfortunately, they had partied Saturday night and there were no cats to be found. I will just have to go with my friend when she volunteers – I can’t wait! Still, it was a lovely morning to spend with the family in the sunshine.

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A beautiful Hindu statue of Vishu, the protector and preserver of the universe, and when someone places his statue at a particular location, it means they’re asking him to watch over the place and its inhabitants, and to ensure harmony – sweet!

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And did I say planes – all of the planes that come into SFO fly directly overhead so if you are into watching some planes, check out this Seal Point Park right next to Ryder Park – the water park in the summer!

 

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The bearded chicken!

 

And speaking of volunteering – this bearded chicken was left by the farm where our coop is and she has been adopted to our flock! In times like these, giving back at a local level is the best thing. I donated cat food to Project Bay Cat and I am still making pussyhats for my friends who supply the yarn and they donate to a non-profit for the hat. My favourite gig of the week volunteering with the kids and teaching them sewing. It is the best thing to see them create with a needle and thread, and a lot of the time I even learn from them!

 

A piece a Week – Some photography on Mothers Day

Last week was just too busy for my liking! I managed to grab some open windows of time to get work done for a friend of mine with her pillow project which I am happy to say is completed! The tricky part was installing an invisible zip. I had worked with zippers before on clothing but not for someone who is paying me for professional work so it had to look extra spiffy. In the end I embraced a love for invisible zippers and now I want to put a zip in everything! I took them over to my friends place yesterday and the pillows look lovely in her Eichler house.

With that project completed with the hand sewing on Saturday while I was watching Eurovision 2014 with the bearded lady on the Internet I am somewhat free for other projects at hand. The class yearbook has been sucking up a lot of my time lately but that will be off to print on Friday – yay!

All this extra real work did not create any time for my fun projects this week so I grabbed my camera with a 50mm lens and took it out to Stow Lake at Golden Gate Park for a Mothers Day sojourn with my friend and her family! We went for a lovely row in a rowboat with my hubby and son on the oars and after our boat ride we went for a wander to Park Chow for some delicious sustainable fish tacos!

On our way back we wandered by a big band performing and looked at some waterfalls between the De Young and the Cal Academy of Sciences and the weather was just perfect!

Goslings – a highlight of my day!

A Canadian Geese family 

Off they go into the lake…

A rower in action!

Concentrating little rower

Lovely looking silver tree

Ice cream from Twirl and Dip 

What is going on here?? A bit of spanking maybe??

By the fountain and having a good time!
Next to a Lyre
Little missy with a peace lily

Delicioso Peruvian food

An amazing Peruvian flan

Lunching in San Mateo as we had a delicious lunch at this hole in the wall Peruvian restaurant. I had never tried Peruvian food before and I did find one appetiser that was vegetarian – most of the menu is with meat. Which was fine for the rest of the family! I didn’t let that deter us as the dessert look delectable – so I was looking forward to that. The snack of the corn and spicy dip we had before our meal was tasty and to follow up was a house specialty for my husband who wanted beef and the kids had a fried rice with chicken which I shared with them as well (chicken was easy to pass on to the kids). The flan for dessert had a caramel sauce which was just like a creme caramel from the supermarket but 100 times better. Afterwards we enjoyed the B Street Books which is across the road and had a very interesting array of second hand titles. It is sometime fun to explore the SF Bay area…