Stepping into the New Year

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The first week back got off to a good start with a package arriving from Australia from my sister with some super cool prezzos for the kids and the best surprise of all a pair of shoes from when I was in Grade 9! These shoes are vintage, they were from my mums family – either my nan or aunt which makes them even more special. They are just beautiful and are such a work of art in shoe design, I tried them on, and they were just like a Cinderella slipper way too small and too tight for my now flatter sole feet compared to when I was a youngin! So, for now, I will keep these shoes on show in my house as a piece of art from back in the day to remind me my love of shoes began a very long time ago 😀

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Last week I also began my 2nd half of the school year at my work as a Teacher Assistant at Ventana School covering for a maternity position until the end of the school year. I will be working with two amazing teachers in the Kindergarten and 1st-grade classrooms and I am so happy to be working with the kids too, they are just so sweet. I have forgotten how kids at these ages enjoy hugs and spending time with their teacher and in the classroom. In the Kinder class, one of my favourite things is the light table, and the kids were making up all sorts of wonderful stories with these little glass pebbles. I have to say a Reggio Emilia classroom is certainly a direction I would love to work in for the future.

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For the 1st grade classroom, there are rocks to explore and a glass container of mosses and lichen with lots of twigs and sticks, stones and many natural materials to use for when the children are creating stories. It is amazing what they come up with when you talk to them about what is happening in their creations.

The beautiful bead mobile on the left was created by the parents and the students with their intentions for the school year as a Back to School night activity. In the centre of the class the children created this branch, wire and bead mobile, I just cannot believe that I am working in a place with such an appreciation for nature and exploring – sometimes the serendipity of life takes you in the direction where you are meant to be!

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Going back to work full time for the next few months has also got me thinking about food planning a bit more and tonight I made a broccoli soup from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soup book, the base for Vegan Ramen from Minimalist Baker and tonight’s dinner a rice and vegetable casserole. Plus my neighbour who is moving back to her amazing remodelled house has cleared out some jars from IKEA, and they are perfect for stashing a kale, mustard green and watermelon radish salad for the week and these jars fit perfectly in the fridge.

Last week I made this incredible Japanese Pizza Okonomiyaki from 101 Cookbooks as we scored a massive cabbage in our Imperfect Produce box and this is a perfect way to use up all that cabbage (I also have a small experiment of Sauerkraut happening in the dungeon).

So between organising some delicious meals for this week and food prep over the weekend, I wrote my second assignment for this teaching period creating a folio of resources for children with certain behaviours in the classroom. It feels good to have written my draft, and it is due next week, so I had better get into gear and start proofing this before I lose another weekend studying away! Not long now until I start the 3rd assignment which will be a case study in support children’s behaviour – whew, take a breath or two. In another 5 weeks and this subject will be over and I have a break for a couple of weeks. I have to say I am thankful for the Nintendo Switch and Just Dance to get me out of my study room and dancing in the lounge room with my family, it is such a great relase and excellent exercise!

A piece a Week – Dickens Fair Dress

After a few years of absence from the Dickens Fair we decided to revisit the idea again this year with the kids – now that they are older. Being very crowded we had to keep a close eye on all the kiddos – we went with some Aussie friends of ours who are even talking about going back next year! I will happily go back just to hear ‘Merry Christmas’ in an English accent! I just love people watching and being inspired by the costumes. 
My costume was found at my fave vintage store in Mountain View – Empire Vintage on Villa Street. Soon we will have no vintage store and it will be a very sad Mountain View! The owner is moving and retiring from retail which is great for her as she has had 9 years in the biz and being the only vintage in the South Bay that is one fine find 🙂 I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to see Empire Vintage and support them as a local business. There is a super sale at the moment and I found this at their warehouse sale after Halloween for $5 – it was a very big skirt so I just took a panel and turned it into the front bodice, I have used another fabric for the back which works fine. I love looking at this dress as it is so ruffled and very fun to wear!
Pip Pip and Cheerio we are off to the Dickens Fair

 The corset shop window is always amazing with these real life models with the corsets – this is a woman with a bottle of Absinthe and her green corset and fabulous skirt. This display reminds me of the green fairy from Moulin Rouge.

Fancy some Absinthe??

As we were wandering the vendors in the streets of London we found the a these beautifully tooled leather masks to try on. Here we are trying on a couple of owls and Ash is a fantasy creature.

All in disguise

Who let the fox out??

We were watching a conjurer in action and the younger girls decided to check out the shopping close by and found this cute children’s clothing store called Nanna’s Nursery where Missy’s Renaissance Fair dress was converted to Victorian with a bonnet, crochet collar, bow and all! The hoop under the skirt was bought as a Christmas gift from Christmas money and looks lovely underneath this dress.

Missy in her Victorian garb! 
The big bow from the sash at the back

On our next adventure to the kids area with the carousel for only the little ones and Missy was very happy to have found this lion with a crown ready for his spin around and around!

Riding the African animal carousel

We all loved these boards to take pictures and the kids laughed and laughed and spent ages in behind the screens.

Who is scared of the big, bad wolf!
The Puss in Boots crew

After serious discussion about fairy houses and what they are going to do with them in the house, that is keep them in their room! So the kids decided to make them with their Christmas money and here they are… I spent a couple of hours with the kids watching them make them, at least I could sit down as it was the end of the day and my feet were ready for a rest!

Ash’s house with the dragon on the roof and his friend Jacobs Fairy House
Missys house with the fairy at the pathway

A piece a week – a wrap skirt for Urban Bike Riding

I found this very cool wrap skirt pattern from a vintage pattern scored at FabMo (you know that they have many treasures to find!). As I have a skort I found at REI that was good to ride in, I thought that a wrap skirt would do the biz. This skirt I embellished with some scraps I had for a bit of experimentation to mix up the dark grey corduroy. It is fully lined in gingham and since the first prototype I have added buttons and it sits more on the waistline which with an A line looks super cute! 
Fancy going for a ride!

As it turned out I took this skirt for a ride this week and it was a winner with having the wrap cover the front and not being too flappy in the winds due to the heavier fabric. I am planning to make more the FabMo show in October. I think with an element of sewing on your own buttons to custom fit the waistband.

The skirt with vintage buttons from my stash

I made this butterfly skirt ages ago from a dress I found at a thrift shop on the way to Mt Shasta. It was a vintage Hawaiian dress with a built in bra & halter neck- so not to my style at all. In the end I cut the skirt off as I love the print and made it into an elastic waist skirt. I took this skirt riding the other day in heels and it sat really well on the bike without any blown away skirt issue (I did not have any tights on underneath!) – so this is another winner I will implement in my range for the Fall!

Riding in a skirt and wedges – what fun! 

And to make the week extra special – being the first week with the kids back at school and my other half on a conference trip in Seattle I treated myself to this Thai Herbal massage – I remember these fondly when I spent time in Thailand. Sawadee is just down the road from our house and so convenient! It made me feel more grounded and after 10 weeks of looking after the kids it was time to look after Mama! After the massage I had sushi next door at Joy Sushi where I sat at the bar and had a very tasty well made vegetarian roll with brown rice with a fresh salmon sake nigiri and to top it off – the service was very fast for lunch, I think I will have to go again. As I don’t wander my local strip mall too often I discovered a hair & nail salon run by some very friendly Vietnamese women – I treated myself to a manicure and a pedicure and an eyebrow wax. There is no feeling like treating yourself to something good, it makes you appreciate these times and that they should be repeated often! So I was quite amazed at what I found in my local neighborhood strip mall!

I feel just like this Lucky cat!