Lockdown 2.0 in Melbourne

So as you can see from the centre picture we are in lockdown again as multiple community clusters of COVID were appearing so Melbourne went on a massive testing blitz. There has been a huge amount of tests and the numbers are pretty high still and we have been in lockdown for 2 weeks now. The night lockdown 2.0 was announced I was meeting a friend for wine and pizza, so we made the most of our time out and drank an extra glass of wine! I have been at work and I am also back at Uni balancing my time so I can write my assignments, do my readings and get other things done, like making and creating! Above is a dress I made the other day ready for spring and the window decoration is what I created for the lockdown 2.0 to bring some rainbow love to the community. But now I have covered the windows in bubble wrap to keep the warmth inside – who knew the bubblewrap creates double glazing on the cheap!

So with lockdown 2.0, we all gotta do our bit with mandatory mask wearing when we are out and about. My masks were made with a great pattern and tutorial by a lovely lady on the Good Karma Network. In the classroom we are allowed to take the mask off when we are teaching and working with the groups of children. Still I would rather wear the mask and stay well. I will be spraying all the masks I made with a non toxic fabric protector to keep the micro droplets at bay.

I have not been out much but I did find the super cool toilet block designed in conjunction with a local artist and our local school art captains. I love it and it brings some beautiful colour into our streets.

And finally some progress on our house…

Our house is getting there we are now on the countdown to moving in at the beginning of September, so fingers crossed all goes well and we can be in for the spring! Whoo hoo!

Getting creative on holiday

What has been happening over the last couple of weeks. For one, I worked crazy hours on my last week of work before the winter break. So over the first week of break it was time to get down and get busy with crafts and projects that have been waiting to be bought to life. It has been so good as I got out the craft boxes that need to be dealt with and began making starting with needle felting and knitting then it was working with clay and making jewellery to add to my winter clothes. The fun part was getting out my knitting machine for a couple of weeks and knitting up some layers of wool for the rest of winter – it has been ages since I got out my Brother chunky knitting machine so some online tutorials came to the rescue and I got to work with a plan of knitting and felting pieces to create layering vests. Then came the brilliant idea of cutting up an old cardigan that is annoying to wear and sew and felt the pieces together – it is so good to create again! Next week will be minimal creating as I am back at Uni so my study comes first.

And yes we have all been keeping our distance – this is from the tram trip I took to the city today for my first aid course for work.

In the background our house has been moving along and I went to meet a landscaper there the other day. There is joinery in place and the painting has been done to a point and the move in date is still another couple of months away. I was imagining myself working in the kitchen with our NEFF oven and gas cooktop with the island for prep space – so much fun to be had when we finally move, the countdown is on!!

Here are some of my creations that I have been making over the last few weeks while I have been away from Uni and had time to clear out and make. The two vests I made with my knitting machine are layering pieces for winter using an old jumper sewing together felted yarn pieces. This was yarn that was donated to me ages ago so I am happy to see it in action.

My rainbow needle felted cardi is a project that has been on my list forever and I finally built up the courage to start and it was quite rewarding and meditating sitting there at night needle felting away – I had no idea it was so addictive. So now all my holey jumpers have been fixed with needle felting 😀

I have been making with oven baked clay and I first started with making beads to jazz up my winter outfits for work. I also made some dangling earrings and now I am making stud earrings which I love as they do not get stuck in my with high scarves and jackets. I wore a pair out to the city today and they were so comfortable so I will add them to the Etsy shop in the future. Plus I have crocheted a lovely little lap blanket that doubles as a cape or a place for our rescue kitty Apricot to sleep.

It has been so good to be free to work away at my crafts over the last few weeks and make and create. I am layered in warm wool and can accessorise with colour. I had no idea how much fun it would be to work with oven bake clay and add signature crochet strands of colour from yarn I found in Portland, Oregon. Next week it is back to reality and studying again and then I will be back at work, so I gotta enjoy this free time while I can.

Crafting away on my holiday

I am pretty inconsistent with these posts of late but I am now on holidays from University so it is time to be free and not think about anything too much and watch some Netflix such as Next in Fashion and for a bit of a break from the usual routine! Here is my picnic rug size t-shirt quilt I made for a keepsake for the kiddos and our time at our amazing elementary school in California. It was the first time I have made a quilt by myself, so do not look too closely at the binding as that was pretty tricky to get those mitre corners just right. Finally, I have my sewing machine from the USA working with a transformer and it has been pretty amazing, all I have wanted to do was to hang out with it and catch up on my sewing projects! I tried free motion quilting for the first time, so some of my stitching could have been less experimental, but hey how else do we learn unless it through practice. I am very happy with this t-shirt quilt and I am looking forward to making another quilt real soon – after I make a pair of overalls for the farm from a cool vintage pattern I found in my collection.

Speaking of the farm I have been going weekly to Joes Garden at CERES which is just a 5 minute bike ride away from my house and I have a new appreciation for kale after picking multiple bunches of them. Today as a crew of volunteer farmers we had to pick 50 bunches – I am a bit tired after searching for the right leaves and using different muscles to what I would use at the gym. The weather here has been very humid and today was overcast so it was a perfect day to be out and about listening to the magpies and the pied currawong high in the trees while chatting and picking springys (spring onions), basil and kale.

As I am on break from Uni, it has been the perfect weather to take the kids out on a bike ride. We went out for a ride along the Merri Creek trail up towards the Main Yarra trail in the hope of getting to Yarra Bend Park to see the flying foxes. Unfortunately, the children were complaining way too much so we had to abandon that plan and stop at Dights Falls for our picnic lunch. I am so impressed with the incredible bike trails of Melbourne that are hidden within the inner city. We rode by the creek, through some beautiful bushland and rode up this hill to some incredible views of the city. I will have to fulfil my dream of riding to the bats as a solo rider. This ride was 20 kilometres return and the kids did not like to ride so long as they constantly asked me why I take them on long rides all the time, I had no idea a 15 min ride to the cafe was long?!?

We are at the lockup stage of our house build and it is getting pretty exciting to see this stage completed, the exterior looks amazing – the charred cladding is my fave! Here is the view from the upstairs onto the master bedroom and study below. I have also made a walkthrough to get an idea of what the inside is like before all the carpentry and interior is put in place. We are only 6 months away until we can move in and we are very happy about leaving our rental property and counting the days on the calendar.

Wishing you a very merry Chrissy

Finally, I have some time to write what have been going on for the last couple of weeks. It seems like a while ago, so here goes! There has been a lot of awesome Chrissy celebrations with my work friends and then I got a cold from late nights studying writing an essay, going to work early, hanging out with kids and their germs and feeling run down. So last weekend was pretty quiet, which gave me time to catch up on wrapping prezzos and all that jazz. Then came the last week of my teaching placement, which was intense as it was all about wrapping up so all the kids work, placing their crafts in their goodie bags, getting the kids ready for the singing presentation to their families with a fabulous spread of food and saying goodbye to the kids who were transitioning to school. I have to say it was full on!

I have enjoyed my time in early childhood hanging out with the 3 to 5 year olds. The educators I worked with planned a tie dye afternoon so that the children could wear them for their performance, the one on the left is the one we all tied together with rubber bands for the kids and used the tie dye kit and the one on the right is using a food dye which worked just as well. It was very well executed where we used lids of big plastic boxes and the kids used the bottles of dye and just spread it on their t-shirts. You would think 3 year olds this is gonna be crazy but we managed to do it in a good amount of time and not much dye was on the kids, as for me I had blue hands for days!

The other fun project I managed to make with the kids was vegan gingerbread – this was a tricky one, as the dough was a bit dry as we could have messed up the ratio of flour to wet ingredients which was nut butter and golden syrup. This cooking project was with very enthusiastic 5 year old children who were eating the dough scraps that even fell on the floor. Their biscuits are cut out here and they were cooked but were quite dry when they came out of the oven, so it was certainly an interesting experience! Next time, I would consider smaller groups and doing the project multiple times.

The gingerbread house on the right is made by my daughter who loves to bake, she did this one over a weekend with making the gingerbread one day and the next day we researched the royal icing which would be the mortar to hold the house together. It was an very delicious recipe which is even better as we could snack on it after we took some pics.

I also finished my tree skirt for our makeshift tree this year! I managed to wrangle a bunch of leftover yarn to make this very colourful crochet tree skirt which is sitting underneath our stash of pressies this year. For a family who was pretty disorganised about Chrissy I feel we managed to get it together reusing the paper from our move gift wrap!

And our house is looking amazing, we can imagine checking out James working in his study, checking out who is coming to visit down our hallway, looking through windows while doing the dishes and looking up we have a roof! It is so exciting to see the progress since our initial deep dig in the ground and now the house is framed and ready for its details of the windows and doors, the black charred timber, weatherboard and brick for the exterior. The beautiful recycled timber Tasmanian Oak floors and the kitchen and bathroom with their terrazzo floors. We even went shopping for the kitchen yesterday and trying to find a stovetop and oven that will serve our cooking adventures, so good though so overwhelming!

Its time for a break now, so our builders will have time off and be back into it after New Years where we will see much more unfold. I am so happy to be back home and to be able to wish my friends a very merry Chrissy at long last 😀

Teaching Practicum and lots of crafting

So far over the last three weeks I have come home covered in glitter, glue, fabric dye, food dye and flour. I have certainly had a blast at this kindergarten teaching practicum and I have been lucky enough to be working with an amazing mentor teacher and co-educators. Life has been full on this week with completing an essay for a fourth year uni subject and having to go to work plus keep up with my other two subjects – I have to say I am feeling pretty tired. But tomorrow night I get to go out and have a drink or two with my work mates – yay!!

Oh and the cute bear on the glitter chair is one of the completed bears from the Year 5/6 cohort at my daughters school that I volunteer for, it came out so well.

So the kids have been so busy crafting and the windows are covered in so many Chrissy themed items, I am a bit of a fan of these stained cellophane windows which I had to cut out the other day with a scalpel, one of the joys of teaching! There has been so much glitter everywhere I go that I have had to dust it up and recycle it for another project, the kids go crazy with it!

Also the time we have in the arvo together to reset the class has been fun too. Recently we have been putting on music and getting everything prepped for the next class! I cannot believe I have been on my prac for 3 weeks already and it is nearly over. We were very lucky to have a dragonfly visit our classroom the other day when we were prepping the class, there are so many critters that come be as the creek surrounds the kinder. Across the road from my work, at the lake, is this amazing tree in bloom. It is a Silky Oak and I just love the flowers it produces as the colour is incredible. I had to look it up as I had no idea what it was and the flower reminded me of a grevillea so I did a internet search and finally found its name. Going for lunch by the lake, it is full of life with so many water birds and a perfect place to recharge when I am at the kinder for a full day.

Last Friday I met my friend in the city for a couple of drinks at an old favourite water hole in the city – Hells Kitchen. We used to head over there every week, when we worked in publishing and hang out and drink the night away before heading on the train – feeling quite happy! After our drinks we went across the way to have some delicious dumplings before checking out Federation Square and the Xmas tree and all the cool decorations. Its so good to be back in Australia for a hot Chrissy, though it is not feeling like summer at all with 18 degree celsius days.

And an update on our house, the carpenters have been super busy and have framed most of the house and now the scaffolding is up for the roof. Also there are a couple of windows in place with the curved walls downstairs, it is so close yet so far!! We are so keen to move in 😀

Busy little bee

Checking out what has been happening in my life over the last couple of weeks and it has been full! It has been over a week since I posted what has been happening here and since I had an assignment due last week and then I had to start drafting an essay with my hubby out of town there was a lot going on!

I have been enjoying the volunteering at my daughters school and seeing the progress of the kids felt animals! They came out so well, with each animal having a personality of their own 😀

Our house has made some incredible progress with the carpenters adding on Level 2 which is the kids rooms. We are so happy to see that there is so much happening on the build and we can start to get a feel for the place now.

This artwork had the best pun by Tinky the artist:-
It was a filthy job, but the rubbish removalists thought it was their best work yet.
Barek artwork on found signage
Sea spirit

Today, which is Sunday Funday, we enjoyed some family time out, before it goes all crazy for the next 20 days when I start work full time on my prac. Today was a lovely 24 degree day and we went out into Collingwood to Off the Kerb gallery to see the Barek exhibition that is showing for a short time. We so wanted to buy another piece of his work but as we have not unpacked what we already have in our art boxes for the gallery space in our house we decided we will go visit him in the studio when we see what space we have to jazz up. We all love his work and especially the pieces on the found signage.

I reckon there will be sporadic times of posting over the next four weeks, as I start my teaching prac for Uni where I have be documenting my experience constantly plus I have an essay to write for another subject and I have this great media unit I am doing at the moment too. So up until Chrissy it will be full on. Gotta get to bed early for my big week this week!

November and all the new things!

I cannot believe it is November already and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We will be celebrating in our own way this year and really missing our Thanksgiving get together in Oakland with our good friends. We will have to Facetime with them and share some love.

There were lots of new things happening over the last couple of weeks as my daughter was invited to go ice skating with her class. So, a school friends Dad drove us all to Docklands O’Brien ice rink for the afternoon. It was such a great opportunity to go ice skating! I have roller skated and roller bladed but I have never ice skated. Even when we were in California, we did not get around to it, even though the ice rink was in the next suburb. So my daughter got on the skates and no problem – she was even helping her friends get around. I got on with a very slow start and eventually I felt my balance on the skates and it was so much fun!! We are so looking forward to going ice skating again but at $50 for the two of us, it will only be on special occasions.

I have been volunteering at my daughters primary school to teach sewing to the kids. The art teacher at her school is doing textiles for the last term of school and I am helping out with the kids felt animals. This is what I used to teach the kids when I was in Mountain View California in the parent volunteer led Arts Focus classes. For the kids in years 5/6 we are doing the whole project from scratch where the kids trace their animal onto felt, cut them out, embellish the animal and this week they will be stuffing the animal learning the blanket stitch and whip stitch. It is so good to see how enthusiastic the kids are about the felt animal project. They want to keep the animal for themselves as they did have the option to make them for their prep buddy, instead now that they have practiced their own felt animal they will be given the opportunity to design another smaller one for their buddy.

The other good thing I have been becoming aware of now is the amount of fish that I am not eating. After watching the film Artifishal it has really changed my mind about consuming fish. Not only are fish stocks depleted, the fish farms pollute water, also what I found out on this documentary is that fish hatcheries in America breed fish to be distributed into local rivers where these fish breed with the wild fish. What happens to wild fish is that they become less resilient and disease spreads. This is an interesting site to check out for aquaculture in Australia.

So I have been slowly adding more plant based foods to our meals every day – which means soaking the chick peas, beans and eating lentils – there are so many varieties. There is still goat cheese in my bowls and I am not fully vegan but it is mostly vegetarian we are consuming at the moment. On the left is a couscous BBQ rub baked chick pea bowl with roasted beets and goat cheese. On the right is a deconstructed Japanese hand roll with sushi rice, vegetables, kimchi, and baked Tamari and SMALT BBQ rub tofu topped with Nori and a miso mayo sauce – yummo! Cooking dinner does require a bit of imagination and planning but I am making it work.

The huge excitement for our house is that the carpenters have been real busy and getting the framing in place and the house is starting to take shape even putting the second floor floor joists in as well. When we walked down the alleyway to check out house from the back we saw there was even a wall in place where the laundry and pantry will be. To see all this progress is fantastic and we are surely counting down the days until we move in.

The weather has been crazy here we are out on a balmy 25 degree evening flying the drone at the local park, it was beautiful. But today we have a high of 15 degrees and it is super cold. So the winter coat is still hanging at the front door and the beanie is there too for those cold southerly winds. Have a look at that gorgeous sky, its stunning!

Happy halloween

Well the time has come to get back into the study zone after my month of catching up on stuff. While I was free to catch up on stuff, I was investigating vegan makeup options. I found this great brand with a perfect price point in Sydney called MOMMA. So I ordered their samples to check the colours for a BB cream which includes a sunscreen (you need it in Australia) and found the perfect colour. Their lipsticks are just divine, long lasting and super smooth with shea butter. They also have a mineral matt powder to dust all over the place, as you can see in the pic! Anyway it is good to know that I have found a local makeup company to gather my makeup supplies and know that no animals were harmed in the process. Thanks to PETA for the extensive list.

Last week was Halloween and it was hot as at 32 degrees celsius. For me it was very strange to experience a hot Halloween. For the last 12 years it has been autumn in the northern hemisphere. So I ditched my costume and just wore my sundress and became a tourist for the afternoon to take the girls from my daughters school down to the shops for a bit of trick or treat action. Next year when we move into our house, I reckon I will be more festive for Halloween, as all my costumes are boxed up in the garage it was a bit of a mission to dig through it all.

Speaking of the house build, here it is and I am standing on the back deck in the picture on the left looking over to the dining room and lounge. The other pic is I am in the laundry looking towards the hallway and stairs. It is so exciting to see the progress this week but this week it is raining and fingers crossed we can see some more action this week!

Life balance

Being on break I have taken the opportunity to finally go to the hairdresser and cut all my hair off and get a new hairdo! I found this fabulous stylist Chloe at Cherry Bomb hair in Collingwood. I said that I wanted to cut it all off as I have been eyeing off the lovely short styles on women around Melbourne. In my minds eye I saw a pixie cut but as I do have thick and curly hair, Chloe created this lovely hair style and incredible colour. I like to share the before and after pics as it was time for a change. I am loving it as it is so easy to style in the morning and on my travels to the gym and on my bike.

I have been studying for a maths test which is taking up most of my time and it is interesting the amount of stuff I do not use, that kids still learn in Year 9 maths! Lucky for me, the real world including financial maths and ratios is something I do not have to revise. My revision book is getting quite full with all my reminder notes of various formulas I have not used in forever but I will get there. When I am studying, I see how kids these days can call upon Google for all their knowledge and the greatest saviour for me with maths is Khan academy, as I love the videos and explanations to help me with my mathematical understanding.

Over the weekend I enjoyed this wonderful networking event at Swinburne University in Hawthorn which was an hour away by tram and train from home. It started at 10am so I was gone most of the day and the rest of the fam hung out at home and did errands. It was the first time the online contingent of my University got together and we got to meet fellow students and chat to industry professionals. The highlight was the inspiring keynote presentation by Emma Murray who made us all feel the energy to focus on what matters most in our lives and most of all, how to focus on our studies. I left the day with renewed optimism to study and get through my course and see the finish line!

On Sunday, we enjoyed an afternoon of family time and we went into the city to check out a Mexican festival at Flagstaff gardens. It turned out to be long lines for the food trucks and we were not drinking so we were not keen for the crazy margaritas. So we decided to check out the Queen Vic market and it was so good! We basically went there to scout out some food and I found this Sri Lankan street food vendor who made a Kotthu roti, right there in front of me with this incredible array of ingredients including curry leaves and egg, yummo. They added cheese on top which was probably a bit much for me but the yoghurt mint sauce was the absolute best. It was quite a feast, so I shared it with Ash and my hubby. Making the roti was very noisy indeed but well worth it for the food theatre. These guys are part of the restaurant Drums and are a franchise of 5 locations around Melbourne. They are also at the Preston market (just around the corner from our place by bus) where they are open on the weekend serving string hoppers and hoppers, so I have a date in the future to visit them there, yummo!

And the excitement in our house is that the steel has been fabricated and is getting in place. I visited over the weekend and found that a lot of action had happened including a brick wall. We are so happy it is moving along and today I chatted to a guy welding away and he told me there was some steel to be put in the front of the house as well. Its so good to see the structure taking shape as I have memorised the whole build 😀