Inside/Outside times with COVID-19

In space no one can hear you scream, on earth with our rules of staying inside has created an excess amount of energy that I will scream random words into my kids rooms! The screaming is either inspired by entertainment to see their reaction or just pure frustration for example, “its your turn to clean out the cat poo!!”. We have been social distancing for 7 weeks now. This week I submitted my essay so I feel a sense of relief. Next step for uni is catching up on my reading and starting my next assignment as I have about 5 weeks of term left. Better get my butt into gear but staying inside really helps but getting motivated is another thing!!

The other night I got my camera to take some pics of the full moon, according to NASA it’s name was the super flower moon being the fourth super moon of the year. The moon did not disappoint, for when I went out on my balcony the sky was so beautiful and clear and the moon was shining so bright. I can still see the rabbit in the moon I used to see when I was a kid. Thinking about it now, I did make a painting of the rabbit in the moon in my visual arts class years ago. Being outside under the light polluted sky we did see a few stars using my Skyview app to find constellations but we could not see enough as we live in inner city Melbourne. Still my daughter and I enjoyed watching the sky and seeing the moons detail with its craters, she would say is that real? I would say “yeah it is a digital zoom that can capture detail far, far away”. Camera technology is the best and I do love taking pictures with my Nikon P900 – it is classified as a compact camera but it is so versatile.

Later I went out and the sky was filled with clouds and the moon would peek in and out of the clouds. Occasionally we would see the outer ray of light of the moon in the first pic. Lucky the night was quite mild and we could enjoy some time outside looking at the sky, its very rare we just hang out and look at the stars these days as we are mainly on our screens. It reminded me of camping and with some luck (when my Dads car comes from Queensland) we may be able to go to nature places just out of the CBD and explore some outdoors time under the stars and under the trees. I am looking forward to the escape.

Stocking up, kevabs and New Order

I saw this quote the other day when I went for my self isolation shopping trip. It really made me think how messed up the world is and what are we going to do about it. Well we see the PM is finally listening to scientists – maybe that can be translated to the climate scientists and we can start doing something positive for our planet. There is definitely something out of order when you go to the shop and are rationed with 2 items for most of the products. The shelves were stocked at 7am and open early for the vulnerable and the elderly which is a great initiative because of all the hoarding and panic buying! I went in with my cart around 9am and felt so anxious, feeling the post apocalyptic energy where the aisles were void of most products. Now my pantry has rice, pasta, dried beans and pulses, cat food, Panadol, alcohol and aloe vera gel for hand sanitiser, eucalyptus essential oil, local frozen greek food, peanut butter, tomatoes, passata, crackers and cordial. I hope that will be enough food to get us through, if we have to shelter at home like the Bay Area in SF. I found that a focus on nutrition helps with the immune system plus some exercises, it is is exercising indoors via YouTube and eating well with minimal adventures outdoors with 1.5 metres away from anyone (which is two arm lengths).

Before all this self isolation and on the last day of my Uni break, I finally caught up with my friend and we went out for a vegan kebab! It was just the best and we had a lovely afternoon together chatting away over some tasty vegan food in Brunswick. And the bonus was the pea protein fake meat in the kebab will be available for sale in the future. The choices for sauces were divine and the salads looked amazing and my friend enjoyed the pea protein and a mix of three of the salads, so yummo!

I also have been going out and enjoying the sunshine and I found these poppies at a neighbourhood centre on my walk back from the hairdresser. The weather has just been beautiful and it is important to go outside and enjoy it being 1.5 metres away from people. Last weekend I did another sewing bee at the library but because of the scariness of COVID-19 I only had one friend show up! It was good as I worked away and managed to use all the donated fabric at the library and made dog blankets for a lady on the Good Karma Network in my neighbourhood. My cat Bella managed to score the black blanket on the top, lucky girl!

And then the self isolate rules were put in place from last Monday and over the weekend my friend invited me to go and see New Order at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. I said to her I was concerned about the germs but as it is an outside venue I felt way better. It was a sold out show but there were many tickets available for the show on the night, I reckon a lot of sensible people did cancel. We decided it was so worth it to see New Order and dance around at one last party before we are hanging out at home for the next month or more.

An urban art excursion with the fam!

I have been busy sewing away and creating to relaunch my textiles business here in Melbourne for a creative side gig as I miss it so much. I have a fair amount of fabric that I have been wanting to transform so I figure I may as well make it to sell. So my study space was transformed into a little crazy creative space for the last few weeks which has been so good to make again. I have made tops from Japanese kimono fabric and I have nearly finished my dungarees for the farm work – just have to sew the buttons on.

For our family outing last weekend we went to check out Can’t Do Tomorrow an urban arts festival near my old hood in Kensington. The art was incredible within this old warehouse which made the perfect canvas for street artists. Everywhere we looked there was colour and design with so much attitude, with a huge antiestablishment vibe. The many highlights were chatting to the artists about their work and realising there are some of their pieces in your neighbourhood. I highly recommend this festival if you are into urban art and are looking to add some local artists on your walls as they also had prints for sale. If you had the $ you could buy Shephard Fairey framed originals from $5K to over $13K – it was super cool to see them in real life!

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.

Holiday! celebrate!

I have been flat strap with my Uni work and my writing has been laying by the wayside! So now tonight chilling out watching a crap film with my fam bam I am finally catching up. Heres a collection of what we have been up to for the last couple of weekends. We have enjoying time at the NGV seeing the Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition and the Louise Weaver art exhibition at the Buxton Contemporary on the weekend of 11th January.

Last weekend we saw the KAWS exhibition plus the added bonus of a Commes des Garcons collection of clothes, videos and sounds and it was so fun to have a break from study. This week I have been busting some moves to get my last three assignments done and dusted – so it looks like I will be working tomorrow!!

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!

A Birthday, some city disruption and creative vibes

Last week turned out to be quite a busy week with Ash turning 14 on Friday! We enjoyed “our own birthday” school strike for climate change in the Melbourne CBD with Extinction Rebellion with their Disco Disruption dancing and marching in the streets. It was the best climate action rally I have experienced, with dancing in the streets in the middle of an intersection and then a die in in the middle of Bourke Street mall. I do hope we managed to create an awareness for a lot of the people who were taking video and photos with their phones .

Creating civil disruption works up an appetite so Ash wanted to go to ramen for dinner and we took the tram down to Brunswick to Misoya Sake Bar. I had a vegan ramen which was delish and the rest of the fam had special ramen and chicken broth ramen which they loved!

While we were there we found this beautiful artwork which was drawn on the loo, I love Barek’s style and would love to have some of this art in our house in the future.

Saturday came around and I was volunteering at Peppertree community nursery working at the cafe making coffees and toasties for the locals in the morning. It was very exciting for me as this was the first time for me making coffee and working at a cafe rather than eating there! I really enjoyed hanging out with the community and chatting to the local peeps. Afterwards it was a stunning day, I went for a bike ride – only to be swooped by a magpie at the back of my head and on my back. Luckily there was no blood but I did not want to take any chances as maggies remember the people they have attacked so I took an alternative route home and found the drive in! It is a shame we do not have a car to take there 😦

Then Sunday came around and we hired a rental car and drove to Bendigo. We stopped off at Kyneton for a cuppa and to meet up with our friends and then we drove over to the Bendigo Art Gallery. It was so beautiful to see the churches and heritage buildings in the countryside, and Bendigo is about 1 hour 30 mins away from Melbourne so a perfect drive time for a Sunday day trip. We parked our car at the beautiful Rosalind Park and found these tulips planted amongst the green, then we heard the sounds of flying foxes in the trees, it would be lovely to go back and wander the gardens. I just realised they have a sister city of Los Altos, and is represented with a garden of dry climate plants from California – cool!

The main focus of our Sunday day trip to Bendigo was to see the Balenciaga exhibition from the V&A in London. It was a truly inspirational exhibition for me as I loved his attention to detail and the way he worked was to use the fabric as the inspiration for the designs. The x ray pieces were presented to show how the fabric was in relation to the body. One of his dresses was designed to puff up with air as you walked and the inspiration was from harem pants to puff out a ball gown – he was an absolute genius. Having the combination of tailoring and design Balenciagia created some contemporary silhouettes that truly shaped and inspired fashion throughout time.

This is an item we could play with in the exhibit and it was made from muslin. It was an ingenious piece as it was presented in the collection as a gorgeous skirt. We had the opportunity to work it as a cape or a skirt, I love how clothes can be designed this way to have the ability to be worn various ways. Using inspiration from cultures around the world Balenciagia used fabrics to create bold shapes and designs.

As we were leaving the gallery an exhibition called Desert Lines with a collection of fabric by Australian Indigenous women was on display. I am such a fabric fan but we were in a hurry to go to lunch so I just captured their colour and design as I wandered by and they are absolutely beautiful.

And as I was on my first week of holidays away from Uni work I took a small break and did a little bit of sewing using a Japanese pattern book I found as I had a bolt of stretch fabric my friend gave me to work with – the red top at the end was my fave. But as I was enjoying working with the patterns so much I found some of my vintage fabric and made a summer top from Hawaiian fabric. I also used the eyelet fabric using the Square top pattern from She Wears the Pants – another Japanese sewing book. Now I have a bunch of tops to wear but I need to wait for the weather to get warmer first!

Holidays, house and assignments done!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur with having to write 3 assignments! I am finally done with the assignments and at my last week of Uni now just wrapping up some readings and I will have a break for a month, yipee!! It is quite an achievement that I worked through 3 units and have come out at the end of the three weeks in one piece and not too frazzled.

Our house has finally moved on from a hole in the ground, to the black membrane which separates the concrete and now finally a massive concrete foundation, better get my skates on and start rollerskating!

As I was in full on study mode it was good to have Sunday brunch with some friends at South Wharf, I had no idea where it was in the city but it was a beautiful morning out. We were right next to the tall ship Polly Woodside – that I will have to take the kiddos out to one day!

It was James birthday week and I organised a little getaway on the Monday before his birthday – again, another study break but oh so worth it. It was the first day of the school holidays for the kiddos too! We all loved it as it was a totally meditative experience as you had to walk really slow so you did not get rained on. The immersive experience of the Rain Room was so cool as walked you stayed dry and even looking around you the rain was there and you were in your protected area with no rain. It was such an amazing experience with fantastic technology and art!

And here is the birthday dude with is cake made by me and decorated by Miss Hol with white chocolate hand drawn cat decorations with Happy Birthday stuck in the cake. Of course for a special dinner, I made a smoked salmon and goat cheese quiche and a pumpkin and cheddar quiche with a beautiful Pinot Noir wine from the Mornington Peninsula.

And to wrap up my week, Grammarly sent me my writing stats and man that is a lot of writing since I started Uni over 1 million! I reckon I looked that that cat by the time the last 12 weeks were over, my eyes bugging out of my head.

What do we want – Climate action!

Friday the 20th September 2019, was school strike for the climate and I went with my son and two of his grade 8 buddies. The boys had a fossil theme going on (see the signs above), with my favourite one being the Scomo skeleton the prime minister in a museum on my sons sign. Apparently there were 100,000 people in Melbourne and that is fantastic. Now we just gotta keep the momentum going and I need to join extinction rebellion as this video from Jane Goodall laid it all out for me today. It is so frustrating dealing with a government who does not listen to the people, as I read in the news on the day of the protests our PM was being wined and dined at the white house by Dump, ridiculous! The dinner of idiots and backward thinkers is all we need in this world, conspiring about who they can screw with next!! 😦

As we were enjoying our time in the streets with the people, we wandered out of the crowds for a feed. As I was hanging to try out Lord of the Fries – who knew the whole menu is vegan!! I just thought it was just chips, but hey you learn something new everyday. And as we were wandering down to Swanston Street, to some food we went down Collins Street totally void of moving cars (see above) and what a lovely sight that was! Back to my burger, I tried the Beyond Meat burgers which I had in America and it was so good – as a burger with the lot, Aussie style! And we all know what that means, beetroot and vegan egg on a burger and it was yummo and their fries, well you can choose to have chunky chips and they were so good!! Perfect after a lot of walking and hanging in the crowds.