Crafting in times of sadness, heals the soul

In times of crisis humans collectively get together to help each other and get stuff done! After feeling so overwhelmed at the mass destructions and loss with the Australian bushfires (that are still burning) I wanted to help. I saw online that the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild were looking for items for all the rescue animals, so I started doing a few at home. Later I discovered that our local library has a MakerSpace and asked if we could use the room and get a group together to sew for the animals. I was so excited when they said yes as long as I organised it. It was such a surprise that I have had to put study on hold for a few hours this week to make it happen. So I advertised on the Good Karma network and at the gym and got a group of 5 to 7 people for the three days this week to help out with ironing and cutting fabric donations and sewing on the four machines at the library.

While we were working at the library, the librarian shared the above article with us and it was so exciting to see the love for all the animals plus we got to confirm who we were sending the pouches too at our local hub in Melbourne.

So by the end of the week we have made close to 100 between our little group and have cut out some liners ready to go next week. We are planning to do some more sewing this week on Thursday and Friday to keep the momentum going! All with for the animals 😀

Oh and if you are keen to help the animals they need monetary donations to transport everything around this massive country of ours.

Now I better get back to my assignments and study for this week!

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!

Arting around

At our school we had our big event of the year – the Arts Show. I volunteered to help with the sock puppet activity with the community. A super easy craft consisting of, just socks, buttons/eyes, fabrics and hot glue – super easy and fun for all! It was such a great event with food trucks, music and art in every room. What I really enjoyed was the added element of technology, the kids in my daughters class were studying local birdlife so they used a Makey Makey and Scratch to program bird sounds. On the televisions in the classrooms were slideshows of artwork such as the nature mandalas and stories about the birds or animals narrated by the kids which created a whole atmosphere.

The other fun thing I did this week was volunteer at an art studio and work with early childhood children. As I have been contemplating changing my degree to early childhood/primary. It certainly was different compared to what I am used to and it requires a whole different mindset. I had prepared a watercolour drawing lesson using shapes inspired by Ed Emberley but when the ages of the children were from 2 to 5 years old, you are switching up your lesson ideas on the fly, these kids just want to get into it! I would have to say, even though the kids are super cute at this age – I have decided to stay with kiddos in Primary school. Below is the example I showed the kids to work with shape and line and walked through each shape step by step. I could really tell who the older kids were as they knew their shapes, as for the littles it is marks on paper.

Santa has recently visited our house with an iPad and an Apple Pencil. So to balance my left brain that has been writing essays for Uni, I have been drawing in the evening using my right brain and it has been so good to draw again. We bought this amazing app called Procreate for $10 and it is super powerful, just like Adobe Illustrator with many aspects of Photoshop so I am so in love with this program and very happy to be drawing again. Procreate is amazing with an art shop at your fingertips! I am tracing a lot of my photographs to get used to drawing again and it has been so fun, I am loving it. Here are some illustrations of what I have been creating – too easy.

A week full of farewells

What a week it has been, there has been so much happening and it is only the first week of December. I have ridden the emotional rollercoaster of saying goodbye to the friends I have met here. Thinking about my time here when I knew no one at the beginning of our time here to now where I have had celebrations from Saturday with friends. To saying farewell to a week of many lasts – I did my last sewing workshop at the local library to the hardest being my last class of teaching sewing to the kiddos at our amazing school community. The picture above is artwork gifted to me from a friend in my dance class saying we are just a straight line away! 

Last week I did a tote bag workshop at the library with my friend G who will be taking over the class from me. I am so happy to have her taking over as she is so creative and will have some fabulous projects in the future. We also did the felt ornaments workshop last Monday and that was a fun one with all of these beautiful ornaments the library community made. 

It was so hard to keep it together for my final Arts Focus class yesterday as I have been involved with the program for the 9 years we have been at our school. It is such an incredible program run by parent volunteers who teach different classes of 27 Kinder to 5th-grade kids. I feel this program is what motivated me to start my teaching degree which I totally love. Our community project of the quilt is super cool and the kids are given the opportunity to buy it at the silent auction. The LED cuff in the centre was made by a Kinder with thanks to a new teacher and volunteer who helped make it happen. Yesterday with the last class I made a video of the pipe cleaner dolls with a cool projector and tablet straight to the massive LCD TV in the classroom so the kids could see what was happening – I just love the technology. It works so well as I am about to hand in two video resources for my assignment that I made for the Australian Curriculum for digital technology and design and technology for the subject Teaching Science and Technology. I am always amazed at what the kids make and how creative they are, with this experience I have a feeling that this is something that I will want to do once I graduate. 

I also said goodbye to my friends at Top Hair and Nail – a sanctuary where I go to for some pampering and relaxation. Here is my cool hairdresser Toy and there I am out with my new do at a bar on Thursday night celebrating our first session of Arts Focus for the school year and my final session for Arts Focus, so sad but I am also happy for the kids who had sewing with me and how much fun we had together. 

The bittersweet emotion that is manifesting from the move home to Australia is intense but I feel that we are connected to each other by our little machines and we can always see what we are all up to. My good friend in Melbourne mentioned that I will keep in touch with my peeps even though we will be so far away and with some luck, we will have visitors coming to Melbourne to say hello! I have been crying so much and feel a deep love for the community I have built here and saying farewell is way better than saying goodbye. I have received so many beautiful comments from my friends here and it will be strange not to be living in the Valley but now it is time to write a new chapter of our life with our family. 

What does this yellow bench represent? Well, the remodel of our yellow and blue house in Melbourne. It is getting there as we spoke to our architect and the structural engineer is working on the plans and then tendering for a builder will happen in February and here’s to a smooth transition to build phase and the building can start in March/April. For now, the interior scheme is wonderful with a garden that reflects our being with fluffy native grasses and an entertainment area. So with all that planning underway I will wait patiently and be ready for the next phase of the building – yippee!

But first, the big move to Australia and a rental property for the next 12 months, then get the kids settled into the school (which I am sure they will love) and for me studying in the background and recreating a network. It is quite overwhelming but I am breaking the to do list down and this weekend I need to start packing for the summer and the next 4 months until our stuff arrives. Currently, the Melbourne weather is 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees F), its gonna be hot – I cannot forget the swimsuit!!