Saturday, 3 October 2015

Roadworks Festival 2015

This past weekend we attended one of San Francisco's quirky events. No, not the Folsom Street Fair - although we did spot many of that festival's attendees in their interesting attire (or lack there of!) on our way home. No, the festival that we attended was the annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival hosted by San Francisco Center for the Book. Much more family friendly!

The highlight of the Roadworks Festival is watching linoleum block prints being made with the help of a steam roller. You know, the sort of thing that would've been used to smooth out roads back when coal was the power source de jour for vehicles. We've attended the Roadworks Festival in the past and we've all enjoyed it. Now that we have a "digger" obsessed toddler in our midst attending the festival was a no-brainer. A whole afternoon of watching a ye olde construction vehicle paired with hands on print making and book binding fun. Perfect!

Mathilde fell asleep on our walk to the festival so we took the opportunity for Ava and Lola to try their hand at print making while she snoozed. We started off by carving images into rubber blocks for printing. Both girls drew a picture of themselves and we took it in turns carving. Ava did a pretty good job of carving most of her block but Lola was a little unsure. In fact, I was a little unsure of Lola carving her block given how sharp the tools were. She carved a few straight lines and then left the rest for me to carve. I always forget just how much I enjoy making linoleum or rubber block prints until I start carving. I need to do it more often. Anyway, after the blocks were carved, the girls inked them up with a roller and then used a small table top press to transfer their images onto card. I think they came out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

We then moved onto table top letterpress printing with a pre-made template. The girls printed two color bookmarks.

Mathilde woke up when the girls were finished with these two projects so we moved on to watching the steam roller. Mathilde was pretty excited when she first saw the steam roller and called out "Digger! Digger!" over and over while pointing at it. As soon as it blew its whistle though, she screamed and high tailed it out of there! That whistle is pretty loud and it can be scary if you're not expecting it.

After watching the steam roller in action Mathilde plucked up the courage to go check it out up close. She was a littler nervous at first and made sure to keep an eye on it at all times. You never know when it's going to make that loud noise again!

We then headed inside to make notebooks. We started by printing letterpress covers then moved on to stitching the books together. Ava was keen to do all of the steps herself but Lola needed a little help.

We then headed back outside where the girls stamped stationery, had calligraphy bookmarks made, and, of course, watched the steam roller in action again.

We all had a fun time at the Roadworks Festival. Mathilde even learnt a new word: Roller! After calling the steam roller "digger" for quite some time she suddenly switched to "roller" which is now one of her favorite words. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

52 Weeks: Week 38

Week 38: Walls

I'm a little behind again with my "weekly" 52 Week Project posts. Technically I should be posting Week 39, but I'm only up to Week 38. And here's the thing, I'm a little behind in my photo taking too. So, in an effort to play catch up I'm mixing up the weeks a little. Some of the photos below actually are from week 38 while a few of them are from week 39 but continue with the theme.

This installment of my 52 Week Project is all about the fun walls that we find around town. When we find walls with murals, great colors or interesting textures the girls like to pose for photos. Sometimes they stand in a line and look quite serious. Other times they jump and do crazy dance moves. And about half of the time there's duck face!

The walls in this post were found in San Francisco (Mission District and SOMA) and Oakland.

I'm always keeping an eye out for fun walls for the kids to pose in front of. There are so many great murals and colorful walls around the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco's Mission District and Oakland. You can see some of our favorites here (Clarion Alley, Balmy Alley, Market Street, Sutro Tower and YouTube). You can also see lots of fun walls on my Instagram feed. Make sure to follow Little Hiccups here.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Super Blood Moon

As I'm sure you're all aware, tonight's moon was pretty damn special.

Tonight we experienced a Super Blood Moon; the result of a full lunar eclipse coinciding with a super moon (the moon being at its closest orbit to earth). Separately, these two events are not uncommon, but to have them happen at the same time is quite rare. The last Super Blood Moon was back in 1982. The next one won't be until 2033.

We were lucky to have a pretty clear night here in Berkeley. There was low lying cloud over the hills and I was a little worried that it would block our view, but once the moon rose above the cloud we were in for a spectacular sight. We watched the red moon rise over Downtown Berkeley and the UC Berkeley campus with the iconic Campanille tower lit up in the foreground.

The moon was such an amazing red color. The girls were in awe of it as much as Kim and I were. We stayed up on our roof top for probably half an hour and watched as the sun slowly started to shine on the bottom half of the moon, taking the blood red coloring away. 

The best thing about tonight's Super Blood Moon is that it was visible at a decent time! We were treated to this spectacle before the girls' bedtime which was great. No having to set alarms to get up early like last time there was a (regular) blood moon back in April.

Nature really has been treating us to some spectacular views in the sky lately. Make sure to check out my Instagram feed (and follow!) to see some of the amazing sunsets we've had lately too.