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Monday 30 July 2012

Shrinky Dinky Doo (Part 2)

Remember that little Shrinky Dink family I posted about yesterday? Well, they're now holding hands and adorning Ava as a necklace.

One-of-a-kind Shrinky Dink family necklace

Shrinky Dinky Doo (Part 1)

Shrinky Dinks: remember them? I loved making Shrinky Dinks as a kids but had kind of forgotten that they existed. That was until I found them on sale a little while back on The Mini Social. I grabbed a bunch of the blank Shrinky Dink paper and put them aside as a Summer vacation activity for the girls.

Shrinky Dinks

Monday 23 July 2012

Ava loves Swampy

Ava has a new obsession...

Goodbye Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja. You've been replaced by the loveable alligator Swampy in the Disney mobile game Where's My Water?

Both Ava and Lola have been pretty mad about playing Where's My Water? since I downloaded it a few weeks ago. Ava seems quite smitten with the main character Swampy, a cute and friendly looking alligator. In the game Swampy is desperate to have a bath, however the water has been blocked off - hence the title. The player digs through dirt to get the water through to the bathtub, collecting rubber duckies and avoiding moss and slime along the way.

Ava has been talking about Swampy quite a bit lately and a few days ago she spent much of the afternoon making a book about him and the game. Of course, Ava features alongside Swampy in her book as well. Who wouldn't want to share a bath with an alligator? :)
Here's a look at Ava's book:

Swampy and Ava

Thursday 19 July 2012

Spin, spin, spin

Just when you thought that there was well and truly enough colour at the Color Run, the organisers threw in a little extra colour fun at the end. This colour however was not powered by running, but rather by cycling.

Pedal Powered Spin Art in action

Local Bay Area company Rock The Bike rent out (and sell) their amazing Fender Blender bikes for events such as this one. The Fender Blender looks part exercise bike, part blender. And that's because it pretty much is. It's a pedal powered blender, perfect for making smoothies at events. In this case however the Fender Blender bike was fitted with a Spin Art drum rather than a blender. Instead of mixing up delicious beverages, this Fender Blender mixed up works of art!

As you can see in the pictures below the the Fender Blender features a large drum on the front. This is connected to a mechanism that spins the drum at high speed as the pedals turn. Tape down a piece of paper, squirt in a little paint, pedal a little and hey presto, you've got yourself a one of a kind piece of art!

The Fender Blender with Spin Art attachment

Ava squirts in some paint

And some more - maybe a little too much!

Ava watches her painting take shape in the Spin Art drum

Lola's turn to squeeze in some paint

The girls loved having a go with the Spin Art. Unfortunately they weren't able to pedal themselves but they still enjoyed the whole process.

Ava & Lola's finished paintings. Ava used perhaps just a little too much paint in hers

I'd love to rent one of these for a big party one day. The bike is a real crowd pleaser, especially with the younger set.

As well as the blender and Spin Art attachments Rock The Bike also rent out Fender Blenders with ice cream churns. How cool is that? Ice cream churned on a bike! Then there are the Pedal Powered Stage and Pedal Powered Lighting, perfect for music events.

Oh the things you can do on a bike if you just use a little imagination!

I want one!

The Color Run

On Saturday we took part in quite possibly the funnest fun run you could run for fun - The Color Run!

As the name suggests The Color Run features colour - and lots of it.

A colourful bunch at the end of the run

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Hanging Rabbit Foot Fern workshop

Last week I attended another workshop at Utsuwa Floral Design in San Francisco's Japantown.

This time the project was a Hanging Rabbit Foot Fern; a small fern, the roots and soil of which are wrapped in a moss ball.

This project was relatively quick and simple. After removing the fern from its pot a wire post is poked through the middle. This forms the hanger for the completed project. Moss is then placed on the bottom to hold in moisture. Sheet moss is then wrapped around the roots and soil, covering it all and shaped to form a ball.

The materials: fern, moss, monofilament fishing line and wire

Nail Salon

Today the girls played nail salon.

We all received brightly coloured (and slightly messy) manicures and pedicures plus the girls relaxed with a foot spa. Ok, so it was just a bucket filled with warm water and bubble bath. Close enough!

Lola's little finger nails

Lola eagerly waits for her turn in the "foot spa"

Pretty nails

Lola loved soaking her feet in the "foot spa"

We use Hopscotch Kids Watercolors range of kid friendly, water based nail polishes. They come in a great range of bright colours with fantastic names. At the nail salon today we used "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" (green), "Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum in a Dish" (pink) and "Ink, A Bink, A Bottle of Ink" (blue).

I got a manicure too!

Nice work Ava

Once our nails were done the girls decided they'd like tattoos too. They chose popsicle and rainbow designs from Tattly which went nicely with their colourful nails.

Choosing tattoos


Ava decided to make a sign for our front door advertising her tattoo and nail salon. I love all the detail she has included in the sign. Apparently her manicures cost one dollar note and one penny - or is that a backwards ten?

Ava's Tattoo & Nails

When we first moved to Berkeley Ava set up a little nail salon in our lounge room and created a similar sign. She posted this sign in one of our front windows in the hope that people passing by might stop in for a manicure!

Ava's Nail Salon back in November

Ava's old salon used markers 

Friday 6 July 2012

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

Earlier this week the girls and I took a walk through the world of bizarre fashions courtesy of Monsieur Jean Paul Gaultier and the de Young Museum.

"The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to the Catwalk" is an exhibition of some of Gaultier's finest creations currently on display at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (through to August 19th 2012).

The perfect suit for San Francisco!

This was a fashion exhibition unlike any other I have seen before. Should I have expected anything less  from fashion's "infant terrible"? 

As soon as we entered the exhibition we were in for a surprise - and it didn't come from the outfits on display. On first glance the mannequins appeared to be real people. But then wait, their bodies are plastic. No, they must be real, their faces are moving. What's going on here?

Thursday 5 July 2012

Happy 4th of July

Yesterday was our first 4th of July here in America.

We spent most of the day at the 4th of July celebration at the Berkeley Marina. The girls went on pony rides and bouncy castles, we ate corn dogs and drank strawberry lemonade, we watched kites flying and bands playing and generally had a nice day in the sun.

The girls with their American flags and pinwheels

First up we hit the food stands for corn dogs. Much tastier than expected.

Two corn dogs please...

Mmm... hotdog on a stick!

Ava eats her corn dog

Lola attacks the corn dog!

After lunch we soaked in the sights - and a little sun - while the girls played on the grass.

Berkeley Marina

Lola seemed to enjoy pushing Ava around in circles - again and again and again...

Ava and Lola 

Spin that pinwheel

The girls were so excited when they discovered that there would be pony rides. However when it actually came to it Lola freaked out and refused to get on a pony! I wasn't surprised; I'd half expected this reaction from Lola. She had never seen a real pony up close before. As far as Lola was concerned ponies are small, brightly coloured creatures that live in the mythical land of Equestria. Hmm... that could be My Little Pony !

Ava ended up taking Lola's turn and had two rides on different ponies. Lola in turn, was happy enough to walk along side of the pony. Of course, afterwards Lola would not stop talking about her "poby ride"! That's right, she calls ponies "pobies"!

Pony ride!

Pony ride number two

After pony rides it was off to the bouncy castles. Lola was pretty excited to go on a "Bob Bob Pear Pants" bouncy castle - that's Sponge Bob Square Pants for those of you who don't speak Toddler. Ava went on a bouncy obstacle course and a giant bouncy slide.

Sliding down the obstacle course

Bouncy obstacle course

Bouncy climbing

Lola was pretty excited about the bouncy castle

From the Marina we headed over to nearby Cesar Chavez Park where there was plenty of kite flying up on the windy hill. The girls loved playing with their pinwheels and little flags in the wind.

Flag waving

Lots of kites and lots of wind

It was pretty windy

Ava and her pinwheel

Lola and her pinwheel

In the evening we went home and watched the fireworks around the Bay Area from our roof top garden - along with what seemed like every other person in our apartment building. It was a little busier on the roof than it had been on New Year's Eve when there were only about a dozen of us watching the fireworks.

As always, the fireworks were pretty. Lots of red, white and blue. This time round there were fireworks to be seen in almost every direction. We could see the fireworks displays at the Berkeley Marina, Pier 39 in San Francisco, Oakland, somewhere on the Marin Headlands and various other locations.

As always it was pretty cold up on the roof so we rugged up in jackets and beanies. Ah... Summer in the Bay Area!


So pretty

Pretty again 

Blue and white

Red, white and blue

These ones were pretty spectacular

More red, white and blue

Very bright flashes

A bit of everything leading up to the finale

The finale

More of the finale

Happy 4th of July!
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