It's summer already

and it's been so hot, then it rains buckets, and then it's beautifully chilly, clean, and fresh. I heart California. Really, I love my state. Below is just one reason why. The image beside the beautiful brown hillside is of seed balls I found while hiking at Foothill Park in Palo Alto, CA. They were growing in small groups alongside the trail on what looked like grape vines. These definitely are not grapes. I hope. They remind me of sweet gum seed balls.

To celebrate the beginning of the new season I am doing some teaching! Not the kind I used to do though. This time I am teaching the school's 5th grade classes how to make simple autograph books for their graduation celebration. Ever since I've been on the wagon (from teaching) I've done next to nothing for our elementary school. It's funny that when I was teaching full-time I managed to spend loads more time at the school volunteering. Yes, I was out of my mind busy and stressed at the time. But still!

I am also teaching a  two-hour workshop on Friday to a woman who makes amazing origami creations. She also teaches children. It should be fun. I've decided that because she can fold tiny papers into ridiculously beautiful objects she can handle all three structures I've planned.

The picture below is of some of the materials I've prepped for the 5th graders. Note that ALL the materials are on their second life. (even the staples I'm planning to use in the saddle stapler I bought there for $2.00. (I know!) This is the beauty of living near two wonderful resources for recycled art materials. SCRAP and East Bay Depot

Yesterday I mailed out this set of cards to a gal in Arizona. I have less irritation in my heart for the state of Arizona knowing that there are people there who like things like this. Hope it gets there soon!

I also spent some time sewing; something I have neglected for a few months while I focus on paper. My friend, Lem, works at a Walden Pond Bookstore in Oakland, CA is in charge of taking care of the rare books. He can do many many things, but sadly cannot sew. These panels will line the glass case at the front of the shop. Go take a look next week when it's all finished.  An aside; I got a new table for my sewing machine. It was actually made for a Singer like mine and has a knee pedal. I know many people find these old fashioned and clunky but I disagree. I sat for quite some time sewing and did not end up with that pinched -nerve feeling I typically get in my neck after sewing. Also, the knee pedal is much more useful when trying to control the speed of your machine. My machine, and most from its era, does not have a speed-adjustment built into the machine. The foot controller is supposed to allow for this but I've never found it easy.