Wednesday, May 25, 2011

California Vacation 2011

We've been away.
We surprised our kids with a trip to California. They were off track from school (year round), our oldest son for the last time before starting middle school this fall and going on a traditional school schedule. This was our last chance to do Disney off-season (less crowded) without skipping school, so we jumped on it.
(view from the soccer field - the starting point)

We started out with a loaded mini-van and four clueless kiddos at an early morning soccer game, the Wasatch Mountains in the background (I love the mountains). We hit the road right after the game. 10 + hours later, with more the 700 miles under our belts, we were taking an evening stroll along the beach, the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean lapping at our feet (I also love the beach). It makes me think of America the Beautiful - we went (by auto) from purple mountains majesty to the shining sea, all in one day.

The kids thought we were headed to St. George for the weekend, but when we got to St. George, we faked a phone call and pretended all of the hotels were booked...but there might be some rooms further down in Mesquite. We kept on driving and passed Mesquite. Finally, we stopped at a Travel Stop just before Vegas, whipped out the video camera and told the kids, "We have already gone more than 400 miles, we can stop here or we can go just another 300 miles and spend the week in California at....DISNEYLAND."  It was a no brainer - such happy little travelers they were.

We spent three days at Disneyland and California Adventure. Amusement parks are not my favorite way to spend time, but I actually like Disneyland.  My favorite ride: Soaring Over California - it even smells good. I'll spare you all the photos of our cheesy mugs at Disney - I didn't take my big camera, so the pictures aren't the best.  Mostly crazy action shots.

Although, this one is too classic not to share.  This is what Disneyland does to active kids.

We also spent a day at the San Diego Zoo. 

Loved the monkey riding the hippo. They seemed quite comfortable with each other.

We visited some beautiful beaches in the San Diego area including Coronado Beach (number three on the list of best beaches in the United States).

One of the best things about Coronado Beach - Hotel Del Coronado.

So pretty.

We also stopped La Jolla Cove just north of San Diego, one of my favorite spots from our last California vacation:

We spent another day exploring some of the beaches of Orange County.

Crystal Cove (north of Laguna, south of Newport):

This was a rustic beach (a preservation area and state park) with  BIG waves and brave surfers.

The beach was littered with sea plants...our kids called them poppers, because they pop when you step on them (nature's bubble wrap).

Doheny Beach (Dana Point):

This was a wide and level (no hiking down a cliff) beach.

Perfect for watching surfers (they kind of looked like sharks swarming off shore).

Building sand castles.

And burying your brother in the sand.

And my favorite, Salt Creek Beach, within walking distance of where we were staying:

It was the best of everything.  There was a park with a lawn for kicking balls and climbing trees.
The Ritz Carlton high up on the south end.

Gorgeous homes to the north.

And the softest sand.  The perfect spot to watch the sun set.

Now we're back to real life. It is always hard to make that transition.

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the Go Organization

I've been sewing many I am going cross eyed, but I have a good reason:  organization.  I need some.  We have places to go and a whole lot of stuff to keep track of. 

First up, I made four new back of the car seat organizers.  I made some a couple of years ago and we used them so much they wore out.  The new versions have more pockets, some with pleats and elastic.  The idea orginally came from here, but I have made some modifications.

We needed more storage on our umbrella stroller.  It has a basket underneath,but it is really small. I went digging through my fabric and made this big stroller tote.  It really is BIG. 

I added ties to the bottom to help secure it to the stroller:

Lastly, I made a new tote bag for me.  Something to put all my books and goodies in (because I don't have access to my own, personal, back of the seat organizer).  I picked up this fabric a few weeks ago at JoAnn's when I went to scope out the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  It's tree hugger fabric - I heart trees.  I was going to have it finished in time for Earth Day, but you know how that goes. I referenced this great tutorial, but
made some modifications to size (mine is 2 inches longer), as well as added additional storage options.

Big stretchy pocket on back (or front...haven't decided which is which):
 And more inside:

We have been experiencing such perfect weather, it has been hard to stay inside and finish up these projects. 

 It certainly feels like spring in the valley, but the surrounding mountains are still dressed for winter. I don't mind the white stuff so much when it's warm enough to wear shorts and flip-flops.

“Sweet May hath come to love us, Flowers, trees, their blossoms don; And through the blue heavens above us The very clouds move on.”

~ Heinrich Heine

Blogger's Quilt Festival

For Blogger's Quilt Festival,  I've decided to share the vintage sheet quilt I finished in April (sorry for the repetition if you read my earlier post about this quilt). This quilt is the product of two years of diligently searching for and collecting beautiful, vibrant linens from yester-year. This is my 3rd vintage sheet quilt (first here, second here).  Since this one was for my bedroom, I was very discriminating - only my favorite sheets made the final cut. Some of them are the same ones my sweet grandmother used in her home (blues and greens) and I think of her when I see them.

I started working on it last fall and it was on my sewing table for quite a while. At queen size, it is the largest quilt I have made. Machine quilting it on my domestic machine was a bit challenging - I am sure my lines are a little more wonky than straight in places, but I was wrestling with mountains of fabric and bulk (or so it seemed). The design is one I sketched up one day. I used Kona Ash for the solid.

It has been on my bed for almost 2 months, and it still makes me happy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Country Living

I have been a subscriber of Country Living magazine for years.  I save my favorites copies.  Recently I came across an oldie - September 2004.  I flipped through it for a second and came to the above 2 page spread of residential bliss. A total dream house.  Seriously.  It meets so many requirements on my wish list and particularly nails location.  I don't dream about McMansions, I dream about idyllic settings.
I also like looking at house plans (it's genetic) . If you, too, like to dream about houses with porches, Stephen Fuller Designs is a fun site full of possibilities. 
This one has always been a favorite of mine.

The May 2011 edition of Country Living (the most recent) had an article on vintage Pyrex.

I happen to have some of the same designs as the ones photographed in the article!

 A couple of items came from thrifting, but most came from family (stuff they were throwing out).  I am always on the lookout for more.  The people at Pyrex really need to find a way to bring back the folksy color!

A few years ago, there was an article featuring a red dresser.  I still remember the story - a lady found it on the side of the road and brought it home with her. It was quirky, colorful and an example of how you don't need to spend big money to furnish your home with character.
 We recently refinished one of our old master bedroom dressers for our 5 year old son.  We used spray paint this time.  I wanted to antique it, but my hubby wasn't on board.  I think he is tiring of the old look.  It doesn't have as much aged character as the one from the magazine but it's a another item to check off the to-do-list.  Sometimes, just finishing something feels like an accomplishment.

The denim quilts I made about 5 (or 6?!) years ago are still hanging in there. One of these days I'll get around to sewing something new for my boys! :)

 Have a happy Mother's Day weekend!