July 2019: Craft Beers and Craft Clothes

Let me see if I can catch you up on a whole month without overwhelming you! From Denver to duvets, there’s been alot going on, so let’s see how this recap goes.

Craft Beers

I went to Denver, CO, for the first time ever! Well, first time out of the airport, lol. It was a planned craft beer weekend – Thomasina’s Testament, a special beer was brewed to pay tribute to an amazing lady, one of my best friend’s aunt. Sister Thomasina was a remarkable woman – born in Germany  in the 1930s, engaged to be married but was called by God instead and became a nun, then moved to the United States, where she eventually earned a PhD and did social work in New Jersey, and around the world. She was an important role model and guiding light – plus, she loved her beer. Hey, she was German, after all! So what better tribute than a special beer?! Burns Family Artisan Ales brewed up a delicious lager and threw an awesome party, and set the standard for the rest of the breweries I visited.

I enjoyed Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Mountain Toad Brewing, New Terrain Brewing Co., and Woods Boss Brewing Co., all for different reasons, and don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because I’d need to go back and study some more! Each one offered something unique and different – despite it’s strip mall location, Cannonball Creek had a fun painted water tower in front and tasty food truck. Mountain Toad Brewing had a fun mural on the side of the building, a lovely backyard courtyard, and bike chain incorporated into its logo, and New Terrain Brewing had me at their stylish flight stand. At Woods Boss Brewing, I bought a “crowler” (can-growler) to bring home their lager, named Saukerkraut in My Lederhosen – it was a whole German beer themed weekend, apparently!

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We also did some touristy things, since it was my first visit. We went to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, walked around but not into the Molly Brown House, toured a bit of the state capitol, checked out the brewery exhibit in the History Colorado Center, enjoyed tacos at Torchy’s Tacos, and explored mid-century design at the Denver Art Museum.

Craft Clothes

From Denver to a Crate and Barrel duvet cover, there has been a bit of craft clothing going on as well.

In Denver, we visited Fancy Tiger Crafts, a locally owned sewing and knitting store that I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time. The store was even better than I anticipated, and I barely looked at the yarn. I focused on finding some fabric to go with my Star Wars fabric. I ended up with a dark purple knit from Alabama Chanin as well as the Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan Tee pattern . Adrianna, the owner/founder of Hey June Handmade, lives in nearby Golden, CO, so this will be a super-Denver tee when it’s done!

Another on my Denver list was a visit to Rockmount Ranch Wear. I’d never heard of this company before, but the embroidery and piping on Western shirts has always called to me, so I made a point to visit this decades-old company (founded in 1946) in it’s century-old historic building in lower downtown Denver (aka LoDo). The company is know for putting the snaps in snap-front shirts. The store was huge, with a tin ceiling, and packed full of memorabilia, including a guitar signed by Paul McCartney. Everyone has worn these shirts, from Elvis to Bob Dylan to Heath Ledger, apparently! Of course I bought a shirt, but now I have to wait until it’s cooled off enough to wear a black, long-sleeved shirt.

In other craft clothing news, I cranked out a blue striped knit dress to take to Denver, along with some other #memades. I wore my IKEA duvet cover dress to the Thomasina’s Testament beer launch, my floral striped tee the day we went to the state park and breweries, and my knit dress for tourist day. I was very happy with all my makes on this trip, yay!

I haven’t had time to sew until this past weekend, when a Crate and Barrel duvet cover on clearance leapt into my hands. It’s now a Liesl and Co. Terrace Dress, with a reflective patch on the center back of the sash. And then I made my friend a skirt with the fabric she purchased in Denver at Fancy Tiger Crafts. I hope to be able to crank out one more project before the end of the month, then I feel like it will be time to focus on fall clothing. But I’ve made plenty of things this year and am happy to wear them all for a few more months.

A Weekend Five Years in the Making

The Mechanic and I just celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long, and yet it seems like we’ve always been together. Is that how marriage works?!

We haven’t done much to celebrate in the last few years since they’ve seemed a bit anti-climatic. I was in New York last year with a friend, if that is any indication of our attentiveness. But five years seemed like a big deal so we made some plans.

First up, we splurged on a fancy dinner at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, a plant-based restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s been on my list for a while but due to it price and exclusivity (Friday and Saturday night seatings only, wine pairings an extra $60 per person), we hadn’t been. But it turned out to be the perfect anniversary dinner.

Violet Moon cocktail and an empty first course dish – as the dining excitement begins!

Although we passed on the wine pairing, we did order cocktails. My Violet Moon appeared more gray than violet, but the vodka, kombucha, creme de Violette, and Freixenet Blanc de Blanc combo could possibly be my most favorite cocktail ever. I had two – just to test the consistency, of course! I can’t even begin to describe the food, it was so amazing. So many wild and different flavors in one mouthful! The Mechanic and I, not being foodies, credited our years of vegan Green Chef meals with introducing us to the possibilities of flavorful, exotic, and adventurous dining – if it hadn’t, this meal might have been a great shock! I didn’t take pictures of all seven courses but I did take a few of the more picturesque ones.

One of seven delicious courses at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Also, I wore my new Vogue 9091  linen culottes and the Named Clothing Inari Tee Dress, which I cropped into a top. I love this combination so much!!! Expect to see me in it alot – and sorry for the bathroom photo….

We balanced the fancy experience at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw the following day with a road trip to Shepherdstown, WV, where we had gotten married five year previously. We rented a (ginormous) pick up, and The Mechanic managed to nicely arrange our bicycles in the back so we could take them with us. Once in Shepherdstown, we started with a casual lunch at our favorite place, the Blue Moon Cafe. The food is always good, with plenty of vegetarian options, but the highlight is the outdoor seating with a small stream rushing through it. We love this place so much that we made it part of our unofficial wedding reception (we had a lunchtime wedding and reception, so everyone who stayed joined us at the Blue Moon for dinner that evening). We continued our wedding anniversary tour with a stop at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, where we had ordered our wedding cake. We purchased a slice of cake that was almost identical to ours – this was almond cake (instead of the lemon we had five years ago), with a raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. Just as delicious as we remembered!

Biking has always been a large part of our memories of Shepherdstown – we first encountered the town when we signed up for the CASA River Ride seven years ago. We also used it as our starting point for a bike camping trip down the C & O Canal that same year. We’ve returned over and over, since it is a perfect day trip destination. Luckily the weather this year was dry enough for us to squeeze in another bike ride down the canal tow path. It was so lovely and just perfect, and we agreed we need to do more of *that* sort of biking – adventure travel biking, casual, gravel roads, nature, trees, etc.

Our last anniversary-related stop was at the Bavarian Inn, where our wedding had taken place. We were one of the first weddings held overlooking the infinity pool, and there had been some question as to whether or not it would be ready for us – but it was, and provided a lovely backdrop of just nature and the Potomac River. We visited a few times since then, but not for a few years, so we were completely surprised at the remodeling they had done when they added Bavarian Brothers Brewery to the site last year. Walls were changed, decor was modernized, fixtures were new, the bar was larger, and there was an entire new dining area where our reception patio space had been. Wow! It looks amazing! We had a flight and some fondue, then took home a growler – which I had to bike back to our rental truck, since we’d gone there on our bikes. What’s more bike-y than beer and cupcakes on a bike?!

 

Part of my wedding reminiscences included pulling out my wedding skirt, which I made from my wedding dress. It’s a bit too small for me now <ahem> but I would still love to have a reason to wear it somewhere. Someone, invite me to a garden party!

So many changes since 2014!

Who knows how many changes there will be in another five years!!! We have enough to keep ourselves busy until then, so check in with me in 2024!

Travel March19: Out in the West Texas Town of El Paso

The Mechanic and I just spent a week in El Paso, Texas. I can’t ever say it without thinking of the Marty Robbins song – am I the only one?! I know it seems like a random vacation spot but my brother and sister-in-law have lived there for 13 years, and The Mechanic’s brother-in-law was just stationed there last summer. So it presented a perfect opportunity to visit them both as well as introduce them to each other. I’m all for our siblings getting along!

We had a whirlwind tour of both the city and the parks outside of it. Our first stop was BeerFest, hosted by local brewery DeadBeach Brewery, complete with local artists and food trucks. It was a perfect intro to the city. We had the opportunity to ride the “new” streetcars, too. New as in – recently reintroduced. They are the original streetcars that ran from the 1950s to 1974, then were stored near the airport. In 2012, the city decided to resurrect them, and they officially launched last November – so we were among the early users. We rode the whole loop and greatly enjoyed our tour of the city this way. (There are a few things I’d like to see improved, including better stop signage, but hopefully as more locals use them, they will campaign for those things themselves.) Our whirlwind tour of the city included the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) campus, local restaurants and the zoo. The El Paso Zoo is small but well done, with a new section being created now. For such a small zoo, it seems to be very heavily involved in saving endangered species regionally as well as around the world. It must keep their personnel busy – but thank you! I hope we don’t lose much more wildlife because of human activities than we already have.

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We also did a day trip to White Sands National Monument, outside Las Cruces, New Mexico, and camped overnight at Davis Mountains State Park, in Fort Davis, Texas.

I’m completely fascinated by White Sands – in the right spot, all you can see is white gypsum sand. We took our shoes off, and despite the glare of the sun, the sand was cool and damp in some areas.

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Camping at Davis Mountains State Park was colder than we had anticipated but still fun, with amazing views from the mountain top. We stopped at the Fort Davis National Historic Site on our way out, rounding out a brief history of the Buffalo Soldiers, some of whom were stationed there in the 1870s. We also saw a Buffalo Soldiers memorial in the El Paso Cemetery.

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Visiting our siblings was of course the highlight of the trip, but there is plenty to do in the city as well as the area, so we are looking forward to a return trip someday. Is your family as spread out as ours are?

 

Travel Feb19: Disney World – for Work, I Swear!

It’s mildly embarrassing to admit that my recent trip to Disney World was my fourth in a year (okay, 13 months). Two of those times were for work, I swear! This trip, like last year’s, was for my association’s ImpACT! Leadership program, which I’ve help develop. I find this program amazingly rewarding, between the leadership consultant we’ve hired and watching the participants connect.

 

This year the program was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. It has a “Spanish Explorer” theme, and the conference spaces had some lovely traditional textile art displayed. The resort also has a Mayan pyramid themed pool! I’m sure we could debate the legacy of the Spanish explorers in Central and South America, but let’s just leave that for someone else’s blog. I enjoyed the theme, the decor, and the gardening – plus some perfect weather the last day I was there!

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We didn’t have much time in the parks, but managed to squeeze in some fun, including some of the shows. I haven’t been to the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom in a long time, and enjoyed that. We also forked out some cash and went to the Spirit of Aloha show at the Polynesian Resort. I really loved this, but I’ve always loved the styles and sounds represented in the show. The vegetarian meal option was uninspired, but the performances made up for it. I barely noticed what I ate.

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I did find some delicious vegan meals, however. At the Yak & Yeti Restaurant, in Animal Kingdom, I had a spicy cauliflower meal for lunch. That same day, I had another cauliflower meal at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot. I guess I’m the only one weirded out by people eating seafood as fish swim by at their elbows. Nevertheless, I highly recommend the vegetarian/vegan meals both restaurants have, and you can’t beat the ambiance.

In other food-related topics, I was excited to have the Maleficent ice cream cone at Magic Kingdom, a rum Dole Whip at Animal Kingdom, a delicious rum drink at the Spirit of Aloha show, and another rum drink at the pool bar at Coronado Springs. It was not a trip of dietary restraint! The conference catering food was excellent as well, with good vegetarian options for their buffet lunches. If conference food is a priority, have your conferences at Disney World!

Wish I’d had more time to really enjoy the Festival of the Arts

One of the really fun things we planned for the participants of our ImpACT! Leadership program was a team-building scavenger hunt in Epcot. One part of the scavenger hunt was finding as many Hidden Mickeys as possible. If you didn’t know, Imagineers hide Mickeys all over the parks as they are building them. They could be anywhere and take a sharp eye to find. Ever since I learned about them, I’ve enjoyed hunting for them as well. Makes the time standing in line go by faster, too!

I guess it will be a while before I go back to Disney World. Our program will return there in 2020, so if I’m allowed to go, I *may* do some Star Wars themed sewing, because the new Galaxy’s Edge world will have opened by then, and I will need some Princess Leia/General Organa inspired outfits. Until then, I have several trip’s worth of magic and memories to keep me satisfied. Whenever things get stressful, there is no end of happy Disney things to keep me happy.

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Travel Jan19: Dreaming and Planning

It’s the first bitterly cold day of 2019 and luckily it’s a holiday Monday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), so I don’t have to leave the house. Instead, I’m dreaming about a warm vacation somewhere exotic – or at least maybe not in the US.

The Mechanic and I agreed that we need to stay home this year and not travel, because we did a terrible job at saving money last year. It’s the smart and practical thing to do. But I simply cannot sit home all year and not go anywhere!!!

Not that we don’t have travel lined up already – in February I am going to a work-related conference conveniently located at Disney World. It’s  repeat of the leadership program I’m involved with that we launched last year. I can’t afford to spend much time there so I will have limited time in the parks. But considering it will be my fourth time in 13 months, I think I’m okay with that! Then in March, we are traveling to see siblings – The Mechanic’s sister ended up in the same West Texas town that my brother lives in. But after that…. nothing! Well, maybe a quickie weekend to NYC.

At Disney World last January for the Association for Commuter Transportation’s ImpACT! Leadership Program

What we really want to do is another European bike tour. We had such a wonderful time when we did the one for our honeymoon, and this year will be our five-year anniversary, so it seems like a good time. Friends brought us biking magazines from Germany, which is only adding fuel to the fire. Gah! All I want to do right now is bike through some gorgeous countryside in warm weather, stopping at cute cafes and biergartens, and perhaps attempt some rusty German language skills.

But we have to figure out when, how much to spend, and most importantly, which one?!?! There are so many we want to do! We’ve been talking about this Venice to Porec, Croatia one for a few years now, but then saw this Danube Delta Bike & Barge trip in Romania that looks *amazing*! Of course, it’s way more expensive than we originally had in mind, but neither of us have been to Romania, and a few days in Bucharest would be pretty fabulous as well. Then again, if we did the Ruhr Valley loop, we could visit friends who live in the area – plus that tour is half the price of the Danube Delta one….

Adding to the travel plans is the tentative plan with my mother and aunt to go to the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play, in Oberammergau, Germany. The entire town takes part in this event, which has been going on for centuries, and only happens every ten years. This is something I first learned about in my high school German class, and despite not being terribly religious, I’ve always wanted to go.  It’s also eye-wateringly expensive, due to the fact that the easiest way to go is with a tour group. The town is tiny and lodging books up fast – in fact, it probably already is. As much as I’m not a tour group traveler, I’d do it with my mom and aunt. The tours include other destinations, so it would be a fabulous time. It just means I need to be super careful with both cash and PTO, so I can do it.

Everything you need to know about the Oberammergau Passion Play is on the official website https://www.passionsspiele-oberammergau.de/en/home

Then where does that leave time and money to see friends and family scattered across the country? The drawback to having people scattered across the globe means that it’s hard to see everyone. Sigh.

So we’ll continue to save and dream and hopefully plan for later this year. Do you have any travel suggestions for us?

Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’… and plannin’ and dreamin’ …..

 

Looking Back to Look Ahead

And here it is, a new year. Welcome, 2019! I think I’m not the only one to be happy to say goodbye to 2018.

It certainly wasn’t a bad year, but it was not an easy year for me. Two major surgeries and a seemingly endless cough for the last month of the year meant my overall health went out the window. With it – my motivation and a bit of self esteem. Not biking to work this past year means I’ve gained weight and gotten out of shape. That’s taken a big toll on me. Then we lost our beloved girl bunny, Quinn the Angora, who died unexpectedly while we were out of town. Ugh – no wonder I’ve been comfort eating the entire month of December.

Hospital style, haha!

But it wasn’t all bad, of course. I traveled a lot, once I recovered from my surgeries. I went to New York City, visited friends in Los Angeles, went to Disney World *three* times (!!!), spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws in Arkansas, and The Mechanic and I enjoyed a few days of doing-nothing bliss in Bermuda.

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I made myself 24 new garments, including my amazing Dashing Tweed Reflective Coat.

I have some other favorites as well, including the Liberty of London dinosaur print shirt I made after my first Disney World trip – I guess I’ve fallen back in love with dinosaurs.

I did a lot of travel sewing, making things specifically for my trips.

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And made some personal appearance changes – red hair and a rabbit tattoo!

 

Red Hair and New Glasses!

Floral bunny – totally me!

But now it’s time to look back at 2018 and decide what I want 2019 to be like. I do like making resolutions because I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about planning, and what’s better than a brand new start?!

Nevertheless, some changes need to happen.

  1. I must get healthier in 2019!!! Back to biking to work, at least 3 times a week, and adding the yoga and BodyPump back into my schedule. Gotta reduce the cheese intake too, alas. But I’m turning 47 this year, and I want to be super healthy before I hit 50 (ulp), so time to get serious about that middle-aged health stuff!
  2. Revamp the blog. I’ve been a bit lazy with the blogging – lazy, busy, sick, whatever, the blog has been neglected. So I’m going to try a weekly focus each month, rather than a random update on whatever. Sewing one week, biking the next, travel, then the random ICYMI post. I know all you reading this blog like different topics so we’ll see which weeks are the most popular, haha!
  3. Hm…. maybe two things are enough! I could add in stuff like: sew slower, spend less, be more strategic about money, etc., but I always need to do those things, regardless of year! So I’ll stick to health and the blog and we’ll see how it goes.

Thanks for sticking along with me this far, as I sew and bike through my adventurous life. I appreciate all of you and look forward to a productive, constructive, and healthy 2019!

Sullivan and Gaston resolve to be better friends in 2019!

 

Thankful for Ozark Adventures

The Mechanic and I spent Thanksgiving in the Ozarks, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to be precise. This was my third trip to NW Arkansas, the first time being right before Christmas five years ago. This time, we met up with The Mechanic’s siblings, the very same ones we’d just been to Disney World with, to spend the holiday with their father, who lives just north of the Arkansas border, in Missouri. We all congregated in a lake house on the edge of Beaver Lake.

On this trip, I was thankful for:

Thanksgiving lunch at local favorite, Myrtie May’s Cafe.

Kayaking on Beaver Lake

Meeting the Eureka Springs Working Bunnies

The beautiful rocky landscape of NW Arkansas

A return trip to Hammontree’s for grilled cheese and gourmet veggie dogs

 

And of course, spending time with The Mechanic’s family.

It’s hard to believe we are already into December, and everyone’s thoughts have turned to the holidays. Nevertheless, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, full of family and good food, in every and all variation of both.

 

MeMade, Disney, and Quinn

Last week was the long-planned, long-awaited family trip to Disney World. I’d love to report that it was an absolute blast, but sadly, we got bad news at almost the very beginning of the trip, and ended up coming home early.

Our bunny girl, Quinn the Angora, died overnight the first night that we were gone, and our newly-hired pet sitter found her. We got the call right after breakfast our first morning, and then spent the rest of the day on the phone with the sitter, the vet, and our bunny friend who swooped in to help out. Being in The Happiest Place on Earth while mourning the loss of one of our sweet babies made it hard to get into the Disney Magic.

The sudden, unexpected death of Quinn the Angora is sadly not uncommon in rabbits. They have very fragile systems. The vet said her intestines ruptured and she probably died withing 8-12 hours. Even if we had been home, the outcome would have been the same.

After deciding to cut our trip short so we could go home and see Gaston the Lionhead and Sullivan the Angora, Quinn’s brother, we rallied and enjoyed the rest of the time we were at DIsney World. We went on the Flight of the Banshee ride in the new Pandora world in Animal Kingdom, and all I can say is that it was worth the 2 hours standing in line. Btw, no one does standing in line like Disney does! I didn’t get to my favorite Magic Kingdom rides, but enjoyed many others. And being with my in laws was fun too. Everything was decorated for Christmas, which was a bit weird because it was so much hotter than we expected it to be (not that we were complaining, mind you!).

I had to cut one of my Disney themed outfits out, but managed to wear three things made with Disney in mind. Day One was my Liberty of London dinosaur shirt – after my January trip, I rediscovered my love of dinosaurs and ordered this fabric from London directly. Day Two was my Belle and the prince peplum tee made out of fabric that exactly matches a mosaic in the Be Our Guest castle, where we had breakfast (and where we stayed to deal with the death of Quinn). Day Three was my Finding Dory skirt in Epcot, where they have a whole Living with the Sea area, complete with Dory, Nemo, Merlin, and other Finding Nemo characters. I got several compliments on the Belle shirt and the Dory skirt, even from cast members! I also saw a ton of super cute Disney themed outfits on other guests, so I’m glad I wore my pieces and I didn’t feel weird about it at all.

We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which was amazing. We’d planned our trip to include time to spend in the resort, but then didn’t get to. Beyond the spectacular lobby and the view of roaming animals out our balcony, another highlight for me was the custom (I assume) animal lace curtains.

I’ve mostly been home sitting on the floor of the living room, anxiously watching Sullivan and Gaston, to make sure they are okay. It’s hard to tell how much they miss their sister. I have noticed that they aren’t snuggling like they used to, and I hope they soon remember how much they liked each other. The Mechanic and I have agreed that it won’t be too long before we start looking for a third bunny. We like the dynamics of three, and think the boys need another friend. I guess it’s now full speed ahead into the holidays and a new year, isn’t it?!

Double Disney

In a few short days (!!!), The Mechanic and I are headed to Disney World, where we’ll meet his siblings and their families on a trip planned since February. I’ve been planning my outfits for almost as long, I think. You know me, I can’t pass up a thematic trip (see: Bermuda) so I’ve made a few Disney-themed pieces, and then creating other Disney-themed outfits from things I already have.

 

My Beauty and the Beast peplum tee shirt

Happily ever after…

But when friends invited me to join them on their Halloween weekend at Disney World, I hesitated – I was already going, and besides, I don’t have any Halloween Disney themed things. In the end, I decided to go, mostly because I haven’t seen these friends in far too long. So I madly stitched up a no-pattern skirt with a Halloween print cotton that I bought last year, intended to be my annual Halloween costume (contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually like to make costumes for myself. I’d rather spend my time sewing things I’ll get a lot of wear out of). I didn’t make it reflective but I did order some Haunted Mansion-themed glow-in-the-dark things from Etsy vendors. The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite rides, and what better for Halloween?!

Halloween skirt worn with The Haunted Mansion “Tightrope Girl” print tee shirt

We had a blast and the weather was absolutely perfect. Of course it was also exhausting – our first day we walked almost 30,000 steps!

Although the Magic Kingdom won’t be decorated for Halloween when The Mechanic and I return, I’m glad I had the chance to see the decorations a bit on my short weekend.

The theme for this weekend was obviously Halloween, so black and gray everything. The next trip will be an exuberant celebration of Disney (at least, for me it will be, so I’ve got different things planned, from the obvious Beauty and the Beast tee shirt on the day we have breakfast in the Beast’s castle at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, to the more subtle red pants and black top to give homage to Mickey Mouse himself, as he nears his 90th birthday. My Liberty of London dinosaur shirt will be a classy nod to the dinosaur part of Animal Kingdom, and my Finding Dory skirt for a day when we are in Epcot. It’s going to be fun and from what I saw over Halloween weekend, I will fit right in! Not quite #disneybounding, but fun anyway.

Am I the only one who plans (and sews) thematic travel wardrobes? Anyone else?

Yes, yes, you will!

 

The Entire Month of September in One Blog Post

September was a really busy month, and the one hobby that fell by the wayside was blogging. So here is everything I did in September, all in one blog post. I’ll try to keep it brief!

1. Bermuda

The Mechanic and I went back to Bermuda, to Grotto Bay, the resort we stayed at three years ago. A desire to stay somewhere we wouldn’t be tempted to run around and do too many things, as well as a great package deal through Orbitz convinced us that this was the best place to relax.  For four days we snorkeled, stared at the water, and drank Dark n’ Stormys and Rum Swizzles.

Grotto Bay

Because I love a travel wardrobe theme, I packed blue and fish themed clothes. I didn’t make everything I took, but 3/4 of it.

2. Haute Couture Embroidery

I took an embroidery class from Smithsonian Associates! Actually, it was half lecture, half sewing – first we explored haute couture embroidery, the origins of haute couture, and discussed embroidery houses and how they worked with designers. Then we had time to create our own “haute couture” buttons. I didn’t like my work so I started taking it out, and didn’t finish my buttons. And I haven’t touched it since – we were allowed to take our supplies home. Eventually I’ll redo them! It made me want to try learning embroidery again. I did some, ages ago, as well as beadwork, so maybe it’s time again…

3. History Happy Hour

Following the learning and doing event theme, a friend and I attended History Happy Hour at The Williard InterContinential Hotel. The hotel’s famous bartender told stories about famous and infamous historic hotel guests while a special guest talked to us about diplomacy and the role the hotel played. During all this, we made historic cocktails. It was a fun evening and we just might do it again!

4. Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is educational, right? Another friend and I went to the Crystal City Oktoberfest, where we were able to sample several different beers, many from the area. We learned which ones we liked and which ones we didn’t like – that’s educational! Unfortunately, I’m not sure I remember which were my favorites…. My friend has an authentic, bought in Bavaria, dirndl, but mine is an inexpensive option from Amazon. It is pretty boring, so now that I have a sewing machine with fancy embroidery stitches, I decided to decorate it.

 

5. Sewing

Amongst all these events, I managed to complete three sewing projects!

I made the McCalls 7726 paperbag waist pants again, this time in the tapered leg version in gray. I’m working on perfecting pants fit, and I think these turned out pretty well – not perfect, but better. Also, reflective belt loops and the back of the sash, yay!

Then I made the Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes. I decided to make them out of navy blue corduroy, something a bit heavier, so I can wear them through the colder months. I’m not 100% in love with them – should I have made them longer? Why do the pockets hang funny? Is the back crotch seam fit okay? But I wore them right away and they are pretty lovely to wear. I can’t wait to bike in them! Not much reflectivity on these, so I added a small patch on the back left waist.

And finally, I made something for my trip to Disney World later this fall – Pamela’s Patterns Pretty Peplum Top is muslined out of this Beauty and the Beast print jersey I found on FabricDepot.com. I’m hunting for an easy peplum top pattern, so this was a good excuse to test out the fit. I took in the waist quite a bit from the size Small, but left the sleeves and shoulders because they fit so well. Also had to raise the waist a bit. I think it’s really cute so I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until our trip to wear this! (Excuse the awful photo…..)

And you may have noticed that my haircut is a bit different now – symmetrical! It was time for a bit of a change.

Whew, no wonder I feel exhausted by this month! I think I need a trip back to the beach to rest.