Beginning and Ending the Years with Travel

The Mechanic and I rang in the new year and decade in Quebec City, Canada, keeping with our tradition of traveling to really cold places in the winter. Planned back in March, it was a short and minimally planned trip that gave us the excuse to get out of the country in 2019 – just barely! And we had a blast, even in the cold temperatures and the snow.

As the tourism website boasts, Quebec City is feels so European, and is so close – two one-hour flights got us there through Toronto. French is the predominate language, but luckily for us, everyone is bilingual. I had to stop greeting people with “Bonjour!” because they then responded in French, which made my brain switch to the only other language I know, German – not so helpful. Adding to the European flair is the 400 years of history – Old Quebec was founded in 1608. And Old Quebec, where we stayed, is simply the most wonderful place to spend the holiday season! It’s decorated within an inch of its cobblestones, with lights everywhere! Twenty-four hours of snow over New Years Eve only added to the romantic feel of the city. Pictures don’t do it justice, but of course I am including some. : )

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Highlights of the trip included:

Toboggan slide!

Right on the walkway between the Chateau Frontenac and the Saint Lawrence River is a toboggan run, La Glissade. This is the only thing I remembered from my brief time working here in the 90s. For a nominal amount, you stand in line, are handed a toboggan, and drag it up to the top of the tracks, then slide down at a breakneck speed. It was SO FUN!

Dragging the toboggan up the ramp to the top

The View from the top is amazing!

View of Old Quebec and the Saint Lawrence River

Dining!

Quebec dining is not for the faint of heart, apparently. Every place seemed really expensive, even with a favorable exchange rate. Of course, we were in the middle of the historic and touristy area, and it was the holidays, but whew! We don’t normally eat like this! Thankfully we found a small grocery where we stocked up on bagels and Nutella for breakfasts in our hotel room. Nevertheless, we ate and drank some amazing things!

Visual Winner: Hands down favorite was Bistro L’Orygine, a boreal bistro. Located within steps of our hotel, this place dazzled all the senses – I was as in love with the decor as the food.

Eye-candy as well as delicious!

Historic Winner: While attempting to find a quick and cheap lunch on New Year’s Eve, we ended up instead at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, in a building built in 1675-76. Oh you know, that old place – !!! The food is considered traditional, and it was tasty, especially my maple syrup pie! Think of a pecan pie without the pecans, and yep, that’s what it was. The prix fix lunch in a cozy location was perfect on a snowy day.

As its stood since 1676

Fanciest Experience: I decided that our toboggan experience called for fancy cocktails at the bar in Chateau Frontenac, and that decision paid off. The bar was fancy but didn’t feel stuffy, and the drinks were fun and inventive. My cocktail, Genie in the Bottle, was poured from a lamp! Personal Tradition: Apparently raclette on New Year’s Eve is a tradition in Germany, and we have done it several years when we are home. We haven’t had it in a restaurant since our honeymoon in Zurich, so having it for New Year’s Eve in Quebec was a nice way to keep this personal tradition going.

Fancy raclette set up for New Year’s Eve

Surprise Dining: Who would have thought that the tastiest meal would have been in the Toronto airport?! We ate at Twist by Roger Mooking – vegan cauliflower tacos, and the most delicious side of maple-glazed carrots, arugula, pistachios, and huge chunks of salt. This was a *side*!!! Why can’t restaurants here serve sides like this?! Would I fly an hour to Toronto just to have this again? I am not ruling it out.

Best side dish ever, in the Toronto airport!

Spa Day!

Lest you think all we did in Quebec City was eat, let me share with you possibly the biggest highlight of the trip. We went to Strom Spa Nordique. Just typing the name brings back memories of the eucalyptus steam sauna, ahh….. Located along the river and easily accessible by public bus, this experience was similar to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland but totally different. On the coldest day of our trip (“Feel like” temps of 5*F), we went outside in our swim suits and terry robes to jump into thermal baths then dip into cold pools. We tried the steam sauna, a dry sauna, and the flotation pool, plus ate a light lunch in the bistro there. Sitting in the hot water with the cold wind off the river blowing frozen steam over us, I felt like one of those Japanese monkeys in the hot springs, and it felt AMAZING. I don’t have photos of any of it but the memories will stay with me forever.

View from the Strom lobby, out towards the thermal baths and saunas. Not seen: *freezing* weather!

New Years Eve Festival

The Mechanic and I prefer to stay at home to ring in the new years, but a new decade, an international city, and a free festival of electronica and traditional music was the perfect way to celebrate. The streets were shut down, and full of Bud Light (???) pop up bars, so we stood in the snowy cold, drank our hot wine, listened to the music, and shouted “Bonne Annee!!!” along with everyone else at the stroke of midnight. So worth it.

Laser show and electronic dance music for New Years Eve

Happy 2020, everyone!!!

Up Next: 2020

We returned home on New Year’s Day, ready to start a new year. As with so many other people, my mind is spinning with the possibilities of a new decade, and thinking about where I was ten years ago when 2010 started, and twenty years ago at the dawn of 2000. But that’s a topic for another blog post!

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are ready (or starting) to face what this new year brings. All the best to you and yours!

Our hotel celebrated with champagne for everyone!

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.

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’ …..

 

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.

 

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!

 

From New Orleans to New Apartment

A week again I was in New Orleans for work. The Association for Commuter Transportation held its annual conference in the Big Easy, five days of greeting industry friends, meeting new ones, learning a lot and being inspired.

One of the highlights was hearing Elizabeth Levin and LaVerne Reid talk about women in transportation and different experiences breaking into a traditionally male industry decades ago. I bought the book “Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom,” and am looking forward to reading it. Hopefully someday soon….

I didn’t do any biking while in New Orleans but saw the brilliant (and I do mean that literally!) Social Ride, with at least 20 people riding bikes almost entirely covered in lights. That was on Frenchmen Street, where we also enjoyed some local music and beverages.

One of the conference vendors was Lime Bike, a dockless bikeshare system. I love the bikes for their design, but also the solar panels in the front baskets that power the digitally-connected ring locks that unlock the bike for you. I think they mostly cater to the university transportation people at the conference. 

Upon my return from the conference, I jumped in to help The Mechanic finish our move. It sounds like everything that could possibly go wrong did, and we are only now digging out from the chaos. It will be a relief to get settled. Gaston is already quite comfortable in the new place, but then again, he is still in his same place. 

I shall be back to my regular blogging schedule but alas, I doubt I will get any sewing done. It’s just as well – nothing like moving to make me feel like I have too much stuff. I’m trying to purge as I unpacked. Do I really need 6 lipsticks in almost the same color?!?

Let me leave you with some photos from Dat Dog on Frenchmen Street. This hot dog place (yes they have vegetarian/vegan options) is being redecorated in an intergalactic style – complete with Chewbacca over the bar. I love this place. 

Surprises in Northeastern Oregon

I missed a regular blog post earlier this week because The Mechanic and I were in Northeastern Oregon on a family trip. My dad’s side of the family gathered to say goodbye to my grandparents with a celebration of life and scattering of their ashes. I hadn’t been there in seven years, for my grandfather’s 90th birthday, and enjoyed exploring with fresh eyes.

Thirty-five years ago, my dad’s dad and his second wife moved to Lostine, Oregon, a small town in Wallowa County, Oregon. Their property, titled Big Foot Ranch (no idea why), is tucked in a narrow valley between Lostine and Enterprise. I was ten when they moved, and got to travel with them in my great-grandmother’s fifth wheel trailer – a huge adventure to me. Every summer thereafter we drove up to visit them. I rode their horse, swam in the irrigation ditch, and learned to drive on a Model A Ford pickup and an old John Deere tractor. (There goes my city creds – The Mechanic now has plenty of ammo to call me a country girl!)

Enterprise, in the far northeast corner of Oregon

To get there, we flew into Boise, the closest airport, and after meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law (who flew in from Texas), drove four hours to Enterprise. After being greeted by the beef industry in the Boise airport, we joked about what the cattle-raising locals would think when four  vegetarians rolled into town.My grandparents’ property is so lovely, with the rushing river and fields on either side. Marching up the hillside through the weeds is still the same, returning with socks and shoe laces full of burrs. This is my kind of wilderness! Also, the low humidity was sooo refreshing, despite the high temperatures.

I have changed in the seven years (!!!) since I’d been to my grandparents’ – then I was single, newly moved from Manhattan to Washington, DC, and unhappy with my job. Wanting to show The Mechanic all the things my brother and I grew up doing in Oregon made everything new. The biggest surprise was how bike-y the area is – whaat? Bike lanes through the middle of Enterprise?! And Joseph, OR, not only had bike lanes, but bike racks shaped like bikes, and one store had a large “Bike Friendly” sign out front, notifying all that not only were there bike racks, but drinking fountains, public restrooms and package shipping. I’ve never even seen this on stores here in the DC metro area! The Mechanic and I chatted with a woman who had been biking 65 miles into Enterprise, to get to Terminal Gravity Brewing. She said that for the most part, cars were pretty respectful of her and kept their distance, because not all the roads have decent shoulders and space to bike. I had heard that the area was trying hard to promote cycle tourism, and now I believe it.

Another surprise was just how much we loved the town of Joseph. It’s Main Street is maybe 5 blocks long, but it packs a ton of cute into those blocks. Famous for the bronze foundry, Joseph has a huge arts scene. Every corner had artwork in brilliant floral beds, every other store was something related to the arts (a wonderful quilt store too!), not to mention the artisan chocolate shop, the bistros and restaurants, and the murals. If you are looking for a relaxing, small town getaway with tons to do and see, this is your destination.

Wallowa Lake was also a surprise – having been in the area for so many years, I don’t know why we never hung out at the lake. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, The Mechanic and I ended up spending a very, very relaxing afternoon reading in the park by the lake. We had gone up to the top of Mt. Howard on the Wallowa Lake Tramway to admire the mountain views, and had planned on renting kayaks. Instead, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and gorgeous scenery around us. Ah….

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All around are remembrances of the Nez Perce tribe, native to the Wallowa area. As obsessed with Native Americans as I was as a child, I don’t remember exploring any of their history while visiting my grandparents. So I was pleased to be able to see a small bit of their history at the Old Chief Joseph Gravesite and Joseph Canyon from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Viewpoint.

It seems like we packed a lot into a short trip; this doesn’t even include our evening at Terminal Gravity (their grassy front lawn will make you stay far longer than you planned!) and the day we spent with extended family and friends remembering my grandparents. I will leave you with more photos of the area. It is just so beautiful that photos don’t do it justice. I’m glad I got to visit one last time and have these images to share with you.

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But now we are home and I’m back to embrace my kind of outdoorsy –

ButIt seeWe packed a lot of scenery intoTheSave

Me Made May Returns!

It’s May! It’s my birthday month! It’s National Bike Month! It’s really finally Spring! It’s also Me Made May month, again, and this has me a bit flummoxed.

I love the idea behind Me Made May, of wearing clothing I’ve made myself every day the entire month. In it’s eight year this year, the challenge is intended to encourage people who sew and knit and create to wear and love the things they make. Everyone can make up their own specific challenge, be it to finish projects or wear less-loved things and/or to create a list of holes, things they wish they had. Personally I still want to try to focus on business-appropriate garments, because although I definitely have 31 me-made garments, they aren’t all “corporate” enough for all the work events in my life. And I wear most of my items pretty regularly, so making and hiding isn’t that big of a concern of mine. Although of course there are things that I wish I loved better, I was fairly pleased with how last year’s Me Made May turned out:

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In addition to the corporate looks, part of this year’s Me Made challenge will be our upcoming trip to London. I’m turning 45 and thought that this would be a good excuse for a weekend trip to London – a city I haven’t visited since 1990! For our four day trip I’m thinking two pairs of pants and a dress or skirt, then a few tops. I just can’t decide which because most of my tops are summer weather, and it probably won’t be that warm. I hate to take blouses that will wrinkle in my luggage because I hate ironing on vacation, haha! And most of my dresses are summer dresses as well. I want to take my new striped nautical dress, but I’m not sure the weather will be warm enough. I might take it anyway! I wish I’d had time to finish the 1940s trousers I’m making; I bet they would be perfect.

Maybe, maybe not….

There are other challenges that prevent me from wearing Me Made clothing, namely, the bike events in May to which I need to wear work branded clothing. I certainly don’t need another pair of jeans, but something to wear with a polo shirt might be something to add to the list of holes in my 31 day wardrobe. It seems like my list of “missing” clothing is really long already!

I haven’t pledged on Zoe’s website but here is my pledge:

I, Elizabeth of TinLizzieRidesAgain, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to wear at least one Me Made garment each day for the duration of May 2017. In addition, I will create a list of “missing” clothing to help me focus on my future sewing plans.

The drawback to this pledge, of course, is that I plan on buying fabric at both Liberty of London and Dashing Tweeds, which will probably throw off any cohesive, practical sewing plans I might have. I’ll need to finish aforementioned 1940s trousers but then you know I’ll be dying to get something made with my new stash! Capsule collection, pshaw. But really, this is a good opportunity to help me focus, and maybe figure out how to be 100% pleased with what I make.

I really want to take this as well but think it will be too cool for this as well. Bah!