Tag Archives: holiday

South of France Trip

15 Jul

I’ve been a bit lazy about updating the blog lately. So when my mom told me my blog was broken because the last post was in April, I decided to get moving.

Sorry for the lag, mom, I’ll try to do better.

To reinvigorate my blog, I’m posting a recap of our recent vacation and will scratch my head this weekend for a post-able project.

We went for a driving vacation in the South of France, but since the area we wanted to explore was so close to Barcelona, my husband’s favorite city, we decided to start there.

We re-visited some of our favorite sites in Barcelona, including Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and the pier, and explored some new areas like Plaza de Espana.

Barcelona

We walked around Las Ramblas during the day, and the Soho-area of Barcelona at night. My husband was in heaven, as we kept finding larger and larger merengues.

Barcelona

After a fiasco with our train from Barcelona to France (there was a train strike, and we ended up on a coach bus for 8 hours instead of a 2.5 hour train ride), we finally made it into France where we picked up our rental car, arguably my husband’s favorite part of this trip.

In total, we (as in my husband, not me) drove approximately 1,200 miles.

Rental Car

In France, we traveled along the South of France — Provence and the French Riviera/Cote d’Azur.

One of our first stops was Avignon. Avignon is an ancient town, where the pope used to reside in Le Palais des Papes.

Avignon

Avignon was my husband’s favorite city. He enjoyed the quaint streets all within the protective walls of the inner city.

Avignon

Nearby Nimes (the city where denim was born!), we stopped to see the Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct that was used to carry water from a water spring to Nimes. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nimes

Aix en Provence is known as a college town and supposedly, the “City of a Thousand Fountains” — although most of the fountains I saw weren’t functioning.

Anyway, they have this awesome gigantic book entrance to their library. Definitely makes you want to read “The Little Prince” again.

Aix en Provence

We picked up cookies called calissons, which are made of almonds, candied fruit, and “royal” icing. Aix is known for these cookies. Unfortunately, we forgot them in the hotel refrigerator.

Aix en Provence

My favorite place was Cassis, a small, picturesque coastal town. Every direction you looked, the view was amazing.

Cassis

We went on a boat tour to see the Calanques, which are coves/valleys formed within the rocks along the cliffs of the coast.

Cassis

My husband and I both loved Nice. When we arrived there, it had just finished drizzling, which left a nice sheen on the ground in addition to the misty fountain in Place Massena.

Nice

Nice had a great beach as well as a lively town. And, compared to many places that we went, there was a wide variety of food too.

Nice

We drove up, up, up to get to Eze. Eze is a medieval town located high in the mountains. Once you drive up there, walking through the town is still an upward hike.

Eze

Houses had a rustic feel with antique-like doors, shuttered windows, and often plants growing up and down the sides.

Eze

Le Jardin de Eze was the highest point we could go and offered fantastic panoramic views.

Eze

Along the coast, we also went to Cannes, Monaco, Antibes, St. Paul de Vence, Narbonne, St. Remy de Provence, and a few other small towns.

Then we headed northward towards the Gorges du Verdon, which is known as the Grand Canyon of France.

Gorges du Verdon

The Gorges were peaceful and offered expansive views. We  bought some lunch in a little village and had a picnic while staring into the vast canyon.

Gorges du Verdon

On the way out of the Gorges, we drove through Valensole, where there were fields and fields of lavender. We inhaled the aromas and tried to absorb some of the magical powers of the purple plant.

Valensole

And finally for our last stop, we got to Geneva, Switzerland — land of really expensive stuff. Regardless, we managed to rent some bicycles for a minimal cost and hit the Swiss streets.

Geneva

Vacation over. Must contemplate how much we enjoyed it (and how exhausted we were) while riding horsies in a Geneva park.

Geneva

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Quilt No More

15 Jan

This year, I didn’t think I made any New Year’s resolutions, but I inadvertently did.

But it’s not exactly a good resolution – I am planning for “no quilts in 2014.”

Christmas Quilts

Although I love quilts and, overall, do enjoy making them, Christmas put me over the top.

I made three quilts for Christmas presents. I crammed the making of the quilts into about three weeks. It was too much.

Christmas Quilts

Anyway, the quilts I made were for two baby boys and one toddler girl.

Christmas Quilts

The girl one has a black and white chevron-type design, a grey backing, and a nice bright pink trim.

Black and White Quilt

Both of the boy quilts use the same colors – grey, red, blue, and yellow. One has a black backing, and the other has a grey backing.

This one I call the “Lego” one. The colors don’t touch, and it’s trimmed with grey.

Lego Quilt

This one is the “Tetris” one, with some of the colors touching, and a colorful blue trim.

Tetris Quilt

The quilts should be quite nice for the little kids to sleep with, and once it becomes a little too small for them, it will be a beautiful couch blanket.

QuiltThe quilts are extra snuggle-able with a little extra fluff, plus all the love that went into the making of them.

Warm Quilt

Black and White QuiltLike all the things I make as gifts, I was sad to see them go, but knew they’d be going to good homes.

Christmas Quilts

Christmas Quilts

Only time will tell if I stick to my resolution or if I break it…

Holiday Baklava

30 Dec

A little late, but Happy Holidays!

Since our holiday decorations are meager, here’s a picture in front of the Christmas tree in Atlantis from our pre-holidays cruise.

Happy Holidays

Our holidays were fun and filled with family.

For our family gatherings, we brought baklava. We made baklava from How Sweet It Is that I had pinned a while ago.

My husband helped me make this, probably reducing the amount of time it took to make by half since one of us could deal with the phyllo sheets and the other could brush on the butter.

It didn’t take as much time as you’d think, and totally, completely worth the work.

It was crazy good.

baklava1

baklava2

baklava3

Stick Horses

8 Jan

Horses go “neigh.” Do kids learn that as one of the animal noises?

“Neigh” doesn’t seem like a very kid-friendly noise. It’s not fun like other animal noises.

But horses do have a one up on all the other animals. It’s extremely kid-friendly when you put its head on a stick!

I made these stick horses as Christmas presents. I loosely followed this tutorial from That Village House.

horses1

Here’s how they were made:

1. Cut out your two pieces of the horse head from your fabric using the pattern I created for this project (three pages): Horse_pageA, Horse_pageB, and Horse_pageC. Pattern pages were created assuming a 1/2 inch margin around each page (to account for printers). And should fit together according to the following image. (You only need to cut along the outline of the horse head, the circles are there just to help guide how the pages fit together.)

horse6

2. Do the mane:

  • Place the two fabric horse head pieces down, right sides together.
  • Wrap yarn around a sports bottle (or something with an approx 3″ diameter). When you run out of space on your sports bottle, cut the yarn, and gather it to place it in between the fabric where you want the mane to start. Be sure to spread it out to the desired thickness of the mane and that some of the mane is overlapping the edge of the horse head. Sew in place. Repeat process until entire mane is completed. (I did my manes in batches that were approx 2-3 inches of mane per batch.)

horses2

3. Sew the remainder of the top edge of the horse head, stopping where the mouth slopes down.

4. Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length and baste the remainder of the horse head (minus the bottom edge). Basting will allow you to easily unstitch later.

5. Make your ears: Based on the images, cut larger and smaller pieces out of felt for the ears and stitch together. For each ear, I stitched two larger pieces together first, then the smaller piece to the large pieces to make it a bit more stiff so it’ll stand easier.

horses3

6. Stuff the horse head with your polyfil so you can get a sense of where you want the eyes and ears. With a pencil, lightly mark the spot for your eyes and ears.

7. Unstuff the horse head and sew on the button eyes where you just marked.

8. Attach the ears:

  • According to your markings, cut a small straight line where you want each ear. This line should not exceed the width of the bottom of the ears.
  • Put the ear in the hole and fold in the rough edges, pin as needed, and sew into place.

9. Attach the bridle:

  • Re-stuff the horse head
  • Take your webbing to measure out the part that circles around the mouth of the horse. Wrap the webbing around the horse’s mouth in the spot you want it to sit. Mark the webbing to measure the length you need in order to wrap around the mouth (overlapping the ends of the webbing a bit) and lightly mark the horse head of where you want the bridle to sit.
  • Unstuff the head.
  • Cut the webbing where you marked. Line up the center of your webbing with the top of the horse head. At this point, I unstitched the short side of the neck (opposite side of the mane), up to where it starts to curve. With the webbing lined up properly, sew a few line of stitches on the top of the head through the webbing and head to keep it in place. Then wrap the webbing according to your markings and sew in place to the underside of the horse head at each end of the webbing, which should overlap a bit.
  • Restuff the horse head as much as possible (won’t be completely stuffed since you unstitched some of the neck).
  • Take your other webbing piece and put it in place for the bridle part that wraps along the back of the horse head. Do the same thing as you did previously – mark the webbing for length, and mark the horse head where you want it to sit.
  • Cut the webbing where you marked. Line up the center of the webbing with the mane. Sew a few lines to keep in place, pushing as much of the mane out of the way as possible. Sew the ends of this webbing to the other bridle piece. Additionally, sew a one-inch line in the middle of each side to help keep it in place.

horses4

10. Now, turn the horse inside out and properly sew where you had previously basted.

11. Stuff your horse one last time. Get your stick and apply hot glue to the part that will be stuffed in the head. Stuff the stick in the head, trying to keep it in the center of the polyfil.

12. Then, fold in the rough edges of the bottom edge of the horse head. Hand sew this edge, so it is tight around the stick. Apply additional hot glue to the stick for the area that touches the fabric to help keep it in place.

13. Done.

horses5

Finally Decorated

17 Dec

I say “finally” decorated, because there is only a week left until Christmas, and because this is only the second time in my “adult” life that I’ve decorated for the holidays.

Growing up, my family always decorated — we had a fake tree that we strung with lights and ornaments, hung up garland and a wreath, and put up lots of bows. It felt like Christmas.

In college one year (2004), my roommates and I decorated out of construction paper. Here’s our tree, Santa looking over us, and a few reindeer. We also had stockings and were lucky enough to enjoy snow flakes.

xmas1

xmas2

This year, although we don’t have much space, I found a small spot to fit in a little decoration.

xmas3

The mini tree was made using origami paper, cardboard (to make the cone) and this tutorial.

xmas4

The Santa was made out of scrap fabric I was going to throw away, an old (clean) sock, construction paper and cardboard (to make the pyramid).

To make Santa, I first made the pyramid out of cardboard and covered the bottom half of the cardboard with red construction paper. Then, I cut Santa’s belt and buckle out of construction paper and glued it on. Then, I wrapped the scrap fabric starting from the top and working my way down to create Santa’s hat, hot gluing along the way. When I came to the bottom of the hat, I evened it out a bit, cut off the excess red fabric, and then cut a strip from the white sock to create the brim of the hat and hot glued it into place. Then, I cut out and hot glued on Santa’s beard, and, lastly, gave him some cool, construction paper-shades.

xmas5

And, as a final touch to our Christmas decorations, I added lights across our photo ledge.

xmas6

xmas7