Sunday Sevens or How I Spent my Summer Vacation, Part 2. (Redux)

Ooops. Minor malfunction while editing this post; somehow I managed to get it published while still writing. Thankfully I also managed to delete the unfinished content, but that left you all with an empty headline. If at first you don’t succeed…

***

As promised, here is the second, and final, installment of my recent travels. I’ll try to be concise, but as you may know, I’ve a tendency to ramble. So my apologies in advance if my narrative gets too involved, and too full of pictures.

After a brief period at home after our trip to see family in Wales, we embarked yet again for far-off places. This time we stayed stateside, flying across the country to California to visit family and friends, old haunts, famous landmarks, and celebrate two weddings – my daughter’s and my sister’s!

Beach Wedding

My daughter’s wedding was on the central coast, and we spent a wonderful week there. Our home away from home was a mobile home in a spotlessly tidy mobile community in Pismo Beach. It was the perfect size for us, steps from the beach, even fewer steps to a golf course, and a few minutes drive from the wedding venue and my daughter’s home.The little home was clean and comfortable, with one notable exception – the ceramic fairy in our bathroom. She was about 12 inches high, crouched in a corner, with eyes that followed you! Creepy. I threw a towel over her post haste and she remained covered until we left.

During our stay, we did a little shopping, sampled lovely beach eateries and coffee shops, walked to the shore, took mom to sit near the water, walked around the mobile home community and explored the neighboring communities.

img_8866-1_2

My step-grandmother lived in a mobile home (it was pink and black!) when I was a youngster. In spite of many attempts over the years, this was first time I’ve been able to find her neighborhood, still watched over by this grand old Victorian (now badly in need of some paint).

img_8913_2

Mama liked meandering through the mobile home park. We’d sit at the end with coffee and wave at the homeowners and/or vacationers, then head back to our own little spot.

img_8883

Oh yes, hubby and I did walk on the beach at sunset.

Leading up to the wedding, daughters and I did some last-minute shopping, had a nice lunch, picked up the wedding dress from the tailor (first real tears of the visit),  and stopped for a little lunch out and about. Youngest daughter arrived to assist, and on Friday the festivities were underway. First came the rehearsal, held at the outdoor location with the most incredible views, crisp, clear, blue ocean, brilliant blue sunny skies. This was followed by the rehearsal dinner, where we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the head chef, a long time friend of the bride and groom. Only one more sleep now.

The morning of the wedding broke cloudy, rainy and cold. But we were up early, scurrying to dress and get prettied up. Fortunately I had lots of help in this endeavor, as I was having hair and makeup done with my daughter and all her bridesmaids in the resort’s bridal suite. Such exquisite pampering. And such silly girls to hang out with. A mother’s dream, to be certain.

resized_20161015_152441_2

Mom and daughters.

img_0230_3

All made up and coiffed, with somewhere very special to go!

It’s worth mentioning that Saturday was the one rainy day of the entire week! The staff hustled to get the chairs set up in the ballroom arranged for the reception. Not as spectacular as outside perhaps, but done to perfection on a moment’s notice. It was a touching and sometimes funny ceremony; tears of joy on my face and my beautiful daughters’ faces. The reception followed, full of great fun, family, children, grandchildren, lots of old friends, fabulous food, beautiful cake, elated newlyweds, great music and dancing.

imagejpeg_3_2

And you know how it’s always that one song that gets everyone dancing? Well, in this case it was “Thriller“, requested and dedicated to me by my hubby for my upcoming birthday. Nice touch, eh?

img_0225

The wedding could not have been more lovely, and after a long, busy day the happy couple returned to their home nearby, as the honeymoon in Hawaii will not be happening until Spring.

City Wedding

So, with the first wedding accomplished, and happiness in abundance, we took our leave and drove north to Sacramento for the next week. Along the way is San Simeon, home to famous Hearst Castle. We didn’t visit the castle, but amongst the horses and cows, we spied these interesting beasts roaming the property along the highway.

img_9235_2

Upon arriving in Sacramento, we plopped our belongings at our dear friend’s home where she had dinner waiting for us. The next day, hubby and I took off for a 2-day excursion on our own. We drove about 2-1/2 hours to the town of Groveland, where we would spend the night, and then drove on to our destination, Yosemite National Park.

img_9792

img_9615-2

We spent the majority of two days touring this remarkable place. Waterfalls, enormous redwood trees, massive rock formations, miles and miles of miles of forest and wildlife. I would highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in California. This second week was capped by my sister’s wedding, a small affair, held in an old mansion in downtown Sacramento, converted now to a bed and breakfast, with lovely event facilities. The immediate family members and close friends entered the courtyard to the soft sounds of flute and harp. The ceremony was short and sweet, and quite moving. My sister was a radiant and happy bride, with her groom beaming from ear to ear. The following luncheon was exquisite, with the ideal wine pairing for every course. So fancy!  After lunch, the happy couple exited the party, to be transported via limo to their hotel and then off to honeymoon in Hawaii.

img_0004-2

The attendants were a 14-year old bridesmaid and 3-year old groomsman.

img_0041-2

One happy bride! She’s not really a two-fisted drinker, one of these glasses was for me.

img_0110_2

After beaches and forests and such, we returned home and had to settle for walks in the park. 😉

 

Hope you’ve all enjoyed my little wanderings. Next up: a Christmassy sewing post!

 

Sunday Seven(Seventeen)s or How I Spent my Summer Vacation, Part 1

We have recently returned after whirlwind of activity over the last couple of months; travelling to Wales to visit family and then to California for my daughter’s and sister’s weddings. Some of you have asked for pictures, so I will oblige. I thought using Natalie’s Sunday Sevens format would work, but I have far exceeded the picture “limit”. However, there really are few rules, and they are very loose, so here we go……..

Oh, Canada!

img_7701

We flew out of Toronto Airport, so our day began early with a three-hour drive. We stopped at Niagara Falls, but it was a very hot day and mama was too tired to move up for a closer look at the falls. Instead, we parked her walker in the shade, and watched the mist, listening to the roar of the rushing water. That was close enough for her, and we had lovely views of the both American and Canadian falls on our way to the airport.

Stopover at the Emerald Isle

img_7735

Quick stop, and then off for an even quicker flight.

Landing gear engaged

img_7757-2

Lovely Welsh farmland coming up to meet us.

Touchdown, Cardiff!

img_7764-2

Even though we debarked on the back tarmac for wheelchair access, the famous Welsh Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) was there to greet us.

Home away from home

 

img_8191-2-copy

After an hour and a half of drive time, we arrived at my cousin’s lovely bungalow, looking straight out upon the magnificent Brecon Beacons. Can you imagine a nicer view?

Remembering

img_7834

Grandparents and other relatives gone long, buried on the parish grounds.

img_7823

The Parish of Aberyscir. A recent refurbishment has left it absolutely spotless. Services are still held here, and it is open twenty-fours a day.

First home

img_7867-2

My mother was born in this farmhouse and she lived here as a girl. It made me a little misty catching the first glimpse.

And the view

img_7909

It made me swoon.

Little trekkers

img_8071

Can you imagine? These four little ones clambered over the fence, through the bramble, down and up hills, over the river (or around it when flooded) for four hours to get to and from school. Mom is the cute little girl on the left. She is the baby, and the last of the siblings.

Ysgol

img_8044

The school they walked to is now a private home.

A lovely little side trip

img_8111

You all know Ali, aka THIMBERLINA….we met up in Chester to shop for some fabrics at Abakhan. She has already created a lovely jumpsuit from one of her pieces. Mine have, at least, been washed and are still waiting for some attention. (I have projects!)

Cruising the canal

img_8455

In our one-hour cruise we saw lovely canal side homes with neatly manicured gardens, beautiful natural landscaping, wooden sculptures, lots of walkers, scads of dogs…

img_8529-2

…and this handsome fellow.

Fabric and craftiness

img_8547-2

Found a sweet little shop downtown, Bobbins of Brecon Fabrics and Haberdashery, and picked up a random assortment. (Now I have more projects.)

Schoolgirl chums

img_8231

Mom and her old friend from school reminisced while my cousin and I made fabulous discoveries in the shop attached to this little cafe. We were sorely tempted, but very strong and didn’t buy a thing.

 

We had guests over regularly for tea, enjoyed a marvelous Indian restaurant meal, and spent our last evening at cousin’s golf club. Cousins, nieces and nephews came by to see their Aunty for the first time in several years. We saw nearly everyone (one cousin even came from London), told stories, identified people in old family photos, hugged, laughed and cried. We knew it would be so difficult to leave.

img_8615

But leave we did, and after three weeks respite at home, headed off to California. Stay tuned.

Till next time, have a grand week!

 

 

 

 

 

Four Very Dangerous Words

“Did You Miss Me?”

An answer might be, “oh yes, of course!” or the scary one, “oh, were you away?”

My blogging (and sewing) activities have been severely neglected over the last few months, due to some of life’s little circumstances, and some very marvelous travels. The circumstances are at once wonderful and challenging, and the travels have been varied and filled with family love and celebrations.

Slowly but slowly, I’m getting back on the beam, and possible posts are in the works:

Our trip to Wales – during which time, of course, I met up with the fabulous Ali of THIMBERLINA,

Our trip to California – my beautiful daughter became a wife; one week later my sister did the same; hubby and I took a little trip within a trip. Such a whirlwind!

Our latest (and unexpected) construction project.

Jumping back into the 52-Week Photo Challenge and Sunday Sevens.

And projects! Holidays are coming right up, and I must be back at my sewing machine in short order!

But first, you’ve all been carrying on without me, so I’ve lots of catching up to do with all of your adventures.

See you in a few……

 

 

Oh what fun it was to ride … on the train into Chester to meet Ali.

I realize that’s a pretty sorry rhyme, but it was an absolutely marvelous time!

Here’s the back story: I live in New York and have cousins in Brecon, Wales. Many of my online sewing buddies (or rather, sewing inspirations since my sewing is going so slowly) live in the UK and one of them, the famous and fabulous, Ali of THIMBERLINA, was able to meet me for a day out fabric shopping! We found a spot half way between our locations which just so happened to be home to a particularly fine fabric shop, Abakhan, where we whiled away a good amount of time.

We started our morning early at our respective train stations, mine was in Abergavenny, and oh, such amazing scenery along the way! Horses, cows, and fields full of sheep. My traveling shots were blurry, so here is a shot of one of the many stations where we stopped, so many nicely landscaped and decorated. I was very impressed with the British rail system!

img_8097

After our separate journeys of about two and a half-hours, we all arrived at the Chester Station.

chester_railway_station_frontage_-_2005-10-09

Photo by and copyright Tagishsimon – Own work

Barely out of the station, Ali’s mum (yes, Cyber-mum was with us!) began the photo-taking. She spotted the perfect backdrop, this red double-decker bus!

img_8101

Since I obviously knew nothing about Chester, and Ali’s sense of direction is spot-on, she led the way to our first stop, the cafe at Marks and Spencer, where we enjoyed a large giant cup of coffee. As we settled at our table, Ali surprised me with a little gift – three patterns from Love Sewing magazine! Two pretty dresses (and a blouse) and trousers with t-shirt. All of which will be made up soon – I promise.

img_8104

I was very nearly run over while snapping this too-distant photo of the clock in downtown Chester!

img_8106

In short order, we arrived at our destination, Abakhan! Located prominently on the corner, it was easy to spot, and we charged right in and began our fabric adventure.

img_8111-1

Immediately upon entering, the bombardment began. Bin upon bin of remnants –  big ones, small ones, ones as big as your ‘ead….oh whoops I got a little carried away for a moment. I was drawn immediately to a lovely heathered pink jersey that would be perfect for my new t-shirt pattern! Despite the fact that the remnant was enormous, I toted it around the store while searching for soft(ish) printed materials for my new dress patterns. And are you surprised? Ali and I liked several of the same pieces! She brought me the perfect silky print, but after hemming and hawing, I abandoned it with my horrific memories of “shifty” fabrics and their uncooperative manner. At this point, Ali pounced and purchased it for herself. Can’t wait to see it come to life! When Ali mentioned that remnants could be cut, I searched for a piece for a second t-shirt and found a nice gray one straight away. My next major find was a delightful, pinky-peachy knit with bold heart outlines – so cute, and perfect for some new pajamas. This will apparently be my introduction to …  Sewing With Knits. Yikes! I’d also been requested to find some material to make work-out bandanas for my hubby, so I also added a couple of fat quarters to my pile.

Sadly, I managed to take ZERO pictures of the shop while all of this was going on, as I too busy searching, touching, unrolling, re-rolling, deciding, and undeciding to do so until finally taking my haul to the counter. Here are the lovely ladies of Abakhan joined by the lovely Ali as they cut down my pink jersey knit.

img_8109

A quick run to the second floor revealed equally abundant racks of trims, notions and yarns. We hastily ran back down and proceeded to our next stop, a quick bite and cuppa before getting on my train home. We found a little cafe, and ordered what I was assured was a staple in England – egg and chips with a pot of tea. I had considered ordering coffee, but was convinced by Ali and mum (rightly so) that tea was the proper accompaniment. It was delicious!

Final hugs at the station, and I was off.

img_8113

On the return trip, I relived the joy of meeting two wonderful people, having delightful conversation full of laughs, learning so much more about a blogger I already admired (she’s funnier and even kinder than you think), meeting her lovely mum, and accepting a challenge to sew with knits. And to think, just three days earlier, I was still puttering around in New York wondering what to wear. Such an amazing world we live in!

I hope we’ll manage another visit one day (on either side of the pond) and thanks so much to Ali and delightful mum, for showing this American such a lovely time! Must be off to the sewing machine now, t-shirts and jams await!