My European Fabric Shopping Adventure

All of my gorgeous European fabric 😍

Nathaniel and I knew that even though we went carry-on TO Europe, we were going to need to check bags coming back because he was planning on buying some Scotch. So I decided to pack my Vera Bradley duffel in my suitcase and give myself the freedom to buy fabric and not worry too much about how much space it was going to take up.

Before we went, I did a little research on fabric shops in Paris, London and Edinburgh. I figured I didn’t need to try to look for fabric in every single town (because we went to a lot!), but that Paris and London would definitely have fun options, and we wanted some tartan from Scotland. Also, doing research ahead of time meant we could go out with a mission, rather than aimlessly looking for shops.

Before I get to the shops we stopped through in the places I researched, we’ll get to my first fabric purchase of the trip!

Munich

I hadn’t been planning on buying any fabric in Munich, but as we were walking from our hotel to Old Town, we went right past a fabric shop, Orag Haus, so I had to stop in. The building also had windows with traditional German outfits, so we think that maybe you could also buy a custom outfit - I’m just guessing, though! When we went in, I asked if there was anything special that I could only get in Germany, but I don’t think the store clerk understood what I was really asking, so she showed me some fancy sequin fabric. While I love some sparkle, that wasn’t what I was looking for, and I gravitated toward some fabrics that reminded me of Dirndls. i ended up getting one meter of a dark blue fabric with white flowers. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll make with this, but possibly an apron, or a pair of shorts I could wear to Oktoberfest themed parties.

Paris

Our first stop in Paris was Anna Ka Bazaar, which was a very small shop that sells a handful of fabrics including the French brand Atelier Brunette (and as far as I can tell, the owner of the shop is also the owner of the fabric brand). I decided to get a couple meters of this pretty blue with paint splatter patterns, plus matching bias tape and piping - I love that they make it there and I don’t have to! Plus I’ll be able to have a couple pieces that go together if I use them separately! The woman who was working there was very friendly and helpful when I didn’t understand the French signs about what was on sale and what wasn’t. I thought the sign meant that you couldn’t buy the fabric, but it meant that it just was not discounted. Their website seems to imply that they are renovating soon - at least that’s what I gather from using Google Translate. 😉

The second stop in Paris was Malhia Kent. This is the kind of place you need to go to with no particular project in mind. Everything is sold as a specific length (a remnant), some things just a few inches, other things maybe a meter and half, so you can’t be too picky or need anything specific. The fabric is also very bold - lots of colors, patters, and textures. I think they use the fabric for actual fashion, then sell the leftovers. The salesperson there was not super friendly, unfortunately. She first asked me if I needed help and seemed kind of put-off when I said I just needed to look at what they had first, and when I finally needed help, she said that I made her lose her train of thought with the other task she was performing. I ended up buying two small cuts of decorative fabric (one for Nathaniel because he liked it), and one longer cut (close to a meter) of some shimmery pink sweater fabric. I have no idea what I’ll do with any of it, but it only cost me about 8 Euros!

London

We first went to the Berwick Street Cloth Shop. I decided to go here because one post I read about it said that some of the costumes in Game of Thrones were made with fabric from this shop! It’s in London’s West End, so this would be a great spot for a theatre’s costume designer to pop in. It was much smaller than I expected, but it was floor to ceiling in a deep, tall room, and had a large variety of fabrics, including faux furs (I see you, Jon Snow). I ended up buying a shimmery blue velvet knit (because I couldn’t stop looking at it or touching it), which will probably become a dress, and a floral woven fabric, which I still need to figure out what it will become.

Next was Liberty - this is actually a department store with several floors of clothes, accessories, dishes, furniture, etc., but they also sell fabrics. I’ve actually seen Liberty fabric before in small shops near me (Elfreide’s and Fancy Tiger Crafts), and I thought of them as small, intricate prints, usually florals, and they didn’t always really appeal to me. However, they had SO MUCH to choose from in London, including a new line with prints that weren’t what I would have expected with my limited knowledge of the company. I ended up getting two meters of a dark peacock print, one meter of a paisley print, and two meters of a sheer dog print, because some of the dogs look like Riker, and it was half off!

Edinburgh

For the last stop in this fabric adventure, my research pointed me toward Edinburgh Fabrics, and even before we walked in, I knew they’d have something fun since I could already see the plaid! Nathaniel’s family is descended from the Gunn clan, so we looked for some Gunn tartan, and lo and behold, they actually had a brand new bolt of midweight wool Gunn. We bought 8 meters! Hopefully I’ll be able to make him a kilt and maybe something for myself to match? This cut is by far the heaviest, most expensive piece of fabric I’ve ever bought 😂 I also bought 3 meters of a black, white and red plaid to make myself a skirt, but I bought polyester - much less expensive, plus I can more readily machine wash it!

I had a lot of fun fabric shopping in Europe, and I’m so glad we decided to bring an extra bag to put everything in so I didn’t feel limited by space. I’m not sure what I’ll make with everything I got, but it will be really fun to wear something and remember where I bought it and reminisce about this trip.

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P.S. This is what my basement looks like right now 🙈 Gotta prewash!

Flower & Garden + Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - Disney 2019

It’s been a month since I got back from our most recent trip to Disney World. We went for both Flower and Garden festival and the Star Wars race weekend.

This trip was a bit different than what we’ve done in the past. There are rides we missed and things we did that we usually don’t and even two brand new rides we’d never done before! I also packed everything in carry-ons as a challenge to myself. This meant carefully planning out each outfit ahead of time. Plus I incorporated quite a few handmade pieces!

Day 1:

We flew in as early as possible to maximize our time! We checked in and I instantly ran off (pun intended) to the race expo to get my race swag. I even waited in line to visit with R2-D2 and Boba Fett! I hardly ever do character meet-and-greets! Then I rushed to Epcot for our dinner reservation at the Coral Reef. I decided to get to Epcot by taking a bus to one of the resorts close enough to walk to Epcot. The race expos don’t have buses directly to the parks, so this ended up being a great option. It makes me want to stay in that area of the parks sometime! We usually stay close to the Magic Kingdom, but the Boardwalk is lovely and I’d like to do more than rush through! We ended the evening with a few rides in Epcot. We watched Illuminations because it’s leaving soon! I’ll miss it but I am excited to see what comes next!

Food themed outfit details:

Ice cream bar ears - Donut Purse - Ice cream bar Alex and Ani Bracelet - Macaron Shirt - Make It Minnie Ice Cream Bar necklace - Kate Spade Keds - Donut Earrings by Gracie Makes Things

Day 2:

This rainy day started off in Universal! We took a Lyft from our hotel to Universal Studios, which, aside from realizing we should have requested it before we got to the lobby and our driver not remembering where the right drop off is, worked out pretty well. Cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking! My homemade touch was my Marauder’s Map skirt (and the Marauder’s Map top my sister is wearing) and I got lots of compliments on it! People often ask me if I sell my stuff after I say I’ve made it, which is a great compliment, but I have a full-time job and other hobbies, so I don’t have the time to make a business out of it!

The Universal parks closed at 6 that evening, so we went back to Disney and grabbed a drink at Trader Sam’s, then hit the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours.

Hogwarts outfit details:

Marauder’s Map Skirt - Radish Earrings by Gracie Makes Things - Spectrespecs - Wand - Hermione’s Bag - Crocs - Time Turner - Platform 9 ¾ Alex and Ani bracelet

Day 3:

10k day! I wore the Chewbacca shirt I bought at the expo and my Star Wars Aloha Ears! I love that these ears are 3d printed and interchangeable! Definitely check them out! I took this race pretty easy, and it felt GREAT. Best run I’d had in a while. BUT I made the mistake of chugging a Powerade right after and my body was not pleased. Not making that mistake ever again - luckily it didn’t mess with our day too much. I still made it to Epcot in my Flower and Garden inspired outfit. The Epcot ears are another set from Aloha Ears! I did add some ears to a “rose gold” fanny pack, so I still sort of had something handmade! We drank around the world (sharing drinks and hydrating is KEY), and tried some of the food from the special carts there for the festival - a fun way to try several things and not have to sit down for a whole meal! The topiaries they have this time of year are gorgeous, too! After Epcot we ate dinner at The Wave at the Contemporary, then we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and a couple rides. 

10k outfit details:

Chewbacca Shirt (from expo, couldn’t find link) - Victoria’s Secret Leggings - Aloha Ears - Flip Belt - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Flower and Garden themed outfit details:

Madewell Shirt - Universal Threads Shorts from Target - Alice in Wonderland Shoes - Rose Gold Fanny Pack - Aloha Ears

Day 4:

Half Marathon morning! I actually made my top with amazing floral Star Wars swim fabric from Knitorious and the Deer + Doe Zephyr pattern (they’ve got dress styles and a crop/skirt option). The half ended up feeling pretty good, but my watch and the mile markers on the race were NOT the same. My watch said I went an extra 0.7 miles! If I trust my watch, I think I might have PR’d (not saying much because I’m slow 😉), but my official time was not a PR. Disney isn’t necessarily the right place to try for that anyway. Most of the courses seem to be longer than they’re supposed to be, and many people decide to stop for character photos. I only stopped for one photo, and it’s cute so I’m glad I did. Hubby met me at the end and he can vouch for this - I’ve NEVER been sweatier in my whole life. By the end of the race, it was almost 80 degrees and something like 95% humidity. I was sopping 😂

The only thing I don’t like about Disney races is how long you wait in your corral early in the morning. Otherwise they’re generally well-run, with lots of hydration stops, and lots of on-course entertainments. I mentioned the photo-ops above, but for this one, they also had huge screens with clips from the Star Wars movies playing. Around mile 2, they dimmed all the lights and had lasers coming from the trees on either side of the road and it felt like being in a Star Wars battle! Plus you get to run THROUGH DISNEY WORLD. There are definitely more runDisney races in my future.

After the race, I hopped in the pool for a couple minutes. Felt great on my body, plus I wanted some photos of the swimsuit I made from the same fabric I used for my running top! Oh, and I ate a donut bigger than my face.

Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom - I wore another version of the Deer + Doe Zephyr, this time both the crop and skirt from another color of the Knitorious floral Star Wars fabric. I made hubs take a bunch of pictures. None of them are as great as I want because of crowds, but they’re cute enough (and life isn’t all about Instagrammable moments, I need to keep reminding myself of this!). He’s such a trooper for putting up with me asking for pictures every five minutes.

We had dinner at the House of Blues in Disney Springs (a little nostalgic since it’s where we got “engaged”) and did a little shopping, then ended the day at the Magic Kingdom again.

I went over 50,000 steps that day! Hubs said he could feel the bed sheet moving because my feet were throbbing when we finally went to bed 😂

Both outfit details:

Deer + Doe Zephyr top (and top and skirt) using Knitorious fabric - Lululemon Leggings (similar) - Aloha Ears on a Dad Hat - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes - Goodr sunglasses - Band Buttons

Day 5: 

We started early at Animal Kingdom because we wanted to do the two Avatar rides! Nathaniel hadn’t ever done them, and we didn’t have fast passes, so this was the best way to do it! My sister and I wore matching mermaid tops that I whipped up with my new Cricut Maker cutting machine! I used iron-on glitter vinyl on plain white crop tees I got at Target, and they turned out super cute!

We ate at Yak and Yeti that day, which is always a good idea - we highly recommend it! Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom where I got stuck by the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but ended up having the best view I’ve ever had because of it! Nathaniel also discovered the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game which was great because he’d beaten the Pirate scavenger hunt game, and needed another game to play.

We had dinner at ‘Ohana then headed to Hollywood Studios (in the rain, typical!) where we got to go to the new Toy Story Land and ride the Alien Saucers. It was fine, but not something I’d wait in a huge line to do. Maybe if I were with a small child. We had FastPasses to Toy Story Midway Mania, and then tried to get in line for Slinky Dog right after (just before park close), but it ended up shutting down for the evening. They did give us FastPasses for the next day, though, which was a good consolation.

We again ended the evening in Magic Kingdom. We got there during the fireworks and WALKED onto the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Never have I seen a line so short for it! My sister and I decided to go on Peter Pan as the wait wasn’t too crazy. They redid the queue to look like the Darling’s home, and there is an interactive game app to help pass the time now!

Mermaid outfit details:

White shirt from Target with iron-on’s made by me - Mermaid Leggings - Rainbow Ears - Make It Minnie Shell Necklace - Scrunchie

Day 6:

We started the day in Hollywood studios so we could go on Slinky Dog! I also got a Jack-Jack Num Num Cookie which is giant and delicious 😋 It was hot and humid that day, so wearing my Outdoor Voices polka dot workout dress was perfect. I had really wanted to see the Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian, so we stopped there next. We finished up our trip by going to the Magic Kingdom for some shopping and some more game-playing for Nathaniel. And Mickey ice cream bars in the rain. We took the latest flight out we could, again to optimize our time in the parks

Outfit details:

Outdoor Voices Workout Dress - Rose Gold Ears (new version) - Goodr sunglasses - Make It Minnie cloud necklace

This trip was super packed and yet we still missed plenty of my favorite attractions (Voices of Liberty, Imagination, Pooh). I think the race weekend definitely played a part in that - it’s hard to do everything and have enough energy to run and stay upright! But we had such a great time and I’m already itching to go back again. And maybe next time I can have handmade items everyday!

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A Disney Vacation in Just Carry-Ons

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I am a self-diagnosed over-packer, and yet hubby and I somehow traveled for 3 weeks in Europe with just carry-on backpacks a few years ago. Well, I decided that the next time we did it we’d use rolling suitcases instead. While the backpacks were great, I found that carrying it on my back got a bit annoying, and, especially for hubs, unpacking and re-packing constantly was a pain with the way his backpack opened and closed.

I’m a sucker for anything that photographs nicely, but I also really like functionality. I kept seeing suitcases by Away, and a handful of friends even started getting them and loving them, so I decided to give them a try. They’ve got a great return policy (100 days, no questions asked), and some really cute colors. While I love millennial pink, I felt like everyone has it (for good reason), but they had this gorgeous violet color (no longer available) and I was instantly smitten. Plus, I figured the darker color wouldn’t show scuffs quite as easily. They’ve got two carry-on sizes, but TRAGEDY, the violet was only available in the smaller one. I decided to go for it anyway. It’ll fit on more airlines (at least without as much hassle), and I still have time to figure my sh*t out and swap it out for a bigger pink one instead if need be. I got hubs a matching one in a dark grey. While he doesn’t have the same sort of overpacking tendencies I do, he does like to take his camera gear with him when we travel, and I figured this would allow him to have a carry on for the overhead bin and then his camera bag as a personal item for under the seat, rather than just the one backpack like last time.

We are planning a 2.5 week trip to Europe again soon, but a good test of the size of this bag was our recent trip to Disney World! While it was only a 6 day trip, you KNOW I meticulously planned out all my unique outfits, PLUS I ran two races while we were there, so I needed my running gear, too.

Did all of this fit into one carry on and one backpack? Surprisingly, it did! (and I even shoved a couple extra things in for my sister the night before). I did check the suitcase on the way back and carried a (not stuffed) duffel on the plane, which I had planned to do anyway - with souvenirs, race shirts and medals, I knew I was coming back with more than I packed.

This gives me hope for using this suitcase for 2+ weeks in Europe. I won’t be bringing as much clothing, shoes, bags/purses, jewelry or toiletries, plus we’ll be doing laundry along the way. And I don’t think I’ll bring my running gear, as our vacations are typically full of walking and it’s time spent away from the actual vacation with hubby. Of course other space challenges will emerge for a different type of trip - for example, I decided I want to bring back fabric from each place we visit. I’m debating if I should start utilizing packing cubes (anyone with personal experience, feel free to let me know!), but luckily I’ve got a little time to figure that one out.

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Drinking Around the World

I love me some Disney. I also enjoy adult beverages. Drinking around the world has been on my bucket list for a while, but I finally got the opportunity to do it a couple weeks ago! 

My sister, who is seven years younger than me, and I finally went to Epcot together for the first time since she’s been of legal drinking age, so we decided to take the opportunity to complete the challenge! Now, it’s not an official Disney thing. In fact, I’d imagine they would rather you not drink nearly a dozen drinks on a hot, humid day…

Two things we did that are probably “cheating”:

  1. We skipped America, because we drink American drinks all the time. We also skipped the “African Outpost” but it’s not an official country, and they didn’t have any special “African” drinks that I could see 😜
  2. We shared each drink - so we totaled 10 between the two of us. (Also RIP half the delish grapefruit beer that spilled on the ground. You are missed, and never forgotten).

The whole walk around the world showcase is only about a mile, and you can either begin with Mexico or with Canada. Or I guess you could go in a weird random order, too. We chose to start in Mexico, but I’d imagine starting with a nice cold margarita is just as good as finishing with one. 😉

Frozen Avocado Margarita (Mexico)

Mango Wine (China)

Italian Sangria (Italy)

Sultan's Colada (Morocco)

Magners Pear Cider (UK)

Linie Aquavit Glacier Shot (Norway)

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Beer (Germany)

Coconut Pineapple Sake Mist (Japan)

Rosé Côtes de Provence (France)

Ottawa Apple (Canada)

We had a lot of concerned friends making sure we were ok throughout this adventure, because we were both documenting the challenge on social media - and luckily we finished in the upright position, not too much worse for wear. I attribute a lot of it to sharing the drinks, but here are some other tips:

  • Pace yourself. I think we did this over a few hours, and even went on a couple rides in the process, which meant we weren’t just continually drinking.
  • HYDRATE - we brought a Camelback, which, honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this at Disney World sooner. Best idea ever, and you just wear it!
  • Eat if you need to. I got a pretzel in Germany, and just nibbled a little whenever I felt like it. It was great.
  • Don’t take it too seriously! We just goofed off, and made sure the other person was feeling ok throughout. And if you have to stop, STOP. I’d rather not finish the challenge than be pukey at Disney.

Cheers!