A piece a Week – The Airport Sling from On The Go Bags

I would have to say this project took me longer than a week to complete but I have to say that I am happy that I finally completed it! A lesson in all new tricks and techniques from the great book On the Go bags. It took me a while to understand how to apply the exterior pocket with zip to hold your passport and papers with a pen holder – now I will be well and truly organized for our trip to Australia in the Summer which was the inspiration behind making this bag. I accidentally made it taller rather than wider but it worked out well as my purse to hold cash and credit cards etc is a rectangle so it is perfect! I really like the fact I have reduced the amount of crap I carry around – yay!! And I feel so organized with those exterior pockets one for the phone and the other side for my glasses. 
This little pocket stores my phone

At the moment my glasses go in here but I will be sticking the passports in there too! 

For the Easter weekend I booked a cabin 6 months ago when the California State Parks had their sale as Samuel Taylor State Park is a popular destination for people who live in the city of SF. We travelled up to 2 hours to get there in bad traffic on a Saturday afternoon but still it was so worth it! The cabin is amazing – I have to say it is the best cabin I have stayed in at a State Park, the last time we went cabin camping I was freezing, this time – no way as there was an electric pot belly stove to make the cabin nice and snug. I loved the cabin and just outside our own little fire ring, picnic table and little BBQ (where you have to bring your own briquettes). We had a lovely beet felafel with goat cheese wraps in foil cooked on the fire with a salad for our easy dinner. For dessert we had banana boats which is a banana sliced in the center to make a boat then tuck in some chocolate chips and marshmallows wrap them in foil and have it all melt together – yum!

Our dinner beet felafel wraps and wine from Chile

The kids at the beginning of the hike find a California Poppy
In the afternoon before dinner we decided to go for a hike up hill to Barnabe Peak 1446 ft (447 m) high – which is 2 miles up and up and up the fire trail. At times we looked up and thought we are never going to make it as you can see from the pic below, Ash was ready to give up but we kept on powering on! I was dragging behind taking the pictures and it wasn’t until I said hi to a Michael Franti lookalike that said to me ‘almost there’ was when I felt the inspiration to keep on going to the top. Once we got there the winds were strong and the fog was rolling in – still it was an amazing 360 degree view and worth the hike! 

I can’t walk anymore!!

Green to the horizon

Feeling the wind as we are nearly there!!

You can just see the sea on the left

Looking out 

Heading on back down with views of the Kent Lake spillway

Going back down was fast though it was tough on the feet to stay balanced and not fall down the trail. We certainly slept well Saturday night with a few aches and pains in our legs.

An Indian Painbrush flower

As we were going down we saw lots of wildflowers in amongst the green – lots and lots of California poppies which was a real treat!

There they are little specks on the trail! 

Think we missed seeing this sign on the way up! 

Happy to be back in the cabin with this heater!

We had to enjoy the campfire not just for cooking but for hanging out with – it was super warm but the cabin with its coziness of the electric stove tempted me inside. Also I had other plans to do and that was to chat to the Easter Bunny about surprises for Easter morning 🙂

Burn baby burn

A story about the foxes

Surprises from the Easter bunny – eat my little friends he says and here are some eggs from my chicken friends, fair trade chocolate of course!

All lined up behind the blinds

Excited to find these goodies from the Easter bunny

We were sad to say farewell to our Fox Den – it was just an overnight stay but it felt longer and we are now walking that little bit slower and breathing deeper, as taking that time out in the woods was so relaxing.

The beautiful new cabin at Samuel Taylor State Park in the Madrone Campground

The log dude not the log lady?!?

After eating all that chocolate the kids needed to work it off with another hike to the beach – this hike was an easy one straight up to the beach via the Abbotts Lagoon Trail. I was hoping to see more birds but we just saw some hawks overhead – the dunes were closed off as the habitat of the endangered Snowy Plover, those guys are so cute and tiny. The kids decided they wanted to make some art from driftwood on the beach so Ash was on a mission dragging logs and finding sticks and Missy was digging holes for their collaboration piece they left behind on the beach.

Working together on a mission
All done – take this pic from the front Mom!

Fields of California Poppies

A piece a Week – Simple T-shirt experiment

A week of many things to do leads to a simple little project that I found in the Great British Sewing Bee : Sew Your Own Wardrobe. This is a t-shirt I have been wanting to make since I found it in the book as it is such a versatile piece, the bonus is that it has bias binding on the hems so that gave me more time to experiment with bias binding after last weeks project. This is an excellent demonstration piece and next time I know to make this a couple of sizes smaller!

The simple t-shirt in action

This weeks hike we wandered to Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve – another permit required open space managed by Mid Peninsula Open Space. It was an interesting place to explore with ruins of a Jesuit College which opened in 1934 – the college buildings were heavily damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. The Mid Peninsula Open Space acquired the land in 1999 and if you have a permit you are free to explore this space. Wandering the fire roads and through the forest  it was extremely fascinating to see what mystery unfolded. We had no idea what used to be there \ and it was interesting what we found and how we put the pieces together. In the end we looked at the Google Map and it said Alma College and we just wanted to find out more… In the link to Alma College it is really interesting to see what the future holds for this land. Also there are some great pictures on what the space looked like before the earthquake. It is now just derelict buildings and warning signs looking through the fences you can see that this was a place that has a lot of history to it, find more images here.

Do Not Enter this space is dangerous – graffiti added to the space 

The giveaway that this is an older building – look at the light fitting

Indeed… Explore More…

This looks like a garage that was destroyed 

Favorite parts of this hike exploration for me were through the ruins of old bricks and buildings nature still took over. I love how the grasses and moss grew everywhere, my son even found moss growing in an old green bottle we found when we went exploring down a hill to find the flowing creek.

Over time nature just takes over 

Moss and graffiti

I like the look of these concrete pipes

“Look, moss is living in this bottle”

We found beer cans, old bottles, tires, rusted oil cans from back in the day that enhanced the experience of adventuring into places where no one visits. I can get used to this kind of hiking with no one else around – in the couple of hours we were there we only saw one horse rider and two horses on the fire road.

Checking out a beer can from 1968 – check out the tab top (ring pull) on the can

When we made it down to the creek

Our snack spot by the creek massive chunks of concrete and rocks form this small waterfall

The ruins with nature growing everywhere
Locked in! The only way to enter is with a key combination

Where a fountain once stood – this bird stretches its wings
With all the rain the spring flowers are in bloom and today I went for a 9.5 mile (15 km) bike ride to Shoreline and found this amazing field of poppies. It was close to the middle of the day (lunchtime = hangry) so I captured what I could on my phone camera and rode on home.
Spring California Poppies Bloom
A bumblebee doing what they do best!