Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 5 -Arches National Park

I What we thought would be a short drive through Arches National Park turned into an all-day event when we took a ill-advised detour onto a trail that looked like a short walk.  An hour in, we actually had to turn around to retrace our steps to get back to the parking lot, although we did see some of the magnificent arches the park is named for!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Day 4 - Mesa Verde

When I was teaching AP rt History, I loved the early North American chapters. The cliff dwellings of the ancestral Pueblo Indians were haunting and beautiful.  We visited Mesa Verde National Park yesterday and were really blown away by the beauty!

Next up, we will visit Arches National Park in Utah--

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 3 - Grand Canyon!

Up early and we spend the entire day exploring the Grand Canyon.  We hiked down the Bright Angel Trail (fun but utterly exhausting!), traveled down as far as Hermits Rest and the Watchtower.  It was a gorgeous day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 2 of vacation

Wednesday, May 28 - we drove to Phoenix and enjoyed a lovely hotel with a great pool-- then we visited the Desert Botanical Garden.  Unfortunately, it was well over 100 degrees, so we were pretty wilted by the time we left there!  We then traveled to reach the Grand Canyon, and stayed in another very nice hotel and enjoyed our evening in the spa!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Soi We are driving across country, and doing a lot of sightseeing.  My daughter suggested I post one pic each day that shows something that we saw or did each day, and I think that's a great idea!

so I am going to start off with Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - we witnessed our best friends getting married on the beach before we took off across country!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Been busy!

Between finishing up the year at school, and planning for our next Big Adventure, we haven't made a lot of progress on any projects around the house. Which is a good thing, actually - meaning that I resisted the urge to start some ambitious plan that I have no time to accomplish!  Dale and I decided after we got the living room pretty much finished that we would STOP doing things until after summer, because I have big summer plans....

However, we did do a project (that like all projects we undertake, balloons out of control super fast!) that improved one previous project.  We had created our own patio furniture two summers ago - last summer, I refreshed the seats by painting them, and that has held up beautifully. So no repainting needed.  However, the sun is STRONG here, and I have just resigned myself that unless I buy sun-treated fabric (which I don't like the cost OR texture of!), I will just have to recover the cushions every year.  This is what they looked like a couple of weeks ago:

You can see how faded both the seats and the throw pillows are.  Granted, the three solid cushions were originally tan anyway, but even then, they're faded.  And the spotted cushions were much more colorful.  The seats were bright blue last summer:

ah, yea, a whole year of sitting in the blazing CA sun.

But on the bright side, our plants are looking good!

So, besides getting new fabric to cover the seat cushions, I wanted to plump up the toss pillows and make the seats even thicker.  Although the cushions above are comfy, they look thin to me and I just want to convey a larger sense of luxury.  So I doubled the thickness of the seats by buying a mattress topper and cutting it to size, which doubled the thickness of the cushions (foam by the yard is ridiculously expensive - there are better/cheaper ways rather than going to a fabric store to buy foam).
Then we went to our favorite fabric store, M & L Fabrics in Anaheim.  This crazy fabric store is worth a post of it's own -  all the people who work there are Russian and I am sure it's a front for the Russian mafia - but what I love about it and why I keep going back is that they have a HUGE selection and great prices.  If you are willing to invest a day and go through the huge stacks of flat fold fabrics, you can get beautiful designer stuff for 2.98 a yard.  I bought 11 yards to cover my seat cushions, so for 33.00 I got a great new look:

This fabric has gold printing, and a Klimt-look.  I picked up 1/2 yard of various matching or contrasting fabrics, many of them with gold printing, so I could cover my back cushions.  Now the seats are SUPER comfy, and they look great.  But I love this fabric so much that I don't want it to fade so I have the seats covered until we have people over - which we did for one of my finals.  I invited two of my classes over to my home and we had a potluck and social time, and these sofas were full of students.  We actually had the area looking really great, brought out a nice rug and tables (our yardstick tables), and it was a great place to sit and chat.  It was great that we were able to enjoy all the fruits of our labors with company over - we're not the most social people, but our house is really set up (now) for entertaining, so we need to do this more often.

In order to protect our furniture and give us a comfortable place to relax, when I get back from my summer job (more about this later) in July, we are going to build a covered pergola off the sliding glass door.  This should give us some protection from the sparse rain we get, but will give us a bit of a shadier spot to sit outside and enjoy the relentless great weather here without being overwhelmed by the sun.  I've been pinning some interesting looks, and here are my favorites:

I like the columns here, I think we're going to use columns instead of wood posts. I also like the dark wood trellis part, but I don't want the house to get too dark, so I'm not 100% certain there yet.

This is kind of the look we're going for, colorful and a bit bohemian.  We actually have a collection of pendant lamps we're going to hang, but nothing this cool.  Ours are various shapes/sizes, things we picked up super cheap/free with the idea we'd use them later in our outdoor landscape.

I love these over the top painted concrete rugs.  I am going to do something along the lines of this on the concrete, more like an area rug look.  Having rolled out a rug while we had company showed us how nice it tied everything together visually.  So, powerwash then stencil the floor.

We'll put something like this up there to give us more shade when we want it, and to pull back when we want more sun.  We'll make something ourselves here.

Dale wants curtains, I want a weather-proof top.  I'd prefer it to be clear or white translucent, however, not green.

So I've saved a lot of images on my Pinterest board here, and when I return from my summer adventure, we're going to make this our new big project.  Oh yea, and the yard, too.  We killed the grass (on purpose) so a major revamp of that is in our future. 

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