Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Travel: Pisa & Florence

We traveled from Naples to Camp Darby this weekend. Camp Darby is just ten minutes from Pisa and one hour from Florence, making it the ideal base for day trips to either location and the rest of Tuscany.

We took advantage of Camp Darby's inexpensive lodging options and stayed in a pet-friendly deluxe "cabin" for two nights. It provided the necessities (and we saved on pet sitting fees), but it wasn't especially clean. We did visit during the low season, however, so perhaps housekeeping is better in the summer. Either way, lodging at Camp Darby allowed us to visit two famous cities for under $150.

Shawn and I have visited Pisa before, but this was Cole's first time. He wanted to climb the tower so badly, but no one under eight years of age is allowed. So we made do with walking the lovely grounds, admiring the buildings, and taking multiple pictures. Cole also purchased a foot-tall Leaning Tower of Pisa night light as his souvenir.

Florence was a first for all of us. We visited the more famous sites: Il Duomo, Brunelleschi's Dome, Battistero San Giovanni, Campanile di Giotto, Piazza della Signoria, Galleria degli Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Galleria dell'Accademia. We climbed to the top of the Campanile for some gorgeous views of the city and sought out Michelangelo and Botticelli's work in the museums. It was the ultimate Renaissance experience.

I'm sure we'll stay at Camp Darby again, once Cole turns eight. We want to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, hike the Cinque Terre, and visit Siena.

This part of Italy is just beautiful!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Crafts: Apron Parade

I gave aprons as part of our Christmas gifts this year. There are a lot of apron patterns available, but I used these two:

1. Amy Butler's In Stitches Short Pleated Apron (p. 48)

We lived in Japan for nearly ten years, and my mother and brother's girlfriend spent time there with us. This project gave me the opportunity to use a few prints I've been hoarding, and to reminisce.

As for the pattern, I had no issues whatsoever. The directions and diagrams are concise and easy to follow. And I think the apron's proportions are spot-on.

2. Rashida Coleman-Hale's I Heart Patchwork Patchwork Bordered Apron (p. 50)

I went with a Christmas hostess theme for my sisters-in-law. My husband says their mother always wore an apron in the kitchen, so maybe they'll like wearing this one during the holidays.

The lining and patchwork make this apron more time-consuming than the first, but it's still easy to assemble. I did opt to follow Amy Butler's directions for attaching the waistband and ties, as they produce a cleaner finish (and I was already familiar with the process).

Now that the holidays are over, I want to make The Sometimes Crafter's City Girl Apron for myself.