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    Fab Europe Travel

    Belgium Fabulous – Beer, Chocolate, Lace and Much More

    There is a lot of fabulous in Belgium

    Location: Belgium

    I’ve been all over Europe, but somehow Belgium and I had never been acquainted.  I really wanted to meet her for a long time, so, Belgium was high on my list of places to visit on the Grand Adventure.  I was looking forward to learning more about Belgium Fabulous – Beer, Chocolate, Lace and Much More.

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Diamonds

    In fact, there is much, MUCH more to Belgium than I ever imagined.  With influences from France and the Netherlands (French-speaking in the south and Dutch-speaking in the North), Belgium has thousands of years of history that includes a prosperous medieval period where the area was a center of commerce and culture.  But given its location bordering  France, Germany and the Netherlands, Belgium also became a battle ground during both WWI and WWII.

    Belgium was one of the founding members of the European Economic Community which later became the European Union.  Today Brussels, Belgium hosts the headquarters of the EU and NATO.

    So our short visit to Belgium included stops in the important city of Brussels, as well as time in the

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Brown beer

    beautiful medieval city of Brugge.  In both places we set out to learn about the things that make Belgium special.  Let’s start with beer.

    Beer- brewing beer in Belgium dates back to the 12th century and Belgium beer is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

    We really put in a good effort researching this – sampling about a dozen different beer styles and breweries during our stay.  Belgian beer has a stronger alcohol content than beer I’m used to drinking, and I had a headache for a few days.  But all in the name of research of course.  We tested lagers, amber ales, Flemish Red Ales, Brown Ales, Stouts and sour beer.  On average Belgians drinks about 84 liters of beer a year.

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Stout Beer

    But in the 1800’s when the river water was polluted, people drank beer instead of water, consuming about 200 liters a year.

    We only visited a couple of breweries, both in Brugge, but there are approximately 225 breweries in this tiny country.

    Chocolate – During the 1600’s Belgium was occupied by Spain and it was during this time that drinking chocolate became very popular.  Later when Belgium colonized Congo in Africa they began importing the cocoa bean.

    But the story goes that chocolates as we know them today did not become popular until 1857 when pharmacist Jean Neuhaus began

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Chocolate

    covering pills with chocolate to make the medicine more palatable for children (and adults).  And the Belgian chocolate was born.

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Lace

    Lace – dating back centuries to a time when the area was known as Flanders, lace making was an art form here in Belgium.  Both Brugge and Brussels are, still today, known for the beautiful lace made both by hand (bobbin lace) and by machine.  There are shops and demonstrations everywhere.  It’s a dying art, one that can hopefully be preserved.

    Bobbin lace making

    Waffles – surprisingly Belgian waffles are not an ancient thing.  In fact, waffles were only introduced to Americans at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair but called Bel-Gen Waffles.  A favorite was born!  Two kinds of waffles are now popular all over Belgium, particularly with the tourists; the Brussels Waffle is the one created for and introduced in the United States.  It is lighter, more rectangular and has deeper holes.  It can be eaten plain but you will

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Brussels and Leige Waffles

    often see the tourists walking around with one piled with strawberries and whipped cream, or Nutella or a host of other toppings. The second one, and my favorite is the Leige Waffle, named after a town in eastern Belgium.  Darker in color, crispier on the outside, the Leige is filled inside with chunks of gooey sugar.  It’s considered uncouth to put anything like fruit or Nutella on a Leige waffle.  And trust me, it doesn’t need it.  Absolutely delicious, light and sweet on its own.  Popular at 4pm with tea.

    Frites – as early as 1680 there are records showing the Belgians deep-

    Belgium Fabulous Beer Chocolate Lace and Much More

    Frites

    frying potato batons.  The French will argue the origin of the food, but Belgians firmly disagree – frites are from Belgium.  And they are popular!  Everywhere you look the double-fried golden fingers are available.  Usually served in a paper cone with your choice of dip including ketchup-mayo combos, as well as hollandaise, basil and oil, pepper, curry, spicy, bbq, tartar, mustard and many more.

    So we did our best during our short visit to

    Waffles

    Belgium to dive into the culture, history and food and learn something about this beautiful little country.  Belgium is also one of the worlds largest cut flower exporters, diamond exporters and is the world’s largest exporter of billiard balls .  Belgium has more comic strip artists per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world.  The Tin Tin strip and The Smurfs were created here.

    Betcha didn’t know that did you?  Belgium.  Worth a visit! Fabuleux or Fabelachtig.  Whether French or Dutch, there is a lot of fabulous in Belgium.

    
    

     

    Fab Europe Travel

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Four Days on the West and North Danish Coast

    Location: Northern Denmark

    Not yet a week into the next phase of the Grand Adventure – still feeling the jet leg, but happy to once again

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Our path in Denmark

    be in beautiful, friendly Denmark. We had less than a week here.  But tiny Denmark is a great destination if you have limited time. So we decided to make our second visit to this special place and enjoy exploring Northern Denmark.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Klitmoller

    We have family living in Copenhagen who we have visited before.  This time however, our family was at their summer home in Klitmoller, about four and half hours northwest of Copenhagen.  Lucky for us, they invited us to come to Klitmoller, also known as Cold Hawaii, for a few relaxing and peaceful days.

    We arrived very tired from being awake for nearly 24 hours flying Seattle to Reykjavik and then on to Copenhagen.  Iceland Air lost our luggage (long story short – finally got our luggage after three days), so our arrival was a bit stressful. After several hours trying to locate the luggage, we finally realized we needed to just get our rental car and begin the drive.  Despite how tired we were we really wanted to see our family and make it to Klitmoller that night.

    The path from Copenhagen (on the island of Zealand) to Jutland (the part of Denmark connected to the continent) is a beautiful drive.  It winds

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Fisher houses for nets and gear in Klitmoller

    through bucolic farmland, where wheat fields flow right down to the ocean, through rugged but quaint sea towns, small forests and over several large bridges. We arrived in Klitmoller, a tiny historic fishing town now known mostly for its surfing, just as the sun was setting on a beautiful summer day in early August.  We enjoyed homemade lasagna, lots of catching up and family news and a few beers before heading off to sweet dreams in our family’s comfortable and beautiful country-style Danish home.  I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

    Morning dawned bright and sparkling, and our cousins told us we were going for a morning swim.  Wait – what?  Isn’t it cold?  This is Scandinavia after all – we are as far north as Juneau!

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Brisk morning swim in the North Sea

    Well, a morning dip is part of Danish summer life so off we trekked the 200 meters or so to the beach.  And guess what?  It wasn’t even that cold! Brisk yes, but  frankly warmer than the Puget Sound back in Washington State.  It was a great way to get your motor running for the day.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Danish breakfast

    Next we enjoyed a sunny Danish breakfast of bread, cheese, yogurt, fruit and coffee before spending the day seeing the handful of sites around Klitmoller.  We learned great WWII history at Hanstholm, where a national park includes dozens of bunkers built during the German occupation.  Germany occupied Denmark from 1940-1945 and forced local men to build these fortifications in an attempt to protect the west-facing coast and the entrance to the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Norway. Hanstholm is also home to a large fishing port and auction house.  We then visited the impossible-to-pronounce village of Norre Vorupor.  The locals call it Nor Vegas. A bit more touristy than Klitmoller, the tiny seaside village promotes surfing, fishing and has a

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Norre Vorupor

    lovely protected salt water swimming area.  We ate a traditional Danish lunch outside in the sunshine: smoked mackerel and fish cakes with potato salad. Heading back up the coast to Klitmoller, we stopped at the beach to enjoy watching our cousin’s children surfing and enjoying this wonderful lifestyle they are so lucky to have here in Western Denmark.

    We stopped at the fish market for the freshest piece of salmon for dinner then headed home for a relaxing evening together.  Late in the day we heard that a giant storm was about to hit

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Delicious salmon from the North

    Denmark bringing 60 mph winds.  So we brought in all the outdoor things and battened down, ready for an exciting night.  But the storm didn’t arrive til morning, and was not as intense as originally forecast.

    After breakfast we walked down to the beach to see how big the waves were due to the storm.  No morning swim on this morning as the waves were breaking at about 3 meters (10 feet).  A few brave surfers and some very talented and experienced kite boarders were enjoying it though. The boardwalk around the beach was crowded with locals and visitors bundled up against

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Windy morning at Klitmoller beach

    the wind and rain and enjoying the show.

    Finally around noon our luggage arrived and we packed up the car to head north while our cousins packed up to return to Copenhagen and prepare for the start of school on Monday. We would see them again in a few days.

    Driving north for two and half hours we enjoyed the terrain of seagrass covered dunes as we made our way to the tip of Denmark and the historic town of Skagen.  We checked into our lovely little hotel.  It was a sunny afternoon but the forecast was

    Port of Skagen

    ominous so we decided we should see as much as we could this day.

    We wandered the little village and the small shopping area and headed to the port where humongous

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Yellow houses

    fishing vessels equipped for the high northern seas sit next to pleasure craft and sailboats.  This area is all about fishing and you see it in the port, in the restaurants and even in the color of the houses and buildings.  Historically the residents painted the village buildings a mustard yellow color with red roofs and white trim so the fisherman could see them from far away as they were returning from sea.

    Fish of course was for dinner and we enjoyed a delicious meal at Skagen Fiskerestaurant located in one of several historic port side buildings.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Grenen point

    After dinner, since the weather was so beautiful, we drove to the very tip of Denmark, known as Grenen.  The Northern most point of Denmark is only 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Norway.  Here the Strait of Skagerak from the west collides with the Kattegat Sea with a force that is magnificent to behold.  The two seas form a long sand spit (Grenen) and it is one of the top tourist destinations in Denmark.  We were so glad we went out there while it was a sunny and warm late afternoon.

    Waking up the next day the weather, as predicted, was cloudy and grey and wet.  So we mapped out a plan to see the sights this day from the car.

    First we headed to Den Tilsandede Kirke (The Buried Church), a 14th century church out in the dunes.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    The buried church

    During the last half of the 18th century the church was partially buried by sand from nearby dunes; the congregation had to dig out the entrance each time a service was held. The struggle to keep the church free of sand lasted until 1795, when it was abandoned. The church was demolished, leaving the tower  still standing.

    We drove to Gammel Skagen (Old Skagen) also known Hojen, the original settlement on this remote peninsula.  Most residents eventually moved to Skagen on the other side of the peninsula which is more protected from the harsh winds and seas.  Today Gammel Skagen is home to upscale hotels and residences.

    Skagen Museum/Art Museum of Skagen – we loved this incredible museum and it was the perfect thing to experience on a rainy day. At the end of the 19th century, Skagen became the center of one of the most

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Michael Ancher’s amazing talent depicted in this portrait of a young Skagen girl

    famous artists’ colonies in Europe, known as the Skagen painters. The museum has a collection of more than 9,000 artworks by members of the Scandinavian artists colony – the Skagen painters – who lived and worked in the fishing village of Skagen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries including extensive works by Michael and Ana Ancher, Holger Drachmann, Marie Kroyer, Viggo Johansen and many others.  It is a superbly done museum.

    The rain lessened in the afternoon for a couple of hours so we headed out for some walking exercise and visited the historic Vippefyret, a 400 year old light house that used a coal fire lifted in a metal cage by a lever. The

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Vippefyret

    fire served as the light for mariners until 1747.

    We ended our day with another outstanding Danish dinner at the popular port side restaurant of Pakhuset.  The Moules Mariniere was sublime.

    Sunday morning the weather was better.  Since we are still waking up at an ungodly hour (4am) we took a brisk morning walk down to the sea.  Lots of Dane’s having an early morning swim in the nude, cycling and walking. I love their fitness obsession.  Back at our hotel for the fantastic morning buffet of Danish delights; Danish Ryebread (my fav), cheeses, pate, meats, fruit, muesli, soft boiled eggs, coffee and juice.

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Swedish church in Skagen

    Now we will take a leisurely drive back to Copenhagen and to our cousin’s city home in Virum where we will enjoy a farewell evening before our Monday departure. Our brief visit comes to an end.  We enjoyed exploring Northern Denmark.  Such a beautiful, historic, friendly and delicious country is Denmark.  We are happy to be Danish, if only a little bit.

    Tomorrow the grand adventure continues to Belgium!

    Fabelagtig! (Fabulous).

    Exploring Northern Denmark

    Historic windmill in Skagen

     

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    Everything Else Fabulous

    Farewell USA, Our Grand Adventure Continues

    Off We Go Again

    Location: Planet Earth

    Our visit to the USA comes to an end.  We have enjoyed our ten weeks in our native country, but we are also ready now to go.

    As hard as it might be for some people to understand, we don’t consider the USA our home right now, we enjoy being on the move and we are ready to say Farewell USA, our Grand Adventure continues.

    I had a lot of things I wanted to do while in the USA.  I didn’t get them all done, but we enjoyed family and friends, hiking and cycling, and quick trips to Nashville and Utah.

    And it was enough.

    So now we go.  We are relaxed and unstressed about departing, unlike the first time we headed out.  We know the ropes now.  We are confident and secure in our ability to navigate the world.  And we can’t wait to get back out there and enjoy this amazing planet.

    The next chapter begins. Unlike our last segment, this time we will spend more time in Europe. We will spend August and

    A route looks roughy like this. LOL.

    September in Europe; Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania and Greece.  Then we have ten days in Egypt and Jordan.  Following that we hike another Camino de Santiago, this time from Porto Portugal to Finisterra Spain (250 miles).  We then end our time in Europe with visits to Sevilla, Malaga and Cádiz Spain as well as Gibraltar.

    In November we will fly to Miami and visit Key West and the Everglades before boarding a cruise ship that will take us to Columbia, Panama, Ecuador and Chili.  Followed by a month in Brazil (Christmas and New Years) followed by Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republican and possibly Cuba before returning again to Washington State next June for another summer visit.

    Time with our sons

    We have worked hard on this itinerary and we are excited about the adventures ahead.  We hope you will continue to follow us, comment and share.  Thank you for being a part of the growing My Fab Fifties Life Family. Stay tuned for news from Denmark! We look forward to our second visit to Denmark and exploring more than just Copenhagen this time.  A beautiful and friendly country where we have family!

    It’s time to fly! Farewell USA, our Grand Adventure continues. T minus ONE!

    Fabulous!

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    Fab North America Travel

    Seven Things to do in Seabeck Washington

    My Summer in Washington State

    Location: Seabeck, Washington, USA

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington.

    Visitors to the west sound area of the Kitsap Peninsula rarely make their way out to Seabeck on the Hood Canal.  The little gem of a community has no hotels, malls or big

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Sunset on the Hood Canal

    grocery stores.  It sits quietly as it has for generations, in one of the most picturesque spots in the world.  Less than 15 minutes drive from the overrun and out of control growth town of Silverdale where you can find services and stores to your hearts content, Seabeck is an anomaly – a fragile reminder of days past.

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Historic Chapel Seabeck Conference Grounds

    A visit to Seabeck can easily be done in one day, but we were lucky enough to have 23 days to relax and enjoy this area at our spectacular waterfront Airbnb right on Hood Canal in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains. We found many things to occupy us, including our favorite seven things to do in Seabeck Washington.

    During our time here we did several hikes

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Dungeness Crab

    around the parks and nature preserves, rode our bikes on the quiet and nearly deserted roads, enjoyed fresh Dungeness crab right from our front yard, went kayaking on the calm and beautiful waters of the canal and enjoyed pizza from the towns only food service facility.

    Additionally we made a point to learn some history about our surroundings, and were

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Fascinating historic cemetery

    surprised to find that Seabeck was at one time a booming lumber mill town.  Little remains of that era now, nor of the generations of Native Americans who once spent their summers here enjoying the bounty of the sea and forest the area offered.

    Here are our favorites – the seven things to do in Seabeck Washington, nestled on the North Hood Canal in Western Washington. Visit soon.

     

    1. Scenic Beach State Park – a beautiful

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Emel House Scenic Beach State Park

    waterfront state park covered in beautiful forests this park offers swimming, beach combing, camping, picnic area as well as the historic Emel home.  Events and weddings often occur here.

    2. Gillimot Cove –

    The Stump House at Guillemott Cove

    The 158-acre Kitsap county nature reserve Guillemot Cove located only six miles from the city center is a great place to enjoy the many trails that provide a pathway through this nature reserve. Visitors can also enjoy attractions such as a hollowed-out stump of a red cedar referred to as the Stump House, or simply enjoy the scenery provided by this preservation of nature.

    3. Seabeck Conference Grounds – built in

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Meeting House Seabeck Conference Grounds

    1914 by Lawrence Colman and Arn Allen originally a YMCA operated camp, the camp is now a faith based non-profit camp and  is alive and well more than 100 years later.  You can stroll around the grounds and admire the many historic structures and the glorious view.

    4. Anderson Landing Preserve – once upon a

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Puget Sound from Anderson Landing

    time this was the site of a boat landing for supplies and lumber.  Today you can walk around the forested preserve and cautiously peer over the cliff to the Puget Sound below.  Trails take you down to the location of the old landing site.

    5. Seabeck Pizza, General Store and Historic Landing- at this location once a booming

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Seabeck General Store

    lumber town operated.  Today the four small buildings house a nice general store, massage studio, espresso stand and the popular Seabeck Pizza take-away pizza joint. Take time to stroll out on to the marina pier for a nice view back at the historic old town.

    6. Seabeck Cemetery- just a half a mile south from

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Seabeck Cemetery

    the old landing watch for a tiny sign pointing to the historic Seabeck Cemetery. Graves dating back more than a hundred years are now overgrown with salal but an effort is currently underway to refurbish and preserve the site.  Many of Seabeck’a founders lie here. Including some of my own ancestors.

    7. Get on the water – you can arrive by boat

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Kayaking on Hood Canal, Seabeck

    and make use of the marina at the landing.  Or bring your SUP or kayak. Both are very popular pastimes in the summer when the canal is calm and warm.  Fishing and crabbing are also popular.  Seals, otter, porpoises and the occasional orca whale can be spotted as well as bald eagles, osprey and much more wildlife from the water.

    Seven things to do in Seabeck Washington

    Wildlife

    Seabeck – a hidden gem seemingly stuck in a bygone century. Worth a visit. Fabulous!

    Fab North America Travel

    Favorite Hiking & Cycling Trails in Puget Sound

    My Summer in Washington State USA

    Location: Puget Sound, Washington State, USA

    I’ve spent ten weeks in the beautiful state of Washington in the north-western United States.  This is where I grew up and where my family is.  It was fun being back, if only for a little while.  There were so many things I wanted to do and see, and I didn’t get it all done.  But I did manage to spend time enjoying my favorite hiking and cycling trails in Puget Sound.

    Favorite Hiking and Cycling trails in Puget Sound

    On top of Buckhorn pass

    I absolutely love cycling, and even though I started this sport rather late in life (48), I have embraced it.  I ride a road bike (‘Specialized’ brand) but prefer to ride on paved trails rather than out in traffic.  And there are two of my favorite trails less than an hour from where I have been staying;

    1. The Chehalis Western Trail is a fantastic trail on an old railroad bed, well maintained and very beautiful.  It is located south of Tacoma Washington beginning in Lacey.  You can start or stop at several locations along this 50-plus mile trail.  You can make the ride even longer by continuing
      Favorite Hiking and Cycling trails in Puget Sound

      Lunch break on the Chehalis Western Trail

      on the Yelm-Tenino Trail.  If you do the entire length of both these trails it’s more than 80 miles of paved bike path (with the small exception of about 100 yards of gravel). The trail includes views of Mount Rainier, bucolic farmland, the city of Olympia, and the Deschutes River. I was able to ride the Chehalis Western Trail three times while I was in Washington.

    2. The Olympic Discovery Trail is a spectacular trail on the Olympic Peninsula.  You can ride more than fifty miles round trip on this trial, including a newly added section to Discovery Bay.  There are a few sections of the trail that take you out to
      Favorite Hiking and Cycling trails in Puget Sound

      The Olympic Discovery Trail

      ride short distances on the highway, but for the most part the trail runs along the old highway and well maintained paved trails and bridges.  Highlights of this trail include crossing Dungeness River at the historic Railroad Bridge Park, riding through beautiful lavender fields in Sequim, enjoying views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and more bucolic farmland.  Simply spectacular and my favorite by far.  Unfortunately I only made it up to ride this trail once, but it was a beautiful day and I loved it.

    Both of these trails are for non-motorized vehicles only, and walkers are also encouraged.

    Speaking of walking, that is another of my favorite pastimes.  Last year when we walked the 486 mile Camino de Santiago from France to Spain we trained for more than a year.  Three months from now we plan to walk the 250 mile Camino de Santiago from Portugal to Spain and we have barely started our training!  So during these ten weeks here in

    Favorite Hiking and Cycling trails in Puget Sound

    Hiking on the Big Quilcene Trail

    Washington we have tried to get out and do urban hikes as well as two beautiful hikes on two of my favorite trails in the Olympic Mountains;

    1. Upper Big Quilcene / Marmot Pass Trail has a lot of elevation gain, but if you take it slow most anyone can do it.  And what does elevation gain mean?  Well of course it means spectacular views when you get to the top.  It’s about five miles to Marmot Pass and another steep scramble if you want to reach Buckhorn Ridge.  On a clear day you can see Seattle, all the Cascade mountains and for miles of the Olympic range as well.  The trail is well maintained, although you will need to walk through a rocky section where a slide has taken place.  This hike round trip if you go all the way to Buckhorn Ridge is 14 miles.  Or to Marmot Pass about 11 miles.  Be sure to have a Northwest Forest Pass (purchase ahead of time at many area locations).
    2. Lower Skokomish River Trail is one of my favorites.  We usually do a ten-mile round trip on this trail, but you can go further.  This well maintained trail takes you through
      Favorite Hiking and Cycling trails in Puget Sound

      Our lunch spot on the Skokomish River

      beautiful old growth forests and then along the Skokomish River for miles upstream.  There are a couple of places where you can get down to the river bed for a picnic or to camp.  The start of this trail is pretty steep, but once you get through the first mile it flattens out into a beautiful meandering trail where you hike through forests and cross creeks.  There is another climb but its easy and then again a flat and Favorite hiking and cycling trails in Puget Soundenjoyable walk from there.  This trail is rarely busy and I feel safe enough to walk this trail alone.

    So there you go, some of my favorite active pastimes in the Pacific Northwest where I have been since May.  We are now just days away from parting the USA again.  We will return to Washington for another visit next June.  Hopefully I’ll have more free time then, to cycle and hike around this spectacular state.

    Departing in T minus 11 days.

    Fab North America Travel

    I Made That!

    Do It Yourself Glass Art

    Location: Silverdale Washington USA

    Making your own glass art project is surprisingly simple, fabulously fun and a great activity for kids young and old. Do it yourself glass art might be my new favorite craft.

    I spent a couple of hours this week at Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Studio in Silverdale Washington USA.  This was one of my Wednesday With Mom outings that I have been doing with my mom all summer long.

    Do it yourself glass art

    My mom getting creative Click and hold for larger image

    I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I had seen some of the large and incredibly stunning works of art that come out of the Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Studio so I was looking forward to it.

    The glass studio offers classes (they were having a summer camp class while we were there) for both adults and children.  They also offer a DIY

    do it yourself glass art

    Our teacher Tara demonstrating technique Click and hold for larger image

    class.  You just call and let them know the day and time you want to come in to make your own creation.  Then they will have the supplies and someone on hand to guide you.  This is what I did with my mom.

    do it yourself glass art

    Mermaid phase one adding the first color Click and hold for larger image

    The sitting fee for the DIY is $8 and

    do it yourself glass art

    A wide selection of colors Click and hold for larger image

    you can make up to three pieces for this one sitting fee.  You then choose what you want to make and the costs for each project (cost covers glass, preparation, guidance and firing) varies depending on what you choose to make.

    Mom and I are both beginners so we started with something simple – small glass cutouts that could be used in a window or in a garden or as a ornament or maybe as a gift.  My mom chose a frog and I chose a mermaid. These each were $38.

    We learned how the process works – first you clean the glass carefully.  Then you chose your glass color that you will apply on top.  The glass is very fine sand-like granules and you sift it on to the different areas of your

    do it yourself glass art

    Lisa Stirrett owner and glass artist Click and hold for larger image

    piece.  The mermaid had a bit more detail than the frog.  I chose a teal blue for the mermaids body.  I then used a stencil to apply a glittery gold pattern over the top (the glitter was an additional $10).  Finally I put a silver glitter on her hair (you know, because I am the Grey Goddess and

    do it yourself glass art

    Mermaid phase II – all the color has been applied Click and hold for larger image

    all).  There are several tools you can use to clean up your mistakes, or to pinpoint a small area or to define a certain part.

    On the frog my mom chose to do a pale yellow-green lightly all over the body of the frog.  She then used larger glass chunks in a

    do it yourself glass art

    The frog warts and all ready for the kiln Click and hold for larger image

    bright pistachio green to make the frog look like he had bumps and warts.  The staff at the studio helped apply black paint for the frogs eyes.

    All of this only took about an hour and half.  We left our masterpieces behind to go into the kiln for the firing. Before the glass goes in the kiln it is placed on a soft paper that looks similar to quilt batting.  In the kiln it absorbs into the glass and gives it a multi-dimensional look.  I picked our pieces up several days later and it was amazing how different it looks after its been in the kiln.

    DIY Glass Art

    Mermaid Final product Click and hold for larger image

    Someday when I am back in Silverdale I would love to tackle a larger piece and really create something memorable so I can say I Made That!  In the meantime, if you are in the area I recommend checking out Lisa Stirrett Glass Art Studio to make your own project or to pick out a gift or something for yourself from their beautiful gallery.

    Another successful Wednesday with Mom!  Fabulous!

     

    Everything Else Fabulous

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe with Just One Suitcase

    Looking and Feeling Grand on the Grand Adventure

    Location: United States

    After wearing the same clothes over and over on our Grand Adventure I was looking forward to some major shopping once I got back in the USA. I knew I could create a fabulous travel wardrobe that would fit in  just one suitcase.

    I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two months purging my old travel wardrobe and adding fresh new and fabulously fun and comfortable items.  There are only five items from my previous wardrobe (excluding underwear) that make the cut for this next phase of my fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The white dress five ways. This is from J. Jill. I’m gonna love this dress I think.

    I have a really good understanding now of what works for me as a full-time traveler; what makes me feel good; is comfortable, pretty and easy to care for; what is well constructed and can withstand hand washing, sweat and constant wear; and most importantly what is versatile for many kinds of climates and all kinds of fabulous.

    That’s what I look for in a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black Dress six ways. This is a TravelSmith purchase, wrinkle free fabric. I love it. It made the cut for this next phase. Denim jacket is Levi.  Black and white kimono scarf I bought in Bali. White tie blouse is from Macy’s.

    Granted, most of the clothes I need are for warmer climates.  However on this next phase we will see some cool weather, especially while we are in Spain and Portugal in late October and November.  So I need to take this into consideration.

    I’m basing my fabulous travel wardrobe on some anchor pieces including; one white dress, one black dress, one pink dress and one green dress.  In addition I have added; one black linen drawstring pants, one white linen drawstring pants, one white walking shorts and one black walking shorts.

    With these anchor pieces I have added multiple tank tops and t-shirts and blouses as well as one sweater, two cardigans and my denim jacket. I also have two kimono scarf wraps (one silk, one cotton) and two

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    The green dress four ways. This is another Travel Smith purchase. The silk Kimono scarf and the black leggings are from Sirvana

     

    scarfs.  All of these items together can create an endless array of options for me.  The photos show just some of the ideas I have.

    I also have a couple of fun hats and a small collection of versatile jewelry to mix and match.  Although most of the time we aren’t getting dressed up, it’s nice to have some jewelry options for casual outfits as well.

    My wardrobe includes

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Pink dress four ways. I got this dress on a clearance rack at J.Jills. It’s linen – my favorite fabric. There is that Sirvana kimono again.  Teal and pink scarf is from Target.

    some handbags and six pairs of shoes.  My shoe choices are flat or low heeled with excellent arch support and lots of comfort.  Anything other than that doesn’t make the cut of a fabulous travel wardrobe.

    In my suitcase you will also find my small collection of mix and match items that serve me for hiking, running and yoga.  These activities are a big part of most every day in My Fab Fifties Life so making sure I am comfortable when I’m working out is a priority.  Our fall hike of the Porto Camino will likely include some rainy days, so I am preparing with a better rain poncho

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    White pants and or shorts six ways. There are endless options here. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom. The white shorts I have had for years. Black lace duster from Sirvana. Blue and white striped tank is DraperJane by Reece Witherspoon. White Lace tank from Travel Smith. Washed denim top from Marshalls and red top from StitchFix.

    than the one I had last year on the Spain Camino.

    I bought two of the same swimsuit but in different colors.  This way I can wear the first one until it starts to fall apart and have a back up ready.  I hated trying to shop for a swimsuit on our travels. And because I wear a suit almost every day, mostly in salt water, they really wear out.  I’m also bringing my older one-piece suit that I found in storage.  I prefer a one piece suit when snorkeling so I want to have it for those times.

    Making the cut from last years wardrobe are my

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    Black pants and or shorts eight ways. Of course black is flattering, but these pants are also comfortable. Linen pants are Caslon from Nordstrom, black shorts I have had for years. Teal button up tank and print tank from J Jill. White top with black embellishment is from Macys. Mustard sweater is Coldwater Creek.

    bold flowered print long sleeve gauze blouse.  I love the color and comfort of this top and even though it’s long sleeved it is perfect in hot weather.  It will come in handy in Muslim countries where I want to cover my arms.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My gear for running and yoga. Black shorts and shoes are Brooks. Leggings from Sirvana.

    I’m also bringing my 12-year-old teal linen sundress which is my favorite and is a perfect beach coverup.  I did some hand stitching to it this summer to fix the hem and some fraying. Good as new and ready to go again.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    I have hiking options for all weather possibilities. And we likely will use them all! Most everything you see here is from REI. Poncho from Magellan. My hiking shoes are from Kuru- specifically designed for plantar fasciaitis.

    In addition I’m throwing in my denim cropped white jeans.  I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of jeans and they work in so many ways.  A keeper for sure. My black shorts are also on the return list.

    And finally, my black dress from Travel Smith I wore over and over on the last phase of our travels I will wear over and over on the next phase.  This dress is a wonderful wrinkle free fabric and feels really good to wear.

    There are a few other minor miscellaneous items I plan to bring, but I feel more pared-down than when we left two years ago.  We both will continue to use our sturdy REI roller bags, now in their fourth year and who knows how many miles and baggage handlers they have endured.  We had to change the wheels on one of them, and are carrying a set of wheels for the other bag just in case.

    Fabulous Travel Wardrobe

    My swim attire – the blue and the green tops are identical except for color. I bought the Sarong in Bali and there is my old trusty teal linen sundress that has been around the world several times.

    In addition Arne has his backpack and I have my new roller carry-on.  I’m confident we will have plenty of room.  Not only for our clothes but for all the other items (did you see the YouTube video we posted about packing non clothing items?  We also posted a time-lapse on Youtube that is fun to watch).

    The thing is, you would basically pack the same if you were going on a month-long vacation.  Granted there are some things you wouldn’t need to pack (back up wheels for your suitcase or 12-months of contact lenses), but it’s essentially the same.  I would most likely bring the same amount of clothes for a month as I am for a year, a fabulous travel wardrobe.  It’s all about planning and knowing how to mix and match to feel and be your fabulous best.  Everyday, every country, everywhere.  Go. Be. Fabulous.

    Launch is in T-minus 25 days!