weekly photo challenge: windows

coconut milk

This weeks photo challenge is (was) about windows. One of my favorite travel photos is of a window…an open window.

A small window propped open with a stick. The shutter overhead hangs crookedly…coconut milk filled plastic soda bottles line the lower sash…the last bottle on the left is the only one with a red cap…

A small handmade wooden table sits off center, beneath the shopkeepers only window. A white, floral cotton swath of fabric covers all but one corner of the table… green and yellow bananas sit beside fresh whole coconuts…but my eyes were on the window.

The row of bottled coconut milk, the fruit for sale beneath, the soft white paint covering the concrete walls, the crooked shutter…the island on which this little shop was situated… it was all so beautiful…I had to take a photo…

The island was Rarotonga.

It was a two month stop along our ’round the world trip we took years ago…it was magic…

We rented a small flat from a local woman and rode our rented bicycles everyday, everywhere…we savored cooking on an actual stove and loved the weekly farmers market. This is where I first spotted this lovely open window – at the market.

I also appreciated the many beaches, the simplicity of our daily lives, the balmy breezes, the lush mountain hikes and all the photo opportunities…this one in particular…

Windows.

They all have a view – good or bad – and they all show something perhaps not so easily seen from the other side…of the window…

enjoy.

planes, trains and automobiles

I had planned posting as usual last week, though after being bumped from our flight (who bumps a family traveling with a three year old? American Airlines does), after waiting in line for three hours to check in, then told (rudely) there are no more flights until the following day (what?) – didn’t plan for that expense (complaint letter being written soon!), then delayed the following day (in Miami) due to a snow storm and then, finally, we arrive in Connecticut, to visit with Michaels’ sister and niece, and there is no internet connection for five days. Life seemed to say, no posting for you…so here I am, now…

We returned last week from our epic trip and stopped off in Connecticut for a few days to visit with family and attend the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC. This is a big show and an expensive one.  We’d been invited to participate for the past few years (it’s a juried show), though wanted to check it out first, in person, to see if it’s a good match for us (get a sense of the overall ‘vibe’), this is NYC and a very HIGH end show after all, so before investing lots of money and time we thought it best to to do our research, first, and I’m so glad we did.  We loved it!

They have a ‘MADE’ section which is a perfect fit for Michaels’ work and our business (Designs Adrift).  We spoke with a few exhibitors (artists) and not only were they friendly, encouraging and talented, they suggested we take the plunge and exhibit next year. Each person we spoke with said it was worth the investment and their business grew as a result…grew enough to continue coming back year after year.

We were placed on the guest list, so the entrance fee was waived and Michaels sister babysat (family rate = free) Finn all day while we traveled in and out of the city… we ate a delicious lunch for only $8.50 (for the two of us) and walked to the show. No cabs for me. I love walking in NYC, it’s the best way to be ‘in the city’ – especially as we were only there for a few hours… why spend for a cab when walking is not only free, but great for the body too.

The train and parking fees were money well spent. We look forward to the prospect of exhibiting next year and I am beginning to plan accordingly – who knows where it may lead?

But, for now, I’m settling back into being ‘home’ and have already started a few seeds, despite my garden still covered in snow…

Planes, trains and automobiles.

There’s nothing quite like being ‘home’…

enjoy.

thrift shopping around the world

Years ago, Michael and I spent a year and a half traveling around the world. We visited 13  countries and needed a variety of clothing – what to do when your carrying everything you need on your back? Keep things simple and visit thrift shops when possible (not every country has thrift shops of course).

We utilized thrift shops (charity shops) while traveling through Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland. We picked up sheets (I cut and sewed) to use as curtains in our little car while driving around NZ, we also bought ceramic mugs and a few kitchen items for cooking while camping – we had camping cooking gear, but the luxury of having a car made it easier to have a few ‘nice’ things to eat and drink from – and then we left them in the last hostel where we stayed on our last night… I’m sure someone took advantage of them, if not the hostel itself, than another traveler. While in Australia I was in need of a wool sweater and I found a beautiful one. When we left, I re-donated it back to another charity shop. And in England I was in need of some fun party clothes, so off to the charity shop I went – when we left England I kept what I could (meaning what might come in handy later and fit in my backpack) and gave away the rest…

It’s a simple and cost effective way to add to your existing wardrobe while traveling. Particularly after a few months of wearing the same articles of clothing, day in and day out, it can get a bit dull…so why not utilize thrift shops, if the country your visiting has them? Plus, you may find things you wouldn’t normally at home – all the more fun!

Remember thrift shopping is not only for when your home, they are also fantastic resources to make use of, while abroad, as well…

Finn, Jess and I recently checked out the charity shop, here on Tortola, and this is what I picked up;

toy planehammer + sawpuddle bootscaprisAs serendipity would have it, Finn has been looking for a toy saw – and there it was, bonus wrench to go with it. Wooden toy plane, perfect, as Finn had just experienced his first plane ride. And then, oddly, it rained here (it’s not the season for rain), and Finn was missing his rain boots – voila, there they were…a little boy can never have too many rain boots, right?

And finally a pair of capri pants for me. I did need another pair while here as my summer weather wardrobe was lacking when I packed…

Total for all $2.50.

Charity shopping around the world – why not?

Enjoy.

traveling on a budget

I thought it would be timely to post on this topic, as we are away at the moment, visiting with friends, on a distant (and warm) island…though this trip is more like ‘coming home’ (we had lived here before Finn was born) than traveling, but its’ got me thinking about travel…

So much can be said about traveling. There are so many variables to consider – are you traveling for a few weeks or longer? Will you be visiting one country or many? Are you traveling alone, with a friend, or as a family? Are you ok out of your ‘comfort zone? Can you stick to your budget? Are you able to ‘go with the flow’?…

But before deciding to go anywhere (or do anything really) you need to be able to save money. Saving a little each week can quickly add up to big savings. Putting aside $25 per week ($3.57 per day) will add up to $1300 in just one year. Michael and I saved for two years prior to leaving on our big trip years ago…we worked a lot, we worked so much we had no time to spend needlessly…yet, we didn’t see it as a sacrifice, we saw it as a way to accomplish something we really wanted to do – we had a goal and stuck to it. And in the end, all those things we chose not to do, wouldn’t have made a big impact on our overall life, but our travels did. Traveling changes you. It gives you a much larger view of the world. It reminds you – there is so much out there – there is so much to learn…and appreciate.

You can choose to see what it is your ‘giving up’ as a sacrifice or  as an avenue towards the things you really do want. 

We’ve made choices which may not be easy for most, but our choices have allowed us to do things we feel are important, to us.  And now our choices have allowed Finn to enjoy his first travel experience. And that to me is worth so much more than any dinner out could ever give…

hermit crab in shell

cacti

sunset

It also helps having dear friends in beautiful places! Thank you…

What do you wish to save for?

Enjoy.

garden envy

I miss the luxury of growing my own.

vegetable garden

I grow, but not during the winter, I don’t have the necessary space. I grow from spring to fall and miss it this time of year. I miss it so much. Especially as it’s been looking like this (below) lately…

snow covered gate

I miss having food growing and available, in my backyard. I miss being self-sufficient (at least in terms of veggies). I miss the luxury of walking outside (despite the mosquito issue around here), snipping away (usually quickly – the mosquitos), and then coming back inside with a basket full of fresh greens and then some…I do miss my backyard veggies..

freshly picked vegetables

Enough, melancholy – Februarys’ brighter light and longer days have reminded me – Spring is inevitable.

morning glories

even if it doesn’t seem so now…it will come.

rosa rugosa

Normally I would have started plantings already, but this year I’ve had to hold off – at least until we return from our long overdue trip! I am so excited to be going away (we haven’t taken a trip in over 5 years!!), though I do wish I could have started my plantings already – the season is short enough around here !! But starting trays and trays of seedlings made no sense. I didn’t want to ask anyone to look after them while we were away, that just felt like way too much to ask of anyone…so, the seeds will sit and wait a few more weeks…as will I…

seeds

 

enjoy!

apple picking in New Zealand and Maine

Apples. Love ’em. Especially this time of year. The smell of apples, fallen leaves, wearing boots and sweaters and feeling the crisp air is just lovely this time of year…the last time I had picked apples was a little over 10 years ago – in New Zealand. Now, my most recent apple picking experience – this past weekend, in Maine – was vastly different than my last apple picking experience, in New Zealand.

Michael and I visited New Zealand while on our ’round the world trip. We stayed for four months. We camped, hiked, fished, visited thrift shops, bought a car, met some amazing people and drove all over the entire country – both the North and South Islands. While there, we did what a lot of travelers do, we looked for work. We were in the middle of our year + long travel trip and wanted to keep our ‘kitty’ afloat as well as have some for when we arrived back ‘home’ – wherever that was to be…so we worked along the way. We were in New Zealand during their apple season; we had heard about the prospect of apple picking and had met quite a few people who had done apple picking themselves and made suggestions as to where to do it. So we did. (photo of a photo of our tractor while in New Zealand – each pair of pickers had their own tractor, this was ours)

We found a beautiful orchard with lovely owners and the job allowed us to live on the property (for a small weekly fee) in a one room studio. It was hard work. Up at sunrise, pick, pick, pick, drop off at sunset, eat, rest, sleep. Four weeks we picked. I gained a whole new appreciation for apples. Apple picking for profit and apple picking for pleasure are entirely different experiences…

This past weekends’ experience was for pleasure, Michael, Finn and I went apple picking.

You choose a wagon, a bag and go out into the orchard.

Pick, pick, pick till your hearts content.

We ended up with 19 pounds of apples – that’s a lot of apples – nothing compared to what Michael and I would pick on a daily basis in NZ, but a lot for three people to eat nonetheless.  Now, I know – apple pie, apple sauce, apple bread, apple crisp, baked apples, caramel apples – but there’s only so much time in my day, so I’ve decided to make pies (and freeze) and apple crisp. I have the best recipe for apple crisp. Really. I found it in a cookbook given to me by my grandmother, 12 years ago. It’s a cookbook created by and for the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary; titled, Savoring Cape Cod.

This recipe can also be used for blueberry crisp, raspberry crisp and a combination thereof. It’s quick, delicious and easy. Top with a bit of fresh creme and or vanilla ice cream and well, your in heaven…

Apple Crisp

5-6 apples (any god pie apple) – peeled and sliced. I used Cortland and Macintosh.

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9″ X 13″ baking pan.

Spread apples in pan.

Blend dry ingredients. Add egg and melted butter. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

Pat mixture over apples.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until top is browned.

Enjoy.