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A camping we will go

The weather has been vacillating so much lately; we’re in that late stage of Spring, where you think it might not get to 100 degrees this year, but in the California valley, it’s just a fact. It WILL get over a 100 degrees this year. Several times. The first time it threatens to get close – high 90s – it feels as if you’ve instantly landed in the middle of the Sahara, whereas July when it’s been over 110 for several days on end, if it dips into the 90s, you think you might have to grab a sweater.


This view never gets old.

This weekend was that high 90s weekend. And of all the timing, we made good on our year long, well overdue, promise to camp on the Property with the boys. Vance was still working full time last Summer, despite asking for part time, which led to many delays on the camping adventure and the boys finally settled for camping in the backyard. As Facebook told me this morning, it was exactly a year ago. Fancy that.

Now that hubby is our home person, threatening to go back to work, we have lots more time for adventuring on the weekends. This was it. The weekend before the last week of school. I can’t believe the school year is nearly over already. Isn’t it fitting that hubby would go back to work just as we get to Summer break?! But, I digress. The camping.


Long live the Roadrunner. For some reason all the years in the bag have made the underside of the rainfly sticky. Now we’re debating if we need a new tent, but first maybe we should start camping more than once a decade.

We decided to make a late start due to the heat and headed South late in the afternoon. A stop at the 4H tri-tip drive-thru on our way, where thankfully my sis and brother in law were running the stand. Otherwise, we’d have ended up with a whole tri-tip and no way to slice it. This year they changed the sides and man oh man was it good. Corn on the cob, garlic bread, ranch beans and tri-tip. Anyhow, the heat could not be avoided and by the time we had one tent up, mattress blown and bags in, the boys were down to underwear only. Ha!


See the expression on Brendon’s face. It closely resembles the sigh from hubby when I pulled out the camera. What?! Documentation people!

After both tents were up, unearthing our tent from its pre-Brendon cocoon, we decided to celebrate. By celebrate I mean, sit in the shade and drink cold drinks.


McNulty Base Camp. Under the watchful eye of Shasta in the distance.


Dinner #2.

I can’t say I did much adventuring. I was more like the camp host. The boys went off with hubby to look for tracks and general mayhem. Not too much you can get into in an oversized subdivision, but they had a good time.

For dinner we had the previously mentioned tri-tip. Then later, for second dinner we had hot dogs. John was an eating machine! And of course after all that we had S’mores. Yum, yum, yummy. I stumbled on a new recipe for s’mores awhile back – instead of using chocolate pieces which don’t like to melt (although, this weekend, they probably would’ve been pudding in mere minutes), we use chocolate frosting on the graham crackers. Works so well!


Prepped and ready. See that frosting??


The finished product.

The night. Well, it was a very long night. I started getting a monster headache right before we went to bed. Probably due to not enough water, too much wine and sugar. Whatever the reason, it made for a terrible night’s sleep. The boys seemed to do alright. Minor shuffling about. The heat never really subsided until the wee hours, so by the time daylight broke, we were all up and not feeling very rested.

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The boys ran about, up and down the hill a couple times, we had breakfast and broke camp. Thankful we were only 30 minutes from home. Both boys said it was a super time sleeping in their tent on the hill and of course all thoughts of uncomfort replaced by dread of unpacking. By mid-day, mommy was in much need of a nap. And that’s just what she did.

And a few random extras:


How happy was hubby I got him this chair for his birthday last month? When I gave it to him, he looked uninterested, but let’s just say that all changed this weekend!



My big little one. Lassen in the distance.


Me with the little little one.

Lifetime Achievement – Coat Making

Sewing. It is my hobby, my stress release, my oldest friend. Through the years, I’ve tackled dresses and skirts. Tops and shorts, but never a coat. Outerwear is right up there with Jeans in my book. Untouchable. As I’ve been through many muslins and failed garments, I wasn’t really ready to tackle something so time consuming and costly as a coat. But then….I know, there is always a “but then” to have us eating our words….my longtime favorite indie pattern designer Christine Haynes released her Ellsworth Coat pattern.


My best “Sherlock”; hubby told me I was ridiculous and refused to take any additional photos of me with my collar popped. It looks pretty cute that way, but you’ll have to take my word for it.


He also didn’t understand why I kept opening the coat. Come on – A fully bagged lining!!! This is epic! Check out the button placement. (see below)

I want to say it was released late last Summer or even in the Fall. Whatever the date, I promptly purchased the pattern upon release and then lamented that I couldn’t attend Camp Workroom Social in NY last Fall to be in her coat making class. The pattern sat. I bought some green coat fabric, as I was in a green mood this past Winter. Yet, inspiration and motivation never came together. I peppered my Instagram sewing friends who had sewn the coat with questions about fit and sizing. Even chatted via social media with Christine herself about it. She’s really helpful.

So then, right around my birthday hubby surprised me with a dress form. Does he know me or what?! Those hints didn’t go unheard!! And I decided on a blustery day that I really needed a pink jacket. Needed. I know, my life is need and not need when it comes to sewing and clothing. Right around this time, I stopped in at Joann’s for a quick pop in, not realizing it was the yearly President’s day sale blitz and came away with pink coat fabric, buttons and thread for just under $12. A steal. The stage was set.


Inside, Outside, Upside, Downside – The bottom of the coat back and the lining. A little cheat shown here too. There is a point in the construction, near the end, where you are to hand tack the lining. I didn’t really understand it, nor did I have the patience. So I sewed up next to the seam and in the ditch of the other hem seams. I think the intent is the same – keeping the bottom edge from rolling out. At least that was my take on the directions.

My Ellsworth coat was going to happen. That was February 19th. Here we are just a little over a month later and the coat is finished!! Glory, glory, Hallelujah!!  I did not make a muslin for this garment. Instead based on the pattern description and my above mentioned virtual advice (thank you to everyone who indulged me!), I sized down two sizes. Oh wait, I did make a muslin right after I bought the pattern and it was a disaster. I actually threw it away and promptly decided to make a skirt. Anywho, I should also mention, my version is five inches shorter than the pattern. I bought end of the bolt on the fabric and I had to either make the facings a contrasting color, which in theory I would love,  but knew long term it would drive me crazy, OR figure out how to make this coat from less than the required fabric. Ta-da! Five inches shorter did the trick and makes the coat even more Spring like. In my opinion anyway. 


I’d put my hand in the front pocket, but unfortunately I miscalculated with the fabric and had to also shorten my pockets. They are fine for holding my phone or keys, but not so good for putting my hands into.



I love the boxy 60’s look.

I really took my time with the coat construction; which also may be the reason I’m so pleased with the results. I sewed it over several weekends, mostly when the boys (all three) were at the in-laws, so I could talk myself through the process or cuss in private when needed. Overall the pattern is super easy to follow. Step by step, just like Christine’s other patterns. There were only two spots where I was lost and had to re-read and then just go for my best judgement call on the project. The fully bagged lining turned out to be pretty easy, although a little unnerving turning the whole coat out through a tiny slit in the sleeve lining. Lots of deep breaths. And maybe a shot of Limoncello. Who can really say for sure?


Last step of the construction. I didn’t notice until I put the other four buttons on that these are in the wrong spot. Oh bother.

The buttonholes were my last big hurdle as I avoid making garments with buttons. Ugh. Not my favorite. However, I am pleased to say, they turned out perfectly!!! I was so giddy with excitement, I actually sewed one row of the buttons in the wrong place. See photo above. I do have my airhead moments. Luckily it was an easy fix. The lining fabric is a Nicole Miller print I picked up several months prior because it was on sale and I just had to have it although no idea what I was going to make from it. Now we know. The perfect coat lining.


Are those 7/8″ sleeves? Indeed they are! Bracelet length. I almost had a fit when I first tried it on and ran to the pattern to be sure they were actually intended as bracelet length – I have long limbs and completely forgot about the need to lengthen the sleeve.

What’s next? Jeans?!

Maybe I will Lois, Maybe I will.