Archive for travel

Traveling the World Through Your Mailbox

Ohdeedoh Little Passports pic

Ohdeedoh Little Passports pic 2

Ohdeedoh Little Passports pic 3

I really really love this. Sign your kids up for a subscription with Little Passports to receive a package in the mail each month with activities, stickers, souvenirs and educational information about countries around the world.

The first month’s package includes the cute suitcase pictured above, along with a passport, a map, a letter from the characters Sam and Sofia, and a few other goodies. Thereafter, your child will receive monthly adventure kits, each with a new letter from Sam and Sofia, and fun activities and souvenirs from a new country. There’s an online component as well.

I love that this fosters a love for geography, culture and the mail all at once. What a terrific idea!

There are 4 different subscription packages to choose from – for full information, visit the Little Passport website.

Images via Ohdeedoh

On an unrelated note, I (as Pushing Papers) sponsored today’s post for Abbey’s 20 in 20 project. I did it not to promote Pushing Papers, but simply because I admire Abbey. She is endlessly creative and talented, and I wanted to thank her for making me smile with every craft she makes.

Have a happy weekend – and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing mothers out there.

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If I’d Had Enough Room in My Suitcase

What I wish I'd bought in Copenhagen

I would have brought back all of the above, plus every single thing from Illums Bolighus

Mega dots bed cover and baby quilts by HAY
Dot cushions by HAY
Porcelain vases, cups, containers in a wide variety of patterns by Helbak
Iso Rose bed linens by Rosenberg CPH (many beautiful patterns & products)
Rain boots by Ilse Jacobsen
Adorable kids clothes by Katvig

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A Few Small Things from Copenhagen

What I bought in Copenhagen

These are a few small things that came back from Copenhagen in my suitcase, along with some small Easter treats. Next, I’ll show you the things that I wish had come back in my suitcase.

ReTap (glass water bottle with rubber cap to encourage drinking tap water over bottled water)
Simply Chocolate (how could I pass up any chocolate named “Molly”?)
Spira (see this website for many more terrific designs / products)



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Copenhagen: Eight Favorites

Hotel Kong Arthur pic by Charlottes Fancy

Hotel Kong Arthur – a beautiful, comfortable room with an amazing breakfast (if not the most centrally located hotel).

Desk at Illums Bolighus

My dream desk at the most fabulous store ever, Illums Bolighus

Window display at Illums Bolighus

Easter window display at Illums Bolighus

Dansk Design Center

The Dansk Design Center. Small but packed with beautiful design.

Hay store in Copenhagen

The HAY store, which had a quilt and pillows I coveted, and a gorgeous view above the main shopping street.

Restaurant in Copenhagen

A slightly fuzzy snapshot of a lovely restaurant, Madklubben, with terrific food. Love those Panton chairs.

Giacometti sculpture at Louisiana Art Museum

Giacometti sculpture at the Lousiana Museum of Art. The only disappointment? It was a rainy day, so we didn’t get the sweeping ocean views.

Glyptotek Museum

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek  art museum. A beautiful building, with a pretty winter garden in the rotunda.

It was a short trip, so I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see. But what I did see, I really loved.

Images: Charlotte’s Fancy

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Dreaming of Copenhagen

Copenhagen by Carlos Goulao

Copenhagen Royal Library by hjfklein

Ordrupgaard Museum Extension Copenhagen

Copenhagen bar by Spitting Yarn

Arne Jacobsen fire escape stairs by seier and seier

Round tower by Manuela.Martin

1. Nyhavn
2. Royal Library
3. Ordrupgaard Museum Extension
4. Laundromat Cafe
5. Arne Jacobsen designed fire escape
6. Round Tower

I’m taking my mom to Copenhagen at the end of the month, and I can’t wait to be immersed in Danish design. If you have suggestions for shops, restaurants and must see places, please let me know in the comments. I would be most grateful.

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ourHAUS, yourHAUS, kitHAUS Contest

kitHAUS prefab at the Barking Dog Ranch

This is a call to artists, writers, designers, small business owners – anyone who is creative and needs the space and a beautiful setting to dream up their next big idea.

kitHAUS, the makers of modern pre-fab homes (I wrote about them a few months ago), is sponsoring the “ourHAUS, yourHAUS, kitHAUS” contest to win one of 12 weekend stays at a fully equipped kitHAUS at the Barking Dog Ranch in Arroyo Grande, California (in the photo above).

To enter, make a video that’s no longer than 5 minutes telling the folks at kitHAUS what you would do and how spending time in a kitHAUS would help you ponder, create, or finish that big idea that’s been incubating in your mind for awhile now; then, upload the link to their website. A team of panelists at kitHAUS will pick a winner each month, and even if you don’t win right away, you are automatically entered to win for the remainder of the giveaways.

Winners will be announced monthly on their contest website, starting December 15th, 2010 and ending December 15, 2011.

Seriously – give it a shot! You never know. You might just win!

If you want to see more photos of their beautiful houses, check out the kitHAUS website.

When I win the lottery, this is my first purchase.

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My top ten eleven favorite photos from last week’s trip to Iceland.

Reykjavík as seen from the top of Hallgrímskirkj, an enormous church. I love the colorful houses and buildings, the sea, the fact that the city is small:

photos of Reykjavik Iceland

The interior of the aforementioned Hallgrímskirkja, which I thought was stunning in its total lack of color:

Interior of Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik Iceland

Þingvellir (the Þ is pronounced like a th), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 930, the Icelandic Parliament was established here and remained here until 1789 before it was moved to Reykjavik. I loved the idyllic setting in the countryside:

Thingvellir National Park

Rosa and Elena in front of Gullfoss, a giant, double decker waterfall. I just love the looks on their faces, which I think are true to them both: Rosa and her devil-may-care laugh, and Elena with her slightly hesitant, we’re-a-little-too-close-to-the-edge nervous grin:

Girls in front of Gullfoss in Iceland

We had just finished exploring a small waterfall and decided to take a right turn down the road, instead of a left turn back to the highway, and we were rewarded with this magnificent church, in the shadow of Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that disrupted European travel earlier this year. I was struck by the wide variety of church architecture we saw during this trip:

rural church in Iceland

This waterfall is called Skogafoss. We climbed the 350+ steps up the side of the waterfall to see it from the top. When we got there, the view was pretty spectacular, but even better, we were able to climb a small ladder over a fence and hike along a ridge between Eyjafjallajökull glacier and Myrdalsjökull glacier. We were the only people up there, exploring the twists and turns of the river and the beautiful mountainside shrouded in clouds.:

Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland

It was my favorite thing we did on this trip, so here’s one more photo of the view from the top, looking back at the waterfall (the waterfall is where the clouds are rising up in the middle of the photo, and below it, you can follow the river as it winds its way out to the sea):

View from the top of Skogafoss in Iceland

Back in Reykjavík, this, I think, wins the contest for the scariest looking cemetery I’ve ever seen. The trees looked like they would close in on you and swallow you up:

Cemetery in Reykjavik

We visited the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik, and the girls had a blast dressing up in a room filled with costumes. These are just two of many silly photos we took:

Elena dressed up in a costume at the National Museum of Iceland Rosa dressed up in a costume at the National Museum of Iceland

And finally, a visit to Iceland would not be complete with a trip to the Blue Lagoon, a  geothermal spa with milky blue, hot water. The picture below is not the Lagoon itself, but some springs on the way out of the complex – I just loved how blue the water looked at that moment; it captures the color better than the photos I took of the spa:

Milky blue hot springs near Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I didn’t include any pictures of it, but the Reykjavik 871±2 Settlement Exhibit of the Reykjavik City Museum is fabulous too.  It’s built around the archaeological remains of a Viking house, and it uses technology to explain Icelandic history in such a creative and unique way. The name of the exhibit refers to the Settlement Age of Iceland, which they can date very specifically based on the unique ash and rocks from a volcanic eruption. If you are planning a trip to Iceland sometime in your future, I would say this is a must see.

My one disappointment on this trip: it was never clear at night to even try to see the northern lights. I guess that just means we’ll have to go back some day, right?

It was a wonderful trip, and Iceland is so full of natural beauty. I feel lucky to have been able to go there, and hope to make it back there and see more.

I know it’s only October, but the holidays will be here before you know it. I’m going to be featuring handmade holiday gift ideas in early November and want to know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see – gifts for kids? For him? For her? If you have requests, leave me a comment or email me!

Hope you all have a great weekend – I’m spending mine with family in town!

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The Great American Roadtrip

Last week, we flew to Nebraska, rented a car, and drove west to see many of this country’s iconic monuments and parks: Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, the Badlands, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

I am pretty sure that only my mom is interested in seeing these pictures (and she was with us for half of the trip!), but I hope you will indulge me anyway.

After a pretty drive through Nebraska over to Rapid City, South Dakota, our first stop was Mt. Rushmore:

We were pleasantly surprised with Mt. Rushmore. They’ve thoughtfully designed various ways to view the monument, including a short trail that allows you to get right underneath it and look up at those huge faces.

After a side trip to the Crazy Horse Memorial, enjoying the scenery of the Black Hills along the way, we backtracked to the Badlands, which are east of Rapid City.

It was hot. I mean really hot. But the view! We spotted our first bison and prairie dogs here.

We made the obligatory (and mercifully short) stop at Wall Drug before heading back west to the nation’s first monument. Do you know what it is? It’s in Wyoming.

Devil’s Tower. Theodoore Roosevelt made it the nation’s first monument in 1906.

We arrived at Devil’s Tower a couple of hours before sunset and were blown away by its size and surroundings and the beautiful late afternoon sun shining it. If you can believe it, there were several people climbing it, and they were more than halfway up.

There’s a really nice path around the base, which is a little more than a mile long. We hiked it, saw some deer in the forest, listened to the wind rustle through the aspen trees, and soaked it all up.

When we left Devil’s Tower, the moon was rising right next to it, and as we drove toward our hotel for the evening, the sunset seemed to last forever.

From Wyoming, we headed in to Montana, where we picked up my mom and spent a few days visiting my uncle. We spent one afternoon in Bozeman at the excellent Museum of the Rockies – a must for dinosaur lovers. This picture above is an actual T Rex skeleton (not a cast).

While in Montana, we also went horseback riding at the Chico Hot Springs Resort. The scenery was spectacular and the horses (Rebecca, Jake, Ruben and Roper) were easy riding partners.

Here are the girls immediately following the ride:

This is what pure joy looks like.

We stayed in Livingston, Montana, which is about 50 miles from the north entrance of Yellowstone. We took two day trips there (these pictures are a combination of both days):

Exploring small hot springs in this little stream – it felt like bath water.

This is a view of Mammoth Hot Springs near the north entrance.

Can you guess what they’re waiting for? Here’s a hint:

Old Faithful! It erupts every 90 minutes, or so, give or take 10 minutes.

We also saw lots of stinky sulphur pits, like this one, as well as waterfalls, rivers, and Lake Yellowstone.

Animals we spotted along the way included a huge herd of bison, elk, antelope, deer, a coyote and a wolf.

Just south of Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park. The mountains are very vertical and gorgeous:

Here’s another view. It was a beautiful day:

We drove through the park, but didn’t spend time here – it was our last full day and we were headed all the way across Wyoming and down to Colorado, to spend the night outside of Denver and catch a flight the next morning.

Here’s a fun thing we learned:

Remember how I said that I put little blue Moleskine journals in the girls’ travel bags and noted that they looked like passports? Turns out that at the National Parks, they have little stations where you can stamp your Park Passport (or notebook or journal) with a stamp that looks like a postage mark. We had no idea! We discovered it at Devil’s Tower (and therefore missed getting stamps at Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands). But we had a lot of fun finding as many stations as we could around Yellowstone (there were several). So, the next time you are at a National Park, look for the passport/stamp station. The one at Devil’s Tower is particularly fun, because they have a stamp that looks just like Devil’s Tower itself.

With 2500 miles of driving on this trip, mishaps were bound to happen. Like leaving our laptop power cord at a hotel, which took them four days just to put in the mail (perhaps they sent it by Pony Express – it took forever for it to arrive back home). Also, my iPhone took a two mile joyride on the roof of the car as we traveled the road up to Devil’s Tower and fell off only when we pulled into the parking lot. Unscathed. (A miracle, right?)  And the worst of the mishaps: a bird flew into our car as we were driving through the Badlands (we noticed a lot of birds skittish of the car would take flight right in front of us – we nearly hit a couple more). The worst part is that we didn’t notice until the next day that when the bird hit us, it had gotten lodged in the grill of our car. Oops. Sorry little birdie.

The bird incident notwithstanding, this was a great trip, and I feel lucky and grateful that we did it. Have you been to any of these places before? Our three favorites of the trip were Devil’s Tower, horseback riding and visiting Yellowstone.

Next Monday is Labor Day here in the US, so I’ll be taking that day off to enjoy the last full day of summer vacation before the girls go back to school. I hope to see you back here on Tuesday.

Thanks for letting me share these pictures, and have a great weekend!

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Travel Memories

Piling into the station wagon, always having to sit in the way back.

The rare stay at a hotel, the smell of chlorine from the pool

Free hotel postcards (and an unlimited supply of ice from the ice machine)

Coveted souvenirs

And visiting Grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Vacation starts today! I am taking a break from Charlotte’s Fancy next week, except that I hope to post a picture or two along the way. See you back here soon!

(Station wagon) demossscott
(Hotel/pool postcard) Erin Liz
(Howard Johnson postcard) sueism1
(Niagara Falls snowglobe) Olivander
(Family) own photo

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Maps to Love

If you haven’t seen these already, these are just the most beautiful maps by These Are Things:

World Map/Aqua – this one is my favorite.

World Map/Black

Letterpressed World Map

I also really like these Places on Earth and Places in America maps by You and Me, the Royal We. They come with pins for marking all the places you’ve visited:

Which one is your favorite?

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