Leather Week: pique-nique bag

I am so excited to be working with the  Leather Hide Store. to share a bunch of inspiration and tutorial posts about projects you can do with small amounts of leather. They were a dream to work with and their selection is INCREDIBLE! I wanted to share fun things you can make with out breaking the bank! So snatch up a remnant or a whole hide and get sewing!

 

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Spring Break 2014

We are headed on Spring Break for the next two weeks. This is going to be our last big hurrah before leaving France this summer. From here on out it will be small weekend trips or just me and the kids (which means the beach ha!). We are headed to Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Lichtenstien, Germany and ducking quickly into Switzerland because I love it SOOOO much and Chris wants to buy the boys pocket knives for future brithdays. If you would like to follow along on this crazy adventure you can follow all the action through our instagram @wildwanderings or #crawfordsspringbreak2014. It is sure to be an adventure!

Image above via B for Bel: http://www.bforbel.com/2011/11/real-sleeping-beauty-castle.html

Cheers!
Kelly

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Calling All Kids: Boys for Girls

Today is the start of Calling all Kids and I am sharing the boy inspired outfit for Chloe.

http://www.sewinginnomansland.com/2014/04/07/calling-all-kids-boys-for-girls/

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Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

This past weekend we were lucky enough to have Chris’s sister Kelly and her husband Jeremy come visit! Our kids absolutely ate up the attention and Chris and I had so much fun catching up on all things Crawford family. During the week they traveled to Spain and London but we had them all weekend and we wanted to make sure they saw some things outside of Paris (they had spent the previous weekend seeing all this Parisian). We had never been to Chateau Vaux le Vicomte but had heard great things and figured it would give them the feel of Loirre with out going all the way out there.

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I never get tired of seeing these massive homes and trying to wrap my head around how it would be to stand here and be “home”. Crazy.

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Can you spot the grand piano right in the middle of the main foyer? Gorgeous!

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It helped that it was an absolutely perfect day weather wise and all the kids were in good moods.

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Chloe was having a blast running every which way and being her own boss. Then she tripped and fell and got some lovely gravel rash.

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She was super tough and barely even cried, but she did demand a band aid. While they didn’t have any “plasters” they did have gauze and medical tape so thats what she ended up with ha!

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In the stables (which were huge) they had carriages from different time periods on display. The kiddos liked the smithy section the best though.

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Once inside the Chateau they have costumes that you can rent and wear as you explore the chateau. Um, YES PLEASE!

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The boys were a little bummed that the wooden swords in the display picture were not part of the get up, but they still had fun with it.

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Chloe of course wanted Evie’s dress and was about to have a melt down when a VERY sweet worker snuck us up stairs with her and let Chloe pick any dress they had in a room stuffed full of fun costumes.

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^^^A lady bug landed on Aunt Kelly and Finn immediately took care of it for her^^^

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Finn totally got into it and he and Evie played Knight and Princess. He kept bowing and I was just dying.

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Chris and I both really loved that portrait above. The colors were so calming. To the right of Evie above is the grand piano. I am guessing by the stacks of delicate chairs that they hold concerts in this room. In the basement I drooled over the gorgeous cooper pots and beautiful kitchen.

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I actually walked right past “The Man In the Iron Mask” (I do stuff like that a lot) but Chris made sure we went back and sufficiently freaked out the kids.

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Chloe was pretty excited about the “quack quacks” hanging in the cold storage.

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We of course finished before Kelly and Jeremy (we pretty much chase the littles thorough these places) so we got to spend some time soaking up the sun and avoiding the rocks chloe was throwing all over the place.

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On the way out there was a little wind tunnel that the kids thought was pretty funny to walk through and have their hair blown all over the place.

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Evie had woken up that morning with a low grade fever, and no other symptoms. We gave her some Tylenol and she seemed great but after walking through the chateau she was uncharacteristically sluggish. She was such a good sport.

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Chris wanted to make seeing the grounds easier on everyone so he rented a golf cart!

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The boys loved it so much one of them literally commented that he was “totally going to bring his kids here when he has them”. Awesome!

 

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Every now and then I would make chris stop and I would grab a cutie to take a picture.

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Finn was the only one brave enough to come check out this fun little door.

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Everyone’s favorite part was driving across the water in the golf cart.

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It was a great family outing and of course it tuckered everyone out pretty well. Both Evie and Chloe took stellar naps that day! Note to self, if I need a few quiet hours just run the girls around a chateau in the morning ha!

Cheers!

Kelly

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tea towel dresses: getting creative with fabric sourcing

One of the great things about being a seamstress in Paris is the fabric district! On the flip side one of the worst parts of being a seamstress in Paris is the fabric district. It is pretty much your only option when it comes to fabric.

Whats the big deal you ask?

http://www.sewinginnomansland.com/2014/04/01/tea-towel-dresses-getting-creative-with-fabric-sourcing/

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Sassy Steals Winner

So um, yeah, time went way to fast this past week ha! We have hit guest season head on and it got the best of me. Totally forgot to announce the winner of the giveaway from our fabulous sponsor Sassy Steals! Which by the way has the cutest spring shirt right now that I may be sporting at the embassy Easter party this year:

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Yup that mint version has my name written all over it… well technically it has flowers all over it but you know what I mean!

Thanks to random.org Lori who said she would go for a personalized chalk board and some scarfs gets to go on a mini spree! Whoot Whoot! Lori we will email you with the details! Thank you everyone for entering and for being so supportive! I hope you have a fabulous weekend! We are going to be hitting up the Puce (huge Paris flea market) so if you have ever wanted to see what it is like be sure to follow me on instagram: @wildwanderings

Cheers!

Kelly

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First Hair Cut: Ordinary Extraordinary

It has been a while since I did an ordinary/extraordinary post.  I wanted an excuse to take a billion pictures of Chloe getting her first hair cut (and cute mr. Finn getting a much needed trim) so it was perfect! Chris was kind enough to make a reservation for us at Bonton so he could come with us after work. This is one of my favorite children’s stores in Paris so I was pretty excited to try out the salon.

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^^^^Do you love Evie’s boots on the wrong feet?^^^

It was so wonderfully child friendly. Crayons and paper and cute little tables, loads of french children’s books and twinkle lights everywhere.

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We think Chloe was slightly terrified because she was so so good. She sat so still.

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About half way through She finally started warming up and enjoying it.

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I absolutely LOVE her little bob

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I nearly teared up though looking at her and no longer seeing my baby but a little girl.

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Once she was done it was Finn’s turn. Sawyer likes his hair short so I just clip it myself at home. Finn wanted to keep his longer, which I am a fan of, but it needed to be cleaned up.

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When she finished, the stylist did it in the cutest little fauxhawk, which he immediately smoothed over to the side. He really likes it smoothed down to the side with a little bit pulled to the front so he can look like superman.

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Meanwhile, Chloe perused the latest edition of Milk and had fun looking at an adorable French animal book.

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The stylist was so sweet and let the kids go for a spin on the chairs when everything was done.

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This particular Bonton also has a fun photobooth complete with accessories that of course we had to try out.

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Usually this would be the time when I spend an inordinate amount of money on clothes for the kids that they really don’t need. But with Chris with me, we just wandered and I drooled.

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I had to catch some shots of Chloe out on the street because you could totally tell she was very happy with herself ha! This girls self esteem is in great shape.

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If you have kiddos and are interested in children’s fashion and come to Paris be sure to stop by a Bonton. You will LOVE everything in there I promise! And I would highly recommend the salon. Days later Chris and I are still gushing to C about her hair. You can never be told your beautiful too many times right?

Cheers!

Kelly

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St. Denis

Since we only have five months left here in Paris Chris and I are trying to be sure we see as much as we can. One of the places that has been on our list the longest was Basilica St. Denis.

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I had actually thought of going with Chloe some random day but I am so glad I didn’t. It is not in a very nice neighborhood.

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Which is shocking since all French royalty but three are buried here. You can walk into the church free of charge but they have the necropolis is roped off. We first walked around this section and the kids loved seeing the royal robes and crowns.

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^^^Evie was so sad to see all the little children who were royalty and died young. A harsh life lesson, princesses are not immortal^^^

We decided to pay the entrance fee so we could see all the graves which is really what we came for.

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I was worried the kids would be creeped out but honestly until we went down into the crypt they were fine. Then one of them mentioned vampires, and well, that was it ha!

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^^^Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI who were exhumed from a mass grave and brought here^^^

Chris and I tried to find out why they all have animals at their feet. So far internet searches tell me that the different animals meant different things personality wise ie. Lion= bravery etc. A ton of them were dogs though so hmmm….. This was the kids favorite part was spotting different animals and looking for “their” names.

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As the kids goofed around in the reflection of one of the incredible stained glass windows it struck me that here they are dancing around in the light of an almost 800 year old window. Wow. How are you supposed to completely appreciate something like that?

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Once the vampire thing happened the kids were ready to go. Don’t worry I totally blocked traffic for a good minute or two trying to get a good picture of them in the doorway.

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We were right next the stunning Hotel De Ville (city hall) of St. Denis.

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The kids spotted the obligatory “carousel” next to the hotel de ville and of course we had to let them ride. Even it it was the least charming one I have seen in Paris ha! But it was a car load of awfully cute kids.

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When we were walking back chris stopped me to show me the awesome “warnings” that are all over the downtown. From what we can gather Dionysienne refers to the God of wine or alcohol so we think it is tips to survive an attack by a drunkard.

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^^^”welcome to St. Denis”…… Kit to survive an attack: Don’t use a purse use a paper bag, don’t wear heals wear steal toed boots, don’t look nice but still have attitude. Make some noise^^^

After, we headed to Breakfast In America for a super yummy lunch! I didn’t take too many pictures because we literally wolfed down everything and were jammed in a tiny booth.

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Chris and I both dubbed this one of our favorite days in Paris. It wasn’t necessarily what we did but HOW we did it. There wasn’t a SINGLE tantrum or cry the entire day. Chloe went the whole time using the potty (yay!!) and everybody just had so much fun! I am surprised that St. Denis isn’t higher on  more what to see lists, but then again it is more difficult to get to and per the signs above in a pretty dodgy neighborhood (what would the royalty buried there say?!).  It definitely was worth the trip though!

Cheers!

Kelly

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8 Things To Do While Vacationing With Kids In Bulgaria

We had a fabulous vacation right around this time last year in Bulgaria. Since I am trying to do more helpful travel posts I thought I would write up my 8 favorite things about that trip! Just in case some day someone is taking their kids to Bulgaria and wants to know what to do. Fingers crossed they find this post. It is also getting me very excited for our friends who live there to come visit us soon! I know it isn’t for everyone but we just LOVE our constant stream of visitors. I get down if we don’t have anyone for a few weeks ha! Anyway, if you get a chance Bulgaria put Bulgaria on your radar!

1. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, in Sofia: Although the word “cathedral” usually conjures up thoughts of hushed voices and wafting organ music this cathedral is not to be missed. Additionally the square surrounding it houses a mini hubbub of local artisans selling their wares. Kids will love looking at old artifacts, weapons and some bizarre looking dolls. In March the blossoms are breathtaking and kids can see little red and white strings all over the city celebrating the beginning of Spring.

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2. Church of St. George: Kids will love climbing and exploring in the romans ruins surrounding this ancient church. Right smack in the middle of town it is easily accessible and the ruins are free to run around in. During the summer it can get quite hot so after lots of exploring the kids will appreciate getting a gelato from the ice cream shop down the street.

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3. Changing of the guard at the Presidential offices: What child doesn’t love a parade? Every hour a five minute ceremony involving dress uniforms, swords and lots of stomping can be seen just a few steps away from the ruins mentioned above. Be sure to stand out side the square created by tiles or you will be asked to move.

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4. Hiking right outside of Sofia: Few capital cities have fantastic hiking trails with in a few minutes drive of the down town. The Vitosha mountian has beautiful trails with several suitable for the mini hiker. Kids will love the freedom to roam a bit and the chance to throw rocks off the bridge into the roaring river. Be careful on the bridges as several have been neglected and are in dire need of repairs, but with watchful parents it shouldn’t be a problem.

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5. Vodenitsata Resturant: After a nice hike, walk the small distance down the mountain to eat at this charming and authentically Bulgarian resturant. There is a little wooden playground onsite, perfect for little ones and servers are patient and attentive to even their littlest customers. The river runs right next to the restaurant which is nestled amongst huge trees making it a tranquil setting to wind down the day.

(Photo from http://www.interhotelvt.bg/en/restaurants/vodenicata)

6. Make your way to the black sea with a stop in Veliko Tarnovo. We were able to find a restaurant right next to a playground which served out on the patio. Kids can play while waiting for their food and then again while their parents finish up. Our kids left exhausted and filthy but very happy. After dinner we walked across the bridge and up to the church to take in the incredible views.

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The next day we made the treck up the hill to the ancient strong hold of Bulgaria, Tsarevets.

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You must purchase tickets to explore the grounds and there are lots of little tourist traps on the way up so be aware that if you stop and take in the “puppet” show you will be expected to make a donation to the treasure chest. If you put in small change one of the puppets will squirt you with water. It is also important to note that informational plaques, when available, are only in Bulgarian, Russian and German.

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At the top there is a church that has been renovate and includes some interesting art work, which might be a bit on the dark side for smaller children.   2013-05-23_0007

7. The Black Sea: Select one of the many resorts that best fits your needs and soak up some sun and relaxation on the uncrowded shores of the black sea.

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8. Nesebar, Bulgaira: When you need a break from the beach head to the little town of Nesebar. While the ruins are not as extensive here the cobble stone streets, huge amount of restaurants and local handicrafts are well worth the trip. The views out to the ocean are breathtaking.

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 There you have it! Be sure to fill up on Shopsky salad for me! Mmmmmm, droooool.

Cheers!

Kelly

 

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Let them eat lolly’s

 Be sure to enter the Sassy Steals Giveaway HERE

Last weekend was absolutely gorgeous! And that gorgeous day happened to fall on the first Sunday of the month. What difference does that make you ask? Well, during the winter months all the museums in France are free on the first Sunday of the month. It is pretty awesome. You can go anywhere, Louvre, Musee D’orsay, L’Orangerie, Pompidou etc. all free. Even little local museums in your neighborhood are free. And yes, I did just say museums in your neighborhood. France is awesome. Our family had yet to go into Versailles, even though it is a ten minute drive from our house. We had been TO Versailles several times just not IN. We decided that this was the day! I wish I had taken a picture of the line that snaked back and forth and back and forth in front of the gates. But because no one had to buy tickets it only took about 15 minutes to get from the end into security. Chris graciously waited in line with Sawyer who was playing something on my phone. I took the other three up to sit on the benches by the gate to people watch, play rock paper scissors, eat snacks, and soak up the sun.

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Lucky for Finn one of our recent guests left her sunglasses in the car. It was chilly but a completely clear day so Finn begged for the sunnies and I obliged. When the kids were starting to loose it I found a lollypop in my purse. Chloe claimed it but was kind enough to give a few teaser tastes to her siblings.

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I had previously talked to a friend about Versailles and what they had to say tempered my expectations quiet a bit.

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I am really grateful she did that because then I was BLOWN away. I don’t know what she was talking about. I was literally amazed.

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I stood in the hall of mirrors and practically salivated thinking about doing a photoshoot in there.

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The light that poured in through the huge windows was so soft and beautiful.

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Don’t even get me started on the chevron floors.

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Right in the middle of these pictures this random guy walked over and stood right behind the kids. Just stood there. It was so funny. I kinda waited and caught his eye and smiled while raising my eyebrows. He looked down at the kids and jumped like he was shocked they were there. He must have really been into the ceiling art ha!

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Chris and I agreed we will absolutely be coming back to see the gardens when they are in bloom. This time all the fountains were dry and while it was green, I can’t wait to see flowers blooming!

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The kids were extremely well behaved, especially for how crowded it was. That one above though is a champion crowd weaver. And what kills me is people let her pass and then get all huffy when I have to shove past them to get her. She was half way down a huge marble stair case at one point before I could catch up to her ha! I know it is outside main Paris but it is absolutely worth the trip.

Cheers!

Kelly

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