Visiting Australia has always been on my list, so when my friends moved there it was a perfect excuse to go visit. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with them, I got to see some amazing spots in, and just outside Sydney. I visited in November (which is their spring) and the weather was just what I needed from our Seattle gray skies. I even missed the first snowfall while I was away!
There is so much to see there, and it just makes me want to go back and see more of their amazing country. Here are just a few of the highlights of my trip.
Australia is known for their gorgeous beaches, and I wasn’t about to miss them while I was there. The first weekend we headed out to Bondi Beach for the Sculpture by the Sea art walk. We walked the coastal walk to Coogee Beach and rewarded ourselves with a drink. :)
I spent a few nights out in Katoomba to see the Blue Mountains. What a beautiful place it is! The first day I took a short hike starting at Echo Point, looking out at the Three Sisters, then down the Giant Stairway, around Three Sisters Point, then up the Furber Steps. To finish the round trip, I walked along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk back to Echo Point. Whew!! It was close to 2,000 stairs. I must have been out of my mind. Thank goodness I had a massage scheduled afterwards. It was a real treat.
The second day out at the Blue Mountains I was able to tour two caves at the Jenolan Caves, which ended up being a little over 1,000 stairs. Who knew I would be doing a stair master workout in this trip? These caves were spectacular. They were also throwback lessons from Geology 101 class from our tour guides.
Royal National Park
We originally had intentions to hike to the Figure Eight Pool but once we arrived at the park the big giant sign that said “Figure Eight Pool – DANGEROUS SWELLS” deterred us. We didn’t want to get swept away into the ocean.
We ended up doing the Coast Track starting at Bundeena, to the Balconies, and finally reaching the Wedding Cake Rocks. This walk was absolutely gorgeous. The variance of the rock cliffs was amazing, and the views (despite being windy and cloudy) were gorgeous.
While traveling I always love a good market. We went to a few while I was in Sydney. The Rocks Market, Sydney Fish Market, and the Carriageworks Farmers Market.
Carriageworks was more like a Saturday Farmers Market, whereas the Rocks Market had more art and collectibles. We had a great time checking out the vendors, slipping into some of the neighborhood shops, and breaking for tea and lammingtons. :)
The Melbourne Cup
My friend forewarned me about this event, so I brought a dress in advance. But once I arrived in Sydney I needed to find a fascinator to wear atop my head for this affair. We found one at the Rocks Market that was slightly pricey…but buying it from the sweetest lady who handcrafted it was well worth it. Who knew this soirée existed!
My last weekend, we day tripped out to Palm Beach. My neighbors back home gave me some tips…and it was well worth it! We had a beautiful lunch at The Boathouse on the water, then did a short hike up to the Barrenjoy Lighthouse to see the incredible view.
I didn’t do tons of shopping while I was in Sydney, but I did find three shops that were my favorite.
- Sorry Thanks I Love You carried some of the most beautiful local artists, and grabbed my attention by their simple display and layout.
- Uashmama makes handbags, accessories, and home goods out of washable paper. Yes…washable paper. See what I did with my Uashmama paper bags when I got home. :)
- On our way to find a bookstore, we stopped by this cute fabric and knitting shop. I picked up some adorable fabric that I can’t wait to craft into something amazing.
I can’t wait to go back to this lovely country to explore more!
I love a good discovery. On a recent trip to Paris my friend and I came across this little custom hat shop in the 6th arrondissement…La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau. Just pick out your shape, size, color, and band, and voilà! Your very own custom hat. It was only about 98 degrees in Paris while I was visiting last week, so I was in desperate need for some shade.
They have 5 different shapes to pick from, in felt and in straw. And with the tons of colors to choose from it was hard to pick just one. I walked away with a classic “le trendy” shape in a khaki color for Summer. And a dark gray felt one for Winter. Classic and timeless!
Here are my two custom hats hanging up ready for use. :) Summer on the left…Winter on the right.
San Francisco Craft Trip
Oh San Francisco…you always treat me well.
A few weekends ago my friend Cathie and I headed down to the City by the Bay for the ReMake Conference by Brit & Co. We knew we were going to be in for an amazing time at the conference, but we arrived a day early because we knew we needed to do some shopping beforehand! We took some ques from Creativebug’s Craft Lover’s Guide to San Francisco, and plotted out our route and started off early on a Thursday morning.
First off the Ferry Building. I had never been here, but heard great things about the shops and restaurants. It did not disappoint! There were so many amazing food vendors with smells that wafted through the rafters. I probably could have ate from every one. We decided upon the Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick. Delish!
In addition to eating some breakfast we explored all the other shops in the market. This shot is from Heath Ceramics. If I actually had room for more serving ware in my kitchen I would have bought something. I’ll just have to keep it in my back pocket until my kitchen gets bigger.
Far West Fungi. Who knew there were so many mushrooms? I didn’t. I thought this display was beautiful.
After the Ferry Building we headed southwest on Market St towards Union Square. On that route we ran into Daiso Japan which was also recommended on Creativebug’s list. I had never been to one of these stores, even though later I heard that Seattle had one. They had their own “craft” aisle. Awesome. I picked up a bunch of colored wool to make wool felt balls. They also had an amazing section of origami paper and containers. I love containers. I always find a use for a good container.
After a $15 purchase at Daiso, we headed West to check out Britex Fabrics. My purchase amount here wasn’t as lucky. Oh, the fabrics. This was not your typical Seattle fabric store. This was for REAL designers. I felt a little out of place, but we thoroughly enjoyed roaming and touching all the wares.
We continued to head Southwest in search of beads. It took us awhile (and a stop at Starbucks to cool off) but we finally found the bead store on the list called General Bead.
The location definitely fits Creativebug’s description, “hidden in an alley downtown.” We weren’t really sure there was really a store there until be came right upon it. This store was trippy. The employees look like they have a lot of fun decorating the walls, pillars and stairs. Plus we met the store cat, George.
You think we would have stopped for lunch by now, but no…we kept moving with our mission in mind. Next up, Flax. This was the mother-load.
This was similar to our Dick Blick or Daniel Smith in Seattle…but BETTER! They had such a selection, and a whole room dedicated to paper. If we weren’t flying home, and worried it would get wrinkled, we probably would have bought some.
By this time it was hitting around 4:30 PM and we needed to take a break. We called an Uber car and made our way out to Pig and Pie in the Mission District. We refueled with some fried chicken and pork meatballs. Yum.
After that we had a little time left so we walked down Valencia Street and found tons of shops! Just a few that were our favorites were Photobooth and Paxton Gate. After that we were spent. We headed back to the hotel hauling our purchases for a little downtime before our late late dinner at Bar Tartine.
What an incredible day. I explored San Francisco like never before, and came away with a lot of goodies to work into my crafting.