It’s been Junuary here in Seattle, so let’s start on a beach shall we? A Topo-Chico or margarita in hand, turquoise blue water, warm sand and sun.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a pool on a lagoon? You’ll need a good bag to carry sunscreen and the essentials. A bag that’s easy to squish down, because your destination is warm, you like to pretend you’re still 23 so you don’t need more than a couple of sundresses, the best travel sunhat and 4 bikinis in a backpack.

If you’ve been living in Seattle this spring this is seriously heaven.

Regardless of the type of water containment we were going to lounge around, making it the perfect time to make and gift my friends we were meeting a Chunky Tote Bag by Sotak. Considering the endless supply of water themed fabric in my stash it would be ridiculous not to. I probably could have made the whole beach one or more.

I tried the pattern out first as birthday gift. My friend was about to head to Palm Springs to visit my folks, so I thought she would find a pool bag rather useful.

I knew she would be packing a suitcase so I didn’t worry about bulk and quilted it for more structure. I liked the feel of the fusible fleece in the handles a lot, but not the way they bulked out at the top seam of the bag. I skipped it on the next round, but would just stitch over the ends a few times to compress it if I added it again.

The pool in PS has a keyed gate, so I added a wristlet fob, but what we really needed in Mexico was a pocket for our room card/key.

Besides buying the fabric, the best part for me is picking the coordinates. The exterior, interior, the handles and key fobs all have to jive. The bag will be a fun addition to projects/patterns, especially for beginners to tackle some techniques and skills in Open Studios. They might need some matching pouches for some containment.

Considering our friends were flying into the states from Sweden to attend a wedding in the Keys, we decided it was easiest to meet in Cancun. We wanted to escape the resort feel so we picked a small family run hotel named Casa Tortugas. I’d highly recommend it. It was one of the quietest, most peaceful place we’ve ever stayed.

Right after our departure they were planning on opening the upper deck they’d been working on through the pandemic, so now you can sip coffee in the morning and/or enjoy a sunset cocktail. To boot, across the street there was a beautiful public beach loaded with families, a ferry to the island for the ultimate tourist watching, and in all directions a bus system that we could only dream about in Seattle.

Unless we were to spend a lot every night what wasn’t in our opinion good was the food, so after some disappointing tourist meals and consistent upselling on cheese we started hopping that awesome bus system to the grocery or far off the beaten path. Mostly we utilized our kitchenettes, especially for breakfast since it was so relaxing to lounge around in the morning. Since fruit is my second favorite morning food behind two lattes, we snacked on mangos, pineapple, watermelon, you name it, plus some weird baked good fit the bill. Cheese and jalapeƱos baked into a roll? Sign me up.

Cocktails, dinner and cards on the balcony were usually the end cap to the day.

It was dreamy to get away.

Roan’s junior year came to a fab finish. He gifted his two mentors at Summit Atlas box pouches that fit their personalities. The photo they sent to thank me melted my heart. I can’t say enough about how great his experience and ours has been at this school.

I think I now have about 4 left from my last session of making a bunch. Make your own here.

Boss wanted to come along in my suitcase as I made another trip back to Denver to end the travel/teaching season with the Denver Metro MQG. Flying is a little crazy right now so I’m glad to be home for awhile. Plus my house and garden need me.

The whole process of putting the house back together after this last stage of the remodel is much different than our first round.

I was seriously missing my cookbooks that were boxed in the bathtub, so Jefe got the trim in and I painted the little room off the living room that houses them.

Not sure if I’ve ever shared what the room originally looked like, but our redo started with having faith in humanity and removing the bars from the windows here and in the living room. The shelves came down and the carpet outed. The room was originally the third bedroom before being opened up to the living room by the original family.

Last time we did the floors when we went to take the closet doors off we realized their backs’ had been Mog Podged with old magazine covers, some from when Seattle hosted the 1962 World’s Fair. Jefe wanted to display them in the living room, but to me it made the most sense for them to hang right back where they’d been.

That wood door frame pictured here from when the room was a bedroom had to go as well.

Taking the wood frame down created a bit of work for trimming the closet doors later, but was the final redo for all the door openings to be matchy-matchy.

I haven’t settled on rehanging any art, but once the trim is back in the living room and everything else painted I’m considering hanging a bunch of my Marimekko melamine above the shelves.

I’ve got some more food and a new finished quilt to show you next time, but will leave you with a crumb of what has become my signature cookie.

I wasn’t looking for a gluten free cookie, but Cookie and Kate’s Monster cookies caught my eye since I had all the ingredients and love M & Ms. I pulled flour presuming I would need it, but as I started measuring everything out I had to go back and double check. What, no flour? Delicious and perfect for a few of my kid sewers that can’t have any gluten as long as you pay attention to the oat processing.

Since the dough keeps well in the fridge we scoop and bake a few from the batch each night. Especially convenient since we’re still glamping it in the kitchen with our little convection oven that fits about 5 cookies.

To balance out the sweet I’ve got a salad. When life gives you chard and left over baguette you make chard salad with garlic bread crumbs and parmesan. For some reason I’d never thought of chard in a salad, but I’ve made plenty of kale salads with this one being my fall favorite, except I do the nuts how Cookie and Kate does it in my go-to summer spinach salad. Try them all;). My lettuce will likely all bolt with the heat we’re about to get so I’m going to do some harvesting this morning.

I love this photo of the house when we bought it as it reminds me I might be winning the 8+ years of battling the blue bells that my neighbor told me I’d be waging for 40.

It took me forever to find the perfect color to work with the brick, but Dark Knight it is.

I’ll add a photo next post of how much everything has grown. At some point we’ll add a little retaining wall here, redo the steps and plan the garden. For now I’m happy the house isn’t brown anymore and that the lawn is being taken over by plants.

With the floors all done and the gas plumbed I was able to move up the date to install our Rais fireplace. Junuary isn’t that bad when you can sit morning and night by a fire. More on that later.

The old insulation gets cleaned out today, just in time for the heat of the weekend and then July. The electric needs a serious clean up in the attic and then we’ll move onto the kitchen, but we’ll be taking a break for summer on the house while the family is here from Northern Ireland.

That’s it for now. Sorry no editing. Hitting post.

Cheers. Katie

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