Alina Sewing and Design

Retro Rucksack + Denver Sewing Weekend

Blogging twice in one month! I’m almost back to normal. 😉

I had the lovely opportunity to fly to Denver to join some incredible women a couple of weekends ago. Eight of us flew in for a long weekend of sewing and hanging out (most of us meeting for the first time). Are you ready for this? I spent the weekend with Leslie of Threadbear Garments, Gabriela of Chalk & Notch, Emily of Enjoyful Makes, Nicole of Merritts Makes, Michelle of Sewjourners, Sara of The Sara Project, and Fleurine of Sew Mariefleur (yeah, all the way from Norway!!!). (more…)

Fringe Dress + Palm Springs Weekend + Life Update

Dusting off the old blog here–life has been crazy busy for our family since April! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, I highly recommend doing so because that’s where I post most of my life updates and small sewing jobs. (I’m @alinadesignco on Instagram.) I’m sorry in advance for the slightly longer post, but I’ve broken it up under different headlines to help you find just the sections you’re looking for if you’re uninterested in everything!

San Francisco

San Francisco (2 of 7)Alternative title: The Time We Got Robbed In Front of the Painted Ladies.

We stopped over in San Francisco for a few days on our way to Hawaii. When I saw that SF was our connecting city to Honolulu, I had this grand idea of stopping there for a few days to explore a new-to-us city and also to let our kids adjust to the time change halfway (because no one wants to be up at 3 am with two babies who think it’s 7am…even in paradise).

Looooooooong story (so long) short, we were just going to take the train downtown to our hotel, but it was shut down due to a fire, and a rental car ended up being cheaper than a round-trip cab ride (and so much easier with the combined ~180lbs of car seats/backpacks/suitcases/babies we had already lugged all over creation just to find out that the train was shut down), so we changed our plan and rented a car.

Our very first stop on our first morning was the Painted Ladies (pictured below, pre-robbery, our kids are not impressed)…
San Francisco (1 of 7)We decided to let the kids play at the playground there for about 5-10 minutes, so while I walked over to the park with them, my husband ran our bags, camera, and his wallet back to the rental car. We returned a few minutes later to a smashed window and no bags. THANK GOD he hadn’t put the camera or his wallet back in the bags!!! They were still there.

But, do you know what WAS in the bags? My wallet. All of my IDs. Both of the kids’ birth certificates and immunization records. All of the diapers and what-not I had packed for us to not have to buy any more until Hawaii. My nice (expensive) diaper bag. Stuff that could be replaced…but really, really annoying stuff that just made it all feel really violating. Also, an iPad and a bunch of other random things, but I gladly would have let them have the iPad just to have them leave the other stuff (like my IDs…). I was supposed to be getting on a plane to Hawaii in less than 48 hours and now had no form of identification for myself.

San Francisco (3 of 7)Soooo, the second day, we just crammed a whole BUNCH of stuff in! We hiked around Golden Gate Park a bit, drove over to Sausalito, drove to Muir Woods (Redwoods!), drove down the “crookedest street in America”, walked all over Chinatown (bought some little shoes for Chloe for “only five dolla!” 😉 ), walked to Union Square, took a cable car quite a ways and walked back to the hotel, seeing several miles of SF on foot. Day two was good, even it did start with the button popping off of my (only) pair of pants and the local coffee barista giving us small coffees after we paid for larges and not making it right…all water under the [Golden Gate] bridge. 😉

San Francisco (4 of 7)San Francisco (5 of 7)San Francisco (6 of 7)San Francisco (7 of 7)Obviously I didn’t leave you wondering whether or not I got through TSA with no ID since you already know I made it to Hawaii! This kind of stuff happens all the time to people, so they’re prepared. They separated me from my husband so that he couldn’t “coach” my answers, and the agent called a number and that unidentified person asked me questions that only I should know about my life. Like my last five addresses (NBD, since we’re military and we lived in 5 states in 20 months…ayiyi). Anyway, I apparently provided sufficient answers, so I got to finish off my very pleasant SF experience with an extremely thorough pat-down and searching of my belongings. BUT I GOT THROUGH…and got the heck out of SF, so that’s all that matters. 😀 😀 😀

It took about eight weeks, but we finally have all of the IDs, debit cards, birth certificates and insurance stuff taken care of and replaced.

What a very expensive layover that ended up being…and I didn’t even get to go to Britex! 😀


Hawaii (1 of 39)Makapu’u Point | Waimanalo, HI

This is our second winter in Chicago, and we got smart about surviving old man winter here in the north. In January, we took a lesson from the locals and went south for a couple of weeks…to the middle of the Pacific!

This was the first time my husband or I had been to Hawaii and we have really good friends stationed there (the guys went to Navy dive school together and graduated in the same class a year and a half ago). They have kids the same age as ours and an awesome guest room in Kane’ohe (which honestly ended up being my favorite area of the whole island).

Unfortunately, even though we stayed with them for a week and a half, we didn’t get any photos of the adults together–my guess is we were slightly busy with the four kids aged two and under. 😉

This is an extremely photo-heavy post, but I took a break from social media on this trip, so it’s the first time I’m sharing any of them publicly. I won’t narrate too much, so enjoy the photos of beautiful O’ahu! (Mostly phone photos, sorry for quality!)

Hawaii (2 of 39)Kalama Beach | Kailua, HI

Hawaii (11 of 39)Haleiwa, HI (Oahu’s North Shore – where the big surf is)

Hawaii (10 of 39)Waimea Valley | Haleiwa, HI

The tiny specks at the bottom of the waterfall are my husband and his friend. We hiked to this waterfall and the guys/toddlers went swimming.

Hawaii (9 of 39)The Ko’olau Range is incredibly breathtaking to drive through and around. No photo can possibly do them justice! (Also–I felt like I was on LOST, which, as it turns out, was filmed at the ranch pictured above.)

Hawaii (8 of 39)We drove the northwestern perimeter of the island one afternoon after visiting Haleiwa.

Hawaii (7 of 39) Hawaii (6 of 39)We stopped at a roadside stand to buy mango otai (and it was AMAZING!).

Hawaii (5 of 39)Haleiwa, HI

Hawaii (4 of 39) Hawaii (3 of 39)Green World Coffee Farm | Wahiawa, HI (^those are coffee beans!)

Hawaii (12 of 39)Lanikai Park | Kailua, HI

Hawaii (13 of 39)Lanikai Pillboxes Trail, Kai’wa Ridge | Kailua, HI

We did a lot of hiking (my favorite activity). This series of photos is from the Lanikai Pillboxes Trail. There are two WWII bunkers along the top of the ridge (the graffiti’d structures). This was definitely the best view of any of our hikes.

Hawaii (14 of 39) Hawaii (18 of 39) Hawaii (15 of 39) Hawaii (19 of 39)Hawaii (17 of 39)Likeke Falls Hike | Kane’ohe, HI

Hawaii (16 of 39)Hawaii (38 of 39)Pu’u Pia Trail | Honolulu, HI

Hawaii (20 of 39)Waikiki | Honolulu, HI

There is a military resort in Waikiki, so we stayed there for two nights to get the “Waikiki experience” (whatever that is exactly with two babies!). My favorite part was hanging with the insane number of Japanese tourists (Japan isn’t so far away from there, after all!). We ate ramen with them and then wandered into a food truck area to get shave ice, which, as it turns out, was marketed toward the Japanese tourists as their flavor of the day was adzuki bean (supposedly tastes like baked beans). I really enjoyed the small experience of their culture as I want to one day be stationed in Japan (c’mon Big Navy!).

Hawaii (24 of 39)

Hawaii (21 of 39)

Hawaii (23 of 39)Chinatown | Honolulu, HI

Hawaii (25 of 39)

Koko Crater Railway Trail | Honolulu, HI

This trail was my favorite hike as far as challenge goes (I like a challenge). It’s an old WWII railway-turned-hiking-trail, involving a little more than 1,100 “steps” (the old railroad ties) up the side of the volcano. The line running up the side in the above photo is the trail. It was quite steep and a lot of the steps were about knee-height, so it was a bit like stepping onto a chair 1,100 times. Ha! The view was worth it.

Hawaii (28 of 39)

Honolulu from the top of Koko Crater Trail

Hawaii (30 of 39) Hawaii (39 of 39)Hawaii (37 of 39)Going down was quite steep–especially when you have a kid strapped to you (I had one on my front, which allows the same visibility of your footing as being 9 months pregnant, haha)!

Hawaii (31 of 39)Bellows Field Beach Park | Waimanalo, HI (possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen)

I am so incredibly grateful that we had the opportunity to take this trip to visit our friends! Grateful that we escaped the northern winter for a couple of weeks. Grateful that my husband is at a brief stretch in his career where he could take time off like this. Grateful that the Navy has scattered us and all of our friends across the globe so that we can visit each other in new and exciting places. We are so fortunate!

Hawaii (32 of 39)

Treasure Hunting

You know the kind. The rusty metal baskets waiting to be filled, the dusty ball jars waiting to be cleaned and given use again, the furniture begging for new life…and the things that may or may not belong on another planet (what IS that thing?!). The unique, the never-before-seen, the needing-attention-and-care. And the best part? The hunt itself.

I took a drive out to Marion, KS today with two friends and a sister. We went to Bearly Makin’ It Antiques, Cindy’s for lunch, and then made our way toward Peabody, KS, stopping at the Copper Shed. It was so fun to just browse together or on our own (we did a lot of both), at our own pace, taking in all of the treasures to be had. Our carefully trained eyes were surverying and pulling attention toward the gems that were there for us.

Treasure 1

Treasure 2

Treasure 2.5

Treasure 3.5

Treasure 3

That is…don’t be sorry unless you need to be. 🙂

Treasure 4

Treasure 5

Treasure 6

Treasure 8

Treasure 7

Treasure 9

We came home with a lot of metal baskets, a rolling cart, some fabric (that will probably be showing up in my shop in form of fun items soon), a leather wallet and coin purse, some vintage children’s books, a vintage blanket, and a very dusty bumper! Small town America, we thank you for your finds!

Treasure 9.5

Unfortunately, this is the ONLY picture of all four of us…and it’s out of focus! My self-timer and autofocus had a battle…and the autofocus lost. On the up side, you can see my neighbors house quite clearly. 🙂

Hampton Roads, VA + Washington D.C.

Hello friends!

Back in August, Cowboy was stationed at the naval hospital in Portsmouth, VA. He’s already halfway through his fourth year of medical school (ALREADY…I can’t believe it!), meaning we’ll be moving in less than 8 months. We (yes…it is a team effort) have to do residency at a naval training hospital since the Navy is paying for med school (bless them), so we’ll be moving to one of three places: Portsmouth, VA, San Diego, or Bethesda, MD (right outside of Washington D.C.). So since fourth-years are in charge of scheduling their own rotations (you start to focus on what your specialty will be, so you get to make the decisions about what you want to learn about in fourth year, for the most part), Cowboy planned two away rotations–one in Portsmouth and one in San Diego. I got to join him for a week and a half in Virginia and I never have shared any pictures! So, without further ado…

Downtown Norfolk; Taken from the ferry that crosses the bay between Norfolk and Portsmouth. If we ended up stationed at the Portsmouth hospital, we would most likely live in Ghent, a sweet little neighborhood just north of downtown Norfolk.
On the waterwalk in downtown Norfolk.

At the end of the waterfront, in the Armed Forces Memorial, there’s a display of letters. These 20 letters are real and were written by soldiers who lost their lives. 
We took a moonlight cruise tour on the American Rover in the bay–this area has a lot of history to it and I highly recommend taking this tour!
Cruisin’…happy 10 months of marriage to this amazing man today!
We visited several area beaches, including Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay Beach (which is where we are in this picture!)
Chesapeake Bay homes…yes, I would live in someone’s above-garage apartment just to live in this neighborhood.
Virginia Beach! Much too touristy for my likes (even though I WAS a tourist)…I only came here a couple of times!

Well, I only came a couple of times until I discovered the non-tourist, residential beaches…where the people who live there spend their summers. MUCH better.
Be careful though, because they’re still public beaches and you’re bound to find a couple of crazies…
Cowboy was working during the weekdays, so I got to do lots of exploring on my own! I spent an afternoon back at Chesapeake Bay. Oh yeah, that’s the Coast Guard…something we don’t see often in KS. 😉
I also spent my days exploring the neighborhoods…I was delighted to find and visit this community farm market just blocks from the neighborhood we really liked!
While they grow most of their produce elsewhere, they also have a small garden in the back. The owner saw me taking pictures, approached me to find out which publication I worked for (HA!!!) and then proceeded to give me a private tour of the place. She was great and had already gotten me to agree to being a volunteer if/when we move there! 🙂
Oh yes…we also returned to Virginia Beach for me to run a little race on the boardwalk. Excuse the blurry pictures…I handed my husband the camera and put it in automatic for him…shutter speed too slow. 🙂

After the race, we explored the boardwalk and had breakfast at a sweet joint recommended by the locals. 
We were planning on spending the rest of the day biking and kayaking, but the weather had a different idea…so, we drove up to Washington D.C. for the weekend!!
We drove up to Washington D.C. on Saturday afternoon and spent the night at the Navy Lodge just south of the National Mall. So, Sunday we walked all over the National Mall, up to Arlington, over to the White House, etc. We tried to do as much as we could before heading back to Portsmouth that night!

The National Gallery of Art
Our massive Capitol building!
Cowboy humored me and let me peruse the Botanical Gardens, even though we were on a tight schedule that day. Do you see the shoes (or lack thereof) I am wearing? Yeah…forgot my running shoes when we packed small bags for D.C.  Seven miles, 8 hours (including a few hours of pouring rain and no umbrella) and ONLY ONE MEAL later, I was a tiny bit cranky, so it’s nice to remember how happy I was to stop there. Keepin’ it real. 😀 
I wouldn’t mind working in the Capitol if I could walk past the Botanical Gardens every day.
WWII Memorial, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background!
Good ‘ol President Lincoln and his memorial.
The reflecting pool has been under construction since last year, so it was partially drained, but it was cool nonetheless. And check out those clouds!
We stopped into the NMAH Smithsonian to see Julia Child’s kitchen exhibit!  This was one of my favorites.
Everything in the exhibit, with the exception of the floors and walls, was all removed from her home and donated to the Smithsonian. Everything is placed exactly like it was in her kitchen!
Washington Memorial
No big deal, just the back of the White House.
And the front. 🙂
Sunset over the bay, taken from Norfolk of Portsmouth. That tall building in the center is the naval hospital where Cowboy would be for residency if we got stationed there!

I took SO many pictures while we there, it’s hard to scale down and just show you this many. But, this is a pretty good sampling and we had a great time! It was great to know that we would be 100% OK with living in either of these places, come June! 
Speaking of which, I mentioned that Cowboy is out in San Diego, our third potential location, right now. I get to join him soon, so I’m very excited about that!
I also found out that The Queen Bee Market is happening while I’m out there and I am STOKED!!!! It makes my handmade-loving heart so happy.
Does anyone else have anything I should absolutely do/see while I’m out there? We’re staying on Coronado Island and plan on seeing the obvious “must-see” places, but are there any local joints we shouldn’t miss??


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