Monday, August 22, 2016

europe 2016 || skogafoss and seljalandsfoss

















On our first day of driving, we visited two of the major waterfalls along the ring road: Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Both are massive, loud, and beautiful. Skogafoss has a huge step trail leading up to the top of the bluff from which it tumbles, and by the time we got to the top (yes, I made us march up) we realized it was more of a mountain than a bluff. The view was so rewarding, though -- from the top of the waterfall, tumbling down the mountains into sheep pastures, lava field, beach, and on the horizon, the ocean. The view from the top of Skogafoss was one of the best we saw the whole week -- we were even treated to a rainbow!

The ladder in the pictures allows hikers over the protective fence, if they care to hike off into the wilderness over the mountain and into the glaciers. That idea is still scary to me, but I do love a good hike, so maybe someday I'll go back-glacier backpacking, who knows! We did indeed meet a backpacker who was doing just that.

Seljalandsfoss is equally intimidating, but the wonder of it lies more in the trail that runs along the rocks behind it. In the last picture directly above the text, I'm in the lower right quadrant of the photo. HUMONGOUS WATERFALL.

I need to get back into the swing of blogging about everyday life and creative endeavors; I've been in sort of a summer slow-down and haven't done much that's visually bloggable. I've had my entries about Europe written up for weeks, so they're easier to throw onto the blog, but I really need to get myself to do more about what I've been sewing, reading, etc. Instagram is so much easier than blogging; it makes me lazy. Plus sometimes I just don't feel terribly bloggy, you know? :)

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Kira xoxo

Monday, August 15, 2016

europe 2016 || blue lagoon and gamla laugin














Hot spring pools, or swimming pools, as some of the English signage referred to them, are a major part of Icelandic culture -- many cultures, really, but I can't imagine a more satisfying place to sink into a gigantic geothermal hot tub than 65 degrees north on a volcanic island. There are many accessible to visitors, but my mom chose two on the itinerary to visit, Blue Lagoon and Gamla Laugin ('Secret Lagoon').

Blue Lagoon is the big, touristy one. And for good reason. It's gorgeous and the spa setting is luxurious. We actually went straight to Blue Lagoon from the airport, which was wonderfully stress-relieving after a day traveling all the way from Toulouse. As we drove across barren lava-field, we could see the steam rising out of seemingly the middle of nowhere. The whole setting outside of Keflavik airport is just completely surreal, and walking up to Blue Lagoon through a maze of lava rock didn't make it any less so.

The water in Blue Lagoon is pearlescent blue and naturally full of silica. It's easy to float on the water. The experience, while crowded with other spa-goers, was sooooooo amazing! It was frigid outside of the water, and steam rose off the lagoon into the cloudy sky, giving the whole lagoon a mysterious, fantastic sort of feeling. The only thing keeping it a little less alien was the multitudes of fellow tourists around us! We enjoyed hard cider from the swim-up bar (and we were mostly loathe to rise out of the hot water far enough to keep our drinks cold) and silica face masks.

We tried to take photos while in Blue Lagoon, and we took some with a waterproof disposable camera, but they fogged over pretty badly and didn't turn out great. So, these are all photos I took from inside the spa building or on the road around the lagoon.

Gamla Laugin is lesser-visited by tourists, although there were a few. It's the oldest public hot spring pool in Iceland! Mom and I both agreed that it was a superior experience to Blue Lagoon; cheaper, and generally more secluded, peaceful, and authentically Icelandic. While not a full spa, it was warmer. Parts of the water were actually boiling! There's also a small geyser behind it, and the stone border and shack behind it make for interesting pictures.

An interesting but not entirely unexpected fact of visiting Icelandic pools was that hot spring pool etiquette dictates that visitors shower sans swimsuits before entering the water. To me, it was mostly just refreshing, because I'm one of those people who loathes American body hangups. Plus, lava sand and silica tends to stick to you...

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Kira xoxo

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

midi skirt 2 || the rest of the butterick 4454!








Here it is! The skirt portion of the Butterick 4454, the late '30s or early '40s pattern that took me multiple tries to "get right"! I mentioned in my last post about it that I split up the pattern into two pieces in order to get the thing to fit, and to try again with a stiffer material to compensate for the very slippery, odd pattern instructions. And honestly it turned out fantastically!

I love the skirt on its own, and with the shrug, which was the bodice of the dress. It fits really nicely with a modified zipper installed in the back, and I of course kept the pockets from the original pattern! I'm so happy with it!

I've also been meaning to feature this brooch for a long time. It's a little plastic bird with rhinestone settings for decoration, although a lot of the rhinestones are missing. I can easily replace them, I just haven't yet. ;) I found it at a thrift store on a run to Fort Wayne with my mom early in December -- that was a lovely day!

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Kira xoxo