Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen – And Maria Denmark!

Here’s a bit of trivia to store away for a future giveaway – just sayin’

When I was ten years old I started taking voice lessons with Nancy Marsh Hartman, a wonderful teacher in my town. My very first recital was in May of that year, and the song that I used to open said recital was… you guessed it, “Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen” from the movie ‘Hans Christian Andersen’. As you can imagine, ever since I was ten I have wanted to visit to see what the city was like. This year, I finally got my chance! DH found out in May that he was going to his company’s user group meeting in Europe. In past years, those have taken place in Paris, Barcelona, London and then this year, Copenhagen! So after visiting London and Melissa, I headed to Denmark to spend 4 wonderful days.

When I tagged along to the Barcelona trip, DH and I took a bike tour of the city, and it was fantastic! So when I knew I was going to Copenhagen, I decided to take a bike tour as well. Unlike London, they ride fully clothed in Copenhagen 😂😂😂

I chose the Greatest Hits of Copenhagen tour, which was great. It was 2.5 hours, about 12 km total. I do spin class 2-3 times per week, and Copenhagen in City Center and along the harbor are pretty flat, so it was an easy ride. There were only three of us on the tour, and our guide is originally from California. It was so much fun! Here are pictures:

This is the Parliament building. The area in front is the parade/exercise grounds for the royal horses.
This is Neuhavn – the most famous and most photographed part of the city, except for one little statue (more on that later)
Can we. PLEASE. for the love of God, STOP with the locks!? They destroy the bridges.
The Opera House, which was a gift to the Queen (and therefore the people) of Denmark by the owner of Maersk Shipping
A panorama of the Royal Residences.
Different Uniform, but Bearskin Hats!

And finally, I mentioned a little statue that seems to get all the attention? Here she is:

Unlike the Disney version, Hans Christian Andersen’s was a sad princess…

When I went to Barcelona, I got to meet up with Paco Peralta. In London, I spent the day with Melissa, and this trip, I got to spend lots of time with Maria of Maria Denmark!

We spent time at her studio, which is amazing! And we spent time with her son, who is amazing and delightful! We went to an open air market that has little shops and food courts, and a beautiful fishmonger.

If I lived there, I would buy all of it!

I also spent several hours in Illums Bolligshus, the grande dame of Danish design. Can I just say? It was BEAUTIFUL!

I’m not a Mid Century Modern gal, but I luuuurve their designs!

I SO WANT this lamp!

Okay, other things that happened: REAL Danish Pastry:

SO much better than the crap they try to pass off in this country.
War Pigs – one of the best breweries in Europe. Thanks Melissa for pointing us there!

And on my bike tour, we passed by a shop that had not one, but FOUR baritone saxophones in the window. I had to take DH there – he’s a saxophone player! The shop, for those who are interested, is I.K Gottfried. They have been in existence since 1796! The website (NAYY) is www.gottfried.dk.

That’s a boatload of bari’s!

I told him, when we took our bikes from the hotel, that I wanted to take him there. I think he liked it!

They had baris, tenors, altos, and specially made mezzo sopranos (G scale).

He ended up testing mouthpieces (it’s a horn player thing). They gave him a Selmer Mark VI to play several with. He fell in love with a mouthpiece that was handmade by one of the techs at the shop, and hey, it’s Father’s Day, so…

Happy sax player!

Maria Has a Magazine, and it’s coming to the US!

Did you know that Maria publishes a magazine? It’s called Sysiden, and it’s coming to the US! It’s geared toward the intermediate to advanced sewing aficionado!!!! I had the good fortune to view the Danish version while I visited with her. It’s FANTASTIC! I have no affiliation, but I am SO excited! I am glad there are lots of magazines and e-zines for beginners, but there is a vast chasm that needs to be filled for the higher-skilled sewists.

She is planning to release it state-side later this year. I’ll post more when I have dates.

One last thing – I discovered a delightful tradition in Copenhagen: throws for outside. Copenhagen is pretty far north (55.67 degrees latitude), so while the sun stays up late in summer, it still gets pretty chilly. To ward off the chill, while still enjoying the sun, Danes supply throws to keep you warm. What a wonderful, hospitable tradition. I’m going to incorporate it at home, especially as the summer wanes and turns to fall.

Happy sewing!

London Calling… and Balenciaga with Melissa of Fehr Trade!

I have SO much to share with you! London! Saville Row! Balenciaga! Diamonds! Melissa!!

And then there’s Copenhagen… But that’s for another post.

DH got notification about a month ago that he had to go to his company’s user meeting in Copenhagen, so guess who decided to tag along? And since we were able to get flights through Heathrow that let us stay for a few days without having to pay any penalties, we stopped in London as well.

We got a super cute little flat for WAY less than any hotel would cost through VRBO (NAYY, I just loved this place and I would stay there again). It was centrally located, just a few blocks away from Buckingham Palace, across the street from the theater where “Wicked” is playing and (if you are lucky enough to get tickets) a block away from the theater where “Hamilton” will take up residence later this year.

So enough of me yammering, here are pictures. Lots of pictures:

Arrived in London, weren’t tired, so decided to go for a walk and found the palace.

We did all the touristy things

The changing of The Guard
They have an excellent marching band, as you might expect
And when the guards come around to the gates, they say hello 🙂
Beautiful day at the Palace
Big Ben and the Parliament Building

So that was all great, but even better was Savile Row!

Anyone (besides Nancy) know why this building is so iconic? Anyone?

And while I was there, I met Melissa Fehr of Fehr Trade Patterns, and we went to the Balenciaga Exhibit at the V&A, had Cream Tea in the amazing cafeteria, and then had dinner on her boat. What a WONDERFUL day!!!

The Pressinatrix is SO pleased!
Love this lady!

Okay, there were two other things that stood out in London. First one, while we were there, it was World Naked Bike Ride Day. At one point, somewhere in the vicinity of 500 naked or mostly-naked cyclists came riding by our cab. It was awesome! It was a really sunny day, and I think a whole lot of folks were going to be really sunburnt at the end of it. My only quibble with it? A lot (a LOT) of them were on the city rental bikes. Sorry – there’s not enough Purell in the world…

 

And the absolute BEST part of the entire trip…
There is a longer story, and I won’t relate it here, though if you ever want to hear it, I’ll be happy to tell it to you over a glass of champagne or a cup of coffee. The Reader’s Digest version is that we stopped on New Bond Street so I could take pictures of the Sotheby’s Diamonds‘ window to send to the girls back home.

The guard came out to chat, we had a lovely discussion and laughed a lot, and he invited us in. Who am I to say no? After being admitted through (no kidding) an airlock, DH and I got our chemistry nerd on with the gemologist salesman.

After talking for about 20 minutes about the chemistry, physics and cutting of diamonds, he brought us back around to the canary diamond that was at front and center:

The Enigma Necklace

We talked about colored diamonds and it turns out that Canary stones are the most “common” of colored diamonds. Ask me why and it’ll be obvious once you know ;).
Anyway, after we discussed various elements in colored stones, he pointed to the Enigma and asked me, “Would you like to try it on?”
.
.
.
What am I going to say, no? OF COURSE I want to try it on! But I did say, with what I hoped was an apologetic look, “I’m not going to buy it.” He was so gracious, and said, “That’s fine. We’re trying to establish our brand so if you would be so kind as to put it up on social media and hashtag #sothebysdiamonds I would be very grateful.”

Sure!

So here you go. Let’s face it – I make this beauty look even better! 😀

I wore it around the sales floor for about half an hour while we talked about different diamond types and all sorts of nerdy chemistry stuff that I can’t believe I still remember.

That was my Big Adventure in London! No, I didn’t buy it, but if you want it, it’s available for roughly $7.5M at the current exchange rates. Trust me, if I ever hit the lottery, I’m going to SO own  it!

Tomorrow – Copenhagen and Maria!

Portland!

If you check out the feeds on my blogroll, you have probably seen the posts from Shams, Margy and Nancy about our trip to Portland, OR last week. There are a group of us who have been meeting in various cities around the US for the last several years. This year the trip was to PDX, and it was wonderful! A vacation with my sewing buddies is one of my favorite things, and I have been looking forward to visiting Portland since we first decided to go there.

First up, thanks so much to Shams and Patti for arranging everything. While no one was in charge of the weekend, they took charge and made sure we had great food and lodgings.

There was lots of fabric shopping. Believe it or not, I recused myself from all that. Go figure – I prefer to spend my off hours doing anything but fabric shopping. Fortunately, the group is comfortable with splitting up and not having to all do the same things. While everyone else hit up the Pendleton store and Mill End Fabrics (which I hear were great)  I went to the botanical gardens and the river walk. We all met up for dinners and we went to the Italian Style exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. It was a wonderful time!!!

I didn’t take very many pictures, unfortunately, but here are the few I did take…

Mt Hood
Mt. Hood from the airplane. So Beautiful!!!!

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Portland had great street art
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Street art and great public transportation, too
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It’s called the City of Roses
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And they were just starting to bloom
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With Rosie!!
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Outside the Italian Style Exhibit. My friend Glenn owns a Bugati, so I had to send him this picture
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Jan and Nancy at Pok Pok
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Mardel, Liana, Rosie and Shams at Pok Pok.
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Mt. Hood from the cab
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Mt. Hood – I think? Mt. Adams and Ranier in the background. Them’s some big-assed mountains!
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Rainier. Yeah.
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Mt. St. Helens, with Ranier in the background. Can you say “boom”?

Thank you to all my friends for a wonderful weekend! I have been working on prom stuff for DS the Younger and one of The Elves, so more to come.

Happy Sewing!

Paris Day 3 – Versailles

AKA “Ann’s Bucket List Day”
DH had to work on Tuesday, which was my last day in France. Since he had already been there years ago, and had no desire to revisit, I hopped on the train (which was 1.6 km from my hotel, a nice walk) to Versailles. I’ve wanted to visit Versailles ever since I first read about it in grade school. It was the most wonderful day of my trip, even though DH wasn’t there with me. Words can’t express the joy I felt while I was there. It was one of those experiences that I’ll take with me throughout my life. The day was stunningly beautiful, the light was perfect…

And the crowds were massive.

Helpful hint if you ever go to Versailles: you may want to avoid Tuesdays. Versailles is closed Mondays, and on Tuesdays they have music piped into the gardens. This attracts large crowds. But since Tuesday was the only day I had, and since I wasn’t on any schedule other than meeting Joanne in the afternoon, I persevered. I arrived around 9:30, and I went for the full ticket, getting me not only into the chateau, but also the gardens and the Grand and Petit Trianons. Another helpful hint – you can bypass the ticket line by using the ticketing kiosks. I walked right up and bought a ticket, getting ahead of several hundred people in the queue. The lines to get into the chateau are about 1/2 hour long but they move steadily. I ended up in the middle of a Russian tour group. I split off once I got on the grounds. I wandered all over during the morning, and in the afternoon, I met up with a customer/friend, Joanne. Once again, enough of my yammering, let’s look at some prettiness.

It really was that bright as I approached.
The sky was that blue and clear. The week before had been cold and rainy. We really lucked out!
The entrance is the gray low building on the left. The line snaked around to the right, down towards the gate and back up.
But it moved quickly, and once you were inside, the crowds dispersed somewhat.
The chapel, with a really beautiful pipe organ
One of the side gardens
The Man himself, Louis XIV
See what I mean about the crowds? The Hall of Mirrors was more like a wall of people.
The King’s bed. Now THAT’s a canopy.
The Hall of Mirrors from the other end. It was so beautiful.
The Queen’s chamber. None of the furnishings are original. Those were looted and sold during the French Revolution.
This is the view out the window from the Queen’s bed.
The King and Queen ate dinner every night observed by the court. I suppose that’s one way to stick to your diet.

After touring the chateau, I wandered through the gardens and found a lovely little restaurant for lunch. I’m not into taking pictures of my food (really, who wants to see that?), but I couldn’t resist this shot:

I could get used to this…
This is how they trim the trees. Trucks with massive hedge trimmers attached.

After lunch I wandered down to the Grand Trianon. I never made it to the Petit Trianon, alas. My feet were killing me and it was time to meet Joanne. And my stupid iPhone battery died on me. But I did get some pictures at the Grand Trianon.

Everything at Versailles was just breathtaking
And this was the informal house for the Royal Family!
Now, THAT’s a pool table!
This is the Malachite Room. The Malachite pieces were gifts to Napoleon.
The grand fountain. It’s so beautiful!

All in all, it was a picture perfect day. I met up with Joanne and we wandered more amongst the gardens. Joanne is one of those people whom I felt like I have known my whole life, even though we had never met. What a lovely lady and what a perfect day!

Amend that – almost perfect. Remember how I said that my stupid iPhone died? Well, I knew I was invited to dinner with DH and his colleagues, and I got on the 6:00 train back to Issy. I walked to the hotel, and just as I arrived (Ladurée macarons in hand, dreamy happy expression on my face), they were all walking out the door. DH looked worried sick. I felt terrible, because I couldn’t call him. As he said, he was planning to give it until 8:30, then call the hospitals and the police. Fortunately, all’s well that ended well. It really was a perfect day, and I’m so glad I went! I’m still smiling at the memories.

Well, thanks for sticking with me, and thanks to all for your patience while I’ve been away. All the orders that came in while I was out have shipped. And there is some really exciting stuff coming down the pipeline (not just fabrics, either)! The next couple of months will be really cool, and I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on. Until then, let me leave you with my favorite picture from my day at Versailles.

This is how I will always remember Versailles.

Happy sewing!

Paris, Mon Amour – Day 2

Day two in Paris was no less lovely, but slightly less frenetic than day 1. We slept late (unintentionally), jumped up and got ready, hopped the Metro and headed into Paris. DH wanted to climb up to the top of Notre Dame’s towers, but since we were late, the line was too long.

See the little people up the tippy top? That’s where we wanted to go. Alas, twas not to be.

In front of Notre Dame is a bronze statue of Charlemagne. It’s kinda creepy, if you ask me.

Any resemblance to the King of the Nazgul is probably unintentional

Instead, we wandered about the grounds and l’Ile de la Cité.

Flying buttresses! Buttresses buttresses buttresses!!

Of course, this being Paris, we saw a fashion photo shoot in progress.

That is some SERIOUSLY big hair.

We did some shopping at Le Bon Marché, which is Paris’ answer to Barneys. This is THE source for Isabel Marant, Balenciaga, Carven, Thom Browne, Nina Ricci, and scores of ultra-hip designers. They also have almost half a floor currently devoted to Ralph Lauren. Really? As I said to DH, I did not come to Paris to shop for Ralph Lauren, thanks. Bon Marché also has an exceedingly cool home department, where I did actually buy something:

Had to get this for Phyllis
Had to get this for Phyllis

DH had to go and do real work in the afternoon, so I went back to the Place de la Concorde. Rosie and I got to texting each other while I sat in the shade and enjoyed the day.

Rosie, this is where I was sitting! Not too shabby, huh?

I was going to try to catch up with a friend of hers, but I walked by the Musée de l’Orangerie and I had to go in. Claude Monet donated 8 murals of water lilies to the people of France, and they are housed at l’Orangerie. They were so beautiful, they brought tears to my eyes. You’re not allowed to take pictures of the Monets, but if you ever have the opportunity, l’Orangerie is not to be missed! In addition to the murals, there are loads of paintings by Matisse and his contemporaries.

There’s a sculpture garden outside the museum. Note the squared off trees again.

I stopped for a café crême, then headed back to the hotel to meet DH. We went out to dinner at the Brasserie at l’Hotel Lutetia. The oysters are wonderful there! We had been there the last time we were in Paris, and it’s just as good now as it was then. You may have seen the Lutetia if you watched Season 3 of Project Runway (that’s the Laura Bennett season). When they flew to Paris for the couture challenge, the contestants stayed at the Lutetia.

Anyone know what Lutetia is? Anyone? If not, go read Asterix and Obelix and you'll find out!
Anyone know what Lutetia is? Anyone? If not, go read Asterix and Obelix and you’ll find out!

This was the view from our hotel bathroom.

Even the bathrooms have great views in Paris!

And finally,

I could get used to this!

Tomorrow – the bucket list day.

Happy sewing!

Je Suis de Retour! Paris, Day One

Deep sigh as I slump back in my chair. Paris was a whirlwind of activity and beauty. What a wonderful city; what a wonderful trip!

But first… no, I did not do any fabric shopping. Remember, my darlings, this was a vacation. The only day I might have had time was Sunday, and the only store in Paris which I might be inclined to visit, Janssens et Janssens, was closed. So the fates decreed that this was a fabric-free trip!

What did I do? Museums! Food! Wine! Café au lait! Walking! Champagne! More walking! Snoop shopping! Even more walking!

Yeah, well, enough of my jawboning; let’s look at some pretty pictures.

That tall thin thing rising above the buildings to the right of center? Our first glimpse of le Tour Eiffel
Random street in Issy. The cool thing is that all the trees are shaped. You’ll see this in later pictures.

We got to our hotel long before they were ready for us, so we used the bathroom to freshen up, got some café, and took the Metro into Paris. First stop was the Musée Dorsay. So beautiful!!! I didn’t take any pictures in the museum, but we did stop at the Seine across the street to get some pictures of the river and the Key Bridge

As we were taking this picture, a young Chinese tourist behind us had his wallet snatched by a pickpocket who disappeared down into the Metro stop. There was an article in the WSJ recently talking about how pickpockets in Paris are targeting Chinese nationals, and unfortunately, that appears to be true.

Lovers place locks on the bridges’ fences and throw the keys into the Seine. They are called Love Locks.
In les Jardins Tuilleries. That’s l’Arc de Triomphe in the background.

We had lunch at Angelina which is world renowned for its Chocolat Chaud accompanied by Mont Blanc (I refuse to take pictures of my food, but it was all delicious). Three people told me I had to go there. It was wonderful! After lunch, we walked along the rue Faubourg St. Honoré. Thank goodness, the stores were closed, otherwise I could easily have spent my kids’ college tuitions.

You might have heard of this place…
You know, where that lady made those jackets?
I found the windows to be rather uninspired
Gucci, OTOH, had me drooling.
This “dress” was made of fiber optics

These windows were selling the shoes…

And this was made of paper that looks like it’s felted

For dinner that night, DH and I decided to go for it, and we made reservations on a Bateau Mouche. Touristy? Sure. But who knows when we will be back in Paris, right?

Prior to boarding (wearing my StyleArc Gabby Jacket)
With the man I Love in the Most. Romantic. City… Evah!
These million dollar apartments all have light-blocking shades, thanks to les bateaux.
Pretty nice view, eh?
Well this one is even nicer.

If you are in Paris in the not too distant future, there are a couple of things to know. First is that the Ritz is closed for renovations for about a year, so no fulfilling those Hemingway fantasies of having a drink at the bar. Second, the Plaza Athenée just closed this Wednesday. During Fashion Week! What is up with that?

I have lots of pictures from days two and three of my trip, but I’m going cross-eyed with jet lag, so I’ll save them until later. Pleasant dreams and,

Happy sewing!

Haute Couture Club of Chicago, Fashion Show

I spent last weekend I spent in Chicago, visiting friends and attending the Haute Couture Club of Chicago’s annual fashion show. What a wonderful time! A group of us converged on the city for fabric, fashion fun and frolic. Patti F. was our hostess, and we all had such fun! You saw some of the activities in my last post, and if you saw Carolyn’s, or Mardel’s blogs, you’ve gotten to see some of the goings-on.

Sunday was the actual show. The theme was “Tour de France”, and it took you on a fashionable whirlwind, from getting on the plane to Paris, to a sojourn to Deauville, skiing in the French Alps, and other fantastic flights of fashionable fancy. There were over one-hundred garments, though the show proceeded at a brisk clip, so it held our attention. It was a great fun time! Here are some pictures. You’ll notice a trend – I took a lot of pictures of my girlfriends and not so many of the show in general. Oh well! Here you go…

L-R: Nancy of SewWest, me, MaryBeth of The Stitchery

Of course, we had to examine each other's handiwork!
Linda, Liana and Mardel
Nancy and Mary Beth
Carolyn (right) and her lovely Mom, Carrie, who when snoop shopping with us!

Cennetta had a bunch of (gorgeous) outfits in the show. Here are a couple:

Travel wardrobe
Her fabulous faux shearling coat
Her award-winning stripes challenge jacket

There were other folks in the show too!

Such great variety from a single striped fabric!
Rhonda Buss knitted this aMAYzing jacket!
I love these matching outfits, and the girls were adorable!
Liana wore the most gorgeous long gown!

It was such a great time. It was wonderful to see old friends, meet new friends and view such inspiring work. The Haute Couture Club of Chicago hosts the fashion show every spring. If you are in the Chicago area, this is a great group. I wish we had one here in Boston!

Happy sewing!

We're Broke, Exhausted and Hungover


We must have had a great time!

We’re back from vacation. What a week! We spent it in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. It was so awesome. I want to go back. Now. For ever. Sigh….

It was a much more SCUBA centric vacation than we anticipated. That’s not a bad thing, just an observation. DS the elder got his Open Water certification on his 13th birthday. Boy, I wish MY parents had gotten me certified on my 13th birthday! DS the younger had problems with his ears, so he’s one dive away. We’ll get him finished up in the next couple of weeks up here. Not as pretty, but at least he’ll be done. I’ll post pictures from Cane Bay when we get them developed and transferred onto disk. In the meantime, we did have an unexpected guest in our room all week:

What a narcissist!

And the above water wildlife was awfully cute, and gracious about posing:

The day we arrived, a huge wedding took place at the resort. I didn’t get any pictures of the ceremony. There were more attendants than there were guests, and the theme was Candy. The bridesmaids all carried bouquets of candy bars instead of flowers. And they all wore different colored gowns. It was so much fun to watch!

One last shot for right now. This was a restaurant on the road from the hotel into Christiansted. If we had another couple of days there, we probably would have stopped in for dinner. The sign was enticement enough. It made us laugh and smile every time we went by.

More later. Right now I have to do laundry and grocery shopping. Reality. Bleah…

Happy diving!

Vacations with Friends – Running with Scissors?

I just read a great article in today’s Wall Street Journal. I love the Journal. It’s so right wing, and it annoys the bejeepers out of my husband that I gleefully pore over it every morning while he’s faithfully reading the Boston Globe (about as left wing as you can get). It keeps our marriage interesting after 21 years, ya know?

Be that as it may, Friday is my favorite day to read the Journal cover to cover. In addition to all the great business reporting and the uber-conservative opinions in the Op-Ed pages, it has the Weekend Journal section. And today’s Weekend Journal cover story was about the perils of taking vacations with friends. I just got back from a vacation to St. Croix with my family and my best friend and her family. You can read about it in the post called “Fabric Shopping on Vacation” at The Sewing Divas Blog. We had a wonderful time. Barb and her family travel so well with us. We’ve been traveling together since the 80s, when we all first learned to SCUBA dive, and long before we ever had kids, so we have it mostly down to a science. I’d like to share with you some tips that make our lives easier, in the hopes that it will help you out.

Get Separate Rooms/Suites/Houses
This is the one cardinal rule that I never violate. I love my friends, but I need my space and they need theirs. Once I violated that rule. Actually, I didn’t violate it so much as the place we were staying violated it for us. This was with a different couple. To protect my friendship with them, I’ll just call them “Family X”. The place we were staying was a little Caribbean spot that was, um, lackadaisical about having rooms ready when they said they would. Family X’s room wasn’t ready for the first two days. The place we were staying in had two bedrooms, so we crammed 8 of us into what became a very claustrophobic space. By the end of the second day, I wished I had never invited Family X to vacation with us, and I was ready to commit suicide by Bahama Mamas.

Travel on Different Airplanes, if possible
Or at least make sure you’re not sitting right next to each other. This is not always a hard and fast rule on the way to vacation, but it is rock solid on the way home. At that point, I want space from my own family; I definitely need it from someone else’s.

Get Separate Cars
Another must. The fastest way to ruin a vacation is to get into transportation conflicts. Back to the trip we took with Family X. They didn’t reserve a car. We did. We reserved a compact. Mrs. X was shocked that I was not planning to get a car large enough for 8 and shuttle her wherever she wanted to go. My husband and I stood firm, and after one day of having to rely on the bus services and taxi cabs with toddlers in tow, Family X decided that enough was enough and they got a car. The vacation went uphill from there. The moral of the story is that you want to be able to go where you want, when you want. Different people have different goals in mind for their vacations. Having one car per family unit makes it possible to achieve those goals and keep harmony.

Have a “Common Wallet”
At the beginning of a vacation, have each family put a predetermined sum into a community wallet. For example’s sake, let’s just say $250/family – you can put in more or less, depending on the circumstances. This money will be used to cover any expenses that occur while both families are together. This prevents any “they only paid A, while they ate B” bickering and bad feelings. I’ve found that this works marvelously.

Plan One Co-Family Activity
You may end up doing more, but plan one, and let the rest fall as they may. On our vacation to St. Croix, we all spent the better part of Sunday afternoon and evening at the west end of the island. It was heaven. We parked right near the West Side Grille, which is right on the beach. We spent the afternoon on the beach in front of the restaurant (which is an open air casual place). We all snorkeled, we had snacks together, we swam with a really nice, very drunk off-duty policeman and his horse, and we had dinner and drinks together. It was everything a day at the beach should be, and we have wonderful memories and pictures that we will share for years to come.

Plan One Day of Separate Activity
Like the co-family day above, you may end up doing more days apart, but plan for at least one. In the case of our vacation in St. Croix, Barb and her family wanted to go snorkeling at Buck Island National Park. We had done that on an previous trip, so they went to Buck Island and we went up into the rain forest and fed beer to the pigs. It’s a big tourist draw, don’t laugh. Okay, you can laugh. Everyone had a great day, and everyone felt they got to do what they wanted.

Try to Get Zen
You’re on vacation. Things are going to happen. Things may go wrong. You might get annoyed at one another, especially after a long, hot, crowded plane flight. Try to keep it light, and try to breathe deep. Multi family vacations can be a bad experience, or they can be a blast. It depends on your outlook. Try to enjoy yourself, and as the Wall Street Journal advises, set your expectations low. You’ll probably exceed them, and everyone will have a great time.

Now that the heat in the Boston area has broken somewhat, I’ll be getting back to the sewing room and will blog about that more. In the meantime, have a great weekend!