Lately the weather 'round here has been a mix of rather intense windstorms (sweeping away the last of the remaining leaves from the trees and even toppling some altogether) and quite a few rather lovely days as well.
The Saturday before last was one such lovely day and we decided to take advantage of the sunshine by heading out for a little family hike up at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.
While the park is only a short half hour drive east of where we live, and in the county where both Lucas and I grew up, shockingly, neither of us had ever been up there, which made it feel a little bit like an adventure.
I want to start making an effort to do more local adventuring! We live in such a wonderful area for it and amazingly, even though we both feel like we know the area so well, it's easy to forget that there is still so much to see and discover.
The meandering creek we walked along and some bits of my 100% thrifted outfit. New fave cardi (the wee quail!), scored along with these beat up old Wranglers on a recent trip to "the digs".
As you can only hike so far with a four year old in tow, most of Sugarloaf's beauty still remains to be explored. Unfortunately, and unbeknown to us at the time, that turned out to be the final weekend before the park's closure!
The massive toll that California's budget crisis is taking on our State park system is such a depressing state of affairs right now, with so many wonderful parks in our area, not to mention all over the state, slated for closure by July. Boo! :(
But hey, let's move on to happier news, shall we?...
My lovely day got even lovelier when I arrived home to find my bioregional swap package from Anne of A Cup Full of Sunshine waiting for me! As you can see, it was packed to the brim with Southern California goodness. I was pretty blown away by all the amazing goodies and how thoughtfully put together it all was :)
Back when I first read Mary's post on terrallectualism about putting together a bioregional swap and what that would entail, I was excited to join in the fun. Even more excited when I found that my swap partner would be Anne!
Anne and I were already longtime followers of eachother's blogs and we'd even met in person once before. I had already hoped to one day do a swap with her, so what a perfect opportunity this turned out to be!
Of course, Clover was right there to help me with the opening. She's seen me open enough of these packages to know, that more often than not, there's a little somethin' special tucked in there for her too. Once again, she was not disappointed!
Her eyes lit up when she saw the amazing embroidered Sleeping Beauty fairytale cardi. WOW, it even has little princess dolls sewn onto it! Anne definitely knows the way to my little one's heart.
The vintage children's book Leaf Magic, a lovely 1970's story of a boy who is followed around by a big orange wind swept leaf that is apparently trying to play with him, was so perfectly timed with her recent comment about the leaves!
The book is full of wonderful illustrations and whimsical descriptions like the one above. Love Ol' man Fish and Chips and his ramshackle cottage by the sea!
Anne herself lives by the sea and included some treasures gathered on a morning beachcombing excursion. She's also a big fan of succulents (as am I!) and included a few cuttings from her own garden.
I planted them along with a few wee specimens from our own garden in this cool hanging ceramic planter that I recently thrifted. Don't they look lovely?
Beautiful hand-written (and painted!) recipes cards, both of which sound so yummy. I'm excited to try them out.
A bag of tea made by a friend of Anne's and a gorgeous ceramic cup to drink it from. The cup was made by a local artist who also made the incense holder.
The painted driftwood and feather necklace!!! Made by Anne herself. SO AWESOME! I tell ya, this girl is craftier than she lets on ;)
A cool eco-friendly bag made of newspaper and a card by another local artist.
There was also a bundle of sage, a jar of orange marmalade made at her sister's convent, some lovely thrifted vintage (red corduroy jumper perfect for Christmas, a delicate floral blouse, and an adorable calico sundress), not to mention a truly gorgeous cowl that Anne knit herself!
A huge thank you to Anne for putting together such a fantastic package. You obviously know what I like! So much cozy autumnal goodness packed into one box... I loved all the textures, colors, flavors, scents... a package to delight the senses for sure, and thank you to Mary for setting up this wonderful swap!
It was so fun to participate, both receiving my package from Anne and putting one together for her. Speaking of which, you can take a peek at what was in the package that I made for Anne over at her post about the swap, here.
Clover put on her new cardigan right away and said "Let's go take a picture!" So I put on my new necklace and swapped out the scarf I was wearing for my cozy new cowl, and that's just what we did.
It had been awhile since I'd done outfit pics, so I spent some extra time trying to capture Anne's lovely handiwork and playing around with the light a bit.
I love the painted driftwood combined with the feathers. I told Anne she should make some of these for her Etsy shop.
Also, if you took a peek at her post on the package I sent, you may have noticed that I too was inspired to get crafty with driftwood and feathers. Our packages actually turned out to have quite a few similarities, as usual in these matters, synchronicity abounds!
I enjoy a good girlie outfit as much as the next gal, but I've always had a tomboy side to my style as well, and I think I've been embracing it a bit more lately. I like checking out this blog gem for inspiration, and this one's good too.
Fall color in the backyard pre-windstorms. So many of the leaves have since blown away.
The colors in my new cowl seem to have been plucked straight from the Autumn smoke tree :)
Well friends, I wish I could update you on the final kitty name verdict, but even with the help of all your wonderful suggestions on my last post and a wee pocket-sized booklet called the Incomplete Book of Cat Names (thanks Martha!) we still have yet to agree on one!
Yesterday, Clover and I started toying around with the name Marble, which I like, but then she changed it to Mumble and that's what she's calling him now. Her teachers already think our cat's name is Mambo. It's the Guinness/Dennis thing all over again (see comment section of kitty post if you're wondering what I'm talking about).
I think we should just name him Charmin because he's soft and white and we are constantly having to tell Clover not to squeeze him!