Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Our Utah Adventure: Day Five, Part II: Sand Dune and Skyline Arch

 This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah.  To start at the beginning, go  HERE.  The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE,  HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE,HERE,  HERE, and HERE!

Day Five was our last day of vacation before we had to head home.  This has been a LONG travel series, as we did a lot in five days.  Next week will be the very last post.  I know some of you are probably cheering "Hip, Hip, Hooray" right now, as it has taken me so long to cover everything.  

On our last day of vacation, after we watched the sunrise at the Windows Arches, we got back in our car to see some of the arches we missed during our first visit to Arches National Park.

The first arch we came upon was Skyline Arch.  This arch you can see right from the road, you don't even need to get out of your car.  But my husband and son being the adventurers they are, wanted to get as close to this arch as possible so we parked the car in the small pull off.

It's a short 0.4 mile round trip trail to the base of the arch.  My hubby and son were disappointed that there was no way to get closer to the arch.  This is a HUGE arch, and there was no way to climb up for the boys.  The height of the arch is 33.5  feet and the span is 71 feet.

In the photo below you can see the boys standing at the base of the arch.  That gives you a lot of perspective at how tall this rock formation is.

An interesting thing about this arch is that it didn't always look like this.  Arches are constantly changing due to erosion.  In 1940 a huge boulder suddenly fell out of the arch essentially doubling the opening.

Another arch we stopped at was a fun one.  The irony is, when I read the description of the arch and trail to my husband, he didn't even want to stop!  He didn't think it would be worth it.  But it ended up being one of our favorite arches because it was so different!

This arch is called "Sand Dune" arch.  The reason it is called "Sand Dune" is because you literally walk in very deep sand to reach it.  The sand can be kind of taxing on the legs to walk on, but thankfully it is a very short 0.3 mile trail.

This arch is a hidden gem.  You would never know it was there if not for the trail guide.  The arch is hidden and surrounded among very tall rock formations.  The trail leading to the arch is so mysterious and fun.  You have to first walk through this narrow opening.

My son had fun crawling up all the rock formations as usual.

This arch is so unique.  You feel like you discovered a magical place when the trail widens out and the arch is revealed.  I loved the way the light shone inside.

You are not allowed to climb on any of the arches in Arches National Park, but you can climb other rocks and of course explore the area up around the arch.

This last picture shows a typical hiking day of the Johnson Family.  I'm usually sticking to the trail, while hubby and son are running off the beaten path and rock climbing.

Next week I will finish up the series with a few more arches, one of them being the famous " Landscape Arch".

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Valentines Cards

Over the next three weeks I will be sharing handmade Valentine Cards I have made for friends and family.  I'm not going to give away which cards are for who, because I never know who's snooping on my blog and might see their card before they receive it. 🥰

For the two cards I'm showing today, I used the same layout, papers, and colors, but different images. The image used in this card is an old retired Stampin' Up! card called "Pun Fun".

I stamped the image and colored it in with Copic markers then used Spellbinders Nestabilities to cut a plain square panel out.  I then popped that panel up on a heart panel also cut with a  Spellbinder's die. Then using a larger square die, I cut a third panel out of pink.

For the background, I embossed a white card stock panel with a heart Cuttlebug folder and then adhered that panel to a black card panel to make everything pop.  I finished the card by wrapping a think pink ribbon through two of the open hearts and tying it with a bow.

My next card uses all the same dies, but a different embellishment, image, and color.

The image in this card was a free stamp I received when I purchased a card making magazine years ago.  I don't normally purchase magazines (who needs to when everything is free on the web now?), but when the stamp set is the price of the magazine, why not?

I followed all the same principles that I did in making the first card, except this time I used a red panel, and I added a cute red heart button.  I put the sentiment on a tiny tag.

Whenever I create a card I really like, sometimes while all the same supplies are already out, I'll quickly make a few more cards.  If you ever need to mass produce cards, this is a great way to save time, rather than making every card unique.

Cuttlebug heart embossing folder, old, similar - HERE,  Spellbinder Heart Squares - HERE, Stampin' Up! Valentine Images , old, two left HERE , teddy bear image unavailable.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Monday, January 27, 2020

New Clothes From My Amazon Wish Lists

 I love Amazon wish lists!  It makes shopping so quick and easy for everyone, and you are always going to get exactly what you want and need.  I still consider gifts from my Amazon wish list a "surprise", because my list is pretty big, and I tend to forget everything I put on it, so when someone gets me a gift off my wish list it's always a surprise to me!

I have two clothing and accessory items from my children that I received as Christmas gifts this year that were off my Amazon wish list.  The color block cardigan you may immediately recognize as I think just about every blogger in blog land owns it by now.  The other item is the gorgeous faux leather brown bucket bag.

I've had my eye on this cardigan ever since I saw other bloggers wear it.  Color blocking is super on-trend this year, so I really wanted at least one color block item in my wardrobe.  I tried a color block cardigan from Stitch Fix, but I did not think it complimented my figure:  wide stripes across a big chest is not flattering at all.   I thought a color block cardigan might work better for me because there is a break in the chest area where the opening is.

I was absolutely correct in my assumptions.  The openness of a cardigan is much more suited to my figure.  The long length of this cardigan is also very elongating and slimming.  But buyer beware, if you are petite this may not be the cardigan for you as it is very long.  I'm 5'7 with a long torso and long legs and it comes to the top of my knees.

As for sizing, it's a little big.  I'm wearing a medium, but I should have a small.  It's a little big in the shoulders and I had to roll up the sleeves.   I usually always wear a medium in everything, so I was surprised it was so big on me.

As for the quality, I have no complaints.  It's absolutely stunning!  I love the colors I'm wearing, but this cardigan comes in many other color patterns as well.  I also love how thin the knit is.  Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog knows I prefer thinner knits over chunkier knits.  They are more figure flattering and not quite so warm.

My next Amazon gift was this Hobo Bucket Bag.  I just LOVE this bag!  My old brown purse was getting quite worn, so I really needed a huge one.  This bag is so huge!


I pack up the whole house with me every time I go anywhere, so I need a huge bag.  Every side of this bag is a little different so I included pictures showing all sides.  I love this side zipper.  The back of the bag also has a zipper pocket, and the front has a nice vertical detailing.  It also has two strap options.  The one I'm showing in this post is the shorter strap.

The bag is very high quality for faux leather, and it came with a nice dust bag fo storage and a sweet handmade gift inside.  I love it when sellers are so thoughtful like that.  

For footwear I chose my grey booties to pull out the grey in my cardigan.

I highly recommend both of these Amazon purchases.  You will find links to these items at the end of this post.

Lovaru Womens Boho Open Front Cardigan Colorblock Long Sleeve Loose Knit Lightweight Sweater in Khaki - Amazon,   Large Ladies Hobo Bucket Bag - Amazon.  Pull on denim jeans, Stitch Fix, old, similar HERE.  Grey Booties, Blowfish, old, similar HERE.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How I Decorate My Home For Valentines Day

Last week I shared my tiered tray decorated for Valentine's Day, today I want to show some of the other Valentine decor in my house.  I love Valentine's Day.  As soon as the Christmas decorations come down and the house is straightened up and put back to normal I bring the Valentine decor out.  I don't consider Valentine's Day a "commercialized holiday to get people to spend more money", rather, it's just a special day to show the loved ones in your life how much you mean to them.  Most of my Valentine decor is very old, and used year after year.  And often hubby and I don't even go anywhere for Valentine's Day.  It varies, but some years we will stay home and have a romantic dinner using our best china and other years it's dinner out and a movie.  Hubby usually buys me flowers, and I always make him a handmade card.  I show all my children and grandchildren (and some friends) extra love by hand making them all Valentine's Cards, and sending little treats in the mail.  I think Valentine's Day has gotten a bad rap because men probably felt they had to spend a lot of money and women were expecting some grand romantic gesture.  Just keep it simple, keep it loving, and you may grow to love this holiday as much as I do!

Now on to the tour!  My dining room, the central room in the house, is the one most decorated for Valentine's Day.  I have my tiered tray right in the center of the table, and a Valentine Vignette displayed on the piano.


On the piano Valentine Vignette I have a vase filled with crystallized branches and red berries, an old velvet heart box that used to be filled with candy, a "Love You More" sign from the Dollar General, and lots of pictures of my favorite Valentines of grand babies!


On the other end of my piano is a picture frame I change out seasonally.  These pictures were from a recent Valentine shoot (post coming next month!).  I love this frame.  I love that there is no glass, you just clip the photos in place.  I can change the photos out so easily this way!  I bought this frame from Walmart almost a year ago, and I did still see this frame last time I was shopping at my local store.

 Another room I decorate for Valentine's Day is the guest half bath.  I simply put out Valentine Day hand towels and faux red roses in a white vase.


To see more Valentine Decor, check out these old posts HERE and HERE!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Our Utah Adventure: Day Four and Five, Part 1: Sunrise and Sunset In Arches National Park

 This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah.  To start at the beginning, go  HERE.  The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE,  HEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHEREHERE,HERE, and HERE!

After we left Bryce Canyon, we grabbed some lunch and headed to our final destination of our Utah Adventure:  Arches National Park.  It is a four and a half hour drive from Bryce to Arches.  Now, my husband and I had already been to Arches back in 2016, but we went again this time around so my son could see it and also so we could hit some trails we missed on our first visit.

We arrived in Moab late in the day and had very limited time before sunset.  We had told our son all about the Delicate Arch Trail (the best trail in the park in my opinion, but also one of the most difficult).  My husband and I hiked that trail the first time we visited (you can read about it HERE).  To this day, I put that trail in my top three of most difficult hiking trails (I did hike it during the heat of the day, which is NOT recommended) but oh, so worth it!  After days of hiking, my son wasn't interested in hiking another long, arduous trail, and frankly, hubby and I were pretty pooped out ourselves, so we decided to take the "Cheater's Trail" so our son could at least see the arch from the distance.  It in no way is as great an experience as hiking the trail and getting right up to the arch, but it was still a neat experience because you get to see it from another perspective.  You really realize how HUGE this arch is when you see it from a distance.  Look at the pictures below, can you see the people standing to the left of the arch?  Like I said, it's all about perspective!

This trail has two viewpoints:  a lower and an upper.  The lower viewpoint is wheelchair accessible as is a 100 yd easy walk.  The upper viewpoint is 0.5 miles and is moderately difficult, rocky uphill route.  

If you ever visit Utah and go to Arches National Park, this is the arch that is not to be missed!  So if you don't want to walk a strenuous three mile trail to see the arch, at least take in one of the other "Cheater trails".  This arch is the one featured on Utah billboards and license plates.  It's a must see!

After we saw the Delicate Arch, we took our son to another spot in the park we thought he'd find interesting for it was featured in the movie "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade".  It is called "Double Arch".  I also did a post on this arch back in 2016 HERE.

This is such a great arch.  It's so fun to climb right into it.  It may not look like it in the photos but this arch is huge and it is quite the climb to get up to the first window.  To get up to the base of the arch itself is very easy.  It's only a 0.5 mile hike (round trip) from the parking lot on a easy, hard-packed trail.

I climbed up this baby the first time I visited (although not as high as my hubby did), but this time I held back and let my husband and son have all the fun while I took pictures.

By the time my son was done exploring the double arch, the sun was setting fast, so we knew we had to get going.  I did get some spectacular sun set pictures though!

The next morning we woke up before dawn so we could watch the sunrise in the park.  I can't recommend enough visiting these parks early in the morning or late at night.  First of all, there are hardly any other people, so you can always find a parking spot.  Second, you will always get amazing pictures because there aren't a lot of tourists in your frame, and the lighting is spectacular!  And thirdly, the day time temperatures are harsh in Utah.  It is so much more comfortable hiking in the coolest part of the day.

The picture below shows the famous "Balanced Rock" as the sun rises and hits it.  If you want to read more about this easy trail, check out THIS POST from 2016.  You will also see a big difference in the photography as those pictures were taken during the heat of the day.

After viewing the Balanced Rock, we then headed to show our son "Windows Trail".  I also wrote about this trail in 2016 HERE,

"Windows Trail" is an easy 1 mile round trip trail to North Window, South Window, and the Turret Arch.  I believe the photo below is the Turret Arch.  It is opposite of the Window arches.  My son is standing with his arms outstretched in front of it.  Can you see him?

It was such an amazing experience to sit underneath this arch and watch the sun rise.  The beauty was unbelievable.

Hubby walked around both sides of the arch (no easy feat) to get these stunning photographs.  On one side he captured our shadows, and on the other side (next picture), he captured the arch and us all lit up by the sun.

This picture shows the North and South Windows together.

After showing our son all the highlights of our first visit to Arches in 2016 we were off to explore some of the arches we missed the first time!  And wow!  Were we glad we did, because we sure found some beauties, but more on that next week.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!