Antiquing in Camas

During my last visit to Portland I made a point to stop in and see an antique mall I’ve been following on Facebook for a while now.  Camas Antiques is located in the heart of the historic downtown Camas, WA and is just as charming in person as it is online. Just look at this sweet storefront!  It just begs you to come in – although I certainly didn’t need any convincing!  Inside there were numerous vendor booths, each with a unique style.  Since it was early summer during my visit many of the booths featured garden themes.

I spotted this simple window upcycle in one of the booths and showed it to the Hubs so he’d know what the heck I was talking about when I create something similar with the ones I still have stashed away in the shed.  I’m thinking they would be great done up for hanging stockings at for my holiday show in November.

This chalkboard message made both myself and my mother-in-law, who is also a novice gardener giggle.  At least we know we’re stretching our gardening muscles! LOL

The European vibe in this booth near the back of the store drew me right in and I lingered for quite a while, although I didn’t find anything that came home with me this trip.

I was amazed to realize there was a basement full of even more vendors!  It was like getting a second scoop on your ice cream cone.

I loved the lace tied to the light strands above this booth and might appropriate the idea for my booth at the bazaar if I have room.

I also pointed out this display to the Hubs since he always teases me for collecting driftwood!  I loved the wreath made out of the larger pieces.  I have a whole bucket full of pieces similar to this that I could use to make something similar.

This farmstyle area had me at first glance and I spent a good amount of time checking out all of the items.  That goat pillow gave me an instant smile and almost came home with me.  Those little faces were just so adorable.  I just couldn’t bear to think of putting them away after the summer season so I left them for someone else to find.

I finished touring the rest of the upstairs, ending at this fun booth in the front of the store, just behind the checkout counter.  It was full of great inspirations for little touches.  I may have to recreate those hanging lights somewhere in our home.

After I’d seen all of the booths, I paid for my rather large pile of finds that had been collecting at the front counter as I shopped and we headed out to find some food since we’d been there a few hours.

We ended up at a delicious Mexican restaurant, Nuestra Mesa, just a block away where I enjoyed a sangria with very yummy tacos.  It was the perfect way to wrap up a sunny vacation day in the Portland area!  If you’re ever in the area I definitely recommend planning a stop at both of these great spots.

 

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Exploring Homer

This past weekend I headed down to Homer to photograph a wedding and had a couple of hours to explore before the ceremony.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, which was a welcome change to the constant rain we’ve had in south central Alaska for the past several weeks.

Since I was only in town for a few hours I opted not to rent a car.  Instead I decided to focus my sightseeing on the Spit, which is easy to walk.  Although I’d been to Homer before I hadn’t had time to wander and check out all the little shops so this was a rare treat.  I started at the Seafarer’s memorial which is dedicated to those who are lost at sea.  Fishing is a big part of this region and with that comes the risk of not making it back to safe harbor.  The base of the statue was covered with trinkets and messages from loved ones and friends of those honored here.  Nearby there is a bell that is tolled during ceremonies when names are added to the plaques contained in the memorial.

Nearby the memorial was this uniquely decorated laundromat for an RV park.  The wall had an eclectic assortment of things from the region including buoys, urinals used as planters and even a petrified moose leg.  It’s definitely one of a kind!

My next stop was the iconic Salty Dawg Saloon.  I waited several minutes to get an unobstructed shot of the lighthouse style building and original log cabin.  I also took a quick tour around the inside of the cabin, which is virtually wallpapered with messages written on money and a variety of other items.

Back outside I took a peek at the less famous side of the Salty Dawg, which had an adorable free form garden containing a variety of nautical accents.

The shops were grouped in clusters up and down the road, including this batch which were built on a pier over the waterfront.  It reminded me of the Outer Banks in North Carolina where I used to visit often when I lived on the east coast.  Looking out from the deck of the pier you can see RV’s parked near the shoreline.  Since the Hubs wasn’t with me I texted him to say that I wanted to plan a long weekend road trip in an RV here next summer.

I popped into one of the shops on this boardwalk called Sunken Treasures.  They had a great inventory of nautical and Alaskan items including these fun signs.  The sunny days one is sooooo me! 🙂

One of their shop windows had cracked and rather than try to hide it they had embraced it and added an inspirational quote to follow the curve of the crack, which mimicked the curves of the mountains across the bay!

Out on the deck were several spots to sit and enjoy the food options available.  Most included some sort of repurposed fishing equipment, like this table.

A little further down the road was this cool cabin style store, which looked like a cross between an Alaskan Mountain Man’s hunting lodge and a Viking Hall.  I almost came home with one of the cute stringers of carved fish displayed out front, but decided to save my money for another trip we have coming up.

Up and down the main road were a variety of artistic and unique signs, including this massive milepost and hand-painted Salmon Dawgs ad.

I had to chuckle at the ingeniousness of this shop owner’s signage, which can be changed by just moving the velcroed N to indicate if they are open or “nope”…

Another shop I stopped in, called the Blue Urchin.  There were a lot of unique items here too, but the ones that I fell in love with were small vintage style bells that will be added to the ends of driftwood garlands I plan to make from driftwood collected on our many adventures.  In fact they had one just like what I’ll be making for sale in the shop, so I snapped a picture for inspiration.  I’ll share my finished garlands when they are done.

Another fun thing I spotted was this classic truck parked outside one of the many small eateries.  There were two older gentlemen standing nearby discussing the truck who were surprised I showed interest until I told them I have a 1955 F-100 at home. 😉

After my sightseeing was done I made my way to the end of the Spit to have lunch on the deck at Lands End, where the wedding reception would be held.  On the way there I passed the ferry terminal docks which were occupied by a swarm of seagulls who were in constant chatter.  All I could think about was the Finding Nemo scene were all the seagulls chant, “Mine. Mine. Mine!”

The sun was out in full force when I made it to the hotel.  I’ve stayed here with my family when we traveled through Homer to take the ferry to Kodiak.  It’s THE landmark for the Homer Spit.

I snagged a table out on the deck with a fantastic view of the bay and watched the boats go back and forth.  Although I couldn’t enjoy a cocktail since I still had work to do it was a much enjoyed little break with my Dr. Pepper fix.

While waiting for my lunch I spotted several sailboats crossing the bay.  It was so peaceful to watch them glide across the water in contrast to the fishing boats that powered toward the marina leaving waves in their wake.

Lunch was a cup of clam chowder and this amazing caprese stuffed mushroom.  It was just the right amount to keep me full until dinner at the reception.  And it was well complimented by the sunshine and surf.

It was only a couple of hours, but it was a wonderful little mini-vacation as summer begins to wrap up.  I hope we get to enjoy a few more beautiful sunny days like this before the white stuff arrives!

 

Our Hawaiian Adventure – Part 5

After our adventure filled couple of days on the big island we returned to Oahu just in time to catch the fireworks on the beach at the Hale Koa.  It was definitely the thing to do on a Friday night since a large crowd gathered along the beach, but it was a fun and relaxed way to kick-off the next portion of our trip.

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Fireworks

The next morning we headed out to Waialua to attend a painting class run by the wife of a Coastie the hubs used to fly with in Kodiak.  Her shop, Simply Honeybee Art & Signs had a wonderfully relaxed vibe and plenty of Cece Caldwells paints in stock so we could customize our pre-chosen designs any way we liked.  I had never used this brand of paint before but really liked it for several reasons.  In fact, now that we’re home and back to working on projects I find myself wishing I had the stains we used on the signs we made so I might just have to order an inventory to have on hand, especially since we also picked up some other design stencils from her to create additional signs at home.  We had a great time catching up with a fellow Coastie and talking about the idea of possibly opening a similar shop in Alaska one day.  These fun new art pieces have since found a home in the Family Room gallery wall, which I’ll share in the near future.

SignsPhoto c/o Simply Honey Bee Art & Signs

After painting, we drove out to the North Shore to look for turtles at Laniakea Beach.  It was pretty windy which made the surf pretty large.  In fact they had closed the beach a few days prior because the waves were so intense they were cresting the small bluff and spraying across the nearby road.  Luckily we arrived just before the tide started to rise so there was plenty of area to enjoy the beach as the waves pounded the rocks.

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Although we didn’t see any turtles on the beach there were several cruising the waves.  We’d occasionally see them come up for air and glimpse the edge of a flipper or top of their shell as they navigated the surf.  I was a little bummed that they didn’t come up on the beach, but since this was a heavily trafficked area, it would have been a mad house if they did.  There was a turtle guardian on watch who shared lots of information about turtles and the area since he didn’t have any turtles to monitor on the sand.

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Next we drove further down the North Shore to see some sights and soon realized there was a surfing competition going on, which was apparently similar to spring break in Daytona Beach because we saw several interesting activities.  One included this rig where a pool had been created in the back of a truck using a tarp and subsequently filled with several young men.  Meanwhile a young woman decided to ‘ride’ the jet ski on the trailer behind them.  We also spotted an interesting guy wearing nothing but a bright red banana hammock and winter ski boots on the side of the road.  Although I did get a picture of that I’ll spare you the image being burned into your mind.

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We headed back toward Honolulu and decided to stop off at the Dole Plantation along the way.  We had heard that the Dole Whip was a must try so we browsed around a bit, picked up several sauces to bring home and ordered our Dole Whips.  We enjoyed them out on the back patio as we watched the train come and go.  It was a very simple treat, but definitely delicious.  In fact, just looking at this picture makes my mouth water for more!

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Finished with our snack we took a moment to snap a selfie with the giant pineapple on the grounds.  Doesn’t the hubs look super excited to be posing with a pineapple? 😉  As we made our way back to the car I noticed these beautiful multi-colored trees.  It was literally a piece of living art.  I later confirmed they were rainbow eucalyptus, which obviously wouldn’t survive in Alaska.

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The next day we decided to do a submarine tour we’d heard about from a co-worker since the dock was at the hotel next to ours.  It was a little pricey, but it was a unique experience so we were willing to give it a shot.  It was totally worth the cost to see the fish up close and experience the ocean floor without having to get wet.  A boat takes you from the dock at the shore to the subs out in the open water, which provided time to spot cute trumpet fish next to the dock and enjoy the view of Waikiki from the stern as we headed out.

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The sub surfaced as we approached their location and we docked along side it to onboard and offload passengers from the top of the sub.  Once inside we spotted the pilot’s impressive cockpit, which has a full bubble view and found a seat toward the rear along one side of the sub.  Here’s a video of the sub surfacing.

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Inside

The company who runs the submarines has partnered with local research groups to set up structures in an effort to grow new reefs for sea life because the sand imported for the tourist beaches along Waikiki has killed off most of the natural reefs.  The first we saw was this Japanese seaweed growing structure.  Normally used to grow seaweed as a commercial product, here it’s too warm for seaweed to grow so it’s not as covered, but still provides a good place for fish to gather and hide.  There were also a couple of planes that were purposely sunk to create artificial reefs.

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This guy seemed pretty interested in the sub and swam along side of our window for quite a ways, checking us out.  I’m pretty sure this is the fish that Dory in Finding Nemo was modeled after – and it did “just keep swimming…”

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Next were some ships that had been sunken as reef starters.  Like the planes it was odd to see this structure under the water, but still quite interesting to see how it had been transformed by its new environment.

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At the bow of one of the ships three sea turtles were taking a little nap, while getting their shells cleaned by fish.  Seeing them on the land and in the waves was one thing but being so near them underwater was totally cool – especially to see three of them in such a chill state.

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There was also one turtle on another sunken ship, but he was harder to spot (the lump on the right of the picture).  There had been two when we first went by but we had to wait until the sub turned around to go past again on the other side to see him and by then one had headed off to somewhere else.

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That evening we met up with my friend who lives in Hawaii to create some portraits for his family at the new Ko’Olina Disney resort.  I’ve shared those images on my photography website.

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At the end of the session we all took a moment to savor the beautiful sunset before heading to their home where we were treated to a fantastic potluck with a variety of yummy dishes!  It was a great way to end another day in paradise.  I’ll share our visit to the Pearl Harbor memorial and Luau in my next post, so stay tuned for those!

Vacation Tripping!

WHEW!  We’re finally getting back into a normal routine after our recent trip to the “lower 48” as we Alaskan’s call it.  Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath – and edit a few pictures – I can share some of the fun we had.  We spent five days in Virginia visiting my family to celebrate my nephew’s graduation, my birthday and Father’s Day.   That was a whole lot of celebrating in just a few days, but most of it was spent just hanging out with family.  We also got to see friends who used to live next to us in Kodiak since they live in a neighboring town now.  With all that going on I didn’t take many pictures other than Graduation, which I still need to finish editing.

Next we headed to the Portland area, where we spent several days with my hubby’s mom and visited with a high school friend of mine in the area.  While there we also attended a huge vintage flea market called The Great Junk Hunt put on by the Funky Junk Sisters, which was AMAZING!  I’ll be sharing that experience in my next blog post, because it’s a story all on it’s own.

I made sure we hit my two favorite not-available-in-Alaska restaurants, Panera and Chic-Fil-A multiple times during our trip.  One of the Chic-Fil-A’s we visited was a brand new location in Pallyup, WA which had a great vibe to it starting with the cool industrial chic logo over subway tile near the counter!

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They also had some large cow shenanigans art that made me giggle.  Best long-term marketing strategy ever.  Who doesn’t love farm animals with a sense of adventure and big dose of personality?

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I especially liked this one.  I think it would be perfect for an Alaskan Chic-Fil-A!  HINT HINT!

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One of the clues that told us this location was brand new was how crowded it was, including the insane drive through line which wrapped around a corner and through an adjacent parking lot.  There are still several cars ahead of what’s seen in this line before the ordering speaker.  What impressed us was how the staff took this as an opportunity to offer great personal service.  Notice the team members standing by vehicles? They have menus for customers to look at while waiting and tablets that they can place an order on so their wait time is still productive and ultimately lessened due to efficiency.  Although we didn’t experience this inventive idea first hand, the other staff inside the restaurant were some of the most pleasant we’d ever encountered despite a never ending rush of customers.  Kudos to this location’s manager for a wonderful last impression of their brand before heading back to Alaska!

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Another fun restaurant was the moving sushi bar we tried for lunch one day.  We’d never been to one before, but now that we know how fun and inexpensive it is I’m pretty sure we’ll be searching for one here at home!  This one was called Sushi Moto and had a pretty good variety of rolls to choose from.  And if you didn’t see what you want, just ask the friendly sushi chef to make it for you!

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I’m not a buffet lover, but this I could definitely embrace.  I could have sat there and picked options all day, especially at just $1.75/plate!  While these certainly weren’t culinary masterpieces, every single one I tried was good.  I’m surprised I was able to pause long enough to take a few pictures!

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Other than eating delicious food and visiting friends and family, we did plenty of shopping.  I’ll be sharing some of the things we found with a house update post soon.  Until then here’s a sneak peek at some of the cool “junk” we snagged at the vintage flea market.  How cute is this little piggy planter that I bought for my mother-in-law!?  Um, so cute that I had to find one of my own on Etsy when I got home! I can’t wait for it to arrive because I’ve got the perfect spot picked out for it!  🙂

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