We hope you Halloween was as safe and fun as ours!
Finally Rome! Driving in Italy is both a pleasure and challenge. Driving down the curvy serene roads of Tuscany is a treat, while driving into Rome a daunting adventure. We had agreed to meet our landlord at 4pm on Saturday afternoon. After some confusion we managed to find the apartment and meet up with Sandro and Andrina, our hosts. Their apartment in Rome was light, airy and comfortable. After check-in in with them, I finally felt I could exhale. The long trip was nearly over for me. This apartment was the last thing I was responsible for having booked or planned. We were in Rome, we had a nice place to stay, and we had all made in one piece.
There was only one thing left to do and that was return our rental cars. I tried to dodge this after all my name wasn't on the vehicles but I was drafted as the designated navigator. Papi,Juan and I once again ventured into traffic, and unexpectedly drove past many of the notable sightseeing locations we meant see later on our way to the Termini train station and the rental drop-off location (St.Peters, the Colosseum, The Tiber, The Spanish Steps, etc). Despite misleading and poor signage, ticket purchasing mistakes, we even managed to board the right train back to our part of town. As we walked back to our apartment, we took the time to look around the residential neighborhood. Shops and cafes, ATMs, street markets, none so stylish as those in Paris, but busy and urban, our country respite was over.
On Sunday morning we took our time getting out of the apartment before wondering over to St. Peter's Square and joining the masses gathered there for the noon Angelus blessing given by the Pope. We were there much too early and should have taken the time to tour St. Peter's Basilica and escape the pounding sun, but instead we sat around and people watched. We ended up sitting next to christian youth group who conducted their own worship service in the shade.
Eventually the Pope came out, and the people cheered as he greeted each language or national group gathered below. It was actually reassuring to hear people cheer Benedict because as we stood in St. Peter's Square he was so tiny compared to the gigantic posters celebrating Pope John Paul II's Beatification and promoting exhibit on his life.
We eventually exited St. Peter's Square hot, tired but determined to tour Rome. We had to do some serious bilingual haggling (including threatening to complain in Twitter) to secure reasonably priced tickets on one of the many tourist buses that transport thousands of tourists around Rome. After elbowing our way on board we settled in for a tour (well most of us, Rose, and Kendall stayed behind to have lunch).
We ended up getting down at the Colesseum, where we joined a guided tour to skip some of the ticket line. Our girls however were fading fast and were decidedly non-plussed about being dragged through yet another historic site. Honestly the girls had just had their fill. The best part about Rome for them was our apartment and its flower-theme air-conditioned rooms. They would have been happy to stay there for the rest of the trip, watching Italian tv and playing board games. We eventually reboarded the tourist bus, and made it back to the Vatican from where we trudged back all the way to our apartment (easily a 20 minute walk from the Vatican Bus loop). Thankfully it was easy to grab dinner from the lovely cafe-take-away-deli downstairs.
That evening we decided that the next day (the last day in Rome for the Canino-Fluits) we would allow the girls to stay in, while the guys went out sightseeing in the morning. We planned to meet up at the Vatican Museums and tour the Sistine Chapel together. Ah such good intentions!
The guys had a jam-packed morning visiting the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountains, and lots of other great and small sights, before trying to make it back to meet up with us. While the guys missed buses and argued about the best route to take, the ladies leisurely made their way to the Vatican museums and ended up in huge queue that snaked into the museum. With no guys in sight, the ladies braved on, and eventually got to sit in the Sistine Chapel trying to take in the fantastic paintings, trying not to be annoyed at the tour guides speaking too loudly and at shushing by the guards while we took pictures on the sly. After our trek we decided we were overdue for ice cream, so we sat down in one of the courtyards in the Vatican to cool off, and watched a very enterprising one-legged pigeon steal more crumbs than all the other pigeons combined. It was then that Chris and Kendall strolled in, a good two hours after they were due. They had strolled into the Vatican shortly before the stopped selling tickets and had toured the museum without having to break stride for lines of tourists like we had. So if you are planning on visiting the Vatican Museums, I suggest you listen to the guidebooks and wait till very late in the afternoon.
Learning our lesson from the day before we took taxis home. One cabbie tried to scam us (turning off the meter when were distracted, trying to pretend I had given him the wrong kind of Euro note) but we made it back to the apartment safely and took rest break before dinner like the rest of Rome.
For our last night together we planned to go out to a restaurant highly recommended in the Apt. guest-book. It was a bit of a walk but we decided to chance it. 45 minutes later we found ourselves in a slightly dodgy part of town and discovered that the Restaurant had closed up and moved elsewhere (their prices must have been too good to be true in the end).
Far from our apartment, discouraged, hungry and thirsty we found a convenience store, bought a bottle of water and asked them to call us a cab. Instead of calling for us one they handed me the number of cab company, which wouldn't do us much good, since we weren't sure exactly where we were anymore.
After some water and a rest I decided to ask the staff if they could recommend a Pizzeria within walking distance. Turns out they could help us out with that request. They highly recommend a local place just 600m down the road.
The Pizza was delicious, the desserts decadent and the wine just what we needed. It was the perfect dinner to end our long journey through Italy together.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had a chance to once again travel with my family, see spectacular sights, and sit around a table and eat and laugh together.
When we chose to visit Canino, Italy, we thought it was possibly an ancestral hometown, but we didn't know for sure. What we did know from the research done by one of my relatives is that our Caninos had arrived in Puerto in the 1800's from Venezuela. Visiting the town of Canino in Italy whether or not our family actually came from there was something we needed to do. It seems that my relative has now been able to track down the Venezuela ancentors to the town of Sorbo San Bastile in Southern Italy. Guess a visit to that town will have to wait till our next trip to Italy.
After spending some fabulous restful days in Tuscany we drove down toward Canino through incredibly beautiful countryside. We had our only bad meal in Italy at Truck-stop restaurant as we left Tuscany for Lazio. However the stop itself was highly entertaining. We sat in a humble dining room with real Italians engrossed in watching the TV's flashing scenes of wedding of the Crown Prince of Monaco. We all traded gossip about it, and we made up our own translations for the traffic reports that showed Romans fleeing the city for the seaside. We thankfully avoided those traffic jams arriving in Canino in the late afternoon.
Our priciest accommodations for the whole trip were at the Cerrosughero bed and breakfast. Hotel and B&B choices in Canino were very limited. The location was lovely, an Olive-oil producing farm, the rooms were very large, but we had some allergy issues due to the evidence of a recent fumigation. After moving rooms, everyone crashed for a while. The girls took a dip in the pool and found the swings. The Farm was hosting a large wedding that evening and offered us dinner for 30 euros a person, so we opted to go exploring in town for more affordable options
We drove a couple of miles into town, which to be honest looked a little grimy. We found a place to park not far from the city center and we started exploring. In a little shabby street we found a fountain celebrating the town symbol, the Canino or dog. We couldn't resist a photostop like that. My brother and Chris climbed onto the structure, risking life and limb for a silly shot. Thankfully they made it down safely and we continued on into town. We found the main plaza, the town church and of course a Gelateria.
Outside the Gelateria we met a American ex-pat who lives in Canino with her husband. Her daughter and grand-daughter were visiting, and they were lovely to chat with. The woman was in love with the town, and told us about its History including the town legend for the name. It seems that the residents of Canino in Etruscan times were a band of vicious raiders. So vicious that their Etruscan chief renamed them. "They" he said "should no longer be know as Carrens but Caninos" for their viciousness. Colorful! We asked the ex-pat if she could suggest a good restaurant. She recommend a little place called IL Coccetto, not far from where we had parked. She warned us that the block was quite rundown but the restaurant was wonderful and well maintained.
We toured the church, and walked past the graves of Lucien Bonaparte and his wife the Prince and Princess of Canino, and people watched the dozens of old men that sat outside their rest-homes smoking and playing dominos. We were visiting town during the siesta time, so we couldn't do any souvenirs shopping, so instead we wondered down to restaurant to find out when it would reopen in the evening, and we headed back to our hotel for siesta of our own.
Dinner at IL Coccetto was fantastic. It was full of locals and the wine, the pizza salame picante and seafood (the Mediterranean coast is not more than half-hour away) were fantastic. Our only night in Canino was a success.
The next morning we found that the evening's rain had improved Canino's looks, washing away most of it griminess. It was not a picturesque medieval town like those we found in Tuscany but rather a hard-working living town, and after checking out of our hotel we set out to explore it once again, and try to find some local olive oil. We wondered into a small shop off the main road, and met a cheerful man, who told us that his shop would in two months time be transformed into the town welcome center. He was a member of the
town's historical society and we chatted with him in a mixture of Spanish, English and Italian. He told us a bit of the town more recent history (the kids grow up and leave for Rome and they lose their history) and we bought plates, and bells handpainted in town. He gifted us with issues the town Historical society newspaper and calendars depicting some of the town's most treasured art pieces. We told him we had heard of the town's museum but had not been able to find it. He closed up shop and volunteered to take us to the museum himself.
The town museum is the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Vulci where the archaeological discoveries from a Etruscan tomb complex in Vulci (about 20km) from Canino are displayed. The shop-owner and the museum director both showed us around the museum. Turns out the the shopkeeper/historian was a former wood restorer, and had done the restorations to the former Abbey's pulpit and confessional, and his family (father and grandfather) used to do woodworking work for the Abbey.
It was such a unexpected treat to receive a personal tour from people so proud of their own town history. If you ever happen to be in that part of Italy, do stop and visit the museum and grab some dinner at Il Coccetto. And if you do can you send us some Olive Oil?
We never were able to purchase some local olive oil, as the Olive Oil cooperative shop was closed for the weekend. We did sample it while we were there, and we are still a bit bummed about the fact that we couldn't take some home with us.
None of us had very high expectations of Canino and we had only given ourselves a day and half to explore it, but it turned out to be wonderful stop. Far from touristy, it gave us a real connection to lovely local people. Whether or not our Caninos came from Canino I am glad we visted it.
We had such a wonderful time France among family, but now we were finally setting off to tour on our own. It was exciting and scary to venture off to Italy without the safety blanket of local with language skills. We would soon have to fend for ourselves.
Thankfully, Sylvie graciously escorted us down to Bastia and showed us where we needed to drop off our rental cars and board the ferry to Livorno.
There are several companies that run daily ferries to Livorno (the port near Pisa) and some of the smaller italian mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Elba. We chose Corsica Ferries due to its arrival time into Livorno. Unfortunately we didn't find out into later that the car rental offices in Livorno were all closed for several hours in the middle of day which required us to take a taxi and a train all the way to Pisa to rent a car at the airport rather than renting one straight at the port.
The ferry ride was very nice. We booked two cabins which allowed us to stow our baggage and take naps during our 4 hours journey to Italy. Some of us read on the deck, others strolled thru the ferry, and we had breakfast and lunch at the cafeteria. It was a pleasant gentle journey. Unexpectedly I met several latino migrant workers on the ship. At first I thought I was hearing some oddly understandable italian when it became clear that the servers in the cafeteria were Cubans and later some of the room stewards overheard us speaking Spanish and asked us where we were from. They were Hondurans, who once had worked for Costa Cruises and had visited Puerto Rico. It would not be the last time we would hear Spanish during our time in Italy from immigrant workers (we overheard Dominicans and Mexicans on our train rides). They were so nice and eager to speak some Spanish and all of them seemed surprised that we were simply touring Italy for fun, not there for work like they were.
We arrived in Livorno, and struggled to find a cab driver willing to drive us to the train station. We had one very exited about the possibility of driving us to the airport, but he was unwilling to take us on the short hop to the train station. It was hot and we were all tired, and despite several false starts and much disagreement about what to do, (wait for the bus, walk that way, walk this way, call another cab, give up and cry!) a lovely cab driver eventually appeared and after some persuading stuffed all 9 of us and our luggage into his van. He took us straight to the Train station where we were able to buy a tickets and board a train to the Pisa Airport relatively easily. At the Pisa airport, there was again a lot of walking, some confusion and after lots of paperwork and waiting around, two cars. We stuffed ourselves in (these cars were much smaller than the awesome cars we had in Corsica) and made a quick detour to central Pisa and the Torre Pendente before driving off into the Tuscan Countryside. We successfully navigated busy roads and found our way to the Leaning Tower complex. The place is still the tourist trap it has always been but it was reassuring to see it hadn't changed much.
Furthermore we had a purpose beyond sightseeing for this detour, back during our last european trip my brother and I had taken one of those very silly hold up/push down the leaning tower pictures all the tourists take. We wanted to recreate it, here nearly 14 years later. After lots and lots of attempts above is the end result. Not really a exact match. We probably should have walked around to the otherside of the tower, but we had been traveling all day and still had a drive into the Tuscan countryside ahead of us, none of us wanted to stand in the sun. The girls also wanted their own version and they have vowed to return in 15 years time and do it again too.
After our stop in Pisa we crammed ourselves into our cars (a slow but roomy Fiat and fast but cramped BMW) again and caravaned into the Tuscan countryside. Using our GPS as our only guide we drove to Castellare di Tonda and thankfully made it there safely despite some questionable dirt road detours.
I had found this resort on-line, after looking at hundreds of house rental listings. The reviews were solid and the location seemed central. It turned out to be a very nice place. The accommodations were a good value, clean, well maintained, with access to a semi-private pool, amazing views and the comfort of having resort staff available to fix any issues that came up during our stay (dead batteries in the AC remote...etc). We stocked up our fridge with bread, cheese and salami from the resort convenience store and we wandered down to the resort restaurant for dinner. After a long day of travel, the delicious food, the wine and the views were a healing balm.
Nearly everyone on the trip wanted to slow down our pace and not try to do too much. Our new schedule did not feature early mornings, instead everyone slept in, and we chose to head into Medieval town of San Gimignano for lunch. We didn't know much about the town other than it was a UNESCO heritage site.
The town was well preserved and touristy, but lovely to see. We wandered around for a few hours enjoying gelato, shopping and sightseeing before retreating to our apartment for an afternoon swim.
While other swam Rosalia, Rosita and I decided to venture back out of the resort to the neighboring town of Mura and the grocery store we saw there during our drive to San Gimignano. It was a lot of fun and occasionally confusing to shop in a local store. We stocked up on cheese, pasta, and snacks, laundry soap. That night we made our own dinner, and sat out on the lawn, read and played games.
The following days involved more swimming, sightseeing and laundry. We wondered down to Volterra, ate lots more gelato and wished we had scheduled more time in Tuscany as our departure date approached. Our biggest challenge in Italy turned out to be the late dinner time especially after eating in with family in France the previous week. Thankfully we we found a fantastic pizzeria in the hamlet of Alberi, not far from the resort that was open at 7:30 pm. Kendall chanced pizza with egg, and we all ordered food despite not knowing exactly was it was and it was delicious.
Italian pizza and pasta's awesomeness was not a surprise, but I was blown away by the Chianti. Every bottle we tried was wonderful. The only food that was not as awesome as it had been in France was the bread, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't as great.
When planning the trip I have to admit to being slightly hesitant to spend a lot of time in Tuscany. I was worried that we would be bored being out in the countryside for days, but Tuscany is truly as beautiful as all the movies and books make it out to be. Despite the touristy downtowns, the scenic towns were worth visiting, the gelato affordable, just avoid the Torture Museum franchises that each town seems to have.
The undisputed highlight of our trip has to be our visit to Corsica. We visited with our Corsican Cousins, (3rd and 4th Cousin's at this point, they are my great-grandfather's brother's descendants) in the mountain towns of Pieve and Sorio.
Around 1946, after a visit to Corsica with her father my grandmother started a correspondence with her Cousin NouNou. NouNou and Nana corresponded for over 50 years. As Nana's health declined she asked me to continue the correspondence. I have done so sporadically for the last 13 years, sending Christmas cards and a yearly note.
Last fall, as we began to seriously plan for this trip I sent off a emailed note (with the help of Emily a friend who is a french teacher) to Nou Nou and Janette, to see if it would be be possible to see each other and for us to visit the family home in Pieve (where Nou Nou's grand-daughter Sylivie lives with her children). Janette let me know that NouNou had passed away since we had last corresponded, but that they would love to see us. News of Nou Nou's passing were a disappointment but not a shock as her health had become frail in the last few years. It was sad to contemplate that we would not have a chance to visit with her again (I had a chance to meet her in 1997 on our previous trip to France) and ask her more question about family history.
Janette and Sylvie and her children were amazing. They went to great effort to host all of us. I had told them that we would be happy to rent a house or find a hotel room, but they found a way to room us all. They opened up Nou Nou's house in Sorio (which had not been used for several years), and Slyvie's children gave up their rooms so part of the group could stay in the house in Pieve. The house in Pieve is the house my great-grandfather Jean had been born in, and Slyvie has done a outstanding job restoring and enhancing since she moved back to Corsica ten years ago.
Despite Janette and Sylvie's concerns we were all very comfortable in the homes. My brother Juan Daniel, Chris, the girls and I had Nou Nou's house in Sorio to ourselves. We arrived late at night, after stopping the Pieve house for a midnight snack. The next morning I opened the shutter to find this amazing view out of my window! =>
On our first full day Janette, and Sylvie met us at the Sorio house and led us on a short hike on of the many walking trails Corsica is known for. The views and flora were amazing. The trail led behind the village up the mountain. The terrain is wild and rugged, with ruins of shepard shelters and cisterns dotting the trail.
After our hike we headed over to Pieve house for lunch. After sharing Corsican beer (flavored with Chestnuts) at the town bar, Janette and Sylvie made us delicious Quiches and salads. Every meal was beautifully laid out, and served in the traditional course style. Sylvie is invested in maintaing Coriscan traditions, so nearly everything we ate was either grown or produced in Corsica from the tomatoes in the salad and the wine on the table to the figs and cheese served for the dessert. It was lovely touch, that deeply touched us. Not only were we eating in the family home, but were eating the fruits of the land of our ancestors.
In the afternoon they escorted us down to St. Florent, a seaside town world famous for its beaches. The girls dug into the sand, and we took some time to enjoy the sound of the surf and feel the sun on our skin.
In many ways Corsica reminded us of Puerto Rico, the size of the island, the mountains, and beaches, but it is a much drier, more rugged environment, the mountains much taller and the roads much much narrower. Yet we felt at home, the views filled our hearts and the small streets welcomed us. After our beach excursion we headed back to the house and another wonderful dinner. The highlight of this dinner was local goat cheese and figs.
For the next day Janette and Sylvie had an ambitious expedition planned: Wineries and scenic roads of Cap Corse, the finger-like peninsula sticking up in Northern Corsica, where our ancestors were said to have come from before the settled in Pieve. Chris and I while tempted by the wineries and views opted to stay home with the girls since we knew a long day on the curvy roads would lead to sick and cranky girls and ruin everyone elses fun. Instead we chose to dedicate the day to exploring Pieve and Sorio on foot. We wandered down each alleyway, sat on the terrace of the Pieve house, walked around the churches, and made a mental map of the towns to take with us.
The day was peaceful and restful. Our goodbye dinner was memorable as it featured a very strong Corsican fish soup that stretched most everyone's culinary palette. The night before Janette had asked us to add an entry to Nou Nou's Casa Nuncia book. A memory book made for her by her grand-daughter Isabelle's husband in 2001. In it Nou Nou shared her memories of living in the houses in Pieve and Sorio and of her family in the days leading up to her marriage. My father asked me to write our entry. And in it we shared our family connection to the Pieve house, and the affection of our grandmothers. We thanked them for the opportunity to come and visit with them and let them know how welcomed they would be in coming to our homes in Puerto Rico, Miami, Rochester and Lansing.
The visit was too short and just long enough at the same time. Having the nine of us descended on them was surely exhausting, so leaving after 3 nights was a relief for them. However there was so much left to see and explore in Corsica, that I think we all wish we could have stayed longer. I hope to return someday again, maybe when the kids are older and hike more of the trails. I would love to tour the island, maybe visit the cities. Maybe next time, I will find out if there any family records in Bastia or at the central Catholic church since the churches of Pieve and Sorio are closed.
If you have ever considered visiting Corsica, do it. The air is fresh, the land beautiful and the people fantastic.
Almost two years ago my father floated the idea of family trip to visit his family's ancestral homelands. He turned 60 this year and wanted to take us all to see the towns our family emigrated from. I became the family travel agent, researching hundreds of rental apartments, flight options, and car rentals. Nine of us were coming, a ages ranging from 60 to 7. Over months of email/chat conversations we hammered out a itinerary and we contacted our Corsican family about visiting them. A wonderful friend from Church translated a dozen emails for me as we decided on when to go, and whether it would be possible for us to visit the family home in Corsica. By March of this year we had most of the essential details set and booked, and we could just sit and wait for our departure date to arrive.
As our departure date approached people kept asking me if I was excited and all I could muster was apprehension. The last trip I had fully planned for my family had been a road trip from Calgary to Vancouver 5 years ago, and while it was enjoyable trip, I took personally my family's tendency to like to gripe about details. So this time I made sure everyone had a opportunity to chime in on the planning, and I planned on letting the little gripes (which is gives my family so much joy) fly right past me. Still as they day approached I was concerned about how much responsibility I had taken on and really hoped things didn't fall flat. Mercifully they didn't. It was a wonderful trip. There were odd hiccups here and there, but everyone pitched in to make things work,
from conferring on trains about what to do if we needed to jump the turnstiles at our destination, or everyone speed walking to the Eiffel Tower once again so we could get a group shot, or respecting the need of others to stay behind once in a while or finding a cab driver willing to cram the 9 of us into their taxi so we could get to the train station or being willing to make the grocery run or simply taking the hand of one my girls as we crossed busy road. My family is still on the trip, they had a extra week, but our trip together was wonderful.
My family is scattered, so we discarded our original plan of meeting at central airport and flying over to Paris together. Instead we found the best fares we could from our various airports. We flew from Rochester, to NYC to Dublin then onto Paris. It was a long trip, but our girls are awesome, and they dealt with it like the traveling pros they are.
Our arrivals were staggered and we each found our way to the apartment of A and D, our awesome Paris hosts. Despite the threats of a rail strike we all got there safely. They live in the 16th Arrondissement just a quick walk from the Metro. The apartment was comfortable accommodating 9 extra people without too much extra effort and a couple of air mattresses. The Apartment has large comfortable bathrooms (a luxury on this trip we would later realize) and beautiful french doors and balconies overlooking a quiet street.
A and D's neighborhood was wonderful, restaurants, several bakeries, cheese shops and green markets within effortless walking distance. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc of Triomphe were less than 15 minutes of shaded sidewalks away. We settled in easily with little jet lag discomfort.
The girls got a huge thrill out of it. Honestly I think they could have turned around and gone home then and there. We walk down the steps of the Torcadero and did the line to ascend to the middle section of the tower. We were treated to fantastic views and our first ice cream cones of the trip. The girls eyed souvenir Eiffel Towers and their Papi Jean haggled with the vendors till he scored them handfuls of Eiffel Tower key chains.
In Paris we ate in mostly, A is a great cook, and between her meals and the meats, cheese, bread and fruit from neighboring shops we ate really well. In Paris we also ventured to the Louvre (where the girls hunted for Egyptian artifacts, inspired by their most recent reading obsession, Rick Riordan's The Kane Chronicles), Arc de Triomphe (where Aay and I saw two scammers try the very same ring trick on a pair of tourists), Versailles (where are girls were completely captivated by audio guides and would refuse to move on till they had hear each and every entry), and the Centre Georges Pompidou, a collection of modern art museums in a striking building in Central Paris.
Chris and I enjoyed one evening away, dinner for two at small parisian restaurant. Chris had his first Foie Gras and we loved every minute of it. We came home to find the girls enjoying their second movie of the evening and the rest of the family giggling over many bottles of wine and plates of cheese.
Paris was a fantastic time. We could have easily spent twice as long as we did there. The City was so easy to navigate, with great signage, easy to access Metro system and the weather was fantastic. It was a bit overcast when arrived and there several small downpours, but nothing that dampened our spirits and temperatures lent themselves perfectly for walking. Were it not for the ever present smokers, the city would be perfect.
Were blessed on numerous occasions by running into Spanish speaking Parisian residents, transplanted Spaniards and Dominicans who gave us advice or encouragement. And on our last day when Chris and I ventured off on our own to see the Musee du Orsay, a kind museum official had us skip the several hundred people long queue after spotting Zee falling asleep on Chris's shoulder. It really saved that outing, as it allowed us to see our favorite Impressionist painters and still make it back to the apartment in time to pack up to head off to Corsica.
It was a huge treat to visit Paris this way and I am incredibly thankful that I got to share with my family. Below you can find a slideshow of some of my pictures from the Paris leg and a link to some of my awesome Brother-in-Law Kendall pictures from the trip.
We have been looking forward to Spring Break much like everyone else. A chance to play outside, enjoy the sun, ride bikes. Only problem is that the weather didn't get the memo, it has been cold, gray and stormy. I am getting over a month of health issues so my energy level isn't up to daily musuem trips so we have instead opted for a quiet break at home. The girls are currently playing in blanket fort in the living room, and I have been doing piles of laundry and general cleaning.
But I did have one art project I wanted to work on with the girls since late last summer when I saw this to post: www.filthwizardry.com/ about using markers, Dollar store all-cotton flour sacks and watered down acrylic paint to make your own colorful dress fabric. My girls are artsy, and I hadn't yet bought them their Easter dresses.
I set up a tarp in the kitchen and watered down a bunch of different colored paint. They each took a different approach. Zee had a very interecricate pattern in mind, Aay, freehanded things, keep it simple.
We had a good a time. I am letting the fabric dry, then I will iron it to seal the colors in, wash, iron again, and sew up into a simple dress. ( I am thinking of doing something like this: http://www.joyshope.com/2009/05/simple-bandana-dress-tutorial.html).
I will post pictures when they are done this weekend.