Summer will be here before you know it! Summers mean longer days. Adventures (whether in your backyard or across the country). Road trips (down the road, or unplugged from ‘reality’).
Choose Your Own Adventure
It was a huge mindset shift for me to think of adventures in terms of what I can accomplish. It might not be financially feasible for you to take several vacations this summer, but you CAN make special memories with the people you love right now!
I live in Colorado, where you have to plan a year in advance where you are going to camp (let’s be honest. We don’t camp. We glamp…but not with gaudy decorations. We have memory foam mattresses, but our trailer is a glorified tent that keeps us out of the weather!)…then plan 6 months in advance…it’s quite a process. We have to schedule in our family time. Because we live in a high touristy area, we try to travel during off seasons, or during the shoulder seasons.
Over spring break, we went to Bent’s Old Fort, in southern CO. In the fall we went to a few National Parks in Utah.
During the summer we kept our ears open for fun things to do: played chess at a local mall, followed by pulling over on the side of the road to watch an amazing sunset, observed baby bunnies in our yard (we named them!!), went on as many hikes as we could…basically…made memories. We only were able to go camping a handful of times.
Get a National Park pass, and get out and explore! There are 61 National Parks, but over 400 parks in the National Park Service – these include historic sites and monuments! There is a lot to explore!! The best part of all the NPs is seeing things you didn’t think would be that interesting, and discovering how interesting it really was! (Plus those parks are probably much less crowded!)
Making memories is the best part…but documenting your adventures is also fun! You can share with others fun things you learned, or amazing sunsets…practice your photography skills…share about an epic hike.
The National Park Postcards blocks are another way that you can have a visual representation of your trip…in a functional piece of art. You may find that you’ve run out of wall space for photos…Perhaps you’ve collected souvenir patches from the National Parks (or you’ve thought about it, and have had NO idea what you’d do with them!!)…perhaps your kids have more Junior Ranger patches than you know what to do with! How do you display them?
We had previously collected postcards to hang on our walls. I’d always eyed the beautifully embroidered patches, but not sure what to do with them!! During the Airstream Quilt Along, one of my Instagram followers suggested that I design a quilt block for all the Junior Ranger patches her daughter had collected. She didn’t want to put them on a vest that her daughter would outgrow (Amen, sista!). So smart!
She later shared with me that she didn’t have a sewing machine on the road, since space is a premium. Can you relate? I’ve heard from a few full time RVers that they left their machine at home, and they don’t have space for fabric. Let me tell you, there are hundreds of places to
squirrel hide 5″ charms in a trailer!! 😜 Just ask me if you need ideas (inside pots and pans….in your clothes bin…between towels…just kidding) But really, a charm pack doesn’t take up that much room. I designed this to not take up much room at all while you’re on the road…or in your purse.
What do you do when you’re sitting in the car for hours and hours? Enter English paper piecing. The perfect project for evenings, while at sporting events (kids or professional…makes no difference to me 😂), the blissfully endless miles of the open road. If you have fond memories of a National Park (or Parks), why not whip up some blocks while you wait at the doctors office, or before school pick up, or while watching tv in the evenings?
We’ll talk more about prepping blocks, but for now, imagine the possibilities. You may have bags of souvenir patches, you may not (you might need to reach out to a few NPs now and purchase the patches!! 😜 Or travel back to them! 😉 ) You might even make a “Choose Your Own Adventure” quilt documenting fun memories with loved ones!! Look through the blocks in the National Park pattern, and think of the possibilities.
Here are some ideas:
Did you see an amazing sunset? Use a watercolor type fabric, or a gradient to represent the sunset.
Did it rain the whole time, and you were stuck in your RV or hotel room playing games? Use a fabric with lines to represent the rain.
Did you rescue a sea star that had washed up on shore? Use a Tula Pink fabric to represent the sea star.
Did you experience the darkest dark sky park? Use black fabric for the background, and a white fabric for the star!
As I was designing the blocks, I was thinking of a few parks.
The aspen in Colorado…Rocky Mountain National Park.
The cactus…Saguaro National Park, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon
The teepee…Bent’s Old Fort, Devil’s Tower
The pine tree…any park where there are pine trees!!! Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Acadia.
“I don’t have any souvenir patches”
Ha! Just kidding! I don’t either. :O For real. NOW I need to collect them!!! My kids have some from their Junior Ranger programs. I’ll absolutely be making quilts for them. But for mom and dad: we’re NOW collecting!!! We have a few NP trips planned for this summer…and family live near some, or are going… “Oh hey…can you pick up a patch for me while you’re there?!” 😉
BUT! I also intend on treating this as a summer art journal. I might not remember when I’m old why I have a bright sunset block…but my kids will remember the time we pulled over on the side of the road because the sunset was so bright and brilliant!
I’ll be adding to the blocks in the upcoming days and weeks…I have some fun ones planned. If you think of one I should add, please leave a comment letting me know! Do you have a traveler friend who’d love this? Please share it with her!
Join us for a go-at-your-own-pace Glamping Through the National Parks sew along! Piece as many as you can or want. These blocks DO stitch up quickly, so if you’re prepping before road-tripping, over prepare…you’ll want to sew more 😉
Use hashtag #EPPNPSAL and #NationalParkQuiltto follow along and get inspiration from other sew-ers.
See you in the Sew Along!