I flew to Southern California, Orange County, to spend some time with the Flying Geese Quilters Guild, an active guild with about 300 members. I arrived early afternoon on Saturday and was picked up by Bonnie who drove me to a lovely hotel. She left me with a goodie bag:
Is that not the sweetest thing? It was so nice to have snacks for the room – such a thoughtful gesture!
Even though I am not a shopping kind of girl, I knew I had to go to the Fashion Island Mall, an iconic, huge, open-air mall in Newport Beach. I hopped an Uber and spent the afternoon and evening there. It is home to primarily high-end retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s.
This was a painful experience for me. This, was a sea of awesome shoes in Nordie’s. There were even more shoes, but this was as wide an angle as my phone could take. And I can’t wear any of them. All those cool, cute shoes, a sea of them…oh the agony!
I am easily impressed. I thought it was so cool that the stores do not need doors, they are just open all across the front! How SoCal.
Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean you see beyond the shoppers. How cool is that? Notice the areas of comfortable outdoor seating with lovely umbrellas. These were generously scattered throughout the mall.
Of course you could not have regular trash cans in such a mall! What I couldn’t quite capture with my camera was 2 things: how incredibly well-dressed the shoppers were and how many dogs there were. Every breed of dog seemed to be represented and they almost outnumbered people.
Apparently it is acceptable to bring your dog into a restaurant. I found it a little annoying as two little guys went after each other during my otherwise fabulous dining experience at Great Maple. No one seemed to think it odd.
Class started at 10AM on Sunday at the Orange Quilt Bee, a very nice quilt shop, the only one in the area. I forgot to take photos (of course!) but we had a full house for Quilting Motifs for the Modern Quilter. It was one of the best places I’ve taught with ample lighting, electrical, tables, chairs and just plenty of room to be able to teach in. I had a great day teaching and a very receptive group of students. I felt the love!
After class I spent a fun evening with Yvonne and together we discovered a great Italian restaurant and did a little retail therapy. Again, no photos – I forget sometimes when I’m having a great time!
I had the day off on Monday, with an evening lecture, so I packed the day. I did some research and took a short Uber ride to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. It was very highly rated so I thought I’d give it a try. Glad I did – it was a treat! I got in my 10,000 steps before 10AM and it was a wonderful place to stroll.
My first clue that there were lots of birds was this. I made a note-to-self to add “small binoculars” to my pack list. I now travel with a little backpack plus hiking shoes and jacket. I’d much rather hike than shop. The area is one of the best bird watching sites in North America and home to 6 rare or endangered species. It is a “critical estuary”, one of the most pristine in Southern California.
The area was blanketed with these Gloriosa Daisies.
There was lots of sage and a predominant mint smell although I did not see it.
I found it odd to find cactus here!
These delicate beauties were scattered around but not dominant.
This guy might make it into a quilt – I just love the shape of that seed pod!
There were bunnies everywhere but they were camera shy. I spied this guy in time to take a snap. Isn’t he cute?
I accidentally flushed out a raft of Coots and this was the best photo I could get.
Another bucolic scene in the park. It was so quiet and pristine except….
it was in the direct flight path of SNA (John Wayne Airport) and there were frequent planes overhead. It was a curious juxtaposition of the quiet and beauty of nature interrupted by the roar of a plane.
After I finished my walk I met up with Jamie Fingal and explored Old Town Orange as well as her studio.
Jamie likes color, can ya tell? Her studio was a riot of color and filled with art. Jamie is an artist, author, teacher, illustrator, quilter, fabric designer, and curator and creates whimsical and abstract work. Her work is fun and she uses vibrant colors to create eclectic work that just makes you smile. It was fun to see the space that she creates in – such a fun space!
We stopped by the Orange Library to view this collaborative piece that Jamie organized with 8 other artists. How cool to make public art! It is much more vibrant than my photo shows.
After a great lunch we stopped by Sidecar Donuts. Oh, wow! This. Was. Divine. Lemon Rosemary. I wish I could adequately describe the smell in the shop and the incredible taste of the donut with lemon filling and the rosemary with those little crunchy things. I was in heaven! I think the OC has a thing with donuts.
Oh, I was there to work after all! My lecture also was very well received an well attended which is so encouraging. There were several members who really connected with my talk. I am all about the beauty of imperfection and that really resonated. I forgot to take any other photos at the meeting except…
my jaw dropped when I saw this. Again, the colors are more vibrant than my photo conveys. This was purchased from the Tentmakers of Cairo who were teaching at Empty Spools. The collector snatched this piece up for her home. It was amazing.
This was a interesting visit for me. My previous perception of Orange Co was that there would be lots of traffic and wealth. I found it to be delightful, the people friendly, vibrant and courteous, the food divine, and the entire area is filled with pockets with trails and nature. Orange Co is home to 3 million people and Los Angeles 4 million. I had no idea OC was that large. Now I understand why people love to live there.
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