Archives for category: – Shopping

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OK, I may be biased, but my fiance, Natalie, writes a great blog over at The West County Bramble. She’s been doing a much better job than I have posting about our day-to-day travels.

Here’s a link to her post about our stop in the little town of Chemainus, BC, on Vancouver Island, where we happened upon a First Nations (Canadian native peoples) ceremony as well as a very well done musical. Both were quite unexpected.

The town is full of murals. Below, Natalie sneaks into the scene of one of my favorites.

In the top photo, our boat, Carmana, lies just offshore in gorgeous twilight.

Link Trail: The West County Bramble > Chemainus, Vancouver Island, BC Read the rest of this entry »

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If you happen to be on Orcas Island in the San Juans this week, check out Pop-Up Print Shop. It’s a pop-up silkscreen shop that sells t-shirts and prints on paper.

Most of the designs are mash-ups of vintage, royalty-free, line art. It’s good stuff and the shop is only open another week.

Pop-Up Print Shop, 109 North Beach Rd., Eastsound, Washington Read the rest of this entry »

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A couple of weeks ago we were in Vancouver and spent the afternoon at Granville Public Market on Granville Island. It’s a big market hall with, I’m guessing, a hundred or more vendor stalls, offering meats, fish, pastries, bread, chocolate, fruit and vegetables, just about everything. It’s like going on a food holiday. Everything’s delicious.

It was a bit of a trek to get there as we were anchored on the other side of the Strait of Georgia on Gabriola Island. If you’d like to see more photos of Granville Market and read about our trek, check out Natalie’s blog: The West County Bramble.

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While we were in Seattle, Natalie found an amazing fabric store called, appropriately enough, Seattle Fabrics. They specialize in fabrics for outdoor, recreational, and marine use. Want to make your own sleeping bag? They have the patterns, nylon, fill, zippers, and notions. If the bag ever gets ripped, they sell sealer with which you could repair it. Want to make your own parka? They have patterns for that too.

They had braided line, elastic line, elastic line with reflective thread. Their notions section (buckles, snaps, D-rings, etc.) filled a whole wall. They had ripstop nylon, marine canvas, duck canvas, camo, gortex. Pretty much whatever you’d want. I’ve never seen a fabric store more geared to the how-to, outdoor enthusiast.

If you happen to pass though Seattle, check out there store at 8702 Aurora Avenue North or find them online at the link below.

Link trail: Seattle Fabrics

More photos of this great store below.

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If you have a project you’re working on that requires fabric, have a look at the Harts Fabric website. We dropped in to their store in Santa Cruz, California, and were impressed by the plaid, cotton twills, the ripstop nylon, and the selection of duck canvas on hand.

They were very helpful and have a large selection of well-priced off cuts. This is a great resource for outdoor fabrics. Read the rest of this entry »


View Larger Map

Whether you’re coming up to West County for the weekend or moving here for good, here’s a map of some of my favorite spots.

Click “View Larger Map” below the map to the left to read all of the descriptions. Enjoy!

If Koh Phi Phi is a gorgeous, late-night-partying supermodel, Koh Lanta is her cool, super-chill cousin, perhaps not as magazine-cover gorgeous but still quite pretty and charming to boot. Instead of dodging paparazzi and partying until 4am, she just wants to hang out, grab breakfast, and maybe check out some cool shops on the way to the beach. Koh Lanta, with its super-relaxed Thai-beach-town vibe, turned out to be the perfect spot to end our vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

After a couple of flights and a brief overnight at the very nice Phuket Backpacker Hostel, we boarded a boat for Koh Phi Phi, Thailand’s stunning tropical beauty in the Andaman Sea. Of course, the word about Phi Phi had long since gotten out. As we disembarked into the heat from the air conditioned deck, we joined throngs of people streaming down the pier and were immediately absorbed into a sea of backpacks, luggage, and Thai men hawking hotel rooms.

Tonsai Village, the heart of Koh Phi Phi Don (the main island) is a dense area of small shops, bars, and restaurants served by streets no wider than a city sidewalk. There’s not a car or scooter in sight. When the boats come in, they turn into rivers of tourists. It was all a little overwhelming, so the first thing we did was sit down and have a pizza.

With lunch finished and the crowds cleared, we felt fortified enough to look for a place to stay, so we slung on our backpacks, and headed out to see what we could find.
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After leaving the Perhentian Islands we found ourselves back in Kuala Besut near what we thought was a bus station. I went to check our options for getting to Kota Bharu, about 30 miles away, from where we would fly to Phuket. There were some taxi drivers out front trying to solicit our business but I waved them aside, walked in, and started writing down bus numbers. A few moments later a short, heavy-set man with a few missing teeth walked up and stood right next to me, at which point there was an odd silence. He asked me in broken English what was I was doing. “Writing down buses to Kota Bharu,” I said without paying much attention. Another uncomfortable silence… “Those taxi,” he said finally. I had been standing in a taxi company office writing down taxi numbers. Derp…

I checked the bus station. It was closed, so we got a taxi instead (about RM60, I think ($20)). We were off to Kota Bharu. Read the rest of this entry »


We just got back from Southeast Asia. Our entry and exit point was Bangkok—what a city. Old, new, fashionable, and traditional, all mix together in this city on the move. Street vendors can be found everywhere selling anything from pad Thai and grilled chicken skewers to knock-off, Spongebob Squarepants carry-on luggage. Whole restaurants pop-up, makeshift-style, down random alleys. We even saw women at sewing machines, doing tailoring, right there on the sidewalk. Throw in some grit, a few stray dogs, boats speeding up and down canals in a black fog of diesel fumes, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of Bangkok.

Oh, don’t forget the heat. It’s hot, hot, hot, and humid. We averaged three to four showers a day and—I’m sorry to say—my deodorant still couldn’t keep up. That said, I think Bangkok is fantastic. It’s one of the most vibrant, engaging cities I’ve ever seen. Here are a few tips, if you go.

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