Two for a Tuesday

One of my 30 before 30 goals is to practice my photography. I decided the best way to do so consistently this next year is to post a couple of photographs here each week.amanda_serrentino_20130826IMG_3487


Some will be taken with my nice camera, others with my iPhone – just as long as I’m making a point to take pictures as the weeks go by. :)

Hope you all have a nice Tuesday!!



Girls’ Trip to San Francisco


Last week, my Mom and I took a trip out west to San Francisco, and we had such an amazing time!!! Dear old Dad wasn’t able to take vacation this year, so he sent my Mom and me on the vacation of our choice. Neither of us had been to Northern California before, so this was the perfect spot for us. We really wanted to be able to see a big city, but at the same time, enjoy some time in the countryside – and San Francisco was the perfect place for that. The first thing I noticed after getting off the plane that the air is so fresh. It was a nice break from the hot and stale air we have here in Midland. :)

I’m still going through all my pictures this week (I had to order a new hard drive just to upload all the photos I took!).. but here are some of my favorite iPhone pics.


On our first day, we just settled into the hotel and went out to walk the streets. Or should I say… CLIMB the streets! I knew it would be hilly, but I had no idea. I’m glad I didn’t waste suitcase space for my running shoes – just walking around the city is exercise enough!


Monday we walked down to Union Square, the big shopping center downtown. 10 years ago I would have been in heaven shopping at all the major chain stores they have there. But today, the only store I wanted to visit was Britex Fabrics. I’d heard about the shop from many of the sewing bloggers I follow, so of course I had to see it for myself.

Britex is a four-story tall building full of fabric, notions, and sewing books. I could have spent all day in there! They definitely had some of the nicest fabrics I’ve ever seen in my life, and the prices reflect the quality. I didn’t end up buying anything, but it was fun to look around and gush!!


Then we hopped on a bus and took a tour of the city. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park, all the beautiful Victorian townhouses (including the one where Full House was filmed!), Haight Ashbury (where all the hippies lived), and Chinatown. Most of these photos are on my big camera, but here’s a few snapshots of what we saw.




On Tuesday we took a short trip to see Muir Woods National Park. The park has beautiful redwoods that are typical of the area, and it was my first time to see them in person. The trees are just spectacular!! I love how John Muir himself described the park, “This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” So true.


Can you see my Mom in the picture below? :) She’s standing next to a tree that was hit by lightening a couple of years ago. The trunk is about as wide as she is tall!


On Wednesday, our last full day there, we took a day-long trip out to Sonoma Valley. We visited three different wineries, and I think my Mom and I agreed that this was our favorite part of the trip! The wineries we visited were very small. The production at each is so low that you can only buy wine from the winery themselves (i.e. they don’t distribute), so it was interesting to learn about the care and attention that each place puts into their process.

We had the best time at our second stop, called Homewood Winery (I found their website, here). Our wine expert, Maggie, is from Fountain City, TN – a small town right near Knoxville, where I grew up!! It’s always fun to meet someone from my hometown (especially so far away!!), but this girl was a riot!! She had so many amazing stories about how she got into the wine business, and I loved to hear about the ways she celebrates wine on a daily basis (very inspriational!!). ;)


So that’s our trip! We had such a fun time, and it was great catching up with my Mom.

This might be hard for Mom and Dad to believe, but I really miss living close enough to home where I can visit on a regular basis. (This is coming from the child who, when she was 18, couldn’t wait to move as far away as possible!!!). Nowadays I only get to visit with my parents once or twice a year, and usually it’s for family events or a quick weekend. This makes it hard to just find some quality time to catch up with one another.

That being said, I really cherished this time with my Mom last week, and I hope we can do it again soon! Thanks, Dad, for sending us away!! We had a blast. Oh, and just to warn you – Mom and I decided we need to make this trip into an annual thing!! ;)


As for the rest of my summer break…

Next week I’m taking a trip to visit my dear friend Gaby in Laredo, who I haven’t seen since we moved to Midland last year. She’s planned a carne asada for my arrival Saturday night, and the rest of the week we’ll spend visiting with my friends there. Oh, and I plan to eat my body weight in tacos (I’m sort of a taco snob after living on the Mexican border). I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I hope to share a sewing related post before my departure this weekend. I have a beautiful quilt to show you that just arrived today from the longarm quilter(!!!). This is my second quilt I’ve made, but it’s the first one I’ve ever had professionally quilted. I’m in love with how it turned out!!

Until then, here’s a picture of my gorgeous pups, and how they like to spend these long summer days (inside and in front of the A/C!!).


What I Made | Nani Iro Hazel Dress (and New Hair!)

I’m pretty sure this is my FAVORITE dress I’ve made yet. :)



I bought this Nani Iro border fabric as soon as the Colette Hazel dress pattern came out last spring. It’s a beautiful double-gauze fabric, and I have to say, it isn’t the cheapest fabric I’ve ever bought. 3 yards of it wasn’t super expensive, but I wanted to make sure until I had the pattern down perfect until I cut into the fabric.

I think all that anticipation sort of backfired, though. I didn’t have major problems putting the dress together, but I did cut one of the bodice pieces incorrectly – twice – which was sort of annoying (luckily I had a little extra yardage to get me through all the pieces). Also, I cut out 4 pocket pieces out of my precious border fabric, and turns out the blue floral pattern showed through the skirt. I’ve never made a white dress, so I really had no clue the pockets would show through. I consider it a lesson learned. Luckily I had enough white batiste from my underlining to cut out the pockets, and I think I can use the blue floral pocket pieces for another garment someday. :) I was able to learn from that mistake.

Now onto the good things. Here are some special touches I added to the pattern:

  • The bodice and skirt are underlined with ‘imperial batiste’, which is a very nice poly cotton blend. It’s silky soft and has a nice drape – I ordered a little extra to use on the next nice garment I make.
  • I used a catch stitch on both the facings and hem. I really enjoy using this stitch, it’s very therapeutic – kind of like knitting.
  • I added a waist stay to the pattern (using Tasia’s tutorial here). It was much easier than I expected, and the skirt ended up being a little heavy with both the double gauze and lining fabrics. I’m really happy I tried it – I plan on using it on more gathered skirt dresses!
  • I included a hand-picked zipper (like my previous Hazel dress). I don’t think I’ll ever go back to invisible zippers!!



I didn’t realize this at the time of cutting, but I unintentionally left the name of the designer and fabric on right at the hem. I really like how it turned out – that way, whoever ends up with the dress years from now will be able to reference the designer and when it was manufactured. :)

Also – did you notice…? NO MORE BLONDE!! I did it! I got rid of my blonde highlights. :)

I mentioned on my 30 before 30 list that I wanted to grow out my highlights before next year. I originally made a hair appointment last week to see how I could make the transition easier (I was thinking I could do some sort of temporary highlights). But once I was there I decided to just take the jump and dye my hair as close to my original color as possible. The thing is, I’ve been highlighting my hair for about 10 years now, so I’m not even sure what my original color looks like! Although it didn’t turn out exactly how I imagined, I think that the color is pretty close.

To be honest, I sort of regretted the decision shortly after leaving the salon. The change was pretty drastic, and I know it’s not exactly what my hair will look like when it grows out. But.. I figure I’ve done it now, and I’m sure that the color will soften up over time. At least it’s over with, and I don’t have to go through getting temporary highlights or anything else for the next year as it all grows out!! So I’m trying to be brave about it. What do you all think? Does it look normal, or kind of crazy?

Take care, everyone. I leave you with this picture of my gorgeous Canela… who is quite the trickster. I’ve taught her 3 new tricks since I finished up spring semester! She can now roll over, hold a ball on her nose, and shake. I’ll have to take a video and post it here soon. She’s like a circus sideshow act when she does them all in a row. ;) Hehehe…