Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

We’ve done some awesome travel the last few years, including our honeymoon to Italy and our first anniversary to Kauai. Well, a year later, time for our second anniversary trip. We chose to go to Yosemite National Park and Sonoma, California for a week of hiking and wine-ing. First up, we spent three days in Yosemite enjoying the outdoors.

Right off the bat, our accommodations for Yosemite were right outside of the entrance to Yosemite Valley in a place called the Blue Butterfly Inn. It was an amazing B&B right on the Merced River with filling, hot breakfasts from two really nice people. They don’t allow kids, so it’s perfect for us and in a great location.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

So here’s the thing we learned about Yosemite in April: Morgan summed up the trip with the word “waterfalls” and I summed it up with the word “closed.” There are TONS of gushing waterfalls flying over the edges of tall cliffs, but, at the same time, more than half the park is closed for winter. Yosemite in April is gorgeous for flowing water everywhere, but we were snowed on and the half of the park that was normally open had trail and road closures due to recent snow. So you have to take parts with grains of salt. Because of all this, we didn’t tackle as much of the park as we thought we would, but here’s the highlights of what we did get to do.

The first day we were there, we started at Bridalveil Falls, which is basically the first place you can stop when you come in the valley main entrance. Probably only 300 yards from the parking lot is a footbridge with a view of the falls. From there, you can walk up about 100 yards and be right at the falls. Because the waterfall was rushing so hard, you couldn’t actually see it from that point because we were just getting pounded with water… and it was about 35 degrees out.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

From there, we drove over to Tunnel View, which is a spectacular, picturesque, panoramic view between steep rock cliffs through the valley. It’s amazing, a must-see, and really quick to see near-ish the entrance to the park.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

From here, we drove down the main road, where you can get an excellent view of El Capitan without actually having to spend three days rock-climbing it.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Then, we drove over to Mirror Lake. We had to park about half a mile away from the trail due to a road closure, then walked the trail to the “lake.” This was pretty disappointing because it was basically just some runoff water in a shallow marsh. It’s supposed to be a picturesque lake that reflects Half Dome, but no. Considering how much water was running off the mountains, we expected more. We hiked on a bit more and it started snowing. Then it started snowing harder with big fat flakes. We were out there for probably another 1 1/2 hours hiking in this. The big loop trail around Mirror Lake took about 2 1/2 hours. It was a good hike, but don’t go to see a lake.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

The next day, we started by heading to the Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls trail. It starts out going pretty straight uphill on a paved path until you get to a footbridge with a great view of Vernal Falls. We walked on until we got to the bottom of where they have rock stairs for a bit. A park ranger was there turning us around saying “it’s closed.” Shocker. What happened was that the waterfall was rushing so much that the mist it put off was going onto the trail and freezing into sheets of ice. Literally… in April… We walked out onto a big rock in the river to get a better view of the falls and you could see people still trying to go up and down the stairs and struggling. We decided to listen to the ranger and sit it out. But we still had a great view of Vernal.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Next we drove over to the Visitor’s Center and quickly left when we realized it was the dinkiest visitor’s center since we went to Congaree National Park. We walked over to Lower Yosemite Falls and walked with about 200 of our closest friends to get a good view. When we tried to hike a little bit toward the Upper Falls Trail, guess what… closed. Oh well. You can’t actually see the Upper Falls from that spot, but you see them from all around the valley. This is the only place you can see the Lower Falls.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

So next we actually did a fantastic thing and just walked around the dirt trail in the middle of the meadow that’s in the valley. It was amazing. It was warm at this point and there was virtually no one around. You wind around next to and over the river that runs down the middle and have fantastic views all around you of cliffs, El Cap, Half Dome, Upper Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls. Take an hour if you go to Yosemite and casually walk around the meadow. Take a book and a blanket even and picnic here.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

On our last day in Yosemite, we drove up to the northern section called Hetch Hetchy. What? Yeah, it was, dude. Anyways, this area is where they have a dam and water reservoir and good hiking. It normally should only take an hour to drive there from Yosemite Valley, but that road was… closed (see, you’re getting good at this now!), so we had to go around it, which took about 3 1/2 hours. We had to do it because we had planned to spend the night up near there before we moved on to Sonoma the next day, so oh well.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

I’m so glad we went to Hetch Hetchy. It was stunning. Mountains around a lake that reflected and were snow capped with waterfalls everywhere. We did the main trail from the dam to Wapoma Falls and back, which took 3 hours. You could do it faster; you could do it slower. Depends how many times you wander over to the cliff edge to take a panorama. The trail is perfect and there is a great place halfway through to take a lunch break and play in a river pool (if it was summer). You can also keep hiking past Wapoma Falls for about 13 miles if you so choose.

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite National Park - Charleston Crafted

Yosemite was really cool, but we learned that things are still a little tumultuous in April. The weekend before we were there it was 65 and sunny. The weekend after we were there, they started plowing the roads in the parts of the park that were still closed for winter. I never would have thought that it would be “winter” in April, but it was. April is a great time to go to Yosemite for the waterfalls and the lack of crowds, but you run the risk of closures. Depends what you’re willing to risk. We still had a great time and enjoyed that extra view of winter for the year, but we definitely can’t wait to go back one day and see more of the park!

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The Top 9 Instagram Spots in Charleston

Top 9 Instagram Spots in Charleston - Charleston Crafted

Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful city any time of year. That’s why we keep getting named as the number one tourist destination in the country, and the world, and the best place to move, and the number one city in the world, and the nicest people in the country, yada yada yada. We wouldn’t keep getting all these distinctions if it weren’t true. If you’re one of the thousands of tourists heading to the Holy City, you’re going to want to post some pictures of your trip online (pics or it didn’t happen, am I right?). These are photos that the two of us have taken and posted to our accounts, so they are legit. So, not in any order, here are the top 9 Instagram spots in Charleston.

Top 9 Instagram Spots in Charleston - Charleston Crafted

Pineapple Fountain- the Pineapple Fountain is located in Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston. The Pineapple Fountain is a great spot to capture a sunset, but make sure you get the obligatory “standing in the water with your hands in the air” shot.

Who's got 4 paws and HATES the water? 🐶

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White Point Garden- this gorgeous park is located right at the Battery (some know it as Battery Park), which is a big curved corner of downtown on the water. From here you have sweeping views of the water, but the best pictures are in the park, especially looking down the middle with all the oak trees on either side and the gazebo in the middle. There’s also some pretty houses nearby.

Had a gorgeous day to walk around downtown with my girls. Great weekend.

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My always & forever #HouseGoals.

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Pier at Folly Beach- head toward the sand and snag a picture of the Folly Beach Fishing Pier. The pier offers a bunch of really gorgeous angles, including facing out toward the water or catching the sunset between the beams.

Cotton candy sunsets under the bridge.

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An evening walk on the beach to cap the weekend last night.

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Time for a little Folly Beach sunset action on a rainy day 🌅

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Morris Island Lighthouse- while you’re down at Folly Beach, drive to the end and walk out to see the Morris Island Lighthouse. It’s isolated in the middle of the water now, but you can get great pics of it from the beach, especially one through all the driftwood trees lying around.

You couldn't ask for a prettier March day.

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Being a tourist in my own town

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Ravenel Bridge- probably the most iconic structure in Charleston is the Ravenel Bridge. It spans the water between downtown and Mount Pleasant and offers beautiful photo ops from both on it and below it.

Beautiful day in Charleston means it's a beautiful day to walk the bridge.

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Rainbow Row- you can’t come to Charleston and not take a picture of Rainbow Row. The historically-painted pastel colored row homes are a tourist dream and offer a lot of color for your Insta.

🌈 Row.

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Historic doors- we did a whole gallery wall in our house of photos of historic doors in Charleston. There are colorful ones, wooden ones and iron ones anywhere you look on the downtown peninsula.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood 🏘

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It's January and we are walking the dog south of broad in shorts. Love where we live ❤️

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Churches, Courtyards and Cemeteries- this one is a little bit of a cop out too, but that’s because there were too many to choose from. Walk down any residential street from Battery Park and you’ll see tree covered courtyards, tall church spires or old cemeteries that are great for black and white Instas.

Charleston, I love ya

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Charleston in December

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College of Charleston- CofC offers lots of historic buildings with moss hanging from the oaks, or the Cistern, or iron gates. Walk through College of Charleston while you’re doing your shopping on King Street and dream of the college you will wish you had went to.

Walking thru my favorite spot in the world

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Charleston is filled with many many many more gorgeous Instagram-worthy spots, but take it from a local that these are the ones to not leave town without.

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My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art – Calendars!

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

Gallery walls are an awesome way to add a lot of visual impact to a wall – but large gallery walls can get expensive. Frames are expensive and so is art. My first gallery wall, I actually built really inexpensive frames to save money. I now prefer to purchase frames (I have these from Amazon in 4 different places in my house now!) but getting a large amount of art can still be expensive. My favorite source for gallery wall art? Calendars!

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

Why calendars?

  1. They are inexpensive. Even a “high end” calendar like the one I used in this gallery (purchased at a local artist, Teil Duncan, art show) was $30. Seems like a lot for a calendar but for 12 8″ x 10″ prints it’s a steal. I’ve linked to a TON of great calendars below.
  2. They are cohesive. Whatever your theme, a calendar has already been curated to flow and go together. It takes the guess work out of it!
  3. You get 12. 12 is a great number. 3 rows of 4, 4 rows of 3, 2 rows of 6, 6 rows of 2, heck one row of 12. So many possibilities!

Why am I telling you this now? This is the perfect time to get calendars for a STEAL as the current year is currently 1/3 over. Seriously, it’s the perfect time to shop!

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

The most obvious way to hang a calendar gallery wall is grid style. That’s how I did this one, using a laser level and a picture hanging kit to get the whole thing done in 30 minutes.

My Favorite Source for Inexpensive Gallery Wall Art - Calendars! Charleston Crafted

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ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo

How to Remove a Wire Closet System - Charleston Crafted

Hello, we are back again with progress on our master walk in closet! As a reminder, we are redoing the closet as a part of the six week One Room Challenge. This week I am excited to share the full demolition and process of getting the closet ready for the new system.

As a reminder: Week 1 I shared our vision for the space and Week 2 I shared how I designed our system in Excel.

How to Remove a Wire Closet System - Charleston Crafted

Here is the total closet demolition process:

One Room Challenge Week 1: Master Closet Design Plan - Charleston Crafted

Remove all of the clothing from the space. We left it on the hangers and took it to the guest bedroom. It was, ummm, a lot. This is a great time to purge clothing as well!

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

Remove the existing shelving. For us, this involved using a drill or screwdriver to unscrew the metal brackets from the wall and then popping out the shelves. There were also plastic anchors in the wall that I yanked out with needle nose pliers. Any shelving that you take out I really suggest trying to take to your local Habitat ReStore or similar so it doesn’t go in the landfill!

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

Patch any holes you just created. All those screws left a lot of holes. Here are my tips for patching the holes, but my #1 tip is to do multiple coats and use this light weight spackle. Once it dries, lightly sand it for a smooth finish.

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

Make any other updates. We used this as an opportunity to scrape the ceilings and also give them a fresh coat of paint. Here is our blog post + video about how to remove popcorn ceilings. It’s messy, but luckily this is a small space.

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

Paint the entire space. We gave the ceiling 2 coats of white ceiling paint and the walls 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Interesting Aqua in an eggshell finish, which is the color of the bathroom. Instantly the space felt clean and 2 feet taller.

ORC Week 3: Master Closet Demo - Charleston Crafted

Now we finally get to start building! I can’t wait to share how we turned this blank slate into a super useful and organized space!

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How to Restore an Old Wooden Cutting Board

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

Cutting boards get worn out pretty quick, especially if you’re using one made of wood. Luckily, they can also be restored pretty quickly. Morgan found a beautiful wood cutting board at Goodwill that needed a little love, so she brought it home and it’s now a beautiful display piece in our home. In less than five minutes, I’ll show you how to restore and old cutting board and then you can do it yourself in that same time.

The two things that usually need fixing with an old cutting board is the knife marks and the discoloration. First, work on the knife marks. I used two different grits of sandpaper for this part. First, I used 80 grit to buff away those deep marks and try to bring the whole board back to level height. Once I achieved that, I switched to 120 grit to give the board that nice smooth finish.

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

After sanding, I wiped away the dust particles and then poured a few arcs of cutting board oil to the surface.

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

Then, using a cloth, I spread the oil around evenly to the top and sides of the board.

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

After waiting 20 minutes, I wiped away excess and let it dry. See how the oil brought out the color without staining it? Ta-da, turned out pretty good.

How to Restore an Old Cutting Board - Charleston Crafted

If you’ve been dinging up your wooden cutting boards and want to restore them to their original glory, it’s super simple. This will give new live to your cutting boards and allow them to last a lot longer.

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