Monday, July 31, 2017

Almonte's Textile Museum

One of the places Terry and I visited in our recent day-trip to Almonte was the Textile Museum.

It's housed in an old textile mill.

(Some of the historic complex has been converted into condominiums...)

It was interesting to see the old machinery...

Watching a volunteer weaver making tea-towels on a hand loom reminded me that my mother once had a similar loom in her porch, and I still have samples of her work...

There was a special exhibit of woven art...

Terry wanted to purchase this lovely woven tapestry...

My favorite was this one, a compilation of three woven hangings...

But it's hard to justify purchasing pieces of art - as beautiful as they are - when we have very little wall space left - and we are always thinking of downsizing!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Almonte's River Walk

The Mississippi River runs through Almonte, Ontario.

Not the same Mississippi that flows south to New Orleans in the USA... But I wonder if the two names come from the same Indian words, which (I think) mean "mighty river" or "great water."

Though the Wikipedia article on this Mississippi River (linked above) claims that it couldn't be called "great water" like the American river, it was flowing swiftly the day we were there.

Rains a week or so ago had filled the river to overflowing again... Normally it is only this powerful in spring, we were told.

Terry and I took the "river walk" path through the downtown area.

It must be a popular old path - this bench has been here for a long time, in memory of a minister and his wife who must have loved to sit here.

There were gardens of flowers in different places along the path.

At one point, we noticed a monarch butterfly. I managed to take a picture of it as it rested on a historic sign.

A lovely walk in a lovely old town.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Visiting Almonte, Ontario

In summer, Terry and I enjoy visiting historic towns in our region of eastern Ontario. I try to imagine what life might have been like here when these towns were built.

One beautiful day last week, we headed off to Almonte, about 35 minutes away by car.

The old historic part of downtown, with many buildings built in the 1800's, is especially charming...

As we walked around, we came across this statue of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, who was born in this community in 1861.

We stopped for lunch at one of the downtown restaurants. It has a patio overlooking the square where the James Naismith statue sits.

The food was delicious!

(I had the luncheon special - stew on pasta.)

Terry couldn't resist their carrot cake... It was tasty, too.

It was like stepping back in time, as we wandered around, looking at interesting shops...

Noticing old stone buildings...

The weather was perfect!

Almonte - a wonderful place to spend a summer's day!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Delicious Toronto Empanadas

Recently - in Toronto's Kensington Market - I returned to a tiny restaurant famous for its empanadas. I used to pick one up every time I headed to the train - and the four hour ride to Ottawa.

I just had to stop in and have one - to see if they were as good as I remembered...

(They were!)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Quilting

Now that summer's here, there are days when it's too hot (or too mosquito-y) for gardening. Days like that are perfect for indoor creativity - like quilting.

After organizing my sewing space (see yesterday's blog) I started rummaging around my black and white fabric bin to begin a "Bento Box" quilt. To my surprise, I discovered a quilt top I had begun back in 2014 (according to an old blog post)... I think I put it away after being vaguely dissatisfied with the way it looked. I also didn't know how big to make it.

Time to finish it, whether I totally like it or not. Several rows of blocks weren't sewn on.

I added one row of blocks to the front and used another row on the back of the quilt. With that extra design on the back, the quilt now looks reversible.

I machine quilted it in one direction... Decided not to add an additional border...

Now voila! It's done!

I really like it now! It's more "cheerful" than I expected.

With that completed, I plans to get back to the Bento Box quilt...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Getting Ready to Quilt

A few weeks ago, I decided to organize my sewing room. For a few years now it has been used mainly for storing sewing supplies and yarn - which takes up a lot of space. A comment by my daughter swung me into action... (This room makes you look like a hoarder!!)

I had to agree. No sooner had she left for Toronto, I decided to get organized! I put half a dozen bags of yarn into a cedar chest to get it out of sight. That opened up a lot of space.
The room still isn't perfect, but I now have a sewing and (small!) cutting area on the table...

Much of my fabric is sorted by color in plastic bins.

My goal now is to make some quilts - without buying additional fabric. Hopefully each quilt will reduce the number of fabric bins.

(It may take a while for me to notice a difference... I have a few more bins of fabric stored in the basement, ready to move up!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chocolate Cheese

On our recent Toronto trip, we stopped in at our favorite cheese shop in Kensington Market.

They have chocolate cheese, my daughter informed me. I just heard someone ask for it.

Chocolate cheese?! Of course, I had to buy some!

When I got back to Ottawa, I looked for it in a local supermarket.

Didn't find it - but they did have a cheese with bits of caramel in it... (I wasn't tempted.)

I did buy some with mango and papaya in it...

(I had no idea that there were so many novelty cheeses around.)

My search for a local supplier of chocolate cheese continues!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Visiting the Toronto Aquarium

Recently Terry and I visited the Toronto aquarium for the first time, together with our son and two of his friends who were visiting from Switzerland.

It was like entering a new world!

It always amazes me to see the variety of marine life found in the lakes, rivers and oceans of the world!

I particularly enjoy colorful tropical marine life...

The variety of shapes, colors and sizes is astounding...

The cold water fish from the Great Lakes - and the sharks - are less colorful.

One of the fun features of the aquarium is the variety of large tanks.

Some are all around us as we go through a tunnel while standing on a moving sidewalk.

At one point, I noticed sharks swimming over our heads.

In another places, visitors could crawl through tunnels in the middle of a tank.

My son and I managed to crawl into one small space - while fish swam in the circular tank around us!

Toronto Ripley's Aquarium - definitely a fun place to visit!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Canada is a wonderful place to live - peaceful and free. There isn't much here that disturbs our peace. But Canada does have lots of forested land... and when the weather is dry for prolonged periods of time, there are forest fires.

This summer has been very dry in the west. A few weeks ago, dozens of wildfires began to sweep across British Columbia. Last I heard, over 3,000 fire fighters were trying to put out the flames. In some potentially dangerous places, whole towns have had to be evacuated.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to pack up clothes, together with a few valuables, lock your home - and drive away, not knowing when you'll return. This must be one of the hardest things anyone ever has to do.

One of my childhood friends lives in a community where 20,000 have had to do just that - pack up and drive away from the smoke and flames.

Thanks to the internet, we are in touch. I'm happy to know that she is fine... camped out in a friend's back yard in a city three hours from her home.

I'm fine - I am blessed with supportive friends, she messages me. But please PRAY FOR RAIN!

Thinking of the more than 40,000 throughout the province who have had to leave their homes because of the fires, I share her request...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Enjoying the Scarborough Bluffs

A few weeks ago, we were in Toronto with two of my son's friends who were visiting from Switzerland.

Caro and Michael love to travel. This was their fourth trip to Canada.

On previous trips they visited us in Ottawa - once even driving with Terry and me to Quebec City and the Gaspe.

Another time, they rented a tent and canoed for a week in Algonquin Park.

Real adventurers!

Was there anything they hadn't seen in Toronto?

The Scarborough Bluffs?!

Off we went to search for the most interesting view of these cliffs overlooking Lake Ontario, just east of Toronto.

Five parks can be found along the 15 kilometers of beach-side bluffs.

We stopped at two of them.

Compared to Switzerland, this is nothing, Terry commented as we photographed the highest cliffs we saw.

True, but this swan habitat under the bluffs does not resemble the Canada I know, Michael replied. I feel as if I'm in a different country.

It was an interesting excursion for us all.