Saturday 30 April 2016

Fabric Finds

This morning, we supported the flea market at a church close to where we used to live.  As we moved away five years ago, it was our first opportunity to visit.  This flea market supports local charities and was being held for the 52nd year.  Needless to say, with such a long history, it gets an incredible amount of community support and the church hall complex is very busy.

I went with one goal in mind and that was to look for fabric and/or yarn.  I know from past experience that they sometimes have good fabric off-cuts and knowing the layout of this market certainly helped in finding the bargains.  Although I didn't find any yarn, I did manage to track down some fabric. 

 The first piece is a blue cotton chambray which cost $8.00.  When I got home and measured it, I discovered almost five metres of fabric!  I thought that there might be enough for a dress and I am certainly not disappointed!  I've been thinking about making a blue chambray dress for a while - now all that I need is a pattern.

The multi-colour print is an upholstery fabric in shades of blue and beige.  Again, I thought that there might be enough to make a cushion cover, but found that there is probably enough for two.  This is a Jay Yang screen printed design called Woodco and the fabric is even protected with Scotchgard This piece cost $5.00.

The third piece is a cotton printed fabric, which measured three and a half metres ~ all this for $2.00.  This fabric is only 90cm wide, so I'm not sure what I intend to do with it at present.  

The last piece that I purchased is this red and white gingham for $3.00.  I thought that I would use this for something Christmas-related later in the year.

All in all, a good morning's bargain hunting and some additions to my stash, which I hope to put to use soon.  I set myself a budget of $20.00 and I had $2.00 to spare.  Now maybe I should put that towards next week's sale.  

Oh, did I forget to mention that the neighbouring church has their annual spring sale next Saturday?

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Lamb Stew

We have been experiencing such cold days that it is hard to believe that it is spring.  It has been even more of a shock to the system, as we had one day where it reached 23 C last week - the day that we went to the Shakespeare exhibition.

Anyway, it has definitely been stew/casserole weather, so I took the opportunity to try this recipe for lamb stew and dumplings.  It was very easy and the result was a warming, tasty dish.

This recipe was taken from The Complete Slow Cooker by Sara Lewis, which I bought quite a while ago.  I had not had a lot of time to experiment with different recipes, so now that I have more time, I am trying to be a little more adventurous and make some new dishes.  

Saturday 23 April 2016

A Celebration of Shakespeare's Life and Works 1616-2016

Earlier this week we visited the exhibition 'So Long Lives This': A Celebration of Shakespeare's Life and Works 1616-2016.  The venue for this exhibition is the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

This was also our first visit to the library, which is very impressive with a huge collection of rare books.  We were informed that there are even more rare books in the archives (not on display) and that the library is open to everyone.

We particularly wanted to see the only Canadian copy of Shakespeare's First Folio (above).  The First Folio was published in 1623; seven years after Shakespeare's death.  It is the first collected edition of his plays.

There were many books on display, but it was difficult to get good photographs due to the lighting and the glass cabinets.  This colourful edition of Shakespeare's Household Words showed off new techniques for colour printing and dates from Victorian times (1859).

A bust of Shakespeare.

Many beautiful editions of his published works were on display.

Another Victorian gift edition: this one of A Winter's Tale, dating from 1865.

These tiny books are nine volumes of Shakespeare's plays and are known as Diamond Classics.  They were certainly compact and portable, if rather a challenge to read.  A reviewer in 1853 quipped that their format 'seems exclusively for sale in the kingdom of Lilliput, or for the benefit of opticians in general.'

This is a beautiful collection of rare books and we are so glad that we were able to visit this exhibition. It was an opportunity to see a First Folio, in addition to many other rare Shakespeare editions, some of which were on loan from private collections. 

Tuesday 12 April 2016


We are slowly settling into our new home.  It is three weeks since we arrived, but there are still a few boxes to unpack.  It always takes a while to juggle possessions and find a place to put them and we have found ourselves rearranging the boxes rather than actually emptying them.

It has been a challenging few weeks with all of the upheaval.  Two months ago, I made some life-changing decisions and to say that I was filled with a sense of trepidation is an understatement.

I had been battling with health issues due to work-related stress and they came to a head at the end of January.  It was a while before I was capable of making any kind of decisions, but I had to acknowledge that I could no longer function in a life which involved constant on-call hours and the feelings of dread every time the pager went off.  I had a complete breakdown at work and had to leave.

At the time, I couldn't talk about it.  To be honest, I couldn't talk to anyone about what was happening: everything felt out of my control.

Although I feel a sense of relief that I quit my job and we moved away to another place, I'm still feeling a sense of anxiety about my experiences and it is going to take quite a while to recover.

The kindness of friends who rallied round and helped us load the truck for our move still brings tears to my eyes. It was hard to say goodbye, but we needed a fresh start away from painful memories of workplace bullying which persisted for three years and culminated in a breakdown.

Holly Hobbie 'Friendship is a treat for two' was a parting gift from my dear friend Ruth.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Life In Colour

Continuing our journey through eastern Quebec and the sun came out at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere.

The landscape was transformed.  Suddenly, we were living life in colour again.

Monday 4 April 2016

Black and White

The Trans-Canada Highway in winter (though only just, as it was shortly before the spring Equinox).

The landscape appeared in black and white.

This is Notre-Dame-du-Lac in Quebec.

The photos were taken through the window of our truck whilst moving at speed, which explains the quality of my photography!

Friday 1 April 2016

The Long Haul

If anyone had told me that we would be on the move again, I would never have believed them.  Life is full of surprises.  We recently headed west on an 1800 kilometre (1100 mile) journey which took three days, followed by a further two days of unloading. 

We are now in a new place and surrounded by boxes again.  We are slowly making sense of the chaos.  It has been an exhausting few weeks and there is still much to be done.