HK love

This place will always be my home <3

But I haven’t been able to be there as much as I’d like in the past 20-some years. So, even though there’s so much to see and do and so much fun to be had, it always feels a bit emotional to visit. Childhood memories, and such.

We crossed the harbour between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula almost daily. Usually we take the MTR (subway), but realized that we can also take the Star Ferry, so we tried that one day. The Star Ferry has been in operation since 1888. It used to be much busier when the MTR wasn’t as extensive. I remember taking it every time we visited my grandparents, and it would make me sea sick (it still does :P). It’s an excellent way to take in the views of Victoria Harbour.

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Near the Star Ferry pier we could see the smiley Ferris wheel ^_^ We didn’t go on it though. It was very rainy that day.

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Aberdeen is one of the neighbourhoods where my family used to live. The Aberdeen harbour is home to many boat houses, and the many people who live in them.

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People could cross the harbour with the commuter boat, it costs $2.20 HKD (about $0.35 CAD) for the 3-minute journey. So of course we went for a ride :D It was also a nice way to look at the boat houses.

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The hotel we stayed at was very close to the North Point Pier. There were quite a few people fishing at the pier. This is one of my favourite pictures from the whole trip.

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Springtime is very foggy.

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Mike recently started reading Moomin comics and was very excited to find a Moomin Cafe :D We had lunch there one day. The server would bring over giant Moomin (and friends) plush to sit at the table with people.

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And we found not one, but TWO Studio Ghibli stores! (Donguri Republic at Harbour City and Times Square)

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We also found the BEST cat cafe ever!

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There were cats everywhere. Right beside me curled up in a chair, on top of the tables, inside the counter…

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Most are sleeping, but the ones wandering about were quite friendly :D

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And in the same neighbourhood I found a yarn store! (the red framed windows with the sweaters) Causeway Bay is the place to be! I bought some discounted acrylic but exercised quite a bit of self-control — there’s only so much space in the luggage and there are so much fun snacks to bring back!!

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Switching gears to see places outside of the city, we joined a boat tour to visit the volcanic rock region in the Hong Kong Geological Park, which consists of sea arches, sea caves, and hexagonal rock columns! The tour leaves from the Volcano Discovery Centre at Sai Kung Pier.

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Pictures don’t do these mountains justice, they are absolutely magnificent. Here is a sea arch!

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And some sea caves, and waterfalls!

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As well as fishing villages…

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And vendors selling seafood from their boats.

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Foggy days mean low clouds hanging in the middle of the mountains and this heavenly scene.

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Then we went to the opposite side of Hong Kong and visited Tai O, which is a fishing village on Lantau Island, with many stilt houses built on water.

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The small streets and houses are very different from that of the city.

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Residents making salt fish, shrimp paste and dried seafood.

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We took a boat tour to watch for the famed pink dolphins, but didn’t see any :( maybe next time.

Going back in time, we visited a museum of a 200 year-old restored Hakka walled village, called Sam Tung Uk.

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We visited partly because my sister and I have Hakka ancestry. Some of the things in the museum indeed remind me of what my grandparents used to have in their home, and still in the village where they live now, like the ancestral hall.

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Back in the city, we visited the historical Stone Slabs Street (aka Pottinger Street) in Central district. Some of the stone slabs are restored, and some are original I think. Vendors keep stalls on both sides of the street. I remember being there once when I was young, and it being a lot busier back then, but this is exciting nonetheless :D

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And guess what I found on these fabulous stone steps? A yarnbombed railing!

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Nearby there is a Starbucks dressed like an old times Hong Kong coffee house :D

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My sister took us to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she went to graduate school several years ago :D It might not be a place that most tourists would visit, but since it’s built on a mountain it’s actually a good hike, with lots of beautiful scenery, like this fountain near the top of the mountain, which seems to be built to blend with and interact with its surrounding views.

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The tiles make up the words, “spread wings and fly” :)

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And so we did, at the end of our trip, flew back to our other home in Toronto. But surely we will be back :)

I hope you enjoyed the photos! :D Because I have more! :D Mostly street photography using the Diana Mini. I’m still waiting to finish my last roll and for the rest to develop, but will pick some good ones to show you.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

hello from Seoul! :D

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Long time no see everybody!! :D

Mike, my sister and I went on a trip to Seoul and Hong Kong earlier in the month :D We’re now home and feeling dizzy with jet lag, but we had such a good time! Thought I’d share some pictures of places we’ve been and loved, in case you’re thinking about visiting these cities as well and looking for ideas!

We caught the cherry blossoms while in Seoul, the picture above was taken at Gyeongbokgung Palace, largest of the five palaces in Seoul. The architecture at the palace is absolutely spectacular. It feels as though every tile, every beam, every brick is thoughtfully and meaningfully made and placed.

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The palace grounds also has some lovely ponds. We didn’t have time to visit all 5 palaces, and the ponds were the reason why I chose to go to this palace. It’s difficult to not get beautiful photos here.

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There were many people wearing hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) strolling about :)

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We also visited the Namsangol Hanok Village, Hanok meaning traditional Korean houses. The architecture of civilian houses is no less stunning than that of the palace. I love the neat, clean, simple aesthetic.

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At the Hanok Village we participated in a tea ceremony activity. We were served traditional Korean sweets as well :D They’re made of crispy rice. In the picture the museum docent is pouring the tea from the teapot to a tea bowl for the tea to cool down a bit, before pouring it into the teacups.

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We thought we didn’t have time to visit other palaces, because we were only there for 4 days, and palaces are huge! But found out that there is a relatively small palace in the centre of the city, which we would pass by anyway on our way to other attractions, so we went in. This is the Deoksugung Palace. It has newer additions with western influences, like the light fixture and wall decorations in the picture.

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It also has a couple of western style buildings, which I certainly did not expect to see in a Korean palace.

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Speaking of architecture, we visited the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which houses some shops and exhibitions, as well as a museum of an excavation site of a number of dwellings that were built in the 1300s. This spaceship-like building is just incredible to look at, and to walk around and underneath.

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There is this beautiful stream that runs through the city called the Cheonggyecheon. It was a creek that got covered by transportation infrastructure in the 1950s, and then was uncovered and restored as a city green space in the 2000s.

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It was lovely to take a stroll along the stream. A bit of a resting spot from the busy streets on either side above. A lot of local residents sat on the rocks and ate lunch, hung out.

One of the staff at the hostel we stayed at recommended going to a market for traditional Korean snacks. So we went, but I can’t remember what the market is called >_<… it looks like it could have been the Gwangjang Market. Once stepped into the market I was at once amazed and overwhelmed, because it reminds me of Spirited Away with the people sitting at stalls and the light bulbs above head, and because I’m not so great with crowds.

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The staff recommended Korean fried pancakes, which we got, it was indeed delicious :D

And then through recommendations from a friend we went to the Insadong neighbourhood, where one could find arts and crafts of all kinds, and a kimchi museum! :D There are videos about how different kinds of kimchi are made, interactive displays where one could experience making kimchi Cooking Mama style, and very informative displays about the benefits of kimchi.

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In and around Insadong there are also a number of traditional Korean tea houses. We visited one with a beautiful courtyard.

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And got ourselves some green plum tea and shaved ice, with dried persimmons, dried red dates and red beans. We drink the tea with a spoon.

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We stayed at a lovely hostel called the Twin Rabbit. The staff are very friendly and helpful, the room is very clean, the rate is quite reasonable, and the breakfast area has a giant artificial tree which is super cute. It’s located in a university neighbourhood with lots of affordable eateries and hip shops and cafes, and some street arts and music too. Highly recommend it!

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Here I was trying to work on the crochet project I brought with me under the tree. I’m a bit sad to say that my project is not complete by the end of our trip, and I may have to take apart what I’ve done so far because the yarn isn’t working out the way I want… but that’s a different story for another time. Next stop, Hong Kong! Stay tuned for more photos! :D

 

caturday

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Painted some pet rocks one day. Magical sparkly cats! :D

The white one lives on my desk at work now, gifted the yellow one to my desk neighbour. Going to pick up more rocks from the beach when the weather gets warmer, and paint more cats :D

Also, finally visited the very first cat cafe in Toronto!

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As expected, the cats are mostly sleeping when we visited. But it’s still nice to hang out :)

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The Cat Cafe takes in cats from the Humane Society, and the cats can be adopted. These two are best buds and must be adopted together :)

In other news, I bought some reindeer moss the other day and made some terrarium necklaces for the shop. I thought they looked pretty nice. This one had some agate chips and lavender in it.

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Hope everyone’s having a good weekend! :D

 

 

buttermilk mary

Trip to the sea continues! :D

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We were so fortunate! We were told by the locals that the leaves in Cape Breton were 2 weeks behind their regular schedule this year, so we got to drive through the mountains when they were the most vibrant! <3

Like many people who visit Cape Breton Island, we drove around the Cabot Trail, which is the upper part of the island, as shown in this map here.

We stayed at the Auld Farm Inn in Baddeck, I think the largest village on the Cabot Trail. (We highly recommend the B&B, the rates are very reasonable, and the hosts are so very friendly and thoughtful. I loved that they took the time to explain the history of the farm house and referred to themselves as custodians rather than owners of the property. AND they use old keys for the rooms!)

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We aimed for an early start in the morning, as fellow inn guests let us know that they took 6 hours to complete the trail the day before. It was a sunny and crisp fall morning when we set out on our road trip around the trail :)

If I remember correctly, we spotted this church near St. Anne’s Bay, not far from Baddeck.

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Then we stopped at the look-out point at Lakie’s Head, with its rugged coastline of pink rocks.

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We stopped here for the washroom I think. And I really like the building against the bright blue sky, and the name of the place. So honest.

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This is also where we found an album named “Buttermilk Mary”. I thought Buttermilk Mary was the artist or the band, and I thought that’s a great stage name (or blog post title, or name for a cat, haha). It wasn’t until after we came back and Googled it that we realized Buttermilk Mary is a set of jigs by the Baroque N’ Fiddle String Quartet, and we totally regretted not buying the album at the general store! We ended up buying it on iTunes :P It’s really lovely, you can watch it played here.

Can’t remember the last time we navigated by paper rather than GPS or Google Maps. This map was given to us by a friendly staff when we got to the Highlands National Park office. We were asking for directions to waterfalls on the trail. She marked her favourite spot on the trail with a heart :)

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White Point Beach was her favourite spot and she highly recommended it. Just a bit north of Neil’s Harbour, which is a very picturesque fishing community.

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This lighthouse doubles as an ice cream parlour in warmer months!

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Obviously October is not one of the warmer months in the east coast. It actually got really windy when we got to White Point.

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And we snapped a few more photos…

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But we never made the trek to the White Point Beach, because it was just too cold and windy. So we got back into our warm rental car and continued on the trail.

There were many look-out points along the way. Pictures really can’t capture fully the vastness of land and the majestic mountains. Can you see the river weaving between the mountains?

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We started following one of the shorter trail to find the Black Brook Falls, but then Mike spotted the Coyote warning sign and told me about it. I started to panic, remembering stories from our east coast friends about how east coast coyotes hunt like wolves, in packs. So I convinced Mike to turn back. But we did venture into the woods for a few minutes. I love how moss seems to cover everything in these woods.

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And we came across a river. Mike took a brilliant photo of it, which I don’t think he minds me showing it off :D

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I also took far too many of these behind-the-dashboard pictures with Mike’s DSLR while he was driving. The view is different behind every bend! And as you can see, the weather was also different minute by minute. It was now hailing. But look at the sea!!

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One of the last look-out points we stopped at was the most exhilarating. I believe this is at or near Margaree. The gusty wind, the sea mist, the salt in the air, the roaring sea — it simply commands us to be fully present in that moment of being there. I usually have a huge fear of deep water and height (because I can’t swim). But in that moment, looking down into the sea and the jagged rocks from a cliff, I felt strangely safe, like I’ve found my place in all the created beings and things. Like I belong. The experience of that moment was one of the best gifts that I brought back with me.

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After going around the trail we explored village of Baddeck the next day. Aside from Baddeck Yarns (see previous post :D), we visited the Alexander Graham Bell Historic Site and museum. I never knew that the inventor lived in Cape Breton! (he and his wife are also buried in Baddeck) And that aside from inventing the telephone, he also contributed to many innovations in aviation and shipbuilding. The tetrahedron was a structure that he frequently incorporated into his inventions, from kites to towers to aircrafts, because of its strength. This is a tetrahedron shelter that he would have stayed in to observe flying experiments.

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Alexander Graham Bell fell in love with this view and stayed. I wish we could stay too.

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Doing a bit of beach-combing here before heading to Sydney.

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And here we are in Sydney, capital of Cape Breton, home of the big fiddle and beautiful purple rocks!

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Here we spent the day visiting a couple of historic house museums. At Jost House the upper floor displayed an apothecary exhibit and a marine exhibit. The house was occupied by families of merchants from the 1700s until the 70s.

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Then we visited the Cossit House, which is believed to be the oldest house in Sydney, built in 1787. It was the home of a minister, who lived there with his wife and 13 children. It has a lovely back garden maintained by the museum docents, with handwritten signs explaining the names and uses of the herbs in all the garden boxes. It really was a cozy place. But when I took the picture with Diana Mini it turned out sort of dark, and then it has this glow at the doorway, which makes it look like those pictures of haunted places… or a house with a glowing heart…?

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Not sure where the glow comes from, it is also in a picture at the Joggins cliffs (picture of my feet), so I’m sure it has to do with the developing process or some kind of lens flare, and not the house itself :P

We then drove back to Halifax to catch our flight home, trying to squeeze in a few more strolls in the lovely city before we had to leave.

Argyle Street, naturally.

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If you ever find yourself visiting Halifax, and you’re looking for souvenirs that are not in the shape of a lobster or lighthouse, be sure to visit the World Tea House and Biscuit General Store on Argyle St.!

Also, if you like East Asian food, I highly recommend the Beaver Sailor Diner up the street from the harbour! I think it’s pretty new, the staff was really friendly, the noodles are handmade, the prices reasonable, and the logo is cute! (I think they should make buttons/pins of the logo.)

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Another great place where we found awesome souvenirs was the farmers’ markets. We visited the Seaport Farmers’ Market for breakfast one day at one of the bakers’ stalls, and bought quite a few bags of seaweed products from Mermaid Fare :D (the owner is very knowledgeable about the seaweed and how to cook them!) Here’s Mike’s picture of a friendly fish monger. We didn’t bring back any fish though.

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And then we ventured into the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building (still haven’t done the brewery tour, must do that one day!). We find that it’s a smaller (but equally vibrant) market with more local residents visiting, whereas the Seaport Market can be very crowded when there’s a cruise ship docking at the harbour :S At both markets there are produce, spices, soaps, coffee stalls, bakeries, crafts, artwork, and everyone is happy to explain their products even if we weren’t buying anything.

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This is from one of our early morning strolls at the Old Burying Ground in Halifax. I like how the gentle sunlight of early morning is filtered through the trees and illuminating the old graves. It was founded in 1749, and closed in 1844. We spent some time there marveling at the old lettering and cravings on the headstones.

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And finally, part of why we were in the east coast in the first place was because I was presenting a paper at an art therapy conference in Halifax. That happened before we went on the road trip to Cape Breton. And this was me, basically reading out my script because I so dread public speaking. But I hope whatever it was that the participants took from what I shared would make a difference one day, no matter how small, how indirect.

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And that was my journey! I have a feeling that I will journey back one day. Just feel strangely at home in the east coast. Until then, I will miss the warm hospitality and the sea.

I hope you enjoy the photos and stories and travel tips! Thank you for journeying with me! :D

 

trip of the dreams!

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I’ve been looking forward to visiting the Joggins Fossil Cliffs for months. I had so wanted to become a paleontologist when I was a child, so going to a fossil site was a trip of the dreams! I studied tide time charts and planned our drive so we would arrive at low tide; I looked at other travellers’ photos and comments; I checked and re-checked weather forecast and prayed for rain to hold off on the day we planned to visit…

– and suddenly we were here!

The cliffs are situated along the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world. It holds rocks and fossils from the “Coal Age”, about 300 million years ago.

This, where I was standing, is the OCEAN FLOOR (could hardly contain my excitement!!) and will be submerged in up to 13 metres of water in a matter of hours.

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(as you might notice, some pictures were taken with film with the Diana, and some where taken on my phone).

We joined a walking tour, in which the friendly tour guide pointed out different fossils that could be found at the cliffs. Like this fossil of a tree trunk.

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These were trackways of Arty the arthropleura — a giant insect about 1–8 feet long. The tour guide showed a scaled down replica of Arty.

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Fossil of a trilobite.

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Fossil of tree roots.

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Look at the beautiful layers of rocks on the cliffs!

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The tides coming in…

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It was majestic.

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We were hoping to visit the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro afterwards, but we spent a bit too much time at the cliffs, and by the time we got to Parrsboro the museum was closed. So instead we spent some time at the wharf looking at the sunset sparkles on the water.

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More on Nova Scotia tomorrow! :D

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week!

 

east coast yarn adventures!

Mike and I were travelling in Nova Scotia over the past week :D We had a magical time driving through the mountains, marveling at the sea and chatting with very friendly locals. I will share more pictures about our trip in other posts. But first, yarn! We first stopped in Halifax (where I was actually attending a conference before we rode off to the sunset and the sea and fun times), and not far from where we were staying is The Loop!

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There’s been some construction going on in front of the shop, so guess what? The scaffolding gets some new sweaters! :D

I bought a skein of locally made wool there, by East Anchor Yarns, in lovely shades of blue/green and pale yellow. (The friendly shopkeeper let me know that the other skeins with shades of pink were dyed with newspaper! Who knew black ink will turn yarn pink? She also helped me with winding the skein into a ball so I can start using it right away :D)

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And so during lunch time at the conference and on the way to Cape Breton Island I was finger-knitting :)

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Can’t show you what I was making yet, because it’s a gift. I thought it would make a pretty special souvenir to buy some local yarn and make something during the trip! I might even write a pattern for this project, it’s super fun for travelling :D

I could have brought the project I was working on at home, but because I mostly knit with straight, long (and metal!) needles, I was doubtful about bringing them on the plane. So I figure I’d finger-knit!

We were staying in Baddeck while visiting Cape Breton. I didn’t know that the village has a yarn store until we spotted the bright pink sign on the way there. Baadeck Yarns! This is the best surprise ever! :D

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It has soooo much yarn… (sorry about the blurry picture, my hands were obviously shaking with excitement)

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The shopkeeper is so very friendly! She showed me the beautiful crocheted cardigan she just finished, we exchanged experiences with various knitting stitches, then she chatted with Mike while I went around the store to touch everything. This is me being ridiculously happy being in this store.

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I seriously had a super hard time walking out the door, with the kind shopkeeper and all the yarns… but eventually I did. And hope to return one day. On the plane home I was knitting with a ball of yarn that I bought there.

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This is all the yarn I gathered from the trip :D (the Sirdar Kiko has already been knitted up)

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I bought the skein with green/purple/brown shades at the Seaport Farmers’ Market from Lismore Sheep Farm, when we drove back from Cape Breton to Halifax to catch our flight. After going to Baadeck Yarns I wasn’t going to buy more yarn, because we tried to travel light and only brought one suitcase and a couple of carry-on bags. But it was really affordable and it has beautiful shades of colours I like, so I couldn’t resist! I wasn’t going to get so much of the brown/tan yarn neither, but the shopkeeper at Baadeck gave me a really good deal because she was cleaning out the shelf… Anyway, good thing yarn can squeeze into small spaces, everything fit in our suitcase in the end :D

Stay tuned for more photos and stories from our trip! :D Hope everyone has a good start to the week!

 

 

 

alpaca farm day and surprise visit with Maud

Oh my, it’s been a while since I’ve written! I’ve been busy preparing for an upcoming trip to the east coast (exciting!), and kept delaying writing about our much-anticipated trip to an alpaca farm on one of the National Alpaca Farm Days. But finally! Here are some photos of these friendly animals! :D

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Aren’t they just so fluffy-looking and beautiful? And it was an absolutely gorgeous day.

Most of the alpacas seem too busy eating to be paying us much notice, some would warily glance at us and then trot away, but one or two came up and looked at us for a while :)

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And this friendly one let Mike pet her :D (and this picture and the next were taken by the Diana, my film camera)

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They’re such a gentle and peaceful group!

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The guard dogs were also very affectionate. They would growl a bit when they sense people approaching, but then quickly jumped up to the fence to be petted.

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Then on the highway my sister spotted sings to the house of L. M. Montgomery, so we made an impromptu trip to the house, and we caught the last weekly tour of the season! What luck!

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We got a very thorough interpretive tour by a very knowledgeable and friendly guide. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in Uxbridge, Ontario. The tours are still offered by appointment, and there are scheduled events leading up to Christmas :D

This is a favourite room of the author (affectionately referred to as Maud by the tour guide). I was drawn to the couch by the window when I first walked in, and I thought if I were looking to sit and relax and knit/crochet in this room this would be my favourite spot. And then the guide let us know that the couch was where Maud sat to write her books every morning. Kindred spirits, eh? :)

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I actually did not know that the author wrote 11 of her 22 novels in Ontario. In fact, I didn’t even know that she lived in Ontario. I only ever knew about her famous homestead on Prince Edward Island. I also never read any of her books, and only knew about her and her characters because my sister is a long-time fan. So now I’ve added Emily of New Moon to my reading list — reportedly her best work!

Hope everyone’s having a good week! I’m hoping to post more summer photos from the Diana and another craft project before I’m off to another trip next week :D Stay tuned!

 

end of summer in black & white

Not that I feel particularly sad about the end of summer. I’ve had lots of fun this summer, but I’m sure there will be good times in the fall and winter too. There’s just something timeless about black and white photographs, capturing those everyday moments that are cherished.

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We visit the Distillery District at least once every summer. Took this picture while marveling at the gas lamps lit up at dusk.

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We got to enjoy some craft beer and lengthy conversations at the Indie Ale House with our good friends, whose children were camping out at their grandparents’ for the week. I think this was the first time we got to do this in 10 years :P I’m by no means a connoisseur of beer, I mostly order based on the names of the beer (I’m a sucker for interesting/pretty product names, I think I’ve mentioned this before…). So here I was having a “Rabbit of Caerbannog”, which I later found out was “an immensely cute but bloodthirsty rabbit-like monster found in Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” according to Villians Wikia.

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A majestic shark at the aquarium. I’m quite proud of this one.

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Not that the summer would stop me from crocheting or knitting, but I’m excited about making cozier things when the weather is cooler, and my holiday crafting list, the plushy scarves and mittens I’m going to make new wool, and this! I’m experimenting with making a pattern and can’t wait to find out whether it will work out, and I will surely share with you if it does!

And last but not least, I present to you — jellyfish magic at the aquarium.

The jellyfish were lit up with kind of a strange pink light (I guess otherwise they’d be difficult to see since they’re translucent), which my phone camera couldn’t capture very well, so I figure I’d just put a black and white filter on it in Instagram. I think it kind of creates a feeling of being in the deep, dark sea. And it’s just so elegant the way jellyfish move in water.

Cheers to a fabulous summer, and many more summers to come!

 

 

yarn-filled day of fun!

At the TTC Knitalong — an annual charity event in which groups of crafters spend a Saturday travelling (and knitting/crocheting) on public transit to visit multiple yarn shops across the city.

Proceeds of the event go to a local women-centered agency, participants get to hang out with fellow crafters and meet new people, yarn shops get lots of visitors and love — everybody wins! Whoever invented this is a genius. It is in its 10th year and this year’s got the biggest turn out yet! The only disappointment is that I didn’t know about this in previous years… will definitely join again next year.

And now, some pictures from my day :D

My group started at Wool-Gathering in the west end. It has on display this beautiful rug, which makes me want to learn rug hooking one day.

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I also love these small rugs with vibrant, abstract designs.

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Our next stop was Passionknit. Look at these delicious colours! More excited than a kid in a candy shop :D

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I spotted this photo of me on instagram, knitting along on the subway, and chatting with our awesome team captain :D (if you’re wondering, I’m making a keyhole scarf in fisherman rib)

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In the meanwhile, our other team captain completed a snowflake on the subway while standing the entire time!

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Then we hopped on the approaching train above and made our way to a sun-filled Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market. These friendly ones are enjoying the sunny spots and relaxing by the knitting pile…

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Also hanging out in the sun…

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This was when I remembered what my mom used to always say to me when I was a kid and we were at the store and I wanted to bring home all the plush animals. “You can give it a hug and put it back.” Such dreamy colours…

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We spent some time on the patio outside. Spotted these cheerful yarn-wrapped branches. My phone camera does not do the colours and sunshine justice.

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And this beautiful yarn-bombed bike!

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More knitting on the streetcar…

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… and arriving at our final shop, The Knit Cafe :D I’ve always been a big fan of the shop and its fabulous window displays.

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People chatting about patterns, marveling at the wool, the warm afternoon sun pouring in, the ball-winder busy spinning… the happiest place :)

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And look who I ran into :D

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Found the secret knitting garden.

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Here we are at our final stop, the Firkin for drinks, food, and more knitting.

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I didn’t buy a whole lot that day, wasn’t at all prepared with shopping list or even project list, and feeling slightly overwhelmed most of the time (not a bad thing though), mainly because I didn’t know what to expect. But I did get a skein of hand-dyed wool from Wool-Gathering (far left), because the colours remind me of sunsets, and a giant skein of Cascade Ecological wool (centre), because I love the colour and it was the last skein on the shelf (I already have an idea of a sweater for it, but have to finish my holiday crafting first). ALSO! I won a draw at Lettuce Knit, which generously donated 4 skeins of wool the colour of strawberry ice cream :D I was rather surprised, because I don’t ever win anything.

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This means I definitely have to join the knitalong again next year :D

I actually don’t knit or crochet on public transit very often, because sometimes I get motion sickness from it, especially on the bus. But after the knitalong I think I will start bringing my knitting to work, so I can at least knit after work on the subway (there is no hope of getting a seat in the morning, and I haven’t developed the skill to knit/crochet while standing yet :P). It’s actually quite calming, and I think it will do me more good in terms of de-stressing than playing Angry Birds.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! :D

 

in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius

It’s become a bit of a summer tradition now, my sister and I going to the ROM :)

This year the feature exhibit is Pompeii. I loved learning about Pompeii when I was a kid! :D (and had dreams about becoming an archaeologist or a paleontologist, and once in a while I wonder about what my life would be like now if I had followed my dreams… anyway, I digress)

Usually when I hear about Pompeii the images of the body casts come to mind. And there were casts of the body casts in the exhibit too. But I found myself more attracted to marvelous mosaics, made of tiny, probably 1mm x 1mm pieces of clay. I’m quite surprised by how well these were preserved, despite the fire and the heat of the volcano eruption.

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I imagine the artisan’s hand, placing these clay chips one by one carefully onto wet grout, tracing the lines on the face, the subtle tonal variations of the skin.

And this is my favourite in the exhibit, the spectacular sea life mosaic.

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The phone photo really doesn’t do it justice. It is quite large in person. Looks like the octopus is battling a lobster-like creature. Here’s a close up of the octopus, made of many tiny tiles.

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This must have taken a long, long time to make. I imagine the artisan(s) taking a step back after the last tile was put into place, and feeling incredible joy and satisfaction when they saw what they have created.

I was also surprised by the survival of the many frescoes, like this one, of seafood.

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Intrigued by the sculpture’s very intricate hairstyle.

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Figs and bread carbonized in the eruption.

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There was also a video projection showing the eruption, with this wide-eyed statue in front of it. Looked to me like it was frozen in terror.

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Mike went on this trip with my sister and me, and he hadn’t been to other parts of the museum for a while, so we also toured the dinosaur galleries and the biodiversity gallery. There was an exhibit of the new dinosaur discovery! And! This is a 3-D printed model!

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Wendiceratops pinhornensis, named after the Canadian fossil hunter, Wendy Sloboda, who discovered it in Alberta, Canada :)

In the biodiversity gallery I was hoping to find a display of fungi. I’ve been to this part of the museum many times, but I thought maybe I’ve always missed it. Finally I found it, replicas in the Boreal Forest section, I think, as well as a drawer of dried mushrooms that were difficult to tell what they actually looked like before they were picked. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a larger display of more species of fungi and mushrooms, but this is still nice :)

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So that was the end of our adventure to the ROM. I hope you will get a chance to visit if you’re ever in the neighbourhood! :D I’m looking forward to finding out what next summer’s feature exhibition will be! Maybe it will be on the diversity of mushrooms and fungi! :D One can always dream… (I once saw a course at a local university titled “Mushrooms: Lords of the Dark Earth”. I so wanted to take the course but it wasn’t being offered anymore… anyway.)

Hope everyone is having a good week!

 

 

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