greetings from quebec!

As mentioned in my previous post, Mike and I took a short trip to Quebec City a couple of weeks ago. We thought it would be a relaxing trip with fewer things to do than our trip to Chicago last year, but it turned out being quite a busy trip with lots and lots and lots to see!

But it was still relaxing, because we were being tourists and doing fun things, and things seem to move a little slower in Quebec than they are in Toronto. Cars share narrow roads with horse-drawn carriages and indecisive/lost tourists but I never heard anyone honk. And Old Quebec, where we stayed, is a truly beautiful place. It’s impossible to share everything from our 5 fun-packed days, but here are some things that are particularly memorable to me, and great places and wonderful local businesses to visit if you ever consider your taking a trip there :D

The Morrin Centre was one of the first places we wandered in. It’s a library that used to be the only Anglophone university. Look at all the books!

morrin 3

I especially love its elegant light fixtures.

morrin 2


But the basement reveals the building’s former self — a jail! We were able to see it with the guided tour, and the friendly guide has many interesting historical anecdotes and stories to tell. Highly recommend a visit!


On the same day we visited the Artillery Park, the military quarter that is part of the fortification of Quebec. Note the similar deep windows made by super thick walls.

artillery park


One of the gates into Old Quebec.

port st jean

Switching gears, one day we took the bus to Montmorency Falls. Just 30 minutes away from Old Quebec, on one bus :D (I try to avoid bus transfers even in Toronto :S)

View from the suspension bridge across the falls.

montmorency falls

We took the very long staircase on the right down to the bottom of the falls and back up again. It wasn’t exactly fun, but the cable car was over $10 per person per ride… so, the stairs.

montmorency falls 2

Back in Old Quebec, we visited Quartier Petit Champlain, the lower part of the city. Note the stairs, again. We realized that Quebec is quite a hilly province and there is a lot of stairs climbing involved to get around by foot. These stairs are appropriately called the “Breakneck Steps”, but they’re actually not that bad, compared to the stairs at the falls.

petit champlain

But a trip there at night is totally worth the sore calves!

petit champlain 2

My best attempt at photographing the night scene doesn’t capture the magic that was in the air. There was accordion playing and the warm glow of the lanterns in the trees. I could stay in that moment forever.

Over the week we stayed at a very quaint hotel, perfectly located near everything from historic cites to touristy shops in Old Quebec AND on a side street so it’s much quieter than the hotels on the main roads.

au petit hotel

And it was very affordable, very clean, run by very friendly and helpful staff. It even has breakfast service for a few dollars extra per night :D It’s a gem. We enthusiastically recommend it if you are visiting Old Quebec!

petit dejeuner


Also enjoyed very much the Paillard bakery. Surprisingly affordable (where else can you find $1 a cup of tea, not just in touristy Old Quebec but anywhere?), very good quality tea and treats. Especially love its communal long tables.



We had planned on only exploring in Old Quebec because 1. we were on foot, and 2. we are the kind of tourists who prefer spending time to know more about one place than quick visits to lots of places. But we ended up taking a side trip to Lévis, a small city that is just a 10-minute ferry ride from Old Quebec across the St. Lawrence River.

There we visited the old ship repairing yard and house of A. C. Davie. The top level of the house is kept the way it was in the 1950s. The lower levels of the house have already been renovated as offices and museum space. I suppose some demolition work has already started when the last occupants left, so there are floors with layers of laminate peeled back to reveal the different floorings over the years.

AC Davie 2

I like windows in nooks.


AC Davie

If one is looking to buy souvenirs,  Lévis is actually a much better place than Old Quebec, I think, with shops run by local artists and artisans, and definitely fewer crowds. Unless you find yourself in Chocolats Favoris in the middle of August. But a little crowdedness and a few minutes of line-up is nothing compared to 4 different flavours of soft ice cream and an astonishing 12 flavours of sauces to dip the ice cream in. Here’s dipping in action!

chocolats favoris


And finally, a photo that sums up our trip: uphill climbing and looking at maps.



While we were in Quebec there also happens to be an exhibition of public art installations called The Unusual Passages. But that deserves its own post — stay tuned! :D

Hope you were able to relax and re-energize over August too. Wishing you a great start to September!







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So named because it reminds me of my friend’s flight attendant uniform :D

Knitting an ascot neck scarf. I really like them because my mom used to make them for me when I was a child. I still have a tiny red one from my toddler years, my plush llama is now wearing it. I was using this fantastic pattern by Theresa Belville on Ravelry, but then I have this self-striping kind of yarn, which I thought works better with blunt ends rather than petal-shaped ends, so I made some modifications, and they are recorded below, in case I want to make another one (or ten!), or you, too, want to make a blunt-end ascot neck scarf inspired by flight attendant uniform :)

My modifications are made so that the scarf is a bit snug around the neck, but wide enough so it keeps the neck warm. Its length and width can be easily adjusted though.

Again, this is not my original pattern, it is adapted from this pattern. In fact I would have never been able to figure out how to split the piece into two to make the keyhole part if I didn’t practice with the original pattern first.

I used: 5.5mm needles (you’ll need 3), worsted weight yarn.

Finished scarf is about 4.5″ wide and 15″ long.

CO 17

Knit every row until piece is 4″ long.
(you can probably make it a tad longer if you want, especially if you’re making the scarf less snug around the neck, I think it would look better if the ends are a bit longer in that case)

Decrease row: k1, then k2tog to end.

Knit every row for 7 rows.

Increase row: k1, then kfb (knit into the front and back) in every stitch to end.

Knit every row until middle section (starting from the increase row) is 12″.
(again, I wanted my scarf to be snug around the neck, as inspired by the flight attendant uniform, and I’ve been told I have a small neck, so it’s probably best to wrap it around your neck as you go, or, the original pattern suggests 16–18″ for adult scarves)

Split row: (here’s where the 3rd needle comes in handy) *k1, slip knit-wise on spare needle* repeat from * to * till end.

Knit 10 rows on stitches on original needle, cut yarn and tie off end.

Attach yarn to first stitch on 3rd needle, knit 10 rows.

Join row: *knit first stitch on original needle, then knit 1 stitch on 3rd needle* repeat from * to * till end.

Knit every row until last section of scarf (starting from the join row) is 4″ long. Bind off, weave in ends.

It’s a very quick project. I like how the blue stripes fade in and out in this particular yarn, though I don’t remember where it’s from, and its label is missing.

Photo 2014-08-29, 1 26 15 PM


Now put it on and take flight! :D

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!



going away outfit

So, when we were planning our wedding 7 years ago I learned of this term, “going away outfit”. It’s supposed to be the outfit that the bride changes into when the couple leaves the reception to go on their honeymoon (at least that’s what I heard).

I never had any dress change during my wedding, let alone a going away outfit. But summer trips are also great opportunities to make new clothes! Last year I made a new shirt for our trip to Chicago.

And so this year I thought I’d make a new shirt too. Brings new meaning to the idea of a “going away outfit”. The new shirt is made from a thrifted shirt from Black Market. There was this whole lot of them and they looked brand new. Overstock that’s been sitting in some basement for years, I guess? They all featured exaggerated pointy collar. I think it’s a lovely shirt, the pointy collar is quirky, my friend bought the same shirt and she looks super fabulous in it. It just… didn’t look like something I would wear. But I LOVE the print.

So I removed the collar, cut the sleeves short, took in the sides a bit, and hemmed the neck and sleeve edges. Better, isn’t it?

black market

I’m even able to preserve the pocket! And I love its length. Here’s a closer look at the lovely print.

black market 2

But next time I’ve really got to measure. I cut away too much fabric around the sleeves and it almost didn’t fit, had to reduce the seam allowance to 1/4″ (>_<) I’ve really got to measure from now on…

These shirts were 5 bucks each! Maybe I should get a couple more with different prints…

SO! Where are we going, you ask? Quebec! Haven’t been there since my family took a bus tour there when I was a kid. Can’t wait to see it again with new eyes. Will be posting pictures when we’re back, of course!

Wishing you a fabulous week with fun and inspiring adventures, wherever you are :)


tiny owl’s big trip!

Since I’ve got news that tiny owl has made it safely to its destination, I can show you a picture…

tiny owl

The tiny owl pin is made for a dear friend who lives on the other side of the continent :D Like the amanita brooch, it’s inspired by this button pattern, following the pattern for its base and edging and making up my own owl and leaves. It’s about 1.5 inches across. Very tiny. And I’m quite proud of him! In fact, he’s inspired other animal pin designs that I’ve been working on for the past week, will have to show you those soon :)

I know that tiny owl will enjoy the west coast and my friend’s company very much :D and I hope to visit the west coast one day too!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!



this week’s awesome finds

Weaving is so much fun. Woven necklace from Say Yes.

These are stylish. Perler bead bangles, from DIY Candy.

On the to-make list. Crochet tunic from Lion Brand Yarn.

Also from Lion Brand Yarn, perfect crochet piece for fall.

Grow your own crystal necklace — how neat is this? Now I just have to figure out where to buy alum salt… From The Cwafty Blog.

This requires a proper pom pom maker, but it will be worth it. Mushroom pom pom from Small Good Things.

Love the Nyan Cat scarf patterns but thought it would be a bit much to actually wear them… but a bookmark! Everyone can use a bookmark. From Cute & Kaboodle.

The Purl Bee always has boxy blouse patterns that I love.

Love that this is made of stars. Crochet Cowl from Moogly.

Made from a pillowcase! From Lil’ Bit & Nan.

Happy Wednesday!

all in a day’s work

We had a very busy Saturday a week ago, but all fun! It was a family friend’s wedding, and so I made an update to this dress I made a couple of years ago with this crochet collar pattern. Was having far too much fun and forgot to take a proper picture of it, good thing there was this fun photo booth at the wedding! This picture captured a pretty good look at the collar, and us with classy glasses.


Can’t see it well in the picture, but I sewed a pearly button in the centre.

AND! In between ceremony and reception we got to go to the Murdoch Mysteries first ever studio open house!!! It’s an excellent crime mystery show set in turn-of-the-century Toronto, you can watch some of its videos here :D My sister, Mike and I have been fans of the show since its early seasons, so it was a super exciting occasion. And we were already dressed up for the wedding, perfect for picture-taking :D

Here’s a better look at the dress, in front of station house #4, where Detective Murdoch and his awesome colleagues work.

collar 2

Here we are in the city morgue, putting our brains together, with other brains.

murdoch 3

Another look at the morgue…

murdoch 4

Gruesome props…

murdoch 2

Next, we toured the station house…

murdoch 1

And got an official fancy-hat portrait taken at Detective Murdoch’s desk :D art-directed by the husband of Maureen Jennings, author of Murdoch Mysteries the book series.

murdoch 5

More scenes on the meticulously crafted set, including the electric car, invention of one of the characters in the show.

murdoch 8


murdoch 7

murdoch 6


Solving mysteries! Refashioning dress! Goofing around at wedding! All in a day’s work :D

Wishing you a joy-filled week!