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!







Photo 2014-08-29, 1 14 34 PM

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!