Look Who I Met….

Toronto has been experiencing some frigid temperatures this winter…but anyone in the GTA does not need me to elaborate on that.  (Good for getting all those knitting projects off the needles however.)

On my way to work the other day….I met Higgins.   Of course, I immediately admired his ‘knitwear’ and begged him for a photo.   Clearly, his grumpy face displays his total and utter distaste for the cold, but, wow, does he look great!

One can never go wrong wearing a little Fair Isle.
photo (37)


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Foggy Lunenburg Morning

Lunenburg in the Fog

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August 26, 2013 · 4:17 am

Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival 2013

If you aren’t doing anything special this weekend, come to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for the annual Folk Harbour Music Festival.

Music on the Lunenburg Wharf.

Music on the Lunenburg Wharf.

The festival blends traditional and contemporary folk music in both indoor and outdoor venues, performed by artists famous in the Maritimes and around the World.  This year’s conference, Folk Steps,  focuses on music from Acadie, Louisiana and Quebec.

Music at the Bandstand, Lunenburg Town Hall.

Music at the Bandstand, Lunenburg Town Hall.

I feel the best part of this weekend is the wonderful atmosphere produced: the street cafes are full,  people are clearly enjoying life, and the music is AWESOME.

For more information, go to the Festival’s website http://www.folkharbour.com

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Market Day

Thursday is Farmer’s Market Day in Lunenburg.  If you want great local produce, meats, fish, artisanal products, or just plain gossip, this is the place to be on a Thursday morning.




There’s  great folk music.




These were my takings from this week’ s market.

market 3



My special treat to myself is this  maple syrup infused with lavender and chai.  Produced by Hutchinson’s Farm in the Annapolis Valley, it is recommended to sweeten tea, coffee or to drizzle over salad.  I might just swig it straight from the bottle.  (And yes, those are local blueberries.)

market 2


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On the Water at LYC – Sailfest 2013

We are a family of sailboat racers, and when we are in Nova Scotia we spend a lot of time on the water.

Lunenburg Yacht Club (LYC) is a small sailing club located on Herman’s Island, halfway between Mahone Bay and Lunenburg.  They have a very active Junior Sailing program, from ages 5 (Wet Feet) to 18.  As well as lots of sailing everyday, something is always going on there: ‘Instructor Pie-In-The-Face Day’, ‘Halloween in July’, or ‘Love Boat’ , to name just a few of the theme days the kids participate in.  All together – the location, the sailing program, the friends – make for a magical summer experience.

View towards Lunenburg Yacht Club with competitors leaving the 'beach' and setting out for a day of racing.

View towards Lunenburg Yacht Club with competitors leaving the ‘beach’ and setting out for a day of racing during Sailfest 2013.

Several times a summer there are sailing regattas in the area, and last week was LYC’s turn to host the neighboring clubs for “Lunenburg Sailfest 2013”.  Over seventy kids participated.  I was thrilled to help out on the Race Committee.

This lovely little red Cape Islander was my home for the day.  Common to Atlantic Canada, the Cape Islander is a fishing boat that is said to have been invented on Cape Sable Island in the early 1900s.  Its single ‘keeled’ flat bottom design makes it sturdy and very comfortable.  This one even has a small ‘head’ – very important if one spends the day on the water!

The Race Committee headquarters for LYC Sailfest 2013.

The Race Committee headquarters for LYC Sailfest 2013.

Race Committee work involves setting the race course, initiating start and finish time sequences, and, most importantly, accurately recording the competitors’ finishes.

In ‘one design’ regattas, all sailboats that are alike race against each other.  The theory is that if the equipment is the same, then the performance resides with the skipper and crew.  This is the most effective and fun way to race –  the Olympic races are all structured around this simple premise.  At LYC Sailfest this year there were three classes of boats invited to race:  Laser Radial, Club 420, and Optimist Dinghy.

Laser Radials lining up for a start at LYC Sailfest 2013.

Laser Radials lining up for a start at LYC Sailfest 2013.

To keep this explanation simple,  the Laser Radial is a single handed boat with a smaller rig and sailplan than the Laser (the men’s Olympic boat).  It is the designated single-handed women’s equipment for Olympic competition, and is a popular boat for teenage boys and girls alike when they are developing their sailing skills.

My daughter and her crew racing a Club 420.

My daughter and her crew racing a Club 420 in 2011.

The Club 420 is a double handed dinghy (sailed with skipper and 1 crew) and it is the best introduction to sailing with a spinnaker  that kids have today.  From this boat they learn skills that can be translated to most sailboats they might sail in their lifetime.  We  had 21 show up from local clubs in the area for Sailfest.

A photo depicting my son crossing the finish line in an Optimist Dinghy (some years ago).

A photo depicting my son crossing the finish line in first  in an Optimist Dinghy in 2008.

The Optimist Dinghy was designed in 1947 –  a sturdy, single handed boat for kids to learn in.  In recent years its popularity has grown, and it  is actively raced worldwide by kids from age 7 – 15.  The Opti is usually the first boat kids race, and they learn all about wind strength, wind shifts, boat handling, and starting positions from sailing this boat in the numerous regattas available.  A major North American regatta  might easily see 300 Optimist dinghys show up! Unfortunately I don’t have any pics of the 18  Optis racing in Sailfest 2013 – their course was shorter and closer to the clubhouse where they were protected from open water.

"Follow us"

“Follow us” – The Race Committee boat leads the fleet out into the ocean in search of steady wind.

The first day of Sailfest 2013 witnessed very shifty winds starting out of the NW and ending up in the SE by the end of the day.  The oscillations were large enough to make setting an accurate race course difficult and lots of mark changes were required.

Mark Boats waiting for wind.

Mark Boats waiting for wind.

We finally managed to get racing started.  This image below shows the Club 420s, spinnakers flying, coming into the leeward or downwind mark.  They will round that mark, douse their spinnakers and go upwind and downwind once more before sailing for the finish line.

Sailfest 2

The second day of racing saw a steady and more typical sea breeze set in and we were able to set the course early and get racing started.

Two Club 420s reaching for the finish line.  Sometimes, depending on the wind shift, it is just faster to douse your spinnaker and use your jib only as this boat in the foreground is demonstrating.

Two Club 420s reaching for the finish line.  The aft boat is struggling to maintain its spinnaker in the shifting light breeze.

The two days of racing were a tremendous success, the weather was stunning, and everyone had a great time at LYC.

Optis on the beach at LYC.

Optis on the beach at LYC.

Lunenburg Yacht Club is located on Herman’s Island, down the South Shore of Nova Scotia about an hour’s drive from Halifax.  Lunch and Dinner are served most days with bar service.  Call  902-634-3745  or go to http://www.lyc.ns.ca  for more information and directions.

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Back to Nova Scotia

It is soooo good to be back in Nova Scotia for a few weeks this summer.

After a LONG 24 hour drive, we arrived at dawn, to be greeted by our four legged neighbors.  The deer are plentiful on our island, and they clearly LOVE the weeds that I’ve been cultivating in the back garden. (!)

the deer

Speaking of weeds, the Alder bushes have grown so high, that we literally had to beat our way into the house.  I felt like we had entered into one of those fairy tales where the forest has come alive and taken over the woodcutter’s cottage. Sleeping Beauty (okay that was a castle) and  Hansel and Gretel come immediately to mind.   You can see what I mean.

The weeds

It was so hot the first few days, that the only thing to do was go to the beach.

We have our own beach –  a typical rocky Nova Scotia island beach.  You can see the massive fog bank on the horizon – this is usually gone by July but I guess the persistent rains this year have encouraged it to hang around.  Such a wall of fog  clearly marks the end of the known world.  It seems impenetrable, especially when you are running you boat alongside it.

Beach with Fog

We have a lovely neighborhood beach located at the end of Second Peninsula near Lunenburg.  Perfect for a quick excursion to the sea.

Bachmann's Beach

But when it is really hot, you have to go to the local big  surf – Hirtles Beach near Kingsburg is an easy (and scenic) 15 minute drive.

Hirtles 1

Nova Scotia has many many beautiful sand beaches that rival any in the world.  I’m pretty sure most Canadians don’t know that.  I will admit that the water is a little chilly.  Hirtles 2

The great thing about these beaches is that they are rarely crowded – in fact these pictures depict Hirtles on a BUSY day.

Even Marina LOVES going to the beach.

Marina at Hirtles

I always feel that Canadians are great at travelling the world – many have been numerous times to the Caribbean or Europe – but few actually travel their own country.  I cannot tell you how many people I chat with in Toronto who have NEVER been to Canada’s East Coast provinces.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Beaches such as these abound in Nova Scotia and are unspoiled and unpolluted – a rare treasure.





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Tall Ships

photo (34)

The Tall Ships were in Toronto this past weekend.  With light winds and a temperature of 34 degrees Celcius it was spectacular viewing on Sunday if you happened to be out on the water.

Tall ships

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A Little Excursion to Jordan, Ontario

Life is hectic, but every once in a while we get a chance to experience a magical day.

On Thursday, May 30th, two friends and I travelled to the little community of Jordan Village, Ontario, located on Twenty Mile Creek and the Niagara escarpment.  This charming community, settled in 1799 by a small group of Mennonites, is home to some of Ontario’s most prestigious vineyards and winemakers, and is especially known for its world class production of icewine.

cave springs

The weather was glorious.  Sunny and hot.   Our purpose was to celebrate Kate’s birthday with a lovely lunch and a trip to one of Kate’s favourite shops, Stitch.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Kate and Jenny in front of Stitch in Jordan, Ontario.

Stitch is a haven for quilters, knitters, and fiber artists.   It was my first visit, and, as you will see from the following,  I LOVED it!

stitch 3

Located in a century home, the design aesthetic of owner Jocelyn Chamberlain took my breath away. As it proclaims on the signage, she truly has created a sanctuary for stitchers, quilters, and knitters.   The shop’s wares are arranged artfully among an impressive antique furniture collection.  THIS is the place for inspiration.  The little pincushion bird’s nest above can be made in one of her project classes from the hand dyed silk velvet that she stocks in the shop.  Isn’t it just delightful?

stitch 5

My sensibilities were soon saturated –  there were so many wonderful things!  You can purchase the patterns (and the fabric) to make the sweet little boy and elephant perched on the corner of the table.

stitch 7

Every room revealed a new trove of treasures, such as this incredible quilt draped across the 0h-so-comfy couch.  I’d like to just move in, if only for the afternoon.


Of course,  there were many quilt options – patterns, fabric, workshops, tools, silk thread and kits.

stitch 1

Stitch offers a hand printing workshop – these carved wooden blocks can be used to print on either paper or cloth.  Arranged thus,  they  are simply beautiful objects in and of themselves.

stitch 2

Jocelyn had just returned from “Quilt Market” in Portland Oregon.  Little Elsie Cabbage is among a few of the things that she managed to carry home in her suitcase to enjoy before the major fabric shipment arrives.

stitch 6

In addition to the many yarns Stitch carries from major manufacturers,  there was a lovely grouping of hand dyed and hand spun skeins by a local artist  that were visually lush and soooo soft to the touch.

Having worked up our appetites, we were off to lunch at Inn on the Twenty.  The dining room overlooks the lush and beautiful Twenty Valley, towards the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area.

inn on the twenty

Kate – veterinarian by trade, wife, mother of two, quilter and knitter “extraordinaire” –  opened her birthday presents.


Lunch was truly divine.  I chose the special of the day:  Fiddlehead and Arugula Salad with Kobe-style Beef.   It was delicious.


Birthdays are about dessert, right?  We shared three, but my favourite was this lemon custard atop a chardonnay jelly.  Oh my!  Well worth the trip just for this!


Alas, it was all too soon ended.   Later that evening Kate sent a note:
Dear closest friends,
   Thank you both for such a lovely perfect day. Thanks Jenny for doing all the driving. Thank you both for a gorgeous (expensive) super luxury lunch. Thank you both for such lovely thoughtful perfect gifts. Thank you especially for the most valuable gift: your time, and an entire day to hang out together. You spoil me. I feel very loved.  
xo Kate.
Our  lives are qualified beyond measure by such special days.   May we all be blessed with enough of these.



Stitch is located at 3799 Main Street, Jordan Village, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0  905- 562-1505  222.  www.stitchonline.ca   The shop is open every day except Monday and until 10:30 on Friday evenings.

Inn On The Twenty Restaurant is located at 3836 Main Street, Jordan, Ontario, Canada L0R 1S0 
Telephone 905-562-7313.  There is also a resort and spa attached.  Reservations recommended.


Filed under Fabric, Favourites, Knitting, Quilting, Textiles, Yarn

Friday, May 31st. 7:10 pm

Alternative transportation when it isn’t safe to fly due to weather conditions.

Saturday May 31

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Sunday in the City

Sunday in Toronto Harbour – spectating a youth regatta.


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