Monday, July 30, 2012

Festival of Quilts at Black Creek Pioneer Village

One weekend a year, Black Creek Pioneer Village is covered with over one hundred quilts.    The quilts - both traditional and modern - are displayed in natural lighting throughout the village.   There are quilt talks and demonstrations.  It was a great opportunity to step back into the 1800s - as the girls are huge fans of Little House on the Prairie.  The little one kept asking where is Olsen’s Mercantile?
The visit was also a great photo opportunity.   For my birthday, my pal gave me an excellent photography book : “The crafter’s guide to taking great photos” by Heidi Adnum.  I highly recommend this book if you are novice who likes to take photographs of crafts.  There are many tips from craft bloggers and etsy shopowners using low to high end cameras.
I am  trying to improve my photography skills. I think all of these photos were shot in manual.  The sun was bright, so I had some trouble working with shadow.
  {The fabric from the above quilt is Oh Canada! by Linda Lodovico for Northcott in support of Quilts of Valour Canada which delivers quilts to injured Canadian soldiers.  }
“She was able to sit up now, wrapped in quilts in Ma’s old hickory rocking chair.
All that long time, week after week, when she could still see a little, but less every day, she had never cried.
Now she could not see even the brightest light any ore. She was still patient and brave.”
- when Mary comes down with scarlet fever
A lesson on spinning and dying above, and in a one room school house, below.
I loved this double wedding ring quilt, but I had some difficulty capturing the muted colours.
It was a wonderful afternoon and celebration of the quilt. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!



We are very excited about the summer Olympics and wishing the Canadian athletes the very best in London.

Right now, the girls and I are learning about the  Olympic flag (from the Olympic Charter) (you can also find educational tool kits here). 

The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions (the Olympic
rings), used alone, in one or in five different colours. When used in its five-colour version,
these colours shall be, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings are
interlaced from left to right; the blue, black and red rings are situated at the top, the yellow
and green rings at the bottom in accordance with the following graphic reproduction.
The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the
union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the
Olympic Games.


When my husband was in teacher’s college, he worked on a teaching unit for the winter games in Lillehammer, Norway (1994). Since then, I have sort of taken on an interest in Olympics teaching units.  I adapted the Mother Huddle’s Olympic rings tutorial  with canning rings.  Hopefully, it will pass the branding police :)olympiccollage

Olympic Values: Excellence. Friendship. Respect.


I thought I would share a few photos of the Hudson Bay shop windows in downtown Toronto.  The motto is “Show your colours.”





For those of you who collect Canadian Olympic paraphernalia, I picked up a some extra Olympic patches.  If you are a collector of these sorts of things, you can mention that in the comments or send me an email by August 6th. If there is more than one person I will draw a name.


Let the games begin!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Gingerbread Cottages of Oak Bluffs, MA

On Martha’s Vineyard, a popular destination for day trippers and vacationing families is the town Oak Bluffs. The steamship ferry also stops at Oak Bluffs several times a day. The accommodation in Oak Bluffs is generally less expensive than other parts of the island. I found the main area too crowded and a little touristy (lots of t-shirts shops, etc.). There is, however,  a historic carousel which is the oldest in the country (circa 1876).IMG_0201IMG_0218  The horses are antiques.

I really wanted to visit Oak Bluffs because I had heard about the special gingerbread cottages.  The Oak Bluffs cottage settlement began as a meeting place for Methodists in the 1830s.  An iron tabernacle was built and families would come for days of worship.  The families would live in tents circling the tabernacle.  Beginning in the 1870s, the tents were framed and became wooden cottages.   Below is a historical photograph - on the left is a canvas tent, on the right is a framed cottage.  The framed cottages were modelled after the A-framed tents.
There were over 500 framed cottages by the beginning of the 20th century.   By 1912, the cottages had indoor plumbing.  Today, there are approximately 300 cottages remaining.  Most are not winterized.  At this time, there are about a dozen cottages for sale and they tend to sell for between $300,000 to 500,000. You would own the cottage, but not the land.  Your purchase would also have to  receive approval of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. 
Ulysses Grant was the first sitting president to visit Martha’s Vineyard and he attended church on the campground. He is very esteemed in Oak Bluffs and in the museum you can see the rocker that he sat on.
During President Grant’s visit to the island, the campground was kept aglow with Chinese lanterns.  This is an antique lantern from the Campground museum.
To this day, the campground continues to hold an illumination festival every summer, in mid-August, where the whimsical cottages are decorated with lanterns. There are a number of lanterns for purchase in the museum shop.
The gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs are well preserved. The architectural style is sometimes referred to as “Carpenter Gothic”, presumably because of the scroll work on the porches and roofing.
Today, the cottages are colourfully painted.
As I said above, there are over 300 cottages and I have shared only a few examples.  The campground is a series of walking paths (very little automobile access) so the settlement is quiet and with the tabernacle and its surrounding cottages, it had a magical feel. For me, the visit was a highlight of the trip.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Martha’s Vineyard


Before the dust settles on my tiny corner of the internet, I thought I would share a few photos and impressions from our stay in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  My in-laws offered to look after the girls for a long weekend so my husband and I had a little getaway.

We flew to Boston and caught a connection to Martha’s Vineyard on Cape Air - which was an experience. We flew on a Cessna (a first for me).  I sat in the cock pit next to the pilot. My husband was in the second row (celebrity sighting next to Chris Wallace of Fox News and the son of the late Mike Wallace). 

Each passenger must disclose their body weight and each piece of luggage must be weighed to ensure proper weight allocation throughout the aircraft. Luggage is stored in the aircraft nose and wings.


Martha’s Vineyard is composed of six townships.  We stayed at a B&B in Vineyard Haven at a B&B which was quite lovely and the breakfast was yummy (croissant French toast pictured).



One night, we dined at the famous Black Dog  (it was a given as we have a black lab).


If you are not a dog person, you may not like Martha’s Vineyard (dogs ride the buses, ferries, and generally are sitting out side most establishments).  As for other fauna, I had never seen wild turkeys before. Wild turkeys are found throughout the island. Their feathers are striking.WildturkiesIMG_0399

The hydrangeas on the Cape and the islands are generally blue and purple.  While not impossible,  it is difficult to consistently achieve these colourings in Toronto soil conditions, so I was a little envious.


The B&B had bikes for the guests to borrow so we were able to take them out and explore the island by bike and bus.  The bus system is reliable and economical. Three bikes can fit on the front of the bus and it is an affordable way to explore the various towns.  Each township has a different feeling.


We travelled by bus and bike to Acquinnah which is located on the island’s south west and saw the famous clay cliffs and Gay’s Head lighthouse (built in 1799, still functioning, and one of the island’s five lighthouses). The cliffs suffer from erosion and their situation is carefully monitored.   The guide at the lighthouse museum predicts the lighthouse will have to be moved again in about 20 years.



I had a chance to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean at the public beach.


After a swim, we cycled to Menemsha in the township of Chilmark. This journey  involved an interesting bike ferry.  


Menemsha is a quaint fishing port and I understand that some of the scenes from the film Jaws were filmed in this little town.  There is plenty of fresh seafood to enjoy and the fish monger supplies restaurants throughout the island.  I enjoyed Vineyard Striped Bass as the fishing season had just begun (yummy).



The island’s earliest settlement is on the south west  of the island, Edgartown (c. 1642) which started as a whaling community.  There are grand examples of Federal and Greek Revival style architecture which are not really found in other parts of the island.



Edgartown seemed to have a large shopping area featuring  preppy boutiques, very Lily Pulitzer.




After exploring the main street of Edgartown, we headed to its popular public beach (South Beach).  I took another dip to cool off (photo of the beach, not me).IMG_0266

This post has become a wee bit photo heavy, so I will post separately about the town of Oak Bluffs which has some very special architecture. 

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!