Canada Trip: Halifax

Friday, July 3, 2015

Macdonald Bridge

I didn't spend much time in Halifax, but what time I did was spent eating fantastically. Fantastic pizza at Salvatore's and fantastic breakfast at The Coastal. I mean, who even makes french toast with pineapple preserves, and coconut whipped mascarpone. WHO MAKES THAT?!

What else I saw of north Halifax was incredibly reminiscent of Pittsburgh. Bridges, run down homes for young professionals, intermingled with new gentrification, etc. etc. Looks like a lovely place to live.

This was a great brief working vacation, although I was fairly thankful to be back to the 'States where my cell phone started working properly again and I no longer had to use paper maps to navigate!

The Coastal Cafe
Iris' Life - Paper Maps, No GPS

Bay of Fundy, 1 night
Prince Edward Island, 3 nights
Halifax, 1 night

Canada Trip: Prince Edward Island

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Red Rocks of Cavendish Beach

Oh, the red beaches and wildflowers of Prince Edward Island! The beaches are one of the few features of PEI that surpass the descriptions in Anne of Green Gables. L.M. Montgomery tends to romanticize trees, brooks, and other bodies of water, but the red beaches are difficult to fully visualize from words alone. And lupines aren't exactly common anywhere south of Halifax.

We stayed at a B&B in Charlottetown, the main city on the island, with fantastic location: walking distance to the Charlottetown Harbor, and centrally located. We ended up doing both the Green Gables scenic drive and the Red Sands scenic drive in central PEI in our quest to see the Green Gables Heritage Place, multiple Cows Ice Cream locations, and soooooo many red sandy beaches. I was able to get into the water up to my knees. The North Atlantic isn't exactly toasty in early June!

All the beaches are so exceptionally lovely, as are the picturesque lighthouses, boats, lobster traps, and...I could prattle on forever. There is not a whole lot to do on PEI except relax at the beaches and entertain scenic drives. The food in Charlottetown is wonderfully varied, but outside of town you mostly end up with seafood or lobster houses dealing largely in breaded and fried food.

Anne of Green Gables House
Lilacs in the sky
Flowers at Green Gables Shadow Photo
Lover's Lane
L.M. Montgomery's Cemetary
Cows Ice Cream - Cavendish (#1)
Red Rocks of Cavendish Beach
Red Rocks of Cavendish Beach
Lake of Shining Waters
Breakfast at Leonhard's (AWESOME)
Victoria's Lighthouse
Lobster Traps at Victoria by the Sea
Argyle Beach's Red Shore
Red Sands of Chelton Beach
Chelton Beach (soooooo red)
Point Prim Lighthouse
An alien runs across the landscape... Point Prim Lighthouse
View from the PEI-Nova Scotia Ferry

Bay of Fundy, 1 night
Prince Edward Island, 3 nights
Halifax, 1 night

Canada Trip: Bay of Fundy

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hopewell Rocks - "Flower Pots"

I went to Prince Edward Island on a short trip with my best friend from college recently. Before I found Galata Bridge in Istanbul, PEI was one of my favorite places. It was exactly as lovely as the setting of Anne of Green Gables, and this still rings true today. So I headed back with my friend and first we started with the reverse waterfall of Saint John, the Dickson Falls trail in Fundy National Park, and the Hopewell Rocks. I have a thing for unique topography and beautiful landscapes (over, say, museums) and this area of Canada is fantastic for that.

Saint John isn't necessarily recommended, maybe in Fundy National Park instead, unless you're really into reverse waterfalls. Saint John did not have a whole lot going on, although our AirBnB was a beautiful little Victorian suite, replete with needlepoint artwork. I would've loved to stick around Fundy National Park a bit more and do some more hiking trails. We did the Dickson Falls trail which was short but a bit steep, so not too challenging. After eating 'lunch' in the parking lot of the Alma general store (we had a chronic problem of not eating enough meals on travel days, that's what maple cookies are for!), we headed to Hopewell Rocks. It was after the park's opening hours, but they still let you wander around. Really, really lovely!

Tulips around Saint John
Reverse Waterfall
Reverse Waterfall
Red chairs on the lake
Fundy National Park
Dickson Falls
Dickson Falls Trail
Dickson Falls Dickson Falls Trail
Hopewell Rocks - "Flower Pots"
Hopewell Rocks - "Flower Pots"
Hopewell Rocks - "Flower Pots"
Trees along the trail in The Rocks Provincial Park
Hopewell Rocks (Provincial Park)

Bay of Fundy, 1 night
Prince Edward Island, 3 nights
Halifax, 1 night

How To: Make Two Half Square Triangles at Once

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You can do some pretty amazing things in the quilting world, just by sewing straight lines. Well, cutting and sewing straight lines. It's actually fairly easy as a beginner to create some stunning quilts simply using squares and right angle triangles. These are just a few examples of quilts I adore...and use only rectangles and half square triangles.

(left) Sunshine Quilt — Flying geese pattern in yellow, gray, white by Namoo and (right) Follow the Arrow Quilt by Maureen Cracknell

(left) lily's quilt: by A Midwestern NewYorker and (right) Chevron and on quilt by CanoreRidgeCreations

One of the basic building blocks of most quilts is a 'half square triangle' (the most basic being squares and rectangles). An 'HST' isn't too tricky. I borrowed the directions from These instructions will make two half square triangles at a time. If you'll be making more than that, try Craftsy's eight HSTs at a time tutorial.

You can do this. I'm a sloppy quilter, and everything turned out okay. It'll turn out okay for you, too.

  1. Cut two squares, finished size + 1" (in my case the finished size is 5", so I cut two 6" squares)
  2. Draw 45 degree line across wrong side of one fabric square
    HSTs 1: Draw 45 degree line across square
  3. Squares, right sides together
    HSTs 2: Squares, right sides together
  4. Sew 1/4" seam along one side of line
    HSTs 3: Sew 1/4" seam along one side of line
  5. Sew along other side of line
    HSTs 4: Sew along other side of line
  6. Cut squares along drawn line
    HSTs 5: Cut squares along drawn line
  7. Iron seams open
    HSTs 6: Iron seams open
  8. Trim seam allowances
    HSTs 7: Trim seam allowances
  9. Cut square to desired size, seam connecting corner to corner
    HSTs 8: Cut square to desired size, seam connecting corner to corner

HSTs 9: Keep making half square triangles!

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