Sew it Mom!

Wow, I love mom’s January Block for the Sugar Block of the Month Club…

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Don’t you just love the colour combination. She is using the fabric from the Flea Market Fancy collection by Denyse Schmidt. I think she’s been looking for a project for this material for awhile so it’s nice to see it come together. She says that she will be finished the February block today so I hope I get a picture soon. No pressure!

Si Si Si Rome Duo

Poor John had to work today so didn’t get to come with me to walk around Ancient Rome. To begin, I admit I was a bit worried about going to the Colosseum area because super touristy things are not normally my thing and I can usually pass them up easily. I had time today though and I was very happy I did get my combined ticket of the Forum, the Palatino area and Colosseum for €12. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the audio guide because I didn’t have ID on me, oops. You can see pretty much everything from the road but I think it was worth it to walk down in the ruins. I entered through the Forum gates, the centre of the Roman Republic…

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From the Forum you walk up the Palatine Hill to where the Emperor and upper crust of society resided. You can completely see why because it overlooked the city and would have been surrounded by lovey gardens and trees…

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You get a lovely view of the next stop from up here…

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Yes, the Colosseum. I really was taken with it and I’m a bit surprised. It was amazing. It was like an old Sky Dome! (Without the baseball and more of the gambling on which gladiator or animal would survive type event!)…

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It is also quite amazing how seamlessly this structure fits into everyday Rome life today…

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Of course the road leading to the Colosseum is full of people trying to take your money. This is one I haven’t seen before…it also gets weird shot of the day…

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Before meeting John at the end if the day I took a closer look at Capitoline Hill…see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier…

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No crafty finds this trip unfortunately but I admit I wasn’t looking.

So, arrivederci Roma…

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Rome Part Uno

Wow, two major European cities in one month! Not really planned that way but I’m not complaining of course. It was quite dreary when we got into Rome on Sunday and we were hours delayed at Gatwick but we still managed a nice meal of pasta and wine (delicious) with a view of the Trevi fountain at night…

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Unfortunately, the damp and chilly weather continued on Monday. We stayed at a wonderfully located hotel so lazed out the door onto the doorstep of many beautiful churches. I was most impressed here…

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This is the largest Jesuit church and the ceiling was painted to make it appear dome shaped.

What can I say about this area and all of Rome but very old and beautiful…

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(Many news reporters in piazzas because of the election.)

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We had the most gorgeous pizza before discovering the Pantheon…

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On our walk through the wonderful piazzas of the area there was much to see in quite corners (important to note that it’s very off season, so even though I whine about the weather I much prefer it to crawling with tourists!)…

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And the famous Piazza Navona…

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On the way to St. Peter’s square I spot many interesting finds…

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(I have a thing for door knockers now!)

Then the main show, as I call it…

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(Notice this from a certain Dan Brown novel?)

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On our walk back to see the Spanish Steps (yes, John and I get around fast. Although we didn’t pay to go into the Vatican Museums this time) we saw this hilarious sight…clever…

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Piazza del Popolo, stunning…

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Finally, I’m Audrey Hepburn at the Spanish Steps…

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Oh and don’t worry I did get my pistachio gelato but just don’t have a picture because John was too busy tucking into his!

Knit Knit Little Red

Confession…I think I misjudged the gauge on my Boardwalk vest and it may be a bit small. Hmmmmmm…I’m usually very careful about these things etc. but not sure what I was thinking exactly lol!!! It definitely fits but will need some serious wet blocking. Oh well, I’ll salvage it, not fretting drastically yet. You be the judge…

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I’ve picked up for the neck which took a bit to figure out and now for the fun mitred square bit. I don’t know how much that will pull things in at the front but we’ll see.

For now John and I are off to Rome for 3 days so no knitting. Unfortunately, we are stuck at the airport because the flight is 2 hrs delayed. Can’t complain though because I am getting to go to Italy for the first time! Gelato updates to follow (I’ll definitely get pistachio to start!)

Sugar Block Club

I should have posted this in January but was waiting to have some pictures to share. Mom and I are doing the Sugar Block of the month club from Stitchery Dickory Dock

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You sign up for the club and every month you get an email with a new block to make. It seems like the blocks are traditional but Amy Gibson has modernised them for easy sewing and cutting. In the email you will also get a recipe for a tasty treat. (You can still subscribe.) I decided to use my new Amy Butler Alchemy material for this year long sew along…

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When the first email arrived I was excited to start. The January block was introduced as snow blossom…

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I decided which fabrics I wanted to use and lost no time sewing. It came together very swiftly…

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I loved doing this block so much I also did a Christmas version because I need more squares for the retro Christmas sampler quilt that I’ve been doing for about a year or so now…

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There is also a Flickr group for this project so you can check out what everyone else is doing for their monthly block. Check out the group here.

I see that some people have already started on the February block so I better get going! I’ll give you a sneak peak at the pattern though. It’s called North Star…

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I’m not sure which of the Alchemy fabrics I will uses for this block but I will keep you posted. I’m thinking of using 4 different ones for where the blue sits.

I hope to get pics from mom too so that you can see her lovely blocks too!

My new home: West London

NO we are not moving BUT if we had a ton of money and were to move to London I quite liked the areas we found this weekend. John, being a bit of an Ad man, was excited to see that with our new National Trust card we could go to the Brand Museum in London at half price. We didn’t know what it would be like but it is in the really nice part of Notting Hill so we decided to give it a go…

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It was a small little museum tucked away in a side street but worth a check out. It was dark inside so pictures aren’t the best but I’ve added a few. I especially loved the displays where they took a brand and showed its packaging from when it started to today…

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The alley way beside the museum was even more impressive…

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We walked towards the posh shops in the area and happened across an Ottolenghi restaurant. Of course we had to stop!…

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We decided to walk from here to our friend’s house in Hammersmith. The houses along the way were amazing. We can only dream…

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Sunday was gorgeous and sunny so we took the opportunity to following one of our London walking tours that actually started just outside our friend’s house. We walked towards the Thames and then continued on a path up to the Chiswick High St. area…

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Special mention for the day has to be the back of this church where we saw flowers blooming!…

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London really amazes…you can walk in not so nice areas with busy motor ways beside and then a few blocks away you walk through a lovely park and find a large heritage home, ugh!…

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As it was such a nice day we decided to take a bus back to St. Pancras which is such a lovely and cheap way to sight see. It took us about an hour, so not the quickest, but you do get to see the outside of St. Pancras…is it wrong to love a train station so much? I love that we have to stop here every time we come in…

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Tell someone you love them today! I thought today would be a good day to share my new success as a British baker! I finally found time to make the classic of all British baking treats, the Victoria Sandwich. Two Victoria Sponges are put together with a raspberry jam centre…

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Of course I took my advice from British Baking Guru Mary Berry. A sponge has very simple cake ingredients but I think the care in which you mix them makes a big difference. I think mine turned out perfect, if I do say so myself. I followed the directions exactly, even down to the double sifting of the flour. Check out the process…

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My British guinea pig approved greatly. I think scrummy was mentioned once or twice. Next time I want to do one with a layer of cream with the raspberry jam. I feel like it was a real cultural moment!

Knitting and Comfort Food

I’ve been knitting up a storm and finally got to the armhole split in the Boardwalk vest. The front stickies are being held while I work the back…

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As you knit up the back you start to increase for the sleeve caps. You also work the finished edge at the same time…

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It was cold, wet and rainy today so aside from knitting I also cooked a yummy recipe from my new Canadian Living whole grain cookbook. I don’t think there is anything much more comforting than a bowl of spoon bread…

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It’s basically a soufflé cornbread. Lady Fia’s mom made the first one I tried from a recipe by the veggie guru Molly Katzen. This one has leeks in it along with cheddar and cayenne for a kick. John better get home quick or I might eat it all!!!

Foodie Update

Not sure what I was thinking but I decided to make a new recipe that apparently could feed an army while John is away. It’s hard to cook for two sometimes but for one is a bit ridiculous. I like to follow the recipe the first time out and then make changes so I’m not sure why I decided on a mushroom risotto for 8.

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Grammie gave me the new Canadian Living Whole Grain Recipes cookbook when they came to stay and I haven’t made anything yet. I’m glad I did because this was delicious. Needed a bit of salt and extra parm but I love the mushroom!

I’ve been slacking on the new recipe front lately so I also made this barley, avocado, tomato and black bean salad from the same book…

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This one was a huge yummy wow but then again I love anything with a lime, chilli and cilantro flavour. I haven’t always used a lot of pearl barley to cook with but I have to say that I’m really enjoying the texture. In case it’s not clear from the picture, the mushroom risotto is also made with barley not rice, neat eh! (And John I froze some so you can try it too!)

Au Revoir Paris

Paris tired us out! It was a whirl wind rest of trip and I don’t know where the time went. The weather stayed cold and rainy for the rest of the weekend but of course it didn’t stop us. We started with trying to find a few crafty stores, as you do in a new city right? We found a few that were supposed to have yarn and fabric but really had more cutsie gifts. Then we found La Droguerie. Despite one of the woman yelling at me from behind the counter to not take pictures it was a lovely shop. Oops!

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Ooo la la right!

Then we wandered over to Notre Dame…

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Ahhhh Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite…how Les Mes!!!!!!

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And there it was…

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In all it’s glory…

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Extra large touristy areas aren’t really our thing so we headed across the river from Notre Dame to Ile Ste Louis…

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We had lunch at a quaint restaurant and then checked out the little shops on this teeny tiny island…

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And of course I had to enjoy a real hot chocolate, thick and creamy!…

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After walking back from this island you get a stunning view of Notre Dame…

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Near Notre Dame were a few interesting things, of course the Latin Quarte, but before that we spotted the Arab World Institute which was a bizarrely modern and old world looking building. Out the front were these too cute elephants…

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Oddly near here was a quilt shop…

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Apparently run by an American lady. Unfortunately, not my style too country but not many pure quilt stores in Paris so, there you go.

Before we left to go and explore the famed Latin Quarter we found Lover’s bridge where lovers write their name on a lock and put it on the fence, ahhhhhhhhhh…

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The Latin Quarter has restaurants and little shops to explore. How odd to find a Canadian bookstore stocked filled with books; there was even a whole section on travel in Canada…

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I didn’t buy a book on Saturaday but I did get the cutest camera case on this day which I think is me in Paris!…

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And so Saturday ends.

Sunday…
On the first Sunday of the month the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay are free so we took advantage…

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How funny am I taking pictures of people taking pictures of the Mona Lisa ha ha ha…

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Look what I found at a shop for breakfast. They all had little hats for charity…

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That’s a lot of knitting as they were all over Paris in different shops in all different colours.

One of the most interesting things we did on Sunday was to visit the Catacombs. It would have been creepy except it was so artistically done. In the underground of Paris you can walk for Km’s and see the old Lime Quarries as well as where they put some 6 million bodies when the Paris cemeteries were too over crowded. These are real human bones…

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It was hard to get a good picture but you can google it, it’s a fascinating piece of history.

We finished the day with the Tour de Eiffel at night…

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On Monday we didn’t leave until later in the day so we were able to see the famous Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe. I loved imagining being there in July to see the Tour de France whiz by; maybe we will have to make another trip!…

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All in all a wonderful weekend getaway. Thank you John. I love you!