Posted in sewing, Travel

Canada to Catskills

I liked this Canada cookie so much I bit off the stem of the maple leaf before I thought to take a photo of it. No Regrets.

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It’s been over a week since I’ve been back from Montreal and Ottawa. It took me a little longer to post than usual. And, in exchange you get a super long travelouge. Exciting, isn’t it?  Before I made it back home to Baltimore from Canada, I had a detour to a fishing camp in the Catskills.

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My friend and pro photographer picked me up during my Philly layover so I could be her photo assistant at a western New York wedding for the 4th of July. I was more than happy to help as it kind of extended my vacation and let me feel like I knew what I was doing with a camera.

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The wedding was also pretty incredible.  I cried during the vows and toasts and I don’t even know these people!!

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The wedding cake was rainbow layers. Something I’ve seen pop up on Pinterest and Instagram and I was DYING to actually try one. It was just as delicious as it looked. When my friend posts photos from the wedding online, I’ll link back so you can see. It was a gorgeous riverside ceremony with a party that went until 1:30 a.m.

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Our very old school motel had a minty green bathroom and Gideon Bibles in the bedside table. I swear I haven’t seen those in 20 years. These were published in ’73. And, I for sure haven’t ever seen a Book of Mormon in a hotel.

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Once back from ten days of not being at home (or work) I just needed a bit to get myself (and laundry washed) together.


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We took the train to Canada from Baltimore at an unbearably early hour. But, as I’m a champion sleeper in moving vehicles, it didn’t bother me. The train is four times as long as flying but 1,000 times more comfortable and scenic.

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Our first stop was Montreal which I FREAKING LOVE.  As per usual, we took a bike tour through the city.20150628-USER2198 photo 20150628-USER2198_zps5rz5nk5m.jpg

We used the same company that Trena and I used five years ago, Fitz & Folwell. And, let me say this, the owner Shay stay fine (apparently I referred to him as ‘smoking’ the first time).

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I was much more food touristy on this program with visits for both Montreal bagel standards. I was all set to ignore the bagels but glad I complied with Instagram suggestions. They actually are different than NY bagels. And super good hot and fresh from the oven. But, I have to give it to St Viatauer for the win.

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I generally don’t believe in waiting in line for food. But, we did for Schwartz’s smoked meat and again, phenomenal. We also took a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter organized by the Montreal Jewish Museum. Totally fascinating.

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And, I as promised, I had the poutine I’d dreamed of. It may be a heart attack on a plate, but it was heavenly. Is poutine like pizza? Even when it’s bad it’s good?

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We wrapped up Montreal with two little sewing meet up. The first, below, was right after my bike tour which explains my cycle dress and thin film of sweat.  Veronik, Alexandra, Heather and Vicki all came out. Some asides that show how weirdly connected you can be.

  1. Veronik is a knitwear designer. I don’t really knit (yet) so her name didn’t immediately ring a bell. Until I went on my Ravelry yesterday and saw that one of my two actual projects was hers!! It’s a hand knit sweater vest from Interweave back in 2007. I had a serious knitting friend back then and bought all the supplies to make it and never did.
  2. Alexandra and I met at PR Weekend Montreal five years ago. Since then, she’s had babies! How is it that people grow people when you’re still trying to remember to get dressed in the morning?
  3. Heather, everyone knows. I have the Ginger jeans pattern all printed, traced and ready to muslin. But, more importantly, she knew way more about US politics that I about Canadian. Thankful, because political chatter kept Jordan entertained longer than I would have expected.
  4. Vicki and Heather both saw Prince the week after he performed in Baltimore. We relived our middle and high school years talking about that show.

After a few hours of wine and chatter, Heather offered to make dinner for all of us. So, pressure cooker + friends and it was an instant dinner party! And instant dinner party in which Jordan listened to four hours of sewing and I had a ball.20150628-USER2233 photo 20150628-USER2233_zpsapkrehrj.jpg

My second meet up was with Jill. She met Jordan and I at a bakery in her neighborhood and we at ALL THE BREAD. No more Costco croissants. I swear they bake bread with a sprinkle of  crack in Montreal.

From Montreal we went on to Ottawa. We took VIA Rail from Montreal (selfie stick represent). Is the train ever not elegant?

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While we were rained out for Canada Day we still managed tours of the gorgeous art deco Canadian Supreme Court (obviously not my idea), walking the grounds of Parliament Hill, exploring Chinatown and taking a Thai cooking class at the Ottawa Chinese Cooking School.

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PLUS!!!! We had a lovely pizza dinner with the Sewing Lawyer Kay and her husband.  We ditched Jordan at a bar and went to her house and checked out her Passap and knitting machine collection (no photos. I have no photos of this. How do I have NO PHOTOS??) I felt so good leaving her because despite both owning multiple knitting machines, we both have regular online searches going for new ones. These things seem to breed like rabbits itellyouwhat.

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And, now, I am back in town. Jordan started his firm job last week. Hello 12 hour work days and billable hours. What a change from two years of clerking! We had company over the weekend (which meant I spent all week cleaning) and more company this week when Jordan gets sworn into the Federal Bar. Exciting times. I do have new tunic top to show you (previewed on Instagram) and an update on Machine Knitting Lesson 2 from Saturday.


Posted in Travel

Montreal Bound. Let’s Have Drinks.

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We’re getting ready to leave for Montreal via Amtrak. And, by getting ready I mean trying to sew a new tee shirt to take with me, doing laundry, waxing my eyebrows and generally going crazy. Jordan on the other hand had decided he’s staying up all night and not stressed. I thought a train through the US into Canada would be so romantic and continental. Except, our train out of Baltimore departs at 4 am. So, I’m just feeling tired and very American.

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I was last in Montreal in 2010 with my mom, Aunt Judy and Trena for PR Weekend. It was like a family vacation. My mom was always game for a trip. Also, looking through my photos from last time, I think I actually sewed most of my fabric from the trip!!! And by most I mean some. Don’t judge.

So, if you’re in Montreal and interested in getting cocktails Monday the 29th, leave a message here or send me an email. I’ve poked and prodded Vicki (Another Sewing Scientist) and Heather (Closet Case Files) to take me out. I think the plan is have a little somethin’ somethin’ at Huis Clos on St. Denis. I’m not sure of the time, but likely after work hours.

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Finally, Here’s a list of all the things I will eat next week.

  1. Poutine. Daily.
  2. Maple syrup on all the things
  3. Fresh strawberries from the market with glasses of champagne
  4. Croissant with coffee every day
  5. Baugettes perched delicately in my bicycle basket
Posted in sewing, Travel

The FINAL Montreal Post

I have returned from Montreal! After a week of travel together, Trena and I remain friends! I will travel with my mom and aunt again! So, overall, a success. Sadly, I forgot my camera on Friday so I have no photos of the Jalie Patterns demo. It was so so cool. I had the pleasure of meeting Emilie in Portland last year (time flies!). This time, she bought her incredibly chic and charming mom Jeanne with her. You may have gathered I’m not an ‘easy knits’ girl. But, I am so excited for their new dress and swimsuit patterns that are coming out in the next collection. Yes, DRESS! In the meantime, I can’t wait to take a crack at this #2796 running skirt.

It’ll be great for biking and general working out. I hate wearing shorts. They do nothing for me. But, I will rock a mini in a heartbeat!

And Saturday I was so busy buying fabric that I only managed to eek out this one photograph. The fabric above will be a dress someday. I bought so much, that I had to split the haul with the Colonel. I sent her back to Tampa with several sweater knits that I know I won’t be working with this summer. I’m also not posting my  ‘boring’ solid fabric that wicks away sweat. Let’s look at the fun stuff!

Between the fabric and maple syrup I was dangerously close to being over my weight limit. And, there was no way my suitcase was gonna close. So, my mom took half the fabric and I’ll get it back
from her when I visit this October / November. So, when I do get it back, it’ll all still be new to me!

What I got really excited about were the 31 zippers I bought at 75 cents each! I hate running out of run-of-the-mill notions. And with just about every color imaginable and at such a good price I figured I would stock up.

Now, what I am super excited about is this. It’s reflective, stretch, trim. Perfect for piping athletic gear! I’ve had much of the same workout clothing for almost 10 years. Well, it gets worn so infrequently it wasn’t a problem. But, I’d like some updated pieces with better fit so I was in an athletic frame of mind. I like the shopping in Montreal! I found it to have a great selection of athletic stuff as I think overall they have more outdoor / cold weather sports going.

Also of interest, my mom brought me (via my grandmother) a bottle of vanilla extract from Grenada! $4 USD for 650 ml. That’s 22 OUNCES! This, made up for one of those epic mother-daughter fights that you can only have on vacation while sharing a 9 sq meter  / 96 sq ft room.

This, was a GREAT week. Despite the most mortifying moment of my life (I slipped at dinner in front of *everyone* Saturday and fell to the ground in an epic wipeout dropping / shattering my dinner plate) I heart Montreal. And, I have put Toronto and Ottawa on my short list of new cities to visit soon. I can’t thank the fabulous volunteer organizers enough for putting this together! THANK YOU!!

Posted in Travel

My ‘Texas Tuxedo’

Today is my last ‘vacation’ day in Montreal. The fabulous women of PR are arriving. In fact, I just saw Connie in the lobby.

I bought eight cans of maple syrup to bring home today. 13 lbs in fact. I didn’t want to walk them from the metro back to the University of Montreal, so I rented the Bixi bike and pedaled past my mom and Aunt Judy.

Travel wardobe today. This is a two year old Patrones skirt. It’s sadly only the second time I’ve worn it. It’s such a cute skirt. But, it really needs a white denim / twill blazer for it to be ‘nice’ enough for work. And, as mentioned, I have NO separates. I tossed it in with the H&M brown shirt on a whim. I look like an Andes Mint. A color scheme I kind of love. Oh, and mom is in my pants, my jacket and a hat I bought for her. I think I *am* my mom’s stylist. Oh, wait. She’s even got my bag.

Umm, I love that my first name sounds so much better in French than in English. And, is everywhere. It’s obscured, but the sign says ‘Le Belle Renee’. (taken yesterday wearing BWOF 2-2009-118). Trena, who is from Texas, says I’m in a ‘Texas Tuxedo’ because I’m wearing jeans with a denim jacket. LOL. Love that.

Posted in Travel

Riding Stink

** title does not refer to this ride 🙂

Are all bike tour guides hot?? Because, mine today was smokin’.

Sadly, my photo is not good enough to do him justice. And, happily, he was also a fantastic guide through Montreal.

Unlike Miss 2x a  day at the gym, I don’t work out much lately. I have done a wee bit of riding the last two weekends with the Vegan and bought a bike off of Craigslist just before leaving town. But, I’m limited to flat, three-mile rides. My aunt is also not a biker. Yet, our guide Shea tailored the four-hour trip to our needs and it was marvelous!

There are bikes all over the place. It’s quite inspiring. There are dedicated bike lanes and rental bikes EVERYWHERE.

It’s just an entirely different way of thinking of transportation. I’ve lately been obsessed with the blog ‘Cycle Chic‘. I told the Vegan I was going to start riding my bike to work a few days a week  in my every day clothes, and I’d be  ‘Cycling Chic’. There are no showers at my office either.  He told me it’s too hot in Baltimore and I would in fact be ‘Riding Stink’.

Our first stop was for croissant. I also bought a long baguette to put in the basket of my bike to pretentiously pretend that I was French. Trena refused to take that photo.

Rode a little more and stopped coffees all around.

I do not know why my iced latte came with fruit. I think it was the universe telling me it’s not a ‘real’ coffee.

The ride continues through different neighborhoods which is a super fun way to orient yourself to the city. Shea was very knowledgeable and gave bits of history along the way.

Our late lunch was at the Atwater Market. I have a thing for outdoor markets. In a grocery desert like Baltimore, it’s farmer’s markets that most people get their food from. Corner stores are evil.

Local strawberries, more fruits, veggies, cheeses, fresh baked breads and more delicacies than I could count. And, the flower market was breathtaking. You could smell the flowers upon approach.

We finished with a ride along the canal. I’d like to take credit for the artistic shot, but it was suggested by our tour guide.

After five hours (I was slow) we finished! Fantastic Day Two in Montreal. Debating dinner. I promised myself poutine every night. But, I’d like to go home without a clogged artery.

And, as for what I’m wearing… Aunt Judy said I must really like this Burda dress from 1/2008 #118. I *do*. But, I have worn it at every single PR weekend and every single trip the last two years. I just don’t sew much casual clothing. I spend the most time at work or at work events. So, I sew for work. When I sew casual it feels like I’m wasting time. Plus, this dress travels well.

But, I did wear this Burda 2-2007-116 vest with jeans on the first day and to travel in. But, everything else you’ll see me in this week has been posted ad nauseam. I guess I have a standard travel wardrobe 🙂