Thursday, 27 September 2018

A Trip to Tofino

On Monday, we took a little trip to Tofino with a visit to Ucluelet. Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island about halfway up the coast. It's 318 km but takes over 4 hours as about half of it is on twisty-turny roads through mountains. The scenery is spectacular. We had fabulous, cloud-free, sunny weather.

First we went to Ucluelet to the Wild Pacific Trail.
This lighthouse has been here for over 100 years. The next land in this direction would be Japan.  As a result, tsunami is a very real threat and all over the island we see signs for tsunami evacuation routes and evacuation zones.
That night we stayed at the Tofino Resort and Marina. This was the view of the marina from our building. The room was very clean had nice, comfy bedding and modern decor. The only exciting part was the very steep driveway down to the building from the check in area up by the road. One would not want to be driving a standard transmission vehicle when wanting to get back up to the road.
The next morning we went downtown to walk around a bit.
Then we drove down to Long Beach. We saw a Stellar's Jay in the parking lot.
Long Beach is about 6km long, very wide, and has lots of driftwood/logs on it.
There were people surfing and several families frolicking on the beach.  The beach was pretty clean. There were a few of these 'bullwhip' seaweeds washed up on shore.
I took my usual beach photo.
This panoramic shot gives a really good sense of the vastness of this place.
We then drove to Port Alberni to spend the night. There is construction on a 2km piece of road about 20km outside of Ucluelet where the road is completely closed for a couple of 1 hour stretches during the day and quite a bit of the night. When it is open, only one lane is passable so there are significant lineups as well. We timed our routes through the area well. We had no trouble coming westbound and only had to wait in line for the single lane when we were going eastbound.

I found a place for us to stay on Airbnb. It's an old hotel that has had all the guest rooms recently refurbished. The room looked really cute and had all the amenities. Comfy king bed, fresh linens,
walk in shower,

high toilet and new vanity.

The exterior of the place is very 'vintage' with a couple of bars and restaurants on the main floor. But the room upstairs was very clean and quiet - even though we were on the main drag. Apparently on Friday and Saturday nights there is live music downstairs but we didn't have to deal with that on a Tuesday night. There were even two complementary pairs of earplugs for us if we needed them.

We had dinner at a nearby Greek restaurant, Orestes Greek Kouzina. Skip's roast lamb and my chicken souvlakia were excellent. The baklava I had for dessert was possibly the best I've ever had - clearly it had been freshly made. Because we walked to the restaurant, we even shared a 1/2 litre of really good Greek wine. It was an excellent dining experience in the unlikeliest of places.

We stopped in Duncan on our way back to Victoria yesterday. We went for lunch with Fred's cousin, Doug and his wife Carol, and got caught up on the latest family info.

We didn't do too much today. We went for lunch at a local Japanese restaurant and I watched the drama of the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings. It sure would have been nice if all of this had been dealt with back in July when Dr. Ford first submitted her allegations.  I cannot even imagine what it took for Dr. Ford to appear. And would there have been any appropriate way for Judge Kavanaugh to answer to the allegations?  What a dumpster fire.

Tomorrow we're going back up to Sidney to explore more book stores and have lunch.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Pulled Thread Design No. 19

One thing Skip and I like to do when we`re in new places is to explore bookstores and libraries.

When we were in Sidney last week, we found a really good used book store. Skip headed to the history section and I checked out the needlework section. One never knows what out of print or hard-to-find books will be there.

I was very pleased to find a vintage Danish book on pulled thread patterns. Someone paid $1.50 for it at some point.
I paid $5 for it. When I checked on it was 19.99 British Pounds and is one of three in this series.
I found a few patterns that I could use on my pulled thread project. Fortunately, the instructions are in  both Danish and English but I had my trusty Google Translate app ready just in case there was some extra Danish for me to interpret.

No. 19 was an interesting pattern that created raised squares by running the threads behind. I had seen this pattern in photos before but had been unable to find instructions for it before now.

It took a couple of hours to do the one square. But I liked how it turned out.
 9 squares down, 7 to go.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Home Pincushion

I have finished most of the stitching on the Hands on Design 'Home' pincushion. The instructions have me attaching fusible interfacing to the back side of all the stitching before I sew it together. I'll wait until I get home to do this as I didn't bring any interfacing with me.
The half of a house on the left will be sewn to the half house on the right side. This will be the last seam I sew when assembling the project. I selected a floss colour (DMC 3024) that most closely matched the colour of the fabric for the backstitching all around the pieces. It will make a very smooth transition from the sides to the top (and the tops of the trees).
I still need to trim the piece of plaid wool fabric to fit inside the diamond at the top and attach it with a blanket stitch. Then start to attach the sides to the top and the bottom.
I've outlined the top and the bottom with the backstitching as well. I'm working on finding lettering for my name and date for the bottom.
 I have a couple of other projects to work on in the meantime.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Royal BC Museum

Yesterday Skip and I ventured downtown to the Inner Harbour area to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum. The general admission fee included the Egypt exhibit that is here until the end of the year.

Outside is a little park with a ceremonial First Nations house and totems. There were food trucks behind it where we had a bit to eat.
Once inside, we went up to the top floor to the west coast Native art exhibits and worked our way down.

This was the view of the Inner Harbour from the top floor.
Just to the right - due north of the museum is The Empress Hotel. The square tower on the left is the Netherlands Centennial Bell Tower - a gift from BCs Dutch community to honour Canada's centennial in 1967. It is the largest carillon in Canada.
I took many photos but this post will focus on various handmade crafts by First Nations people and Egyptians.

This tapestry was woven on a Salish loom by Debra Sparrow in 2014. These ceremonial pieces are worn or stood upon during important events. This was one side.
And this is the other.
This beadwork was on a cradleboard.
 Detail on the cradleboard piece.
There were several whorls from drop spindles. The light wasn't great but this is one of the better shots.
This Chilkat robe was collected at Sitka in 1922.

There was a video showing how this 'Raven's Tail' dance apron was created by elaborate weaving/braiding of the threads. The design came to the artist, Willie White, in a dream and was finished in 2017.
 The colours of the wool and application of buttons are very typical features of Tlingit designs.
More elaborate beadwork.

Once the white men came, the First Nations people began making items to appeal to them for trade. This is an embroidered letter holder using crewel work techniques.
These buttons were woven with grasses.
Here is a heart-shaped needlecase with typical red and black wool. A finely woven needlecase is in the foreground and a small pair of knitted socks in the background.
I was very surprised to see this doily with a punto antico design that was created with linen thread and a type of knotted technique.
We then moved on to the Egypt exhibit

This small piece of finely-woven linen cloth dates from between 1500 and 110 BC.
These were other examples of woven cloth with stripes from 3rd Century BC to 3rd Century AD. This time linen and wool were used.

There were tons of other artifacts and interesting displays. It is definitely worth a visit anytime one is in the area.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Butchart Gardens

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Yesterday was another lovely, sunny day so we decided to visit Butchart Gardens.

It was surprisingly busy for a Monday. I cannot even imagine what it is like during the summer months.

I took lots and lots of photos of flowers but am only going to post this breath-taking shot of the sunken gardens.
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I'm guessing it's a major employer for the area - and not just students. The last time we were here was in the spring. This time many roses were in bloom and the chrysanthemum beds were just starting to bloom. We were impressed with the dahlias of every shape and size and many plants we usually only see in the south like bamboo, crotons, azaleas, rhododendrons, etc.

It was a very pleasant way to spend the day.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Fun on a Rainy Day

Several years ago, we visited this area after disembarking from a Panama Canal cruise. Skip had a few relatives and acquaintances that we visited in various parts of Vancouver Island and we ended our trip visiting my cousin, Barry, and his wife, Lynda, at their home, where we are now house-sitting.

Just before we flew home we spent a night in Sidney near the airport that serves Victoria and the environs. That evening we poked around the main street a bit and noted that there were several book stores and coffee shops that looked rather interesting. We made a mental note that we would like to investigate further on some future trip.

Today started out quite rainy. We decided it would be a great day to poke around bookstores so we headed up to Sidney.

We were hungry so we first went for lunch at The Pier Bistro - that little building at the end of the pier to the right of the blue fish market.
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I had delicious crab cakes on a bed of greens.
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After lunch we walked around the waterfront. This 'Welcome Figure' is a landmark in Beacon Park and faces out to the harbour.
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There is also a bandshell at the southern edge of the park with a few Muskoka chairs.
The sky looked very menacing but shortly after this it cleared up.

A few metres further down is this pirate sculpture.
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Vegetation is very lush.
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We were really trying to find this establishment - The Surly Mermaid. What a great name for an eatery/pub.
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At the used book shop, Beacon Books, Skip bought a book about Hannibal (history nerd) and I found a 60 year-old Danish book of pulled thread techniques.

The sun came out for our 25 minute drive back to our lodgings.

We will definitely pay the area another visit before we return to Ontario.