These are my mother’s fine china dishes. She passed them on to me in 1993 when I moved to Winnipeg. I used them reasonably often while I was there, but since returning to Halifax in 1997 they’ve been used only infrequently – I just don’t do the kind of entertaining that would warrant tableware as elegant as this.

I’ve just sent this picture to my niece asking if she’d be interested for sentimental reasons in having her grandmother’s dishes – she doesn’t, I know, particularly like the china she got when she was married.

If she declines the offer, and I’m expecting she will, I may just put them in my kitchen and use them for everyday dishes and wash them in the dishwasher. 

Nobody really wants fine tableware like this these days. There is little point in having the set stored in my buffet unused. So if the gold edges wear off in the dishwasher, or pieces break, what does it matter – it’s just “stuff”.

Then the question is what to do with my reliable, unbreakable Midwinter white stoneware dishes which I’ve used faithfully for 35 years! More stuff I have to decide what to do with!

George Carlin had it right in his hilarious monologue about “Stuff”. Never seen it, don’t know it – watch it! We all have too much STUFF!

Multi-yarn Socks II

Finally finished this pair of socks made from two different variegated yarns. I could have bought two 50g balls of either, but wanted to see what I could do by interleaving the two.

The two variegated yarns were based on blue – one more strongly patterned, the second subdued. Unlike the previous pair where I alternated rows of each yarn, this time I knit 10-15 rows changing yarn when I thought the colours would blend. My problem was because I couldn’t discern the repeating pattern in either yarn it was impossible to duplicate the starting place on the second sock – so the two socks, while related, are different.

Nobody will notice when they’re being worn! So into the gift pile they’ve gone – I know a couple of wearers who will smile when they put them on.

Sewing Inspiration

It’s very hard for me to shop because I look at garments and notice the sewing imperfections and remember fabric in my stash and think how easy it would be just to make it. Instead, “shopping” for me is about ideas! 

Yesterday Sheila and I dropped into Desigual – their stuff is interesting although their sizing doesn’t fit me, it’s intended for women 40 years younger and skinnier than I am (I wear a size 12-14!) I actually tried on a black and white shirt in a large (forgot to photograph it) but I’d have needed an XXL (which they don’t make) to hang properly and even then I think the shoulders would have been too narrow.

But there was inspiration galore:

A denim jean jacket with inserts and sleeves in an almost sheer print fabric used in the shirt underneath. I’d never have thought of doing that but now I might.A shirt in contrasting bold colourful prints – I might have considered doing something like this. It’s a reminder to look through my stash of shirt fabric when I get home with something like this in mind.

Inspiration everywhere!

Toronto’s Harbourfront

Yesterday I had lunch with Sheila who I met last spring in San Francisco at the Betzina Sewing Retreat. We were supposed to have spent a week together sewing again beginning of April, but I was hit with norovirus and couldn’t go. 

She lives in a high rise building in the Distillery District on the Toronto waterfront. Imagine sipping coffee on your balcony enjoying this view:

This is the Toronto working harbour – the terminus for the lake barges and occasional ships that come through the St. Lawrence:

Behind this high rise is the site of the recent Pan Am Games:

We wandered the Distillery a district – had lunch, window shopped, dropped into some of Sheila’s favourite stores including this one (didn’t record the name) – every pair of shoes here looked like it had come from the Shoe Museum:

Last we stopped at a coffee shop for some dessert and sat outside enjoying the warm spring afternoon. We won’t have window boxes like this in Halifax for another three weeks!
We had a lovely visit and both of us are looking forward to next April in San Francisco and another Betzina Sewing Retreat.

The Bata Shoe Museum

It’s been there for 20 years but I’d never visited. After lunch Karen asked where I wanted to go. Our ultimate destination was her grandson’s daycare – her day to pick him up. So I suggested we visit the shoe museum which was near the daycare.

The hanging stained glass “shoes” in the foyer catch your attention immediately.

There was an interesting exhibit of the hazards of shoe manufacture to both maker and wearer – hazardous dyes, for example.

Irresistible to a tennis fan: Roger Federer has larger feet than I thought – larger than Bjorn Borg’s. This pair Federer wore at the French Open – you can see the clay embedded in the shoes clearly.

Sandals worn by Pierre Trudeau, toe slippers worn by one of the National Ballet’s ballerinas in the role of Cinderella – replete with “jewels”.Shoes belonging to Marilyn Munro and Elizabeth Taylor – I remember owning shoes just like these.

The shoe timeline exhibit from the earliest foot protection (found in archeological excavations) to contemporary – a must see. A museum devoted to shoes? Absolutely. Shoes reveal a lot about human culture. The Museum is definitely worth a visit. Put it on your list for the next time you’re in Toronto.

Unexpected Faces

Day before yesterday my friend Karen and I were out for lunch. On our way back to the car from the restaurant we walked past a store window and both of us came to a dead stop: “A face!”

Having no idea what the object actually was we went into the shop to inquire. We also asked if the owner would take it from the window so we could capture an image. The shop owner thought we were both mad! Turns out the object is a pair of automatic motion sensitive security lights with a camera (the proboscis). 

“That’s all you want? A picture?” How do you explain you see faces in all sorts of unlikely places. 

We took pictures and left.

Another security camera and light – I guess the idea is to capture images of unwanted visitors – both animal and human.

Later that night Karen and her husband headed north to their cottage. The next morning she saw another face – the cottage almost smiling because the snow is just about gone.

Yup. Faces everywhere!

While Karen and I were having lunch I noticed a small animal climbing the concrete facade of the apartment building across the street. Too far away and too small to get a photo. 

At first I thought it might be a squirrel but it seemed to lack a bushy tail so I concluded it was likely a small rat or large mouse. The animal stopped for a while beside an open window. I watched until a truck obstructed my view. When the truck moved away – rodent was nowhere in sight – I wonder if the occupants of the apartment with the open window came home to an unwanted visitor!

Maybe they need one of these security cameras beside their window?