Thursday, 17 August 2017

Along the Cabot Trail and Baddeck

This story only makes sense if you like driving, cycling, biking, or moving on wheels at all. You could walk barefooted if you wish, but the point is to get moving. Cabot trail is all about moving, changing places, centimetre by centimetre, because it is a bouquet of sceneries, album of beautiful pictures, storytelling movie in captions only. Here and there on our stops, there will be few subtitlesm explaining where we stand, but all we will hear is the soulful song of the ocean - from the deep voice of the Western waters of the Atlantic, forming the rocks at  the coves, north of Ingonish,  and Aspy Bay, through the silent North Mountain and Pleasant Bay to the high pitch of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is a counter clock journey on Cabot trail, that walks through four mountains and so many unique places.

It all starts from Baddeck one really early morning. The harbour in Baddeck is perfectly situated - sunrise or sunset, or even at noon, the pictures here are always beautiful. I know I could have done so much better, if I have chosen another morning, but this was my early morning, my inside clock woke me up at 4:00 in this particular morning to capture the fog and the shy face of the sun at this day, that turned out to be really cloudy and rainy, but these are my memories. It was meant to be.

Walking down the street towards the water feels so refreshing, where there is only one person, sharing my earliness and eagerness for the sunrise. The lighthouse is visible from a far, standing proudly in his white robe, reflecting the first light behind the horizon. Most of the lighthouses in the Maritimes are already closed. With the new technologies, sailors don't really need them any more. They were going on sale for the big amount of one dollar with one condition - to be maintained carefully and kept open as a historic attractions. Some were bought and people devoted their life to keep them from being forgotten, but it is only a matter of time, before they start only existing in the children's story books. Some of the lighthouses keep such treasure stories in their historical existence, it is so sad they had to close the doors and left to the not so gentle touch of the weather, close to the salt waters of the Atlantic.

I stand here, then walking end to end along the harbour and my mind is clear of all the life I know it - it is a different dimension of peacefulness and quiet.

It will definitely be a dark morning... The water feels so deep here and the light from the sun is weak, filtered by the thick clouds, and it makes me feel swallowed by this darkness. But that is what makes the little sunny spot so special - like barely kept tiny hope for something good that is coming!

That is it, I am ready to start my day. No disappointment, just relief and calmness. I am going away without looking back, leaving this quiet place behind. I have a full day ahead of me, what more could I ask for?

A rainy day in Baddeck is better spent in the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

I have learnt things about this gentlemen, I am ashamed to admit, I did not know. His 'telephone' invention is not all about him. I should say, it was a little part of his life, really little, just we, as his successors, we recognize it as the biggest achievement of his, since the phones are in our hands all the time. What he did for people with hearing impairment was significantly more and did you know, that he could fly?! I admire him for that. 

He was impressed with the simplicity of life and the Nature beauty in this amazing town and decided to spend the rest of his life here, building a house on the island (the one, behind the light house on the sunrise pictures), helping the community and all the world with his inventions. Believe me, two hours spent in the museum will not only help you understand the world better, but will open your eyes wider for the beauty that surrounds you.

Staying in Baddeck is worth it, because it keeps you in touch with the heritage. Our choice:

Such a welcoming atmosphere, vintage decoration, carefully kept through the years, this house was a home for royalties, adventurers and seeking food for the soul visitors. I loved our six-day stay here! It felt like we were very special guests.

Dine at the restaurant, because than you get to experience the royal service in total. Read about the family history and rest on the beautiful porch - it is worth it.

From the porch, you look down to the family own, little diner where the breakfast is a feast. 

I am very passionate about my morning espresso and did not expect to find such barristers here, in Baddeck, but for these people there were no secrets when it came to coffee and even pastry. They will prepare food for you for the trails and the choices are everything from fresh fruits to sandwiches and desert.

One adventure I don't want you to miss is the Tom's pizza. It is not just pizza, it is your dreamed pizza. These people have it all - beyond your imagination. I am difficult to be impressed when food is involved, especially baking. For those of you, who know me as a baker from my Tablier taché, you know that to be so true, but watching these people working so passionately made me blush. It is an award winning place and I saw why.

Stay in Baddeck for longer to experience it in full. After the second night, I knew I will have difficulties part with all this true life, where every day is a gift and to fight for the life is the biggest reward, where the appreciation for life is so pure, you don't need anything more but to be in touch with yourself  - as simple as that.

Walk around the town, look at the houses - they tell such beautiful stories... 

Even the flowers here speak to you. The blue is in the air, water, earth and sky. I love blue!

From the depth of the blue, I am leaving you to your beautiful day, planning your next adventure!

It is time to hit the Cabot trail - the bijoux of Cape Breton Island.

Driving from Baddeck, counter clockwise, is a beautiful trip through Smokey Mountain. And I think "How much beauty could I see?" and than the coves start appearing one after another. They are a screaming statement of the power of the ocean - big rocks, formed for thousands of years got washed away by knowing no mercy salt water of the mighty Atlantic. It is a constant fight between earth and water here. And I get to be in the middle of the fight. The wind tries to blow me away, but gravity is fighting back for me, and I stay there as a hero, soaking all this eternal grace.

Lakies Head
Green Cove
Climbing up and down the mountain doesn't stop to amaze me, while I am looking at the map (the old fashioned me is a paper map follower - I guess I love paper and colours), I find that the Cabot trail suddenly takes a western adventure at Neil's Harbour and misses the Coastal Loop. 
Note: Find the map of Cape Breton Highlands National Park here. It is available in every visitor's centre and it is clear enough for every little corner of the park. 
Well, we don't want to miss that, so we stop at Neil's Harbour to regroup our thoughts and take time to decide where to from here. 

Fishermen here can not get rid of the seagulls. What a noisy company!

Neil's Harbour
It is decided, we are taking the Coastal loop. It leads through ups and downs, away from the water, but only to White Point, where the time has suddenly stopped. I have nothing to say about this place. We spent a second here, that on the clock appeared to be hours. I lost myself in this place and than find another me. I can not believe we could have missed it, if we were to follow the map (imagine how the GPS could find a place like that). 

Finally, I found a place where earth and water live in piece. If they can do it, why don't we?!

Hardly leaving this place... to continue on the road, where the view from Sunrise town to the Aspy Bay seems so distant.

Driving through the North Mountain is a silent trip to our next adventure, that doesn't seem so exciting any more. What more could be seen after that? 

Stop at the top of the mountain to look at the Aspy Fault that cuts a deep crevice stretching 40 km into the heart of Cape Breton Highlands. It is a special place, from 300 million years ago, before the continents we now know them were formed. 

Stopping at the National Park for a short walk to the MacIntosh Brook...

... and continue your trip down the mountain, where the hills at Wreck Cove Point are at your palm - it feels like they could be touched...

... Stop to smell the white clover - it is a honey sensation !

We are entering at the western part of the Cabot trail, where everything is down at our feet and still so mighty and strong. I told you about this places here on our first attempt to conquer  Cabot Trail. This time is a different scenery, coming from the other side. 

And today's journey finishes with La Bloc, close to the gentle hugs of the waves:

Stay here, talk to the ocean, ask him all your questions about why he is so mad at the Earth on the other side of the coast, how he decides to create places like White Point, why he is so blue at the horizon, where our sight stretches painfully to capture more of him, why he trows the rocks away, after polishing them so perfectly, when he will open his depth for the sun to enter deeper... I have so many more questions for him. But they are left for the next time I go, because life as it consumes me with its vanity and every day style, calls me back and I know my date with the ocean lasted only a day, but long enough to keep me from choosing the wrong path in life and to fill my heart with love.

Safe sail, my friends!


Listening to Kaleo "I can't Go On Without You", while writing this post :

  Kaleo - I Can't Go On Without You LIVE from Iceland Music Export on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Apple Blossom Purse

Today it feels like it was a very long time ago, when the apple trees were blooming - the most elegant, intriguingly delicate with its shades of pink to crimson glory, the apple blossom inspired so many poetic confessions. 

My poetic confession today is with this purse, I ended up loving so much...

It is a pure revealing of my soul - such a pretty, not screaming pink, my favourite ever, characteristic in texture fabric, embroidery, Japanese-style design, absolutely cool and unique handle and great size...

I have always wanted to make a big bouquet of apple blooming branches for my picture album, but I have never had the heart to cut them. That is how the idea of copying one of the blossoms and embroidering it was born.

It was late April, when my lonely apple tree was blooming. I took the impossible challenge to draw one of the tiny branches, staring hopelessly at the tree, as if there was a power in it, that could lead my hand into somehow representing this innocent beauty... 

I took all my stash of embroidery floss from pink to crimson red and greens out and started looking for the right colours. It had to look real, as if it was a picture taken. Well... the sun was playing games with me, undermining my work, the wind wasn't helpful either, making the leaves dance... I fought with them with all my creative ability, just until I had the closest possible realistic colours. And what an inspiring fight this was in between the sun kisses and the wind hugs...

After this adventure of creating the perfect blossom, it was time to work with thread and fabric for the so desired image of the apple blossom.

By the time I was done painting with the needle on my favourite canvas of HAORI fabric the real apple blossoms were gone, sacrificing their life for the fruit growing to start.

I had my image of the blossom now forever painted on my fabric. What to do with it, was another decision I did not want to make lightly. So I left it on my working table to look at it every time I do something else, to inspire me, until I see in my heart what I want to make with it.

And here it is - the purse.

I adapted a pattern by Yoko Saito from one the many books, written by her in my library, that give me such inspiration.

I used the new Spring-Summer 2017 fabric from HAORI for the back and the bottom and the classic solid pink for the front. The handle is from my so favourite deep green, with which I have made so many items. I think it will end up being on every item I make with HAORI :)

Zipper is the happy LECIEN Jelly zipper - I love these zippers! I lined it with regular light weight cotton in matching colour.

The purse is free-style hand-quilted on the front and I followed the gentle lines of the print on the back and on the front right side, to create more contrast and drama. 

The handle is embroidered with feather stitch, using variegated sashiko thread. I also applied that stitch on the front, where the two fabrics meet. For those of you, who read my posts for quite awhile now, you know my love for the French knot is limitless. I can not have embroidery theme without it. It makes my feather stitch so much more interesting...

That is about it for the purse. My girls fought over it, without realizing the more they fight, the prouder I was becoming with myself (without my nose pointing too high), and most certainly, I can not share the purse with neither of them (how would I choose who will have it, and I can not make the same one ever), so it stays for me. And it makes me happy - it is a rear thing to make something for myself, so I am planning to enjoy this moment.

Thank you for sharing the moment with me! 
I hope you have so much inspiration in your days, because without inspiration, the soul and heart are sad.

Happy summer days, my friends!

Monday, 14 August 2017

'Goat' Lunch Bag

I am looking at the calendar and can not believe the numbers. All these squares, well placed in order, only point out to me, that August is half gone and soon to be September. How weird is that? I have a feeling the summer have just started and is already dripping through my fingers.

Getting ready for school is the first sign of the going away summer. This year, my little daughter wanted to have a new lunch bag - something different from all the lunch bags out there, something fun. She loves animals, so here it is the choice for my next project with DailyLike Canada - an adventurous lunch bag. 

Materials used:

1. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Goat oxford cotton for the face of the bag and for inside of handle
2. Fat Quarter Daily Like Canada Green Land cotton 20C for binding
3. 0.5 yards Daily Like Canada Lace Flower laminated cotton for lining the body
4. Daily Like Canada Webbing Strap , colour: khaki 
5. Pellon Flexi-Foam, one -sided fusible
6. Cotton batting
7. 45 cm zippers for the bag body and the pocket

The laminated cotton is really soft and easy to work with. It protects nicely the inside of the bag, without adding any weight to it. 

I chose to work with contrasting in colour zippers, that accent nicely the lace flower print on the laminated fabric. My working length of the zippers is 45 cm - way longer than the needed size, especially for the pocket (the measured length is 35 cm). Because of the curve on the pocket, where it limits the freedom of sewing, I chose the longer zipper, that allowed me wider opening while creating the pocket and afterwords, when it was time to even the edge at the bottom of the bag, I just cut the zipper to the desired length. 

I designed the bag to fit a bento box with certain size. My need for the bag was to be narrow at the bottom and taller, so it could fit in the regular size school backpack. There is nothing worse than hand-holding a lunch bag in the winter or in cold windy weather. The wind goes through gloves and mittens, and while waiting for the school bus, that sometimes is late in bad weather, hands stay in the jacket pockets, well protected.

I designed the front pocket with one inside pocket to carry cutlery, napkin, little bottles of dressing or spices, or just a packet of biscuits.

The fabric quantity is enough to make an extra bag for small agendas, pocket format dictionaries or just a sandwich.

I attached my signature button at the front and a piece of matching webbing strap on the back, crocheted the edge with colour, matching the zipper and handed these beauties to my girl. She got so excited!

The pattern for the lunch bag could be found in my happy shop

Lunch Bag Pattern by Ivelina
Well, it is a start, getting ready for school! And I found a reason to appreciate the last few weeks of summer even more. I hope you find the way to enjoy the season without stress and savour it in full.

Thank you so much for spending time with me!
Wishing you wonderful days ahead, full of adventures!

♥ Ivelina