I made some shoes…

Made in the Oxford class at Art and Sole Academy, Toronto

Made in the Oxford class at Art and Sole Academy, Toronto

I am quite intrigued by shoes and shoemaking. We have a shoemaker at Upper Canada Village, but I have rarely visited his building. The way our breaks work, there is precious little time to visit other buildings, so you would have to go down on your days off to see anything. I hadn’t been in the woollen mill before I started in there. I had only cleaned and put the tenant farm to bed for the winter, never visited it while it was being interpreted, before I became a cook. The shoemaker before Peter, the current one (who started a decade ago with me), was a woman. She had to dress in drag because it wasn’t really a woman’s thing in the 1860s apparently.

I am a sucker for craft classes and I found one at the Art and Sole Academy in Toronto. The woman who runs it is excellent. She keeps the class size down to 4 people so she can guide everyone through the process of drafting your pattern and creating your shoes. Because I am me, I decided to make a non pair, so they are mirror images of each other. I need to find a grey shoelace for the one shoe, but she didn’t have any and I am not a shopper by any stretch of the imagination, so for now the beige will have to do.

I think they worked out pretty well for a first effort. I am going to take another class in the new year called Classic Flats. I am in the market for shoe lasts right now.

Another backlog, Barbara


I have made a lot of stuff since I posted last, I am more into making than posting right now I guess. I decided to post all these hats now because I am making Christmas related stuff now.

Got a buildup of hats again, Barbara


I have been for a couple of 8 km walks in the last couple of days. I have discovered I actually like walking alone as much as with someone else, and I don’t have to coordinate the timing so …bonus points. I have been enjoying the extended fall. We have finally had a hard frost so the leaves will probably tumble down in earnest now. As I was walking yesterday I was musing about my two very distinct existences…summertime when I don’t hardly have an unsocial second at work and the winter where I can go for days without seeing anyone but Alan, and then only in the evening.


I was getting quite a buildup of hats and I only have so many heads to put them on. I usually keep them around on heads until I photograph and freeze them. I usually keep ones I am happy with around for a while to look at.


I had actually used two of these stitches before…the quilted lattice on the red lady hat and the dotted diamond on the gray and black hat. I had made these a long time before I started the Barbara Walker project, so I decided it was cheating to just use them again. I wish I could bend my own rules sometimes.

Ok, let’s fire this puppy back up, Barbara

As usual, work put a stop to all other aspects of my life. I have been off for a couple of weeks now and have rebooted my social life. Thank goodness none of my friends seem to care that I drop off the face of the earth for 5 months a year. The social reboot included a trip to Toronto for a volunteer appreciation lunch. I think it is funny that I am considered a good volunteer for a city 450km from my house, but I am, after all, a Canadian so distance means nothing.

I never did post the hats that I made on my trip to eastern Europe in the spring. I couldn’t photograph them there, so I didn’t bother posting them. I started back to work 12 hours after arriving home and …you know the rest (summer time warp).

I actually quit knitting for about 4 months and didn’t know if I was going to ever start again, but my friend Lynda decided to retire (yikes), and so I had to knit her a shawl. I had given shawls to other friends on their retirement, so I couldn’t leave her hanging. It took 2 weeks to knit this shawl and it only used 2 stitches Minature Leaf Pattern, pg 215 and Arches and Columns, pg 196 …hats are a lot more work-efficient.

Lyndas shawl

Lynda’s shawl

Actually 19 front line staff retired altogether. The provincial government changed the retirement rules and we had a mass exodus. It will be interesting to see what comes about next year. It is a bucketload of expertise going out the door. Some are planning on returning part time, but it is a huge shakeup.

Heather came to visit …

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I was at the tenant farm yesterday. Heather has been waiting patiently for strawberry-rhubarb pie, and this was the first week that they were available in the garden together. The rhubarb is getting to the end and the strawberries are just beginning. I brought some shortening from home so my little vegan could eat the pie.
She is back together with Edward and even though it was his day off, he decided to come and see her in costume, so I had them both for afternoon tea. Normally at work she is dressed in train overalls. Her dad came racing back afterwards because she had left her nose ring on the table. She had taken it out to be in costume and I guess she had carried it in her hand down to tea and put it beside her teacup. Luckily I hadn’t wiped the table yet.

There and back again…Algonquin park yesterday

IMG_20160516_154642 !!!!!!! ROAD TRIP !!!!!!
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Yesterday, we dropped Heather off at the trailhead of the the Highland Hiking Trail in Algonquin Park. She doesn’t start at the village till next week (…long story), so she is hiking this week to kill time, and I suppose because it is one of her favourite things to do. I had the day off and Alan took the day off so we could go together to take her up. Her cousins will pick her up on Saturday on their way through the Park to mums for the long weekend.IMG_20160516_151352Here they are. What Alan is covering up is the part of the sign which says don’t hike alone. Which is one of the reasons I am awake at 4 in the morning, although it is dawn and so time for the other people to soon find her lifeless body on the trail, don’t you know…IMG_20160516_152447It was great to be back, however briefly in the land of Tom Thompson. I spent five feild seasons in Algonquin park when I was Heather’s age, back in my biology days. IMG_20160516_155351It is truly one of my favourite places on earth. No matter where I go, it will always be one of the best. IMG_20160516_165133This church on the way up to the Park has always killed me. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, yet it is so huge. When you google the nearby village of Wilno, Ontario, you find out about its “famous” annual chicken dinner.IMG_20160516_170028This nearby plaque explains the history of the Polish settlers in the area. There was probably a lot of timber money in the past to bankroll the church. They clearcut the whole area and sent it floating down the Madawaska River and on to the Ottawa River and the world at large. I remember seeing the log booms from the Peace Tower of the Parliament buildings as a kid, when they were finishing up the process 50 years ago.IMG_20160516_155804This is the trees now. Still beautiful but not really very old.

Ok, I lied…one more travel post

IMG_20160505_045825Just before my flight was supposed to start boarding, I heard my name over the PA system. When I got to the flight crew, they handed me a new boarding pass for business class. YEAH!
This was my first and maybe only time in business class so when I was greeted with a tray of wine, beer, fresh squeezed orange juice, and Champagne, I chose the Champagne to celebrate, even though I pretty much hate it. The next time I had a Heineken, cause I am much more of a beer gal.IMG_20160505_050009I was also given a flight kit with socks, blindfold, earplugs, lipbalm, toothbrush and paste.IMG_20160504_173429They have WAY better food in business class, served with a ‘tablecloth’ over your tray and real glassware, china and heavy cutlery wrapped in a cloth napkin (so you know you are in a classy joint). This was dessert course of the first meal. When the flight started, the pilot announced that there was someone with a peanut allergy on board, so there would be no peanut service… No problem in business class, they serve your choice of gouda or mixed nuts (the no peanut kind) IMG_20160504_201802Of course, being me, I spent most of my time watching movies on a much bigger screen than I would have had on the other side of the curtain. The chair reclines and changes shape infinitely. I was using those buttons constantly. No chance to get uncomfortable! Oh, and did I mention the massage feature? And the two rounds of hot towels.IMG_20160505_045925At the end of the flight, they gave me this little ceramic house. I had previously been unsuccessful in finding a small object to join the collection I have of little mementoes from my travels. This will do nicely. If I had actually paid for this experience, the difference in price would have probably equalled the amount of money I spent on 6 weeks of hostel accomodation. Would I pay for it? No way. Anybody who knows me knows I am too cheap for that. But it was a perfect ending to a perfect trip and it was by far the shortest 7 hour flight I have ever been on.