Between road trips, home improvements, quilt class and sewing for the holiday season, I sure haven't had time to blog lately, but I wanted to pop in quickly to share the news that I'll be at the Handmade Market this weekend! I've been wanting to do this one for awhile now and I'm super excited about it! It's held at the beautiful Honsberger Estate in Jordan, Ontario and there will be over 75 artists, plus wine and beer to sip while you shop, food trucks and an entire "culinary barn"! Oooh it's gonna be good! Hope to see you there!
Tomorrow I'm heading out on a week-long road trip through Essex County, Detroit and Ann Arbour for my husband's birthday. But before I left, I wanted to make sure that you were all up to date on Dear Edna happenings, specifically that there are four new work aprons for sale in the shop! Woo!
For the fellas, there's a spiffy dark indigo denim with contrast stitching, a nautical navy striped denim and a classy maroon plaid. I know that men aren't the only ones that appreciate a good, sturdy apron, so I've also made a limited edition women's apron in a classic red, blue, green and yellow plaid.
All orders placed while I'm away will ship October 20th.
Ahh the honeymoon. Of course we would've loved to go to Europe, but twice in a year is a little excessive, especially on top of a wedding. So we went with the next best thing within Canada... Québec! Québec City for nine days and Montreal for four. We've been to Montreal many times, but I had been to Québec City only once, on a school trip in grade 8, and Mike had never been, which just seemed silly. It's a one-hour flight!
Most people want to know what the heck we found to do in Québec City for nine days. It's more of a long weekend destination for most, I guess. We've certainly never spent that much time in one city, either. But you have to remember that we left two days after our wedding. All we wanted to do was unplug and take it easy: sleep in, stroll, patio people-watch, eat some good food, drink some French wine. When you have nine days somewhere, you can do all that and not worry that your picnic got rained out or the museum is closing... because you can go tomorrow! It was great! Maybe our days of go-go-go backpacking are behind us?
The very first night we arrived was La Fête nationale du Québec, also known as Saint-John-Baptiste Day. Actually, I believe the holiday was the next day, but the party was the night before. And what a party it was! Stages were spread out across the entire Plains of Abraham — every musical genre was represented — and you could peruse it all with a beer in hand. (Why can't Ontario get behind this concept?) We walked around the whole thing and then settled in at the hip hop stage with Loud Lary Ajust and their hilariously "bilingual" rhymes: "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, oh my God, I mean oh my Dieu!" Haha! It was so fun!
We stayed in this beautiful airbnb apartment. The location was great: on a relatively quiet street, outside of the touristy area, but close enough to walk to all the sites, and in between trendy Rue Saint-Jean and Avenue Cartier. That amazing kitchen didn't get much use, but the balcony sure did. It was a great place to come back to at the end of a long day... or to not leave at all on a rainy one.
The Chateau Frontenac sadly doesn't offer tours anymore, but that didn't stop us from poking around. After a delicious cheese and charcuterie platter at the newly renovated bar, 1608, we ended up in the basement where we found this photo. Ladies who lunch? How about ladies who skate... and are served martinis on the frozen lake? I have a new goal to aspire to.
Down down down into the Old Port. We weren't crazy for the scene down there at first. The shops, galleries, and restaurants all seemed aimed at an older, wealthier demographic. Think Niagara on the Lake. But then we turned a corner and discovered Quartier Petit Champlain, which was quaint and lovely. We settled in at Bistrot le Pape Georges for lunch and, thanks to the very friendly waitress, a few too many glasses of rosé. We were quite content on the patio, but the atmosphere inside was awesome too. It was built in an old house from 1668 — need I say more? The Petit Champlain shopping wasn't half bad either. Mike bought me a beautiful leather clutch from M0851 as a wedding gift. Can't complain about that!
The Musée des Ursulines de Québec preserves the art and history of the Ursuline Convent of Québec City, the oldest institution of learning for women in North America. The range of subjects these women learned was pretty astounding - it almost made me wish I could be a student there now. They also had an embroidery exhibit on that was quite beautiful. We weren't allowed to take photos, unfortunately.
The clear favourite for us, however, was the Morrin Centre. Before it became the first English-language college in Québec City, it was the city's first public prison. This unique mix of history made for a very interesting tour, from dank basement cells to science laboratories and an absolutely spectacular library.
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec was a treat both inside and out. It emphasizes art by Québécois artists, which is really what you want as a tourist, and the tower wing, which used to be a jail, is an interesting piece of preserved history. If you need a break, the café patio has a great view overlooking the park. Just don't order the beef tartare, or tell the waitress that you disliked it, for that matter. You've been warned.
I'm not usually big on modern art, but the Les matins infidèles: L’art du protocole (Unfaithful Mornings: The Art of Protocol) exhibition was brilliant. Inspired by the film of the same name, in which a photographer takes a picture at the same time on the same street corner for a year, this exhibition brings together fifteen artists whose work was executed in a similar manner, with strict methodical rules. 40 meters of paper, 400 pounds of wool, 7905 Spirograph drawings, thousands of pinholes. It was all beautifully mesmerizing.
We also rented a car one day and made a trip out to see Montmorency Falls and Île d'Orléans. Maybe we've been spoiled, living so close to Niagara Falls, but we found the falls a little ho hum. The island, on the other hand, was fantastic! We sampled wine, cider, cassis and ice cream while overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. We were able to drive around the entire island in an afternoon (it's only 34k long and 8k wide), but I would've liked to have had more time to stop and explore. In hindsight, I wish we stayed a night here. You live and you learn.
Another advantage of having a lot of time in one city, we feel like we got to explore neighbourhoods that likely get overlooked by tourists on a tight schedule, like Quartier Saint-Roch, where we shopped, sampled some micro brews, and dined at L'affaire Est Ketchup, which was one of the best meals the entire trip.
This crazy show was set up outside of a subway station. Only in Montreal.
It was fun to catch some of the jazz fest this time, as I'd never been. We did some research ahead of time and set out specifically to see these guys, The Fat Tuesday Brass Band, a 7-piece band with a New Orleans funk sound. As expected, they killed it!
The duo we liked to call Money Pants and Slash hit the stage afterwards and there was no way I was walking away before hearing a few songs. Their real band name was Les Deuxluxes and they were every bit as fun and rock and roll as they looked.
I'm so happy we were able to catch the end of the Orkestra Severni and Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra set that was making it's way across the square. What a performance! I felt like I was at a Beirut Takeaway Show. Luckily Mike had the forethought to shoot a quick video, complete with weird dancing man. Enjoy.
I've saved the best for last. The food. Oh my God, the food.
Adopting the "it's our honeymoon, let's splurge" philosophy, we ate at some truly amazing restaurants on this trip. L'affaire Est Ketchup, Le Moine Echanson, and Hobbit Bistro were all highlights in Québec City. In Montreal, Au Pied du Cochon left us so drunk on foie gras that we had to hold each other up on the walk home. And then there was Joe Beef, where I believe I declared myself "the happiest girl in Montreal." Haha!
All in all, we spent our two weeks well. It was exactly what we needed to both keep that newlywed high going strong and ease the shock of it all being over. We don't grant ourselves (or others) that favour very often, do we? But it's so important. What if we took a trip after every big life event? Let's make that a thing.
By the way, if you missed the other four parts of my wedding recap, you can find them here.
I don't know about you, but I found it very hard to get out of bed to greet the first day of October this morning. So dark, gloomy and damp. Mike looked at the sky the other night and said it looked like it could be snowing. Ugh. What a thought. On the up side, weather like this puts me in the mood for warm and cozy things, like the banana bread currently baking in the oven and the four (yes, four) quilts I have in progress at the moment.
One of those quilts is of course the Farmer's Wife. This month I added 6 blocks to the collection, which brings the total to 23. I really wanted to share a photo of all of them together, but the light was not cooperating today at all. Next time.
These complete the first lesson of Karen Walker's Farmer's Wife Revival classes. Yay! Her instructions definitely save hugely in the time and frustration departments. I also plan on signing up for Johanna Masko's Farmers Wife Deconstructed class at Needlework, which starts at the end of the month. I'm going to be an expert by the time this is done!
#92 Streak of Lightening
#73 Rainbow Flowers
#80 Single Wedding Star
#68 Postage Stamp
#63 Ozark Maple Leaf
#40 Friendship Block
While we were busy having our photos taken and basking in newlyweddedness, our guests were chilling in the backyard, nibbling on appetizers and "drinking all the rosé." Part of me wishes we could've been there with them, but you just can't be all places at once, now can you?
I don't think I've mentioned yet that our venue was the historic Customs House, known these days as the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. If you're ever looking for an event space, I highly recommend checking them out. The place is beautiful and the staff were wonderful to work with, even at my most stressed moments. That's saying something.
This was also happening while we were off canoodling. Thanks to our village of helpers (brother, sister-in-law, florist, bartenders, caterers, perhaps more), our ceremony area was transformed into this beautiful dinner space!
That's not all they did. As with any wedding, several issues inevitably popped up, but they were all dealt with well before we even heard about them. Everyone seemed to go above and beyond to make our day perfect for us and it blew us away. I'm getting teary right now just thinking about it! Hopefully you know who you are and know how much we appreciated it because we feel like we can never thank you enough.
Hello, peonies! All of the flowers, including our ceremony wreath and my bouquet, were by Beverly Zaruk from i fiori. It was such a great experience working with someone who has such excitement and passion for their work. And didn't they turn out absolutely stunning?
While we're here, check out the table runner for a sec. I knew that I could have gone DIY crazy for this wedding if I let myself, and I had a long list of things I could possibly make. But when it came down to the wire, I decided that the venue was the star of its own show and stuck to only a few handmade decor items: the table runners, the dessert and bar signs, the gift card box and the cake. If I'm honest, I did worry that people expected more from me, but I also knew that my friends and family would rather see a happy, rested, stress-free bride than strings of bunting. So there.
Good food is important to us. Some might even call us foodies. So, naturally, having good food at our wedding was a top priority. In fact, I believe we confirmed our date with the caterer before even the venue. Haha! You can imagine how elated we were when the owner of our favourite restaurant told us not only that they could cater our wedding, but that they could keep within our budget. We were over the moon!
I'm talking about Matt Kershaw from Rapscallion, by the way. Mmhmm.
They cooked everything on a single barbecue in the backyard (one barbecue broke down) and served it up buffet style. There was everything from pork tenderloin to oxtail. Oh man, our guests are still talking about it!
We had three long communal tables and no assigned seating. I think people were confused by that at first, but then everyone just grabbed a chair and dug in. It was so heartwarming to look around the room and see all the circles of people in our life talking and laughing together. I'll never forget that.
After the toasts, it was time for dessert and coffee. Our dessert table had 12 different kinds of dessert, all homemade with love by our friends and family. Cookies, squares, fudge, pie.. it was heaven! I made the cake, which was lemon yellow cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, but that's a story for another day.
We also had the adorable airstream trailer from Detour pull into the backyard to serve us all kinds of amazing coffee and looseleaf tea. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say it was magical back there.
Our first dance was to "Strangers" by the Kinks. The Darjeeling Limited is one of our favourite movies, one of the first we saw together, and that song has been ours ever since. Lucky for us, the lyrics were very wedding-appropriate: "We are not two, we are one."
Amy and Michelle, friends of ours from our local watering hole, The Ship, went beyond the call of alcohol that day. They helped in every way they could from set up to take down and all the time with those sweet, beautiful smiles! They killed it.
We chose not only a first dance, but a last dance as well, "Gospel" by The National, and when it came on, I nearly burst into tears. How could it be over so soon? We hadn't even danced with our parents yet. So that's exactly what we did: I grabbed my dad and Mike his mom. Then we convinced the DJ to play one more. As you do. Haha!
And just like that, our wedding was over. The lights came on, tables and chairs were packed up, centrepieces were given away, and cabs were called.
Even though I was completely exhausted, I still didn't want the night to end, so I let Mike and four of our friends convince me to head to The Ship for a night cap. I felt ridiculous getting out of a cab on Augusta Street in a wedding dress, but it was all worth it when we walked into the bar. The entire place erupted with cheers and stomping! It felt amazing. The perfect end to the perfect day.
We stayed until they locked the doors. Then we called it. We went back to the hotel, Mike pulled hundreds of bobby pins out of my hair and we tried our best to get a few hours sleep, still completely wired and buzzing from such an incredible, incredible day.
All photos by Hollie Pocsai.