Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canada Part 6, Our Last Evening in Waterloo and Meet Betty

No trip to visit my sister, Margaret would be complete without a peek at some of her beautiful quilts. So many of the beautiful things she has made through the years have been given to others and are treasures beyond measure. For many years, she has gathered with a small (7) group of fellow quilters, calling themselves The Sew & Sews. They make quilts for others, for the Mennonite relief sale, and work on their own projects, and always they have beautiful food at their gatherings. They sound so wonderful and inspiring that I could be tempted to move to Canada. It is very obvious that there is a deep spiritual and loving thread binding these wonderful women. Earlier this year, Margaret had surgery to repair some seriously deteriorated discs in her neck. Several days after she was home from the hospital, there was a call from the Sew and Sews saying they wanted to stop by very briefly. Margaret was still very much sedated and not able to stay up for very long, but forever in her mind will remain the joy and awe she felt when they presented her with a quilt they'd unbeknownst been making, for their dear friend. I just had to share some pictures of their masterpiece as it is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, and it is so obviously made with deep love and appreciation. It was first pieced, then appliqued and quilted. The quilt is much greener than it appears to me in the photographs.

There is no way that my humble photography can capture the beauty of this gift.
The dedication label on the back is so sweet....made with many different fabrics, including wool flannel, and hand appliqued and embroidered.
Sweet bird.....and I love the little dancing mouse.
On that last evening, Margaret and I went up to her sewing room on the second floor and I was able to immerse myself in her talent and creativity. This cat quilt is in process and will be a gift for her daughter.
Most times when Margaret sits to rest, she has a piece of fabric in her hands onto which she's sewing these lovely leaves in applique. Shown here are strips of appliqued leaves hanging on the felt design wall in the sewing room. As you can see, the 4th strip is in process. The wall allows her to move fabrics around to get a look at progress and assess color placement in the project. Right now the green strips between the rows are in different widths just to see which works best. Margaret is a master of applique and there are countless hours in these leaves. Very beautiful.
This will be a quilt for Jerry. Not sure how many more rows of leaves there will be.

This is a William Morris (the father of the Arts and Crafts movement) quilt and was done solely by Margaret over the course of several years. It hangs in their dining room now and is just one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The fabrics are all reproduction William Morris, and it is entirely hand appliqued. The lovely and unusual lamp on the table was a unique and perfect find at a vintage shop. The pair of birds make it the ideal accompaniment for the quilt, and the very unusual shape is exquisite.

And now, my beautiful sister, and BETTY....I love this picture of Margaret for many reasons, but most of all because she is sitting in the chair in which our mother spent a lot of time writing letters, and she, too, usually had a cat in her lap or draped somewhere else on or near her.

Our last evening was spent talking a lot about all we had enjoyed, and then we all gathered in the living room to watch a wonderful PBS documentary on the life of Chuck Berry. The music and the conversations generated by our collective memories of those days of rock and roll. It was a perfect way to ease through the pain of having to say good-bye.
Just before we left, Ellie left to go home to she is saying good-bye to Betty. They are true soul mates.
Comfy watching with Brenda watching PBS....I think LM was about to cry knowing he would have to say good-bye to Brenda, too.

And, just as we were gathering up the last of our things, LM managed to capture Betty's was so sweet, and she has the loudest purr I've ever heard.

Closing in for the "kill"
Thus ends our most memorable and wonderful visit with Margaret, Jerry and family. It was perfect in every way.
Next: We begin the drive home with a stop in Niagara Falls!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Canada Part 5, Back in Time to Elora and its Beautiful Gorge, Canada Part 5

Ah, Monday, actual Canadian Thanksgiving Day. We lingered over a delicious breakfast in this lovely alcove at our B & B, chatting with an interesting couple from Toronto, she an actress/singer who was recovering from a run at the Drayton Ontario Theater Festival, and he a fine finish woodworker. Lovely and interesting people, and regular guests, along with their tiny dog, at Hillcrest House.
Waking up...each morning a steaming pot of Earl Grey tea awaited me.
We went over to gather up Margaret and depart for our day trip to Elora Gorge. It was a bit rainy but the sun was shortly to appear and light up the beautiful foliage. Leaves covered my car in just a few minutes as we were saying good-bye to the departure inspector.
Here she is....watching every aspect of our leaving. Sad to see her new lover leaving.
On the drive, this leaf appeared on my window.
Elora is a very old mill town and this beautiful building has been re-purposed into a very elegant hotel and restaurant. It sits right at the edge of a spectacular waterfall.The porch, left center, is part of the restaurant. Years ago I dined there. Truly an incredible experience.
A closer look.......
The entrance to the overlook was just a short walk from where we parked.
As we looked down over the edge, there was a group of kayakers. We believe they were practicing their skills, as there was an instructor. One at a time, they would paddle very hard while managing their kayak against the power of the rushing water. We were fascinated.
From the overlook. As the water rushed over the dam, I stood there in silence, my mind flooded with the memories of visiting here so many years ago with all my sisters. Happy times.
The rock is all limestone
A fellow visitor was happy to take our picture!
LM gently helped Margaret every step of the way. He is an angel.
Back in the car we drove a short distance to walk in a park and have another view of the river and a very unusual forest. On the way we passed this Mennonite buggy and horses tied under a tree. I love that stone center gable house. There are many in Ontario as Scottish and German stone-masons passed through this area leaving their talents behind in the form of many beautiful houses and buildings.
At the park there were some Mennonite families having a picnic. Many little girls with long braids and dresses running around. They were having such a lovely time in the sunshine. No pictures out of respect.
These tree roots were so interesting.
Most trees in the forest were cedars or a form of redwood...but there were a few maples...couldn't resist this shot looking up to the sky.
We felt we were in a primeval wood....ah, I snagged another black squirrel, too.
LM helping Margaret through the wooded walk to another overlook. Those glasses are HIGHLY dangerous as they contain a very sophisticated video camera with audio, as well. I steer clear of him when he wears them. He claims they are a teaching aid for his fishing students, or at least that is how he justified the high price tag.
Looking down at another curve in the Grand River.
I love this view of the forest. It really seemed magical.
After that lovely walk, we made our way back to Elora Village and were able to spend some time walking around, look at shops and have a delicious lunch at a tiny Creperie. It was just like being in a French cafe and we had to tear ourselves away. There was beautiful art on the walls and a very accommodating and friendly staff.
Across from where we parked was this lone remaining wall of an old mill, morning glories now filling the window openings. I wish I could have gotten closer for a better photo but that would have meant standing in the center of the street. Not a good plan.Beautiful urns and planters of all sorts were brimming with flowers
I loved this doorway
This sweet doggie was painted on the bottom of the door.
Many of the shops had porches/decks on the back where patrons can sit for a bit and gaze at the falls. There is a walkway along the river in the back, as well. This pretty arrangement was at the back of a very upscale womens clothing boutique. Surprisingly, I did not find anything I couldn't live without.
After a visit to an organic ice cream and handmade chocolate shop (sorry, no pictures, I was busy eating my cone of sublime ginger ice cream and sampling chocolate truffles made with olive oil - very good, by the way), we were back in the car and on the way back to Waterloo for our last evening with Margaret and Jerry. I took this photo of a huge maple grove. It was sitting in what seemed like miles of cornfields and the leaves were a brilliant orange.
Next Betty, our last evening with Margaret and Jerry, and a peak at a few of Margaret's beautiful quilts.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Felinus Interruptus

This just in from Ms G:

I thought this was my blog....enough is enough about Canada and those other cats. Brenda better watch out for my ferociousness!
No, I am not going to make eye contact! You've been neglecting me way too much! Leaving me with others while you are off galavanting with my man is not acceptable.
I could climb up those curtains....that would certainly get someone's attention, wouldn't it??
I'm gearing up to terrorize you for Halloween!
PS....Where are those pictures of my new bathroom? You could show everyone how you took away my dark and dank vanity. I had mastered the art of opening the door and hiding out in there with all those old bottles of stuff, now it is all gone! These living conditions are just unacceptable. Would someone please rescue me??