Happy Canada Day!

Yay! It’s Canada Day and the long-awaited long weekend! So many people are up at the cottage and my dance card is filled! Picnic this afternoon and a hog roast tonight!

Hold that Canadian flag high, turn up the Hip, and have an ice cold Sleeman*! Happy Canada Day everyone!

*insert Canadian beer of choice

My week in Instagram

Anyone want to guest post anytime in the next 5 months? I won’t have direct access to internet so my postings will be pretty spare.. You can write about anything you like! I would so really appreciate it :) Email me if you do! sydney (dot) wilson (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks in advance!

We have been super busy – we’ve had guests every weekend for the past 3 weeks (and have a friend staying tonight and another couple coming on Wednesday for the weekend..) and I am leaving next Tuesday! So much to do and no time to do it… That’s the way it is for everyone, right?

Last week, friends and their 2 kids came and stayed with us and we did a little boat cruise down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich – I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It’s a great way to see London, without dealing with London crowds. We were thinking of going and seeing the Cutty Sark but prices are a bit ridic for people of modest means… instead I just took some pictures! I do want to go at some point.

We also spent a morning walking around Crystal Palace Park. I love that such a wonderful, historical park is pretty much right on my doorstep. And no London crowds.

This weekend, another couple came down from Stoke-on-Trent and we spent Saturday Boris biking it around the city. If people have never used the Boris bikes, I totally recommend it! They’re amazing! We went all over – starting at Borough Market, walking to Monument, cycling to Spitalfields via The City. Taking pictures of Leadenhall Market, Lloyds and the Gherkin. Coasting with our legs sticking straight out. Going up Brick Lane and smelling the amazing mixture of curry and bagels. Down Old Street and the terrifying roundabouts, through Clerkenwell to Holborn where we stopped at the AMAZING Princess Louise pub. I must take my dad here.

It’s been a great few weeks and while I am exhausted, I am so excited to see my friends this week!

If you want to see all the other photos I’ve taken, you can follow my pictures here! Are you on Instagram? My screen name is sydthewyd, hope to see you soon!

Weekend project – Quilt top

OK… I lied a little bit.. this actually took two weekends to finish. But it was surprisingly fast to put together (I went out for dinner and drinks on Saturday and I still got it done!) and I’m really happy with it. Happy enough to show you a little sneak peek I took with my phone.

Oh yeah, see that massive basket off to the left? That was supposed to be my laundry basket. I apparently got my metric mixed up and what I thought was millimeters was actually centimeters. When it arrived at work, I got some serious laughs. And I made Gavin carry it home for me. On the Tube. During rush hour. We were not popular. Anyways, the quilt:

I clearly am too excited to wait until the weekend when I can take better photos to show you this bad boy. You’ll get a double dose with better photos next week. Potentially, even with a back made.. I’m making that next weekend. Yeah. I’m serious about this guy.

The story with this guy is last year, I bought a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s Hoo’s in the Forest from Stitch Steals. I was planning on using them for a quilt for Kitty, Gavin’s niece, for a Christmas present, but time (and money) got away from me so I decided it would be perfect for this year’s present.

I used Fresh Lemon’s Quilts Kaleidoscopic Kites pattern but didn’t use the rainbow theme – obviously. It was fun, but a bit of a mind-f**k to figure out the layout. Quick to sew up, no bias cuts, and really dramatic when it’s done!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Pay it Forward fun!

**I just realized that I pinned this quilt top onto my “make this” board so it’s eligible for the Pin Addict Challenge! Woo! Having this stuff “finished” makes me feel so accomplished!

Linked up to Sew Happy Geek and Canoe Ridge Creations

Valentines Coasters

I am not really one to decorate for (or even celebrate) “minor” holidays – Valentines Day, Easter, etc.. but this year I decided to break the mold. It also helps that my Quilt Guild is having a February challenge. And I needed coasters. I have a TON of fabric with iron on transfer left over from Suzanne’s baby shower. So I made these bad boys:

They have a heart in (cheater) reverse applique on the front, and then a four-square patchwork on the back. They came together pretty quick and I’m super happy with them. I think I like the backs the best :) And check me out.. using fabric that could be x’s and o’s.. so cute!

I’m thinking of maybe hand-quilting around the heart on the front to reinforce the ironed on fabric and to also add the cut out hearts to the back.. Not sure yet though! Any ideas or input are welcome!

I’m pretty happy with the fact that they fit our mugs! Go me and my measuring!

Don’t forget to enter in the Pay it Forward! I’m linking this to Sew Happy Geek and Lines Across my Face

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread

Success! I actually completed my first ever Pinterest Challenge! I joined a bit late, so I only had a weekend to make it so I made food. Garlic Parmesan Monkey Bread.. Tasty. I actually ate some for breakfast. It’s pull-apart so I couldn’t eat too big of a piece ;)

It was pretty simple to make, I’m not sure if I’ll make it again though.. I bit too white-bread-y and dry for me.. Maybe I just didn’t have enough garlic or butter! If I do make it again, I’m going to at least double those.. If I’m to splurge on fat calories, I’m going to splurge on the fat calories – you know? The Pastry Affair version that I pinned, used a bundt pan, which I don’t have, so I used a baking dish. Worked fine. We dipped in oil and balsamic.. yummy :)

PS… Do you want to join in the Pay it Forward fun?

He who made it possible

I’m not one to avoid giving credit where it’s due, and I definitely would not have gone to the Lake District if it weren’t for my Gavindi. He is so amazing and always does things for me, even if he’ll complain and moan the whole time (see that first picture!). Moaning aside, we both had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back!

Do I sound like a broken record yet!?

Doesn’t he look like an elf/something from Lord of the Rings with his hood up? I had to take a picture because it makes me laugh!

Again, we managed to get only one photo of us together and I look pretty haggard… no makeup! The mascara I put on was washed off in all the rain! Ha.. And that coat? Amazing. Now I can finally be warm AND stylish in the London chill! Woo! Now to get some hiking boots and we are set!

Castlerigg Henge

This is Castlerigg Stone Circle which was right up the road from our B&B.. Built in 3000 BC.. kinda mind blowing, really.

We stopped by there on the way home. We drove up, laughing guiltily that we were the “lazy walkers” as we passed about 15 people walking. It was perfect though, we arrived at the top of the hill, snow-capped mountains around us, icy wind howling… We jumped out got some photos and as we were hurrying back to the car, the group was just arriving. Perfect timing.

The scenery was amazing, there were sheep grazing, the mountains soaring all around us… stunning, really. We snapped our photos (can you tell that Gavin, the human radiator, was cold? It was beyond freezing!) and got the heck out! We were really lucky as well.. A massive storm came in and the roads where we were were closed due to ice and snow! Lucky, lucky us.

We are planning our next trip for May with another couple. I am so excited! I’m sure it will be a bit warmer as well (hopefully!)..

Lake District Mini-break pt. 1

Our little mini-break for my birthday was absolutely stunning. It was so pretty that I have about a million photos, so I apologize in advance for the onslaught…

We arrive on Friday night at Burnside B&B in Keswick. It was so pretty.. and the breakfast choices were amazing! Smoked salmon? Check. The best waffle I’ve ever eaten served with bananas and caramel sauce? Double check. Like I said, amazing.

Our first real day, we had breakfast early and made the 10 minute walk into town along the old train line, which is now a pretty path. This was the view from a little wooden bridge we crossed.

We wandered the town for a bit, bought a few things – some really good chilli things (jam, curry paste, tamarind/chipotle sauce, and hot coriander sauce.. mmm) as well as a Beswick beagle (from Oxfam!) that was actually one that Gavin had painted when he worked there! It was so cool to find something in a shop that he had actually done.. it had his mark on the foot!

After that we went down to the Lake – Derwentwater – for a boat ride and mini-hike. We took a 30 minute little cruise with sherry and mince pies served by Santa.

We got off at the last stop and walked the remaining 3 miles back. The scenery there is just stunning. We didn’t get much sun, but it didn’t matter. We were constantly in awe of our surroundings. We were also definitely unprepared – no hiking boots and Gavin’s coat wasn’t waterproof. Oops. At least we know for next time!

One thing that I couldn’t get enough of was the stone walls. Dry rock walls (no mortar) are fairly common, especially in the north, and Keswick certainly had no shortage. Because it was a mining town, all of their walls (and buildings!) had walls built of slate. Absolutely stunning. I took about 500 pictures just of walls. No wonder Gav thinks I’m mental!

So that’s part one… stay tuned for more! We’ve got 4,500 year old stone circles, Gavin and I posing, as well as some more pretty landscape shots! Woohoo!

And I’m back!

My weekend away was amazing and I know you all have been dying to know where in the world we went! So to save you from your suspense-induced anxiety attack, I will tell you that we went to the Lake District in Northern England! It was such a stunningly beautiful place to visit, even in winter, that we are already planning our next visit! Think rolling hills and mountains, stone walls, lakes and lots of sheep!

It took us forever to get up there – traffic was horrible but we finally got in around 7. We went out to have a few drinks and woke up in paradise.

When we left, we got really lucky. We stopped by an ancient stone circle/henge (like a really small Stonehenge) to take a few more photos. It had snowed in the mountains overnight and there was a rip-snorting wind ripping through the hills. We took our photos are hurried back to the car and as we started up, the heavens opened unleashed the rain. Then the hail. As we drove away, we watched the outside temperature drop.. 3 degrees, then 2, then 1, then 0.5 (33F)! The rain turned to hail again and then to sleet and then finally to snow. When we were further down the road, closer to Manchester and Liverpool, we heard on the radio that Cumbria (where we were) was issued a travel alert due to extreme weather conditions! Roads were being closed and we were basically really lucky to have left when we did!

I am still sorting through all my photos, but I’ll leave you with this:

My blanket I bought from the market! It’s made of recycled wool and it is oh so cozy. In fact, I sat in the car, wearing my slippers, wrapped in my blanket and reading my book.. Gavin called me an old lady and I just laughed as I couldn’t really disagree.. I really looked like an old granny!

All in all, it was such a great birthday weekend. I just need to get some proper hiking boots now!

The end is here!

The end of NaBloPoMo, the end of Movember (go donate!), and (to me) the end of fall. To me, fall ends when November ends… which ends up making winter reeeeally long!

Last weekend, we went to Stoke and Chester for Gavin’s best friend’s wedding. It was such a fun wedding. Gavin was the best man and was absolutely sh*tting himself thinking about the speech he would have to give later.. He had been writing it for weeks and practising it over and over for days ahead of time. It went so well and everyone laughed at the right parts, aww-ed at the right parts.

I love the picture of the “Mo-Bro’s” around the piano – they look like they should be in Casablanca! Or whatever the ginger version would be.. Casaroja? Haha.

I also love the picture of Gavin looking like a kid. This was right after the ceremony and he knew that he was going to have to give his speech in a sec.

The picture of me making the stupid face is me with my mustache! When Gavin gave his speech, our table (which was super fun and brought stick-on handlebars) stood up in the back with our ‘stache’s on. Good times.