Tuesday, July 31, 2012

an awfully big edVenture

I enjoy any Sunday where the most pressing question is: "I wonder what will happen if I hit this with a ball peen hammer?" Every year when the list of edVentures courses comes out from the City I'm filled with thoughts of spending my summer in the adult equivalent of summer camp.  With more than 60 week-long, weekend and one-day courses in various arts and craft disciplines, your imagination can run away with you!   This year I managed to finally schedule my first edVentures course: a day of jewelry making!

Monday, July 30, 2012

highland fling

It's a good thing I like bagpipes. A Fredericton summer tradition for more than 30 years, every summer on the last weekend of July the New Brunswick Highland Games takes up residence at Government House just a block from my house.  This year the games were the largest in the Maritimes in terms of competitors which included 15 bands who assembled for the massed bands opening ceremony.  We couldn't have asked for better weather for the competitions as crowds turned out to celebrate the Scottish heritage.

Maybe next year I'll attempt the haggis...

The NB Highland Games are in the running in West Jet's contest for best Canadian festivals.  Have you voted?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

saturday on grand manan

A summer Saturday on Grand Manan isn't really complete without two stops.  First is the Grand Manan Farmers Market.  For farm market fans it's good all you'd expect: local delicacies, arts and crafts and strong hot coffee roasted locally.  And, of course more than a few things unique to island life: doormats made from reclaimed lobster rope, whale whistles from a newly arrived potter and local lore. 
And sea glass!  You'll definitely want to stop by and say hi to Esty Deugaw who makes beautiful sea glass jewelry and accessories (and even sugar candy that looks like bits of beach glass.)  The pendant on the right is my mom's newest treasure, made by Esty with a marble Mom found on our favourite sea glass beach.
Of course, for a souvenir of the island, I have to recommend a print from local artist Eric Allaby (known in these parts as 'Dad').  He and my mom have become regular market vendors over the past couple of years.  (his work is also available here)

After browsing local wares, your second stop has to be the North Head Bakery where Martha Ballantyne and Richard Rice have been turning out remarkable breads and baked goods since 1988.  A small island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy may be the last place you expect to find a bakery in the French boulangerie tradition but that adds to the charm.   The Saint John Valley bread is a must. Bon appetit!

The Farmers Market is located at 128 Rte 776, North Head, and meets on Saturday mornings (10 AM to 12:30 pm)

The North Head Bakery is located at 199 Rte 776.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

under the stars

I can't believe it's been 10 years since they first started showing classic movies outside in Barracks Square on Sunday nights.  I still remember the first film in 2002.  Actually I don't remember the film... I do however remember that my friends and I  - who never did things by half - concocted a rather elaborate picnic spread which drew quite a lot of attention.  There were platters of shrimp.  I'm not kidding.  A decade later I'm quite content with my little bag of popcorn and I've abandoned the picnic blanket for a more comfortable folding chair but I still love these outdoor films.

Early on (maybe 2004?) they were showing Casablanca.  None of my usual movie buddies were available so my friend Luke suggested I call his friend Denis who I'd met at a few parties. It was, as the famous Casablanca ending says "the beginning of a beautiful friendship."  If you've been following this blog you'll know he is frequently my partner in crime for things like perennial hunting, apple-picking  and music. So when we heard they were showing Casablanca last Sunday, we had to go!

There's still a lot of great films ahead this summer! 

July 22 Notorious (1946)
July 29 Planet of the Apes (1968)
August 5  The Three Musketeers (1948)
August 12 Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
August 19 The Quiet Man (1952)
August 26 Raider of the Lost Ark (1981)

"Family Filmfest"
September 1  The Muppet Movie (1979) /  Star Wars (1977)
September 2  Charlotte's Web (1973) /  E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Monday, July 16, 2012

london calling: send an olympic cheer

My first memory of the Olympics is watching the opening ceremonies of the 1984 games in Los Angeles.  That summer my friends and I were Olympic mad: drawing our own flags, making torches out of paper towel tubes and solemnly presenting one another scraggly wildflower bouquets for achievements in hill rolling, tree-branch swinging or puddle-jumping.  

I'm not by nature much of a sports fan but there's something about the Olympics...  Suddenly I find myself deeply invested in people I've never heard of in sports I was only vaguely aware existed.   It's been 28 years since my first Olympic memories and we are on the verge of another round of summer games.   What sports are you looking forward to?

For Fredericton folks, on Thursday you have a fun chance to kickstart the Olympic spirit.

With their Hometown Champions tour, RBC is sending three London cabs around Canada in the lead up to this summer's games.  Hop in the back and record your video message to send your Olympic well-wishes to your favourite athlete or the entire Canadian team.  On July 19 you can find the cab at RBC on Queen St.  from 10-12:30pm and Officers Square from 2-6 pm. Swing by and spread some Olympic-size love!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

baby shoes

For a long time it's been a tradition of mine when my friends are expecting to knit a pair of booties as a first gift.  I've been wanting to do a cute pair of Mary Jane-inspired baby shoes for a while now but there have been a steady stream of little boys arriving among my friends.  So when Hannah and Aaron announced that they were expecting a girl, I wasted no time breaking out the pink and the pattern for these booties (find the pattern on Ravelry) by Dutch designer Saartje de Bruijn

Because a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes, Baby Girl-to-be also got a pair of  Christine's stay-on booties.  As much fun as it is to try out different patterns, these are classic and will continue to be my go-to gift for some time to come.

great lake swimmers

So excited to learn today that one of my favourite Canadian bands will be performing in one of my favourite spaces in Fredericton. And for less than $20.  Shivering Songs has announced that Great Lake Swimmers will be performing at Wilmot United Church on September 28. A few years ago my friend Denis gave me a copy of their 2007 album Ongiara and its dreamy meloidies pretty much became the soundtrack for that winter.  Their new album New Wild Everywhere offers up more gorgeous rootsy melodies; a great way to spend an autumn night.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

there's a reason why i love this town

Canada Day was warm and sunny and perfect here.  I actually spent most of the day close to home being domestic but in the evening I headed along the river to join the crowds downtown.  Of course the highlight this Canada Day in Fredericton was the free concert from one of this city's favourite Canuck singer-songwriters Joel Plaskett. 
 I'm still not totally clear on how we scored this concert but the city turned out in droves to celebrate with Joel. Officers Square was as packed as I've ever seen it. (And of course Lord Beaverbrook was there to oversee things.)

Joel was still going strong and the square was still packed at dusk as the riverbanks began to fill up with people seeking out a good vantage point for the fireworks.  A great night celebrating a great country in our great city.