Tag Archives: Via Rail

On the train again…

Not that I’m obsessing or anything, but it’s so nice to have WiFi access again… and I’m even on a train!  More on this later!

Yesterday was Toronto day, although we didn’t really take advantage of being in the “big city”.   After resting, we headed out to meet Carol (from the Canadian Garden Council) for dinner.  She’s the person who first informed me that I had won the prize, and she’s been my contact for everything and anything… she’s fabulous!  We laughed a lot and she shared some of the funniest stories I’ve heard in a while.  I’m so glad we were able to get together.  I found out that the prize I won isn’t going to be offered again – the new one is a more scaled down version.  Yay 2014 prize!!

Carol and I

Carol and I

We wandered back to the hotel after dinner, and that’s about the extent of our Toronto experience.


The Flatiron Building – across from restaurant. I love this building!

This morning we were up bright and early-ish for the next leg of the journey.

Outside Union Station

Outside Union Station

What can I say about the Toronto to Montreal leg?  They wanted to feed us… constantly.  We had snacks, meals, constant beverages, and then they brought out either individual cheese plates or ham/cheese sandwiches – we said a resounding “no!” at that point.  The staff was, as has consistently been the case, amazing.  Such good service, and always so friendly and respectful.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to travel if it’s not first class anymore… I like it!

I remember the word for "flour" from school

I remember the word for “flour” from school

After that journey, we started on the next leg – Montreal to Halifax.  This is another sleeper car journey.  Remember how I said the previous sleeper car was tiny?  Nope… it was palatial.  This one is still like playing house in a dollhouse, but now we’re in the doll’s dollhouse!  This is a newer train – bought from Europe.  These cars were originally going to be used as Chunnel cars, but for some reason they weren’t, and Canada got a good deal on the purchase of them.  At dinner we sat with two men who work for ViaRail and we learned an awful lot – it was educational and entertaining!

Moving around the bunks when they were set up was… um… entertaining – yeah, I’ll go with entertaining.  Peals of laughter (some of it slightly hysterical) could be heard from our cabin as we attempted to get comfortable.  The laughter was a little subdued this morning as space frustration set in.  We are, however, in overall good spirits – we just have the addition of a few new bruises and bumps on the head.

We’ll be arriving in Halifax this evening.  In my head I had it wrong and thought we were on this train for two nights.  Even though we slept well, a full size room is going to be heaven!  Helen, one the senior gardeners from the Halifax Garden is going to come pick us up from the train station.  People have been so nice!  We do the tour of the garden tomorrow (Tuesday). Looking forward to it!

Going over a bridge - Montreal

Going over a bridge – Montreal


Filed under Random

Studio fun!

Wow… it has been a long time since my last post, but I’m back in creative-land.  I spent some time in the studio this weekend, and enjoyed it muchly.  A lot of time was spent touching up some older pieces of jewellery – resizing, adding a new patina, that sort of thing. The majority of time was spent turning a pendant into a bracelet.  Here is the pendant:

Flower pendant

Flower pendant

I’ve always liked it, but haven’t worn it in ages. The inspiration for the design was from a picture in one of Lemony Snickett ‘s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books.  There was a picture of a grappling hook that made me want to make jewellery.  My design turned out more like a flower than a mechanical object.

I decided this was a perfect item to set a stone on.  I found a lovely little fluorite cabochon, and after a few missteps, I added on a bezel setting (I am SO out of practice!). I then hunted through my larger scrap bits for silver for the links.  I heated/melted the metal using a process called reticulation… the end result can look like a landscape, and it is totally unpredictable.  Here’s how it turned out:

Flourite and sterling silver bracelet

Flourite and sterling silver bracelet

I tend to make a new piece of jewellery prior to trips… this will be my Via Rail bracelet as the trip I won is coming up soon… yay!


Filed under Jewellery

I’m a little peeved…

People who knit and crochet are lucky.  Wherever they go (except maybe a pool, although I’m pretty sure it can and has been done) they can take their art form/hobby/passion with them.  I didn’t take to knitting or crochet… I have a heck of a time following patterns, and I definitely don’t have the patience to finish anything.  My peevishness stems from the fact that none of the crafts/art forms I do are easily transportable.  While I have no problems needle felting in public, there are so many supplies to bring – especially if you’re someone who has a hard time focussing on one project at a time.  I have done some beading in a pub, but snipping wire during a poetry reading and trying not to drop beads just didn’t go well.  The propane torch probably wouldn’t be an option at the pub either… go figure…

I wish I sketched, but I can’t draw… even my doodles are more like scribbles than anything else.  My dear sister showed me a few Zentangle patterns, which have made my doodles a little more interesting (sometimes), but for the most part there are scrawled flowers, crowns and scribbles over every scrap of paper on my desk at work.

Zentangle inspired doodle

Zentangle inspired doodle

I won a trip through the Canadian Garden Council and Via Rail – Canada’s Garden Route – yay!  It’s a truly fabulous round trip to Halifax via train.  I can’t wait!  But what to bring?  I know I’ll be looking out the window a lot, reading a lot, dreaming a lot, but creatively I don’t know what to do.  It’s a little frustrating!  I will be writing about the journey, and definitely photographing everything I can, so perhaps those will help to fill my spare time.

Anyone have any thoughts on something portable I can take?

It's really going to happen... Tickets have arrived!

It’s really going to happen… Tickets have arrived!


Filed under Artsy-Craftsy, Fibre Arts, Jewellery, Random