Cabin Retreat in Cape Breton Island

Cabin in the woods – Cape Breton Island ❤ ❤ Mo chroí!!! 

Goodmorning Faye Friends!

Oh my, it is WINDY here!  We had a lot of snow last night and today we are being battered with very high winds and freezing temperatures.  The cold driving air is coming right up the cracks of the old wood floors and every once in a while you hear a high pitched whistle from air blowing through some mysterious old house place. I’m cuddled up with Henry on the couch, wearing a knit tuque (yes, there is maple syrup in my tea :D) and very large gaming headphones playing for me… Medieval Chants (I’ll share what I mean with you later :D).  So, I am cozy!!

Tiny fun paintings

I wanted to share a little bit about my time in CB this fall.  Jamie and I spent a really amazing weekend in August at the foot of the National Park and I felt SO incredibly… depressed leaving, so I planned to go back as soon as I could.  Shortly after, I booked a very private cabin for Henry and I to return to for a full week in October (a dream come true for me!).  I wanted to just… live simply and be able to actively dedicate chunks of time to art ( sadly, I keep forgetting to bring my good camera, so it is just phone quality pics today!).

Drive in CB

Jamie wanted to spend the weekend there as well, so the 3 of us drove up on a beautiful day.  The leaves all red, orange, rusty hues! We stopped at a small co-op grocery store in Baddeck (an incredibly picturesque community on the Bra D’Or Lake).  Loaded up on groceries (and wool… because, yes the grocery store had Briggs and Little, just like every grocery store should) and headed up a very fun, private road in the hills.  It was the first real test for our new Subaru Forester (an insanely exciting new addition to our life, we bought the car at the beginning of the month after talking and saving for over a year)!  I am giddy honestly about having one!

Stop in Baddeck – a spot I highly suggest stopping in at if you’re in the area1

After 2 days with Jamie in the cabin, reading books and going for walks, he returned to PEI while I wondered exactly what I was doing by myself in this remote place! I was worried that I would be frightened by myself but I ended up feeling nothing but a sense of real safety.  The forests, arched over the A-frame and my loyal best friend kept me safe and I really felt it.  I love the simplicity of the cabin – a small kitchen with an old propane stove, a woodstove and a large window looking out at the stunning hills of the island.  I dreamed about making the place my own – painting the walls and placing plants in the window sills.  Having a garden dug out of the rocky soil. It’s a dream of mine and my own real goal.

The trickling stream with little waterfalls near our cabin
Fungi still thriving!
Painting little scenes – following the colours of my heart

I wanted to spend my time split between walking the woodland trails, seeping up inspiration just from the earth, from the birds and sky.  From the subtle vibrations of being closer, closer, closer to nature.  My intention was just regaining a sense of self – a clear outline of the direction I want my art to move.  However – instead, I was struck down with a pretty bad cold for the entire duration of my stay.  Friends, I was SO sick during my stay that I ended up getting very little done.  I really didn’t want to stay in the loft for the whole time, so I ended up taking a lot of dreaded cold medication.  I found myself walking the trails in a slight daze but knowing Henry needed to be out there anyway.  Because I was so sick, I ended up reading Gone with the Wind – finishing it and just falling so in love with the book.  If anything, I re-learned that magic of being so totally immersed in a book.   I have been sick a number of times already this fall and felt like maybe, maybe it was my body’s way of telling me to slow down.  Here, I found myself with no other choice but to completely slow down both physically and mentally (no internet or TV so I my stimulation was books, knitting, drawing and the gorgeous landscape).  I feel rejuvenated, with a clear sense of what I want to do with my art.  Can I show you?

Torrential rain some days – drying all of my things by the woodstove


The “peace” tree – a beautiful maple with a sweet handmade bench under.  I would hug this tree!
Work place and Henry ❤
Just Henry and I – heading home after an evening walk.  Here, in the real wild, I felt a strong sense of…. go home and stay inside when the sun started going down.  Henry would clearly be nervous too and stick much closer to me.  I was told that just the previous day, someone saw a moose not far at all and who knows how many coyotes, lynx and bears wander these woods.
More painting ❤  
Reading and Knitting on rainy days – this is my latest Icelandic sweater – I still need to weave in the ends and kitchener stitch up those underarms
Painting for a bigger project

I really wanted to draw A LOT.  That was my main plan. But, it definitely didn’t come to fruition.  The above painting is the beginning of my new project – a potential children’s book if I can only figure out how to go about getting a publisher, etc.  or more realistically, self publish.  A story and people are unravelling and I would love to share more developments!  I can just hint that it begins with a young girl, living with her mother and grandmother in a very similar situation to Henry and I in our cabin.  Perhaps there is magic, perhaps the magic is just exactly what our earth already exudes.

I guess I’ll just have to book the cabin again!  I wonder if they keep it open in the winter 😀 With the Subaru now, I feel confident driving out there in snowy February. Slowly preparing for the time that a cabin will be ours.

Arriving home from work last night… a little bit early, no?

Last but not least, I wanted to thank you for your kind words on yesterday’s post.  I am so grateful to all of you, your words have such a positive impact on me and I just am encourage with that alone, to continue sharing.  Perhaps some day I will be swallowed up by my cabin, by the woods but it’s not now and I want to share my path to get to that ultimate goal.  thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Hildegard von Bingen just to float through your home while going about your day<3

9 thoughts on “Cabin Retreat in Cape Breton Island

  1. Another beautiful post, Julia! No need to apologize for the phone camera – the photos are just fine and give me the sense, energy, and feeling of the place. Oh, how I would love to book that little cabin for a time to finish writing my book! And to think that the little grocery store in Baddeck had Briggs and Little wool!!! (Did I catch a glimpse of some lovely skeins in the photo of Henry on the bed?) Yes, EVERY grocery store should follow suit. Sadly, I cannot buy B&L here (well, I could go online). For about 10 years we lived in the 1000 Islands (stateside) and I frequented a wool shop in Kingston, Ontario – Mabel Corlett’s “The Wool Room”). She sold B&L, which I fell in love with. My first project was a heavy (outerwear) fair isle sweater for my husband that he still wears – knit with Heritage. I also knit heavy boot (hunting) socks for us with their Tuffy wool. Sturdy and warm. So often I find your posts kindling such warm cozy wonderful memories of those years of living along our northern border. Crossing the border often to spend our free time in Canada – Kingston and Ottawa, mostly – was magical for me and my family.

    You say you didn’t draw a lot, yet here you post lovely paintings that record the beauty, energy and feel of this magical place. That says a lot!!! Your works exude a sense of the true spirit – and sprite – of the woods and forest. It touches my soul in places I have forgotten. Follow your heart regarding the children’s book. It will tell you what and how you need to proceed.

    I’m truly sorry that you fell sick, yet I sense that the forest, the hiatus from technology, and Henry’s love/devotion to you all helped to heal you. Not to mention the rest, the creative acts of knitting, drawing/painting, etc. and wearing your own cozy warm handknits (always the best thing, but especially when one is sick).

    Thank you for the Hildegard music. She is a favorite of mine as you know. I have not heard this one before. My husband and I are listening to it as I type. Blessings, for good health, my friend. May the snows be kind and gentle to you. (We’ve had our first snow here too). ❄️❄️ ❄️


  2. Hi Julia!

    Wow!! This sounds like such a lovely place!! I’m so happy to hear you had some time away to reflect and relax! – So many times I find myself craving such isolation, especially when it comes to being creative.
    As wonderful as technology is, sometimes I feel like it consumes and distracts way too much.

    I think your children’s book sounds amazing!! You have such a gift, and I have no doubt that it will be beautifully written and illustrated! I’m excited to see more of your process!

    I hope this week finds you warm and cozy at home!

    Sirena xo


  3. I’ve been in that very co-op store in Baddeck and bought yarn there too! I was so excited to find a grocery store that sold yarn. If only all the stores did that… A children’s book! So exciting! It will be beautiful and I look forward to seeing more as your work progresses.


    1. I love that you have also been there!! Did you stop in at the wool store as well (I believe it is called Baa-ddeck wool or something along those lines)? I have decided to self publish a zine as practice for the children’s book! It’s always been a dream of mine and it’s only recently that I have kind of thought “why not?” It also has helped working in the library again and constantly looking over children’s books! Hopefully it all works out!


      1. Yes, I visited that yarn store too! It was actually visiting there that got me excited to start knitting again, about 15 years ago. I’ve never stopped since! Good luck with the zine and children’s book. Excited to see more!


  4. Thank you for your lovely postings. It is fun for me to escape for a few minutes to your world of solitude and creativity which I so miss in my own life. Now, having 2 rambunctious little boys, the quiet moments of contemplation are few and creative inspiration is dampened by constant clean-ups and exhaustion. But you also help me remember that I want to teach my children how to see the magic in nature and the beauty in a simple life. It’s easy to work too hard. So… always striving for balance. Thanks for the reminder to take time to explore the magic and enjoy life.


  5. I am so enjoying your blog! I looked back to some of your Yule prints from 2016, will you be producing any for this year? I didn’t see any in your Etsy store. Your artwork is so comforting.


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