Lilacs & Love Letters (And The Post That Almost Wasn’t)

Love Letters and Lilacs (And the post that almost wasn't) the artyologist, feature-with-parasol

Oh! Could it be the postman at the door? I am not expecting anything, yet I can’t be sure. . .

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There among the parcels, is a letter addressed to me! Folded and sealed- who is it from? What could it be?

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It is poetry written in letters so fair, with sweet phrases meant only for us two to share. . .

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And though he is absent, his words are so dear; I whisper them softly and he seems to be near . . .

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So here among the garden hedge, only the flowers and me,

I read those secrets that will secrets remain, and remember them pleasantly.

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Lilacs and Love letters, the artyologist, parasol and poem

This, dear readers is an exciting day for me, because this is the post that almost wasn’t.

I had an idea to dress up and do a themed photo shoot last month, since the lilacs were in full and glorious bloom and I wanted to take advantage of it somehow (and also I haven’t done a “dress up” post in a while). However, despite the fact that I thought we would be able to get some pretty fun photographs, everything seemed to be against me and my sister, who was helping to take the photos. We battled the sun shining where it oughtn’t to have, the attack of the killer mosquitoes, the hot day that had not yet cooled off, despite the fact that it was heading into evening, and the gale force winds that came up just as soon as we stepped outside. We conquered the elements, but once we managed to get a few photographs, my camera battery died. So, fortunately we were able to switch to using my sister’s camera, but then my memory card which has been having problems lately, started saying that it was full (when it wasn’t) and so we kept having to delete outtakes as we went along (which you are not supposed to do directly from your camera). Well, finally we managed to get our photographs, and we weren’t too mosquito bitten either!

We looked over the photographs, and I saved them off of my memory card. Then, I did a bit of research to see what was causing the problem with my card. I discovered that it probably needed to be reformatted on my computer and not just my camera. So I erased the memory card clean with the disk utility on my computer, and then reformatted it on my camera for good measure. Every step of the way, the computer and camera asked me “Are you SURE you want to delete all photos/data on this card”. I kept clicking “yes”. Well, you can probably see where I am going with this story. . .

I was visiting my friend a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to show her the photos, but when I went to pull up the lilacs photos on my external harddrive- they weren’t there. They weren’t there! That was one of those moments where your heart drops right out of your chest and settles somewhere down around your feet. I searched through every single folder; even the folders from nine years ago, but the photos were not there. I looked through the folders on my computer too, in case somehow they had got dropped in a different location. I was pretty heartbroken over it (as much as you can be about photographs, I mean) but then I just had to accept that they were gone forever. Remember how I erased that memory card?

Well, once I got home, my sister suggested that I look in my iphoto folders. It didn’t make any sense that they would be there, because I don’t use iphoto all that often, and I always upload my images straight to my harddrive for safekeeping. I had already looked before, in my recent iphoto folder uploads, but they weren’t there. However, when I looked under “events”, what should appear before my eyes but the very photos I had despaired of never seeing again! I didn’t tear up when I thought I had lost the photos, but I did when I found them again! My sister can vouch for my excitement upon finding them!

So, I have no idea how those photos were mislaid and managed to find their way to the iphoto folders, but I am so glad that they did. And the moral of the story today is, don’t change up your routine and put photos in one place, when you always put them somewhere else. And, double and triple and quadruple check that you have your photographs saved, BEFORE you erase your memory card clean!

Have you ever lost photographs due to a technical error, or were you able to get them back somehow?

(ps- I don’t have a “him” in my life right now, so this is all entirely make believe, but wouldn’t it be sweet to read love letters amongst the lilacs? Also, that “letter” is a handwritten poem I found online, called “Night” written for “Miss Mary L. Jacob’s Album” by “A.G. Archer Henry”. So who knows, maybe it was a “love letter” after all?)

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Lilacs and Love letters, the artyologist, tea and portrait

Lilacs and Love letters, the artyologist, parasol-silhouette

Proper Blog Post to Follow Soon

peony, the artyologist

Well that turned into an unexpectedly long absence from the blogosphere! Traveling, visiting with friends, work and feeling under the weather all combined to keep me away from here for longer than I expected I would be. So this is just a quick note to say that I will have a blog post up soon and I haven’t vanished forever 🙂 And now that I have been delayed in publishing my posts, I have quite a backlog of posts I’m excited to share! And I am looking forward to a chance to sit down and look at all that has been going on in everyone else’s blogs too while I’ve been gone. Talk to you all soon!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With The Hell Bunny Melissa Top)

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist

Apparently I wasn’t kidding when I said that my Roman Holiday inspired circle skirt was going to be a versatile addition to my wardrobe. I’ve already worn it a few times, and here it is again; this time paired with my new Hell Bunny Melissa top.

I rarely ever sew or buy neutrals. I’m always drawn to the patterns: the florals, the ginghams, the stripes, the abstract prints. My sewing stash is full of patterns (most of them florals) and my wardrobe is bursting with them too. As much as I love patterns though, there is something to be said for a nice neutral solid. Neutrals are just so easy to pair with everything- I guess that’s why they are “wardrobe basics”. I have been endeavouring lately to add some more neutral pieces to my wardrobe- after one too many times of trying to pair my separates and coming up with “pattern clashing” rather than “pattern mixing”.

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), in the flowers, the artyologist

Both my skirt and my blouse here, are recent additions to my wardrobe, to try and fill in the voids and create a more mix-and-match wardrobe. Strangely enough, this outfit is so neutral and monochromatic, and the only pattern comes in from the feathered clutch. Apparently it’s either “all the patterns” or none 🙂 I got this Hell Bunny Melissa top a few weeks ago, from Rowena, since I had a store credit to use up, and decided that a black peasant blouse would be a good option. This blouse originally had a keyhole in the front, but as that was too revealing for comfort, I just sewed a piece of black fabric behind the keyhole, and now it’s perfect. I really like this top as it is just a bit dressier than a t-shirt, but the cotton fabric makes it comfortable and still cool for summer. This outfit makes me think of something you would wear to a picnic in the 1950’s: wildly unpractical- but it looks nice!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting under the plum tree

So, as I don’t have much else to say about anything, I will stop talking for now. Oh, but one last note- these pictures were taken in front of our plum tree. Isn’t it beautiful? Or rather, wasn’t it? It’s finished blooming now. But, now the lilacs are in bloom, and after them, then it will be the peonies. . .  isn’t it nice that flowers bloom at different times?

Do you lean towards neutrals and solids, or patterns? What flowers are blooming for you right now? (if you are in Spring/Summer where you live.)

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ps: I might be smiling, but in reality I was being eaten alive by mosquitos!

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The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, spinning

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The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting-and-tree

Taking Part in a Book Lover’s Tag

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, featureMy current book stack. 

I saw a while ago that Victoria from Ruffles and Grace took part in a “Book Lover’s Tag”, and though I wasn’t personally tagged in it, it sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to join in as well. So read on, to find out some of my favourite books, reading habits, and what’s on my reading list.

1. Name a book you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t read yet.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. This one is a hefty piece of literature, at 826 pages and 2.5″ thick. I bought it two years ago, and had originally planned to read it aloud, (we started last summer, but then stopped only a few chapters in). I really do need to just start reading it again. I don’t particularly enjoy reading Dickens, as it’s so wordy, but I do always enjoy his stories. (And I really want to watch the movie, but I have to read the book first! I don’t know why, I just do.)

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2. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

I often don’t use bookmarks- as I never seem to have one around when I need it, and sometimes I don’t even have a scrap of paper or other item that will serve as one. I never commit the grievous crime of dog-earing pages (never!!!) but I do often commit the less terrible crime of placing books upside down- though I promise it is only temporarily! I don’t leave books like that for days on end- only until I find something to mark my page. Often I simply take a mental note of which page or chapter I’m in. This sometimes has dubious results, because I can’t remember what page I was on, and I end up flipping pages to find my spot.

3. Look at your bookshelf. What’s the first book you see with a yellow spine?

A biography of Jane Austen by David Cecil, called A Portrait of Jane Austen.

4. If you could have one new book from a deceased author, who would it be?

Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon. I have read the few chapters that she wrote of it, and I really wish that she had been able to finish it, as her works are always so witty and entertaining.

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, top-of-book-stack
5. Name an author who deserves more readership.

Lynn Austin. I just reread her book Hidden Places and I loved it all over again. Her stories have such great depth, and are woven with themes such as secrets and misunderstandings, and haunted pasts, which her characters are confronted with and brought forward into forgiveness and reconciliation.

6. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

As outlined in #2- a piece of random anything. . . . or not 🙂

7. Can you stop anywhere in a book or do you have to finish the chapter?

I can stop anywhere, though I prefer to not stop at all and just read the entire book through. This doesn’t usually work though, because you know, life. . .

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8. One book at a time or several?

I often dedicate myself to reading one novel at a time, as I don’t like interrupting the storyline, but I will have several non-fiction books going on at the same time. For example, right now I am reading The Greco-Roman World but, as it is a bit dry, I am breaking it up with other books. Since it is a history textbook, it doesn’t really matter if I read it through without interruption or not.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I’ve never understood why people skip ahead, because it wouldn’t make any sense- you would have isolated scenes with no context, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t know what had built up to that moment, and it would be confusing, I think. So definitely reading as I go along.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t purposely break the spine, but I don’t try to perfectly preserve the book either. My main concern is in reading it!

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11. What books do you regret reading?

There are a couple of books I do regret reading, because I didn’t realize there would be inappropriate content, until suddenly I was right in the middle of those scenes. As it stands now, I read very few secular fiction books, because I don’t want to have to worry about what I might come across. Or I try to find reviews on the books before I read them.

12. On average, how many books do you read per year?

When I was in my teens. I used to read 50-70 books each year and I kept track of each book, but in the last few years I have slowed down a lot. Things get in the way- hobbies, the internet, being a grown up. . .  So I would say that I probably read somewhere around 20-30 books a year now? Probably somewhere around two books each month- although this month I have already read or re-read five books, so maybe I’m picking up the pace again!

13. What book can you read hundreds of times and never get tired of?

The Bible, because you can actually read it hundreds of times and never get tired of it. But, for books written by man, and not the Scriptures, which is what I’m sure this question is actually referring to, well there are just too many to choose from.

I have read Jane Eyre several times now, and there is just so much depth to that story. It is one of my all time favourite books; I admire the character of Jane, and I love the sections where she and Rochester have their discussions. I will definitely read it again.

Really, there are a lot of books that I read every few years, and the greatest thing about having poor reading comprehension (I’ve got to find the silver lining here) is that I can actually read a book several years later, and it’s all new to me. Seriously. I read Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie and I couldn’t remember if I had read it before or not- until I got the end!

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-pics
14. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a book?

I don’t tend to really learn lessons, as in “the moral of the story” from books, so for this I will choose a non-fiction book, which actually taught me something and that would be Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth Cline. I recommend this book to everyone.

15. What is the most recent book you’ve read?

I just finished re-reading Anna and Her Daughters by D.E Stevenson. I love this book, and have read it a few times now. It is such a lovely old novel from 1958 that we inherited from my Grandma, and it’s not really about Anna and her daughters, so much as it is about one particular daughter Jane, who is narrating the story. . . anyways it’s just a nice story, and it features an attic bedroom wallpapered with a pattern of birds, so really what’s not to love?

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16. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant?

‘”There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of the you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands- dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.’

These are the final paragraphs of The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis from the Chronicles of Narnia. I read this book when I was a child, and this description of Heaven really just touched me, and I have never forgotten it all these years. (Though, yes, I did have to go look it up, as I am not able to quote it verbatim!)

17. How many books do you own?

Yikes, an estimate would be somewhere probably around 200? If I counted all of my sewing books, novels, fashion books, and my L.M Montgomery and Agatha Christie collections. . . And let’s not start on how many books my entire family owns, or we’ll be here all day. . .

18. In the past year, what is the greatest book you’ve read?

I can’t remember all of the books I’ve read in the past year. I did finally, after fours years on my list, get around to reading The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery for the first time though. What was I waiting for!? This was a very good book. I always enjoy her books, and the soft and romantic world in which they abide.

So there you go. This was a fun post, and, if you want to take part in this book lover’s tag, consider yourself tagged!

What’s on your reading list right now? Have you read any of these books before? What are your favourite books? (if you can narrow it down!)

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