life lately

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.)

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-page-open
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. . .

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, two-books-pics
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!

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, open-book
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?

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, horizontal
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!)

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, stack-and-front-view

Taking Part in a Book Lover's Tag, the artyologist, book-top-view

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, the artyologist

Last month, when Spring had not yet arrived, (who am I kidding- Spring still hasn’t really arrived!!!) but we were aching for some sign of life, my mom splurged and bought a bouquet of roses. Although cut flowers don’t last for long, and can be expensive to buy regularly, they are such a nice treat during the long long days of Winter and the early days of Spring when there is nary a sign of green to be seen anywhere out of doors. It is amazing what a pretty bouquet of flowers can do to lift the spirits! And a bunch of beautiful cream coloured roses, with just a hint of blush pink in the centre, paired with a cup of afternoon tea- what a perfect combination.

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, detail, the artyologist

You might think, judging by the photographs I often take, that all I do is drink tea. And yes- you would be correct. 😉 At any given moment of any day, you will most likely find me with teacup in hand, sipping away. The most often answered question in the house is, “Shall I put the kettle on?” And the answer is almost always a resounding, “Yes!”

For me, it must always be black tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ceylon or Orange Pekoe are my favourites), lightly steeped and without anything else added to it. (Although, yes I do occasionally enjoy a cup of green as well) I used to drink my tea strictly the English way- with milk and sugar, if you please, but now I enjoy drinking it plain. I once read that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water- and I don’t doubt it! For me, it is most definitely the second most consumed- and some days I have to remind myself that water should come first, not tea 🙂

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, teacup, the artyologist

What better way is there to spend an afternoon, than enjoying a pretty bouquet of roses, and a small tea party for one?

Do you enjoy drinking tea, and how do you take it? Do you do “afternoon tea” or do you just drink it whenever you feel like it? And do you like to get bouquets of cut flowers?

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses and tea at desk, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses closeup, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, tea detail, the artyologist

Life Lately: Changing Seasons

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, tree

Hello everyone! It’s just been one of those weeks, where you seem to be running the entire time, but when you get to Friday, you look back and are not really sure what you did, since nothing seems to be checked off of your list, and yet you know that you were occupied with something during that time. . . Here it is already Friday, and I haven’t even had a chance to get a blog post up until now!

The past couple of months have really seemed to be very busy for me, for some reason. My photos from the past couple of months, when I looked through them, are mainly of a few things: snapshots of my artwork in progress, photos where I was testing out new photography techniques and playing with my lenses, and lots and lots of photos documenting this changing of seasons from Winter to Spring.

It feels like I am going through a bit of a “change of seasons” right now in my life too. Lately it seems like I have been running around in circles, trying to do everything, but not getting much accomplished. I seem to have lost my rhythm somewhere along the way, and in pouring more of my energies towards my artwork, (and starting a creative business) I have in turn been neglecting other areas of my life, like this blog, and my sewing and other crafts, and even, dare I say it, fashion.

I am finding it difficult to balance my all of my interests and responsibilities. By focusing more of my time into my artwork, I have taken my focus away from other things, like reading blogs, sewing, and crafting. I have tons of ideas of things I want to do- blog posts, clothes to make, illustrations to paint, hats to create, work to do, and the list goes on, but- alas- there are only 24 hours in the day. Finding the balance between all the things I want to do, and all the things that I can realistically do is hard. I’ve never been good at multitasking! I think I need to take some time to refocus and narrow down what is really important: the personal things I should be prioritizing, like studying my Bible, focusing on my health, being a good employee at my paid job, and even taking time for simple things like reading books (remember those things???).

Maybe I’m just feeling this way because I am tired and it is 11:30 at night and I am trying to get this blog post published before the clock strikes 12! So, before I risk rambling on ad naseum, I will just end this now. 🙂

Do you have a difficult time balancing all the things you want to do and don’t have time for? How do you find a balance between prioritizing the important things, and yet still enjoying the less important things?

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, artwork

Spending time on some new artworks, and a happy sight: a brand new pack of pens!

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, teacup-and-stationery

Always make some time for some tea and letter writing.

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, spring-storm-and-growth

We got a Spring snowstorm, then a few days later saw these crocuses popping up at my Grandma’s house.

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, barbie-and-pencil-box

Testing out my 1.8 f/stop with a pencil box and Barbie. That blurred background is making me all heart eyes 🙂 ❤

Life Lately: Changing Seasons, the artyologist, spring-images

Traveling, and trees and muddy country lanes.

Favourite Internet Finds, Vol. II

Favourite Internet Finds, Vol. II, the artyologist, typewriter

It has been a while since I shared a “link round up”, so I thought it was about time for another. I love the posts that other bloggers put together, sharing things that they’ve found interesting and have been inspired by. Isn’t that the whole point of the internet anyways- sharing information? So, here are some posts and other internet finds lately, that I thought you might find interesting too.

  • Fashion Revolution just put out a fanzine called Money Fashion Power. You can read it here for free. There is seriously so much good information in here. I read through it once- but I know that I am going to be referring back to it over and over again.
  • Fashion Revolution Week is also coming up soon- April 24-30, 2017. Fashion Revolution has set up an entire page with ideas for how bloggers and vloggers can join in to help create awareness and promote change in the fashion industry this April. I’ve already started thinking about how I am going to take part this year. Are you planning on taking part in Fashion Revolution Week?
  • Have you ever thought about fashion “fakes” as being that big of a deal? I had no idea of what a sordid and terrible industry the counterfeit fashion one is. This story from the Associated Press reveals how fake fashion adds an entirely new and appalling level to the cheap fashion industry.
  • This Make Do and Mend blazer that Leea refashioned from a men’s jacket is absolutely beautiful. She has included the diagram/image of how to lay out the pattern from the 1940’s. I really want to try this out sometime! Maybe when I am feeling the need of a new and challenging project 😉
  • This is a fun story about an accidental fashion icon, Lyn Slater. She is a 63 year old lady with a killer sense of style, who was mistaken for being a famous fashion icon and ended up starting her own blog!
  • The LACMA (Los Angeles County Museaum of Art) has released some patterns from some of their collection, and they are available as free downloads. There are pieces from the 1700’s up to the mid 1900’s. There are both men’s and women’s patterns- including a ladies harem pants pajamas pattern from the early 1900’s and a redingote from 1790. Who knows if I’ll ever make them, but that’s no reason not to save the patterns anyways!
  • I’m always excited to see what Jessica of Zella Maybe has come up with, and this recent outfit she shared is making me want all the embroidery! She has such a great sense of style, and her shoots are always so atmospheric.
  • Bianca of The Closet Historian recently did up a tutorial on embellishing a knit top. Hop over to her post to see how she turned a basic black top into a beautiful showstopping 50’s inspired sweater, inspired by one of the costumes from the movie “Brooklyn”.
  • As part of my Creative Goals for this year, I did this free 5-day Still Life and Food Photography Course, by Christina Greve. She has tons of free tutorials and courses on her blog, and though I haven’t had a chance yet to check them all out- the tips that I’ve gotten so far have been helpful.
  • Emileigh’s post this past Wednesday, for International Women’s Day was very beautiful. I love how she focused on the different roles and positions that women are in, and spent time thanking them for that.

And that is some of what I have been reading and been inspired by on the internet these past few weeks. Happy Friday everyone!