lately

Social Saturday | July 31

stack of books with a cup of tea on top

Here we are already at the end of July and beginning of August! The summer seems to be going past very quickly- how about for you?

This has been the Year of Reading for me- I’ve just finished book #33. I’ve been trying to spend my evenings reading, rather than browsing the internet. It’s been nice to get through quite a few of the books on my list, although of course, as soon as I cross one off, I find several more to add to the bottom!

vintage copy of Mistress Pat book

I requested Mistress Pat by L.M Montgomery from the library (review: not my favourite of her books, but still enjoyable) and the copy I received was this beautiful first edition from 1935! I love it when they keep older editions of books in circulation, rather than replacing them all with new copies.

mallard duckling

We had some exciting visitors to our place; my sister walked out the back door, and spotted two lost Mallard ducklings in the flower bed! When their mom never showed up, we brought them inside and put them in a brooder, and then my mom brought them to the wildlife rescue shelter a couple days later. They were so tiny and cute, and actually very quiet as well. (At least compared to the chick we’ve got inside; we named him Mortimer, because he never stops cheeping!) They were hard to photograph and got a little bit panicked when my sister picked them up, but I’m glad I got a couple of pictures to remember them by.

three tiny paintings of potted plants

I’ve been working on some more watercolour illustrations; this time houseplants. I’ve been trying out this mini format- just 4″ x 4″ and I quite like it. So far I’ve done a Kalanchoe, a grouping of Cacti and a Pothos.

I’ve added them to my Society 6 shop as greeting cards or mini prints. There are “hello”, “happy birthday” and “thank-you” cards as well as blank ones available. I will also be listing these original paintings in my shop here, but am waiting for some mats I ordered to arrive first (hopefully they arrive soon!).

card with pothos on front

Ps: I’ve also added some more photography prints to my shop, and am slowly adding more as I have the time.

How has your summer been going so far? I hope you have a great weekend!

two card designs with plants on the front

Social Saturday | May 15

american buff female goose with her gosling

For this Saturday’s post, I have some fun news to share- we have a gosling!

I shared back in April that my mom’s geese were laying eggs and sitting on the nests. We weren’t sure whether we’d get any goslings hatching, because first year geese don’t always quite know what they are doing. When my mom was talking to some people who have raised geese for many years, they said that if you get any goslings the first year with your geese, those are a “bonus”. So, we have named this little guy Bonus!

All three female geese have been fighting over the nests, and it appears that they have all claimed him as theirs, so they are all looking after him (her?). He hatched on Thursday, and it’s looking like he’s going to be the only one…with three mothers though, he certainly won’t be lonely!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, dear Readers!

american buff gosling running to his mother

american buff goose sitting on her nest with the gosling sitting beside her

american buff goose gosling

Social Saturday | April 10

a candle in a pretty floral teacup, sitting on a nightstand

Hello, Dear Readers, I hope you all have had a good week! I had a rather busy one, since I had some big work projects occupying quite a bit of my time, but I’m glad to be here at the weekend now.

a vintage metal colander filled with brown chicken eggs and one large white goose egg

I mentioned before that my mom’s geese have been laying eggs. They’ve got 16 eggs currently and are sharing (not very well, I might add) a nest, so I guess we’ll find out soon whether we get any goslings or not! One of the first eggs was rejected, so we brought it in and look how much larger it is than the chicken eggs.

a ceramic egg tray filled with brown eggs

The chickens have also been laying so many eggs lately; we’ve currently got 7 dozen, with more added each day. We’ve got to start making more omelettes and merengues, I think. We are going to let one of our hens sit on a nest (once the weather is more consistently warm) and hatch out some chicks like we did last year. That will be lots of fun!

a grapevine branch wreath with easter egg decorations on it

Speaking of eggs, here are the (fake) eggs that I decorated my wreath with, for Easter. I use this same branchy wreath for each season, switching out the decorations with berries or pinecones or acorns depending on the season. It works quite well, because then I don’t have to store bulky out-of-season wreaths, and can just store the stems. Do you like to decorate for each season?

a mint floral teacup with a beeswax candle poured into it, sitting on a lace tablecloth

In other news, I did a bit of candle making this week. I saved all of the bits of leftover beeswax from my other candles and then melted and poured them into this teacup. I got the idea of using a mismatched teacup years ago, from a Christmas decorating book, and finally tried it a few months ago. It worked quite well, so I decided to make another one this week for my friend. After a bit of a disaster, where I didn’t melt enough wax and then accidentally pulled out the wick before it was cool, it eventually turned out ok! Have you ever tried candle making?

a cup of earl grey tea sitting on a table with a bag of tea beside it

My sister got me this Lavender Early Grey tea blend a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been enjoying it as a treat. OK, I’ve been drinking it almost every day… but I just want to make my everyday a bit more special I guess! I usually drink my tea plain, but this one is nice with a little bit of sugar and milk.

On the subject of fancy teacup candles, and special blends of tea, I also recently discovered another YouTube channel that I’ve been enjoying. It’s called Inspired By Nikki, and she covers so much about elegant and feminine lifestyle; from wardrobe to decorating and home. If you want to get a bit more elegance into your everyday, then I think you’ll like her channel!

Well, that’s all I have to share this week. I hope you are doing well, and hopefully enjoying warm Spring weather and sunshine too!

A Year of Reading, In Review

stack of books with a teacup on top

I love reading. For education, for entertainment, lighthearted books for passing the time, heavy books to challenge my reading skills…

2020 was going to be my year of finally getting through my massive “To Be Read” book list but, alas, the library closed for quite a few months and derailed that plan. However, I was still able to read through a variety of books, and took the library closure as an opportunity to read through some of the unread books on my own shelves too. I didn’t quite succeed in finishing off my personal collection, but still managed to read 40 books this year, so it was a good year for reading! Thankfully the library opened again in the fall, so I was able to get a few more to last me for the next while. When you’re stuck at home on a bleak winter day, there’s nothing better than curling up in a blanket with a book and a cup of tea, right?

I thought I would share a few of my favourites today, so if you are looking for some books to add to your list, here are my 2020 reading highlights (in order of when I read them).

Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

wives and daughters book cover

I’ve watched the BBC version of Wives and Daughters and it is excellent. It stars Francesca Annis as one of the main characters, and she is really good in that role. I read North & South last year, (I asked for books for my birthday and Christmas gifts, and was happy to get copies of both North & South and Wives & Daughters.) and was able to get through Wives & Daughters early on in the year. I quite like Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. There weren’t any surprises, since I have watched the film, but it was still an enjoyable way to spend a few days. I would like to read some of her other works- I’ve added Mary Barton to my list.

The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin

The Panic Virus book coverI heard about this book a couple of years ago, and had it on my library list for quite a while. It delves into the history of vaccinations and all of the scandals and cover ups that have come along with them (and that still plague us today). It kind of sounds like a boring topic, but it is actually a really good book. It is quite well written and surprisingly engaging. 10/10 would recommend this one if you like medical history and science!

Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet book cover

I had also heard of this one a couple of years ago, from Susan Cain’s TED talk, so I added it to my library list. It wasn’t mind blowing, but it was a helpful book for me to read, to learn about some of the differences between introverts and extroverts, and how to use my introvert tendencies as a strength instead of a limitation. It’s a slower paced book, but was well researched and informative.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

The Body book cover

Hands down, this was one of the most enjoyable reads of my year. This is an interesting overview of the human body, but it was funny and witty as well. It is a thick book, but is broken up into small, manageable sections, so you can pick it up and read a little bit without losing your place and having to start over.  I never understand why textbooks can take an interesting topic and distill it down into the most boring format possible- this book is really the furthest thing from being a textbook (it’s actually fun to read) and I learned so much. I also thought that the index was good, so you can find sections easily if you want to read about a certain topic again.

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth by Thomas Morris

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth book cover

Another medical book (What can I say? I love reading about science and medicine!) This book recounts some of the hilarious, horrifying and miraculous medical cases from historical medical journals. The book is compiled of excerpts from journals (all written in proper Old English, which makes it even better) but the best part of the book is the commentary that Thomas Morris offers alongside. He has the perfect dry/dark sense of humour that lands just right. I read this one, and then I made my sister and mom read it too!

King Raven Series (Hood, Scarlet & Tuck) by Stephen R. Lawhead

King Raven trilogy book covers

This series is a reimagined version of the tales of Robin Hood, set in Wales during the 11th century. It’s the perfect blend of history, action and adventure. Each book is told from the perspective of a different character (Robin Hood, Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck) and I really enjoyed the story. The author did so much research into this time period and his world building was very believable and realistic. Even though Robin Hood is likely a legend, after reading this series he definitely seems real! I do love a good historical fiction series to escape into and I can see myself re-reading this series again in a few years.

How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman

How to be a Victorian book cover

I had heard good reviews of this book, but after reading the back cover, I was kind of wondering whether it would be one of those “corsets are oppressive” sorts of history books. However, I was pleasantly surprised as it was nothing like that! I learned quite a bit about daily life in the Victorian era- the author is a British historian and was actually part of BBC’s historic farm television series. She had a lot of insight about what life could have been like (of course, she points out, we’ll never know completely) during the era. This book was also broken up into manageable sections, so you can pick it up and put it down as you have time. As a lover of vintage and history, this was a great one to read!

You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey

You're Not Enough book cover

I listen to Allie Beth Stuckey’s podcast occasionally, so was interested to read her first book. She tackles the self help and self love culture that is so prevalent today, and how it is ultimately unfulfilling and empty. There was lots to ponder in this book, and I am debating adding this one to my library so I can re-read and refer back to it in the future.

Death in the Clouds and The Hollow by Agatha Christie

Death in the Clouds and The Hollow book covers

I do love a good murder mystery, and if you haven’t read any of Agatha Christie’s, you are missing out: there is a reason why she is the most popular writer of the 20th century! I received a whole stack of her books for my birthday in October and, while I haven’t gotten through all of them yet, these are my two favourites so far. Both of them are Poirot mysteries, and very quick enjoyable stories. I can never guess who the murderer is!

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsely

Jane Austen at Home book cover

My last read for this year was this biography of Jane Austen (who is also one of my favourite authors!) I have watched some of Lucy Worsely’s BBC histories, and have found them engaging and entertaining; her ‘If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home” series is a really good one. I’ve read a couple of other biographies of Jane Austen, but I quite liked this one. Of course so much has been lost to history, and we’ll never truly know Jane, but I feel like I got a glimpse of her in this book, and she really does feel like a kindred spirit. I am also debating adding this one to my personal library too!

—-

Fields of Joy by Ruth Chou Simons

fields of joy book cover and pages

Ok, actually my last book of the year, which I haven’t completely read, is this one, Fields of Joy. My friend gave it to me for Christmas, and it was the most unexpected, yet lovely, gift! It’s not a book designed to be read cover to cover, but is filled with pages of verses and watercolour artwork, so you can read a page each day. This is going to be a good one to keep on my bedside table to refer back to often.

So, those are my favourite reads from this year! Have you read any of these titles? What were your favourite books from this year? Do you keep track of how many books you read each year?

(Also, on a side note, I noticed that my library prints on their receipts how much money you’ve saved by using the library, instead of buying books, and I saved $363.43 this year!)

Life Lately: Spring is Here

row of plants, life lately

Hello everyone! It’s been a rather crazy past few weeks for me, so it’s nice to sit down with a cup of tea and put together a blog post. Without getting into too many details, the month of March was a crazy and long and tiring 31 days- it was exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically- so I am glad to be done with it and moving on to April!

Ss, some of these pictures are from my Instagram, and I thought I’d post them here- along with some other photos I’ve taken in the past few weeks.

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring around here, and the flowers are starting to come up. This little viola on the right side is only about 2″ tall, and it’s been blooming ever since it popped up through the snow!

flowers coming up, life lately

It’s always nice to use the fine china when you invite friends over for tea and cake. And it’s nice to eat up the leftover strawberries for breakfast the next day too 🙂

life lately, tea party

The trees are starting to bud out, finally!

blue skies, life lately

Part of the exhaustion in March was due to my sister and I moving out of our apartment. We thought we were getting a new place, but it all fell through, and so I’m now looking for a new place and temporarily living with my family. I’m so thankful that I can live with them, while I find a new housing situation!

My mom bought me tulips a few weeks ago. I love how fluid they are! And on the right, is one of the last sunsets from our previous apartment. I’m going to miss seeing that view every day!

tulips and sunset

I love how colourful the rhubarb leaves, on the right, are! They are such a bold pop of colour amid all of the brown around them.

plants coming up

Just some cute little cactuses of my mom’s growing in her window. And, even though I will miss the view at our old apartment, at least my parents live on a lovely acreage with lots of trees to enjoy!

cactuses and trees

Anyways, these are just some photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks- I’m glad that Spring is finally here! Although it was a bit colder this past week, it’s nice to be able to pack away the winter coats and boots (I hope I’m not too optimistic with that…) and start thinking about Spring and warm weather outfits!

How is your April, so far?