lately

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!

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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?

On a Winter’s Day

winters-day-pinecone, the artyologist

Since moving to town last fall, I don’t get to enjoy the winter frost as much anymore. We don’t get the ice fog, and resulting frost, in town the same way that my family’s house in the country does. And when we do, there are a bunch of obnoxious houses in the way blocking the view 😉 So, a few weeks ago, when visiting my family on a frosty day, I took the opportunity to run outside and take some photos of the landscape, as it was so incredibly beautiful.

Have I already taken many photos of the frost in winters past? Yes! Does that stop me from taking more? Nope! Sorry there are so many photos- everywhere I looked was another interesting detail or view I wanted to capture! Also, even though these photos were taken a few weeks ago, and we almost into March now, (and with that: spring!) it still looks every bit of winter out there, so I thought these photos wouldn’t be too out of place.

winters-day-red-shed, the artyologist

On another note, I’ve been quite busy this past week, as I was preparing for, and then showing my artwork at an art show this weekend. (The same one I went to last year, and talked about here) (Also- hi and welcome to anyone who has found my blog through the show!) The show went well, but even though it is now over, I think things are going to keep getting busier, because. . . I start a new job tomorrow! I am very excited about it! With that change in my schedule, though, I am going to have to make some changes to the blog.

I’ve been keeping to a fairly regular schedule for the past year or so, posting on Tuesdays and Fridays, but lately that hasn’t seemed to be working very well for me. Since the fall time, my schedule has changed a lot, and I’ve had things keeping me from blogging. I think it is time to let the pressure off, so I have decided that it is OK to post less frequently. That was a self imposed rule anyways 🙂 I still want to post once a week- and as I have time, maybe some weeks I will be able to post more than that! Anyways, I just wanted to let you know why it might get a bit quieter around here. Oh, and because this blog wouldn’t be much without you, thank-you to all of you Dear Readers who follow along! I hope you all have a wonderful last week of February and first of March! (Spring is just around the corner, I can feel it!)

winters-day-3, the artyologist

winters-day-gas-tank, the artyologist

winters-day-seedheads, the artyologist

winters-day-2, the artyologist

winters-day-chicken-shed, the artyologist

winters-day-pine-branch, the artyologist

wood stack, horizontal, the artyologist

winters-day-gas-tank-2, the artyologist

winters-day-1, the artyologist

winters-day-tire, the artyologist

winters-day-4, the artyologist

The Artyologist Turns Two

It is my blog’s second anniversary, woohoo! Although does that mean I am entering the “terrible twos” now? I hope not! (Actually, the anniversary is tomorrow, Jan. 27, but as I wanted to post this on Friday instead. . .  here I am a day early!)

I can’t believe that it’s been two years since I started this blog, or for that matter that it’s been an entire year since the first anniversary. I feel like all I ever say lately, is “I can’t believe how fast the time is going by”, but really what else is there to say? It does go by quickly 🙂 When I started this blog, two years ago, I really had no idea what I was doing. Actually I still don’t. Pressing that “publish” button was the scariest thing! I had no idea if anyone would ever read my blog, and I wondered if I had made a big mistake in thinking that I should be a blogger. But, it turned out that starting this blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done- not only has it proven to be fun, and a great creative outlet, but I’ve also met so many lovely people through it. (Either because they are readers, or because I discovered their blogs, since I was no longer intimidated by “putting myself out there” so to speak). Two years in, I have no intention of stopping any time soon!

Last year, I marked the 1 year anniversary by doing a blog makeover. As I still quite like the blog format, I am not planning any sort of changes on that front.* I thought that, since I didn’t do any sort of 2017 year end recap or the like, I would today re-share some of my favourite posts from the past year, as well as posts which have proven to be the most popular with readers. I kind of like to look back at old blog posts from time to time. 

I feel like sometimes in this digital age, we always have to have “more”. New posts, all the time. Fast and disposable like the rest of our culture is. We look at something for a minute, and then immediately move onto the next. We quickly scroll through our readers and feeds, trying to get through the list, without taking the time to enjoy. Social media in it’s very essence is always about the “new”. But, even though it is web based, it is ironic that amidst all that, there are still our blogs. A digital scrapbook of sorts, which capture the memories of a year gone by. I don’t know if I would notice the passage of time so much, if I didn’t have this blog. The very act of taking photos, and creating posts is a way to capture a memory, and then it gives you something to look back on (which makes you realize it was so long ago! And also how many phases my hair has gone through). I’m just rambling now, but all that to say, it’s nice to, instead of always looking forward, take a moment to look back as well.

Thanks so much to all my lovely readers who follow this blog. You are the ones who make this so worthwhile and fun. I mean, I could still blog if I had no readers, but that would be super boring. So, thank-you!

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The 5 Most Popular Posts

Well, the number one most popular post I ever wrote was my history of harem pants- it was still the top post for 2017, and I wrote it in the summer of 2016! But, since it is from two years ago, I will share the top posts of 2017 instead.

bringing back coupon busters, one pair of shoeclips at a time, the artyologist

Bringing back “Coupon Busters” One Pair of Shoeclips at a Time

a sentimental history of lockets, the artyologist

A Sentimental History of Lockets

shopping ethically for vintage repro

Shopping Ethically for Vintage Repro

vintage-blogger-meetup-2016_edmonton the artyologist, Blogger Meetup with Jessica of Chronically Vintage

My First Blogger Meet Up with Jessica of Chronically Vintage

Operation Save the Petticoat (Or a Simple Petticoat Alteration), the artyologist

Operation: Save the Petticoat! (Or, a Simple Petticoat Alteration)

Apparently my tutorials are popular. I shall endeavour to do more things this year, so I can turn them into posts 😉

My Personal Favourite Outfit Posts

Lilacs and Love letters, the artyologist, portrait feature

Lilacs and Love Letters. This is the post that almost didn’t happen! And it is one of my favourites.

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, navy blue and tan skirt

Modern Girl Goes Vintage.

Wearing Vintage (Or Other Alternative Styles) vs. Wearing a Costume, the artyologist outfit

Wearing Vintage (Or Alternative Style) vs. Wearing a Costume. Discussing the differences between dressing up in a different style and dressing up in a costume.

A Feather in My Cap. The first “public” photoshoot!

Fashion Revolution Love Story: An Ode to a Humble T-Shirt. This was a fun post to write.

Five Other Memories

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day. I just really liked this photoshoot and wanted to re-share it.

The Artyologist Art Shop. I opened my art shop in July!

Tanith of Tanith Rowan Designs and I hosted our first My Vintage Cover challenge in August, and it was so much fun!

I was Interviewed for Alive Magazine, talking about ethical fashion!

Falltime at the Farm, the artyologist, hanging-apples-with-fence

Photo Journal: Fall Time at the Farm. Some experimenting with my camera and lens at the farm. I was also happy with these pictures and just wanted to reshare.

*I said above that I had no plans to change my blog format, but, that being said, are there any things you wish were different about the format? Any ways I could change it to make it easier to read etc? Thanks!