• Books

    Booking Through Thursday – DIY

    This week on BTT:

    If you could write a book, what would it be about, and why? (Though, of course, some of you already HAVE.)

    I wish I had the ability to write a book because I think there have always been three kinds of books I like to read and wish to write.

    First would be food. I’d love to take the photos and write recipes, but also write about food as a cultural effect in our lives.

    Second, I’d like to do travel writing. Oddly, I think this is the most realistic aspirations. Even more fun is if I mix the food in with the travel.

    Finally, I’d like to read a novel. I read them enough, but I would be glad to finish a long work of fiction. I have attempted to several times, but the stories don’t seem to be in me to finish.

    How about you? What books would you write?

  • Knitting & Crafting

    WIP Wednesday: Paris

    Paris WIP on Instagram

    As you can see above, that is not Girasole, I cast on for Veera Välimäki’s Paris this weekend. I was motivated by the Sweater Odyssey Ravelry Group’s Veera knitalong. It’s a great little group, and I had the yarn and pattern all ready for it.

    It is more or less a rectangle with sleeves. I really liked it when I first saw this on Veera’s projects. I’ve already knit five Rain Knitwear designs; she’s one of my favourite designers.

    The yarn is 100% baby alpaca by the Susan Andrew Collection. It is the same weight as the recommended Drops Alpaca. I do love alpaca and this one is nice and sticky. I have a knack for finding purple yarn on sale. I will not lie as I have four purple sweaters now, all from yarn on sale. Most of my projects come from discounted yarn though; I do love a bargain.

    Even though it is all basic stockinette, there is something soothing about its mindlessness that is allowing me to get my knitting mojo back. Must remember to keep it simple when I am trying to get out of a knitting funk.

    What is on yours needles today?

    Happy Knitting!

    For more WIPs, visit Tamis’s Amis.

  • Books

    These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

    These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

    Since I read Devil’s Cub (the sequel to These Old Shades), I knew some of the characters already and the twixt that Leon is actually Leonie. I’ve always kinda like the trope of girls dressing up as boys. It’s always a good source of comedy. TV Tropes calls it Bixfauxnen. It’s usually really amusing and it was here too.

    I liked this more than the Black Moth because the structure of it was better than Heyer’s first novel. It was more cohesive and there was less abrupt jumps between sets of characters. As usual, I liked the secondary and supporting characters. You get a sense that amidst the comedy, abductions, and the wild plots that these characters like each other and care for one another.

    As for Leonie and the Duke. The latter is standard bad man in need of reform. I like that their union is about how she loves him for who he is and sees the little good in him. I do think that her worship of him was a little too much at times and she could be impertinent and rude. She made up for it by being incredibly charming by the end though and in Devil’s Cub when she matured more.

    This is my fourth Heyer and my third in which a kidnapping of a female happens. It’s a harsh reminder how completely without rights women were back then. Even Lady Fanny tells her husband that she is his wife and not his chattel, but apparently, this doesn’t apply to unmarried females because they tend to get kidnapped so often in these books.

    This was a fun Heyer novel and a good one to start off probably, but I still think I like A Civil Contract best. That was one of her later works though and I am trying to go through Heyer’s bibliography more or less chronologically.

    Read May 21st-27th 2012. This was my 25th book of this year.

  • Beauty & Skincare

    Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle Routine Review

    Crest 3d Whitestrips Gentle Routine
    This was my first experience with Crest Whitestrips. I wanted to start off easy with the 5 minute ones and this one had decent reviews and claimed no pain.

    My teeth are somewhat sensitive. I use the Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste. While my teeth are not super yellow, they do get stained easily because I drink tea. Rarely coffee and I don’t smoke. The teeth staining issue was something I’ve always remember having even before I drank tea. It is a familial trait dentists have told me so I can’t really prevent it. Funnily enough, i had less staining when I lived in London and other hard water areas, but I have grown and lived mostly in soft water areas.

    In this box, there are 28 pouches, each with two strips, one upper, one lower. You wear them for
    5 minutes a day. I put mine on before brushing my teeth at night. I think I forgot to put them for about 6 times in the whole thing, mostly toward the end and I would only skip one day.

    Price: $29.99 CAD before tax, two day sale at SDM, usually around $50 otherwise.

    Conclusion: The box claims that the whitening is subtle. Yes, so subtle that I’m not sure if it did anything. My teeth stain easily so this was probably not strong enough, and the whole process was easy though the strips did like to slide around on my teeth at times. I’m willing to try the other ones such as the Stain Guard ones and even those which are required to be on for 30 minutes. I don’t really recommend this product unless you have super sensitive teeth and relatively ok teeth since they do not whiten that well.

  • Books

    Sunday Salon – Classic Suggestions

    Sunday Salon

    Managed to read two books since last Sunday. Both Georgette Heyer and the Heyerathon continues as I am finishing The Masqueraders. All the gender bending and cross dressing in Heyer had me rewatching Amanda Bynes’s She’s the Man (love Twelfth Night play) this week. Also, starting j-drama Hana Kimi.

    A couple questions for this Sunday. Does anyone access this post from the Yahoo!Pipes or the RSS Sunday Salon feed? I’ve been trying to figure out if that works. I post my links to the FB group but I wonder if the original SS feed works at all and if anyone uses it since I couldn’t manage to a few weeks ago.

    Secondly, I think I will be joining the Classics Club to read 50 classic books in five years. My problem now is to develop my list. I’m going to make the list more than 50 (perhaps 60 or 65) so that I can have some legroom. I am not good at planning my life that far ahead, so this will be a challenge.

    Please list me suggestions of ‘classic’ books you like and that I could read. I’ve read a fair number so far, so the more suggestions, the better. Thank you!

    Happy reading, everyone!

  • Books

    The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

    The Black Moth

    This was Georegette Heyer’s first novel and published in 1921 when Heyer was just 19. The novel inspires These Old Shades (which is the book I am reading after this one) which will set off Devil’s Cub and An Infamous Army.

    As it happened with Devil’s Club, this book was a bit slow to start off, but it had some charming moments. Heyer gives her characters some delightful interactions and dialogue. I’ve noticed that her villains and antagonists go around blaming their genes and blood for their bad habits and addictions
    which I guess would be appropriate for the time. The antagonists in this novel are fairly annoying, but they all seemed to be redeemed by the end. Even Tracy’s kidnappings are somewhat swept under a rug.

    The best part of the novels were around Jack, Diana, Miss Betty and the O’Haras. Miss Betty steals almost every scene she is in. Diana was described as having “a tragic mouth that belied a usually cheerful disposition, and hinted at a tendency to look on the gloomy side of life”. If only I could have written like that at 17! While Heyer is not super literary or luminary in some ways, there is talent in writing characters, plots and stories with such appeal and seeming ease.

    The biggest issue I had with this novel was actually the lack of page time for the above characters. Why was there so much time spent on secondary characters and not the main romance? I liked Diana, but I didn’t think the viewer read enough of her as a heroine. There was a lack of character and relationship development there. Too much on the antagonists and the periphery characters, unless they were suppose to be the protagonists? In any case, the most winsome characters had the least amount of attention in this book.

    Still, an engaging first novel for any writer and enjoyable Heyer as usual.

    Read May 20th 2012.

  • Knitting & Crafting

    FO Friday: Garter Yoke Cardigan

    Garter Yoke Cardigan

    This cardigan took forever to finish. The knitting itself took about a month, but I didn’t block for another month after binding off and another week for the buttons. I was very careless with the button sewing, but I was so fed up with this project by this time that I didn’t care. Maybe in the far future, I will resew it. Until then, I can wear it as it is going out or staying in. It is far from my favourite sweater, but at least I can use it when out.

    Garter Yoke Cardigan

    Garter Yoke Cardigan, started March 13th, 2012, Bound off April 18th 2012. Sewed buttons on May 19th 2012. Ravelry Project Page
    Pattern: #22 Garter Yoke Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre from Knit.1, Fall/Winter 2008 Ravelry Pattern Page
    Yarn: Patons Classic Wool – less than 4 skeins of the old yardage, not the new one.
    Needles: #6/4mm for the CO, #7/4.5mm for the garter, and #8/5.0mm for all else.
    Modifications:

    • CO on 93 sts (20 less) on 4.0mm and switched to 4.5mm for the yoke.
    • Knit 2 rows. Increased 10 sts using M1L (KFB is better for garter stitch in retrospect). Knit 4 rows including a button hole row. Incresed 10 sts. K1 more row then began with short rows.
    • Did standard short rows.
    • For the yoke, I added two additional rows between button holes since my gauge was different.
    • Switched to 5.0mm for stockinette. After initial stockinette inc row, I did M1L, K1, SlM, K1, K1R.
    • Inc a few additional stitches for bust after separating sleeves and body.
    • 4.5mm on yoke, cuff, and hem.
    • Did one extra decrease for waist shaping but maintained same waist increases per pattern
    • Picked up 6 sts at underarm, decreased them, knit about 2.5-3”, then began sleeve decreases: k1, k2tog, knit around to the last 3 stitches, ssk, k1. Repeat every 8th row until only 40 sts.

    Tools/Notions: 9 wood buttons.
    Cost of Project: Less than $20.
    Would I knit it again? Doubtful. If I were to do it again, KFB for the yoke as pattern says and I won’t be so careless with blocking and button sewing next time.

    Have a good weekend! For more FOs, go to Tami’s Amis.

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – Pet Names

    This week on BTT:

    Do you have any pet that has a name inspired by your readings?

    If not, what would you pick if you DID?

    Do any of your friends have book-based names for their pets? (Or their children?)

    No, I don’t have any pets. I would like to use names from books. I think children’s books or young adult books have the more imaginative names such as Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, etc. Dickens has some interesting names too but not necessarily for pets. I don’t think I know many people with book-based names though I haven’t heard many tell me why they their parents named them such and such.

    How about you? Do you have any good literary names for pets or people?

  • Knitting & Crafting

    WIP Wednesday: Girasole

    Since the last time I posted a WIP Wednesday, I finished the Garter Yoke Cardigan on April 18th, but I didn’t block it for another three weeks due to weather. This weekend, I finally put the buttons on it and I did a very bad job of it. I became a bit fed up with the cardigan. I haven’t knit anything since I finished it except a demi hexipuff. I’ve lost a lot of knitting mojo. This one month lack of knitting can be blamed on a few things so I am slowly getting back to knitting with my next project.

    Girasole by Jared Flood. Mr Flood is one of my favourite knitwear designers I think. Like him, I like tweed, rustic wool, heathers, cables, and lace on thick wool. When I saw Girasole, I wanted to make it because I had a wonderful time making the Hemlock Ring Blanket a few years ago.

    I am using Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s Wool. I couldn’t afford to use the Eco for such a project.

    Girasole on Instagram

    Yes, I am knitting a giant wool doily blanket in the summer. I’ve had the yarn for awhile and the pattern for even longer. Secondly, I can take my time with this since it seems I have not been too interested in anything lately. This could be a good way to bring my mojo back. Finally, since it is summer, I can block and dry this outside in the sun! It’s for the best because I can’t imagine waiting for this thing to dry indoors in the winter.

    Wish me luck, everyone. What is on your needles this week?

    See more WIPs Wednesday at Tamis’s Amis.

  • Books

    Sunday Salon: Long Weekend

    Sunday Salon

    It’s a long weekend so yay for me as I have one day less of class this week. Also, I managed to finish my homework on time on Friday so have had time to do personal chores and today, I do some reading!

    I started Georgette Heyer’s books last month and requested a bunch of them from the library. I haven’t made a dent in the pile at all, but I will do so today. It’ll be Heyer marathon for awhile there.

    In other news, I am still trying to explore social media. I have been trying to use Twitter again (@athena), but I am failing. I am not sure why, but I don’t really find it easy to tweet.

    I am addicted to Pinterest though. I was invited in late 2010 when the site was still somewhat new. It has much more content now and as a result, much more addictive. It appeals to the crafter, decorator and stylist in me. There are some seriously nice book shelves on that site.

    The weather will be hot today at 30C so I am going to run an errand before noon and be back to read. Ahh that’s the stuff.

    What are you reading today?

  • Books

    Booking Through Thursday – Live in

    On BTT this week:

    If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?

    This is a difficult question since I do read books which are realistic and fantastical.

    When I was a child, I wanted to be Wendy in Peter Pan and Lucy in Lion, the Witch in the Wardrobe. I also really liked the idea of having a daemon in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Though the problem with fantasy-adventure books is how dangerous they are for the characters.

    Also, I read a lot of historical fiction, but if anyone ever asks me if I would go back in time, I still wouldn’t know what era to choose. All things in the past had their good (clothing, chivalry, food) and bad (lack of women’s rights, lack of toilet paper). For example, I really like Pride and Prejudice and most people seem lovely in it, but I can’t imagine wanting to live as a Regency woman.

    Alright, I think it’s best to stick with the children’s books so Harry Potter post-Voldemort and the world of the Winnie the Pooh.

    What about you?

  • Books

    The Maladjusted by Derek Hayes

    Maladjusted by Derek Hayes

    The Maladjusted is an anthology of short stories by new writer Derek Hayes. I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I average at least a couple of these kind of books a year. I like the format, but I prefer novels since I like to get invested in the characters and follow them along. A good short story usually hooks you in quickly to be attached. There isn’t much time to drag out your indifference. I found most of the stories in this book fairly interesting. The settings usually had a good amount of detail.

    The author is based in Toronto and many of the stories are set in the city. While I have not lived in Toronto, I’ve been there and know many people from there. The stories do capture the sense of the city, its people, and a certain Canadian urbanity.

    The stories I liked were the eponymous “The Maladjusted”, “A Wonderful Holiday” set in Vietnam
    “A Feel for America” set in Taipei, and “Shallowness”. I like travel stories so I liked the details in those set abroad. Hayes has an attention for smell which is interesting as well.

    All in all, I’ll be interested if the author writes a full length novel since I think the writing shows promise. I recommend this for Torontonians and other urban Canadians especially.

    Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author. I was not paid for this post and all views expressed are mine alone and not influenced by the author or publisher. For more on my review policy, please see and contact me here.

    Read May 13th, 2012.