Sunday Salon: Victoria Day Weekend

Sunday Salon

Hello, everyone! It’s the first long weekend of the summer, and I haven’t done much. Poo.

I went to a tulip photo spree on Tuesday. Usually, I do not take a lot of flower photos, but tulips are one of my favourite flowers and are omnipresent this time of year. May is one of my favourite months.

Tulips 2013

This week, I read and watched War Horse (review up tomorrow). Today, I am going to read Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage. It won’t take me long so I may also start Stoner by John Edward Williams or Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin or one of the other many (MANY) books I have from the library.

Sometimes, knowing how many books I have in the house unread makes me overwhelmed, but in a good way mostly.

Tulips 2013

Fitness: I wanted to run yesterday or today, but I think I’ll hold it off until tomorrow since it’s about to rain soon. I did at least go rock climbing on Friday. I average about 8km a week for running which is just OK, but not great. I really need to get up to 10-12km a week at least.

In other news, I’m planning on a trip to New York City in July which for me will mean seeing an old friend, exploring a new city, taking lots of photos and modest shopping. I’m looking forward to it.

How is your weekend so far?

Sunday Salon: New Camera

Gatineau Park Thanksgiving Weekend

Sunday Salon

It’s been an oddly long week though I only had four day work week.

I did skim one book and read another. They were both relationship self-help book. I’m very much an analytical person and I am at that age where many of my peers are married or going to be. I’ve been wondering more about my own relationship future/lack thereof so what better way to do this than to skim a lot self-help books? They are actually helping even though they sometimes offer contrary advise to one another. I read funny one called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb. I doubt I’ll read a review for it, but I enjoyed it.

In other book news, I am reading Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami in French! Ok, I am also reading it in English after every chapter to improve comprehension. It is slow going.

Got three new cookbooks this week, and one of them is Nigella’s Christmas and I don’t think I will cook from it anytime soon, but it’s a great cookbook just to browse through.

So bad news first is that I am going to be unemployed again in November. I restarted this blog as I way to cheer myself up from my employment situation so this means more time for books, blogging and my other nine million hobbies.

Fiddle Dust

Good News: I decided to splurge my current dwindling income a new camera: Canon 60D! I have been waiting for a DSLR for years. This is the first new camera I’ve bought in six years. I wanted to wait out for the 70D, but to be honest, I was getting a bit impatient. I saw a great bundle from Best Buy on Thursday and decided to jump at it yesterday. I haven’t been hyping myself up for this purchase so it feels a bit surreal.

It hasn’t changed my life so far in the one day. It has great 1080p video, but I don’t really like video editing. It took a bit for me to figure out how to do an OK self-portrait since I do a lot of these for my knitting photos. My old camera was a pro at those. I got two lenses with it: a 50mm portrait and a 55-200mm telephoto. I really wanted the 50mm portrait, but I doubt I will use the 55-200mm very much since I don’t go to sports events or see wildlife often. The result is that I have very limited range since I don’t have an all purpose or wide lens. I’ll need to put more investment, time and money into this new camera. I already just ordered a remote, and plan to get a tripod when I see a sale for them.

I do miss how easy my Canon A630 Point & Shoot was to use and it was great in many ways: portraits, macros and landscapes. You can see it in the autumn shot at the top of this post. It’s been a bit weird the last two years with battery issues, but it still works. I just need to study the 60D more, but I doubt I will put the P&S in a drawer anytime soon since I think I’ll keep it for macro shots in the long term.

In any case, this should mean better photos for the blog and maybe I can get a proper banner up. Also, this means more hobbies for me.

On an average week, I enjoy the following activities: Reading/Books, Blogging, Fiddling/Violin, Knitting, TV/Movies, Badminton, Yoga, and Photography is now back on it. That’s the most minimal of activities too as I still like to eat, socialize, cook/bake, and oh, work.

It can’t be said that I don’t know how to keep myself busy. Have a good week, everyone and thanks for reading!

Sunday Salon: London Bookstores Cont’d

Last Sunday, my internet was down and I could not do any work so I read and finished Sense and Sensibility, but was unable to post a Salon entry. Today, I am reading for school (of course), but I am going to try and squeeze in the first chapter or so of Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

Been very busy the last two weeks, but on Friday, I finally managed to take a long bus ride to Marylebone and headed to Daunt Books. Lovely, bookstore with a galleria of books by geographical location.

Project 253/365 - Daunt Books

Today, I also took a walk between the rainy periods to go to the Globe Theatre to buy a very tiny copy of Hamlet.

Mini Hamlet

Yes, my hand is small. It is bound in leather, unabridged, and only £4. I have a normal paperback sized copy back home in Canada, but this is a nice souvenir. It’s so small that I will have to take it with me everywhere. I’ve already read a couple of the first ickle pages, and it will offer some companionship in boring lectures perhaps.

The holidays are fast approaching which means more time to read again, and I think I will be buying copies of JKR’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard and A Christmas Carol. I have always wanted to read more Dickens, and being in England now, I think it’s essential he’s at the top of the TBR pile. Too bad, I left Bleakhouse back in Canada, but I will scour Charring Cross Road and Hatchard’s for some cheap Dickens in the coming months.

Have a good week.

Literary Links:

The Europeana site, Europe’s digital library, had to be shut down after its release this week, but will be coming back mid-December. I’m anticipating it.

Based on the Book – a listing of all books, plays, poes that have been adapted. The site also has some other good booklists.

BBC News had a piece for World Philosophy Day. While not very literary, still very interesting.

A page of other literary links.

His Last Bow and The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes

The first three stories of His Last Bow have Conan Doyle’s themes of revenge and vengeance. Other stories include the Case of the Bruce Partington Papers is a complicated, longest of the mysteries with a spy thriller aspect and the Case of the Dying Detective has Holmes acting mad and mean to Watson. This anthology is notable for containing the last chronological story in the Holmes canon. All of the next collection takes place before the events of the last story

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the last of the Holmes canon. It has three stories that are not narrated by Watson, one is third person and two stories narrated by Holmes himself. One of which is a mystery he solves during his retirement in Sussex. Another notable incident in this collection is that Watson gets shot. I’m rather indifferent to this collection more than the others. One can tell that after forty years, Conan Doyle was no longer really into writing Holmes stories.

Project 365: Birthday

Project 1/365: Birthday Brownie

In December 2006, I started participating in 365 Days, a self-portrait a day for a year. I had just bought my first digital camera after years of coveting and a flickr account to boot. I only managed to do 129 days of photos; it become too difficult to do after awhile and I became lazy in the summer. The photos that came out it or the creative process that forced me to take so many self-portraits resulted in some of my best photos. It was a large exercise in creativity.

A month go, I decided to take up Project 365 which is just a photo a day for a year. Aside from taking photos of my knitting, I was not picking up the camera as much as I had previously or wanted to. The project will allow me flexibility in photography because part of the difficulty of 365 Days was the self-portraiture. Though, I will take a lot of self-portraits I think because I sort of got use to being my own model and experimenting with versions of myself. If anything, I need to document my aging process since I dislike it when others photograph me. The reason I wanted to start this on my birthday was symbolic and would mark the beginning of an interesting twelve months. There may be some drastic changes in the next year, and if not, there will be some travelling.

The project will hopefully allow me to blog more photos here on the blog because for the longest time, I wanted to make a photolog. Wordless Wednesday will resume, and I’ll post more photos for the sake of posting photos.

About this photo: Sadly, I did not bake these brownies. They were a gift from a friend. It just goes to show you how easy I am to please. Some good comfort food and appreciative effort and care from loved ones is all one asks for. I am curious about what kind of birthday I’ll be having in one year.

Enjoy the ride 365 ride with me.

Shetland Triangle

Shetland Triangle

One of my best knit items yet. Last summer, I tried making Evelyn A. Clark’s other popular pattern Swallowtail Shawl and ran into a lot of problems so it has been hibernating. I am ready to tackle it again after this wonderful project. Popularized by Brooklyn Tweed’s version of aran lace, I decided to do some stashbusting with my Patons. This was one of my most enjoyable knits; it’s easy to knit up and remember. It’s also very classy and great pattern for gifts. Usually, I make a few noticeable mistakes and due to my never ripping back policy, I don’t fix them. With this project, I made one or two mistakes, and I don’t even know where they are. Even the invisible/provisional CO worked out, and I hate provisional COs. The heavier yarn makes the knitting flow better. Good signs for my lace future; other than Branching Out, I’d never done a real big lace project until now. I am going to be making BT Hemlock Ring Blanket as well. Hopefully it’ll turn out as beautiful as this project.

Shetland Triangle bottom edge

Shetland Triangle, started February 26th 2008, finished March 5th 2008 Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark from Wrap Style Ravelry Pattern Page
Size: approximately 65″ wide x 35″ long blocked (unblocked, it was 10″ less wide)
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino (100g – 204m/223yds – 100% wool) in 00240 Leaf Green – 2 skeins and a bit
Needles: #9/5.5mm 100 cm bamboo circs and 7.0mm circs for BO

Green Shetland Triangle

Modifications: Subbed yarn from 2ply lace weight to worsted weight, skipped last two rows of edging chart, 10 body repeats instead of 8 in pattern. Brooklyn Tweed apparently did nine repeats with 400m aran yarn. Doing nine reps would probably be enough with 2 skeins of this wool if you don’t mind using stretchy and bouncing merino. I BO on a 7.0mm using this lace nameless BO I found on Ravelry forums: “k1, k1, sl. both stitches back on left needle k 2 tog. through back loop, [k1, sl both stitches on left needle and knit tog. through back loop,] rep across row.” It looks okay so I may or may not use it next time.
Tools/Notions: 4 stitch markers
Lessons Learned: The aforementioned nameless BO
Cost of Project: $15 (though I only used a tiny bit of the third skein)
Would I knit it again? YES! Good for gifts, and I would love to make this in a silk/wool mix or with non-merino wool fabric such as alpaca. I’d prefer to stick to the heavier weight yarn rather than lace with this project.

Shetland Triangle closer up

What’s in my school/gym bag.

What's in my school/gym bag

I haven’t posted a Worldess Wednesday in awhile because I am too busy to take some serious photos. I was going to wait until Wednesday to post this, but I decided just to do it now while I have now.

Flickr has a very popular group called What’s in my bag? which is essentially people sharing the contents of their bag. It’s quite the portrait of people’s lives and can be rather addictive to see glimpses into what we carry in our bags. I’ve wanted to do it for awhile, but finally managed to do it today. I’m a bagaholic so I tend to rotate my bags for different outings and occasions.

This week, I decided to start going to the gym at school which makes my bag a lot heavier, but less than when I use to carry my laptop to school once in awhile. Click on the photo to go to the flickr page and see the items in more detail and explanation. Not pictured things including: food container+fork (which I carry some days), reading material (novel, this week it was Anne of Green Gables), and sometimes I’ll take my a personal journal to school (with a fountain pen).

Now that I’ve started this, I think I’ll be doing this periodically. It’s rather fun and allows me to organise bags such as this. What’s in your bag?