Monday, October 31, 2011

happy hallowe'en: there is never enough butter

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!  I hope you enjoy this spooky night to the best of your ability!  Luke and I will be handing out candy to the little ones tonight, while watching Sleepy Hollow (last night we watched Hocus Pocus, is anyone remembers that oldie).  I'm not sure what I'm going to dress up as though...I can't find my Star Trek dress, and I couldn't find any mouse ears to be Minnie Mouse.  So we'll have to see.  I might just wear my mom's Hallowe'en head band and earrings tonight. I hope this isn't the first Hallowe'en EVER that I don't dress up!

Anyway, on Saturday, Luke and I went over to our friends' (and his cousin's) place for a delicious meal and pumpkin carving!  Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I've been cutting out most of the meat in my diet.  But schnitzel will always, always be the exception.  It's just too good.  But I still want to try it with fish, just to see.  Here's a picture of the finished product (of the meal, not the jack-o-lanterns):

Stuffed zucchini, schnitzel with lemon, homemade spaetzle, steamed broccoli, and fried onions with sage.  So. Good.

Now onto the pumpkin carving!

And finally...

Ours is the one on the right (Jack Skellington!  If anyone's interested,  The Nightmare Before Christmas was my first ever move that I saw in theatres, when I was three years old. I've watched it at least three times a year, usually more, since then. I know it off by heart at this point), and the one with the cute little ears belongs to Marc and Leanne. Luke and Marc did all the carving, which we don't have actual pictures of, because Leanne and I were sorting pumpkin seeds for toasting.  We made three batches: all spice with maple spice, garlic, and cinnamon & sugar. That's where the "never enough butter" thing comes in. Because you can never toast pumpkin seeds with enough butter.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

the boys

I thought I'd leave a few new shots of the boys. Some were taken yesterday, the rest of them were taken...ten minutes ago.  And yes, they are wearing crochet neck warmers.  What can I say? I spoil them a little.  Click to see any of the pictures large.

I love this shot of Pip.  But I always feel like these pictures make him look docile and calm, when he's actually really hyper most of the time.

Don't they look so awkward here? It makes me laugh.

Friday, October 28, 2011

preparing for nanowrimo

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but since 2008, I've been a participant in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo).  For those of you who might not be familiar with the event, it takes place in the month of November, and the goal is to write 50 000 words by November 30. It is so much fun, and really pushes you to your limits. Not to mention the NaNoWriMo community is amazing. If you're interested in writing (even if you don't want to be a "writer"), I suggest you give it a look. I never thought I could write a novel; I had never managed to get a plot beyond the 10 000 word mark.  But once I got involved with NaNo, I  really surprised myself.  My first year was also my first year of university, so as you can imagine, very, very busy.  And I managed to get to 54 000 words before November 30.  Say whaaaat?!  The event really made me realize that writing is what I am meant to do.

This year I'm doing something a little different. For the past three years I wrote some form of serious fantasy.  What I mean by serious is that I actually tried to write a semi-decent story.  The problem is that now I have three novels that are unfinished, plus two other non-NaNo novels.  I figured that I didn't want to start yet another novel that I care about, because then I will never finish anything.  So instead I've decided to write a paranormal teen romance parody.  I'm not a fan of Twilight, Hush Hush, or any of those novels.  Mostly I just find them hilarious.  Therefore, my new novel is called An Echo of Wings.  I'm looking forward to a mostly free-and-easy NaNoWriMo, where I'm not invested in any of my characters, and consequently won't care what happens to them.

I'm also using NaNoWriMo as motivation to finish my current novel, Reptilia Snaketongue and the Misty Orb of Truth.  I've been working on it pretty seriously for a number of months, and I'm about halfway through.  I'm hoping that with the pressure of the November 30th deadline, I'll be able to get it done.  If you're interested, it's a middle-grade historical-fantasy about a young girl named -- you guessed it -- Reptilia Snaketongue, who is part of a traveling sideshow in 1920s France.  The short version is that, after looking into her old carriage-mate's crystal ball, she sets out with her best friend, a performing camel named Georges, to find her family.

Anyway, before I write an entire book here, I wanted to share a few pictures.  I don't have photoshop right now (I had to suck it up and buy a new laptop, because my old Dell, Abraham Lincoln, was barely hanging to a thread), so there's nothing fancy going on here.  But in preparation for NaNoWriMo, I crocheted a new granny square blanket, and also bought some new, fun bedding.  I bedding for a writing event? Kinda geeky.

If you're wondering, the bedding is from IKEA. And only 12.99!  Yay for deals!  And those stacks of papers on my teeny-tiny desk in the background are hardcopies of my previous NaNo novels! :)  Oh, before I forget, if anyone's interested in being Writing Buddies, here's a link to my author page.  I'd be happy to buddy any other participants!

Friday, October 21, 2011

new lens!

Exciting news abounds!  I've been sort of MIA for the past couple days, but I have two (I think) good reasons.  Firstly, we -- meaning my Mom, younger brother, and I -- got our preorder of Sims 3 Pets!  SO MUCH FUN. And what's great is I get to have cats, which I can't have in the real world, due to the fact that I am not only badly allergic, but also because they are a major trigger for my asthma.  Plus, one of my characters has the ambition of catching and adopting a unicorn.  So cool.

Secondly, I got a new lens!  It's a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D (I shoot with a Nikon D3000 if anyone's wondering.  It's the most basic entry level DSLR they have out right now, and this 50mm is the most basic version they have too).  My kit lens is still pretty good (18-55mm), but after a few months, I started to notice my limitations.  For one thing, depth of field, and for another, low light photography.  I know I've mentioned it before, but my house doesn't have the best lighting, and the lightbulbs cast an icky yellow cast over my shots.  But with my nifty fifty, that issue is pretty much a thing of the past.  It's been interesting playing around with it, because my camera doesn't support autofocus, so it's all manual.  And I'm happy to report that I'm loving it!  I'm just loving the silky, warm feeling to the photos I've been taking.  So I compiled a few for you guys to see (all pretty random), and I hope you enjoy! (I particularly like the one of my mom drinking tea.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

wallpaper wednesday: fall edition

We return to regularly scheduled Wallpaper Wednesdays.  Enjoy a few of my favourite images of the fall (so far)! You may see one of them again in a future post.

Have a good one everybody!

Monday, October 17, 2011

bird love

So,  this post is kind of a mish-mash of things.  But the theme that draws them all together is the fact that I love birds.  And I don't mean that I love having pet birds, because I don't believe I've ever had any, but I am kind of obsessed with watching birds in flight, and the delicateness of their forms.  It puts me in a trance when I see all the starlings swooping up and down in sync with one another, and I love watching geese fly south for the winter.  For a long time I had planned to do a massive installation piece of a few hundred paper cranes, wired to the ceiling to look like a flock of little birds.  It never happened because life happens and people get too busy to make hundreds of paper cranes for an installation that might never have a gallery spot anyway.  I still love the idea though.  So while I might not be slaving over origami birds so much anymore, I still love to paint them, and find pieces of jewelry that feature them.  Also, strangely enough, this post has nothing to do with my love of owls, which is a whole other obsession.  

The necklace (perched so nicely in Edwina, by semp plant) is from Glory Jewelry Designs. I love it, even though I am sadly allergic to the back of it.  I had to cover it in a few layers of clear nail polish.  The watercolours are by me, and are ACEO sized, and then I experimented with origami sparrows, and painted them to look like real sparrows...sort of.

The first and last images are from the ROM.  In case you're wondering they are not living birds, unfortunately.  The lace birds are a brooch that I picked up from an adorable little antique shop in Stratford, Ontario.  According to the woman working there, the brooch is made from Belgian lace, which is no longer being made.  I don't know if that's actual fact, but even if it's not, it's one of my new favourite pieces to wear.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the rockton world's fair

So, last Sunday on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, Luke took me to the Rockton World's Fair.  I'd never been, although I've been to other smaller fairs, as well as the CNE (which is more commercial fair than country fair though).  I'm not really an outdoorsy sort of person, but Luke used to go all the time, and he wanted to take me, and who was I to say no?  It turned out to be pretty fun, although the light was fading fast, so some of my shots didn't turn out exactly the way I had hoped they would.  Also, I found the cutest dress at a thrift store the day before, which just screamed "WEAR ME TO THE FAIR!", but we forgot to take pictures of it.  Ah well.  I'm sure it'll show up on the blog sooner or later.

I'd have to say that the animals were my favourite part of the whole day.  This is only a glimpse of them, but there were sheep, different types of cows, horses, miniature horses, llamas, alpacas, all types of farm birds, and rabbits (including hilarious angora rabbits).  The goats were awesome though, because they were super friendly, and just wanted to be scratched.  So did the cow in the last picture -- and oh my gosh, I couldn't help but snap a picture of that gentleman, because he seemed to genuinely care about that cow.  And it looked like the cow was enjoying it too, because she was wagging her tail and getting into that scratch behind the ears!

A little known fact about me is that I used to take horse back riding lessons, and I was actually not terrible at it.  I had to stop though, right about the time I would have started competing (in English riding, not Western like you see above), because my grandma decided to stop paying for lessons.  Nevertheless, I still love horses, and I literally took upwards of three hundred pictures of the course of about three hours of all the horse competitions at the fair.  I was pretty impressed with the quality of images, considering I was just using my 18-55mm kit lens.  Isn't that miniature horse the cutest though?  Everyone in the stands was 'awww'ing over it.

Fairs seem to just come alive at night, don't they?  Everything looks more exciting when the lights are flashing.  I just love how retro everything looks.  I hope fairs never change (except for the prices...twenty bucks for two people to ride a ferris wheel?  Puh-lease).

And as promised, here's a couple wallpapers!

This last one is of a relative of Luke's.  He was competing in the figure eight race, and I just love how this shot turned out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

autumn colours: aka the cop out post

This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving (if anyone didn't know), so as you can imagine, I wasn't really able to sit down and write some posts (although I did plan a my head).  Although I technically have one more post for the ROM series, I'll be combining it with another post, because I'd like to share my shots of the Rockton World's Fair, as well as my day trip with Luke to the university I went to.  For now, I leave you with a picture of some pretty autumn colours (quite possibly my favourite colour pallet of all time).

Cheers all!

P.S. I know I missed TWO Wallpaper Wednesdays.  I'll make it up to you, I promise.  I'll include a couple wallpapers with my next few posts -- including this one!  Click on the picture above if it appeals to you as a desktop background. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The ROM: China and Japan

First of all, I'd like to apologize for my minor absence.  Things have been hectic over here (rehearsals for the show I'm stage managing, doctor's appointments, popping about town to see friends -- you know how it is).  But I promised you a post on the Chinese and Japanese exhibit from the ROM, so here it is!  Although this is the third post in the series, it was actually the first exhibit we saw, and it's always one of my favourites (I have a lot of favourites though).  The statues are so expressive, and I also love the stylization.  It was too bad that the prints didn't photograph nicely, because Japanese art is really stunning.  I realized as I was putting together the post that I left out pretty much all of the pottery, but I'm more of a figural sculpture kind of gal anyway.

Doesn't it look like those two are having a good conversation?