100 Things I Love Part 5: 81-100

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2017. I am feeling a lot of positivity about this coming year and am looking forward to seeing what it brings. In the meantime, I bring you the last installment of my little self-care project. 100 Things I Love, has been really uplifting, and I have found that I have generally been able to keep a more positive attitude versus before. I am calling this self-care project a success!

  1. Watching my friends’ and my sisters’ kids grow up
  2. A freshly tidied space
  3. Scented candles that smell like baked goods
  4. Breakfast
  5. Scarves – I hate having a cold neck!
  6. A nice hot bath
  7. That I can take medication to help manage my depression
  8. Super hero movies
  9. My antique desk
  10. Being able to play PC games again (It’s been years.)
  11. Organizing my clutter
  12. Coming home after time away
  13. Sleeping in my bed after I’ve been away for a night or two – it really feels amazing
  14. Being able to drink tea from a travel mug!
  15. A sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day
  16. Writing when I can; when I feel inspired (however rare it may be)
  17. Curling up in bed right before I fall asleep when I am good and tired
  18. Fresh starts
  19. The amazing friends I have in my life
  20. Coming up with this list

And there you have it. 100 things I love, complete.

2016 was a heck of a year. There were a lot of changes, and a lot of things that stayed the same. I started a new job, and as a result I made an amazing new friend. The new job also resulted in working at the first job I’ve ever felt appreciated and respected. She is truly wonderful. I finally started loving living alone, and that has resulted in being able to focus on things I wasn’t able to before. My best friend moved across the country. I am thankful however, that we are able to keep in touch thanks to Apple! I had a health scare with Tobi, but we weathered it and she is healthy now, aside from the continuous issues she has had to deal with for most of her life.

I have big plans for 2017 though. I plan to travel! I plan to meet people! I will be starting my house savings. I will be improving things around my apartment, a plan for which has already been set in motion. I will be taking better care of myself and my health as well. I have many goals I have set out to accomplish. I am excited for these things, and will of course be sharing what I can.

Happy New Year!

A Year of Firsts and Learning

The new year brings many things for many people: fresh starts for some, and new plans and goals for others. Some of the take the form of the “New Year’s Resolution”. The resolution isn’t really my thing. I think it is to much of a cliché to even bother with. But I DO tend to make new plans and create new goals for myself. Sometimes they have to do with things I want, things I want to do, or slightly more abstract things like self-improvement. I’m not really on for things like getting healthy and losing weight. I feel like these are things I work on anyway, however slow the process. I like to make my plans and goals a little more specific… Or a lot more in some cases.

Here is a snapshot of the kinds of plans and goals I have been making for 2015. As the title of this post states, they have themes of learning and firsts, sometimes both together.

Firsts:
Attend Rib fest
Attend a play during the Fringe Festival
Get the tomato situation right in my garden
Submit a photo to an online collective
Go for a hike at the Fanshawe Conservation Area

Learning:
Learn to crochet
Take a writing course
Learn to balance my hobbies, start stitching again
Take full control of how I live my life

I chose these ‘firsts’ because I want to try new things. I played things a little too safe last year, and I have the goal of changing that this year. My main goal is to be a little more adventurous and open to new things this year. I spent much of last year hiding from life, and just don’t think that’s an option this year. These plans help me to accomplish this goal, as they are all things that are completely new to me. I’ve been to local festivals but never Rib fest. We strolled through last year but never participated. I’ve always wanted to see a live play here in my city and I think Fringe is the perfect opportunity. In four years, I’ve yet to grow a successful tomato. That will happen this year. I kind of pot my photography practice on hold late last year, but I intend to pick it back up and put my work out there, and I thought submitting an image to The Broken Light Collective is the perfect way to start. Finally, I’ve never been on a proper hike and I’ve never been to the Fanshawe Conservation Area. I want to spend more time outside. BOOM. Two firsts in one!

Through 2014, I discovered how much I was actually missing learning. Learning in all forms. I decided to start learning again. I started last year by taking an online comic books course. I am continuing this year with the learning trend. I need to keep my mind busy! Starting January 12, Jay and I see taking an online course together in astrobiology. I’m excited as I think it will be very interesting. Jay is excited for it as well. For myself though, I have set up a few more plans for learning some new stuff. As I love writing, but don’t think I write all that week, I plan to take a writing course. Improving my writing skills, even if just technically, can only help me! I also have a friend who is going to teach me to crochet. She is always making beautiful things and I want in on that! I’ve actually featured some of her work here on the blog. As much sad I love and miss stitching, I have this urge to learn to make things that can really be useful. I love a good snuggly blanket, and that will be the ultimate goal in learning to crochet. My last two learning plans fall more under the self-improvement category and are therefore a little more abstract at first glance. For me though, they are quite specific. I want to learn to balance my hobbies. I find myself getting overwhelmed trying to do too many things at once, and this year I plan to finally get that under control. Lastly, I plan to take full control of how I live my life. I worry way to much about what others think of me and how/why I do things. This year will be the year of me focusing on being happy with myself, and not showing other people’s thoughts, actions or words dictate how I feel or act. Thus will be huge for me as I really do with far too much about others opinions of me and not nearly enough about my own opinions of myself.

I think 2015 will be a year of personal growth and expansion of my perspectives. It can only be a good thing for me to make these happen and I think I need for them to happen. I am looking forward to learning more about my changing self and sharing my journey and new experiences with Jay. He is so supportive. Much more than I give him credit for. And I love him so much for it. Moving forward together in this new year will be exciting.

Photography Plans in 2014

I bought my Nikon D3100 late in October of 2012 and to this day my only regret is that I haven’t used it more. I had grandiose plans in 2013 to take TONS of photos and learn ALL about Photoshop. Yet another thing that did not happen quite as I had planned. This year, I just want to make a point to use my camera more, and apply what I have learned in Photoshop up to this point in what I do. In the process though, I am sure I will lots! To help out with this, I have decided to cable in the phenomenon of “photography projects”. I’ve seen them ask over the interwebs and in the blogosphere and have decided to just jump on board, if only just to get myself using my camera more.

In keeping with the idea of using my camera more and using photography projects to do so, I have come up with s few ideas for projects to use:

1) A Day in the Life – This project is exactly what it sounds like. I have seen pictures of this project all over, and thought it would be a neat one to try. What I am mulling over with this one is exactly how to do it, as there are a few difference approaches. One approach is just taking photos randomly throughout the day, while another is to take photos every hour, for example. I also don’t know exactly what day I would use. I can’t really use a weekday as it would be rather strange taking the camera to work (and I’m also not sure it would even be allowed), but I also don’t know what kind of weekend day I would use. I am sure I will decide on the fly, and just photograph a day I feel will be exciting enough to share on the blog.

2) Self-Portrait-A-Month – This one, again, is exactly what it sounds like. Personally, it feels a little bit vain, but realistically there are next to no current photos of me and this project will help to remedy that. I plan to be creative. Don’t expect anything like the cell phone “selfies” you see all over Facebook and Instagram! As vain as it feels, I am kind of looking forward to this one.

3) Photos of Unusual Subjects – I’ve already learned in the few things that I have done with my camera that I gravitate toward photographing certain things. Aside from my stepsister’s wedding I haven’t taken photos of much aside from flowers and some still-life shots around home. I want to get more creative and take photos of subjects I wouldn’t normally photograph. I think it could be fun and will go hand-in-hand with the next project.

4) Weekend Wanders – I haven’t seen this project anywhere else aside from a photography blog I follow. I love seeing her photos of places she visits and the weekends and I have loved the idea since she started it. I am going to do a similar project here locally, though maybe not as frequently. I’m thinking one weekend a month or so. Who wouldn’t love just randomly wandering around the city discovering new sights on the weekend? I’m very excited to start this one as soon as I can.

Of course, with these projects that will have me taking more photos, it also means that I will have that many more photos I need to print and put on display! I am going to make a concerted effort this year to round-up my very best shots and have them printed and framed. By the end of the year I hope I will have a nice collection to put on the wall somewhere around here.

Stitching Plans for 2014

I feel like I have big plans for stitching in 2014. I have to admit too that I am pretty excited about these plans. I hope to finish a couple of current works in progress as well as start and complete several others.

One of these, my readers will be familiar with. It has been the bane of my stitching existence since I started it over a year and a half ago. I fully intend to finally finish the vintage Colt this year. I have made countless mistakes, pulled numerous stitches and even finally restarted it from the very beginning. At this point I am further along (with no mistakes!) than I ever have been in the past. I plan to keep it that way and finally finish the darn thing! I know Jay will be happy to finally see the end result on the wall in his workshop.

Vintage Colt - 2nd Attempt

It will be quite satisfying for me as well.

The next work in progress I plan to finish is this one:

Current WIP - Pink Bird

I started it as a Christmas gift early on in December, but I just got so busy with the holidays that I was unable to finish it. I plan to finish this one in the early part of the year so I can finally send it to its intended home. I hope its intended recipient like it, even if it is a ridiculously late Christmas gift… Better late than never, right?!

Of the projects I plan to start (and hopefully finish) this year, I think this one night be the most important to me. The pattern depicts the tea party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A great little pattern I found online. Its recipient will be a sweet little lady in Scotland who is quite the little miracle to her mum and dad. Another one I planned to start ages ago but just haven’t found the time to do so. I hope her parents love it. They don’t know it’s coming yet, but they are all very special people to me and I wanted to do something special for their little one.

There are a couple of other projects I plan to start this year. One is a pattern I have had on hand for quite some time and have been really wanting to start. It will also be my first project stitched on linen, which is a goal I really want to achieve this year.

I Promise

The pattern is “I Promise” by Lizzie Kate. I am really anticipating being able to finally start this one.

The last stitching project I really want to get to in 2014 is my collection of Game of Thrones bookmarks. I found the patterns on DeviantArt at one point last year (probably while season 3 was airing)… with every intervention of stitching as soon as possible.

Game of Thrones House Bookmarks

Well, I didn’t get around to these last year either, so 2014’s going to be the year! It’s going to take me awhile though, so I’m not really expecting to finish all eight or however many there are this year… But starting them will be enough I think.

I have some exciting stitching plans this year and I hope I can find the time to stitch every last piece! I’m also going this year that I can expand my stash at least a little bit. But we will see about that one…

Happy New Year! (again)

So, 2013 Happened

And what a year it was. I’m not sorry to see it go, either. It definitely was not the easiest year. We had our fair share of struggles and issues to deal with. I am optimistic that 2014 will be a much better year. We have high hopes and are looking forward to positive change in the New Year.

I looked back on the goals I set for myself 2013 and I found that I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped. In keeping with my re-discovered positive attitude though, I have just added those goals I didn’t accomplish in the past year to the list for the upcoming New Year… There are only a few hours left, you know!

I also looked back on my finishes from 2013. I have a few, but again, not as many as I had expected or hoped. I won’t dwell on this. Again, I will just look forward to accomplishing more of what I set out to do in 2014.

As I mentioned just a couple paragraphs ago, I made my list of goals and things I plan to do or accomplish in 2014. I don’t make resolutions, I feel like resolutions are always always always broken. I feel like if I just make them plans and goals then there are no resolutions to be broken. If I don’t accomplish them all there is no reason for me to feel guilty about it as I would if I had made actually resolutions. This list is a bit longer than the last year’s list but I think this coming year will be the year for accomplishing things. Because  I’m not really too worried about the long list. So here goes…:

Reading

  • Read 35 books in 2014 – I set a goal of 40 books in 2013 and only read 27. I thought maybe decreasing the goal a little bit was pertinent.

Stitching

  • FINISH THE VINTAGE COLT – this was on my list for this past year, and it obviously didn’t happen…
  • Stitch on linen/evenweave – this was also on the list for 2013, also didn’t happen

Photography

  • Continue learning Photoshop – I learned a lot in 2013, but I have also learned that there is always more to learn!
  • Learn to use flash – I would like to do a bit more indoor photography and I think this would help me out a lot
  • Invest in a tripod
  • Print some of my best photos and have them framed and put on display in the apartment
  • Complete a photo project or two – I have a few ideas!

Garden

  • Keep tomato alive! – my tomato died again this season
  • Keep lettuce from bolting – my lettuce bolted again
  • Apply the lessons I have learned in years 1 & 2 of the balcony garden – there was lots learned, hopefully the 2014 season will be the best season yet!
  • Learn how to start tomatoes from seed and do it
  • Use the window boxes we purchased late last season – I’m thinking some nice flowers!
  • Get a stand for the second lettuce pot
  • Build a new garden stand to replace the rickety one I currently have – I’m thinking of building it out of cedar, both beautiful and durable
  • Grow one less container of green onions

Blog

  • Post more regularly – posting in 2013 kind of fell to the wayside and I hope to remedy that in 2014
  • Research self-hosting and decide whether or not I will start to self-host this blog
  • Create some new blog series – resurrect finishes around the house and possibly add some new ones

Personal

  • Continue the process of getting healthy and getting my health under control
  • Try some more crafting
  • Do more around the city – there are always things to do, and I want to do more of them!

I put this list on the blog for a couple of reasons.  1 – it makes for a great year-end/beginning of year blog post and 2 – it gives me a really easy way to look back at what I set out for myself to do in the year. It’s win-win really. I hope everyone has an excellent new year’s celebration and I wish nothing but the best for all of my readers in 2014.

Happy New Year!

Books I’ve Been Reading – May Edition

I have slowed down a fair bit on the reading front. I only have a couple of books on the go as opposed to several like I have in the past.  I am better luck keeping track of my reading, but the trade-off seems to be that I’m not reading near as much as I am used to. It is probably for the best as other things have been keeping me quite busy of late. In the past month, I did manage to finish one book and start another. I am still moving in a positive direction at the very least!

In my currently reading post last month, I shared I was reading book three of the Millennium Trilogy: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.

I was an interesting read though I didn’t find it quite as exciting as book two of the trilogy. In this book, Lisbeth Salander is put on trial for attempted murder and Mikael Blomkvist is on a mission to have her be acquitted through published her history and some damning government evidence in his magazine, Millennium. The story has some interesting twists and turns, but I found that this novel did not move quite so quickly and it even stalled at a couple of points. Thankfully, it did pick up again after stalling. I still enjoyed it, just not quite as much as I did the second book, or even the second half of the first book for that matter. I did find it unfortunate that there was no follow-up with any of the characters after the events of the novel came to an end as I would have been very interested in learning how Lisbeth came to cope with no longer being declared incompetent and having to become a participating member of Swedish society.  It was just one of the things I would have liked to know before the story came to an end.  In writing that statement, I have decided that the ending left a little to be desired in that regard. I was left wanting more in the tying up of loose ends with the characters – especially Lisbeth and Mikael.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the end of the Millennium Trilogy.IMAG1583

As a whole the trilogy was a pretty cool story about a very eccentric young woman and her history, as well as her connection to the other main character, journalist Mikael Blomkvist. They have an interesting, if slightly odd relationship and the entire trilogy plays off this. I have read mixed reviews of the trilogy, and in my own opinion, though they are not the best books I have ever read, they are still definitely worth the read.

After I finished Millennium #3, I quickly moved on to my next read: The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel.

shelters of stone

This is the fifth book in a series I have been reading since I was in my teens. It has been going on for a very long time. The series is called the Earth’s Children series. The series follows a character named Ayla from her childhood as an orphan of ‘the Others’ adopted by the ‘Clan’ to her teen years when she was shunned by the same clan, to finding people of her own kind, falling in love and learning about and how to live with them and their unfamiliar customs. It is a very interesting historical fiction if you are interested in the last Ice Age and early humanity. I myself have a soft spot for histories, both fiction and non-fiction, of all sorts.

In Book 5, Ayla and her lover Jondalar have returned to his home with the people of the Zelandonii. Ayla meets his family and the other members of his cave, making some deep first impressions on many of the cave members with her skills and intelligence.  The book tells of the challenges she faces in preparations to mate with Jondalar, for the birth of her child, and becoming accustomed to these new people.

At this point I am approximately two-thirds of the way through the book and it is definitely making for an intriguing read this month. It is quite a long book (almost 1000 pages) but as usual this isn’t an issue for me. The only problem I seem to run into is that I never seem to have enough time to read (or do everything I want to do for that matter!) since I have been working full-time. I guess I am still trying to find a balance.

I am sure you are all just assuming I have a book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series on the go. I do, and we will just keep it at that. I want to keep my memory fresh for when The Winds of Winter finally comes out!

My future reading plans are all up in the air. For the first time in a very long time I have no idea what I will be reading next. I think it might be time to make up a reading list!  Happy reading, everyone!

Update: We spent last night going though our library and putting some books into storage that we don’t plan on reading for a long time. In the process I discovered some books I forgot I had! I think this will end up making reading a lot more enjoyable around here!