Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Bakamatsu Koshashin Generator

I found this really cool picture-transformer-thing via Little Birdie Secrets called Bakamatsu Koshashin Generator It allows you to upload a photo and then convert it so that it looks like it's been aged. It's a bit different than a sepia colouring program; the photos come out looking a bit more newspapery. The photos are supposed to come out in a style similar to old Japanese photographs, and I think this would work especially well on photos of architecture. I did a couple of photos; this first one of Alex and I did not turn out too well (as you can see I came out without a nose), but the next one of my bestest Evan and I turned out a lot better.

I definitely think I'll try this out again!

Monday, May 25, 2009

My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter. -Thomas Helm

After Friday’s news I had a rather busy (and slightly emotional) weekend. I’ve been feeling a little defeated as of late (more so now with this whole job thing) and it’s been difficult to not think about everything that is going on. I know that this will work out alright; as my Mum and I always say “We’ll figure it out”.
I had a mini heart attack on Saturday after the movers finished unloading and had left; I could not find my box of Nancy Drew books anywhere! I had started unpacking the den by putting all of my books on their shelves and had left a shelf open for the Nancy Drew ones (Lucy Maud Montgomery also gets her own set of shelves); I could only find one book! I opened every box in the den, couldn’t find them, and was on the verge of freaking out when Alex found them (yay Alex!). Apparently I had put them all in the box and then put a couple of DVDs on top since there was a little space. When the movers brought in the box I took a peak in the top, assumed it was all DVDs, and put the box on the DVD shelf to be dealt with later. I am so happy that they weren’t actually missing – I’m sure I would have cried.
I finished The Friday Night Knitting Club last night and have now started What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire. I love Gregory Maguire, but this book (while entertaining) is just not doing it for me. I will finish it and hopefully I’ll like it more by the time I do. I really, really liked The Friday Night Knitting Club. It was a pretty easy read, which was really nice actually, and the characters were very real. All of the women were different from each other but all were able to bond and become friends. It was just a very nice book and I think I’ll read it again. I even cried at the end (damn Kate Jacobs pulling at my heart strings!) while sitting in the Muskoka chair out back.
I haven’t been showing any crafty pictures lately because I’m working on that top-secret wedding gift I mentioned for my High School best friend. It’s going to take awhile, but I will definitely post pictures after it’s done. Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in a couple of small projects while working on this one.
I have big plans to take pictures of some more of my early edition Lucy Maud Montgomery books to post for tomorrow (or so I think). I’m hoping I’ll be able to; I’m also praying for some good light and steady hands on the camera as well!

 P.S. Have you seen this cover for the new Lucy Maud Montgomery biography that is coming out in September (I believe); isn't it fantastic? I really think they need to make a print of the cover to sell - I'd love to own it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

When angry, count four; when very angry, swear. -Mark Twain

It has been an interesting week and a half since I last posted (really the last two hours have been the most interesting). Let’s discuss the most recent news first and then move on to better, funner things. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but my current job is a contract position with a large company here in Canada. My contract was supposed to expire on July 31, then I was going to go to Alex’s cottage for a couple of weeks, and then back to school to start my Masters in September. Today I found out that the woman whose maternity leave I’m covering has decided to come back to work early and was told that I’ll be out of a job in two weeks. Really not sure what I’m going to do. I can’t afford to not work until I go back to school, but I’m also going back in three months so who’s going to hire me? I know that I’ll figure it out but right now I’m really worried. Moving on.

Alex did come home last Wednesday and I was so very happy to see him! Everything is a-okay and we’re settling into our new apartment fairly well. By the by I’m moving the last of my stuff in tomorrow; as a matter f fact I just had a call from the movers to confirm (not that I can really afford movers now, but again, there’s nothing I can do about that). Now I can show you the pictures of things I’ve made that I promised last week. This is the little pillow that I made. Nothing overly fancy; I mainly made it to keep myself busy for a little bit while Alex was gone. The birdie’s name is Walter.

And the little present I made for Alex was an owl pin. It’s now pinned to the messenger bag I bought him for his birthday. I made the pin using the cover button method, pried the button attachment off of the back, and hot-glued on a pin-back. I used a small piece of Alexander Henry’s Spotted Owl fabric in white for the cover. This owl does not have a name.

Sorry about the blurriness (this was actually the best one!) but the picture taking was not going well that day.

I finished Five Quarters of the Orange last week and it was really good. I really love the way that Joanne Harris uses food in her writing (I love food!); she’s a really engaging writer and I liked this story even better then Chocolat.

I also just finished Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King on Wednesday night. It was great! I majored in Fine Art History at University; I specialized in 16th and 17th century Dutch and Netherlandish art but also focused a lot on the Italian Renaissance. This book talks about the construction of the massive dome atop Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (the Duomo). The dome was designed by Brunelleschi who oversaw most of the construction (he unfortunately died a few years before it was fully completed). Ross King is really good at writing books that contain lots of interesting history and facts, while still making his books really engaging. They read more like a novel than non-fiction. One of my favourite facts that he related is that ancient Romans used to take the wheels off of their chariots at night, and lean the chariot against a wall so that the wooden wheels wouldn’t warp under the weight. Very cool! I know that fact really has nothing to do with the dome itself (he was using it to illustrate some facts about wood warping when using centering to contract domes and arches) but I just love it!

Right now I’m reading The Friday Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. It’s definitely a lighter read, but I love how it has something crafty at its heart. I don’t knit (I can, but I don’t), but I admire anyone who creates handmade art. It’s nice to read about people who do something similar to yourself. One of the most interesting things that’s come up so far is a character who views knitting (and other so-called “domestic” activities) as an archaic tradition that seeks to keep women in their “place”. She views the resurgence of women spending their time on domestic pursuits to be a slap in the face of feminism. I find this to be a really interesting view as I’ve dealt with people like that. Just because I like to sew or bake or quilt or whatever does not make me unintelligent. Just as I can take about Einstein’s second postulate of special relativity for an hour if I need to, but that does not make me an astrophysicist. Arghhhh…sorry about that, I’m fine now.

Okay, gotta go, must get back to work. They may have screwed me over, but I’m not going to retaliate by lagging behind.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated. -Alphonse de Lamartine

I finally finished Hemingway (yay!) and I must say I think he turned out pretty cute (the pattern is an enlarged version of a Christmas ornament pattern that Anna Maria Horner has at her blog). I still feel a little badly that he took me so long to finish, but he’s done now and that’s all that matters (right?).

And here are Hemingway and Ollie together; they are now very good friends and inseparable.

I also finished a pillow last night and a present for Alex, but I’m not going to post pictures until he sees them. He’s supposed to be home tonight, but I have a feeling that that’s not going to happen. I’ll post pictures of those once he is back.

I’m currently reading Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (who also wrote Chocolat). It’s really interesting and well-written; I’m really enjoying it and, since Alex has been gone for the past few days, I’m actually almost done with it. I accidentally left Katharine Graham’s autobiography at my apartment (I still have my old apartment through the month) on Sunday when my Mum came to see me for Mother’s Day. Lucky for me I have a bunch of books at the new apartment and was able to grab the Harris book to read.

I bought a couple of books at the thrift store on Monday. I found Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King (I was a Fine Art History major in University), The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnston, and God’s Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe by Amir D. Aczel. Books make me happy.

I think I may sew some quilt blocks tonight to keep myself occupied.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Recipe Box Swap: Beatrice Street Lentil Stew

It’s that time again! Yay Recipe Box Swap! This month there is no theme so I decided to post a recipe that I made up a couple of years ago after trying a coworker’s homemade lentil stew. She refused to give me her recipe so I created my own. It’s called Beatrice Street Lentil Stew because I was living on Beatrice Street when I came up with it (yes, I am that creative…hah); it's super-yummy! Again, this is a recipe that I just wrote up this morning so spice measurements may be off a bit; I usually just throw things in the pot as I go.

Photo by Claus Ableiter

Beatrice Street Lentil Stew


1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 fl oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 540 ml can of lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions until tender, add garlic and let soften a bit. Add tomatoes, lentils, curry powder, ground cumin, salt and black pepper, stir to combine. Let simmer covered for approximately 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly. Allow to simmer uncovered for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with warm bread or naan.

I hope you all enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Because...

I really should stop taking pictures with my Blackberry under fluorescent lights however....

Monday, May 4, 2009

My friends are my estate. -Emily Dickinson

I am almost wiped out! Alex moved into our new apartment this past weekend (I’ll be moving in slowly over the next few weeks since my lease isn’t up until June). We had six friends helping us out (Yay Caitlin, Laura, Lesley, Julie, Dilan and James; you guys rock!), and it didn’t take too-too long but it was pretty tiring. I also had to go over to my current apartment for a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday to clean and straighten up because my landlords want to start showing it soon. I cleaned the oven…which is something I don’t ever want to have to do again in my whole life; I have at least 10-12 cuts and scratches on my hands from the rust, etc. Tonight’s goal is to get the kitchen all unpacked so that at least we have somewhere to cook. Once I get all of my stuff moved in and unpacked maybe I’ll post a couple of pictures.
One of my favourite blogs to read is LollyChops and if you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should! Lolly is a great crafter, really inspiring, and a truly wonderful web-friend. Last week I found a package from her waiting in my mailbox. Here is what it contained:
I love the fabric covered magnets; and the cork butterflies are for this doing THIS tutorial on Lolly’s blog. She also sent a nice little note and one of the inside packages was sealed with a very cute sticker that I know Lolly made herself. Lolly is having gallbladder surgery tomorrow; I know that she’ll come out with flying colours. There may just be a crafty-fun care package headed your way within the next couple of weeks Lolly! Extra big pre-surgery HUGS!!

It was Laura’s birthday on Friday. I got here these really neat Monster Magnets made by Mudpuppy:

I finished up Pride and Prejudice last weekend. Of course it was amazing; it’s one of my favourites! I can never say enough about it. No matter how many times I read it, it never seems stale or loses any of its brilliance. I also read Star Sullivan by Maeve Binchy in about an hour last Saturday. I didn’t like it as much as I’ve liked others by her. The ending was kind of depressing; I get what she was trying to say about the main character and about who she had become, but it fell a bit flat. Still, it was a super-quick read and I love Maeve’s style. All in all it was time well spent. Currently I’m reading Katharine Graham’s autobiography Personal History and I’m enjoying it so far.
My fabrics also arrived last week, but I forgot to take a picture of them to share. I’m trying to figure out what fabrics I need to order for various things around the new apartment. Alex and I had decided on one of the prints from Moda’s Arcadia collection for the living room pillows, but then when we moved in we realized that the living room walls were more of a sage green than a blue-gray like we thought. I recall the colour being a tad different, but I think it really depends on what time of day it is. I’d really like to do them in the Moss Painter’s Palette from Erin Michael’s Lush collection, but I think mostly because I’m in love with the fabric and can’t think of anywhere else I could use it. I know…my name is Kaye and I have a problem.
Because I mentioned it last time, here is my 1917 (26th impression) edition of Anne of Avonlea. As far as I know it is the earliest pirated edition (Grosset & Dunlop) of this book. Here’s the cover (sitting in front of my sewing machine):
The frontispiece is badly foxed and the tissue paper overlay was torn out when I got it, but I still love it:
Just for fun here is the front cover of my 1940 edition of Anne of Ingleside:
You can see just a small part of my Lucy Maud Montgomery collection in that picture also (some astute readers may see three copies of Irene Gammel’s Looking for Anne in the picture. I explain what happened in THIS post and THIS post). My 1911 edition of Kilmeny of the Orchard is actually being hidden in this picture; maybe I should take pictures of it to show too! I can’t wait until I’m finally moved all into the new apartment so that I can take pictures of whatever I think of when I think of it.
Before I forget, Lolly and FujiMama have teamed up and are doing a whole week devoted to cupcakes! You can check out either of their blogs to get the scoop.
May the 4th be with you (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist). Happy Star Wars day!