Tuesday, 29 January 2013

More Vintage Portraits

Here are some pictures from last night's Vintage Portraits workshop. One thing I learned is that I should have brought a tripod - a lot of the second model's shots had some camera jiggle.

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Monday, 28 January 2013

Vintage Portraits

At the last minute (okay, yesterday), I got a spot in a Vintage Portraits meetup tonight. Two models came prepared with awesome costumes, lights were brought. It was my first time shooting with studio lighting and I had a great time.

I have a lot of photos to go through, here is just a taste.

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Vintage Portraits Workshop

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Charlie is the alpha male around here. This ... is the QUEEN. Hermione is wondering why I'm pointing that thing at her instead of feeding her treats.


Buy at SmugMug .

The alpha male taking a break.

Charlie in the sun

Buy at SmugMug .

I have no intention of turning this blog into a SmugMug ad. I was thinking of doing a weekly "New at SmugMug" post. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Garden planning

Tonight I placed an order from a non-GMO heritage and heirloom seed company on Salt Spring Island in BC. Supporting a Canadian company, supporting non-GMO.

The Mermaid Garden 2013 planning is underway. I've procured a couple of wooden pallets too, for some projects. I don't think I'll start any seeds indoors until late March, after last year's pansy massacre proved that Calgary weather is just too unpredictable in March/April and I should not get my hopes up. And I should not leave pansies where the cats can reach them. They're non-toxic, it's just that I don't grow flowers for cat food, and the mess the cats made was not cool.

I ordered:
  • Spencer Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
  • Green Zebra (tomatoes)
  • Purple Morning Glory (Ipomoea capillacea)
  • Magnolia Blossom Snow Pea
I'm sure there will be seeds purchased from within Alberta too. My favourite health food store carries seeds and starter plants from local companies.

The Green Zebra and morning glories are inspired by last year's successes. I bought a green zebra plant last year, this will be my first year starting them from seed. I'll start the morning glories sooner - they flourished along the north end of the garden last year, I'll plant them there again.

I failed at sweet peas last year. This year, I'll start the sweet peas inside inside of direct sowing.

The snow peas sounded interesting. They have purple flowers and are cold hardy. I remember plucking pea pods in my grandparents' farm in New Brunswick and the sweet taste of eating them straight from the pod.

I hope my lilac bush will make it through winter okay. I added extra mulch in early fall in preparation. I placed it far enough from the fence that it didn't get trampled during the whole fence removal/new fence construction in the fall.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Oh deer

I went to Fish Creek park today, for a brisk walk and fresh air. While driving through, I spotted a deer standing up and eating, but didn't stop. I walked back and at first, couldn't find it.

There is a deer visible, barely.
Fish Creek Park

I walked further along, and from a different, I saw the deer, sitting down now. I zoomed in to get this:
Fish Creek Park

I took a couple more pictures from a different angle. It was colder than I thought, and my bare fingers didn't like it one bit. So I kept my gloves on, walked back to my car, drove around some more and came home.

It wasn't until I downloaded the pictures that I realized the deer wasn't alone. :-)
Fish Creek Park

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Get your closet in order and organized: Organizing Revolution Week #3

Organizing Made Fun

I would love to show you a master bedroom closet that's been organized and arranged to the very centimetre - but I have neither the time or the money to pull that off just yet. :-)

So I decided to tackle the linen closet. During the flurry of moving and unpacking, a lot of random boxes and stuff got shoved into it. I took this picture in the middle of pulling everything out and going through it on Monday night:
Organizing challenge - a closet

I discovered that I have more sheet sets than a single person really needs. And that I needed to learn how to fold a fitted sheet once for all, to save space. I watched three videos on YouTube and didn't get the hang of it until the third one:

I'm going to wash and inspect some extra sets - if they pass muster, they'll go to charity.

As with all of these organizing challenges, I've been determined to make do with what I have, and not spend more than $25 on new supplies. I bought two baskets for this:
Organizing challenge - a closet

Every project needs to be inspected by a cat:
Organizing challenge - a closet

I looked to Pinterest for ideas - I learned that rolled up towels are not only pretty, but they save space:
Organizing challenge - a closet

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Miss Hermione

I love this cat. I love how she literally steals treats from the big cats, by running up and snatching up the treat in her mouth, if they too slow to eat it themselves. It's a bit of a pain having to throw treats for Hermione in one direction, and throwing treats for Chloe in another direction to make sure Chloe gets her fair share, but I am greatly amused by Hermione's chutzpah. Charlie is the slowest treat eater and I leave him to fend for himself.

Random Kitty Picture

Sunday, 13 January 2013

New Year's Organizing Revolution: Challenge #2 - Kitchen

Organizing Made Fun
I'm late in posting! This took a while - I decided to really go deep into the cupboards, which haven't been completely organized since I moved in ten months ago. As a Canadian, I'm not eligible for the prizes, so I decided I would get needed sleep, and not stress over missing the deadline.

This is how the kitchen looked during the house inspection. Before

It was completely redone with fresh paint, counters, cabinets and appliances. I so love having a dishwasher!


If you followed me on Pinterest, you may never have expected that I'd end up dark cabinets. Well, they were included with the house package. And they've grown on me. :-)

Over the last year ... I added splashes of colour with wall stickers. I believe I got these at Wal-Mart.

The kitchen

The sign above the stove says "Happiness is an ocean breeze".

The kitchen

I found Rubbermaid drawer organizers that go with those dark cabinets.
Showing you my drawers
Showing you my drawers

This is my favourite organizing idea - a hanging shoe rack in the broom closet contains chemicals and cleaning supplies, including vacuum cleaner attachments.

The closet

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's Organizing Revolution: Challenge #1 - Office/Desk Area

Organizing Made Fun

I bought my first house in 2012 - I took possession on February 27. I have so many plans for the house and not enough time or dollars. I've been frustrated at my lack of progress of getting my stuff on the walls and really making it mine. So this challenge was good motivation.

My friends have said all along that they wanted to see pictures of my house as I set things up and they wouldn't mind seeing things "in progress". It turns out that I have a hard time showing rooms "in progress" - I want to say, "Ta da! Here is the finished room!"

Well, it's 2013, and I'm going to let go of that mindset. So I will show you my desk area of the second bedroom, which I use as a home office. In progress. With the battered computer desk I want to replace, and without the nice new shelving that I've picked out but have yet to buy and assemble.

For a REAL "before" picture - this is the area before the townhouse was renovated and I signed the purchase agreement *shudder*.

2nd bedroom - before

The same room, on the day I took possession. New paint, new carpet, new baseboards, new vents.


Here is a gloriously imperfect and honest photo of what the area looked like I before I started this challenge this week:

Office organization challenge

The white shelves on the left are two bookcases that have been sitting in my basement since I moved in. Ten months ago. I rearranged some of the wires and did a lot of cleaning up and sorting to make everything neater. Now all of my chargers are stored on the same shelf, for example.

Office organization challenge

No reorganization can go uninspected by the cats.

Office organization challenge

One thing I wanted to do was put up some of my photography. Here is a frame that waited about a year before finally being filled with photos and put up on a wall. And I only had one of the photos upside-down when I initially hung it.

Office organization challenge

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

So this happened

Shredded toilet paper

She claims not to know who is the culprit.


2012 in Review

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Bought a house. Went to Las Vegas. Went to the Grand Canyon.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any. I don't usually make them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
The US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Passionate sex.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 27 - taking possession of the house. February 28 - moving day. July 11 - an explosion at work.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Becoming a homeowner.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Leaving too much of the packing to the last minute.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yep. I sprained my right knee in the spring and injured my left rotator cuff in the fall.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A two bedroom townhouse.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My sister, for getting me to go on vacation with her, and I had a lot more fun than I expected to. She accepts me and validates me like nobody else has.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who shot another person (excluding in self-defense).

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My garden.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2012
Call Me Maybe, The Water is Wide, Now Westlin Winds

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
I. happier or sadder? Both.
II. richer or poorer? Well, I have more assets. And less disposable income.
III. fatter or thinner? I think I'm a little thinner, since cutting down on gluten.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Packing, in January.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Waiting to see if my course reimbursement papers had been received.

20. How will you be spending the holidays?
I went to Edmonton and spent Christmas with my sister and her family.

21. How will you be spending New Year's?
I watched movies and I lit sparklers in my backyard at midnight.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV program?
The New Girl. Grey's Anatomy plummeted in my personal ratings.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Wheat Belly by William Davis.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I already knew Kevin McKidd had a good voice, but The Speyside Sessions, which he had a hand in, is fantastic and expanded my knowledge of Scottish folk music.

28. What did you want and get?
A house. A garden.

29. What did you want and not get?
We didn't have time to see Donny & Marie in Las Vegas.

30. What was your favourite films of this year?
The Hobbit. I really enjoyed Brave, but it lost me during the middle because of where the plot went.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I just went to work. I went out to lunch with coworkers. I was 46 (still am).

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I should've dug out my light therapy box in September, to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. I've been feeling depressed this fall and that needs to stop.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Same as usual - comfortable.

34. What kept you sane?
My sister, my friends, my kitties, my garden.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Kevin McKidd.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Not wanting the Wildrose Party to take power in the provincial election. They are too conservative and clearly have issues with same-sex marriages and abortion. They didn't take power. I voted PC for the first time, as it was the best vote against the incumbent Wildrose member. Wildrose won by 26 votes.

37. Whom did you miss?
My family to the East, particularly my oldest nephew.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Sarah. a coworker who calls me Sunshine and hugs me a lot. I'm not happy she's leaving.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012
I need to remember to bloom where I am planted.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
May it be the shadow's call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

Happy New Year!

Kyle Cassidy posted:
Since 1999 I've been taking a self portrait of myself on new years eve as it becomes new years day -- the photo starts in the last second of one year an ends one second into the new year. I mention this now because you have 30 minutes to do it yourself.
Challenge accepted.

The dawn of 2013

I was going to do the sparklers anyways, but in my jammies. :-)