Friday, December 31, 2010

What I'm Up To

  Well, I've been quite busy over the break, trying to make headway in my list.  So far I have gotten together with most of my friends, almost finished my sweater (one and a half sleeves to go!), read a few books, and done a lot of Christmas baking.  This is my latest baking production; Peppermint Pinwheels.  It's so good to bake again!  I like it once in a while, baking goodies.  I prefer baking to cooking for some reason.  Maybe it's because I have a sweet tooth or something.

  Then, my siblings and I  have been playing our Settlers game with the new expansion our aunt and uncle gave us for Christmas: Cities and Knights.  It's so much fun!  We've played it three days in a row, and won in order of age.  Well, almost.  My older brother didn't play the first time.  So it started with me and ended with him, as if we went around in a circle.  Highly recommended game!

  I can't believe Christmas is over!  Thank goodness the break isn't and I still have over a week left.  For some odd reason, I have been having dreams about being in university.  This is supposed to be a break!  Can't I have my nice dreams back?
  Anyway, this Christmas was lovely.  I got some really nice things, including some books which I now have to find space for.  (My shelves are so crammed I am beginning to realize it may be time to stop buying more.  A very sad realization, but I think I should probably start reading some of those books I own that I always mean to read, but never get around to reading.)
  The new year is creeping up, and I still haven't decided whether to make a resolution list or not.  I find that when I do, I never manage to keep up with any of my resolutions, so I just get depressed.  I've started a habit of just resolving to do better in everything and then see how that goes, and the vagueness of the resolve saves me from the depths of despair when I fail to meet the mark.  Perhaps I shoot too high...
  I have a few resolves for my writing life, though.  Hehe.  I'll save them for another post.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Sky

  This is the sky behind my house.  Sometimes it is so beautiful, I just have to stop and take a picture.  And no matter how fabulous the picture turns out, in person, it is always more breathtaking. 
  It's at times like these when I stop to wonder how people cannot believe in God.  There is such beauty and purpose everywhere, even in the smallest things.  Take for instance a spider's web, or a bees' hive, which are not much in size, but beyond comprehension in complexity and design.  How can this all together in its wonderfulness, be an accident?

And God is very much like this;
Invisible as air;
I cannot touch or see Him, yet I know that he is there
Because I glimpse His wondrous works
And goodness everywhere.
- God is Like This by Rowena Bennet
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. - C. S. Lewis
God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation. - Sir Francis Bacon
In nature we see where God has been.  In our fellow man, we see where He is still at work. - Robert Brault
God is the perfect poet. - Robert Browning
The world is God’s language to us. - Simone Weil

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Christmas Break List and Musings

So it is nearing Christmas and I feel as if I have raced through my first semester at university. I have learnt so many new things and had to adapt to a new way of life, which (although it is sometimes stressful) I think suites me quite well at present. I have two more exams to go and then I am free! I'm sure I won't know what to do with myself at first, so I made a list of things that I wanted to do during the semester, but didn't have time to. Here it is, in no particular order:

- Read A Tale of Two Cities (with my friend Vesna)

- Sketch (I need to hone my artistic abilities, they have suffered poorly)

- Bake for Christmas (I haven't decided whether or not I should make nanaimo bars...but I am definitely leaning towards them; they're my favourite!)

- Get together with friends (I've missed them all so much!)

- Write my books (I'll probably do this first; I need to write or I'll go crazy)

- Go for walks (apparently I'll have to ditch this idea; there's a dangerous coyote lurking around our area, and he isn't afraid of anybody. Bother him! I need my solitary, thoughtful walks in nature.)

- Learn Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 on the piano (Listen to this on Youtube; it's beautiful. He based it on a poem.)

- Finish the Narnia series (I am on The Horse and His Boy, but I jumped ahead and listened to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because I want it fresh in my mind before I watch it tomorrow.)

- Read The Fever and the Flame again

- Read another of my antique books (I have a small collection on my desk shelf, but I haven't been able to read all of them yet, so this is my chance!)

- Finish Titania sweater

So there is my list. I can't wait to start!
This Christmas service will be the first in our new location. We used to be in a barn, but now we are in a little heritage church. It looks like a storybook church, and I like it, but it is different.  It'll still take me some time to get used to it.  I dislike change that takes away people/things but I like change that brings new people/'s complicated.
I always have to spend longer than other people getting used to new things or new people. I take forever to make good friends, because I don't open up very easily. Even then, sometimes I clam up like an oyster. It frustrates me sometimes.
So I vent my pent up feelings in my journal...well, most of them. I think that's another reason I write. I'm more quiet than most people, so I have to find other ways of expressing myself. So I make music, draw and write.
Not everyone can be outgoing (I still don't see why people view extrovert as good and introvert as bad), although I am to a point. People see me as an extrovert because I don't hide in a corner; I ask them questions to get them talking because I care about what they have to say. But this doesn't make me an extrovert. It's hard to explain. I don't even understand it. Anyway, I'll finish my senseless rant of pent up musings.
I hope it snows! Christmas is always so magical, but especially when there is snow and my grandparents light their fireplace. May all of you have a beautiful, warm Christmas filled with laughter and love.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Last week, I went to see the new Disney princess in the theaters after months of waiting excitedly. I was not disappointed. I had one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Tangled was funny, fun, adventurous, and sweet. The world it's set in is so colourful and warm! It's a treat for the eyes.
I had seen the trailers for it and knew that it was going to be better than The Princess and the Frog. Although I did like our new princess, Tiana, and enjoyed the overall story and humour, I didn't think that the voodoo aspect of the film was appropriate for children. If I had seen that at three years old, I would have jumped out of my skin.
Tangled was more than suitable for children, it was fantastic and fabulous! I revelled in the Alan Menken songs (I'm a huge Alan Menken fan, ever since I got the Beauty and the Beast CD). From the beginning, I felt a connection with Rapunzel, who is following her dream of seeing the floating lights, and with Flynn Rider, who is funny and endearing. Maximus, the horse, is very determined and resolved to do his duty, and Pascal is...well, you'll see.
I have to say, I was disappointed that it wasn't going to be a hand-drawn production, but after seeing it, they won me over. The design of the film was absolutely beautiful. It literally glowed. But my favourite scene had to be the floating lights. They slowly lit up one by one and rose into the dark sky, casting a golden glow over everything. It took my breath away.
I may not have mentioned this, but I get pretty involved in stories, so I did cry at the end. I have now seen it twice, and I highly recommend it for the whole family. You will laugh, guaranteed, and you may cry. But you will want to watch it again.

Pascal, the chameleon (not frog) who is Rapunzel's little friend, playing hide and seek.

Rapunzel: this picture conveys her character perfectly.

And I think we can say the same for Flynn here.

Maximus and Rapunzel.

The floating light scene. My very, very favourite.

I really want to sketch some of these wonderful characters over the holidays. I have been so busy with school, there hasn't been any time for anything. In fact, I am stealing time now! I'd better get back to studying. But this was such a nice break! Please, take my advice and go see Tangled! You'll love it if you love Disney.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful, Uplifting, (or Funny) Quotes - Mostly from famous authors

The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers: but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. - L. M. Montgomery

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. - Roald Dahl

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul in your tribulation. - Dueteronomy 4:29

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young. - Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

To laugh often and love appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one's self...this is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The sea hath its pearls
The heaven hath its stars
But my heart, my heart,
Has its love.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"No one is useless in this world," retorted the Secretary, "who lightens the burden of it for any one else." - Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment. - The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts. - L. M. Montgomery

A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home. - Anonymous

"I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more...though I know that is the noblest ambition...but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed it I hadn't been born." - Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Never Forget

This morning, my family and I went to a memorial service in our village to honour our brave soldiers. There were many people gathered there to pray and remember together. It was very moving.
Directly in front of us was a soldier standing straight and strong, and he seemed to me to be a representative of all those soldiers who have given their lives for freedom, justice, and our country. I was filled with sorrow for all those lost lives and gratefulness for the sacrifices they made so that we may live freely. I hope we never forget.
The famous poem, "In Flanders' Fields" by John McCrae had never really struck me until this morning, when I heard it read in remembrance of our soldiers. We said the Our Father, sang God Save the Queen and watched as a formation of airplanes flew overhead.
My father and grandfather were in the army and my maternal grandfather was in the reserves. On the way home, they told us about our great grandparents and other ancestors who had fought in the different wars. One had fought at a beach in France and been hit by a sniper. Another had fought in the First World War, many, many years ago. I am very proud of them. They stood up for what they knew to be right and fought bravely for their country. I will never forget.

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will stand and say, 'This was their finest hour.'" - Winston Churchill

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Peek Into My Home

I wanted to give you a taste of my home, so I went around taking pictures of little things around my house. I live in a very small cottage and love it. I share a room with my little sister, who is very close to me, and we each have our own set of bookshelves. But I started downstairs, with my mum's bookshelves.

All the books I grew up reading are on these shelves; the Enid Blyton books (all of them), the Little House on the Prairie series, Little Women, the Narnia series, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, you name it. They're there.

This is my piano. I love my piano! I've never found one that is so comfortable for me to play. I am currently working on Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3. It's so hard! But beautiful, and therefore worth it.

This is in our kitchen; it's the top of our baker's rack. Very French. My mum loves French things. My family has some French roots along many other nationalities, including German, Dutch, English, Scottish, and Irish. I feel very lucky.

This is a clock my mum has in our kitchen. It's also very French and I really like it. It's big and elegant, which normally wouldn't work, but with this clock it does.

Ah, now we're upstairs in our living room. We have another largeish bookshelf in there, and this is my favourite shelf on it. It may have something to do with the way the light shimmers off the shell and shows all its beautiful pearly colours. Or maybe it's the warmth of the antique books. Probably a combination.

French Lavender on the back of our bathroom door.

Now we're in my room. This is my side of the top of one of our bookshelves, and there on the right you will see my jungle of bookmarks. Shocking, I know! And that tiny silver thing next to it is a dear little clock that my mum got for me in Chatsworth as a 'just because' on a trip of hers. Then there are my two favourite mugs! The bunny mug on the left was hand painted for me by a very dear friend. The one on the right is from one of my aunts who sent it all the way from England for Christmas.

This is my very small collection of antique books. I am thrilled to have Magic for Marigold (even if it is in delicate condition, in fact all the more reason for me to have it as I will take very special care of it) by L. M. Montgomery! It was a lucky find one day and made me very, very happy.

This is just above my antique books. I would like to introduce you to my polar bear. I love him! He reminds me of the fairytale 'East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon', which is one of my personal favourites.

Here are two of my bookshelves. As you can see, I have begun to run out of room. There are just too many good books around!

This shelf has my L. M. Montgomery section, which is only missing a big volume of her diary because I couldn't fit it there. So it's below. But I have twenty-eight of her books there. (Well, there are actually only twenty-seven in the picture, but that's because Kilmeny of the Orchard is on loan to a friend of mine).

I also wanted to show you what I've been up to, so here is a sweater I've been knitting for a very long time. The bottom part is very hard, but I think it's worth it. The pattern is called Titania, after the Queen of the Fairies, and I think it suits it. I can't wait to finish it and be able to wear it!

This is my Beatrix Potter baby blanket that I just finished. *Sigh*. It was a lot of fun to do and I am very sorry to be finished.

These are a bit blurry, but you can see them pretty well. This is Hunka Munka and her children (absolutely adorable, it's one of my favourite illustrations). Hmm...I've noticed that I've had to say favourite quite a few times in this post. Oh well, nothing else would fit!

These last two are both from The Tailor of Gloucester.

So there you have it! I hope you have a good feeling for my home by now. I love it. I hope I never have to move, which is ridiculous, of course I will. But for now I can stay here, happy, content and smiling.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Books!

So I thought it was about time I introduced my newest additions to my collection! I found some really good books and finally got some very old friends. I bought Princess of the Midnight Ball before reading it (shocking, I know! I never do that...well, I do now apparently) and enjoyed it. I really like it when the author adds little extras at the end, crafts you can do that tie into the story. That's what Jessica Day George has done with the two books in this series (the second, which I also bought, is Princess of Glass). She put in knitting patterns! Heaven! If I ever publish a book, I want to do that. It really lets you become part of the tale.
Anyway, I'm rambling on. I also got Mara, Daughter of the Nile (a very old, very treasured friend), and The Fever and the Flame (new found friend). All of these come highly recommended. I find the Jessica Day George books are for when you want light fairytale reading; perfect for those sparkling summer days when all you want to do is relax. The Fever and the Flame and Mara, Daughter of the Nile are both historical fiction, both fabulously done.
Right now, the book I am most excited about is Reckless, Cornelia Funke's newest book. I have ordered it from the library but am getting so impatient to read it that I might buy this one before reading as well! However, perhaps this will be a good lesson in patience. *Sigh*. Yes, I am a Cornelia Funke fan; my favourite is her Inkworld trilogy. So far. I just love discovering new treasures, and I have a hunch that Reckless will be just that.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fairytales Retold

Once Upon a Time; the best beginning for any book. How I love fairytales! What I don't understand is why there is no genre entitled 'Fairytales Retold'. There are countless books out there that could fit into that description. For those of us who loved fairytales when we were children, retold fairytales are probably right up our alley. I know they are certainly up mine! I have a great weakness for them, so I am on the never ending search. If you are like me, then you probably know just how hard it is to find them! It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. I mean, after you've read all the obvious ones. It's very challenging to find good new fairytales turned into novels.

So I've decided to list a few that I remember were good. I hope you find some that you haven't read yet!

  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (does contain vampires, although they are not necessarily the good guys)
  • The Fairy's Return and Other Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine (these are short, but really enjoyable)
  • The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey
  • Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie (might have too much kissing)
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
  • Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey
  • The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
  • Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley (I'm not too keen on some of the plot twists toward the end, which I found a bit over the top, but over all it was good)
How many of you think there should be a genre entitled 'Fairytales Retold'? What are your favourite retold fairytales? Please comment!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Favourite Books - The Letter N

The strangest thing happened to me. I spent forever searching my shelves for a good book that begins with the letter N, but the only one I could find besides Northanger Abbey was North and South, which I haven't even finished yet. Nevertheless, I know it's a wonderful classic, so I'll put it down anyway.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - Strangely enough, I think this is my favourite Jane Austen of all!  It definitely makes in into the top two.  (It might just be because I fell in love with Henry Tilney, but I also have a soft spot for innocent, imaginative Catharine, who reminds me of myself often.)  Full of humour, it is a satire on gothic novels.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Favourite Books - The Letter M

Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise McGraw - Everyone should read this when they learn about Ancient Egypt. It is for young adults, though. I read it during school; my mum assigned it to my reading list. It was then that I fell in love with it. I always wanted a copy, and I only just a few weeks ago finally found myself one. It is the best story set in Ancient Egypt that I have ever read!

Magic for Marigold by L. M. Montgomery - Not my favourite of hers, but definitely worth the read. I discovered it through my beloved library and then chanced upon a copy in the antiques mall in my village which I promptly bought (of course :)).

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - This book is guaranteed to make you at least chuckle if not spend a while laughing with tears running down your cheeks. I absolutely LOVE this book. It was written by a naturalist about his experiences in Corfu during his boyhood. You'll meet his family; his dear mother, his bossy book-writing brother Larry, his gun fanatic brother Leslie and his flighty sister Margo, not to mention their loyal Spiro and many other friends. Everyone is a real character.

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers - Very adorable children's book. And I fully agree with the idea that babies can understand animals for a while before they can speak to us.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Favourite Books - The Letter L

The Light Princess by George MacDonald - I first discovered this when I was searching hungrily for more fairytales. It is very much a fairytale, very different from any other fairytale I have ever read, and yet so familiar I could have sworn I'd read it before. It's amazing and wonderful and beautiful and I love it!

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Oh, I can't tell you how much I enjoy these! They're so interesting and sweet! Highly recommended.

Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen L. Taylor - My siblings and I grew up on this little book. My favourite is Christian's adventure.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Sara is such a sweet little girl. Throughout all her troubles, she endeavors to make her father proud of her by being a true princess. “Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in a cloth of gold, but it is more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge - I've never read anything like this fairytaleish story. It captured me right away and I immediately procured myself a copy.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - This should be on everyone's imperative reading list. It is full to the brim with humour, love, friendship, troubles, and family values. It is also one of those books that makes me wonder why I even try can I possibly write anything half as good as this?!

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - My dad used to read these aloud to us after dinner sometimes, so although I have never actually read the whole of all the books (which I am working on right now, as a matter of fact) I know them very well. They are very old and very dear friends.

The Lost Princess by George MacDonald - This story has a moral and is very touching. It is about two girls, born on the same day and very similar in appearance, but very different in personality. This book will make you think.

Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke - I had a Janette Oke craze a few years ago, and this is the result. I really liked this series, especially the very first and very last books.

My Favourite Books - The Letter K

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montgomery - Well, it's by L. M. Montgomery, so it's...wonderful. Kilmeny is the sweetest girl alive, and her story is extremely touching.

The King's Table by Cindy Lee Sullivan - This was written by a homeschool mum who wanted to help her children to write: and this was the result. I felt that it was a bit like Little Pilgrim's Progress and I really liked it. She fell asleep in the Lord before she could finish the sequel and I can only imagine what wonderful things she has in store. God bless her.

King of the Dollhouse by Patricia Clapp - I read this when my favourite thing to do was play in my dollhouse, and this little book was so delightful I spent many hours curled up with it. I wished a little king of the fairies would come and live in my dollhouse!

My Favourite Books - The Letter J

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - If I could possibly make up my mind and choose ten of my top favourite books for children, this would be one of them. My favourite character is the Centipede. And you'll see why when you first meet him. I've been collecting quotes for a 365 day calendar, and I found quite a few chuckles in this book. Most of them between the Earthworm and the Centipede.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes - I first read this of my own accord for history. It was so interesting and exciting! It really captured me. I've always really liked these kind of historical fiction, and this was a real winner.

You would not believe how hard it is to find books that begin with the letter J. It's pathetic, as you can probably see. But I think these two make up for it.
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