Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Through the Trees is now Key & Quill

I've been thinking about moving my blog for a while now.  After this post I will no longer be updating Through the Trees and instead will be posting at Key and Quill.  I will be moving all my content and updating Key and Quill to be a better, more functional webspace! 

Right now, Through the Trees is duplicated exactly at Key and Quill.  All of my content can still be found here and also at the new address.  There are a few reasons why I am doing this, namely because the terms "Through the Trees" is a very common and popular phrase.  When searching for this site, those key words never bring up my blog in any search engines, despite my best efforts to notify Google about my blog.  Through the Trees also brought on many seasonal pressures, like changing the banner to reflect the year going by.  You wouldn't want to see summer fresh trees in the dead of winter, would you!?  Of course not!!

These are just a few reasons.  I've also wanted to move this space to something that will better represent me in the future and I feel that Key and Quill can grow with me.  In the new year I am hoping to update my blog into something better and hopefully expand the space to a website and, dare I say, a shop (!!!).  These are all goals that I have had for a long time and I'm hoping that I can accomplish these things in 2014. 

I hope you follow me over to Key and Quill!  A redirect will be appearing on this page in the near future so that it will automatically take you over to the new blog.  Until I put that in place, I wanted to let anyone interested to read this little message.

See you at my new home!  Go to ---->  Key and Quill

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Club 2013

For a while now I have been keeping track of all the books I have been reading throughout the year.  It started as just a personal interest thing in 2011 and now it's become a bit of a habit.  I like looking over the novels and remembering how I felt about each one and why I chose to read them.

  1. L. Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  2. L. Taylor - Days of Blood and Starlight
  3. H. Oyeyemi - Mr. Fox
  4. G. Joyce - Some Kind of Fairy Tale
  5. L. Taylor - Lips Touch Three Times
  6. T.H. White - The Once and Future King
  7. S. Meyers - Twilight
  8. Woodkid - The Golden Age
  9. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
  10. P.K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  11. B.E. Ellis - Lunar Park
  12. C. Sagan - Contact
  13. N. Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  14. D. Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
  15. L. Livingston - Starling
  16. D. Bayles & T. Orland - Art and Fear
  17. B. McCay - Stargate: Rebellion
  18. B. McCay - Stargate: Retaliation

Looking over my list, this year was a real mixed bag of novels.  Some of the books I read I really disliked: H.Oyeyemi's "Mr. Fox" and T.H.White's "The Once and Future King" were particularly disappointing.  "Mr. Fox" is labelled as 'experimental fiction' which, as it turns out, I don't really like.  I thought that "The Once and Future King" would be a fun tale about King Arthur, but turns out it's a long depressing tale about Sir Lancelot.  It was a slog and the ending was terribly written.  I also re-read S.Meyers "Twilight" for the simple fact to see if I would like it better the second time around.  I didn't.

The stars this year were authors that I have loved for a little while.  I got the second part of L.Taylor's beautifully written series "Days of Blood and Starlight" and I just had to re-read the first part to refresh my memory and revel in its loveliness all over again.  After reading that I found a collection of short stories she did in "Lips Touch Three Times" and it was likewise beautiful.  N.Gaiman, whom Aaron and I have been collecting feverishly since we found out about "American Gods", doesn't disappoint with "The Ocean at the End of the Lane".  It was a little "American Gods" and a little "Coraline" pushed together.  I love the myth-making that Gaiman pulls off in all his stories. 

Some books were chosen directly because of things that were happening at the time.  Aaron pulled out "Blade Runner" one night and we downloaded "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" the next day.  Similarly, we both read "Cloud Atlas" after watching the DVD.  I was never forced to read "The Great Gatsby" in school and when the movie came out I thought I might be missing out on some great American literature, so I gave that a read as well.  C.Sagan's "Contact" was recommended to me by Aaron and sparked a book club reading with all of our friends taking part, so that was pretty cool.  I enjoyed all of these novels as source material, even if P.K.Dick's was a little difficult to get through just based on the sheer number of ideas that he included in his rather small text. 

The novel that has stayed with me the most has been Brett Easton Ellis's "Lunar Park".  Aaron also recommended this to me.  I had never read any of Easton Ellis's work before so this introduced me to a whole genre of writing that I have not experienced.  Further research into his collections made me realize that I didn't want to read Easton Ellis as his other works are all a bit horrifying.  This is the guy who wrote "American Psycho", after all.  However, "Lunar Park" was extremely touching and sad, and given that I didn't know anything about Easton Ellis before starting this novel, I fell for everything he said as truth.  Except for the ghost bits.  And maybe even that a little bit.

I didn't match or beat last year's 21 novels, but this has not been a normal year.  Looking towards 2014, I have the "Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes" by A.C. Doyle on my Kobo to get ready for BBC's third season of "Sherlock" and am looking forward to "House of Leaves" by M.Z.Danielewski, another recommendation by Aaron.  If you want to read my other Book Club posts, here are 2012 and 2011.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Red, White and Pink Christmas

This year my sister-in-law Ashley asked me if I would take their Christmas card photo.  I said yes, of course! I went up to the house for an hour or so and spent some time with my adorable little niece and played in the snow.  Here are some of my favorites from the day!

Adalyn loved to eat the snow.  She had mitts, but she kept pulling them off.

Probably the cutest shot right there!  My new lens was really working hard for this pic!  I recently bought a portrait lens (50 mm, f1.8).  It's become my go-to for lovely photos.

It's hard to get this kid to smile, so this was a treat!  Watching a little girl laugh her head off while getting pulled in a sled is pretty hilarious.

And the lovely family all together!  I love taking photos of my family. It's great practice for me, for one, and I get to keep all these wonderful memories forever.  You can see more of my beautiful little niece and my amazingly awesome sister-in-law on her blog Ashley's Thrifty Living!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Surprise!  Aaron and I are engaged!  Last weekend we shared the news with our families and then with Facebook.  People have been super excited, which is great!  And we've also got a few "what took you guys so long!?" in there too.

Aaron and I have been dating for 13 years.  We had been talking about getting married for a while and so our engagement was a very mutual thing.  After taking a jewellery class during my collage years at OCAD, I have always wanted to design my own ring.  The perfect opportunity came up when we headed to Aaron's childhood home in Sault Ste. Marie and met with a family friend who is a jeweler.  We talked to him about my ideas, gave him some rings that we wanted to use as source material and he created the most perfect ring I have ever owned.  It is exactly what I wanted.

We decided to part with a few rings we already owned for the source material.  Part of this was to help with cost, but we also really wanted to re-use materials that meant something to us.  For the white gold band we used a school ring that Aaron had from our high school, but he didn't wear anymore.  My mom had given me a ring that belonged to her years ago, a yellow gold eternity band with six small diamonds in it.  We used the diamonds from that band in my new one, where they now grace the sides of a lovely dark blue sapphire (TARDIS colored, of course).  The sapphire is the only thing that didn't previously belong to us (something blue, something new?).  We were also lucky enough to have the wedding band made with the extra white gold, so that is pretty awesome too.

Aaron and I have really considered ourselves married for years, just without the papers to prove it.  This is just the next step in our journey together.  He's the only person I'd ever want to take it with. 

(P.S. my sister bought me those awesome set of skeleton keys! Thanks Laur!)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pine and Birch

It's no secret that I love trees.  It's kind of my thing.  I was driving to my parent's place a few weeks ago and I just-so-happened to have my camera on me.  As I was passing all these amazing colored trees I had to pull over and get some photos.  It was the first time I felt even remotely creative in almost a month because of my dad's health concerns.  So I stopped and indulged in a few pictures of my most favorite subject.

I am amazed at the color of these yellow needles.  Fall is just so cool.  In Southern Ontario, fall lasts for maybe four weeks before it becomes winter.  It's a very small window to actually enjoy the season.  Even as I type this now, there is snow covering the ground and everything outside is dead.  It's nice to look over these photos and remember there once was warmth.  Winter is my least favorite season.  I hate being cold; and driving in snow, freezing rain and slush is not my idea of a good time.  If we ever give winter a pass, I'm up for it!

Birch trees are especially my favorite.  I'd say every time I paint trees at least one sneaks in there.  A close second are the pine trees.  I'll probably never get sick of taking photos of trees, but I know it's not exactly riveting for many other people.  When I take photos during vacations people often ask me to filter out the tree photos because there are just so many of them.  I know guys, I have a problem!

Anyways, I love trees, so it's going to happen.