Wednesday 26 September 2012

Northern Ireland

We spent last weekend in Portrush, Northern Ireland.
I've been told Northern Ireland is the most beautiful part of Ireland, and after spending a few days there, I wouldn't hesitate to believe someone who told me that again. Although it does smell much like cow.

The first day we visited Dunluce Castle, and the second was spent at Giant's Causeway and touring the Bushmills Distellery. I brought Mali with me both times, but not many of the photos turned out, so I doubt I'll post them.

Dunluce Castle is supposed to be one of the most scenic castles in the country, and I will say it is quite lovely, but I don't know if I would give it that distinction just yet. It was built on a cliff-island thing, which, if you know anything about erosion is probably the best place ever to build a house if you want your kitchen to fall into the sea: which it did.

Dunluce Castle - Portrush, Northern Ireland

Most of my photos came out sort of boring, so I'll update this post later when I have access to other peoples' shots.

I did get one of Mali that's not too bad, but unfortunately you can't see any of the castle.

I've been taking so many back-of-head shots lately :/

Dinner was at 55°-North in Portrush, and I would highly recommend it if you happen to be in the area.

I have a lot of photos from Giant's Causeway, so that will be it's own post, but I did find something unexpected in a grocery store, so I'll leave you with a photo of that. ;)

Mini Tim Horton's - Bushmills, Norther Ireland
Tim Horton's tea and coffee (I assume), but regular Spar doughnuts

Monday 17 September 2012


I am back from my weekend away in Cork, and I must say, it was quite fun - minus the 5 hour bus ride.

That was less fun.

It also disoriented me rather thoroughly for my school orientation sessions... but they turned out okay-ish in the end I guess.


Cork itself is a big city and since we were only there for effectively a day, due to travel times, I didn't get to see much of the city proper.

We did visit University College Cork, which I must say is a lot prettier than Trinity, and is probably the nicest university campus I've ever visited.

University College Cork - Cork, Ireland

University College Cork - Cork, Ireland

We also made it out to Blackrock Castle, which is very pretty as well.

Blackrock Castle - Cork, Ireland

It's also an observatory, science museum and a bit under construction apparently, so the tour was... odd... to say the least, but I enjoyed it and wish I could have stayed longer. The Castle Café was excellent as well. Probably the best food I had in Cork.

Blackrock Castle - Cork, Ireland

This boat was tethered off the side of the castle. I assume it must be reachable when the tide is low otherwise I have no idea how they managed to put it there.


I wish I'd had a bit more time to explore Cork and I would have liked to get a few more doll photos, but I did enjoy everything I did manage to see, so I shouldn't really complain.

There are a few more orientation sessions this week, and I have to figure out how to register for classes before teaching starts Monday (why we weren't allowed before I'll never know), but we're off to Belfast this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be the nicest place we've visited yet and plan to bring both Mali and Tobi, so perhaps I can make up for lost photos there. :)

I hope everyone gets a chance to go somewhere different soon!

I'll post an update when I get back from Belfast, but posts will probably slow down once classes start.

Sunday 16 September 2012


Kinsale, Ireland

We took a day trip to Kinsale, which is a fairly little town about an hour bus ride away from Cork.

I brought Tobi with me, but we spent most of the time there walking up hills on roads with no sidewalks, so there weren't a whole lot of photo opportunities.

But! We did stop at Charles Fort for a few hours and I did manage to take a few photos. :) It was pretty interesting to wander around, though they had gates blocking the most interesting things. :(

Charles Fort - Kinsale, Ireland

I didn't take very many of Tobi (mainly because it was super windy and I was a bit afraid she would fall over or get blown away), and most of them didn't turn out, but I did get a few.

Tobi - Unoa Lusis hybrid; Kinsale, Ireland

I think she enjoyed the excursion. If we go back when we have visitors again in October, I might bring her again.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Sunset over the River Liffey

We have some visitors for the next couple weeks, and have been showing them around Dublin the past few days.

This weekend we're off to Cork for a few days, and I'm thinking of bringing Mali and/or Tobi (but probably only one) and will be taking a lot of pictures.

I haven't taken nearly enough of Dublin, so I'll have to do that when we're touring around again in two weeks, but here's one I took as the sun was beginning to set over the River Liffey (more of a canal really).

River Liffey - Dublin City, Ireland

Little Tweaks

I've been working on the design of my shop recently and due to some of the limitations in the software I'm needing to make extra tweaks to the blog to suit the store.

I'm hoping it will help create a more cohesive atmosphere browsing around the site, but it might cause a bit of confusion with things moving, popping up and/or disappearing.

I'm trying to make it as unintrusive as possible, but it might throw you off a bit.

So, sorry about that, but bear with me as I work out all the kinks. :)

Monday 10 September 2012

Another year, gone

So, now that I've had this blog for a year, I thought it might be a good idea to go over some of the goals I had in my first post and see if I was able to meet any of them. (tl;dr: not really.)
  • Muted Colour Schemes
  • Subtle Memory was supposed to be an experiment in soft, muted colours, however I ended up relying on darker saturated colours to tie it together in my mind. I'm not too fussed about this one to be honest, as I think the addition of navy blue has made many of the pieces significantly stronger than they would have been if I'd stuck with my original plan.
    Plans going forward: I have another collection planned (it's not high up on my priority list right now though) that is all muted colours and I don't see it changing any time soon, so I'm hoping planning that will give me some practice.
  • Time Management
  • I don't think I've made much progress in this area to be honest and if I have, it's been entirely in the last week. I've learned I need to know exactly what I want from a project before I can be truly productive. Having things I still need to figure out (fabrics, patterns, etc.) just gives me a reason to procrastinate.
    I want to be able to finish collections and commissions in the timeframes I set out and to maintain a semi-regular update schedule.
    Plans going forward: Other than planning collections with fabric in-hand so that I don't get stalled looking for something useful, I've been working on developing a daily schedule and forcing myself to adhere to it. I think part of the problem was I was always working and hadn't really learned to disengage and read a book, or do the dishes or spend time with people without thinking I should be sewing.
    I still have problems with this, and I know it's not going to magically go away, but I've been gradually working on getting myself time-organized using a combination of Task Timer for Chrome, and Toodledo. Unfortunately, neither of them are quite what I need, so I'm having a bit of a difficult time, but hopefully I'll get used to the routine soon. :)
  • Speed
  • Overall, I think that I've made the most progress towards this goal than any of the others. I've still go a ways to go, but it's not taking me a week to produce one shirt anymore, so I'd call that a win.
    Plans going forward: While I can't do so in Ireland, I plan to continue practising with my sewing machine when I get home. I don't particularly enjoy machine sewing - it feels cold and impersonal to me - but I cannot deny that it is fast.
    In addition, I've been working on streamlining my processes and while it can get tedious sewing the same thing over and over, it seems to be working, and I feel much less exhausted and much more accomplished at the end of the day than I ever did before I changed my method.
  • Photography, staging and posing
  • I will say... I have made absolutely no progress on this goal at all as of yet. Part of it is that I'm focussed on other things, part of it is I keep saying I need this outfit or this setting and not taking photos anyway and part of it is my camera has decided that it is the destroyer of batteries, so I'm finding it to be a huge struggle to pull it out even for blog photos.
    Plans going forward: In the next week or so, I'm planning on going out and buying new batteries so my camera has no excuses and I can't use that as an excuse either and just spending a day taking photos. The only way I'm going to get better in this area is to practice, and I haven't been doing nearly enough of that.
I'm going to keep working on the above goals as they are very important to me, but I'd also like to add:
  • Blogging
  • I've added a lot of new blogs to my reading list in the last couple months (most doll-related, some not) and it's made me feel very inadequate regarding my blogging, so I'd like to work on that.
    My main goals are: Balancing photos/text - this is tied to my photography goal, so I'm hoping it will help boost that too - and explaining in fewer words.
    I tend to ramble a lot and I feel like I spend a lot of time making excuses instead of just saying what I need to say, so I'm going to try to work on this as well. I think learning how to balance text and images will help immensely.
  • Web Design
  • After redesigning my blog, I seem to have caught some kind of web design bug. The store platform I've chosen gives you (almost) complete control over your store, so I've been (re-)learning HTML and learning CSS and working towards modifying the store and adding some new pages to my blog.
    Luckily, my boyfriend is well-versed in both and has been exceedingly patient with my constant cries of "how do I do this?", "this line? or can I just put it here?", "what does the # mean again?" which is making me feel much more confident about my ability to learn this stuff.
    I don't really have any concrete goals beyond getting the store and a few other pages up and running, I just hope it goes over alright and nothing comes out horribly broken or looking terrible!


Much as I might stress and panic and think I'm the biggest disappointment since the last Series of Unfortunate Events book*, I'm really enjoying working on this project and learning the ins and outs of blogging and I hope I'll be able to do it for quite some time. :)

*Sorry if you liked it... I really didn't. :/