Tuesday, May 29, 2012

zoo trip

To celebrate my birthday at the weekend we had a trip to the zoo to see the new pandas.  We was me Mum, Dad, my sister, my two nephews and one of their girlfriends.  The weather was warm and sunny which was great for us but meant that many of the animals were sleeping, or finding shade. 

Because the pandas are new you book a time slot and have a set time at each enclosure. The male was inside his sleeping area but from one spot you could see him relaxing – thank goodness for zoom lenses.  The female was outside sleeping on her highest platform so we same an arm and her side. 

Here is the page I’ve put together of the day for my Monthly album (Cathy Z template – adapted to A4)


Thank you for all the birthday wishes on my previous post – much appreciated.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Prompted by Deb Turtle I’m telling the (blog) world that its my birthday on Saturday and I’m going to be 50. There will a a visit to the pandas with family, cake, bubbles and presents – photos next week.

It actually feel less of a threshold than 40 did.  When I turned 40 I was aware of the idea of life changes at 40 and several of my friends had made big changes (marriage, divorce, change of career, moving country) within 18 months of their 40th birthday.  I changed career too.  At 45 the only change was that the NZ government starts to subsidise medication costs for the over 45s and less I did see the doctor a lot more that year.  And the only official sign of turning 50 so far is a notification that I will receive a bowel cancer testing kit soon. 

And the 50 specific cards in the shops are not exactly inspiring.  A friend in NZ confessed to having missed the post with a card and asked me to buy myself a card with a ‘I’m 50 badge’.  Well I dutifully had a look and two local shops were sold out (!!) and the one I saw in another shop was dull. 

After some consultation across the world I did this – always useful to have foam stickers on hand.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

angular art


Bonnie’s suggestion for our photoart this week was to include lines and angles. 


I was also inspired by an exhibition of Impressionist works that I saw earlier this month, in particular the emphasis on light.


And I ended up with 4 pieces that I’m really pleased with


I started by looking through my folders for images where the angles and lines stood out, even in the small size of the thumbnails.  These are my 4 starting photos


for each one I followed the same process:

1. duplicate the photo and try the different blending modes to find one that emphasised the lines and angles

2. Add Bonnie’s Fabrique texture and find a blending mode that I liked

3. Flatten layers and apply the artistic filter ‘paint daubs’

And that was it.

Check out how others have created with lines and angles here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Random memory

Amy from Over at Our Place posted an old photo chosen by finding the 3rd photo in her 30th album and asked us what was the 7th photo in the 21st album.  I like this kind of random selection so I went to look and this is the answer

A badly lit and slightly blurred photo that would not otherwise see the light of day.

It was taken in November 2009 on the day that I helped to decorate this (artificial) tree with coordinated brown and bronze decorations that I had helped select the previous January in the sales.  In the house of friends in Thames, NZ. 

Thanks Amy for an interesting foray into old photos.  Have you looked in your 21st album for the 7th photo?

The other place I often use this method is in the library when I need to try some new authors.  I’ll take the 15th book on the third shelf or something similar – I’ve discovered some good books this way. Do you use such random methods to choose anything?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Imperial Splendour

Now for my second set of photos from Vienna – the grand, historic, imperial architecture, or more specifically the many sculptures that adorn it.  It really is imposing and made me think of a people who are sure of their place in the world, of their strength and reach.  I feel I should be cueing the Darth Vadar march music from The Empire Strikes Back


These are in the gardens between the buildings.  But the majority of the sculpture are on every corner and crevice of the buildings, between the columns and arches.  Incredible skill to produce all those details by chipping away at a block of marble.


Walking around this part of Vienna was one of those times when I felt very aware of the history of the place and of different times portrayed in the architecture.  I feel the same walking the old parts of Edinburgh and Dublin – are there cities where you get that same feeling of history and a former grand past?

Friday, May 11, 2012

horizons are everywhere


PhotoArt Friday time again and our suggested theme this week was horizon.  I knew I had some good photos of horizons so went looking and found so many beautiful ones that I decided to create a piece that used clips from lots of photos, for a change. I noticed that most of my horizons have water in front of them – I do like to visit places by the sea.


The horizons here come from New Zealand (when I lived there), Scotland (where I live now) and the Pacific Islands of Tonga and Vanuatu which I have visited.  I will print this as a 10x5.

Eager to see what others have done with an horizon, I really appreciate the amazing creativity featured in the weekly photoart gallery

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vienna food market

On Saturday I joined many tourists and Viennese at the fabulous food market – there seemed to be shopping baskets and cameras in equal number.

The market is set up on temporary stalls along a road between two tram stations.  The first thing I saw when I emerged from the escalator were these magnificent buildings. There are decorated building fronts all over the city and I particularly enjoyed the two different styles next to each other here.


Once into the market I was surrounded by delicious and fresh food that would make a wonderful spread of food for grazing – cheeses, breads, tapas style stuffed items and lots of dried fruit and nuts.  There were also salamis and hams but I didn’t get a photo of them.  The food market really showed how  Austria uses its central position and mixes the foods of north and south Europe. 

Lovely fresh fruit and vegetables too – look at the size of the asparagus – white and green (middle photo, standing upright on right). 


Flowers were also in abundance on the stalls – big bunches of tulips or roses as well as vibrant mixed bunches.  I was delighted to see them selling bunches of lilly of the valley because it is my birthday flower. There were also lots of herbs in pots – I wanted to squeeze them all for the smell.


And I was amazed to see pink chestnut flowers on the trees (bottom right).  I was enjoying how many chestnut trees were in bloom down many streets, with lovely big white blossom and then saw pink flowers in several places – I never knew they came in pink too.

And then at the end, as I was looking for the next tram stop, I spied another beautiful building facade


I’d love to have a market like this in Edinburgh, our Farmer’s market is mostly meat. 

Next instalment from Vienna will be a sampling of the many photos I took of the Imperial architecture covered in imposing sculpture.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Storytelling–a childhood memory


Time to share another story with Sian’s Storytelling Sunday – even if it is Monday.  I knew I’d be away on Sunday and prepared one earlier but then left it only on my home hard drive so I couldn’t access it to post on Sunday.


Another short story using an old photo to carry half the work (prepared for inclusion in Project Life album). 

I’m the one in the pink dress at the front, with my sister and Mum behind me and Aunt and cousin to the right. 

Join me as I check out the other stories being shared this month.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April in numbers

Really enjoying this monthly summary – thanks to Julie   for the idea and collecting them each month.  I’m finding from mine and reading others that some stories are told through this project that would not otherwise we told.




Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where am I?

30 april (7)

I’m away from home again, for  a week this time, to facilitate a workshop.  Can you guess where I am?  A clue – I’m spending euros.

30 april (1)

I admit that when I knew I was coming here I had no visual idea of what to expect – not a country I’m aware of seeing on TV or films.  In fact I couldn’t think of much that I knew about life here now – only historical things.

30 april (4)

I was surprised to see so many trees down the streets – here lots of chestnut trees.

Also very surprised that ice cream is a big thing here

1 may (2)

(chocolate, pistachio and vanilla ice-cream, caramel sauce, cream and lots of hazelnuts)

The streets and pavements are wide, there are trams and lots of bicycles.  Lots of people smoke (outside) and bakery and meat feature heavily in menus.

I haven’t seen the river yet, nor a grand historic building, nor heard  a waltz, nor eaten apple strudel or schnitzel. 

Guessed yet? – I’m in Vienna.  I get to stay for the weekend after the workshop so intend to see and share more of the city (and sample more ice cream and pastry) 

ps.  I’ve been having problems leaving messages on posts since being here – sorry for the lack of comments – I typed them and then they disappeared.