Weekly Photography Challenge: From Every Angle

I can never limit myself to just one photo, so being challenged to photograph something (or someone) from Every Angle suits me pretty well. It was just a matter of deciding who or what my subject would be…

It’s the last (calendar) day of winter, and spring blossom is everywhere, so I chose the plum tree behind our house, which is smothered in simple, sweetly scented white bloom, and, since the sun has been out, it is buzzing with bees as well.

I took pictures from every angle I could think of, short of climbing on the roof to take one from above. There’s even one of fallen petals under the tree – I’m just sorry you can’t smell it, because it smells of spring sunshine and warmer days to come, and maybe, just maybe, there’s a whiff of plum jam…

Friday Poem: O Spring

As winters go on planet Earth, ours here in Southern Australia is quite mild – where we live, snow is a rare and welcome novelty, and cabin fever unheard of. But, even though the woods will never be snowy, dark and deep, we’ve found our winter long and cold this year, and everyone is longing for Spring sunshine. DSCF9455 (Large)

Monday dawns dull and grey

Overcast sky and misty rain

Wind from the south and the icy sea

But Spring! Oh, Spring!

Cries the pink blossom tree.

Put on your coat and scarf and hat

You’ll need them all to walk in that

Take an umbrella to stroll and chat.

Run, little dog, this isn’t spring,

But the pink blossom tree

Would argue with that.

The wheelbarrow is to show you the reality of winter in our area – after the dry dusty summer, weeds suddenly germinate and over-run the garden. Every year, when longing for the rain to come, I forget that it leads to an explosion of weeds – and now we are longing for sunshine, and forgetting about the downsides of summer. Such is life!

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW III

This week, the stamps I made as mementos of our trip around the Pacific North West are those from Olympia. poster painting

We arrived by train, and got off at Lacey, because the train doesn’t go all the way to Olympia. As there was no sign of the promised bus, we took a taxi, and that was an experience in itself, the driver being a …character.

Our highest priority once we’d booked in to our hotel was laundry – we were running out of clean clothes, since we hadn’t had access to a washing machine since Seattle. Our Olympia hotel had one, but it was broken; we thought there was one over the road, but it was only a dry cleaner; we went to the tourist information place (with our bag of washing) and asked the nice lady…she thought there used to be one near Safeway, but she wasn’t sure. Another woman, newly local and checking out things to see and do in her new town, came to our rescue, and drove us some distance to a tiny shopping centre (way past that Safeway, where a nail salon had superseded the coin laundry) and dropped us off at a laundrette, with alarmingly vague assurances that we could get a bus back to our Hotel…And so we negotiated the mysteries of the coin laundry, washed and dried our clothes, and made it safely back to town. I don’t know why I didn’t make a washing machine stamp. But I didn’t.

On day two, we walked from our hotel to Plum street, to another Japanese garden. It was very pretty, with lots of maples, and koi carp in the pond. It would have been a beautiful, quiet oasis, except that someone was whipper-snipping around the boundary! From there, we made our way to Pear St, which seemed to go forever, and Bryan was almost ready to call it quits, when I saw the State Lottery building, and knew the house we were looking for was just across the street.

It’s the house where Kurt Cobain lived, 20 years before, and where much of Nevermind was written. There are two apartments in the house, and one of them was available for rent. From there we went in search of coffee, and found Cafe Vita – so good that we went back again before leaving Olympia. Choc Mint Grahams, and excellent coffee. It is my dream to find a source of those Choc Mint Grahams closer to home!

On another day we visited the Capitol campus, with its cluster of neoclassical buildings and beautiful gardens overlooking the Capitol Lake.

From there we took the (free) bus to the Farmer’s market at the other end of town. The vast array of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables made me wish we could stay much longer, and with a kitchen to cook and eat as much of it as I could. We made do with a few pieces of fruit.

I only carved two stamps for Olympia, but so many memories are evoked by those two images! Fruit and forest, Tumwater Falls and Australian wine in Safeway, the old movie theatre, fountains, mountains…can’t wait to get back there!

Next week, we visit Aberdeen and carve out a few more memories.

The image at the top is of a tiny watercolour I did during out trip – based on a photo of a torn poster of Kurt.

 

 

Weekly Photography Challenge: A Good Day

The challenge this week is to make a gallery (with or without MESH), and tell the story of a Good Day. Most days have at least the potential to be good days, although we don’t always think to record them. I had to choose between searching out photos of a past Good Day somewhere exciting, or to get out the camera and record an average, stay-at-home Good Day.

I chose the latter.

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A Good Day at home includes sunshine, some gardening and arts and crafts, a comfy chair, and chai tea and something tasty served up on pretty vintage china. Some Nirvana and photography is always good, and today I made a miniature Japanese moss garden in an old fish tank. And spring is coming – blossom on the trees and birds outside annoying the cat, who isn’t…

I’m not sure if this Mudhoney song is quite in the same spirit, but I like it anyway. Hope you do too…

Today is a Good Day

Friday Poem: this One’s for Aberdeen

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Four years ago on this date, we were in Aberdeen, Washington, for a few too-short days. I’ve been sharing some of my artwork from the trip in my Creativity posts, for which I had to pull out a box of mementos, leading inevitably to floods of memories of the trip.

Which led to this poem…

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The rainy road from the bus
and the rainy green pine trees;
The logged clearings, forlorn,
and tiny sawmills, silent.
The muddy brown river
lying slack in the sunshine,
and the blue sky so big
and the turkey vulture in it.
Ragged fringes of trees
and Think Of Me Hill
on watch over Aberdeen.
Broad streets, empty lots
and a quiet desperation,
French toast at Maria’s,
“For sale” on the mansion.
The sidewalks are cracked,
There are weeds in the flowers:
but I fell in love with you
and your odd little houses,
with fondest regards,
I am missing you, Aberdeen.

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In the process of transferring photos from one computer to another, they became very muddled, and my efforts to organise them made matters worse. So I haven’t managed to find my photo of that turkey vulture, unfortunately – a tiny speck in the big blue sky over Aberdeen.sept 2011 1067 (Large)

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW II

I made these stamps, and the tiny book of the images on our big trip around the Pacific North West in August 2011. This week’s stamps are those I made in Portland, Oregon.

We caught glimpses of Mt Hood as the train from Seattle wended its way through goods yards. Our nearest mountain – Mt William in the Grampians National Park, is 1,167m, and sometimes has snow on it in winter – in some years. Mt Hood, on the other hand, is 3,429m, and gleams with pure whiteness even in summer. Big snowy mountains were novel to us!

 

On one of our too-few days, we took the light rail out to the Arboretum, and walked from there to the Rose test garden, via forest and the beautiful Japanese Gardens. All of these places were probably worthy of a day each, but we couldn’t spend that long. I took photos of roses that appealed to me, plus their tags for the name, but I doubt whether any are actually available in Australia. I drew the images on the stamps from photos I’d taken – remembering to reverse the image in the process, if necessary.

I didn’t do any images of food on our trip (although I have at other times), but I can’t write about Portland without remembering the taste-bud wonderland of TartBerry, and the Violetta cafe, where we ate twice, but I wish it could have been more often. Organic Blackberry Soda – with actual blackberries in it…divine! Nearby was the art supply shop where I bought a stamp pad to go with the stamps I was making. I would have bought much more if I could have carried it – so many lovely papers, pencils, brushes, inks, dyes….IMG_5568 (Large)

Weekly Photography Challenge: Creepy

And now for something completely different in the Weekly Photography Challenge – Creepy!  My first thought was arachnids, or other invertebrates, but I decided to go to my dollies instead…The rolly chiming dog is especially creepy to me because I know that inside the charming baby toy is a bundle of lethal-looking metal spikes. My sister had a similar one – 50 odd years ago – and I’ll never forget the horror revealed when it broke open.

 

I have a friend who has a large collection of dolls, and all of them are pretty ladies (or girls) in frilly, lacy dresses, usually with added flowers. I prefer the odd ones myself – a bit ugly, or they’ve seen better days, or are kind of creepy.IMG_5590

Creepy baby,Steiner (the name derived from Frankenstein…), came to live with me because his previous family’s make-up job would have consigned him to the bin if I hadn’t rescued the poor little chap. I thought his unfortunate looks would have creeped-out my little grand daughter when she visited, but she loved him just as he is.

Her Dad, however, was keen to leave him here…

Friday Poem: Thrifty Haiku

I wrote this early this morning, knowing that my blogging time would be short today, since we are going out for dinner and Live Theatre (a local school production of “The Wiz). Time being short, I figured that a haiku would be ideal, and my expected days activity provided a subject…IMG_5577

Friday is Salvos;
Empty sort hang bag repeat.
Thank God for thrifty…IMG_5578

15 hours later ….

Despite my well-thought out plans for a quick post, my internet connection (mostly lack-of) had other plans. The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that…A couple of days ago, there was a man on my roof installing the equipment for wireless NBN (and freaking out the cat), but that isn’t working yet…But when it does – I have high hopes for faster, stronger, cheaper connectivity than our current satellite. So difficult to join the 21st century when you live in a Black hole for connectivity!

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Here are some pics of the kinds of things I buy in op shops/thrift stores. Someone had thrown the pretty translucent blue frame in the bin, but I saw it and rescued it. I love vintage embroidered pillowslips, which are often in need of TLC and a good soak, but the ones in the top photo were beyond hope for their former use. I will be re-purposing them into a quilt top – just need a few more…

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW I

Four years ago on this date, we were in Portland, Oregon, on The Trip of a Lifetime. We spent a whole month in the Pacific North West, which is nowhere long enough…

Of course, I took along some art supplies – not too much, because you can only have so much luggage. And because I would be lugging it myself between cities. I prepared a little cloth wallet with some basic jewelry making pieces, plus some cheap erasers and a set of Japanese wood carving tools to make stamps. I also took some blank calling cards – nice white card, quite small sheets. Very light! I also had some double sided tape, tiny scissors and a pencil or two. I forgot to pack any stamp ink, however! IMG_5571 (Large)

My aim was to do (at least) two stamps for each place we stayed, looking for memorable but simple images to carve on my erasers. First stop was Seattle (not counting a few hours at LAX). On our first full day we took a ferry ride to Bainbridge island. I didn’t do any stamps, but I used the business card of the lovely bead shop as the front cover of the book. It has a simple accordion-fold spine, to which the cards are attached with double-sided tape.

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Inside, the first page shows the famous Space Needle (of course). On the back of each card, I wrote an extract from my travel diary – a sentence or two relating to the image.

We did a lot of other things in Seattle, of course (Sculpture Park, Pike Place, the Aquarium…) but the highlight for me was the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition at EMP. The image I chose was of a broken guitar, not only played (and smashed) by Kurt Cobain, but repainted several times, in keeping with the punk DIY ideal.

 

Next week – Portland Oregon. I hope I’ve found the missing stamps by then…In the process of looking for them, I found the wrapper of the delicious Theo dark chocolate bar I bought at EMP. I made it last so well that there is still – shhh_ one square left…and only 3 years out of date!IMG_5572 (Large)

 

Weekly Photography Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

This week’s Photography Challenge is to “look down, and document the world beneath your feet.” Every Monday I go for a walk with an older friend – twice around the oval – and, after an extra chat, I keep on my way to the local Post Office to pick up my mail. Today I took my camera along and documented some of the things I saw on the ground.

The iron-bark trees at the oval are surrounded by twigs of their blossom snipped off by cockatoos, which are keen practitioners of “tip pruning”. We’ve had rain along with sunshine, so there are puddles as well as daffodils, and lots of bright green moss. On less disturbed ground near the creek, a few native plants, such as these Sun-dews, continue to flourish. I passed the owl I found dead two weeks ago, and the footprints of a macropod (kangaroo) down by the creek. We’ve had rain, but not enough for water to run – I didn’t need my gumboots on to cross it, unfortunately. Back home, there is a tiny, mossy stream-bed – which rises from a down-pipe at the back of the house.

Click on any image for a better look!