Weekly Photography Challenge: Rare

If something is Rare – it follows that it will be a challenge to get a photo of it…What is not so rare is for me to dither for several days, trying to come up with images for the Weekly Photography Challenge.IMG_9547 (Large)

To capture this particular image, the sun had to be in just the right spot, glowing through my 70’s orange glassware, and I had to notice, and pick up the camera. Quite rare…

I’ve been crocheting Soft Vessels for a while now, choosing interesting thrifted yarns to work together to create unique little bowls or baskets. The one being modeled by Olympia is made from a linen yarn alongside  fine crochet cotton and white baby wool (3 ply, I think). Spotted Owls are rare, their habitat threatened by forest clearing, and I’d really like to see one! Olympia is spotty, and named after the capital of Washington State,but she’s not a Spotted Owl…They are brown and look more like our Boobook Owl.

There was baby wool and crochet cotton left over from the Vessel which the owl is wearing for a hat, so I made a quite tiny one with those two yarns. It is the only one of it’s kind, and will remain so, because I’ve run out of the baby wool. I really like the effect of the two yarns together, though,so I think I’ll be doing some similar pieces in future.

Olympia is also wearing a very old woolen baby singlet/vest, which is seriously out of shape for baby wear, but just right for her.

Friday Poem: Forget-me-not

IMG_5796 (Large)I saw a photo of a forget-me-not flower somewhere recently, and this old poem sprang into my mind, every word of it, so I thought I’d share it. It’s dated Dec 2 1971, so I wrote it nearly 45 years ago. The intent was rather romantic – I was 15 – and it was probably coloured by the novels I was reading back then. You might know the sort, they are all much the same, although the modern versions are -ahem- spicier. The heroine has mousy hair and a boyish figure. The guy has a chiseled jaw, piercing blue eyes and is older and in a position of power. She thinks she loathes him but is jealous of a glamorous lady in his life. They fight a bit, then something bad happens to her, and he has to admit he’s adored for from the moment he first saw her. End of story. (Sometimes they got married for some reason of convenience before he realises he adores her…) Mum claimed to read them for the scenery. I read them because they were there. Anyway, by some miracle, I think my teenage love poem transcends all that, and is actually pretty good.forget-me-not2

‘Forget me not
For I have loved you;
Remember me
Through all your dreaming hours:
Dear friend,
To you I speak
Through these small flowers –
Blue and mauve and pink –
These three nostalgic words
Straight to your heart –

Despite the fact that forget-me-nots come up around my garden wherever they please (which is how they got the name), I couldn’t find any photos of them. Maybe I didn’t look hard/long enough, or maybe they are too common-or-garden to photograph. I do have the drawing that accompanies the poem in my old book, and I found this moody shadowy image and played with it until it took on some blue and mauve and pink colouring. I think it fits, and I like it a lot. Hope you do also!

The first photo is a vignette (ie collection of stuff) on my mantelpiece, which I think has a nostalgic romantic mood to match the poem too.It’s been rearranged since then…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Dinnertime

We went for a walk on the weekend, visiting a large pond frequented by a variety of waterbirds, including Coots. They thought we might be offering dinner, so my “dinnertime” challenge was given to me on a plate, as it were…

Canberra is well-endowed with walking tracks (best stay alert for cyclists coming up behind though!), and they lead to things like playgrounds and this pond, which is where storm-water ends up (if it ever rains, that is). A little lock at the other end catches rubbish and keeps it out of the broad expanse of silvery water. We saw a spoon-bill later – too far off to get a photo, unfortunately,  but we could see it gracefully sweeping its bill from side to side as it hunted it’s dinner. It was midday, but when I was growing up, “dinner’ was the noon meal, with “tea” in the evening – even if “dinner” was a Vegemite sandwich and “tea” meat and three veg.

We didn’t have anything for the hopeful Coots, so they had to find their own.

Creativity: Making a Silk Purse from a Sow’s Ear

The old garage/shed that came with our property was what is kindly called a “vernacular building”. That means, made from whatever was handy, and without benefit of plans…It was sturdy, and the possums and rats found it accommodating. The walls and roof were both corrugated iron – reused at least once. I suppose it had character, but it was neither beautiful nor very useful. Ten years ago, we pulled the front part down to make way for a new possum-and-rat-proof shed. The tail-end stayed, because we needed a dry place for winter’s wood, and a place to stash recyclables until someone could take them to the transfer station. What was once a hard-to-access carport became a place to dry the washing. And so it stayed, until…

We were having a party, and what if it rained? So the carport became “The Pirate Lounge” – after which the junk piled back in again. It’s a shame I never thought to take photos as the changes took place. More recently, I decided to get really drastic. and had a really big clean out, demolishing the decrepit old cupboards (possums, rats, mice…) and resolving to get rid of what wasn’t useful or beautiful…

Since then I have lined the walls with parts of the old cupboards.


Then the new walls were painted – with one of the old cans of paint a friend gave me. She was clearing out her laundry after a snake appeared in the bathroom…Yes, I know! The colour is very “her”, and prompted Alex to comment that the new decor was “more mermaid than pirate”. True. It is.20151228_144225

The next step was to barrow in gravel to level up the floor, which had only ever been “dirt”, and went with the slope of the land. I laid a big tarp over the top of the gravel so its fairly clean and stable. By now, the name has changed to “The Seahorse Saloon”…20160106_145214

You can see shelves on the left of the photo – drawers from an old robe, stacked up against the wall (and nailed in place).20160106_171859

Once the floor was done, I put down some mats and brought in comfy chairs. Then I made a nice pot of Japanese green tea. There’s still plenty more to do – the car port part needs a new floor,  too, but I’ve been having a lot of fun creating a pleasant outdoor living room using reused and recycled materials wherever possible.

It’s still in the vernacular spirit of the original, but much, much nicer.

2015 in review

Another year over, and the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. It never ceases to impress me that what I type in our small corner of the world is then read by people all over the globe, in places I have never heard of, and will probably never get to see. Knowing it is read by people I know is perhaps more daunting than the idea that anyone anywhere with internet connection can look at my photos and read my poems and prose. I’m not given to New Year’s resolutions, not my thing, but I do plan to keep on blogging!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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)

Friday Poem: Cornflakes

Lord of the DanceI came across this poem in an old notebook, and decided I should release it into the world…A few ideas have come together in this one, and it’s not actually “me” speaking, but I think it’s quite fun if a little impolite…nov 2011 018 (Large)

Oh how I love you
My Naga,
My Nataraja
Lord of my Dance,
My Shiva.
Sacred Lingam,
I bring for you
A bowl of warm milk;
An offering
Poured over
your cornflakes…

I will also tell you
that cornflakes
Are not food –
Unfit for consumption;
And that you
Should not be
eating them.

I will also remind you
That they were intended –
Somewhat fancifully –
To prevent erotic thoughts;
Unhelpful for a love god
Like yourself.nov 2011 021 (Large)

If you didn’t know, it is the custom in India where Lord Shiva is worshiped, to pour milk over the sacred lingam, which is a symbol of the energy and potential of the god himself. Cornflakes, on the other hand are made from twice-cooked toasted corn, created by Dr Kellogg as a source of dietary fibre, which he believed would protect young lads from wanting to please themselves, if you know what I mean…  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work!