Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a little bit of garden DIY...

I spent hours in the courtyard last weekend. Hours. This appears to be a necessary evil when you have neglected it for the entire winter!  There's still quite a bit to go but I managed to do some rearranging, put in some new sprinkler thingies, pull out a mass of weeds (don't talk to me about honeysuckle!), toss some very large concrete pavers over the wall (don't ask, you don't want to know!) and plant some flowers and veggies.
I also did a very simple little DIY involving a mirror, a pot and a new little space in the courtyard where the rickety old bench used to be...voila!
This little spot under the growing maple tree lets me see the sky (reflected in the mirror) while reading a book, having a drink and without straining my neck!
and as a bonus...the pot is a place to put a bit of gardening paraphernalia...just whip off the mirror and put it back on when done. Clever huh!
As as for that bench where Buffy used to sit...
...I'm using it to grow a herb garden! 
Poor vampire slayer...

all photos by me taken on the iPhone 4S

Sunday, October 21, 2012

to the sea...

I love Canberra. I have a very happy life here. But then I go to the sea and wonder why I'm not living somewhere else...like by the water.
With a job like mine there are times when (with the wonders of the interweb) I can work from pretty well anywhere.  Last week I was lucky enough to be able to work by the sea. Firstly with a colleague who has relocated to Nelson Bay (sea change or what!) and then for a few more days with my parents in Newcastle.
No-one believes me when I say I got a whole heap of work done...but it's true. Yes, really. Having said that, there were coastal compensations.
Here's a lovely picture of mum and dad at the Newcastle Ocean Baths. 
They're doing ok but frailer each time I see them; and let's not talk about the memory loss!! But no matter what, school prawns with my dad is a long, long tradition...I'm a much speedier peeler than him these days though :)
How about you? Do you prefer coast or country? Or if you're really lucky, do you have both?
all images: kerry martin flickr

Saturday, October 13, 2012

way out west...

In the middle of last month the fella and I went on a four day road trip to Walgett. Where you ask?? Walgett. No, I didn't know where it was either. But it's the place where Richard was born. And as far as I could tell that's its only attraction! I shouldn't be rude, but I have to confess it's not a place I could ever live.  Still, we had a great time at his Year 10 school reunion and it was lovely to see people who hadn't seen each other for 35 years having a fine old time :)
I took the opportunity to put the trip to another purpose, taking photos for the latest assignment on the photography course I'm doing. We had to choose a theme: so mine was rural NSW | people, places and things!  Here's a selection of my favourites...
There's been a squillion canola field pics on instagram in the last month or so, but gee...I never tire of them.  And I can't tell you how chuffed I was to work out how to do the slow moving water thing too...although I won't tell you how many attempts I had before it worked!
When we were in Walgett there was an aboriginal rugby competition on with teams from all over the place. I am pleased to report (as a born and bred Novacastrian) that the Newcastle team won! There were kids galore having a fabulous time...
And on our way back to Canberra we just had to stop in and stay with Julienne...I was allowed to take photos of her stuff...and what a rich source of stuff there was!
Coat stand in the longest hallway in the world! And here's the woman herself giving Richard a tour of the homestead :)
Had the best time, loved experimenting with the camera and even better, got to meet new people as well as see dear friends.
I had been scheduled to go to Shanghai with work but my participation got cancelled at the last minute...so I got to go to Walgett instead...
...the Shanghai of the west!! Oh well, there's always next year.
If you would like to see a few more images head on over to my Flickr account.
all images by Kerry Martin

Saturday, September 22, 2012

fun in the studio...

Did I tell you I'm doing a photography course at the Canberra Institute of Technology? I probably did! Sixteen weeks every wednesday night for three hours. I am loving it.

Much excitement for me this week when for the first time in my life I got to shoot in a real, live studio.  It was such a wonderful learning experience, and now I have a bit more of an idea how the professionals do it! 
This week it was portraits and a very kind colleague agreed to come and be my model...I'm so pleased with how they turned out...this is just a small sample.

And yes, having a beautiful face to photograph makes it SO much easier.
Next week....back in the studio for still life photography. Can't wait!

images: kerry martin

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I did a very foolish thing...an update

Well it's certainly been a while since I've posted hasn't it! But that's not the foolish thing I did. In fact, taking a break was probably a very wise idea.
Alas, the same can't be said for my failure to save 99% of the photos I took on the weekend when the kids and I drove to Newcastle to surprise my dad for fathers' day.

 If you haven't caught up with the news (and let's face it why would you when I've been so slack, idle and absent) I've taken up photography. I'm doing a course at the Canberra Institute of Technology and I'm loving it.
But I probably should have paid more attention last week when part of the lesson was about file management. Hmmm...some lessons we have to learn the hard way I guess.
Still, I managed to play around with a few pics before I formatted the memory card (which if you don't know wipes all the images ready for the new batch). I actually did that deliberately, and didn't I think I was clever! Unfortunately I thought that the special file I'd created for my Newcastle portfolio was saved on the hard drive. Instead, it was on the memory card!! Which of course is now blank. I'm blaming the new Mac. I couldn't possibly be that silly : )
What's that you say? You need rain to make rainbows. Hmmph.
Update: I went to my photography class tonight and thankfully there are people there who know so much more than me. I downloaded some software and I've got my pictures back. Thank goodness...there were quite a lot of mum, dad and the kids. We don't get together very often so it was wonderful to be able to recover them. I love the Mac again :)
image 1 and 3: kerry martin; image 2: ben martin

Friday, June 22, 2012

A change of direction...

It’s been a while since I've done a blog post (crumbs I just checked, it's over a month) and almost as long since I've read anyone else’s. I'm sorry about that... I'm sure I've been missing out on wonderful things while I’ve been missing in action. And no, the change of direction does not involve me becoming a vegetarian!
I've been struggling with what to do about the blog.  To be honest, I've lost a bit of interest.  Perhaps it’s because I've lost interest in some of the related things...if you’d told me six months ago that I would have so many not just unread magazines, but actually unopened ones I would have thought you were the one who was bonkers, not me!
(and that's only a few of them!)
I don’t want to give blogging up, but nor do I want it to be a pressure, or heaven forbid a burden. So I've decided to give it another direction.  I want to focus (no pun intended, or maybe just a little one) on photography. I've been taking lots of photos. I have a new DSLR, I’m also a bit addicted to using the iPhone and posting pictures on Instagram and Streamzoo, and I'm studying.
I’ve tried a lot of things in my life. I'm a "let’s give it a whirl" kind of girl, but the truth is I don’t often stick to anything. Let me see...there have been courses in painting, sewing, writing, styling...although to be fair I did pick up fairly quickly that schlepping around the place with a bunch of props wasn't for me! 
I’ve knitted, crocheted, sewed, glued, drilled. I lose interest quickly I'm afraid.
I’ve been working with a life coach on this...why it is I don’t pursue anything to its proper conclusion, why I don’t persevere. But with photography I’ve finally found something that I want to become really good at, earn some money from sometime down the track, and continue to be thrilled by. And as I heard someone say on the radio the other day "if you don't know where you're going, where you end up is exactly the right place". I like that. It sits well with me.
(my fabulous table tonic necklace...love it to bits)
So my dear friends, the blog is likely to turn into a place where I can post my own images, not shots that other people take. This seems to be to be a sensible combination of keeping the blog going, keeping my interest going, as well as forcing me to do my assignments in the photography course I'm currently studying.  And I promise I will do some interiors down the track! I have just the house in mind.
I hope you stay along for the ride and see where it takes me. Game on!
all images: a tranquil townhouse/Kerry Martin (some using the Canon, some the iPhone)

Friday, May 11, 2012

soul food friday | universal truths

I've been a bit of a sad sack these last few weeks. I've done a lot of crying, been tangled up in thoughts and indulged in much soul searching.  In fact, it's all been a bit...
[yesterday's fat mum slim photoaday pic - a favourite word]
And while I said that I wouldn’t make the blog a diary of my personal trials and tribulations, it occurred to me that there have been a few light bulb moments lately that may be worth sharing. Some universal truths if you like. Things that have hit me over the head and not, I dare say, for the first time in my life either! In no particular order:
  • Uncertainty is anxiety inducing, so make sure you get the answers,  even if you don’t like them.
  • Not knowing is much, much worse than knowing.         
  • You can’t look forward while you’re constantly looking back.
  • Everyone owns a piece of the truth about a situation – you should find out what those truths are.
  • Exercise really does help, much as I hate to admit it :)
  • Find something to immerse yourself in. Develop a new interest or rekindle an old. For me it’s been a digital photography course (I've got a long way to go but here are some early attempts...and remember possums, Rome wasn't built in a day!)
...this was a serendipitous (hi Felicity) event, having booked the course a while ago, but it’s been a life saver...
  • When you're very sad you should be kind to yourself, kinder than you've ever been. 
  • You always need something to look forward to...for me it's travel. Morocco in December, and a work trip to Shanghai in September.
  • Let yourself feel all the emotions you need to feel, whether they're 'worthy' or not, but probably think for a bit before acting on them.  Not one of my strengths I'm afraid :)
  • There will always be a reason for what’s happening, even if it’s not clear and even if you don’t like it, or even if it’s just to confirm that sometimes there really is no good reason! 
  • Remind yourself of timeless wisdom - I'm re-reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, especially the part describing how we feel sorrow because we've previously experienced joy, and vice versa - it's comforting. It's ageless. This too shall pass right?
  • Take any help that’s offered, but only if you’re ready to receive it – sometimes it’s not quite the right time.     
  • There’s no such thing as perfect. No, really, there isn’t, but imperfection can be ok too. We just need to see beyond the imperfections.
I read somewhere a long time ago that the universe keeps on giving you the same old lesson until you get it through your thick skull (I’m paraphrasing of course). This seems to be very true for me, and to be honest I'm a bit tired of it. I get it. Enough already! 
And if all else fails, take the day off work and go on a road trip with some buddies to that place that sells the Swedish meatballs (yeah, that one)…that’s what I’m doing today. Have a fab weekend. I've got a photography course field trip to Captain's Flat tomorrow. Fun. Yes, it surely will be...if only I can find my memory card. Sigh.
all images: kerry martin / a tranquil townhouse

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

in my dreams...

It won’t be any surprise to people who’ve been following along for a while that I can get quite immersed in new things :)
Photography is the latest (I won’t say fad), but instead, let's just say it's a bit of a consuming interest at the moment.
I dream of being able to take photos like these I saw at the NationalPortrait Gallery on Sunday. What amazing captures of extraordinary faces. The winner...
by Roderick McNicol
...and some other favourites. It was mainly, but not always, the older faces that grabbed me. And the stories behind them of course.
Peter West
by Matthew Abbott
 by Andrew Campbell
by Eryca Green
 by Miles Standish
I'm so lucky to live in Canberra. 
I’ve started a photography course...I’m only one week in and completely bamboozled by F-stops, apertures and ISOs. But I’ll get there!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

laughter, linen and princesses...

I can’t begin to imagine a life without friends, and I count myself lucky to have some very good ones around me.  And I still...even after over two years, continue to be amazed by the friendship that blogging brings. I just spent a fabulous weekend in the truly wonderful company of one of those people...Jules from One Pink Chair. She wrote about it here.
If I dared to forget it, I was reminded in no uncertain way that laughter really is the best medicine. 
Jules made me laugh. I made her laugh too. We did a great deal of it...mostly at my expense though...now I think about it! 
Jules set me up in the 'princess bedroom'. Princess? Me? No way! 
And I slept on monogrammed linen...isn't it beautiful.
Jules fed me. 
I got her drunk. 
Fair exchange.
Jules taught me how to play words with friends...not very well as you can see by this...
I didn't beat her but I WILL one day. She may look sweet, but she shows no mercy when it comes to games...not a bit :)
Jules took me out for coffee with her fabulous friends and I could have sat there all morning. 
Hmm, perhaps I did.
 (I haven't quite worked out how to get the photos off my new camera, so this generic coffee shot I took will have to do for the moment!)
Breaking news...I worked it out...sort of. I still have no clue where they go on my laptop...but one step at a time hey?
Jules introduced me to four legged friends - not the feline variety. 
I sneaked Winnie food under the table when the mistress wasn't looking. 
Pooches are ok it seems, but don't tell the vampire slayer I said that.
It's such a wonderful thing to get away for a bit, out of your own space, away from the familiar. The time went very quickly, although the road trip home seemed to take forever. Not that it mattered. I was feeling good. Thank you lovely lady for such a soul enriching 48 hours. And thank you Souki for tolerating me. 
Now that one really is a princess!!
all images: a tranquil townhouse using the iPhone
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