Friday, December 21, 2012

festive cheer

Heavy rain set in yesterday and the 10 day forecast has grey clouds on every day except Monday

My festive lists and preparations for family celebrations are beckoning (with un traditional items such as Thai dipping sauce as well as traditional mince pies).

I’m guessing many of you will be in a similar situation so until we connect again on the other side of Christmas – fond wishes that your festivities are all that you hope they will be and this little haven of cheer - home made mince pies on my NZ Christmas plate with my Christmas mugs full of a hot beverage


[Apologies to the song writers for my change in the words]

[snow effects from a brush by K Pertiett]

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fabulous door decoration

Many of the doors in my neighbourhood are sporting colourful festive wreaths. The local greengrocer has a big pile of holly wreaths outside his shop and there were big piles of pine ones at the garden centre last week too so they are obviously widely popular.

On my Saturday walk I was impressed by the variety on show so I snapped some to create a collage.


These are not part of the festive tradition in New Zealand – I guess because it is summer in December and wreaths originate in mid winter celebrations.

Are door wreaths part of the festive decor in your neighbourhood?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a tradition?

Is intention and one repetition enough to create a tradition?  As someone who has been accused of counting ‘1,2, lots’ and ‘once, twice, always’ I tend to think that it is – so here is my new Santa tradition.

Last year when I was unpacking my decorations for the first time since moving back from New Zealand in 2009, I decided that I’d like a small tradition relating to ornaments.  With all of my decorations out on display I noticed that Santas dominated


so I decided to add to them each year.  Last year I bought the fellow on the top row, second from the right.

This year I bought another cheery Santa ornament with a Scandinavian feel

so is intention and one repeat enough to be called a ‘tradition’?  Do you have a festive ornament tradition?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

on the bright side

one of the things that I find hard to re-adjust to back in Scotland after 20 years in New Zealand is the long hours of darkness in winter – at the moment it gets dark around 3.30pm and is still not fully light as I type this at 8.20am.

But in normal ‘Pollyanna’ mode I found a plus side now that the festive lights have been lit.  As well as the lit decorations down the high street, the council wraps several trees with small lights.  I love how these trees look and have even been tempted out for a short walk after dark to see them


When more of the houses in my neighbourhood have their house lights and trees up I intend to do another after dark photowalk to capture the magic.

Monday, December 3, 2012


The beginning of another month so time to summarise last month in numbers.  Thanks to Julie for this prompt which I’ve enjoyed all year.


[pattern strip by G Bursett]

And here is the advent calendar I made for my parents, inspired by an idea in a supermarket Festive magazine. The bowl is filled with 24 paper cones each of which contains a small festive treat.  I printed the labels and cut out with my tag punch.


Friday, November 30, 2012

favourite photoart of the year

For the last PhotoArt Friday of this year Bonnie invited us to look back over our work and pick a favourite to share.

Looking back my favourites all have a painterly feel and most use the artistic filters within PSE.  The last 2 that I posted are amongst my favourite for the year but I decided to focus on earlier pieces and chose this one which also has probably my most commonly focussed subject – the sea.  I have a print of this piece and love the movement in it.


Looking forward to more photoart creation and sharing next year and many thanks to Bonnie for providing a forum to share every Friday on PixelDust PhotoArt

Friday, November 23, 2012


of the visual type.


I was blown away by these sights when I walked by the harbour on Wednesday.  The water was so still and the light just right for clear reflections and the boats provide so many wonderful shapes.  [display board is from CoffeShop Blog].

As well as loving them as straight images I also decided to work the pixel magic on one to make it painterly.  I was so pleased with the result that I decided it needed a grand frame.  I’m going to print this one out for sure.  Also linking to PhotoArt Friday, in the ‘what I’ve been working on’ rather than the suggested theme category.


[I used the artistic filter paint daubs then added 3 of Bonnie’s textures – yesteryear in overlay; medieval magic in multiply; and scratched  canvas in soft light]

And if your were hoping that the title referred to reflections on a more metaphysical nature you might like to check out Lee’s recent post on her plans to use 31 questions to reflect on the year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hanging on


I’ve noticed a lot of roses still hanging on in the gardens around here, including mine.  I was surprised, though, to see marigolds producing flowers at this time of year. 

[box with arrow is from Ali Edwards]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finally on the wall

Back in June and July I created 6 digiart pieces for Summer of Colour 2 and have finally decided how to display them.  for summer of colour 1 I printed my favourites onto mugs which I use all the time.  This year I created pieces to spell ‘create’ to add to the wall in my craftspace.

I had each piece printed as a 12 x 12 poster and they look fabulous.  This is what I see when I look to the left while sitting at my computer.  With a wet and grey day outside the window on my right I think I’m going to be looking left today!

Monday, November 12, 2012

360 degree


Over the weekend I

* enjoyed more fabulous autumnal colours -  I particularly liked the clear blue sky with the copper coloured beech leaves.

* watched on TV the All Blacks (NZ) beat Scotland at rugby.  Probably the only time that I happily sing along to both national anthems.  No real wrench over who to support because a win for New Zealand (current World Champions) was assumed by all and Scotland is used to ‘glorious defeat’.  Fabulous displays of fast open play.

*set up the Wii I borrowed from my nephew and made it work thanks to some tutorials on YouTube


And looking forward

* rain forecast to start the week – a promise of clear weather on Thursday

* using Just Dance on the Wii instead of my daily walk – question is do I close the blinds when I dance during the day or accept people walking past will be able to see me dance?

* evenings glued to the TV with two strangely compelling reality competitions running nightly at the moment – MasterChef Professional and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

* trip to Glasgow on Tuesday to see my nephew and his group’s latest play

* more stuff sorting – it’s all improvement from here now piles have been sorted and just need putting away

Friday, November 9, 2012

abstract landscapes

When I saw Bonnie’s PhotoArt Friday prompt for this week was lines I immediately knew which photos I would use.  On my regular walks by the sea I am captivated by the stripes of sand, sea and sky which often form very abstract looking stripes in shades of grey / grunge.  It was these photos that I turned to – interpreting lines as stripes of colour.


In all of the photos I used Bonnies velum texture and played with the blending modes – the ones above and below are linear burn and the last is overlay.



I love each by itself but I also thought they would look really good as a collection.  So I rotated them all to emphasise the stripes rather than horizon and grouped them


I think this is one I’ll print up large.

Looking forward to what others do with the idea of lines.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Outside my window glorious sunshine and fabulous low angled light that I love in landscape photos.  And I like having such a tall shadow


In my kitchen busy with the oven yesterday with roast chicken and plum crumble and now have lentil soup in process for lunch

I’m wearing boots, gloves and coat every time I go outside – the consequence of sunshine is no cloud and so colder nights

I’m hoping to sort through several piles of stuff and move some to a charity shop (feels like preparing my cave for winter hibernation!)

I’m pleased that I walked for at least 40 minutes each day last week and plan to keep it up

I’m noticing Christmas displays in so many shops and thinking they are motivated by a desire for sales at the end of a poor year for sales.  I was amazed at the way so many shops switched over from Halloween to Christmas on 1st of November – I think 2 months is too much for full on Christmas in the shops.    

I’m remembering that a year ago I in New York and walked in Battery Park – made the photos of the flooding more real knowing what it normally looks like.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

panda spotting take 2

On Saturday I went to the zoo with my sister for a second look at the pandas.  They arrived in Scotland almost a year ago and are still a big attraction so you have to book a slot to see them and get about 15 minutes.  Which means there is no guarantee on if you will see any of either of them.  When we went in May we were pleased to catch a glimpse of each sleeping form.

With cooler weather we were hopeful of seeing a bit more this time.  As we queued we were told the female was in her inner enclosure but the male was not.  Then as we went in we heard the male was now out eating. 

He was sitting in his feeding basket with his back resolutely towards the crowds. He sat like that for 5 mins, occasionally eating some bamboo – I have several nearly identical photos.  Then, when most people were over watching the female, he climbed down and over to his platform to snuffle up the remaining crumbs of his panda cake.  


Lovely to see him moving around.  I think he is a fabulous looking bear.

The female was laying still but posing beautifully so I have these two lovely portraits of her


and him


We did see many other animals in the zoo but these were the stars.

Friday, October 19, 2012

these ones I thought were good

for PhotArt Friday this week Bonnie suggested we all use her latest fabulous texture.  I enjoy this type of challenge as it removes a decision and I can play with various images and blending modes until I find some images I like.  I often think it is the deciding when an image is ‘good’ that is the key – the editing tools are just, well tools.

Anyway here are the images I decided to keep from my session of playing.  In all cases I flipped the texture upside down.


Here the blending mode is overlay – I think it has a 70s feel


Here the blending mode is darker and I love how it looks like a pink fog and frost on the wood at the front


And for this photo taken out of my window of the heavy rain on the road the blending mode is colour burn.  I love the rich colours.

Monday, October 15, 2012

stack them up

Mix a walk on the beach, a sunny day, a playful mood, some recent posts by Rinda on cairns, some spontaneity and this is what I got


Have you done anything spontaneous recently?

Friday, October 12, 2012

wet wet wet

NO, I’m not talking about our weather again.  Today all the liquid is digital magic in response to Bonnie’s prompt for PhotoArt Friday this week – liquid.


I decided to play with a filter in the distort set called liquify and liked the effect on a variety of images from flowers to the Olympic rings in flame


On all of them I also added Bonnie’s texture old velum to each




I enjoyed playing with this distortion and look forward to see how others have interpreted the prompt.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Outside my window it is definitely autumn – yellow and fallen leaves; dark until nearly 7am

Around the garden there is plenty I need to do after being away for a month – weeding, trimming the hedge, cutting back the buddleia

I am thinking about ways to ensure that I keep up my daily walk as the hours of daylight decrease and the chances of cold and wet increase

I am thankful for a smooth journey home from Bangladesh, which included lunch with my nephew as I transited through his home city.

I am wearing green cords, a purple top and purple cardigan.  Packed away all my summer tops yesterday but haven’t unpacked the woollen jumpers yet

I am hoping for a good week for my blogfriends who are facing various adversities at the moment.  If you were close by I’d be round with home baked cake and offers of help and support

I am reading on my Kindle the second novel by Kate Morton ‘The Forgotten Garden’ having just finished her first novel

I am hearing the morning news.  I love that I can play the radio on my computer and listen to the news program every morning as I check emails and blogs

I am creating lists of things that I need to do to over the next few days as I transition back into ‘home’

And a favourite recent photo – I was given this fabulous box by project team when I left Bangladesh.  The decoration is a combination on embroidery and beads. I appreciate how well they chose a gift that I love.

Friday, October 5, 2012

learning to count again

I've learnt a new way to count with my fingers in Bangaldesh.  I could see the women in our office doing it when they were preparing materials for our workshop and I asked them about it.  They were amazed that it was new to me as they all learn as young children.  I've been using it ever since and am suprised that we don't use it in the UK as it allows you to count to 20 on one hand and up to 400 on 2 hands.

Basically you use the 3 joints on each finger, plus the pad to count to 4 on each finger
so we start with
then on to the next fingers
and finally the thumg to finish on 20
the left hand is used to count the number of times that you reach 20.  It really changes the idea of 'you can count them on the fingers of one hand'.

Is anyone else familliar with this method?  or anything simillar?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A day in Dhaka

Last week (27th) I tried to take pictures of the full day so that I could have a 'day in my life' collection.  While I'm in Dhaka I'm staying with some Australian friends who are posted here - makes a nice change from a month in a hotel. 


The frames are derived from Ali Edwards handrawn frames - I really like how they look for this series and will be using the idea again.

I've printed each out as a photo and put them in my Project Life album as one of the components for the month in Bangladesh.  I decided not to follow the weekly format for the visit and instead have a page for the workshop and a page for 'home life' and now this day in life

Monday, October 1, 2012

September adds up

I'm still in Bangladesh and having internet problems which means I have not been able to access blogland since 17th of September.  Looking forward to catching up on what everyone has been up to when I finally get good access and some time to browse.

Popping in now to post my numerical summary of September - both the week at home and the 3 weeks in Bangladesh

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Photo Scavenger Hunt

End of summer and time to wrap up Rinda’s summer photo scavenger hunt.  With this photo of me holding a cushion with the Scottish flag I have captured all items on the list, using a sub for the hanging swing.


And here is the double spread in my Project Life album showing all of the items


I really enjoyed hunting for the items and looking at the variety of images that were found for simple things like a washing line. And I love how these photos tell some stories about my summer as well as collecting the items.  Thanks Rinda, looking forward to the next one.

Friday, September 21, 2012

through the window

I love to watch city life while we drive to and from the office and often have my camera out.  About a third of my shots manage to capture what I intended without blur or obstruction.  Here are some from the past week.


many people walk to work.  Here you can see the traditional wrap worn by men. 


For those who don’t walk the common transport is very crowded buses or cycle rickshaws or diesel tuktuks.  Children are taken to school in these contraptions (normally 8 in each), pulled by a man on a cycle – I can’t help thinking of the childcatcher in ChittyChitty BangBang


Traffic is chaotic with the only road rule seeming to be ‘if I’m bigger or ahead of you then I have right of way’.  At some junctions the road police regulate the flow so that cars can turn across the oncoming flow.  They wear blue camouflage uniforms and are armed with rifles although I’ve never seem them being used or held anywhere other than down their back.


I’m always amazed and delighted at how green the city is with trees along most roads and plants all around houses. With all the rain plants thrive



The lake looks beautiful but is highly polluted.

I’m intrigued by this scene from my office window


A bored man on a bamboo bridge (the water is coverer in weed) with a large umbrella for shelter from rain and sun.  No-one in the office can tell me why a guard is needed on the bridge – it leads to a field and a shed.