Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wow ... busy busy busy ... again!

Well hello there!   It's been an awfully long time since I've posted in my blog ... thought I'd better let you know that I'm still alive, but as usual, have just been too busy to come on here.

What have I been doing?

Well, I was busy playing Taxi last year with Ashton in Grade 2 and Liam at Kinder, and running around between gymnastics and swimming and basketball ... you get the idea.   Then, I decided to do a short photography course, which was fabulous, which led to me doing a short course on Photoshop (which I still get totally flummoxed by some times), and which has also led to me now enrolling into a more substantial (online) photography course with The Photography Institute, and I'm about a month into it now.  Submitted my first assignemt, and got great marks for it, and am currently working through the second module - but I'm up to the part where I need to take photos, and the weather has turned nasty, so I'll need to wait a few days I think.  

Have been taking a few photos - still loving my camera! - and when I'm not reading through my course modules or photography magazines, I'm researching the new lens that I want to get.

Here are a few shots I've taken over recent months ...

I got up nice and early one morning last winter to get some shots for the short course I was studying - needed to have a bit of a play with depth of field, and I liked the contract between the dew and the barbed wire ...

Taken on the same morning, I just loved the large droplets caught on this spider web - pretty happy with a relatively sharp, hand-held image too, considering the web was blowing around in the breeze ... 

And I never knew that horses ended up with dew on their eyelashes!

Saw these beautiful magnolias in the front yard of a house in my street coming home from that early morning photoshoot ... gorgeous silky petals.

This is another shot playing with depth of field - hand-held shot of a tiny ball of moss on the ground in the State Forest - I was lying on the ground trying to get in nice and close while at the same time staying nice and steady ...

And this is a shot of Craigh's Hut, up in the Victorian High Country, which I just took on the long weekend a couple of weeks back ... such a beautiful part of the world.

Ok, so what else have I been doing?  Well, we had a party here for my 40th in January, so a lot of my time over Christmas was spent getting the house ready for that; we have also built a vegie patch out off our new deck area, which I'm loving pottering in; we've had the house re-painted inside; we've built a lovely garden bed along the outer edges of the deck and have rendered the barbecue and rebuilt the pergola out the back;  Liam has started in Prep and Ashton is now in Grade 3, and I'm sure there's more but I just can't think of anything else right now.

Here's a shot of my gorgeous boys all ready for school ...

And I think that's about all I have to show you right now.   There are still heaps of photos that I haven't processed from our recent weekend away (still learning Photoshop, so I'm really slow), but I'll get around to them, and will post them when I can.

So, until next time, take care, and I'll talk to you soon.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So much has been happening in my world ...

Wow - just checked my blog, and realised that I haven't updated it since June!   That was a looooong time ago, and so much has happened since then!

We've been away to Fiji for another holiday (which was FABULOUS), Liam's had his 5th birthday, we've had heaps of social functions on lately, and I've become an aunty again!   I'm sure there's more, but it escapes me for the time being.

I thought firstly that I would upload a couple of my fave pics from our 2nd trip to Fiji ... this first one is of a sunset that just sort of sneaked up on us!  We were having drinks back at the room, marvelling at the beautiful salmon pink coloured sky, then while walking to dinner I noticed how much it had intensified on the horizon!  Needless to say, I sent the others on to dinner, and ran back to the room to get the tripod and camera ;)

This shot is of when we were heading back to the resort after a fabulous session out parasailing.   It was my first time, and while I hated being on the boat out in the deep water (NOT a fan of boats), being up in the harness, 150m up in the air, was really quite something.   So peaceful!    Just loved the colours in the parachute - this was taken just as they were packing it away.

And this was another 5.30am sunrise shot - probably need to enhance this a little bit in photoshop, but there was a beautiful range of pinks and purples and blues in the sky - a magical time of day.

And what else have we been doing?    Running around to swimming lessons (Liam's been promoted 2 levels!), Auskick (although thankfully it's now finished - was getting very chilly in the mornings!), birthday parties for just about every child that either Ashton or Liam know, Liam's own 5th birthday party (his first ever party, which, surprise surprise, was dominated by girls!), work functions, play dates with school friends, the school trivia night (we won best dressed table!  see pics below), AFL games, movies, rollerskating, go-karting, dinners out, and I've started a 7-week photography course at Box Hill TAFE - we've been sooo busy!  

Here's a pic of all the girls from my table at the trivia night - we had been allocated the letter 'E', so of course we went with 'Eighties' as our theme!   (That's me, second from the right, if you're not sure ;) )

And here are the boys - thank goodness Spotlight had mullet wigs on sale!   It's scary how comfortable they all were in this sort of get-up ...

It was a fabulous night, and I'm so pleased everyone got really involved and put a lot of work into their outfits - we were getting great comments all night, and it was fabulous to be voted Best Dressed Table (not bad, considering there was around 18 tables I think ...)

And that's what we've been up to.   Coming up, we have Ashton appearing in the school production next week, more work functions for Nick, dinner with work friends, the school sleepover is not too far away now, and basketball will be starting up on Saturday mornings soon.   I'm exhausted just thinking about it all!

Anyway, better go get dinner ready - talk to you soon!


Monday, June 6, 2011

What a fabulous day of photography ...

Well, after booking it way back on Christmas Day last year, on Saturday I finally had the chance to go on my full day photography tour of Melbourne with Mark Gray Photography.    And what a fabulous day it was!  My good friend Brooke came along for the day, and we had a wonderful time! There was only 7 of us on the day (the groups are limited to 8, but one person had to pull out the day before), so we all got a good amount of one on one time with Mark at each location.   We all met up at 8.15am in town, and were quickly loaded into the minibus for our transit to the banks of the Yarra, for our first technical session.  A great introduction technical discussion, which was followed by our first actual photo session - located on the bridge over the Yarra just at the Tennis Centre, looking back up to the city.  Had a play around with white balance and different f/stop settings, and also tried out the polariser, and basically just got used to handling my camera on the tripod.   We then wandered along the banks of the river up to Birrarung Marr and tried to get some shots of the bells, but unfortunately they were surrounded by scaffolding, which made it a bit tricky!   Another city skyline shoot from a different angle, then it was time to head back for another technical session.

Lots of great information and handy hints and tips, and then it was time to head down to St Kilda for our shoot out on St Kilda Pier.  Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't brilliant, but I still tried to put into practice some of the tips we'd been tought re: the rule of thirds etc.and checking the image for sharpness, given that all the boats moored were rocking around quite roughly because of all the wind. A lovely lunch was had at the Beachcomber Cafe, and then it was time for another transit, down to Brighton Beach for our final technical discussion, and then a shoot down at the Beach Boxes.   Again, the lighting wasn't brilliant, but it's still good to try and use the tips we'd been given about leading lines etc.

Then, after a chilly half hour on the beach, it was time to head back for afternoon tea (mmm, coffee and apple and cinnamon muffin!), and then we headed into town for the final session, which was what I'd really been looking forward to all day - the twilight shoot on the banks of the Yarra river. 

Well, what a beatiful evening we had!   We set up across from Flinders Street Station, and just watched the lighting change, almost by the second.   I took many gradul photos, every minute or so, and looking back through them now, it's awesome to watch the night time descending on the cith skyling.  We were starting to get longer exposures - up to around 15 seconds, and then it was time to move to our second last location for the night - up on the bridge at the Arts Centre.

This was just the most perfect location, and it was the most perfect evening for the shoot - I was getting 15 second exposures, that turned into 20 second exposures, and my favourite shot of the evening was a fabulous 25 second exposure!   Just magic!   The light had gone past it's useful level, so we headed over to Flinders Street Station, and had a play with capturing light trails at the intersection, and then at 6.30pm, it was time to call it a night.

Anyway, here are some pics of my day ... I am really, really pleased with how the first 2 shots turned out.   The lighting wasn't great for the earlier part of the day, but I will be going back to those locations again one day, when the lighting is better, and will hopefully get better shots.

So, here you go ...

Brooke and I were just buzzing with excitement all day, and it didn't stop on the drive home.  We were absolutely exhausted, overloaded with information, but I'm so glad I signed up for the tour.  Mark was just lovely, Tony the driver was great, everyone else on the tour was really nice as well, and I learnt so much.  I can't wait to put what I learnt into practice again - and at least now I know how to play with my camera settings to get the different effects, and also what settings to change if I need to correct an image.   A very worthwhile day indeed.

So there you go ... I had an absolute ball, and can't wait to get out there and play with my camera again!

But that's all for now ... talk to you soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A couple of quick cards to show you ...

Hello again -

So, so busy in my world again at the moment - it's getting a bit out of control!  We had a 40th birthday party to go to on Saturday night (and they begin!!), and Nick had been away for work all the previous week, so it was just me and the boys from Sunday to Friday night.   Did I get any scrapping done?   Nope.  Absolutely none.   I was happy to pile into bed and read most nights, but I did watch a movie one night - Black Swan - a rather disturbing, but strangely compelling movie. 

Anyway, I managed to get a couple of cards made a week or so ago ...

And that's really all the creative work I've done of late.  

My photography tour is coming up this weekend, and I am SO excited about it!   The weather doesn't look too bad ... at least for Melbourne in winter anyway ... I just hope we're all able to get some good shots.   And I've signed up for a seven-week Digital SLR Camera course at Box Hill TAFE which starts at the end of July, which will be great - really looking forward how to REALLY use my camera - you know, take it off auto and play a little??   Will be great fun.

Anyway, unfortunately, the pile of washing on my couch isn't folding itself, so I'd better go do it.

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Proud as punch ...

... of my biggest little man, Ashton.   He was selected to play his guitar as part of the music display for his school's open night last night, and he was an absolute star!

He had been practicing his song, over and over, and over again, for a couple of weeks now, and had it absolutely nailed.   He played "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In", accompanied by his teacher, Damon, and was given the honour of playing the final song for the night.   I was so nervous for him, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest it was beating so hard, but Ashton was as cool as a cucumber, and just sat there in front of the microphone (and the 40-odd people watching!), and played the song exactly as he had practiced.   No stage fright whatsoever!

And, what's more, he had such a rocking little rhythm going, with Damon on support, that the little kids sitting at the front were clapping along, and one even got up and danced!

I was beaming with pride at the end of his song ... so proud of my little man :)

Anyway, on another note - I treated myself to a new lens for my camera the other day, and I think it's going to be fun to play with!   I was driving down our street the other day, and drove past this amazing Japanese maple tree, so I just had to go home and grab my camera, and drive back and take some pictures - just love the autumnal colours in Melbourne at the moment ....

I'm very impressed with the clarity in the following pics - given that they're hand-held photos, AND using a lens that doesn't have Image Stabilisation - when I zoom right in, there's so much detail in the veins in the leaves!  The little bit of lens flare was intentional by the way ...

I can't decide whether I prefer the darker or lighter pic ...

Anyway, I think that's all for me for tonight - might go put the electric blanket on and curl up with my book for a while.

Hope you've all had a good week so far - I'm going to get the chance to (hopefully) do a bit of crafting in the next week or so, so I may well have some new pics to show you soon.

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I love my camera ....

Hi there again!

It's been a while since I've been here - whoops ... sorry about that!

I haven't really been creating much over the past few weeks - have been working on something else in the background which has been taking up a bit of my time, and will hopefully be finished soon.

So what have I been up to lately?   Well, we had a lovely Easter - we had the chance to head away for the
weekend to a friend's family farm in Bengworden (between Sale and Bairnsdale), and of course I took my camera .... just love these pics!   The first ones are of a fabulous falling-down fence on the shoreline, just as the sun was starting to set ...

And then I tried my hand at a couple of zoomed-in shots of the moon - not bad, considering I wasn't using a tripod ... I love how you can even see the craters!

 And this last one was just taken on my deck at home - was playing around with my tripod and some beautiful roses I bought ... thought I'd get in nice and close ...

So there you go ... can you tell I just LOVE my camera?   My full-day photography course with Mark Gray Photography is coming up soon .... here's the link if you're interested - looks like he's put his prices up since I signed on though!   Hope I manage to take some pics that look even remotely similar to those ones ...

Anyway, that's it for now - time to get ready for the school/kinder run.

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A couple of cards and a layout to show you ....

Well, for some unknown reason, I seem to be on a bit of a roll with my creating at the moment - I went for sooooo long doing absolutely nothing, and now I'm doing a layout or card every day or so - woot woot!

Anyway, here are the latest things to show you -

And some lovely paper from the Olivia range from Basic Grey -

And how cute is this little dude?  I bought a mixed pack of chipboard bits and pieces, just because this little guy was in the pack  :)

Well, that's all for now - I had a play with my Copic markers and one of my new La La Land stamps last night - have to turn him into a card tonight, so I might have something else to show you tomorrow.

Talk to you soon,

We're all famous -

Hello again -

Browing through all the Facebook newsfeeds last night, and noticed that Leanne Stamatellos now has her very own website (and what a fabulous job her designer has done, too!)  ... and I highly suggest you check out pic 15 in the Portraits gallery ... might see some little rugrats that look familiar :D

And we all feature on her new blog header as well - which you can see here.

Leanne really does do such beautiful work ... I can highly recommend booking a session with her if you get the chance!

Anyway, that's it for now - will hopefully have some pics to show you later today.

Take care!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yay - another layout done ...

Hello again -

Well, what a busy week it's been!   All the usual running around during the week, and then I had the chance to do a Copic beginners course with Vicki this morning at the Picture to Page scrapbooking show.

It was great to spend a couple of hours learning how to use these markers properly - they really are fantastic!  And then we got to do the obligatory scrap shopping at the show afterwards - picked up a few bargains, and a couple of super-cute La La Land stamps, to use my new Copic markers on ... and I even managed to win myself a door prize!   I never win anything, so this was a lovely surprise.   I chose a beautiful pack of Fancy Pants papers - the "That Boy" range - lovely muted boy colours on Kraft cardstock ... right up my alley!

Anyway, only one pic to show you tonight - whipped this up during the week after flicking back through our photos from Christmas time .... I never thought I'd end up using the St Kilda Schoolgirl saga as inspiration for a scrapbooking layout, but there you go.   I really love how this series of photos turned out.

Well, that's it from me for now - I'm off to play with some of my new purchases from today.   We've got another 1st birthday party to go to tomorrow, so not much crafting time for me I'm afraid - hopefully I can get back into it again tomorrow night.

Hope you're all having a great weekend so far, and I'll talk to you again soon.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Everybody loves Liam ...

Well, here it is, as promised - the pic of the layout I worked on last weekend while Nick took the boys camping.

Finally opened up my new sewing machine last night (only bought it a month ago!) and had a play with the machine stitching border around the pic ...

For info, the journalling reads: 
I don’t know what it is about Liam …

but it seems that all the ladies love him!  
He’s always had more girls for friends than boys
at ABC … Hannah ( of course!), and then Emily
and Alexia, and then there’s Daniella up at school
while we’re waiting for Ashton, but now that Liam’s started at kinder, 
the trend for female friends
is continuing!   After each kinder session,
there are long goodbyes with Emily, and now
there’s also Elsa, Eden, and Tori  
to contend with - they even jostle for position,
to be able to sit next to Liam for story time!  
I don’t know how he does it … but then again,
he’s so darn cute,
I guess it’s no real surprise ….

Thanks for looking!

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Feeling a bit like the family taxi ...

Hello again!

Haven't had a lot time to do very much creating lately - I seem to be either working, dropping off at school or kinder or childcare, or picking up from school or kinder or childcare, or driving to basketball, or driving to gymnastics, or driving to swimming, or attending kinder as a parent helper, or attending kinder Social Committee meetings, or attending kinder Management Committee meetings, or attending morning teas at either school or kinder .... spare time - what's that??   So much for taking 2 hours each week and having some ME time ... so far, each week, something else has had to come first.   Hopefully, next week, I'll get 2 hours of ME time, all just for me, but knowing me, I'll either book something into the diary, or if I do have free time, I won't know what to do with myself!

Anyway, I did have a chance to put a little layout together very quickly last night while Nick was out at (yet another) work function ... and I also did a card using the February card sketch challenge over at Scrapchat -

And I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a double layout I started on the weekend when Nick had taken the boys away camping ... it's almost finished, but I want to do some machine stitching on it, so I will need to actually open up the sewing machine that I bought about a month ago, and learn how to use it first!

Stay tuned for a pic of that layout though - I'm really loving how it's coming together so far ...

I had the opportunity to be a helper at kinder again last week, and it was great fun!   Liam has settled in really well to the kinder routine (we haven't been late once - not even when it's an 8.30 am start!), and he has already made many friends.   His teacher and her assistant are just lovely - they really do run a fabulous program there.  

Anyway, I need to go peruse the instruction manual for my new sewing machine, so I'll leave it there for now.

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Finally, some creativity strikes ...

Hello again -

Well, isn't time just flying by this year?  I can't believe we're over half way through February already ...

I've had a little bit of inspiration lately - finishing up some lettering that has been lying around, and I also decided to embark on my first ever paper bag album ... here are some pics for you.

I have decided to give the album to a friend for her birthday this week - she can choose whichever photos she would like to include in it.   There are also cards inserted into each of the open bag ends, for additional photos or journalling.   Hope she likes it!

And here are a few cards I've made ...

Things in the Bradford household have been pretty busy of late - school is back, with Ashton now in Grade 2, and Liam has started at kinder, which he's loving!    We've had dinner with friends both nights this weekend, and have been busy most Friday and Saturday nights since the start of the year!   It's all good though :) 

One thing I'm loving is getting back into playing 500 again - we used to play it A LOT with friends, but they aren't together anymore, and so our card playing ceased forthwith as well.   But, we've been teaching Kath and Justin how to play, and they've picked it up really quickly.   We also had a chance to play 500 with Greg and Brooke when they came for dinner last night, which was great.

We took the boys to the Victorian Herpetological Society Expo yesterday - there were snakes and geckos and frogs and turtles everywhere, and it was actually pretty cool.  The boys got to hold a couple of snakes, so they were pretty excited about that.

Well, I'm still feeling inspired with the whole paper bag album concept, so I'm making another one for a friend who has a birthday coming up in a week (and she's just had a new baby too), so I need to finish it off and post it to her in time for the big day.

Thanks for dropping by,
Talk to you soon,