Project 365 (aka Project Life; Photo-A-Day)

I’m still doing it – taking a photograph every day.


On the left – January’s collage; on the right, the first page of photos

For 2013 I’ve abandoned the Project Life albums and weekly spreads, and gone back to the system I used in 2010, making a monthly series of pages. To begin, a collage made from the month’s collection of bits and pieces (did you know the word for that is “ephemera”? Isn’t that a lovely word?).

The next two pages with photos from January

The next two pages with photos from January

Then most of the photos for the month, with the date and a brief annotation if required, simply slotted into divided page protectors. For 2013 I want to display every photo, so I am using two sheets (that’s 24 photos, with 6 to a side).

On the left the final page of photos; on the right the first of two layouts made celebrating a January theme.

On the left the final page of photos; on the right the first of two layouts made celebrating a January theme.

Finally, a layout (or two) using the remaining photos.

My second layout for January, and on the right the collage to begin February's pages.

My second layout for January, and on the right the collage to begin February’s pages.

The first of the layouts I made for January celebrates my rediscovery of cycling:

Blog7May-LO1I used a technique from Shimelle Lane, and took an artsy photo of that detail:

Blog7May-LO1-detailThe second layout was inspired by the captions I wrote on three of the photos – they all ended with the words “at the library”:

Blog7May-LO2The background was inspired by this post from Big Picture Classes; I had a lot of fun making it and it was just right for the library layout.

Currently I am …

book coverReading: short stories from the multi-author collection Scottish Girls About Town, which my friend Pam gave me a couple of years ago. I’ve only read the first two stories; both were enjoyable for different reasons, which is one of the bonuses of short stories.

Listening to: the hum of the computer, bird song, the occasional vehicle zooming past on the road

Laughing at: Simon’s Cat – DS was home over the weekend and he’s learned to draw this character; I’ve found one lurking on my shopping list (I wonder if there are more?).

bellbirdSwooning over: bellbird song – we have a flowering banksia and both bellbirds and tuis are visiting to drink the nectar.

Planning: training sessions in our new library management system for my colleagues; this is the product of my trip to Christchurch back in February, where I was trained as a trainer in Kotui (the NZ version of SirsiDynex’s Symphony LMS). The first session is on Wednesday, when the three library managers will be my students. Trying not to freak out.

Eating lots of: dukkah – most of our current hazelnut production goes to a local producer of this middle-eastern condiment, and recently we started stocking their product to on-sell to our own customers. Minor flaw in the plan though – it’s so delicious that I’m eating a good proportion of the stock!

Feeling: good about keeping up with yoga; nervous about the training; satisfied when I look at my April productivity

Discovering: different yoga philosophies and approaches, and the resources of Yoga Journal – awesome!

grapes-no-netsLooking at: the house and garden; the grape rows are flush with autumnal colour and look so pretty since we took down the bird-netting yesterday

Wearing: 3/4 pants, yoga pants, leggings – the cooler days have brought these back into my wardrobe after a summer of skirt-wearing.

Cooking: in a bit of a rut at the moment; need to try new recipes with vegetables currently in season

Wondering: what do the cats get up to during the day (and night) and where do they go? Ninja was missing Friday/Saturday – no sign of her all night, not there for breakfast – but she trotted up to me in the garden late on Saturday afternoon, absolutely her usual self. Mysterious!

Trying out: scrapbooking regularly on Monday nights; so far it’s working well and I’m carrying on finishing pages started then – and creating more – during the rest of the week.

Enjoying Yoga

At the beginning of the year I began yoga again. In years past I had worked along to various DVDs but never in a very focused way. In February I made it a goal to seek out a local class, and I found one. Since starting to attend each Friday I have become much more dedicated to my home practice as well. The class has given me many more poses that I can say I have at least tried, and different ways of placing my body into poses I already knew. Every class has revealed new muscles, tendons and ligaments that need stretching, and I am learning so much about my body – for example, I am tighter on one side above the waist, and on the opposite side below.

The group varies in size from five to ten students, and we are gently guided by our tutor who is more flexible than I am and candid about her own difficulties with some poses (it’s good to know that even an experienced yogi finds them hard).

One class had to be cancelled unexpectedly, and I felt my week wasn’t complete. What about you – is there a physical activity that rounds off your own day or week?

Monday… in a few chosen words

One word: Wet

Two words: Writing group

Three words: Came straight home

Four words: Wrapped up hazelnut order

Five words: Made two layouts this evening

Six words: Cats round my ankles wanting food

Seven words: Talked to my Dad on the phone

Eight words: Sent out my first ever newsletter using MailChimp

Nine words: Hope that people reading it enjoy what I included

Ten words: Off to bed now, anticipating enjoying Neil Young concert tomorrow

Thanks to Brenda for the inspiration (her version is much more poetic – and intriguing – than mine!

Reporting in

It is high time that I reported on on how I did with my goals for February, and told you what I hope to achieve through March.

It’s a bit of mixed report for February:

  • I did manage to continue with being active, riding my bike, walking,  and doing yoga but I managed only 14 of the 28 days, not my goal of 20 (but I’m happy that I haven’t slid back into slothfulness)
  • I found a yoga class! I went to my first one on 1 March, and have been every Friday since
  • I sent only three cards (all birthday cards); I hand made all three, so I count that as a good effort
  • I made four scrapbook layouts and here they are:

4 layouts made in Feb

  • I didn’t get to the movies – but I did travel to Auckland and went to the Deep Purple concert, and caught up with some very old friends, so I’m not calling this a failure at all!
  • I managed the one week without sugar thing – but cheated a couple of times with dried fruit on my cereal.

For March I set the following goals

  • keep up with being active, especially working on incorporating regular yoga into my routine
  • send some ‘just because’ or ‘thank you’ cards – it’s nice to surprise people
  • increase productivity in the scrap room – I’m aiming for 8 layouts this month
  • try for another week without sugar
  • try for another lunch with my bestie before the end of the month (I did see her briefly at the Martinborough Fair, but that doesn’t count).

I’ll let you know how I get on (hopefully before the middle of April!)



Being in Christchurch

Last week I had a train-the-trainer course in Christchurch (on the new Library Management System we will be using in our libraries from June). I didn’t get anywhere near the Red Zone to see the damage in the central city, but the effects of the earthquakes are still obvious to the visitor. Nearly two years after the second quake, there are many homes with bracing where the porch should be, boarding over gaps created by falling chimney stacks and fractured picture windows, and gardens where ordered loveliness has been invaded by weeds and grasses. It is those houses that seem saddest to me, as it means the house isn’t occupied – or if it is, that the occupants have given up caring about the garden.

Taxi drivers – as ever great sources of local information – shared their own situations with us, telling us of the difficulties of getting resolution to their issues. One had been assured his home repairs would be completed this year – but was caught in the middle of the insurance sandwich as EQC and his insurance company argued over the value of those repairs ($50,000 vs $200,000 – a considerable mis-match). Another had been told his repairs would be made – in 2015!

Yet the spirit of Christchurch is strong. People smile at each other, help each other out and more-or-less cheerfully shrug their shoulders when they find the route they planned to take today is cut off by road closures (at least it means some much-needed infrastructure repairs have started there, right?).

Go Christchurch!

January review – and goals for February

On 14 January I posted some goals for the rest of the month. I am pleased to report the following:

  • I have finished my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012 – as reported here
  • I rode my bike on six days, varying my route. I’ve ridden into Greytown, around the block, and out to Woodside on the rail trail
  • I have restarted my yoga practice – and rediscovered some muscles; I managed six sessions (and bought a yoga mat)
  • Blog-4-2-Bestie-&-meI met up with my bestie last week, enjoying a lovely lunch with her and afterwards joining her in the air-conditioned coolness of Harvey Norman to print off some photos
  • I sent two thank you cards
  • Blog-4-2-QuartetI went to see Quartet and really enjoyed it – I love the gentle British sense of humour. Did you know this movie was directed by Dustin Hoffman (perhaps he yearns to be a Brit himself)?

With those goals achieved, it’s time to think about some goals for February:

  • continue with being active, riding my bike, walking briskly, doing aerobics or yoga on two days out of three
  • investigate a yoga class (I think there is one in Greytown, and there is a new fitness centre beginning operations in Carterton that might have a session as well)
  • send out four cards – to say hello, thank you, or ‘just because’
  • make four scrapbook layouts
  • go to the movies again – perhaps to see The Hobbit, if I haven’t missed it already
  • attempt to go for one week without sugar in my diet (I think this is going to be a big challenge, not least because sugar lurks in so many foods where it has no business – have you read your cornflakes packet recently?)

I know there are others out there setting goals on a monthly basis (it’s a manageable amount of time to tackle). If you decide to join in, please link to this post.



It’s been a year since some of my on-line friends, the Scrapmates, visited Fantail Grove for a retreat (you can read about the 2012 event here).

Last weekend we did it all again – and it was just as good this time around. As you can see from the image below, we worked hard. (Followers of this blog may realise why we are working in the living room this year, and not the garage craft space – go here to see the reason). Hard at work I was very pleased to get my 2012 Photo-A-Day project album up to date as far as the beginning of December, but the highlight for my own creativity was completing three layouts:

Waterfront WellingtonDH takes amazing photographs. These are from his daily walk between the railway station and his place of work and showcase just a little of how lovely (and busy) Wellington’s harbour can be. I wanted to try something new with my title lettering, and used plain chipboard letters from Kaisercraft. I inked these and then embossed them to give them a shiny finish. Next time I will have to remember that the grey of the chipboard substantially darkens the colours – but I’m pleased with how they turned out anyway.

Really Good at SleepThis layout was my response to the challenge I laid down to the Scrapmates: use machine stitching. I have stitched on the scalloped border strips, and over the lettering. I also used up some Scenic Route journalling cards that were already quite old when I got them – as part of my challenge to myself to make a good sized dent in my stash this year.

Haymaking with Farmer TomThis is my favourite of the three layouts I made. I think I am at last beginning to get to grips with layering items and I love how the clusters look. I am so glad to have used the Kaisercraft chipboard embellishment and some very old diecuts. I will forever be grateful to Shimelle for showing me how to repeat elements to bring unity to the design and lead the eye through the layout. I am sure I have lots more to learn, but I think this this is real progress.

Have you found that working with others inspires you to create more than you might have if you worked on your own?

January Goals

I’ve just read this post, and thus motivated I’m going to try something similar. It is quite intimidating to set goals for an entire year; goals for the days between now and 31 January I can manage. Here they are:

  • finish my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012
  • ride my bike on at least five more days (I’ve done one big ride and two round-the-block rides so far in January)
  • start again with my yoga DVD – exercise along with it on at least five days
  • make a date to have lunch with my BFF
  • send thank you cards to two people who have recently been especially kind to my Dad
  • see Quartet

Thanks for the inspiration, Amy!

Working at the carwash

Working at the carwash, yeah! Hands up if the Rose Royce tune is now going through your head.

Yes, the cars were  dirty enough that I was finally motivated to clean them. DH will testify that this happens only once every couple of years (he’s the one who usually undertakes the car-washing chore).

Carwash1Cleaning the Nissan Sentra was a breeze – it’s a short car. However I needed a stepladder to get to the top of the Hilux!  Carwash2It was great to have some help too – DS’s girlfriend did the low down bits while I tackled the roof.

Carwash3DS was not to be outdone – he vacuumed the Sentra while we washed outside. Do you think it was a wise decision on his part to avoid his mother and girlfriend who were so handy to the hose outside?