Yay, a sunny day!

SO nice to see the sun this morning, after such a wet old week:  my positivity scale immediately jumped at least ten points! 🙂

Made a trip into Christchurch today as I had some library books to return, and took the opportunity to photograph some of the street art and temporary art installations, as well as the cardboard cathedral and a Student Volunteer Army project.  As I don’t get into the city centre very often I’m not sure how long the SVA project has been there – to be honest it was looking a little tired and neglected, but I like the concept and thought that went into creating it, so I decided to share it with you anyway.

First up, street art – or is it graffiti?  With some of it I felt it was a pretty fine line … but I’ll let you be the judge 🙂

Graffiti or Street Art 2013-12-31

Next was the SVA project, Road Cone Chess:  those of you familiar with Christchurch may remember the large chess game which was set up in Cathedral Square, an area which (as far as I know) is still cordoned off – this project was a quirky attempt to fill the gap.  As I said, it was looking a little neglected – a lot of the plants had died, which makes me think it’s been a good while since it was originally set up.  I did like the novel way of reusing 2L plastic bottles and old footballs, though! 🙂

Road Cone Chess

I then moved on to a temporary art installation which I have to say, brought a lump to the throat and a few tears – such a poignant way of remembering the 185 people who died in the February 2011 earthquake.

185 Empty Chairs 2013-12-31

And finally, I finished up at the cardboard cathedral.  You may remember I wrote about this back in March, and said at the time that I wasn’t sure it was quite right for Christchurch.  The discussion (to use a polite term) is still raging over whether or not the damaged cathedral should be fully restored or not, but in the meantime the cardboard cathedral – or Transitional Cathedral as it’s now called – seems to be doing an admirable job of filling the gap.  The thing that struck me immediately is how light and bright it is inside – alright, it was a beautiful sunny day, granted, but the stained glass windows do a wonderful job of letting in the light; the simple, almost minimalist lines of the building are quite striking; and there’s a lovely feeling of space inside.  One of the guides on duty mentioned that the acoustics are wonderful as well, so it looks as if it’s ticking a few boxes 🙂

I was far more impressed than I had expected to be, and also surprised at how different it looks now that it’s finished:  I guess it’s that old adage of not judging a book by its cover!

Cardboard Cathedral Update 2013-12-31

Righto, just off to do a bit of Zentangling to finish off the day – can’t believe it’s going to be 2014 in just under an hour, how on earth did we get through 2013 so quickly???  Anyway, my very best wishes for the new year to you all, I hope your celebrations are safe and happy, and that 2014 is going to be kind to us all.  Take care, and we’ll talk again next year! 🙂

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Zentangle No. 4

Just a zentangle tonight – I’ve either had my nose in a book or glued to a hot sewing machine for most of the day, so no time for photographs 🙂

Zentangle 4 2012-12-30

Have some library books due back tomorrow, and the forecast is for a fine day, so I might take a wander in the Botanic Gardens with my camera – I hear there’s some pretty good street art around at the moment too, so I shall go looking for that as well.

Recent reading

The holiday break has given me the chance to catch up on some reading – here’s what I’ve been enjoying lately:

What are you doing here

A non-fiction book by Janet Wainscott, on how she coped with her mother’s developing Alzheimers and the effect it had on their relationship – poignant tale, told with love and compassion.

 
 
 
 

Amish Gift

Enjoyable light reading from Cynthia Keller about a family who move to an Amish community after the husband loses his job – maybe a tad on the naive side (I found myself thinking, if only life always worked out so well!), but engaging enough for all that 🙂
 
 
 
 
 

Olive Sisters

“When Adrienne’s marketing company goes down, her lifestyle does too. She retreats from the city to the beautiful, abandoned olive grove once owned by her Italian grandparents. A ‘tree change’ isn’t what Adrienne has in mind, however, and life in the country delivers some surprises as she confronts the past and learns the secrets of the Olive Sisters.”

Thoroughly enjoyed this one – set in Australia, well written with nice touches of humour.
 
 
 

Lone Wolf

“Edward Warren, twenty-four, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: his dad lies comatose, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara.”

I really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s books, and this was no exception – good story with a nice twist towards the end.
 
 
 

Zentangle Untangled

This has been my ‘go to’ book so far to learn about Zentangling!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

My very favourite, though, is this one, which I just finished today:

Island Wife

“Island Wife tells the story of Judy, who, at 19, met her Wild Pioneer, Alex.  He whisked her off into an adventure, a marriage of forty years, and a life on a remote Hebridean island.  Along the way, she bears five children, learns how to run a farm and a hotel, and starts a recording studio and the island’s first whale watching business with her husband – all the while inventively making fraying ends meet.  When her children start to leave home, things fall apart and there is sadness and joy in how she puts them back together.  Judy tells her story in a clear and unique voice – in turn funny, unforgettable and intensely moving.”

I giggled, laughed out loud, and cried as I read this book (it’s non-fiction, by the way) – really amazing story of an incredibly hard life with many frustrations, but told with such humour and honesty:  really, really recommend it! 🙂

And I’m sure you’ll understand that with not being able to put down Island Wife today, there hasn’t been any time for Zentangling! (Nor any photography, for that matter …) But tomorrow is always another day 🙂

Rain, rain, go away (please?)

Quiet-ish day today, although I did head into town late morning to drop back some library books (and yes, I did get some more out), and visit my favourite bookshop (Scorpio Books), where I picked up a photography book entitled, “The Rules of Photography and When to Break Them” (being the sort of person who does like to challenge the rules from time to time, the title alone appealed, but a quick perusal suggested I could certainly learn a few things from it). I also called into the garden section at Bunnings – it was raining gently at the time, so in a funny sort of way it felt quite appropriate to be selecting plants in the rain – and visited the camera shop for some tips on how to use the continuous shooting mode on my camera.   Last job on the list was to fill the car with petrol and also the gas bottle, so all in all it was a successful expedition, particularly since I managed to avoid Westfield Mall as well 🙂

Zentangle No. 3 completed tonight – I must admit I’m finding it very calming at the end of the day, to sit down and relax and let the creative juices flow:  methinks it might be a good way for me to unwind after a night’s bridge once I get back into that in the new year! 🙂

Zentangle 3 2012-12-28

Another good dollop of rain today, and the forecast is pretty much the same for another week or so – I thought briefly about heading over to the West Coast or down to Oamaru for a day just to get some sunshine, but when I checked both their forecasts it was the same for them as well, so maybe not.  I think Kaikoura might be up for a fine day on Monday, so depending on just how badly I feel I need some sun, that might be on the cards – haven’t been up that way for a couple of years at least, so it could be worth a trip.

There was a short break in the weather late this afternoon, with even some watery sunshine, so I shot out with the camera – everything certainly looked well washed and very clean!  By the time I got out for my walk at 7.30pm it was back to being overcast with a very fine misty rain on the way back, but not too cold so it was still pleasant to get out.

Photo quilt 2013-12-28

Until tomorrow, then – take care.

A satisfying day …

It’s been grey and wet (and cool – almost cold) for most of today, so I lit the fire, cranked up the music (Ol’ Blue Eyes – Mr Sinatra – wallowing in a little bit of nostalgia, I was) and spent most of the morning on the sewing machine, ‘making’ fabric a la Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play (see here for more info).  Funny, though … no matter how many scraps I use in this sort of exercise, the piles (and piles and piles and piles of scraps) never seem to grow any less – how does that happen??!

Did a little bit more gardening this afternoon, preparing two more large containers for plantings, and went for a walk after tea this evening.  I chose to turn left onto the road tonight, which takes me past three different herds of cows:  the Beauties, the Scubbers, and the Beefies 🙂

The Beauties are a group of mainly Jersey heifers (with one or two black and white renegades), who invariably see me before I see them and come thundering up to the fenceline to walk along with me as I pass by – in return I stop at the gate and tell them all how beautiful they are, and they of course nod their heads in agreement.  Me and Jersey cows, we go a long way back, as you’ll see from this picture of me and my big sister at the Salisbury Show back in, oh, about 1953:

Me and Jill at Salisbury Show

When my folks started their dairy herd in Zimbabwe, it was all Jerseys; when big sister (in the photo) started her dairy herd in Zimbabwe, it was all Jerseys; and when I dabbled in a little dairying down south a few years ago, the majority of the herd was Jerseys, so you can see it runs in the family 🙂

Anyway, back to this evening’s walk.  The next herd I call The Scrubbers because they are grazing in what is pretty much scrub land, and they ain’t the prettiest gals, if you get my drift – mixed breeds and definitely not the grace and charm of their Jersey sisters up the road.  The last group, The Beefies, are lovely sleek, black Aberdeen Angus, solid muscle and power and oomph!  My encounters with all of them always add a smile to my face and pleasure to the walk, and I’ll miss them when they eventually move to other paddocks.  Somehow the flock of sheep along the way just doesn’t hold the same charm …

I was trying to learn how to use the continuous shooting mode on my camera this morning, so I could capture the raindrops falling on and from the leaves of the clematis – you know, so I could get one of those dramatic shots of a droplet splashing up as it hit the leaf.  My success was very limited, I have to say, and I definitely need more practice so I can actually freeze the splash effect.  This is what I got instead:

The Before Shot:

S0132339

and the As It Was Happening Shot!

S0132340

I shall work on this.  I did get some other photos as well, though, so have attached a little montage of those.

Photo quilt 2013-12-27

And now, I’m off to do some more Zentangling! 🙂

Having fun!

Just spent the last hour having fun practising Zentangles, which I wrote about in a previous post, and have now completed my very first one!

DSCF2262 cropped

The colour is due to the photo being taken under artificial light (it now being 12.30am!) – the paper I used is actually white, but when I used the auto correct on the photo afterwards it looked  right ‘orrible, it did, so I decided to stick with the semi-sepia look 🙂

What d’ya reckon, then?