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! 🙂

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?

Christmas greetings

Whether your Christmas Day is nearly finished, half-way there, or only just starting, I hope your celebrations have been or will be safe and happy!  Our day here in Canterbury started with glorious sunshine and blue skies, but by mid-afternoon the rain had arrived and has been gently soaking the garden ever since:  lovely for my new plantings!

This afternoon has been a combination of a short snooze, a good book, and some sewing once the rain set in. 

I did get out this morning to take a few photos, including the promised one of the new flower bed constructed yesterday 🙂

Photo quilt 2013-12-25

On the twelfth day of Christmas …

Back in July 2012, Christchurch Art Gallery hosted an outdoor exhibition (amongst the rubble in Madras Street) featuring Michael Parekowhai’s spectacular installation, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” (see here for further details).  I never actually got to see it then, but the pictures intrigued me, and the raw power of the exhibit somehow resonated with many Christchurch residents following the upheavals of the earthquakes and all the damage and disruption they caused.

In September 2013, the standing bull returned to Christchurch as part of a Pledge Me campaign by Christchurch Art Gallery Trust and Westpac Bank to bring it back to Christchurch for good, at a cost of $400,000:  providing the people of Christchurch raised the first $200,000 themselves, the trust and the bank would then match that figure, and the bull would be installed in a permanent home outside Christchurch Art Gallery once it re-opens.  I’m proud to say that I pledged my support for the campaign, and along with many, many others, we raised $206,210 to ‘bring back the bull’.  I received a beautiful glossy poster of the bull, which I will get laminated to protect it, and this cute postcard showing me what piece of the bull I had ‘purchased’ with my pledge:

Chapman's Homer 1  Chapman's Homer 2

Having put my money where my mouth is, I’ll have to make sure I get down to the gallery in due course to examine my purchase! 🙂

Busy day in the garden today, making the most of the good weather before the rain sets in tomorrow for next few days – got most of yesterday’s acquisitions planted, but still have a couple left for which I have yet to decide on location, location, location … 

Don’t know about you, but I can get sidetracked very easily when I’m out in the garden – one thing leads to another, and before I know where I am, suddenly I’m working on something completely different to what I intended!  Take today, for example.  I have five worm farms in the garden, three at the side of the house, and the other two in a shed just over the creek (all five were over there originally, but I moved three of them closer to the house earlier this year, just to make it easier to feed and check them from time to time).  Anyway, I started out this morning by cleaning out the fridge to make way for some fruit and a watermelon which I purchased yesterday (LOVE watermelon at this time of year!), and thought I’d chop up some old apples, celery, broccoli and carrots that I was throwing out, and feed them to the worms.  And then I decided that it would really be much easier if I moved the two worm farms from over the creek to beside the house, so they could all play Happy Families together.  And while I was doing that, I decided to use some of the beautiful rich soil from the worms to make a new flower bed around the white clematis at the side of the house, and plant some of the grasses I bought yesterday there as well.  And then I thought, How am I going to edge this new flower bed?  And I spotted a log which came off the tree which fell on the house during the high winds back in September, and I thought, I could cut that in three, one long side and two short, and that would make a lovely rustic surround for the flower bed … So I got out the chainsaw, set up the workbench, measured and cut the log into three, trimmed off all the little sticking out bits, dug over the ground, added the worm soil, dug out some compost from one of my four compost heaps, added that as well, planted the grasses and watered them in, and hey presto, a new flower bed was born! 🙂

Photos will follow tomorrow – got so engrossed in what I was doing I completely forgot to record the project …

Had to have a rest after all that work … but I got the lawns mowed this afternoon, and then went for a walk this evening for nearly an hour, so the old body’s certainly had a good workout today!

Well, we’ve reached the final day of the Christmas photo quilt today.  I’ve enjoyed putting it together for you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the photos that didn’t make the cut first time around:  we must do this again some time! 🙂

2013 photo quilt – 12th day of Christmas

PS  Look at that:  not a single word in this post about H.L. or any other feline – that has to be a record! 🙂

On the eleventh day of Christmas …

Final bit of shopping in town today, and then I called round to a friend’s place to pick up a library book I had loaned her – she has a lovely garden, so I spent a very pleasant half-hour or so with my camera capturing some of her beautiful lillies (and other things) which are in full flower at the moment.  She describes her garden as being “a bit of this person and a bit of that person”, meaning that lots of what’s in it has been given to her by friends, and she’s more than happy to share what she has with others in turn (I have some of her irises in my garden, for example):  isn’t that a lovely way of sharing the joys of gardening?  Having a great garden can be a lot of hard work, but can give such pleasure and satisfaction, I’m sure it’s all worth it.  (I have a long way and a lot of hard work to go before I have a great garden!) 

Here are a few photos from my visit:

I did stop at a garden shop (my favourite – Bunnings!) myself this morning, looking for some more colour to add to the garden plus some grasses for one bed that’s sheltered by trees and pretty dry (I don’t have the time or the money to water myself or set up an automatic watering system); so I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to be doing tomorrow!  If I can get everything planted that will be good, as the forecast for Wednesday to Friday is for rain, which will just help the plants to settle in nicely 🙂

Penultimate offering in the 12 Days of Christmas ‘quilt’ tonight, mainly photos of a trip I made down to Invercargill and Te Anau at the end of November, plus – yes, you guessed it – more clematis, rhodos, and cats!  Oh, and a few roses from the garden at Avice Hill thrown in for good measure.  Back tomorrow with the final one! 🙂

2013 photo quilt – 11th day of Christmas