52 Week Challenge – Week 52

Wow, it’s done……….last week of the 52 Week challenge. Week 52 – Photographers Choice. It has been such a great journey, but such a commitment, I’m glad I did not do the 365 challenge…I’m pretty sure I would have messed it up. 🙂

Found this guy in the garden the other evening.

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ISO 320, 85mm, F5.6, 1/100 seconds + in camera flash on 1/64

~ Julz

Summer Outings – Melbourne Zoo

We recently we excused from dog sitting duties and managed to escape the day, so we headed to the Royal Melbourne Zoo, we have not been there in many, many years. It was a gorgeous day, sunny but not too hot and we arrived just before lunch and made our way from one exhibit to the next.

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Unfortunately the lions, gorillas and wild dogs were a no show, I got a brief glimpse of a Sumatran tiger, before he wandered off in his jungle. I am all for animal conservation, but it does make it damn difficult to see, let alone photograph some of the animals! I lingered along time at the Elephants and Meerkats and the Butterfly House………so I will given them each their own post.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

Share Your World – Week 52

Week 52, can you believe it, it seems this year has taken everyone by surprise…not just me. I can honestly say I have had such a jam packed year and I am grateful to say that phase, “another year over and I have not accomplished a single damn thing” does not come out of my mouth. That’s not to say I have not sat on my butt and enjoyed doing nothing on occasion, oh but those days I can enjoy and savour, not regret. So Cee has one last lot of questions for this year.

What’s your favourite ice-cream flavor? Either chocolate or rum and raisin, but not just any rum and raisin; it has to be the good stuff. When we were kids we spent our Summer Holidays camping down by the beach, Dad spent the week at home working and drove down for the weekends. On the weekends we all used to do family things. One of our favourites was to drive to Sorrento for ice cream. There was an ice creamery that had over 50 different flavours, to us this was amazing and we always had to try new ones…..it took awhile to try them all. I loved their run and raisin, oh and the Dutch Double chocolate, and the peppermint, not spearmint, has to be peppermint. Oh………I miss good ice cream, these days it is off the cards – lactose intolerant. Yes I know there is lactose free ice cream, but believe me, it just isn’t the same. Soy Chocolate ice cream is disgusting, almond or coconut milk chocolate ice cream is quite nice, but just not the same.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to? I agree with Cee, cook and housekeeper for me please. I hate cleaning (yes I know everyone probably does), but I really do hate it, I love HAVING a clean house, just not the cleaning. Cooking, I don’t mind cooking, but it gets monotonous cooking for just the two of us and Moth is very, very fussy.

Have you ever been drunk? I was young once, and very, very stupid………I lost a year or two in there somewhere, alcohol, drugs and stupidity. I am lucky to have survived it. Not completely intact, but still here………lessons learned. I rarely drink these days, one or two here and there…….two usually seems to be my limit, but I indulged and had three glasses of champagne with OJ on Christmas day 🙂

Complete this sentence: My favourite supposedly guilty pleasure is… OK food, I’ll admit that, but apart from food I guess my photography is a wee bit obsessive, but I think my REAL guilty pleasure is the time on my PC, editing photos, WP, Social media, online Tutorials and creating Art………I can do it for hours and often do.dsc_5784

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful my little family has survived another year intact, I am glad Christmas is over, I love it, but it can be hectic and stressful. I know it sounds awful but so often I build it up in my head so much, that it is often anti climatic. Every year I say I wont make such a fuss, but I do, only to not have it particularly appreciated. But that’s my beef and I get over it.

The week coming up………I am still off on holidays so that is nice, sleeping in and doing what ever I feel like, it’s heaven. We have another family get together with my Favourite Aunt and her family, that is always loads of fun and no stress; why is that? I am eager to get 2017 started as well, this tail end of the year is such a lull (don’t get me wrong I love that peace & quiet), but this year was so fantastic I am excited to see WHAT is in store for 2017.

I would just like to thank everyone who reads and follows my blog, and to thank everyone whose blog I read, so much entertainment, friendship, inspirational stories and images and tales of wonder. I look forward to more of the same next year.

~ Julz, xo

Tuesday’s Textures… The Kaizen Project

I know I mentioned a few months ago about The Kaizen Project, with 499 other artist, each month we work on collaborative efforts, some for a cause, some for an ideal and sometimes just to feel good; but, let me explain further. Month one we all work on a project for a Skate Shop in the US who work with under privileged kids; we re worked their website, designed posters and promotional material and provided artwork for auctions…..all for FREE. Month two we were to create posters, all of them the same size, using the same template, but with our own internal graphics…….to inspire, to evoke, to imagine…….in an effort to promote reading and writing and give various posters to libraries around the world. Even though we have moved on from this project the end goal is still ongoing. I chose books and stories which held special meaning for me……..we added the Title, Author and a quote or first lines of the book. Here are just a few that I created.

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Perhaps someday you may see one of mine or something similar in a library near you?

Month three we turned this inward and each week for a month we created a special artwork, had it printed and then gave to someone, mostly posted. For no reason other than you love them, they inspire or support you, or hold some special meaning in your heart, your life, your art. I printed two copies of my 1000 Words book, one for my Aunt and one for my Mother………..my Aunt was thrilled and in tears of joy, she said the gift and the small note attached made her day. I created another image for a fellow photographer to hopefully inspire her when she looks at the image, as she has often inspired and always supported me. She knows WHO she is, no need to name names! 🙂 . I have a small canvas printed for one of the ladies who frequently models for me, Rachelle, it was an image she loved (so did I) so as a thank you and an early Christmas Present I gave it to her……her tears of joy made me cry as well and made me feel so humbled to see her pure joy at the gift.

Then lastly I created a Guardian Angel for my BFF, she was sorely in need of one and she was overjoyed when I gave it to her. This project was at once gratifying and humbling, I know why it was given to us. Simple deeds, even among our family and friends can bring so much joy. Not because it is expected, or wanted, or required by customs or tradition or even commercially……….just because we want to. I also used my special cards I had printed to write small notes to go with each present. It really did make me feel all mushy and warm and fuzzy on this inside.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings…

It’s December 26th, we refer to it as Boxing Day in Australia, as I believe they do in the UK….what is it referred to where you live?

We had a nice Christmas Day………nothing fancy, a sleep in (I did all my prep the day before), then a few last minute things to get ready for my Parents who came over. Then my little family got down to our present exchange, a little weird this year, pretty everyone got what they put on their wish list, we are sick of getting things we don’t won’t or need.

O had specifically asked for a particular tripod and a Wi-Fi adaptor for my camera……I got both, the kids got movies, games, books and chocolates. Moth was the one we were all excited about…………he had no idea what he wanted, so as it is his birthday as well we got him the new PS4 and some games.

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It was quite funny when he opened the extra controller and games, he said but we don’t have a PS4………and then it dawned on him and his face lit up. Yup so once we ate way too much, and possibly drank a little too much, my parents left and Moth dutifully set up the PS4 and started playing his games. I now have peace and quiet to play with my toys, but more on them later. I was tired…………turkey does that, damn tryptophan! We did not overly do it, but turkey and ham and chicken and prawns and four different salads, plus chocolate cheesecake, pavlova (of course) and finished off with cheese and crackers with coffee……………for a mid day meal, is a LOT, of course throw in a few bottles of champagne. Did I mention it was hot? Real hot 37C, even the candles were melting…

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Not much else to say, lazy day today, might play with my new toys later. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and got over the food coma 🙂

~ Julz, xo

Weekly Photo Challenge – Path

This week’s WPC is Path, sometimes in life you must follow the Path unknown and often scary to find true treasures and to find oneself.

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may, we ourselves must walk the Path” – Buddha

As we head into 2017 with a sense for some of uncertainty, I myself head into next year with a new sense of self and purpose. I am excited for what treasure and adventures 2017 may hold.

~Julz