27 January 2013

Collecting Colours : 2013

Leave things to the last minute? No, of course not...there's still heaps of a few days left in January, right?* 

So..without further ado, here's my monthly project for 2013 - Collecting Colours. The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed the extra 's' in the title - this year my collections are going to feature colour pairs (see the list below). This part of the project was very much inspired by Brandi's seriously awesome 'Color Theory 101' posts. 

Another difference to last year is that my collections are going to be 'virtual' - they will be photographic diptychs of appropriately coloured things rather than an actual, tangible collection of objects. I'm a bit sad about this as I really loved the process of hunting about the house and arranging all the stuff, but I do need something a bit more portable for 2013 so diptychs it is. This part of the project was definitely inspired by Louise Hawson's beautiful pairings throughout her 52 Suburbs Around The World project, click on over and have a look but fair warning - you may lose hours of your life in wanderlust.

Oh yes, and because 2013 is the year of the pom pom I'm also going to make a pom pom inspired by each colour pair, just for fun! Anyway, enough about me, here's some information for you if you want to play along (and I'd love it if you do!).

What is the Collecting Colours challenge? Each month you use the colour pairings as a jumping off point to curate a collection, real or virtual. You might collect objects from your environment (like I did last year), you might 'collect' photographs (like I'm doing this year), or you might even create a collection of watercolours, prints, granny squares... It's really up to you - the key thing is that whatever you create needs to feature just the colour pair nominated for each month.

What exactly do you mean by 'green'? Or 'red'? Or 'blue'? Well, that's really up to you. I've left the colour descriptions deliberately vague, as part of the challenge is figuring out what pairings work for you. For example, I always see pink and green as involving a soft pink and a light grassy green, but you might go for a super hot pink and a deeper green.

How do I share my collection? At some point during the month (hopefully towards the start!) I'll be doing a Collecting Colours blog post which will include a place to put your links (like this one).  January's post is clearly going to be a bit delayed, but I'll leave the link open for four weeks regardless of when I do the post.

You can also share your images in the Flickr group, or on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook - just mention me and/or #collectingcolours in the post so I get to see it!

Does it matter if I miss a month, or if I'm a bit late? No, of course not! Feel free to join in whenever and however you can.

Any questions? Leave a comment below or get in touch via email - jorpins_blog [at] yahoo.com.au

*One of the reasons for the delay in getting this on the blog was that I was determined to to the graphics in Photoshop (remember it's one of my 13 things in 2013?), and I did - hurrah!

24 January 2013

Hong Kong : Through My (dodgy old) iPhone

Last Sunday night the husband and I were talking about his crazy busy week of work ahead, and I made some flippant half-jokey comment about needing to go to Hong Kong to get waxed and buy tuna...and he said 'Do it! Go check out flights now!'. And I did. (Have I mentioned I'm married to the bestest man in the whole universe?)

The first full day there I deliberately left the camera behind at the hotel, so I took some shots with my iPhone instead. Here are my favourites - the fairly typical haze of Hong Kong above (can you spot the setting sun?), and some fun silhouette shots below (captured out the front of Ocean Terminal, the Lunar New Year decorations there are wonderful!). 

In other news, I bought myself a kind of fancy 35mm lens as an early birthday present, and I did give that a good work out on this trip...a post will be coming soon (once I download and edit a bazillion photos...Hong Kong is such a visually inspiring city, there's something you want to capture around every corner).

19 January 2013

Thrifted Things : Melbourne

On my last trip to Melbourne (which was a bit before xmas, seems like an age ago now!) the thrift gods/dogs seemed to be smiling upon me - hurrah! A trip to the op shops near my folks place in Kew, and a visit to Savers in Brunswick, yielded a lovely little bounty of reasonably priced goodies. A little demitasse cup (from Bavaria no less), some Fire King bowls and a stack of wonderful fabric finds - two as new Australian wildflower tea towels, some check fabric and two beautiful embroidered pieces (one small table cloth and one table runner). Well worth the suitcase space required to bring it all back to Seoul!

16 January 2013

13 Things in 2013

I was tweeting the other day about how I'm always a little amazed by the new year posts that pop up in the first week of January. All those posts about goals and projects and words for the year ahead. I'm always a bit in awe of all those people that are so organised and forward thinking. 

I'm the kind of person who is a little taken aback by the new year, a bit 'oh hello, where did you come from?' (and from my twitter conversations it seems I'm not alone). I think I get so fixated on xmas that I forget there's a new year just around the corner. And then when it arrives I'm still eating leftovers and taking down decorations, when maybe I should've been creating some space to think about new projects and new paths. Which is not to say I don't think about those things, I do. I'm just a little late in doing it (hence my love of the lunar new year). 

This year promises to be another fun filled roller coaster ride and through it all there are some things I really, really want to make happen. And whilst I'm not a big fan of goals, I do love a list. And seeing as it's 2013 and 13 is a number I like (the house I grew up in was number 13, and as a kid I remember loudly and proudly telling people that whilst they might think it's an unlucky number I thought it was rather ace!), here are 13 things I'd like to do this year: 

1. Learn to use Photoshop Elements - I just had to renew my enrolment in Brandi Hussey's 'Editing with Elements' ecourse because I've been procrastinating over this so long. But it has to happen, and soon. So today I did the first three sections, go me! 

2. Learn a new photography skill - it might be how to work a flash or use a new lens or shoot in bright light. I'm not sure what yet, but I want to do a short course in something to keep the momentum of last year going. 

3. Do something with my 500px account. And submit some images to Alamay. And put my best ten together to submit to the Getty Images Flickr collection. Yep. It's gonna happen. For sure. (Maybe). 

4. Do a monthly project (like last years Collecting Colour). I pretty much know what I'm going to do here, I just have to put the graphics and the first post together. Stay tuned! 

5. Make one pom pom wreath every month. I've already started on this month's one and it is shaping up to be pretty awesome. 

6. Get through The Big Project without completely losing my mind. 

7. Do something with my hair. I wear it up every, single, day. Pulled back in a half knot/bun type thing. Yawn. Boring. I need help. Help!

8. Remember our wedding anniversary. I was thinking of making this 'remember all friend/family birthdays and send a card' but seeing as I've already missed my stepdads birthday I wouldn't be off to a stellar start on that one. And we always miss our wedding anniversary, which means we miss an opportunity to drink fancy champagne and eat decadently, which is just not on is it? 

9. Attend a workshop at either Harvest Workroom, Prints Charming or The School

10. Send more mail art. I have been failing terribly at this, but it's something I love so I will endeavour to make time for it. 

11. Read a book a month. At least. I've got two on the go right now - George Orwell's Coming Up For Air and The Story of English in 100 Words by David Crystal. 

12. Maintain my current fitness routine. Or maybe even ramp it up a little? 

13. Make a Collecting Colour calendar for 2014. Woah. This is planning so far in advance my head is spinning a little. I think I need a lie down and a cup of tea...

14 January 2013

Japan : Disneyland and other mistakes...

We recently spent seven days in one of my most favourite countries to visit - Japan. We had a few days in Tokyo, and then we headed to Hakuba (near Nagano) for four days of fun in the snow. As great as the skiing was (and it was great), and as delicious as the food was (and it was delicious), and as fast as the Shinkansen was (and it was fast), this week in Japan was not our finest travel moment. 

I think we got a bit lazy because hey! we've been to Japan more than a handful of times, we know what we're doing. And it's only a two hour flight from Seoul, it's basically like going to Brisbane. And besides, our friends are organising most of the trip. So...we don't need to do any research or anything, right? As it turns out, wrong. 

Here's some of the mistakes we made: 

1. We planned our trip so that we had a few days in Tokyo before we went skiing. We forgot that all of Japan goes on holidays for the first few days of the new year. That's a lot of people going on holidays. It means a lot of restaurants and other things are shut, and it means that the places that are open are really, really, really busy (see point 2). If we had done some research we would have headed straight to the snow when we landed and had our time in Tokyo at the tail end of our trip. (For more information on Japan during the new year period head here.) 

2. We went to Tokyo Disneyland. Now the husband would say this was a mistake in itself, he is not a fan of the big rat, but that's another discussion for another day. The real mistake was that we went on January 4, and from the looks of it so did almost everyone else in Tokyo. We were smart enough to pre-buy our tickets online, but that didn't help much...

Inside there were incomprehensibly long queues - two and three hour waits for rides; 'fast passes' that meant you could reserve a place to get on a ride at 9pm (we were there at 11am). There were unbelievably lengthy queues for popcorn, toilets, soda. So even though it was fun to see the Disney fanatics all dressed up, and to marvel at the sheer mass of humanity and the way everyone was so patient and calm and happy, it was a bit disappointing especially for the under tens in our group. 

3. We didn't do a lot of research on how to get from Tokyo to Hakuba. Because we've done it before, we thought we knew what we were doing. I'd forgotten that was over five years ago, and that it was in the early days when we were travelling with the stepson's mum/husband's ex-wife and I have a feeling my head may have been focussed on things other than travel arrangements and local holidays and what-not. 

Anyway, we caught the Shinkansen to Nagano and nearly fainted at the cost of tickets (I'm not suggesting we could have got them cheaper, but at least if I'd used this site I would have been prepared for the cost!). And then when we arrived in Nagano we discovered the bus to Hakuba wasn't leaving for another hour, which meant we decided to cram four people and their ski gear in to one of those quaint Japanese taxis that I love so much (doilies!). We remembered that the ride last time wasn't too long or too expensive, but memory is rather faulty isn't it? 

4. We didn't research where to stay. Our hotel was actually pretty good - it was chosen by our friends who co-ordinated the whole trip with a bunch of other families (thank you!) - nestled amongst the trees it had decent-sized rooms, a nice bar/breakfast area and wasn't too far from the Happo One ski area. But...let's just say they were right in the midst of some um, 'management issues'. There was a strong whiff of Faulty Towers about the place. 

5. We didn't research where to eat. I've mentioned before that a large part of my reason for travelling is food. There is no shortage of deliciousness in Japan, but going in blind meant it took us a few nights to find our feet (ever tried to mime 'more breast, less gizzard' in a yakitori restaurant?). Once we got our bearings though - oh my! The food! We had three incredible Japanese meals in Hakuba (one here, and two nights in a row here) and the best pizza I've ever had in my life at...Haneda airport! Who would have thought? 

So, we messed up a bit. But even with these few hiccups it really was a good trip with fabulous skiing, fun company and beautiful sights. It reminded us what great snow really is (we'll be going back, for sure). And it reminded me that I need to get to Tokyo without husband and stepsons in tow, so I can spend a whole day immersed in Tokyu Hands and Itoya and all the other amazing retail spaces the city has to offer. So...I'm doing exactly that in a few weeks! Y to the AY! And I'll be doing a post on Tokyo tips when I return. Stay tuned!

11 January 2013

Death by Doxie : Snuggle Hounds

When it's cold and snowy outside what's a dog to do but find a patch of sunshine and a furry friend and snuggle up with a scarf 'donated' from the winter woollies stash...

02 January 2013

A Snowy New Year!

Well hello there 2013*! You kind of snuck up on me... 

We had a pretty relaxed new years - roast lamb, chocolate pudding, staying cosy indoors. Seoul has had a ton of snow this winter. It's turned the streets into not-so-fun slippery dips but it looks oh so pretty, I'm still enamoured with it. 

In the morning on new years day I took the dogs for a walk (well actually I took Elfi for a walk and carried Ferdi most of the way...) and it started snowing just as we were turning for home. The kind of snow that's big and floaty. It made for a kind of magical start to the new year. 

Which was exactly what I needed as I realise I don't actually cope well with the new year. I lose my mojo, fall in a bit of a funk. I think partly it's the let down after all the build up to xmas, realising that all the festive frivolity is over. It's going back to doing the banking and organising dog vaccinations and filing the paperwork after two weeks of focussing on decorating, cooking, present wrapping. And there's more than a hint of exhaustion (what I would do for a day in bed reading! But that is not on the horizon for a little while yet). And there's the weight of expectation - a new year means exciting opportunities and possibilities, but I also feel a little heavy when I think of all the things, all the projects, all the lists... 

But! Today the sun is shining and the snow is sparkling, and I think I'm nearly out of the new year funk. So 2013, bring on the work and the changes and the chaos. Bring on the ups and the downs, the noisy times and the quiet moments. Bring on all the good things!

ps. What's a new year without some gratuitous tinsel bokeh?

*Yes, when I first published this post it welcomed in 2012. Because I'm an idiot. Or perhaps in denial. Sigh.