31 July 2013

Collecting Colours : Yellow + Navy

Well, I'm cutting this one just a little fine. But it's still July. For at least another four hours here in Seoul. Heaps of time really. I've been putting this one off because navy has proved rather painful to shoot. I found it tricky to find a lot of interesting navy out on the streets, and when I did find it it often looked either washed out or almost black in the final shot. But, with some dedicated eye-spying and a bit of Lightroom tweaking I got there in the end. 

Deep dark navy and bright yellow features heavily in some of my favourite colour schemes, like this one and this one and this one (all by Brandi Hussey). But you'll note in each of those palettes the pair is moderated by lighter shades of blue, or lots of grey, or a mustardy yellow. Like last months pair (pink and yellow), I also think these guys need a third, or fourth or even fifth colour to join the party for them really to sing. And I think they need to be out of balance; the yellow needs to step back and act as a highlight. 

So - whilst I'm not convinced that this months diptychs really work, I'm not writing this pair off just yet. My ideal bedroom is still all about deep navy blues (and lots of moody greys) with a little pop of yellow. And just look at how navy and yellow works in this lounge room - wonderful!

* * * * * * *

Every month through 2013 I'll be 'collecting colours', and you can join in too! Just create something, anything based on the colour pair for each month. Link up below, Instagram, Tweet and/or add your photo to the Flickr group here. You can go here to get all the information you need.  

25 July 2013

Six Things I Learnt On The Trip That Was*

1. Germans do have a sense of humour. 
Germans generally get a bad rap in the humour department; I think it is undeserved. I offer this little tale as proof.

When you cruise in Europe, one of the things you notice is that any announcement onboard goes for a very long time. That's because they do it in five or so languages. And whilst it's pretty impressive to hear the same person switch from Italian to English to French to German to Spanish without skipping a beat, the time it takes does wear a bit thin. 

So - we were sitting in the theatre one day, gathered with our life jackets and a few hundred other people for our emergency evacuation drill (we'd been a bit naughty and missed the drill on day one...). It was just after midday so we'd all been dragged away from reading a good book by the pool, or settling into a three course lunch at the buffet, or just generally lazing about contemplating our next gelato. And we were all keen to get back to our book / lunch / gelato. The emergency drill kicked of in Italian, then moved on to English. Then they asked if any one spoke EspaƱol, a few people put their hands up. There was general eye rolling around the room - a third language meant more time inside, away from the sunshine. Then they asked if any one spoke Deutsch and a firm, loud 'NEIN!' rang out across the room...

2. Grande does not always mean what you think it means. 
We travel pretty light, but knowing that there were potentially three adults, one adult-sized kid and one kid on the road trip part of this holiday I specifically  booked a 'grande' car. When we went to pick it up, the lady at the car hire counter confirmed it was indeed a grande car. Awesome, right?

Except that, as it turned out, us and our carry-on luggage barely squeezed into this grande car (and that was with one less adult than originally planned). Fitting the bags in the boot was like an advanced game of tetris; backpacks were piled on the backseat, legs were around armpits. This 'grande' car (for which I paid a grande-ish premium) was smaller than the 'standard' car we'd usually drive.

I know to expect smaller hotel rooms when travelling in Europe, but I had no idea this extended to hire cars.

3. Fifteen year olds say the phrase 'on the podcast I listen to' a lot.
And by a lot, I mean a lot. I think it's awesome and exciting when kids find something on their own that they're really, really in to. A band, an artist, a podcast...but dear lord if I never hear that phrase again, well, I'd be perfectly okay with that.

4. Holidays aren't always relaxing.
To be honest, perhaps we were a little mad thinking we could fit in a two week trip to Europe around the relocation, the renovation and the husband's new job. We spent a lot of time chasing wifi signals (thank goodness Italy has come a long way in that regard), typing emails, figuring out if it was an appropriate hour to call Chicago or Sydney or Seoul, drafting org charts and compiling (rather long) to do lists for when we got back home... 

Luckily for the second half of the trip we were staying in agriturismi with poolside wifi, so the boys were happy to frolic in the water or read in the sunshine while we did our stuff. And we still managed to squeeze in some down time (especially on the boat where quite often we had no wifi or phone signal at all - enforced bliss!). Maybe we weren't that mad after all...

5. Not everywhere accepts credit card.
One hot day we were sitting in a restaurant in Tropea, eating lunch before heading off on a ferry to see Stromboli. Just after our antipasto, midway through our primo piatto, we asked if they took credit card. They didn't. A quick check of our wallets proved we were in for a good few hours of dishwashing if we didn't make a quick dash up the ridiculously steep cliff steps in the baking hot sun to find the only ATM in the village (and by 'we' I mean 'I'). 

(Also, speaking of the only ATM in the village, did I mention the husband managed to break it the next day? And did I mention it was the only ATM in the whole town?) 

(Which reminds me - if the elderly English couple who tried to use the ATM after us is reading this, I really hope you already had enough cash to pay for your lunch...)

6. Goats are awesome.
This little guy lived at the beautiful Villa Rizzo. He had a gimpy leg and giant eyes and ran over to have his head scratched when you called out to him. He was adorable.

*Bonus! Includes gratuitous gross generalisations based on nationality! 

16 July 2013

Five Favourite Snaps From The Trip That Was*

We're back! Briefly! After a week on the big boat (Istanbul, Dubrovnik, Venice...) and a week driving from the south of Italy up to Rome, we landed back in Seoul this Sunday past. We're only home for a whopping 2 and a half days (I head to Sydney tomorrow), but what a productive few days they've been (with much attention lavished on the dogs too of course). 

Anyhoo, there'll be some more details about the trip (including a few See / Eat / Stay posts) later, maybe after I've slept a little... In the meantime here's my five favourite snaps from the trip - maybe they'll put you in a summery, seaside kind of mood?

Istanbul, Galata Bridge. This was my second visit to Istanbul and (again) it just made me desperate to come back and spend a good chunk of time here. Such a vibrant, buzzing city. Chaotic and beautiful and steeped in history. And the food! Oh the food! No, really - the food!... Anyway, this is one of the main bridges over the Golden Horn. It was chockfull of fishermen. 

Istanbul, Galata Tower. There's a wonderful view of Istanbul from this tower. This was taken from inside the cafe at the top. I love how the strong contrast of light created an arched frame. Plus that's the (blurry) tail end of our big boat (the MSC Divina) you can see waiting in port for us.

Dubrovnik, Cafe Buza. We've been to Dubrovnik a few times now. We've got all the touristy must dos out of the way - so this time we knew exactly what we wanted to do with our half day there. We headed straight to Cafe Buza, the hard to find bar on the sea side of the city wall, and went for a swim (and a leap or two from the rocks for those so inclined). Sunshine, a dip in the cool clear water, a refreshing beverage - perfection!

Venice, somewhere. We've had plenty of troubles with transport in Venice before. But not this time, we've learnt our lessons. We knew we wanted to get to the Biennale (more on that at a later date) and we didn't want to stuff around with crowded vaporetto that stop 27 times en route, or trek for miles (and miles) in the baking hot sun...so we took out a second mortgage and hired a water taxi. The water taxis are gorgeous to look at, super fast, naturally air conditioned and offer a wonderful view of the city. At a price.

Tropea, somewhere far from a beach. Tropea is one of those old Italian towns that looks wonderful from a distance, but not so lovely up close. It's also perched high up on the cliffs, so whilst you're sweating it out in the old town you can look down and see all these tiny people sensibly lazing about on the sand or taking a dip in that stunning blue sea. And you think 'I really want to go for a swim'. And then 'how great is that stripey umbrella?' (So, so great is the appropriate answer.) 


*Technically it's six if you count the first one, but heck - it's a bumble bee, it could be anywhere. So it doesn't really count. (Although it wasn't anywhere, it was hanging out by the pool at the beautiful Agriturismo Ruralia in Tropea...). 

Also, due to strict privacy laws (ie. my husband) these are not actually my five (or six) favourite snaps from the trip. They are just my five (or six) favourite snaps sans faces

05 July 2013

Death by Doxie : Elfi On The Bed (Part II)

Apparently it's exhausting being so damn adorable. (And apparently 18 hours sleep a day isn't quite enough...)

01 July 2013

13 Things in 2013 : Another Update

I may have said this once or twice but where the heck is 2013 going? Flying by! Anyhoo, being July 1 it's again time to revisit my little list of things I want to get done this year and see my progress (or otherwise, as the case may be...). 

1. Learn to use Photoshop Elements. B+. I'm learning new stuff all the time (mainly the time when I have a vision in my head and can't make it happen and then yell at the dogs and tweet aggressively and go have a cup of tea and find the answer to all my problems on the youtube / adobe.com. I feel I've mastered the art of creating a collage template, and I managed to make something that could be called a 'logo' for my new blog without too much frustration. So, yay me!

2. Learn a new photography skill. D. I've been googling photography courses in Sydney and I've found two I'd like to do. And I signed up for the Centre for Continuing Education newsletter. That counts as something, right? 

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 collectionF for Fail! No progress here, though I really feel like I am very close to posting some images to my 500px account. Really close. (This is the exact same update from last quarter. So, yeah...) 

4. Do a monthly project. AStill going strong! I haven't missed a month of Collecting Colours yet (and I don't think Brandi Hussey has either!). 

5. Make one pom pom wreath every month. F. What was I thinking? Really! I love pom poms but one wreath a month??!! Some of those wreaths have over 40 pom poms in them. Take out the days when I'm travelling, swamped with other stuff or just too depressed about the way Australia treats it's Prime Ministers to do anything and it adds up to a whole lot of intensive pom pom making. To be honest I'll be happy if I finish the year with four wreaths under my belt. 

6. Get through The Big Project without completely losing my mind. B. Things have got serious and so far so good. But that's mainly because I have an incredibly competent, cool, calm and collected architect managing things for us, and the most relaxed and friendly builder in all of Sydney. (Relaxed as in 'Yeah sure that's fine if you want us to take delivery of your washer/dryer and lug them upstairs for you and store them for a few weeks. No problems'. Not relaxed as  in 'Yawn, we don't need to work today, do we?'.) 

7. Do something with my hair. D+. I struggle with this. Terribly. It's not helped by the fact that the husband a) laughed at me last time he saw me in a headband; so they've clearly been ditched. And b) doesn't seem to be on board with my idea of employing a handmaiden to elaborately braid/crimp my hair Kahleesi style each morning. Also, I may need a baby dragon. Also, I think if Kahleesi herself came to do my hair the husband might be a bit more keen on the plan. 

8. Remember our wedding anniversary. Still not till July, so... But it's looking like I'll be in Sydney whilst the husband will be in Hong Kong (and then en route to Sydney) on our anniversary date. But, the goal was just to remember it right? I think I can do that. 

9. Attend a workshop at either Harvest WorkroomPrints Charming or The SchoolF. Time is running out. There's too much to fit in. Arghhhh. I am going to the Problogger event in September, which is super exciting (and a bit scary). Does that count? 

10. Send more mail art. D+. There has been some progress here! I've sent out some collage cards, and some postcards, and I've got two creative penpals on the go (with thanks to Magdalena over at The Craft Revival). 

11. Read a book a month. A+. Six months in and I've downed nine books (three are graphic novels but one of those was quite long...so...). Since the last update I've read: The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith (meh); Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (wonderful, dense, lyrical - and interesting to see the origins of one of my favourite movies); and two more books by Guy Delisle (Shenzen and Jerusalem). But my favourite read thus far has most definitely been Jeannette Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?. I inhaled this book. Beautifully written, poignant, honest, inspiring...I pretty much dog-eared every page to mark the sentences I loved. 

Of late my reading has come to a bit of a grinding halt but as you read this I'll be trapped on a big boat somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, and I'm sure I'll be burning through another book or two. 

12. Maintain my current fitness routine. B+. I've been kicking things up a bit lately at the gym and with my weird yoga-pilates-aerobics hybrid that I do at home. Two things have aided my motivation - our upcoming (now here!) Summer holiday (ughh, have I really turned into one of those ladies who tries to get 'swimsuit ready'?); and the fact I can now almost call my arms 'toned'. Seeing actual changes in my body, my strength, my shape - I get so excited! That's the best motivator for me (regardless of what those stoopid scales say). It's actually got to the point where I travel with a gym kit now! Really! Who would have thought? 

13. Make a Collecting Colour calendar for 2014. F. I kind of got distracted. I got excited about making this a reality after it had been in my head. Oh, making these too. And I've got another project (or two) that I'm working on as well. But I guess I still want to do the calendar thingl. Maybe. 

So, that's how I'm tracking - how are you tracking?

ps. Things will be a bit quiet over here for the next few weeks (I have sunshine to soak up, salty water to swim in and a ton of Italian food to eat!). But, I do have one more Death by Doxie post coming your way, and I'll still be posting three times a week over at asia*.