Birds in backyards

We live near bushland and get a lot of birds visiting our yard, especially when everything is in flower. For some reason, our Poinciana tree is flowering now after a rather lacklustre performance in December and it recently attracted the attention of a male and female pair of King Parrots. We don’t see King Parrots very often and they never stick around for long, but these two love birds preened and napped for about an hour while Hubby washed the car and I invaded their privacy with my zoom lens.

It is easy to tell the difference between an adult male and female, the male has a red head and his colouring is more vibrant. The female has more green, and she kept a watchful eye on me whilst going about her business. It was a real pleasure to see these birds hanging out in our garden, so often that tree is full of less colourful but more vocal crows and noisy miner birds.

Selling my stuff

No, I’m not having a garage sale nor am I selling all my worldly belongings on eBay in order to fund a life of travel. What I am doing or attempting to do, is to sell products that feature my art and photography. How you might ask? Well, I’m giving the print on demand service Redbubble a test run to see if there is a demand for my style of art and photography. To be honest, the majority of products will feature my photographs because very little of my artwork has been digitised and it will take time for me to build up a digital collection of art with the appropriate resolution for printing.

Redbubble is an online marketplace to which artists can upload their artwork for placement of products such as t-shirts, smartphone cases, tote bags and more.  There are a variety of these services available online, you may have heard of Zazzle, Fine Art America, and  Society6. Why did I choose Redbubble?  For starters, it cost me nothing to set up the site and I don’t have to pay upfront for products to be created, nor do I have to worry about storage or shipping costs. All costs are covered by the commission that Redbubble takes when products are sold, a business model that does not suit everyone however it meets my needs for now. In addition, Redbubble is an Australian based company that was founded in Melbourne back in 2006.

So, if you have the time and the inclination to check out my stuff please let me know what you think. In the future, I would like to add more of my illustrations as well as a few designs that demonstrate my love for dogs. My site https://www.redbubble.com/people/sammijk is in its infancy and constructive feedback is most welcome.

Screen shots of some of my products on Redbubble
Some of my products on Redbubble

Weekly photo challenge: farewell with a favourite (or several)

Blogging has been part of my life for just over seven years and in that time I have dipped in and out of the Weekly Photo Challenge. My blogging is sporadic at best, however, the weekly challenge helped me find the motivation to hit the keyboard and share so I will be sad to see it end.

Although I will still continue to post photos and share stories I fear that I may struggle to find my feet without a bit of a push. Until then please enjoy my farewell to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a few of my favourite photos.

Weekly photo challenge: I’d rather be…

This week’s photo challenge encourages participating bloggers to think about where they would rather be at this moment. For me it is a no-brainer and although there are times when I wish I was in Paris or Venice or the highlands of Scotland, if given the choice I would rather be beside my little mate Bundy.

Travel is grand, a weekend away a delight but I hate leaving Bundy behind and wherever I go I wish I could have him with me. With Bundy I am never alone, even when he is sound asleep and seeing his happy face as he runs across the sand or grass fills my heart with joy.

Weekly photo challenge: Sweet

My take on the theme for this week’s photo challenge has nothing to do with the delicious sweets, cakes and desserts I like to indulge in on occasion. For me there is nothing sweeter than a puppy, I love their tiny pink paws, fat little bellies and the way that they smell. Even though they have a tendency to make a huge mess and draw blood with their sharp little teeth and claws they delight me with their antics and always make me smile.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

My brother and his wife purchased a property in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales only to discover that once valuable farm machinery had been left behind. The property is 80 percent bushland but it is obvious that work had been done in the past, wire fences barely standing and among the trees equipment such as this old plough have been left to weather the elements.

rusting plough in the bush
Rusting farm equipment slowly becoming one with nature

My contribution to this week’s photo challenge: Weathered

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

After several extreme weather events a local wildlife reserve was in danger of being overcome by algae, weeds and dying trees, but all that has changed thanks to a group of dedicated people. I have watched and admired the changes happening as a result of an ongoing regeneration program which has seen the clearing of dead and invasive plants. Native plants have been planted all around the lake and as they grow they provide a source of food and sanctuary for wildlife as well as beautifying the area.

This literal interpretation of this week’s photo challenge: growth is my contribution to the challenge.

Grasses planted around lake

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

What remains of St John’s Church sits on on a hill overlooking Gamrie Bay and the fishing village of Gardenstown in Scotland. The walk up from the beach winds through reasonably steep and rough grazing land, there is evidence of recent slips but that doesn’t seem to bother the cattle.

St John’s Church is said to have been originally built in the 1190s and it has a long and bloody history. The ruins are visible from Gardenstown and celebrate a victory over the Danes in the 11th century. It was once known as the ‘Kirk of Sculls’ because of the three skulls (supposedly Danes) that decorated the church interior. The skull and other symbols adorn many of the headstones in the graveyard.

Three people walking up to the ruins of St John's Church
Ascending to the ruins of St John’s Church.
The ruins of St John's Church, Gamrie
The ruins of St John’s Church, Gamrie

I plan to make my contribution to this week’s photo challenge: ascend the return of more regular posts. New challenges are posted every Wednesday at The Daily Post Photo Challenge should you wish to join in the fun or you just need blogging inspiration 😊

An obsession with Paris

The Tuileries Garden in Spring
The Tuileries Garden in Spring

Perhaps it is because I have itchy feet or maybe it is a form of escapism, but I have recently become obsessed with finding and reading books featuring Paris. Although reading fiction has always been a passion of mine it is non-fiction that holds my attention at the moment, in particular memoirs, essays, and narrative history.

Currently on my bedside table is ‘Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)’ by Amy Thomas, a light and easy book to read especially if you have a sweet tooth. If you like more depth and less self-indulgence then this book is not for you. Amy works for an advertising agency and writes copy for Louis Vuitton, she loves chocolate and all things sweet and likes to make comparisons between her former life in New York and life in Paris. I have not yet finished reading it. Some of my favourite books featuring Paris that I have finished reading are:

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. A collection of 23 essays and journal entries chronicling the time he spent living in Paris with his wife and son. Paris to the Moon is a humorous portrayal of life in France, filled with personal observations and cultural commentary.

Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke. I loved this book. Witty, informative and highly entertaining this book is a joy to read.

Joan DeJean’s book How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City. 17th Century Paris. The inclusion of illustrations from that period provides the reader with glimpses of life in Paris several hundred years ago before Haussmann stripped the city of medieval character to create the wide boulevards and squares that we recognise today.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter. I loved following John through the streets of Paris, he provides a fascinating view of parts of Paris that are not familiar to me (and there are many). Baxter refers to Hemingway and other authors frequently and after reading all the stories contained within ‘The Most Beautiful Walk in the World’ Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ is on my must-read list.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. A true story that started when the author met and fell in love with a French man. Each chapter is interwoven with delicious food and recipes making this a delightful read for anyone who loves food and dreams of romance in Paris.

Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating: From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love. Journalist Ann Mah’s husband is given a diplomatic assignment in Paris, a dream come true but then her husband is called away to Iraq for a year and Ann is left alone.  To contend with her feelings of loneliness Ann decides to explore France and seek out regional dishes such as cassoulet, Boeuf Bourguignon, and crepes, delving into the history and stories behind these well-known dishes.

The Only Street in ParisLife on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino.  A tour of the author’s favourite street in Paris the Rue des Martyrs. Sciolino’s focus on this one particular street gave me a complete picture of what it must be like to live on Rue des Martyrs. I enjoyed reading her stories about the locals who lived and worked on Rue des Martyrs and the history of the buildings.

Macarons and chocolate, Paris
Macarons and chocolate, Paris

 

Early morning markets, Paris
Early morning markets, Paris
Fountain of Apollo, Versailles
Fountain of Apollo, Versailles