dream 13: learn to photograph … properly

I love beautiful photos …

Especially old photographs! A few years ago I had the opportunity to do a 50th Anniversary Book for a company. I was given photographs from the past 5 decades to include in the design. It became very apparent that photographs from the 50s and 60s and even the 70s were so much more beautiful then what they are now and it was very obvious that from the 80s onwards (when film and cameras became cheaper for the every day Joe Bloggs to own and buy), photography lost its creativity and became a former shell of its self; probably because that’s when every one became a photographer (kinda like how these days every one thinks they’re a graphic designer! *cough* Word is NOT a design program *cough*).

And, yes I admit it, like everyone else from the 80s onwards, when it comes to photography I can sit there and press the “take the photo” button on my camera. I can point and shoot. But I don’t get amazing photographs all the time … why? Well, there are a number of dials on my Sony SLR that I have NO clue about. And when I say a number … I actually mean ALL of them. Haha.

When I was in grade 11 I briefly studied photography and school and learnt about apeture, shutter speeds etc., but do you think I can recall all this stuff? Nope! So, this year I want to learn how to photograph properly and take the kind of photographs that make me squeal with delight when I get the opportunity to design with them. Also, as a designer, I should probably learn how to take a properly composed photo; expand on my skills to put together a rocking concept and ideas!

So, in order to start my journey on learning how to photograph properly I suppose I should get my camera cleaned. When we went on our USA holiday last year our camera got so dirty! Dust got inside the camera when we changed lenses and it’s been putting a spot on every photograph! Annoying! I have to Photoshop the spot out! The camera was also exposed to quite a bit of heavy salt air in Cabo, Mexico (the most hottest, humid place I have ever experienced in my life!).  So yes, I need to get the camera cleaned … does anyone know any places in Brisbane that do this for a decent price (and when I say decent price I mean one that isn’t the price of a brand new camera!)? I also want to buy another lense for my camera and I need to look into photography books … if anyone has some great recs, please let me know!!! Must get cracking!!!


Dream 12: new york city (again)

New York, New York …

Yep, everything you have heard about New York is true! It’s the most amazing and crazy place you could possibly ever experience. And yes, you HAVE to experience it. I have had people say to me that they’re not that fussed on New York, but I concur with others when they say it’s one of the must-do/must-see cities of the world. I don’t think any other place could compare to the wonders of New York!

D and I had the chance to experience New York last September on our 5 week trip that took us to the USA, Canada and Mexico. Our travel agent talked us (or rather talked D – I didn’t need convincing) into staying in New York for a week.  It was just incredible. Gee, can I gush anymore?

During our short stay we saw The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island; shopped til we dropped all over the place (especially at Abercrombie and Fitch!); walked from Battery Park to the Holiday Inn on West 57th Street (where we were staying – and by God, let me say, if you plan on walking that far, don’t wear sandals! My feet DIED a horrible death by blisters!); Central Park (put a whole day aside if you can for the park of you plan on going!); walked over the Brooklyn Bridge; visited the Observatory Deck on the Empire State Building; took numerous bus tours of the city; and we saw Wicked on Broadway (you MUST see a Broadway Show when in New York – and compared to here in Australia, tickets to the shows are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP!). While we saw quite a bit, there was a LOT we didn’t see. I really wanted to go to the Natural History Museum, MoMA, the Guggenheim, see a baseball game, see more of Central Park and generally explore more – I would have loved to see Brooklyn and The Bronx – but we just didn’t have time! We could have spent our whole five week holiday in New York and still not experienced it all!

So, of course, after experiencing New York City once, I want to experience it all over again. Preferably I would love to live there for a while, but I’ll be honest with myself (and you) … that’s probably not going to happen, however I can make sure we go back and visit again, and again!

Next time D and I visit I would love for us to go during the winter months, especially at Christmas time. I’d love to see the big Christmas tree, skate in Central Park and shop and ogle at the window displays on 5th Avenue.  I have also never seen snow in my life, so the idea of a snowy winter in New York City makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (ok, I get that the snow would be quite dirty, but I am going off what I have seen in Christmas Movies here!).

Regardless of dirty snow, I can’t wait to head back to New York City and freeze my butt off like I have never done before!

it’s been a while …

So, yes it’s been a while since I last posted; nearly 3 months!

I can’t believe it’s been that long, and I can’t believe all of the craziness that has happened in that 3 months! Sorry, but life managed to get in the way of day dreaming!

However, during the last 10 weeks or so, I have achieved one dream, and I am well on my way to actioning two others! I have been on my Thailand trip, so I can now cross Dream 7: Thailand off my list – however, I think I’ll be promptly putting it back ON my dreams list!);  Dream 9: get fit is finally coming along – I have embraced my gym membership and I have discovered that I love the group fitness classes, especially Les Mills’ Body Combat; and Dream 10: make our house into a home is also well underway, and I am thinking up bigger and better dreams for our house every day.

I promise I’ll do a post on Thailand and my home decorating achievements soon … just need to find the time!

In the meantime, I hope you all like the new look of the blog; yes, I am a graphic designer, however I am not much of a web builder (I am a print designer! I love paper!) … so, watch this space as I will probably evolve the blog when I learn more about web coding etc.

just bear with me …

Ok, so I am updating the look of my blog, and it’s giving me some issues! Sorry to iPad users … I can’t get the background to work properly. I also need to go through previous posts and update all the images.

I’ll have it sorted soon, just bear with me! In the meantime, here’s a picture of a grizzly bear I saw in Vancouver, Canada back in September last year. Isn’t he just amazing?!

Dream 11: interior design

There’s more than one way to design!

Dream 10, really has got me into the swing of decorating and reworking the interior of our home. Ever since I put Dream 10 into action, I have been scouring the internet for inspiration and have been coming more and more addicted to looking at pictures of beautifully designed spaces!

It’s funny that I am only realising now, at 28 years of age, how much I really do love the elements of interior design and how much it excites me. To be honest, I don’t know why I am only just realising this now because when was in high-school trying to decide what I wanted to do with my future, I was very interested in following a path in design and both interior and graphic design were high on my list. Graphic design, however, won out because it was: 1. a larger industry with more jobs available; 2. there were more course options, and; 3. back in 1999, to study interior design at QUT you needed an OP of 3 to even get a look in to the course! (Isn’t that just mental?! An interior designer needed an OP to rival that of someone who wished to become a doctor, surgeon, therapist or pharmacist. Absolutely insane! Oh and to study graphic design at Griffith or QCA you needed an OP of 12 and this is the exact reason is why I ended up going to private college and studying a diploma of graphic design!)

Anyhow, cue 11 years later, I am a graphic designer professionally. While my job does have it’s ups and downs, like any job, I really do enjoy being a graphic designer; I thrive on designing niche brands – logos, stationery and websites – and I love designing magazine, catalogue and book layouts.  And now, as I have discovered over the past month, I also really enjoy interior design … and this is where Dream 11: interior design comes in.

I would LOVE to study interior design sometime soon and learn how to use both graphic design and interior design together in my job. I think having two design paths to follow would satisfy me more than just following one design path. I am a very creative person, always have been, so of course, it’s quite natural to want to explore more than one level of creativity professionally and combine the two together! I think by following both paths I will become more satisfied and push my creativity levels further. A friend of mine let me know before Christmas that she was starting an interior design course … I didn’t think much of it then, but now I am itching to pick her brain! Must start researching … that is when I am not scouring the many amazing blogs I have recently fallen in love with!

Check out the following blogs for some great interior design LOVE:

  • Moth Design – Great, great blog. I think my favourite. It’s an American blog and I am by no means into “traditional” American design, this blog is anything but. I think I ooh and ahh over every image on this blog! It’s so NEW YORK! I love it. Great stuff!
  • Bazzar of Serendpity – Another fave! Again, it’s an American blog, and it has such an eclectic mix of different design and a great source of unusual inspiration.
  • Decor8 – the graphic design on this blog, coupled with the decorating ideas just makes me go warm and fuzzy! I have followed this blog for a few years now and I just love it (and I MUST get my own blog design sorted out STAT! I feel inadequate! Watch this space!).
  • Lona De Anna – I stumbled across this blog a few weeks back and immediately loved it. It’s an Australian blog and I think it’s a great example of how overseas design styles can be translated into an Australian home (and the blog has a great music selection!).
  • Table Tonic – another Australian interior design blog I have followed for a while. This blog is run by the creative director from Dolly & Cosmo magazine and it has an online store. Can I just say, “morroccan pouffe in metallic silver”! Yes, please!

I think I’ll stop there … if I don’t I’ll be here all day looking at interior design blogs!

Queensland Floods 2011 …

I started to write a new Dream post early last week, only to find myself distracted by news of flash flooding in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley followed by warnings that Ipswich and Brisbane were to be flooded next at levels that may surpass the infamous 1974 floods. Needless to say, I quickly forgot all about Dreams and pretty much stayed glued to my tv screen, and when I wasn’t watching the tv my attention was focused on the latest Facebook and Twitter updates (seriously, I don’t know how anyone can survive without a Facebook or Twitter account; I got so much more information off the social networking sites than I did off tv!).

While the area we live in wasn’t affected by flooding (when we bought our house, my parents made sure that we didn’t buy a house on land that was affected by the 1974 floods – for which I am thankful!), by the end of the week, I was so emotionally exhausted from taking everything in, I felt like the floods had pretty much gushed through my own house! The whole thing was just so overwhelming from beginning to end … not to mention eerie. I have never heard the city of Brisbane so quiet in my life. On the morning that the flood waters peaked, you could swear the place was a ghost town and the fact that it was a gloriously sunny, beautiful day just added to the eeriness even more! Then after the flood waters rose, they subsided leaving behind the biggest mess I have ever witnessed in my life and pretty much the whole of Brisbane and its surrounding cities, got into cleaning and helping each other out.

And that’s when I became proud to be a Queenslander … they’re right when they say Queenslanders have a spirit. It’s hard to describe, but if you managed to witness the positivity radiating from every volunteer walking through the flood affected areas of South East Queensland this past weekend, you’ll know what I am talking about. It made me smile how people came out in droves onto the streets, shook the hands, got down and dirty in the most vile smelling mud and helped people they don’t know, and probably will never see again, get their lives back in order and for no reason other than they just wanted to help some “poor bugger”. It says a lot about a community when volunteers are turned away and they’re left LOOKING for someone to help! I don’t tend to be patriotic all that often, but when you see this kind of thing, you can’t help but become emotional and feel inspired. And it wasn’t just the “brown army” that I’m talking about; people everywhere are finding ways to help each other out, whether it be through raising money; collecting clothes and furniture for donation; baking and distributing food and drink to those in need and volunteers without collecting money; or answering cries for help for someone to house someone’s pet or send goods to a family or organisation in need. It really is inspirational stuff! While 2011 hasn’t been the best start for the majority of Queensland (an area the size of Texas in the USA has experienced flooding), it’s the fight that comes out in the communities that helps everyone get through. Awww, see I am gushing now.

Anyhow, I thought I’d post up some of my favourite photos from the past week. Now, I use the term “favourite” loosely because, to be honest, there’s really nothing about the floods that’s to be favoured, but some of these photos took my breath away and some of them made me laugh because they capture the Aussie humour and spirit well, so I’d like to share them. Here goes! (Please note: I will credit photos where I can, apologies if I can’t credit them all!)

The Story Bridge and the overflowing, raging Brisbane River. Photo taken by Bruce Kirkland on 13/01/2011.

Flooding at Southbank, Brisbane. Photo taken by Ashton Welch on 13/01/2011.

The Wally Lewis Statue at Suncorp Stadium. Aussie humour always manages to peak through, even in times of crisis! Photo by Brad Marsellos on 12/01/2011.

South Brisbane, on the corners of Grey and Melbourne Street. Photo taken by Ashton Welch on 14/01/11.

Flooding over the Centenary Bridge and freeway at Jindalee. Photo taken by Thea Orley on 13/01/2011 at 8am.

A man rescues a kangaroo from flooding in Ipswich.

History repeats itself; the “Flood” sculpture at Brisbane’s Powerhouse that depicts the flood level of 1974, is greeted by the Brisbane River.

RSPCA worker Wendy carries a stranded dog to safety in the rising flood waters of North Rockhampton. Photo by Kelly Watt.

A photo to make you smile: a litter of pups were born in the RSPCA’s care during the Rockhampton floods. The RSPCA have truly outdone themselves in the past month during Queensland’s flooding disaster! Even while evacuating animals from their own premises which were being inundated with water, they were still out & about rescuing animals in need.

If you haven’t donated to a flood appeal and would like to, here are some links:

UPDATE >> Dream 10: make our house into a home

I’m in decorating mode!

I mentioned to D last week after I made my Dream 10: make our house into a home post that I thought we should put some effort back into our home. To be honest, I thought I would have to twist D’s arm and leg before he would agree to spend a portion of our savings on new furniture and decorative homewares. Turns out I was wrong and he immediately got excited about the notion and before I knew it, we were down at our local Homemaker Centre looking at bits and bobs for our house!

After countless stores, debates and lots of measurements later we finally decided on what to spend our hard-earned cash on. Our spend-a-thon so far has included the following from IKEA and Domayne:

  • A new buffet and entertainment unit for our living/dining room. We found these at Domayne and I was blown over when the exact kind of buffet I wanted came in the size that we needed! The wall for the buffet could only fit a buffet with a maximum length of 140cm and this one was 120cm – pretty much every buffet we saw and liked was at least 2 metres! So when I found this one I was rather impressed, oh and the entertainment unit was the right size too. Yes, that’s furniture happiness right there. And we got the buffet on sale. Freaking good stuff! Only thing now is that we have to wait until after the 14th of January for delivery as the Domayne warehouse is closed for Christmas break. Blah. I want my new furniture now!
  • 2 x canvases for our walls from Freedom. Finding these was a mission. We wanted 2 prints that we saw in the Freedom Spring 2010 catalogue and we thought they’d sold out. Somehow we managed to get them both. I’ll post pics when they’re up on the walls!
  • 4 x picture frames for photographs. Now I just have to organise photos and hanging spaces
  • A new desk and drawers for spare bedroom #1. The existing desks didn’t fit side by side so we headed down to good-ol’ IKEA. As much as I love IKEA, I don’t love the crazy people that shop there. What is it with IKEA and annoying people and screaming children? D and I had limited time to spend there and we kept on getting stuck behind dawdlers. Argh! It was worse than a Westfield at Christmas! Anyhow, we managed to pick up the desk and filing cabinet we wanted, but they were out of stock of 3 x bedside tables we wanted for our Walk-in-Robe, so we have to head on back this week sometime (hopefully)
  • New manchester for bedroom #1. D’s old doona covers and sheets have seen their day, so I have upgraded to 100% cotton sets, which just make me happy all round! And D was happy cos I got the new doona cover on sale. Bonus!
  • A new lamp for the living room. It’s black, glassy and shiny. Just what I’ve been looking for. And because it was from IKEA, it was well under $100. Man, I love you IKEA; it’s a gold mine!

Now I just have to wait for the furniture to arrive before I can start re-organising the living and dining room and putting prints and frames on the walls. In the meantime D and I have started sprucing up the gardens and I have decluttered most of the house – I managed to get D to throw out around 300 burnt CDs that he was hoarding (I have no idea what one can put onto so many CDs! Definitely wasn’t anything worth keeping), and I’ve cleaned out bathroom cupboards and the wardrobes and sorted through our paperwork/office. Spare bedroom #2 is also almost done and is now resembling a bedroom! There’s still a few things we need to sort and get though:

  • Need to declutter the cupboard-under-the-stairs (aka Harry Potter room), and buy some suitable shelving from IKEA to organise the space; haven’t decided what yet, though
  • Buy the 3x bedside tables for the WIR. Then maybe our bedroom will be organised!
  • Purchase 3x new black stools for our breakfast bar. IKEA has a stool called “Julius” that’s good value for money: $99-107 per stool with a LEATHER covering. You have no idea how many chairs/stools etc out there at $100+ price points and they’re plastic and vinyl. Criminal. Because of this, IKEA will get my business!
  • Buy rugs for bedroom #1 to put our office chairs on and a rug for the living area. I think we’re going to get a shaggy rug after all. Fingers crossed Luna won’t christen it! We want a white and black shaggy rug. We’ve found one at Freedom we like, but it’s a bit to exxy at the moment, so we’ll wait until mid-year sales and hopefully pick it up then at a decent price
  • Get carpets cleaned. Thanks to the ridiculous amount of road works we have been experiencing around our area in the past year or so, our carpets are filthy. It was so noticeable when we moved the furniture around. Foul!

Hopefully we’ll get all of this sorted in the next couple of weeks and I’ll have some progress pictures!

I have to say, de-cluttering is very therapeutic. I recommend you try it if you have rooms in your house inundated with CRAP. I spent 10 days at home pretty much cleaning, but I swear I have never felt so free! Haha, ok maybe I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s definitely nice having a clean, spacious and organised house.