Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gremlin the kitty

My blog has been neglected and will most likely continue to be because Ben and I finally got ourselves a kitten!! Oh man I really can't express how happy I am, I'm not even sleeping my excessive hours anymore because I want to get up for kitten love :)

So the past week we were looking around at a few different kittens, most kittens fell through, but there was one kitten that Ben had nicknamed Styles who I was secretly (or not so secretly) rooting for. On a random side note he was given the name Styles because of his hairdo and thus sharing a common link with some popular boy band guy - Harry something or other :p Anyway, we went to go look at Styles and straight away lovely owner Luke told us one of the kittens had been taken and I was sure it was going to be Styles but it wasn't.. *suspense builds*

Mamma cat Nala had had five kittens, two Ginger & white tabbies, a black kitten and two black & white guys. Ben was sold on the little black kitten but I was still rooting for Styles. Luke told us that when Styles was born he named him Gremlin - being the only longed hair dude of the bunch and sharing a surprisingly similarity with his movie counterpart. Ben and I had previously thought of a few names but we were both instantly sold on his new name :) After a two second negotiation with Ben, a Gremlin was in a box coming home with us. That part was actually extremely difficult - taking him away from his mum, brothers and Luke. I hadn't really prepared myself for it and honestly I just wanted to cry especially after Luke had told us Gremlin was his favourite :( 

Playing with my extension tubes!

On the way home Gremlin was meowing, missing his family and it was super sad but we kept reassuring him and letting him know he was coming to a new home where he would be super loved. We're on day five now and he has adjusted amazingly. He started off hiding under chairs but now he is one super tree dweller (any Jackson galaxy fans out there?) bouncing all over the sofa tops and cuddling with everyone. We play with him, take him on a daily car trips and have regular harness practice so will be able to go for walks with him. He is doing so awesome at everything, even the visit to the vet went better than we had expected :) I honestly love him so much, he is super soft and I just want to smoosh him against my face all the time, heck maybe I even do.

Since this is my first kitten ever, do you lovely cat people have any advice? Our aim is to get him adjusted and comfortable with things that might not be so easy to do when he is all grown up but I'd love to hear advice or maybe even things you didn't do with your cat as a kitten that you wish you would have? Probably the most important thing is just to make him feel super loved and hopefully we're succeeding at that :)

Love you Gremlin!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prom Party - Inspiration

So my 30th Birthday is coming up at the end of the month and I'm holding a prom party theme :) 

In Australia we have a formal as opposed to a prom which is less cool than the prom but maybe I've been mislead by all those America movies!  I've got a few ideas for the party but one essential part is the classic prom photos that months later you can purchase for a ridiculous price (well that's what happened at our school). I've been hunting for some cheesy backdrops as inspiration and thought I'd share my findings today! So sit back and enjoy some cheese - nicely categorised for you guys!

1) The Tropicana Set

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Why wouldn't you want to stand in sand wearing your fancy shoes? But seriously that left photo gets mad props for the sand and the "real" flowers in the foreground. I also commend the right photo for their airbrushed sunset.  When originally thinking about what background I would have, palm trees were my first thought but now I'm thinking that might be too much work :P lol

2) Balloons

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My next thought was definitely balloons but it might clash with the balloon archway I was also picturing in my head at the entrance - yikes I might be over achieving here :P  I'm also crazy in love with that pink love heart balloon arrangement and those pot plants on pillars - amazing! Even the confetti on the ground is a good idea!

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Again we have a nice balloon arch on the left and the pillars make a comeback on the right, I also think the balloons here are meant to be clouds which brings us too....

3) The Cloud Theme

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 I love the backdrop, love that hideous cotton wool and most importantly I love that gaudy railing! This railing was responsible for leading me down a dark path of incorporating more items into the photo!

4) The Set Phase

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How about a sofa to lie on or a mini bridge? Big credit to the airbrushed background of the left photo too!

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 Okay I'm not sure whats going on over on the left but I like it, tulle, pillars and cellophane!  I'm also loving the pink castle theme on the right and especially the crepe paper twisted background - may definitely need to incorporate that into my set :)

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I only wish I had the time and money and patience to do the photo over on the right - a balcony at night with a crescent moon - yes please but I think I'm leaning more towards a glitter background and some balloons - definitely seems more doable.

5) Balloons and Glitter

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So I've come back to the balloons but with more emphasis on the shiny backdrop. Yup I think I can make this work - I'm not sure where I'd get those glitter curtains from but even if I got some shimmery material and some balloons maybe throw in some twisted crepe paper - winner?

And just for a bit of extra prom goodness, I stumbled across these modern day sets you can hire out they're pretty insane!

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The set over on the left is call the "land of make believe turrets" and we also have the "Cinderella Coach Kit" on the right.

Too much perhaps?

What's your favourite and what would you go with if you were throwing a prom party?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Budget Macro Photography - Extension tubes/rings

So the lovely wedding photographer I've been working with Nick Murray first introduced me to extension tubes as a cheap alternative to macro photography. At weddings there is usually only one thing you need to macro - the ring photo and for one photo sometimes it's a bit crazy to lug around a heavy macro lens.  This is where the extension tubes come in handy.  Essentially they are a tube that extends your own lens (fitted to the camera body before you put your lens on) allowing you to focus more closely on a subject.

Now with most camera equipment you can get the high end goods right down to the ridiculously cheap items off eBay. I personally went ridiculous cheap (under ten dollars) because I wanted to test the tubes out but after using them for a few weeks I'm definitely keen to upgrade. The set I bought doesn't have any electric contacts and therefore can't speak with the lens or camera, so you have to manually focus (which is okay because I use manual most of the time anyway) but the other bad news is that you can only shoot wide open - so you have to really nail focus. My set came with three rings but I've only been using the one - more that that and I've found the magnification just too much. My set also had this crazy silver lever you have to press down when removing the tube - I may have spent ten minutes thinking I had officially stuck an extension tube onto my camera for life!

For a few dollars that's not a bad shot to get :) I have been playing around with Nick's high end macro lens as well and it's beautiful and definitely in a different league to the tubes but if you want a cheaper solution and one that is easy to carry around I definitely recommend getting yourself some of these :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


We go down to this spot a lot not only is it beautiful but it has lots of sea glass and shells and is nice and close too :)


So many shells after some recent storms. 

 Storms and rough seas = the perfect time to go treasure hunting :)

I always think that nature does the best patterns!

And my finds for the day :)

It was a good bounty of goodies - some pretty blues and greens and some interesting shell pieces to add to my collections

Thank-you beach :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Film - Brisbane

When I was in search for the Friday floral post on something romantic I visited New Farm park in Brisbane to suss out their rose garden but I also swung by the valley to snap some street art as well :) I never showed those photos so I'm sharing them today :) These were all shot on kodak portra 160 film using my canon 1000f.

The back piece is by an artist called Shida, who is quite a prolific Brisbane artist and does amazing work.

The flower mural was from New Farm Park but that's another Shida piece on the left and I believe the character riding him is by the artist ghost patrol (Melbourne artist).

Death bug paste up by philb - totally awesome dude!!

And lastly (although I didn't take the best photo) the white and black paste up guy with the crown is by humble dumpling :) :) 

(double smiley for that one)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Collections - Shells

Collections - shells

When I was little I used to collect shells, there is something so nice about finding treasure at the beach. I'll admit these days I'm more likely to pick up sea glass then shells but I'm always on the look out. My shell collection is pretty refined and I'm super picky to what I keep but I don't mind taking home broken bits of shell if I think they look pretty or interesting.

Shell Collection
I've also been happily gifted some shells as well :)

Do you guys collect shells?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Floral Friday: Flower as Art

This month's Floral Friday was to produce flowers as art.  I definitely could of gone a billion ways but I decided to keep it simple and put in a fav quote of mine :)  I collect quotes like a mad women and have 10+ quotes framed above my work space.  Ben jokes that I'm a feign for inspirational hip hop too but it's kind of true :P 

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is just sweet though! 

Floral Fridays is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie (trishie@underlockandkeyblog. com) for next month's theme

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Canon 299T Flash Review

So I told you guys how I picked up a flash at the thrift shop the other day and now I'm back to show you a bit more. I'm pretty hopeless at flash, 3 weeks ago I knew nothing and now I know enough to comfortably get by but I still have lots to learn. If I could avoid flash photography I probably would but if I want to do weddings it's a prerequisite especially with those low light, end of the night festivities. Which brings me to why you would want to use flash. Some photographers use flash in the daylight, referred to as a "fill flash" to get a nice overall light onto their subjects, I personally am not such a fan but maybe that's partly based on my own lack of knowledge. The other main reason to use flash is when the lighting is too low for the camera and you can't use a tripod or don't want the effect of a slow shutter. Or hey you could just really like the look of flash photography too!

You can "bounce the flash" which is when you point the flash upwards and it bounces off something (like a ceiling). I like bouncing the flash, it's gives a less harsh tone and also nicer not to have to flash someone in the face when taking portraits. The other way is direct flash which, as you may have guessed is aiming the flash directly onto your subject. For the photos above I did direct flash because I wanted a high contrast image and my brother was very obliging of me shooting a flash in his face - thanks Matty! You can also use a flash off the camera as well but I'm not even going there today!

The canon 299t was made for canon SLR cameras (the film version of the fancy cameras on the market these days) now some of the older film flashes are a big no no when it comes to putting on your fancy new digital gear but the 299t voltage is very low so I had no qualms throwing it onto my 5d mark ii but others may not want to take the risk. Unlike the new canon speedlites flashes you do have to set everything manually on the back

I set mine onto F.NO. mode told the flash what aperture my camera was one, made sure the shutter on my camera was below 1/200 of a seconds - this has to do with the shutter curtains (a faster shutter speed leaves you with only a partially exposed images - not cool!). I also needed to set the ISO on the back of the flash body. There are a couple more features on the 299t the tilt of the flash head - so you can do bounce or direct flash and then there is an pull out section on the top, dependent on the size of lens. If I wanted my pictures brighter I played around with my aperture and ISO. You have to remember that there is the light coming from the flash but there is also the ambient light around that the camera is also recording - sounds confusing - yup and I'm definitely still learning!

I eventually want to pick up a new canon speedlite flash because you can set those onto nice and (easier!) auto settings :) I don't mind the 299t though because chances are what you are photographing at night will have a pretty consistent light reading, so it's just a matter of fine tuning the settings and then snapping away which is what I did when I took pictures of my brothers fancy dress get up the other week :)

Thanks Matty for being my very patient model :)

Does anyone have any flash tips for me, I'd love to hear as a newbie to the flash World.

I personally love really bright washed out flash photos and am not ashamed to admit I like Terry Richardson Style of the white background. Apparently he uses direct flash and as close to the camera lens as possible to avoid any flash shadowing around the person -interesting!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Home Made Life - budgeting

I wanted to do a little life updates of sorts, which is probably going to verge on the edge of being too hippy but now that I've put the disclaimer out there it's your own fault if you read on :p

So a month ago I quit my job, I actually liked my job I had lovely disabled people to look after in my support worker role but my supervisor was giving me grief. I won't go into all the details but after 4.5 years in my position I felt horrible undervalued - so I quit, no back up plan just a desire to want to live my life in a happier way. I feel like my outlook on life has changed and how I want to take more control of it. My goal in life is just to be happy but how I'm able to do that has been changing in little ways. Okay here is where is probably starts to get a bit too hippy...

Since I now have a massively small income from my creative endeavours, I've had to get real smart about how I spend money with most of it going to rent and food. Rent is out of my hands but food you can work on reducing costs. I've learned to appreciate our garden and supplement it by going to the fruit markets just as they're closing and ready to give away food!

I can take zero credit for the garden btw which is run by my other housemates but if I was on my own I would definitely start my own.

Fresh herbs - amazing.

We also get eggs from our chickens and I've started making my own bread from this recipe here

It is seriously the easiest bread ever - it's name is 'the no knead bread' which should be a giveaway on it's simplicity. I picked up an oven safe pot from the thrift store for a few dollars; I mix the bread mixture up the night before, let it rise and I have fresh bread the next afternoon - so simple :) I've also started making my own naans too and just can't believe I didn't make them before.

My room mate has taught me how to make kombucha - might save that for another post but it's a great and cheap way to have a refreshing drink available on a super tight budget.

My eating has definitely become a lot more simplified and I'm really grateful for that. I make my own bliss balls, which are essentially just ground up dates, nuts, honey, and cacao powder but they are super yummy!

Actually my hunt for non dairy delicious alternative came from a forced necessity - again probably too much info for this post - but it's been challenging and eye opening. 

I've had to say goodbye to milkshakes (that's Ben's on the left and my smoothie on the right) and hello to watermelon sorbet! Okay so maybe going out and drinking smoothies and eating sorbet isn't on the budget friendly list but life would be a little sad if you didn't have splurges! treat yo self people!

I was going to fill this entry with all the other little changes I've been doing but it's going to be way too much writing, so I'll save those thoughts for another week. I want to inspire or at least show people stuck in heavy work loads that maybe you don't need to be (I know people have very different lifestyles and money commitments than me) but maybe just a few changes could lead to a different way of living if you want it to or currently feel stuck where you are. I'll eventually pick up a few shifts myself to supplement my income - going on holidays or having money for emergencies is always essential but for now I'm really enjoying being creative, in charge of my own destiny and not being controlled or devalued :) (told you I was going to get hippy on you!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival

I've had these photo on my computer for far too long, they're of a local scarecrow festival that happened late last year.  It was pretty neat to drive around looking at all the scarecrows and sculptures people had submitted - I'm posting a few of my favourites.  Can't wait for more scarecrows at the end of this year.

Headless horse rider with a hat, though I suspect he wasn't intentionally headless!

I love these wire dresses, I'd seen them before on the internet but in real life they looked so awesome and ghost life :)

Loved her (or his) cute straw hat - the sunflower was a nice touch too :)

Pretty :) 

Does your town do a scarecrow festival once a year? It was a pretty new concept to me that I just happened to stumble upon :)