......................................................................................................................................................Finding BEAUTY, JOY and CONTENTMENT in my everyday life.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love Kindness, Walk Humbly

Sometimes we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. With so many images and endless information at our finger tips, the greatest, biggest and best seems to be constantly visible and there to inspire or challenge. 

But life often dictates that our time and talents are used for serving those immediately in front of us and providing the necessities of life. With creative desires and ideas far beyond our reality, it's easy to become disenchanted, discouraged. 

What really matters in life, what is required and expected? Life on this earth is short, we want our days and actions to count for something, to use our time wisely. 

I was thinking on these things as I took a brief walk amongst the fig trees this morning. Then this verse came to mind, of loving kindness, doing justice and walking humbly with our God. That's what's required - no mention of doing big things, fulfilling your creative potential or being "successful" in the eyes of the world. Ultimately it's the invisible which lasts.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Three Facts

Our pastor shared these facts today and challenged us to think of reasonable explanations.....

Historical Fact 1:  Jesus lived, and died by Roman crucifixion.

Historical Fact 2:  The tomb was empty.

Historical Fact 3:  Jesus later appeared to over 500 disciples.

Easter memories 2014:

Miss E and Master J's uni/college mid semester breaks overlap for this Easter weekend only. So lovely to have them both home, the family all together again, very briefly.

Our church's Blue Cross on the Hill has been a red cross on the hill for the last week. Today the lights were changed back to blue.

My Musical Stairs quilt top is now basted in preparation for quilting the layers together.

My husband has started a new course of action to bring an end to his skin problems of the last 24 years. The downside is he will become worse before he becomes better and it could be a very long process, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Miss E made delicious hot cross buns with cranberries and sultanas, baking them early this morning prior to church.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Musical Stairs Top

At last my Musical Stairs quilt top is finished! Yesterday I arranged and sewed the rows together. The seams don't match perfectly from one row to the next but that was never the most important part of this project. What has been pleasing is the joy in piecing and that both twins helped in making this quilt which is for their bed.

Mmmm, the difficulty of attempting a photo shoot by myself....

Today I have bought batting for this quilt and discovered that one of our two small independent fabric/quilting shops in town has closed  :(

Tomorrow I will wash the backing which was bought on sale at The Fat Quarter Shop June 2013 when I had just begun the quilt (Patty Young's Flower Shop from her Lush fabric range). It surprised me to realise I've been working on this quilt so long - definitely a slow quilter, with more than one quilt on the go. Our autumn weather is good motivation to finish this quilt and see it put to good use. Now I'd best hop to and start trimming all those loose threads on the back.....

NB My Musical Stairs quilt is based on Sarah Fielke's Bass Line quilt.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

It was a Blood Moon this evening, quite fascinating to watch and I was very grateful for a clear sky. A Blood Moon is a spectacular type of full lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse can only occur at full moon and a total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly lined up, the Earth shadowing the moon.

Just as a sunset appears red due to the refraction of sunlight through the Earth's atmosphere, so a lunar eclipse can also appears red, hence the term a Blood Moon. The greater the amount of dust in the atmosphere, the darker the red.


At first, it was nearly impossible to even see the moon for it rose already fully eclipse. However as the sky darkened it became clearer and more spectacular.

6:12pm                                         6:38pm                                              6:44pm

As the eclipse gradually cleared I changed my settings to focus on the "light" rather than the "shadow" of the eclipse. The timing of the photos above overlap with those below.

6:44                                              6:45                                          7:05

7:15                                            7:20                                           7:30

7:40                                        7:50                                           8:00

It was the first time I had watched a Blood Moon and hopefully not the last.

Photographic note: All photos taken with my Canon 600D and S55-250 kit lens on Manual mode. For the top two photos and first collage focused on the "shadow" I used ISOs between 800-3200, shutter speed 1/2-1/4 second, f.10.
For all the other photos focused on the moon's "light" my settings were ISO 100, shutter 1/100, f.10. As I don't have a tripod, all photos were taken hand held, most while leaning the lens against a pole/pillar.

* In June 2012 I captured a partial lunar eclipse - you can see it here.

*** More information regarding lunar eclipses and the term Blood Moon can be found here.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Friday, April 11, 2014

No More Grey Whites in Blogger! :)

My first orange (saved as a png file)

Once upon a time a girl who lived in the Land Downunder planted an orange tree. One day her orange tree finally bore its very first orange! No no no no......Wait, what! Let's try again.

Once upon a time a girl who lived in the Land Downunder was happily blogging using Blogger. Her photos were never perfect but she enjoyed sharing them and keeping a record of her days. Then late 2013 something changed. Some of her images became weird and even ugly when they were uploaded to Blogger - like the one below! Exact same image - two very different looks.

Exact same image, saved as a jpg file, which still looked like to top image until uploaded and auto enhanced by Blogger

Oh no!!! What had happened? Google had changed Blogger so that it would auto enhance all images as they were uploaded. No matter how hard she tried to re-edit her photos or work around the problem, nothing could overcome the awful auto enhance and some images were affected more than others.  The only remedy she could find to fix this terrible state of affairs was to join Google + which then allows access to switch off the auto enhance option. Stubbornly refusing to join Google+ she even contemplated moving her blog to Wordpress or stopping blogging altogether - and she was not alone.

png file which loads as is to Blogger, bypassing their auto enhance 

Identical image (as a jpg) when upload to Blogger 

Yum became yuk. Some favourite photos were never shared.....and there was a sadness.


This jpg image has less white/contrast and doesn't show so great a difference in Blogger


Identical image as a jpg after uploading to Blogger

Then one sunny day in April - that would be today - she/I followed a fresh trail and found the key which she/I had almost given up hoping for. Did you see that one line UPDATE near the top of Lo Sauer's post?

"Update: After a quick test it shows that apparently Google does not enhance png's with an alpha transparency."

Not understanding all things technical I began looking into this idea to find it held the answer. I can export directly from iPhoto as a png, or I can save my jpg images as a png in PicMonkey which I use for final editing and watermarking. In PicMonkey there's a dropbox for choosing jpg or png right beside your image file name in the save window. Easy! The png images are very large so I resize them once saved as a png before uploading to Blogger.

 *The auto enhance only effects some images, particularly those with a lot of white or great light/dark contrast.  Jpg format still works perfectly fine for most images.

Such an easy answer - at last. Oh, by the way, the orange was sweet and juicy, even though not picture perfect - I loved it just the way it was! (As I like my photos - just the way they are!)

Sharing at Weekly Top Shot.

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