Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unexpectedly Memorable

Today we became a two vehicle family, the grateful owners of a car in which our older teenagers will be able to learn to drive (you can't legally learn in a 14 seater min-bus). The children were very excited to see it for the first time, not giving my husband a chance to even hop out of the car before exploring....

Due to unexpected supply issues, we have waited five months for this particular car and today it was available for collection in a nearby town where my Mum lives. The children had drawn up a rotation plan showing who would sit where in the new car on our journey home. We had two scheduled stops so the children could swap seats between our mini-bus and the new car.

Master J had been at school all day, he enjoyed a ride late this afternoon, and so did I. A short turn in the driver's seat highlighted how different it is driving a car again after four years of mini-bus driving.

February 29th comes but once every four years. This one has unexpectedly become very memorable for our family.

Sharing at Project 52: A Great Leap.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let The Dance Begin!

                                                                                                                                  Available for purchase here

Join me for an afternoon at the Passion Ballet where the dance is fast and furious yet every bit beautiful too.

Each dancer begins as a bud, poised for action. Within minutes, unseen by any eye, they spring forth and dance with total abandon for a few short hours.

Wasn't that glorious, even breath-taking? A few days later the fruits of the dance are clearly evident, maturing gradually into magnificent, delicious passionfruit.

Thank you for your company.

Sharing at Shoot.Edit.Submit (chosen in Top 5), The Creative Exchange, And Then She Snapped, Sweet Shot Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, This or That Thursday, Sneak Peek Friday, I Heart Macro, Macro Monday.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Closer View

Raynox lens which comes with the snap-on universal adaptor, beside adaptor ring (right).

As many of you know, taking macro photos is a great joy to me. My fixed lens superzoom camera does a great job with macros shots but sometimes I have longed to be able to come in even closer with macro photography.

My camera

A couple of weeks ago I read of an exciting possibility on Amanda's new blog -the Raynox Macro Conversion Lens (DCR-250). As I googled and read very positive reviews I realised it was possible to use this lens on my "little" camera (which is not a DSLR) with the addition of an conversion adapter ring.

Camera with adaptor ring and lens

That night I sourced both products on ebay for a total of just over $100 including shipping. My husband was more than happy for me to purchase, we could call it a belated Christmas gift. Both parcels arrived during the week and I have had lots of fun playing with my new "toy".

Here are some of my favourites, none of which have been cropped. With some of these I haven't even fully maximised my in camera optical zoom either. As with all macro lenses there is a very shallow depth of field and I think I will be looking into buying a tripod or at least a mono-pod. A new realm of macro photography is opening up in front of my eyes, a sheer delight.

NB For a regular size DSLR camera no adaptor ring is required, only the snap-on universal adaptor which is supplied with the lens. The actual lens piece arrives with a plastic cover over each side. The lens screws into the universal adaptor which then snaps on and off the camera lens of your choice, making it easy to carry it in your pocket (maybe within a little bag/pouch to protect inside of lens from dust and lint) when not in use. It comes carefully packaged within a solid plastic container for safe storage.

Sharing at I Heart Macro, Macro Monday.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paspalum Flowers or Ballet Shoes?

When turning my eyes to very "ordinary" things I am often amazed at the beauty I find. Our backyard is home to many weeds and grasses as well as intended plants. Maybe this is one of the reasons it's home to  a great variety of insects too. I was quite stunned by the delightful details of this paspalum seed head. Can you see the hanging ballet shoes too?

The clearly defined seed pieces, neatly aligned, look like a row of little beetles.

The top line is surely nature's rick rack. As I studied the grass "weeds" in our garden I discovered we have several varieties of paspalum, this one being the tallest. Time for some serious gardening/weeding in the next week of two.

Another joy for the week - late last week I emailed this photo to "Coastal Views", our local free paper, as a "Photo of the Week" submission. Monday night I was informed by the editor that it would be added to his bank of "pics" for publishing sometime. Late Tuesday night a new email read:

 Hi Karen,
I can understand why you like this photo. I will be featuring your photo in this week's Coastal Views.
Thanks for contributing.

Last night I eagerly opened our copy, turning to page 2.

Sharing at Friday Sneak Peek.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Garden Finds

Flower Wasp

Found this morning, I have never seen an insect like it before.

Miss N (14) shelling a macadamia nut, our neighbour's tree overhangs our backyard.

Grasshoppers are cute when this small!

My favourite of Miss E's recent drawings. She is about to turn 4 and can almost write her name.

Another unusual visitor this week.

Some recent garden photos and joys to share with you.
I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

Sharing at Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Of Books, Birthdays and Chocolate

You definitely know you have a bibliophile in the family when they look forward to an author's birthday and delight in celebrating it! February 7th marked 200 years since Charles Dicken's birth, Miss E (19), The Editrix, was very excited.

One of The Editrix' most treasured possessions is a complete 36 volume Centenary Edition collection of Dickens' works. Originally belonging to my husband's great aunt, they have moved from one family bibliophile to another.

Miss E's favourite - Our Mutual Friend. She values these 100+ year old books so much that she will often buy or borrow a copy of a particular volume to read, thus avoiding wear and tear on these old books.

I love how the pages are ragged along the side and base of each book. Only the tops of the books are neatly aligned and had been given a painted/inked finish.

Miss E continues to encourage her younger siblings to develop a love of good classical literature, with varying success. None were overly fussed about Charles' 200th birthday, until Miss E declared she was making a birthday cake in his honour so we could all celebrate the occasion.

A decadent chocolate cake was her choice. "How do you know Mr Dickens liked chocolate?" someone asked. Miss E was quick to quote the words below as assurance of her choice! No further objections were raised....

"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."
                                                   ~ Charles Dickens

Yesterday we were reading of George Washington as we slowly move through the ages in our homeschool History/Human Society studies. Miss G (14) who was reading to us, suddenly stopped and said "Today's George Washington's birthday! He's 280!" We were all amazed at this total coincidence. George Washington was quite an amazing man. Miss G quickly completed her lessons as she had decided to make George Washington a birthday cake. We all enjoyed chocolate cake for dessert last night to mark Mr Washington's birthday!

Next week we will be studying Captain James Cook, I wonder when his birthday was......

Sharing at This or That Thursday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Double-Barred Finches

Early one morning I spotted these delightful little Double-Barred Finches in a tall, bushy shrub near our driveway.
They make a quiet, gentle noise and fly between several nearby trees, having a nest in the shrub on which they are perched here. They are even quieter and smaller than the Superb Blue Wrens which I have shared previously.

 Double-Barred Finches are native to northern and eastern Australia and are only 10cm or 4 inches long. You can easily see why they were given their name. They are also known as Owl Finches, again due to their appearance. They usually feed in flocks, eating grass seeds and occasionally insects.

These photos were taken nearly two weeks ago and I have hoped and tried to capture some better photos every day since but without success. These shots aren't perfect but they are still too pretty to remain unseen. It thrills me to hear their soft songs and watch them dart around our suburban backyard.

Sharing at World Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cute Little Frogs

While the children were mowing the lawn (again) yesterday, they came across three little green tree frogs on the grass. They are delighted to rescue and relocate them to a safe spot in the garden. We had seen some similar ones at church the day before too.

Yesterday Master J found one much smaller, about the size of his finger nail while waiting for his school bus.

Our tadpoles are being eagerly watched and fed with hopes they will soon become little green tree frogs too and not ugly brown ones which also live in the area.

This morning I spotted this "shadow" on a leaf this little cutie below was the cause.

We all quite like these little green frogs, which is a good thing as we may be seeing many more in the near future!

Sharing at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thoughts From Today

 Photos taken over the last week, notes taken during today's message at church:

"Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it." Hebrews 11:1

"Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him." Hebrews 11:6

Trust God and His word - He is our security. Don't look for security in appearance, uncertain riches, position, family or intelligence.

You (me, everyone) are valuable right now as a person......
                        YOU are created in God's image, to reflect God. 
                        YOU were created with God given talents, abilities and gifts.
                        YOU are valued by God enough to redeem you at the cross. 
                                                  God values us greatly.

"Believing you are valuable to God is a key to a successful life,"
                                                                               Ps Jon concluded today.

I believe all the above is true and will ponder it further.

Sharing at Weekly Top Shot, The Creative Exchange.
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