Christmas Traditions

There are many grand Christmas traditions in this house. No decorations go up before the 1st of December, for example. I get way too excited about putting icicle lights on the deck railings. Mince pies become a vital food group.

And I always leave my Christmas calendar until the very last minute.

But let’s backtrack a little first. Continue reading

Roadtrip Diaries: Queenscliff

Roadtrip Diaries Queenscliff

Our Queenscliff trip changed my life.

Well, it changed my holiday breakfasts, at least.

The life-changing breakfast moment came when I was standing in line in a café in Point Lonsdale. I was contemplating my own order when the lady in front of me asked for grilled tomatoes with her eggs.

Up until now, my breakfast extras had consisted of smoked salmon, avocado or hash browns. I hadn’t even realised you could add on grilled or fried tomatoes, which are pretty much my favourite thing in the world (at breakfast time, anyway).

So I asked for grilled tomatoes and now that is how my holiday breakfasts will be for the next forever.

Let’s backtrack to a time before that life-changing breakfast; namely to a chilly, rainy, windy Saturday morning in July when I set off to pick up my Failboat friends Emily and Aimee. We’ll be backtracking even further in future blog posts since I have a lot of roadtripping to catch you up on. It turns out the last time I posted about a Failboats adventure was in April of 2016, and if you know anything about me by now, you should suspect that I’ve managed to pack in quite a bit of roadtripping in those two and a half years.

So please join me for the first episode of a lengthy series I’m calling ‘The Roadtrip Diaries’. Continue reading

Local Lovelies – Adventures on our Doorstep

Local Lovelies - Katie Writes Stuff

In my previous post, I mentioned that I have a slightly enormous backlog of photos to share on the blog and that seems like a perfect excuse for a photo post. But which trip to choose? The Winter getaway to Queenscliff? The tour down an old coal mine in Autumn? Perhaps I could go back a little further to the fabulous Great Ocean Road trip of 2016?

As I said: a slightly enormous backlog of photos.

I thought about all of those options for a while and decided to go with something completely different.

The thing is, we’re fortunate to live in a rather beautiful region of the state and I love taking advantage of this fact. With such gorgeousness on tap, it’s easy to head off for a half-hour walk ten minutes from home and still find plenty of things to photograph.

Of course, this may have a lot to do with my compulsion to take photos at all possible times… but I’m pretty sure the fabulous surroundings help.

So let me take you back to a couple of weeks ago, when we drove a whole ten minutes to walk a section of the Warburton Rail Trail near Launching Place. Continue reading

Falling Back Into Daytripping

Toorongo Falls

When I was a kid, my family went on daytrips all the time. We drove to Marysville to see the Autumn leaves and Steavenson Falls. We drove to Mangalore every Easter Sunday to park in a dirt road behind the airport and watch the air show from a distance. We drove up to Toolangi and along the back roads into Healesville of an afternoon, just because.

Daytripping at Flagstaff Hill
My brother, the boat-spotter. (Technically, this is from a holiday, but it’s a cute photo and I wanted to share it.)

One of my earliest memories is of being in the back seat of the car with my favourite doll, watching raindrops hit the window as we drove along and feeling like that was exactly where I belonged. Continue reading

What Happens on Band Camp…

If you were to sit me down one day and say, “Katie, I am so incredibly fascinated by your entire life story – pray tell me, what was your favourite thing about secondary school?” then my answer would be, simply: Band.

I ended up in Band by pure chance, which is just as well, because I have a terrible habit of holding myself back from trying exciting things by telling myself all of the ways it will go wrong. Luckily for me, my Year 7 history teacher just happened to have taken over the Band programme and she decided to look for a piano player in our class for complicated reasons that would bore you should I go into them. The short version goes like this: I was there; I played piano; I’d passed the highest AMEB exam of the piano players in the class – I was in.

All of my best memories of secondary school revolve around Band and my VCE History class, because I had an amazing History teacher who gave us lollipops in our last class and told us to save them for the exam because having a lollipop in our mouth would make our brains work better. I’m not sure how that would have gone down in exam conditions, so it’s lucky we all dealt with our lollipops long before the exam turned up.

But as much as I loved History, Band was even better. Continue reading

Not Quite Progress

Has anyone else noticed that it’s almost October?  The last time I looked, it was July.  What happened there?

I guess moving house took up a significant portion of that time around here.  I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking, I really should sort out my sewing room and study so I can actually use them, which is time that would have been better spent actually sorting out my sewing room and study, because at present, the only one using said rooms is my cat, Pickle, who has decided my desk chair is better suited to her afternoon sleeping requirements than any sitting I might be thinking of doing on it.

But today I’ve been reading blog posts from people who are sorting out their sewing spaces or trying to get into good routines and it’s made me think I should combine the two and see what happens.

The good news is that I’ve made a little progress since my last post. Continue reading

Cemeteries & Fungi

When I sold my 60D, I felt strange.  It had been my companion for so long and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made the right choice.  Was I going to be happy with my little OM-D?  Only time would tell.  On the up side, my selling the 60D had freed up some funds for the one thing my OM-D was lacking: a good lens.  Or two.

There are dozens of choices when it comes to lenses for this little camera so it took me a while to narrow down my options, but I eventually settled on two prime lenses: the 17mm f1.8 and the 45mm f1.8.  (With a prime lens, zooming is provided by your own movement either towards or away from the subject of your photographic gaze.)  I loved the 17mm lens straight away and I’ve been using it for photos of my op shop finds and my handknitted goodies.  The 45mm lens, though… I didn’t feel the love.  But this is exactly what happened with my 50mm lens on my 60D: all I needed to do was force myself to use the lens until I worked out what it was best at.

I finally had a chance to do that when I visited the parents in Beechworth recently. Continue reading

A Fond Farewell

Last Friday, I bade farewell to a good friend.  A friend who’d been with me at all the important events of the past few years.  A friend who’d joined me on roadtrips and Failboats adventures and had even shared my cabin on a Pacific Island cruise.

Before things start to sound unnecessarily maudlin, I should explain that this friend is an inanimate object and I actually sold it, so I brought all of this on myself.  It doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m missing something important, though.

Because last Friday, I sold my DSLR. Continue reading

Easter in Beechworth

If you were wondering where everyone was this Easter, it’s safe to assume they were in Beechworth at the Golden Horseshoes Festival.  This festival celebrates an important moment in Beechworth’s history and just so happens to be held over the Easter long weekend, when I tend to visit the parents.  It means crowds, even more tourists than normal, people doing odd things on the road and general mayhem.  It also means I avoid it like the plague when I’m up here, except for one year when I actually went to the parade, purely so I could take some photos (some of which you can see here).

My mum said it best as we were driving past the chaos on the way to my parents’ house (which is thankfully on the very edge of town).  She turned to my dad and said: “Why were we born without the gene that makes people want to go to things like that?”

It’s not that I don’t like going to interesting events; I just prefer it if fifty million other people aren’t there, too. Continue reading

A New Baby… Camera

If you spend any sort of time around me, you’ll know I love photography.  In fact, anyone in my immediate proximity is pretty much a sitting victim for my camera, no matter what you happen to be doing.  I love photographing my cats or old ruined buildings or taking up the challenge of capturing the ordinary moments because those seem to be the times we’re more likely to forget.

That’s what I love about photography.  Here’s what I don’t love:

  • My camera weighs around 1.5 kilograms, even with my smaller lens attached;
  • Camera bags are a) ugly, b) often not easy to access, and, c) pretty much only have room for a camera and lenses;
  • It’s far too heavy to hang around my neck;
  • It’s far too precious to trust it to a strap slung over my shoulder (paranoia and I are BFFs);
  • It is incredibly unsubtle.  There’s no way you could miss the fact that I’m taking an Important Photo with a Serious Camera.

All of this tends to keep me from bringing my camera with me everywhere, which means I’m failing to practise and improve my skills.  So here’s what I decided to do about it… Continue reading