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

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 (from Patty Young's 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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brand New!

The beautiful golden foil-like chrysalis had turned black by yesterday morning. Had the contents died? Was there to be a sad end? When we returned from church at lunchtime the truth became apparent - the butterfly was alive and free! An Oleander Butterfly was the mystery inhabitant. Its wings gradually unfolded and filled out. This morning it was not to be seen, having flown away for good.

Today held treats of its own. Our new town library opened! The crowd patiently waited, the town crier added a touch of old fashioned drama.

Then it was time to enter the doors, past the ribbons, cameras and official party. The town crier's job was done.

Folks young and old were thrilled by everything they saw. The new library offers much more than anticipated, along with the well loved books and wonderful staff. Our youngest two loved it so much they were eager to return again - today - and so we did! In fact both have just asked if we can go again, tomorrow! 

Our new library's motto is "Your Library - Your Place". They have definitely succeeded and making us feel very much welcome and at home.

Update: My friend Erin has just posted many photos and details of our new library - you can find then here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Creative Afternoons

Summer's heat lingers in our corner of the Land Downunder and everything continues to be vibrant and colourful. I'm not sure what butterfly will hatch from the chrysalis I stumbled upon while trimming rambling vines but we are keeping it safe in a jar to see what mystery unfolds. Above our sasanqua camellia has surprised me with what appears to be a large seed pod!

The favourite part of our homeschool week is Friday afternoon which we set apart as a time for creative pursuits (as well as weekly cleaning jobs - not so looked forward to). This afternoon I started sewing together the pile of completed blocks for my Musical Stairs quilt which is a slightly adapted version of Sarah Fielke's Bass Line quilt. It is the perfect time to move ahead with this project as our weather is sure to turn cool next month. Ten neat rows now hang carefully in my wardrobe. Maybe next Friday I be able to complete this quilt top by sewing the rows together.

Today the twins weren't helping me sew, but instead were making delightful music of their own on guitars, keyboard, ukulele and cajon.

Miss E was busy playing out creative dramas with Miss V using her new Superman Lego. Master T took opportunity to enjoy a long bike ride.

Miss O chose to make neenish tarts from scratch. Each of the components was delicious and I'm trying very hard not to eat one of these little delicacies!

Sharing at Work In Progress Wednesday.

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