Monthly Archives: August 2016

Favourite Wayne Dyer Quotes

Dr Wayne W Dyer was one of my favourite Life Philosophers, alongside Eckhart Tolle. August 30th 2016 is the 1st Anniversary of his passing from this world. Many of his followers attest that they can feel his presence with them still, when they go about their day to day activities. I’m about as spiritual as a lamp post, but sometimes when faced with different situations, I swear Wayne Dyer’s words echo in my mind, and guide me towards making the right decisions.

To commemorate Wayne Dyer’s life and works, I’ve curated just some of my own personal favourite quotes of his, from my Pinterest Board in his name. I hope you’ll gain some comfort and encouragement from them:

























A Social Observation

…just an observation about dogs and men. Why is it that when I look at images of dogs, whether they’re in Shelters awaiting adoption, or whether they’re photos of beloved pets of other people shared on Instagram, I get the Awwww ❤ feels? But on contrast, when I look at photos of men on dating sites, be it online or on television, I just feel like running in the opposite direction? Not that I have any inclination nowadays to get involved with yet another disaster…and besides, this model is quite ancient by today’s standards. 

Freud would no doubt have a field day analysing my psyche 😄. 

Give me a dog anyday, I say. They’re loving, loyal, cute, intelligent, obedient and have tonnes of looks AND personality. Plus, they don’t argue back! They fit in with whatever your schedule is, they have no hidden agenda, they have no big egos, they don’t cheat on you or talk badly about you behind your back. And they’re always pleased to see you when you come home. 

Men are a different story altogether…

My First Tunic Top

My neighbour Diane just turned 76 this year, on 22nd August. She’s a lovely lady, widowed 2 years ago when her husband, Ray, passed away from cancer. Ray was a top bloke, always cheery and positive. Diane and I got to know each other after Ray’s passing, and I sometimes ferry her to the shops, the clinic and the Library. We also have coffee and lunch together, or I’ll nip over for a chat some days. We’re as thick as two thieves, we are 😉.

Anyway, Diane and I both share a love for the layered look in fashion (Lagenlook). She has some lovely pieces, in pastel shades, with flounces, lace, roses, ties and ribbons, asymmetrical hemlines and what not. 

After playing with my sewing machine for a couple of months (I’ve been sewing all sorts of things since I was a kid, but sewing machines are still relatively new to me), and after finally mustering up enough Dutch courage to follow a dress pattern through without my eyes glazing over, I did it! I actually sewed a tunic top in Diane’s size (18-20), and it fits too!

This is the front of the tunic. It comes down to just skim Diane’s knees. It’s even got darts. I’d never sewn proper darts before. The bias binding part sure was fiddly, and my binding came out somewhat thicker than anticipated, but I’m sure after some pressing it’ll smoothen out. I’m not one for much ironing 😄.

This is the back. It originally started out as one back piece and one front piece. Diane tried on the muslin/voile (prototype) that I did, and said she wanted the neckline wider and the chest widened by 2 inches. Which I did, however when she tried it on, it was way too big at the back, so we agreed to chop off the extra 2 inches by cutting  the back piece in half and trimming the extra off the edges, then rejoining the pieces. Which was a bit of a pain to do, as it then left me with a bias bound neck part that looked bulky. 

My solution to the bulky neckline bias binding was to trim it as close to the stitching as possible, then sew over a placket, so it would be comfortable on Diane’s back. This would be where a label could go, I guess. And yes, the wonky zigzag stitching is my attempt at checking the fraying of the open edges. I had to get some Fray Check to stop the fabric from fraying even more. 

It doesn’t look too bad from the back, either. I’m pleased with my first effort, and I’m sure with practice I’ll only get better. This whole exercise took me over 2 days to complete, hopefully as I go on I’ll get faster. 

Not too shabby for a first effort, eh?

My only gripe is the fitting of the bias binding. Making it was fun, I used the Continuous Bias Binding method, link here. And I used a Bias Tape Maker and a hot iron, to make the actual bias tape. Sewing the bias tape to the neckline and armholes was the fiddliest part – I think I’ll be quite happy doing that by hand while watching TV. 

Photo of a bias tape maker in action, courtesy of Google Images:

30 Minute Repurposed Project : Frenchie Cushion

I found this cute piece of fabric in the remnants box at my local Spotlight store. As a lover of all things doggy, I had to get it. $8 it cost me. 

Back home, I found an old pillow and because its covering was still halfway decent, albeit with a couple of tears in it, I did not even have to make a new pillowcase for it.

All I did was cut the top off the case and fold the filling inside so it made a 16 inch square. I then folded the rest of the pillowcase over and sewed the open ends closed. 

The next thing to do was to cut the fabric to make 2 squares to fit the square cushion/pillow. Place the 2 pieces together, right sides facing, and pin to make sure the pieces don’t slip around. And then sew straight stitches up 3 edges and half of the 4th edge. Snip the corners to reduce bulk. Turn the case right side out, stuff the cushion inside, then handsew the opening closed. A slipstitch will do, but I always use a ladder stitch, which is a very clever stitch indeed as the stitches become invisible from the outside. It’s a little trick I picked up from my days of being a teddy bear artist. 

And there you go. An easy-peasy, nice little 30 minute project done. If I can sew this, YOU can too! 

One side of the cushion. 

The other side of the cushion. I love how it complements our living room wall colour. I can’t remember the name or brand of the paint now, but I searched high and low for just the perfect shade of turquoise. 

Now I won’t have to fight Boo the cat for a cushion again 😄.

Lagenlook : Purple

Or…all the shades of Purple, ranging from the berry reds through to deep royal purple. Including favourites like Mauve, Lavender, Lilac, Plum, Aubergine/Eggplant, Violet, Dark Pink, Fuschia. I never imagined there were so many variations in the colour spectrum between Red and Violet. 

Here are some “Purple” Lagenlook garments that I’ve curated from Pinterest. From my own personal experience with photographing colours, purple can sometimes appear on photos looking almost like brown. 

Yes, there are loads of images today, but that’s because there are so many shades of purple to choose from. My favourite is Aubergine, actually. (Here’s a bit of Trivia for you – the vegetable known as Aubergine is also known in other countries as Eggplant or Brinjal. Some varieties are more purple than others. I like them in curries and Malaysian Laksa).

Purples are great as they complement many other colours. Think purple with lime green. Purple with ochre or earthy tones. Purple with orange. Purples layered with reds and the colours of Autumn. Purple with silver. Purple over blue jeans. Or the classic combination – purple with white. So versatile!

App Review : Prisma – A Few Tweaks Later

So here I am again, having played around with the newest addition to my stable of Android Apps – Prisma.

Yesterday, I wrote about my initial experiments with using Prisma. Well, I’ve had a tinker around with its settings, and have removed the Prisma watermark for one. For another, I’ve been playing around with using the Share button to move the image to other photo editing Apps, where I can at least do some basic adjustments.

Take this bird, for example. (If anyone can tell me what it is, I’ll be ever so grateful. I found it flying around in my Japanese Quails’ aviary one day, haven’t the foggiest how it even got in. It looks like some sort of kingfisher?)

It’s not the sharpest or clearest of photos, to be sure. But I was interested to see if Prisma could turn the wire mesh into some kind of stained glass, perhaps?

Here’s the image after being Prisma’d and sent via the Share button to Photo Editor:

I then Shared the image back to Prisma and applied another filter. After that, it was off to Snapseed for some final tweaking:

Much better! I’m pleased with how this turned out. I just love the green of the wood behind the bird. And the stained glass effect Did turn out as well as anticipated. Plus, the final image somehow managed to save at 1080 x 1080 pixels, which isn’t too shabby. 

App Review : Prisma – Initial Thoughts

It’s here, it’s finally on Android. Prisma, the photo editing App that everyone on iOS (Apple talk to mobile phone users) has had for ages and ages. I used to check on the Google Play Store to see if it was available for Android devices. But it wasn’t. 

Until now. I’m not exactly sure when Prisma hit the Android platform, it might have been up to a month ago, maybe longer. But now that it’s here, I wasted no time in downloading it and trying it out.

It’s pretty basic, really. I remember an App on my iPhone 4, the name of whicg escapes me…but you could choose from a myriad of Artistic Styles, and create masterpieces with your mobile phone photos. I seem to remember it had a strange name, like Photocopy/Photocopier? 

Well, essentially, Prisma is similar, only with far fewer editing functions. You simply load up a photo from your Gallery, or take one using the In-App camera, scroll through a gallery of effects, choose one, then slide your finger across your mobile phone’s screen to adjust the intensity of the effect. Then you either save it to your phone’s gallery, or share it on Facebook or Instagram. That’s about it, really. 

I was hoping for some sort of Snapseed-like functionality, where you could do basic editing like adjust the contrast, saturation, brightness etc. Or add more than one effect, before saving the image. But Prisma does not offer that. I guess I’ll have to reload my edited image back into Prisma, if I wanted to add a different effect. And use Snapseed or Photo Editor or PicsArt for the basic editing before or after using Prisma.

Anyway, I took a photo of my hallway display, to use as my first Prisma guinea pig. 

And here are the results of the same photo after running it through just some of Prisma’s filters:

Not bad, really. The resolution, however, is miniscule – only 608 x 608 pixels. That equates to the size of a postage stamp in real life. I guess I’ll definitely have to combine Prisma’s effects with Apps of higher resolution, to get anything worth printing or putting on a t-shirt.

Shooting Star

22nd August 2016. 8:30pm Western Australia time. My teenage son Jack and I are out in the park around the corner from our house. Shelagh has been playing Fetch with her glow-in-the-dark ball, Scruffy has enjoyed his time snuffling around and checking his pee-mail on all the tree trunks. 

We are in mid-conversation deploring the current state of Humanity, having just watched Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly (2 actors who never seem to age, coincidentally) in the movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (2008). Jack is just joking that the only good things to have come out of Humanity were Pizza and Chocolate. And I’m just saying that for all we know, there are planets out there where pizzas taste like chocolate, or chocolates taste like pizza. And Jack is suggesting double-decker pizzas, when all of a sudden I notice a bright shooting star streaking across the night sky right above our heads.

I clutch at Jack’s arm and we both stare in awe at the shooting star. I’m so intent on telling Jack to make a wish upon the star, that I don’t have time to form a wish in my own head, before the shooting star vanishes.

But the Universe already knows my fondest wish, and will conspire to help me on my path towards making it a reality. And I hope that slowly but surely I will move out of this Limbo that we’re currently in (or as Jack calls it – “Stasis”), and we’ll be able to move forward again towards our goal. 

I wrote this very short poem, and created the graphic as well, to commemorate this auspicious day. (It also happens to be my dearest neighbour Diane Thomson’s 76th birthday). 

Lagenlook : Yellow

My love affair with Lagenlook style continues. I was recently at a mall in Perth City and discovered several boutiques there that had Lagenlook clothing, so maybe it’s finally catching on in Western Australia, yay!

They were terribly expensive, though. Far more than my teeny tiny wallet could afford. Which just makes me all the more determined to keep trying my best to successfully sew my own Lagenlook garments. Wishful thinking, perhaps? 

I’ve realised one thing – usually when something piques my interest, I immerse myself fully into it, buying or borrowing all the books I can find on the subject, and saving and compiling websites. And then hoping to somehow miraculously absorb the knowledge by osmosis and emerge fully versed in whatever subject it is. Now with Pinterest, I find that it’s far cheaper (free, in fact) to just find and pin images to my Pinterest account and then look through them at leisure. And if I persevere with that long enough, the feeling might pass and I move on to the next subject, having saved hundreds of dollars and book shelf space, thanks to Pinterest. 

The following are curated from Pinterest. Today’s theme is Yellow. Enjoy!

What If You Fly?

There’s a viral quote on the Internet that has captured the imagination of a lot of people. It goes like this: “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, but what if you fly?”

I’m not sure why the original poem, by a young Australian writer named Erin Hanson, would need to be truncated, when the poem itself is so extremely short. Here it is in its entirety:

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?

It’s a metaphor for facing our fears and daring to take the plunge. It’s rather like another favourite saying of mine, also gleaned from the web a long time ago, “Leap, and the net will appear”.

Anyway, this Erin Hanson poem was what I had running through my head as I contemplated the task of sewing my very first article of clothing on my sewing machine. For a few days now I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to start sewing a bolero jacket like one I’d bought from H&M in Joondalup Lakeside Shopping Centre, Perth, Western Australia. It seems such a simple thing to construct!

So this afternoon, I bit the bullet and went ahead with my project. Okay, I cheated and decided to forego sewn on sleeves. And my piece of stretchy jersey material turned out to be too short, so I had to use a piece of silk and cotton tablecloth instead, that I’d picked up from the thrift store for $2. It wasn’t my favourite colour, though, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

The verdict? I think I need to stay in my nest a while longer before I try to fly! The end result wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t a total mess either. It just wasn’t anything to write home about. Back to the drawing board, then, and baby steps first…

So as not to declare the day a complete waste of time, I’ve created this image instead, as digital mobile photography art is one thing that I CAN do well. Enjoy!