Geez woman, what do you do all day?

Against a brick wall. Day 175/366.

It’s 9.02pm as I sit down to write this. Where did the time go today? I’m glad you asked….

7am – alarm goes off and drag myself out of bed.

7.02am – turn on hot water in shower only it’s not hot. I kind of knew the gas pilot light had gone out but when I was told last night that it had possibly gone out I was in bed and couldn’t be bothered getting back up. I go out to light it but can’t.

I try and take off the cover to the gas hot water but can’t undo the knobs.

I storm back into the house, let aforementioned person know that the bloody pilot light did go out, and  I get a box of matches and a wrench before going back outside.

The wrench doesn’t work. I storm back into the house, slamming doors and cursing as I go because that will make it better and hoping the person that told me when I was in bed that it might have gone out hears me. I get another implement and finally get the knobs undone.

I light the pilot light with a match.

I try to put the cover back on and curse and swear some more as it’s always hard to put back on.

7.10am – I finally have a shower, dry my hair, get dressed, put on some makeup.

7.30am – I have breakfast while getting lunch ready.

7.45am – The person who didn’t tell me about the pilot light takes my son to school while I replace my ug boots for shoes and do the last few things I need to do.

7.55am – I get a lift into work.

8.20am – I start work.

12.30pm -  I have a quick lunch then pop into the supermarket to buy some goodies for my son to take to a friend’s place tomorrow.

1.10pm – I get back to work.

4.40pm – I get an offer of a lift home from work.

5pm – I get into the car.

5.10pm – We’ve barely gone 200m. That’s how long it takes to get from Gawler Place to King William Street.

5.35pm – I get home and I go and pick up my son from vacation care.

5.45pm – We get home and I bark orders at him while preparing for pilates. He’s learned to write down tasks when I do this, so he does that.

5.56pm – I get to pilates a little bit early.

7pm – I get home and make arrangements for tomorrow night’s outing.

7.10pm – I cut up potatoes he peeled while I was out, cook them, and heat up other leftovers from last night.

7.35pm – We eat dinner while watching the rest of Masterchef (I knew the Blue team were toast).

8.3pm – I wash the dishes and sweep and wash the floor in the back room that is a mud pit after 2-3 days of dirty dog paws trekking through it.

9.02pm – I sit down to write this.

9.13pm – I finish writing this.

Editing photos on the iPhone with Snapseed

I’ve recently acquired an iPhone photo app called Snapseed. It’s brilliant, and is currently my favourite iPhone photo app besides Hipstamatic.

Below I’ll show three photos I took using the iPhone in camera app, and what I did with them using Snapseed. The options I wrote down aren’t anywhere near exact, or step-by-step because I can’t remember exactly what I did.

Using the app is very intuitive and there’s loads of different things you can do that seem to go beyond with other apps like Camera+ and Instagram do. For example within the filters it has there are a huge amount of options and you can spend ages playing around fine tuning your photo and this is why there’s no step-by-step because it’s a matter of trial and error. While editing these photos a second time which you’ll see below, I still kept finding options I didn’t know were there.

It’s a bit more pricey than other photo apps I’ve bought but I managed to snaffle it for free and I knew it was for free by adding to my wishlist on AppShopper.

Below is the out of camera shot of a thirteen year old’s birthday cake.

Below is the altered shot. I mainly changed the brightness, contrast and saturation, and added a border. These are all things I could have done in Photoshop, but I find I do a lot of my editing of photos while going to and from work on the bus now.

Thirteen candles. Day 155/366.

Below is an experiment using the grunge filter.

Below was a shot of the last leaves of autumn when I was out for my early morning walk/run and it had been raining.

Below is the edited photo which I cropped so the focus was the actual leaves. I changed the colour a bit too – they’re a bit more earthy.

Last gasp of autumn. Day 156/366.

Re-edited in Snapseed using the vintage and grunge filters (more vintage than grunge I think).

It was a bit of a dreary day when I took the photo below and I wanted to give it some pizazz.

This is the after Snapseed edit of the above photo. I’ve played with the saturation to make the sky a bit more interesting.

Birds on a wire. Day 161/366.

Re-edited using Center focus and Grunge filters – quite a different feel to the photo.

I find now that I have this app, I’m using the camera app more and editing them using Snapseed rather than shooting in Hipstamatic nearly all the time which I’ve been in the habit of doing.

A photography exhibition – some tips

Hanging the photos

My photo exhibition opening now happened just over a week ago and I think I’ve recovered from its preparation and the opening. (Read how my exhibition came about in the first place).

I finally got all the work ready. This is what I did, and I don’t recommend you do the same if you ever have your own exhibition.

I wanted to do it on a fairly tight budget because I know that to get anything professionally framed costs a lot of money. So I started collecting frames about seven months ago. I bought some from op-shops, I bought some new ones and I was given some.

This was great but then I had to work out what sizes to print everything, that is after I chose what I wanted to show. Don’t forget I had 365 photos to choose from. I asked for friends’ opinions then didn’t really take their choices into account because I hadn’t documented what they liked. I’ll remember, I had said. No I didn’t.

I measured the frames very carefully and numbered them and wrote down the measurements, except for the A4 frames you can see in the photo above.

However, I also needed to have mattes cut and because hardly any of my frames were a standard size I had to get the measurements for those right too.

Thank goodness for Photoshop and the rulers within Photoshop. For each print (apart from the A4 frames that already had mattes) I created a Photoshop file, put the photo in as one layer, created a ‘matte’ with another layer with pretty even proportions which then gave me the measurements of the photo size and the matte size (remembering you need the outside and the inside measurement). I was then able to get the photos printed and I gave precise matte proportions to the matte cutter. I was cutting things a bit fine time-wise then so when they said two weeks I did a silent freakout and realised that it still gave me two weeks to put them all in frames and a little bit of time incase anything went wrong.

If I ever do this again, I would buy frames and mattes of standard sizes so any suggestions of good places to do this are welcome.

I got my photos printed at Atkins. They were very helpful with some questions I had and their online ordering software is pretty intuitive.

In the meantime I got the bits and pieces necessary to put hooks and wire on the backs of the frames that didn’t already have them (not too many thank goodness), some acid-free tape and some other tape for some of the backs of the frames.

The Photoshop mockups for the sizes worked a treat except for one which was 1-2mm too big on the inside edge. I just got a larger print done which solved that problem.

I mounted all the prints and got some help from The Surfer getting hooks and wire on the backs of the frames and they were all done.

And there ends the bit that I would not recommend you do. The rest worked for me.

In the meantime I organised invites, got some help with a press release which I sent to a few places of which one online publication ran with, and invited just about everyone I could think of. I also printed out the list of work and prices, and a little card for each one with the name and the price.

As I’d been able to prepare the work without spending too much money, I was able to keep prices down for the pieces I’m exhibiting. I’m glad I did as nothing’s sold yet. But it was never my aim to make a lot of money from this. It was more a personal challenge for me just to have an exhibition.

All that was left was to hang the work. This was done the evening before the exhibition.

I’m so glad I got The Surfer to help me with this too because otherwise it would have taken a lot longer than it did. I had a rough idea of what order I wanted to hang things and that worked out fairly well and I had the right amount too I think – 23 photos in all.

The exhibition itself went really well. People turned up and filled up the space. I saw people walking around looking at the photos. Lots of people commented to me on their favourites. And one friend turned up that I used to live with in London whom I haven’t seen for ages.

I would have liked to be able to supply some free booze for the punters but because of the type of venue it is I wasn’t allowed to organise wine sponsorship and I didn’t have the budget to have a bar tab.

JJ came along and I made sure he had a belly full of food, and luckily there were some other kids there to help keep him occupied. He was great. At one stage I noticed him sitting down with a couple of other kids that he knows just chatting. Actually all the kids there were really good.

A couple of repeated comments from some people I invited to the exhibition:

  • I didn’t know you were a photographer! (this happened as I was inviting people).
  • Are all 365 photos here? (even though I had written that I was showing a selection of the photos on the invite).

I was exhausted at the end of it, but happy.

Oh, and I also put the photos up on Redbubble so if people want to buy a print that way, they can. (There are a couple of extra ones thrown in.) I don’t know how this will work but it didn’t take too long to do so I thought it might be a nice added extra.

If you’ve any questions for me please ask in the comments. Or if you’ve had an exhibition yourself I’d love to hear your story.

Apparently I’m a bit bolshy

At my exhibition opening when I finally was able to take a photo. Day 157/366.

Eden Riley asks, ‘Who are the hell are you?’ My son asked for some words to describe a friend of his. I don’t really know this friend that well so it was a bit hard. While we were thinking of words I wondered how people might describe me?

I used to do temp office work. I remember having an interview with an employment agency and as part of it they told me that I needed to wear tights every day to work. I nodded in agreement and vowed to myself that I would never wear tights on a hot day. I don’t like wearing them in winter but I dislike cold legs more. Actually, I dislike hot, sweaty legs and bum more than cold legs. So I never wore tights on hot days and it didn’t affect my employment. I did, and still do, keep my legs in a tidy manner. They are usually hair free in summer so I couldn’t see the point of covering them with synthetic material on a hot day. I’m someone who can keep my mouth shut sometimes when I think a request is plain silly – like wearing tights on a 40 degree day.

I went for a job interview early in my working life and at my second interview for an admin role at a law firm, the interviewer was a partner in this firm. He told me that (and I’m paraphrasing) that they wouldn’t employ me because I might have to take time off in the not too distant future to have a baby. I was gobsmacked at this blatant sexism and I probably sat there with my mouth open. Not only was I really annoyed at his assumption, I was annoyed that they’d invited me back for a second interview to tell me this. I felt like calling him 14 years later when I finally did have a baby and telling him that he would have had a damn good worker for up to that amount of years but due to his short-sightedness, he didn’t. Actually would I have liked working there with that type of attitude? Probably not.

I used to work in a small firm, again, in an admin role. All my colleagues were professional men and it was my job to make coffees and teas for them. I’ve always hated doing this because I think you’ve got two arms and legs, do it yourself. However, it was part of my job so I sucked it up and made them, and washed the cups and so on as part of that. I was the office dishwasher! My job was sometimes very busy with looming deadlines so taking time out to make coffee for the blokes was an unwelcome interruption. On more than one occasion one of the fellas would bleat out the word – cofffeeeee…. I would yell back – only when busy of course – I’m busssyyyyyyy, do it yourselfffff…, and he would. One of the other guys often called me bolshy and I never quite knew what that meant then but I’m guessing it was this type of behaviour, and probably other stuff that made him call me bolshy.

A few years later I worked in another office in a support role and I was flat out doing their ‘word processing’ as it used to be called then. I did a heck of a lot of work and they expected a lot of me. We would break up over Christmas/New Year and finish at midday on our last day to go out to lunch. I was winding up my last lot of work when someone came into my office and asked me to type him a letter. Without thinking, I called him a very very rude name (one which I won’t write here because I’m shocked that I even said it). His jaw dropped too. I typed the letter and the matter was not referred to again. However, I reckon he thought more carefully about dumping work on me at the last minute from then on.

I’m a person who decided on a whim about a year ago to exhibit some of the photos I’d taken for a day every year. I’d never done this before and really didn’t know what I was doing. My bolshy attitude helped me along the way and I had the opening the other night.

I’ll write more about this another time.

I’m a person who had a ‘surprise’ pregnancy which meant becoming a single mum and having no help whatsoever from my son’s father. As I’ve written over the years on this blog it hasn’t been easy at all. Being a parent isn’t easy but being a sole parent isn’t ever easy. But, wearing all the hats that people have taken off to me over the years, I’m doing it and we’re okay. Sometimes I stand somewhere away from my son and open my mouth and silently scream when he’s really pushing my buttons but we have some laughs too. He loves being tickled and we have some moments when he’s lying on the floor laughing so much from me tickling him. Being bolshy has helped me on this parenthood ride, that, and the fact that I get to go to sleep every night and wake up to a new day. That really helps.

I’m a person who’s linking to aforementioned Eden Riley’s Fresh Horses brigade and I’m not always bolshy.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Seven more sleeps

Taking shelter. Day 142/366.

As a friend informed me today there’s seven more sleeps until my exhibition opening. As I write the opening will be nearly over.

I’ve finally got all my pictures ready to hang.

Invites are out and people are coming.

I’ve pretty much priced everything. That’s hard!

I got a great write up on a local website called Adelaide Tweet.

Read more about how social media helped me get my 365 project exhibition underway, and find out more about my photo a day project – Project 365, or as it’s known this year, Project 366 – the leap year project.

I have some questions

Ceiling fan. Day 141/366

Do you use your ceiling fans in winter? I do. There’s a little switch on the side of them and one setting is for summer and the other for winter. It’s all about the air movement and which way warm and cold air flows and so on.

With my old house and high ceilings and I try to do all that I can to stay warm in winter in the one room that has decent heating. And in summer I have my fans on all the time because any air movement is better than none.

My winter clothes dryer. Day 140/366.

Do you have a tumble dryer to dry your clothes? I don’t. I use a combination of the outside clothesline and this inside clothes hanger in winter. It gets dragged into the aforementioned warm room so the clothes dry in a day or two.

In winter I have to time washing the sheets when it’s not going to rain so they have some hope of mostly drying in that day. I have my favourite flannelette sheets which is why I wash and reuse the same ones most of the time.

My drying in winter was fun when JJ was a baby and I had cloth nappies to dry as well. Luckily I only wash for two of us so this system seems to work.

Guess what I was watching on the telly. Day 139/366.

And one more question. See that picture on the telly? What show is it from?