Archive for October 2007

 

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Paintings For Delivery!

2 October 2007

For delivery!The moment has come! I’ve put fixtures and rope on the back of all my canvases. I’ve wrapped them up, stacked them up and they are all ready for delivery!

They’ll be taken to the gallery, where Francis, our professional exhibition installer – our saviour – will do all the really hard work of sorting out all the paintings, working out which paintings go where (taking into account the exhibition area, wall space, visual flow, features), THEN he’ll hang each painting, making sure they’re all level and adjust the lighting.

He was adamant that we – the artists – were not allowed to be present during the installation. He was, after all, a professional. And fair enough too. I couldn’t imagine doing that job with 4 artists telling me what to do!


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Art Exhibition – The Opening Party

4 October 2007

Karen and Painting

The exhibition opening party was a COMPLETE SUCCESS! It all went down perfectly. I’m over the moon!! I’m completely jittery with happiness and excitement and I’m still prancing around the place with a huge smile on my face.

We had about 200+ people turn up. It was huge!

We had so many wonderful friends and family members help out with setting up, making food, serving drinks and managing the sales. I really want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone.

Most of all, I want to give a large proportion of credit to Marnie and Wendy – who did SO MUCH work to organise the event. I love you guys!

The Team

The team in front of Jane’s celebrated Have You Ever Kissed A Garlic? painting. Left to right : Karen Cheng, Marnie Beissel, Jane Kos, Wendy Tweedie.

Andrew and Karen

My husband gave a speech on behalf of us – and made us all tear.

Sold!

Paintings were sold! Woohoo!


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Journeys – The Exhibition

5 October 2007

Journeys Pictures

My group art exhibition starts today, and it is my pleasure to invite anyone in Perth to come and visit!

The Old Royal George Gallery
Corner Duke St & George St, East Fremantle.

5 – 16 October, 2007

Thur – Fri : 11am – 7pm
Sat – Wed : 11am – 5pm

Read more about my preparations for the exhibition :

The Official Exhibition Write Up

The Opening Party

How it all started (Confessions and Committments)

My Art / Design Background

How To Start Oil Painting : The Studio

Oil Painting Process for “Watching Waves”

Signing a Painting

Cold Feet – Keeping Things in Perspective


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Berry Smoothie

6 October 2007

Berry Smoothie

My kids are slightly intolerant to cow’s milk – in that, if they drink lots of it, they spend the following week wheezing and coughing fluid from their lungs.

To compensate for the lack of cow milk, I try to give my kids lots of cheese, yoghurt, brocolli and other leafy green vegetables.

But it’s pretty hard work. They LIKE the taste of milk, and they ask for the straight stuff almost every day.

So far, my best way of injecting calcium into their systems is the old smoothie trick, using soy milk.

Berry Smoothie Recipe
1 ¼ cups of soy milk
2 large tablespoons of yoghurt
1 tablespoon of honey
3 tablespoons of mixed frozen berries
1 small banana

Throw everything into a blender and whiz!
Makes about 2 cups (500ml).


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Sunday in the Garden : Baby Lettuce!

7 October 2007

Baby Lettuce


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Polyvore

8 October 2007

Polyvore

I’ve stumbled across Polyvore.com, a rocking site where you can create your own fashion sets – with clothes, accessories, furniture and products all uploaded from real online stores.

Then you can also browse, explore, share, chat, make friends, shop…

Just in case you don’t have a way of spending even more hours on the net.


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The Big THREE OH : Turning 30 – Part 2

9 October 2007

On my 29th birthday I was surprised by my own powerful emotions towards turning 30.

I wrote a post about it and many people of different ages and backgrounds have responded with their personal stories, thoughts and reflections on “Turning 30”. Here are a selection for you to read…

(more…)


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Spider Boy’s Honky Nuts

10 October 2007

Honky Nuts

Every evening, we all go for a walk in the park. The boys ride their bikes, while my husband and I stroll behind and chat about our day.

We take the same route every time – we walk past the park, along the creek, through the oval, until we reach the lake.

At the lake, again the routine is always the same. The boys take off their helmets and scamper around filling them with honky nuts – woody gum nuts of a West Australian tree, perfect for throwing.

Callum, my 4.5yo, is exceptionally careful not to scratch his prized Spiderman helmet.

So the boys stand at the edge of the lake and throw all the honky nuts into the water, shouting, cheering and pretending to be superheros, in particular, Spiderman.

Then they put their helmets back on, ride to the big park, where they play more Spiderman games.

But not today.

A few moments after Callum put on his helmet, he suddenly started to shout and dance around frantically, pointing to his head, which, of course, has pictures of spiders on it.

“AHK! AHK! SPIDERS! SPIDERS! SPIDERS!”

It was so funny. We all laughed at his crazy antic. He danced a silly jig with his legs and banged his helmet with his arms.

And then we realised that he was NOT KIDDING.

We raced over, unclipped his helmet, and saw that his head and neck were COVERED with tiny little black spiders.

Oh, the irony of it all.


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I Love You Long Time, Really!

11 October 2007

Over the years, I’ve been pretty crap with my email. I get lots. From simple hellos. To lovely long stories. To great suggestions. To interesting questions. To quick little responses to my posts. Even hate mail. I get LOTS of emails and I read every one of them. They really make my day. And each day, they convince me that this site is worth keeping up.

However, life has just been so busy, and being a mum is rather time consuming – so I haven’t been able to respond to very many of them. Please don’t think I’m ignoring you!

I’m going to try to respond to more emails from now on, and answer some frequently asked questions in my posts. So keep those emails coming! I love hearing from you all!


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One-on-One Time

13 October 2007

Sean making MuffinsSaturday morning is my favourite time of the week.

My husband and I take one kid each, and we do something a bit special. We call it our one-on-one time.

Sometimes a bike ride to the river. A sit in a cafe. Make muffins at home. Vacuum the car. A trip to the hardware store. Plant new vegetables in the garden.

Whatever it is, the kids love it. It’s a time when they are the focus of all our attention. There’s no competition. No one to shout over. No one to fight with.

We try to create a relaxed atmosphere – if nothing actually gets done, it’s no big stress. We just chat and have a fun time.

As I type this out, I’m thinking, “Sheesh, we sound like pretty great parents!” BUT actually – this all came about from PURELY SELFISH REASONS, AND SHEER NECESSITY FOR OUR SANITY.

In the past we discovered that by the end of the week, our 4.5yo and 2.5yo boys were so sick of each other, their fighting, bickering and shocking behaviour drove us completely batty!

So splitting them up for a couple of hours makes it all good.


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My Grandmother Turns 87

14 October 2007

My Grandma

My grandma is such an adorable and lovely old lady.

She’s got such a happy spirit – happy to be surrounded by her huge family (she had 10 children); so happy to be up and about, cooking, celebrating, eating cake; and particularly happy for all her GREAT-grandchildren to blow out the candles for her!

She’s been without her husband for more than 10 years now, yet she still radiates strength and smiles.

In the midst of her humble wealth – good health, surrounded by a loving family and a beautiful garden – I find myself aspiring to be just like her when I’m that age.


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Sean Gets A New Bike

15 October 2007

Sean and BikeSean is 2.5 years old and has suddenly decided that, in his own words, “ACTUALLY! I’M NOT A BABY ANYMORE!”

He refuses to sit on his booster high chair at the dinner table. He insists on putting on his own shoes and choosing his own clothes for the day. He doesn’t want me to cut up his food or help him eat in any way.

And recently, he asked for a new bike. Not a tricycle, but a BIG bike, like his BIG brother.

So here it is. He chose it himself.

“GREEN! WITH DINOSAURS! THAT’S SO COOL!”

Watching our two boys race through the park, sends me into a head spin. My babies are growing up!


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The Beauty of Aboriginal Art

16 October 2007

Dorothy Napangardi

I am first to admit that I don’t know very much about Australian Indigenous Art – its background, meaning and stories.

But I do know that there are some art pieces that completely blow me away. Dorothy Napangardi is definitely my favourite. Her works are all absolutely stunning and incredible to get lost in. The stories behind her paintings tell of adventure and wonder in the land she grew up in. Plus she has a string of national art awards and art works with whopping price tags!

Ah. I have fruitlessly coveted for one of her works – and unfortunately I don’t have a spare $39,000 sitting around.

Being part of an art exhibition has really rekindled my passion for art. In fact, one of my most secret dreams is to begin an art collection!

Imagine a house full of beautiful, inspiring and breathtaking pieces of original art, collected from around the world, each with a little story, each that nudges at my heart in a different way. What a dream! When I win the lottery! Ha!

Anyway, I found this beautiful hardcover blank notebook the other day. It had a print of Dorothy’s work on it. I instantly noticed it from across the room, and we fell in love.

Notebook


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A Second Chance for Victoria’s Secret

17 October 2007

Victoria's SecretWhen I was at university, a LOT of guys I knew subscribed for free Victoria’s Secret catalogues in the mail. Every student house I went to, those glossy magazines were strewn about the place. So I never had to bother with my own subscription.

As a result, my opinion of VS was rather spoiled by immature young men.

But then, who can blame them for admiring it all. Advertising is indeed a masterful craft, and after working in that industry, I appreciate it well.

Besides, when you take away the skimpy models, soft lighting, exotic locations, airbrushed cleavages and actually look at the lingerie – it’s actually not that bad. And in fact, all these years later, I can happily say that I’m now a bit of an VS addict.


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In Memory of Jane Kos

18 October 2007

Karen and Jane KosAs most of you know, I’ve been involved in a group art exhibition with 3 other women artists – Jane Kos, Marnie Beissel, Wendy Tweedie.

Several days ago, Jane Kos lost her battle with cancer and passed away peacefully. She was aged 71.

Jane was one of WA’s established and award winning artists, with a passionate and generous involvement in the local arts community.

She was the one who invited us – completely new artists – to exhibit with her. She was the one with connections, knowledge, experience, wisdom, guidance – she made it all possible. It was a tremendous and extraordinary gift to us.

I had met Jane a few months ago, through this exhibition. I only knew her when she was already sick. Yet she bubbled with such warmth, generosity, zeal, inspiration, humour and ah, she was such a character!

I stood against the back wall of the funeral service. The hall was full of people, all saying the same thing – that Janey was a wonderful, inspiring and kind woman. I wasn’t surprised.

Without even knowing me, Jane gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. And in her passing, she’s inspired me to open my heart to others in need.

So thank you Jane. Thank you very much.


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Making Baby 3, Part 1 : And Then There Were Three?

19 October 2007

About a year ago, I had some thoughts on Two Kids vs Three Kids.

It’s taken us about a year of soul searching to decide that YES, WE WANT TO HAVE THREE KIDS.

Even as I type it out, a part of me shouts, YOU MUST BE MAD! TWO IS CRAZY ENOUGH! YOU WANT THREE?!

I guess we’re not even sure if we can have another child, as my husband underwent chemotherapy 3 years ago. But hey. We’re going to try anyway.

Basically, our main reason is :

We both come from big families and we love it. So we want a big family too. We believe we have the physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual capacity, plus the support of our extended family and community, to bring up three. We’re happy and excited about the idea. Plus we want to be surrounded by LOTS of grandchildren!

So as a consequence of this decision, we figure, “Hey lets try to see if we can get a girl?”

We’ve heard of various techniques you can try to increase the chances of conceiving a girl. And why not. I guess it can’t hurt.

Because, damn. The most common question that ANYONE HAS EVER ASKED ME is :

“Hey you have two boys! Are you going to try again for a girl?”

I swear. Everyone asks me that question. From close friends. To random strangers. To random strangers on the internet! I’m not offended at all, I just find it quite amusing that everyone thinks along the same track.

And so we begin the process of trying to have a baby girl.

I’m going to do a once a week post on all the details. Feel free to ask questions!

Click here to see the evolving story of Making Baby 3.


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Hello There!

20 October 2007

There’s a small write up about me and my site in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper today. So welcome to all new readers from the SMH! Grab a cuppa and let me show you around!

There are over 700 posts here, on a wide variety of topics – perhaps you might like to start with a selection of my Favourite Posts, or use the categories menu on the right hand side.

Feel free to read through my month by month Archives, you may like to start with September 2006, August 2006, January 2005, February 2007.

Or look at a gallery of Graphical Headers I create for this site.

Or you can read About me and this site.

Or subscribe to my RSS feed.

And please do say hi here! Enjoy!


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Icy Poles

21 October 2007

Icy PolesWith summer around the corner and the warm weather on it’s way, I like to throw the kids outside with some homemade icy poles.

They are always such a hit! Usually I use unsweetened fruit juice or fruit yoghurt or if I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’ll make up some Berry Smoothie to freeze.

This time I used a spoonful of peach + mango fruit compote, vanilla yoghurt and blackberry juice – using all the unsweetened and natural varieties.

It’s better than ice cream!


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How Busy People Take Great Photos

22 October 2007

Lots of people email me to ask, how do I take my photos? What kind of camera do I have?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some techniques I use for getting great images, and also tips and tricks in Photoshop to enhance dull photos.

If you have any more photography questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them in my upcoming posts.

Firstly. I do have a professional design background, and having an indepth understanding of photography is part of the job – so I know about lighting, shutter speeds, apertures, composition etc. That helps a lot.

But, I’m also a mother – a busy one! Everyday I rush about here and there, carting around two boys, so I don’t have enough room in the pram for expensive, bulky camera gear, lens and tripods, not to mention time, or extra energy or brain space.

So how do I go about getting cool shots that defines THAT beautiful moment?

I’ve had to come up with various photography methods that work for me.

1) Find a camera that works for you!

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on pro camera gear and gadgets. I use a cheap, simple, compact camera, and carry it everywhere. So when the mood takes me, or a magic moment happens, the camera is there.

I currently own a Canon Powershot A700 which I throw into the bottom of the nappy bag. It rattles around with the water bottles, sun cream and sandwiches. It does get bashed around a bit, so owning an expensive pro camera is completely out of the question for me.

It’s also nice and compact, so when I’m out at a party I can pop it into my handbag.

The previous camera I had was a Canon Powershot S45 – but it mysteriously stopped working one day. The repair guy said that it had been “subject to wet conditions” so I presume my kids must have spilled something on it. The repair bill was more than a new camera.

My current camera was 6 weeks old, when I smashed the front of the lens casing. But it still takes pictures and it works just fine!

2) Turn off the Flash!

This is my number one tip for good looking photos. Most flashed photos produce a stark, over-bright, red-eyed, dark-background look.

I recommend going with natural, diffuse lighting. Pro photographers spend a lot of time getting strong diffuse light. Of course, when I’m out and about, I don’t have a strong diffuse light, so my images may blur a little.

For example – this is one of my favourite photos.

It was an overcast day (producing a nice diffuse light). I was panning the camera with the boys on the bike, so they are quite sharp, but Callum’s legs are blurred, as is the background. But it works, because you get a great sense of speed, and the effort Callum’s making. Flash would have ruined the moment.

This is a more recent photo.

I simply passed the camera (with flash already turned off) to my friend, with clear instructions “TRY not to move when you press the button!” Plus we stood very still.

Since the flash wasn’t set, the camera shutter had to be open for a long time. So the people moving past ARE blurry, and we were not. It has a nice soft light, and a cool effect in the background. This would have been a very ordinary picture with flash. It doesn’t always work, but I love the results overall.

To be continued…

I’ll be writing more about How To Take Great Photos – The Basics of Photography and Photoshop Tips and Tricks, and more!


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Tips for a Stay At Home Mum – How To Stay Sane!

23 October 2007

I get lots of emails asking me -
You’re a mother, how do you cope with it all?
I’m expecting my first child… any advice for a first time mother?
Don’t you get bored being a stay at home mother?
How do you make it all work?
How do you keep such a balanced life?
And what do you DO ALL DAY?

I decided to write up a list of all the stuff that I do to keep my life balanced and sane. Most are painfully obvious, but a list is a list, and I do actually stick to every single one of them!

1. Get a hobby. Something to dabble with for one hour a day. Blogging. Reading. Stitching. Gardening. Something easy to pick up and put down. Do some night classes. Don’t let your brain turn into mush!

2. Keep like-minded friends. I believe you need to regularly hang out with people with the same values on parenting and life interests.

3. Join a mother’s group. There’s nothing like being able to bounce the intricate details of child rearing off other mothers who are going through exactly the same thing.

4. Create a routine. I keep to a weekly routine which I try to balance with varied activities, for myself and for the kids.

5. Break the routine! Don’t be afraid to drop the routine everyone once and a while. When things get tough, don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t be so rigid all the time. Relax!

6. Keep a full schedule. I know it sounds weird, but I even need to schedule in playtime. My worst days come about when I’m feeling unmotivated to organise a playdate or activity. I end up letting the kids dictate what to do and… it ALWAYS goes bad.

7. Find some alone time, weekly. This is an absolute must. Organise to have someone look after the kids – husband, grandparents, neighbour, a paid babysitter. Go shopping. Sit in a cafe. Get your hair done. Meet up with girlfriends. Anything that doesn’t involve kids.

8. Find alone time with your partner, weekly! This is another absolute must. Organise to have someone look after the kids for a couple of hours – grandparents, neighbour, a paid babysitter. Take a walk. Sit in a cafe. Go out to dinner. Watch a movie. Look into their eyes, and remember why you decided to have kids with this person in the first place.

9. Be active. Get out of the house at least once a day. Kick a ball around. Ride bikes. Water the garden. We get the boys out of the house just before dinner, to get the energy out of them!

10. Be a proactive mother. Teach, talk, sing, dance, cook, play with your kids!

11. Balance and vary children’s activities throughout the week. From a concentration activity (like puzzles, reading) to active outdoor activities, to creative activities (craft), to imagination play (dress up), to construction (lego, blocks), to helping mum (cooking, baking, tidying). The list is endless!

12. Look for things to do in your community. Find cool parks, cafes, playgrounds, play-gyms, book libraries, toy libraries, kid’s art classes, story telling time.

13. Don’t be too fussy about having a clean house! The only chore I’m particularly anal about is having a clean floor – I sweep my dining room and kitchen 3 times a day. The rest I’m really relaxed about, if there are 2 days worth of dishes on the sink and I’m feeling tired, meh, they’ll get done soon enough.

14. Look after yourself! Exercise, keep up your dental and hair appointments, buy new clothes. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of dressing sloppy when you go out. But it’s so surprising what something so simple – like new underwear – can make you feel!!

15. Find a regular babysitter! I strongly believe that this is a worthy investment. Find someone who can regularly babysit the kids one evening of the week. It’ll force you and your partner to actually plan ahead to meet up with friends, or book tickets to a play, or just spend the time walking in your favourite places.

16. Invest in outdoor toys! Sandpit, tricycles, water buckets, balls, basketball ring. We’ve found that there’s something about the outdoors that soothes and unwinds the kids.

17. Invest in age appropriate DVDs! I always thought I’d be the super conservative parent, who only lets my kids watch very little or no TV at all. But ah, the reality is that they simply love watching children’s TV programmes, so I let them have about 30 minutes to an hour each day. It gives me just enough time for to brush my teeth and change in the morning!

What do you do to keep things sane? Let me know, and I might add it to the list!


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A Favour To Ask!

24 October 2007

Blogger's Choice Awards 2008So, it’s approaching that time of year again – Blog Awards!

I have been nominated for the Bloggers Choice Awards 2008 – in 4 categories! Thanks! I’m honoured! It be great if you could spend a few minutes voting for me! And, you can get to see some other cool blogs out there as well.

I must say, for a website about blogs, Bloggers Choice Awards website is a bit confusing, but if you follow these simple steps —

1) Go to http://www.bloggerschoiceawards.com

2) Create an account – you do have to fill in everything, except the “choose a picture”, and you do have to give a real e-mail address.

A message will appear telling you to check your e-mail for a confirmation message. Mine arrived in less than thirty seconds, and you click on the link in the message.

3) On the right hand side of the screen is a “search” box. Type in the word “cheng”.

A list of entries will appear, and mine – “KarenCheng.com.au” – will probably be on top of the list.

4) Click on the drop down menu called “Choose a Category to View this Blog” and you will see a list of all the different categories I have been nominated for. Choose any one of the four nominations.

5) It will load up a little profile of my website, and there will be a yellow “vote” button. Hit the vote button! It will turn to a set of question marks, and then you can just quickly click on the other 3 categories as well, to vote for me in those categories.

THANKS SO MUCH! (I love you guys!)


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East and West

25 October 2007

I thought I’d bring up some stories on how I balance being ethnically Chinese, living in a western society, and having been raised with a mixture of both Eastern and Western values.

Living in a place where mish mash is OK

Chinese massage medicine that makes you smell like a chicken wing.

Teaching my son how to be Asian – by eating chicken feet!

The one where I can’t use FISH HEADS in my fish head curry!

Sheep Poo Tea

The Essence of Chinese Soups

The Chinese Post-Natal Confinement Tradition

Feeling Out of Place at Annual Chinese Community Events

Getting my kids used to CNY traditions

Considering how I’m going to teach my kids how to learn Chinese, when I don’t even speak it myself!

My Chinese Maiden Name

When a Chinese New Year event goes kampong style.

Learning the Traditional Chinese Cookie making

My View on Expensive Chinese Restaurants.

A Chinese Girl at a Scottish Event

Breaking the Chinese cultural obsession over money

Perving on Cute Asian Boys on TV


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Making Baby 3, Part 2 : Have sperm! Can make baby!

26 October 2007

Sperm!I assume everyone here knows that you need a sperm and an egg to make a baby.

So in order to have our 3rd baby, my husband and I needed to make sure we were in good working condition. We had little reason to be worried about the health of my eggs, since I managed to produce two healthy young children.

However, my husband has a complicated medical history. He was sick in 2004, yet we managed to conceived our second child during that time. Then he underwent multiple, major surgeries and chemotherapy treatment, any one of which could have affected his ability to make sperm.

We decided to get his fertility checked out. He went to visit a “reproduction clinic” to get someone to look at his sperm through a microscope.

Now, you’d think that a modern clinic would have sophisticated, medical, scientific processes to obtain and examine men’s sperm. Well, no.

He’s given a small plastic jar and led to a small room with a couch — and a pile of x-rated magazines. He then has to “produce” a sample – manually – while the scientist waits outside.

I asked my husband, “So um. Did they say things like, ‘Let me know if you need any help?’ ”

After the successful “production” of the sample, my husband handed his jar to the scientist, who casually used a pipette to suck up a still-warm sample, squirted it onto a slide, threw it under a microscope, and the sperm appeared on a TV screen.

Apparently they look very cool – not like tadpoles – but like tiny black diamonds with extremely long tails.

The scientist did a quick count. The bad news is that my husband has a rather low sperm count. There aren’t many of them. Yet they’re all wriggling their tails happily – which in medical terms, means his sperm are motile. And that’s the good news! They’re POTENT!

Cool! Now all we have to do is hook them up with my girls over a bottle of red wine.

More next week!

Click here to see the evolving story of Making Baby 3.

Image from Corante.


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A Plug For The Australian Sisterhood

28 October 2007

Top 50 Aus Women BloggersThought I’d share this – Top 50 Australian Women Bloggers.

Aside from completely making my day, I’m deeply honoured and jittery with delight that my site – “Snippets of Life” is at THIRD place! Coooool!

It really is such a great way to get to know new women created blogs out there, especially with an Australian focus.

So if you’re an Australian woman blogger, or a woman blogger living in Australia, drop Leigh an email to let her know about your site!


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How To Take A Great Photo!

29 October 2007

Last week I introduced the topic How Busy People Take Great Photos and how you don’t need an expensive professional camera to get outstanding results.

This week I’ve written up some tips to help turn an average photo into a great photo!

1) Get in close to the object – fill the picture with the object, play with the camera’s macro setting.

Example 1

Example 1 : During our recent camping holiday, we stopped by the side of the road to take a picture of a termite hill. It was bigger than I was! It was huge!

In the left photo, I stood some way back and took a standard profile photo of it. Very plain. In the right photo, I’ve gone right up to the object and stooped down low, resulting in a more dramatic photo. I also wanted to bring out the texture of the mound, so I made sure the sun shone at an angle that allowed the lumps to cast shadows.

2) Lighting – as a general rule, natural diffused lighting is always best. Look at how the way the light falls on the object carefully in order use it to your best advantage. Try not to use the flash. I wrote about turning off the flash here.

Example 2

Example 2 : Left photo with flash – harsh shadows, too bright and lots of glare. Right without flash – crisp and natural image.

3) Composition – Try interesting angles, don’t always put your object in the centre, add some depth, be mindful of how your eye will move through the image.

Example 3

Example 3 : Again, during our holiday, we stopped to take a picture of this amusing road sign.

In the left photo, although the subject fills the whole frame, it looks very plain. In the right photo, I put the main subject in the bottom left of the frame and added depth by including the striking perspective of the long straight road.

4) Focus on the essence of the object / story – whether it’s the texture, or the strange form, or the eyes, choose one and run with it.

5) Design your photo – Before you take the snap, try rearranging some objects, change the background, add props, or change the position to change the shadow and light.

Example 4 and 5

Example 4 & 5 : The other day, I wrote about Sean’s New Bike and wanted to take a picture for my post.

It was a very sunny day, and after taking a few photos of the bike – by itself – I realised that a boring photo of a bike won’t actually ADD anything to my story. Plus the sunlight was too strong, making lots of distracting shadows, and the colour of the bike got lost against the green grass and the pattern of the brick paving.

So I brought the bike to the deep shade (ie: indirect, diffuse lighting) of my gazebo, set the bike up against a light and plain coloured insect screen, and sat my smiling son on top of it! Although only half the bike appears in the photo, I believe the photo focuses much more on the essence of the image and narrative.

6) Know When To Stop – Sometimes too much changing, experimenting and playing with this and that, can distract you from the essence of the image and make it look fake or staged, rather than capture the natural beauty of the moment. Plus it take a lot of time.

In my experience, I’ve often found that my first or second photographs were the ones I end up choosing, even if I took a hundred snaps!


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Latest MAC Palettes

30 October 2007

MAC Palettes

I know I wrote about amazing makeup palettes last month – and I try my best to diversify – but I couldn’t help licking my lips over the latest range of goodies from MAC. They’re gorgeous! I especially love the packaging. So indulgent!

Anyway, I’m ALWAYS on the look out for absolutely beautiful, dazzling, quirky, unique, clever, tasty, or eco-friendly products you can buy on the internet, or even great online shops – jewellery, clothes, beauty products, designed goods, anything!

If you have any suggestions, please please please email me and let me know!


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Breast Cancer Awareness 2007

31 October 2007

Hello Girls

In case you didn’t already know, October is International Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Throughout this month, I have seen shops sell everything from pink ribbons, to pink chocolate biscuits, pink bras, pink soap, pink light bulbs and even pink tomato sauce bottles… lots of pink!

Every time I walked past a random pink product, I thought, “This is awesome!” and felt somewhat inspired that if large corporations can make an effort to spread public awareness… perhaps I could say something on this website.

And, well, have an excuse to post a picture.

Seriously though.

Two weeks ago, a new friend of mine died of breast cancer. While she was a mature woman who had lived a full life, I know other women – around my age – who are fighting and struggling with breast cancer.

My husband has nearly died of cancer, and being so close to his experiences, I know that there are two really important things about surviving cancer -

1. Treatment is much more successful, and much less painful, if you find out about it early. So get into a screening programme. Find the cancer early – or even better, find out you don’t have cancer.

2. So much more research needs to be done to find better treatments and to find the causes. And that costs money. So it makes a lot of sense to invest in the future, and donate a little to help fund research.

You can read some more women’s responses to this issue at Blogging for Boobs.

Dina Rabinovitch, died yesterday from breast cancer. She wrote a column at The Guadian UK, about her battling journey. Read an extract from her columns.

You can shop at The Breast Cancer Site to fund mammograms for women in need.

Or donate to the International Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Or donate at Australia’s National Breast Cancer Foundation.