Welcome to Life Images by Jill

LIFE IMAGES BY JILL............."Stepping into the light" and bringing together the stories and images of our world........
Through my writing and photography I seek to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.


Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. I have a day job, but my passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography. For now my day job supports me until I can pursue my passions full time.
I am a member of South Side Quills in Bunbury, the Fellowship of Australian Writers Western Australia, Photography Group of Bunbury and the Western Australian Photographic Federation.

I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.

If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab. Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Monday, 24 November 2014

Hello sunshine yellow and lemony delights

Yellow is such a happy colour don't you think?  I love it when the yellow daisies start to flower in my front garden.

 To me yellow is also the colour that says summer. In Australia spring is on the wane and summer is moving in. My front garden is starting to put on its brilliant summer display -  red Coral Bush, purple/blue Agapanthus, yellow daisies, green kangaroo paws, pink hydrangers, roses, and sprawling nasturtiums. Someone called Agapanthus "Aggie's Pants" the other day - I love that.

 In our back garden the grapes are starting to form, and we have put bags over the apricots on our apricot tree. We had an awful problem with fruit fly last year, due to changes to permittable chemical spray laws, and we had to throw away our whole crop due to fruit fly. "Natural" methods did not work for us at all. So we bought these fruit fly protection bags on the internet, and will see how we go this year. Down in the RHcorner you can see my honeysuckle - oh my the perfume is so sweet and delicious. I have a vase of it in my kitchen where I can smell it as I work.

There always seems to be at least a few lemons on our lemon tree, so the other day I made lemon butter, you might know it as lemon curd - so delicious spread on scones or bread. Some of our lemons are huge.

Here you can see the ingredients for the lemon butter - lemons, sugar, butter and eggs. My problem with the recipe is - how much is juice of three lemons? The amount of lemon juice will really determine the thickness of your lemon butter. 

Here is the recipe I use, taken from The CWA (Country Women's Association) Cookery Book - this recipe book has been a standard for Australian women since it was first published in 1936. It is still in print today. 

Lemon butter
500 grams (1lb) sugar, 250 grams (1/2 lb) butter, 4 eggs, juice of 3 lemons.
Grate rind of lemons and mix with juice and other ingredients in a jug or bowl. Stand over boiling water on stove. Stir until consistency of honey, but do not allow to boil. 
This took me about 1/2 hour. Bottle immediately. Makes about 3 jars. Store in the fridge. 

My lemons are very large and I thought the consistency should have been thicker.

Perfect on scones for morning or afternoon tea on the patio - or just spread on bread!

I also made these lemon puddings. What a lovely summer dessert they are. I found this recipe in a Coles supermarket June 2013 magazine.

Lemon custard puddings - makes 4
3 large eggs separated, 2/3 cup caster/superfine sugar, 2 teaspn grated lemon zest, 2 tblspn plain flour, 1 cup full-cream milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, pinch salt, 2 tblspn flaked almonds toasted & coarsely crumbled (although I think you can omit the almonds) 

Heat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced.
Coat four 1-cup ramekins with butter. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar and zest until cream and pale yellow. Whisk in the flour and then the milk and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites for 2 minutes or until foamy. Add salt, increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 30 seconds or until soft peaks form. 
Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon batter. Fold in the almonds. The batter should be airy and loose. Divide batter equally between the ramekins. 
Place the ramekins in a baking dish lined with paper towell (this stops them moving about). Add enough boiling water to the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake puddings for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Carefully remove from baking dish and set aside to cool for 2 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.

And here are some delicious lemon tarts (I didn't make the one on the right).... and of course there is always lemon meringue pie - our family favourite

I have just been asked for the recipe for these lemon tarts. It is from Tartelette - do you know her food blog? Devine. She has used gluten free pastry whereas I just used a short crust pastry. Here is the link - Tartelette-lemon-tarts

We are moving into the time for stone fruit - peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines - my absolutely most favourite time of year.  I'm looking forward to making again this simple dessert - peaches with honey and nutmeg - but that's a story for another time.

So there you have it - yellow!
And I am reminded there is much to be thankful for.  I wish happy Thanksgiving for those of you in America who are celebrating this week with family and friends. 

 Do you have a lemon tree in your garden? What is your favourite lemon dessert? Please tell us in your comments.

Thank you for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World,  and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

You might also like - 

Summer fruit and salad days 
Summer December flowers  
December summer colour 
Flowering Kangaroo Paws 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Walking down memory lane

This is not what I was originally going to blog about today. But it was my birthday on Saturday and my sister sent me the most amazing gift, hand made by her. She makes beautiful greeting cards - they are works of art. Her gift came in a hand made and decorated box, a piece of art itself. Inside was the most beautiful book, which folded out as it opened, with pages decorated around photos of us as children, and adults with our Mum and Dad.  I will treasure this very special gift.

Can you see the message: "Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters".

We have lost both our parents in the last two years, and this year was my first birthday without either of my parents. It felt strange to be without them on my birthday. I would normally be inviting them to our home for my birthday dinner. My family came for dinner, and we had a lovely evening, but I really missed my Dad on Saturday. I felt I part of me was missing.  My sister's gift brought a tear to my eye.

I'm the small blond one..... oh how I hated this short cut off hair style. I so wanted long plats like my school friend.  These photos show me from left to right clockwise, me at age 3 in 1958 at a wedding, on summer holiday 1958 with our Mum at Safety Bay south of Perth, at Dunsborough with my sister summer holidays January 1961 the year I started school (our bather's had shirred fronts. Mine was blue, and my sister's was green), and with our Dad in our backyard before going to church, possibly 1960.

Safety Bay summer holidays ??.... with that wind and those jumpers we are wearing it doesn't look too summery!

Safety Bay November 1958

 Along the same theme as memories, last week I attended the book launch of "Reflections". A beautiful book of poems, prose and memories by my friend Jo Robertson with lino cut prints by her daughter Merry Robertson. It is a beautiful collaborative work with Merry's prints illustrating some of Jo's writings from the last 40 years. The book launch brought together a lovely group of people for morning tea at the South West Women's Health & Information Centre. Proceeds from book sales on the day went to the Centre.  I am privileged to know Jo through the South Side Quills, of which I am a member with Jo. As well as being a friend and fellow writer, Jo generously mentors all the writers in the group.

I was thrilled that one of Jo's poems published in the book -"Test Match, on seeing a photograph, Abandoned Cricket Pitch, Mallee Country" - was written by Jo after seeing a photograph I had taken of an abandoned cricket pitch at Dundas south of Norseman. You can see that image and read about Dundas by clicking here - Discover Gold at Dundas 

The image below shows Jo reading from her book, and Merry talking about lino cut art. You can see more of Merry's work by going to her website by clicking here - Merry Robertson  and here - Jump Marketing

Last month our homework for our writing group was to write a short Memoir.  Here is mine - Memoir from the Marj.  The iconic His Majesty's Theatre in Perth, or the Maj as it is affectionately known, is the only remaining working Edwardian theatre in Australia and is home to WA Opera. You can click on the link here to see more - His Majesty's Theatre

MEMOIR FROM THE MAJ                        
A little girl in a frilly dress sits on the edge of her plush red upholstered seat in the middle of the front row of the theatre. She is so excited she can hardly sit still. Over the railing she can see into the orchestra pit where the musicians are tuning their instruments. She points a pink lace gloved finger, “Look Daddy, can you see them?”  “Yes, hush, it will be starting soon.” She is fascinated by the elegant lady with the violin who has just looked up at her and smiled and the man with the big drum.

The lights dim and a quiet descends over the audience. The conductor raises his baton. The heavy curtains roll aside and she is transported into the ragged tumbled foreign world of Oliver, the cocky Artful Dodger, the scheming Fagin and poor Nancy.

She is so close to the stage she feels like she could reach out to them and be lifted onto the revolving stage that miraculously turns and changes from scene to scene. The actors look directly at her and smile. She feels like they are singing just for her.

* * * * *

I must have been five or six or seven. I wish I had found that theatre programme from Oliver Twist when I packed up my parents’ house. I would dearly love to have it.
I have no idea how my Dad was able to purchase middle front row seats for Oliver Twist at His Majesty's Theatre in Perth. It was a magical introduction to the world of live theatre. What child wouldn’t love seeing live theatre up this close? We went to other shows – The King and I, The sound of Music – and I yearned to be up on that stage with those actors and singers. I played and sang along with the records constantly on our radiogram and knew every word of every song.

My love for live musical theatre continues today but nothing will ever equal that first show, sitting in the front row in my frilly dress with the actors smiling straight at me.

Please sir, can I have some more?

As you can see, I still have these LP records.......

I hope you have enjoyed my little indulgent reminiscing. 
Today is a beautiful sunny day outside - shall I meet you for tea on the porch? 
Friends don't need fancy food. 

Do you have a favourite memory from your childhood? Tell us about it in the comments. 
I wonder what my grandies special memories will be. 

Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week. 

Concentrating at cricket practice
I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

 You might also enjoy

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Cook it, plate it, take a photo, and pack it for a picnic

It has been a little while since I have done much food photography as life seems to have gotten in the way over the last few months.  Any food photography was at best just a snapshot before I ate it! 

Prawns in Penang

So last Monday, my day off work, I rectified this and had a day in the kichen cooking and taking pics.  I have just bought a long cable so I can attach my camera to my laptop while I am shooting. This is called "tethered" shooting. You work through "Lightroom". Basically you can see the images you have shot on your laptop screen as you shoot them, instead of trying to decide from your camera screen whether you are happy with the shot or not, or not seeing your images till you download them onto your computer. You can look at the image on your laptop screen, and make any adjustments to your layout etc if needed, and then take another shot. This is really useful if you are photographing for a client. They can see the images as you take them, make suggestions if they want something changed, and let you know when they are happy with the shot. You can read more about tethered shooting on Christina Peters' fabulous food photography blog- Tethered Shooting

Anyway back to my day....

 I love Rachel Koo's "The Little Paris Kitchen" TV series from the BBC. Have you seen it? They are running repeats at the moment where I live.  I made one of her recipes, Cheese, Pistachio & Prune cake. Whilst not the cheapest cake to make, it really is delicious. It is a savoury loaf with a touch of sweetness from the prunes. You can click on the link to download the recipe - Cheese, Pistachio & Prune cake

Here are some of the main ingredients - pistachios, prunes, goats cheese, eggs, plain yoghurt, flour. If you are doing a food photography blog, it is a nice idea to show the ingredients... The background here is plants through my kitchen window. I have warmed up the image in post-processing.
Food looks so fresh when you let the sunshine in don't you think.

The recipe says to wait till the cake is cooled before cutting, but I couldn't wait - so delicious spread with a bit of butter.  The morning light in my west face kitchen window is fabulous.

Here is another of Rachel Koo's recipes -  "Oeufs en cocotte" - Eggs in Pots - so delicious. The recipe for this one is on the BBC blog too. Eggs in Pots

 Next off - savoury quiches. To make it easy I used a muffin tin lined with muffin liners. Then cut a sheet of puff pastry into four. Popped the the pastry into the tins. Then filled with the quiche filling. Use whatever is your usual quiche recipe. I have grated carrot into mine. My recipe made six quiches.

The quiches can be eaten hot or cold and with the French loaf would be perfect picnic food. Don't forget the wine!

Maybe finish off with some chocolate slice

Just keep those pesky seagulls away - I've played around with a bit of post-processing with this one to add a bit of drama to the sky and water...though it doesn't much look like picnic weather now.... 

Do you have a favourite picnic food? Tell us about it in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

You might also like - 

Food photography in the Ferguson Valley
Summer plum galette
Summer fruit and salad days

Monday, 3 November 2014

Continuing my Project 365

Hi everyone! Welcome back.  I am now into the last two months of my Project 365! I can hardly believe that the end is in sight and that I have managed throughout everything that has happened this year to keep going faithfully taking a photo every day. It is a habit now, though sometimes it is a quickly snapped shot at the end of the day.

Those that have been following me know that August and September was a very emotional time. I was glad to find distraction with my camera.  You can catch up on my 365 posts from those months here -
Life in pictures - June, July, August
Welcoming new beginnings - 1-15 September

Little my little, I have wiped my tears, and I have let the sunshine back in - 

Day 259-273 - Beautiful yellow chrysanthemums, an art display at my Grandsons' school, rediscovering and making my Dad's first jigsaw puzzle (the Queen Mary in Trafalgar Square), freesias in my garden, my Mum's old treadle sewing machine which I learnt to sew on and now in my house, raindrops on rose leaves, a blackboard message, a rainy day on the beach, back at work, roses in my garden, raindrops on my windscreen, my orange tree blooming, a bee orchid along a bush walk, boxes of my Dad's life, and a fast yellow car (no not mine) 

 The bee orchid seen in Manea Park. It was so wonderful to go for a bush walk. It had been such a long time, I was thinking that I might have missed the wildflowers, but there were still plenty to see. I love looking for wild orchids. Some of them are so delicate they blend into their surrounds, or if they are a sun orchid they don't open on a cloudy day.

Day 274-289 - In October I discovered a tiny wooden jigsaw puzzle of my Dad's tucked away in a box (a few pieces were missing), the parrots were delighting in the bird bath in my garden, we had a much needed weeks holiday in Penang - you might recognise some of the pics from my posts - Penang in Bloom and Penang Travel tips for the First Timer
We watched Sol-y-Sombra Flamenco Spanish dance company at the Dardanup Bull & Barrell Festival, the Banksias are in flower in my area, my apricot tree is fruiting, yachts on the bay, sushi at my desk for lunch, and my last look at my Dad's unit before I handed back the keys. 

  A quiet moment of solitude in Penang.

And the colour and energy of the festival. If you have Facebook you can see some more pics by clicking here - Sol-y-Sombra-Spanish-Dance-Company-School-of-Dance 
I missed a lot of dance classes during August-September, and then we were away during rehearsals, so I didn't perform, just took pictures. They were wonderful. 

Day 290 - 304 - The red bottlebrush flowers were at their blooming best near my work, cafe coffee, brilliant almost fluro green kangaroo paws along a bush walk with friends at Ambergate Reserve in Busselton, beautiful Queen Anne's Lace, trees on my way home from work, cakes in a cafe (so wonderful to be back lunching with my girl friends), forklift at my work, sillouhette of my pot plant at work, grandson #2 loves wizzies, and climbing!, some baking treasures from my Mum's kitchen, kangaroo paws in my garden, a few drying protea heads, salad and fish cake for lunch at my desk, and my agapanthus blooms are emerging from their buds - beautiful.
Hmm....seems to be a few work photos - obviously not much photographic inspiration those days! 

I can't get over the green of this kangaroo paw - no post-processing. 
We enjoyed a wonderful few hours bushwalking and picnicking at Ambergate Reserve with like minded friends.

I am getting back into life - I ran a one day "photography composition" workshop at beautiful Lyndendale Gallery. Thank you Denise for your support.

Denise has Queen Anne's lace growing in her garden. I had never seen it before other than on blogs. So beautiful. I couldn't resist playing around in post-processing with this underneath shot. You can see the before on the left, and after on the right.

Fun at the park 

We also went bush-walking at Crooked Brook Forest to look at the wildflowers. Spring is magical here in Western Australia. How could this beautiful delicate wildflower have a name like "Common Milkwort"? Botanical name is Comesperma virgatum.

 And the first of a series of images of my agapanthus blooms.This one lit by afternoon light from behind.

 I wonder what November and December will bring. 

 I have just been to a two-day photography workshop with multi award winning photography Nick Melidonis, organised through the Photography Group of Bunbury. What a wonderful weekend of inspiration it has been.
 You can check out Nick's work by clicking here - Nick Medlidonis. I would love to go on Nick's Greece tour next year - but I don't think the $$ will stretch that far unfortunately. It promises to be a fabulous tour.

I hope that over the final two months of my project you might see some of the inspiration from Nick's workshop rubbing off into my image taking and will pave the way for some interesting photography experiments. Here is a start.... I had my camera on a tripod and panned up as I pressed the shutter. What do you think?

Project 365 - day 306 - 2 November 

Have you ever done a 365 project. It can be a daunting task. The important thing is to have fun!  You can catch up with the rest of my 365 project here - Project 365

ps - Early in the year I was interviewed by Redz Australia (Red Nomad Oz Amazing Australian Adventures blog) for her Red Alert guest. It has taken a little while to be published in blog land - Red has been travelling and getting a book published - but the post is now up. Thanks for the promo Red.  I feel like I have hit the big time to be interviewed by you!  Red is such a wonderful promoter of Australian travel, and I love her writing style - if you haven't been to her blog you should check it out. You can see the post by clicking here - http://www.redzaustralia.com/2014/11/red-alert-12-red-is-for-life/

Spider Orchid
Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday