Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday 28 December 2015

2015 - the year that was

I really wondered about what to post today - and then thought - why not the year that was.  So here it is - just a few memories in pictures with links to where I blogged about them. I was given redundancy -"accepted early retirement" in April, and my life has certainly had a few changes not going to a "paid" job every day.  Just as well I think because I never would have been able to fit all this in! 

Below are some of my travels from 2015.  You can see some of my published work from this year here - Published work

 January 2015  - St Werburghs Chapel, Mt Barker

Monday 21 December 2015

Remembering those we have loved

 These beautiful kangaroo paws are flowering in my garden right now in time for Christmas, and I am reminded to take time to see and experience the beauty around us and the joy we can gain from simple things. 

I wish all my dear blogging friends a lovely Christmas season spent in the company of those they love.  Thank you so much for your support this year and for taking the time to stop by and say hi. I really appreciate every one of you. 

Sunday 13 December 2015

Went down to the beach to play one day

It is summer here in Australia. School is nearly finished and the summer holidays are nearly here. 
I found this poem in an old poetry book - and I liked the images it provoked. So I put together a few photos and created a mosaic to share with the poem with you.....
ps - there are no capitals because that's how it was in the book -

Wednesday 9 December 2015

December Randomosity

I don't know about you but I feel that December is speeding up as we head towards the Christmas season and the end of the year.  I seem to have so much to do between now and Christmas. My husband has started our Christmas cards and put up our outside lights. I haven't even put up our tree and or started baking yet!  
So to take some of the pressure off, today I am just sharing a few random images from my world - in no particular order.

Monday 30 November 2015

Lost your mojo? Want to learn something new? Take on a project.

Do you ever feel that you have lost your mojo for a pursuit that you love and you need a boost to rekindle your passion, or you would like to try something new?  I think it has happened to many of us.  Do you have a yearning to learn something new? Try something different? It could be the beginning of a wonderful new path in your life towards a passion you don't even realise you have yet. Be open and take a chance. And don't let me hear you say you are too old! never! 

A project can be a great way to start.  Recently our photography group ran a fun 12x12 project. The task was to photograph 12 set topics in a 12 hour period over a particular weekend.  The topics were: 

1. moving subject, with background blur
2. repetitive shape (must be edited to black and white)
3. let's eat
4. things that float
5. sports action
6. 3 (Three)
7. minimalist
8. human hand/s
9. creepy crawlies
10. closer than a metre
11. makes my heart sing
12. my most amazing photo

Sunday 22 November 2015

Free camping at McDermid Rock, Western Australia

Hi everyone, looking for a wildflower drive? You don't mind bush-camping and a bit of gravel, but don't want to be too "off-road"? Read on. 

I am back this week with the next part of our recent wildflower trip out east of Hyden in Western Australia. If you missed the first part, Camping at Dryandra, you can catch up here - Camping in the Dryandra Woodland, Western Australia

From Dryandra we headed east through the wheat-belt to Hyden and then out along the Hyden to Norseman Road. We have been along this road a few times now, and if you don't mind gravel it is a good short cut going to or coming back from the Nullarbor and the eastern states. 

I blogged about it here in 2013 - Granite & Woodlines Discovery Trail, Hyden to Norseman


Monday 16 November 2015

Remembering beautiful Paris

In the light of the tragedies this past weekend in Paris, the effects of which have reverberated around the world, I am posting a few images from our trip to Paris in July 2005.  Beautiful Paris. 

But first take a minute to watch this beautiful video 
 I don't understand the words - but the feeling is real - a feeling of hope for peace for all - it brings tears to my eyes
Translate - Why not believe it? One day in our world, Opéra Garnier, Frenchman Patrick Bruel, Younes a Moroccan-born Muslim and Israel's Idan Raichel

 paix et la liberté

Petit Pont

Street scene, Plantes quarter

Fountain in Bercy

inside The Pantheon

Flame of Remembrance, Arc de Triomphe
Dinner in Montmarte
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel at Louvre

And with these images comes a prayer for peace around the world and my thoughts go out to my French friends both living here or abroad and those in Paris. 
Oblisk from Tuileries Garden at sunset
Please scroll down for more.  Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I will be back with our recent wildflower trip in Western Australia next week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard

Wednesday 11 November 2015

On the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month, we will remember them

 We will remember them. The tragedies of war are not just those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives, but those who came home damaged in mind, body and spirit.

If you live in Western Australia, or touring through, I encourage you to visit the National Anzac Centre in Albany. You will see the faces, and read the words, and you will come away with a new appreciation of the human cost of war.
The writing on this post have been borrowed from the National Anzac Centre. 

National Anzac Centre, Albany

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

 We will remember them.

I cannot listen to The Last Post without tears coming to my eyes. 
The Last Post

You might also like: where you will read the significance of the names on the placques in the collage above to our family. .

Thank you for stopping by. Does 11 November remembrance have a significance to you and your family?


Monday 9 November 2015

Summer is on its way in Western Australia - & making lemon butter

I hope your week has started well. This is not originally what I planned to bring you today, but I have been caught in the "summer is on its way" feeling.  And how could I not be? The Jacaranda trees in my area are in full bloom, the Banksias are sending up what I call their Christmas candles, there is a yellow pea flower blooming along my morning walk, surf-club is in full swing down at the back beach, and it's a lovely time to enjoy coffee with a friend at one of our waterside cafes. I love living here so close to water, even if I do have to walk or drive to get to it. We have the river, estuary, inlet and ocean only ten minutes away.

 Here some more pics of that Banksia tree. These flowers are about 12 inches or 30 centimeters long. Don't you think they look like candles?

Summer is coming to my garden too.
The green kangaroo paws have put up their long flower stems over the last week or so, the agapanthus is shooting up it's blue flower heads, the hydrangea is putting out its first flowers, my lovely double creamy yellow gerbera is full blown, the lavender is putting up new shoots, the roses are blooming, as is the honeysuckle, and my pink native rose, and the yellow daisies that border my garden have erupted in a riot of yellow this past week. 

 In my back garden the grape vine has promising bunches of grapes, the apricot tree is covered in paper bags to keep off the fruit-fly and the birds, the parsley plant has gone to seed, the lemon tree is loaded and the tomato plants are starting to flower.

What to do with all those lemons?  Make lemon butter of course! And what is not to like about lemon butter!

Here is the recipe I use: 

Lemon butter or Lemon Curd

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 china or glass bowl. Stand over boiling water on stove. Stir until consistency of honey, but do not allow to boil. 
This takes about half an hour. Bottle and cover immediately. Makes about 3 jars. Store in the fridge. 
Enjoy on fresh baked scones or just slather on bread.

Do you make lemon butter? You should try it. It is fairly easy to make.
But there are a few tricky questions
How much lemon juice is in 3 lemons? I never know when a recipe has this sort of instruction. My lemons are very large and produce a lot of juice. 
It is also difficult when you are cooking to know when you have reached the right consistency. "like honey" I guess is a good guide. I find the lemon butter does thicken a bit more after it has been refrigerated.
The most tricky part is resisting eating it straight from the jar! It is so delicious.

Here is a little photography hint for those budding food photographers out there. If your lighting is a bit dull, try adding some "fill in light" on the front of your set up. You can do this with a white bounce card, or a light. I have just purchased a Metz Mecalight LED-480 led light which works perfectly for small set ups. You can see the result below. You don't need an expensive light for small set ups. I've also used a fluorescent camping light which has worked well in these situations.
If you use tripod in low light you can also increase the exposure (ie slow down the shutter speed) when you take your pic or lighten the exposure in post processing after.  

You can see with and without a light below. Big difference. This was taken on my patio. 

 Lastly a few flowers just because.

Some summery yellow daisies sitting in a piece of my grandmother's cruet set and processed with a texture. 

 And a close up of that beautiful gerbera in my garden.

 Do you make lemon butter? What is your favourite lemon recipe? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. 

I hope to be back next week with the next part of our recent spring wildflower trip. I working on identifying as many of the wildflowers as I can for you. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard

 You might also like:
Hello sunshine yellow and lemony delights 
Hydrangeas and Melting Moments in my garden 
Summer is here  
The trees are blooming for Christmas 

Monday 2 November 2015

Camping in the Dryandra Woodland, Western Australian wheatbelt

Wattle at Dryandra
Firstly, I want to say thank you to all my lovely readers who took the time to comment on my last post Finding myself 50 plus plus. I think I struck a cord with many and your thoughful comments really helped my realise that I was not alone. Thank you. 

So today something more bright and cheerful!

In late September-early October we took a wildflower drive out through the eastern wheatbelt and beyond to the Great Western Woodland south of the Kalgoorlie goldfields. 
I brought you some images of spring in the wheatbelt here - Spring in the Western Australian wheatbelt

I promised to bring you more, so today I am backtracking to the start of that trip and our first night in the Dryandra woodland 22 kilometres north-west of Narrogin. As it is only about two hours drive from home we finished packing on Saturday morning, and left home after an early lunch. 

We reached Dryandra about 3pm after stopping along the way a couple of times to take photos of wildflowers - well we were on a wildflower drive after all :) 


Monday 26 October 2015

Finding myself - 50 plus plus

I nearly decided not to post this...but then I thought....someone else might be going through the same feelings...so why not put it out there so they know they are not alone.

Do you sometimes find yourselves in a down period, when you know you should be happy, but for some reason you cannot put your finger on, you are not?

Regular readers to my blog might know that I was "offered" redundancy/early retirement back in April 2015. I wasn't enjoying my workplace where I had been for the last nearly fifteen years, so I gratefully welcomed this change to my life as it meant that I could have more time to explore more creative areas of my life. 

Life has been so busy since then....
Along with the usual family activities.....there has more time to walk in the mornings, I've attended a couple of art workshops (as well as running 2 photography workshops), lunches with friends, photographed a new cook book, danced in a couple of Flamenco shows, enjoyed two camping trips, tried new recipes (I recently started going to Spanish cooking lessons), spent time photographing wildflowers and I volunteer on Friday mornings in our local primary school library.

I won a photography competition "Against the Light" in September, met some wonderful people while being involved in photographing for the book "Ferguson Valley Plated" , walked with and interviewed volunteers on the Bibbulmum Track for a magazine article (coming out soon in Go Camping magazine), and had some of my photography displayed in a Spanish themed art exhibition at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries. 

 August and September were very busy for me taking photos, in conjunction with another photographer, for the cookbook Ferguson Valley Plated. This is the first cookbook I had photographed and I felt very grateful for this great opportunity to gain experience and learn more, given to me by Kim from Peppermint Lane Lodge in the Ferguson Valley. Thank you Kim.

At the same time I was attending rehearsals three times a week for our Flamenco production "Ole" plus extra practice at home every day - well most days :).  I have been doing Flamenco for the past three and a half years, and finally this year I think I am starting to "get it" thanks to the patience of my teacher and fellow members of Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company in Bunbury. Which goes to show you can learn a new dance style even at my age with no dancing background!  I blogged about our show here - Ole-Celebrating 25 years of Flamenco

Here's a pic from our Flamenco and Tapas Soiree at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries on Sunday afternoon 25 October.  

The day after the "Ole" production in September I received notification that I won the "Against the Light" photographic competition run by the WA Photographic Federation. I was completely overcome with emotion. Below you can see my photo on the front cover of the book, plus also our Spanish dance program and one of my pages from the cookbook.  You can see more on the WAPF web page - Against the Light_WINNERS

Over this time I felt that life was running too fast. In fact I blogged about it way back in June before life really sped up! - Is Life Running too Fast? 
"I'm loving this time I have been given to fly free, to explore new things, to find out who I really am. To step outside the square of retirement and to be open to the possibilities. To be true to myself."

 Reading back over my post I certainly have been busy with opportunities that have come my way, but I don't know if I have quite found my new path. I wish the right one would hurry up and stand up! 

Now all the froth and bubble of life has simmered down what now? I find myself with my days stretching before me, and I am not always enjoying my own time I have to do my own thing. We don't have to be happy all the time do we? 

I am actually feeling low even though I have no need to be. I have a wonderful husband, family and friends, and I belong to very supportive writing, photography and dancing groups. I have health, food on the table, a comfortable house, and the time and dollars to do whatever I want with my days (within reason). We are planning my husband's retirement at the end of the year, and two trips away next year. 

So there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for feeling like I am. I KNOW I have much to be GRATEFUL and THANKFUL for. 

Last rose - against the light

Do you ever feel low for no reason? I don't know why it is. Perhaps I don't feel as useful as I did in the past. Perhaps it is the fact that I am fast approaching my next major "zero" birthday next month. Perhaps I feel like life is passing me by way too quickly and I still have so many things to do.  Perhaps I feel like I haven't achieved anything or made a difference in my life. When I read back over my year I know this is silly. 

 I know it won't last. I will get over it. And life will be fine again. It is not that I don't have personal projects to be working on. They are scattered all over my computer desk.

Sometimes I think we just need to give ourselves space and permission to take time out in the garden with a cup of tea and a good book. Or just sit and ponder where we are at in life, what makes us happy and fulfilled, and what we need to move forward.
I need to take my own advice. And I know this feeling won't last and I'll pick myself up again.

I've just read Annabel Candy's blog post - The Happiness Project Review on her blog Get In the Hot Spot. She has listed great 23 tips for happiness from Gretchen Rubin's book. It seems like I'm not the only one after all! I've enjoyed scrolling through Annabel's blog this morning. There is lots of inspiration to find there, especially under Lifestyle & Wellbeing. 
52 Exercises: How One Woman Dared to Deal With a Mid-Life Crisis

Katchy Marris has some fabulous tips for finding yourself over on her blog - Fifty Shades of Age - Finding Ourselves

Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty is a fabulous blog which talks about a range of issues for us Over50s. Jo says "I write Lifestyle Fifty to help empower older women like me to be have fun, make a difference, stay healthy, remain stylish and be happy."

Sadly soon I won't be in that age bracket - Oh there I go again! 

Tea in the garden with my mother's 1950's tea cups.

 But do you understand where I am coming from? Do you ever feel like that? What did you do about it? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

 You might like to look at this stunning photographic series - Reflections of the Past - by Tom Hussey. The photos show an elderly person looking pensively at the reflection of his/her younger self in the mirror.
Are you surprised sometimes when you look in the mirror and expect to see your younger self? Do you still feel like your younger self? Where did all those years go?

And thank you so much for reading my ramblings today. I'm off to my Spanish cooking class. Tonight we are making Paella and Sangria. Here is our fabulous cooking teacher, my new Spanish friend, Montse - making a new life for herself and her family in a new country. 

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday  

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday


Tuesday 20 October 2015

Apple roses - easy and delicious dessert

I don't know if you have seen the little video that this trolling around Facebook at the moment for little Apple Roses.

 I've been seeing it pop up now and then over the last few months. They looked so delicious and easy to make. A couple of weeks ago we had some friends coming to our house for lunch so I decided Ito stop procrastinating and make them! They were a hit with our guests.

I'm not sure how to upload the little how to video - but please go to the link from Just Eating Real Food - Apple Roses - I hope it works for you ok. 

They were fun and easy to make and used very few ingredients. They were a bit fiddly to make so allow 1 hour preparation time. 

And here is the recipe - 

2 red applies - half and core - I used Pink Lady apples - and cut into thin slices. 
Put into a bowl of water with juice of half a lemon. Microwave for 3 minutes. 
Drain water.
Put 3 tablespoons of apricot jam with 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. (You could try other sorts of jam too)
Thaw 1 or 2 sheets of puff pastry. (1 sheet will make 6 rolls, 2 sheets 12 rolls)
Roll the pastry out thin and cut into 6 strips.
Spread with jam. Place slices of apple on one half of the pastry strips. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 
Fold over the other half of the pastry strip and roll into rose shapes.
Put into muffin tin. (I put squares of baking paper into each muffin hole first).
Bake at 375F or 190C for 40-45 minutes. (I brushed over a little melted butter before cooking)
Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve. Enjoy! 

Do you have the grandies coming over to stay? I am sure they will love helping you make and eat these!   Usually I would do a bit better with my food photography styling, but everyone was waiting to eat!

  Last night I went to the first of four Spanish cooking classes conducted by my Spanish  friend Montse. We made two Tapas -  Potato Tortilla Espanola, Mushrooms with garlic and lemon sauce and finished with Churros. Oh my goodness those Churros are so delicious! and easy to make. Now I just have to find the little machine needed to push the mixture through. 
I'm looking forward to next weeks lesson. 

Have you a little easy recipe you enjoy making or been to cooking classes? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. Montse says the most important thing for the Spanish is to enjoy the food with friends.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday