Thursday, October 19, 2017

... to Napier

Napier rose from the ashes literally after a massive 7.8 earthquake in February 1931. My late Nana was 14 in February 1931. Two stories she told were about saving the record player and one record, sitting on the side of the road and playing that record - 'Happy Days are Here Again' - and being told by a passerby that that song was not appropriate. She also told of sleeping outside in tents until the following Christmas.

Napier is now a popular spot for holiday makers and enjoys many visits from cruise ships over the summer months. It is word famous for its art deco architecture. I think the council, or whomever looks after such things, has done a lot of work over the last 5 - 10 years to get people onto the 'parade' with Ocean Spa, the national aquarium, the MTG, the pier that's not a pier and a very new playground.

The day I visited to take photos, it was a very sunny 20 degrees in early October. Typical Hawke's Bay weather!

Friday, October 13, 2017

... to Magazine Bay

This medium sized wharf is just round the corner and up the road from Maraetai. I went about two hours before low tide on a 20 degree day and was disappointed by how many people were there ... people ruin good scenery photos! But if you slow the shutter right down, they turn into a blur or even disappear altogether.

I have minimal photo editing skills. And having learnt old school on film, believe if you take a good pic in the first place you don't need to edit it. But I did tutu (a word kiwi English has borrowed from Maori meaning 'to play') with these ones in picmonkey to crop them and add/remove the colour.

I imagine this place gets packed in summer. I think it would also make good winter photos with the big sky.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

... to Cornwallis

Since my visit to Maraetai I have been googling 'wharf Auckland' and zooming in on google maps to possible locations on the coast around Auckland. This led me to Cornwallis way, way, way "out West" as we say in the south of Auckland. If I had a hovercraft, it would be about a 20km trip, but as I don't it was a 40km drive out through Titirangi. Different parts of Auckland have such different 'feels' and looks. Some places, I could not imagine living. But others like Titirangi felt and looked nice. Pity it's so far from work and house prices are probably triple my modest suburb!

Anyway, back to the Cornwallis. I was blown away by how beautiful it was. Truly beautiful. There were maybe 10 or so people fishing off the end of the wharf. Once group of young men had just lost a shoe over the edge and were trying to fish it up!

I was keen to practice my long exposure skills but made the complete rookie mistake of leaving my tripod connector at home. Grrr. So I ended up with some 'artistic' shots as I tried to hold my breath so as to not move the camera while the shutter was open.

Then I gave up and took 'normal' photos.

I will return to Cornwallis with all parts of my tripod again soon. I would also take visitors to NZ there. I think they would be blown away by the beauty of the place.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

... to Maraetai

I had been to Maraetai a grand total of once before a recent photography meet up. It's a big 30k from my house! My frolleague (blend of friend and colleague) Belinda saw that Clinton of Intopix Photography was having a meetup at Maraetai Wharf a couple of Saturday evenings and asked if I was keen. So I joined Belinda, her daughter and niece. It was a small group of about 10 people and we played with long exposures. I love the way the water smooths out with long exposure. I'd like to learn how to capture the clouds better with long exposures too.

We then moved onto playing with the torches.

I have since watched some videos on using steel wool inside a whisk to make even cooler light pix.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

... to Awhitu

In an effort to keep my blog going, I am making non-sewing posts most likely about little photography field trips I make. So this post is called Milly Made it to Awhitu.

My second teaching job - between 1995 and 2003 - took me to Waiuku. I always planned to work in small rural towns and a one year long-term relieving job turned into a nine year stint complete with a teaching exchange to Colorado and a little school house. Every year at Waiuku the Yr 10s had a camp up 'the peninsula'. I look back at those days and think that the things we did would never be allowed now because of health and safety regulations. Like walking kilometres between campsites on the open road, building and sailing rafts in the Manukau harbour without any lifejackets or safety craft, cooking on open fires every night, etc. One year we camped in a paddock at Big Bay. It bucketed with rain during the night. Our campsite flooded and we ferried kids four at a time in my car to a shed up the hill for the rest of the night. Ah, the good old days.

Anyway, I learnt SLR film photography at night classes in Pukekohe in about 2001. Prior to that in 1993 I did a short photography course at Teachers' College which involved developing my own prints. In the last few years I have taken a few more 'classes' while overseas. I did a couple of photowalks in Singapore with Paul from Noodle Photography. He introduced me to street photography. Then in Hawaii, I did a couple of photo tours with Marie at Blue Hawaii Photo Tours. Marie taught me more about 'scape photography.

I bought a new camera at the start of this year wanting to take more and better photos. The new camera is more complex than the old one so over the last few months I have been making myself use it to become familiar with it. I have been on a few field trips to get some practice.

The first field trip was up the Awhitu Peninsula. I live about 35 mins from Waiuku in South Auckland. From Waiuku to the light house at the Heads, is another 40 km drive through beautiful rolling, green farm land. The peninsula is Ngati Te Ata country and Awhitu means 'place of longing'.

The little church at Kohekohe was my first stop. It is for sale if you are keen. Lovely spot, but pretty windy I would imagine.

I then travelled on to the lighthouse at the Heads.

On my way back down the Peninsula, the scenery was good.

Hamilton's Gap is untamed and wild. I would have loved to have gone over the stream and towards the dunes but wasn't brave enough to do this by myself.

So there ends my first little photo field trip. It was really nice to get out and about, and to be in the sun and fresh air. I had kind of forgotten how beautiful our country is.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


I am a fan of Claybird ceramics, so when I saw Yon was holding a class at Vida Flores in Newmarket, I signed up.

There were about 11 in the class and we played - mainly using the 'pinch pot' technique. At the conclusion of the class, Yon took everything home, fired and glazed and fired it again for us. I picked my finished works up yesterday.

It was really enjoyable (although harder than you think, so quite concentratey) and I am keen to do more of this.

Friday, April 14, 2017

No Sewing. Just School and Stuff.

I haven't done any sewing since the end of the summer hols. And I haven't felt like doing any either.

Instead I have written the final report for our Teacher Led Innovation Fund project. It was a big write up, but good to pull the story of the last two years together. We've had some good feedback including the report being taken to the Minister's Cross Sector Forum. The report led to co-authoring an article with my education guru for a teacher journal - still to hear whether it's been accepted. The report also led to a visit from the leader of a new NZ education not for profit. And we had two school visits from the South Island.

And I had 10 days in California. I attended the ASCD Empower Conference in Anaheim with 8000 other 'educators' and then trained down to San Diego to Deeper Learning 17. Deeper Learning kind of holds together the High Tech, EL (formerly Expedition Learning) and the Big Picture schools. They are schools I have followed for a long time.

I had a day pre-conference in Anaheim so did an organised tour of LA. The tour included Venice Beach (dodgy as), Santa Monica pier, Rodeo Drive, The Grove and Farmers' Market, Hollywood Boulevard (a way smaller and much dirtier version of Vegas). I am glad I did the tour. I have no desire to go back to LA. Give me America's small towns and National Parks any day.

Deeper Learning finished at 1.30pm, so I spent Friday afternoon at Balboa Park taking photos and soaking up the warm spring sunshine.


Then I had Saturday morning before I flew home, which I spent at Old Town.

My flight got in at 5.15am. I was home by 6.15am and at school by 7.15am.

I was back to school for five days before heading to Hawkes Bay for the Dixie Chicks at the Mission. They were fantastic and I have had their songs in my head all week.

Now it's the Easter and April hols. I am looking forward to a rest.

Maybe I will feel like sewing next term.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Made Some Dresses

And I chose what turned into the windiest day in Auckland ever to photograph them.

It started between Christmas and New Year with this one -

It is Vogue 1496. I made it with the less low v neck, although it is still quite low. I think I also stretched the fabric around the neck when making it, so the neck doesn't sit as well as I would like. However, I will make this one again and I have some nice navy linen I might use. This one is made from a navy print rayon.

I then returned to good old Style Arc patterns for two more Adeline Dresses (above) and one more Mary Shift Dress (below).

I also made two dresses for Lucy the niece. She chose the fabrics - one is bright pink with orange spots and the other blue with flowers and butterflies! I forgot to photograph them before gifting them.