Thursday, December 15, 2011

colours in the backyard

We went to The Colour Lab for the second time earlier this evening.  The first time my husband and I visited the store/cafe, we sat inside.  But since the weather today was just way too gorgeous to be sitting in, we were excited to have coffee with three of our good friends at the backyard garden of the cafe.  The backyard garden is like a small courtyard with lattice walls all around.  They had wooden picnic tables, plants and some splashes of colours here and there, which really made the garden vibrant.  Here are some snapshots of the garden ornaments that caught my attention.

I had ice coffee and a good time :)

Photos from iPhone3GS

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A rainbow, a river and the rain

We went on a camping trip a week ago at Lorne, along the Great Ocean Road.  There are times when I yearn to be out of the city, at the very least be amongst the vast landscape, with scenic hills, grass and trees, and water... and Lorne has bits of these.  The 2 hour roadtrip to Lorne was as much enjoyable as being there in Lorne itself.  The weekend that we went it was expected to rain - but we went anyway.  Yes, it was drizzling most of the times, but the rain on that Friday afternoon brought out a beautiful rainbow.  And if I'm seeing this correctly, there was another rainbow there as well.

Despite the rain, I think all of us that went truly enjoyed being there... setting up the tents in the rain, cooked and ate in the 'undecided' weather pattern of rain and shine alternating like very five minutes, and we made sure we made the best of it all.  With hot drinks, hot food, chairs and mats, umbrellas and raincoats, card and board games, and hanging out with great companies was all that we probably needed (and also the fact that I brought a long my laptop and we ended up watching a movie in the tent while it was raining and made caramel popcorn using the electric pan!).  And with all that, I am pretty sure everyone had a one-of-a-kind camping experience.

Even our breakfast was somewhat luxurious, don't you think? :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Morning Walk-Jog-Photog

Photos | iPhone3GS, touched up in PS Express

My husband went out for a run this morning, and I decided to join in for a "walk-jog-and-photog" along the way.  The weather was quite nice, cool and breezy... and because it was about 10 am already, the sidewalks were pretty quiet as everyone else were probably at work (except for us because we decided to have a day off from going to work today).  What I truly enjoy about the neighbourhood here is how the sidewalks are well connected and how the houses and apartments vary in their design.  You'd be walking and passing by different facades, different walls and different gates.  There's a mixture of older and newer designs, of houses and of apartments, and the variation makes the neighbourhood an interesting one.  This is probably possible because the plot of lands are smaller, which are owned and developed by different owners and developers - as opposed to one developer owning a large plot of land and building houses that look alike.  The mixed development, rather than a cluster of similar types of building design, seems to give the neighbourhoods a richer character, at least as how I see and experience it.  I am definitely going to miss this neighbourhood... especially when the leaves and petals fall down to the sidewalks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gorgeous Friday Evening in Melbourne

This was how Friday evening went.  The weather was just gorgeous. The gentle warm breeze that is not too hot nor was it cold - perfect.  I've learned that when you get a weather like this in Melbourne, you just have to drop everything that you're doing, go outside and immerse yourself in it while it lasts.  As predictably inconsistent the Melbourne weather is, it's expected to shower the whole day today, which is Saturday.  We had a very early dinner at a fish & chippery, and opted to sit outdoors on the sidewalk as the weather was just way too nice to be sitting indoors.  It's amazing how the timber table and bench make eating so much pleasurable, of course, also contributed by colours of the green salad served with the grilled fish and brown rice.  After that, we walked to the park right next to the street.  It has truly been a while since I last sat in a park, and just sat there with my husband.  Trees around you.. the evening sun beaming through the leaves... poetic.  No wonder writers like to go into the woods and be near nature to find solace and peace.  Because for that moment, at least for that moment, there are much bigger things around you.  You get to slow down.  And you get to really breathe.

Photos from iPhone3GS edited via Camera+ and Instagram

Thursday, October 6, 2011

of walls and colours

Among the things that I enjoy observing in Melbourne are the walls
and the small features that create contrast to the walls.  They create character.

Taken at Lt La Trobe St, Melbourne 

Photos from iPhone3GS edited via Camera+ and Instagram

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Of the city and the rain

I’m currently at my husband’s workplace, a landscape architecture studio in the city.  Isn’t this just one of the best view to do work?  Large windows… the city skyline… gosh, I’m really going to miss this daily city life.  Back home, I don’t work in the middle of the city, but in a university campus environment surrounded by hills and city fringe suburbs (which is actually nice and peaceful).

I haven’t driven to work for more than 3 years now.  Previously, it was either me driving to the uni where I teach, which was only about 10 minutes away from home, or my husband would send/pick me up when he didn’t have meetings or site visits out of the city.  Here, most of the time, he’d only drive on weekends or occasionally on weekdays whenever we have to use the car.  On most days, it’s “Thank you, Mr/Ms Tram Driver!”.  Although lately, since last month after doing my final writing from home for a month, I have been ‘less interested’ in taking the tram to the city.  Since then, we’ve been driving to the city and going out from home earlier than usual to get the early bird parking rates (which still equates the total tram tickets for two persons).  But as with most driving, there’s always the traffic jam when going and coming back.  Let’s call it ‘a practice of getting used to traffic jam before we actually have to endure one on a daily basis when we go back home’.  I haven’t even gone back yet, but shall we decide to live not so close to my workplace, the thought of having to drive (or even sitting on the passenger seat) through a traffic jam already feels exhausting.  Is that even possible, to think and get exhausted?  I think it is, and I shall not dwell on it, which may make me drown in a mental snowball that I don’t need at this moment.

Nonetheless, I have definitely enjoyed our stay here in Melbourne.  Sounds like a farewell entry to Melbourne, doesn’t it… but not just yet.  I still have several months left to finish what I have to finish here, and enjoy our last months here.  I should really do a specific “wondergram” project as an ode to Melbourne before I go back… say, for instance, snapshots of my favourite places?  Or places/corners/streets that meant something to me?  What say you, any suggestions?  Well, til then, let’s embrace the present, shall we :)

Later today, it started to rain... oh dear rain.

 Photos | iPhone, Instagram

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oh Flowers, Flowers! Where art thou?

When I was little, I used to think that flowers are only for moms and adults.  Flowers have always been around... in the yard, in the pots, on prints of clothing and bags, in drawing books, even on bed sheet and pillow cases.  But as a kid, I didn't know how to appreciate flowers, other than associating them with being a girl and wanting some flowery patterns on my pencil cases and stickers (alongside those hearts and stars, of course!)

My grandmother has always loved flowers, as long as I can remember.  Maybe because her name is 'Zahrah' which also means 'flower' in Arabic.  Whenever she's up for a visit to our house or going on a trip somewhere, she'd always remind us that she can't stay long because no one will attend to her garden of orchids.  I think I had once thought in my mind, 'aww come on tokwan, flowers over your grandchildren???'  My grandma must have loved her flowers that much! But I know she loves us all dearly too :)  I think my mother must have taken after my grandma, as she too loves her flowers and plants.

When I was in my teenage years, I thought flowers were a bit 'icky'... like a bouquet of flowers would always be associated with a very 'mushy' or 'lovey dovey' kind of thing (back then, the expression would be like, 'eiiuuewwww' right?).  I'm sure some of you know what this feeling was like.

But then, as I grew older, and becoming a woman and adult, I understand why my grandmother and my mother were fond of flowers.  Flowers are beautiful and delicate.  And if we look closely, there's perfection in each little flower, what ever kinds it may be.  I remember going to this landscape architecture and design conference, and there was a presenter who talked about 'fractal geometry' (you can google up some images of 'fractal geometry in nature' and you'll find amazing stuff).  The perfection, ratio and balance of how things of nature are created and formed are just beautiful and amazing, Subhanallah.  They are proofs that these are creations by God.  I think after that I never looked at flowers and vegetables the same way again... I mean just look at broccoli and cauliflower, or even leaves... beautifully composed bunches of florets, from big to small to super tiny ones.

And of course, when flowers are given by the ones you love (read: husband), there's nothing to squirm about, but to just be oh-so-delighted about it!  I consider lilies as "our" flowers, as they were the first bouquet that my then-friend-now-husband gave me on my graduation day.  They were the flowers that we had on our wedding day as well.  Lilies smell nice... and there's something soft yet strong about them :)

These are lilies that my husband gave me on my recent birthday in August.
I was thrilled to check them out everyday to see them bloom right in our living room.
(Taken with instagram)

 This is a bouquet of Freesias that our friends gave us earlier this month. 
I love the delicate petals and the rainbow wrapper!
(Taken with instagram)

I have grown to appreciate flowers and love looking at them.  Call me a late 'bloomer', but receiving flowers is indeed one of the loveliest feeling a woman can have.  Flowers don't have to be expensive, but the thoughts that come with those flowers are priceless.

Flowers are beautiful, and they symbolize beautiful things... and who does not love beautiful things?

So how about you?  Any flower stories to share? :)

p/s: Spring is here in Melbourne.  More reasons to fall in love with flowers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Serenity by the Sea

We are lucky to live only like a 10 minutes-drive away from the beaches of Port Phillip Bay.   I have always loved going to the beach, not to swim or sunbathe, but just to enjoy looking at the waters and leisurely walking alongside to it.  It never fails to give me that sense of calmness, and the realization that there are bigger things in life... 

 The most famous beach here is of course none other than St Kilda Beach, but once you're in the mood of exploring new places, you're bound to find somewhere new...  And so we did.  We have had this set of Go Explore! Melbourne cards, and would turn to it each time we feel the urge of going somewhere, but just don't know where to go.  With this card, we headed to a place called Black Rock Beach at Half Moon Bay, further down from St Kilda Beach and Brighton Beach.

There is a small cafe that sells coffee and fish & chippery, so that was nice to have something hot to drink and munch while we were there.  This is a view from the jetty that looks over the boathouse, bath boxes and the small cafe.

Coffee is my life?  Only occasionally when I feel the need for a cuppa :)

When we were there, the weather was not very sunny.  It was for a short while, then the clouds came so it became a bit cloudy (and started to get cold).  I remembered reading a simple photography tip that when it gets cloudy and the colours of the scenery became a bit dull, a black and white photography might work best.   I seem to believe so too, as you can play around with the exposures and contrasts to make the photos livelier, or more dramatic, although in a monotone.  These were from the "grains" mode in my Olympus PEN, no post-editing needed (great, right?).

This is one of my favourite silhouette shot.

If you're in Victoria or thinking about visiting Half Moon Bay, you can get a little bit more info about its whereabouts here.

A Cafe by the Beach

A while back, we visited this cafe that was located along the beach in Middle Park, called Sandbar Beach Cafe.   We have driven and walked passed by it a couple of times before.  The white architecture with large clear windows that allow you to see through the cafe right to the beach looked really nice and appealing, that we just had to give this cafe a visit.

And once we were in, we were not disappointed at all.  The cafe was lit with lots of natural sunlight (a reason of why a photo at this angle turned dark), and the timber interior in white and natural earth were indeed a great match for the by-the-beach concept.  I would have no problem sitting at this cafe all day long, looking out to the waters, while sipping some drinks and just relax...

We didn't spend the whole day there obviously, but I did have my glass of iced coffee and a taste of their flourless orange cake.  The best of all, visiting this cafe with my husband felt like we were on brief holiday, which was truly nice :)  Must remember to visit a cafe like this again for that vacation-feel when it's not really vacation.

Have you got a place that gives you that being-on-a-holiday feel too?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scanning Mementos

This is a postcard that I bought at National Museum of Australia in Canberra, from our Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney road trip last year.  It’s an aluminium three-berth caravan, built in 1956.

I recently discovered a new liking for scanning objects, especially small cards.  There's something nice (and somewhat exciting I must say) about having the surface of the cards faced down directly on the scanner and then seeing how they turn out on the scanner.  I find that it is not the same as photographing them (as what I would usually do).

Here are some recent scans. Hello again, good old scanner ;)

“What goes around, comes around” : When we joined Ride-On-Dinner in 2009, they gave each of us this little card to put in between our bike rims.

My sister sent me this postcard when she was visiting Paris earlier this year.  Classic :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brighton Beach, Victoria

 Photo | Diana Mini, Fuji Sensia 100, xpro

Bathing Boxes, as they call it.  This is one of Melbourne's colourful sights located in Brighton.  The bathing boxes are all in similar form and size, but with variety of bold colours.  People use them as shed to change, put their belonging, and as shelter from the sun or wind when they come for a swim.  But most of us just wanted to go there and get a snapshot of this postcard scenery.