On Turning 30

A couple of weeks ago I turned 30!

I love birthdays. I love my birthdays, I love other people birthdays, I love people who celebrate animal birthdays. I love birthday cake, birthday parties, birthday hats, birthday balloons. I love how anything becomes extra special when you put the word ‘birthday’ in front of it.

I believe in birthday weeks, not birthday days.

What I’m really trying to say here, in case you missed the message, is that I really REALLY like birthdays.

My husband bought me 30 balloons for my birthday. So I took a polaroid self portrait with them surrounding me. :)

My husband bought me 30 balloons for my birthday. So I took a polaroid self portrait with them surrounding me. :)

Over the weekend as I talked to people during my errands around town I would usually mention that it was my birthday and I was turning 30. Most people were happy and congratulatory. Some people though, reacted by asking me if I was going to tell people I was 29 and holding, giving me a knowing wink.

‘No, I’m going to tell them I’m 30. I'm really excited about being 30. I think it’s going to be a great year.’ I would respond.

They would either give me a surprised look and say ‘oh, well good for you!’, as if I was keeping my chin up in the face of tragedy, or chuckle to themselves and say ‘you'll change your mind once you’re my age.’

It wasn't a reaction I was used to seeing, and it almost made me wonder if I SHOULD be worried about turning 30.

At this point it would be easy to think of all the things that I haven’t done with my life. All the things I've wanted to do, all the things that other people much younger than me have accomplished and all the opportunities I have ‘missed out’ on, or will miss out on by being ‘older’.

But I'm not going to let myself think like that. I love the life I have lived so far. I love the life I am living right now. I have spent these last 30 years on this earth learning, discovering, growing and changing. And I will continue to grow, change, learn and discover long past turning 30, long past when I turn 50, long past when I turn 80 and hopefully long past when I turn 90.

Yes, age is just a number, but it’s your number. Own it.


This year my number is 30 and I'm excited to see what surprises and new adventures that life has in store for me!

New Layout and New Logo

It's been far too long since I've been here. Life has been incredibly full of up and downs recently, but I think there are finally starting to be more ups than downs! Hurray!

These are a few photos of the things I have been up to recently. Pottery, Photography, and Pretty kitty cats. That pretty much sums up my life. 

Spring is finally starting to show through the snow, even in the Great White North. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer and the snow piles are getting smaller. I can't wait till things start growing and the country side is green again.

In other news, I've done a big website update - new photos, new logo, new... just about everything! I will certainly be showing up here on the blog more often than I was, so look for more new photos and new posts coming soon!

Cheers!

Ashley

January - Heartbreak and Happiness

Hello 2014! 

It's been far too long since I've posted here.

After my break from social media in December I was looking forward for sharing photos and stories from our wonderful Christmas on Vancouver Island. 

And then our beloved cat, Spandy, became really ill and within a matter of days we had to make the difficult choice to let him go. We'd had him for seven years, since right after we started dating. He was with us when we first moved in together, when we got engaged, when we got married, when we moved up north. He was there for all the big events and for all the small ones. For every morning, every evening, for every smile and for every tear. He was always there.  Even after almost a month, the pain is still very raw. 

It just felt all month like we couldn't get our heads above water. A week after we let go of Spandy, a huge windstorm blew through all of North Eastern BC and approx. 20,000 homes lost power - and ours was one of them. We were without power or heat for over 48 hours, and because our place is so poorly insulated, it was cold enough to see our breath at night as we tried to sleep underneath 6 blankets. Thankfully the temperatures outside were quite mild for this time of year. I try not to think about what could have happened if they weren't. 

Last week, shortly after two very stressful days of travelling and missing connections and airlines shuffling flights around, we received the sad news that Mike's Grandmother had passed away. She has been suffering from dementia for a while and had been in the hospital because it had gotten so severe. While we are relieved that she is no longer in pain, it is still hard that she is gone.

In the midst of all of this, we are trying to get through day by day, and I am trying to remember all of the exciting things that are happening in our lives right now.

  • I'm teaching a Beginner DSLR photography class through our local college
  • My mom and I started taking a pottery course.
  • Mike is organizing a local ball hockey group
  • We flew out to Manitoba to celebrate my Oma's 90th birthday and had a wonderful time there.
  • We have each other, and our family and friends.
  • Little Artemisia, the kitten we rescued last May, is a constant reason to smile.

January was a month filled with such heartbreak as well as so many happy things, that I feel as if my emotions are just worn out from all the up and down. I will try to post more things soon, but for a while it might be more photos and less words for a while.

I hope all of you are having an amazing 2014 and have wonderful things happening in your lives.

Cheers,

Ashley

 

 

A December break

It's hard to believe that December starts on Sunday. It feels as though this year has gone by so fast, but also that it has been so full of many wonderful things.

7f2b1174513a11e3acdc0ef6f35b2d71_8.jpg

It's hard to even begin putting down all the wonderful times I've had this year, the places I've visited, people I've met, old friends I've caught up with... I know that I am blessed.

Recently though, I have not been focusing on those blessings and remembering them as they are. I have found that instead, I've been counting what I don't have, rather than what I do. And that is not how I want to live my life.

So I'm stepping back and taking a break.

This December I'm going to take a break from social media, from Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and all of those things that make it so easy to compare your life with the lives of others.  I'm going to instead focus on some of my favourite holidays - Advent and Christmas - and fully enjoy the joyful buzz of the season.  

And so, this might be a bit early, but I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, whatever holiday it is that you are celebrating, and I will see you again in the new year!

Merry Christmas!

(PS. I will still be checking my email, so you can contact me that way if the fancy strikes you.)

Fall Colours - Terri

Fall in the north has already slipped away. Our trees are now bare and the threat of snow hangs heavy in the air.

I'm happy I got to capture some of that fall spirit with a friend of mine, Terri, before it all disappeared. Terri was so gracious in letting me dress her up with a crown made of rowan berries and a snuggly warm Hudson's Bay Company blanket I found at my parent's house.   

There is something about the way Terri wore that berry crown that reminds me of Frida Kahlo. 

It was such a fun little shoot, thanks for helping me out Terri! And also thanks to my husband Mike, who held bags and crowns, and helped Terri not trip over the blanket as we walked through the forest.

Recently I decided it was high time to pull out a pack of Polaroid IDUV film that I've been saving. I'm glad I took a couple photos with it, the colours worked really well with the HBC blanket.

Rome - One year Later

One year ago, Mike and I were in Rome.

It's hard to believe that I am still finding pictures to share, but every time I think I've shared them all with you, I find a few more. 

Going to Rome, was such a wonderful experience, one that I hope to repeat many times more in the future. I miss the warmth of stone benches around fountains, the cats that weave in and out of spaces, the cobblestone streets beneath my feet, the friendly people everywhere we went, and well, of course the food.

So, here's to Roma, the eternal city, may she ever remain and continue to draw us in with her beauty. 

All of my images from Rome are on my Flickr page, in the set 'Rome 2012' if you want to see them all together. 

Summer Cocktail - St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

It's well past summer here, but today I'm reliving it a bit with the last installment of my adventure in cocktail making. This is the St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz.  

The local liquor store in town had small 7 oz. bottles of St. Germain for sale one day, and I splurged and picked up a few. I've heard so many great things about St. Germain, the elder flower liqueur from Europe, but I couldn't justify spending $60 on a regular size bottle. This would give me a chance to try it out, find out if I liked it, and perhaps if I would ever want to spend the big bucks for a larger quantity. 

After I got home, I want on an internet search for what to make with it. I wanted something that would use the small amount I had efficiently. I ended up settling on a recipe from Food52 - The St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

It was a big hit! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to try this specialty liqueur.

St. Germain and Prosecco Fizz

Ingredients: 

  • 1 part St. Germain liquer
  • 1 part Prosecco
  • 1 part club soda
  • 5 mint leaves (muddled)
  • 1 part fresh lime juice

In a glass, muddle the mint leaves. (I had to look this up, it means pressing and slightly grinding on the leaves with a spoor or with a pestle.) After the leaves are muddled, pour the liqueur, prosecco, club soda and lime juice in. Add ice ans stir slightly. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

Kaidy - Besotted Workshop Session

It was wonderful to be able to take photos of Kaidy at the Besotted Vintage Workshop in August. She and I were both a little nervous. It was her first time modelling for something like this, and it was my first time shooting people in portrait type situations. I think the two of us made some beautiful images.

I loved the details of this shoot, the flower crown and bouquet were made of dried flowers, which is a fantastic idea for a different and beautiful look. 

Nick and Lauren - Besotted Workshop

Nick and Lauren are an adorable couple who were so gracious to allow us to photograph them as part of the Besotted Vintage Workshop in August.  It was wonderful to get to take photos of them and especially in such an amazing set up! This lace tent was amazing and I kind of wanted to just lay there myself and watch the light and shadows play in the canopy.

I learned a lot of things taking photos of these two. I learned I need to be more confident in giving people direction for posing. Initially I didn't want to give to much direction as I wanted to try and capture things as naturally as possible. However it would seem that what looks natural in the end image sometimes need some unnatural direction behind the camera.  I also learned that I need to work on keeping people in focus. I was disappointed with how many of my photos were out of focus. I guess that is a skill that just needs more work, or perhaps I just need to slow down. I was pretty nervous so I might have rushed a bit rather than just take a breath.  

Despite this though, I had a really great time and am pretty pleased with some of my images. 

The last image is one of my favourites.  I took some photos with my film cameras too, but I will share those in a different post. 

Till then! 

Besotted Vintage Workshop - Head Table

This beautiful head table that was styled by Besotted Vintage was just amazingly lovely in person! The centerpiece is a beautiful combination of live flowers and greenery, silk flowers and deer antlers. Larissa, the owner of Besotted Vintage, said that the key to mixing live flowers and silk flowers is to use real leaves or greenery in amongst a few large silk flowers. I think it works beautifully!

 (Also, something I learned, when trying to style a table with champagne glasses, don't shell out for real champagne to fill them. Use ginger ale or an alcohol-free type of bubbly drink. Much easier on the wallet.)

Besotted Vintage Styling Workshop - Dessert Table

In the beginning of August I went to a fantastic local photography workshop. It was really amazing to meet with other photographers and to be able to take photos of such great set ups. The workshop was set up through a vintage rental company called Besotted Vintage that is based out of Grande Prairie, AB. 

It was so great to spend a day out shooting such amazing set ups and then tasting the lovely treats! This is the dessert table that was styled and set up for us to shoot. All the food here was made by BAKED by Erin

More posts to come about this!

Ottawa in July

This past July I was fortunate to be able to visit the capital city of Canada - Ottawa, ON. It was my first time ever being there, and since I was there for a convention I wasn't able to do as much sight seeing as I would have liked, I did manage to see quite a bit around the Parliament buildings and the surrounding area. 

It's a really beautiful city and I hope to go back and visit it for a longer time someday. 

The Parliament of Canada, with the iconic Peace tower reaching into the sky. (left) A detail of the East block building. (right)

Some of the roses from around the Summer Pavillion that looks out over the Ottawa river. (left) Sir John A. MacDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, one of the many statues of past leaders that are spread out over the lawns of the Parliament. (right)

The procession for the changing of the guard, a very lengthy and traditional process that is pretty fun to see and hear. Sadly I didn't get a photo of the bagpipers, I love the sound of bagpipes. 

Seeing the locks on the Rideau canal was a bit of a highlight for this prairie-born girl. While I knew how locks worked to move boats from places with different water levels, I had never seen them. And I felt pretty lucky that I actually got to see them in motion too! The lovely people who work the locks and the gates were happy to answer my questions as I watched them turn chains and open flood ways and direct boats when to stop and when to move through. 

I also took a quick walk over to Byward Market, which was a short distance from the Ottawa Convention Centre. It is the oldest and largest public market in Canada.

One of the highlight of my trip though was a visit to the National Gallery of Canada. I hadn't thought I would have time to visit, and then ended up with a couple of extra hours before I needed to go to the airport. So off to the gallery I went, and I'm so glad I did! They have an amazing collection of works by so many Canadian artist as well as international ones. It was a dream to see these works in person. 

Next time I visit Ottawa I want to spend more time seeing all the other museums they have and maybe take a trip over to Gatineau, QC - which is right across the river. Perhaps I'll try and visit in winter so Mike and I can go ice skating on the canals.  

New! Prints for sale!

I am pleased to announce that I will now be selling prints of my photographs! So if you've been wanting one for a while, now is the opportunity you've been waiting for!

Currently there are only 5 prints available. These 5 prints will be available for all of September. On October 1st, a new set of prints will go up. Each month 5 unique prints will be available through the shop. So if you see something you like, don't wait! Next month there will be something new!

So go and check it out! 

 

Early Morning in May

One morning this past May I woke up well before sunrise and tagged along on a bird survey for work. I tagged along mostly to take photos, but it was really wonderful to talk with the bird expert and to listen with him to the sounds of the early morning animals. 

It was beautiful to watch the morning light peak over the horizon and filter it's way down through the treetops.  

Lots of new stuff going on in my world, I'm just waiting to gather all the details before I share it all with you.

 

Cheers all! 

A Look back at April

In April I travelled back to Vancouver for a friends wedding with Mike. I was so happy that we were able to visit there when the cherry blossoms were out. I honestly can't believe it took me this long to post them. I suppose late is better than never. 

AugustBreak-diptych.jpg

Hopefully soon I'll have more photos from the last few months to share! It feels nice to get caught up on posting and sharing.

Till later! 

Cocktail Summer - Rosemary Greyhound

Welcome to another instalment in my adventures in the art of cocktails! The last two cocktails were gin based, which taught me that I really like gin. But I decided to try something different and so this one is vodka based.

It's called a Rosemary Greyhound, and it's a variation of a Vodka Greyhound. I have no idea where vodka and grapefruit juice is called a 'greyhound' and no where on the internet could I find a satisfactory answer. So we'll just have to go with it, crazy name or not.

Rosemary Greyhound Recipe

For the rosemary simple syrup: 

  • rosemary (2-3 long sprigs)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until boiling. Once boiling, turn down the heat and stir frequently until the sugar is all dissolved and the mixture is syrupy.

For the cocktail: 

  • 1 -2 ounces of vodka
  • 3 ounces of grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon of simple syrup

Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake. Then strain into a glass with fresh ice. Serve with rosemary garnish if desired. 

This was a very lovely summery cocktail. The grapefruit juice was tangy, but the rosemary simple syrup added a lovely woodsy note to it. I did not use fresh squeezed grapefruit, I just used store bought juice. I was so busy that day with other things that I completely forgot to get vodka! Luckily, my parent's (who aren't big vodka drinkers) had a bottle in the back of their cabinet that is probably older than I am. I'm not sure if vodka is like wine and gets better with age, but it certainly didn't hurt it. 

When I was planning for this I had a hard time finding summery vodka recipes that I actually wanted to try. Not that there aren't lots out there, but I'm just fussy and I didn't want something to similar to the other recipes I had already tried. This recipe was found on a blog called The Young Austinian and was exactly what I was looking for!

Until next time! Enjoy! 

Words to Shoot by - Ink

I didn't get a chance to post this right away because I was rather swept aside by Polaroid Week. But now I am happy to share this with you!  The last Words to Shoot by prompt was 'Ink', so the first thing I thought of was tattoos. 

This past March, Michael and I got tattoos together. Mine is a stylized version of the Pleiades star cluster and his is a mix of references to his family crest, stories he loves and other inspirations. We really loved the experience of getting tattoos and especially of doing it together.  

Check out all the other awesome interpretations of Ink on the Words to Shoot by blog!

 

Polaroid Week - Day 4 and 5

And Alas, Polaroid week has ended for another year. But in it's place are new friendships, and new inspirations that will carry us all forward until next year. 

Here are the last of my photos from the week. 

 

DAY 4

 

The first photo is of Mike, I took it one evening when we went for a walk in a nearby field. I think it's my new favourite photo of him. Taken with my SX-70 and Impossible Project PX70 film.

The second photo is another hood ornament from the car show. A knight on a Chevy Lincoln. Taken with my SX-70 and Impossible Project PX680 film. 

 

Day 5

Both of these images were taken in Rome last October. The first one is of the Piazza Madonna dei Monti, this was the hub of the local area we stayed in. I took this photo on our last day, around lunch time, when people were filling the piazza for lunch, coffee and conversation before going back to their work. Taken with my SX-70 and expired Polaroid 600 film.

The second photo is of the last cappuccino I had in Rome at our favourite cafe. This photo actually has a sister photo that looks almost exactly the same. I left it with the lovely barista's who made us such wonderful coffee during the two weeks we were there.  Taken with my SX-70 and expired Polaroid 600 film.

And for more the beauty of 'Roid Week, please check out my last two galleries. 

Day 4 Favourites

Day 5 Favourites

If you enjoyed reading about my adventures with Polaroid Week, why don't you join the Group Pool for next years! We don't have any set dates yet, but you can follow Polaroid Week on Twitter and they will announce the dates once they are decided.

Polaroid Week - Day 3

Day 3 of Polaroid week already? Man, the week is almost over! 

The top photo is another hood ornament from last week's car show in my home town. I believe it is from a 1928 Essex... but don't quote me on that! It is shot with my SX-70 Land camera and Impossible Project PX680 film.

The second photo is another from my still life with peonies and butterflies. I quite like it. Also shot with an SX-70 land camera and Impossible Project PX680 film. 

And my gallery of Day 3 favorites is also online! 

Polaroid Week - Day 2

One of my favourite things about Polaroid Week is that it just keeps getting better and more exciting as the week goes on.  

Here are the two photos I posted yesterday for Day 2 of 'Roid Week. 

The first photo is from a local car show. I like cars, I think their design is beautiful. But I don't really KNOW a lot about cars. So after wandering around for a bit, I started noticing hood ornaments. So I started taking photos of the hood ornaments I saw. I shot this photo with my SX-70 camera using Impossible Project PX680 film.

The second photo is from a little still life I set up on Sunday afternoon. Dying, but still beautiful peonies, butterflies with broken wings, and petals scattered everywhere. This photo is shot with my SX-70 camera and Impossible Project PX70 film. 

And here is my Day 2 Favourites gallery! 

See you all tomorrow with some more exciting stuff!