Wordless Wednesday: there’s nothing quite like homemade

Homemade marmalade. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Worth the effort; homemade marmalade. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Pretty labour–intensive, but very tasty. Homebaked bread rolls. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4

I loved this shot of my son anyway. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It's certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I love this shot of my son. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It’s certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I’ve been enjoying Lucile (bridging lacunas) and Desley’s (Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist) weekly Cover Makeover challenge, but hadn’t really thought about joining until last week.

I had a long (and quite frustrating) conversation with a colleague who wanted me to do quite a bit of (pro bono) work on a brochure re-design — on the basis that it was “only changing the cover shot and updating the text a bit.” In trying to explain that design is a lot more than slapping a photo on the page and adding a few words (assuming we could even source an image of the subject she was suggesting), I realised I needed to adopt the writer’s maxim;  “show, don’t tell”.

So I created a few alternative cover designs for The Invention of Solitude and talked through “my working out” with my colleague. I’m not going to bore you with all the iterations, but will share my “final” designs.

The least successful cover -- but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The least successful cover — but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The above is, I think, the least successful cover (and so the most useful for my teaching purpose). I like the image, which my son took of me a few years ago, but struggled to make the required text fit the space — while being visible on a background of both dark and light.

... and at the last minute! I shot this image at the weekend. It captured a different interpretation, and I couldn't resist using it. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Boats moored off Birkenhead, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

This was my “late entry”– the image shot at the weekend. It is the closest to the mental image that the book’s title conjured for me.

What do you think?

This post was written for the Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4.

 

Travel Theme: Toys — they don’t make ’em like that anymore

Looking a bit the worse for wear. Much loved FunHo bulldozer from the Big T's childhood. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Looking a bit the worse for wear. Much loved Fun Ho! front end loader from the Big T’s childhood. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

In these days of global brands and game-slash-movie-tie-ins, kids toys have a sort of universality.

From Taipei to Taihape, Moscow to Motueka, you’ll find shops full of the same kid-magnet merchandise: Minions, Frozen, Transformers, Jurassic Park — everything from figurines to lunch boxes. Even established toy companies like Lego seem to be creating more and more themed ranges — including Minecraft, Disney Princess, Star Wars and even Scooby Doo.

Toys that are locally-themed, let along locally-made, seem increasingly rare.

Fun Ho! a company in Taranaki, New Zealand, started making sand-cast aluminium toys in 1942. According to the company’s website:

During the 1970s, over a million Fun Ho! toys were sold annually each year, but in the late 1970’s, import restrictions were lifted and people started buying the cheaper imported toys which flooded the local market, instead of buying the Fun Ho! aluminium or diecast toys.

By 1982, toy production ceased and in 1987 the factory finally closed after over 50 years of manufacturing.

Since then only small quantities have been made as reproductions for the collector market. (Fun Ho! History)

There can’t be many Kiwi-raised adults who have never owned (or at least seen) one of the cars, tractors, fire engines or other vehicles made by Fun Ho! — even if they don’t recognise them as such.

Model 105 Large Fire Engine by Fun Ho! , Taranaki, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Model 105 Large Fire Engine by Fun Ho! , Taranaki, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Today, Fun Ho! toys are very collectable, and those aren’t too well-loved can fetch high prices in antique shops. The Big T obviously enjoyed his Fun Ho! toys quite a lot — they are all much too well-loved for resale.

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Tip truck; although I can’t find this one on the Fun Ho! website. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written as part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. The theme this week is toys.

 

Daily Post Photo Challenge: half and half

Half for you, half for me. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Half for you, half for me. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Love shows itself in the smallest ways. A piece of ginger crunch, cut in two equal(ish) pieces and shared.

 

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge: theme half and half.

Here are a few other bloggers’ responses to the theme that I particularly like:

https://doublewhirler.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/half-and-half/

https://marantophotography.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/weekly-photo-challenge-half-and-half/

Daily Post Weekly Challenge: Half & Half

http://blog.photographybyalexk.com/2015/07/21/sunset-reflections-at-karekare-beach-in-new-zealand/

https://squarelamb.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/tallinn/

https://senkaustav.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/two-to-tango/

https://akebild.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/weekly-photo-challenge-half-and-half-3/

Split on the Diagonal

https://memoriesaremadeofthisblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/weekly-photo-challenge-half-and-half/

https://catiehannahphotography.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/weekly-photo-challenge-half-and-half/

https://jaapkroon.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/weekly-photo-challenge-half-en-half/

Half and Half

https://winedrinkingmummy.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/weekly-photo-challenge-half-and-half/

 

(a bit more than) Six Word Saturday: “music, for a while, shall all your cares beguile”

The jade trees are in bloom, and this morning's rain has left flowers and leaves jewelled with water. I love how each droplet contains a whole inverse world. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The jade trees are in bloom, and this morning’s rain has left flowers and leaves jewelled with water. I love how each droplet contains a whole inverse world. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) is one of my favourite composers. The title of this post comes from his song, ‘Music for a While.’

I particularly like this recording, sung by countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky.

WP Photo Challenge: symbol

Kowhai: the unofficial national flower of New Zealand, and symbol of Women's Refuge NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Kowhai: the unofficial national flower of New Zealand, and symbol of Women’s Refuge NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The native New Zealand Kowhai tree is known and loved for its healing properties and beauty. Our logo features its delicate, vibrant flower in the universal symbol of women — the perfect portrayal of Women’s Refuge and our values. Women’s Refuge NZ

Symbol: noun. something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign. Source: Dictionary.com

Logos are a particular subset of symbols; a visual representation of a brand, rather than a concept. In the case of Women’s Refuge, it’s a social, not a commercial brand; a symbol of hope and healing for the thousands of (mainly) women and children in this country who are affected by domestic violence.

I have a strong connection with Women’s Refuge through my involvement with NZ Sculpture OnShore which raises funds for, and awareness of, the work Refuge does.

It is in part because of these fundraising efforts that Women’s Refuge has been able to develop a source of sustainable income.  Yellow Belle (a very apt description of the kowhai flower), is a chain of upmarket recycled women’s clothing boutiques. The stores accept donations of designer clothing and on-sell it — generating valuable income and helping to increase awareness of domestic violence and Refuge’s work. A second brand, Kowhai Tree, is currently being developed to focus on sourcing, warehousing and distributing household goods and clothing to women and children leaving Refuge — many of whom arrive with no more than the clothes they are wearing.

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Single Kowhai flower. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

So for me, seeing Kowhai trees in bloom — as they are at the moment —  is especially meaningful.

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Kowhai buds. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written for the Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge. The theme this week is “symbol.

PS: this is the actual Women’s Refuge logo.

Logo of Women's Refuge New Zealand.

Logo of Women’s Refuge New Zealand.

3 Days, 3 Quotes: wise beyond his (comic strip) years

Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes.

Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes.

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

Mich, at Mishunderstood invited me to take part in the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge and it seemed like a good opportunity to share my love of Bill Watterson’s wonderful comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

Here are the links to Day One and Day Two.

Part of the challenge is to invite other bloggers to take part. I’m not going to ask anyone specifically, but please feel free to join in if you’d like to.

Word-ish Wednesday: “verbing weirds language”

 Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, January 25, 1993.

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, January 25, 1993.

Remember when Google was the name of a search engine? Before it became the go-to verb that basically means “to search the internet.” Or maybe not even the internet. My son is still chuckling over hearing a friend say he was going to “google the dictionary.”

I know English is a living, fast-changing language. That’s cool. I like the way words change their meaning and new words are constantly brought into being. Only a couple of days ago we coined the word Chanelf: n. house-elf with a penchant for designer socks. I’m not expecting to see it in the Revised Oxford anytime soon, but it perfectly describes my boy-child, who has been particularly industrious around the house lately and whose knitted foot covering of choice comes from Polo by Ralph Lauren.

But quite a lot of verbing bothers me. When someone says “let’s dialogue this” instead of “let’s talk about it”, it feels as though language is being used as a barrier — or worse — a weapon, instead of a tool to communicate.

Particularly disturbing is re-verbing words that already have a verb form. A few years ago I heard a woman on television describe her neighbour (who, it turned out, had killed a couple of people and buried them under his house) as “difficult to conversate with.” She obviously knew the word “conversation” and worked backward from that. I’ve since heard conversate used again, along with “signatured” (as in he signatured the document) and believe it or not, “motivationalised.”

But perhaps the case of verbing which bothered me the most is “versing”. Throughout the (many) years my son played soccer, I had to endure players, parents and coaches talk about the team they were versing. That poor, innocent preposition “versus” was mangled into a verb that no amount of patient (and not so patient) explanation from me could ever dissuade people from using.

East Coast Bays VERSUS Takapuna. Photo: Su Leslie, 2011

East Coast Bays VERSUS Takapuna. Photo: Su Leslie, 2011

This post was written as part of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge that Mish at Mishunderstood invited me to take part in. My three quotes all come from the much-loved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. You can see Day One here.

Part of the challenge is to invite other bloggers to take part. Rather than invite anyone specifically — I know we’re all pretty busy — if anyone does want to contribute to the challenge, please feel free.