The Changing Seasons, January 2018

Kia ora koutou


I don’t do resolutions— new year or otherwise. But in the opening days and weeks of 2018, a bunch of factors have combined to make me feel that if I were to have a resolution — or a word for the year — it would be creativity.

Or at least productivity.

This month, Auckland has languished dishcloth-like in intense humidity; broken only by storms and heavy rain. Others have fled to the beach for escape, while the Big T and I have been machines.

Grainy textured shot of girl standing by children's playground at the beach, photographing higg waves on her phone. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Our visits to the beach have coincided with storms and big tides. We weren’t the only ones! Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The house has been sprung-clean (yes, I know that’s not the actual term), the garage tidied, lawns mowed, repairs made and roof lichen attacked. Rooms have been emptied and refilled to accommodate the temporary return of the boy-child (or at least, his stuff).

Bread has been baked, jams made, recipes invented and taste-tested, and the $5 chair is undergoing an extreme makeover.

1960s style wooden frame armchair, with upholstery removed, and sanded back to bare wood. So far, so good. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Old upholstery and chipped yellow varnish removed. So far, so good (that was then). Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Best of all, I’ve been commissioned to take photos for an artist friend’s project; a project that will mean spending time in an art studio, hanging out with creative people, making art myself. Damn!


Like any machine, eventually the wheels fall off. The last few days have been filled with setbacks and annoyances; not least that humidity has caused the painstakingly applied varnish on the $5 chair to crack and look— frankly — shit.

I cried.

It was so close to finished and looking beautiful. I’d psyched myself up cut out all the upholstery materials — and had actually upholstered the seat.

Luckily, T’s emotional attachment to the project is less than mine (or he’s just better at being an adult). Even as I write, I can hear the electric sander as he undoes the damage and works his magic.

So the $5 chair won’t be the star of the first Su-hosted Changing Seasons post. Instead I’ve offered you a pot pourri of projects from the opening days of my self-proclaimed “Year of Living Creatively” (and learning Te Reo Maori — the Maori language).

I’m really grateful to Max, at Cardinal Guzman for birthing The Changing Seasons, and nurturing the project to the point where it could be handed on.

I’m looking forward to seeing January 2018 through the eyes and lenses of everyone else who takes part in the project. If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Ka kite anō | see you soon



Here are other bloggers’ Changing Seasons’ posts for January. Please visit and enjoy the month though their eyes. I’ll keep updating this as I see them:

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

The Widow Badass Blog — this is Deb’s first Changing Seasons post, so please pop over to visit.

Tish Farrell at Writer on the Edge

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Marilyn and Garry Armstrong at Serendipity

Mick, at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise,Sunset — Matters of Perspective. This is Ju-Lyn’s first Changing Seasons post, so please take a look at her photos from Singapore and Bangkok.

Sarah at Art Expedition. Sarah has also just joined the challenge and has shared some beautiful images. Please pop over and take a look.

Pauline at Living in Paradise has also joined this month. Please visit to see images of her wonderful garden on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Ruth at RuthsArc. Another new member of the project; this time from Tasmania. You’ll love the photos of her January.

Max at Cardinal Guzman. The Changing Seasons owes its existence to Max and it’s great to see his snowy January.

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky. Jude is planning to create a photographic journal of the natural world in her very beautiful corner of the globe. Please pop for a look.

Yvette at Priorhouse. This is Yvette’s first Changing Seasons, and it’s such a fun post. Please visit and take a look.

And in case you’re unsure of the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.


93 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, January 2018

  1. OMG, what a burst of energy! It almost sounds like when I was pregnant and “nesting” for the new baby in the last weeks before she was born. So much at once—you were bound to crash. I’d take it more slowly, savor each project, and take time to breathe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A marvellous start to the year, Su. And I’m sure the chair will turn out beautifully, though understand the pain of setback. So much done here, and so much planned and to do. I must steal some of your initiative and apply it to work in progress. Which also means exiting WP – if briefly…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know the UK and NZ have different time zones, but I am SURE we still have over a week left of January. It does appear that you have rather filled up the month already though, so perhaps you need to take the rest of the month off! Love the arty photos and well done you for the commission. I am sure you will be brilliant and that the new lens will shine. As I am sure the chair will with a bit more love and patience. Does the wood have to be varnished? Can’t you simply oil it? Or even paint it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • 🙂 Good point Jude.
      When I said the wheels had come off, I wasn’t just talking about the chair. I suspect my blogging will be a bit random for a week or two, and I figured it would be bad form to have my first Su-hosted Changing Seasons post turn up later than everyone else’s. 🙂
      We have revisited the wood finish, and taken a simpler approach, so I’m sure I’ll be sitting in my new chair before autumn 🙂
      Thank your for your encouragement re the photo commission. I have (in common with so many people) terrible imposter syndrome, and affirmation from others is so lovely. Perhaps I could add “work on self-confidence” as another project for the year.


      • Blogging isn’t the most important thing in the world, though I do enjoy it very much and especially the interaction with people all over the world. Some times though life gets in the way, usually in a good way. And I am sure you are very busy right now. Self-confidence can easily take a knock and it is something I struggle with.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Fantastic! I’m glad you decided to continue this challenge. Now I can participate and I don’t have to worry that much about the deadline. 😀 (nor about adding links to pingbacks).
    I’ve shot some photos this month, probably/hopefully some good ones too, but I haven’t transfered them to my computer or processed them yet. As soon as I do I’ll create a post and join in.
    Your art project seems interesting and I’m looking forward to see it develop, but now I must leave the keyboard and rest my shoulders after 4 hours of cross-country skiing plus a trip to the gym today!
    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. You’re so creative and you’ve been very busy Su. To me, the chair has a Scandinavian look to it. Be patient it’ll all come together. I know how taxing the humidity can be. Our summers are often like that too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Leslie. It does have a very Scandanavian look. I remember that style of furniture was ubiquitous when I was a kid, and it’s coming back now. I think perhaps because houses are smaller again, and this style of furniture fits better in those spaces. We suspect the chair had a 90’s “remake” with a new, higher back and fabric so it’s not original, but it is soooo comfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s so nice to see Changing Seasons back in my mailbox. Thanks Su for taking on this year’s challenge!

    So lucky for you to be surrounded by creative types. I love the photo of the heart as backdrop for the paintbrushes. It would make a great poster in a studio.

    Your new year is off to a strong start – give or take some bubbly varnish on your chair project.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m really glad to be doing it Joanne. It’s such a cool challenge because we’re all in different places so our seasons (physical and otherwise) are very different.
      I love the heart on the wall too. It ended up in quite a few of my photos, and I love your idea of it as a poster shot. Will have to talk to my friend about that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well I feel like the wheels have comprehensively come off my month, so perhaps I should have paced myself better. I’ve taken a slightly different (humidity-proof) approach with the chair, in the interests of not waiting until March to finish it. I’m sure it will be fine, and an excellent learning experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how exciting that you’re taking over The Changing Seasons. I’m a bit behind with things unfortunately. Those studio photos are exquisite and I want to taste those scones and jam. Yum! I’m sorry for your chair experience – I’m sure you will appreciate the final product even more now. We’ve had the same awful humidity here too but no storms sadly…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I’ve got over my hissy fit about the chair, and resigned myself to a slightly different (humidity-proof) finish. Otherwise, it would have to wait until March to get done. Hope your weather breaks soon. It’s raining here, and it’s helped a bit. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Su. It’s cooled down this morning but no proper rain, just a few showers here and there. The days are really hot and humid and it seems to just bake the house all day so that by bedtime it’s still too hot. I’m sleeping with the air conditioning on in the living room since I don’t have one in my bedroom so I’m going from extreme dryness overnight to hideous humidity during the day. Such a complainer, I know, but it’s very draining. 😞

        Liked by 2 people

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  9. I just discovered this blog, and I’m sorry about the paint on the chair. I hope you can figure out what to do about it–your season looks very different than the one we have now near Woodstock NY in the US, with the snow and our version of winter. It’s a big world and beautiful all over.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much. We’ve largely fixed the chair and it’s looking pretty good. I can’t believe now, looking back, that I was so upset about it. But I guess it was more a “final straw” kind of thing. Anyway, thank you for your kind thoughts. It is a beautiful world, and I love seeing it through the eyes of others.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. “dishcloth-like in intense humidity” ah Su this lovely phrase says it all about the weather at the moment, though in actual fact it is not as humid as usual this January, but I’m sure that is due to change in February. “sprung-clean” ha… I can just hear your Kiwi accent coming to the fore (phonetic writing!!!). Hope you keep us up to date with the art project, I am always keen to see others art work and as for that chair, it is going to look just fantastic and $5 wow I want one, that style is so comfy to sit in. Well done you, taking on the changing season challenge. I must try to find the time to put one together…

    Liked by 3 people

  12. well I look forward to connecting to this challenge and in the meantime had to say how much I like the picture of girl in storm at beach near swing set.
    it has enough mood and vibe to make a powerful wordless wednesday or silent sunday image…
    but fit right in and led us into the others…
    sorry about the chair cracklin – I was about to say “maybe that crackle look could work” but um, but not for that style of cool chair
    anyhow, also loved this “recipes invented and taste-tested”
    that says so much

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Yvette. I love that image too, and kept trying to find a place to use it. The chair is looking better again now that T has worked his magic. I’ll have to stay pet psyching myself up to tackle the upholstery soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pet psyching is really fun to think about – and this could break into some new therapeutic circles…
        and the image with the girl – it also has an aged look – well sorta – and as I first dove into the post I was almost wondering if it was 70s photo remastered – they sometimes have that look. but there is a timeless feel to it – well not with the phone – ha
        but also innocence and ocean beauty –

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Hehe. 🙂 I’m trying to imagine how that particular Freudian-slip typo could play out.
    The aged look is partly (well mostly) because I had to shoot at really high ISO, and there’s heaps of noise in the image. I was worried about it at first, but I actually really like the look.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my, you’ve been so busy, I feel like a sloth now! 😂 And what wonderful news about the photo commission – the studio looks great and I’m sure you will have an awesome time! And I’m so sorry about that chair project setback – things like that can drive me totally nuts! You have a vision and want it to become reality and then BAM! it just evaporates. Glad though the Big T is giving you a hand in saving it. It rarely is very humid around here, even in summer but when it is it’s just ghastly! The cheesy scones look just delicious and I wouldn’t mind if you’d pass me one or two 😉
    Happy Maori learning! xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you; I am really excited about the studio project. I love photographing that space, it it becomes quite magical when there are people working in it. The chair is back on track thanks to T, and progress is being made — though slowly. I really don’t know where time has gone this week. One day we will eat cheesy scones together 🙂 xxxxxxx

      Liked by 2 people

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  16. Thank you so much for picking up this lovely challenge. This will be my fourth year and I very much enjoy both the challenge … and that it forces me to get myself out and take some pictures, even when I don’t want to 🙂 Mine will be up tomorrow morning. And again, thank you so much.

    I love your indoor projects. I remember when i was busy painting and carving and building. Now, mostly, it’s photography and reading. Time and the river …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marilyn. I am very happy to do this; The Changing Seasons challenge is one of my favourites. I’m a bit of a late-comer to it, but enjoy (and look forward to) seeing the months pass through everyone else’s eyes.
      Side note …. ooh carving!!! Tell me more. I desperately wanted to be a sculptor when I was about 12 or 13, but when I tried to sign up for woodwork and metalwork classes at high school, I was told that they weren’t appropriate for a) girls and b) bright girls. My parents were so pleased to hear me described as bright, they didn’t fight my corner and I kind of lost interest. Wood carving is a traditional Maori art form (in common with many indigenous peoples) and these days I content myself watching master carvers at work, having found other outlets for my need to create.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sure. I realised after I did the January post that I hadn’t included Max’s rules. I’ve updated the post ( but basically it’s about reflecting on the month that’s gone — either with a bunch of photos, or one photo that really says something to you. Or maybe a drawing, or recipe or something you made that, for you, represents the month. I’ve posted the odd recipe that used food which is abundant in that particular month, and sometimes just a single image that sort of captured how I was feeling. It’s really open. And the nice thing is that the people who tend to post are in different parts of the world, so the physical seasons are different and yet sometimes our emotional responses are quite similar. Hope that helps. It would be lovely if you decide to post to it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe you could make a page – or not – and thx for explaining – cos I thought I remembered hearing a while ago that it was taking a photo of the same place at different times of the year (seasons) maybe that was the first year?
        and the “open” part sounds like a creativity cultivator.
        and last question – what is the date – and sorry if i missed it somewhere – like do we have like the last week of the month to post

        Liked by 2 people

    • The rules are extremely flexible: one spot/several spots/different countries, 1 photo/5-20 photos or whatever suits you really. Recipes, poems, photos – everything goes as long as it’s somehow related to the month or the season.
      I even break my own rules sometimes: in my latest post I added waaay too many photos. 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • and just another tidbit – I think there should be a page – because even after you nice comment I still did not know this was “monthly” – only on your blog and then getting down to the widget did I see “monthly” and so I guess I was thinking quarterly for seasons (and I only mention it because I know feedback can help at times)
        and then also, Max, I started a friday food challenge a while ago and it started with momentum – but a few months in I realized h”hosting” was not for everyone and it was not for me at all…
        and with that said – best wishes as you pass the torch and enjoy a different side to “join in in” with the challenge that you hosted so well for years!



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    • Jude I’m so sorry: I missed the notification. I’m away from home at the moment and working on my iPad,which doesn’t seem to work well with WordPress. I have approved it now, but may have to add it to the blog roll when I get home.
      I love the idea of a nature diary, and I’m so pleased you’re doing it as part of The Changing Seasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you, Su, for taking care of The Changing Seasons; for the effort to keep track of everyone’s post, and to compile it for all our enjoyment!

    I am constantly astonished by your photographs that look like paintings – Storm brewing on the Beach is so amazing!

    I want some cheesy scones, just looking at yours. And that apricot jam ….

    Hope you are having fun with the Studio project – what an exciting opportunity to be part of!

    Liked by 2 people

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