Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog Holiday


She's not going on vacation AGAIN...I can just hear you groan!
But its not THAT kind of holiday.
I have decided to go on a self imposed blog holiday of sorts.

Although I LOVE to blog it seems that there are other things I need to concentrate on right now.
There are lots of exciting challenges ahead for the Dingo family. So in an effort to keep all those balls up in the air, something's got to least for a while!

Hopefully I will be back blogging again soon but in the meantime.....

This seems to say it perfectly. It is by Alan Cohen of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" fame!

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week of Words.


"All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."

Winston Churchill

Friday, January 23, 2009



How does nature do this? While we slept there were things happening in my garden last night. These tiny little icicle "thorns" were forming.


The closer you look the more wonderful the details are

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Swimming Lessons

It was about 26 degrees F outside. Not really swimming weather...except if you have swim lessons at an indoor heated pool!
My son and his friend just love going to swim lessons together. The goggles are a must...neither boy will swim without them. Though from looking at Noah's....I'm not sure how effective they actually are at keeping the water out!

These boys have a LOT of energy, so they are always eager to supply me with plenty of practice taking action shots!


Having spent a lot of time over the holidays taking shots at the beach and the pool..(yes I am rubbing it in!)...I have really developed a love for taking "water" shots. I love the sculptural element of the water as its movement is fixed in time by the camera's lens.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watching and making

My creation

Yesterday I was glued to the television as history was being made. I'm not much of a T.V watcher but this was something I felt I just couldn't miss. So while I watched and listened I kept my hands busy with a little bit of sewing. I made a few of these reversible denim bags. So easy and fun, they'll come in handy for library books and trips to the pool. But my favorite is what we used to call a "Babushka" doll. I designed her face and printed it and then gave her a little Jelly Bean Body. I can see more of these on the horizon. They will be great to use for future Toy Society toy drops.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No reason

IMG_4957a normally my pictures are somehow related to the subject I'm blogging about...but I'm going to be upfront with's picture is really just me trying to hold on to summer in the midst of another chilly PNW day. I am missing being close to the ocean. Missing the sound of the waves and the soft sand between my toes. Being near the beach is great any time of the year..winter or summer...and being so far away from it would have to be one of the top 5 things that I miss about living in Sydney.
Having said that though, there is a bright spot in my otherwise chilly January weekend! Not too long ago I stumbled upon Jennifer's blog. It was witty and fun and has a lot of thought provoking themes and some great photos. Well she has given me the "Blogging Friends Award". I am blushing. How thoughtful. And the wonderful thing about this award is that you don't have to do anything except pass it on. Jennifer has eloquently listed the rules for the award here so I won't repeat them...but all I have to do is pass them onto 8 other bloggers who I count among my friends.
There are some new friends that I have met on this blogging adventure and some old ones from my pre blog days. So here goes....
With all the fanfare and drum rolls I can muster I officially pass this award along to....

1 - Michelle from Michelle Sidles Photography
2 - Sebrina from SunMamma
3 - Melissa from 365
4 - Liss from A Memory Forever
5 - Cheryl from Al Ain Notebook
6 - Victoria from 13Mimosa
7 - Toni from the Daily Vignette
8 - Shalet from Peculiar Momma

All of these women are talented, creative and fun and their blogs are always filled with cool ideas, great photographs and interesting stories. So if you get a free moment be sure to visit them for a bit of inspiration.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Husband Heaven

My creation

My husband found something that is close to his Nirvana today...his heaven on earth. A specialty cheese store hidden away behind a very unsuspecting facade in downtown Spokane. Next door is a store that sells handmade chocolates and on the other side is a funky little wine store called Vino that has wine tasting and wine appreciation classes. Let me just say that today I had a very Happy Husband!

Friday, January 16, 2009



As a parent it feels like every now and then we come to a crossroad. When children are little it can be as simple as the first sleepover. Are they too young to sleep at someone else's house or is it time to loosen the apron strings a little and let them experience something new? It seems after these small milestones are reached and passed something changes...just a little.
As they grow, heading off to school is a huge crossroad. I remember feeling a sense of vulnerability as I sent my first child off to school. I was handing over protection of her to someone else. Someone I didn't even know...the most precious thing in my life would be in someone else's hands. I wouldn't be there to protect, comfort and encourage. You could say the first few weeks of school were difficult for the both mother and child.
Now having packed my last child off to kindergarten you would think that I am a seasoned veteran who didn't even give it a thought. But the truth is, now more than ever I have doubts. Doubts whether the school system really is the best thing for my children. Doubts whether it is good for their little personalities to have to deal with bullying, social clicks and the endless peer pressure to grow up too fast. Doubts as to whether their academic strengths and weaknesses are really being properly addressed and managed. And doubts as to whether the school system really helps them learn to think outside the box and discover their passions. I know my husband and I both fell into careers that held no real joy for us. Our jobs paid the bills but gave us no real sense of fulfillment. So is this what is in store for my children if they travel the same educational highway as we did?
My friends will tell you that this is not a new concern for seems to simmer in the background and come to the surface every year or so. And so this the spirit of the New Year...I am determined to try and address these issues and get some resolution.
Here I am...... at the educational crossroads...time to put away the map and try to figure out the way by myself.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not just another pretty face.


You might remember a while back I challenged myself to become a better portrait photographer. Well over the holidays I was lucky enough to have all these willing subjects who were fun, easy going and completely gorgeous. These lovely young ladies are my nieces and they were wonderful guinea pigs for my portrait practice...and did I mention gorgeous (inside and out)!





So I have to tell you the nickname for the little blonde pictured above is "Foxy"...doesn't she just look like a Fox?
Now I realize that by now you must be saying..."So, where are the boys?" Well apart from my children there is only one other boy and I have to say...what a real ham!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Happy Dilemma


Saw it. Loved it. Bought it. Now....what to make with it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Lighthouse


The most easterly point of Australia is Cape Byron which hovers above those beautiful beaches I shared with you in my last post. It has this wonderfully restored lighthouse that is perched on the very top of rugged, craggy cliffs


It is the most wonderful view from way up there. You can peer out into the vast pacific ocean and watch the freighters plow through the seas as they make their way up and down the coast.


The colors were just breathtaking. And once again I haven't touched these pictures up at all. SOC. The view was mesmerizing. I felt like I could just keep staring . We were peering down watching the waves crashing against the rocks and you could see fish and stingrays swimming below. So if you are a bit of a beach buff add Byron Bay to your list of places to visit. I don't think you will be disappointed.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hurray....he's been found!


I am excited to tell you that one of our handmade toys, (the little blue one)officially has a new home. It is being loved and cared for by Savannah. See the link to the Toy Society's blog to see the note from the person who found it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Seeing Color


The colors of nature can be mind blowing at times...better than anything we can imagine or create. Sometimes when I take a photograph I am a little disappointed that the colors in the picture don't appear as vibrant ..( thank goodness for photoshop).


And then there are other times when the real life colors are so wonderful that you don't need to process the pictures at all. Here are some of those photos. These are all touch ups, tweeks or fiddling whatsoever.


They were taken at one of my most favorite places. Its a little resort town on the border of New South Wales and Queensland on the Australian east coast called Byron Bay. Its an eclectic community filled with artists, hippies and beautiful people...and the beaches are just unbelieveably beautiful.


The water is so clear...that turquiose blue that you expect to see in the Caribbean. The sand is a fine, pure, white dust and the weather is warm...all the time. idea of heaven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bees Please


It's not really a New Years Resolution because I usually break those in the first week of January. But I'd like to think of it more as a good intention. This year ( amongst other things) I am intending to be a lot more frugal and where possible make my own things rather than buy them.
Last year my husband and I made our own candles which turned out to be a whole lot of fun. We tried making our own bread ( which was a little less successful but we are persistant). We had chickens laying an abundance of fresh eggs for us and of course we made some homemade Toys for the Toy Society. Last year I got out the knitting needles and made a whole slew of scarves for Christmas gifts and for my children to weather the particularly nasty winter we are experiencing in the Pacific NW this year. There is our family blanket that I knitted and my hopes are to again plant a vegetable garden come the spring.


But something else that I would love to try is making my own honey! I doubt that I will ever actually get to do it due to our suburban location and the hazards of kids with bee allergies...(I can already hear my neighbors letting out sighs of relief)....but maybe one day.


While we were on vacation we stayed with my husbands brother who kept bees and the honey they produced was magnificent.


Apart from a few bee stings here and there...(which I admit could present a few problems)...the bees seem like the perfect pets. They produce mountains of honey and once you have their hive set up they do everything else themselves. You don't even have to feed them! (My dogs who are currently fast asleep lying on my feet will have to pick their game up this year if they don't want to be replaced by bees)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Adventures of Paloma

A number of people have emailed me asking about Paloma and how she enjoyed her vacation?
I had hoped to periodically blog about Paloma's adventures while I was away but due to lack of reliable internet connection I have had to save the telling until I got home.
Paloma (which means dove or pigeon in Spanish) was quite the diva to travel with.
She and I were at odds right from the get go .
It all started with her unhappiness about the accomodation I provided for her inside my camera bag. She demanded to fly first class and was disgruntled at being relegated to "cattle class" with the rest of us.
She managed to be an exceedingly ungrateful guest while we were away and she developed a nasty habit of expressing her displeasure by pooping all over people's furniture.
It turns out she is quite the partier and has an obvious problem with binge drinking as some of the photos attest..(we are planning an intervention later this month).
She managed to ruffle more than a few feathers too. She had a run in with my sister in law who threatened that Paloma could end up replacing the turkey for Christmas dinner.
So now we are back home she has been returned to the perch on her birdhouse to contemplate her behaviour or risk being left behind on our next vacation.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Toy Drop Update

Here is the posting of the Toy Drop on the Toy Societies blog

Drop # 98 & 99. I can't wait to see who the new owners are!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Toy Society Christmas Drop


This post is a little late.
The Toy Society held a worldwide Christmas Toy Drop on the weekend before Christmas. For those of you unfamiliar the Toy Society, it..."is a small project spreading the love throughout the streets. Nothing to it really just a bunch of handmade toys looking for a nice home."
So this was a synchronized drop across the world in an effort to leave behind a little bit of anonymous Christmas spirit.
I made the toys here at home in Washington and they were packed away in my luggage and taken to Australia.


The toys accompanied my family and I to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where with the help of my daughter and niece we found just the right place to leave them.
We left the first one in the cafe we frequented every morning for our coffee fix...Le Monde on Hastings Street, Noosa


And the last one we left tied to this hysterical looking tree at Noosa beach on the boardwalk. (I had to tie the twine...the girls thought the tree was "gross" and wouldn't touch it....sheesh!!!)

The toys were both gone when we came back a few hours later to check....I wonder where they ended up????