Category Archives: Uncategorized

Floral Fantasy Totes of Note

You never know where a new path will lead until you take the first step.

This blog started when I began my journey with a compact camera and started capturing flowers wherever I went. Just for the sheer love of them.  

Now I just started a blog featuring my floral photography printed on tote bags. It’s called L’art du Tote simply because French makes everything sound exquisite!

  
My love of flowers started early and before I started using a camera I used to draw them. The school  and university projects I submitted had title pages decorated with leaves and blooms even in Biochemistry class! 

That is now many moons ago but I remember those days so clearly and with great fondness. Now my floral images are available for purchase on Pixels.com

It appears that people enjoy seeing uplifting positive images that bring joy to their day and a smile to their faces. I love that my art does that for them because that in turn brings me joy!
 
      
Now I can carry my art with me and spread the joy!  Others have been sharing their joy with me too and I have received photos of my bags in America, Spain and South Africa too! It is indeed a sweet twist on an unexpected journey that began because flowers make my soul sing.

  
Wishing all my followers who have kept me motivated a joyful February! I hope you find what you love and love what you do!

 

A tapestry of love on Christmas Eve

Festive thoughts

My thoughts on Christmas Eve – Family and friends are like threads woven together to create a tapestry of love, to comfort and support you, share your sorrows and joys and make life’s journey an incredible experience. To all those who are part of my journey, both near and far, I wish you blessings and peace over the festive season. (Oh and here is a hastily taken flower pic taken this morning in the rain, coz nothing says florally Christmas like a Pot of Poinsettias!)

Poinsettias xmas

Roses after the thunderstorm

California is desperately in need of more rain. We had an unexpected but very welcome thunderstorm last week and the way the raindrops looked on the roses was a bedazzling sight. It’s no wonder they a few of my favourite things!

Photo 1: Droplets on Betty Boop

Wet Betty Boop 054

Photo 2: Wet bloom and buds

Rose and buds wet 059

Photo 3: Droplets and rose ruffles

Ruffed wet pink rose 025

Photo 4: Pink Rose after Rain

Rose against roses 033

Photo 5: Raindrops on a pink Rose

Wet pink Rose 014

On tv with Anne Geddes – how I did it.

You know those countless times when you turn on the tv and see someone famous that you think is awesome being interviewed and somewhere in the process some arbitrary caller comes into view and gets to speak to them and you think to yourself – How did that person get there? That could have been me!

Well on Tuesday this week I was that arb caller.

Now imagine being given the opportunity of meeting someone famous that you admire and aspire to emulate and you get to ask them just one question. What would you ask?

Then imagine you had two hours to prepare before asking that question on live streaming tv! That’s what happened to me on Tuesday. Would you do it?

HuffPost Live gets in touch

Kat Santiago (@KatHuffPost), an Associate Producer and Melissa Montanez (@MelMontanez_) , a community screener from Huffpost Live (@HuffPost Live) contacted me via Twitter and asked whether I would be interested in asking Anne Geddes a question and if I was that I should get in touch. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?

It appears that instead of the traditional routes of finding guests HuffPost Live scans Twitter and other social media platforms to find people talking about subjects that they will cover. Now you know that too…

I had been tweeting and blogging about Anne Geddes because of a photography competition being run by Fine Art America and a chance to be on national tv. Who knew I would get that chance even before the competition ended!

Fighting the Lizard Brain

My tweeting, blogging and sharing had gone through a rapid exponential phase in the previous week due to the #YourTurnChallenge and its mission to make us ship our art daily for seven consecutive days.

So you would think that since I was in super productive mode and determined to make a ruckus and a huge fan of Anne Geddes that I would jump at this opportunity to speak to such a famous photographer who produces such iconic images. But I didn’t.

I stalled. My lizard brain wanted to retreat. The resistance offered me so many reasons to not do it.

The time difference between San Francisco and New York. The fact that I had no clearly formulated questions. The fact that I was still relatively new to floral photography. The fact that I had a workout appointment with my lovely neighbour Rachna. The fact that I was having a bad hair day.

I could find lots of reasons to quit before I even got going. But then I thought about the blog posts I had been writing all week. About doing it scared but still doing it. About finding a place to put the pain and the fear and taking action anyway.

So I did. I said yes to the opportunity. I was not the only one contacted on Twitter so I thought I would be one of a few.

It was a flurry of activity then. I emailed the reporters. They sent requests for details and a photo. I emailed them my three questions.

1.Your name is synonymous with beautiful and captivating baby photography. How would you suggest photographers who are new to the field make themselves stand out from the crowd?

 2. I loved your work on March of the Dimes for World Prematurity Day. How do you choose which campaigns to participate in and associate your name with?

 3. Sometimes parents are criticized for viewing their children’s lives from behind a lens and not being fully engaged in the experience. What do you think about the advances in photographic technology and it’s impact on our mindfulness?

I waited till they were ready to do a webcam test. The reporter called me, the producer called me. They sorted out some technical hitches and told me to ask the third question. We were good to go.

I watched the studio being set up.

In the meanwhile I saw Twitter notifications from the #YourTurnChallenge tribe, including my husband Robin (@RemarkableRuns) They had my back, especially the wonderfully helpful Joyce Sullivan (@JoyceMSullivan)  and they were rooting for me. It felt great!

Anne Geddes talks about Portraits of Meningococcal Disease

The interview started and Caitlyn Becker (@caitlynbecker) asked Anne about her new book and campaign “Protecting Our Tomorrows: Portraits of Meningococcal Disease” encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

Then it was my turn! I was the only arb caller. The others must have quit before they got going and succumbed to the lizard brain.

The interview ended and I just sat still for a moment trying to take it all in and staring at a screen with an empty studio in New York. It felt surreal.

Go make a ruckus!

Afterwards Miriam Linderman (@MiriamLinderman) asked me- so how did all this happen? I said it happened because of my love for floral photography and sharing what I cared about.

So if you want to make a ruckus, be bold enough to share your story and what you care about. You never know where it could lead you.

Anne Geddes and me on HuffPost Live (Click image to view):

Me and Anne Geddes
Photo courtesy of Joyce Sullivan who blogs at Secret Gardens

Budding and Blooming Bloggers

This week has been quite unusual at ours. My husband, Robin, and I have both participated in the #YourTurnChallenge to blog every day for a week, initiated by Winnie Kao, project lead for Seth Godin.

“Are you reading something Daddy wrote again? asked my son “You two have been doing a lot of writing this week!”

Indeed we have – we have been shipping with a group of like-minded individuals from across the globe – and it’s been awesome, frustrating, challenging and liberating.

Photo 1: Spring buds and blooms in the park this morning

Spring Blossoms in the Park

Spring Blossoms in the Park

I have had my floral photography blog for four years and have steadily plodded along. I’ve blogged because I love to share what I experience and what I care about. I have a writing blog (needing a post) called Stories in #10Tweets  a Genetic Counselling News SA blog (in stasis) a motherhood blog called MumDay (discontinued) and my floral photography blog that just keeps going and now my martial arts blog Junbi.

When I first started blogging I was hooked on the stats. Was anyone reading it? Did it resonate with someone? Did people like what they saw?

When the stats remained dismal for the first year I was initially demotivated but then I changed my perspective. I realised that I was blogging because I enjoyed it, so I would just keep sharing things I felt passionate about.

I love it when people like my posts and send me comments. It’s a great way to connect and I usually comment on and follow their blogs too. Connecting is what makes social media social.

So my newest blog Junbi is steadily taking off. It has allowed me to connect with those I meet in other settings in a more in depth manner. I asked more questions in my Kuk Sool Won martial arts class so I had enough material to blog about.

I paid better attention to what Master Saidi said during my lessons so I could recall the key points he was conveying.

I asked more questions after Tai Chi class and discovered that Tim was also an author.

I had something different to talk about when I met another expat Mum in the park this morning and we chatted about blogging, martial arts and floral photography.

By being a brand advocate for Seth Godin I was also one for Kuk Sool Won, Tai Chi, Remarkable Runs, Fables and Flora, other challenge bloggers and myself! A very unique combination, generating chatter and making a ruckus.

Blogging this week has also allowed me to watch Robin unveil his writing skills and allowed me to peek into his mind during a run. Our kids got to see us committing to a challenge and shipping and they started writing their own thoughts too.

So we now have budding and blooming bloggers in one household! Congrats to all who joined the challenge this week and happy shipping on your journey forward.

When photos cause a firestorm #day3 #YourTurnChallenge

While watching the news this morning there was a report about a weight-lifting Mum showing off her six pack and causing a firestorm. She did it by posting a photo with a caption on Instagram. It offended some and got support from others. It also made me think about a beautiful and thought-provoking song Try by Colbie Caillat.

To me the interesting thing about this story – it all happened because of a photograph.

Images tell a story like nothing else can. It’s why photography is fascinating and captivating.

I recently posted a floral photograph on my Facebook page. It was not an image I had thought much of but it got a significant response from my friends. We don’t always know what resonates with people in the art we produce but it’s great to know when a connection has been made.

What are you photographing today?

Photo 1: Wet Rose on Facebook

Rose vari wet

Photo 2: Pink Roses near the Creek

Roses pink cluster 3

Photo 3: Pink Roses in my garden

Roses pink trio

LinkedIn doesn’t like flakey

Photo 1: #YourTurnChallenge #Day2

IMG_3927

The conversation with my relocation adviser was about fifteen minutes in when we started talking about my LinkedIn profile summary. She took one look at it and said “You will have to remove the bit about the floral photography, recruiters don’t like flakey”.

Floral photography is my passion. Nothing ignites my soul like capturing the essence of a bloom in all it’s splendour. To have my art judged and demoted at a glance hurt.

Understandably the conversation rapidly deteriorated after that. If being passionate about floral photography made me flakey then so be it!

I would be a flakey artsy generalist instead of a boxed in, easily defined, scientific writer. If a recruiter didn’t like that I was flakey then they didn’t have work that would fuel my creative fire so that was no loss anyway.

I maintain that the world needs flakey! The world needs our authentic creative selves connecting with our passions to drive us into new realms of accomplishment.

You define who you are and you set the boundaries. Not conforming to expectations is not a bad thing. Sterilising the flakey is not a solution.

So be brave and be flakey! Live your passion and leave a legacy. I know I will.

So here’s another piece of my art (you fan find more on FineArtAmerica):

IMG_3928

Let the blogging #YourTurnChallenge begin!

Live. Lead. Contribute.

Roses pink cluster on blue

I have joined the #YourTurnChallenge and started a new blog called Junbi. I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

This blog was initiated because of a challenge by Winnie Kao, the Special Projects Lead for Seth Godin, linked to his book What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn), to do a blog post a day for 7 days.

To follow Seth’s key theme in his book – it’s my opportunity to take my turn and to make a difference. We all have the opportunity to contribute, to lead and to live our lives to the full.

My husband is blogging for this challenge too. Read his posts on Remarkable Runs.

I have been blogging for a few years now. I have tried various approaches and some have worked while others haven’t. Fables and Flora has been my most successful as I think it’s involves the content that I am most passionate about – flowers of course! My aim for 2015 is to revamp Fables and Flora and take the content to new exciting places so watch this space.

Hope you enjoy the journey with me and please give Junbi a read too!

International Day of the Girl

“The United Nations marks 11 October as the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’. International Day of the Girl is a movement to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world. It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.” World Moms Blog

Here’s to a future where all girls are free! Happy International Day of the Girl!

Little dancer 3

Happy Freedom Day South Africa!

The 27 April is Freedom Day in South Africa and is marked with a public holiday. On this day in 1994, the first democratic and non-racial national election was held in the country. Today marks it’s 20th anniversary.

It was a highly emotional event for many as for the first time, everyone aged over 18, of any race, was allowed to vote. The ANC (African National Congress) was voted into power and Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President of South Africa on 10th May and a new national flag was introduced.

Freedom Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm by all South Africans and tributes are paid to all those who sacrificed their lives to gain liberation. South Africa still has its struggles but it has a beautiful heart and its people are lovingly known as the Rainbow Nation.

Photo 1: South African Flag collage

SA Flag collage low res

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