Try as I might to deny it, December 30th has snuck up on me. Seeing as the 31st sees me working in my other job, I thought today’s the day to do my wrap up post before it gets as stale as last weekend’s Christmas pud (which really, I’d still have a stab at if it had survived the Boxing Day habit of eating everything in sight). It’s now Jan 1st, sorry, but I couldn’t finish this yesterday… I tried.
And besides, all the cool kids are doing it. So here we go. 12 months of Blackcurrant…well, 12 months of my life really. Please allow me to walk you through the year.
By the way, this is a bit long, you might want to fix yourself up with a snack and a cuppa.
2011 started full of promise and new adventures. I’d completed my Diploma of Photoimaging back at the end of November, was 2nd shooter at my first paid wedding, had successfully converted the blog from me posting random shots and waffling about college into more of a business focused site, and was really looking forward into getting stuck into finding work and getting back on track after 12 months studying.
Jason was sent off to Adelaide very early in the new year as his company was taking over an Adelaide business and he was to help them stocktake. His boss was kind enough to send me over with him. Despite my earlier skepticism as to how exciting it would actually be, I enjoyed my 4-5 days there immensely, so much so that I wanted to move there. Highlights of my trip involved visiting the pandas and flamingoes at the zoo, looking at all the beautiful architecture, and immersing myself in the wonderful foody stalls of the Central Market.
The low point of the trip was getting seriously ill. I was feeling off on the flight over. By Tuesday evening I could barely talk and I spent a good deal of the trip sitting bolt upright on the couch and in bed just so I could breathe. I finally got a Dr to come see me on the Thursday. I still got out and about, more than I should’ve been, but I feel I missed out on a great deal. Still, if you are sick, being in a serviced apartment with all expenses paid for and the sheets changed every day is a pretty good deal. Still, I had to go to the ER when I got back to Perth. I’m still not sure exactly what was wrong with me, but I do have some nice photos of my insides to remember the trip by.
Unfortunately, January didn’t end with quite the same optimism it started with. After much research and blind faith that a particular advertising agency would snap me up as an allrounder based on my enthusiastic cold canvassing (and I’d finally embark on my big, bad photographic career), I got my first setback. I don’t believe the company even looked at my resume to see what I could offer. I took that pretty badly, I’m afraid.
Looking back through February’s posts, I can see that I was a bit scattered, possibly because of the unexpected crash back down to earth. My blog posts were all over the place – tutorials, baking, chit chat. Many focused on the past such as showing off work I’d done during my Diploma course or talking about my childhood. later, I threw myself more into my own business and set many foundations in place for where Blackcurrant is now.
Early in February, I was lucky to secure a 1 on 1 Skype consultation with Dannielle Cresp. This gave me the little push I needed to have a think about where I wanted to take the business and also to focus on my social media. After a 7 month break, I returned to Facebook, reconnecting with a small core group of friends and building a new fan base with Blackcurrant’s own business page.
I think that February was when I started getting more into socialising with the people I’d met via Twitter. I’d finally met Danika (@Artemiss_) at a market in November/December and we became real life friends. I also attended a couple of Tweetup events held by The Herdsman and their social media lady Sarah P. These two lovely events first allowed me to meet some of Perth’s media personalities such as Captain Paul and Tony Serve (@perthtones), but a handful of other great ladies who have become part of my Twitter community such as Jo (who I photographed in December). Oh and a bonus was yummy noms at the shop of course!
February also saw me connect with a larger piece of the Perth community via Twitter and my blogging. A little bittersweet though, as it took a tragic bushfire in the Perth hills for us to connect. It was wonderful to see the Perth community come together and to see what social media could have on sharing news. I was approached by Bushfire Connect a little after this and spent a few shifts monitoring fire activity across the nation during that 2010/11 summer season.
My other community involvement had me visit the Cat Haven to give some photography tips to their amazing volunteer, Kate Dzenis. She was a wonderful student and her photography has improved dramatically (thanks in part to her friendship with fellow photographer Jayde too). I visited again a few months later.
The fringe festival hit Perth and I photographed the gorgeous Spiegeltent.
I didn’t realise it was so early in the year, but it looks like February was also when I made my first batch of glass tile photo pendants. They’ve come a fair way since then!
I ended the month with a beautiful vintage styled photoshoot in a grove of banksia trees. My model was the gorgeous Alanna from Earthbound Images.
February blog posts included –
The seven deadly sins
Vince Gareffa – The man behind Mondos
Perth bushfires and the social media response
Creating a crafty life – start your kids on a journey
Handmade glass photo jewellery
March looks fairly quiet in terms of blog posts and I can’t remember an awful lot else that happened. The most significant event was probably catching up with my friend Sandy. We’d been at TAFE together in 1999 and 2000 but hadn’t seen each other since, so I relished catching up with her over hot choccy in Fremantle and meeting her son (and later her daughter). We both walked around Freo with our cameras, amazed at how we both interpreted the same scene.
The next most significant event was to be published at last. I was selected as a featured artist in issue 2 of Bespoke zine. I was absolutely thrilled. It was a little step closer to worldwide fame (ok maybe not… but still, exciting).
I also got a nice little surprise in the fact my Mum got to come visit in late March, meaning I got to see her for my birthday after all. It was the first of a few visits to the buffet at the Hyatt. Sooo good.
March also had me sit down and start work on an intensive fine art portraiture project. Many hours hashing it out with creative direction from my friend Gemma. I’m embarrassed to say that I really haven’t taken it much further (for a few reasons, mainly money), though I do hope it gets off its feet in 2012.
March was also when both Grill’d and Koko Black opened at Claremont. So Nika (Danika) and I went to ‘investigate’. A couple of times….
March posts included –
I was both apprehensive and excited about the start of April. Excited because it was my birthday which is always awesome. Apprehensive because it was my 30th birthday, and I wasn’t quite sure I liked the idea of turning 30. Actually, I was pretty bloody gloomy about it and spent a fair bit of time dwelling on what I hadn’t done instead of all the great things I had done. Seems I’m not alone judging by posts of other friends who turned 30!
I had about 4 celebrations for my birthday, the first one with my Mum in March, a fun little outing with friends to the iceskating rink (where we learnt we were all a bit too old for iceskating and that we don’t much like today’s iceskating soundtrack…bring back Thriller), and a quiet family lunch with the inlaws. I spent the day before my birthday sharing cake with my bestie, Tammy (who’s birthday is the 12th) before heading off on a roadtrip on my actual birthday.
Jas and his Mum had gone halves and gotten us a room at this little B&B just outside of Busselton. It was a lovely little trip and much needed after such a full-on year. Whilst we didn’t make it to Margaret River, we did get to spend some time taking photos at the beaches around Yallingup where we’d gotten married. My birthday tea was beautiful lamb cutlets cooked on the bbq where we were staying. Very peaceful and relaxing.
Oh, forgot to mention, my friend Kimmi got to come iceskating with us! That was awesome as I hadn’t seen her since 2007. She lives in Sydney, but now she’s a flight attendant I get to see her more often. Yay!
I met the Badpiper in April too! He’s pretty awesome.
May was a VERY testing month. It started with an epic cleanup of the house. our first rent inspection in about 18mths. We scrubbed the house from top to bottom – literally, I was washing walls etc. We passed with flying colours, but our enjoyment of that was short lived.
I had a couple of juicy job carrots dangled at me, yet neither really worked out, putting a fair bit of strain on things at home. I should’ve been a bit fairer on myself really… After all, I hadn’t had an interview in 4.5 years (3yrs at Medicare then a year studying). I was very nervous and think I blew the first one – a great sounding role at a pet photographer.
The second was more frustrating. We spent a lot of money we didn’t have to get a Police Clearance certificate, I actually got a job at a not-for-profit organisation and we were looking forward to a change in our circumstances. Unfortunately, the job fell through. I was told I had it, and when I rocked up for my first day, nobody knew anything about it. I was told I’d hear back from them later. 3-4 weeks passed (where I tried to contact them obviously) and I finally got a letter saying that I was no longer required as they were restructuring. A very low time indeed.
Towards the end of May, our back room was damaged during a storm. We were very lucky not to lose some important treasures and photographs stored in there. The roof was damaged as well as the carpet. We had to move the entire contents of the back room into our nice clean kitchen. The stuff stayed there for the next 8-9 weeks.
Despite a few more hair tearing challenges towards the end of the month, it looks like my mood improved a little in June. I can see I got out more with my camera, exploring some new locations and taking an opportunity to indulge in one of our fave things about our ‘old life’ – breakfast!
I also headed back to the Cat Haven to see how Kate was going with her photography and to meet some of the new residents.
Another job carrot was dangled – this time for a part time role at Officeworks with the perfect amount of hours and acknowledgement of my limitations. But like all things that sound too good to be true, it didn’t eventuate. I threw myself into new pricing and updating my website for the start of the new financial year.
I started to worry about the longevity of my computer as I’d been told earlier in the year that my graphics card was burning out. If it did, I’d have to buy a new computer. I was quite embarrassed to ask but I did canvas for a new one… well one nobody was using anyway. I didn’t have much luck, but I did end up meeting Jesse because of it. And he’s almost as awesome as a new computer 😉
One word can sum up July – Milestones. I’ll use more than one word though 😉
July 7th marked 10 years since I lost my wonderful Grandad (my Mum’s dad). I wasn’t really sad as such, just wistful. I regretted that I’d only been 20 when he passed and that there were so many things I still had to ask him. I think we would have been great mates as grown ups. I decided to have a rest day and took myself off for a quiet day. I went to Koko Black and bought a share plate. He was very kind to let me eat it all myself 😉 That’s the nice thing about Grandads, they’re thoughtful even after they’ve gone. =)
I was very busy in July, it was Blackcurrant’s 1st birthday so I was chained to my computer working on a heap of items for a birthday sale. It was a little disappointing as it wasn’t as successful as I would have liked, but I did finally get some sales of my pendants. The photo jewellery really is something that looks best in person and I find the word of mouth marketing seems to work best for it.
I won some tickets to the Good Food and Wine show courtesy of their Twitter account. What a great outing! We both needed something fun after such a long and crappy start to the year. We got there quite early before it got busy (and believe me, it got very busy, we left just in time). I had a great time taking photos of all the produce, and we got to bump into twitter friends Charlie and Jay =)
I started to get back into my creative writing, thanks to a little exercise on the Ink Paper Pen blog.
I had a chance encounter with my childhood love – the first boy I ever slow danced with. I was too shy to even say hello, but his smile made my year.
My beautiful Nanna, Edna, turned 90. We had a big family party at my Aunty’s house, family came in from England (though not as many as I expected) and my sister came over from Melbourne which was great as I hadn’t seen her in over a year. It was a great day and I got chatting with my cousin’s eldest, Emma who’s now 15. I was 15 when she was born so that was a bit trippy, but yeah we seemed to hit it off and I can now make up for the time I should’ve been busy corrupting her. Well, the best I can do when she lives in Geraldton. Erm…. did I say corrupting? I meant guiding her into adulthood… hehehee
My wonderful husband, Jason, celebrated his birthday. We did our best to celebrate, even though he wasn’t really feeling it.
In August I was extremely fortunate to borrow a great little lens from my friend Charlie. It’s a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro. I know I’ve been babysitting it for far too long and I really should give it back soon, but it really will be a sad day when that comes. I switched from taking my nifty fifty (50mm f1.8 Nikon) everywhere to taking this everywhere. It’s such a wonderful lens and without it, I wouldn’t have had such a wonderful spring shooting experience.
The weather in Perth this year has been really odd. It’s been the hottest and wettest in a good many years and as such, the plants don’t quite know what to do. Spring was a little early, which was quite ok with me as I got to get out and shoot a little earlier than usual, without all the September crowds.
I continued with my short story writing, and I also published 2 books – well sort of. I made both a visual diary and a notebook available for purchase through Blurb.
Probably the highlight of August was taking part in a retro themed cupcake shoot with fellow photographer Deanna Whyte. We got paid in cupcakes. Awesome. The shoot was around the corner from where I grew up, so I took some photos of where I’d outlined my hand in the pavement back in my mid teens =)
Springtime! September really is my favourite time of year, and of course, now that my business has taken a turn into focusing on fine art and wildflowers, well it’s the busiest time for me, making sure I stock up my folio!
Earlier in the year, I set about literally sowing the seeds for a beautiful spring and summer garden. I decided I wanted a very bohemian and Alice in Wonderlandy vibe. It’s still a long way off what I’m dreaming of, but the garden is now full of colour and whimsy. It’s a much nicer place to be. In spring it was filled full of beautiful everlastings, so I was in my element.
I found some beautiful spider orchids whilst out for a walk, and one of the shots from that day became my new little Blackcurrant icon. The photo is called Spring Dance and I chose it to enter in the South Perth Emerging Artist Awards.
I was humbled by the support of my fans and friends both new and old when I asked for financial help to enter the awards. I raised enough money to enter and have my photo printed once I was selected.
Mum and Bill had to come up to Perth for some appointments, meaning we got to catch up again. They treated us to dinner at the Hyatt again. Awesome! This coincided with our 9th anniversary so that was a nice treat. Plus, our footy team got right up into the finals, so Jas was in a fairly good mood which makes a nice change for September.
Dannielle interviewed me for her column on Scoutie Girl.
We took a couple of coastal drives to enjoy the sunshine and give him a chance to show off his car now he’d gotten the funky metallic respray finished.
Man I love spring.
October is when I started a 30 day photo challenge. I got really into it. Right up until about day 7. It was really enjoyable while it lasted and it encouraged me to get out to explore some place I normally wouldn’t have gone to. I visited a couple of lookout spots in the Perth hills (and found some gorgeous wildflowers), I found a street sign with my name on it, and I photographed a couple of still lifes.
By October I was well and truly into my garden makeover too, creating a cool wall of glass bottles which catch the afternoon light. The bottles were mainly donated by Jesse who drinks a lot of wine for his blog Good Drop, and Kareena, who had a birthday party and was happy to part with a heap of funky vodka bottles.
I was successful in having my photo accepted for the South Perth Emerging Artist Awards which was a great thrill. Unfortunately illness stopped me attending the opening night, but I did get along to see it before it finished. It was strange seeing my work up there amongst some amazing paintings and other photography. I didn’t quite feel like a I deserved to be there. It was great being able to show my work to a new audience though, and I was very pleased that my photo sold too, for $240. That money allowed me to buy a new tripod, some business materials and samples, and buy my husband a gift for the first time in 2 years.
We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary at the end of October. We celebrated with Grill’d burgers in Mt Lawley and a Koko Black icecream spoil in Claremont (yeah we know there’s a Grill’d at Claremont too, but we needed the drive to make room for choccy!). After a drive along the coast and dinner at home, we headed down to the casino to see Peace Love play. I got a hug from Tod who I chat to on Twitter. =) the 15yo me was totally impressed by that one. =)
October’s blog posts included –
A sunday stroll to Heathcote (to visit Heath Ledger’s memorial)
A lake full of lillies
November seemed mainly concerned with getting ready for Christmas. I was determined to do something special and remember the 11th as it was a historical date – 11/11/11. I ummed and ahhed over it for a while. Many people around the world were taking pictures of where they were at 11:11am on 11/11/11 and I wanted mine to be special.
Most of my favourite spots, I figured would be full of weddings. In the end, I decided I should attend a Remembrance Day service. It’d been a long while since I went to one of those.
Whilst I missed the official 11am start, I did get to the memorial just before 11:11am, so that’s what I took a photo of. The crowd around the memorial. I watched the service, before heading into the botanical garden to take a few photos.
I won a Westfield gift voucher from the Smarter Admins blog! That was cool, $100 to spend on whatever I wanted… well, whatever I wanted from shops that accepted Westfield vouchers. I agonised, I analysed, I wore myself out traisping the shopping centres. In the end I bought some cool stuff from Typo for the garden, and (with a little bit of my own money) bought a 2nd hand games console I’d wanted for ages. =)
Nika and I decided we wanted to have a pop-up shop at the start of December. like a fancy garage sale at home. Sadly we had to cancel it due to stinking hot weather and bad timing, but we’re totally going to try again when it cools down.
A bittersweet end to the month. Illness stopped me attending the graduation show at TAFE. This was the final exhibition of the classmates I’d been studying with the year before (those that had continued on to Advanced Diploma). I’d waited all year to see them and really wanted to go as it was such a big industry event. I’d been having flare ups of my chronic fatigue for a few weeks though and just couldn’t make it. That was pretty hard. Luckily, I did manage to see the work before the exhibition ended, but it wasn’t quite the same.
Dramatic, draining, and damn glad it’s over! That seems to be the general gist from many people I know! Mine wasn’t too bad, but I’m looking forward for a bit of a rest now the crazy season’s over!
A great bit was getting to spend some more time with my Mum. She lives in the country, about 5hrs away (if you drive safely with lots of rest stops etc) and has been there for about 4yrs or so. Before that she lived even further away and I’d see her maybe once every 6 months. This year’s been nice as I’ve seen her about once every 3mths due to various appointments she’s had in town or family events like my Nanna’s birthday. She stayed with us for a couple of nights, then we had a shopping day together, and I dropped her at the hotel, then the next day we had a long lunch together at the hotel. That sadly didn’t mean we had a lot of food, more that the food took ages, but oh well, it was nice spending time together! It was a freakishly wet day, which was a bit of a bummer as she had a riverview suite. But they give you free coffee and choccies when you stay there so we just nommed on those and enjoyed staying dry!
It was a really dramatic day in Perth. Lightening strikes all day caused the airport to shut down for about 9hrs. I live right by the airport…it was eerily quiet!
Oh no, totally forgot the best bit, I treated her to an icecream martini at Koko Black on the 2nd day she was staying with us. Yeah that was cool. You should’ve seen her face when it came out!
Straight after saying bye to Mum, I had to prepare for a photo shoot with Jo and Nova. I was really looking forward to this as we had a cool, gothy trash the dress shoot planned. Of course, my rainy day curse continued. My rainy day curse is that every time I plan a shoot where I want it to rain and have dramatic skies, it’s uncharacteristically hot and dry. Places flooded the day before, but we had bright and sunny weather with high humidity. Pants! I don’t know if pants is a curse word but it will fill the place of one appropriately).
It took me a little while to get into the Christmassy swing of things but I was buoyed by the fact I was able to buy Jason’s present and a gourmet meal for us using my own money. A big roast has always been my fave bit of Christmas and whilst we couldn’t justify a massive turkey for the 2 of us, we did have a beautiful cider roasted chicken with beautiful trimmings, all cooked for me whilst I was at work.
Working retail at Christmas, what on earth was I thinking?! So much stress for one day that’s over in a flash. I probably shouldn’t write too much about work here though.
Anyway, I was talking about the awesomeness of Christmas. Jas outdid himself – he managed to track me down a rare and limited edition Bad taste Bear collectible of Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror. I love it to bits. I’ve wanted one for so long and it’s even better than I expected it’d be.
Mum and Bill bought us some lovely things for the garden, including a windchime and this adorable hanging bird cage – I need more birdcages – My inlaws spoilt me with gift vouchers to spend at The Body Shop. So I headed off to my local (quiet) shopping centre on Boxing Day and stocked up on my favourites. It’s been a long time since I could just go grab what I wanted so that was pretty nice. Totally in love with their Moroccan Rose scent.
I bought myself a gift too, something I’d been wanting for 18mths – a photo iceblock. I’ve had them for sale on my site for ages but I never had a sample before now. There’s really no way to sell these except in person – you just don’t get the wow factor any other way. I know it’s just a bit of plastic, but I love it to bits. That, and the awesome boutique quality display bags I purchased in december, really made me feel I was taking another giant leap into looking professional and being considered for peoples’ gift shopping.
Sales in my Etsy and Redbubble shops were good during December which gave me a boost. I was asked to create some custom gifts, was accepted to FPOE (the Female Photographers of Etsy team), advertised on Epheriell designs and started to get some more attention. I really hope this is the start of something brilliant.
December’s blog posts included –
Summer portrait session
Thankyou so much for staying with me and reading through to the end. I have a fair bit on my mind for 2012 and know I need to spend this week planning where I want to take myself and Blackcurrant this year. But for now, it’s time to rest, maybe put my feet up with a book, cuppa and some choccy and absorb the fact it’s now January 1st, 2012. It’s a big year ahead – Jas and I will be celebrating 10 years together later this year… I’m looking forward to it and hope you’re there with me to share my journey.