WEDNESDAY • MAY 30TH, 2012 - BY KIA
A New Venture
As you already know, Jaana and I made a paper version of Happy Snappy: One Theme, Two Views (our first photography collaboration project) for ourselves. Working on it inspired us to pick up our cameras for a new venture:
Happy Snappy: Finland vs Scotland.



"There are always two people in every picture:
the photographer and the viewer."
.:: Ansel Adams ::.

I am so excited for this new collaboration, it's gonna be so much fun! Do come and say hi when you have a minute!

Sorry I have been MIA, but there has been another strong earthquake in Northern Italy and I have been spending most of my free time watching the news.

Listening to: Flower of Scotland by Red Hot Chilli Pipers & Let's Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas.
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SATURDAY • MAY 26TH, 2012 - BY KIA
At Last! Some Sunshine!
Some part of Scotland had snowfalls just a couple of weeks ago. Now the weather is finally gorgeous and the mercury reached 24°C (75°F, for our American friends) in our corner of the wood. The snow is "shrinking" fast, however in Cairngorms some skiing has still been possible. Weather forecasters have said the sunshine is due to continue till Monday. This morning I was woken up at 5 by the light coming through my bedroom window (right not the sun rises at 4:47 AM and sets at 9:43 PM). Not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze and lots of chirping birds. Just perfect! Can you see me doing a silly happy dance?! LOL!



I really like these Shabby Princess' scrapbook-elements.

A couple of friends have noticed that hubby and I haven't post anything for our Beyond Layers eCourse in a while. I guess we both imagined the class to be a bit different, thus we lost our mojo for a while. Luckily the last lesson was really appealing, so here are my experiments for the *Fun With Type* assignment. Kim shared a great tutorial on how to use text and a clipping mask to create some fun photos. We don't have RadLab (it has cool photo-effects, but we don't have an extra $149 to spend on it), so I used Kim's texture Stay instead.



I started with a photo of the Molo Audace in Trieste (Italy), taken in July 2007. It is said that all the lovers that walk on this wharf will have good luck in their future story if they are really in love with each other. True or not, the wharf is really romantic, especially at twilight. I really like the warmth that this image is conveying to me.



You can view it bigger and on a white background at Flickr. In the past, to have a similar effect, I used the magic wand tool, but Kim's approach is much easier and also quicker. What a fun little technique to add to my bag of tricks, thanks to Kim.



This photo was taken at the Botanic Garden in Glasgow (Scotland) two weeks ago. I applied a purple-ish solid color overlay to give the image a vintage look. It seemed perfect for Virgil A. Kraft's quote.



I have created many more images with Kim's technique, but for today I better stop here and go soaking up the sun. Have a fabulous weekend!

Listening to: Summer days by Sheryl Crow.
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WEDNESDAY • MAY 23RD, 2012 - BY ZENO
A Light In The Darkness
So glad you have enjoyed our coverage of the Duck Race. It was such a fun event to capture on camera. This week's theme for Texture Tuesday is Light and, in honor of the Duck Race, Kia and I have played with long exposures in the dark.



Place your mouse over the photo for before/after view. We used Kim's textures Magic Scratches and Serious Magic.

I am afraid I have to make this a short post; I have a few more things to do before I hit the hay and I haven't even started packing for my work trip yet. Have a lovely rest of the week!

Listening to: När jag blunder by Pernilla Karlsson &  Mundu Eftir Mér by Gréta Salóme & Jónsi.
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MONDAY • MAY 21ST, 2012 - BY KIA & ZENO
Quacking Time
We have started writing a post many times during the past few days, but have always been side-tracked by something more urgent, which was of course less fun. After the sad news over the weekend, we wanted something cheerful and colorful.





For the last few years, Paisley & District Scouts have been running the annual Duck Race down the river to help raise funds for local charities.





Racing rubber ducks is a popular way of raising money for charity here in the UK. Ducks are sold and then numbered. The ducks are then dumped into the river and floated down a race course. The first one to float past the finish line is the winner.



The wind was blowing the wrong way up the river and the ducks were in danger of heading away from the finishing line, so they have been "helped" on their way and hundreds of people were on hand to cheer them all the way to the finish line.



A few of the ducks have grown up and have been in a race of their own this year: the corporate race.





All of the money raised from the race this year will be split equally between Paisley & District Scouts, Accord Hospice and St. Vincent Hospice. Both of these hospices provide palliative care for people living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses, and rely on donations to carry out their day to day work and care.



The winning ducks rewarded their owners with children bikes, music lessons, ski lessons, driving lessons, various vouchers for different stores and restaurants. Lots of people and kids attended this event this year, and they all seemed to enjoy it. It's nice to see that a charity event can also be a fun and enjoyable moment. This year the kids were also provided with a giant inflatable duck and a bouncy castle.





We have lived both in the USA and in the UK and we have noticed that in these countries rubber ducks are quite common objects. We have to admit we have never played in the bath with a yellow rubber duck when we were little children (and we do not remember our youngest cousins doing so either), but it's nice to learn the different traditions that make the world such a nice and variegated place.





As you might have noticed, we have been experimenting with depth of field using gaussian blur to defocus the background in our shots. We still have to master it, LOL!



Tomorrow morning we will finally meet the manager of our letting agency; wish us luck, pretty please!

UPDATE: The meeting with the manager of our letting agency went more or less well. She was clearly a bit annoyed, but very polite. We reminded her that we discussed the same unpleasant situation (them entering our flat with a spare key without prior notice) already in 2009, and that the spare copy of the key to our flat is not a pass-key, but it is meant to be used only in case of proven emergency (i.e. major gas leak, fire, etc.). We agreed (exactly like back in 2009) that any visit to our flat will occur in our presence after we receive written notification. Hope they will play fair from now on.

Listening to: Wind Of Change by Scorpions.
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SUNDAY • MAY 20TH, 2012 - BY KIA & ZENO
A Splash Of Color
UPDATE: it's been a sad weekend for our beloved home-country. Yesterday the bombing, and today the earthquake...

We will be back shortly from this unscheduled blog break. Take care!



"Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom.
They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful."
.:: Jim Carrey ::.

Listening to: Another Day In Paradise by Phil Collins.
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TUESDAY • MAY 15TH, 2012 - BY KIA
Multicolor Flag Banners On A Lovely Blue Sky
One of my favorite buildings in Paisley is the Anchor Mill, a remnant of Paisley's Victorian industrial heritage. On the bank of the White Cart Water, it was built in 1886 by John Clark. Originally it was a cotton spinning mill. The mill complex employed many hundreds of local people. Closed in the 1980s, it has now been restored and converted into luxury flats.



I applied the texture Now by Kim Klassen and texture 62 by Lenabem-Anna to give a wee crayon effect to this image, taken last Saturday afternoon during the annual Duck Race.

I hope your week is off to a great start. I’m feeling much better now, thank you all so much for your sweet get-well wishes! Not sure what caused my headaches. Maybe it was caused by tension, just too many things to worry about at one time. Or maybe it was eye-related, or even just hormonal. Hopefully I will get back to my old self soon. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Listening to: Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye.
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SATURDAY • MAY 12TH, 2012 - BY ZENO
The Stone Circle At Strichen
Aberdeenshire, in the North East of Scotland, has the densest concentration of prehistoric standing and recumbent stone circles in the British Isles. Astronomical Observatories? Maps of the heavens? Sacrificial altars? Their mystery almost equals their beauty.



Recumbent stone circles are a particular style of stone circles which is endemic to the North East of Scotland. They date back to approximately 3000 BC.



What makes this circle unique is the large stone (often many tonnes in weight) which lies horizontally and was put in position to be dead level. This is the recumbent. To either side was placed vertically a large stone, called the flanker. Typically the stones which made up the circle portion were graded so that they decreased in size away from the recumbent.



The one at Strichen is a small Megalithic period recumbent stone circle standing on a hill-top, in rolling open country with gazing animals all around, and despite the history of destruction and re-erection retains the atmosphere of an ancient stone circle.



Above you can see a general view of Strichen stone circle showing the interior faces of the recumbent stone and flankers.



The circles were erected in good farmland by an entire village and it is amazing how those people could bring and position stones of many tonnes. What is also remarkable, it's their survival into our days, considering modern intensive farming methods, a former lack of understanding of the importance of our heritage and the sometimes deliberate destruction by early religious groups.



In fact, much damage is done accidentally by people who mean no harm. We should all think twice, and don't do anything which would cause degradation to the monument such as climbing on it or lighting fires nearby.

Listening to: New Age by Marlon Roudette.
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THURSDAY • MAY 10TH, 2012 - BY ZENO
Thank God It Is Not A Bank Holiday!
The weather has turned bad again and rain is battering against the windowpanes. We are experiencing spells of persistent and heavy rain accompanied by strong to gale force winds and snow on the hills. Is it really May?! Kia and I were amused to see Prince Charles presenting a special weather forecast. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were visiting the BBC Scotland studios in Glasgow, which is celebrating 60 years of television broadcasting.



Even though Kia's headache has been getting a little bit better, she will try to stay away from the computer for a couple more days. She is still pretty nervous for the problem with our letting agency and all the excuses we have heard so far. Hopefully she will finally relax after meeting the manager next week. TTFN!

Listening to: Shattered Dreams by Johnny Hates Jazz.
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WEDNESDAY • MAY 9TH, 2012 - BY KIA
Dogged By Misfortune?
Life has been a bit complicated lately. What a bummer! As if that was not enough, I have spent the last week with a headache coming and going which also required daily painkillers that blew me up like a hot-air balloon. On top of everything, yesterday evening I got a fright when the gas check engineer (sent by our letting agency) tried to enter our flat with neither notice nor permission. Obviously, I thought he was a burglar. How unnerving! What saddens me the most is that we already discussed the same identical problem two years ago, and I sure hoped that our letting agency would never again misuse/abuse the copy of our keys that they supposedly have just in case of emergency. I am still shaken and really tempted to call the police and report them! It's so unfair that now my poor hubby will have to take some time off work just to go to the letting agency and complain in person with their manager. But more about it in a future post.



Regular rumbling blogging will (hopefully) be resumed shortly. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what is the most effective stress-relief technique you use, pretty please.

~ Textures with thanks to Kim Klassen (Stay and Chase), scrapbook-elements courtesy of Shabby Princess.
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FRIDAY • MAY 4TH, 2012 - BY KIA
We Live In A Rain-Soaked Island
A myth? Oh no, not at all if you live in our area. We have about 265 days with rain a year. In fact, we are back home from a wet, windy, cold trip to Aberdeenshire. We did have a good time, despite Scotland keeps trying to win the worst-weather award.



I know I am not handling the weather very gracefully, but no one around us (Scots included!) was happy, everyone was complaining that the weather has not been very kind recently.



Sure, we were on holidays and we were happy, but there is not much you can do when the sky is filled with thick, brooding clouds, and the rain seems to be coming from every angle! Staying indoors all the time is not my ideal kind of holiday, just like being all drookit (drenched) or winding through the dubs (puddles) are not. Also, it kept raining on our camera lenses, preventing us from capturing a few beautiful scenes. Rant over? No, not yet, LOL!



Apart from a single sunny day, the whole holiday was characterized by permanent annoying down-pouring rain, strong gusts of wind, grey skies, humidity dripping from the stones on all building façades and entering in our poor ol' bones. As if the weather wasn't mocking us enough, it has been sunny and much warmer since we got home!



My friends back in Italy pointed out that I am talking much more about the weather since I moved to Scotland. Keep in mind that here in the UK the weather is probably the only acceptable conversation you can have with someone that you have met less than one-hundred times, LOL! They also tried to remind me that I used to love the rain. Yep, true. Before moving here! I admit that the more I live here and the more the weather miffs me off. I am trying to accept it, but I will never ever love it. I blame the cloudy weather for my bad moods and all the rain for my lack of exercise and my gain of weight. I crave the sunshine more and more every day that goes by.



There are many brilliant Scots words for describing the wet weather. Dreich is probably my favourite, because it combines rain and wetness with cold, overcast sky and dismal. The weather is often blashie (wet and windy). In a wet day you can experience: smirr (very light rain), dribble or dreip (drizzling rain), lauchin' rain (a long shower from an apparently clear sky), pish-oot (a downpour), gandiegow (a heavy shower), thunder plump (a sudden thunder shower), plype (a sudden dash of water). If you are on the coast you might experience haar (cold mist or fog coming from the sea) and bluffart or fudder (blast of wind).

There are many more Scottish words to describe weather, but none comes to my mind right now. On the other hand, hubby and I bumped into an interesting page about the weather terminology on the Orkney Islands (northern Scotland), that we recommend reading if you like talking about the weather as much as we do.



Have a lovely first weekend of May. I can't believe we are one-third of the way through the year already.
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RightColumn A bit of This and a pinch of That in the life of Kia & Zeno, hopeless day-dreamers.

Everyday happiness one shot at a time

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