Welcome to Life Images by Jill

LIFE IMAGES BY JILL............."Stepping into the light" and bringing together the stories and images of our world........
Through my writing and photography I seek to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.

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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. I have a day job, but my passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography. For now my day job supports me until I can pursue my passions full time.
I am a member of South Side Quills in Bunbury, the Fellowship of Australian Writers Western Australia, Photography Group of Bunbury and the Western Australian Photographic Federation.

I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.

If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab. Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".

Welcome!

Welcome!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A little bit of Christmas baking

It's nearly Christmas. Do you go all out and do a lot of Christmas baking? Or only a little?
In truth Christmas in the Australian summer is not the best time for baking, so I usually target a cooler day to cook.


Looking for a simple Christmas cookie recipe? Try these Ginger Stars.


You'll need:
2 cups self raising flour
2 teaspons ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
4oz (110gms) butter of margarine
1 egg
4 dessertspoons golden syrup

Beat butter and sugar together well. Add egg, syrup and then dry ingredients. Roll out (not too thin) and cut into shapes with a star cutter.
Bake in moderate oven (190C) for about 15 minutes.


Need to make something quick and easy to take to a morning tea or supper get-together? Try these easy-peasy Cheese & Bacon Puffs.

You will need:
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, lighten beaten
2 cups grated cheese
4 bacon rashers, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (or use spring onions or chives)
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Combine milk and egg in a large bowl, mix well. Add cheese, bacon, onion, sifted flour and mustard. Mix until combined. 
Drop teaspoons of mixture onto baking paper covered oven trays.
Cooking in hot oven, 200C, for about 15 minutes or until golden.
Great served freshly baked and still warm.


And what about these delicious little mini Christmas puddings?

You will need:
800g Christmas cake (any cheap shop bought Christmas cake will do)
180g dark chocolate
1/4 cup brandy
white chocolate bits, and red and green glace cherries for decoration.

Crumble the cake and melt chocolate. Mix together with the brandy.
Roll the mixture into small balls (about golf ball size)
Melt a small amount of white chocolate and drizzle over the puddings.
Cut up the glace fruit to decorate (so they look like red berries and leaves)
Only garnish a few puddings at a time as the white chocolate sets very quickly. 
Refrigerate.


So there you go. Three simple recipes.  Enjoy!

Wishing you all the joy and good-will of the festive season. I hope it is spent with the love of your family around you. 

Do you have some simple Christmas baking recipes? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. 



Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World,  and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

You might also like:

Christmas baking while it's baking hot in Australia 
Summer fruit sorbet 
 Summer plum galette

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Ghosts of Christmas Past


And so it is only just over a week and a bit to Christmas. Our last "homework" for our writer's group was to write a memory from Christmas.  And this is what came to me..... I thought I would share it with you.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Christmas only comes but once a year
It brings with it joys and tears

As I go through the motions of gift buying, decorations
And planning menus
I am thinking of those who will be missing from my table  for the first time this year

They are the ghosts of Christmas past

 My father hanging Christmas lights in the pine trees at our front gate
The carol singers under our corner street light

I lay in bed wondering how Father Christmas could possibly come down
our kitchen chimney and through the little doors at the front of our Metters Stove.
But he did – because the carrots and cake were gone in the morning.

The excitement of seeing my new big doll Lucy under the Christmas tree

My mother dishing up the Christmas pudding with the threepences hidden inside
Her Christmas carols that filled the house.

The long Christmas table at my Aunts
With aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents
And silly hats



 Summer heat and laughter,
Playing under the sprinkler on the back lawn,
And laying on the cool passage lino with a new book

The simple pleasure of humid summer evenings on the back lawn
     looking up at the stars.




As I hang the special Christmas baubles on my tree
And light the candle of remembrance
I look into the eyes of my grandchildren
And I see the ghosts of Christmas past

 Jill Harrison
2 December 2014


These special glass baubles came from a Christmas tree at a memorial service I went to last week with my friend, for people who had lost someone this year. The one on the left is the one for my Dad this year. The one of the left is for my Mum two years ago.

The family photo above was taken in 1961 when I was six with some of my aunts, uncles, cousins... I am in the front row with my cousin David who is closest to me in age. That is my Mum on the right front, my Dad in the suit at the back right with my sister in front of him.

Below is my my sister and me ready to go to my grown-up cousin's wedding. That's me in front - do you like my frilly dress and the curls? I don't have curls naturally. I remember going to bed with curlers in my hair.  The middle photo is of me playing "dress-ups" with my big doll Lucy (mentioned in the poem above). And the last one is in 1959 when I was four. I can distinctly remember this. I didn't want to sit on this man's knee. I don't know if you can tell I am trying to pull my hand away. 
 


This is the house where I grew up.  The first image would possibly be in the early 1950s not long after they moved in. You can see the pine trees by the front gate are very small. They grew huge, and Dad used to string Christmas lights on them. You can also see our chimney that Father Christmas had to come down! Our house was on a corner, where there was a street light. Every Christmas the Salvation Army would go around our area singing Christmas Carols and they always stopped under our street light and sang a few carols. It was so lovely. 

The second photo is in the early 1970s just before we moved house. Dad had the pine trees cut down at some stage. I guess they got way too big. 


Last weekend we went to Lava Glass on the waterfront in Bunbury. They make and sell beautiful glass artwork from various Western Australian glass artists. You can have your hands imprinted in silica sand into which glass is melted to create a piece of wall art as a lasting memento of a moment in time.  It was our son and daughter-in-laws tenth wedding anniversary in September and we bought this for them as a gift. They are creating their own memories. I will write about Lava Art Glass Studio and Gallery in a future post.  In the meantime you can find out more about them by clicking here - Lava Art Glass


What are your special memories of Christmas past? Perhaps you would like to tell us about them in your comments.

How devastating today to hear about the deaths of two innocent people in Sydney by the hand of a terrorist in a hostage situation. I cry and pray for them and their families. And for the three children who will be without their mother this Christmas.

I found this beautiful song from Enya today to share with you. It's a reminder for me, especially this year....

The Spirit of Christmas Past.....
When tears are in your eyes, it's time to look inside, your heart can find another way
Believe in what I say, don't throw this time away,
Tomorrow will be Christmas Day, Christmas Day

So, let the shadows go, and drift away like snow,
Tomorrow will be Christmas Day, tomorrow will be Christmas Day

So dream until the night becomes the morning light
Tomorrow will be Christmas Day, tomorrow will be Christmas Day.

You can hear the music track by clicking here (skip the advert) -   The Spirit of Christmas Past



Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World,  and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Belonging and choosing happiness

It's December and things are winding down towards the end of year and Christmas, or is it winding up as we plan our Christmas festivities?

For us in Australia at least, this time of year brings with it the end of the school year, summer holidays and the closing of groups we belong to for the year. I belong to three groups: a writing group (once a month), photography group (once a month) and a dance group (once a week). I will miss these people, my friends through shared interests, over the break till we meet again in January or February next year. 

Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company
 It got me to thinking about how belonging to a group can be so important to our well being, both inside and out - whether it be a creative or physical activity, travelling with like minded people, or just sitting and talking - it is the belonging, sharing and being appreciated for the individuals we are.  For some people belonging to a group may be the only contact they have with the outside world. I wonder what do these people do when groups close up at the end of the year?


I know from my own point of view the members of the groups I belong to have really helped me through low points in my life, like the passing of my darling Dad a couple of months ago. The groups have helped me focus on other things. These people are separate to my family, so in some ways were able to help me in a way my own family could not. Just by being there and showing me that life will continue on and be enjoyed. To listen and to be there with a hug that was not tied up with my own families' grief. The people in these groups are really my family too. And perhaps I have shared with them tears and words that I have not shared with my biological family.

 So this post is dedicated to the groups I belong to. But of course, none of this would be possible without the unconditional love and support of my family.I thank them with all my heart. Without them I would be lost. 

My dear fellow members from South Side Quills writers group - thank you. You have perhaps seen and heard me at my most raw through my written words...
That's me second from the right....


The inspiring photographers at the Photography Group of Bunbury. You inspire me to look and see and be more creative with my photography.  Below are my awarded images this past year. I was given an "highly commended" for the black and white steps you can see in the middle of the images below here at the end of year.(unfortunately the process of putting them in a collage has cropped the images)


 The amazing dancers at Sol-y-Sombra Spanish Dance Company and School of Dance. Thank you so much Nicole and all the ladies and gent for your patience and encouragement. Flamenco is not easy to learn, but it is fun! Don't they look fantastic in these bright costumes.





And to my wonderful "ladies who lunch", a small group of friends who meet every week for lunch - we have been through a lot together over the last 16 years or so.  It doesn't matter where we meet - it is not the restaurant that matters - but the conversation and the sharing. We say it is "cheaper than therapy"!



Also thank you to Denise from lovely Lyndendale Gallery for your encouragement, for hosting my photography workshops this year, and introducing me to a wonderful group of creative people. 


And also to Eileen, my friend who I met through Sol-y-Sombra - you saved me with a hug and a bar of chocolate when I most needed it when I was creating my invitational floral art piece for the Floral Designer's Club exhibition "Blooming Art" - when my Dad was in hospital. Thank you.


Do you belong to a group and what do they mean to you? Perhaps you might like to share in the comments.

Perhaps you too can think about those people who do not belong to a group, or don't have family close by, or whose family situation has changed this past year, or for whom Christmas may be looked on with dread as they think about those they have lost, or indeed it stretches before them as a lonely space.

At times it can be very easy for me to wallow and be maudlin but this Christmas I am going to pledge to myself to "choose happiness" - not only for my sake, but for the sake of my family. For we have much to be grateful for. 

We have put up our Christmas lights - I still have to do the tree.  I wait till my Grandson has had his birthday which was yesterday 7th December. 8 years old already! I can hardly believe it.


One of my lunching ladies gave me an article from www.marcandalngle.com the other day. This is a summary.....

10 ways to choose happiness -

Choose to be the very best you can
Choose to be around the right people
Choose to focus on what you have, not what you haven't
Choose a good attitude
Choose to smile more often
Choose to take care of your body
Choose honesty
Choose to help others when you're able
Choose to let go when you know you should
Choose to embrace the next step in your life

You are the only one who can create your happiness. Love who you are inside out. The choice is yours. Choose happiness.










Thanks for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday


Monday, 1 December 2014

A walk through Ambergate Reserve, Busselton, Western Australia

In late October we visited with new friends who we had met at Mt Augustus in the Pilbara during our July tripThey only live about 45 minutes south of us.  I had been wanting to visited Ambergate Reserve at Busselton and they were happy to come along for the bush walk. It was spring time and the area was ablaze with wildflowers along the four kilometre bush trail. I wonder if they realised what they were putting themselves in for  - it was spring, the wildflowers were fantastic,and I had my camera with me!

pea flower growing over grass tree

Only 9km from Busselton, Ambergate Reserve is a 75 hectare remnant of the southern Swan coastal plain woodland, much of which is now cleared.  The Reserve contains a wide variety of vegetation types and includes both natural and artificial wetland area. The woodlands are a mixture of banksia, jarrah and marri trees and over 360 plant species. In 1987 the Shire of Busselton appointed the Busselton Naturalists Club as managers of the Ambergate Reserve.

Velleia 

Located on the four corners of the Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Doyle Road crossroads, the 4km walk trail commences at an information shelter at the carpark where you can pick up a brochure. Visitors are asked to walk through a "boot bath" before starting the walk. This prevents the spread of jarrah dieback fungus.  Each of the four sections can be walked individually. Identification plaques along the way will help you with some plant identification. After our walk we had a picnic near the carpark, but if you intend to do this please bring your own chairs as there are no picnic facilities.

The Ambergate area was one of the Group Settlement Scheme areas during the 1920s, and named Ambergate by the early settlers.

There are a huge variety of wildflower species in this small patch of bushland, some of which you can see below .....

One of the creeping pea flowers -
 

Almost "fluro" green kangaroos paws. There are a number of different varieties of kangaroo paws, all different colours, but I had never seen one quite this colour before. Really stunning.



Pixie mops

One of the Coneflower varieties





One of the spider orchid family.



There are textures too.... grass tree - the red in the bottom corner is the inside of a grass tree. Just above it is the Semaphore Sedge.


Our friend showed us how as children they used to "pop" these seed heads....a bit like popping corn....
It was wonderful to go to Ambergate with our new friends for a few hours of wildflower bliss (for me at least) and catching up over our picnic afterwards. Thanks guys for your extreme patience!


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little walk through Ambergate. If you live in the south west you should visit next spring.  Just be careful of snakes....although we didn't see any, they do live in this bush area.

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

Common Milkwort
I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Hello sunshine yellow and lemony delights

Yellow is such a happy colour don't you think?  I love it when the yellow daisies start to flower in my front garden.


 To me yellow is also the colour that says summer. In Australia spring is on the wane and summer is moving in. My front garden is starting to put on its brilliant summer display -  red Coral Bush, purple/blue Agapanthus, yellow daisies, green kangaroo paws, pink hydrangers, roses, and sprawling nasturtiums. Someone called Agapanthus "Aggie's Pants" the other day - I love that.


 In our back garden the grapes are starting to form, and we have put bags over the apricots on our apricot tree. We had an awful problem with fruit fly last year, due to changes to permittable chemical spray laws, and we had to throw away our whole crop due to fruit fly. "Natural" methods did not work for us at all. So we bought these fruit fly protection bags on the internet, and will see how we go this year. Down in the RHcorner you can see my honeysuckle - oh my the perfume is so sweet and delicious. I have a vase of it in my kitchen where I can smell it as I work.


There always seems to be at least a few lemons on our lemon tree, so the other day I made lemon butter, you might know it as lemon curd - so delicious spread on scones or bread. Some of our lemons are huge.


Here you can see the ingredients for the lemon butter - lemons, sugar, butter and eggs. My problem with the recipe is - how much is juice of three lemons? The amount of lemon juice will really determine the thickness of your lemon butter. 


Here is the recipe I use, taken from The CWA (Country Women's Association) Cookery Book - this recipe book has been a standard for Australian women since it was first published in 1936. It is still in print today. 

Lemon butter
500 grams (1lb) sugar, 250 grams (1/2 lb) butter, 4 eggs, juice of 3 lemons.
Grate rind of lemons and mix with juice and other ingredients in a jug or bowl. Stand over boiling water on stove. Stir until consistency of honey, but do not allow to boil. 
This took me about 1/2 hour. Bottle immediately. Makes about 3 jars. Store in the fridge. 

My lemons are very large and I thought the consistency should have been thicker.


Perfect on scones for morning or afternoon tea on the patio - or just spread on bread!



I also made these lemon puddings. What a lovely summer dessert they are. I found this recipe in a Coles supermarket June 2013 magazine.

Lemon custard puddings - makes 4
3 large eggs separated, 2/3 cup caster/superfine sugar, 2 teaspn grated lemon zest, 2 tblspn plain flour, 1 cup full-cream milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, pinch salt, 2 tblspn flaked almonds toasted & coarsely crumbled (although I think you can omit the almonds) 

Heat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced.
Coat four 1-cup ramekins with butter. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar and zest until cream and pale yellow. Whisk in the flour and then the milk and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites for 2 minutes or until foamy. Add salt, increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 30 seconds or until soft peaks form. 
Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon batter. Fold in the almonds. The batter should be airy and loose. Divide batter equally between the ramekins. 
Place the ramekins in a baking dish lined with paper towell (this stops them moving about). Add enough boiling water to the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake puddings for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Carefully remove from baking dish and set aside to cool for 2 minutes.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.




And here are some delicious lemon tarts (I didn't make the one on the right).... and of course there is always lemon meringue pie - our family favourite

I have just been asked for the recipe for these lemon tarts. It is from Tartelette - do you know her food blog? Devine. She has used gluten free pastry whereas I just used a short crust pastry. Here is the link - Tartelette-lemon-tarts


We are moving into the time for stone fruit - peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines - my absolutely most favourite time of year.  I'm looking forward to making again this simple dessert - peaches with honey and nutmeg - but that's a story for another time.



So there you have it - yellow!
And I am reminded there is much to be thankful for.  I wish happy Thanksgiving for those of you in America who are celebrating this week with family and friends. 





 Do you have a lemon tree in your garden? What is your favourite lemon dessert? Please tell us in your comments.

Thank you for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Our World Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World,  and What's It Wednesday.  Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
What's It Wednesday

You might also like - 

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December summer colour 
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