Saturday, April 30, 2011

Calm Photographics

I am pleased to introduce you to Katey, a wonderfully generous person who is living her dream. She has donated prizes to our project and has been my 'official' photographer for publicity shots :o)

I started taking photos at around 11 years old when my mother gave me her old instamatic camera. I love the feel of it in my hands and my passion was grown when I did work experience with a cairns photographer at 15. On returning to school I spoke to my art teacher who began to tutor me after school. He is a well-known portrait photographer with some of his work being shown in galleries around Australia. 

The smell of the dark room and the magic of the image appearing before my eyes confirmed it, I was hooked!!  In year 12 we were asked where we wanted to be in 10 years and my goal was to have my own studio.  It then took me 13 years to realise my dream!  
The couple who were told they could never have children - Rick and Chloe, they are now expecting a little boy in June!! (next lot of maternity photos done on 10th may so look out!!)
At Christmas 2009 I was a stay at home mum to my son Jonathan, who was one at the time, when I decided that 2010 was going to be the year of “yes”. I had been asked by friends over the years to do photos for them and always said no being too scared they wouldn’t think my work was good enough. So I went on eBay, upgraded my 35mm Nikon F70 to a digital Nikon D100 and then set about designing business cards, doing free shoots to work up my folio and the ever impossible task of deciding on a business name. 

I came about the name Calm Photographic while teaching my son the sounds of letters. We were doing the letters of my name, Kathleen Helen Mary – Ka Ha Mm, Calm, and the rest is history!! I did everything possible to expand my business from running Facebook competitions to donating photo shoots for raffles. I found the Connect to Aussie Mums an invaluable resource and made a lot of wonderful contacts in the process.

I decided to specialise in family, pregnancy and confidence photography. 

Some of the greatest jobs I have done were the year 12 formal of a group of disabled students, a 15 day old little girl on a Harley Davidson chopper, pregnancy photos of an infertile couple and the confidence photos of an opera singer who had lost her waist length hair to chemo. The joy on their faces when you give them the end result and they see just how beautiful they are regardless of what they have been through is just priceless. 

I love to hear the stories and have been told my business name is very appropriate as I have a manner which puts the client at ease and make the whole process extremely enjoyable.  (I even got hugs from an autistic girl who doesn’t even hug her own mother!)
Miss Ella on Chopper Mikes Harley Davidson. This was done for daddy as a very special surprise. Mummy and Daddy are the couple who were told they would never have children so she is a very special little girl and is about to be a big sister!!
Meanwhile my husband and I had been trying to have our second child and imagine my surprise when I discovered I was pregnant in February after only 7 months of trying! (Jonathan had taken 3 years to conceive) I decided I was going to continue doing what I loved right through my pregnancy as it was after all the year of “yes”! This proved to be a struggle in itself as chasing toddlers is difficult at any time let alone rolling around on the ground with them at 8 months pregnant! 

At 7 months I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes which was a HUGE shock as we have no family history of diabetes. So on top of it all, I felt sick and tired most of the time but business was picking up so it was no time to quit. In September my grandfather, who I am very close to, was hospitalised with what was thought to be gall stones but was later diagnosed to be gall bladder cancer. We had visits from my brother and sister (who was also pregnant with her fourth child) and I were also doing my sons day-care school photos! I was starting to struggle both emotionally and physically. 

My last job before going on maternity leave was a wedding in Townsville so we drove down at 5 in the morning and I worked through till 11pm that night! (32 weeks pregnant mind you, I gave birth at 36 weeks) While it was my first wedding I was thrilled with the results as was the couple, I stressed immensely over the work fearing they would hate it! 
L-R Alex, Hannah, Kate and Hayden. This was their year 12 formal for Cairns state high, on the night Alex won an popularity award!! They were such a beautiful group. Hannah does not show affection and came up and hugged me several times, she dosnt even do that to her mother!
In November I delivered the last of the school photos and our second son Joshua on the same day and decided to resume work in January after a short break. Two days after his birth my grandfather passed away and I was told as I had had a C-section I was not to drive to Innisfail for the funeral. Yeah right!! With the help of some wonderful drugs and the support of my family we made it through. 

I thought with great anticipation that I would still resume my business the following January. This was not to be as Joshua fell ill and had to be hospitalised 5 times between January and March of this year. During all this time I had not dealt with my grief of losing my grandfather or the stress of the past 12 months and succumbed to a bi-polar depressive episode. (I was diagnosed with bi-polar in 2006) I sought help from the wonderful staff at the Cairns base mental health unit and am now adjusting to new medication and having regular therapy to deal with all the emotional issues incurred in the past 12 months. 

Kriss and Emily - Kriss has Aspergers, really fun kid!! We had a ball doing these pics - were also first client in my studio!
Needless to say, I did not go back to work in January, rather in April of this year. I have since set up a studio in a friend’s home office and have started advertising on my Facebook page again. In response to a few call outs on this page I have now got 3 pregnancy, 3 newborns, 3 confidence and 2 family shoots booked for next 12 months after not quite a month back! I am so excited about the future and everything seems to be falling into place again, the creative juices are flowing and the babies are all healthy and happy! I think the thing I have learned from my year of “yes” is that no matter how hard it gets, you can’t give up, it will only get better – eventually! While my business may not earn us a huge amount of money, it is the most rewarding career (besides motherhood of course!) I have ever had as it is mine, I have grown it from nothing and it is something I love!  
Joy has stage 3 breast cancer and this picture was taken during her 2nd round of chemo when she lost all her hair (she had waist length jet black hair!)She is an inspirational beautiful woman!!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jillybear... a young girl with a big heart!

Jill started beading at age 3. She loves it and always makes new little
things and comes out to me to get them tied up. I've been massively into
voluntary work. I get my kids involved and have them come along to things
that are suitable.

I used to be a family day care provider and I liked to teach my kids and
others about world issues in a gentle way. I would talk to them about less
fortunate people or situations and then we would follow the conversation
with an action/activity to help or show their understanding Eg a
fundraiser or auction. I had friend who went as far as spending their
holidays in bali to help kids who were orphans. My kids were shown pics
send back via email about what a difference only a few dollars can make.

We moved from SA to NSW 12 mths ago so I became a bit of a fb addict to
keep in touch with people. I came across WAHM's who made thigns for sale
and auctions so often Id get my kids to pick things and we would bid or
buy them. Jill came to me one day before her birthday and said someting
along the lines of "mum I want you to make me a shop on facebook so I can
sell my necklaces and give the money to kids overseas who have nothing to
eat." I just about cried! A few days after her 6th birthday I collected up
all the latest things she had made and put them up on facebook. Her nick
name was always Jillybear so that why its her shop name. Things just
started selling ...from people I didnt know, so we decided to get her a
propper site.

Approx 7 mths later her online shop was ready with the help of a lovely
stranger I didnt know from a site called (now very
good friends and I met her last time I was in SA) she gave jill all the
design work of the store for free.

So young, so v-e-r-y busy: How does Jillian Pace feel about having her own website for her jewellery business?"Very excited, very happy."Picture: Gary Warrick

After the site went up she gave herself a goal of $1,000 before Christmas
and shes currently around $470.

We chose the company Australian Lutheran World Serive vs a well known
charity as they have much lower overheads than most places that forward on

She saw a few other great sites like yours and wanted to donate bulk lots
to them to use. She decided she wanted to also help smaller groups so she
has 1 album that changes every few months (from not for profit causes she
finds on fb). Currently she is helping Asppired Ltd.

We love your cause as we used to do special needs teens fostercare (crisis
care) until Jill was 2.
We are in the middle stages of being foster parents again for babies (0-9
mths) for emergency/crisis care.


(we love you too Jilly! and Mummy of course)


You can read more about Jill here:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Super EASY Brownies! Recipe by Richelle

Super EASY  Brownies
These are super easy to make and a favorite in our household with everyone!

You need:
125g butter
125g chocolate
1 1/2 cups castor sugar (normal white sugar is fine)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)
icing sugar to dust

1) Melt butter and choc together
2) Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla
3) Add choc /butter mixture
4) Add sifted flour, cocoa and nuts (I don't sift my flour because I’m too lazy and don't want any extra dishes)
5) Pour into a greased & lined tin
6) Cook in a preheated oven @ 180 degrees for 40min
7) Allow to cool in tin, cut into squares, dust with icing sugar and demolish!

My notes:
·         I use block chocolate or choc drops/buds, milk or dark, it’s good for whatever you have avail.
·         I melt my chocolate in the microwave... you want soft choc that will go smooth when you stir it! Do NOT keeping heating it until you get liquid everything as the chocolate will most likely go yuck! I do mine for just 1 minute in a pyrex (glass) jug.
·         I use castor sugar or white sugar – both work well!
·         I rarely add the nuts, mainly due to the little mouths in our household (under 2yo’s should not have nuts)
·         And most importantly, the beauty of this recipe is if it's not cooked enough, you have gooey brownies, if it's cooked a bit too long, it's more like a slice... So long as it’s not running out the tray or blackened, it’s going to be YUMMO! 

Enjoy :)
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