I don’t usually do ‘In Review’ posts, but the last 2 COVID-filled years have started to slowly grind me down. I miss the ‘old normal’ greatly. With the Omnicron variant currently spreading wildly in my state, I do wonder if this year will run any different. I really hope that it will.
I wanted to make a post on here to capture and reflect that I actually did do things in the last year despite it all. I’ve been feeling bad that I’ve been neglecting this little part of the internet for a while too.
The moments here range from the small and miniscule to the more eventful, in no particular order.
Since finishing last year’s Christmas cards, I’ve been wanting to build upon my skills with using proper watercolours. I knew I wanted to use them again though this time with a better understanding of how to work with the medium. As preparation, I watched tutorial videos and experimented, undertaking Inktober to force myself to create. After completing this challenge I felt much more ready to try my hand at another handmade watercolour card.
For the design, I wanted to attempt a Christmas symbol that I hadn’t tried before aka not another Christmas tree. 2020 was the year I really got into and inspired by online illustrators, including Amanda Herzman who does lots of floral based work. This gave me the idea to create a poinsettia flower design, which is also known as the ‘Christmas flower’.
Last year for my birthday (or maybe Christmas, not too sure) my family gifted me some watercolour paints. Up until that point I had only used the pencil variety so I was pretty stoked to finally, after all these years, to use the realdeal. I knew I would want to use them for this year’s cards, it was just a matter of working out the image and application.
When I was a sketching up ideas, I thought it might be comical to have Lucy included in some way and ended up drawing a bunch of different dog related Christmas scenarios. I settled on one involving her popping out of a present that would easy enough to implement. For the style, I was inspired by Lissova craft with her layered pot plant creations to try something similar (definitely not as cool as hers though).
I only realised the other day that we’ve attended SIX PAX Aus events over the years. Can’t believe it’s been that many. This year’s event was no disappointment with lots of big titles on show like Pokemon Sword and Shield and Final Fantasy VII Remake (alas, lines were too long to try these out for ourselves). We got a chance to try out the Nintendo Switch Lite (it’s actually physically lighter than a Switch along with being light on features) as well as see a live presentation of Cyberpunk 2077 – got a free shirt out of it too!
Of course, where we spent a lot of our time was in the PAX Rising section with a variety of new titles to see and try out. Particular favourites were Unpacking and Necrobarista.
While we’ve visited Japan numerous times now we’d yet to really experience the true heat and humidity of a Japanese summer. Technically it was the beginning of Autumn but the hot temperatures seemed to suggest otherwise. Shade offered little relief and we often spent as much time as we could indoors when possible. Most of our stay was in Tokyo but we also visited Nagano for a few days to escape the bustle of the city. Below are pictures from the main highlights of the trip.
While I haven’t updated anything here for the last few months, I’ve been quietly working away on my backlog of videos from my past trips. I’ve actually written about these on the blog already but due to spreading them out over multiple posts, there didn’t seem to be any appropriate spot to include the accompanying videos.
So I’m just gonna put them both here! I’ll link to the related blog posts below each one that includes all the photos and story behind these videos.
I believe this is my 8th year (!!!) of making Christmas cards and if these years have taught me anything, it’s that preparation and experimentation are key for ensuring everything will come to fruition. I’m glad I started prepping for these cards early on as there were quite a few missteps along the way.
After last years work, I wanted to go back to something more simple. For some reason I thought linocut printed cards would be an easy idea, I could just roll out as many as I wanted once the lino block was carved. Getting to that final day of printing would turn out to be another matter.
PAX was once again here in Australia and of course we were there to try out all the new and upcoming games being showcased. I got a chance to play the Kingdom Hearts 3 demo as well as see footage for the Spyro Trilogy games being released in a few weeks (line was too long to play myself). It was exciting to see gameplay of Gris, a beautifully illustrated experience which I discovered from people at work. We also spent a lot of time trying out the indie titles in PAX Rising, impressed by the high quality of games on show.
Having a quick look back at previous PAX Aus posts, I’ve realised how much the event has evolved since the first time we went back in 2014. While there are still big 3 – Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox – as well as computer hardware stalls and indie showcase, the culture of streaming has definitely seeped into the mix. The Twitch booth has always been present however the inclusion of the large PUBG play area, a Fortnite dance floor and multiple locations throughout the expo hall for live streamers was quite noticeable. I was also aware that a lot of my favourite Australian streamers were also attending and promoting sponsors over the weekend. It just goes to show how much streaming has become a part of game consumption.
Below is a selection of photos I took during our time wondering around the convention centre.
We’re finally at the last Eurotrip destination! Our final stop in Austria was Innsbruck, neatly residing within a valley between two large mountain ranges. After nearly a month of traveling, we took a more relaxed approach to the few remaining days we had left, turning down the notch on what we wanted to see and just spent time strolling the city or resting at the hotel. We were fortunate enough to have beautiful clear skies throughout our entire stay as well, making it a nice end to our long trip.
I’m not the type of person to make a big occasion out of my birthday. It’s usually just another work day with some cake and a couple of gifts thrown in there but I prefer to keep the event quite low-key.
For some time I’d been thinking about taking a little trip away after hearing about other people’s weekend getaways and I began look into places I might like to visit. In my head I thought that I needed a reason or something special to take this trip, maybe I should wait until next year and go away for my 30th. I was telling someone about this and they said ‘why not do it for your birthday this year?’. They were right, there was no reason to wait and I could treat myself to this.
I decided we would stay in Montville for a few days, hidden away in the hilly slopes of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Though our time away was short, we managed to visit the Maleny Botanic Gardens and the aviaries of Bird World, walk along one of the trails of Kondalilla National Park and see the falls as well as eat at variety of local restaurants like Secrets on the Lake and King Ludwig’s German Restaurant. I loved being up in the hills and surrounded by beautiful views, it was the perfect little escape for myself and I’m glad I got to spend some time away.
Below are a selection of photos from the short getaway in Montville :).