This is the creative home of Natalija Brunovs.
Designer, photographer, film maker, artist, teacher, deep thinker, drawer, spiritual seeker and one crafty lady.

I blog therefore I am!

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Dissecting the Heart

I've often pondered where the heart shape comes from.

Doesn't look much like our blood pumping, fleshy organ.

Here are my thoughts:

A heart shape represents so much more than our heart. It represents love, the heart of our being.

The Heart Chakra

Our heart chakra isn't positioned where our heart is, instead it's in the upper middle of the chest.
This chakra is the energy centre of our openness - our ability to love and be loved.

As it is with all chakras, they are in the centre of our body. That's because we want to be symmetrical, balanced, with our energy coming from the core.

So the heart-shape is, likewise, symmetrical. It could represent our heart chakra.


The Act of Love

It dawned on me that the heart shape could also define the direction of giving love, and receiving love.

Like a topographic view of a hug.

We give love out, like out stretched arms. Then that process draws love back in, filling us.
There is no such thing as running out of love to give. Love is a bottomless cup.


I've been seeing heart shapes in lots of places lately. Here are some of them photographed.

"Love was not put in your heart to stay, love is not love til you give it away" - a fortune cookie I once had.

So I left a little love in my morning walk.

[current mood] Fish Cakes & Sneezing


How to: Annoy your OCD housemate

The lovely Alice has a slight condition. She describes herself as "a little bit anal" and you know what that means, if someone even acknowledges their desire to have all forks facing west then you know they are fully obsessive compulsive!

For some reason Alice and I were drawn to live together. I suppose there is something we need to learn from each other.

Alice needs to learn not to control me and I need to learn not to be controlled by Alice.

That was a joke (Alice!). What I really need to learn is how to be true to myself within a more controlled environment as well as partake in some of the order, respecting Alice.

Alice needs to learn how to not get wound up by my spontaneous, messy, creative chaos and let things flow more.


But it's fun to tease Alice...

Leaving a pear with just one bite sitting on the kitchen bench all day.

Not properly closing the pantry door which leaves the auto-light on.

Taking the ordered cutlery and turning a spoon completely upside down. I'm so crazy.

Mixing up the canned vegetables varieties and making a pretty pattern.

Leaving a giant pom pom on the sofa.

Turning the right nob to face right, not left like the left one.

Taking over the kitchen bench with your office, hard drives and dirty crockery.

I've noticed Alice is getting used to it now. I think she's learned all she needs to from me and it's time to move on. My job is done.

As a farewell gift I bought her these gorgeous, handmade, imperfect, colourful tea cups

and she really liked them.

[current mood] Sushi & Other People Doing Hard Labour

ps I warned Alice about this post and the information herein may be slightly exaggerated and I may have in fact learned a few things from Alice. I'm balancing out my freestyling condition with a good dose of zen-like cleanliness, attention to detail and some planning. Just some.


From Blues to Bliss

Like an old log with hundreds of staples... I got into a bit of a blue state last weekend.

It resulted from going out to a club against my heart's desire and subsequently feeling like I was a) invisible b) ugly and c) unhappy.

I emailed a friend, my favourite knight in shining ink, who wordsmithed me back to a neutral level. I was reminded to NOT go to bars and expect any gratification and that I am beautiful to those that matter. This is not a space for me.

The next day the blues lingered as I walked by the lake to the farmers markets... but when I arrived I saw a friend holding beautiful roses and I thought 'I want!' so I went to the stall's man.
"Yellow for friendship" he said and then grabbed a bunch with a pink one in the mix. This made me happy. That's so me.

On the walk home I really saw the beauty of the lake, and instead of crossing the bridge, I walked down the slope and sat underneath it with my roses.

Rather than pass beauty by, I thought I'd take my glimpse into immersion.

The water was such an incredible teal.

The sky, an endless deep blue.

The distant sound of children giggling and dandelions skimming across the waters surface.

It caused me to shift. I suppose like a therapy, if you sit in beauty and observe, it starts to alter your mood.

I took this concept with me today, even though I was feeling pretty good.
I drove to a crochet class, following an urge I'd had for a while, I put all else aside and just went.

I loved learning something new with ol biddies whilst being given cups of tea
and being told I was very good for a beginner (always helps).

When I went to the van a man approached me to see if I wanted to sell it.
After ten minutes he had offered to teach me to surf and sail and I went on my merry way on a high.

I decided to take this vibe further and stopped at Cooroy Botanic Gardens which I had only heard about.

As soon as I walked in I saw two birds I'd never seen before. Unnoticed by other passers by.

Each step I gently took didn't seem to scare them. I couldn't believe how close they allowed me.
I had a little chat and whistle with them and then took a snap.

A tawny frogmouth I later find out.

And the beauty of everything in the park, people-less, came crashing into my heart.

I saw things I'd never seen.

A snowing white jacaranda

A cluster fig

I really wanted to analyse why I felt so good, how everything seemed to be so gorgeous and my life felt flowing.
I was afraid that if I thought too hard about it that it would slip between my fingers.

But I can't really help myself.

So my theory is that if you really do what your heart wants, in any moment, then life unfolds for you, just so, just beautifully.
And if you open your eyes to explore the space in which you heart is blooming, then this enhances the joy you feel.

Words never do convey the greatness of the experience, but I'm trying. And perhaps with pictures, you get more of the feeling.

Try it and see?

[current mood] Lettuce and Banana Smoothies & Marvin Gaye (ay!)


100 dolls, countless hearts!

 There's that little gap between pressing send on an email with an electronic PDF of a 200 page Indesign document and when it arrives in the mailbox to be unwrapped, revealing itself as a 3 dimensional glossy ex-tree smelling object!

I'm always impatient!

And it was a proud moment when I walked into the kitchen with my latest design in the pulp!

Here are some shots of the 100 Dolls, Countless Hearts book which I photographed and designed. You can see some of the 'making of' in my previous post Old chooks and dolls.

Buy it! It's inspirational, beautiful, just $30 and all proceeds go to orphans in South Africa.

As part of the design 'experience', I received many messages from the Uthando Project coordinator, Georgia Efford. She doesn't spare positive feedback when she's whipping me day and night with the most insane timeframe I've ever experienced! But I love Georgia's enthusiasm and relentlessly positive thinking.

Here are my favourites quotes of Georgia-inspiration that kept me going til the end.

"Jesus and all the apostles would be proud of you little miracle worker"


"I don't know truly how to thank you. Nat, it was way beyond the call of duty... and kept on being like that to the last gasp."


"Nat, you are a little humdinger, as my Dad would say."


"Nat, the book feels as if we are bringing some peace to the world."


"Absolutely thrilling Nat. I truly love your way of putting things together beautifully."


"You have accomplished marvels today Nat! xxx"


"You are most generous and are earning lots of Light Units"


"Hi Nat, the more i think about you juggling all these elements the more I love what you do and the can do attitude. In retrospect, the funniest thing was me confidently saying "Oh Nat we will have the text ready for you when you arrive!!!!!!!!!!" How did you cope with so much unknown all the time?"

That's my favourite. Real acknowledgement of the challenge. And that's what you want from clients. Awareness and appreciation.

And for such positive feedback, acknowledging my accumulating light units towards my ascension to heaven, I'd do it all again!

[current mood] detox high & the smell of yellow roses


USA Road Trip

I've spent the last 3 weeks on a road trip with a time-telling travelling-banana in the United States of America.

I started with my great friend Liz and then met my family for a road trip through Louisiana.

As per my nature, I didn't take any photographs with my pro camera. I prefer, when on holidays, just BEING.

I still think like a photographer and see the photos all around me, I just don't take them home with me.

Others choose to put an electronic device between themselves and the moment. I like to have direct connection to the experience.

There are a few moments that I just want to shoot though... my memory isn't good and a photo can be a trigger for a whole event. So I whip my pocket sized phone and snap.

Here are those VERY FEW moments...

America: The only place you'll find Spam Sushi. A rainbow over the bay in San Fran as we walk back from our trip to Alcatraz. Reminds me of our nights in San Fran with sailors, strippers, karaoke and, of course, our good friend, booze.

The beautiful Japanese garden in the heart of SF. A squirrel poses in a beam of light. The mossy bed around tree bases. Reminds me about the thrill of Japanese design: It's like perfect chaos. Everything is so rightly beautiful in it's inperfection.

Liz and I have a penchant for taking images of ourselves in the same environment I just realised.
Vegetarian Diner in Santa Barbara. Reminds me where I tried my first root beer and where we wasted hours of our road trip.

The morning after in pink robes at The Madonna Inn. A tastelessly designed motel on the road to Big Sur.
Each room is a different theme. It looked like a mini-Heidelberg. Reminds me where not to stay!

The curving coast road has these plants that look like massive feather darts all over the hills.
Reminds me how I majorly heart Big Sur, log cabins in the wood, fireside dining and American Indian everything.

Liz and I part. I meet my family and head to a Louisiana ranch. It's horse-everything. The guy has a full nightclub out the back, so are forced into family-fun-time, karaoke and line dancing. It reminds me of fun in the oddest of places.

If that didn't kill me, this nearly did. The state fair, healthiest choice was a Turkey Leg. It reminds me of torture.

Something came over me and I bought some genuine Texan cowboys boots (made in Mexico)
and we visited our long lost great-uncle who took us through every variety of Oak tree he planted 70 years ago. It reminds me of the grandfather I never had and where many of my traits come from.

The family then hit the road to NOLA (New Orleans). We ate at Slim Goodies Diner - best breaky out! We dropped by one of mum's old schools. It reminds me of what typifies America's deep south.

We stayed in a 1800's mansion and we all wanted to buy one. This idyllic life contrasted with the gentle crazyness that was New Orlean's Bourban St. Had a ball. I danced to the Cajun washboard in the middle of the day with freelancing hoolahoop artist and co-ordinated dance groups. It reminds me how a city that is based on music is a beautiful place to be in.

My favourite moments were joining a moving-street-party that roamed with a bicycle DJ and scooter bar. I took over a piano at 'the oldest bar in the state' and made a new friend bashing out some notes, looked up and the room was strangely cleared. I ate 3am pizzas, french donuts, burgers and fries, gumbo, fancy scallops, and drank some of the worst coffee known to man. I actually had FUN with my family.


America delivered! And I'll be back for more.

[current mood] Charlie Parker & Quinoa and Sprouts at home.


Wreaths or Meat Cleavers for Weddings?

This is what my house can look like prior to a wedding shoot...
The mess of me creating accessories and props.

Last week I scoured op shops for fake-flowers so I could create wreaths to use in their wedding booth 'studio'. I asked the couple if they wanted a silly booth or a sophisticated one. They said "definitely sophisticated". So I went in search of things that would be classy... or at least pretty.

I made a backdrop with sheer curtain and some branches and blossoms.

It was just me and Oscar in the house so I had to use us both to test how it looks under the lights.
Oscar takes a good pic!

I just loved making these floral wreaths, so much that I started coming up with another creative-business-venture-concept. One of twenty circulating in my head right now...

Weddings are really occupying most of my brain capacity currently. When one is approaching I become immersed in it's details, ideas for locations and ways to uniquely shoot this couple.

The wedding was Valentina & Amnon. Here are a couple details.

I'll show you more next time, but here is another favourite:

mmm how tender is that!

And okay, just one more that shows some of my prop-work.

I went in early and set up the photo booth.

It looked lovely in the afternoon light as guests arrived.

I love creating spaces with decor that adds to the mood of the party.

Here are the two shots that used one of my three wreaths:

The groom had re-thought 'sophisticated' and picked up a few extra props which ended up being the most loved by the guests. Of course! Mixing virgins with devils... how can you resist?

Or virgin's with (now) necklace-wreaths and he-brides.

Or meat cleavering vikings with sophisticated blondes...

I might have to re-think my beautiful flower wreath idea and work on more devilish and raunchy concepts!

[current mood] New Orleans jazz permeating every space & scallops


Old Chooks and Dolls

Grannies, zulu dolls and a whole lot of "The Nat on the farm goes click click click".

(Quote from a song to get a child to pull a happy face for my camera).

This is my life right now. Most of it anyway.
I've been putting in the hard yards in the last week working on a book for the Uthando Project. (and woman on a mission - the radiant Georgia Efford).
Today was spent adjusting photographs, conceptualising the layout and borrowing mum's sewing machine to make stuffed letters.

I stuffed up the stuff, but it was just to show how we'll do the cover type for:

100 dolls

Then exceptional artiste, Lynne Tognolini, started blanket stitching some felt letters which are looking super sweet.

I'm doing most of the photography and the design of this book which is due to print in two weeks. (!)

Here is a sneak preview.

The book will feature words from organisations in Kwa Zulu Natal - South Africa about the state of human affairs, children's lives and how dolls made by multicultural Australians are making a real impact in the lives of families.

Photos above supplied by NGOs in KZN

The book will feature a range of portraits of the doll makers from Australia, from all different backgrounds.

And all different ages

I suggested we mix up the portraits by asking people to bring their own background fabric, something with meaning to them.

Each maker will tell us a little about their childhood experiences.

The book will tell us the power of these little dolls to enable a child to grieve, express, understand and feel the love. The doll 'experience' runs deeper still as the makers teach other makers, here and in South Africa. The dolls are also used as a medium to teach psychology principles to caregivers and highlight the importance of play for a child's growth - and as a child's right.

To quote Anne Sorenson "I've got the doll addiction, but it's a good addiction to have".

The book will have all the patterns you need to sew or knit dolls from babies to grandmas to warriors.

Essentially, it will be a resource for organisations around the world, as it presents a template for making culturally relevant dolls and how to work with the caregivers and communities.

To find out more about the Uthando Project visit www.uthandoproject.com

You can even buy my documentary film there for a $10 donation. I made it a couple of years ago in South Africa.

For now, I'm head down in the book, but there is always time for some music and dancing on set.

[current mood] Pills Shaking in the Bottle & Leftovers


Back to the Good Old Days

I've been picking flowers lately... in the middle of the weekdays.

I have fond memories of living in Cottesloe, Perth in 2009. I was existing in a sunbeam of light. At the beach every day, even in the rain, wandering leafy alley ways, making discoveries, picking fruits and flowers.

I then thought other parts of Australia might offer me a life I was missing out on. So I got in a van and travelled with two German backpackers and dedicated beetroot juicer across this vast country.

And of course, Oscar... who went from black and white to a burnt umber all over.

I stopped in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast with the vision to live on acreage and do art... somewhere around this point I was tempted into a job. A real 9-5 kind of job. A job too good to overlook.

I took this job as a media producer with the ABC and made films and stories with the community of the Sunshine Coast. I started meeting amazing people, old folk, artists... I made friends.

I helped create stories that were tear-wrenching, belly-laughing and simple beautiful. These have been shown on tv, online and on air.


Anzac Day: Our Meaning from ABC Open Sunshine Coast on Vimeo.

My favourite story of which will always be Bill, who is travelling with dementia.

I even co-produced a national Indigenous project with resounding success called 'DreamBox'. Capturing the dreams of hundreds of our country's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

But there was no time left for, literally, smelling the flowers... let alone picking them.

I realised I had led myself astray from the initial vision. I started to crave my earlier freedom, my ability to create when and where I liked, being in close proximity to the beach and to a constant flow of sunlight... which naturally leads me to enlightenment.

SO I quit.

And it feels soooooo good.

I feel my groove coming back, my creativity directed to me and specific beloved projects.

I am taking back the fact that life should feel like a holiday, that time is the most precious commodity, that I have a creativity that needs to be honoured in my own art. Life can be simple yet rich.

Expect blog posts about all the little things that are back in my life, at all times of day, and from anywhere in the world.

flowers in focuses

 [current mood] fresh juice, detox pills and the sound of a waterfall


I'll take a photo of your teapot, for your teapot.

I love shooting things that I love. Such as this artwork 'Tea Brake' by Kim Schoenberger.

It seems I only shoot things I love... 

such as delicious food, photographed so well I want to eat it.

and old men, with their faces of wrinkles and hearts all melty. I just want to cuddle their quirky selves.

and then, of course, love ceremonies... where the beauty of the occasion inspires me with every shot.

and then, there is art!

Art that when I photograph it, I get so excited, I want it!

I had the privilege of taking photographs of Kim Schoenberger's assemblages. She makes them from discarded materials she finds in dumpsters and such places. The way they come together is some sort of magic. Unsuspecting pieces just fit into each other, Kim tells me. She seems to always find what she needs. And the pieces form, in many ways, themselves.

I set up my 'mobile studio' in her studio. Using a white table as a reflector. That's why they "pay me the big bucks". ah ha....

Keeping Afloat. You can see Kim uses clay with her metal pieces, to bring that earthy feel into form.

Domestic Duties - I saw this as a little robo-maid.

Be Love, Love Me.

I love this one too. Reminds me of an indigenous symbol - Wandjina. Or something of ancient, biblical symbolism. Those are clay-made bones, sticking out.

I met Kim through the ABC Open project Artist by Artist. You can watch this short film made on her, by children's book author Pat Flynn.

I did the cinematography and editing. Pat wrote the script and directed the piece.

Kim by Pat from ABC Open Sunshine Coast on Vimeo.


I HEART Kim and her work!

And what I find most excellent is the swapping of things for things - as opposed to money for things.

I chose the teapot as a little barter for a discount.

Now I need to find some fresh vegetables and some kind of shelter to photograph. That way I can really survive on this barter economy!

[current mood] home made muesli bars & kookaburras


Cranes on a Plane

My friend and fellow earth-lover, Ilka Blue of The Last Tree came up with the idea to send Japanese Tsunami victims 1001 paper cranes.

Ilka wrote:

Senbazuru is the art of folding one thousand origami cranes. As the legend goes, you will be granted one wish by a mystical crane.

So I am going to make cranes as a way of connecting to the victims of these catastrophes. I am inviting anyone who wants to join me to make as many paper cranes as we can to send to the people of Japan as a heart gesture and a sign of the prayers and love we are sending them.

As per my reputable style, I took up the notion with vigor but not action... until the deadline was upon me... and the second reminder email had come through...

BUT I was leaving for Cairns without a second to spare!


I took my ten cranes in my suitcase and a packet of origami paper.

I made ten more in the back of the car on the drive to the airport...

I utilised my folding tray table as the name intended.
I reminded my co-traveller how to do it so we could double-our-lot.
But this wasn't going to be enough. So I made an announcement on the plane...

There was a group of restless school students that were keen to learn.

Nothing like a little learning activity to make the time fly.
I think they should offer such things as part of the in-flight entertainment!

And so I was able to fill up a box at the post office in the tropics, for a flight back to Ilka, and then a flight to Japan!

These cranes sure do get around.

[current mood] Almond Butter & Holly Throsby

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