Wednesday, 9 December 2009

JYC Days 3, 4 & 5

Ok so I'm a little behind. But it's fine (I'm still embracing the no stress approach). I'm on a day off tomorrow and will play catch up infront of a good film. Or atleast that's the plan.

But anyway, here's 3 more pages for my journal!

Day 3 was a change from the prompt as I don't do hand made cards and a visit from my crafty friend Jenny made the perfect "December Daily" style entry about knitting.

Day 4 was all about perfection, which to me is a beautiful home filled with beautiful decorations and spending time with my loved ones. Bliss. But I do have to confess that's a photo from last year as I still haven't got the tree up this year...

And finally the counting down entry that features the photo of George. I love this photo of him and I love the birdies on this page... Yes George would no doubt be over the moon if he had a birdie waiting behind each door of his calender rather than milk and cat nip drops!

So that's about it for today. I'm off to watch True Blood now and then to bed as I've got another private ski lesson tomorrow. Eeekkk!

Monday, 7 December 2009

How cute?

Ok so I had every intention of trying to blog every day in December. I failed. How does it work that when I have more time at the weekend I seem to end up with less time to do what I want to do? No I can't work it out either. Maybe it's working in a retail environment (ok so in HR but in HR for a HUGE retail company) that is meaning my christmas spirit is rather lacking this year. Christmas is not fun, it's bloody hard work!

But I am trying to get in the Christmas spirit regardless. I've still yet to put up the decorations (despite intending to on Sunday but I just wasn't in the mood). Hopefully when I get round to it sometime this week I'll feel slightly more festive.

However I am still keeping up with JYC, it's just lack of daylight and working long hours have prevented me from photographing them. I'll make an effort tomorrow. The release of Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince on DVD scuppered any plans I had for tonight I'm afraid! Ok so that is one benefit of working in a supermarket... super cheap new release offer + staff discount = mega cheap!

However, on the subject of JYC I'll leave you with this super cute photo. One of the recent prompts was about counting down and this year I'm afraid to admit I don't have an advent calender. However George does! Somehow in the madness I bought him one but not me or Mark. So cue Mark (well his hands at least!) and George patiently (or should I say not so patiently waiting) for his daily treat.

Ok so now I'm off for a little knitting before bed. Whilst wearing Mark's Skull Candy headphones. Ssshhhhh don't tell him. They're mine now! And if you haven't seen Skull Candy headphones before check them out here. They are mega cool, so many funky designs. We've got the wireless ones meaning I can dance round the house like a loonatic with them on. Maybe not so cool then... Haha!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Knitting The Night Away

Just a quick post today. Have spent the evening making a start on my second knitting project (and first proper one). It's a scarf, for my holiday to the Alps at the start of next year. And I love it, I really do. So simple but I'm happy. Big wool + Big Needles = Instant Gratification.

Jenny came round and we quite happily spent a few hours knitting, drinking tea (or in my case coffee) and have a general knatter. Or "Stitch & Bitch" for want of a better phrase. Her knitting is amazing, seriously she's so talented. I can't even big to comprehend how she is doing her current christmas stockings. Check out her blog if you have a minute, you won't be disappointed.

Todays prompt for JYC is about cards. I don't do cards. I can't make cards even if I wanted to, they just don't work for me. So yes, I am a crafter and buy my cards. All of them. Really I do. Even the special ones... Believe me they get a much nicer card when it's bought! So I'm not worrying about it and today my journal entry will be a la Ali Edwards and a December Daily entry about knitting. It's a stress free project remember?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

JYC and Fake TTV!

Yeah alright, enough with all the acronyms! But hey, I know what they mean and I'm sure most of you do as well.

So I managed to take the photo this morning that I needed for the first prompt. Christmas decorations hanging on a bare branch outside. Totally inspired by this photo from Shimelle.

Anyway, when I'd taken it it still needed a little work to be what I imagined in my head. So after tweaking it in photoshop to "age" it and adding a fake TTV overlay I was happy and had the image I'd imagined in my head. For those of you who don't know TTV stands for Through The Viewfinder and is a technique done by taking a photograph using a digital camera through the view finder of a much older camera. But you can also recreate it using photoshop, there's loads of free layers about. I like searching on Flickr where lots of people upload shots taken of blank pieces of paper using their old cameras. The one I've used is here.

So I for my first page of the journal I wrote about what I want from this journal. Very similar to the standard one given by Shimelle but I've tweaked it slightly to include some stuff about photography.

And so the second prompts leads us to take about the weather. I captured this shot at sunrise hanging out of my bedroom window! I love winter and how easy it is to get excellent sunrise and sunset photos, the abundance of clouds at this time of year certainly help!

The second page in my journal talks about how I like cold dry weather but in this country it's more likely to be cold and wet which I hate. And of course about how I love the beautiful sunrises and sunsets at this time of the year.

This year I've decided to do my numbers different everyday. Some will be pretty similar, and I've made quite a few already but I'm loving mixing the styles up. Stops me getting bored anyway!
Tonight I'm going to try and do the cover to my album and maybe even make a start on my new knitting project. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with pictures to share.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

And so commences JYC 2009... {plus knitting and eye candy}

How did 6 weeks go by without a blog post? How are we in December? I have no idea what happened to this year. I really don't. It's hard to get my head round the fact that it's December, as some HUGE changes in my life are due to begin in the new year which is both so scary and so exciting that I can't quite begin to get my head round it.

However, for now it's December and that can only mean 1 thing... Journal Your Christmas 2009. I've nothing to share yet, some pictures tomorrow though. I've done my first page but I need a photograph to complete it. I know what I want to take but I need to get outside to do it and as I only decided this after it had gone dark it'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

I'm not really stressing too much about it this year. Some pages will be fancy than others. Some will have no journalling. Some will have lots. But what every page will have is a photograph, photography is a huge part of my life and in my opinion it's the perfect way to document the season for my journal.

So what else have I been doing in my extended absence from blogland? Well I went to see this. And yes it was as good as I hoped. And yes I'm still into Robert Pattinson / Edward Cullen... I know it's a bit unhealthy but I can't help it! Haha, if only Mark was a vampire!

In other news, I've finally learnt to knit. Like I actually really needed a new hobby (or a new type of stash to buy!) but I love it. I recently purchases these beautiful yarns in the yummiest of colours to turn into something for my rapidly approaching ski holiday to the French Alps.

However, before I make a start on those I need to finish my first project... a very simple scarf. The perfect beginner project for me to build my confidence. It's nearly finished and I love it!

So surely going to watch New Moon and knitting can't have kept me busy all this time? Well no, photography is to blame as well. It's been taking over my free time of late, but I knew this would happen. College is a lot more intense this year but I love it, I really do. However, I will do my best to keep up to date with blogging my JYC entries... I hope!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

If you go down to the woods today...'re sure to find lots of mushrooms and toadstools!

We went to Bowland Wild Boar Park today, and even though the weather was rubbish we still had a nice time. We did the nature walk this time which we haven't done before, which leads you through some lovely woods that are full of different types of toadstools and mushrooms. I managed to snap photos of quite a few different ones.

Love these puffballs below, they look just like little round balls on the floor!

However, I think the only disappointment of the day was the Fly Agaric, aka the ultimate stereotypical red and white toadstool. I love cartoon type images of these but have never actually seen one in real life. When the handout told us they had these in the woods I was very excited, but when we finally found them they were all well past their best and rotten. This sorry looking specimin below was the best of the bad bunch. Oh well, maybe next time!

We also bought some Wild Boar steaks which we had for tea, they were very nice if a little fatty but a lovely flavour. If you're nearby in Lancashire I'd definately recommend a trip there, it's a great day out.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Camera Envy

It seems a long time now since I got my Canon EOS 450d DSLR. It's over a year ago now and I went through a whole range of emotions. From excitement at getting one, to being genuinely scared of it (I didn't have a clue how to use it and actually didn't turn it on for 3 days!) and then finally I was so happy to finally have a decent camera I could learn to use properly.

These days I'm very much in my comfort zone with my camera. It feels natural to use it, and I know where everything is on it. I genuinely do love my camera. However, sometimes I find myself wishing it did a little more. Don't get me wrong, it's a great camera but I find myself more and more often wishing it did that little bit extra.

Another thing I find is that I talk about photography a lot, but it's funny how many people do actually really like their photography. It was by chance that I mentioned to someone at work that I'm doing photography at college and it was also by chance that he told me his friend who had just started at our branch also liked his photography. We got talking, and I realised just how much he liked his photography. Everyone rolls their eyes these days when he comes in the office as they know the topic of conversation will be photography!

He brought his camera in to work today. And I am in awe. He has a Nikon D2X (yes I know boo to the Nikon but seriously it's amazing). It is seriously just in another league, it makes my look like a toy. It's so big!

I had great fun today with it, although I did get that momentary fear as I realised I didn't have a clue how to use it. Everything was in the wrong place! But I soon figured it out and was snapping away with it. It's amazing, there's no other way to describe it.

And to give you some kind of a comparison of this camera to mine look at the photo below. The Nikon D2X is the camera at the back of these 2. The camera at the front (the tiny little one!) is a Nikon D70 which is a similar size to mine. See, I told you it made mine look like a toy!

And so have I been converted to Nikon? I think not. It's a very nice camera but I still want a Canon. However it has made me realise just how ready I am to upgrade mine to a medium format DSLR. The next step up into the professional range have so much more to offer, and the Canon 5d Mk II is definately on my most wanted list right now. For now I'll have to be patient (and convince Alan to take me out with him so I can use his!) but today really has made me realise that I do want to make the leap of faith and upgrade my camera. Yes I'll have to go through that learning curve all over again and will probably be scared of it to start and wish I still have my 450d but it'll all be worth it. One day, one day soon!
But for now, I've got serious camera envy!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

8 Knits I Love Sunday...

...and wish I had the skill to make. {Sigh}

Bear Hat at Red Velvet Art

Thigh High Footless Socks

Jane Slouchy Winter Hat

Pasha Slouch Hat

Perdita Beaded Bracelet

Long Wrist Warmers

Baudelaire Lacy Socks

I'm loving knitting right now and I'm already well on the way to completing my first project, a scarf! However, I can't help lusting over the huge number of pretty knits out there... I just need a bit more practise first!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Big Knit 2009

Because I really needed another hobby didn't I? Like I really have enough time to do everything I want to do and have many a spare hour waiting to be filled...


But seriously, I have acquired a new hobby. Knitting! Yes really. I blame Jenny, it's all her fault with her lovely knitted goodies that I've been admiring.... And then talking about it at work. So for my birthday one of the girls I work with bought me a "Learn to Knit with Barbie" kit! So much fun but the instructions made no sense what so ever. All I can say is thank goodness for You Tube!

And then, with perfect timing we are taking part in the Big Knit 2009 at work with Innocent Smoothies & Sainsburys. Basically, you knit little woollie hats and send them off to Innocent and they put them on their Smoothie Bottles and for every one sold Innocent & Sainsburys will donate 35p to Age Concern & Help The Aged this winter.

I've only just started, my first is a work in progress but it's coming along quickly and while it's not perfect it's not too bad!

If you want to join in you can find out just about everything you need to know (including some sample patterns to get you started) on the Innocent Website.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Back from the Twilight Zone...

...kind of.

So where have I been? Well I was drawn hook line and sinker into the phenomenon that is Twilight. Mark bought me the film for my birthday last week and that was it. I ordered the books from Amazon and devoured them, reading them way too quickly like I always do (I read the final Harry Potter book in half a day when it first came out, I know I shouldn't but I just can't help it!).

And my only regret? That I saw the film first. I kinda make a point that I like to read the book before seeing a film adaptation as I like to form my own images of the characters and locations. After doing this one the other way round I see all the characters as they are in the film.

So what now? I need to try and remember what I did with my spare time prior to the Twilight obsession... whilst I try and restrain myself from rereading the books again!

However, I have still been playing along with LSNED... I just haven't got round to blogging any of it. I'll try and do a big catch up post soon.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Catching Up

Didn't get time to blog last night so time to play catch up today. Infact if I'm honest I didn't scrap my page either, but as it was Sunday today I did the pages for both Friday and Saturday this morning.

So what have I been learning? (That also happens to be the reason why I didn't blog or scrap!)

That Saturday night is Pizza night!

Ok so I totally stole that phrase from Jenny's facebook status on Friday but I'm sure she won't mind.
And so onto the pages. Friday's came together easily and I really like this. Not that it was anything to do with the subject matter but I tried to keep with the colour tone in the photo and I do like it - and I stuck to the basket so yay for the basket once more!

Not so keen on the page from Saturday though. it's missing something and in my mind just doesn't work quite so well. But anyway, it's done and in the album so I won't stress about it.

And finally what have I learnt today. Well in complete contrast to Saturday night I have learnt...
That everything always tastes better when you've grown it yourself.

Yummy spring onions from our veg plot that I pulled up to go in a chicken and vegetable stir fry that I made for tea. A bit of a change to the junk food we had for tea on Saturday!
We've loved growing our own veg this year, it's been the first time we've tried it and we've certainly lived and learnt by our mistakes. The peppers (both chill and sweet) are doing well on the window sill in my craft room and are in various stages of ripeness (we've had some of the sweet peppers already and the chill peppers are just starting to ripen).
The tomatoes are amazing, so sweet and juicy and much much better than those bought in the shops. They've done really well and we've got loads on them. Oh and the lettuce is fine as well, onto are third crop now and I must say I'll be rather upset when I can't just walk outside and pick a few leaves as and when I want them. I love mixed salad leaves so I'm wondering if I'll be able to grow them all year round on the window sill. Has anyone tried this?

Friday, 4 September 2009

Day 4 - I'm still keeping up!

Which is quite a big achievement for me. I think the planning and preperation before this started are really paying off, each page is so quick and easy to create. I guess for some including a photo every day might be a hassle, but well I love taking photos and they fill a big part of my page. Definately works for me.

So todays lesson?

That now the kids have gone back to school the time it takes for me to get to work in the morning has doubled!

And it's not good. Really it isn't. In the holidays (or at the weekend) it takes me less than 15 minutes to get to work. When the kids are at school it takes me 30 minutes. I hate traffic!

And as I remembered to take photos in the daylight today here are the pages I've made for the 2nd and the 3rd. I even included the receipt for the shopping tooked behind the photo Wednesday's page. It's not stuck down as the photo is only glued down on the other side and the clip holds it all down flat on the page. Will be interesting to look back on what we bought this time next year!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Day 3 - Winter's On The Way

So the lesson learnt from today?

Layers, fluffy socks and turning the heating on for the first time all are real signs that winter is definately on the way.

No really it is. There's no denying it now as over the last few days the weather has really changed. I woke up this morning to rain and wind which continued all morning, well actually the wind has carried on all day and it's rained to a greater and lesser degree all day.

Not only that, but it's colder. When I got out of bed I was cold which hasn't happened for ages. And as it was my day off today that meant I wrapped myself up warm with lots of layers, the central heating went on for the first time and out came my thick fluffy socks. I'm dreading another winter in the office though. It's nice and cool in summer which is nice but it's quite literally freezing in the winter... And I'm a cold person anyway so it'll mean t shirts underneath my blouse and my fleece on constantly. But saying that we're getting the new uniform soon so fingers crossed it's warmer than the old one!

I have scrapped yesterdays photo of the shopping too, but as it's dark now I can't get a decent photo of it so I'll take one tomorrow. Seriously, I need a camera with better ISO sensitivity (especially when I can't be bothered running the photo through a noise reducing program). If I had to give one flaw for the 450D it would be the noise issue at ISO 1600... But then again if that means I've actually got more of a reason to upgrade to a 5D is that really such a bad thing!

Day 2 - Not Every Day is Extraordinary

I had every intention of posting this yesterday but well, I was that tired watching tv and then bed was a far more appealing option!

So first things first here's the finished page with the photo from the 1st. Tried to keep it quick and simple as that's the only way I'll see this project through to the end.

And then what did I learn yesterday? Well that not every day is extraordinary, sometimes it's all about the everyday. Afterall, that's why it's called the "everyday" is it not? My day yesterday went something like this... Work, Shop, Eat, Scrap, Sleep. Nothing particularly exciting or interesting so I took a little bit of a closer look at the everyday and what I could learn from that.

And you know what got me thinking, the cost of living. A very current subject so I think it'll be interesting to look back at what things cost at this moment as the weekly shopping bill seems to just keep going up. There's only two of us but seriously it keeps getting more and more. Ok so we don't exactly try and cut costs but neither do we buy a lot of luxury items. And yes I do find it highly amusing that the only thing you can really make out in this shot are 2 Old El Paso kits!!! We do normally eat healthy I promise and the rest of the shop was much better...

Anyway I intend to scrap the receipt along with this photo as I was of recording the sort of things we are buying at the moment and how much they cost. Ok so not the most exciting of pages but I do think it'll be interesting in the future!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Day 1 - One Good Deed

So today was the official start of Shimelle's September class Learn Something New Every Day and tonight I settled down with the basket of yummy stash I'd put together for the class and did the front page. Ok so it's rather a shameless scraplift of Shimelle's front page but it got me back in the swing of scrapping again and I did love the page.

Oh and apologies for the rather dodgy white balance on this, but it is 9.30pm here and I couldn't be bothered changing it in photoshop!

And so onto the first day of class. What did I learn today...

...That doing something for somebody else can have unexpected benefits.

And the story behind it. Well as I sais in the last post he is out of action at the moment and he needed to go into the workshop today so I said I'd take him in. As some of you already know, I start work early as it is and so this meant getting up even earlier than I normally do. But if I hadn't got up early I'd have still been in bed during the beautiful sunrise we had here this morning. Ok so it was even more stunning when I first got up but it still made a pretty nice photo by the time I'd remembered about LSNED and got my camera.
And how cool both the sun and the moon are in the shot? I didn't actually realise until after I'd taken the photo but never mind. I'll blame it on still being half asleep.

And so I've now printed the photo out and it's ready to scrap tomorrow. The class runs a day behind, so you scrap the previous days thoughts and ideas if that makes sense.
Oh and I got a delivery of the new Cosmo Cricket today, it's sooooooo pretty I can't stop stroking it!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Normal Service has Resumed

Once again there has been a rather unintentional extended pause in my blogging and general online activities but life got in the way. Namely the fact that he fell off his mountain bike, dislocated bones in the back of his right hand and had to have them wired back together... not nice at all.

So for those of you waiting to here from me and I haven't got back to you recently I'm sorry but as you can imagine things got a little crazy round here. However, he's on the mend and things are returning to normal so I can get back into the swing of things again.

Speaking of which, Learn Something New Every Day starts tomorrow. And I'm all set to go. The biggest thing I've learnt so far is it pays to be organised. And I am. I think the best thing I ever did was to buy some baskets that I could organise supplies for different projects in at any one time. I have three nice magazine baskets that sit in a row on my desk and can just be lifted up and taken into the front room or wherever I feel like crafting. I'm lucky enough to have a huge desk and so can do this but I really do recommend the "basket" technique.

So what have I got in my basket? Well the basic tools of trimmer and scissors and then so pretty punches and stamps too. You can't really see it but the other week I treated myself to a huge bingo stamp and it's amazing. Woodbacked stamps are big in my world right now. I love them!

And then there's the other pretties. A selection of mainly Hambly patterned papers and overlays, dotted swiss and kraft card stock goodness with some vintage book paper and sheet music too. Mini thickers, tiny alphas, ribbons, prima leaves and an assortment of other little embellishments.

And do you know what the point is now? If it isn't in the basket it's not being used. Well, the only exception is my buttons (which are kept in a HUGE glass jar and embroidery thread). Simple really, there's more than enough to create the whole album in there and it's makes it so much quicker. I'm aiming to spend no more (hopefully less) than 30 minutes per night on this as if I'm honest I tend to spend longer than that watching TV or on the internet so it's hardly an impossible task! Oh and hopefully daily blogging too!

In other news I passed my City & Guilds Level 2 in Digital Image Capture with flying colours and have enrolled on the Level 3 which starts next week. So exciting!