Thursday, January 29, 2009

Esther's Square

That is what the square picked for the Craftster CAL square for January is called. Well I had to do it didn't I!

It's a nice square too. Most 12" squares seem to be done for Worsted weight yarn which I assume must be the standard weight in the states where as double knitting is more common here. As a result my squares will not be 12" probably more like 9". This one has turned out nearer to 8 currently but many people seem to be coming out with them smaller than 12" and it has been suggested the pattern writer crochets quite loosely. I will even up the size of the blocks once I have several I think. Quite tempted to do a second perhaps in a single colour but for now I will try the other January ones I think or start on feb.

I would love to use some fantastic wool or similar but I'm trying to stick strictly to a budget and have small kids in the house so i picked 4 balls of acrylic wool blend from my local shop which hopefully means I can get more later if I need to.. They are much more muted than my normal colours but I mostly have rainbow acrylics currently and I wanted more grown up than that. It's probably a good thing I didn't find Attic24 till this morning or I would have been so tempted to try and find colours like she uses and my budget would be totally blown!

The plan is to do one or more of the squares of the month off Ravelry and/or Craftster and end up with a blanket.. what for I'm not sure yet.. might keep it might gift it we will see. The astute of you will notice the mystery sq from yesterday is in the same yarns! I can do small repetitive things like this at moments when i can't sew or similar which is good.

Crochet and one photo

A very quick post.. I'm way behind on the photo a day posts though I have been taking them.

I have also been doing some crochet. I have decided I like things that make me do a bit a day or something in parts like the miracle gro and like CALs (crochet a longs) so among other things I am doing a mystery sq CAL on Ravelry and this is how far I have got, now need to wait for the next bit to be posted .. I do know it's a sq but that's all. It should be 12" but with the yarn I'm using it will probably come out about 9"

Plus this is the photo for day 27.. Treestump and his new 'hat' do you think he will kill me when he gets older?

Monday, January 26, 2009

More crochet dolls

I finished and gave away three more dolls to our youngest three nephews. The original one is firmly Treestumps and Noodles is very determined he should have one too. Plus Tom's cousin has asked for one each for her two (one's even a girl what a novelty !) so I still have several more to make.!

I think I put the eyes on the twins a bit high and want to get some better eyes than these generic black ones too, though the felt outer eye is quite cute too. I didn't make a mistake on the orange and green one and forget to change colours then decide I was not frogging it when I was running out of time.. no, no not at all it's meant to be that way.. and actually I quite like it more baby like some how, particularly combined with minimal hair !.

I will do another photo catch up post later or possibly tomorrow.

Just realised I didn't post the scarf I made either, so here it is, made from a nice soft snuggly chunky acrylic called marble. It's a keyhole scarf so has a hole through one side which the other side threads through.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

365 - Catching up

Day 14 - One reason I am very glad our tea making station is higher than a normal work-surface, which would be about the height of the dresser on the right !Day 15 - a 'tent' with compter access of course....and then a moment later attack of the baby !
This last weekend I went away for the first time since Treestump was born without him. I think I found it harder than he did as he was very ably looked after by Jon and my mum. It was a good weekend even if I did go down with a cold halfway through.

Day 16 - A puppet show at the Havockstan player event - The Compt and Dubious.
Day 17 - Two Millen Ladies, dressed for dinner. Peacock feather eyelashes and all.
Day 18 - The aftermath of the event.. Sunday morning clear up. The lass on the left hand side is the one in the wig in the previous picture.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

RIP Tony Hart

Tony Hart has died he was an inspiration to all children of my generation and made art seem vibrent and interesting. He was also largely influential in shaping the way childrens programs are today, the best ones anyway and I think the first to have British sign language in a program with Vision On which was so good most of us didn't take in it was a sign language program as the way the signs were used was so natural and well incorporated something newer programs have struggled to do till Something Special came along..

Probably the best known prop he worked with was Morph a little animated figure made of plasticine who kept us all entertained with his antics.

Here is another link with more details about his life and work.

Tony has been retired a few years now and lived to a good age but his passing is the end of an era. Goodbye Tony.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

365 - days 11 to 13

Day 11 - Bath-time fun.Day 12 - What do you mean my cup of tea shouldn't be half the size of my computer !.. Now if I could only get the eeepc support people to give me a full answer on how to load gimp onto the eeepc it would be much better.
Day 13 - My monthly treat !

Saturday, January 10, 2009

365 - day 10

Today's picture is a puzzle or is that doing a puzzle?Done a quick layout with the picture too.

New Blogwear

Done by me using a kit by Ladybug which she made for this month's miracle gro challenge on DSG. The cream paper is from the dec petals kit by Karen Wallace also on DSG.

a few layouts

Just done this one of the moon. Very simple as it is basically just the photograph a couple of times but I think it works.
Then there is this one from our holiday to the grandparents this summer. I made the background papers myself from bits of the photograph and various effects in GIMP which i could do more of. It was partly inspired by the technique challenge on DSG called Follow Us Down the Garden Path w/Liz & Elaine. They explained how to make papers from photos and suggest using ones that are good but a little out of focus and similar. The elements are from the seaside splendour kit put together last summer by Tempus Fugit and nbk.
Finally the first of this month's Miracle gro challenges again at DSG. I think this months kit is one of my favorite yet.

Day 9 - project 365

Day 9 saw me trying out my new camera and taking it on the school run. I was hoping to take a picture of our lollypop man and he suggested I took one of him and Noodles as soon as he saw the camera. Taken on the central island of the main road between our house and school.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

365 - Day 8

Technically I didn't take this one, Tom did but I thought it was wonderful. I was planning to do something else other than Treestump today but hey.

I did adjust it in GIMP to take the background out of focus.

Shows his two teeth wonderfully, I hope they will soon be joined by the top ones because they are defiantly trying to come through currently.

New Camera

Happy Dance !!!

I had resigned myself to not having a new camera for a while as it looked like to get the specs I wanted was going to cost too much money and I didn't want to spend less on something that didn't do what I wanted. We weren't camera less as I had Tom's camera to use though it has a irritating happen of sitting there saying processing while you miss the shot you wanted and burnt out anything close with the flash so I turn it off and end up with lots of blurred shots.

However a few days ago I saw QVC had a photo hour on and decided to watch i to see if they had any good tips. Well the tips were things I know though Tom learnt the rule of thirds however they had a camera that seemed to do most of what I wanted and at a lower price than I expected. After some internet searching the reviews looked good. So we decided as QVC has a thirty day trial period on all their goods it was worth a try as unlike most places if it didn't do what i wanted I can send it back!.

So yesterday a Fujifilm FinePix S5800 turned up with a nice case and extra rechargeable batteries and charger.
So far I am very happy with it. It's basically a bridge camera which is what I wanted, in that it has a proper optical lens like a DSLR but it doesn't detach. It has various modes up to and including fully manual as I grew up using a traditional SLR one of the things that has been gripping me is times when I know I could get a better picture if I had more control over focus, aperture etc.

The camera light but sturdy feeling. The screen is big and clear and the controls are fairly easy to learn. You have auto, anti shake mode, natural light, natural/flash (where it takes two photos back to back one with and one without flash), and two settings where you can define them out of a set of pre-programmed modes ie portrait, landscape, snow.. that sort of thing. On top of that it has four modes for if you want to adjust aperture, shutter speed etc P,A, S and M.

It also does video.

It is what they call a super zoom as it has a 10x optical zoom and it also as a super macro setting so will do macro as close as 1cm and it is much better than our current camera on such things and that one wasn't bad. Great for photographing minis, food etc.
Macro shot of boar badge which is a bit over an inch long and shiny.
It has what they call an intelligent flash which they hype quite a lot and claim doesn't wash out close subjects.. so i did a test.

Photo of small ones trying to climb on my lap with old camera

Photo of small ones trying to climb on my lap with new camera..
Pretty good .. having taken a bunch more pictures the flash is much better and the flash/natural double shot option means you can do both very easily and decide which you prefer.

Probably the only thing I'm wary about is the cover over the usb port as it is quite hard to open and feels like it will die of wear, considering I want to down-load daily it may not last but that isn't critical.

Obviously compared to some other cameras it has downsides as things like having such a wide range on a single len can give problems but for the cost the quality is fantastic and unless you are used to much more expensive equipment you will not notice. If you want to try out more DSLR style photography without breaking the bank I think it's a pretty good choice. I used to use a film SLR and I think I will be able to get back to more technical photography not just snaps with this.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

365 - day 7

Treestump is very mobile now. Yesterday he was apparently standing well unaided at nursery though he refuses to do so for me. He did however spend ages walking back and forth pushing the brick trolley.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

365 - days 5 and 6.

Day 5 is what happens when you turn your back on a small person having put down a bag of recycling for a moment ! It's a ginger beer bottle and he is blowing into it having realised that trying to drink it didn't get him anywhere.

Day 6 - Let me introduce you to Giraffy or Raff the one toy that Noodles always has with him to sleep. He has had him since he was very small but wasn't at all attached to any items till about a year ago. He still isn't to bad but Raff definitely helps and always goes away with us. At home he is helped by other toys like ratty, mouse and Cuddly Cathulu ! Our naming of toys isn't very inspired as you can see but it works for him.

Word for the year

This has been going round a few blogs the idea of picking a word for the year and the one that keeps coming to mind is Finish.

So that is my word for the year.
Why so? Well I'm very bad at finishing things. Very good at being enthusiastic about new things and taking on to much and I need to get the balance a bit better so this year is about finishing projects or sticking with long-term ones like the allotment rather than getting swayed by new stuff. It should help me spend less too as I have a LOT of bits bought to try this or that which have never been used.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Something to aspire to

Jennifer Wodbury did the 365 challenge last year and has a wonderful set of photos to show for it. Makes me wish I'd done it last year as her youngest is about the same age as Treestump and it's lovely to see her grow almost daily at times. Do wonder how she gets her pictures so well lit though one of the things I can see she does very well is to tightly crop a skill I need to learn more.. less distracting backgrounds.. that and having less mess in the house !

365 - Day 4

Today's photo would have been Treestump looking up at my trying to get on my lap as he does a lot BUT if I use a flash it washes his face right out and without a flash I just get blur, it's times like this I really miss a more adjustable camera. Oh well can't justify one till I get the finances better sorted which is a good incentive at least.

So instead I present you with our wood burning stove.
The rest of the downstairs now has lovely toasty underfloor heating but the front room is last on the list to get it as it has the stove.. does mean the floor is rather cold though when you come in from the rest of the house particularly as the rest is also insulated and this room will not be till we put the heating in as it would be doing the same job twice..

Above the fire are the pine branches I used to hold Christmas cards and baubles.. tempted to keep them a while and make them a more winter decoration somehow.. suggestions welcome. They are quite full and go a couple of foot above the mantelpiece. The grid in front is a fire guard we don't normally have one but till Treestump gets over his fascination with fire we need the guard. A fascination which he gets in no way from his mother... honest would I lie to you?.

As tomorrow is Monday and the first day of school I think I will count this as the end of the first week so should probably start thinking how I'm going to scrap them..

365 - Day 3

Yesterday, as I failed to post then, I took the tree and other decorations down as Noodles is back to school on Monday and I want to get the decoration boxes back in storage. I want to slim down our decoration hoard before next year but that is another story for another day.

Today's picture is of some of the decorations on the tree. I have taken some close ups of individual decorations but this is just a general one. It only shows one special decoration, of which we have several, but it is a good representation of the general decorations and the red lights Noodles decided we should have on the tree this year. The lights are really exterior lights but I still need to put up some fixings so they go up easily outside and as the tree went in front of the main door out the back it didn't seem to be a priority to have lights out there or to highlight the rather untidy state the garden is in.

The one special decoration visible is a hand made lace angel I got several years ago from an on-line lace-making friend, which I cherish as i am well aware how long I took to make.. That said I do love my big white feather balls and the glass one to the left of the angel.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A couple of layouts

These two are both using A little bit of me, a little bit of Yule by Magick scraps which you can find at DSG. It is an upbeat and vibrant kit designed to scrap the holidays whatever you celebrate.

My first one is my first attempt at a silhouette, I want to do all mum's grandsons, being me I picked one of the harder ones to cut out to do first but I also think it is probably easier to recognise for those who know him than some of the younger ones will be.
The second is a snap of Noddles in his new hat which Himself said made him look like an elf. Noddles agreed and didn't mind at all.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Day 2 - project 365

Over night we had the first snow of the year. Not much but we don't get it very often so even a bit is worth note so I took a picture of it on the wall on my way to taking Treestump to nursery.

Of course snow on a wall is not a hugely interesting picture but it does have good contrast in it so I thought I'd play with it in Gimp a bit.

So I have not one but three versions of it for you.
The first is the standard picture just lightened a little as the snow confused the cameras levels rather.
The second is a black and white version made by desaturating the picture.
The final one is a result of playing with curves which I've done very little of before and then polarising the result. I think it's quite fun in a heavily adjusted photo sort of a way. I remember playing with colourising kits and so forth in a traditional dark room setting and getting all sorts of weird effects but this is much faster and a lot less messy :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Project 365

I've thought about doing this before but never at a good time to start. As several people have mentioned it on forums and blogs I though this time I'd give it a go as the start of the year is about the best start point i can think of..

Basically you take a picture a day of something, anything really. It could be something special about that day or just something everyday but over the year you get a sort of montage of things about you and for me I hope it will get me back into taking more than just snaps of the boys as I used to do 'proper photography' years ago.

I may well make use of some of the templates on offer to scrap each week's photos as well but for now I will try and post them here.. If I manage more than a week or two I may set up a blog just for the 265 photos but I know me and most of the time I only manage something like this for a couple of weeks so lets see if it lasts first :)

Today's Photograph is just a snap really and is to record the one of the most popular christmas presents with both boys and indeed all the children that have been here.. a pop up ball pit, den thing which was a last min purchase from Lidl as it was on their specials poster for the last few days before christmas. We then promptly forgot to give them it christmas day.. we got it out when Noodles, on being told we were going shopping in Lidls, said Oh we could get one of those ballpits.. dur.... well there were a lot of presents to get out christmas eve by the time we had all ours and the grandparents, aunts etc :)

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