Monday, July 20, 2009


These are a few images from the allotment taken last week including the lane I mentioned a few posts ago.

For Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. though she isn't running the round up this week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I won again!!

I recently entered another giveaway this time from Yvonne from Joharo at home. She makes lovely jewellery and offered a place in a draw for a personalised necklace in exchange for a little market research.

I was very, very pleased to win as the example necklace looked fabulous. My custom one turned up on Saturday and is fabulous. I got a purple and blue version which will go with most of my clothes perfectly and as it is so long it can be worn in many different ways.

Yvonne packages her jewellery very prettily in a lovely little bag with pink tissue keeping it safe and tiny rose buds nestled on top of the paper.

Once I unwrapped the necklace you could see the lovely hand picked beads, combined with some really lovely wire shapes and wire wrapping. I truly wish I was close enough to consider doing a workshop with her because her work is very even and well done, having tried it a bit in the past I know that isn't all that easy.

I shall wear this quite often I think though perhaps not when the smallest is wanting to be carried about a lot as he is a little to keen to pull on it and I really don't want it damaged!! The necklace can be worn various different ways depending where you hook the end on to the rest of the chain of elements and I even managed to put it on as a double wrapped choker whichwas quite pretty.

Talking of giveaways I have just noticed I am nearly at 200 posts so i will have to think about what to do to celebrate!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fabric baskets for Teachers

Jumping firmly on the bandwagon as it is a very nice and pretty band wagon I to used Pink Penguin's lovely basket tutorial to make teacher gifts for Noodles two teachers, one teaching assistant and one ex-teacher who is leaving and ran cooking club this term which he loved. She was his first teacher and I can't praise her enough for getting him up and running and really and truly enjoying school.. I just hope it lasts as he goes up the school.

This years teachers have been wonderful as well and his report was glowing. Just as importantly he loves school, enjoys going and does a whole bunch of different activities.

I made two of each colour scheme and they are just the right size for a packet of chocolate covered hobnobs and a few extra bits and pieces. Plus of course little cards from the small one himself.

GIMP Tutorial

I have talked to a couple of people recently about using GIMP for scrapbooking and similar so thought I would cover it a little bit more here. GIMP is a great package which does pretty much anything Photoshop does at least for us mortals. The great thing about GIMP is that it is open source which means it if free and constantly undated by a wonderful bunch of people who write new bits because they can and like doing it, in fact anyone can join in if they like or do their own bits that is what open source is all about. That really appeals both to my none capitalist side and to the geek in me.

While I am not an expert I have learnt a bit on using GIMP over the last year or so and offered to do a tutorial or two, so here goes. This is the very first one I've ever done and is how to use GIMP to make a mosaic as Mary over at Little Red House hosts a Mosaic Monday and Kamana at Journalling Through Photos mentioned she was looking at other options for make mosaics. I think learning to use an adaptable package like GIMP means you have many more options that a specific mosaic package though those are great too.

First you need to download GIMP, there are plenty of places to do this but I'd go here as it is the official source.

Once you have GIMP installed open it up.
You will have the toolbox and a document open up each in their own window.

First thing I suggest you do is go to the menu bar on the document window, pick Windows, dockable dialogs and then pick layers. This opens a third small window, make sure you can see all three as they can hide behind each other.

Then you need to decide what size document you want. I picked 600 by 600 pixels which is a good size of using on line, it's the sort of size most scrapbooking forums suggest to load up scrapbooking pages and gives you enough space to have good detail without being to big, it is also easy to divide by 3 which for the design I am planning is useful. To do this pick New from the file menu on the document window, fill in the number of pixels you want. (you can also chose to do this in inches, mm etc if that seems more understandable).

You should end up with something looking like this. (All pictures can be seen in larger versions by clicking on them)

Next find your images, open up the first one by going File , open.. search for the image you want on your computer and open it. Now you will have your picture in another window.

You can use as is or crop it down to a shape you want, for instance square. To crop you need to pick the crop tool from the toolbar, which looks a bit like a craft knife. I have highlighted it in the next picture. The click on one corner of your image and drag the cursor across and down, keep an eye on the two numbers in the size fields and when the two match you have a square. The area you have not selected will be greyed out.

You can move the selected area about by clicking and dragging in the middle and indeed you can change the size by hovering over an edge till you get a little split line with a triangle behind it, clicking and dragging will move that side of the selection only. However a click without dragging will crop the image to your selection. This leaves you with a canvas bigger than your image which is what the chequered background means in the image below. To get rid of the selection just click somewhere outside the selection.

There are many other things you can do to the image but that is another tutorial. At any point you can go back to a previous step by going Edit, undo.. you can keep going back as far as you like.

Now you want to get the image to a sensible size to go in your main document as if your camera has the sort of resolution most do these days it will be far too big for document. Go to the Image menu and pick scale image. Put 600 in the width, click on the height and that should change to be the same as the width because your image is square. Click scale and you will have a smaller image.

Now we have a picture we need to transfer it to our main document. This is simply done by picking copy from the edit menu just as you would in word. Then go to the main document and pick paste from the edit menu. At this point you will probably find the image is not showing properly.

Go to the layers window you will see two items, a background and one labelled floating selection, you need to confirm this before going on. Click on the little page symbol at the bottom left, this confirms the layer and changes it to pasted layer.

Do the same with other pics.. which will give you a whole bunch of layers showing in the layers box but you will only be able to see the top on in the main window as they all fill the space available. You can use Image - Transform to rotate if needed.

Now you need to decide what layout you want. I decided to go for one big picture 400x400 and then several 200x200 pictures around two sides of that.. like this

To get this we need to change the size of all the photographs. You can either do this using the Layer menu and pick scale layer or use the scale tool. Make sure you take a little off for the size you make it so you have a border. For instance I made the 400x400 one 395x395.

The scale tool is marked in the next photo, remember if you want to keep the scale the same click the keep aspect button at the bottom of the toolbar.
If you want to see layers lower down you can hide the upper ones by clicking the little eye symbol next to the upper layer this hides the layer.

Once you have sized the photos you need to move them to where you want them. Use the move tool, the one with four arrows pointing north, south, east, west. Make sure you have the layer you want to move clicked and the cursor needs to show the same symbol as the move tool without a pointing hand. You will see what I mean when you move the cursor around. Then just hold down the left hand button and move the photograph to where you want it.

You can use the text tool (the big A) to add text. As you can see below you can the font and of course size etc. You get an extra window open up to type the text in so if you don't see it try moving the others around or look for it on the bottom bar which you have all the links to windows.
Finally you can change the colour of the background. To do this scroll down the layer window till you find the bottom layer labled background. Then pick the fill tool, the one that looks like a paintcan with paint flowing out. You can pick the fill, in this case I picked a pattern called ice. If you pick background or foreground colour you can change the colour by clicking on the coloured boxes just below all the tool symbols and picking the exact shade you want.
Finally save the file. If you want to work on it again or save it to use as a template for another mosaic then save as a .xcf file. Then for the version to post up on your blog save it as a .jpg. You will be asked if you want to export it, say yes and then pick about 45% for the quality seems to work well for me and gives you a sensible size file.

Well there you go I hope that is some help and I am sure it could be better written so please say if any bits are unclear.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mosaic Monday

Mary over at Little Red House runs Mosaic Monday and as I'm quite fond of mosaics I decided to join in.

A visit to Ryton organic gardens a few weeks ago. I didn't manage to get a picture of him with low box hedges but they fascinated him.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday stash - I won a give away!!

The fabric today are ones I recently won on a giveaway from Some day I'll be. I won three wonderful seaside fabrics, I hope she doesn't mind but I nicked the giveaway picture as my camera keeps being take off on trips by other people than me :) The fabric is glorious, even nicer than the photo and the beach huts very similar to ones at the beach near my in-laws so assuming we manage to get down there this summer then I will take some more photos of them and think about making something with the fabrics and the photos.. I have an idea so watch this space but it may be a while.

You can see the beach huts in this picture a bit which I posted a while back.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Scrapbooking Potato flowers

A page done for the Miracle gro challenge on Digital Scrap Garden, Ladybug always does such lovely kits for the challenge and I really like doing one step at a time and seeing other people's pages gradually build up. It is a real learning experience and would I suggest it to anyone getting into scrapbooking who is unsure about putting together papers and elements and photos.

The photos themselves are just various different potato flowers but I like them and I thought a fairly simple layout suited the mudane but pretty nature of the flowers.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Simple things

Christina from Soul Aperture is hosting a Simple things day where we celebrate the simple things that make life wonderful. Different for everyone but if we savoured them a little more the world would be a much brighter place. So here are a few of mine.

Currently one of my favourite things is the hedge lined lane that leads from the top gate of the allotment site down to the middle car-park that our plot is adjacent to. I love the feeling of the hectic modern city life falling off your shoulders and the feel that you are driving or walking down a country track. If we had a standard open allotment site it would be a very different atmosphere but while our hedges have to be kept low enough to look over for security that is about 5 foot which is a struggle for me to look over and high enough to strongly remind me of the Devon hedges I grew up with. I don't have a photo of the lane and I don't know why next time I have the camera up there I will take one though I'm not sure a picture will really convey the feeling. For many years I have had a form of spring depression where I get very frustrated as the plants come to life that I can't walk along proper country lanes and into the woods, this year is the first time I haven't felt that and the allotment is the main reason for that.

Growing my own food however random and prone to gluts and gaps this year is. Particularly the variety and colours of potato leaves and flowers, we are growing a few each of about 20 varieties. Isn't this stripey one pretty !!Black currents - little balls of pure heaven and Treestump thinks so too !
He seems to share my fasination with trees too.
Treestump and the cute way he gets so excited and jumps on the spot going yes, yes when you get his bedtime drink ready.

The fact Noodles insists that Treestump's proper given name includes Treestump Stormtrooper as well as those names on his birth certificate.

The way both boys give me hugs and kisses for no reason other than they want to.

Fabric and the ability to make it into something more.

The smells of tomato leaf and gunpowder though not nessaceraly at the same time :)
The monthly box of chocolate from Hotel chocolat and sharing it with the boys, well I share a bit anyway.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Just a quick scrapbook page

Done for my mum of the recent roleplay pictures. Using a lovely kit from June at Cen's Loft called My little Garden.

Monday, July 06, 2009

As promised a couple of action pictures

Here are the trousers and robe from the previous post in action, indeed he is also wearing the shirt which I made along with them. he is carrying LARP arrows in case you are confused they are like normal arrows but with a huge piece of foam on the front for safety which means they mostly fly like a brick :)

Finally this one just because i like it, I have no idea where the tunic he is wearing came from suppose I could ask his dad..

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Finally making things again

I know I've not been blogging on here much, there has been a little more on my food blog but mostly you need to read the allotment one to know what I've been about it is summer after all and everytime you turn your back the weeds are growing again but I've been loving it, it's a very uplifting place. I have considered combining them all together at times but I like having them separate and all my blogs are as much a diary for me as for public reading so if you are interested in all the different aspects of my life I'm afraid you will have to read all the different blogs :) On the plus side if you don't want cooking and gardening this way means you only get the relevant stuff.

Anyway on to the sewing. Noodles is off this weekend with his dad at a live roleplaying event. It isn't his first but we stopped taking him when he got to two and he doesn't really remember going so at the grand age of nearly six he is going to one where he gets his own character and everything. Costume wise he has ended up with rather a mix, he has a jedi robe and shirt I made him for last birthday plus a couple of waistcoats of mine (or in the will be useful for roleplay at some point pile) I also made him another basic shirt, a pair of hero pants plus I added sleeves to yet another might come in useful one day waistcoat to make a second over-robe. Finally he has a waxed hood and a cloak of mine made from army blanket for when it rains. The cloak is a shoulder cloak on me which makes it a good length for him!

Hopefully I will have better pictures after the event as they have my camera with them but for now you will have to make do with a couple of very hasty pictures taken on the washing line. The hero pants look much better on as they bag nicely over the cuffs. He started swaggering the moment he tried them on!!As I said the coat was an existing patchwork waistcoat so I just found some velvet and other fabrics that roughly worked in the colour scheme and added some very full sleeves. I will probably add some matching decorative stitching to match the body later but as usual I was doing things last minute.

Blog Content

All of the photographs on this blog have been taken by Esther, that's me, unless they are being used to link to giveaways etc in which case they belong to the person who I am linking to. All text is my own words.
None of the content of this blog may be used without my permission.