Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas challenge

For the past two weeks Karen's photographic challenge was Christmas and in particular Bokeh.

Here are my offerings, my focus was our Christmas tree.
A tripod was used for each of these photos.
Manual  - Focal Length 20mm   f8  2s  ISO200
Manual - Focal Length 32mm    f4.5    1.3s    ISO200
This was my best effort with bokeh. It is a little dark.
Manual - Focal Length 18mm  f3.5  2s  ISO200
   this one is my very creative shot. I turned the lens while shooting and focused on the school-made Christmas ornament that craftily got placed on the tree. I'm not sentimental when it comes to tree decorations, however when this face was found in the decoration box and placed on the tree I didn't have the heart to remove it....

.......and it so happens that this next photo is my favourite.
Manual - Focal Length 55.4mm  f4.5  1/5    ISO400
Christmas here has been fantastic,we have exchanged presents, seen most of the family.....still some more days with family planned.......eaten lots and drunk even more. This morning i've slopped away to post these photos in case I don't get another chance.

I'm looking forward now to entering 2012 so all that's left for me to say is Happy New Year to you all xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Warmers

 Last week I had the girls for lunch and we got talking about Christmas pressies. I happened to mention the mug warmers that I see appearing everywhere and joked that I should have made them all one for Christmas..........they all laughed...... they think I'm mad......with all my messing around with paper and such! So I showed them a photo of the mug warmers in the Mollie Makes Magazine. 

Now they all awwwwwed!!  

I can crochet but I haven't crocheted anything since I made this bag which I finished in February.  That night I looked through my wool collection - the collection you can see in the bag in the photo.....not a massive decision to or Green? The pink looked a little gaudy so I opted for Green. I had a look at the mollie makes pattern and then didn't follow it at all.......maybe that's the reason a lot of my things don't quite turn out right :)  After measuring my mug, with a Christmas film on the telly, I got to work.
  The first two, the one on the left I used a treble stitch and the one on the right a double crochet.

  A little plain...... I thought it might be nice to add some dimension..........oh and the gaudy pink!!
 So bobble stitch all the way around and a little cream trim.

Bobble stitch took more time than the plainer ones so the next one had bobbles....... top, middle or and bottom (wasn't that a game show - what was it called? anyone remember? oh that will be nagging at me all evening now!)....... with cream stripes.
 Even less bobbles on the next one, a strip around the middle!

 A photo of the button to fasten them around your mug
The next evening I was looking at them all together and decided that I really liked the all over bobble so I made another in Green.

At the next lunch I'll present them all with there winter mug warmer! lol!!  and there may be one or two extra pressies for family members too........any excuse to make some more!

For all you crocheters I measured a chain of 35 around my mug.
Row 1. Make 35 chain, ss together. 
Row 2. dc all the way around the cirlce.
Row 3. turn work around and work back around the circle in desired stitch - do not join at end, leave 2 stitches and turn.
Row 4. work to desired height following row 3.

To make button fastener, when get to desired height, do not fasten off - 15 chain (length of chain will depend on how big your button is)  ss to top edge, turn and dc back along chain....fasten off.

Thank you
This may well be my last post before Christmas - so if it is I'd like to thank you all now for stopping by over the year and to the kind words you leave me....I enjoy them all.

Wishing you all a fantastic Christmas xxx

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I got my eyes on you... what Stan would say if you caught him looking at you. 

Who knows where he got it from...... 

....but he kept us all amused this summer with his saying and action.
caught in action
Today I've done a couple of pages in my Christmas journal working around the photos I've taken so far. You see last week I sent off for some photos to be printed and I must have clicked the wrong box *doh* .......the photos arrived a few days ago and have parts missing and heads chopped off......I must have been having a *Der* moment!!

So now I need to get them re-printed and I think I'll try somewhere it me or are these photo places trying to save money by printing on thinner photo paper? The photos I've just received are *wafer thin*. 

How are all your Christmas plans coming together?...all my list writing has paid off, I now have everything ticked off. Just the food shopping list is left!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Self Portrait

It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to take a dreaded self portrait photo for my weekly photo challenge. 

Still I find taking a photo of myself cheesey.......whilst trying to concentrate on taking a photo, balancing the camera and not showing 10 chins.....they are not the most flattering photos!

But hey ho a challenge is a challenge so it had to be done. I'd just walked in the door from the school Christmas concert and grabbed the camera quick before I could change my mind!

For ages I've liked the self portrait's taken in a mirror so this is what I tried.

All photos are taken in Manual and I had to up the ISO, which has given the photos more of a grainier look than I would have liked. No flash was used.
Focal Length 79.6mm   f5.6   1/10   ISO1600
 Photo 1. from this challenge i've noticed that all mirrors in my house seem to face a door. In case you wonder why I still got my coat and gloves on.....i was freezing!! This mirror gave the best light advantage.
Focal Length 18mm  f3.5  1/25  ISO1600
Photo 2. A photo holding the camera rather than looking through it - this is not as easy as it looks.... I found!
Focal Length 44.1mm  f4  1/25 ISO1600
Then later on in the evening we were getting ready for a Christmas night out with friends when I thought I'd give it another go. You can see the difference in the colour of the photo - daylight vs artificial light!

If you would like to see more - pop across to Karens to find out who joined in!

It's not often I find myself sitting at my laptop on a Sunday Morning.....we had to cancel Rugby this morning as I couldn't get my handbrake off my car....apparently the handbrake cable has once I've posted we will have a crafty morning here instead. I'll let you know how we get on.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas Journal

I've made a start! 
The front page is done and I've sent the first weeks photos for printing.  
Gosh I feel so much better now!
 After last years journal where I used a 8x6 photo I've gone for a mixture this year. There will be some full size photos pages mixed with 4x6.
 Today I should have written about the weather - it is awful here - so so windy. Hoping that where ever you are you are safe and warm.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Lists galore

We are now in December and I have done nothing but write lists. 
  • a to do list, 
  • a left to buy list, 
  • a what I've brought list, and
  • a what's happening this week list
Usually I write lists because I keep forgetting to do/buy something, then there are occasions when I have that overwhelming....lots to do......feeling.... and I excessively write lists and rewrite them.

Between my list writing I have managed to hop around and see all the gorgeous Christmas journal entries - I've been taking photos and making notes but really need to start my book *big sigh*

Needless to say the only crafting going on here is the doodling on my lists!!

I wanted to share something so here are two cards, crafty but not at all Christmassy, that I've recently made using leftovers from  Sarah's Kit.
 My friend's son passed his driving test

 and my nephew is 15 next week - I must get this in the post!
Have a lovely week and if you are crafting....enjoy.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photographing Light

This week Karen set us the challenge to photograph the light. The aim was not to photograph 'lights' but what the light does, ie creates shadows, contrast, reflections, the rays themselves.

Unfortunately I haven't been lucky enough to see much sun this past two weeks, its dark when I leave the house in the mornings and dark when I arrive home. On the days i've not worked it's been mainly dull and dreary.  At the last knockings this is what I came up with.

It's all about Jack.
ISO 100 f5 1/160 focal length 44m
 My first photo shows Jack's shadowed profile.

Karen did ask us to have a go at using Aperture Priority mode. Sorry Karen I completely forgot and shot in manual. 
ISO100 f5 1/60 focal length 39mm
My second photo shows the sun shinning through the bird watching gap, lighting up the side of Jack.
ISO100 f5.6 1/160 focal length  55mm
My last and favourite photo. I love how the sun is shinning across his face, illuminating it.

It's now time for a cuppa and a blog hop to see what the others have done for this challenge.

Friday, November 25, 2011

O Christmas Tree....O Christmas Tree

I think I'm on a roll. 

It has been a very busy week and to unwind one evening I took my Scalloped Nestability Circles and cut out lots of different sizes .....

Still in with the purple....I have to blame Julie and all her purple's even been a huge influence when deciding on Christmas Presents this year. If there was one in purple then that's what I brought. Do you think I've just not taken much notice of purple before or is there so much of it about in the shops?

Anyway I digress, with all the scalloped circles I made a Christmas Tree and after I finished it I had a grin on my face for a does look really pretty on my side and I think I might make another so they can have pride of place on the mantel piece. 

 It was so easy to make you can find all the details here. 

I inked the edges of each scallop to bring all the colours together and used a glue gun to glue around the kebab stick between each scallop. The star was stamped twice from the banana frog Christmas Elegance set and scored to give a 3D shape, a little stickles bling and volia..........

These trees would be so easy to dress up too, I did think about hanging some decorations or adding some beads......oh the possibilities.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Cards

Earlier on this week, or was it last week, I mentioned the love hate relationship I have with card making.........after making a few tester Christmas cards, (which I haaaaaaated!) I search pinterest for some inspiration and came across this one.

I had a look at my stamps and found that if I used my Banana frog sets Winter Wonderland and Christmas Elegance then I might be able to make something similar! am I allowed to say that these I like.......they look nicer in real life than in these awful photos - .when I'm at home now I never seem to see daylight.....a downside to the winter weather!

So using my Banana frog stamps............. some kraft cards...... and a few coloured scraps (bazzill bling) here they are.
When I ran out of Green I used Blue

 .....and when I ran out of Blue I turned to my purple scrap....inspired by Julies Purple Phase no less! 
Still using the Banana frog sets I quickly stamped a ton of Kraft tags with Mr Snowman....I'm thinking that J and S might like to colour these in for me!

Thank you for stopping by, enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

White Space

 I have to admire the white space scrappers amongst us........

I've often start out with a layout and think "lots of space"....I do like the look.... but somehow I move papers around my page and end up filling the whole page.

So when I came across this layout by Tessa Buys.....I scrap lifted it (I hope Tessa doesn't mind!)....and tried to keep it just so!

The photo was taken back in the summer, there's not many of Harry and me together now.....he's getting to that age!!
It's taking a while but today I am feeling in the Christmas mood...... I have started my shopping, I always feel better when the present buying is under way, and last night I finished making my 
christmas cards and tags. We have my mum's 60th birthday celebrations at the weekend and my sisters too (not 60th celebrations- oh my I hope she doesn't read this! :) ) after then it will be full steam ahead with all the Christmas preparations......

ho ho ho don't you just love Christmas?...
...I know I do!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Birthday Cards

I have a few birthday's in November amazingly I made a couple of (simple) cards. I say amazingly, as I kinda have a love hate relationship with cards. I absolutely love the idea of a making them but hate the fact that making them always seems to be a bit of a struggle. I'm sure it's because there is no photo to take inspiration from.

After I made these I got into the "card making" mood.......and made a start on my Christmas cards!! Next year I think I will make a conscious effort to make a card a week!! .......or more like it a month!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Felt flowers

 I needed a tag or two for some birthday presents this I hooked out my felt scraps and cut out lots of circles with my nestabilities.

The idea was to use flowers and in the end after much playing around this is what I came up with.

There was only enough pink/purple felt to make one flower so I guess I'll be shopping for more felt soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Following on from my last post, this is the second layout created with the gorgeous Echo Park paper
This past week Stan and Jack have asked many a question about why we wear poppies. They have spoken about it at school and observed the 2 minute silence twice.  We've had lots of discussions about the world wars too. To help put words into pictures I searched through all my photos and found this photo of my great grandfather and great grandmother.

........What we know...... that my great grandfather was in the Welsh Regiment and on the 12 July 1916, age 29, he lost his life at the Battle of the Somme. He left behind his wife and two daughters (all shown in the photo). Less than one month later on the 8 August 1916 my grandmother (Nan) was born.
  Shortly after having my Nan, my great grandmother passed away too, so my Nan grew up without ever knowing her parents.

There is so much I'd like to know about my Nan's young life but sadly she passed away when I was a young child so I know very little about her only what my mum had told me!

.....Before I go I'd like to share the full layout from my previous post.

Monday, November 14, 2011


  Sarah sent me my second DT parcel full of the lovely Echo Park Times and Seasons collection

Here's a sneek peak of one of the layouts I created from the kit, please pop across to SJ Crafts if you would like to see more.
 I'll be back soon with another Times and Seasons layout......

Thank you to Sarah for putting together a fantastic kit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Backyard

Today is the first day of a brand new photo challenge. Hosted by Karen, we are given a theme and over two weeks we take a minimum of fourteen photos and then post our first, last and best or favourite photo. 

This made me smile because my first photo is usually my worst. When I pick up my camera I pretty much take a photo straight away...........without checking my camera settings. A quick look at my viewfinder then tells me that there is something wrong. 

True to form this is what happened when I started to take photos is my backyard, this weeks theme. Although I took more than one before I realised on this warm, autumn afternoon my ISO was set at 400.

My first and worst photo.....
f5.6   1/200   ISO 400
 I was trying to focus on the flower and the old brown stems kept springing back and getting in my way.

My favourite/best photo......
f4.5    1/13     ISO100

 and my last photo.........

f8    1/13     ISO 100
 There's not much going on in my garden at this time of year, lots of shrubs and ferns and the odd pink flower, so I started to look for other things and saw this little lot piled up waiting to be placed back in the garage ready for next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scrapbookers make the best photographers

I’ve always loved taking photos and maybe my love comes from my nan, who always and I mean always had her camera with her and took photos all the time. She would stop a party or gathering to take a photo and spend ages organising everyone.……very similar to me nowadays!! 

Unlike my nan who more often than not had no film in her camera or flat batteries ((bless))……my camera is digital. Oh for the love of technology, digital really does allow you to take as many photos as you wish. Like last month when I ended up with 1528 photos. 

Now after my last photo post I think I should clarify that athough I did take tons of photos last month, many are not good at all, some in fact are pants……..especially when I forget to check my camera settings!!  The great thing about digital is that it allows me to make mistakes..... many many times over.
This post today is to say thank you to everyone who has commented, throughout the photo challenges, each comment really does make me smile, and to:-
  • ·         Alexa who asked me what I do with them all……....So a little insight..... After uploading them I go through them and pick out my favourites, I save these into a separate “to print” folder ....most of these will  be scrapped. Lots of the rugby photos are copied to a disk and given to the rugby club to upload to their website. So not all of the 867 photos I took last month are of my three!! Eventually when I understand digi (if ever, and PSE) I’d like to complete a photo book for each for them.
  • ·        Sian who suggested a post on photo opportunities……you had me thinking. I looked back through all the photos I’ve taken this year and found that my biggest source of inspiration came from the photo a week challenge. Setting a theme makes you look outside of your normal photographic subjects (for me the boys!). Some of my most favourite photos from this year came about because of the challenges. Especially the ones using techniques (is that the right word?) that i'd never tried before:-
Like High Key

So to everyone who wishes to have more photographic opportunities or to take more photos why not challenge yourself  to take ten photos this month, (to post on the 10th December as part of Shimelle's 10 things on the 10....


Lists of photo challenges can be found, I've pinned some here, have a look through them and find ten things that you think you’d like to try this month….and rememeber  “scrapbookers make the best photographers”….it says so here.

There might be something here that inspires you also.

As Christmas is on its way, here is a list of possible photo opportunities
Good subjects if you are doing a christmas journal too.

If you’d like to take on a longer project (with no pressure) then maybe I’ve persuaded you to join Karen in her new 26 wk challenge. I’m sure that after 26 weeks you will certainly have more photos to scrap.

.....and finally, if you need more supplies to scrap these photos, pop across to SJ Crafts to see the launch of her November Kit. 
If you've made it this far, this is a really long post for me, have a lovely weekend and I'll be back on Sunday with my first photo for the 26 week challenge.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What will it be?

This time of year we are all thinking about Christmas. There are plans to make, presents to buy and a Christmas journal to think about.

2007 was the first year I signed up for Shimelle's Christmas Journal Class.

An 8x8 book where I pretty much stuck to Shimelle's prompts.
 For 2008 I upsized to a 12x12 album

This size I loved, I'd felt restricted the year before so moving up a size or two was great.
 In September 2009 I returned to work after a six year career break, so I moved back down to a more manageable size.
 This album was from Paperchase and based on black pages......I love it!

My Christmas journal has become a diary of our family events during the month of December. At this time last year I toyed with the idea of not doing the journal.....but how could I not do a journal, it is now become something of a tradition.

For a few years I'd admired Ali Edwards December Daily and after watching her tutorial on the digital overlays I considered a journal based on large photos for 2010. This turned out to be a great alternative.

 The book was 8x6, the size of each photo....and again I love it! Although I'd have to watch the tutorials again to see how it's done.

So this year what will it be?? Any suggestions??
 If any of you have any ideas based on something you've either made or would like to make please do leave a comment or link I'd love to hear.

I just love Christmas!!

Thank you all for stopping by.
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