Sunday, 24 February 2013

Why hello, I do remember you!

Hello there, little blog :) Yes, I do remember you! Have you been feeling neglected? Sorry about that.... I'd hoped to add a few posts to you during half term this past week, but The Cold That Would Not Die together with quite a bit of coursework for my TA course meant that didn't happen. Please don't ever think that I've forgotten you, though, little blog. Here's a gratuitous photo of cheesy hedgehogs to cheer you up a bit:

Now, blog, could you please do me a favour and let my lovely blog friends know that I haven't forgotten them, either? Could you please tell them that I've managed to catch up on all their recent posts but just didn't have time to leave comments for them? Could you please assure them that I've been celebrating their triumphs and anniversaries and sympathising with all my heart in their losses and difficulties? Could you please declare a blog amnesty, and say that they really don't need to comment on my blog either while I'm so busy, that's honestly fine? And could you please show them this little picture that I had a bit of fun with in PSE? x

PS Much as I'd love to promise that I'll be back soon with recipes, photos, projects and anecdotes, little blog, I fear that it's most unlikely to happen just yet. Looks like the week ahead will be just as busy as ever, with teaching, TA work, a school trip, a couple of meetings, some Malteser cake to make and a rather exciting weekend away to prepare for.... Thanks, little blog, for the links and friendships you've helped me to make that have led to the chance to meet up with blog friends old and new this weekend! I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can :)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

12 Days of Christmas

Oops, been meaning to share these for quite a while - in fact, I started to draft this post while it was still seasonal!! Here we go at last, a few of my favourites from the free CJ photography workshop 12 Days of Christmas :)

A spot of bokeh

Close cropped composition
 Some photo editing fun

Winter weather

Drawing with light

Portraits with a difference
I had a lot of fun responding to each prompt, even though my mobility was still pretty limited at the time which meant I couldn't try out all my ideas - I have plenty of mental notes for Christmas 2013, though :) Many thanks, CJ!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

My Precious {February edition}

I don't think this one would surprise anyone in my family.

Or any of you who read my blog.

Or anyone who knows me at all.

Or, indeed, quite a few people who don't know me at all but who have seen this strange madwoman taking photographs of weird and wonderful things such as the sky, the pavement, her own shoes, her shopping on the conveyor belt, the dentist's shopfront, a road sign, a postbox, the salt cellar and pepper pot on her cafe table, etc, etc!

(What's the oddest photo you've taken in public, by the way? Mine has to be a toss-up between the aforementioned shoes (taken by putting the camera on the floor while sitting on a bench at Legoland Discovery Centre) and a lavender bush (sounds fairly innocent, but I was sitting on the pavement UNDER the lavender bush at the time...)

Anyway, I digress. The precious object in question is, of course, my beloved camera. I saved hard for it, putting aside birthday and Christmas money and any small amounts I could save week by week, and was so thrilled to eventually be able to order it :) I've taken several photography classes, in person and online, and while I still stay safely in Auto a lot of the time I am gradually learning more about the different manual settings and gaining the confidence to use them sometimes. I really enjoy photography as a hobby - I love to play around with different effects, try different things out, experiment with different angles; I look at photos in newspapers and magazines and if one strikes me in particular I try to figure out just why - and see if I could incorporate the idea into one of my own photos; I even find myself noticing how a shot has been framed or how the camera has been focused while watching a film or TV programme, and have taken inspiration from that, too.

Ironically, partly due to my injury (4 months ago today...), I'm no longer carrying my camera everywhere I go. And this is when I've started Project Life, and so want to have a camera handy! My mobile phone is with me all the time, however, and while its camera's quality isn't fantastic and I haven't yet figured out if it's even possible to zoom in at all, at last it means that I can take a snapshot of anything and everything that catches my eye. And that's excellent news!

Because, you see, much as I love Nikon for itself, with its satisfyingly clunky weight in my hands, its smooth zoom action, its colourful and comfortable strap, and its ability to take good quality photographs (not necessarily matched by my own ability to take good quality photographs, of course...!), my camera is precious to me because of the moments it captures. My memory is not so great. It's not that bad, but it certainly isn't capable of capturing and retaining those fleeting moments of our everyday lives, the subtle yet cumulatively significant changes in The Children as they grow up, the unexpected beauty of a shadow or a silhouette or a shared moment between friends or strangers. As I look back over the photographs of the last few years, the special occasion shots or everyday snaps taken as part of Project 365 or Project Life, so many memories flood back. However imperfect the image, it recalls the sounds, the tastes, the feelings that would otherwise be lost.

This is why I take photographs. And this is why my 'photograph-taking tool' is precious to me. Yes, I love my Nikon, and it brings me enjoyment even beyond the capture of memories, but it is the memories that matter the most. It is the memories that are truly precious.

PS Please do share your weird and wonderful photos-taken-in-public stories! I'm most sincerely interested :)

This post was brought to you by Sian's Storytelling Sunday

Saturday, 2 February 2013

January In Numbers

I've watched Julie's lovely project, My Month In Numbers, with much interest for some time now. I've also very much enjoyed seeing the posts of the many of you who join in and play along. What a fab way to summarise some of the happenings and details, big and little, major and minor, of each month! And yes, I've often thought of having a go myself - but somehow it never quite happened.

Until now....

I think the main difference now is that I'm doing Project Life. Knowing what my memory is like, I've been keeping quite a detailed diary every day - a summary of the day kind of diary rather than a deep and meaningful thoughts kind of diary - and while most of that detail doesn't make it into Project Life (doesn't need to!) it has indeed been an invaluable prompt for me when I come to put together my PL pages. And, of course, it meant that I had a lot of notes to refer to when I thought about having a go at summarising my month in numbers! :)

I've created a 6x12" page and added a handdrawn frame (idea totally lifted from Ali Edwards' lovely work - mine is nowhere near as lovely, since my handwriting is - um - nowhere near as lovely....) I've then used my colourful Promarkers to keep adding to the list until I ran out of space! (You should be able to enlarge the photos by clicking on them if you want to be able to read them better.)

I didn't realise, until I went through my notes, that I'd actually managed to read 18 books last month.

I didn't realise, until I went through my Twitter account, that I'd actually managed to tweet 110 times last month.

I did realise that I'd watched Les Miserables twice, gotten rid of my crutches, and tried 5 new recipes, but it was nice to highlight those further on this page :)

The plan is that I'll add this in a 6x12" protector right into my Project Life - and I most sincerely hope I'll keep up with it and have such a page to add for each month right through the year! Many thanks Julie for inspiring me by sharing your own post each month, and many, many thanks for inspiring me to finally take part myself - the mathematician in me loves seeing all these numbers, the memory-keeper in me is pleased with the record of our month, the scrapbooker in me welcomes this addition to Project Life, and the joiner-inner in me is chuffed to be taking part along with so many blog friends! ;)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Project 365: January

(Firstly, I must just thank you for your kind words on my last post. I very much appreciate them all, thank you x)

I'm sticking with the collage format for sharing my Project 365 photos even though it does lead to slightly odd cropping at times, and sometimes means a photo or twohave to be repeated to fill in the gaps! I'm also doing Project Life this year, so on the days when there's a lot going on, I've just picked any photo for P365, knowing that the others I like will make it to PL instead. (I'll do a PL post another time!)

1st: We gave The Tomboy her first ever mobile phone!
2nd: I put together the Project 366 photobook for 2012 - rather quicker off the mark this time than for the 2011 photobook....
3rd: The Children and I wrote our thank you notes for Christmas gifts received
4th: The Newer Hamster was happier than on the previous day (full story to follow!)
5th: The Doctor bought us a tablet (think he was jealous of the one the kids got for Christmas!)
6th: I finished my JYC project (post to follow)
7th: The Doctor opened a Twitter account - I never thought I'd see that day...
8th: The Doctor, The Boy and I watched the first in the new series by David Attenborough, Africa
9th: My Project 366 photobook arrived
10th: I needed a pretty major filling, since I'd somehow cracked an existing filling when I had my fall :(
11th: First Connect group of 2013 - we made gift bags and filled them with goodies as a post-Christmas treat
12th: I made an art journal page (post to follow)
13th: Porridge for breakfast, made by The Doctor - our Sunday tradition
14th: One of my TA jobs was to assess the Year 2 children's spellings of high frequency words
15th: A beautiful morning sky!
16th: The Tomboy had a haircut
17th: I used a couple of puppets ('Prickles' and 'Wise Owl') and some Numicon to help support a Maths group
18th: Goodbye to the crutches!! And hello to a stick...
19th: The Family went to Costa together :) Gingerbread latte for me, cappuccino for The Doctor and hot chocolate for The Children :)
20th: The Doctor and I led Sunday Club
21st: More snow fell overnight
22nd: My train tickets arrived for the Bloggers' Weekend Away (yay!)
23rd: We wove baskets from strips of map paper in my papercrafts class
24th: I reorganised the reading scheme books at school
25th: Went to see Les Miserables at the cinema (for the second time!)
26th: Haircut day
27th: I properly drove again!! :)
28th: The Tomboy received (glowing) feedback on her project about Ancient Greece :)
29th: I had an observation as part of the assessment for my TA course - and it went really, really well :)
30th: Spent the entire morning preparing for my papercrafts class - left it til the last minute because of my TA observation! We made some cards inspired by patchwork
31st: I had a problem with some craft supplies I ordered, but when I phoned Cardcraft Plus they were absolutely brilliant and sorted it out for me far beyond my hopes and expectations :) Big shout out for their customer service!
(Photo of The Tomboy repeated to fill the grid!)

PS I'm struggling to keep up with blogs at the moment; I am managing to read your posts, but please forgive me that I'm not finding time to comment - I am still visiting you all!! x