So logging photoaday isn’t quite working..

You know when things just don’t quite go right.  Well that’s where I am with this.  I like the photo a day challenge and actually am taking photographs most days but the link between taking a photo, getting it onto my laptop (the hardship of removing a SD card from the camera and inserting it into the computer), a teensy bit of editing and then uploading onto here just isn’t happening.

Like 4 months not happening.

I’ve taken a lot of images on my phone as well and that should be easier – there’s an app … but I’m not using it.

What to do?  I really enjoy the photographs, I love my camera, I like sharing my favourites into the interweb but writing about them isn’t quite happening so much.  I am tempted to blame life – there’s been a lot on (seriously – it’s been busy, we’ve sold a house, are buying a house and have moved 400+ miles) but the reality is that posting my pictures just does not come high enough up my priority list for me to get round to it when I get some precious down time.   I’m only writing now as I’m in the middle of a week’s holiday, it’s quiet and I’ve had enough of knitting for a while.

I’m not quite ready to give up on this but we’ll see what happens for the remainder of 2017 and make a call when it’s time to renew the domain in December I think.

Anyway – here’s some pics starting with a small group of mostly flowers.

Followed by three very random pictures that I happen to like – a colourful tunnel under Leeds station, a birthday cake I’m rather proud of having created and a miniature steam train that was a lot of fun in the rain.

Then last but not least a small selection of photographs from the summer.   Bottom centre and the featured image are not by me – it was taken by James from Worthy Photography – if you’re in the Winchester area, I’d highly recommend them and it is lovely to have a nice memory of the family before we moved.

Hopefully back with more soon ….

 

a little snap happy

It’s only been a week and I might have a few more images than that.  Blame spring, or Easter, or the chocolate.  I’ve even got my lovely X-Pro1 camera out again with the 60mm  macro lens on – it was great for shooting in the bluebell woods and it made me realise that I’ve missed playing with my camera.  Hopefully I’ll take it out more again (it’s a good start that I’ve dug it out from under the bed).

As always, there’s a bit of a nature theme – a couple of bluebells, some blossom and two that I have no idea what they are but I just liked the look of.

Next up, and deserving on a photograph on its’ own solely as I’ve nothing similar is a shot of Bath weir.

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Then onto a few shots of my favourite muse.  I didn’t honestly plan for him to have a yellow fleece and wellies but it just sort of happened.  At least he’s easy to spot in them 🙂 This is a mix of iphone and camera.

Finally two images that I’m actually pretty proud of – DH with his youngest two sons (purely unintentional that mostly they are in black / red (with the wee one in obligatory yellow) and the dog while out at Micheldever woods . You might think I’d composed it with them all in a vertical line but actually, they worked that out themselves and all I had to do was try to get them in focus.

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Finally, from the same woods, I just love the light coming through the aperture above onto the wee one’s face as he’s playing in the tree house.  Definitely my shot of the week.

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Hope everyone has had a lovely Easter.

not a cake

When is a cake not a cake?  an interesting question I’ve been exploring over the last 20+ days of lent.

Chocolate is easy – something either contains chocolate or not and I’ve successfully managed to avoid chocolate with the exception of a couple of mouthfuls of chocolate brownie to celebrate the dog’s 6th birthday.   It was only a couple of mouthfuls as it was pretty awful brownie from a pub and I really didn’t want more.

Cake however is more challenging.  One friend kindly agreed that hot cross buns are not cake and then brought me some last week.  Definitely good.  Croissant, eaten instead of cake is not cake either.  Flapjack is getting a bit closer and anything called cake is a definite no.

Biscuits however – they’re not chocolate or cake.  That said, eating half a pack of custard creams sort of defeats the purpose of having less cake and chocolate.  So does drinking half a bottle of red wine in an evening as well.

Overall it’s going ok.  No weight gained and even a little lost.   I do need (like) a little something sweet mid afternoon but can normally restrain myself to a digestive (or two).  Is it breaking my sweet tooth habit – time will tell but definitely in a better position than before Lent with my 3 sweet things a day.

Anyway, on with the photographs.  20 days to get through and rather than a day by day blow, they’re grouped and we’re starting with coffee.  An espresso from home with a fairly good crema, a coffee from when out and about and a lovely mug that I was gifted by a friend.  It’s great – insulated and keeps my rooibos perfectly warm.

I’m following this with springtime as although today is wet and not that nice it is the official start of spring today and all that.  We’ve a collection of a sedum, laburnum, daffodil, magnolia, more daffs, the local dog walk and a swan.  Most were actually taken on rainy days (with the clear sky being the obvious exception)

 

Moving on, a collection of photographs loosely related to work, my first working lunch in the sun, a sketch from a launch with the NHS (not by me), pudding from a work event which looked nicer than it tasted and a snapshot taken from Waterloo bridge in London when walking between meetings.

A complete about turn and now a few family related images – a very small selection of photographs from home over the past month.

Last but not least – jumper progress – I’ve finished the body and am now working on the sleeves before joining them and moving onto the yoke.

Feeling quite proud about the jumper actually and in the last 20 days I’ve received the paper copy of the book it’s taken from – Inspired by Islay by Kate Davies – just a stunning book and the essays are great as well.  Anyway, onwards into spring time we go and I’m going to try and not develop a biscuit habit.

 

Colourwork

I’ve just sat and reviewed my images from the past week and deleted 90% of them.   I’d just been using my phone and the focus wasn’t right or the composition was beyond recovery or the lighting was that bad touching up just wouldn’t cut it.  As such, I’ve three images to show you from the past 7 days.

First up – a work event.   Not very inspiring in terms of image but in terms of who was brought together in this event, just fabulous.

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Next up – an combination of old and new – hand operated sewing machine (seriously – how cool!), being operated by a 15 month old.  He loved it.  It now has pride of place in my office.

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Last but not least – I just loved the colours on the church brickwork and the wood.  I’ve walked past here many many times but yesterday, the lighting and the colours just caught my eye.2017_feb-2

 

Speaking of colour …. I’ve been mostly knitting colour work this year in various different forms.   The colour itself is cheering considering the time of year and I’m finding that I like having more colour in my life in terms of clothing or accessories or whatever.   Black and dark blue and very bland and dull and suck the light and energy out of me (although you’ll never see me wearing jeans any other colour).  I’ve not quite worked out why I want to blog about this but apparently I do so read on if you want and stop if you’d rather not read about knitting.  It does also take me up to the 7 images for this week …. the four images below all of (current) projects, all using colour work.  Three are actually WIP’s so please excuse uneven stitches and wrinkles etc.

The first is a poncho type thing – it’s called Haven by a designer Holly Yeoh.  I just saw it and thought “oh – I want to make that”.  The bit in the picture was lovely – the rest is one colour just knitting back and forward in reverse stockinette and is a little bit boring.  As a result, it’s been on the needles since before the wee one was born – it was originally planned to be a useful breastfeeding cover-up.  Now – it will just be a nice poncho when it’s finally done and I’ve still got a long way to go.  The colour work is quite clever – you knit this with fingering yarn doubled so the plain colours are holding two strands of the one colour and the mottled bits are holding two different colours together.  About the simplest way I’ve come across to do colour work without thinking about it.

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Next up is some squishy brioche which may make it into a cowl one day.  I started this back in October using the other half skeins from above (the yarn is Suilven by Ripples Crafts and the most lovely soft merino, yak and silk mix – mmmmmmm).   This is a bit of a hack of patterns combined but it shows single colour brioche through to two colour and then a bit of a play with patterning.  I’m not giving the pattern names as I also can’t follow them and there are so many mistakes I’m not fancying linking to how it should look like.  Anyway, it turns out that brioche is nice but travel knitting a pattern in brioche is a bit beyond me so it’s stalled as I need to do the next bit at home.  What I really like, (apart from the lime and purple together) is how you have both colours so visible.  You could really have fun playing with colour here.

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Last but not least I have two images of “fair isle” – traditional stranded colour work which I love doing – I don’t know why but I just find this very very satisfying.  I’ve knit colour work like this in bits and bobs before for a motif or a yoke but never a whole hat (it’s Saudade by Ysolda using Little Grey Sheep – I took a photograph of the cakes during January when I started).  I think I might have said in a previous post that I wanted to learn two handed colour work so I can knit an allover fair isle jumper by Kate Davies – there are lots of different ways to do this but for me to do that, and get sensible tension, I needed to learn continental knitting (holding yarn in LH), then two handed colour work and then onto the jumper.   I’ve been knitting the miles of stockinette in Haven very slowly continental since Christmas.   I finally felt confident enough to try it in a hat – below and the swatch (to check sizing) of what the jumper will look like.   2017_feb-4

If anyone wants to know the advantage of blocking – look at the difference between above and below in stitch definition.   I just need to finish sewing in a gazzillion ends and then I can do the same to the hat and it will be oh so lovely crisp and clear.  I might even then be able to take an image fully in focus.

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I’m really enjoying colourwork as a way to have interest in a pattern – I know there are different stitches and things you can do as well but for me right now, this just suits where I am.

The last third of January

30 days and we’re up to 30 pictures.   Last week actually was a little bit of a nightmare in terms of managing the work / life balance so there were a couple of days that I missed but I’ve just chosen other extra pictures that I’ve taken on better days.

Where to start …. well around the 20th/21st (was it really only 9 days ago) I seem to recall a few just lovely days and the photographs reflect that.  The first image I took my lovely camera with me, got everything set up and then realised that the card was still in my laptop.  Idiot mistake but with a backup iPhone the situation was recovered.  The duck was very friendly, until it realised I had no food.

Sunday 22nd was actually a pretty spectacular day as well which prompted a rare “selfie” as I really don’t like having my photograph taken.   Actually, the selfie didn’t work and the photograph was taken by my obliging husband.

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After the Monday though, that’s when it got a bit mental.  Tuesday was a bit of a sobering day.  Quite happily working away on the train on the way into London when on go the emergency brakes, the announcement “can the guard please contact the driver”, and then a few minutes later “we’ve been involved in an incident”.  I know that SW trains come under a lot of grief but on that day, they did a very good job in a very difficult situation.  It did take 4 hours to complete my normally 1 hour journey but they did their best to keep us informed and we were warm, dry and safe inside the carriages while they had a much more gruesome task to resolve.  It did however mean I had a bit of a rush, didn’t get my lovely walk over Westminster bridge so the only photograph I took was of the platform in the dark as I got home.

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Wednesday wasn’t much better with every meeting running into one another so I’ve a “make-up” picture for that day.  Thursday was much of the same but I was working from home rather than in London and getting time to walk the dog was a challenge, let alone remembering to stop and take a photograph.  Actually – it’s these sorts of days where taking two minutes out to stop and appreciate one little thing by photographing it can make a world of difference to how you’re feeling.  Need to get better at that.

The “make-up” pictures are from being out and about – I didn’t quite manage to capture the sun on the walk up to the cathedral quite so well by camera but it was quite something.  The dog was just happy to pose for a biscuit!

Anyway, Friday is the second of three pictures of my son in this block.  He is fascinated by the window … it’s just at the right height for him.  He’s normally so energetic and so busy it was lovely to see him still and almost contemplative for a few minutes.

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On to Saturday and on this occasion I did remember to stop, find a moment and photograph it.  A cup of coffee (with pretty impressive latte art) may not seem like much but with a wee one, a chaotic household and just life – 20 minutes to sit and drink a latte (and knit) in peace is absolute bliss.   I wish I could do latte art – it’s so pretty.

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Sunday was a bit less nice and instead of a photograph of being rained on, I went for indoor play and some cheerful bright colours.

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Last but not least, some knitting.  This is actually a test – trying to work out the size of my stitches so I can make a jumper.  However – being typically me, I’m not doing this the easy way – a jumper with this pattern all over is quite a lot and to make it manageable, it’s much better (in my opinion anyway) to be able to have one colour in one hand and the second colour in the second hand.  The only problem being I had no idea how to do that.  January’s project has been learning how to knit with the yarn in my left hand (continental style) which has gone quite well (my green hat above was done like that) and this was a very very first trial of using two hands – I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.  Gauge is way off but I’ve a bit more practicing with a couple of other things first before the jumper gets started.

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One more day and then it’s February – exciting!

 

 

2016 Photo a Day Week 10

I’ve been doing a “course” with WordPress – Photo 101 – to try and remind me of some of the photography basics which I forget when not actively thinking about them and also for inspiration to keep me going.

They are encouraging you to blog every day with your images but with the 4 and a half month old, it’s just not possible.  I am however back out with my proper camera (not the iPhone) and taking images every day which is nice.  The sunny weather also helps hugely!

Day 1 last week was the theme of Home.  There are so many things you could think of for this, a photograph of the house, one of the rooms, the dog, the view from near Aviemore in Scotland which always makes me feel at home.  In the end, I chose the fire as cosying up with the fire on is a great way of feeling at home.

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Home Sweet Home

Day 2 was all about Street and Establishing Shots.  This is something I’m not so happy with.  I don’t feel comfortable with wide angle shots, I just don’t get the composition right.  That said, the high street provided a suitable canvas for the first image and then I had a play with the view through the Westgate to see if that improved things any.  This is an area that still needs work me thinks.

Day 3, Water and Orientation.  I’m quite happy with landscape or portrait and I knew exactly what shot I wanted for the Water theme but I couldn’t get to the right part of town to shoot the water coming out from the City Mill so was stuck with the following.  At least it’s the same river.

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The river Itchen

Thursday (Day 4) and it was all about Bliss.  Right now, with the wee one, bliss is a cup of tea, some chocolate and half an hour to myself.  Today, it’s writing this, last week it was the promise of sitting with a work in progress and some mindless knitting after taking the photograph.   Unfortunately I didn’t clear the background properly and by the time I realised, the wee one had woken up and the cup of tea was going cold.  By the time we were sorted, the light was going so I’ll settle for this.

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The last day of week one of the course was all about Solitude.  Again this is an interesting one, someone standing alone on a busy street, a solitary person out walking their dog, all sorts of things.  For me however, it was the peace and quiet of standing outside on my own looking at the moon as the sky darkened.

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The challenge for the weekend was to Experiment with Composition, practice the techniques and try uploading a gallery (multiple images together rather like day 2).  I went slightly off book and went macro instead with pretty flowers.

I wonder what this week will bring?

2016 Photo a Day Weeks 8 and 9

Two for the price of one!  Or something like that.  More realistically it’s that I’m a bit lazy and last week I just didn’t quite get around to posting the pictures.  I’d also been in a little bit of a slump in terms of photography so everything had been captured on the phone rather than taking my proper camera out and about.  On top of that, frankly the images were a bit naff and I’ve culled lots so there are very few (only 4!) to show for these two weeks.

We’re starting off with a photograph of the wee one.  He turned 4 months so granny was enlisted to help with a photoshoot.  Trying to get two people (one of which is a baby) both smiling and looking towards the camera at the same time is beyond me but I am quite pleased with where we ended up.

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Then a couple of days later we had a grand day out to the Wellcome Collection in London.  It’s a seriously cool place with a lovely coffee shop for lunch, the best bookshop and exhibition shop I’ve ever found and then some fantastic exhibits.  Can you tell I like it there? The image I’m selecting is from the reading room where you can go to work peacefully, have quiet meetings or just read and lounge on the bean bags on the stairs surrounded by some pretty funky things.  This is a dental station from the 1920’s.  Random but really quite interesting.

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Then we have two images from out and about near home.  Firstly we have a wooden carving on a bridge over the local river.  It’s next to the grounds where an Abbey used to stand and the way they’ve marked the perimeter of the Abbey with planting and then extended with woodwork over the river is lovely.

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Last but not least … would you believe it had been snowing 10 minutes previously (and was snowing 15 minutes later as well!)??

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This week I’m doing a photography thing with wordpress … should be fun.

2016 Photo a Day Week 7

This week is a bit of a mish-mash of images starting with a completely missed day.  I have no idea what happened on the Monday but no photographs were taken.  The camera was not even thought about I presume.

Tuesday however was a bit of a grand day out for half term with the youngest stepson.  We took the train to London and up a rather tall building (the Shard) to see the sights.  Not sure it’s worth paying full price for but with the “kids go free” deal at half term, we had a lot of fun.  We also went to the Science Museum which is just an amazing place and I’d recommend the Cosmonaut exhibition to one and all.

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Wednesday, I just liked the moon appearing over the rather tall Scots Pine near home, Thursday was a shot of that day’s cooking project (a delicious chorizo and mushroom risotto – one of this month’s new recipes and cooked entirely by the youngest stepson) and Friday a shot from the vestibule of St John’s in town (I just liked the shape of the windows).  Sunday was the Blackthorn blossom spotted this year.

Saturday’s photo is of a yarn haul.  Slightly geeky but I do enjoy knitting and stuff and it’s helped as a distraction since health got in the way of running and such like.  Anyway, I took a day trip out with the wee one to my first ever yarn show, Unravel.  If you like yarn, it’s a great place to visit.  If you’re not interested in yarn – stop reading now and I’ll see you next week.

The show was very busy, and not good if you take a pram (we had the sling – phew!) but I came back with a stash of lovely things.    While Pink Hazel is based in the Netherlands, the easyknits team are South East London so a bit closer to home.  Not quite sure where the yarn is sourced from but the colour as added not too far away.   Getting somewhat closer – I know that the designer behind CoopKnits and the Socks Yeah yarn is from Berkshire so very local.  I’m not sure where the yarn is sourced but oh it’s lovely and it will become a nice pair of socks soonish.

The little grey sheep is even more local which is great.  They’re based in Hampshire at Well Manor Farm.  The sheep are their own and it’s a great family business.  One of the ladies shears the sheep, the wool is processed in Yorkshire, spun in Devon and then dyed back on the farm.  I think I may need to arrange a day trip to see their shop some time but I may need to leave the credit card behind.  The 5 colours are going to become a hat I think.

A lovely day out.

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2016 Photo a Day Week 6

We’re fairly storming through February, it’s a busy month.  This week was a mixture of images but it was mostly about light starting with the light in the Cathedral at the end of the day.  The stained glass is fascinating – the original images in the stained glass were destroyed by Cromwell and his cronies many many many years ago (I think they threw coffins through the windows).  The glass was collected and the windows rebuilt but not in any discernible pattern.  It’s the most beautiful hodge podge of glass to look at and every time I’m there I spot something different.  Image wise, I couldn’t decide between the majesty of the large window or focussing in on the shards.  I think the full scale of it is pretty impressive.

Then you have the vaulted roof and you can imagine being in there once the sunlight streaming through the windows has gone for the evening and the whole place lit by huge chandeliers of candles.

This was followed by some signs of spring including a daffodil, one of the local swans and a field of snowdrops from Welford Park.

For those of you who like GBBO, Welford Park is a private house which is home to the famous tent for part of the year.  In spring however, they have a Snowdrop Wood which you can visit and wander round.  It’s quite spectacular seeing quite so many snowdrops all at once and I’d recommend a visit next year.

Finally this week we have a wonderful birthday cake made by the youngest stepson for the eldest stepson (it was delicious and did not last very long) and some lovely flowers.

A good week for photos!