Read 2016 – A Particular Eye for Villany by Ann Granger

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Another book that my Mum lent me and another from a series. I have read this author before but this series is altogether different as its set in Victorian London.

Strangely I found it interesting not just because of the story which was a quirky detective tale but I also found myself wondering how hard it must be to set a story back in time. No DNA tests or forensic evidence for this detective! Overall I liked it and will probably read the other books in this series.

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Photo a Day – week twenty two

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Catching up here….

Still working on my macro lens skills. And bees of course, always bees.

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On her summer list.

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On our summer list!

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On his summer list?! Catch as much sun as possible!

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Me and him in Canal Gardens.

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Making arrows…. don’t ask!

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Perfect breakfast outside.

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And that was the week before last!

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Bloom 2016 – update in August

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There is a little sigh happening around here. Summer is winding down. The light is fading earlier and there is a chill creeping into the morning air. And I have not harvested many flowers at all so far this season.

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It had been a challenging year what with the greenhouse building. I was thrilled to get so many plants into the garden back in June but the late planting has naturally delayed the picking.

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Above are the Cosmos. They are late to flower anyway so hopefully our late start won’t affect those too much. Below you can see that the Nicotiana are starting to bulk up.

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Very happy to see self sown Borage.

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Ammi struggling along.

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My first attempt at Amaranthus……hmm. They have certainly not done quite what the should have because those flower spikes should be about  10 – 15 cms. I think that some plants just don’t do well in our climate.

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Take the Zinnias for instance. Here a specimen that had been planed out in the garden at the same time as everything else. It was attacked by slugs and sat there sulking. So I dug most of them up and potted back up and popped them into the greenhouse.

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They stated to grow away perfectly. SO my conclusion is that our Leeds temps are just not hot enough. But now I know they’ll grow in the greenhouse I will probably try them in the ground in there next year, if I can wrestle a small bit of space from Gav and his tomatoes!

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The sweet peas were planted in my now tried and tested way and are doing well.

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And my favourite Antirrhinum ‘Liberty Classic Crimson’ getting ready to flower.

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So a little snapshot into what’s what in my cutting patches. Not a total loss just a little late to the party!

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Week In The Life™ 2016 – in the album

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This has been a while in the finishing but at last I have 2016 in the album.

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I went back to a design I used in 2010 which was my version of Ali’s design for that year.

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Think that I’ve found my favourite way of documenting this project. The simplicity of the design is why I love it. One spread per day, the words and feature photo on the left and a collage of photos on the right.

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Yes, there is more computer work to get the photos cropped and into a template in Photoshop but then I just printed the right side pages all as one, trimmed and popped into the pocket page.

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The left page was designed to leave a space for the photo, which I printed as a 4 x 6 and added onto the cardstock, and a space for the strip of patterned paper. I printed these here at home too.

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There are compromises to this design because I just can’t include as many photos as I generally had for each day but I don’t mind the compromise on this occasion.

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The words add to the story of the photos and I like that balance.

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I included these pages in the same 6 x 8 album I used for Week In The Life™ in 2015 which is a Simple Stories one. Combining the two years in one little book made me very happy!

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Week in the Life™ is a project devised by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over here.

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Project Life® – the rest of February, March and April

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Still love this project just a little behind!

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I went through an ‘Ali’ phase while making these pages – lots of writing directly onto the photos. Because I only usually do one page per week I often run out of room for journaling so adding writing to the photo allows me to include more words.

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I even tried a white gel pen on some pictures. Like it. I also adore that little collage of photos below of the snow fall that happened one day when I was at work. I added the times the photos were taken in Photoshop before printing.

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Added a couple more cut down pages to keep some treasures in. My niece and I had been watching Winnie the Pooh and we’d been reciting a little song he sings during one of the episodes. We wanted to get the words right so she jotted them down on a scrap of paper.

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Gav left me a note also on a scratty bit of paper about his run and letting me know he’d fed Buddy. Wanted to keep that one too. It’s these little things that make Project Life® all the richer.

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Lots of ephemera collected during my birthday week which I made into a two page spread.

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I added all the bits and bobs to a 6 x 12 page protector.

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A very family oriented week this week.

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Managed to drag them all outside on Easter sunday for one of our group shots. Yes it’s staged but I could write a whole post on the joy of these photos. Actually had enough of them to make into a calendar that I gave my Mum and sister last Christmas.

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And into April.

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Washi tape is my simple go to for adding just a little contrast.

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Catching up slowly. I’ve just send a whole load more photos to get printed which takes me up to last weekend so yes getting there.

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Project Life® is a memory keeping system developed by Becky Higgins. I am using the Honey and the Fifth and Frolic ‘Dear Lizzie’ Core Kits, the Seasons, DIY shop, Road Trip and Pooch Mini kits on my pages.

Go here to find out more from Becky

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Photo a Day – week twenty one

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Here we go with another week.

After an amazing start with my sunflowers the slugs got to them and I only have five plants left growing healthily in the ground. It was very exciting to see one of these gearing up to flower.

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Such a lovely scene, on a lovely street. Since Bud and I have lengthened our morning walk, in the quest for 10,000 steps a day (more on that soon) we walk on this street most days. I adore the huge houses around this area and the leafy trees.

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Helping me support the pea crop which grows inches daily!

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Scoring a live baseball game this week. The San Francisco Giants were away from home on the east coast which means if they play a day game we get to watch live. It’s a big event round here!

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Wonder where they were going?

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Waiting not too patiently for some ripe tomatoes….

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And here it is in all that rusty-red and tinged yellow glory. Helianthus ‘claret.’

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And another week goes by.

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The post box quest continues….

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I am very excited to share these photos. Bring on the geek fest, oh yeah!

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If you recall from my previous ramblings about these gems of the UK postal service, most post boxes that you find on the streets today have a Royal cypher on the door of the box.

So far I have found five out of the six cyphers in existence. The one I had yet to spot was the rare ER VIII that was for Edward. They are rare because he abdicated before his coronation but around 160+ had been put in place up and down the country before the abdication. I’d done quite a bit of searching off and on over the last four years but had never found reference to any of these boxes nearby. Until I stumbled upon blog post over here and read with excitement (yes, geek indeed) that there was not one but two of these boxes right here in Leeds!

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And this one is actually on the route we take to visit Gav’s parents. Right under my nose.

Very happy to add this photo to my collection.

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52 Stories – week thirty six – Our garden love affair

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Hello again and welcome to another week another story.

Our garden love affair

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A little back story. I was walking from the back gate towards the house about a week ago and was struck by the utter peace and quiet, the beauty of the plants and how fantastic I felt right at that moment wandering in my very own space. I was inspired to make this page and was very happy to find these two recent shots of the three of us in amongst the garden we love.

Here is the story on the layout –

From the very first searches for a new house all the way back in 2001 we wanted a big garden (big for a semi-d anyway.) We found our perfect garden and have embarked on big and small plans. But no matter if its neat or weedy it is my sanctuary. It is the place I longed for after we lost Dad, to get out there and lose myself in the green space. It is the place that calms and restores my soul. It literally feeds us and feeds our souls too. We’re still learning about this gardening thing. We grow with every season of planting. We grow and breathe and revel in the beauty of this green home.

The takeaways from this page/would I add anything more?

Nope wouldn’t add anything to this page. Love the words, love the design. Very happy with it.

But…… Oh, you knew there had to be one! I have been thinking about my go to journaling style and want to mix it up a little as it’s starting to feel repetitive. I am a big fan of the handwritten paragraph plonked on the page. But there are so many other journaling concepts and I hope to investigate some of these over the next few layouts.

So come back and see how I’m getting on ; )

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52 stories is a year long series or adventure in my story telling. Can I get the whole story onto a layout? Am I telling the stories I want to tell? Read the inspiration post here.

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In the frame – a journey in self portraiture

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During a recent class with Ali about photography called Lens of Joy she introduced us to Vivienne McMaster who has taken the idea of a selfie and run a million miles with it. I was intrigued and interested in the idea of a selfie from a different perspective. Vivienne’s idea is to ‘cultivate self-love through self portraiture.’

Throughout my photo snapping years I have been known to take a self-portrait or two. I began taking photos of my feet years ago when I saw everyone else was doing it. Taking photos of my feet is one of my favourite types of photo of myself. Here is the week I took some feet shots during photo a day last year.

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I love getting the self timer photos with Gav on our U.S. hols and of course I did that fashion show…… So I’m not averse to being in front of the camera.

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From the point of view of the Lens of Joy class, Ali was guiding us towards the realisation that being in the photos means we are in our story, visible, tangible. And I am 100% in agreement with that.

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There is something about the images that Vivienne takes, they are different from what I have taken in the past and called a selfie. She isn’t just in the frame, she’s owning the frame. She isn’t apologising for being there, like I think I often look like, but is saying this is my life, I’m here, I’m in it, I am being seen, I am visible, I love me.

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Another thing I find so interesting is that she is re-defining what most think of as a selfie. Photos of hands, blurred half body shots, creative reflections all count as far as she’s concerned.

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As you can see I have being consciously taking different selfie’s recently. Experimenting and flexing my selfie muscles a little.

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I can’t lie and say that I love every selfie. But in the spirit of being my own beloved I am learning to look at the photos differently and I don’t cringe as much as I used to. By examining photos of myself I feel like I am seeing myself differently and I am improving my photo self timer skills, learning what makes a better shot and actually enjoying this photo project.

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The most important thing is that I am in my own story front and centre. So join me and Vivienne because we all deserve to be in the spotlight of our own adventure.

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Photo a Day – week twenty

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Walking seems to be high on our priority recently, more than usual and it’s all because of those i-phones that count your steps! Gav and I have been clocking 10,000 a day for over three weeks now. Let me tell you it’s tough. I have a dog and walk him everyday and it’s still tough for me to get to that magical figure. Anyway, lets see some photos shall we?

From our walk.

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Looking down on the patio.

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A lovely sky on another evening walk.

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Early morning sunshine and evidence that watering systems are being planned.

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I set the phone/camera down to grab this one, yes more evidence of the walking.

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Sunflower potential.

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We looked after a little dog last weekend and took both pooches to the park early in the mornings to run of some energy.

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Okay there we have it.

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