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Looking forward to Flowers

Just popping in quickly today with some photos I found from last year. Thought I’d share them to cheer us all up on this Monday and get us all looking forward to the summer. I know it’s a way off but still…..

The macro lens is still a challenge for me but I keep picking it up and giving it another go.

And it always helps to have good light.

Enjoy your week!

Bloom 2019 – Planning and Seed Sowing

The planning began a while ago. That photo above was taken on a Sunday morning in January when I was addicted to that cereal and had the beginnings of big plans for my cutting garden.

I still have big plans it just took a couple of months for me to decide what seeds I wanted to try this year.

I’m trying some new plants as well as some old favourites. And as well as seed from Sarah Raven I am giving Chilterns Seeds a go. They have an incredible array of seeds to choose from. Very unusual varieties and very ordinary ones too.

Below are some of the new seeds I’m trying.

Here is a list of what I hope to be growing –

  • Calendula Indian Prince
  • Ammi visnaga
  • Ammi majus
  • Ridolfia
  • Salvia
  • Orlaya
  • Scabious stellata
  • Scabious – a perennial form
  • Helianthus various
  • Phlox
  • Nicotiana
  • Centaurea
  • Cosmos
  • Nigella
  • Sweet Peas

They are magical things these seeds!

I had already sown some Helianthus seeds and they popped up last week with the help of a new heated bench Gav built.

It feels like we are up and running now. Looking forward to this growing season.

The 100 Day Project 2019 – 100 Experiments in Art

Here we are again. My third year embarking on this project and I am just as excited to get going as in previous years, although I’ll say it right here, right now I don’t think I can ever top last years 100 hearts on fabric for sheer joy and fun every day. (And yes, one day I will finish the quilt).

But onward.

For 2019 I’m going to make 100 pieces of artwork. Here are three reasons I felt pulled towards this idea.

  • I follow lots of artists and makers over on Instagram and feel inspired by them.
  • I have tried my hand at many different arty crafts over the years but flit on to something else.
  • I constantly find myself uttering the words I could do that!

I know I already have a challenge of making going on (my plan to open an etsy shop for macrame and weaving!) but this is different. This is going to be paint, pens, pencils, collage on paper.

My overall aim is to focus my arty voice. I want to experiment with different techniques and I’ve been pinning ideas over here for reference.

I hope that by giving myself 100 days to play I will be able to hone in on what I most like to make. You can see from the Pinterest board that it’s mainly abstract with some graphic line art thrown in.

After pondering how to approach this I eventually decided that I’m going to start with a pile of 100 pieces of mixed media paper cut to A5 size. I may go smaller depending on the idea that day. When I was discussing this idea with Gav he asked me how I intend finish a piece of art every day. It is a concern but I’ve made a deal with myself.  I’m going to be okay not completing every piece. My intention is to finish each day but if I don’t as long as I have something to share over on Instagram that will be fine. I can go back and finish off later, or not!

I know that the idea of a stack of blank paper may scare some but I’m looking forward to seeing that pile of potential, what will I try today? Oh yes I’m ready to go!

Layout Share – Every Picture Tells a Story

More form the 2017 trip.

Every Picture Tells a Story

And the story is my face…. Yes my eyes are tightly closed and they stayed that way the whole way round. It was my first time on a ‘roller coaster’ for many years and I don’t know why I booked myself on it with the fastpass. But I did it. And even did it again with Gav. Woot!

Oh dear what a wuss I am. This ride was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Walt Disney World and as far as roller coasters go it’s tame. But they are not my thing at all. You probably can’t see my face, I’m on the second row next to my niece and I laughed so hard when I got this photo from the photo pass photographers. A page had to made to tell this silly story. Good times.

Photo a Day – Week Fifty One and Fifty Two

And here we are with the final two weeks of this year in photos.

Pancake day in the UK. We had eaten them all but I think she was going back to get more syrup off the plate!

The blue spruce I bought in December is sprouting new shoots.

A lovely sunny day and a close up teasel.

Chickpea salad for lunch.

We had a very crazy weather week and this was the result. A poplar tree in a neighbours garden cam down!

And then snow….

I mean really. Someone has even covered him up!

Out for treats with my Mum and sister.

Caught making my birthday cake!

A couple of nights away and of course we went to our favourite bookshop.

A different family portrait as we came down for breakfast. Lovely hotel.

And more snow. Could not believe it when I opened the curtains and saw it.

No snow back in Leeds though. But lots of sunshine again and we got started on sowing seeds for the veg and flower areas.

And there we go another 52 weeks of photos in the books.

The Click Tick List – Photograph Duddo Five Stones

I love it when something on my list gets done so easily! When I updated my list last year I added a visit to this stone circle into the mix because I adore an ancient monument and it’s in Northumberland where we visit often, so I figured it would be easy to do. And it was!

We spent my birthday in a lovely country hotel near Alnwick and took a drive to find this 4,000 year old ring of stones.

And although it was very windy the sky was a bright and a beautiful blue with lots of sunshine making the taking of photos a dream.

The position of this circle is up on a high ground so it gives you a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. To the south are the Cheviot Hills.

The stones are sandstone which has become eroded by the weather over the years leaving the deep cut channels.

There were originally seven stones and you can see the gap to the west of the circle where the two missing stones would have stood.

Oh yes a little dog in the photo too. Gav was hiding behind that large stone because I asked him to get out of my shot but the pooch crept back in….

And of course it wouldn’t be right to leave this place without a self timed photo.

It was only a quick visit but this reminded me of how much I love to do this kind of thing. As long as the walk from the car isn’t too long. We used to trek about all over looking at monuments. Really glad I added this to my list and now crossed it off!

A Breakfast Love Affair – Leek and Potato Hash

Do you still use cookbooks? I pose this question because a few weeks ago Gav and I got back from the supermarket shopping and I found that he’d bought a new cookbook. (I help my Mum with her shop while he does our hence the fact I hadn’t seen the book in our trolley!).

I’ve seen a decline in my cookbook use over the last few years and often have the laptop sat there on the kitchen counter instead. I love the technology but nothing beats leafing through a brand new cookbook and getting inspired to make something.

The book he’d bought was Veggie Lean in 15  It’s a quick, the 15 refers to a cooking time of 15 minutes, healthy meal one. Both of us  are trying to get a grip of our bad eating habits. I’d heard of this guy before and he seems to have a sensible approach to food. The only thing I disagree with in the book is the need for exercise. Lol!

Anyway all that to say I tried a recipe out from the book at the weekend. A breakfast recipe of course because we all know breakfasts are my favourite.

And you know the most amazing thing about making this meal? I said to Gav “I need a leek” and five minutes later a leek appeared in the kitchen. Yep he went outside and harvested a fresh and delicious homegrown leek.

As you can see the recipe had chick peas as well as the potatoes and leeks with a lightly fried egg. I don’t think I squashed the potatoes enough as it was all quite separate on the plate but it was delicious and it felt mildly healthy with the green veg and chick peas.

So all in all it was win, win, win. I got to browse a new cookery book, make a new breakfast recipe and pat Gav on the back for growing our own!

Layout Share – Crossing off States

Here’s another page from the 2017 trip.

A brief story to go with the photos –

It’s on my list…… cross off 30 States…… We added 5 this trip! Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana. That makes 19. Yay. 

Perhaps the story should also have mentioned how hard it is to get photos of the state signs! These two were the best all of us had. But they are a fun reminder of my quest.

Photo a Day – Week Forty Nine and Fifty

Another couple of weeks.

Nothing like a pretty sky to start the week.

I’ve been doing a trial of working some hours at home. Way back in another life I worked at home and loved it. This is something new for my place of work so hoping it’s a success. We will see. It is certainly strange after 9 years to be back looking out into my garden yet being ‘at work’ and the scene below is a perk of that. Breakfast at my desk, cutting mat off to the side…..

Light and pretty violas.

Little Ladybird nestled away.

He is slinking towards the log store to steal a piece of wood to chew……..

Oh my…… Friends took us to a doughnut cafe. They were so good.

Trip to the garden centre with my Mum and sister.

Foggy morning.

Always love those looking down shots.

I have a lot of favourite plants. This is a stem from a plant at my Mums. The plant is 20 years old and was grown from a cutting I took when I was doing a horticultural course. Daphne odora Aureomarginata. Smells amazing.

Working on her crafty journal.We like to have all the things out at once…

More amazing light and amazing Hellebores.

Came round to practice her photography. Learning about rule of thirds.

Inspired by the photo session I tried out the rule of thirds too. Not quite there but an interesting photo of that lichen on dear Lewis’s wind chime.

And there we have it.

A Scrapbookers Story – The 2017 USA Album

This post has been six months in the writing! Everything I wrote last year about this album and way back here about how I began the preparation for still holds true but I wanted to bring it all together and fill in some gaps and give an idea of the overall album.

After I’d taken the Travel Scrapbook Class from Ali Edwards last August I felt inspired to get this album finished. I knew my task would be a big one so I brought all the photos, ephemera and completed pages together on the patio table (it was so hot last summer!) along with a pad of sticky notes and spent a lovely morning working through the pictures, looking at the ephemera and getting organised. When I was finished in the planning stage I took this photo……

All those post it notes were either layouts to finish (I went through a phase of starting layouts) or indicating a photos tucked into a 12 x 12 page protector waiting for the story to be told.

As it stood right there and then physical album was almost full. Adding another twenty or so pages was going to spill out of that album and I didn’t want to have more that one album for this trip.

It was certainly overwhelming so I split the task of deciding what to do next into a few little chunks.

First, I put most of the ephemera I wanted to keep into divided page protectors.

I used the 12 pocket page protectors from Becky Higgins.

Second, I began to finish all the half made pages. Here is an example of one I had started and not completed.

Third, I went through all the photos I’d designated for layouts and thought about whether they actually needed a 12 x 12 page. This was hard. When I got all those photos printed I wanted to tell all the stories. I was so in love with that trip, it was pretty special and I wanted to remember every teeny tiny detail.

I think something that taking Ali’s class helped with was the reminder that you cannot tell all the stories and you do not have to used all the photos!

Phew that was hard to write but I can see how true it is especially when faced with so many pictures.

Using a technique I’d used before I added lots of photos to 6 pocket pages. Photos where there wasn’t a story to tell but I still wanted to be able to see the pictures I’d taken. Or where I felt the story didn’t warrant a full layout. It’s the fusion of a traditional photo album with a scrapbook album and I like the way it breaks ups the stories and gives a more complete picture.

Here are a few of those pages.

I added words along with the photos where I felt I needed to.

And also had some double spreads too.

I wasn’t precious about side on photos either!

Just popped them in the pockets.

Oh my I love seeing them all.

This technique allowed me to cut back on the layouts which means I can just about fit everything into this one album.

As of today I have two more 12 x 12 layouts to make. Hooray!  Yes, there are less 12 x 12 stories than I wanted but all of the ephemera is in there, almost every photos is included and it gives a great overview of the trip.

It is never a bad idea to reevaluate. There is no right or wrong here just what works for you at that moment in time. Here’s to getting the stories told.