Category: mel

The Click Tick List – Go Disneybounding

First of all for anyone who does not know what Disneybounding is I better explain. You use everyday, normal clothes to create outfits inspired by a particular Disney character. Usually you’d pick a colour, style of top, dress, skirt etc. It’s a creative way to join in the Disney fun without looking like you’ve gone all fancy-dress. Of course you could do it every single day. Or like me focus on that trip to Disney to try it out.

Above is my nod to Nemo. Orange, black and white. You can’t really see it clearly from the photo but that top has a fine black stripe running through it. I found it in a charity shop and knew that it would work for this character and then as a great warm winter top!

I must admit that since I learned about Disneybounding I have thought about it a lot. Maybe too much for an alleged sane person………. How I could use clothes I already owned to play along during our trip. What could I find in charity shops. Which characters to pick? I think I drove Gav crazy. I even had a Pinterest board going with ideas. I was throwing myself wholeheartedly into this idea.

Anyway for all my thinking about it all the ‘bound’ above was a complete accident. Here I am at 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian resort during a character breakfast. And who comes along but Mary Poppins all dressed up in her ‘Jolly Holiday’ outfit. When I looked at the photo afterwards I couldn’t believe how I matched! Even down to the lacy-ness of my t-shirt. Win!

This orange skirt was always going to be Tigger. Add a black t-shirt and there you have it.

One film that I watched and loved from my childhood was The Rescuers.  Evinrude, the dragonfly and Orville, the albatross. So cute. I even had a mirror in my room with a transfer of Orville on it. And then of course Bernard.  Above is my take on his cute jumper, the grey skirt forming his lower body and my sun hat his cap. Such fun!

Alice.

And Moana. It was sheer luck that I’m stood in front of a sea like background and that my hand mirrors hers.

Chip!

Chip and Dale were perhaps my most favourite characters when I was little.

And last was Minnie. She isn’t in her traditional costume here as this was at Chef Mickeys breakfast buffet. Where she dresses as a chef of course!

I found that red and white polka dot material in the sale and thought a simple tube style skirt would be easy to make. It was my first time sewing stretchy material possibly my last! But it worked and was so comfortable.

Something I realised during this adventure was that I have rather boring clothes! I mentioned that I found a top in the charity shop which made up an outfit and obviously I did come up with several of these fun ‘bounds’ but I’d have loved to try out some of the princess’s outfits I just don’t own items in those colours. I will definitely look out for pastel colours in my charity shop trips and who knows I could be headed for a whole disneybound wardrobe…… Not really but it was so much fun doing this and anything that brings a smile to your face is worth it!

The Click Tick List – Have my Hand Painted in Henna

This one sounded easy but after a little research it turned out to be more of a challenge.

Although I had found places that did the ‘tattoo’ they were not using traditional henna. A genuine henna tattoo is orange-brown but all the ones I was seeing were black. Apart from the fact that the black ones do not, in my opinion, look as good as the real ones, the added ingredient to make it black can cause irritation to the skin and in some cases leave scars. I didn’t want that so I put this one on the back burner.

I’m not sure why it popped back into my head before we left for Disney but I’m glad it did becasue a quick search online informed me that the Morocco Pavillion in Epcot’s World Showcase offered genuine henna tattoos! Hooray.

In the photo above it looks very dark but you can see a little of the lighter colour where the paste has dried and fallen off. Basically the henna paste is applied it then dried after about 20 minutes and over the course of the next day the paste falls off revealing the pattern that the dye has left behind.

It does look a bit odd and you have to be careful of the paste that has fallen off because if it gets wet it will still stain clothes, towels etc. I was also advised not to pick off the paste but let it fall off on its own. That was hard but I did as I was told!

And I simply loved it. It felt like something slightly crazy to do and so unlike me. Well, maybe unlike me. Lol. I mean I did it right?

It began to fade after about eight days, that’s the photo above. And today, two weeks later, only the faintest trace remains.

So glad I did this. I’d definitely do it again, maybe my whole hand next time.

Been Adventuring

The weeks slipped away and all of a sudden we’re back from our holidays and I didn’t write a single blog post! It was a full on fun packed couple of weeks in Disney World and a quick road trip to South and North Carolina. I’ll be back soon with stories of crossing things off the click tick list and our adventures!

The Click Tick List – Watch 50 New to Me Films between June 2018 and December 2019

Loved, loved, loved this one. I gave some early thoughts on this film adventure over here.

All of that remains true. I continued watching, documenting and finding it hard to rate them all. But here we are at 50 and well ahead of schedule.

I’ve gone back through my comments about each film and made some stats of what I watched. Where there is more than one genre I’ve gone with the one I felt outweighed the others although sometimes the balance was 50/50.

The rating system I used changed part way through the process. Like I say I was struggling with this and Gav suggested that I use Halliwells rating system. Here is an abridged description of that system.

  • 4 stars – outstanding in many ways, a milestone in cinema history
  • 3 stars – high standard of professional excellence
  • 2 stars – generally entertaining
  • 1 star – not satisfactory as a whole
  • 0 stars – totally routine production or worse

Of course the Halliwell system had more than one critic. Content and quality of movies is very subjective so bear that in mind…. Ha!

Here is a list of all 50 –

  1. The Age of Adaline
  2. Admission
  3. Home Again
  4. Love, Rosie
  5. Queen of Katwe
  6. Elizabethtown
  7. Oblivion
  8. American Assassin
  9. Mama Mia – Here we go Again
  10. The Hit Mans Bodyguard
  11. Destry Rides Again
  12. I’ll See You in My Dreams
  13. The Nice Guys
  14. The Spy Game
  15. Now You See Me
  16. Crazy, Stupid Love
  17. Black Panther
  18. Before We Go
  19. Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit
  20. Nights in Rodanthe
  21. Leap Year
  22. First Man
  23. The Notebook
  24. Belle
  25. Pygmalion
  26. Our Brand is Crisis
  27. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  28. One Day
  29. Love and Friendship
  30. Magic Mike
  31. The Secret Life of Pets
  32. The Limehouse Golem
  33. Summertime
  34. A Christmas Prince
  35. Holiday Calendar
  36. Bohemian Rhapsody
  37. Tomb Raider
  38. Larry Crowne
  39. The Big Short
  40. Mary Poppins Returns
  41. Hampstead
  42. Aloha
  43. The Bookshop
  44. Ready Player One
  45. Wind River
  46. Mission Impossible – Fallout
  47. Crazy Rich Asians
  48. Sweet Home Alabama
  49. Puzzle
  50. The Narrow Margin (1952 version)

Genres

  • Drama – 9
  • Romance – 12
  • Musicals – 3
  • Romantic Comedy – 6
  • Drama/Comedy – 8
  • Sci-fi – 2
  • Action – 7
  • Crime – 3

Within those something I noticed was that 4 were also biographies.

Where/how watched 

  • Netflix – 33
  • Cinema – 4
  • T.V – 4
  • Other – 9 (this included my sisters Sky)

Rating

  • 0 – 16
  • 1 – 19
  • 2 – 12
  • 3 – 3
  • 4 – 0

All that said I think my favourites for sheer entertainment value are Mama Mia, Home Again, The Nice Guys (violent but very, very funny) and Crazy, Stupid Love.

If you know me at all then you know I like happy endings so it is a miracle that lots of these did not have happy endings! It’s good to have learned that I can accept this even though my comfort zone will always be happy endings……

I’m pleased that there are some oldies in the mix too like The Narrow Margin and Summertime. Both worth a watch to see film making like it used to be done.

I also found a holiday destination while watching Nights in Rodanthe. The Outer banks in North Carolina were simply captivating in the film, a character in itself. I fell in love with the place so much that we are going to go see if it lives up the the depiction in the film when we head stateside in October!

All in all I am really glad I challenged myself to this adventure. And am pretty sure that I will do it again.

Here’s to the film watching.

Sock Darning and the Bigger Picture

What?! I hear you cry. You are darning socks? As in mending something?

Yes. I have started to darn some of my socks. But read on because I decided it wasn’t simply about darning…..

Way back in my memory I remember seeing a little wooden mushroom, just like the one in the photo, at my Grandmas house. It was what they did. They mended things.

We don’t do that anymore do we? Well the majority of the UK does not I can guarantee that! I had accumulated a pile of beloved socks, not very old that all had holes in the soles or heels and I could not bring myself to throw them away. I did three things. I vowed never to buy these socks again as clearly they are not meant to last, I watched a you tube tutorial on darning and I bought the mushroom. It’s a work in progress but I am rather pleased with myself. And if I get another winter out of them then so much the better.

It is a small thing to undertake, but the idea of cherishing our clothes enough to mend them? Well if only we all did that it could be the gateway to realising how damaging consumerism is.

We try to do our bit in this house. We grow our own veg and flowers. We have a hybrid car. We compost. We walk places. We buy veg from an organic box scheme. We recycle. We have a Sodastream! (the most fun thing ever!) to cut down on plastic bottles. We have water bottles. I don’t buy clothes much at all and I do go to charity shops.

We are not perfect and I know all our holidays have an impact. But as I keep seeing on instagram ‘We don’t need a few people do it perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly’.

And with that in mind I’m going to download the Refill app that tells you where you can refill your water bottle for free when you’re out and about. And then take Buddy for a walk.

And when I get back I might just darn another sock!

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!

Not Another Hobby……

Actually it’s two more! Eeek.

Macrame.

And weaving.

Here is the story…….

First the Macrame. Last summer I watched a video through Creative Bug showing how to make a macrame wall hanging. I’d see them pop up on Instagram and was intrigued. So much so that I convinced H we should make one as part of her summer list. That plan didn’t work out but it did get me hooked on this craft.

The photo above shows my first attempts at knot tying. The rope is 5mm, 4 strand twisted cotton. See I even talk the macrame talk now!

Same piece as that first shot but I changed the pattern. It ended up looking like this –

Square and half hitch knots. I absolutely loved making this. There was something therapeutic in repeating the same thing over and over and seeing it grow.

I also saw that weaving was being incorporated into macrame so I had a go at the too….

Same square and half hitch knots but this time I added black wool and some roving to the piece.

That one is much smaller and actually used up some of the left over rope from the bigger one. I hung it on a piece of driftwood found when we were at the cottage in November. Loved the chunkier wood for a chunkier wall hanging.

And now the weaving. I have actually weaved before. I made a couple of wall hangings and a little necklace in 2015. I remember enjoying making them but moved on to other things…… Such is my crafty life!

Enter Instagram again. Added to a request from my sister for gift ideas last Christmas. She fulfilled my wish and bought me a loom.

I raided my box of wool, my Mums supply of wool and bought a few balls too.

I’m keen to use recycled/upcycled materials and after I made the blue and mustard weaving I began to experiment and made one that had our old denim jeans in it. I can’t bear to throw jeams away when only the knees or hems are worn so I have been collecting cut off legs for many years knowing that one day I’ll find a use for them.

The fringe and the two strips were once jeans. I cut narrow lengths from the legs, frayed the edges and wove them in.

I also found a great shop on Etsy that sold organic roving and another that sold recycled cotton cord that is perfect for macrame.

And very bizarrely I saved that horrid nylon netting they wrap Christmas Trees in and I plan to weave that into a large macrame too. I’m quite excited about this as you can tell. I just hope my momentum carries on for a while as I made a very rash claim to H and Gav the other day.

I said that when I’d made ten wall hanging I was going to open an Etsy shop! Oh bother what did I have to say that for?? I have no idea how to open an Etsy shop…….. Anyway we will see where this new creative adventure takes me!

One Little Word® 2019 – Heart

I mentioned the other day that I was joining in on this year long project again. This will be my sixth year.

Previous words were –

  • Practice
  • Light
  • Whole
  • Align
  • Listen

This I wanted to write down that ‘success’ doesn’t come into my journey. In my head I always consider that I have failed with this concept because 1) I don’t complete all the prompts from the class and 2) I don’t really change. I’m sure I written about this before but wanted to state is here again.

It is not a case of success or failure. I shall try to do every prompt this year but want to give myself some grace and not put too many ‘things’ into the equation.

Ali had the same thoughts. Her word is habit and she wants to cultivate a yoga practice more days than not this year. She wrote that if she did that ‘it would be enough’.

My word is Heart. It popped into my head last October and hung around. It came from thoughts about looking after my heart in a literal sense. Living well to keep a healthy heart. All too often in my journey with words I have listed so many things I want to work on. This year while I know other things will come up I want to primarily focus on my health.

I want to get back to walking 10k steps a day (except Wednesday when I’m at work for 10 hours….). I want to practice yoga three or four times a week. I want to loose a little weight. This is such a huge ‘thing’ in my life and I don’t often discuss it here. It’s a battle I’ve had all my adult life. Part of me feels that I should accept what I am and get on with it but that is a very hard thing to do. So this year I’ll try to get to a certain weight which will help my health and stay at that weight. When I began walking 10k steps a couple of years ago I held a steady weight for months. So a little cutting back and more steps should help this plan.

And that is all I’m thinking about right now. Steps, Yoga, less unhealthy food.

What’s your word this year?

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One Little Word® is a project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over https://aliedwards.com/one-little-word

Hello 2019

It seemed fitting to include the photo of a bright white newly opened Helleborus niger as the start of this post.

A new beginning, a fresh start. That is what a new year is supposed to be isn’t it. Yet every year I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I get it and on the other I’m clinging onto the festive season, the indulgence, the extra ‘doing nothing’ time.

Instead of rambling on about that I’m going to share some of the things I’m hoping to do this year!

  • Started One Little Word® more on my word to come.
  • Joining in with Adriene and her 30 day Yoga Challenge
  • Finishing December Daily®
  • Cross at least 8 things off my Click Tick List! I think is is possible for me to get all these numbers crossed off –  11, 12, 14, 24, 25, 36, 76, 81, 83, 88, 94, 95, 96, 98 and 99! Wish me luck……
  • Completing 2018 Project Life and start this years album. May change it up a bit but still love this project so want to carry on with it.
  • Go adventuring with family to Portugal.
  • Complete our 2017 scrapbook.
  • Grow flowers and vegetables.
  • Carry on doing all the hobbies! I began three new ones last year and have started weaving again..
  • Read books and try to either read or get rid of that huge pile of ‘to be read’ ones.
  • Go to London with Gav and Han.
  • Arrange flowers.
  • Experience the magic of Disney World and a mini road trip in the USA.
  • Take photographs.
  • Laugh at lot.

Okay enough of the crazy rambling list making! Let’s get on with it.

In the Frame – A Journey into Self Portraiture – Part Two

Over the summer I have been continuing to play and experiment with taking selfies. From the point of view of my phone camera I never really stop taking photos often of my feet and sometimes on the timer but I have been using the big camera more to try and hone my self portrait skills.

You can read the beginning of this story here.

Going back and reading that post has me inspired all over again! Anyway here are a few from this summer, some thoughts and revelations!

I bought one of Vivienne’s online classes and have loved reading her tips and positive messages about this form of photography. I’ve been trying out one of the methods she uses for focussing the camera. Simply put she turns off auto focus and uses the feet/metre guide on the lens to work out where the focus point is then stands there.

I don’t always get it right as you can see in a couple of the photos above but I’m still enjoying it and also now deliberately standing out of focus for a different type of shot.

I’m obsessed with the jumping shots and want to get a good one….. I’ll keep practicing.

Something I have got better at is looking for the light. Photos are just better when there is some light and dark, some sunshine basically. And from a technical point of view the more light the faster you can have the shutter and hopefully capture an in motion type of shot.

And even sometimes when you use that sunshine to take a great all be it a technically bad picture.

The light in Tuscany was just amazing. And I have more evidence that I wear skirts!

I say that a little tongue in cheek but this photo journey has made me realise that I dress in jeans all the time. I like to be comfortable and I guess I have a uniform for day to day living.

However, going back to Vivienne’s original idea about ‘cultivating self love through self portraiture’ I have come to the conclusion that although I like being ‘comfy’ what that actually means is that I choose to wear those jeans over skirts and dresses because of the thoughts I have about my body. I should add, the negative thoughts I have about my body. I hide behind what I feel are neutral clothes, nothing that makes me stand out too much.

Yet by looking at the photos from the post in 2016 and some of these here I love to see myself in something other than jeans. I can honestly say that this has been a revelation, a pause for thought, something that I need to be conscious of and work towards changing. Loving myself in whatever clothes truly want to wear.

This self portraiture journey really is turning into an adventure of discovery on so many levels and I am bravely taking these steps, practicing all the things and embracing what I see through the click of that shutter.