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30 January 2012

week off inspiration

This week has been a little crazy, I had my last two exams on Tuesday and Thursday so I basically spent all of my time either with my head stuck in a book or having exam themed question time with M & R. Fun times! Friday was spent watching the European Figure Skating Championships with mum, which was absolutely phenomenal, such a beautiful sport. I was quite literally mesmerised for an entire 8 hours. I've come back home for a while before lectures start up again and I'm quite excited at the prospect of having large quantities of free time!

There's a shedload of things I would like to get done this week, most of which just won't get done because there are only so many hours in the day, but there are quite a few I'd like to make a start on/crack on with. I'm a really visual person, so I've made up a little 'inspiration board' for the next few weeks to give me a bit of focus for my 'down time'. Its not so much of an issue this week because lectures haven't started, but I can be pretty bad at not taking time to do the things I really enjoy when I'm studying.
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1,6 and 7 are all inspiration for digital scrapbooks, I really want to get round to getting some of my pictures off of my hard-drive and into print. Only I'm not a massive fan of just having photo albums - I like having a few words to explain certain things or there are some pictures that I want to include but I don't want them 'full size'. I love Elise's style of, well, everything. Seriously that lady has talent. She has a knack for keeping things incredibly simple but stylish, which is exactly the kind of design I love. Eventually I'd like to scan in all of our family albums and condense them into digital scrapbooks/photobooks but that is a much longer job! I think I'm going to start making a few pages a month of my favourite images - kind of like a photojournal. I think once I've created a few basic templates on photoshop I'll just be able to change up the images so it shouldn't be too time consuming (she says...)

2 I found via Pinterest (totally obsessed) , I checked out the Etsy shop but they were a little pricey for my budget, I've been looking for some ways to brighten up my room at uni and I think these would be really cute if I could figure out how to do them properly. I'm not sure how I'd feel about cutting up a book, but maybe if I got hold of an old damaged one from a charity shop or something it'd be okay.

3 may be the cutest pair of legwarmers I've seen this year, I'm not usually a fan because they're always bulky and I never want to stretch my boots but these would be really fine if I used the right wool. I'm kinda digging the knee high socks thing at the moment - so warm! - so these would be perfect. And I'm weird and like knitting stuff in the round. Did I mention it was a free pattern? Awesome.

4 is my current knitting project, its super-cute and really different for me. I've never, ever, ever worn a shawl but I'm using the wool thats left over from my cardigan (I'll share soon) so I'm not really going to have lost anything if it doesn't work out right. So far its coming along pretty well, the rows are 100 stitches so they're pretty long but the wools fairly chunky so its working up quite quickly. I'm not a massive pink-person so its in cream, but it works really well. Although its probably gonna be a nightmares to keep clean, its a good job I knit with acrylic.

5 is the result of a COMPLETE change in direction. I've frogged the blanket. Completely. I laid it out again, realised I hated it and so I decided to abandon ship. I don't feel like its a complete waste of time, it got me back into knitting and gave me a chance to practice loads of different stitch patterns. It just wasn't, together enough for me. I like things to be co-ordinated and matching. So I'm saving some of the green squares to make a blanket for my nan for her birthday, I'm thinking that these leaf patterns would make really lovely corner border squares. Not really sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the squares, at the moment I've got space to hang onto them so I guess I'll see what happens.

I completely fell in love with the workspace in 8, I'd love to be able to have an inspiration board right in front of me when I'm working - I love my window to pieces but sometimes staring at the rain can be somewhat, uninspiring!

The last quote I just fell in love with, I've really gotten back into running recently and I'm absolutely loving it. I know a lot of people hate it, but for me its the best way to keep in shape. It takes a little while to get to the point where you can run for long enough for it to seem worth it, but in my opinion its totally worth sticking to.  Apart from decent shoes (which I highly reccommend) its an incredibly cheap workout and a really good way of getting to know your local neighbourhood. Especially if you're like me and have NO sense of direction. Whatsoever.

This is a massive post, so thankyou for taking the time to read all of it! For those who are interested, I create my inspiration boards in photoshop and I use clipping masks to make everything the same shape and size!

24 January 2012

clarity



Lately this tiny little piece of the internet has been a bit confused, its lacking in definition. It needs some clarity. I've read a lot of posts recently that are explanations of why people blog, justifications of why they're stopping something or starting something. It made me think. Which is one of the things that I love about this little online community, there are so many amazing women that inspire me, show me a new way of doing something, offer another way of thinking about something - or just provide something to think about. Inspiration is why I read blogs.

My reason for blogging is similarly simple. I like to take pictures and I like to write. Sometimes I don't want to write so I post pictures. Sometimes I want to write about stuff so I just write about stuff. The problem is with definition, when people ask me what this blog is about I'm not really sure what to say. Its about photography, its about my life, its about my ambitions, its whatever I found on the internet that I liked. Sometimes its about nail varnish and superglue. I'm not sure it really fits in a 'category' and I'm starting to be ok with that.

I think when you first start blogging its really hard to be yourself, to try and find a unique voice because there are an awful lot of people out there writing about very similar things to you. Its an unfamiliar medium (at least it was for me) and there is always, always someone who's blog you like better than your own. They'll be funnier, have a better design than you, they'll post more regularly, they may even have 600 kids, run their own business, have an amazing sense of style and still have time to maintain an awesome blog.

Honestly, the first few of months I was blogging I was a little stat-obsessive. When I think about it now I wonder what in the world I was doing but, its true. I worried about whether people were reading what I was writing, I read other blogs that had tons of subscribers and thought to myself "I'm sure I can have a blog thats 'popular'. This is because I am sometimes an idiot. Now, I'm not really that bothered, I love each and every person who reads what I put out here & I appreciate every single comment that is left. But I'm not blogging to gain a following, that isn't really my purpose here. I don't want my blog to be the central focus of my life, I want it to be somewhere I keep track of my life. I'm writing for myself - and if somebody enjoys that, then thats awesome and I love that. But I won't change what I'm writing so that people will enjoy it. There's a huge difference in those two attitudes. I'm not criticising anyone who does blog for this purpose - it works for a lot of people and they get a lot out of it - but its not for me.

For me, the best part of this whole thing is meeting new people. I love that I have people who read what I have to say and come back, and that they take the time out of their day to leave a comment. I love that I've discovered some truly inspiration people who share their lives with the world. I feel like I've started to gain some friends in this little online world and I am extraordinarily thankful for that.








22 January 2012

knitting on - w.i.p


One of the things on my list of 21 is to complete all the craft projects I've got on the go. I have a tendency to start something, then find something else to do and get sidetracked by that instead! So this year I'm going to work on getting all of the old stuff either finished, or if it turns out that it's not really working for me anymore then I'll abandon it. Hopefully everything will get finished! (fingers crossed!) 

Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember that I wrote about the patchwork blanket I was knitting. It all started with a bag of assorted, half started balls of yarn that my nan gave me. I hadn't knitted in a while and I wanted something relatively easy that I could use up all the odd bits and bobs with. I started off with the intention of making a small lap-blanket, but when I moved into my student house this year I decided it would actually be really nice to have a blanket that was big enough to use as a bed throw as well. So the small blanket kinda turned into a blanket the size of a double bed...

For a while I knitted squares like crazy, but then I got to a point where I wanted to stretch myself a bit and knit something a little bit more advanced than ??x?? garter stitch squares. The square knitting tailed off and the completed squares were consigned to a carrier bag under my bed. Tragic. Yesterday I got all the squares out, laid them out on my bed and worked out how many more I needed to knit. I think I need around 100 more but I'm stuck a little bit on colours. I had this image in my head of a completely random, multi-coloured blanket, but its ended up very blue & green. The pink and maroon squares still work but I've decided to pull out all the red and multicoloured squares and save them for something else. The colours have come out absolutely TERRIBLY on all of these pictures, its a lot more vibrant in real life, I promise!

Completely coincidently the colours match most of the other fabric in my room so that's a bonus! Although it isn't what I was aiming for, I think I actually prefer having a coordinated colour scheme rather than an assortment of random colours. I've also decided to knit up some bigger squares to add a bit of variation (and to save on sewing). I'm currently toying with the idea of a border, just to make the edges look really neat. I'm thinking maybe a narrow cable band in grey but I'm not 100% fixed on that yet. I'm aiming to have all the squares knitted up by the end of January, I've had a little play with different ways of attaching them and I think I'm going to stitch them all by hand, with mattress stitch because I want the joins to be as invisible as possible. Depending on the thickness I might even turn this into a quilt, we'll see what its like when its finished. 

20 January 2012

friday favourites #3



I haven't been getting out of the house much, revision has taken over my life and I'm concentrating most of my efforts on that at the moment. I do however, keep my camera handy because its a welcome distraction at times and stops me from going completely mental.

I have a crystal hanging in my window, and because of the window aspect it catches the light pretty much all day and makes rainbows everywhere. I tried yesterday to try and photograph every colour of the spectrum being reflected at different times. It didn't work out too well - I got red, green and yellow no problem but the others were pretty much impossible!

 I did however, shoot this. Which I'm really loving. I wasn't intending to get myself in the reflection (or make it look like I was holding a house) and the crystal was supposed to be the main focus of the piece but my little compact wasn't having any of it and decided that my hands and the house next door were far more interesting. I really love how it turned out though, it reminds me of double-exposed film. And I really love double exposed film.

19 January 2012

life lately



These past few days have been full of revision, and revision, and revision and taking pictures out of my window and eating seeds. I have three exams next week so I've been racking up the study hours in preparation. Because I'm weird I don't actually mind revising that much, probably because I find most of what I'm doing really interesting.

I've been making the effort to keep my camera handy even though I'm hardly leaving the house, I had to leave my SLR at home when I came back to Uni because I couldn't get all my stuff in one suitcase but its giving me a chance to play around a little bit with my compact and I've also started shooting more rolls of out of date film. I always find I'm like, super conservative when I'm using film - does anyone else find this? I don't want to waste it! Its a good lesson in mindful photography though, its so easy to slip into the routine of just snapping away rather than taking the time to think about what you're trying to say with the image. I can't wait to get these sent off and see what they turn out like. The rolls haven't been stored properly AT ALL, so I'm hoping the results are a little funky.

I'm just missing the instant gratification of digital.






15 January 2012

woodland wanderings





I will miss this place, these woods when I go back to Uni next week. I so rarely see anyone else when I'm there that they almost feel like mine. Private. Silly, but true. They're kinda magical. 

13 January 2012

friday favourites #2




I love the fact that the sun is just catching the edges of the leaves, the late afternoon winter sun is probably my favourite kind of light - I just love the warmth that it gives and the low angle.

I get the feeling that some weeks I'll write tons about the picture that I choose and other weeks its literally just going to be a picture stuck in a post all by itself. I found it seriously hard to narrow this down to one picture, as there were quite a few that I really liked. Its given me a focus though, so I think its working! Lauren suggested I make a button so that some of you guys can join in - so there's a button on the right sidebar! I've never made one before so I'm hoping it works - you'll have to let me know if it doesn't work!

If you do decide to link up - please please please let me know! I'm a photo-junkie - I'd love to see what you pick!

Have a great weekend!

12 January 2012

21 before 21

This is an idea I've seen in quite a few places around the blogosphere, and it appeals to me so much more than the traditional 'bucket list'. So many people write lists of things they want to acheive, places they want to go and things they want to try in their lifetimes - but so many seem to just put it to one side and come back to it 'later'. 
The problem however, with later, is that it never quite gets here! 

My next birthday however, will get here (this is assuming, of course that the world doesn't end this year). So I've written a list of 21 things that I'd like to achieve before I turn 21. Some of them are small things, some of them are silly things and some of them are more serious - like, don't mess my exams up and fail my degree. I think its important to have goals like this, things that you want to do as well as things you need to do. And I love writing lists. They're in my filofax (of course) because its the best thing ever & its nice to have them somewhere where I see them regularly.







You can't see all of them in the pictures so I've listed them all here:

1. Open an Etsy shop
2. Finish all the craft projects I've started since I've turned 20. 
3. Pass my second year of Uni
4. Make bread from scratch
5. Visit somewhere new
6. Run 300 miles. 
7. Learn to quilt
8. Get some of my typography art printed and hung on the wall
9. Sell one of my photos
10. Sell something knitted
11. Host a dinner party
12. Go on a proper picnic outing 
13. Join a society
14. Read 50 books
15. Go to a concert
16. See a play
17. Keep blogging
18. Take at least one good photo a week
19. Make a heart garland for my room
20. Try out 21 new baking recipes -
21. Go geocaching at least once

I'm going to put these up on a separate page on the blog so I can keep track of how I'm doing. Do any of you guys do anything like this? Link me to yours, I'd love to read them! 

09 January 2012

Letting go of time

Letting go of time by IrenaS
Letting go of time, a photo by IrenaS on Flickr.

Please just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this image. Okay?


Now click the link in the caption and go spend an hour of your life dying over these images. You will not regret this. Promise.


There are some truly inspirational artists on flickr. I say artists because I believe that photography is an art. Photography. Not taking pictures, anyone can do that. Photography is different. Photography is composition and lighting and shutter speeds and aperture settings. Photography is thought and care.  Photography is seeing something extraordinary in something mundane. 


And thats exactly what Irena Suchoki does, turn something average into something beautiful. Her floral set is exquisite, both the images themselves and the post production. I love the pastel, dreamy look - but sometimes it can look too 'done'. Also, she describes her pictures as 'eye poetry'. I'm sold. 


 I want to buy lots of her prints and cover my walls in them.  Or climb inside one of her pictures and live there. Either option is valid. 


I also really want to try creating the same vibe with some of my own stuff, it'll be a challenge to get the processing right but I think it'll be fun. Stay tuned!



08 January 2012

quick update

I finally got around to getting flickr!  Do any of you guys have it? Leave me a link in the comments or add me as a contact - I'd love to see some other people's work!


05 January 2012

friday favourites

I used to write a weekly post of my five favourite things that happened that week and publish it every Friday. This fell by the wayside a while back because I felt like I was just putting a different spin on something I'd already written about. Which is all very well but not very interesting. I still really like the idea of having a regular theme however, so I've come up with something different:

Lately I've been feeling like I'm stuck in a bit of a rut whenever I pick my camera up. I'm conscious that I've slipped back into semi-manual shooting when previously, I'd started to really get the hang of shooting completely manually. I loved the buzz that came with looking at something I was really pleased with and knowing that I made that image. Me. Not the fairy inside my camera that decides the settings by itself. I'm also becoming aware that I'm settling for the obvious shot, the usual angle and the same-old composition. And to be honest, I'm a little bored of it. So in a bid to get my photo-mojo back I'm going to be posting my favourite picture/s that I've taken that week every Friday. Which A) means I actually have to take pictures every week and B) means they have to be good enough for me to be ok with putting them on here. This will be a challenge people.


These mini-jam tarts are the best thing ever. And they only take 20 mins to make! And they make the absolute perfect revision snacks. I really like jam tarts.

Do you want to take part in Favourite Friday? Leave a link in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out!


04 January 2012

new year, new look

And the blog has had a complete makeover!

I needed to find something that I loved, that fit with my own aesthetic and personal design style. This has been an absolute mission. I know next to nothing about HTML and CSS, so whilst it may not look like much, I am unbelievably proud of it. Also, its the first design I've had that I'm 100% happy with. So I'm pretty much over the moon right now!

For those of you who are interested, I'll talk you through the process I used to create the new look, I don't profess to be an expert on the subject (by ANY stretch of the imagination) but it might help a few people to know where to start.

Firstly, you're gonna need an idea of what you want your blog to look like when its done. How many columns? Colours? Do you want a clean look or are you after scrapbook shabby-chic? Get a sketchbook out, or some scrap paper and get it down. Brainstorm. Need a colour scheme? If you have an idea of a main colour then there are some fantastic free web resources that generate colour palettes for you based on a starting colour - they even give you the hex codes! Just google something along the lines of 'colour palette generator'.

here

Secondly, make up a 'finished' design, I used Photoshop to do mine but there's lots of programmes out there that do the same job. I installed the 'simple' template with 3 columns on a test blog before I started this and noted down the widths, so I could make sure that the canvas I used to design was in proportion to the final blog. I then created everything that I wanted to include in my design - the background, header, link buttons, linkbar background - the whole works! This took some time but it was worth it to have a design to work from rather than going in blind.

I then started to transfer everything over to the test blog, googling away as I got to bits I didn't know how to do. There are some FANTASTIC sites out there that talk you through how to do everything - and you don't need to be ultra-technical to understand them. I think I pretty much know as much now about coding as I did when I started. As long as you're not too ambitious, you should be ok.

The most important thing is to make your blog reflect you, make it something you love. Yes, its frustrating (I lost track of how long I spent trying to make image shadows disappear) but its worth it when you have a gorgeous blog at the end of it! Or you could just commission someone to do it for you...but where's the fun in that?!

here




01 January 2012

Manifesting a word for 2012

I first saw this on Elises blog and thought it was a fantastic idea, its all explained in this post. I love the idea of choosing a word for the year and having it as a sort of mantra. I think it's a fantastic way to maintain a positive outlook and help focus your attitude towards the things that life throws at you.

So I'm jumping on the bandwagon this year and the word I've chosen is...

This is how I'm going (attempting!) to approach this year. Stressing less over the little things, saying yes more, saying no more, launching headlong into new projects, speaking my mind, being more creative, taking time for myself, dreaming big  and making the most of everything. I have a lot of plans for this year, and I'm pretty damn determined they're going to work out! Its a big word, a bright orange word in fact, a word thats going to make me sit up, pay attention and get my backside in gear.

Have any of you guys heard of this before? If you want to join me I'd love to hear your words and why you've picked them!
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