31 August 2012

recap: August

August was spending even more time in coffee shops and trying less successfully to avoid spending money on stationary. I say less successfully because WHSmith's had paperclips shaped like people and they were 99p, I mean, you can't really say no to that can you? I became obsessed with the Olympics, visited Woburn Safari Park, spent a day in London with my mum and caught up with friends and family. I took more pictures and decided that post-processing really isn't my thing. It was a month that was entirely mine and I definitely needed that.

In terms of creative endeavours, it was a hugely productive month. I made over an old kitchen chair to make a dressing table chair, I finished a quartet of cross stitch pieces that I started about 4 years ago, I (virtually) emptied my alterations basket, started and got all the photo's I've printed so far into my first minibook (LOVE them. So easy. So good.), started making friendship bracelets with bargain embroidery floss and teamed up with two of my favourite people to make a totally kick-ass gift for a friend.

August always feels like the end of the year for me, maybe even for most people. Its the last month of freedom before school starts, of (supposedly) good weather before the leaves turn and autumn kicks in. This time last week I would have said that this August was an awesome month. It was. Then a crapload of crap (technical term) happened and now I'm pretty annoyed with August.Isn't it weird how a small window of time can taint such a large one? Yesterday I pinned this (before you ask, yes I do have a slight problem) and its just so true for me right now. Sometimes things come into your life just as you need them. I'm taking this into September with me and hoping it sticks.


27 August 2012

a drive on the wild side

A couple of weekends back, Mum, Kev, Sam (my youngest step-brother) and I took a trip to Woburn Safari Park. Unfortunately most of the pictures I took didn't really come out too well - I think it was because I was shooting through glass. A couple of shots came out just like they'd been taken with a really old disposable camera, light leaks and everything! They looked pretty cool but I've never seen results like that from a digital SLR before, so weird. These are just a few of the shots that I was pretty happy with- my favourite is definitely the rhino. I love colour, but there's something really special about black and white photography. If I'm completely honest, I'd probably love to shoot absolutely everything in black and white - I  focus so much more on texture and detail when I'm planning on converting an image.

I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about zoo's and safari parks but I was really impressed with how the animals were looked after at Woburn. If you're after a day out that's a little bit different then I definitely recommend it - just don't go in a convertible!! The first time we went around it was a bit hot so most of the animals were just chilling out in the shade, but we decided to drive around once more in the afternoon before we left. The lions were super active - we had to stop several times because they were investigating the car. One of the lionesses was absolutely huge, I've never seen a lion that big before. She was easily taller than the bonnet of our 4x4! I think its easy to forget the power and strength of some of these animals sometimes. We're so used to seeing them as cute and cuddly, or on wildlife shows on our tv screens that we lose sight of the reality of their existence. Its nice to be reminded sometimes.

23 August 2012

can't stay away too long

We have a really smart dog okay? He just enjoys reading articles about his mental wellbeing. I think he enjoys stealing spaces on sunloungers more. ..

So uh , hey blog. Remember me? Its been a while. No, I'm not really sorry....

You see, here's the thing. It really bugs me when blogger apologise for not blogging. That might sound like a really crazy thing to be annoyed by, but I am a crazy person so that all works out just fine. Blogging is wonderful, it really is, but there's also this totally amazing thing called real life. I know. Revolutionary.

So anyway, I haven't blogged in a while because real life has been happening. It hasn't been particularly busy, it hasn't been bad, its just been. I haven't felt the need to turn my laptop on much the past couple of weeks, even photo-editing has taken a bit of a back seat! I've actually really enjoyed having time away from the information overload that is the internet (and I really love the internet). Sometimes time out is good, necessary and refreshing. A couple of weeks however is plenty for me, and the past few evenings I've been catching up on blog posts, pinning away and having twitter debates, just the usual.

Its good to be back.

10 August 2012

hazy days

The past couple of days have been summer, hot and hazy with wispy clouds and blue skies. I've been outside as much as possible, being inside on nice day drives me absolutely insane. I spend most of the winter waiting for summer to come back and I literally cannot stand feeling like I'm not making the most of it. I'm not sure if this holds true for anyone else, but I'm just so much happier when the sun is out - I feel really energised and motivated. I think maybe I need to move to somewhere that its sunny most of the time. Then maybe I wouldn't have to resort to staring at pictures of summer when its chucking it down outside and I'm wearing every jumper I own in an attempt to feel vaguely warm. I might be exaggerating here, but only a tiny bit. Honest.

In the last few weeks I seem to have perfected the art of relaxed busy. This probably sounds like a total contradiction, but it kind of works. Life's been slow paced and laid back, but I've got a ton of stuff done. The bathrooms been repainted, I've framed and hung my cross-stitch, I've almost got through my pile of alterations, the holiday book from last year is almost finished and I'm still completely loving this summers minibook. Productive times around here. Sometimes I think that I get more done when I don't have to get anything done than I do when I have a massive list complete with deadlines. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere, but maybe its just that making stuff with my hands makes me happy.

A while ago I blogged about a load of ideas that I'd had for summer photography projects, 2 of them were to 'define your summer' and 'stretch yourself'. I've been combining the two to try and document all of the small things. I'm a big fan of 'lifestyle' photography (is that even what its called? I don't know.) and its been a style that I'm really trying to get better at. I'm slowly starting to see results, for me its all about developing an eye for a good image. When I look back over the past couple of months I definitely prefer the images that I'm shooting now so I'm obviously on the right tracks! I'm really happy with the 50mm I got as well, it really is a fantastic lense! I'm pretty good with the technical stuff - I did an A-Level in photography and as part of that we had to learn exactly how a camera worked. I think its the best thing you can do if you want to really understand the technical aspects - just go learn how a camera works, you'll understand everything an awful lot better!

The advantages of being short. You get quite handy with a needle and thread...

06 August 2012


The past week or so I've been so grateful for the Olympics, not just because its awesome but because the weather has been so  terrible that I haven't felt at all guilty for watching it all day. This summer has been such a washout so far, I know its England... but still.

This weekend has been all about finishing stuff. I always say 'this weekend' after a Monday - the whole of last year I had 3 day weekends and I've gotten far too used to it. Definitely hoping for another weekend-friendly timetable next year! Sometimes its really nice to just spend some time getting a load of stuff done. Finished. Out of the way. It gets things out of my head and off the "things to do when  I get time" list. Which, for the record is the worst idea for a list ever. EVER. Okay? It just ends up full of stuff I never really get around to doing. Its basically a list of "things I'm not excited about enough to start them now". Crazy. I also wanted to try and finish all of the craft projects I've got half-started before I turn 21, I'm pretty sure that with the exception of my baby scrapbook I'll probably get that one done. I need my mum for the scrapbook, because to be honest with you - I don't really remember being born all that well. Shocking, I know.

I'm so pleased that these are done, I got the kit ages ago and I stitched Winnie the Pooh almost straight away, then I kind of forgot about it and found it in a drawer when I was having a sort out earlier in the summer. I'm not usually over-keen on handmade things up on walls but the three of them look pretty good in a triple frame hanging in my room. I really love cross-stitch, I find it incredibly relaxing - I'd do it more often but most of the kits aren't really my cup of tea and I really have no idea what I'd do with them once I'd finished. Sometimes I think it would be really nice if I liked the handmade-mismatched-vintage look that's so popular these days, but I really don't. Give me the IKEA catalogue over Kath Kidston any day of the week.

03 August 2012

why I value my 'life' posts

I'm not really sure what my intentions where when I first started blogging. My first few posts weren't really that 'personal' - I grew up in a generation who had the dangers of the internet forced down our throats at every  possible opportunity. We were led to believe that the only people who could possible be interested in us were lying about who they were and were very possibly sexual predators. Now, please don't get me wrong - being taught to think like that was in no way a bad thing. Children should most definitely be taught about the dangers of the internet, but I also think its important to realise that a lot of the people who use the internet are just like you & me (unless you are a scary stalker person? In which case please leave. Thanks.).

Anyway, I digress... The point being, when I first started my blog I was incredibly wary of writing personal posts - it just seemed a little bit odd to put my life online like that. I decided to do it anyway. I'm still not a super-personal blogger, I'll never have pictures of family events or anything like that on here and I'm probably never going to document my personal style for the world to see. This may also be because I don't have any... Today though, I've been so glad that I made that decision.

A couple of months ago Photobox had an offer on for print credit, it was such a good deal that I brought credit for 300 prints. I love having actual, physical photographs around and it seemed like the perfect excuse to get a load printed off. Last week I got an email to remind me that the credit needed using up, so I put aside a few hours to trawl through my hard-drive and pick which ones I wanted. I already knew that I wanted to do a minibook of summer 2012 - totally inspired by Elise. She makes the most amazing minbooks, and they just seemed like such a great approach to scrapbooking and the perfect way to document my summer. I'm not sure how many photo's I ended up with for the book - but its a fair few and it was a really good excuse to get some of those 'everyday' pictures printed that you wouldn't really stick in a regular photo album.

This is what 300 photo's look like...
The photo's all arrived this morning, which was pretty impressive considering I ordered them at half 5 on Wednesday evening! I wanted to get started straight away but I'm really trying to get in the habit of finishing one project before starting something else. I'm the worlds best starter and a really lousy finisher,  I mean, I still haven't finished my album from when we went to Cuba last August. Which basically consisted of sticking photo's in a book and copying up my journal. Oops. I'm aiming to get it finished before mid-August... then it won't have taken me an entire year. So, before I even opened the box I made myself go out and finish staining the chair for my dressing table. Its looking pretty good, there's more varnish on the chair than there was on me so I'm deeming it a success. Also, by complete accident I've managed to stain it almost the exact same colour as the wood of my bed - so happy!  It still needs a little something though, maybe a cushion. I'm gonna have a rummage tomorrow and see if I've got any fabric that'll go so I can whip one up over the weekend. 

It's always so neat and organised before I start...

Command central. I couldn't decide what to watch... so I picked both. 

I spent the entire afternoon working on my very first minibook, the olympics on the tv and craft supplies absolutely everywhere. I'm not the worlds neatest scrapbooker by a long shot. A lot of the pictures I'm using I've used in blog posts (or I've used others from the same day) and it is so nice to be able to go back and read what I wrote about them at the time. All the little details that I wouldn't have remembered - they're all there and I've been popping them in with the journalling. It'st turning it into such a personal project, rather than just being a collection of photo's with some descriptive journalling next to them. I love it. Really love it and I'm really excited to get it finished. Its the sort of project I could keep up with at Uni (she says) because its so simple, its just pictures and accents. No complicated layouts. Embellishments are optional. Pretty much I've used paper, scissors, stitches and double sided tape. That's it. And if I don't manage to keep up? I'll have a back catalogue of blog posts with ready made journalling.

I'm really loving my scallop scissors right now.
Before I wrecked this with my handwriting it was actually pretty cute
So things might be a little bit different around here, there's probably going to be a lot more of the everyday stuff. I'm excited. On a side note, Charlotte also made the decision to turn her blog into more of a journal - you should visit her because she's awesome and hilarious. Seriously.

02 August 2012

just slow down and chill out

Sometimes I wonder if we are so focused on making something of our lives, that we forget that actually life is pretty great all on its own. It seems to me that most of society is obsessed with being busy, people talk about  everything they're juggling as if its a competition - the person that's the 'busiest' wins.

Sometimes I'm guilty of this, when everything fell through with my internship I was honestly gutted. I felt like I was going to be 'wasting' my summer. Why? I felt like if I hadn't been busy then I hadn't made the most of my time off. Which when I think about it, is pretty daft - I mean, its called time off for a reason right?

Today I wasn't busy. I've done some housework and got started revamping my dressing table chair but to be honest, I've spent most of the day in front of the tv watching the olympics. With a cross-stitch project that I started a while back and haven't got around to finishing yet (but I'm almost done now!). I drank lots of tea and hung out with a poorly pup, made an awesome salad and had a great workout. I didn't get anything of importance done, but I had a really good day. I think maybe I need to stop beating myself up so much about being productive all the time, and learn to just enjoy days as they come. Life lessons there - slowing down is a good thing, being busy all the time isn't necessary and life can be just as amazing in front of the tv as it can be when you're off on new adventures.

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