Friday, 29 July 2011

Why Photography?

I am currently doing Kat Sloma's photography course Finding your Eye.  One of the questions raised asks 'why do you take photographs?'  It seemed like such a simple question until I started thinking about it in detail.

For me, taking natural photographs of my daughter and our family, capturing her childhood and those family moments which are so special but so easily forgotten was the primary reason that I picked up a camera - and then wanted to get better at it.

But it's a funny thing, now that I have picked up my camera, I want to photograph everything.  Even the mundane and everyday can take on new significance and interest when viewed through the lens.  It seems to me that it's not what you're looking at but how you're looking at it and I want to challenge myself to really look and see the things around me in a more creative way.

In my initial assessment of 'why photography?' I did not consider the creative aspect of photography at all.  I considered the recording of moments and memories as the main driving force.  Yet on reflection, the creative aspect of photography is absolutely fascinating to me.  I read books and peruse photography sites hungry to see other people's interpretation of objects and events and I want to be able to present my vision of things too. 

I still find the technical side of photography tricky and a bit scary.  But to be honest, a fuzzy photo of my daughter's birthday party is going to be as cherished as a technically perfect one (cherished, though perhaps not displayed!).  I'd rather have the shot than miss it because I'm fiddling with my camera.  That's not to say I don't want to learn the technical side, but I don't want to be so intimidated by it that I end up never taking, or showing, any of my photos.    Photography, like all art, is subjective.  I don't want the 'rules'  to interfere with my enjoyment of the process. 

I couldn't imagine my blog without photos (isn't it ironic there are none in this post!).  They are part of my life and my story and part of the reason I set my blog up was to encourage myself to go out and take more photos.  I have much to learn and discover but I think everyone sees the world in a unique way.  I hope I can discover my uniqueness and have some fun along the way.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Bad Harry Trifle

I have always loved reading.   I am so thrilled my daughter feels the same and now that she is moving away from picture books to 'real' books it's fabulous to be able to introduce her to all the books I loved as a child. 

We are currently reading All about my Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards.  I picked up a beautiful second hand copy of it with the illustrations by Shirley Hughes that I remember in my long lost copy.  I remember this book with huge affection but to be honest, I didn't really remember any details about it.  That is, however, until we read the chapter about my naughty little sister and Bad Harry eating all the trifle at Bad Harry's birthday party.  The description of the trifle with little silver balls and jelly sweets on the top brought back the strongest visual memory and the picture of them standing on tippy toes in the larder with spoons poised gave me  the same surge of nervous tension I remember in childhood at how NAUGHTY they had been!  What was his mum going to say??!!  It is extraordinary how the smallest episodes beautifully described in a book can trigger such strong memories and emotions.

I am happy to say the Moo also loved this story and so today, in honour of My Naughty Little Sister, we made Bad Harry trifle:

I didn't really picture it with jelly babies as the jelly sweets, but they were the Moo's choice so I guess this is her picture of Bad Harry trifle.  And now that they have sunk into the cream, I am guessing the rescue operation to extract them will be a pretty strong memory too!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A perfect start

We kicked off the holidays with a fantastic trip to the South Coast and a catch up with old friends. 

The Moo enjoyed some scooting and rock collecting on the beach.  I love how she examined the rocks carefully to select the 'best' which were then lugged around in her backpack for the rest of the day (by daddy, of course!).

There is nothing like a rainbow manicure to complete your weekend.

Such a great way to start to the holidays. What did you do?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Some works in progress

So I have started some of the things on my summer craft bucket list and here they are...

I love the pinwheel hair clips and will be sporting them out with friends this weekend.  I haven't embroidered since I was a child and I had forgotten how much I LOVE it. I have done a couple of tapestry kits lately which were fun but with this embroidery it is so much more freestyle -  you choose your own colours, your own stitch and you can make it up if it goes wrong without it being a disaster!  The pattern was free from Mollie Makes, issue 2.

I am slightly less enamoured by my mini bunting.  I was too lazy to do any sewing so fabric glued the material onto ribbon.  What I didn't anticipate was the glue showing through the ribbon, hence the random button design.  Now they don't hang as nicely as I had planned.  Hey ho, it's all a learning curve.

School breaks up today and it's the start of the holidays.  Woo hoo!! And the sun is even shining today for the first time in weeks. 

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A walk in the woods

A few pictures from a walk in the woods.

It was really damp and felt much more like September than July.  Where has our summer gone?  Please can we have it back......

Monday, 18 July 2011

Dreaming of....

It has been unseasonably cold and wet this weekend and I am faced with a packed week of not-very-fun things to do before the start of the holidays on Friday (hurray!).  So I have been dreaming of this and wishing someone would......

Etsy via Pinterest

Design seeds via pinterest via pinterest

Shabby Chicks via Pinterest
Oh you pretty things via Pinterest
What are you dreaming about today?

Friday, 15 July 2011

The great summer blog read

There are some amazing blogs out there and before I had my own blog I used to spend time browsing through, following links and finding all sorts of inspiration. Reading peoples' unique stories, taking a peak into their lives, their passions, their creativity is an amazing gift.  The talent out there is awesome and that the internet can be used to create such a positive community of like minded people must surely be one of the greatest positives of this electronic age we live in.

As I sit planning content for my own blog, I do spend less time getting lost in blogland in the way I used to.  I am still a regular and passionate visitor of many blogs but I don't have the time to get lost in the same way I used to.  It's such a shame, most of my favourite blogs were found by following links from other sites and I hate to think I am missing out.

This is why the great summer blog read caught my eye.  Such a fantastic idea to reconnect with all the things that made me want to blog in the first place and make some new discoveries.

Why don't you give it a go too?  The idea is to set aside a couple of hours a week to sit and explore other blogs.  As with exploring any great city, the best way to discover is to get lost!  Start with my links, maybe check out the Wish Studio's inspiration lounge, see where it takes you.

Have fun and  come back to share your finds!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Being Intentional

This is a phrase that has come up for me so often in the last few months.  The last time it came up was on Saturday at the photography workshop I went on (here) where it was one of the key pieces of advice in transforming photos of your children from everyday snapshots to portraits.  On a wider scale I see the truth in this every time I  am intentional in the same way that moving your child from in front of the falling down fence so they are sitting in front of the pretty flower bed transforms your picture into something much more special.

Despite knowing all the benefits, I find it really hard to be intentional.  It is still more normal for me to drift through the days and then look back and wonder what I have really achieved.  Whilst that doesn't make me particularly unhappy, it does leave part of me unfulfilled with a list of regrets and unfinished (sometimes unstarted!) projects.

Being intentional is scary because it makes you take control of your life and take responsibility for becoming the person you want to be.  In taking you from being reactive to proactive it introduces a range of almost limitless possibilities.  That in itself is scary to me, but also liberating. I know that my tendency to avoid being intentional is because it forces me to take risks and removes me from my comfort zone. 

But I know that the rewards are so much greater when I am intentional.  Starting this blog was part of my determination to be intentional, to give me a voice and to make me accountable for the creative journey I have wanted to start for so long. I am still scared but if I have to fail I'd rather fail trying to achieve my dreams.

So, this is my goal.  Being intentional.  In everything I do.

Any advice or tips?  Please share!  What are your goals?

Monday, 11 July 2011

An Inspiring Weekend

I spent a truly inspiring day at the Medicine Garden in Surrey on Saturday, attending a fantastic photography workshop run by Vicki Knights in the MakeMe studio.  The workshop was actually focused on child and family photography but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to practice my new skills in such an inspiring setting whilst getting some garden inspiration at the same time. 

The Medicine Garden is a amazing Victorian walled garden which has been (and is still in the process of being) beautifully restored.  The planting is absolutely beautiful and I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops and changes over the seasons.  Already the alliums are in seed (photographed above)  but blend in beautifully with the cornflowers, poppies and daisies currently in full bloom. (I am definitely going for cornflowers and poppies in my garden next year!).

The workshop was fantastic, I learnt SO much, and it was such a breath of fresh air to be in such a relaxed and inspiring environment.  I can't wait to go back.  I think it will be an amazing place to capture the seasons and put my new photography skills into practice.  A fabulous find.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Places I would like to live

Who wouldn't want to live in any of these lovely places?  Heart and Star Land is my personal favourite but Colourful Land or a castle with flowers and rainbows would do the job too!

Happy Friday from me and Mr Banana Head!

One more thing,  there is a fantastic giveaway on Stephanie Levy's gorgeous blog.  Her art is amazing as is her blog and you can win one of her prints here.  Good luck!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Whenever I ask the Moo what she would like to do during the holidays she always requests a trip to the park and a picnic.  She has always regarded eating outside as a huge treat and it is lovely to have a little girl who is so happy with such simple pleasures. 

There's some gorgeous picnic inspiration out there and here are some of my current favourites.  After lots of experiments, our best picnics are definitely ones that require fingers only and as little crockery as possible.  These all fit the bill and look pretty and vintagey too:

I think this picnic box idea from designsponge strikes a nice balance - the cardboard box is sturdy enough to use again but recycled at the end of our (rather short) picnic season. I think their boxes were designed for a winter picnic so I'd swap the tartan for something light and floral. via pinterest

Wrapping sandwiches always looks so pretty and feels a bit like you're getting a present (especially if you didn't make the sandwich yourself!) with the added benefit of being able to use the wrapping as a plate. via pinterest
These striped bags are rather lovely too for sandwiches and other treats.  They remind me of the bags we used to get our sweets in from the sweet shop when I was little!

Image of Lovely Stripes Treat Bags

For drinks, I love these mason jars of sangria (with in-built fruit salad - perfect!) and lemonade bottles for the kids, via pinterest via pinterest

with pretty straws to match the stripey bags.

Image of Striped Paper Straws
Shop Sweet Lulu

All carried in a traditional basket with a pretty blanket to sit on:

Etsy via pinterest via pinterest

What could be nicer?

Two and half weeks left of school then I am looking forward to some leisurely days in the park. 

Can't wait!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Reading again!

So, I did it!  I completed one week of NO READING (see why here) and this is what I learned:

  • The thought of not reading anything makes me really grumpy.
  • I am very easily distracted by the internet and consequently spend WAY too much time on it.
  • Despite my worries, I didn't really miss out on that much.  Most things can wait and the really major news gets reported on radio and TV anyway.  Who knew?!
  • It takes me a lot longer to get to sleep if I haven't read those vital 3 pages of a novel.
  • Inspiration is everywhere.  I need to look around me and look harder.
  • Reading (particularly reading about other's creativity) can be a major distraction (and excuse) not to actually BE creative myself.

I love reading.  Always have and always will.  But giving it up has made me realise how much time I spend doing it and how that some of that time could be better used. 

The quest for a balanced and creative life continues......

Friday, 1 July 2011

In my garden

I love English cottage garden flowers and here are the blooms we are currently enjoying in the garden. 

My approach to gardening tends to be a bit 'stick it in and see'.  The rose is a recent addition and I am thrilled it is flowering, not least because it's only been in about 3 months and arrived as a bunch of bare root twigs!

There are still some gaps to fill so I shall be seeking inspiration at the garden centre this weekend and hoping for sunshine.

Happy Friday!
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