Monday, December 30, 2013

crochet menagerie

after crocheting a Santa and then Rudolph, I was hooked on amigurumi (crocheted cute figures) and decided to create one in lieu of a gift tag for all the family gifts, creating a figure related to each person’s interests.  There are so many amigurumi patterns on line and I easily found something applicable for each person


[links to the pattern]

the nurse was for my nephew’s girlfriend

the panda was for my sister

the puppy for my mum

the Christmas lights for my sister’s partner

the dodo for my dad

the cactus for one nephew

and the devil for the other nephew

I really enjoyed finding appropriate patterns and creating them all. Each come together in a evening and I enjoyed the variety after several months of diligently crocheting squares for charity blankets.

I’m now crocheting lots of flowers and leaves to create something pretty to hang when I take down the decorations.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Look Up Look down on Christmas Day

Hard to believe this is the last of my weekly look up and look down pair


with the angel on the top of my parents’ tree and the stockings waiting to be opened

A year ago when I was thinking about a weekly photo pair I thought that looking up and down would be interesting and a useful exercise in being more aware of all angles.  I do notice myself looking up and down more often and thinking about different angles for photos.

I was delighted when my initial post was met with enthusiasm and comments that others would join in and I’ve had great pleasure from the up and down posts I’ve seen from the other regulars and the occasional players.  Thank you one and all.

For next year I’ve decided to go for zoom in and zoom out and welcome others who want to play along too, either weekly or when the mood takes them.

I think with will be fun when the difference is a matter on moving the camera nearer / further away; or using zoom to full extent; or creating a zoom on the computer.  I’ve also been thinking about situations when I’d start with the zoom and then show context for contrast and other situations when I’d start with the big picture and then choose something to focus on.

I’ll be posting my first Zoom in Zoom out on Wednesday the 1st, and hope that some of you join in too

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas blog friends

I’ll be posting my final Up and Down of the year on Friday along with details for 2014.

Friday, December 20, 2013

one was not enough

My introduction to amigurumi (cute crocheted figures) was the  santa that I shared earlier this month


he was fun to make and looks cute and festive.

Then I began to notice other figures in magazines and online and I thought ‘one more won’t hurt’.  Staying in the festive theme I created a reindeer head and added a red nose for a Rudolph effect


and before I’d even stuffed the antlers I was back online looking at other patterns and wondering about what else I would make.  They are satisfyingly fast to make and so quirky.

I now have over 30 patterns bookmarked, am familiar with the basic instructions and processes, and have bought two kinds of eyes.  I can’t show you the other photos yet as I’m making them on contract for Santa – I will share next week.

When those are finished, I’m tempted to make a cute crochet hook (!) that I’ve seen – it really is a whacky creative space.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Look up Look down during a nice break

For my penultimate pair I’ve captured a lovely break in the middle of visits to the dressing-up, cake decoration and craft supply shops.


and rather surprised that it took me until week 51 to think of including a selfie in the up shot!  I have included hands, feet, shadows and reflections but never a real selfie. 

This cafe has great coffee and a nice busy buzz with people working on laptops and having work meetings, as well as reading and chatting.  I enjoy the stripped back architectural feel with bare concrete and bricks and re-used school tables and chairs  (for those of you with family in Edinburgh its the Brew Lab, near the uni)

and in other news – I posed earlier this year about applying to be a volunteer for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year and I just received my invitation to join the commonwealth association team which provides support and assistance to the team oraganisations – that’s all I know for now.  Orientation training is in March

Friday, December 13, 2013

Look where next?

Every Wednesday this year I’ve posted a pair of photos looking up and looking down.  I’ve enjoyed the weekly focus which has made me think differently about what I photograph.

I’ve enjoyed immensely seeing blogfriends join is with this accidental meme.

Only 2 more Wednesdays this year and Rinda asked if I had ideas for next year. 

Well yes I do.  I wanted to continue with a pair and an easy to remember, flexible approach.  I have 2 ideas


the 1st is to have a zoomed in shot and then to stand in the same place and remove the zoom to show the bigger picture


and provide some context to the image.  I think this would be easy and provide some interesting context

My 2nd idea is to take a photo and then turn right around and take a photo of what was behind you – again easy to do and it provides some interesting context



interesting how the colour changes just from turning around.



and in this case showing the less picturesque riverbank  which I rarely capture


The 2 ideas share an interest in providing context, so perhaps they would work together as alternate methods in one meme.

what do your think?  as ideas to use?  as pairs of photos to see weekly?

and I need a catchy name – any suggestions?  look around?  photo in place?  capture the context? 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Look Up Look Down at festive decor

I’m slowly decorating my house, taking a few bits out of the boxes each day and finding them a home.  Decorating in early December still feels a bit strange as always followed the 12 days of Christmas tradition when we were growing up which meant we decorated on the 24th and took it all down on the 6th. 


Looking up at some of the eclectic mix I’ve places on top of my display unit

and looking down at my reminder of Christmas in New Zealand – plastic pohutukawa – a native tree that is covered in fabulous red flowers in December

Monday, December 9, 2013

hooked Santa


inspired to crochet this amigurumi Santa as soon as I saw the pattern in Simply Crochet.  At 16cm he is bigger than I’d imagined  (don’t you hate pattern illustrations with no size perspective) but now sits nicely on my display unit, surveying the festive preparations.

Friday, December 6, 2013

5 on the 5th at the Christmas market

Joining Sandi’s  lovely meme again this month with a wander around the ‘European market’ (formerly the German market) set up for the festive season in Edinburgh.  I went just after it was open so that I could get some decent shots of the displays

I love all the funny hats that are still popular this winter


I could smell this stall before I came upon in and bought a string of cinnamon, lime and orange which is infusing my house with festive smells as I type


these decorations look so jolly all grouped together


these polymer clay covered bowls always fascinate me – in part with awe at the skill (polymer clay is one craft I’ve tried but found too frustrating to keep up)


and something I hadn’t seen before, these thin white ceramic bowls have patterns that show when a candle is lit underneath them


Thanks to Sandi for prompting me to visit the market with my camera as my focus.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Look Up Look Down at the Winter Fayre

Edinburgh city puts on a good spread for the festive season with markets, food stalls and entertainment in several of the parks in the middle of town. 

This week I’m looking up at a new ride – which I won’t be going on – which rises people up high then twirls them around


and looking down at the Santa train, which is much more my speed !

Would you enjoy being twirled around up in the sky?

Monday, December 2, 2013

November numericalised


yes I know that is not a real work, but it makes sense to me.

Joining Julie for her monthly summary of the month using numbers.  My November was a nice mix of being in Ottawa and at home being crafty


and I had to share this photo which sums up the arrival of colder weather for me – a lost glove kindly picked up by a passer by


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Festive Swap

When I first read Miriam’s post suggesting a festive decoration swap my initial thoughts were about what I would make.  Having signed up I had some fun looking through crochet patterns and finally made up a trio of stockings to send to Jill.  I really enjoyed the process and was happy to be able to send a small festive cheer to a blogger whose photography I’ve admired for ages. I was delighted when I heard from her that she had received the parcel and to see her post, which you can see here

Then I received an envelope though my letter box and remembered, this is a swap so I get a lovely decoration from a fellow blogger too. Fiona had made me a beautiful, elegant 3D snowflake decoration with matching card




I’ll be hanging them in a prominent place as I decorate next week. 

big thank you to Miriam for arranging the swap.  I’m enjoying seeing each decoration as it appears on blog posts.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Look up Look down back home

An overnight flight home combined with losing 5 hours due to time zones leads to a fuzzy day.  I did have a short nap but then kept busy with tasks that do not involve a lot of acute brainpower – including a walk by the river and my weekly looking up and down


I was drawn to the happy yellow shades in both. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

celebrating selfies

Did you know that Oxford Dictionaries choose a word to represent each year and they have just announced that the word for this year is ‘selfie’.


So I had to take and post one.  Why not join me – pick up your camera / phone; find a window with daylight (no passing the hairbrush or lippie on the way); rest your hand with the camera on the window at arms length; look at the lens, say ‘hello blogfriends’ and press the button; then post.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A final look at Ottawa

On my way home again after a successful workshop so time for the final items from my list that I captured.

It snowed on Saturday – not a lot but still around on Sunday and so cold my skin tingled and I could feel the cold as I breathed in.  Much colder than I’m used to and not for wandering around in for long.

But it did look lovely on the benches


and compacted footprints remained where the snow was melting – like when archaeologists find footprints preserved in sandstone


Earlier in the week I captured several of the local churches in all their architectural splendour


and the only mounties I saw – the only ‘national dress’ I could think of – were in a shop display


And doors are actually something I will associate with this trip because of using so many revolving doors or double doors – to stop the transfer of cold outdoor air inside. I never did work out the optimum speed to walk through the automatic ones as they usually stuttered  half way around.


So I found 14 of the 21 items on my list in Ottawa and again enjoyed having the list as a focus for my wandering and snapping around a new city.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Workshop going well

Halfway point in the workshop I’m running and all is going well


great participants and they say they are learning and enjoying the process


Hope your week is going well

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Look up Look down at artistic beasties

On my wanders around Ottawa at the weekend I came across some great art – official and not


including this amazing sculpture of a spider (which I had seen when it was outside the Tate in London several years ago) and a some intriguing pavement art

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ottawa in the golden hour

On Saturday I was wandering town and happened to be in a park overlooking the river in the glorious golden hour of light before it gets dark (ie 4 o’clock at the moment)

I captured two of the items on my photo list


the varied skylines of Ottawa – all 3 taken from the park.  The top one shows the silhouette of the parliament building and the other 2 look over the river into Quebec

I also captured 2 lovely images of locals relaxing


overlooking the river as the sun went down was a popular spot for individuals and groups

and I spotted a pair canoeing on the river


a beautiful park in the middle of town captured in fabulous light at the end of a sunny day – perfect weekend tourist treat

Monday, November 18, 2013

let’s go to the game

I’m in Canada in November so ‘the game’ is ice-hockey and I went all for this all Canadian experience on Friday evening.


lots of people taking their photo outside the stadium.

Inside, buy beer and hotdog then up to our seats – centre section up high


a great view of the ice and the TV screen and all the activity in the aisles with cheerleaders and mascots

The teams and officals took to the ice for the singing of national anthems – USA and Canada.  This was new to me as I’m used to anthems only when the national teams are playing


Then the action began Boston Bruins playing the locals – Ottawa Senators


fast action, amazing skill, plenty of noise from the crowd


periodic scraping of the ice to improve the playing surface


after 20 minutes of play (which takes longer due to stoppages) we had a 20 minute break and then on to more fast and furious play


another interval and a 3rd period of play and the Senators unexpectedly won.

A fun evening with plenty to watch on and off the ice.  I always enjoy being part of a large crowd at an event and experiencing a popular past time in another country.  I understand why people are big fans and attend each week.  Hope you enjoyed it too

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ottawa delights

I’m enjoying my time in Ottawa (despite some really cold days).  I’m using the same photo list that I used in Bangkok and sharing some of my early captures today. You can see my Bangkok finds here.

My hotel room if on the 9th floor (top brick floor below all the white) so I can look out over plenty of city centre bustle  and the bed is massive !!


My first day in town was the 11th so all the provincial and national flag were at half mast for the remembrance day events


My local food area is the Byward Market with plenty of market stalls, food shops and cafes and I’ve been enjoying plenty of local fare – savoury


and sweet (bottom right is the famed beavertail – like a long flat donut with sugar and cinnamon).  Those decorated cookies look delightful and I’m planning to take some home


Another thing that I really enjoy in Ottawa is the abundance of public sculpture.  I was delighted to come across this grouping


which commemorates a landmark event for women’s political rights when in 1929 the court determined that women are persons (in legal terms) and so could be appointed to the Senate !!!

I loved all the details in the sculptures and couldn’t resist sitting on that seat and using the timer on my camera (why elee is that stone block sitting exactly opposite the chair at the right height for a photo?)


I’m aiming to find more of the items on the list over the weekend and will share more next week – plus shots from the game I’m going to this evening – Senators vs Bruins