Wednesday, December 31, 2014

zoom in one last time

my 53rd zoom pairing - because 2014 started and ends on a Wednesday.  I've enjoyed this meme, both the finding of something to share and seeing what others are sharing - thank you to everyone who participated during the year.

I went into the centre of Edinburgh on Monday to enjoy the bustle of the season and was on the look out for a suitable photo pairing.  I was looking at all the work being done in preparation for the massive street party / music concert that Edinburgh hosts for hogmanay (Scottish for New Year celebration) when I noticed a star attached to the railings and stopped to read it - and I had my zoom in pair.  I was touched that someone had left a message for the homeless and reminded of those in need at a time when so many are celebrating and spending. It felt like a good subject for the end of the year.

And looking forward to 2015 and the PAIRS meme.  What I was thinking was that each week we share a linked pair of photos, such as
- look up, look down
- zoom in, zoom out
- look left, look right
- before and after
- then and now
- his and hers (hers and hers / his and his etc)

I'm sure we will collectively come up with many more over the year.  I've created a page for idea and I'll add to it during the year.

I created 2 versions of the button - au natural and with pixel magic and you should be able to paste in the code below the button on the left for it to show on your blog (I used this code creator)

If you want to start PAIRS this week that's fine, the linky on this post is for both and I look forward to seeing what people are focusing on this week

Hope you have a fun hogmanay and best wishes for a creative 2015

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

zoom in on the seasonal

my photos over the past few days (for this meme and more generally) have been seasonal rather than festive, recording first spotting of some of the birds that come to the river over winter, a moon seen clearly at 7.50am and bare trees.

I enjoy watching the seasonal cycle of nature - my garden has signs of crocus and snowdrop leaves with a promise of blooms in January.  But when I was looking over my garden for signs of new growth I noticed that one of the summer flowers was blooming and there was a bud too - it is unusually mild at the moment but I'm sure that is unseasonal blooming

I suspect this interest in the seasonal is related to winter solstice this week and being glad that the daylight will be getting longer - I looked up the sunrise and sunset times and discovered that we gained 8 seconds today and the increase is gradual to start but by summer solstice we will have 10 more hours of daylight than we do now!

Thinking ahead to the pair meme next year (I discussed it here if you missed it) and one of the ideas of  'then and now' I've been making a list of 6 or so photos to take in my garden and on my walk soon because I know they will look very different in spring or summer  and that will make a nice pairing then if I do my preparation now.

Next Wednesday is the last day of 2014 so I realise some of you will link your first pair for 2015 and some will be posting your last zoom in zoom out for 2014 - all fine with me.

I know that blog reading patterns change over the festive season so to cover all bases please choose whichever is applicable - have a great Christmas / hope you are having a great Christmas / trust you had a great Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2014

winter scavenger hunt finds

I’m joining in with Joy’s winter photo scavenger hunt, keeping a particular eye out for items that are time bound such as

a nativity (number 20) – I found several examples, in different styles at the European market in town


and festive lights (number 9) – my local high street has decorative lights and round the corner the trees along the river are festooned with lights


I’ve also managed two that are not festivity related

a silhouette (number 12) with the low light behind one of the hills in town


and breakfast (number 4) as we enjoyed a big breakfast when we went to the garden centre / shopping outing for poinsettia and hyacinth bulbs


I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a letter shape in nature (10) and street musicians (19) who are not surrounded by a crowd but haven’t seen one yet

I’m enjoying this list, plenty of time to join in as we have until March 21st to complete the hunt, you can find the list on Joy’s or Eileen’s blog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

zoom in after dark

I appreciate all the twinkling lights at this time of year when it is dark by 4pm - roll on 21st when the days start to lengthen again.
many of my neighbours have a lit tree in their bay window adding lots of sparkle to the street and the chance at catching some bokeh - in this case my camera just did it

If you are wondering why there are trees in upstairs windows - those 'houses' are actually two layers of flats so the trees are in the upstairs flats' living rooms.

hope you are all finding some sparkle in your run up to Christmas and looking forward to see what you are all zooming on this week

Monday, December 15, 2014

me on Monday pondering craft markets


pausing in my elf work of putting up more decorations and Christmas list making to thank Sian for suggesting we all wave on Monday and hoping you all have a good week.

I went to 2 more craft markets at the weekend (following 1 market last weekend) and on the bus home from the 2nd was thinking about why I bought so little.  I went to these markets with the intentions of doing my own bit of quantitative easing – intending to spend at least £10 at each in support of local crafters.  I was surprised at how hard it was to meet this goal.

The biggest category of crafters seemed to be jewellery makers – which I am not in the market for.  Even if I still maintained a work wardrobe I would only be likely to buy 1 new piece at the markets.  I do wonder if there is an audience for so many different jewellery makers to make a living.

The next two biggest categories were graphic designers and consumables.  I admire the many pictures, cartoons, catchy word art and designs that are presented in the form of cards, cushions, coasters, mugs and bags.  But again there is a limit to how many of these I can make use of, especially as I make my own cards and don’t use coasters or cushions.

I did sample and buy food but they are often low cost items.  I was surprised at the number of dog treat stalls – a real 1st world phenomena I think.

There was also a number of up-cycle stalls – toys and hot water bottle covers made from old jumpers; decorations made from old books; sculpture from found bits; wooden furniture from pallets.  All lovely but I tend to be more interested in how I could do that than in buying them.

I had been hoping for a nice potter as I want a new mug but potters seem to have disappeared from the craft market circuit.  I’m always on the lookout for new things too and was interested in a guy making quirky items from resin (eg animal skulls, chicken feet plus commissions for hands or feet), amazing cut paper sculpture and some lovely felted wool accessories.

I know that making a living as a crafter is very hard but I do wonder how many people are making what the enjoy making rather than what there is a market for.

Have you been to any craft markets recently?  were you tempted by what was on offer?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Zoom in on the hills

snow symbols are starting to appear on the weather maps - but only on the hills at the moment and I could see a dusting of white on the hills in the distance as I looked out over the firth and Fife

week 50 which means only 3 more Wednesday's this year - yes I know that takes us to week 53 when there are only 52 weeks in the year but the first and last day of 2014 are Wednesday.

But it does mean that I have been thinking about next year and the continuation of this meme.  Some of you may remember that last year I posted 2 photos each Wednesday using 'look up. look down'.  I was thinking about other linked pairings and decided that rather than choose one of them as the theme for everyone to follow in 2015 that I would offer /welcome sharing any linked pair each Wednesday - for instance
- before and after
- look left, look right
- in front and behind
- the photo and me taking the photo
- then and now (a chance to use a old photo and pair it with a contemprary equivalent)
and of course more of
- zoom in, zoom out
- look up, look down
and I'm sure there are more that you and I will think of during the year

you might want to choose one of these and follow it each week or dabble across them as I intend to 

so I hope you will join me next year either occassionally or every week in sharing a linked pairing - and I'll endeavour to think of a catchy title before our first outing on 7th January

in the meantime looking forward to all your zoom in, zoom our for this week

Monday, December 8, 2014

a shadowy me on Monday

I got out for my walk while the sky was blue as more rain is forecast and while I was out I captured a shadow of me literally waving to you all this Monday (thanks to Sian’s great meme)


It was a suitably festive weekend which included friends’ choir’s carol listening; market and craft fair visiting and quantitative easing; German festive biscuits sampling; holly wreath buying; winter scavenger hunt item finding; tree lights admiring and Christmas meals discussing.  Plus some less festive Swedish warehouse visiting.

Wishing you all a great week, festive and otherwise, as I head off to use an Allen key and decipher the picture instructions.

Friday, December 5, 2014

5 in 5 and winter hunt reflection

joining Sandie for her monthly suggestion to take photos for 5 minutes and share your favourite 5 and I used the new winter scavenger hunt organised by Joy to pick the topic – 1st on the list is ‘reflection in water’ and my daily walk by the river provides great opportunities for reflections with the low light at this time of year.


I love the reflections in shallow parts of the river which provide a contrast of pebbles with reflections of the bare trees and the bridge


and I always enjoy trying to capture reflections of the birds – much easier when they are standing still than when in flight


Thanks to Sandie and Joy for these photographic memes

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Zoom in on hand made decorations

Looking through my boxes of Christmas decorations, I was interested to see the two amigurumi pieces that I made last year (reindeer head and big Santa) - they were my introduction to the delights of crocheting cute figures.  I've made so many ami pieces this year that it was strange to think that I was learning the techniques just a year ago and that I am now so comfortable with the approach that I created the small Santa last month with no pattern (and I'm making them to sell for my crafting for charity group) and I made this fun winter wreath  - inspired by Repeat Crafter Me

also delighted to see hand made decorations from Miriam's decoration swap last year and wooden ones that my parents used to make to sell. I do enjoy 'discovering' what I have packed away at the start of December.

I always enjoy discovering the snippets of life everyone shares through their zoom in zoom out shots each week, thank you to everyone who participates regularly and occasionally

Monday, December 1, 2014

Me on Monday

pausing in my perusal of my decorations boxes to join Sian in waving to you all on a Monday


and looking back on a weekend with plenty of walks and crochet and stroking the cat and writing cards and donating items to the foodbank and perusing the winter scavenger hunt list from Joy and marvelling that grey clouds do indeed have silver orange linings


looking forward to my first mince pie of the year and starting to put out some festive decorations – hoping you are enjoying the start of December too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Zoom in on the spinner

the winter fair and market has opened in the middle of Edinburgh - lots of stalls selling food and potential gifts plus rides like this big wheel and nice sedate carousels.  I'm always amazed that people pay to be spun around at a great height but it was busy all afternoon and provided some great photo shots.  I'm confident this is not the last time I'll be featuring the market here this year.

Hoping you are all enjoying your week and looking forward to seeing what you are sharing this week.

Monday, November 24, 2014

me on Monday

at my computer Monday morning drinking coffee from my new mug, reading e-mail and blogs and processing my photos from the weekend


it was another rugby watching, crocheting and Connie the cat stroking kind of Saturday (and I was delighted that both of ‘my nations’ won). 


Sunday was a winter fair and market visiting, low sun in the eye and lens avoiding, hot dog eating, strictly come dancing enjoying type of day


waving to blogland at the start of another week (and an extra wave to Sian for this lovely meme) and hoping you all have a good week

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

zoom in on grazers

no not me grazing festive foods although that may feature in a December zoom

both the Canadian and Greylag geese are spending a lot of their time grazing the grass beside the river at the moment, in big mixed groups.  They are so used to people from when the hatch that it is no problem that they graze where we walk - they sometimes take a step away or hiss but that's it.

hope you are all keeping warm as you zoom in and out

Monday, November 17, 2014

me on Monday

good morning from a wet and overcast Edinburgh. 


I’m wearing my new top and I’ve persuaded Connie the cat to take her tablet and turned around her food bowl so she will eat the food on the other side of the bowl.

Much of my weekend was the same as last weekend with lots of rugby and crochet – but no cold.

Also progress on 2 seasonal decoration projects – sewing a long piece of crochet around a polystyrene ring ready for decoration; and preparing lots of shiny triangles.  This project was prompted by the decoration in John Lewis store and I had thought through how to cut the card and join them with paperclips and that the secret to it looking fabulous was to have lots.  What I’d skimmed over in this thinking was that I would need to punch a hole in the top of each triangle individually to ensure placement and stop undue bending. I’ll share both as they progress


and I remembered to check out the window at dusk to catch the glorious but short lived red sky

Thanks Sian for this idea of recapping the weekend and waving to everyone on Monday morning – have a great week

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Zoom out on the squares

my cold is on the mend but the upside is that I have made good progress on crocheting squares to send to the Knit a Square charity who makes up blankets for children in need in South Africa.  I'm aiming to have made 35 by the end of this month - enough for one blanket

I found some ends of fluffy wool in my stash and decided to use it to add one row of texture.

enjoying all the seasonal sights being shared by you all in your zoom pairings

Monday, November 10, 2014

Me on Monday

another weekend over and time to follow Sian’s practice of starting the week with a quick re-cap (feels like my sing language class which always starts with a re-cap of last week, and I’m seeing the sign for re-cap as I type but can’t do it while typing!)

anyway to my weekend, which was a game of 2 halves as they say and summarised with 2 photos



I spent the afternoon happily watching rugby on TV, with some crochet for the quiet bits and a purring cat and admiring the bunting hanging above the TV which I made earlier in the day from some William Morris wallpaper that I came across in my stash. Entertaining rugby without getting wet is a winner in my book and balancing my southern and northern hemisphere allegiances I was very pleased with the results.



my sneezing had developed into a cold with blocked nose and aches so plenty of time on the sofa with my crochet, kindle and playing Triple Town on my tablet.  Hoping it clears up fast.

Wishing you all a good week

Friday, November 7, 2014

5 in (2)5 on 5th November

which of course means fireworks around here – the local council puts on a fabulous display on the beach. This is probably the one time that I am glad it gets dark early as if was really dark for the display at 7pm.  In New Zealand (where strangely they also have fireworks on 5th to mark an attempt to blow up the UK parliament) we had to wait until 9pm for some darkness for the display.

I love fireworks and trying to photograph them.  This year I used the high speed burst setting on my camera which meant I had 600 photos to work through but did mean that I captured some pleasing shots.

Following Sandie’s lovely 5 in 5 monthly meme I’ve whittled it down to my favourite 5 to share – in 3 collages


are you a firework lover?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

zooming slowly on a walk

a this time of year, with lots of bare trees I tend to spend a lot of my walk looking up and admiring the dark shapes contrasting against the sky - total cloud cover today.

always fascinating to see what has caught the eye of all the lovely bloggers who join me each week in zooming in and zooming out

Monday, November 3, 2014

me on Monday

hello blogland on another autumnal Monday morning


my weekend included –

a trip to the monthly organic market for yummy cake and bread and geranium soap;

sitting on the wall by the sand and enjoying coffee and then playing with shadow photos;

trying to understand what Connie the cat wants when she comes to find me and grumbles;

enjoying the contrast of bare trees against a blue sky;

making chilli;

crocheting more charity blanket squares and white spheres for a December project;

and trying to persuade the cat that she can’t be part of the crochet!

Wishing you all a good week and thanks to Sian for encouraging this weekly wave.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

zoom in on the apples

on Saturday I went along to the local Community Orchard Apple Day - a celebration of all things apple -

there was an apple press to make juice, pressed juice for sale, bobbing for apples, pick your own crab apples (the zoomed in photo) and my Dad was in charge of the apple tasting table with samples of different apples from the orchard and committee members' gardens. Kids were also enjoying running around, watching the bonfire, the cakes and climbing the ladder provided for crab apple picking.

The orchard is on a sloping field with a stream at the bottom and walls or tall trees all around - that explains the odd angle in the 1st photo.  With low afternoon sun and lots of shade it was hard to get good photos but I do like the rays of sunlight showing in this one.

wondering where else I'll visit through your zoom shares this week

Monday, October 27, 2014

me on Monday with a visitor

pausing on Monday morning to wave to blogland and look back on the weekend before getting on with my week – thanks to Sian


Saturday was windy but not rainy and filled with housework; the Community Orchard Apple Day (more on Wednesday with my zoom pair); chatting to my nephew who is about to set out on an adventure to Mexico; and discovering fabulous light as I headed home.

Sunday was windy and wet and spent inside with my visitor


I’m looking after Connie the cat for a while. All her fluffy fur disguises how thin she is after some digestive problems – she has special food and a daily tablet.  She likes to be in the same room as me and has a lovely loud purr.

Hoping you all have a good week

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

zoom out for reflections

Fabulous light for reflections on the river at the moment - often I can see the details of the geese more clearly in their refelction than on the actual bird

don't be deceived by the lovely blue sky - I've been timing my walks to catch the spaces between rain showers

welcome to all of you still playing along, I love seeing what you all point your zoom at each week

Monday, October 20, 2014

me on Monday

hello Monday, hoping it is a good one where you are


It was a blustery, reading, reflection, family featuring weekend.

Very blustery weather with some bouts of rain that were heavy enough to capture on film – I’m fascinated by trying to capture photos of rain. When it wasn’t raining it was very windy which meant plenty of time with my book (Tanya French), a coffee, crochet and the TV. 

When I did venture out to the river I was rewarded with some lovely light on the water and great reflections. I also ventured for family dinner and laughter and circulating books.

Thanks to Sian for this lovely meme to get the week off to a good start.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

zoom in at the museum

one of my favourite part of the museum is the wall full of small collections - 5 typewriters; polished Scottish stone; decorative tile floors; railway station signs

and this lovely collection of blue pottery - perfect for a zoom in and zoom out on a grey rainy day

enjoying seeing a lovely range of subjects in the photo pairings that you are sharing - watching the changing seasons and life across the world - thank you for taking part

inlinkz has 'improved' their linky so hoping this works OK

Monday, October 13, 2014

me on Monday


settling down to look back on the weekend (thank you Sian) before starting on my Monday chores

it was a sunshine appreciating, but glove wearing, long legs in shadows admiring, tangerine / mandarin / clementine comparing, forum theatre event participating, sign language practicing, swan feeding, Mum visiting, scarcity of blogs to read sadly noticing, roti recipe trying kind of weekend

waving hello for a good week to everyone

Friday, October 10, 2014

5 in 5 as we craft and chat

every Wednesday I crochet and chat and drink good coffee and eat a scone or coconut bread with a group of lovely ladies.  We knit and crochet blanket squares and hats and toys and jumpers to send to charities (2 ladies also make dresses from charity shop duvet covers). The cafe lets us use the big room through the back so we can spread out around a big table with plenty of room for our wool and bags as well as our beverages.

I was taking photos of the items we had made recently but preferred the images which captured more of the feeling of the meetings – sharing 5 of them to join in with Sandie’s lovely 5 in 5 meme


The two main charities we send items to are

Knit a Square who give blankets (and hats and toys) to orphans in South Africa

Love in the Language of Yarn who are based in Turkey and give items to Syrian refugees

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

zoom in on the spooky

Halloween related aisles are appearing in lots of my local big shops - plenty of dressing up items and ghoulish decor

what really surprises me is the number of specially themed confectionery items on sale - I'm amazed that the market is big enough for so many of the manufacturers to create special shapes and packaging for Halloween - scream eggs was too good a name to miss out but everyone seems to be joining in now.

looking forward to the range of topics you will share this week

Monday, October 6, 2014

me on Monday

a grey weekend – but seasonally correct


it was a monthly organic market visiting; German bakery enjoying; news of new neighbourhood artisan bakery rejoicing; ivy trimming; flat white (coffee) sipping; rain dodging; alien encounter reading (Ken McLeod); Strictly Come Dancing watching kind of weekend

waving to Sian for this lovely meme to start the week and hoping you all have a good week even if your weather is grey (as is forecast for the coming week here)

Friday, October 3, 2014

September summed up

season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as the poetic (in this case Keats) would say of autumn and September was indeed foggy with plenty of produce to harvest. 

We had fog for 10 days in a row which really makes you double-take on a familiar view until you work out what the fog has obscured.


I picked and enjoyed 9 apples from the tree in my garden and left 2 with the insects that had taken up residence; I received enough plums from my Dad’s trees to make 4 jars of chutney (with Shanghai seasoning mix) and eat plenty too; I picked enough brambles for 1 tasty cobbler.

I filled my garden waste bin twice with the end of summer tidy of the garden and pruning the raspberry canes and planted 5 hyacinth and 12 gladioli bulbs for even more colour next spring.

I spent 5 hours with 4 of my charity crafting group (and 2 of their husbands) at a village fair selling items that we had made.  I sold 32 of my pocket friends and enjoyed seeing lots of big smiles when people spotted the different characters.


I crocheted 1 rust coloured hat for me, using 1 ball of wool and my biggest (7 mm) hook - ready for when the temperatures drop – it has been warm but there are chill edges to the day.

I also crocheted 12 blanket squares to be sent off to charities, each in 2 bright colours which meant I got to play with lots of lovely colour combinations as I measured out the lengths needed for each (30 arm lengths). 


I joined 3,623,343 other people in going to the polling place to vote in the referendum on independence for Scotland then stayed up until 2.30am watching results then slept for 3 hours before getting up to watch the end of the results.


I read 7 novels, 5 of which were from the police crime solving genre (Tanya French, Karen Rose and Craig Russell are all excellent if you are into this genre).  The other 2 followed a woman across the Sahara and young gamers taking on exploitative bosses. 

Joining Julie for her monthly provision of a safe place to revel in counting things

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

zoom in by the river

A lovely relaxed walk by the river on a sunny autumn afternoon when drama unfolded as walkers noticed a dog walking around on the stones in the river searching for someone - one dogwalker tried to coax it over with treats - after some discussion another rang the local animal welfare people

who arrived after 15 minutes and eventually captured the dog (after a chase involving 4 people and 2 dogs) and took it off to the shelter - and the tranquil afternoon returned (until the geese started honking to gather a gaggle for a practice flight)

week 40 already - anticipating an autumnal from some this week

Monday, September 29, 2014

me on Monday

waving to Sian for this lovely weekend summing up meme


and saying it was a doors-open-day herb garden and architect house visiting, leaf kicking, summer clothes packing away, dance and singing TV competition watching, slow roast lamb eating, Irish police mystery reading, colourful charity blanket square crocheting, geese honking type of weekend here – definitely autumn.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

zoom in on the berries

mid September means time for a free treat from the blackberry bushes growing wild - my Dad found a great spot last year so we went there again.  

 This year a lot of the berries were past their best - perhaps due to all the fog recently - which meant a lot of reaching in through the branches and prickles to reach the nice berries

We managed to each pick enough for a nice dessert - I made cobbler.

Wondering what jewels will be revealed in other zoom in zoom out pairings this week