Hearts and buttons

IMG_6978Last Tuesday felt like a day to sit down and do a bit of button sewing-on. It seemed like the first time in ages when the house was quiet and I could indulge. I had enough hearts crocheted and stiffened to make two more hanging decorations. In the time that babykins was a playgroup I managed to stitch on almost all the buttons for them both. Stitching them all together into the final hanging shape always takes me ages but I finished one last night. Getting good pictures of these is so difficult. I wish I could afford a professional product photographer! When I do it there are shadows where I don’t want them, the colours don’t show at their best and the focus is off in places! I think it’s partly that they are so long – 60cm or 2′ from the top bit of crochet to the bottom. hanging heartsWhat a difference natural light makes to an amateur photographer. The photo in the centre above was taken at night with a flash and a Canon digital ixus 80IS. I have played around a little with it but it still looks wrong. The two outer photos were done in natural light with an iPhone in HD mode (iPhone 5 I think, it was my Mum’s).

I have one more decoration to finish off and then I will have to get on with more crocheting and blocking out and experimenting with more photography. Maybe I should take them out into the garden and hang them amongst some branches? I’d be happy to hear any top tips, bearing in mind that my cameras are limited those mentioned above.

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Capturing Childhood

Because blogging is so instant, it is easy to record little snippets of family life that you might otherwise forget. That is one of the reasons I am still hooked on doing it. I already enjoy looking back in my archives, as if they were a family photo album.

Being “born in the age of technology” (as my Grandfather used to lament that he wasn’t) has allowed us a wonderful freedom to snap photos in an almost unlimited fashion. Many of us now have a camera with us all the time, packaged away within our smart phones. There’s no risk in taking more candid, unposed shots in a way that I would never have contemplated in the old days of film

But are our photos any good?
When the writer of one of my favourite blogs, Kat at Housewife Confidential, announced that she was launching a new venture (with her friend, another Kat, from ‘Slugs on the Refrigerator‘) called  ‘Capturing Childhood‘ I was keen to find out more. Capturing Childhood is a website where you can find and book an e-course in photography. Their first course is called ‘Collect the Moments‘, something I think have already been trying to do.
I was rather pleased to find out that they are having a scholarship competition, based around using the instagram app. So the last few days have seen me tapping away at my iphone, getting to grips with editing, adding tags to photos and uploading them. Here is the selection that I’ve entered so far… I think know there will be more. It’s addictive.

If you want to know more about the courses I’ve mentioned, follow the links above. If you want to see all the other entrants, visit instagram via your smartphone and search for the #capturingchildhood tag.

Digging Days Part 2 – Alone in the garden

I’ve had a strange bank holiday weekend. It feels as if I have spent quite a lot of it on my own. In all honesty, I haven’t been alone that much, just more than usual. When you spend most of your waking (and sometimes sleeping) moments with a small child it seems awfully quiet when someone else takes over.

The Husband has been dealing with Babykins for the last few nights. It’s bliss to not have to jump out of bed and try and settle him down before he disturbs the rest of the household. I’d love it if he could consistently sleep all through the night, solidly for twelve hours. I just don’t think that it’s part of his make-up.

Anyway, I’ve been getting my shut eye alone, while the Husband has taken to the spare bed next to Babykins’ cot. He has got up with him early in the morning and been busy, busy from the get-go. Yesterday, by the time I’d surfaced, they had disappeared to the allotment. They had collected the green waste and taken it to the local tip before I’d eaten breakfast!

The older two were enjoying their ‘holidays’ at Grandma’s so I woke up to an empty house. I can imagine many parents of small children sighing and wishing for the same experience but let me tell you, it was weird. I had a glimpse into the world of the ’empty nester’ and I did not like it one little bit! It seemed that suddenly, nobody needed me.

When the biggest and smallest boy came back from their errands, we decided that I would go down to the allotment myself and try to get on with some planting. That is the usual division of labour. I leave the hard, back breaking work to the Husband and then faff about deciding on which direction the rows of seeds should go in. Or in this case, Charlotte potatoes.

I felt a nagging sense of guilt as I got started on my own. Surely I should have been looking after the children? I put it to the back of my mind and tried to enjoy the experience of being in the sun, fresh air and peace and quiet. On days like this when my emotions make me feel mixed up, I am grateful for the time I have spent doing yoga. I am really out of practice with the physical side of yoga but I find myself coming back to the mental side of things again and again. I don’t really have the words to express how it works for me, I wish I did. The best I can do is to say that learning about yoga philosophy has given me a sense of being ‘mindful’. Sometimes just acknowledging feelings is enough to allow me to move on. It isn’t always that simple, but often it is.

Getting interested in blog world is another strangely mindful experience. When I started reading other people’s blogs I realised that documenting everyday life somehow makes you value ordinary, daily existence. It’s just like writing a diary, something I’ve always like the idea of but never really got to grips with. Perhaps it is the ability to really capture moments in time with pictures as well as words. There’s something very therapeutic in reflecting on the things in your life that have given you pleasure.

Anyway, don’t feel too sorry for me and my lonely moments (er, it’s ok, I know you don’t!). I enjoyed having a bit of time to play at taking photos of the buds and blooms that are around at the moment. I have been quite pleased with the results from my iPhone camera.

It wasn’t long before I had a visit from Babykins and the Husband. I had a fun, if slightly strained time (I knew he had no spare clothes with him) helping Babykins get to grips with mud and water.

Not long after he had gone, the other two arrived with Grandma. They worked together for a while, taking straw to the strawberry patch but they weren’t really in the mood to cooperate with each other. Grandma decided to take the Middle Miss off to the shops and Son Number One stayed behind with me.

I was trying to finish digging over the patch where the broccoli had been, in order to plant the rest of the seed potatoes. Fortunately, this was a job Son Number One was happy to help with. We did some digging, We did some raking, then I made the holes and he planted the spuds. When we had no more potatoes left, we decided to fill in the rest of the bed with a few rows of peas. I was very glad I had a helper at this point because I wanted to construct some sort of support for them to climb up. It would have been a tricky job on my own. It’s been a long time coming, having a boy who was more of a help than a hindrance in the garden but it’s happened this weekend.

Before

After