Wednesday 27 August 2014

August Break Day 20 : Peaceful

Hello, and welcome to Day 20 of the August Break.
Today's theme is "Peaceful". Wow, Day 20! Awesome!

I am not, by nature, a peaceful person. Mind always on the go, brain always busy, hands never still. I do almost feel a sense of calm though when I'm looking through my camera lens at flowers and foliage.  Perhaps it's a sense of being in that moment, focusing on the framing of the image, just for a second shutting out the mayhem that usually surrounds me.

These pictures were all taken on our holiday these last couple of weeks. I'm surprised, pleasantly so, at the richness of plant-life around us in Florida. With 3 Little People in tow I wasn't at my most peaceful whilst snapping these pictures, however they do evoke a certain contentment whilst reviewing them :) Hope you enjoy them too :) And if anyone would like to attach names to any varieties, please feel free to inform me!

So many wonderful colours and textures ....

August Break Day 18: Jump

Welcome to Day 18 of the August Break.
Today's theme is "Jump". Golly gosh really nearly caught up, only a few more days of multi-posting!

I've been REAALLLLY looking forward to this post :) All week I've been messing about with my fancy-pants camera and it's various fancy-pants settings. One such setting is a sort of "Action mode" where you hold down the clicky button thing and the camera takes a series of shots, paparazzi style, for as long as the button is held down. You get loads of action shots that would be really hard to get with a one-click setting (well, for me, anyway). I've taken loads of the Little People jumping into the pool. The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

There :) Doesn't that just make you smile :D


August Break Day 19 : Black and White

Hello, and welcome to Day 19 of the August Break.
Today's theme is " Black and White". Still with me ? Good-o :)

Black and white. That's actually, for me, really hard as a theme. I've had a virtual flick through my photographs to find something black and white - but with extremely limited success. I thought about playing around with settings on my iPad and presenting some pictures in monochrome or sepia-tone, but, well, it's just Not Me. Okay so it might've been intriguing to see what photo-editing could do to some gloriously colorful photos, maybe they would evoke a different feeling ? Well, we'll never know. At least not now. Cos I just didn't really want to mess with my already lovely pictures.

I did however find a couple of photos that were neeeeearly black and white that I'd taken around our holiday villa. It's owned by my lovely friend Carla of Carla and I met 12 years ago in our ante-natal classes, my Little Man and her Little Lady have known each other since they were babies (well since they were bumps technically lol), they've been at the same primary school for 7 years and are shortly off to the big adventure of secondary school together. Most of the other children from their year are going to the nearest school but our two have not followed the herd, they have struck out on a different path to the majority, and are starting another school together. And excitingly, they will be in the same tutor group together for at least 5 years. And I'm thrilled that Carla and I are continuing down the path of parenthood together :) I've used that word "together" a lot there - but I don't care! Together together together :D

Anyway. To get back to the villa. It really is a home from home. This is our second visit, and there are so many lovely touches around the place. 
For a start there are plants everywhere. They're imitation but it doesn't matter, they look fabulously lush, real ones aren't appropriate in a holiday home, and they really add to the homeliness :)

Let's takes a closer look at those wine glasses shall we .....

So pretty! Upon arrival the dining table is properly set with red mats, a table runner and white crockery. Oh and the wine glasses of course. And I forgot - again - to take a photo of the table all set when we arrived - maybe next time :) NB take note of black and white table runner fulfilling today's theme :)

The kitchen table has Rennie Mackintosh designs on the mats. I ADORE Rennie Mackintosh, especially the rose. Beautiful. (And red just happens to be my favorite colour :)

And in the guest bathroom more touches of black and white .... love these! I'd like them at home actually!

..... and check out the towels - adorable!

And even the shower curtain matches! Brilliant! (don't think I've ever taken a photo of a shower curtain before - that's the holiday vibe for you :)

Our en-suite is MASSIVE with some great beachy scenes .....

.... and more fab towels .... now, when at home would I have a towel with an embroidered palm tree .... hmm getting that creative sparkle again .....

Speaking of towels, my absolute favorite are the pool towels ....

Yes you're right, I have included this picture in a previous post, but the towels deserve a special mention - I happen to know they were purchased in a supermarket not a mile from our house back home LOL

The sofas are mega comfy. I have a bit of an OCD thing about sofas, comes from having to sit on so many truly hideous ones during the student years I reckon. To say that these sofas are even acceptable is a b-i-g compliment, so to say mega-comfy ? Well let's just say I think I prefer them to our brand new recliny ones at home (ssshhhhh don't tell hubby :-/ ). And they have very funky cushions too. 

And finally, the Little People's bedrooms have loads of fun Disney features on the walls and bedding. Although it's *only* our second visit, our Little People felt instantly at home. A bit too much at home if the discarded clothes, teddies, books etc are anything to go by ....

Ok, so there wasn't that much black and white but it did get this post off to a flying start, and that's good enough for me :)


Tuesday 26 August 2014

August Break Day 17 : Bookshelf

Hello, and welcome to Day 17 of the August Break. 
Today's theme is "Bookshelf". Well done for sticking with me as I catch up!

In case you hadn't worked it out by now, I'm still on holibobs (or vacation as the locals would say :) My travel bookshelf is my kindle, but I didn't want to witter on about that. Instead, I thought 'd witter on about the new crochet books I've bought whilst here, and share with you some lovely pictures :) New crochet books! Yippee! Very very very nearly as exciting as new yarn (but not quite).

I do love a bookshop. Whilst yarn shops make my heart beat a little faster and my head goes a bit giddy, when I'm in a bookshop I go into a bit of a Zen-mode. Actually, libraries have the same effect. There's something so calming about all those wonderful, delicious books. Almost soon as you cross the threshold, and the door closes with a soft swish behind you, a stillness happens. Problems and worries are left behind with the noise and busy-ness outside. Row after row, shelf after shelf, book after book. Pictures. Images. Sketches. Words. Stories. Descriptions. Lists. Instructions. Who needs the internet ? Everything you ever needed is right here, only you are so calm you don't actually need anything, except to wander up and down the rows, tilting your head to read the titles, occasionally selecting a book to open, and peruse, before gently placing it back in its rightful little slot.

And so I found myself, in my happy place, the nearest bookshop. At this stage I must confess I didn't experience my usual calmness but this is because it was An American Bookshop and so by definition is bigger than your average purveyor of literature (no offence Americans, but you do BIG Very Well). Instead I had the giddiness and really wanted to run around shrieking with hysterical excitement over all those lovely books :) But I was very sensible and headed for the books-on-craft section. How restrained.

This first book In bought is Crochet Garden by Suzann Thompson.

It's beautifully illustrated with vibrant pictures in gorgeous colours.

Patterns for all sorts of flowers can be found inside, like forget-me-nots and roses.

There's even a pattern for a poinsettia. But ssshhhhhhh no one mention the "C" word yet ....

There are also some leaf patterns, like these maples. And I KNOW I have the colours of yarn for these, I bought them yesterday!

And also some little creatures to keep the flowers company.

There are also some really sweet little flowery scenes dotted throughout, I'm very inspired to make some with a mix of crochet and embroidery.

 Aren't they adorable ? Aaaah my creative spark is sparkling right now let me tell you!!

Next up is this little beauty, "How to Show & Sell Your Crafts, by Torie Jayne

I haven't taken many pictures of the interior because, honestly, they are all so gorgeous I'd have to show you every page. What's that you say ? You do really want to see a picture ? Oh, okay then, just the one though ... 

I've justified the purchase because it's, er, for research purposes. For advice on selling my own stuff you see, an investment if you will. Yes, that's it, an investment :) There are sections on branding, online selling, photographing your work, pricing, marketing, and so on, but I'm not sure I can concentrate on the words due to the really beautiful photos. All it's done so far is give me a serious case of craft room envy. Oh alright, one more picture ...

Third on my list of newly-acquired books is this fabulous collection of projects.

Most crochet books try to teach crochet for absolute beginners as well as provide interesting patterns to follow. That's great and all, but more and more I find myself a bit miffed that the first 20 pages of a 90 page book is just a repeat of the first 20 pages of the last book I bought. So I was really happy when I flicked through Crochet One-Skein Wonders. 

The book dives straight into a project on the first page (well, page 9, after the index and other blurb). There then follows 256 pages choc-full of patterns and illustrations. Bags, scarves, socks, coasters, mitts, jewellery, baskets, it's got the lot.

The projects are arranged by yarn weight. I LOVE this approach. It's really very sensible. I rarely find a pattern then choose the yarn for it, instead I almost always go "oooooo loooooook!!!!!!!! New yarn!!!!!! Must buy it !!!!!" and then I have to find something to do with it...... I'm sure you all understand, cos it's not just me is it.  And once you decide which pattern to make with your new yarn, there is also a handy chart to assist you. Well for most patterns anyway. We hookers are a visual crew are we not.

I have already made something out of this book, but I'll keep you in suspense for another day :)

The last "book" isn't actually a book, it's a magazine, but it still contains lots of lovely crochet-goodness. There you go, look, it even says on the cover "27 Sizzling(!) Summer Patterns" !!! Sizzlin' !!!!

Now. Dear readers. Dear American readers. I must confess that when I was browsing the crochet section of the magazine aisle in the bookshop (and quite impressive an aisle it was too), I started to get really rather stressed. There were loads of crochet magazines, but nothing was grabbing me. Surely there must be some mistake ? Not grabbed by a magazine ? Does not compute. I leafed through loads, getting a bit frazzled, trying to find something to give me that "oooooh! I need to buy you NOW!!" Feeling. But nothing. Are American magazines just not as exciting ? Or was I having a bad day? Please dear American readers, feel free to let me know! Maybe I need to try again. Or try a different bookshop. Ooooooh! A visit to another bookshop!
Anyway, I did buy the latest issue "Love of Crochet". And actually it has really really grown on me. Maybe not quite "sizzling" but warming up very nicely.

 I know a Little Miss who would love this Peony Purse (that's a "bag" all you Brits out there).

I particularly like this "Climbing Wisteria" wrap thingy. That's definitely on my (ridiculously long) must-do-sometime list. Now, I wonder if I have any yarn or do I need to go shopping again ...?