My week in photos – April 2018

It’s been a very busy week in my life. But I got to incorporate photography into it.

I really need to learn how to be more efficient and effective with editing. But here are 9 photos from my week.

Last Saturday I went and captured the blossom in Oozells Square, It’s a beautiful scene and I will probably go back next year.

Monday was the anniversary of a friend’s death, red wine was one of his favourite tipples.

Here is my equipment, I am still looking to sell my Canon DSLR but not just yet.  They both got a lot of use this week.

Tuesday, I got the opportunity to see a different view of Birmingham.

I love taking photos of flowers & this was taken with my mobile phone, with no editing.

I never get tired of this skeleton at the Lapworth Museum.

I hope to capture more sunsets this year.

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers, I might plant some for next year.

Sunshine on a stick!  Daffodils always cheer me up and now give me lots to photograph. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend.

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Colette Sorbetto Top Pattern

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I was introduced to the Sorbetto pattern by a friend nearly 7 years ago. I could sew and follow a pattern but had never used a pdf pattern before. The Sorbetto pattern has been redesigned recently, but all the following tops were made using the old version.

This first photo shows my first version. I found the length of the top quite short.

The fabric was purchased from the indoor market in Birmingham. I still wear it now.

This is the second version of the Sorbetto and my first attempt at making matching bias binding. I lengthened the top and have worn this top to death. The fabric was purchased from the outdoor market in Birmingham.

I move onto my third top and I started to hack the pattern. This was a inverted Sorbetto, due to the amount of fabric I had. Which wasn’t a lot and the direction of the pattern on the fabric. I had to scrape together all of the scraps to make bias binding. This fabric was purchased from House of Fraser or Rackhams to the people of Birmingham.

This Sorbetto is actually a inverted dress hack. I took inspiration from Pinterest. The fabric was purchased from Nest in Crouch End, London with contrasting bias binding from Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley.

My next Sorbetto is another dress hack or maybe a tunic. The fabric was from IKEA many moons ago.

I bought more fabric from House of Fraser and hacked the pattern again. This time I omitted the front pleat and added covered buttons. The buttons were difficult but I liked how they looked.

The Sorbetto above is true to the pattern, but I did add some length to the body. The fabric was from the outdoor market in Birmingham and the bias binding was from Guthrie and Ghani.

Last year I was on another planet and thought I could finish a Sorbetto in less than a day including matching bias binding. I was going to the IgersBirmingham summer social with friends and was determined to make a new top. I was late meeting my friends but I had finished the top and had a lovely evening. I can’t remember exactly where I got the fabric from.

Now we are up to date with my Sorbetto top journey. On a recent fabric buying meetup I was told about a stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. They sell African fabric and I was looking for fabric to cover my hair at night. I chose this blue fabric and a bold green pattern.

I fell in love with these balloons and decided I want to make a top. With some careful cutting I managed to get both pieces out in the right direction. I got some black bias binding but didn’t like it on the outside. I unpicked it and stitched it inside instead. I am really happy with the outcome.

I will give the new version a go at some point, but for now I will enjoy the balloon Sorbetto top.

Photography backgrounds 

Sometime ago an amazing creative friend had started using photography backgrounds. Her photos and products were and are still amazing.

I had been using wallpaper samples, floor tiles and blank paper as backgrounds

Then I bit the bullet and bought my first photo board from Photoboardshq. After much deliberating I chose coast. It was a light colour and have been loving it.

Then a few weeks ago I went to the photography show Photoboardshq were exhibiting. So I bought another two boards. It was really helpful to see the boards in person. I settled for Cabin and Firewood.

I have really enjoyed experimenting with different backgrounds and would like the opportunity to capture more items. Watch this space.

Please note, this is not a sponsored post and I will still use different backgrounds.

The Photography Show 2018

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Today I headed off to The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham.  This is the second time I have been to the show and I had a better idea of what to expect.  So before I went to the show I made a loose plan of what stands I wanted to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympus had been advertising on their social media feeds that you could get a free clean and check on your camera.  This was my first port of call and the staff on the stand were really friendly.

I went to the show with some friends and we moved on just looking at the deals on Fuji kit.

The Fuji stand had models you could shoot, so I moved forward with my mobile phone and took the first shot.  Last year I didn’t feel as confidence to take photos and took the second shot from further away.  Both photos were taken with the same phone.

 

We then  went to a talk at the video stage about taking your photography into videography.  It was interesting but my little video montages are a long way away from where the speaker’s content.  There was some good points about the use of music and permits to shoot in different areas of the country.

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We meandered around for a bit longer and then I went to visit a friend’s daughter working on the Hasselblad stand.  If I didn’t eat or pay any bills for the next six months or so I could possibly afford a Hasselblad at the show price of £6,388.

 

Back to reality and we visited a lighting stand who had some affordable kit and some interesting displays.  The ‘baby’ looked realistic, it was quite scary & then I saw Yoda.

 

Before going to another talk I went to Photo Boards to have a look at their photo boards.  I have one already and was looking to get another one, being able to see all of the boards in person made it easier to choose.  I wasn’t convinced at first about backgrounds but with the right background, a product can be lifted.

 

The other talk I went to was by Jo Bradford and was titled “Pixel to print; a workflow for pro-quality outdoor smartphone photography”.  There was some good tips & it was nice to see a photo taken whislt the talk was taking place printed off with high quality paper.  She also made available signed copies of her new book to purchase before it’s international publishing date in April.  The book is called “Smart Phone Smart Photography – Simple techniques for taking incredible pictures with iPhone and Android”.  Some of the apps she mentioned require a purchase but sometimes you need to invest to improve your photos.

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In summary, I really enjoyed my day at the show.  The company was great and it is always helpful to try equipment before buying.  Also getting information and tips to inspire improvement from the different talks was paramount.

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing To Blog

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Photo credit Nick George Photography

When I started blogging 7 years years ago, yes that long ago. I was blogging on Blogspot and found the platform difficult to navigate unless I used my computer. I even gave Tumblr a go, as well as a hosted blog on my old website. They all have their merits but didn’t work for me at the time.
Fast forward to 2018 and I blog from WordPress. I miagrated my content over from Blogspot. What I did notice was I getting some great blogging ideas and they would languish in my drafts. This includes going to photography meet ups and involvement with Instagram challenges. When I last looked there was 35!

So I am going to look through and see what can be published and delete the rest. These posts won’t be posted on my front page, but I will refer back to them throughout the year.

Now, so this doesn’t continue to happen do you have any tips, tricks or suggestions to help plan my blog posts better? I do have a Pinterest board with blogging tips, but I find there is a lot advice based in the US. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, I am asking with the hope bloggers and readers will reach out.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Happy Jar for 2018

For the last three years I have been writing down positive things/moments that happened to me and putting them in a jar.  I started doing this so I would stop concentrating everything that would go wrong.

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On the 1st January I prepared a jar and got some sticky notes ready.  At first I had to search really hard to find things that were positive.  Then I broke it down and looked at the basics, like I brushed my hair.  Building up to things like paying someone a compliment or buying flowers for my friends.

There are no hard and fast rules on keeping a happy jar, such as find something to write everyday.  Some days I would write down as much as 5 things and the next day, nothing.

When I needed cheering up I would dip into the jar and remember what I had found positive.  This would also encourage me to keep writing down positive things.

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Before I knew it and the time had come to empty the jar.

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I would sit on my own and unfold the sticky notes.  It was emotional sometimes but really good to remember the moments that had taken place that past year.

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Some tips that helped me.

  • Put a pen and notes in the jar, then there are no excuses.
  • Place the jar somewhere you will be encouraged to write your moments.
  • You don’t have to use a posh jar and colourful paper.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything to write.

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I have enjoyed this process and how it helps me to remember positive things and moments.  I would encourage anyone to try it, but there is no pressure.

Thank you for reading this post and I hope 2018 is a positive year for you all.

Back to Basics – Pinhole photography 

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Poppybead Creative BlogNot long ago I received an email from a colleague at my day job.  This woman was also a colleague at my previous day job and remembered my love of photography.  She let me know about an exhibition and a workshop on pinhole photography.  It was only a few days before someone was talking about the Beyond the Battlefields exhibition at a photography meet up.

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The exhibition is free and being held in Aston Webb’s Rotunda Gallery at the University of Birmingham.  I didn’t realise the Great Hall was used as a hospital in WW1.

After being taken around the exhibition we started the workshop.  I always have a fear that I can never keep up in workshops, but this was different.  Jo Gane who took the workshop was lovely.  She explained everything really well and didn’t go too fast.

We went on to prepare a drinks can ready to take our photos.  The cans were then loaded with photographic paper and off we went.

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My first attempt didn’t require much exposure time, two seconds.  I am so happy with the result.  We used a smartphone app to invert the photos.

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This was the corner of my 2nd attempt, the rest of the shot didn’t expose for long enough.

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My last attempt blended the old and the new.  I really wanted to take a photo of a new camera.

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I am so glad I attended this workshop, it was out of my comfort zone and I survived.

An Inspired Morning

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Here we are again, the week has flown by and Saturday is done and dusted.  So is Sunday for that matter.

Yesterday morning I was awake and out of the house to meet up with another photographer who has had an idea.  When they put their idea to me I wasn’t entirely sure but then started thinking about it I thought this could be rather exciting.

We sat and talked about photography and other things.

It also made me think about the format of my blog & the direction of it.  So over the next few months I am going to try and be more consistent with posting content and will look at the format of the blog.

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Keep checking back for the changes and follow me on

Instagram

Instagram food

Twitter

Facebook

Card Making

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It’s been a while since I last made a card.  Like most of the crafts I do, I haven’t felt the motivation to create.  But that is changing.

So here are some cards I have made previously, do excuse the quality of the photos.

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Watch this space for some new cards, maybe including my photography.  If there is any of my photos you would like to see on a card please let me know.

Throwback Thursday: Moseley Road Swimming Baths 

Back in February Friends of Moseley Road baths invited IgersBirmingham to capture Moseley Road Baths.
The baths are due to close soon, leaving the area having to travel to Sparkhill baths when they reopen.

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If you haven’t been to Moseley Road Baths the Friends are having a community action day on Saturday 18th March and more details can be found here for more information.  It will be a shame to see this building close.

Thank you IgersBirmingham for the opportunity to capture this beautiful building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straight out of the phone

A few weeks ago I posted this photo on my Instagram feed and I didn’t edit it all. It was taken with my mobile phone. I currently use a Samsung S7 edge, please note this post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way.

My reason for writing this post was to share more of my mobile phone photography and to say you can capture some great views and moments with your phone.

This shot was taken at a IgersBirmingham instameet at the museum of the jewellery quarter.

This was taken in inner city Birmingham, sprouting up from an apartment block.

I was waiting for the bus and was captivated the drama in the sky. I did have my camera in my bag but just reached for my phone.

A week after taking the first photo I took the same shot again and the sky wasn’t playing ball, but still a good shot.

I love how detail of the wood makes a great background to a fallen flower.

This shot was taken along the canals in Birmingham. Also the next two photos.

I tend to use a 2 second timer on most of my shots and try to stand really still. I do usually post edit but none of the photos in this post have been edited, hence being straight out of the phone.

El Borracho de Oro – Edgbaston

Last weekend my lovely friend Imogen suggested a catch up over lunch. We went to El Borracho de Oro in Edgbaston.

I used to work nearby and kept meaning to go there. I had my usual gluten free panic about what options they would have, but I know Immy has my back on these things.

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We were asked if we wanted bread or olives and was told there GF bread. I have got used to the bread being sliced, bland and containing airholes. This bread was far from that. It was served warm and was fluffy inside.

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They had a separate menu which told you which dishes contained allergens. So we chose 6 dishes without gluten. Above was our prawn dish.

I think Spanish omelette should always be included in tapas choices, as I really like it. This Spanish omelette included leeks & smoked cheese.

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Slow Cooked Rabbit in a Garlic & Tomato sauce, the meat was soft and tender.

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Crispy Fried Potatoes dressed with Alioli & Brava sauces, yet another coat of arms dish for tapas these potatoes were good.

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This fresh chorizo sausage cooked in Spanish red wine was okay, I think I expecting the chorizo to be chopped rather than smaller individual sausages.

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Butterbeans with garlic, onion & red Pepper was the last dish we chose. I wish I had saved my bread to mop up the juices.

I would definitely go again and I choose from the other suitable dishes on the menu or save space for dessert.

Who am I?….

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time.

Who am I?

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Photo credit: Nick George

Well I have an About page on my blog, is that enough? Maybe not!

Here we go, I am a dyslexic London born creative who creates in the West Midlands.

I am in my early forties and before you say it, no I don’t look my age. But should age ever matter?

Currently I take loads of photos with my phone and cameras. I knit, make beaded jewellery and get excited by creating content. I also like to share tips on taking better photos, ways to connect with other like minded people.

I started this blog to help with my writing and let people know about the things I make and sometimes sell, other creatives living their best lives and gluten free food options.

Regarding food I set up a separate Instagram feed and have neglected writing about my food finds. I am hope to get back on track with that soon.

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Photo credit: Nick George

Instagram is my social media platform of choice and can get lost in watching Insta stories for ages. Like all platforms there’s good and bad so try and be aware of that all of the time. My feed isn’t perfectly manicured, it shows what I want to share. I do share things I am selling and events I go to so watch out.

So who am I? Again am I a maker, an artisan, a blogger, a lifestyle blogger, a photographer, a creative or just me who doesn’t fit into one thing?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend and was getting excited about sharing opportunities for others. They said when you talk about these things you sound like you have a fire in your belly.

This has resonated with me. As long as I have a fire in my belly and don’t hurt anyone or break the law, staying true to my creativity that’s who I am.

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Photo credit: Nick George

MonologueSlam UK – Helping People Happen

A few weeks ago my friend mentioned her son was doing a monologue and if I wanted to come along. I have been watching Nathan perform for many years and thought why not?

I had heard of monologues and slams, but not a monologueslam. So out of my comfort zone I went and ended up at the Birmingham Rep theatre.

From the outset, the talent was amazing. The first round was the youth round and these young people could deliver. They delivered emotion, humour and performances that you would expect from older performers.

The one minute round says what it is on the tin. A number of the performers also wrote their own monologues, which I was in awe of.

Then there was the improv round with Jumprov. Improvised comedy, they were funny.

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Jumprov

Just before the interval they pulled a name from a jug. This person got the chance to perform after the interval.

Now the round I came for, the three minute round. Nathan was first to perform and I was really impressed, but I don’t think I can pass an Italian restaurant without a chuckle now.

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Nathan Queeley-Dennis

All of the performers of the performers were execeptional and the overall winner was fantastic. I even cried real tears from laughing so much. This included a great set from Smash Enterainz.

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Tijan Bobb – overall winner

When I got home, I was absolutely buzzing from the energy, talent and positivity I had witnessed on stage. I am looking forward to another event and planning to go to the finals in London.

Triforce Events keep providing these opportunities.

More cards…..

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Guess what? I have printed more cards for sale, this time I wanted to share the story behind each photo.

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This first card/photo was taken in 2016 outside the Royal Free hospital. The hospital has done so much for my family over the years. The combination of lavender and craspedia is just so vibrant.

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This second photo was taken in 2016 in Hastings on a trip to the seaside. These lovely red flowers kept attracting my eye as we walked to the seafront. Thank you Lesley and Jo for letting me know these flowers are called rudbekia. Both photos were shot with a Canon 1300D DSLR.

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This photo is the oldest shot I have had printed. It was taken at the London 2012 Olympics when I went to watch synchronised swimming. The Olympic park was beautifully landscaped without being too regimented. I was using a Fuji S4400 bridge camera.

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The acorn was shot in 2017 whilst in France using a Canon 1300D DSLR. I am rubbish at remembering quotes or proverbs. But ‘From little acorns mighty oaks grow.’

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Once a upon a time I used to go for a walk at lunchtime with a friend, we would talk about many things and we will continue do so. It will just be at other points of the day and week.

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You might of noticed in these last two photos there are water droplets. They were taken at least 9 months apart and both on a lunchtime walk. I used my Samsung S7 edge mobile phone to take both photos.

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In the centre of Birmingham there is fountain affectionately called the “Floozie in the jacuzzi”. It’s real title is the River created by Dhruva Mistry. Due to expensive leaks the fountain was turned off in 2013. A few years later the council planted the fountain. One early Sunday morning I went for a walk and captured the bee and butterfly in the fountain, using my Canon 1300D DSLR.

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I love orchids and have had up to six at any one time. I have printed this photo before but it sold out straight away. I was unwell and leave the house so I took my Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II and this is what happened.

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A high number of photographers I know all flock to shoot the blossom in Oozells Square each year. I went again this year and caught up with with lovely people and taking this shot with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II.

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Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake were captured with my Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II at Winterbourne Gardens. I think I will have more visits to the gardens over the coming months.

All of these cards are A6 in size, with a matt finish. They are supplied with a white envelope. The cost is £2.50 or if you buy 5 or more I will do a discount.

Thank you for your support.

The Story of Two Yards of Fabric

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After being introduced to the African fabric stall at the indoor market in Birmingham. I went back to get some fabric to use as headscarves.

They charged £3 for 1 yard pieces and had lots to choose from. So I chose two different pieces.

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When I got home I fell in love with the patterns on the fabric wished that I had bigger amounts.

Anyway I looked at the direction of the pattern on the fabric squeezed out a Sorbetto top.

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I love this top.

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Then I kept seeing videos on YouTube talking satin sheets or pillowcases to protect your afro hair. Then I looked at videos on how to make a satin bonnet.

This is what happened.

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I didn’t follow one particular pattern. The satin was purchased from a stall in the rag market. Two nights in and it hasn’t fallen off my head and my hair isn’t so dry.

So there was my story of two yards of fabric.

Thank you – Greeting Cards

I just wanted to thank everyone who has purchased cards from me. I had 50 cards printed using 10 of my photos and have sold 49. I did use one myself.

I am looking into building a simple website and selling from there. I looked at Etsy, Ebay and Folksy. The fees were quite high and would mean putting my costs up more than I wanted.

I am also looking into doing some craft fairs, sets and cards for occasions. My cards all incorporate photos taken by myself.

Thank you again for your kind words and custom. I am just planning some more cards to be printed. When they are ready I will post on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I am looking at possibly setting up a mailing list for exclusive access to new products, let me know what you think.

Instagram Highlights

Instagram is generally where I spend a lot of my social media time. I have found myself falling down the black hole that is insta stories and losing hours of time, all of those 15 seconds stories build up.

Then I noticed people making cover photos for their story highlight sections. So I have made my own.

A lot of the cover photos were beautiful graphics and wording. I decided to use some alphabet beads and am happy with the outcome.