December Already – Where has the year gone?

Today is the 1st of December and all over social media people are opening their advent calendars, putting up their decorations and starting to eat mince pies.

Well I don’t have an advent calendar, I started eating mince pies in October and I am feeling ambivalent about Christmas decorations.

It’s about this time of the year I start looking at the goals I set for myself and how things didn’t go to plan.

This year is no different in some respects but there was so many things that exceeded my goals and expectations.

So I won’t be rushing to put up any decorations up or trying to get an advent calendar that doesn’t serve me. I hope people continue to get excited by this festive period.

I created a stop motion animation on my mobile phone for the beginning of December. I hope you enjoy it.

The brooch was from the lovely Jane Kent Studio.

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Perspectives – Isn’t this beneath you?

I had fallen off the blogging wagon over the last few months but, something someone said to me has been eating at me.

As some of you might know when I am not working full-time, taking photos or making things I officiate basketball and wheelchair basketball games. I have worked hard to officiate to international level, through testing, my fears and self sabotage.

Fast forward to a cold November Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands where I was waiting for a junior tournament to begin. I see some familiar faces with the teams and say hello. Oh hello, isn’t this beneath you?

My heart sank and I responded something like, no these children deserve the best as do the BBL (The professional league in the UK).

I will get to the point of this blog post, how can you make an assumption on another person’s standards, limits or boundaries unless you know them well enough? This isn’t the first time someone has made an assumption on the levels of basketball I will officiate at and said the same thing. I am not looking to call anyone out for their comments but to get an understanding on what people assume and perceive is acceptable without being seen as over sensitive.

Generally, I am listening and may be seen as quiet. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions, get upset by people’s comments or speak up when necessary.

Basketball has generally been a positive catalyst in my life for 30 years. In my teens, it has given me structure, in my twenties it helped me settle in a new city and in my thirties given support. In my forties, I want to give back and help others have some of the opportunities I have had through basketball to develop.

So after a conversation with a colleague today, I think the comment made to me was a judgement and rightly or wrongly people will always make judgements on you and your actions.

I use the Calm meditation app and at the end there’s is always a quote and here is today’s.

Thank you for reading to the end.

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.

Thank you for your support.

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.

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.

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.