Stepping out of my comfort zone

Some of you might know when I am not working, sewing, knitting and taking photos I officiate basketball games. I have blogged about my experiences with wheelchair basketball and those can be found in my archives.

Yesterday was cup final day for the WBBL & BBL leagues. It’s the first silverware of season.

These games took place at the Arena Birmingham, not a small venue by any means!

I was asked to do the Swiss timing. Swiss timing, what’s that? I asked the same question and still wasn’t sure until I spoke to the floor manager! At this point my anxiety levels went sky high. But I was taken through the equipment by Alfie, when I looked at the equipment it was the same equipment I used at Paralympics 2012. This scoring equipment is made by Omega and would be shown on the BBC coverage.

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I made notes of what I was shown and got on with it. I felt more comfortable in the 2nd game but my legs shook. It was far from perfect but I survived & hopefully didn’t mess up too badly.

I am always looking to step out of my comfort zone and improve my confidence. This brings me onto my new crafting idea.

I take a lot of photos and keep meaning to print them, well I have placed my first order for some cards. There will be five designs and here are two of them.

These cards will be for sale and supplied with a kraft envelope.

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Preparing To Blog

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Poppbead Creative Blog
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.

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017

20170110211803_img_2979.jpgOn the last day of 2017 I thought I would look back at the top ten viewed posts.

Algorithms, SEO and tags have a lot to answer for.  I don’t understand it enough to improve it at the moment, but I am not too bothered as long I continue to enjoy blogging.

My viewing numbers are not high but here goes.

Ebay items for sale, that don’t sell was posted on 17 January, it had 38 views amd 2 likes.

Street Workshop with Kris Askey & IGersBirmingham was posted on 11 February, it had 35 views and 9 likes.

Super Mini Lemon Meringues was posted 30 May 2015, it had 26 views in 2017 and 4 likes.  I am not quite sure how this older post got some love, but I am not complaining. 

World Mental Health Day was posted on 10 October, it had 25 views and 5 likes.

Throwback Tuesday: Black and White Photo Challenge was posted on 21 November, with 18 views and 6 likes.

Be Inspired – Kizomba, Semba & Ginga Workshops was posted on 19 February, it had 13 views and no likes.

International Women’s Day 2017 was posted on 08 March, with 13 views and 3 likes.  I will probably do something next year IWD2018, watch on my social media channels.

Christmas content was posted on 06 December, it had 12 views and had 5 likes.

My Calendar – My year in photos was posted on 07 December and had no likes.  I will be doing another calendar, it was so soothing and encouraging to be reminded of my photography development. 

Poppies was posted on 02 November, with 11 views and 2 likes.

I would like to thank you for the views and likes.  I won’t be making any resolutions but take small positive steps.  I will also try and post some entries that are still sitting in my drafts.

Happy new year.

#mycosywinter Photo Contest. 

Recently, I purchased a photo board photoboards.org after Jane Kent who had recommended them.  When my board arrived I was impressed with the quality and how my earrings popped in my shots.

Then I noticed a post on Photoboard’s Instagram feed that they were holding a contest with the hashtag #mycosywinter.  So I decided to enter and this is a big thing as I get really anxious about my photography and to sometimes get photographer’s envy.

Below, is my entry called “Mince pies and knitting” The candle holders were a gift from a dear friend and ex work colleague.  The candles were from an endosister and yellow is the colour for Endometriosis.  The yarn is from Rico Design and was purchased from Sitting Knitting in the West Midlands, the pine cone was collected locally.  The baubles were purchased a few years ago from a major supermarket and the gluten free mince pie was from another major supermarket and finally fairy lights were from a discount store.

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Well I would now like to ask for your help in order to get through to the next stage of the contest and I really need your votes.

You can vote here and the closing date is Monday 18th December 2017 at 09.00 GMT.

Thank you for reading this post and hopefully voting for me.

 

Christmas content

With 19 days until Christmas day there are lots of advent calendars, prompt challenges and vlogs in my social media feeds.

I started posting about #MeetTheMakerWeek by Joanne Hawker and then got busy so didn’t finish all of the prompts.  This challenge was a short one of six day.  Taking part in this challenge gave me the chance to check out the feeds on Instagram of other makers.

 I joined a group on Facebook called Brum Bloggers and they are running #brumblogmas.  I got apprehensive about finding the time to produce content for 24 days in a row.  Then I re-read the post and it said you could dip in and mix up the order of the prompts.  I have signed up and will post some content based on the prompts. 

 Finally, an Instagram challenge from the Blurt Foundation called #blurtmerrycalmness.  Again I will dip in and out of this challenge.  I the Blurt Foundation has some interesting and inspiring articles and merchandise relating to mental health. 

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 With that in mind I have decided not to put my big tree up this year and I will leave you with a shot from last year.  I want the festive season to be a time of reflection, rest and gratitude. 

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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.

Throwback Tuesday: Black and White Photo Challenge

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Over the last few weeks I have had a number of nominations for the black & white photography challenge.  5 or 7 days and you take and post a black and white photo on social media.  Then you nominate someone else.
Well thank you for the nominations but I have decided not to participate this year.  Mainly, because I have done it before 3 years ago.

Instead I thought I would share my photos from 3 years ago.

 

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Knitting: One of the things I love doing & challenges every part of me.

I still love knitting and the process of knitting.  I mentioned in a previous post why I knit and that hasn’t changed.

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Armistice day: Crochet, beads & buttons.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about why I made all of the crochet poppies.  I am not a big charity crafter as I find it stressful.  This happened when I made these poppy brooches, but maybe with some planning it won’t be so bad.

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Basketball plays a large part in my life and the person I have become.

Basketball has kept me off the streets as a child, given me structure and the opportunity to make friends across the world.

 

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A book I need to finish and was put back on my radar.

I still haven’t finished this book.  I don’t read enough, even though I have the help of my talking kindle.

 

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Nail varnish, I think I have a slight problem. When I get to 200 bottles I might stop!

I don’t wear make up, but I do paint my nails.  A bottle of nail varnish would be a nice treat, then I realised there was rather a lot.

Thank you for coming down memory lane with me.  I am will re-visit photos, previous posts and remember what has brough me to this point in my life.

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

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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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Poppybead Creative Blog
Poppybead Creative Blog

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.

Poppies 

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Social media and technology reminds us of what has happened in previous years.

In years gone by I have frantically been crocheting poppy brooches to raise money for the Poppy appeal.  Unfortunately this year I won’t be able to.

This fundraising all started after visiting an ice sculpture installation in Birmingham city centre.  I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to capture some photos.

Minimum monument

This experience was really emotive and wanted to do something creative to raise money.

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I also visted the poppies at the Tower of London and that was when I started to make poppies.

At my old day job, some colleagues helped by knitting and crocheting poppies alongside me.  I would be up until the early hours of this morning making poppy brooches, as I would hand stitch beads on.  This made each poppy unique and personal.

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This became really stressful & so I only made a few the following year as seen in the photo above.  This year I haven’t made any due to changing my day job at the same time as I would of started making the poppies.

I hope people who still have their poppies will still make a contribution to the appeal.