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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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