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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Best Nine and Make Nine

In 2015 I came across the best nine app.  I entered my Instagram account name and it picked the most liked nine photos from my feed.  When I look back at my Instagram feed, it has really developed.  Here are those first nine photos. 

These nine shots all relate to knitting and food.  I have set up a separate Instagram feed for my food called poppybeadfood.  The sock yarn blanket hasn’t grown much in two years and I love knitting colourwork. 

 Fast forward to 2016 and I had really embraced photography.   

Five of the nine photos above were taken when I attended a long exposure workshop with Ross Jukes.  I had no clue about long exposure and learnt so much.  All of the photos were taken with my Canon 1300D camera, it was a real year of learning and discovery. 

2017 has absolutely flown by.  This year’s nine show a different development.  I am still taking lots of photos but you get to see a little more of me, I had stopped hiding as much behind the camera as much.  I have been sewing a fair bit more this year, catching up with old friends and returned to officiating top level able bodied basketball. 

I have continued to look into puddles for a beautiful photo and get outside for night time photos.  One big difference this year was the camera I used to take the long exposure photos.  I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M10 mark II, it’s a lot smaller and lighter than my Canon.  It also has image stabilisation built into the camera body.  I am struggling with it but every once in a while I capture some stunning photos.

Now on to my makes.  On Christmas eve I came across the hashtag #2018makenine, a gentle challenge on making nine things throughout the year hosted by Home Row Fiber Co and a blog gives you more information.  I noticed some people had posted sewing or knitting specific grids of nine, I did both.  I attached three aspects to them, make some new things, finish projects that have been hanging around for a while and re-make some things I enjoyed making before. 

From left to right, top to bottom. 

  1. The lonely tree shawl by Sylvia McFadden.  I made it for a dear friend and enjoyed it, so will make another at some point. 
  2. Santa’s Laundry Line by Eleonore von Castelmur.  I started this decoration a few years ago and picked all of the easy items to complete first.  I have nearly finished the socks, just leaving the mittens and longjohns.
  3. The Secret Garden Shawl by Sarah Rose is not far from being finished and I am due to start the lace section. 
  4. Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart.  This pattern is one of the easiest patterns to follow, it gave lots of interest and tracked how far you had got through the pattern.
  5. Stories From Snoqualmie Valley by Annie Rowden will be a lovely cosy shawl when I finish this project.
  6. Baa ble Hat by Donna Smith has been a popular pattern amongst knitters and I knitted mine in two shades of grey.
  7. Andes Cardigan by Jenny Watson was one of the first patterns I started knitting seven years ago.  Yes I know seven years is a long time but I got bored.  Again, there isn’t much more to do.
  8. Bluebird of Happiness by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, is a small make that I intend to make again.
  9. Hopscotch by Wieke van Keulen is a crochet project that needs to be finished. 

As for sewing with I don’t think I am particularly good but I keep trying and some of the things I make are wearable. 

      Pictures 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 are from simplicity NewLook.  Picture 8 was a prize in an Instagram competition with The Crafty Pinup.  Picture 3 is the Molly dress is My Capsule Wardrobe from Sew over It. Pictures 5 and 7 are dresses from Tilly and the Buttons, I have heard good things about her patterns and so I have treated myself to Love at First Stitch and the Bettine pattern.

      I will also be learning how to use an overlocker and hope that will help with my sewing.  As for my photography I am still hopeful. 

      Enjoy your creativity. 

        #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.

         

        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

        Instagram

        Instagram food

        Twitter

        Facebook

        My week in photos 

        For some time I have been choosing 9 photos I took in the previous week.  Then I post the collage on social media and wish everyone a lovely weekend.

        Today I thought I would share the meaning behind the photos.

         

        Last Saturday I met up with my friend Imogen and went to the seasonal markets at the Bond Company.

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        I took this photo as I love routemaster buses.  Growing up in London they were everywhere and they remind me of being a child.

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        Being gluten free going food events does make me anxious.  So when I saw The English Indian stall and it was clearly marked gluten free I squealed.  I went for half and half which was a piece of fish, a piece of halloumi, chips and spiced mushy peas.  Oh my goodness, it tasted great and I would definitely recommend it.

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        Also at the seasonal markets was Pip and her hot sauces.  She makes great sauces if you want to add some spice to your food.  Check her out.
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        Wheelchair basketball and basketball have played a major part of my life and my officiating season started last week.  So there will be many weekends spent in sport halls around the country between now and May.

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        A friend asked if I would take some profile photos for her.  The location was beautiful and autumnal, hopefully she was happy with photos.

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        I have been sewing a fair bit and I didn’t have any Tilly and the buttons patterns so to cheer myself up I treated myself to the Bettine dress pattern.  Unlike commercial patterns there is only a dress pattern with 2 options and generally it’s a summery dress, I am looking forward to cutting this out.

        I love drinking tea and a few years ago I was introduced to Yogi tea.  Each tea bag label has something meaningful on it.  There can be a lot of hate and that can take up a lot of energy so I posted this on my Instagram feed.

        I caught a cold during the week and all I wanted was soup.  So I made some chicken and vegetable soup from scratch, it was just what the doctor ordered.

        I love knitting it’s like my zen and I don’t knit to sell.  So taking myself out of my knitting comfort zone, I have joined a knit along organised by Sitting Knitting in the West Midlands.  As a dyslexic I find reading patterns really challenging but I managed to crack this one.
        This was the meaning behind my collage of photos.  I hope you had a good weekend and have a good week ahead.

        International Women’s Day 2017

        Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Be Bold for Change I am going to revisit some photos taken for a project I created last year for IWD.  I had all bold ideas to do another photography project based around this year’s theme and  my health has not allowed.  Then one of my  comrades said it not about one day but making a difference everyday.

        I put together a photo montage and it included about 25 portraits and I couldn’t of done it without the help of Thomas, Tim and Ian.  I added some music called Self Reflect Jared C Balogh.  I will be revisiting a number of projects and shots taken and reflecting on how far I have come as a photographer.

        My pledge for this year is:

        #BeBoldForChange and …

        • raise women’s visibility as spokespeople in the media

        How better than taking photos of women and telling their stories.

        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.