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29 Sep 2013

I've had a lovely birthday morning with my daughter and pup. We've already had breakfast in bed and coffee and pressies. She's spoiled me :) As a sign of the times, teenage son is still asleep, that's okay with us, we know he really needs his sleep!

I had a new tutorial and pattern template planned but a rather gross cold and deadlines too got in the way. Then my photos were crap, so it will come soon. It's a quick and easy sewn item that might be handy for the gift giving season.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend.

Jx

29 Sep 2013

29 Sep 2013

29 Sep 2013


A fun macro lens to play with

Seedpod
Seed pods with an Easy-Macro Lens

I've coveted a nice macro lens for my DSLR for years but I haven't been able to splurge. When I read about the Easy-Macro lens for camera phones I thought at $15 that's an investment rather easy to risk should it turn out to be rubbish - wish I wasn't so slow to the party, it's been out since 2011.

I was so surprised at what this tiny lens on a rubber band could achieve. While there's not much depth of field and you have to get very close to the subject to focus it, I found it really fun to use. It takes a little practice and it's important to be quite still but I managed to snap some pretty good shots with it anyway. In the process I even discovered tiny, unwelcome creatures living on one of my stalks of dried seed pods – they've since since been released to the wild.

The spider wasn't easy to shoot because I kept getting jumpy every time I got close enough to snap him (you must almost touch the subject to use this lens) but again, not too bad a shot. The snail was very accommodating though and even posed for me.

The Easy-Macro doesn't have the crisp, high definition of a £1500 macro, but at £15 (plus £5 shipping) I've already enjoyed more that my money's worth with it. I've also discovered one of the best things about it is that it's one of those tools the kids can really explore with too. Not only is it easy for children to attach the lens, it's also a great learning tool.

I noticed a Kickstarter campaign was launched to help finance the next version of the lens, unsurprisingly they've reached their goal with time to spare. If you need a budget lens that you can slip in your pocket when you run out the door, give it a try.

Happy Monday!

Unknown seed pod
Snail shell
Snail friend
Spider macro
Dandelion


the magic of mist

One misty morning
View from a misty morning walk

Autumn is drawing in and mornings are becoming cooler and the mist heavier. Last week I snapped a few pictures of magic the mist brings by showing off another sign of the season, web building (the arachnid variety).

The day before, these webs would have been invisible to passerbys. But this misty morning they were visible every step of the way. Here are a few varieties of constructions I saw, oddly, most of the builders were hiding at the time.

Crystal web

Ground webs

Delicate web

Fishing line web

Fine web

Diamond web

Spider flats

This last one is taken of a holly section of hedgerow and looks like a block of flats to me.

I long for the day when I have time to remember to take along a decent camera and stop relying on my phone for images. Having said that, my DSLR is in need of a serious upgrade so until then I'll enjoy what I have to hand and keep in mind it's better than no visual reminders at all.

Speaking of visuals, I took really subpar video of Tristan's performance at the art week that kicked off this weekend, I really must find a better way to record. He was asked to perform a whole set and in spite of the base player getting cold feet at the last moment, he and the drummer still took to the stage and gave a rousing performance, including one of his own compositions this time.

Tris was also interviewed and performed live on local radio which I'll link to as soon as I can sort out the audio file – I'm not sure how, but I'm quite sure I held my breath through the whole thing!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend too, what did you get up to?

x


Last tooth & tooth fairy pouch tutorial revisit

The last tooth

Gracie has lost her last primary tooth (wisdom teeth aside). She may not be so sorry to see them go as they were enamel deficient and her adult teeth are not, but it can make a mother a bit sad to be leaving the early years behind.

Tomorrow is also the end of primary school as she embarks on her next stage, the start of secondary school. Butterflies have been gathering in the tummy and we've already had restless nights, but I know she'll be okay. It may take a while to feel settled but I know it will happen – besides, she has that younger sibling advantage of having a brother who will be there for her.
Tooth pouch dual
Tooth pouch tutorial

It's hard to believe I created this tooth fairy pouch pattern and tutorial when Gracie lost her very first tooth, it was also the topic of my very first blog post.
Like lots of parents I'm excited for the children to start a new year but already lamenting the loss of varied routines and kicked off shoes. Tomorrow it's back to packed lunches and early rises, the upside being no "I'm starving!" interruptions followed by the lengthly "your quite capable of making your own lunch" discussions. Really, I miss them already.
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Next Sunday is the Wiveliscombe Street Fair as part of the 10 parishes festival. We're really excited about Tris performing a whole set on one of the stages – he's also one of the acts that will be broadcast on the local radio station. So if you're in the Wiveliscombe area next Sunday drop by – it's a great day with loads of food stalls, local ales and cider and music all day. Did I mention the ales? 
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Also, I've been trying out the Easy Macro lens for my iPhone. It's such an easy and inexpensive solution to trying to get close up shots with a phone camera. I'll update this space with samples from this new little toy soon. At only $15 plus $5 shipping from the States it's already proving to be well worth the investment. And speaking of investment, I noticed the Macro lens people have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of their next lens – I hope they do well.
Time to get dinner on and have an early night, school tomorrow!
x

PS - Am I the only one Typepad no long gives paragraph breaks to? Sometimes they happen, more often than not, they don't :(