Snow days

Snow days

Across the UK during the past week or so, we have had snow days. It’s nowhere near as problematic as in some places, but it does disrupt things. I suspect, mainly because we’re not used to it!

So, with closed roads and school, advice is do not travel unless absolutely necessary. But mostly, life carries on as normal, just with an extra sweater, and added gloves!

But the Nikon camera struggles with all that white. When you’re faced with a large expanse of very bright, such as snow, the auto exposure settings can struggle. You end up with images that are over exposed and too glaringly shiny. The sea on a bright, sunny, day can have the same effect.

Fortunately our snow days haven’t been a total white out, and I did get some reasonable pictures.

On most DSLR cameras there will be a way to compensate for this. On the D3300 there is a tiny button with + and – symbols, near the on off switch. Press and hold this and thumb the wheel on the back of the camera to turn exposure up and down. This only works in manual or semi-manual modes. The function is not available in the auto modes. You’ll need to play around with it and see how much difference it makes for you.

A hood for the lens can help too, it shades the sensor a little and blocks some of the glare.

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Framed prints for sale

Wandered down to the beach for my usual Wednesday lunch with my Dad, and Oh WOW! My pictures, on the wall, Framed prints for sale at Francos, Aberavon, Port Talbot.

The original canvas prints are back on the wall, and the new framed prints are up as well.

Framed prints for sale

Sorry about the reflection from the window, these were taken on my phone, which doesn’t have a brilliant camera.

Framed prints for sale

I’ve set the canvases at £20 each, and the framed prints, £15 each – just ask the staff when you’re there.

While some of you might be able to wander down to the beach, most of you are too far away. If that’s you, and you’d like a print, let me know. I can go and grab it for you, and then let you know what the postage will be.

This has really made me grin today, Thank you Franco’s!

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Making time

Today is about making time to do things. Over the winter I’ve let things slip, rested back on habits and conveniences that aren’t ideal. We’ve eaten ready meals, far too much junk food, and fallen asleep on the sofa way too often.

Then on lottery, or euromillions, day, we sit and play the what if game. If we win, we’ll have this house, we’ll move and live there, if we have more time to do stuff we’d write, grow things, etc. But would we? really? If we’re not making time to do those thing now, why would a bigger house or more money make that much difference?

I fancy having a go at lino printing, so why wait? Recently I wanted to get back into writing but I find that despite having hours in which to write, I don’t.

I think it’s time for a change in attitude. So, yesterday I loaded up the slow cooker and make a batch of what I call mince mix. It’s a tomato base with onion, courgette, pepper, mushrooms, which is blitzed smooth using my hand blender when it’s cooked. Then I add in a large pack of beef mince and let is cook for a couple of hours. That gets made into pasta bolognese when it’s fresh. Once it’s cool, I make lasagne, or freeze portions.

But my freezer is over-full and needs defrosting. So, 2 of us had pasta bolognese last night, 2 of us are having cottage pie or pasta bake tonight. I like cottage pie, my daughter doesn’t, so I made individual dinners. And I made a 4 person lasagne for when my son and his girlfriend visit at the weekend, and a 2 person lasagne for my daughter and I another day.

My point is that I am making time to cook more healthy food from scratch, in advance. It makes meals easier.

It’s far too easy to fall into habits that don’t actually help us. So, I’m trying to change that, at least a little bit.

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Framed Prints

Canvases of my photos have been available for sale for a while at a local beach restaurant. But they’re redecorating at the moment. So I thought it might be time to change things up a bit. I’ve asked them to put up some framed prints instead.

The prints have been ordered, the frames purchased. Now it’s a wait for them to come together and take them in. Which will mean a trip to the beach. Probably lunch. Definitely with the camera now the weather is clearing a bit.

The prints, including the frames will be on sale for £15 each. The canvases were up for £30 each.

Prints are 8 x 10 inches, and each is mounted in a basic frame. I’ve chosen wood grain frames. Some are deeper, some have a narrow frame, some wider. I wanted to mix it up so they’re not all the same. If the restaurant owners want to they can mix the canvases with the framed prints, or spread them about.

Frame prints

If you want any of the framed prints, or canvases, and you can’t get down to Aberavon, let me know.

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A change is sometimes needed

You know when you’re working on something, a long term project that’s going to take months to complete? Sometimes you need a break. A change of view, something different.

If whatever you’re working on is that big, that time consuming, it can be frustrating. In the evenings, while watching TV with my daughter, I like to knit or crochet. I’ve been working on a blanket for over a year, probably more like 18 months. The blanket is now almost double bed sized, just to give you an idea of the amount of work that’s gone into it.

change

It started with a large bag of assorted yarns that my Mum left when she died. I have woven memories in with the stitches. But it’s now close to finished, and it takes forever to go around the thing, and it’s heavy, and awkward to work on. Although the rhythm of the crochet is relaxing, it can be boring too…

So, I thought I’d try something a bit different.

Always keen to reuse and recycle, I often take unwanted clothes to local charity shops, and I’ll often find stuff to buy in there too. But what do you do with the t-shirts that can’t be donated? You can make chunky yarn with them! It’s really easy, even if my first attempts are uneven, and the fabric seams have a tendency to tear.

t-shirt yarn

For a change in pace, I decided to make yarn with some of my own old t-shirts and make a mat for the bathroom. It was either that or dusters, and everyone knows I don’t dust! Being mostly cotton the mat will be absorbent, and I can chuck it in the washing machine.

I’m using a 9 mm bamboo hook, purely by trial and error. Four random t-shirts cut into roughly 1 inch strips made the yarn. It would have been more even if I’d bothered ironing the shirts and measuring properly. But this was a rough try to see if it would work.

And it did! There’s still work to do, but I’ll have a colourful bathroom mat instead of t-shirts in the bin.

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