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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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Success

Success comes in many forms, and we don’t always recognise it when it arrives. A promotion at work, exam results, all are often celebrated as success.

But what about the smaller things that happen every day in our lives?

This is a snowdrop, the flower just about to open, tucked away in a flower bed at the back of my garden. I’ve never been able to grow snowdrops before, and I love them.

Last Autumn I bought another pack of bulbs and put them in 3 different spots in the garden. Determined to succeed! In one of the three places there are snowdrop plants coming up and one has a flower! I count that as a success.

There are times when you can feel like a failure. But I was told many years ago to train myself to look for the positives, to look for the smaller achievements that happen in our lives every day.

So, you might have got that promotion you were after. That pay rise might not have happened. The new recipe you tried might not have gone to plan.

But look at the day, what did go right? What went well? What did YOU achieve? Did you make someone smile? Some days, for some people even being able to say I was able to get up and go to work would be a positive step. For some, being able to feed their family would be a success.

I’m certain there is something you can be proud of, even if you have to look really hard for it, it is there. It just depends where you measure it from.

For me, today it was my beautiful snowdrop. There were other good things that happened, other successes, but that tiny flower was the one that really made me smile.

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Your Camera

your camera

Your camera will be different to mine, although most DSLRs have many things in common. And all cameras have some similarities.

your camera

From the basic box brownie, right through to today, the camera’s fundamental purpose is to capture images. Until quite recently that took skill, patience, and many failures that cost in time and money to develop. Rolls of film wasted to get a single half decent shot. I remember it well, that fat packet of prints coming in the post only to find most were out of focus, or had fingers over the lens.

Then came the age of digital.


your camera

Suddenly it’s so much easier to take hundreds of pictures and you can examine each one and delete before you do anything else. The commercial availability of digital image manipulation software has meant that we can all be photographers if we wish.

But how many times do you look at someone else’s work and think, how did they do that?

The first thing you need to do is take the time to really get to know your camera. Find all the buttons and functions, work out what they do. Get comfortable flicking from one mode to the next. Be aware of the automatic modes available – they’re incredibly useful while you’re learning.

My advice for today is to use google, your camera’s user manual, any information source you find. Soak up as much knowledge as you can, and play, have fun, try out the things you discover.

As I work things out, or find something useful, I plan to share! Right now, I’m going back to basics and reminding myself what all the buttons do on my Nikon D3300.

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It’s all about learning

The weather is cold, mostly wet, grey, and I haven’t had the camera out properly in weeks. So, until the weather improves, it’s all about learning again.

Last night I took a book to bed, and started trying to make sense of it! It’s the Nikon D3300 for Dummies guide, and it’s not an easy read. There’s a wealth of information on every page, but it does seem to assume a certain amount of previous knowledge.

I do want to improve my photography. There are times when I want to capture an image but I don’t know how to go about it. So, this book has been sitting on the bookshelf for over a year, and it’s time I took a closer look into the pages!

it's all about learning

I am mostly happy with the majority of my images, and I’m loving the camera. But I know there is so much more I can do. So, it’s all about learning, again. It is vital in any hobby, any craft, in any part of life, to be constantly looking to improve.

My skills are improving, I have worked my way up to Champion status on GuruShots. You can also find a selection of my images on PicFair.

2018 is almost over, and 2019 will be what we make of it. I intend to make pictures, and possibly write stories. We shall see.

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Winter Solstice

As the sun set on Winter Solstice, I was sitting in an office in Swansea, replying to customer emails for my paid job. I saw sunrise and sunset, sitting at that desk by the window.

October sunset

While we have had some laughs, we have tried our best to help customers. Trying to find solutions for issues that we have no time left to resolve. Because Christmas is coming and there are not enough days left to do anything.

But we do the best we can. One day we are the customer, and we expect the best from someone else. So we give it, every hour we sit at those desks.

And sometimes that means I neglect my own blog, and website. I am sorry.

Today was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day. This is the day when the light is lacking, and the winter deepest. Tomorrow the light begins to return and we grew anew. So it is in the cycle of the seasons, so can it be in our lives and in our work also.

We can take this moment and choose to thrive, to grow, to learn. Or we can choose to stagnate in the dark.

It’s up to you, it’s up to each of us to choose our path. Tread wisely. Step carefully.