Friday, January 27, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday - week 4

Well that’s another week gone – they seem to be going by everso quickly since I joined the Rockin’ Crew!

A fairly quiet week, but still with plenty of highlights:

The first thing that’s been rocking my world this week is Postcrossing – I’ve had an even better than usual postcard crop recently.

Last Saturday there were no less than three cards on my doormat, and they were all really cool ones.  One from Barcelona with a great photo of the Gaudi park (I’d LOVE to go there one day), one from Amsterdam featuring the (in)famous Bulldog café (I might have already been there, ahem, once or twice, a long time ago, back in my student days :)  ), and one from Germany with, rather inexplicably, an oil painting of a skeleton doing a pee :D

Also, not pictured, a few days later I received from the US a fantastic lenticular card of a 3-D eye which winks as you move the card.  Very very cool.  And a really fab roller coaster card too (my first ever from Australia).  And a card with a photo of a man balancing chairs on his fingertips, from a lady in the Netherlands who makes lovely ATCs who I'm hoping to maybe swap with.

You never know what kinds of postcards you are going to receive, or who from, it's certainly more fun than coming home to just bills on the doormat.

On Saturday night we were at the rink as usual watching ice hockey, and as the visiting team this week were the Basingstoke Bison, I got to see my pals Grant and Emily as that’s their team – always nice to bump into friends.

Sunday was the real highlight of the week, as we had a brilliant day out in gorgeous Glastonbury.  It was a cold (and mega windy, especially at the top of the Tor!) day but gloriously sunny.

For some time (almost a year) we have been gathering clues around Somerset to find a particular geocache, and the last piece of information we needed was atop the Tor.  So we climbed it.  Up the steepest side of the hill.  In a force 1000 gale.  It was certainly invigorating!!!  And with hindsight, insane :)

We climbed up from those little teeny houses
it was steep!
I got a real feeling of accomplishment from it though when I got to the top, as it’s rare for me to push myself quite that hard.  Next time, though, I’m going up the normal path that isn’t quite so vertical :D

Bit windy at the top!  Do you like my combover? :)
The boys had tons of fun running into the wind and almost standing still
After climbing the Tor we had a mooch around town, ate a delicious veggie pasty, and then found and logged the year long cache thanks to the final clue.  Hooray!

Monday I had a day off work – always nice :)  I used the time to ..... dramatic drumroll ..... FINISH MY SKETCHBOOK PROJECT ENTRY!!!!!! I can't stress how much of a big deal that is :)

Around Christmas time I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact I wasn't going to get it finished in time.  And that would have been a real waste, both of the entry fee, and more importantly of all the time I had already spent on it.

But then I decided I had to get my head down and get on with it, and get on with it I did.  And it went in the post this Tuesday.  Such a relief :)  Now I can get back to all the other things I should have been doing this month, like the pile of circle journals in the corner, and my sad neglected art journal....

Tuesday night I had an early night - first one in ages, I just tucked up with my book and was asleep long before midnight.  Bliss.

The remainder of the week was fairly uneventful, the two highlights being watching the King's Speech on Wednesday evening - wow, what a great film!

And sourcing a freestanding Daylight lamp for winter evening crafting from Freecycle!  for free!  (obviously, otherwise it would be called paycycle :) )

Please pop by Virginia's blog if you would like to read about everyone else's rocking weeks, or if you fancy joining in with us.  I can thoroughly recommend it - focussing on the positives gives you a nice warm glow :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back on the circle journal bandwagon

Gosh, it feels like ages since I last worked in a CJ.  Well, it was in 2011, and we're in 2012 now, so that's a year ago.  Kind of :)

This is my entry in Shirley's CJ in the "Artistic Licence" circle.  The artist she has chosen for us all to interpret is Victor Vasarely, a French-Hungarian artist who worked in the op art style.

I chose his painting Catch from 1945 to re-work:

It's a powerful image - like human yin and yang.

I've taken a few liberties with it, rotating the figures by 90 degrees, swapping the light and dark figures round, and injecting a bit of colour.  Sorry VV :)

The end result looks simple, but trust me, cutting out those two figures with my little Xacto blade so that they would fit together perfectly was anything but!  I think these two are attempt number three :)

Worth the effort though for the feeling of satisfaction when all those little sets of fingers finally fitted together like jigsaw pieces - hooray!

I think the next CJ is Van Gogh.....eek......pressure, much??

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sketchbook Project 2012 - "Along The Line"

And so it's finally finished - hooray!

This is my entry for the Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour

After nine months of slogging away at this little fella, I'm half just glad to see the back of it, and half sad that I have to send it away.

Anyway, it's halfway across the Atlantic now, but I scanned it in before it went - so here are my favourite bits:

I can't wait for the book tour to reach these shores, so I can go to visit my book, and meet some of its little sketchbook pals :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday - week 3

Gosh.  That week went fast! 

So here we are again, and it's time to round up this week's happy moments...

Last weekend there were smiles all round, as it was lovely and sunny.  I love Winter sunshine.  We went out for a fab (if rather cold!) walk and found a few geocaches, and along the way we discovered a little 13th century church, completely deserted, but open so we could have a good look round.

On the same walk we also found the remains of a medieval village called Richardston - not much left of it now but lumps and bumps in a large field, but it was fascinating to walk through where the village used to be, and imagine all the hustle and bustle (and the smells :) ) of the middle ages all around us.

As for the geocaches themselves, we only found two, but they were good ones - quality over quantity is our motto.

Sunday was Roller Derby day - woooohoooo!!!  I had been looking forward to this for ages.

This was the Swindon Rail Road Rebels' first ever game....not a full official bout just yet but a friendly scrimmage vs Oxford.  It wasn't open to the general public as they want to get a couple of friendlies under their belt before worrying about an audience, but I was lucky enough to be allowed in to take some photos.

And by "some", I mean around 700! Sadly 99% of them were blurry rubbish, though.  Close quarters, fast moving action is pretty hard to capture in a dimly lit indoor sports hall with no flash....  but by the end of the scrimmage I had got my camera settings pretty much optimised, and I'm hopeful of getting a better result next time.

These were a few of my favourite shots:

if looks could kill ;)

The game itself was incredibly exciting and fun to watch, I kept getting so caught up in the action that I forgot I was there to take photos - probably just as well as I would have ended up with 7,000 shots to sift through rather than 700 if I hadn't got distracted :)

Oh - and the final score?

Go Rebels Go!!!! :D :D :D

All the girls were really friendly, and I had a great time.  Can't wait for the next bout!

Redundancy woes continue at work, but at least all went smoothly for the young lady from my team who has elected to take voluntary - she wasn't required to work her notice and she seemed chuffed with that.  All was handled sympathetically, so that's good.  Or at least, less bad than it could have been.

On Monday evening I was watching this You Tube tutorial on space painting for beginners, and I thought I'd give it a go.

I was chuffed to bits with the results, not bad for a first attempt, eh?  (not that I can really take much credit, I just followed the steps in the video, and it just worked!)

The best part, though, was Darby's reaction when I showed it to him - apparently these "look like rocky terrestrial planets, though they seem to orbiting quite close to one another but thats not unheard of - though I would just have to say there shouldn't be quite as much debris between/close to the planets as per the IAU definition of planet they should have cleared the neighbourhood of their orbits of any small bodies" ....  ahhhh, the joys of having an undergraduate astrophysicist for a son :D

I'm still making progress with my Sketchbook Project book - in fact that's where the space painting ended up:

I only have one more double page spread left to do now, and the covers.  Phew!  Hopefully by next week's RYWF post I'll be able to say it's fiiiiinally finished :)

Also this week, for the first time in yonks and yonks, I had a little spend up on crafting supplies, with the last of my ebay proceeds.  I bought some bookbinding thread, charms, stencils and a few other bits and bobs from A Sprinkle Of Imagination....

It arrived beautifully packaged, both the white tissue paper and purple ribbon have been filed away for later use, and there were sweeties inside too :)  

Sweet retail therapy, how I have missed you!

(I need to sell more stuff on ebay so I can do it again lol)

And a couple more things that made me smile this week:

I found this book, that has been on my Amazon wish list for ages, in a charity shop for a quid, result.

And, very timely as I have been reading up a lot on printmaking techniques recently (I can smell a new obsession on the horizon, I'm SO faddy when it comes to arts and crafts, I wish I could settle on one thing and get good at it instead of all the flitting!) - there is a new print exhibition at the gallery near my work :

This was one of my favourites - a lino cut print with a little touch of gold leaf:

But there were tons of examples of all sorts of different techniques.

Loved it, definitely brightened up my lunchtime.

That's it for this week - see you again next time

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday - week 2

It’s that time of the week again – time to reflect on the good stuff.

I’ve got to say, it’s been a little harder this week to pick past the big piles of not-so-good-stuff to get to those little nuggets of positivity – but that’s really what Rockin’ My World Friday is all about, I guess.  It’s EASY to feel positive and grateful when everything is going swimmingly, but we need a bit of help when everything starts heading downhill…

First of all, rewinding back to this time next week, I’m still smiling from the super warm welcome I got from all the other “Rockettes” to my very first RMWF post.  Thanks ladies :)

The next thing to make me grin was an email on Friday evening from the newly formed Swindon Roller Derby team, asking if I would be able to come and photograph their first ever bout for them (I used to do a lot of ice hockey photography and so I have the kit to get past the challenges of shooting fast moving people indoors under artificial light) – the bout takes place this coming Sunday and I am super excited about it as I’ve never seen live Roller Derby before.  

As a warm up, I dusted off my old camera kit (literally!) and took a round of pics at hockey on Saturday night, just to get myself back into the swing of things, and I really enjoyed it (funny, since I stopped taking photos there every week as it had become such a chore, I guess once in a while is fun, every Saturday week in week out, not so much).

In fact last Saturday was a good hockey day all round, I had fun with my camera, we won (beating the team we all love to hate, the Guildford Flames, 6-4), and then when I got home I caught the last period of my NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, beating their current nemesis, the Boston Bruins, in Boston’s home rink no less.  Fantastic, I was positively jumping up and down with excitement :D  Nothing beats the adrenaline buzz of seeing both my teams win on the same night!

Over the weekend I was still on my New Year cleaning / decluttering kick, I filled another 4 black bags with stuff to take to the tip, and freecycled and ebayed some stuff too. I’ll have nothing left soon :)  The items I freecycled (toys that Connor has outgrown but were too good to chuck away) were all claimed and collected within an hour of me posting the offers online – brilliant!  I get some space back in my hallway, some little kiddies get a new blackboard easel and toy town, and all sorted with the minimum of fuss or effort, win win all round.

Monday was the horrid day, with a pile more redundancies announced at my work, including two of the ladies who work for me, as their role is now being reduced from two heads to one :(
  The only positive to come from this is that one of them chose, seemingly quite happily, to take voluntary redundancy, so at least there won’t be any of that nasty competing over one job. Not in my team anyway.  But the atmosphere at work will be tough for a while as all the other role reductions shake out.

Anyway – enough of that negativity – this isn’t the place for it!  Also on Monday, I took my middle son back to Uni in Bristol, and he seemed happy and full of plans, so that’s always good.

Also this week I finished making my new art journal for 2012, and I’m chuffed with how it turned out (this is now the third blog post in a row with a photo of this journal on it – you must all be sick of the sight of it by now lol) – and the tutorial I put together while making the journal was used to kick start the 6 month “Art Journey” art journalling workshop over at UKScrappers.  It seems to have been well received, so that’s good, as I was a bit nervous about it, wasn’t quite sure what was expected of me as I haven’t written a tutorial for them before.

Some other little happy bits and bobs that happened this week:
  • I discovered Sherlock on telly. Not seen it before. It's fab!  I have spent the whole week catching up on previous episodes that I had missed.  
  • The Hungry Horse pub chain – the kids idea of heaven - have started accepting Tesco Clubcard tokens at 4 x face value, so that means we can have a giant family meal out for a tenners’ worth of vouchers, which I got for free just for doing my shopping anyway.  Bargain.  I do love my Clubcard.
  • My middle son is still a member of the National Trust (mine ran out a few months ago), and he got sent his 2012 parking sticker this week.  He doesn’t have a car so he gave it to me.  Result – that’ll save me a fiver a pop whenever I go to Avebury :)  
  • I finished another couple of spreads in my sketchbook project book, only 3 left to go now thank god. And despite rushing them, I don't hate them.  Here’s a sneaky of one:
  • I bought a couple of items from ebay this week and had really good experiences with both sellers – one insisted on refunding 80p as he had over estimated postage (despite me telling him it really was ok and he didn’t have to), and the other sent me half as much product again as I had ordered as a free gift.  Thank you ebay peeps :) 
Reading that back, even a bad week looks like a fab week :)

See you again next Friday!