Wednesday 25 October 2017

Joined up!

Welcome to October's New to Me link party.

Time to celebrate the swings and roundabouts of tackling new techniques, visiting new places or just generally pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.

October has been a month for making new connections for me.

I have joined the local Camera Club and found all sorts of New to Me settings on my camera!

I have also joined a local sewing class to tackle a New to Me pattern.

 We visited Pollock House, a New to Me destination (with a lovely tearoom to boot!)

I took over as Treasurer of my local Embroiderers Guild branch at our recent AGM, and speaking of embroidery, thanks to the lovely Benta I got to (virtually) see my Walk in the Park embroidery hanging at the Knitting and Stitching Show!

It has been a busy month :)
Now it is your turn to share the highs and lows of trying something for the first time. As ever the link party will remain open until the end of the month, so if you need to be nudged to edge out of your comfort zone, consider yourself nudged :) Add the blog button to your New to Me post so that your fellow bloggers and readers can celebrate or commiserate with us.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Bag Lady

I joined a Bag Making class recently and then promptly went on holiday and missed the first two classes! This week I finally got a chance to meet my fellow Bag Ladies and start to catch up on what I had missed.

The class teacher had kindly sent me the pattern in advance so I was able to have all my pattern pieces cut beforehand.

We are making this Catch All Caddy, which will definitely come in useful both at home and when I travel to a class. I am forever forgetting some piece of vital equipment when I head off to a class but, hopefully, with this smart caddy to hand that will be a thing of the past :)

I wanted to use up fabric from my stash for the bag, but when I pulled my fabric choices I decided that the plain cotton that I had chosen for the piping and handles was purple when I really needed a deep red, so one order to Plush Addict later and I was all sorted. I discovered an even better match in my stash later, but only 1FQ so rather than order even more fabric I opted for going with what I have!

Rather than work on my own to catch up at the class, it made sense for me to work on the same part of the bag as the rest of the Bag Ladies and catch up at home between the classes.

This week we were constructing the padded handles for the caddy. The handles use ByAnnie's Soft and Stable, which I had never used before but I have to say I am a fan. It went through my sewing machine like a hot knife through butter even although it is quite thick, and even when it was doubled over for the centre of the handles.

Since the class I have been quilting the pieces for the sides of the caddy and the Soft and Stable has been a breeze to use there too.

Back to the sewing machine now for some more catching up before the next class :)

Sunday 15 October 2017

Camera Challenges

A local Camera Club advertised their new sessions as being particularly suitable for beginners, so I thought that I ought to give it a go. I have had my fancy DSLR camera for a few years now but I know that it (and I!) could do so much more if I only knew how, and I was hoping that the sessions might go some way towards that.

The session two weeks ago was a quick run down on the lessons that the club had gone through last year, and was a welcome refresher for me on the basics of apertures, shutter speeds and ISO's. Not that is to say that I am now an expert on any of those things, but I did recognise most of the topics being discussed even if I don't always practise them :)

A recent visit to Pollock House after that session was a chance for me to make sure that I used a high aperture setting to keep all of the detail of this fine country house on the outskirts of Glasgow.

Then I switched to a low aperture setting to give these thistles in the grounds a blurred background.

Clearly the lesson on quick shutter speeds to freeze the motion of this insect on the flower didn't quite sink in :)

This week's lesson was all about "Exposure Bracketing" which might as well have been a foreign language to me. Apparently it means that the camera can be set to take the same photo at different exposure settings, which can then be combined to produce a composite shot. Who knew such a thing existed???

Although we practised some shots during the session I decided to have a go at home to see if I could remember what we had been told, and here are the results.

The bottom photo above is under-exposed by 1 stop, the middle over-exposed by 1 stop and the top photo is taken at the original setting. I am not quite sure what all that means but you can see for yourself the differences in the photos :)

The trainer recommended free software, for those of us who don't have Photoshop, where you can upload the images and they will be combined in something called HDR (High Dynamic Range ????) and result in a photo that has the definition in the shadows of the under-exposure and the clarity in the light of the over-exposure. Sadly you will have to take my word that this occured as the website, Fotor would allow me to upload and combine the photos but I couldn't save the resulting image without signing up and paying for the advanced version.

I couldn't initially think of when I might use this facility on the camera, but then I remembered the trouble that I had taking photos of the amazing painted monasteries in Romania recently. The detail beneath the eaves was lost in all of my photos so maybe if I had known about the Exposure Bracketing I might have ended up with photos that showed all of the wonderful frescoes, then again maybe not without paying who knows what for the software :)

Still at least I have used a setting on my camera that I never even knew existed, maybe now I need to do the same with all those fancy settings on my sewing machine :)

Friday 13 October 2017

Happy Mail 1

It was my birthday at the end of the summer (what summer???) and as our boys and their wives/girlfriends all live many miles away from us birthday presents these days arrive in the post.

Whilst my family obviously know that I quilt, the room full of fabric is a bit of a giveaway (!) they don't often cater to that in their gift-giving. I suspect, in part, as it is probably quite hard to work out what might be appropriate/useful and what might not.

So, you can imagine my surprise and delight when this turned up on my birthday.

Two metres of Liberty fabric from our eldest son and his wife!!!

I have bought bits and pieces of Liberty fabric over the years but other than this Jewellery Roll and this Bias Applique cushion I have not been brave enough to cut into any of it. Clearly that will need to change as my son and his wife will undoubtedly expect to see that bundle transformed into something substantial sometime soon :)

Whilst I was happily stroking that gorgeous bundle of fabric Ruth at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner was pondering on the nature of blogging and rewarding her loyal readers with a fabric giveaway. To my surprise a few weeks later I received an email from Ruth telling me that my name had been picked out of the (virtual) hat as the giveaway winner!

After we returned from holiday this lovely bundle arrived in the post. We are just in the process of remodelling our bedroom and it will be decorated in a palette of sage greens and stone with a hint of pink so these fabrics couldn't have been a better match if I had planned it myself. The bedroom has been stripped back to the bare boards so I have plenty of time to plan what to do :)

Aren't surprises in the post lovely to receive?

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