Tuesday, 12 December 2017

November Roundup & 365

Burning (308/365)
Another month has passed and we're already almost halfway through December...and I am totally slacking off, both with achieving goals and updating this blog.

November was, at least, fairly busy in comparison to the previous few months!
I started off the month with a last-minute trip to a bonfire and fireworks display in Cuckfield, Sussex, with a friend, my sister, and her boyfriend. In the few hours we were there, I took some of my best photos for November! (I also ate a hot dog. Can't have a bonfire without a hot dog).

Later on in the month, my sisters and I went to Stylist Live and had a fun 'Sister Sunday'! We had manicures, tried some cocktails, got pick 'n' mix, and a fantastic goodie bag!

Toward the end of the month, I went to Hyper Japan Christmas with some friends, and spent all my money, ate tasty food, saw neat lanterns and a cool band.

Something I never got around to blogging about was this:

Dandy Alpaca (332/365)
For a while, I'd wanted new art to go in this frame. Originally it held a band poster, but the band disbanded several years ago and I rarely listen to them anymore, so it was time for me to get something new!
Of course, all the posters and prints of the right size were way out of my price range. Then I saw some neat animals-in-vintage-clothes photomontages using recoloured vintage portraits and photos of animals.

"I can do that!" I thought to myself.
So I did, and this is the result.

This took several hours in photoshop, most of which was spent on the alpaca's head! I made it using a photo of an alpaca that I'd taken earlier this year, plus a vintage carte de visite that was in a box of pictures in the attic.

As fortune would have it, Bob Books had a Black Friday promotion at the time I'd finished this picture, so I sent it off to them to be printed as a poster. It turned up at the end of the month and fits perfectly into the frame. Now Mr Dandy Alpaca lords it over the room.
I think he needs a lordly title.

Santa's Workshop (321/365)
Alongside photoshopping alpacas and Going Out And Eating Stuff, I also spent time making props for, and putting together, a christmas window display for a charity shop. I made metres upon metres paper chains (from A4 paper), wrapped old boxes up like presents, sewed two giant candy canes, cobbled together a 'Santa's Workshop' and 'North Pole' sign using...well, paper and trash, to be honest.... and made 14 lines of 'falling snow' from cotton wool balls and sewing thread.
Making this stuff took around four days, and when putting the window together, I also recovered the chair to make it look more 'Christmassy'!

November 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)
November 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)

Anyway, here's my 365 Project photos for the month of November. I felt that most of them were a bit of a 'miss' this month. Need to get my photo mojo back. This month's pictures are a bit better, at least!

Other things I did in November:
  • Continued to learn/practise Japanese and German on Duolingo
  • Continued trying to memorise all the countries in Africa (goal #33 - nearly there!)
  • Finished my Christmas shopping (hurrah!)
Not exactly successful on the goals front, but better than nothing! 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Hyper Japan Christmas

After going to Hyper Japan's Christmas event two years ago, I was unsure about attending again when a group of friends suggested going. It had been fun last time, but the venue was cold, and the huge crowds were exhausting to my introvert brain (not to mention the stalls being exhausting to my wallet!)

But I went anyway, and I'm glad I did!

This time, we went on the Friday, which was still busy but thankfully quieter than the Saturday we went last time. I guess going at the end of the week is a good move!

As usual, Hyper Japan had a lot of things going on, including shopping, demonstrations, exhibitions and performances.

We had a good look around the 'Illuminight' exhibition--several rooms that displayed Japanese 'akari' lanterns (seen above!) With the rooms dark and gentle, traditional music playing, this exhibition was really peaceful to look at--a nice sanctuary away from the rush of the shopping area!

Of course, food is always a prominent feature in any day out, and as usual Hyper Japan did not disappoint!
I opted for the mixed set (Takoyaki, gyouza and pumpkin croquette) as I'd eaten last time from PEKO PEKO, Chicken katsu don  from Don Panko Katsu House, and a smores waffle from Miso Hungry!

Among the many demonstrations at Hyper Japan, one we stopped to watch was Taro Fukushika's demonstration of Shodo (Japanese calligraphy). As soon as I saw a guy with a bucket of ink and a huge piece of paper, I knew it was worth watching!

He worked super-fast, creating this piece in a matter of minutes! I hadn't seen anyone do calligraphy like this before, and had always been curious about how the larger characters are drawn (answer: a really big brush). It was impressive to watch!

We also watched part of a karate demonstration, but had to rush off for the next thing...

...a performance by FEMM!
Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know I first heard FEMM during my one year music challenge. I'd missed their appearance in London earlier in the year, so it was great to have the chance to see them play at Hyper Japan. They only played a short set, but were very engaging. I enjoyed their mannequin-esque style of performance!

After that, we headed for home. I was pretty exhausted by then so was more than happy to take up my shopping bags and go!
(I'd post photos of my shopping here, but it's just nerdy stuff-- One Punch Man DVDs and various charms/pins of anime characters!)

It was a good day out; depending on what's on next year I may go again!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Swearing Therapy (and One Hell of a Goodie Bag)

After going to Stylist Live with my youngest sister last year, when I received an email about this year's event, I jumped at the chance to go.

A 'Festival of Inspiration', Stylist Live - hosted at Olympia - was chock full of health and beauty, fashion and lifestyle, with talks, food, drink and shopping!

Both of my sisters wanted to go this year, and having enjoyed the event last year, I decided to go for VIP tickets!
The VIP ticket included lots of awesome extras, such as food, drink, luxury pick 'n' mix (seen above!), glitter makeovers, a VIP lounge, beauty treatment, a talk, and a goodie bag!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Remember, Remember...

...the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.

Alright so it was the fourth of November, and that wasn't the most original of titles, but nevermind.
There was also no treason, the only gunpowder was in the fireworks, and the only plot was to get myself a hotdog from the friendly local scouts!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

October Roundup & 365

Chill and Mist (300/365)
Well, despite my intention to get my butt into gear and work on more goals from The List, this blog totally fell by the wayside again during October.
Maybe it's because the weather is getting colder, maybe I'm just tired of the same goals and lacking in motivation, but I only managed to complete one goal this month:
068. Send Happy Post to 5 people
I wrote about it a few days ago; those who received happy post know who they are (and as for what they are? Awesome is the answer). 

Of course, I also continued taking photos for 365 Project:

October 365 Project photos. Click to view larger (on 365 Project page)
October 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)
Once again I've struggled a little with ideas. I know I could simply make snapshots day to day, but I went into this project wanting to stretch my fingers creatively. I want to end up with a collection of 365 photos that I'm proud of (though I have a fair few 'meh photos' amongst the bunch!)

Asides from happy post and photography, during October I also:
  • Finished the Japanese course on Duolingo (I still don't remember anything, haha)
  • Picked up German on Duolingo again (I gave up a couple of years ago. Haven't forgotten as much as I thought!)
  • Drew more hands (goal #001; I mostly did this whilst waiting for things like computer scans/backups/etc)
  • Did 99% of my Christmas shopping. Yes, I know it's early. But it's almost finished and I don't have to stress over it, hurrah!
  • Made plans to go to two events in November. Yay!
Hopefully having plans in November means I'll actually update more than once this month, but only time will tell!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Happy Post

Alright, so I still suck at both Doing Things and updating this blog, but at the beginning of the month, I finally completed another goal from The List!
068. Send Happy Post to 5 people

This goal was to do with making friends happy (or at least trying to) by sending unexpected postal goodness their way. Because they deserve to have nice things show up unexpectedly (makes a change from bills, right?)

I often intend to send 'Happy Post' to people for no reason other than 'just because', and it's something I do do from time to time, but never in bulk like this.

It always takes me forever to gather things to send, because I don't like sending someone just one random thing. If I'm going to pay for a 'small packet' sized parcel, I'm going to stuff it as much as I can!

Things I sent:
A combination of socks, notebooks, zines, bookmarks, jewellery, and a postcard to say "Hi!".
Different people received different things, hand-picked just for them, mostly relating to inside jokes, a hobby or interest of theirs.

I can't post a photo because...I only thought about that after packaging everything up.

But I can post about this now, because everyone received their parcels safely! Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

August & September Roundup & 365

Flying Fish (218/365)

Alright, so I've been the worst person, and let this blog gather dust for an entire two months. Whoops.

Honestly, I haven't been up to much.
I went to Kitacon (an anime/nerd convention) at the end of August but other than that, and asides a few meetups with friends, life has been decidedly uneventful.
Mostly because I've not made the effort to make it eventful.
Over the past couple of months, I've lost a lot of my motivation to Get Things Done, and to Do Things. Everything takes more energy than I have, and more effort than I'm willing to put in. (Yeah I know, I suck.)

August 365 Project Photos. Click Here to view larger (on 365 Project page)

I am still working on a few goals, but really need to take another look at The List and decide how much I want to do some of those things.

Things I'm doing lately:
  • Practising Japanese on Duolingo (not for a goal, but I'm on a 94 day streak! Yay!)
  • Occasionally drawing hands (goal #001. Fill a sketchbook with artwork/studies of only one subject. I've a long way to go yet!)
  • Gathering things for another goal, so I might actually do something I always intend to do, but take ages to get around to. (It's a cheating goal really, because it's something I do do, just not nearly enough).
  • Trying to memorise every country in Africa (goal #033; I can name abour 30 off the top of my head)
  • Continuing with 365 Project (goal #65)
September 365 Project Photos. Click Here to view larger (on 365 Project Page)

This time around, since I've missed two months worth of roundups, I'm not posting the individual photos from my August/September 365 Project, just screenshots from the 365 Project website. Click them to view the page and see the images at full size.

Please do go take a look, I've been practising with some different kit (70-300mm lens!) and some different concepts and techniques (high key & low key photography, 'splash' shots, surreal images, and more!)

And now, I'll go look at The List, and try to find some motivation...

Monday, 7 August 2017

A Strange Pair: Project Update

Things That People Look Through

I realised it's been some time since I last posted any photos from my project, A Strange Pair.

As a memory refresher, this project is based on information found in a psychology book, relating to the way some schizophrenics categorise objects (see my post, Stop!, for more details).

Things That Cut
Things That Hold Other
Things Together
Things That Should Not Be
Jammed Into An
Electrical Socket

A summary of the project, as I wrote in my first post about it, is:
A Stange Pair is an exploration of the relationships between everyday objects.
Which sounds pretty fancy but is basically me popping various objects and a white background, and snapping pictures, having spent hours trying to come up with unconventional yet logical reasons for those objects to be paired together!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

July Roundup & 365

Big Day (208/365)
Aside from attending my cousin's wedding (above) and upcycling a dress into a waistcoat, I didn't really do anything worth blogging about in July, so this post is going to focus on my 365 Project photos.

Despite doing little of note, I did experiment with some different techniques and ideas when taking photographs this month!

Reflective Afternoon (182/365)
Musical Wave (183/365)
I began the month with a couple of abstract images--reflections of light on the ceiling!
Over the course of the month, I experimented with other types of reflection too.
All will be revealed further on in the post...

Thursday, 3 August 2017

How to Remedy a Shrunken Dress

If you've been reading my ramblings for a few years, you'll know that I bought this awesome embroidered dress at a vintage/second-hand kilo sale, back in 2014.
If you didn't know, you do now ;)

Anyway. Over the years, this dress - which, it turned out, is partly made of wool - shrank when I washed it.

Every. Damn. Time.

No matter how I washed it, that outer later got a little shorter, a little slimmer.

Until the underskirt stuck out a good few inches, and I couldn't zip it up anymore.

It's sat in my project box for a while as I tried to decide what to do with it. I couldn't bear to get rid of that lovely embroidery!

So I made a shrunken waistcoat from it, instead. :)

Though this refashion was simple in theory, in practise it was time-consuming and a bit of a challenge!

I completed this a couple of weeks ago, but until today didn't get around to blogging about it (I know, I'm a slacker.)

The skirt was fraying away from the bodice, so unpicking all that stitching took ages, and because the seam allowances were tiny, it was fiddly work to create new hems.
I also had to remove the side-zip, and create new seams for the outer and lining. Originally I was going to leave the little red tie on it, but after I'd finished sewing, I decided it didn't look right, so cut it off!

Though I can't easily do anything about the slightly shrunken armholes (that wool is a pain in the ass and I am lazy), I've still managed to get a cute, wearable garment from something that I would otherwise have had to get rid of.

Plus it goes nicely with a shirt I have!

With this refashion I complete a goal from The List, so colour me doubly happy!

080. Refashion/upcycle 3 items of clothing
My other refashions have been:
01. Refashioned Retro Dress (another kilo sale find!)
02. Customised Glitter Boots

Seems I've inadvertently refashioned myself a new outfit!

I did the first refashion back in 2014--took me long enough to complete this goal, didn't it!
Having griped in my post about the dress that I messed up the bodice, I fixed it last year--fits much better now :)

So....how to remedy a shrunken dress? Turn it into a waistcoat!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Weald & Downland Living Museum

In my June Roundup, I promised a post about my trip to the Weald and Downland Living Museum, and here it is!

This post will mostly be photos; I worked hard to whittle it down to just 10 from the 200 I took!

Dad and I went to the museum on Father's Day, as they were hosting a wood fair. The day was utterly roasting hot, which made it a glorious day for taking photos, but not so much for being outside...
...which meant the coolness of inside these historical buildings was very pleasant!

To call this place a 'museum' is actually a bit of an understatement. This 40 acre site is home to more than 50 historical buildings that have been painstakingly taken apart and rebuilt at the museum. Altogether the buildings showcase a 950 year history of rural life in Britain. They also have a pretty nifty, brand spanking new visitor centre, including a shop and cafe, which I believe opened this year!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

June Roundup & 365

This roundup is a bit late, considering we're just over a week into July now! Between hot weather and being busy with things (mostly everyday things), this blog has been neglected over the past month, with posts I've intended to write as yet left unwritten.

Despite that, I've kept up with 365 Project and am now halfway through! The first six months of the year have gone by very quickly...

Anyway, here's a roundup of what I did in June, along with my June photos for 365 Project.

I started the month by going to see a comical play, The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with my parents, followed by a meal at Las Iguanas in which I tried some new food: Brazilian xinxim (which helped me start on goal #43 Try foods of 5 different countries).
The play was fun, and the xinxim was so tasty that I have actually had dreams about eating it!

Photography-wise, I started off the month photographing pets:

Watching (152/365)
Attempted Portrait (153/365)
Snacking (154/365)
Ignore (155/365)

The first full week in June turned out to be quite a busy one, with three trips out, lots of walking, and some axe throwing for good measure...

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Glazed and Fired

After learning to throw a clay pot during Brighton Fringe last month, I eagerly awaited the time when my sister and I could collect our fired pots from the Painting Pottery Cafe.

We were in Brighton today, so popped in to collect them!

This time, I got a photo of my sister's pot, too. Hers is the heart-shaped one--I think it's really cute!

I'm pleased with how mine looks after being glazed and fired, too. I keep picking it up and looking at it, quietly amazed that it's something I actually made! Though I'm a creatively-inclined person, pottery has always looked rather difficult, so it's nice to have a memento of something I've tried out and not done too badly at.

After trying out pot throwing, I'd definitely recommend it as an activity to try if you're looking for something new!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Unleashing My Inner Viking

Today, I went to the South of England Show, which I've written about before. Last time, I managed to complete a goal whilst there, and this time I managed to complete another one!
095. Throw an axe
I'd added this goal to the list thinking it was unlikely I'd get to do it unless I went to one of those activity days that are on Groupon sometimes (the same goes for 094. Fire a bow, to be honest).

So when I saw a stand doing axe-throwing, I had to have a go!

Out of the 9 throws I got for my money, I managed to hit the target with the wrong end of the axe a few times, took a little chunk out of it once, and finally with my last two throws, I hit the target!

They weren't the best of throws, but I did hit the target at least! I suppose that given enough practise it's easier to get the hang of. If I get a chance again, maybe I'll try throwing one-handed instead, as I think I could get more power behind it that way (two-handed throws, as I did today, allow for more control).

Also, since the rifle range was there again, I had a go...

I did better than last time, getting all the shots in the black. Yay!