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Monday, 28 September 2009

Poodle doodle

// Monday, 28. September 2009 // 

Here is my update on Mr. Poodle from last week. I've only really stitched on it on Sunday, and yes, it might not seem like a big update, but I feel I have actually made process. I guess another 2 - 3 weeks on it, so it's nearing the end. With the rotation though I won't see it again now for another 4 weeks.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

High Heels, East Ham and Autumn colours

// Sunday, 27. September 2009 //        

What's new ... another busy weekend. I spend most of Saturday ferrying the children (and mostly Ruby) around here, there and everywhere. Birthday parties, bank appointments, swimming, gym - you name it, i drive there. And most of. the time being stuck in traffic!

Saturday afternoon Nafees and me went to East Ham, Queen's Road market. Queens Road Market is a noisy hotch-potch market of Asian and African food and clothing. Nafees usually buys his Asian spices there, and I just love the Asian sweets, they are really sweet sweets! We took Bonnie with us, so I had to stay in the car with her- she wouldn't be any good with big crowds. After the shopping, we took her to Newham Central Park. We sat on the bench, eating somosas like an old couple ... haven't done that for a while.

Ruby went out shopping with her best friend Natasha, they were hitting all the clothing and asseccorize shops. She bought this pair of high heel sandals. It's been a long time since I've worn anything like that, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk very far in them - it's trainer's for me.

Sunday was a lovely Autumn day. It's still extremely dry though, and the colours are all dried up browns/yellows, there is hardly any green. The rosehips are beautiful though, there are my favourite autumn fruit.

A Mother's story and a police break-in (almost!)

// Saturday, 26. September 2009 //     

Gosh, my legs are still shaking, every mother will understand.... that sinking feeling when you fear for your child... Luckily, I can laugh about it now, feel a bit embarrassed - but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

Yesterday, my son Dan (the 15-year old) called me at work around 8 am to tell me he's got bad headache and is feeling unwell, he wants to stay at home and not go to school. He suffers from migraines so this was not exactly unusual. I just told him to take a paracetamol and ring me if it gets worse. What I do usually is ring him every hour to make sure he's ok. Somehow I forgot, and remembered him around noon. I called the landline and mobile phone - no answer. I tried for the next hour without success, phones were ringing, but no reply. I knew that he just wouldn't go out, anyhow, where would he go, as all his friends were in school, and he just doesn't go shopping on his own like that. I quickly really started to panick and of course imagining the worse. By chance, my colleague's mother lives hin the same town as I, and she kindly agree to go to our address. She than knocked on the door for 15 mins, again nothing.

 By now I was physically sick and shaking like a leaf. We than decided to call the police. Luckily, my colleague is a trained 999 operator, and so she took full control of the situation - exactly what I needed. Police were on the scene within 10 minutes. They asked me whether they can break in if they don't get a reply - I said yes. One officer knocked again on the front door, and the other jumped over the fence into the back garden. And that's when Bonnie saved the day (and our front door) - on seeing a person in the back garden, she went mad, barking and running up and down the stairs. That is what woke Dan up - yes, he's been fast asleep!

Susanne Jaffe 'The other Anne Fletcher'

Friday, 25. September 2009 

Annie Fletcher is a successful, up-and-coming book author, confident, happy with life. The other - Anne Fletcher - is a failed author, unhappy with every aspect of life. First, flowers are being delivered for Annie mistakingly to her, and than mail for Annie is landing on her doorstep by chance - and jelousy on the other Anne Fletcher is eating her up. And than her man, Arthur, whom she is not really interested in her twisted ways anyway, meets the other Annie Fletcher, and Anne will do anything do destroy Annie.

Confused with Anne - Annie? Its not difficult to separate them because both characters are drawn out to be so differently, sometimes in a OTT way. Maybe not the most thrilling book I ever read, but good for the train journey home with not too much brain engaging needed.

Amazon had no picture on this paperback - sorry!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Beginner's photography

Finally, nothing else planned this evening, and so I had the chance to take the camera out to put some of the learned stuff into practice today. Now, coming back from work, doing the dinner, and then by the time of course I was ready to go out with Bonnie and take the camera, it was coming up to 7pm. It was not quite dark, but not far off. I've read somewhere the best light is at dusk and dawn, so here we go.

So, there is me, the beginner with the camera. As recommended by Michael, our teacher, I kept the setting on 'Manual' to really get the experience and try different things and not to rely on the automatic mode, because this is exactly what I want to come away from. I tried to get the exposure right with aperature and shutter speed - was quite glad that I remembered it quite easily, and managed to get the right exposure by changing shutter speed. It was getting dark pretty quickly, so the aperature had to stay at 4.0. To get enough light in, I had to put the shutter speed really slow, around 1/8 sec. and of course that's when the effect of camera shake started to appear - Bonnie is just a blurred shape! I was quite proud that at this stage, I remembered that one can also change ISO to make it more light sensitive and thus go down to a faster shutter speed - reducing the camera shake somewhat. Well, small beginnings.
Bonnie with flash

and Bonnie without flash

I like how the autumn colours appear here. 

By than, the night was really drawing in and I was presented with a beautiful orange sunset. I tried to capture it with the houses as a 'skyline', but unfortunately not very successfully. I know there is a trick somewhere - I don't remember it, not at this stage anyway. I think the camera exposed for the very lit sky, and than the foreground became too dark:

Or, with a different exposure setting, the whole picture became too light:

I think the best picture I took right at the end:

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Lessons in Photography

Today was the first day of my photography classes at North West Kent College. It's the 'Introduction to Photography' at the Dartford Campus. I had signed up for it already a few months ago, when I'd just bought the camera. I've since read a few books, and especially the 'Dummies' guide on the camera was really good (well, you all know them, one of those yellow 'bla bla bla for Dummies' books. After reading the book I had started to use the camera almost every day, and tried the manual features rather than just always sticking with the automatic setting. But I still found it all a bit too overwhelming - aperature, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, point of focus etc etc.

So here I am, back in College. The course will run for 10 weeks, every Tuesday evening. Not cheap, I paid £175 for the pleasure. But I enjoyed it today - there's about 15 people in our class, a good mixture. It brought it all back (I hadn't used the camera for a while I have to admit), and now I feel that I want to go out and take pictures straight away. I'd forgotten most of the settings and how to change bits and pieces, so the Dummie's guide will come out again!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Nature's Home update

Last week, my rotation piece was the 'Nature's Home afghan' - I'm currently stitching square 6 of 35... long way to go, but one has to start somewhere LOL. This is a project which will be with me several years no doubt, but I don't mind, especially as every square is almost like an individual picture.

For my standards I did quite a lot last week, probably because I was off work on Monday and Tuesday, and really started to get into this piece. It starts to come together now. It is not really obvious, but there are plenty of confetti stitching in this, for example the green on the leaves is around 6 or 7 different kind of greens.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Busy Busy, and Open University starts again

Another busy week over. And I've worked only on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday! I'm try ing to keep to my new routine of going to the gym 3x a week. Especially during the week I'm sort of racing from the moment I get home - tidy up, cook dinner, walk Bonnie - and than get some time to myself to either stitch, go to the gym or go on the laptop. Can I have a few more hours in a day?

Open University has started again - this is my final year, yippee. My course this year is called DD208 Crime, welfaere and society. It's a level 2, and as I'v already done level 3 before, it shouldn't be too difficult. Still, 6 assigments to go through, and the exam next year. The first assignment is due end of October, and only has 800 words. I'm not too sure whether I can go to the tutorials though. They take place in London, about once or twice a month, at 7 in the evening. As I finish my work at 4, it's just too long to wait around for another 3 hours, and than get home at nighttime. Maybe I'll just go the first few times to see how the tutor is etc. Can't believe that I'll have my degree next year this time!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dean Koontz 'Fear Nothing'

Christopher Snow is an 'Xper' - he suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum which means his skin and eyes cannot be exposed to the sunlight. Christopher lives his life during night hours, but with the help of his family and friends, he lives life to the full and refuses to bow down to the limitations put on by nature. Christopher lives in Moonlight Bay, a small town by sea. And as he and his trustworthy dog walk the town by night, they discover strange 'going ons', strange creatures. And it will be up to Christopher to rescure Moonlight Bay. Christopher is a very likable hero, and I certainly feared with him.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

First day back at work today after 1 week off after the laparoscopy last week. I felt fine, so this was an unexpected few days off, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it (luckily, I didn't feel bad, stitches came out, no problems at all. Did lots of cross stitch over the weekend(and not much else I'm afraid). And I got myself a new little toy - well, it's only a new daylight lamp. This one is for downstairs. I've got my big daylight lamp upstairs, one of the best buys ever, I swear by it, can't stitch without it. I also love the little tray and chart holder on it. Anyway, there was nothing downstairs, and so I never really stitched downstairs. As Nafees doesn't like the daylight when it's on in my room upstairs (and he has to sleep in the same room), I always had to stop stitching when he went to bed... well, not any longer, got a nice new daylight lamp for downstairs. Love it! And there's Sky TV downstairs, whereas I've only got a small TV with a room aerial in my room.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Here is my progress from last week. 'Giraffe Mother and Baby' from Dimensions. Mother's neck is nearly finished, and next time on this piece I'm ready to start on the body.. it is surprisingly easy to stitch and I'm not yet bored of all the browns. It looks so realistic, that's what I like. Some of the colours are mixed e.g. 1 strand of 350 and 1 strand of 397 etc, and with those longer threads, I find that they start to come apart nearer to the end, so quite poor quality thread in the kit I guess (?). So it's either working with shorter threads to reduce the friction, or knotting when they tear - annoying.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Jackie Collins 'Lovers and gamblers'

Right, here it goes again, I've read so many books since I've last reviewed, and there are all sitting on my pile here.

Sexy and wild without being unpleasantly 'dirrty', I like Collins' style. As with her other books, we find ourselves in the world of Hollywood stars and starlets, film premieres, models and everything in between. Lovers and Gamblers is essentially the story of Al King, and aging soul and rock star who does the whole sex, drugs n rock'n' roll thingy, and plenty of women thrown in for the fun of it. But inside, of course, Al's got a good heart and I quickly warmed to him as the 'hero' of the story despite his womanising antics. And than there is Dallas (what a name btw!), a model / actress with a dodgy past which she would like to keep secret. Initially separate stories, Al and Dallas will meet, but not the way Al likes to have it. Her character's well drawn out without being too much OTT (indeed she manages this even with cliched stuff like Hollywood, models, rockstars). The story is fast-paced, funny and never boring and the 600 pages will fly by.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Poodle 09. August 2009

Poodle 03. September 2009

Lilliput Lane 04. September 2009

Here finally some update on my cross stitch. I had taken the poodle with me to Germany to get something done on it, hopefully a big chunk. Well, I did finish page 4 of 6, and started on page 5, now half-way done. So, it won't be much longer I guess. But it's been slotted in again in my ususal 5-weekly rotation, so it will be a while before I stitch on it again.

Lilliput Lane is going slowly. Don't like the 14ct Aida, should have substituted it, never mind. The roof is confetti at it's finest, and the colours don't seem to match the picture. It comes out as darkish pink colours, whereas on the picture on the front of the kit it's brown. The pink doesn't look out of place or anything, I guess will just have to wait until I finished a bit more on it.

©2009 The Pegster | by TNB