Saturday, 9 January 2016

5 in 5 - MELANIE - January 2016

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography.  Every month, since the start, Melanie has taken
part in this monthly meme and we managed to find a way round
 her not having a blog by posting here.
I love that we have found a way for her to take part! 
So, over to you Melanie:

The first 5 in 5 for the year and I was taking my young grandson down to a local playground so thought how neat ‘Feet in Five on the fifth’ would be.  What I didn’t realise was how quickly those feet could move and how in five minutes he could pack in so many activities.  He is 21 months and saying quite a few words mostly proceeded by ‘See Look’  or ‘Look at that’.  We had not been to the playground since the beginning of December and he was delighted to be there again but what to do first?  The middle bottom photo is when we first arrived and he was running towards the play equipment. ‘See look steps’  and up he went on steps taking him to the slide far too quickly for a photo but the top LHS is as he reached the top and prepared to come down the slide.  Coming down the slide the camera clicked away but feet were very out of focus so next it was on to the rocker (a sort of horse on a spring).  He hardly rocked at all as he spotted a girl had just got off the swing and he was running over to the swing. Top RHS photo is on the swing.  

After a few to and froes he must have needed to relax and ran (he never walks these days but thankfully he runs at my walking pace) to a sort of short tunnel with holes in where he could lie with his feet up one side and his head up the other.  He once studied an older lad in this position and ever since it seems to be a favourite of his.  After the tunnel he latched on to two older girls who were playing a chasing game.  He wasn’t part of their game and they totally ignored him but he was running round after them for probably the next ten minutes.  Of course I was following as well but my camera had done its 5 mins work so keeping up with him was easy.

If this has inspired you to pick up your camera and take part in
 this challenge you have until 25th before this months link closes.

  It's great fun and you can see more posts and link up here.  
And if you want to know more 5in5 this post should answer any
questions and give other information that you need.

Hopefully Melanie will be back next month and I hope you will join us. Thank you for popping by, it is great to have your company!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes. 

Hello and welcome to the first '5 in 5' post in 2016!  My year has trickled in rather than thundering. A cold left me muzzy headed and without energy but I'm pleased to say I am feeling a bit more connected today and that goes for technology too.  A new computer arrived yesterday and my son kindly came over after work to set it up. I've not tried it yet but 2016 is starting to look on the up!

Yesterday, I grabbed my camera and went out into the garden. It looked lovely with rain drops on leaves and flowers, and I set the timer and shot away.  But afterwards I decided not to use these for my '5 in 5' as the photos are similar to a recent post, where I visited a local garden and saw daffodils in December.  So instead, I decided to take some more photos this morning. Which is why I am later posting this than planned.

Have you heard of Wanderlust?  It is a new online course that started on 1st Jan. I'm glad I signed up as it promises to be really exciting and I have decided that my focus for my year will be to start and finish!  There are 2 main prompts/lessons each month and I finally mustered enough energy yesterday to complete my first project - an art journal page using a word that sums up how I feel this day. So, let me show you, but first my messy table... 

Before starting on my page I always put a large sheet of paper undrneath. This not only protects the  workspace but also gives me another piece to work on. Just look at this wonderful relief!

As well as paint I used grunge paste to create a texture. I like using things I have around the house for stencils.

And here is my completed page.  I want to do more art journalling this year, so I am off to a good start. I was pleased with how the different layers show through, especially the music paper I used underneath. I don't know why the photo shows pink tinted but lighting is difficult this time of year.

As you can see, I was feeling slow. That's okay. It's winter here and that's the time to feel dormant. It's also a reminder for me to slow down and not take on so much this year. To do less, so that I can do more. This will be my mantra and it feels like a good start.


If this inspires you to pick up your camera and share some of your photos I would be truely excited!  All it takes is five minutes, and to follow the challenge this is what you do:
  1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below. 

   Please note: 

You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos to the link
and you can take  your photos any time. They do not have to be taken or posted on 5th!
If you'd like more details please go here.

Thank you to Helena, Joy, Melanie, Maggie, Eileen and Juliet for posting in December and joining in. Doing something together makes it all the more fun and I'd love for you to join in too. Just link your post below and I'll be straight over to see your photos! 

Thanks for visiting!  

Sunday, 3 January 2016


I am easing myself gently into the new year. Computer problems continue, it turns out to be the motherboard so more serious than we'd hoped. Luckily my son was able to remove the hard drive and to back everything up onto an external drive. Phew!!  Apart from the relief of knowing everything is safe it also means my photos are  accessible again. So much has been on hold or compromised these past months. A new computer has been ordered and should be delivered tomorrow.I hope my computer problems will be left in the past.

So while I could leap in with posts I'd planned, a cold is leaving me muzzy headed and no energy. One of the things I needed my photos and computer for was a Photobox book. I took over 4,000 photos when I was in the Shetland Isles and decided this was the best way to show them. I mention this for a reason. Because among my collection of photos are lots to do with knitting. Interestingly the idea of 'Knit and Natter' posts started without a plan. I joined a local group of ladies in order to get out and meet new people and it coincided with me being given some vintage knitting patterns. The idea of a post was born but I didn't forsee this developing into series of posts. Especially when I was in Shetland, the home of Fair Isle knitting. Luckily then that I took photos!

When my friend suggested a visit to Fair Isle, saying there is little there, I agreed because the idea of flying to this small island for afew days sounded appealing. It turned out to be one of my highlights and a magical experience. 

During our stay we visited the home and studio of Hollie Shaw.  

Originally from Kent, Hollie moved to Fair Isle with her husband in 1999 as wardens of the Bird Observatory. As well as being an international centre for bird observation it also runs as a guesthouse, and this is where we stayed. The building and land it stands on is run by  a charity, but the rest of the island and 
properties are owned by the  National Trust for Scotland. They ask a peppercorn because making a living is hard in such an exposed climate and a resident population of about 60. The internet has proved a life line, because now Hollie has an online shop as well as selling her knitware to cruise ships that occasionally visit the island.  All her wool comes from her own and island sheep and much thought is given to using local resources such as dying and spinning. 

Fair Isle is a traditional style of knitting, handed down through generations. Hollie has learnt the skill from another islander and each person develops their own patterns, unique to them. I was initially disappointed to learn that Hollie, with others who knit commercially, uses a machine. But let's be real here, these patterns are complex and time consuming to knit by hand. If a true cost was put on time and skill, who would pay for that? There might be an elite niche at top end markets but these are few and far between, and nearly all islanders hold down several jobs to earn a living.

But don't be mistaken. Machine knitting is a skill in itself because Hollie creates her own designs, so she then has to transfer these onto a paper pattern. She has to think about colour change and matching, tension, pattern repeat. No. My initial disappointment of using knitting machines changed into admiration and respect. 

The view from Hollie's studio window.


As idealic as it looks, island life isn't easy. But everyone we met and spoke to loves it there. And I can see why. Extreme weather apart. When 2 crofts became available for rent the National Trust for Scotland were inundated by enquiries. The newspaper article tells how American's were among those who wanted to move to Fair Isle. And we got to meet one of them, Tommy Hyndman. See his Fair Isle hat? This one was hand knitted by one of the islanders. He told us he has a large collection.

This photo was taken at the top of the lighthouse. Ruth and I were lucky enough to be given access and a private tour by Tommy. The views were spectacular. He told us the scene can look much more dramatic and about a video he made where he had played golf during a storm.

We learnt that last winter extreme weather meant supplies could not reach Fair Isle for 6 weeks. Luckily islanders are resourceful and used to unpredictability. They keep stocks of food, for such times. 
It seems a world a part from my cosy life. 

And in his own home Tommy has his own artist studio and has created some beautiful touches using Fair Isle knitting.

It is lovely to see tradition crafts being used in so many different ways. Anyone who watched the recent tv series about Scottish islands may have seen Tommy. He is quite a character! Like all the islanders he made us very welcome. One day I hope to go back. 
I promised posts about my trip to the Shetlands and now that my computer promblems are nearly sorted more will be on the way. I look forward to armchair travel and sharing more memories.  I hope you will join me, thanks for popping by!

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