Wednesday, 28 December 2011

!st daffodil

Just thought everyone would like to know spring's here, before we've had a proper winter! It's a bit grainy as still set on ISO1600 from some experiments, but it's real!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas, Rosey

I hope everyone survived all the festivities. We went to Amy's; she cooked roast duck, stuffed mushrooms for Laura & all the trimmings, followed by apple pie. Laura&Nick's turn next year with a bit of luck! Amy gave me lessons on a program called Paint Shop Pro on Christmas night, a bit sad & geeky, but I can only use it on her computer, & she's back beavering away today, & we're now home. It was fun to play with, I suppose no worse than starting on a new computer game, just happens to be work! The results are on 60pix. You have to work out what I did to them all.
At midday on Christmas day we had a conference call with all the family & Rosey-in-Antarctica, it was wonderful to hear her, sometimes modern technology works, and is useful. She has plenty of snow, & was off skiing.

A couple of more festive photos, the second is bit of a magic crystal Christmas tree, they've become a bit of a tradition.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Party, Recipes

Christmas is nearly on us, as it inevitably was going to be, even if I wasn't ready. As it turns out, I am ready, always the panic, but it's always OK.
I thought it would be good to share some of my festive recipes.

Cheesy Mince Pies (with thanks to Mrs Beeton)
6oz cheddar, grated, or the cheat's way is to chop it roughly & put in the whizzer with
8oz plain flour
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chilli powder  (+1 teaspoon coriander if straws rather than pies)
then whizz with 6oz butter/margarine
1 egg yolk (use white to glue tops on & glaze)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
should be like playdough, roll 3-4 times then rest in the fridge (dough not chef!) 1/2 hr
roll out another 2-3 times, then make pie bottoms & tops

Fill with mincemeat (I add extra fruit, nuts, spice, sherry & brandy to the cheapest)
A variation is finely chopped apple (frozen & old is good as it's less wet, or a mixture of fresh & dried), cranberries, a little brown sugar & cinnamon
15 mins at 200C

Mulled Wine (for a big party)
2litres cheap dry red wine, Spanish is best
2litres cheap dry cider
2" piece of fresh ginger, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
8-10 cardamom pods
3-4 cloves
3-4 juniper berries
a sprinkle of nutmeg
a squeeze of lemon, and slice of peel
optional sliced apple or orange.
Bring to near-boil as early in the day as possible,warm up at least 1 hour before the guests arrive. The spices improve and the house smells wonderful by party time.
Any left will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

DofE Cake     
so-called because the DofE unit we help with has banned nuts because there are so many girls with allergies. It's dairy free for one of the leaders. "Walking cake" is the same, but with nuts. Beautifully gooey, & can keep for a week without drying out. Also freezes well.
6oz sunflower oil
6oz brown sugar
2 mashed bananas
3oz grated carrot
1 orange or lemon juice+grated peel
3 tablespoons honey or golden syrup (warmed so it mixes with the oil)
3 beaten eggs
  mix all this together then fold in
5oz SR flour
5oz wholemeal flour
1-2teaspoons baking powder
4oz sunflower seeds
10 oz mixed dried fruit (folding into the flour stops them clumping together) can include apricot, apple, cherries, mixed peel as well as raisins, sultanas & currants.
1/2 teaspoon of (some or all) ginger, cinnamon,mixed spice & pinch of mace or nutmeg
cook at 160C until set, approx 40-50 min in loaf tins, longer if round. seems to vary, so you need to keep an eye on it!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Walking weekend, Castleton, Peak District

This has to be one of the WWA greats, it was our Christmas Party, so as usual we rented a whole youth (?) hostel a good pub meal & drop of medicinal beverage afterwards. On Saturday we had a chilly picnic, Big Al wasn't cold enough so we buried him in snow. Sunday started coldgreywet, almost moved us to choose the teashop option, but we're tough & by the time we'd got to the planned carpark at Barber Booth, it was clearing, finishing as almost the most spectacular snow I've seen, in these conditions even peat hags are beautiful! 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Forgot: 34!

Up to the ears last week, & totally forgot to post our visit to the Open Air Ice Rink at Hampton Court, Another new thing for me, I've skated before, but not outside by floodlight. Bonuses were not falling over & the dinner afterwards with Amy & various members of the Walking club.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Rosey aka Dr Grant

Anyone interested in travel, adventure, photos, ice, snow& global warming might like to look at my niece Rosey's blog. I'm sure she'd appreciate some messages, it's a long way away. She's finished her PhD in physics/meteorology & is spending 18 months in Antarctica studying snow-buggying skiing, climbing, photography, ice caving, natural history & flying, & of course the weather. She's taken some stunning photos, but I suspect there might be the odd day when it's greygloomy & horrible.
Go Rosey!

Family likeness, Lodgers

I was going through a lot of very old photos for a film project, we have to do a joint factual account of something, with as much variety and imagination as we can muster. We have to mix animators, photographers & live action filmers, so not the people I already know. Richard & Jake, both photographers needed a stray animator so I joined them. We're making a nice cuppa, starting in ancient China, travelling along a space-time line to someone's kitchen now, via my grandfather's tea estate in Kandapola, Ceylon. Hence the need for photos, this one, with GrinGran on the left looks remarkably like Clare, although as a baby she looked like Bron. Bron & Ivan also at front, with father, Roger behind.

Laura & Nick have sold the flat, but the house they were hoping to buy fell through as the survey said the roof would need a total re-do in 5-10 years, a minimum or £20,000. They're unlikely to have that, but as cash buyers will be in a good position to move quickly & get a good price when they find somewhere. In the meantime, we have lodgers!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Feedback, Christmas concert, Christmas officially open!

Laura put a link on her Facebook page so the whole world could see my animation, lots of nice comments came back on it. 5 "Like"s, a "Wow, it looks like she's been having fun (and hard work)-terrific" from a real illustrator, a "that's awesome" and a "WAW! impressed" That makes the estimated 70 hours worth it!
Yesterday I went to Isabel&Anna's Christmas concert, it was snowed off last year. It's the first one I've been to for about 12 years, the SWPS ones were brilliant, but little people's ones are different. I do miss them, so was delighted to be a pretend Granny.
I made & put up the door wreath today, so Christmas has officially started, must get some mulled wine! I've also nearly finished the wrapping, but not done cards yet, so be patient if you're waiting.
I also see I have a new member, welcome Jane, I hope you enjoy what you see here.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

At Last, the Finished Product!

 The film of the year you've all been waiting for! As a first go I was reasonably pleased with it, if you're interested there's more detail on the other blog. We now have tons of written work to do over Christmas, and another project of some sort starting after that.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

nearly finished film!

My animation is nearly done, a lot of time & very patient tutor got through the maze of software needed to edit it. Even with crib-sheets I managed to duplicate bits by mistake, & took forever to make it work. There are all sorts of pitfalls, like the camera capturing the images upside down. There's a trick for turning a "bin" into a "sequence" so you can rotate it as a lump, rather than each of the 900 or so individually. You can then change the number of times each frame is shown (usually twice for basic animations) to make a slower moving scene, or cut to once for very fast.You can (in theory) cut & move bits. I'll post it soon, here are some more tasters!

Monday, 5 December 2011

33 Teacher!

I had a free weekend a couple of weeks ago, so got a bit ahead with my animation & fed it to the Dragon (the computer program that turns it into a film) before almost anyone else, so people are now asking me how to do it! I think that has to count as a new skill. Should be able to post it by the end of the week.
Had a good lunch with the St P's nurses & JP, much reminiscing & putting the NHS right.
Started Christmas with S&T at a carol concert.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Still animating, Old colleagues.

I started putting my animation into the dreaded computer yesterday, it seemed to work, not brilliant as it was a bit jumpy, but my technique will improve in the next few months.
Some of the nurses from St P's are coming for a pre-Christmas Lunch on Friday, the sort I really like, I just have to provide plates & tea, they'll bring food.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Animation again!

Up to the ears in next animation project, I'm not really paranoid about computers, but the current theme is that it swallows me & turns me into a robot. It might change, watch this space!

Monday, 21 November 2011

32 Animation

Another successful new challenge! A real Morph-style animation, not brilliant yet, but a start.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sun on Dartmoor!

Just back from a walking weekend on Dartmoor, about a dozen times in total, only the second time I've seen blue sky!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

31 Sand-blasting Glass

At last, another new thing! We had a taster workshop this afternoon, just signed up for “glass” so had no idea in advance what it would involve, 3hr only so not expecting to blow a Taj Mahal. 
We did sand blasting, first cover the sheet of glass with gaffer tape, then cut out the areas to be blasted to make them opaque, on both sides, then blast. It sounds quite simple, but is fiddly to do, more time would have been good but the end result, given the limitations was pleasing. Given more time, I would have put grass or a cluster of smaller flowers on the back to give more depth, rather than just filling in the leaf veins & flower centres, might possibly have a chance to have another go.

The subject was possibly a little predictable, but time was limited. Abstract designs work very well too.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


A very enjoyable day making a short group-animation, click the magic word to link to all the stills & technical stuff on my other blog. My section is the bit at the beginning from the multi-tool to the abacus. For some reason the film would load here but not there! We start on a longer one later in the week, so watch this space!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

portraits, spring-sun

As part of the course we have to do a full sketchbook of "drawing from life", I'm not sure what the definition is, as the exhibition at the Jerwood Space (then click "artists") had a lot of not-drawing, and not-from-life things.
I thought I should try some portraits, from photos, real people too scary still!

These are the best, the link above will prove I'm improving a bit.

It may have been the last sunny day of the year, so R&I went walking on Chobham Common today, a typical warm sunny spring day, except I think it's November. This might be a good reminder of what our weather is capable of.

Look well, the next post might be of snow.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Raining, Day Off, Christmas

A whole day without anything Arty! Almost, it rained last night so I took these pics of droplets, could be construed as artistic. I think the first & last worked best.

I also did a ton of baking, four dozen mince pies in cheesy pastry, two dozen puff pastry spicy cranberry&apple pies for someone nearby who doesn't like mincemeat, not to mention the four "walking cakes" my own evolved recipe for banana-carrot cake to take on walking weekends, dairy free so Graham can help out. There's a nut-free version for DofE expeditions as so many of the girls have nut allergies.

Friday, 11 November 2011


This is the end result of our group project, turning UCA into a factory! We had so many photos we made 2. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Finally decided to do animation, a scary decision as it involves loads of computer stuff, and probably more work than photography or film, but something I won't ever get the chance to do again, I think it will be fun! I can go back to photography more easily than swapping from photography to animation as the darkroom stuff is easier to catch up, & I've done it before, although 25years ago.
With luck, something will go on YouTube in the next couple of weeks,

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

30: 60plants-looking-like-something-else

Half way there! As an extension of my photos, I've done a portfolio of 60plants which don't obviously look like plants. It was interesting to do, and I think some were quite pleasing.

Monday, 7 November 2011


We started on the next section today, a project in small groups in which we have to  take photos of UCA to make it look like a factory. Odd! tomorrow we go to the Imperial war museum and a few other exhibitions,to study, not just for a jolly, we have to sketch & write about things. We've swapped groups as people have all chosen topics for the rest of the year, so start again explaining why someone of my age is pretending to be a teenager, but they all seem nice & friendly too. One of them said he really liked 1 of my crystal photos, the backlit quartz with the needle-like inclusions.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

fireworks & pixels

Amy, Matt & I went to the Farnham fireworks last night, a rare night off from studying. Bonus! It was warm & didn't rain. Tried some photos, sort of worked.

I've also been fiddling with a photo, to see what happens when you pixellate it, here's the end result of overdoing it, 

If you go to 60pix you can see the original photo and the steps in producing this.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Art Gallery day

I had a fun day trying to get my head around some arty stuff at the v&a today, this will link you to my other blog
I also went to the gerhard-richter exhibition at Tate Modern, both definitely worth a visit.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

light experiments

Having decided on animation, photography & moving image as my pathway for the rest of the year, I thought I should do some more experimental pictures on light.
Some are a bit similar to ones in my 60 colours gallery, but I'll get more experimental with a bit of help.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I have posted some photos on my other blog, I think if you click dumbledore you will find them, they seem to upload faster on that one.
My assessment went OK today, Steve seemed happy with the work I'd done, which is lucky, nearly killed myself! Looking forward to starting on photography & animation & moving image next week. We have a small research project to do in the next couple of weeks.
I've been experimenting with photographing light, crystals & things, when I've sorted them I'll post some.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Rosey, Skiving! BT

Rosey went off to Antarctica today, with luck she'll be able to keep her blog going occasionally so we can see what she's up to. Looking forward to seeing some pics. Have Fun!
I spent yesterday evening & this morning taking a break from art, just pottering with L&A. Have to hand it all in tomorrow.
Another BT I should have posted earlier in the week, my class-mate Marco came hunting for me on Mon as he wanted me to try the spicy iced biscuits he'd made over the w/e. Yum, thanks!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Rock, Gem'n'Bead Show

Laura took me to this, which is on today & tomorrow at Kempton Park. 
As well as the usual Aladdin's cave of semi-precious beads there's a museum of fossils & crystals. Their weird shapes and colours, are fascinating, especially the extraordinarily mathematical looking bismuth crystals.

There was a spiky variety of trilobite which was tempting. I bought a few (more) crystals to take photos of, & see what I can do with the way they handle light, as part of a photographic project. I'll post the results presently.
Assessment week next week, so much still to do. The official blog came as a bit of a surprise as  none of us had read  through all the course notes in advance, so when the last day came we found we should have done it from the start, and had to do it all over the weekend as by pot-luck the IT workshop was the very last thing our group did!
L&A both here tonight for early girly Halloween of film, nibblies & last bottle of bubbles left from my birthday.