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.