Last night I spent a couple of blissful hours looking through my dear Grandpa's old glass slides. I was instantly transported back to my glorious childhood where most school holidays were spent at my grandparents house in Sheffield with 12 grandchildren gallivanting around. Our favourite pastime was playing in Grandpa's Dentist Surgery which was attached to the house complete with a Waiting Room, Surgery & Workshop. We would spend hours in there playing in the dentist chair! Grandpa very rarely came in to make sure we weren't destroying everything & even when he did he would just walk through & go out the back door & leave us to it! I remember the only time he raised an eyebrow to us (yes, the dreaded eyebrow raise!) was when my cousin Jennifer had stuffed a load of cotton swabs in my mouth as she'd had to pull all my teeth out!
Second to playing Dentists was the excitement of Grandpa bringing his old projector & photo slides out for us to look at. We'd set about organising the room; some of us drawing the curtains & some running off to the Waiting Room & pulling the two giant black cushions from the sofa (which were incredibly itchy on the back of our little legs!) through to the lounge, set ourselves up on the floor with Grannie plying us with bowls of chopped up apple, raisins and sometimes a stick of cheese! I would sit as close as I could to the projector so I could smell & feel the heat coming from the bulb. I loved watching Grandpa putting each slide in upside down before slipping it in front of the light & the ooohing & aaaahing would start from all of us along with the giggles & comments about our Aunties & Uncle in their younger years! Seeing the images again as an adult I'm blown away by how good a photographer Grandpa was. He had such a good way of capturing the atmosphere of a moment in his life; not just in the many family outings with camera in hand but also in the posed shots of his children & candid shots of every day happenings (like the one below of my aunty pretending to put make up on!). His photo's were tack sharp & exposed so beautifully that the colours on the slide really pop! I really wish I'd have discovered my penchant for photography whilst he was still with us; we'd have spent hours pouring over photographs & I know he'd have been eager to learn about digital photography. I can just picture him now with his glasses on the end of his nose studying my Canon 50d with me next to him geeking out together!
It's been well over a year since I tried my hand at Crochet. Apparently it runs in the family (can such a skill run in families?!), my Grannie tells me her sister Cora used to crochet bonnets for her and her sisters Florence and Margaret when they were young. When I was in Colorado visiting family a couple of years ago my cousin whipped up a blanket during the week I was there & made it look so very easy. So when I gave it a go, I was disappointed to discover that I was certainly no Elizabeth Zimmerman! I would send picture messages to my very talented friend Fay moaning about how my project looked & why wasn't it working. Fay's response was always so helpful & encouraging and slowly but surely I got the hang of it and worked my way through this blanket for Fay's beautiful little poppet Florence:
I've since made the mistake of starting but not finishing new projects. If anyone needs half a glove, a wonky tea cosy or a ragdoll with no arms or legs then I'm your woman! In a bid to change my half-heartedness behaviour I found a gorgeous pattern for a circle-in-a-square granny pattern blanket which means I can dip in and out of making these for as long as it takes! My Aunty recently suggested I try knitting too; but I'm all armpits, limp wrists and dropped stitches at the mo, which does not a winning combination make!
Meet Rufus. He is quite possibly the most scrumptious baby I've ever met; after my cousins & godchildren, naturally! My aim was to be more adventurous in how I processed the shots afterwards as I've always been cautious of overdoing it (a la Venture et al...) & wanted so much for any editing to be subtle that I became afraid of doing it at all. So, I took my time and did the tongue-sticking-out-concentration-face which I think helped a lot & here is the outcome. Comment/critiques very welcome
So my first step on the Good Life ladder was to join the Library. Of course, I was a member many, many moons ago and there was nothing I loved more than traipsing off to the Library with my Ma, Sister and Brother at the start of each half term to choose a bundle of books. But since I started earning proper grown up dollars I much preferred perusing the brand new books in Waterstones with their uncracked spines and would come back with more than was necessary. Especially since my friend Lucy worked there and I was able to abuse her staff discount!
Stepping back into my local Library was like going back in time, it still looked & smelt the same and even the librarians were the same (apart from one who looked like a tall Ronnie Corbett). But instead of heading straight to the stairs for the kids section I spent a couple of peaceful hours in the photography & arts section until everything got a little too noisy with a stroppy teenager arguing with her mum about why she couldn't get Britney Spears AND Dannii Minogues Biography. What's wrong with a good old Jaqueline Wilson book?!