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Journal

Posts tagged country lane
The Week The Snow Came...
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the week the snow came...

and experiments in black and white...

Well, we've had snow, properly, not just a cursory sprinkling but a full-on blanket job. It's been a while since our last encounter with the white stuff and inevitably it's caused a few problems, like not being able to make the get together with my big brother. But the good thing about serious snow is that you can't really do much about it, you're forced to slow down whether you like it or not, and who wouldn't welcome an impromptu stitching day (alright it's true that most days are stitching days here, but an unexpected one is special).

I'm a little bit scared to admit it, but I think I may actually be enjoying the run up to Christmas this year. I can still feel a mild panic hiding away in a corner of my mind, but on the whole it's not coming out to ruin things. Instead I've been to two Christmas parties and thoroughly enjoyed myself (unheard of), and in a total departure from previous years, we've already bought a tree and decorated the house a whole two weeks earlier than normal.

Which I'm sure made the whole snow-day thing much more relaxing. The word hygge almost entered my vocabulary yesterday (by the way, the autocorrect wants to call hygge higgle - which I prefer, do you think the Danes would mind if we renamed it?).

Before the snow came, I'd just embarked on the Seven Day Black and White Challenge on Instagram. I'd noticed other people doing it and was beginning to wonder about having a go when I was tagged - something that I wouldn't normally bother with - but this challenge interested me.

I've occasionally played about with black and white, I like it more and more for the website where it seems to be able to tell a story in a way that is perhaps harder in colour, but I wondered whether it was something I could deliberately use in day to day photography. I don't know any of the technicalities for black and white so it seemed like an opportunity to try something different for a few days.

If you haven't seen them on Instagram, here's a selection of the pictures I've been experimenting with...

A Miscellany in Black and White

What have I learned in the process? Well for me it seems to work when there's good contrast, it helps to emphasise shapes and structures, it creates a moody effect, subtle, perhaps a little nostalgic, a touch of melancholy. I've had a lot of fun trying out all the various editing options in Snapseed (well some of them at any rate). I'll definitely continue to experiment with monochrome, I feel as if I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of what it might reveal, but I'm really looking forward to getting back into colour. 

The lane in black and white isn't the same place that I experience every day. Without colour it's as if you're missing a dimension, a texture and a vital part of the story. 

In other news...

  • The extra time at home this week has been put to use on the current work in progress. It's getting closer to being finished, I suppose it all depends how much time I can find for it this week. I'd really like to have it completed before Christmas.
  • I'm still enjoying reading about Henry IV curtesy of Ian Mortimer.
  • The house is filling up with fairy lights. I might not be able to cook like Nigella but I can definitely give her a run for her money on the twinkling lights...
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So there you have it - what do you think? Nicely higgle?

Stay warm. Happy stitching!

Anny x

Coming up for air...

Hooray! I made it into my hidey-hole at last. I'd begun to think it was going to be the New Year before I found a few minutes to write, and then just as I began to despair, a slice of morning opened up and here I am....

So chaps, what's been happening? I wish I could actually settle into something resembling a routine (do I honestly mean that? I've never been one for routines, it's just that for so long now I seem to have ricocheted from one thing to another, I'm beginning to wonder if a monastic routine wouldn't get more accomplished). Are you a creature of habit? Does it work for you? 

I'm not sure that I could adopt a true routine, I inherited too many of my dad's 'get out and about' genes to be properly settled, but nevertheless there are times when I feel as if I'm walking through treacle and it would be lovely to think that a plan might actually have a cat in hell's chance of coming off as scheduled. Is it the creative spirit that's to blame, or is that just a feeble excuse for not being better organised?

Anyway, in amongst all the other stuff this is what I've been doing...

Stitching...

There's been good progress with the piece I showed you in the previous post - partly because I came down with a head cold at the weekend and stayed in the warm. I was lucky, it was one of those mild affairs that gives you a good excuse not to go out spreading germs to everyone, but allows you to actually get on with a few things at home (in between the occasional medicinal hot-toddy)

Out and Abouting...

Bath

I squeezed in my annual visit to the Bath Christmas Market last week. If you've known me for a while you'll remember that I'm not at my best around Christmas time, it generally brings out a sense of panic, exasperation and utter failure which can make me tricky to live with. Then a couple of years ago, we went on a day out to Bath - my favourite city in the country - at about this time and suddenly things felt a lot better. There's something about walking around in such beautiful surroundings that takes away the stress for me and calms my nerves. Last week was every bit as brilliant and I'm feeling a whole load better already. (I've even put up some fairy lights in the sitting-room - and it's not even a whole week into December - must have done the trick). I know it must make life difficult for the inhabitants of Bath, but I for one am extremely grateful.

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Bath Christmas Market...

coincidentally, my favourite tree in Bath is currently blue and red.

The Workhouse

We've been busy at The Workhouse getting ready for the new exhibition - Christmas at The Workhouse - which is now in full swing. I'm delighted to say it's getting a fantastic reception, with loads of people coming in to buy their Christmas gifts and cards. I'm still finding it such an amazing experience listening to people talk about their reaction to the art and crafts there. It's clearly so important for everyone to have access to quality art in their lives, whether they make it, buy it or simply want to enjoy looking at it. Art is a necessity, not a luxury, I'd really love a few hard nose politicians to come and spend some time with me there, maybe it would make a difference.

Wherever you live, I hope you'll find time to pop into your local galleries this Christmas and soak up some creative goodwill.

In the lane...

The last few weeks have moved us from the last golden days of autumn into the beginning of a very grey (so far) winter. I've finally succumbed to a new hat, one that I can pull down over my ears and I've managed to find some of those fingerless gloves with a mitten bit that you can pull over the top - I'm experimenting with them, as you can imagine the fun, holding the Delinquent Dog in full bark, attempting to use the fingerprint log in on the phone and taking pictures in sub-zero temperature, but so far, so good.

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I was thoroughly downhearted this week when I realised that the lane had had it's biannual pruning. Of course it did need cutting back, it was getting dangerous in places and it is a road after all, but really, the butchering of the hedges makes me want to cry. It will recover I know, I've seen it happen before and at least now I can really see my oak properly again from behind the whitebeam hedge, but it still hurts to see the sheer brutality of the attack.

'My' oak, now almost entirely bare of leaves, but looking wonderful to me at least.

'My' oak, now almost entirely bare of leaves, but looking wonderful to me at least.

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But the Delinquent Dog is quite happy at the moment because thanks to these chaps having just arrived back in the field, he's currently getting the longer walk (the one that avoids having to walk through the sheep). I briefly googled quotes about sheep and was disappointed to see that they mostly talk about people being like sheep or wolves in sheep's clothing. Personally I find some of them quite menacing, they stare at you in a certain manner...I suspect they're plotting world domination with the squirrels.

In other news...

  • Not having had a Christmas Party for years, this week I'm going to two! Whoops with vegetarian delight.
  • I found a book about Henry IV in a charity shop and I'm realising how little I knew about him. I'm not seeing Jeremy Irons in my mind's eye (Hollow Crown fans will understand).
  • Another sign that I've succumbed to the Christmas Spirit - a bottle of cheap whisky and Crabbies Ginger Wine have appeared in the kitchen...

And with that I wish you all a happy and productive run up to Christmas. I hope to be back in my hidey-hole again before the festivities begin, but you know me and plans...

Very best wishes...

Happy Stitching!

Anny x