Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Take Time.......



Texture Tuesday..... 'Take time to love the little things in life'
Kim Klassen's textures 'waterfront18' and 'februarymagicedges'.





Brian and I went for a walk yesterday along a path that was a sea of cow parsley.......
(photo looks a bit like the parting of the sea ;-)
 Such a pretty, underestimated flower......


When we got back the Abel and Cole delivery had arrived and in it there was a gorgeous bunch of young asparagus (Brian's favourite)......



.......just the inspiration I needed for cooking dinner.  Luckily I already had the other ingredients.
I put this photo of the ingredients on my FB page yesterday and promised I'd add the recipe to my blog today....... (taken on iPad with Hipstagram app).

Pea, Mint and Asparagus Risotto (for two)
1. Fry a small finely chopped onion (or a shallot) in some olive oil (I use a large frying pan for this).
2. When it starts to go transparent, add 130g of risotto (arborio) rice and fry it gently for a couple of mins with the onion.
3. Cut up the asparagus into 1cm pieces and cook in a separate pan (or microwave) with a handful of peas till tender (amounts are up to you!)
4. Add a small glass of white wine to the rice and stir. Continue stirring and adding liquid gradually (450ml approx chicken stock) for 15 to 20 mins until the rice is cooked but still nice and moist.
5. Stir in a big blob of creme fraiche.
6. Add the cooked asparagus and peas, along with some chopped mint, parsley and lemon rind. Stir.
7. Finally, grate some parmesan cheese on top.
Wonderful!

We only recently discovered risotto.....can't believe we've missed out for so long! 
(I always thought it sounded a bit yukky....sloppy rice ;-)

We also love the smoked haddock version......and chicken with lemon.
Further recommendations gratefully received!


Friday, 23 May 2014

Breathe......

Be Still 52 Week Two

This week Kim wrote about mindfulness, meditation and focusing on breathing ...... things I'm used to as a yoga-lover :-) We often practice a form of pratyahara which is a kind of sensory deprivation.....thereby helping us to focus on our inner sounds and breathing.
Try it by covering your eyes with your flattened fingers, at the same time covering your ears with your thumbs to cut out all sights and sounds. As you breathe deeply, the sound becomes very relaxing.

Ujjayi breathing is also useful for concentrating on the breath; it takes a bit of mastering, but it makes a lovely sound. In fact it's sometimes called 'ocean breath'. Here's how to do it.....
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5823/8-Reasons-Why-We-Use-Ujjayi-Breath-in-Yoga.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ujjayi_breath

When I was teaching I often used to end the day with a form of meditation with the children. I'd put a drop of lavender oil on the back of their hands and ask them to gently stroke it into their skin whilst breathing in the smell. They loved it. And parents often thanked me for the calm and peaceful way their children left school.....bonus!!  ;-)
I daresay it would be 'banned' nowadays for all sorts of stupid reasons. I always asked parents' permission at the start of the year and no-one ever objected.....but times have changed and sadly, a lot of the fun has been taken out of school-life.

For my photo I chose lavender and rosemary....two of my favourite plants from the garden with lovely scents to breathe in.
I used Kim's textures 'magicscratches' and phoebe'. I may make this into a card and see how it looks.....



And finally.....what's on my desk?  

Planning new collages
Photo taken using Hipstamatic app on iPad.
(Lens 'John S' and film 'Dream Canvas')




Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Texture Tuesday......

A day late again....here's my contribution to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.
The theme is..... Black and White and Textured  (and a few shades of grey in my case).


I took the original using Hipstagram on my iPad and toned down the colour to almost black and white using Photoshop, then finally added Kim's texture 'Simple' at colour burn blend 76%.
You can see the original photograph in my previous post.

I have very few china, pottery or glass ornaments in my house......but lots of driftwood, pebbles and shells.
Not everyone's cup of tea I guess....but definitely mine ;-)




Monday, 19 May 2014

Be Still.......

I'm taking part in Kim Klassen's 'Be Still 52' which began last week.......that's a whole year of focusing on still life photography.


So here I am.....week one....reminding myself to stop, breathe deeply and just be still for a few moments every day.

For me, photography is about noticing the little things around me. These poppy seed heads from last year are so tiny; it would be easy to just dismiss them and put them in the compost bin.
But they are incredibly beautiful, like tiny minarets......or ancient writing tools :-)
The background is one of my mixed-media background papers.
Textures over the top.....Kim's 'Fully' and 'Februarymagicedges'.
Here's the link to Kim's class.....



And here they are again with a little Photoshop layering and altering...... and one of my inky background papers.



Thanks to my blogging friends, I've recently discovered the joys of Hipstamatic on my iPad and iPhone. 
(Thank you Lynn and Viv)
I downloaded it months ago but couldn't get to grips with it....but over the past week I have persevered and now it's my favourite app. Yes, even more than Waterlogue :-)
The basic app was free, but I have bought a couple of add on packages. Basically you can change the lens and the film to get different effects and build up favourite 'recipes'. Or you can just shake the camera up and down and get a random pairing! 
Very interesting....
These examples use 'Melodie' lens and 'Dream Canvas' film. My favourite combo up to now.



More to come soon......