Sunday, 8 December 2013

Easy to make Christmas cards

My two nieces came to stay last weekend and we had a lovely crafting day. We made all sorts of homemade Christmas crafts including these Christmas cards.

Here's what you need:

Coloured card and envelopes
Paint brush (or just use fingers is you want to really have some fun)
Shaped hole punch
Glue / glue stick

Optional: glitter glue and ribbon

And here's how we did them:

1. Blob some paint on the paper, I used blue, yellow and red and demonstrated to the younger children how we could make oranges, greens and purples too by mixing the colours together as we smeared the blobs about.

2. My older niece had the bright idea of adding some glitter glue, which leaves the finished article with a subtle sparkly effect.

3. Leave the painting to dry

4. Once dry, use the hole punch to punch out shapes, we used a heart shape and a flower shape, make sure you collect the shapes and move around the painting to get all the different colours.

5. Glue the shapes onto the card in a Christmas tree shape. We used a 'make your own Christmas cards' pack of pre-creased red and green cards and envelopes - £3.99 for 50 cards from The Works I think.

6. Add optional extras like more glitter glue to give a really glittery effect, or a pot made out of ribbons. Like this one my niece made:

You don't even have to bother with the painting part, these cards look quite effective if you punch out black, silver or gold shapes, or you could even use some spare Christmas wrapping paper or scrap book paper. Have fun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Week 33 of the photo a day challenge

Week 33's theme was 'Wires'. To make it interesting the brief said to take educational photos about wires.
We were away camping in Wales this week so had to take some props with me. I made each photo quite self explanatory.







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated

Monday, 26 August 2013

Week 32 of the photo a day challenge

Portraits week - I'd been looking forward to this week for ages! There was a twist to the Brief though, with a different type of portrait to be taken each day:

Sunday - Traditional portrait
Monday - Candid portrait
Tuesday - Self portrait
Wednesday - Lifestyle portrait
Thursday - Abstract portrait
Friday - Environmental portrait
Saturday - our own choice of style

wow I didn't know there were so many different styles of portrait, but what a great brief to really push us.

So starting with traditional, I opted for a portrait of my boy, since I take loads of photos of my daughter (she's a bit more photogenic and a lot more compliant). Traditional is usually head and shoulders with eyes about a third of the way up the frame. The eyes are focused on and catchlights (the spots of light in the eyes) make the picture come alive, I opted to bend the rules a little and get a shot of him lying down:

Monday was this candid shot of a lady asleep on the train, taken discreetly with my iPhone, I love the lighting and contrast of this shot:

For the self portrait shot on Tuesday, I spent ages Monday evening with my camera set up and the timer on trying to get a low key shot of my refection in the microwave door. I ended up not being happy with any of them and took this one on the train on Tuesday morning with my iphone front camera after an hour at the gym:

For my lifestyle portrait on Wednesday I wanted to capture the lifestyle of a commuter and this lady gave me the opportunity to demonstrate those extended office hours, where like so many, you work on the train too:

I actually used another self portrait for my abstract shot on Thursday, everybody said it looked like the girl from Blair Witch (minus the snot!):

For Friday's environmental portrait I took a picture of my commuter friend Nick, in 'our' environment - the train. I only know Nick from commuting, he's part of a small group who get on my train at the next stop and started talking to me because of the kids, when they used to commute to Leeds with me. We've all become good friends. On Friday it was only Nick though:

I found Saturday's a hard choice, I love portrait photography, I got it down to two and asked the photo group to help me choose, everyone who helped preferred this photo of Emily:

This was the other option, one of Archie:

I have loads of other portraits that either I couldn't use because I had taken them before this week or I just didn't use.

Here's one of my favourites of my brother:

And my friend's two gorgeous girls:

Emily wishing she could go in the pool:

And another random one of Emily:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated

Week 31 of the photo a day challenge

This week's theme was "leaves" with the main focus of the picture to be a single leaf.

We were away that weekend in the Lakes, so plenty of leaves!

Started the week with a leaf taken at the side of a lake on Sunday

On Monday I got this shot in the rain with my iPhone

On Tuesday I took a picture of one of the leaves of a house plant, it looks a bit like a tongue!

On Wednesday I got this photo of a leaf in some shallow water

Thursday's picture was snapped on my iPhone on my way home from work. A geranium leaf in one of the planters in Barnsley town centre.

On Friday, on the way home again, I noticed that there is a line of trees outside of Barnsley bus station. They were all at various stages of parchedness since they become less and less shaded from the buildings opposite. These were in the middle of the row

On Saturday I pushed the brief a little with this shot of an insect, there is a leaf in the background. I was taking a picture of some little violet flowers at the time when I noticed the insect

I had taken quite a few pics this week that didn't make it to the final 7, here's some of them:

One of our chilli plants:

And a play with the auto focus / exposure lock on my iPhone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Week 30 of the photo a day challenge

This week's theme was "A week in the life.....". This theme was about portraying ourselves and our life in any way we wanted.

I started out with a bit of a plan to pick something each day that was an important aspect of my week, washing on a Sunday, walking to school one Monday, catching the train to work on a Tuesday, being in the office on a Wednesday..... But it didn't quite work out like that. It was the first day of the school holidays and a busy week at work for me and I found all my inspiration went out of the window. Plus having such a loose brief meant I struggled to focus.

Day 202, Sunday - a trip to my mother-in-law's and lunch outside in the garden

Monday - I usually work from home on Mondays but as this was the first week of the school holidays I decided to go into the office otherwise I wouldn't get much done with the kids at home. I had so much to do that I even had to work on the train on the way home

Tuesday - an evening battle to get my daughter to stay in bed, she ended up sleeping in my bed, with a fluffy teddy and a headband - which is looking strangely like a halo here

Wednesday - my least favourite part of the day, battling through the crowd at the train station to get my train

Thursday - meeeeeee time! A lovely bath, I try to have one a few nights a week

Friday - we managed to get away to Ambleside this weekend, this was the view as we got out of the car

Saturday - Full American breakfast at the B&B, weekends are really the only time I get chance to have breakfast

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Week 29 of the photo a day challenge

The theme this week was "signs". The brief didn't limit us to actual signage but could also include the signs of things, like the signs of pregnancy, tiredness, happiness etc. A self-directed theme within the theme was allowed too. I didn't strictly stick to a theme, though most of my shots this week focused on people and street photography.

On Sunday, however I couldn't resist this public footpath sign we saw when taking the dog on his first family walk

During in the week I have been trying to capture commuters on my way to work to practise my street photography, so this theme gave the perfect opportunity to practise. Monday's shot was of the lollipop lady helping people cross the road, a sign that it was school run time (I work from home on a Monday so no commuter shots today)

Tuesday's photo was a sign of boredom, people waiting for a delayed train

On Wednesday I was taking a photo of this chap for my commuter blog, the sun was shining on my phone screen so I couldn't really see what I was getting and when I reviewed them on the train journey to work I was delighted to see that I'd caught this sign of tiredness -yawning

On Thursday I was hoping to get something on the way home and happened to walk passed this scene - a sign of confusion as it takes three student to put up a tripod.

On Friday the train station was predictably busy - a sign of home time!

I finished the week thinking about next week's theme. I didn't go out on Saturday so no commuter shots (though I have collected a few during the week that could've been used - I'll save these for my commuter blog). Next week's theme is "a week in the life of....", it's about portraying your typical week, telling others about yourself and your life through a daily photo.

Emily's new bed had arrived this week and as is typical with anything that needs constructing, it was my job to build it. After laying all the fixtures out in order and lined up I realised that's a sign of me being slightly obsessive, some would say organised, but I'm sure other's would say anal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
All images are owned by Nicola Dawes unless otherwise stated