Thank-you!

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THIS IS MY 100TH POST (yay! Who’d have thought I’d make it!) AND I’D LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SEND AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

To the beautiful people who read, “like”, and take the time to comment on my blog . . .

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You know who you are and you absolutely make my day!

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I know not replying to comments left on my blog is controversial in Blogland because it is, after all, a “social”  platform.

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But, thank-you from the bottom of my heart to those who have stuck by me anyway.

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 It means so much. xoxoxoxox

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I snorty-laughed, wept and rejoiced reading the amazing comments left on my last post The Doily Den.
THANK-YOU 10In fact, I loved the comments from Sonya, The Contented Crafter, Gentle Stitches, The Snail Of Happiness, Big White House On The Hill, Colour Pencil 2014 (Mrs Walker Goes Back To School), Born To Organise (Gardening Nirvana), Linda at Simply Made Kitchen And Crafts, Boomdeeadda, Quarter Acre Lifestyle, Urban Overalls, LB at Life On The Bike And Other Fab Things, Narf at The Road To Serendipity and Kathy and Deb at Second Hand Roses sooooooo much – and am soooooo grateful for your continued support – that I really wanted to be able to channel my inner Oprah and Ellen and make you all a “Teddy and Tottie – style” crochet star Christmas bunting.

But, alas, the way life has been lately, I’d still be making you all buntings in five Christmases time!!!

So, how’s about this – I have two Christmas buntings to give away to two of the lovely commenters above.

Sorry “likers”!! I still love you very much for “liking” my posts and, believe me, if I was Oprah or Ellen I’d have “my team” make you all Christmas star bunting, too!! Ha!

If any of you kindly commenters named above don’t wish to take part in the draw that’s no worries, just let me know via The Contact page above – and I just send you my sincere thanks instead. If you win you would need to send me your address via “The Contact” page also and some of you may not wish to do that.

To any other wonderful people who leave a comment on The Doily Den after this post is published, I’m so sorry but I will draw two winners today out of my trusty “I blog therefore I am” mug and will announce them in my next post.  So thank-you in advance if you still choose to leave a comment on my The Doily Den post after the event.

Oh! Here is an example of said bunting to help you commenting-stars above decide if you would like to have your name entered in the draw.

(I know it’s way too early and kinda depressing but sing along with me anyway …

“We wish you a Merry Christmas,

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“We wish you a Merry Christmas,

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“We wish you a Merry Christmas,

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“And a Happy

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“New

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“Year!”

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Gosh, you’re all good sports!

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Good luck in the draw!

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And keep an eye out for my next post (101st!) in which I will announce the winners of the Christmas star buntings.

Yay!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

The Doily Den …

17 Comments

… (or the room formerly known as Beautiful)!

You see, quite a few years ago when we moved into TeddyandTottieLand we had no trouble filling all the purposeful rooms with appropriate furniture and things we already had. But the room closest to the front door – and closest to my beloved Oasis Out The Front Door – took a while to evolve.

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It was, for a large part of our occupation of TeddyandTottieLand, a “formal lounge room” that we actually sat in with guests just once!

It had a pretty floral couch, two matching arm chairs and a few paintings and statues dotted here and there. And that was it.

For a while it suited the control freak in me because, while the rest of the house was often in chaos, it stood as a monument to cleanliness and order.  And a quick vacuum and dust every now and again was all it took to keep it that way.

One day, Teddy asked if he and Tottie, both about 5 at the time, could play in “The Beautiful Room”. I asked where that was and he walked me to this soulless but clean shrine to control that had no real purpose.

We giggled at tiny Teddy’s name for the room, though, and it stuck for a long time.

But then I had an idea.

What if I gave this room a purpose and turned it into something of a craft haven – for me! A bit of an indoor Oasis, if you like.

Sounds a little selfish to make it my own, I know, but Teddy and Tottie already had a few fun havens dotted around the place and The hardworking Committee isn’t really a “home haven” kind of guy.

So, gradually, over many years, “The Beautiful Room” has evolved into “The Doily Den”.

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The Committee doesn’t dare speak ill of crafts (he, he, he!) and Teddy and Tottie, now 11, love coming into The Doily Den with me while I’m crocheting, writing a blog or taking photos. It’s the cats’ favourite room in the house and Jet occasionally pokes his nose in, but would much rather be outside in The Oasis.

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The only people who aren’t all that happy about the demise of The Beautiful Room are The Givers. (Oh, I’m sure The Committee and The Travellers aren’t all that happy either, but they are probably a bit scared to say! Ha! I’m such an Ogre!)

On their visits, The Givers politely, and with tongues firmly planted in cheeks, despair at The Doily Den’s latest op shop (thrift shop) furniture configuration, or the (ahem!) new batch of wool that has been purchased, or the strewn vintage items waiting to be listed on Etsy.

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But they all know I love this space of mine and we all have a laugh about it and move on.

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So, would you like to come in and see what this creative space is all about?

Please do keep in mind, it has been years in the making – and has only recently become a  functional, organised work space. (Just ask the funny Givers!).

I even have a tour guide ready to welcome you as you enter.

Take it away … Oscar!

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Oscar: “Thank-you, thank-you”

“Yes, please line up in an orderly fashion for your tour.

“No flash photography or eating or drinking is permitted and if you need to use the bathroom there is The Oasis Out The Front Door to your right …”

Dani: “Ahem! Oscar, that’s where you go to the bathroom, but these good folks – um! I know you love your moments in the spotlight Oscar but do you think we should just get on with the tour.”

Oscar: “Righto, righto, but don’t blame me if people are looking for litter boxes half way through …

“Now, folks, step this way and instantly see some of the Teddy and Tottie creator’s true loves – crochet, wool and vintage suitcases (these are great for alternative storage apparently, but I’d rather sleep in them.)

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“To your left you will see Dani’s recently created mini-photo studio, which you can read about here and here. (A lot of cussing still emanates from this part of The Doily Den and we cats cover our ears.)

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“This is one of her latest creations – a star bunting – being photographed.

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“And the flower bunting in the same colours is next …

THE DOILY DEN 34“To the right of all of this is Dani’s late grandfather’s beloved wooden ladder.

“It serves as an interesting ‘prop holder’ during photography sessions.

“In fact, most of what you will see on this tour, folks has been reclaimed, recycled, thrifted – and best of all – been passed on from grandparents so a part of them resides in this creative haven, too.

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“Props”

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“Now, moving right along – no stragglers please – next is the mantelpiece above the fire with the much-loved peony picture (The Givers love this!) and The Committee’s late grandmother’s old tea set.

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“And some doilies, of course!

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“Why doilies? Well, it’s a question me and the cats have asked Dani many times – and we still don’t get it!

“Apparently, they are thrifted and made into bunting and hung in this room because they are pretty, have history and are largely unwanted.

“See what we mean!?!

“Anyhoo, next is a lovely old sewing machine from a dear friend who very sadly passed away …

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“And some sewing essentials …

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… and material that might one day be made into something (but don’t hold your breath!)

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“Flower bunting also hangs everywhere and we cats get very annoyed because it’s usually too high up for us to play with!

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“Then there’s the thrifted dolls house/bookcase containing all sorts of craft books …

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and the hub of Teddy and Tottie blogging and Etsy – the desk overlooking The Oasis.

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“With doilies strung above …

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“And who’s that we spy on the old chair?

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“Yes, it’s Tigger fast asleep.

“Thanks for the help with the tour, buddy!

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Next, is the main wool collection and “bunting blocking/steaming area”

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“Leaving the best until last, we’ll move to the centre of the room now – where Slinky is sleeping on the job!

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“Gee, sorry Slinky. Did I disturb you on this tour you and Tigger are supposed to be helping me with?

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“So, it’s on these two, comfy, op shop chairs where the crocheting mostly happens, folks.

“Lots of Christmas colours at the ready there, I see.

“Good grief, it can’t be close to Christmas, surely! I must get cracking with my list to Santa!

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“Now, we are coming to the conclusion of our tour, good people, but just before it ends, we cats have shown you some of our favourite places to lounge in The Doily Den and now we’d like to show you our favourite item in here.

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“Don’t you love that book?

“And now, here’s Dani’s favourite items in the Den …

“Beautiful gifts from blogging friends from all over the world.

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“These beauties are often used as bookmarks (especially the gorgeous stamp bookmarks!!!) but were put here for the purposes of this tour to display their collective beauty.

“So, I hope you have enjoyed the first ever tour of the newly purposeful Doily Den, folks

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“Please have a safe trip home – and do hug your cats when you get there.

“This is Oscar signing off!”

xoxoxoxox

Hello Blossom!

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I was born two weeks late and have been pretty much late for everything ever since.

And my beloved patch of Earth I call The Oasis Out The Front Door is often on the late side as well.

Whilst blossoms have been seductively cascading and thrilling onlookers all around our town since early September, The Oasis’ two prized Japanese Crab Apples (Malus floribunda) have just today decided to put on their annual show.

And what a show it is!

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It’s intoxicating …

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for me and …

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… an army of bees in a frenzy to collect pollen whilst the blooms last.

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Nothing says Spring like the collective buzzing of busy bees.

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Whilst I can’t get Teddy and Tottie overly interested in the masses of cascading blossoms – and The hardworking Committee is literally too busy at work at the moment to stop and smell the flowers -

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there is one member of TeddyandTottieLand who delights in all Spring in The Oasis has to offer.

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Here’s a cute hint …

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Slinky Malinki is a warm weather boy without a doubt.

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And, although I love The Oasis with all my heart, I think Slinky loves it even more.

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The Oasis, or any garden for that matter, has so many lessons to teach us about life, don’t you think?

One of them is definitely learning the art of patience and another is learning to take the good with the bad.

So, whilst I revel in the joy of another season of majestic blossoms, I quietly shriek when I look at the work ahead to get our veggie patches ready for planting in late October/early November.

The weeds have taken over.

Yikes!

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OK, back to pretty things for now …

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… and hard work tomorrow.

xoxoxox

Gladys Kravitz

17 Comments

When I was young I didn’t watch a lot of TV but the shows I did watch I loved.

My favourite of all time was Bewitched.

I dreamt of having Samantha’s cool witch powers – and her blonde, sort of sitty-uppy hair!

The beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha in Bewitched.

I loved all of the Bewitched characters – the slightly scary (for a young girl!) Endora, funny Uncle Arthur, Dr Bombay, Aunt Hagatha, cheeky Sabrina and hapless Darren.

But, one of my all-time favourites (along with Samantha), was Gladys Kravitz – the nosy next-door neighbour.

Gladys Kravitz was played by two actors, Alice Pearce from the show’s premiere in 1964 until her death in 1966 and then by Sandra Gould from 1966 until her last appearance in 1971.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Gladys and her nosy, interfering ways on our early morning walks lately.

In fact, I’ve had the distinct feeling that our every move is being – WATCHED – not through lace curtains or cute mid-century French windows, but through gum trees.

Yes, please meet our very own Gladys Kravitz …

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Gladys the horse, as Jet and I have named her, is very interested in what we are up to on our walks.

I’m sure she thinks Jet is a mini horse with magic powers – she is totally fascinated by him.

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But, unfortunately for Gladys, Jet only has eyes for Sally (who lives a little further down the road).

Poor Gladys!

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So, I tried to make up for Jet’s lack of interest in our new nosy friend by showering her in attention.

What I didn’t realise, though, is Gladys is not only nosy, but has little regard for one’s personal space.

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She was most interested in me and started nibbling on my woollen jumper!

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I had solid “bush” on the roadside around me and couldn’t take a step back …

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so, I kept asking Gladys politely if she wouldn’t mind taking a step back ..

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… to no avail.

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Then, she remembered the real reason she keeps a close eye on us on our walks -

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– her true love – the mini black horse!

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Yes, Jet came and saved the day – and the beautiful Gladys took a step back and gave me breathing space -

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and some lovely photo opportunities.

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She’s such a sweetie -

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Yes, she may be nosy, like her namesake,

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 but she is a lovely new friend on our morning walks.

xoxoxoxoxox

 

Bunting for Boomdeeadda

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The gorgeous Boomdeeadda requested my first ever custom order for Crochet Flower Bunting on Etsy this week and I was so happy I ran out our front door and did a jolly jig in The Oasis!

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 In typical Boomdee style, her colour choice of sea foam, soft pink and soft white for the bunting was inspired.

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Not usually one for the more pastel tones, I fell in love with these colours during several hours of happy bunting-making.

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Can’t wait to see it hanging in its final destination – Boomdee’s craft room, world famously known as The Boom Room!

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I still need to work on my indoor photography …

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And the bunting still needs to be blocked (to smooth out the curly-up bits!) before it’s shipped to beautiful Canada.

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But I hope you like it, dear Boomdee (and another small surprise in the package, too!)

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BECAUSE …

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And blogging friends are the bomb!

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Time for another jolly jig!

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Thank-you!

wobbly-Take Two!

8 Comments

Thanks so much to everyone for their beautiful, encouraging comments on my last post, chucking a wobbly. (I’m still snorty laughing over your comment, LB!!)

Without you all, I probably wouldn’t have continued bravely into the perfect storm of indoor photography – and, staring down the beast, wouldn’t have unlocked two more of its mysteries.

But more about those soon.

First, more cat distractions whilst trying to perfect product photography!

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Slinky cut a fine figure but I was in kind of a rush to experiment with products for sale a little more!

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While Tigger played the “charm card”. “What? Well, you are taking pictures of orange things!”

And Oscar just generally distracted me with mountains of fur! (Which, incidentally, is being professionally groomed tomorrow. Hysterical pictures to come!)

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Two wonderful bloggers, Alys from Gardening Nirvana and Pauline from The Contented Crafter, as well as leaving their usual, encouraging, kind and thoughtful comments, quite rightly asked some important questions that could and should have been answered in my last post.

So, here I am to atone.

Also, BREAKING NEWS: The gorgeous Boomdeeadda has just custom ordered a crochet flower bunting from my Etsy shop, having seen them in my first post about my terrible photography tantrums!

Boomdee is currently decorating her world-famous craft room – the Boom Room – and would like some of my little ‘ol bunting in colours to match! She’s a gem!

But back to more indoor photography trials and tribulations!

As you know from last time, this is pretty much my indoor photography set up.

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It consists of a solid white MDF base, one large, lightweight, white solid plastic sheet leaning against the back wall and two small solid ones on either side to hopefully bounce light back onto the subject. All of this was purchased quite cheaply at a large hardware store. I then drape a white sheet of paper (a paper tablecloth from a party shop) over the back board and base board to eliminate a harsh line between the two.

As I said previously, I had a basic, relatively cheap point-and-shoot camera already, which has quite a large lens. I was told a larger lens allows for more light, but who knows if that’s true.

I did splurge a little on a middle-of-the-range tripod, which of course is great for holding the camera steady when taking product shots.

I was also lucky enough to already have some work lights on stands in the shed because The hard-working Committee has accumulated those sorts of blokey things over the years for when we’ve repainted or had work to do in the roof space, etc.

The first lot were LED (tungsten) lights, which were excellent light-wise (see my pictures under Crochet Flower Bunting Garland Love on the right) but shocking heat-wise. I was sweating all over five minutes into a photo shoot and, ten minutes in, couldn’t physically stand near them any more.

So back out to the shed they went.

I fossicked around and found one set of fluorescent lights on a stand and they turned out to be much cooler. The light isn’t as good for indoor photography and I think that’s partly why I’ve had so many issues (and wobbly chuckings!) over the past week.

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But, onto my discoveries!

I was aiming the fluoro lights straight at the subjects because the light wasn’t bright enough when bouncing it off the ceiling (like I had done to good effect with the tungsten lights.) So, off I went to the hardware store and bought one more fluorescent light.

And this is how things look now.

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Aiming the two fluorescent lights straight at products was washing them out and creating shadows – so now with one more light – and aiming them at the ceiling – I’ve achieved a bit better result and a more natural look.

So, first discovery – bouncing light off the ceiling gave me a softer light (Aaahh! der! every professional photographer in the world just sighed!)

The second discovery was a bit “der-ish” as well. In fact, some may say I’ve been very daft!

You see, here I was all this time cursing iPhoto for its lack of photo editing tools when I realised there were two more tabs I had never clicked on!

Good grief!

It’s opened up a whole new world – I can lighten photos and make them a little sharper, etc. etc. Wow!

I know, Dani with the late news!

The great thing about these newly discovered photo editing tools is they help to make the product look more like it does with the natural eye, which is so very handy when you are selling your goods on line and people want to know exactly how the product looks before they buy.

So, here’s where I have progressed to …

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For Alys: I have been scouring op shops (thrift shops) for props to help with photo styling (ha!) and came across these gorgeous little felt dresses for a bargain. Must try and make some myself one day!

There’s still a bit of work to do …CROCHET FLOWER BUNTING:GARLAND 10

And now for a close-up.

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And for another colour …

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I’ve still got a lot to learn about the mysteries of indoor product photography, but little by little …

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I hope that has helped answer a few questions from my first indoor product photography post, chucking a wobbly, but if it hasn’t feel free to ask any others you may have.

Now off to unlock the mysteries of photo editing – and to make some custom-ordered bunting …..

xoxoxoxoxoxox

chucking a wobbly

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The Urban Dictionary defines “chucking a wobbly” as:

“To throw a tantrum.”

AND

“Reached the end of rational thought and action.”

And it gives this example: “You had a flat tire, you weren’t in auto club, mobile phone was out of batteries, late for work without a note and there were no tools in the car so you chuck a wobbly.”

It also states that this saying was: “Thought to have originated in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.”

I, personally, have never had any trouble chucking a wobbly.

For instance, when I was about two years old I couldn’t turn on a tap – wobbly time!

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And I felt much the same way last week when I decided it was time to get a little serious about indoor photography.

You see, the dull winter light just wasn’t cutting it when I tried to take photos of my handmade crochet flower bunting/garland. (The photo below isn’t too bad, but I had to bolt to the camera when the sun appeared from behind the clouds – and just as quickly it disappeared again.)

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So, I did what most do today and turned to the Internet for ideas, suggestions and recommendations on how to set up a small indoor studio on a budget.

I came away with some fabulous information and was quite optimistic that by the end of the day I’d be taking fabulous snaps in my reasonably-priced mini studio.

I was as happy as when I was four – and twice as naive!

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Luckily, I already had a reasonably good point and shoot camera, but apparently I needed a tripod, a white background and, of course, some form of lighting.

So, first came the background – solid white MDF for the base and a lightweight, large plasticky-type sheet to lean against the wall.

And that certainly improved things a little.

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But, oh, let there be light!

We are blessed in TeddyandTottieLand with good natural light for outdoor photography but indoor is a very different story.

There was nothing for it but to experiment, experiment, experiment.

One type of lighting made me feel a little blue! Chucking a wobbly time!

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The next lot made me feel a little washed out! Wobbly time!

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Then, slightly less blue but still not great! Wobbly ….. well, you know!

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Then I got the light right, but had cat issues …

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“Are you talking about me?”

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Yes, Tigger, you little monkey!

Eventually, after days and days of dusting off cobwebs from different work lights found in the shed, and fiddling with settings on the camera – and basically sheer dumb luck – I have stumbled across a set up that’s acceptable.

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Don’t laugh you professional photographers out there!

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I’m all for “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”, but sometimes you’ve just got to call it quits before they cart you away!

So, this is the final result … for now …

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And, at least I can take photos any time now – day or night – without depending on the sun being out.

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It’s far from perfect, but you get the idea.

My close-up focus especially needs some work.

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But I think that’s a problem for next week!

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In the meantime, bring on the chamomile tea!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox