Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Product Photography

Hello from a seriously soggy North Yorkshire - perfect weather for making headway on To Do lists!

Taking priority on the list for me, was setting up a place where I can do my product photography, without having to take down all the equipment after every session.

my new product photography set up is as near to the roof window as possible

We recently had most of our loft boarded out for storage - oh my word, how much do I love that loft?!?! Complete tangent here - but knowing that we now have somewhere to store...Winter clothes and coats in Summer & vice versa; Ditsy Bird materials and supplies that I don't use regularly; bags; spare bedding; all the stuff that is currently under all the beds due lack of storage; sentimental keepsakes - what a difference this is going to make!

Okay, back to it - I decided that, as there won't be a lot of traffic up there (it will basically just be me, moving things from house to loft and back again), it is the perfect place to set up my lighting, tripod and backdrops.

With this setup, as and when I finish a product, I can whizz up the ladder and take the pics I need, and get straight on to editing and listing - rather than continuing with my current method, of waiting until I've got loads to photo, in order to justify the time spent setting up all the equipment.

Lots of trips up the ladder, lugging gear upstairs; lots of crawling on knees to get things into place (W trusses..ugh!); lots of getting hot and bothered (so warm up there!) later, and it's all set up. Hurrah!

I feel hugely satisfied for having actually got off my bum and done it - plus the exercise I've had climbing those ladders, and lifting kit up there - and for trimming down my current 'to photograph' pile.

Oh yes, very satisfying indeed.

Have you tackled something that's been nattering away at the back of your head for a while, or is there something that you could do, right now, to get a big fat tick on your to do list?

Right then, what's next on that there list...


Just in case anyone is interested, THIS is the lighting set I bought in 2014, after taking THIS course by Alisa Burke. I can highly recommend both the lights, and the course! Best of all, there is currently $10 off the course, in Alisa's Summer sale. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Weekend round up

Good morning, and a happy new week to you all!

So what did you get up to over the weekend? Did you have sunshine?

Ha, that is such a British thing to ask, isn't it?

It was a bit patchy round our neck of the woods, with lots of rain and some sunshine...our plants are very happy about it though.

colour me happy

I lost myself in painting on Saturday - it was utter bliss!

This week is my last in my current job, as I am being made redundant on Thursday, and it's my first time. Hey ho, I'm not the first, and I certainly won't be the last...and frankly, I think I've done well lasting 18 years in a company where I've seen so many people go over the course of that time.

beautiful church and churchyard in Kirkby Lonsdale

I'm quite alright with the no longer working there part, it's just the actual leaving bit - this last week - it's all a bit toe curlingly cringy. I just want to be gone. I hate being the focus of attention, and actively avoid awkward situations, so it's going to be two days that will be spent firmly outside of my comfort zone.

My plan is to act bright and breezy, and eliminate any potential uncomfortable moments...cunning plan, huh?!?!

how's about that for a messy times!

So back to the painting - I just slapped colour on various wooden objects, and continued on, for some very happy hours. Colour happy!

Most are nearly finished, and will soon be ready for the wonderful inking process. Hurrah, my favourite part.

And the cherry on the cake? A damned tasty, takeaway curry in the evening. Perfect.

how fab is this building, with all those windows & a roof like a bushy monobrow?

Sunday involved a lie-in, late breakfast, and a lovely mooch around Kirkby Lonsdale - it is such a pretty town, with little boutique style gift shops, loads of pubs and cafes, and a fabulous gallery. There are some gorgeous riverside walks to be had too, but we were in mooching mode yesterday.

odd place to put a clock, don't you think?

I finally got my hands on some gorgeous oil cloth for our kitchen's still packed away until work has finished in the house, and we're straight again, with everything back where it should be, and lots of stuff hidden away in the soon-to-be boarded loft.

Ooh storage, how I've missed you!

feeling the house love with this beauty, and that completely lush garden

Sunday evening consisted of a Paul cooked chilli prawn linguini; a mini manicure & pedicure, from me to me; and catching up on a couple of episodes of Penny Dreadful. I love it, but it creeps me out big time, so I won't watch it alone. 

And now it's on with a new week, full of potential, and a little more rain for good measure.

Have a good one,

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Shop update Sunday...more new products listed

hot pink butterfly magnet here

Hello there!

We've had a lovely weekend here - nothing majorly exciting occurring, just a bit of clothes shopping for George, over in Harrogate; a trip to the local farm shop yesterday, which has been too busy to venture into until now, and more than exceeded our hopes and expectations; a good spot of gardening this morning in the sunshine; and now a sneaky hour or so on Ditsy Bird, before we have a barbecue. Though looking at the weather, it may end up being an oven!

I've still got boxes in my room, of products requiring photographing, or listing...or even both! And that's me ignoring the 'please finish me', and 'please correct me' boxes. Poor neglected little loves.

I'm tackling this in bite-sized chunks, so that I don't throw my laptop out of the window in frustration.

I'd forgotten just how long it takes to get products listed in the shop - though [ahem] I'm quite sure, that if I did it more regularly (as opposed to leaving pretties languishing in a 'to list' box, for months on end...shame on me) I'd become super, speedy Sarah at the process!
(perhaps I could then don a cape, and be extra-motivated to keep up the good work?!?! though it might get caught in the wheels on the bottom of my chair...wouldn't want to throttle myself in a flurry of listing)

As it is, I'm a little rusty, so bite-sized chunks it is ;)

There are more Ditsy delights in there now - a pretty quartet of magnets, and another of brooches, aswell the beauty of a butterfly at the top of this post.

pretty brooches here

gorgeous magnets here

Happy Sunday folks, and I hope you've enjoyed your weekend!


Friday, 3 July 2015

2015 thus far...

The year isn't going quite as expected. And that's an understatement.

First up - major health scare starting on 18th Feb, and ending on 3rd June.

Very long and convoluted story short:

I had a weird hot flushing reaction to something eaten - the second episode involved not being able to breath properly. Yep, really really scary.
Diagnosed with anaphylaxis with an unknown trigger - epipens prescribed.

Had to show George how to administer the epipens.
He became worried and quite stressed about leaving me alone during the day.

The episodes became more frequent with no real correlation, culminating in 3 within 25 hours, and the last two within an hour - epipen used, and then taken to A&E due to administering adrenalin.

Kept in overnight, loads of tests done, anaphylaxis ruled out, epipens taken away,
no explanation given for the numerous symptoms, and specfically (and importantly) for the downright terrifying breathless episodes.
Advised not to drive alone to work - a 70 mile round trip, with most of it through open countryside.
Given a 24 hour urine test to do, to check for a very rare form of cancer.

A kind of agoraphobia set in, as basically I was scared witless of being at the wheel of the car, with George as a passenger, and me not being able to breath.

lost confidence
retreated into myself
no desire to see anyone as they'd see I wasn't myself, and I really didn't want to discuss things with anyone
became quite down
filled with dread at having this cancer, and having to leave George without his mum, and Paul without his love

Also went down the haematology route, checking for various viruses, and having a CT scan to check that there were no hidden nasties inside my body.

The urine text results took five weeks to come back. Five weeks is a long time to hold your metaphoric breath. And "don't worry".

By then I had fully researched the cancer, and was sure I didn't have it.
Knowing something in your gut, and seeing it on paper, are two very different things.

I then researched my symptoms, and struck gold when I happened upon a site about anxiety attacks. Bingo!

I visited the doctor for help - basically to get out of the house - explained about the (what I thought were) panic attacks, and thankfully he agreed and prescribed beta blockers.
Immediate relief from the debilitating anxiety I'd been feeling. I can not tell you the difference this made.

Thanks to the tablets, I got on the plane for our holiday in Greece. Without them, there would have been no chance of me even getting in the car to go.

Had a wonderful week, forgetting everything at home, until the last day or so.

In the week we got back, over two consecutive days:
I had a bone scan to check for osteoporosis due to having coeliac disease - all fine
I got my CT scan results - no nasties hiding in me
I got my urine test results - no cancer
heck of a week

Thanks to a new ("thank duck for that!") view on life, and the epic pills, I refound my love for Ditsy Bird Designs, and set about showing it that love.

Second up - just two days after I blogged about my new branding, I got a 9:15am phone call from my boss, telling me I'm going to be made redundant. After 18 years.
really? really!


Today...I'm trying really very hard to see this as a positive, and if I take away the mortifying fear of having to go to an interview after EIGHTEEN  years, I genuinely believe it is.

I wasn't particularly happy in my job
I gleaned no real satisfaction from it
there was no challenge in it
it was dull, uninteresting and uninspiring
[but it was safe
it was flexible
it fit in perfectly with basically being a single mum Mon to Fri
I worked autonomously
I'd developed 18 years of trust from my managers]

This morning I read this post, and found it incredibly useful - but that last line, now then...that climbed out of the screen and poked me in the chest, it gave me a cheeky wink, a knowing smile, and went back to it's place.

"Your time is now. So introduce your art to the world." Melody Nieves

I will be working very hard on doing just that.


A hearty items in the shop

Six hanging hearts have just been listed in the webshop!

And about time too - these poor things have been sitting in my workroom for a while now, awaiting their listing turn. There are yet more products to be photographed, and popped into the shop, so I shall keep you updated as and when the listings happen.

Happy Friday folks!