It’s been… AGES!!!!

Oh sigh, I’m one of those people that once I’m in a groove, I am great – I am in the flow, I am productive, I am consistent… BUT, if I get out of the groove – Totally hopelss at getting back in it! So this is what has happened here, I got out of the groove.. I neglected my blog. Life took over. Motherhood. Yes that’s right, Real Life.

And hey, you know what, I realised that is OK!

As the days went past I grew more distant from my bog as life got busier, and it got harder to get myself to add a new post. I kept telling myself I should. And then the guilt took over. Which is a horrible, silly thing to feel about a blog. This was supposed to be fun, a way of sharing my ideas and creative experiences, a way of sharing my motherhood. Not a ball and chain around my ankle, a lead weight on my shoulders. It was not supposed to bring me down. I have enough demands already to add another self imposed one to the list. So I have had to have a serious word with myself, and let go of the guilt, and the pressure, and let go a bit. It is ok to get out of the groove here. So long as I can focus on the important things in life, having fun with my boys and trying to find time to be creative for myself. I am going to stop feeling like this is something I HAVE to do, and more like it is something I WANT to do. Not necessarily once a week (my original aim) but simply when the whimsy takes me. (I no, don’t think I have ever written the word ‘whimsy’ in my life before).

So what I have I been up to in the past 7 or so weeks? Too many things to count!

Here are a selection of some moments…

MAIDFinallly got some business cards printed for my new lable. ‘MAID” stands for Maker, Artist, Illustrator and Designer. Whoop! I will be adding things to http://www.phoebegander.com for sale in New Zeland, but again, progress is slow due to my limited time to be creative!

IMG_2288 Flower and shell arrangement for me from Sen. Love him. X

DSCF1458Making felt pizzas.

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Zuchinni brownies. Making. Eating. YUM.IMG_3046These two. XXXXXXXX

Right, I have quite a few blog posts to add, but they will come when I have the time and energy, and not a moment sooner! x

 

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An Obsession with Polymer Clay

So, it appears I have gone “cray cray” over polymer clay. Ever since seeing a friend wearing a necklace a few weeks ago with these beautifully coloured beads that looked as if they were made of sugar candy, I knew I had to get my hands on the stuff. I literally started dreaming about it. And now I have, I have found it is deeply theraputic to mix different coloured clay to exactly the right shade, and shape the clay into perfectly round balls, or try to create a geometric shape that doesn’t look like a half chewed peice of cheese (harder then you would think). The best thing about it is its relatively mess free but still very tactile, doesn’t take up much space and I can craft away at the kitchen table whilst listening to a bit of BBC radio and sipping on a cup of tea. Bliss. But then I realised that I needed to have a purpose, rather then just aimlessly making shapes, so inspired by that necklace that started me off I am dipping my toes into making some jewellery. Dangerous waters I feel, as polymer clay can easily be Bad with a caplital B…a box of goodies

The supplies arrived. You gotta love the internet! Oops I may have sneaked in more then just polymer clay…

 candy beads

Ok so the clay I am using is called Premo Sculpty, but I know that ‘another’ name for this stuff, the name I remember it by, is Fimo. But Fimo, woah, wait a minute, that is just not cool. I mean, its for kids surely? – I first found love with polymer clay back when I was about 12, I remember hours spent creating ‘delightful’ jewellery containing teeny tiny models of fruit. A whole greengrocers strung on a necklace if I remember correctly. Ahhh bless my mum for wearing my creations! Luckily, I feel my skill level and tastes may have (fingers tightly crossed) improved 20 years on so I am hoping that my new found obsession may acually be profitable this time round. And I am determined to make fimo, ahem, I mean polyer clay, cool again! Yeah baby! (Memo to self – steering well clear of miniture bananas is key)

Ta Dah!!! Freshly baked clay beads and earings (No fruits were attempted at any stage)

polymer earings

tutti fruiti polymer necklaceI hope I’m still allowed to use fruity colours…?

Its still a work in progress creating them into wearable peices of jewellery but I hope to have enough made up to be able to sell them soon! I am thinking etsy and my facebook page… I will also do a little tutorial too so watch this space…………………………….. (Not actually that space. That would be silly) x

10 Tips for Photographing Children

I’ve done my fair share of photographing children and babies, not only as a professional but of my own (poor over-papped) children. And, as most parents know, its easier said then done to get a decent picture. Still, practice makes perfect and I have learnt quite a few tricks on the way, some of which I thought I’d share so others can maybe take a more ‘frame worthy’ photo of their kids.

They say a poor workman always blames his tools, but with photography it really does help to have a half decent camera, and a basic understanding of how it works… that said, you dont have to spend thousands on the latest SLR, most digital cameras nowadays have settings such as ‘macro’, ‘sport’ and surpressing flash. My best peice of advice is whatever camera you have READ the manual! I know, its dull. No one wants to read the manual. Ok so you probably won’t, but it will save you frustraion in the long run and you WILL get better photos if you know how to properly use the functions on your camera, but to save you time…

Here are my top 10 tips for the novice!

  • use the sport mode…

 Most cameras have ‘sport’ mode, usuallly a speedy looking person (or perhaps zumba-esque?!) like this:sport modeIt will enable you to capture them in at a fast shutter speed, therefore in action. Cos lets face it, kids move, a lot. Better still, some cameras allow for ‘continous shooting’ where by pressing your finger down on the button it will fire off a succession of photographs very quickly so that later you can just scroll though and pick the ‘winners’. Kids don’t stay still so the sport mode is in my opinion, your best friend when it comes to photographing them to maximise your chance of getting a decent photo – especially if you are trying to snap more then one child!! sportmode

  • use a zoom lens…

You will get get a much better photo if a child is (almost) unaware you are taking their photo.. which seems slightly impossible, unless you factor in a zoom lens. Here’s the usual story – you see your kid doing something that would make a great photo, you run and get your camera, but as soon as you darling child spots the camera its game over. Or, you start trying to get your child to ‘perform’ for the camera, they seem to have a uncanny knack of suddenly acting like a celebrity in a scandal – all coy and running away from the mum-arazzi, totally impossible to photograph… So if you have a zoom lens or decent zoom setting back off, be quiet, patient and let them do there thing, and voila, the photo opportunities present themselves.IMG_1851

  • Use ‘macro’…

OK so its a complete contradiction of my previous tip, but if you have a complient child (usually the under twos, or ok, babies) ‘macro’ or ‘close up’ mode is your answer: macroThe little ‘tulip’ icon means macro, basically alowing you to get closer to your subject and still stay in focus. Make sure you have it set and you will kiss those fuzzy close -up shots goodbye. Sooo many people don’t realise what this simple function can achieve.IMG_1111

  • Change photos to black & white/edit/crop…col:bwSometimes, a photo you didn’t think worth keeping can be saved by a bit of basic editing. You don’t need to have the latest photoshop software, you can easily download Picasa for free, or even edit the photo in your local photo printing shop, as most machines have all the basic functionssuch as cropping, B&W etc.
  • Use a different point of view.

Literally, just get down on their level, squat, lie down, and see what they are interested in, or get up high and look down on them, try different things other then just standing at your own hight and snapping away mindlessly!

DSCF1218IMG_8368 - Version 2

  • Think about framing

Guess what, you don’t have to have your subject slap bang in the middle of the photo! In fact, the most interesting pictures are more likely to be ones where the viewer’s eye is ‘led’ into the photo, as in the ‘rule of thirds’. And don’t always thing that kids have to be looking straight at the lens to give you a good picture.IMG_1687IMG_1504

  • Be silly – wear a wig/mask/ears etc –

IMG_0740 (2)Yes, I meant you. Although you can get the kids to do this too, but if they see you being silly and having fun, they are more likely to want to play along. You can ask them “where’s the bunny?” whilst wearing silly ears, or act like a clown in a funnny wig to get them laughing and looking at the camera. Cringe worthy, but you who cares if everybody’s having fun?!

  • Props or activities

Use bubbles, ride on or pull along toys, fairy wands, suggest they climb a tree, give them a pile of leaves etc etc… Get them doing something, and you will get a better photo. Here’s where ‘sport’ mode really comes in handy!DSCF8125 - Version 2

  • Turn off your flash.

Find the surpress flash button and use it. Flash kills emotion in a photo, often you can use the natural light available, and if indoor photos are turing out blurry, its more then enough of a reason to get outside! IMG_7556IMG_0761

  • Dont say ‘cheese’… say ‘cheesy feet’…

Kids are pretty easy to make laugh. And if that fails, tell them to scream. Enough said. DSCF5530

I hope this post may have given others some new ideas to try, I will follow it up with tips on photographing babies soon!  If you still don’t think you can take a decent photo, check out and like my facebook page Phoebe Gander Creative and you can get me to come and do the hard work for you!!! x

Finishing a painting…

I was asked by a friend to paint a painting for a space in their house… oh about two years ago! But Along came baby number 2 and then lots of sleep deprivation and a 9 month trip to the UK, and my good intentions alone were not enough to finish it. (how often have I wished I could clone myself!???) Anyway, finally, fiiiiiinally, it is done, and now hanging on their wall and I feel very relived and just a tiny bit pleased with it. It took many different directions before it was finished, many layers of paint and some printing too, but it feels soooooo good to put my ‘Artist’ hat back on!

DSCF8450 - Version 2Close up of ‘Tidal Flow” – Acrylic and woodcarve print on canvas

Tidal FlowMy work in its new home – Im fairly pleased with the outcome!

p.s. I think they are too 😉

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