Bristol in colour

Part of my photography assignment this week was to shoot shapes and colours, and create design by spotting patterns, cropping, and using interesting composition.  Here are some of the things I found…

A taste of the Victorian

I have been having lots of fun wandering around my neighbourhood in Clifton, Bristol and taking photographs of interesting-looking things for my photography course this week.  A star subject is the Victorian-era cemetery nearby, which is redolent of the Victorian obsessions with pomp, sentiment, and death.  There are stone urns draped in stone shrouds, angels with their faces worn by time, and lots of wonderfully carved headstones.

I walk through this cemetery every day on my way to work and I never noticed this feature before.  It is a fountain at the entrance to the graveyard with an inscription that reads “fear of the LORD is a fountain of life”.  How very Victorian.

A cross with dead vines on it… I feel I should be casting locations for vampire films.

The canopy of trees over the walkway that cuts through the cemetery… it’s very lovely on a sunny summer afternoon.  Although part of me feels I should be sashaying through dressed all in black with a heavy veil and a great big bustle, dabbing my eyes with a lacy handkerchief edged in black and embroidered with the hair of the departed…

A day in the life of Sid the frog

As I mentioned before I am taking an online photography course this month.  The course is with Nicole’s Classes and I am finally learning about manual exposure, f/stops, shutter speed, and all sorts of technological things!

Part of our homework for this week was to do creative shooting following a subject around for the day, framing shots in an interesting way, and practicing our manual exposure.  I planned to do my ‘day in the life’ on Sunday, and so of course it rained steadily all day (it hasn’t rained like that here for months!)

My subject was Sid the frog, who was my small furry companion on our travels around the world.  The series is informally titled “Sid’s rainy day”.

Sid reads the sunday papers.

A visit to the sweet shop…

Looking wistfully out at the rainy garden.

Trying on some welly boots…

Checking on the houseplants (they’re growing like gangbusters!)

A bare chair

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we had picked up some rickety chairs at a reclamation yard…

At the time we had acquired lots of bits of wood furniture all at once and I felt that stripping the chairs wasn’t a priority.  They also wobbled.  So they hung around, not really being sat on (the wobbles were just too alarming!), and just filling up space.

But then, I came home one day and Mark had not only fixed and glued them back together to stop the wobbling, but had stripped one of them as well!  It looks amazing, all mottled and worn, paler and warmer-hued than before.

A wonderful surprise!  Three cheers (again) for the furniture-restoring hero!

A visit to UPFEST 2011

This Saturday we walked over to Southville in Bristol to investigate UPFEST 11, an urban paint festival at the Tobacco Factory, a great multi-use facility housing a theatre, dance and voice studios, a gym, restaurant, cafe, and lots of other things as well.  It was awe-inspiring watching the artists spraying/painting, and see the effects they are able to create.  The photos sell it better than I could, although sadly I forgot my camera and had to make do with the iphone again:

This artwork was one of the most compelling.   I think the subject matter was the recent protests in Bristol against a new Tesco Express opening up although I’m not absolutely sure.  The piece changed quite a bit as the day went on although sadly we didn’t stay late enough to see it finished.

Some other pieces which were quite cool:

I can’t claim to know much about the urban paint scene in general or its gender politics in particular, but it was inspiring to see some female artists, in fact a good number of them, working on pieces.  The ones below are works I particularly liked by women but there were quite a few others as well.

The table project

Our latest furniture project is a beautiful gateleg table which we found at a secondhand furniture shop for £65.

The existing finish was a very dark and sticky-looking varnish which was also very, very scratched.  We, meaning 95% Mark, 5% me, stripped and sanded it down over the course of a few weeks – those legs are pretty fiddly to strip, and there are eight of them!  We used a nitro mors stripper in a green tin which seemed to do the job well.

I then polished the top with a wax polish, and it came up beautifully.  I will wax the rest of the table as well, but in the meantime we are using it as a dining table and feeling very elegant indeed.

The next few weeks are shaping up to be quite busy so I think we will pause the furniture projects for the time being.  We have been getting out and about in Bristol though- more on that in the next post!

Cookies and the end of 15 months

Just a quick post this morning because I HAVE TO GO TO WORK!!  Yes, the 15 months of carefree travelling and being a housewife (in an ironic, feminist way) have come to an end and I start my new job today.

To mark my last day of being at home yesterday, I made some chocolate chip cookies.  They look scrumptious (see below) but are not quite as squidgy as I would ideally like them.  (Frankly if the centres were still cookie dough that would be fine by me).  I was trying out a new recipe but I think the Nestle Toll House recipe is still the best- replacing all-purpose flour with bread flour in the UK.

More about the table on which they sit anon…