‘for the love of photography’ – Giggles

A month or so ago i found an awesome small company called Giggles, i think i found them on Pinterest actually when i was searching for interesting things to do with your photos. They create these awesome accordion like sets of photos, they are like a sweet little book with so many possibilities. All you have to do is pick 23 photos and email them away! I chose to send a selection of photos from the past year, so a lot of Grayson and baby franklin :) But you could do something really interesting, almost creating a sequence of photos to make a story as such. They make really unusual and unique gifts too, i plan on getting a few made for christmas this year for sure.
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I love that these two ladies do it all by hand too. Once printed they cut and perforate the strip of photos by hand and it comes in a cute little box. Watch this video to see them at work.

So what did i do with mine? Well i’m resisting separating them all for now and wanted an unusual place to display them. Being a long strip it needed to be a long space. I opted for the bit of the stairs where the ceiling of the bottom floor starts. It’s nice because as you walk down the stairs you get this strip of lovely photos to remind you of the loves in your life! I think i’ll separate them at some point and create a more square display somewhere in the house but it just shows how versatile they are. You could scrap book with them, give a single photo to a friend, keep them in your purse and so on and so on!
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Please visit their website and have a go at creating your own tiny accordion book of photos!

Be right back

I know things have gone quite on the blog over the past week. It’s partly due to illness and partly because i’ve been concentrating on my new range of products and illustrations. I want to take another week off from blogging to carry on with this, so BE RIGHT BACK!!

Review of the Gro company’s Groclock

We have used The Gro company’s Sleeping bags with both our children so it’s a brand i’m definitely a fan of. Grayson has always been a great sleeper, we are lucky, he’s pretty much slept through since 8 weeks which looks to be repeating itself with franklin. However after Graysons accident with his teeth he began waking up through the night, at first to ask for pain relief but after a while i think it became habit. In some nights i was getting up and putting him back in bed 6-7 times a night and it was taking it’s toll on me (i don’t do well with sleep depravation!) So i took to the net and found the Gro-Clock. With over 1000 reviews and an average of 4.5 it couldn’t be irgored.

I wasn’t sure if it would work at first and we did start it at the worst time as Grayson was poorly and bound to be restless at night anyway but we stuck with it.
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It works by allowing the parent to set an awake time, say 6am like ours. When you press the button it goes into sleep mode, a big star and 12 little stars appear. Over the course of the night the little stars disappear and at 6am the sun comes out signifying it’s ok to get up.
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The first night he chatted away to the clock after we tucked him in, ‘stars out, sun come soon, wake up, etc etc. I think it took a good 3-4 days before the night time visits to our room started to dwindle and eventually he started to stay in bed all night. Now and again he will wake up from around 5.30 and i just take him back to bed and explain that he needs to wait until the sun comes out. No arguments or anything, he just falls back to sleep

Overall I would highly recommend the groclock to anyone with a toddler struggling to stay in bed all night. I didn’t believe it would work but it totally has and am soooooo thankful for it! Also Grayson absolutely love it and it’s a great night light too (Grayson also has a green frog night light and a lamp on at night #myboysscaredofthedark! )

They’re back!

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As you know i’ve had a short blog break whilst we changed our hosting provider. It was laborious and annoying but it is done and the site should hopefully be up and running 100%. Whilst away i made sure to get some of my craft projects finished. As discussed before i’ve completely turned a corner with my business and want to go back to some of my old work. So the bear cushions are back! They are still super cute and still super soft. They make perfect cushions for adults and kids alike (my sons adores his)
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They will be in my shop very soon and will be £20 for a cover or £25 with a cushion insert (+shipping, due to bulk) 

I have a massive range of animals i want to make in cushion form and the bears will be in a variety of colours. Up to now i have a prototype dinosaur cushion that uses a pillow for an insert.
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Grayson has this prototype in his room and loves it, he’s constantly running around with it and snuggling up to it, clearly it’s a hit and is perfect for a kids room

In order to fund making these new products i have decided to put my jointed bears on mega sale. These are heavily reduced so jump at your chance to get a unique and handmade jointed teddy bear and help me make more cute cushions
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I will be back on my blog schedule this week so it’s all back to normal around here :)

quick blog update

we are about to switch hosts which means there will be no new posts from me for about a week while we get back up and running again!  see you soon!!! :)

For the love of photos – instagram

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I’m obsessed with it i really am. I love taking photos of my life adding a filter and sharing with the world. I’ve met (virtually) some wonderful people on there too and been inspired by so many. I thought i’d make a collection of people to follow…so here we go…

lindseycbowers – super cute family photos and awesome craft shop

katytwirly – find her at modern mummy

healy25 – again super cute family pics and awesome illustrator

bytheyardcheltenham – an awesome craft shop, i love following their feed and aspire to be stocked by them soon :)

jamgrantham – amazing illustrator

themodernbaby – awesome kids store

immyfinlay – gorgeous black and white family photos, beautiful lady who works in the same school as me :)

bearwithmebook – amazing traveling sketchbook for the great ormond street hosptial

renegadecraft – love seeing all the amazing sellers at these shows, i hope to one day visit one

kayleighomara – amazing illustrator, check her out now!

goldteeth – amazing mummy blogger, gorgeous photos

ixxypoco – incredibly inspiring dieter friend of mine.

tigerlillyquinn – family photos, blogger and amazing shop

This was just a quick ‘photos’ post as i have some big posts coming up and i’m a bit behind with the blog schedule due to general family busyness!

turning 30

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Tomorrow i turn thirty. I didn’t think it bothered me that much but i seem to be stressing about everything at the minute. I’ve always hated birthdays, i hate the attention on me. Christmas is fine because everyone gets presents, i just end up feeling bad about receiving gifts or something, like i don’t feel like i deserve them. i have told my husband not to bother, which he has totally ignored but i still have no idea what it is. I just hope Grayson doesn’t get too upset as he keeps asking when his birthday is (september) and being disappointed when i say it’s mine soon. I may have to buy him a little something something to butter him up. We have been clashing quite badly over the past few days. He’s answering back to me a lot and i’m being super grumpy with him. I just hope this passes soon, maybe its my birthday grump and it will all be over soon.

So i thought seeing as it’s my 30th and so far 2014 has been a bit pants i thought i’d join in with meet me at mikes ‘taking stock’ post, so here it is…

Making : new products – bear cushions and more!
Cooking : crappy, unhealthy quick, food recently but looking at more healthy stuff this week
Drinking : camomile tea, i hated it now i love it and can’t get enough
Reading: john steinbecks ‘east of eden’
Wanting: an analogue camera to go back to the film days
Looking: at pics of hamsters and rats on pinterest as i want a pet
Playing: london grammar, ALL THE TIME
Deciding: what furniture to buy for graysons new bedroom
Wishing: we had our own house so i could decorate
Enjoying: my new short hair
Waiting: for franklin to sit up on his own so I don’t have to constantly hold him, he’s so heavy!
Liking: my blog
Wondering: whether to go into primary school teaching
Loving: yoga
Pondering: what my life will hold
Considering: joining yoga today for daily hour routines
Watching: a lot of panel shows and QI, not much else on and i don’t have time
Hoping: me and my eldest click back into sync soon, i hate feeling like he’s doing my head in :(
Marvelling: at my children
Needing: to learn patience with my 3 year old, who keeps testing them
Smelling: my babies hair
Wearing: oversized jumpers and boyish styles yet still feeling super good with my short hair
Following: lots of awesome bloggers that inspire me
Noticing: Grayson copying phrases I say
Knowing: i don’t have enough time in the day to get done what needs to be done
Thinking: there should be more hours in the day!
Feeling: a bit low and constantly tired
Admiring: other peoples perfect lives
Sorting: toys, always toys!
Buying: material for my new products
Getting: excited to have january over, it’s been a bit pants so far
Bookmarking: i don’t really bookmark, i used pinterest and bloglovin
Disliking: birthdays
Opening: presents this week even though i hate birthday presents
Giggling: with my kids
Feeling: like I’m on a rollarcoaster

do you want to take stock on the year so far?

A new direction

I have been making jointed teddy bears for a few years now and i do really enjoy it, i’ve sold a few but not many and not enough to make it a ‘job’. After attending a dedicated teddy bear fair last year i realised how hard the teddy bear market is, it’s a cut throat business of collectors. You have to be a known maker to even sell anything and i’m not sure i want to wait years before i ‘make it’
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So i have decided to have a go at making some of my old products again. Specifically the bear cushions. I was starting to worry about all the safety laws in the UK with things that could be classed as toys. My bears always stated they were not toys and for collectors only but because they are toy like and often bought by parents for new babies and things it’s definitely something i was concerned about. My bear cushions however, even if they are bought for a child are not classed as a toy and so don’t need to be tested as such (or at least thats how i understand it)
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I plan on redesigning them a little and adding a lot more designs and animals but in essence they are still the super cute cushions that everyone loved. So far i have a dinosaur cut out that uses a pillow as his insides, so he’s nice and big and super cuddly (love this fella, can’t wait to add more colour ways) and i’m going to do a heart for valentines day. As soon as i source the face fabric i used to use i will have the ‘bears’ back in production

I will hopefully have them in my shop very soon

For the love of photos – Taking photos of children

My kids…It’s the thing i take photos of the most, but up until recently i was always a bit hit and miss with lovely sharp images and sharp images are always a challenge with fast moving babies and toddlers, oh and when your toddler now always says ‘no cheese’ when you point a camera at them so you have to be super quick in order to avoid a photo of their hand in the lens!

I’ve always loved photography and have a very basic grasp on how a camera works. Up until now I had always followed the rule that your shutter speed should always be higher than lenses focal length. This worked most of the time with my nifty fifty canon lens but I got the feeling I was just floating through not getting the best shots I could.

I took to Pinterest, my favourite tool at the minute to search for things, you get more interesting results I think than google sometimes anyway found a blog with some tips on and annoyingly I didn’t pin it so I don’t have it to hand but the basic gist was to try and have your shutter speed set between 1/100 – 1/200 (or more if possible) of a second in order to freeze the moment. I’ve took this rule and ran with it this week and I’ve absolutely loved the results!
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Some photos are abit dark as it’s dull outside and purely window light that I’m relying on but with the help of a high ISO and post editing I got some amazing shots.

I’m also loving setting my camera to black and white and keeping it like that all day, you’ll be surprised with how many keepers you get.

My tips for getting great shots of your kids

Aperture

If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses try and get a lens with a low aperture number. My current lens is f2.8 but I’m hoping to get a f1.8 soon. This allows you to have a faster shutter speed. do be weary though as using that low number means a shallow depth of field which limits what’s in focus in your photo, you have to be super sure your focusing on the correct part and stay very still. It’s always a good option to focus on your child’s eyes. My camera is touch screen so I can tap the eye and it takes a photo as soon as it’s locked on which is really handy.

Shutter speeds

Use between 1/100 – 1/200 or faster if it’s well lit.

ISO

Try it on 400 if it’s dark you can post edit it and you’ll probably find its nice and sharp because you’ve used a fast shutter speed. Every now and again though I put it on auto and the camera picks, let’s say 1600 which makes it perfectly exposed but a little noisey so it’s totally personal preference there.

Composition

I love having something in the foreground out of focus and my child in focus in a part of the photo, it often creates quite a dramatic effect. just experiement and don’t just make them pose! Candid shots are always the best!
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Think about lighting too – the top two photos of franklin where so close to the natural light that it lit him perfectly, you want a contrast between light and dark especially when using black and white photos, otherwise they just look washed out.

Editing

I dont use anything fancy like Photoshop, I simply edit in aperture which I use as my library management. I also use camera bag which is great if you love retro filters and things

I’ve pinned a few sites with lots of hints and tips and popped them on my ‘for the love of photos’ board
Follow Sian Wheatcroft’s board for the love of photos on Pinterest.

My stress free life – Yoga

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I haven’t updated in this feature for a while have i? My quest for a stress free life is very much on ongoing task and i’m not sure it will ever be truly fulfilled but i’m making progress even if it is super slow.

I tried reading some books on how to cut out stress at first but i just can’t find the time and this was causing more stress so i gave up on that. I have however started doing yoga. Yoga is something i’ve done before, intact it’s pretty much the only form of exercise i enjoy. I feel good when i practicing it and i feel good after.

I’ve started small, i am trying to do it everyday but with a house to run and two children it can be hard to find the time and energy. So i turned to podcasts and found yoga todays podcasts. They are around 10 minutes long which is great as i put the kids to bed and do a super quick session that it hardly impedes on my evenings tasks and i really look forward to that ‘me’ time. Twice a week me and the husband try and do a longer session together, around 30-40 minutes which is also great too and it makes us spend quality time together which is something we often forget to do when we have children!

If i continue to enjoy it as much as i am right now i think i might join the yoga today website, it’s only $9 a month so in good old english pounds thats not much really when you think how much a gym membership costs. They post a new 1 hour session EVERY day which is a bit hardcore for me right now but i would love to get to that point.

I have been doing the yoga everyday for about a week now, so pretty much the whole of the new year. I’m already starting to feel stronger and more flexible and as for stress relief, it’s early days but exercise is proven to reduce stress and i think forcing myself to have that ‘me’ time and an almost mediative activity will definitely help.

Follow Sian Wheatcroft’s board Everyday I yoga on Pinterest.