Header Challenge 30th March 2011–“Make Do”

Well Lanny has chosen this weeks challenge and she has chosen “Make do” as our header theme.

Make do brings to my mind DIY jobs that are ok but not brilliant and therefore they will just make do.

One of these was a bird table I knocked together quickly a couple of months ago because the last one had seen better days.

black bird on bird table-1-2

I made it from and old fence post I had lying around and bits of an old wardrobe a friend had given us to chop up for our wood burning stove. Add a couple of hooks for feeders or fat balls and there you have it a make do bird table.

As you can see above, the Blackbird likes it.

great-tit on bird table-1 As does the Great tit.

Since building it my wife bought me a new bird feeder station from ChapelWood wildlife care for my Birthday last week. It’s a Deluxe Wild Bird Dining Station complete with mesh feeding platform, bird bath, and various ornate hanging stations. The birds no longer have to “make do” with just my effort of a bird table, they can enjoy this new purpose built feeding station.

feeding station-1

As you can see below the Blue tits have already found the new feeder…

feeding station blue tit-1

Although I have now got the new feeing station I’ve still left up the old make do bird table. The birds still flock to it and indeed use both just as much. My header proves just that. Taken this afternoon (in the rain) are two Blue tits still enjoying the make do bird table knocked together from an old wardrobe.

Remember to drop in at the other headbangers Lanny, imac, Gailsman, Tom-fishing guy and Sandy,  to see how they make do… for their headers.

Header Challenge 23rd March 2011– Red.

As I’ve posted before photographing colours is a great way to get vibrant eye catching photos, “Colour – Red, Standing out from the crowd”.

So when Tom –fishing guy chose this weeks challenge as “Red” I thought great I’ll get out and about and take lots of bright red things. I’d forgotten that this week I am on placement teaching in a secondary school so I haven't had any time to get out to take all the photos I wanted to take.

I thought well that's not a problem I’ve taken photos of red things in the past I’ll use them. I then remembered that I have only recently done a post on Red for the Brenda photo challenge you can see it here “Embrace Red”.

So not to be outdone I have dug deep into my catalogue of photos. Some of these photos are old some are new but all are Red.

The first one is a recent one taken in our neighbouring village. These gates are on the entrance to the reflective garden and war memorial.


Moving older this was taken at Lego Land Windsor a couple of years ago. He is made entirely of Lego.


Two of my nieces make for a great shot relaxing in the garden at a family get together.

These bollards I spotted whilst on holiday in France last year. I just loved their shape and colour so couldn’t resist taken a photo of them. I’m glad I did now.


Still in France this painting was hanging in the complex we where staying in. The vibrant colours and use of light caught my eye so out came the camera again.


As a precursor to summer, here's a picture of some gorgeous red blooms, and look two red cars in the background too.


Although all of these are full of bright red imagery, for my header this week I have decided to go with a photo I took last week when I was rummaging for retro objects to take pictures of. This was one of my favourite trucks when I was a little boy. Its an American LaFrance Aerial Rescue truck made by Corgi Major Toys. I took the photo on our dining room table and used our smoked glass placemats to give a great reflection. Let me know if you like it.

Well the Red light is on so I’ll stop there…


We have a new member of our headbangers team joining us this week Sandy over at http://slchome.blogspot.com/

Welcome Sandy we look forward to seeing all tour exciting headers and posts. Don’t forget to visit the other headbangers, imac, Tom-fishing guy, Gailsman, Lanny too just click on their names or use the links in the right hand menu bar.

I know I’ve subjected you to lots of red in my posts recently (thanks Tom and Brenda) so how about you telling me via the comments what other colour or subject matter you would like to see more of in future posts just not red for a while please.

Before & After

As part of The Brenda Photo Challenge I have been asked to show a before and after photos.

I’ve decided to use a photo I took at a church meal a couple of weeks ago.

Now the original photo wasn’t too bad…

Ruth & Olive-2

The composition was ok but the background as you can see is very distracting and the faces seem a bit washed out and lacking in colour due to the flash. So I opened it up in Adobe Lightroom first and tweaked it a little bit.

Olive & Ruth-1-3

I added some warmth to the picture to get better skin tones, adjusted the exposure slightly and adjusted the contrast up a little bit.

As you can see the photo has improved tremendously but there is still the problem of that annoying cluttered background spoiling the photo.

With that in mind I opened the photo in Photoshop CS5 and added a new background layer to give it more of a studio look.

Ruth & Olive-1-2

I hope you agree it has improved the original photo.

The lady on the right of the photo celebrates her Birthday today, (another reason for choosing this photo today).

Happy Birthday Olive.

Remember to check the before and after shots that the other Brenda photo challengers have come up with just click on the link below.

Header Challenge 16th March 2011–Retro

Well the year is moving on and as I've already said Spring has arrived in Lincolnshire, well temporarily anyway.

But for todays post we are looking backwards a little as Gailsmans choice for this weeks theme is “Retro”.

Now this has really got me thinking as Lincolnshire doesn't seem to have much in the way of retro refinement so I’ve had to get inventive.

In the past photos suffered from all sorts of problems from light leaking onto the film, bad processing to cheap lenses and cameras. So you would think that now we have modern digital cameras and processing we would be vying for the perfect image and forgetting all about the dodgy pictures of the past. Not so it seems. The internet is full of peoples photos that have been tweaked to make them look like they were taken years ago with bad film and cameras.

So not to be outdone here's one I prepared earlier…

mel esther margaret retro

Phones have moved on a lot over recent years too. It has been a number of years since the rotary dial was the only choice on a phone. With the introduction of mobile phones and digital touchscreen devices you would have thought the rotary dial was gone for good, but, no you can even get a retro app for your mobile phone that will allow you dial using a rotary wheel.

retro phone dial-1

Modern computer games have also come on leaps and bounds over the years even going as far as 3D interactive and virtual reality experiences. So what do you think is one of the biggest downloaded game to play?

The retro game of Tetris…

retro phone game-1

Even with all the modern design and technological advancement it seems that people still yearn for the old designs and applications so there still remains a thriving  market for all forms of retro art, photographs, games and objects.

One of the classic vehicles that has not seemed to have lost its appeal is the Mini. It may have been bought out by different manufactures but its iconic shape is still there. It has been used in retro art and  film for years so this week my header is dedicated to the retro design of the classic Mini Cooper with a little retro art background I created myself with a little help of Photoshop CS5.  The Mini Cooper is a Corgi model that I have had since I was a child, well used but still engendering the retro icon that was driven by everyone from the famous to the not so famous.

I hope you like my play on the Retro theme. Don’t forget to let me know what you think and then drop in on my other headbangers to see what retro themes they have found for their headers this week. Just follow the links at the top of my right hand sidebar.

What happened to Spring?

After posting yesterday that Spring had sprung I awoke this morning to this…

2011-03-16 09.27.46

No it’s not a washed out photo of the field next to my house, its just that it is blanketed in thick fog.

No bright sunshine making the daffodils glow today. Oh well at least yesterday gave us a quick glimpse of Spring, before we are back to the fog of Lincolnshire.

Spring has sprung

Spring has officially arrived in Lincolnshire as the daffodils are all starting to bloom.

So out I went with my camera to get a few shots of the beautiful blooms.


The sun was out too so it was shining through the petals making them glow.


Which makes a nice welcome home as they are out all along the verge in front of our hedge.

We also have miniature daffodils out in one of our tubs next to the front door…


So my friend Lanny loves the Winter months the best but for me Spring is the magical time of the year, especially for photography. The light is great for photography, bright but not overpowering perfect for taking lots of photos.


This last one is against the brick of the house not sure if it works but I thought I’d include it anyway and see what you think. Works or doesn’t work?

Header Challenge 9th March 2011–“Friends”

Its good to have friends, and this weeks theme as chosen by my friend imac is “Friends”.

So today’s post is a mix of our friends…

My family are also first and foremost my friends…


But we also have, Family friends…


Informal portraits of friends…


Formal portraits of friends…

Olive & Henry-1

Silly pictures of friends…


Intense pictures of friends…


School friends… (well my daughters school friends anyway)


Even animal friends…

Corky and Garfield

So my header this week is friends animal friends. Garfield our cat and Corky our dog have become firm friends and my header is them, taken in our back garden this afternoon.

Don’t forget to drop in to my Friends blogs to see what they are up to too.

Toby’s 1st Birthday

I said midweek that I would try and post up some photo’s from my nephews 1st Birthday celebrations last Sunday. Well I have eventually got around to it. Sorry for the delay everyone.


Well here is the amazing Toby, bright as a button and racing around the dining room using his push along truck for support. Go Toby.

toby's birthday food-1

As you can see Vicky (Toby’s mum) put on a great spread of food for everyone. Thanks Vicky it was yummy.

Looking at this next photo Toby thought so too…

toby's birthday food-1-2

As you may remember from Wednesdays post Toby had a great Birthday cake and was ably helped to blow out his single candle on it…


So we’ve had the food and birthday cake, what about the presents?


Well he had plenty of those too. His parents look just as exited as he was, to get a wind up duck for the bath!


The intense concentration as he opens his presents.


Here mum Vicky imitates Sponge Bob perfectly.


Toby really liked this one, so much so, he stopped to give it a kiss as parents, Sister, Grand parents and Aunty cheer him on. Well come on cheer him on then!


Here Toby proves he has been trained well, money money, mine mine!

Toby being the kind young man he is didn’t want his sister Amber to feel left out, so he made sure she got a present too.


What is it Amber?


Its a beautiful new pink cycle helmet!

Her dad Martin tried it on for size first, but no it doesn't suit you Martin give it back…


That's better, it fits Amber perfectly and suits her much better too.


She absolutely loved it and went straight out to try it out…


Toby meanwhile was just lapping up all the attention he was getting.


Hi Nana.


Daddy's Boy…

martin & toby-1

Well it’s been a great day Toby. Thank you for the invite to your 1st Birthday party. We enjoyed it I hope you did too.

birthday cake-1

Since the party poor Toby and now his sister Amber have got Chicken-pox. We send our love to you both, get better soon. Love to the parents too who have to nurse the two poorly children. Take care everybody.

Header Challenge 2nd March 2011– “To Bake or not to Bake”

Well this weeks choice of theme has been my choice (ably helped by Mel). She suggested I do baking, so this weeks topic became “to bake or not to bake” that is the question and also the theme. Well being a student of English Literature I had to add an extra Shakespearian lilt to it didn't I?

Now our family love to bake. We all take our turn in the kitchen rustling up some masterpiece of culinary delight for the rest of the family, well that's what I call it some others may disagree.

Our girls have been taught to bake since they were big enough to kneel on a stool at the counter and lick, sorry stir the spoon in the mixture.

You may now understand my wife's suggestion to do baking for the theme this week.

Living in the middle of nowhere in Southern Lincolnshire, doing our own baking is much more economical than jumping in the car and driving the 20 mile round trip to the supermarket. More helpful for the environment too.

So we make all our own bread…


It really is gorgeous especially when eaten fresh and warm…


Recently muffins have been the cake of choice in our household and these are my attempt at the classic Blueberry muffin…


Even though I say so myself they didn’t turn out too bad.

This weekend saw the birthday of our nephew Toby so it was a good excuse to do some more baking this time some cookies to augment the selection of food that was going to be there. This time it was Mel's turn to bake…


and these where very nice…


double choc chip yum yum.

Now obviously it’s not only our immediate family who enjoy baking, as our sister in law made her son Toby a wonderful Teddy bear birthday cake…

birthday cake-1 

I’ll bring you more pictures from Toby’s birthday celebrations here soon.

My header this week incorporates some of our families baking, but, also an element of the what “not to bake”, but which is still very nice, chocolate fingers and animals. I hope you enjoy!

I’ve posted nice and early this week to go somewhat towards making up for my tardiness in posting last week.

Remember to drop in and see what delights the other headbangers have cooked up for you this week. Just follow the links in my right hand menu bar.


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