Happy Monday

I have my moments and last week I spotted this brilliant graphic and it could not have been more true.
Let’s hope this week is a little less tricky!

Happy Monday folks.

Too old
Found here

Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Being a huge bird fan – I love British photographer Luke Stephenson’s “Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds”. Having said that I am opposed to the keeping of caged birds and sadly most of the birds photographed in this amazing body of work are all caged pets, but Stephen has done them all justice, he has carefully captured their delicate finery and vibrant characters beautifully – doing justice to both the birds and their loving owners.

In his words: “An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds began with a very simple idea, that I wanted to photograph budgies. I met a great deal of people (mostly men) who were very knowledgeable about their hobby and only too happy to share it with me. Their enthusiasm became infectious so that by simply photographing a species I felt I was adding it to my collection.”

An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds has been published in a really gorgeous book and can also be seen in Luke Stephenson’s portfolio.

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Luke Stephenson - The Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

All photos are from Luke Stephenson’s Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds

Wise Words

Yikes, it has been far too long since my last Wise Words post! To get us back on track for the Weekly Wise Words here are some very pertinent sentiments to refer to daily.
Created by Bianca Cash

Wise Words

Test driving my new lens

In the hope of improving my photographic skills I recently purchased a new lens for my camera – a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. This is a very basic lens and is often referred to as the “Thrifty Fifty” (it’s slightly more expensive brother the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM being referred to as the “Nifty Fifty”).
Well what can I say… I wish I had bought one of these ages ago. It makes photographing stuff in low light a breeze and as you can play around with really large aperture settings you can get great blurring effects in the foreground and background – making portrait style photos so much more interesting.

The first few photos I took with my new lens where all pretty bad, but after reading a lot about using this lens and watching some tutorials on Youtube, I thought I better buckle down and take some serious shots.
Of course Stripes (better known on Instagram as #bestcat) was quick to volunteer and making use of the bright autumn sunshine – we set up our own little home photo shoot.

I know I have a long way to go, but I thought I would share some of my favorites from this morning’s little session – what do you think?

Stripes

Stripes

Stripes

Stripes

Alfajores Dulche De Leche Cookie Recipe

Alfajores recipe

According to Wiki the spanish word Alfajores is derived from the arabic work for “luxury” or “exquisite” – and let me assure you, this couldn’t be more spot on – these cookies are heavenly.

Alfajores are originally from South America and normally are made up of two thin buttery biscuits sandwiched together with a generous dollop of dulche de leche (or caramel).

I found this recipe on Twigg Studios (a super blog with tons of delicious recipes and mouth watering photos). Although I followed the recipe quite closely I did find the dough quite sticky so I chose to roll mine into a sausage shape and freeze it until it was hard enough to slice.

Alfajores Dulche De Leche Cookies:

For the biscuits:
250g Cake Flour
25g Icing Sugar (sounds like very little, but it’s just perfect as the filling is super sweet)
1 tsp Salt
225g Butter

For the filling:
1 Tin of Caramel
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

In a food processor combine all the biscuit ingredients and whizz about till it forms a smooth dough. Tip this out onto a floured surface and form into a long sausage shape, wrap in cling film and pop in the freezer for a couple of hours. You don’t want the dough to be frozen rock hard as you will need to slice it, but if it is solid, just leave it out for a few minutes and it should soften up making slicing easier.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a backing sheet with grease proof paper and set aside.

When your dough is just hard enough, slice it into 5-8mm thick slices and lay them out on your backing sheet. Don’t put them too close together as they spread a little and you want to keep their lovely roundness.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes until golden and delicious looking.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack. Once they are completely cool dust them with icing sugar.

Now you can whip up the scrummy filling – pop all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.

Smear a spoonful (or more) of the Dulche De Leche filling onto half of your cookies and use the remaining half to finish of the little sandwiches. Perfection.

Now pour your self a cup of tea, sit back and be prepared for pure bliss!

Original recipe from here

Happy St Paddy’s day

Sláinte!
Today is St Patrick’s day, I hope your day is full of Irish luck and happiness.

Weekend Knack

I have a huge soft spot for gorgeously illustrated maps and recently I found this fabulous map of Ireland illustrated by KHUAN+KTRON. They created a serious of 7 maps for the cover of Weekend Knack magazine, each map depicting various cliche’s associated with that region.

You can read more about KHUAN+KTRON here

Weekend Knack

Weekend Knack

Weekend Knack

Playing Arts

Do you love card games? I must admit one of my secret indulgences is playing Solitaire on my iPad.
Naff I know, but I love it and it reminds me of my Gran – she used to make huge pots of tea and sit in the sunroom playing Solitaire in the afternoon light. Such good memories.

Gran had a basic pack of cards – the kind with the blue and white bicycle backs (the kind I am sure everyone had back then). Sadly all my current deck cutting and shuffling happens on my iPad, and to be honest, I don’t even know if I own a pack of cards. Well if I am going to spend some money on a pack I might just be tempted to go for a deck of these really special Playing Arts play cards.

They are designed by 54 different designer from across the globe. Here are a few of my favorites.

Playing Arts

Playing Arts

Playing Arts

Playing Arts

Playing Arts

See the complete deck here and find out more about the artists involved

Design Indaba Expo 2014

After yet another super busy week, it was so lovely to peacefully meander around this year’s Design Indaba Expo and soak in all the great talent on show. Each year that goes by I am always impressed with the volume of fabulous goodies on display and the amazing talent that is out there.

Naturally I was tempted to spend all the money I had burning a hole in my wallet, but I showed restraint and only landed up bagging two gifts for two fortunate mates (and nothing for me!)
If you get a chance, get down to the CTICC and see what’s out there – but be warned, it gets pretty busy, so try to get there early. (Oh and you have to try the Bubble Tea – I had my fist one yesterday and it was weirdly very, very refreshing!)

Here are a few highlights from the Expo.

Design Indaba ExpoDesign Indaba ExpoDesign Indaba ExpoDesign IndabaDesign Indaba ExpoDesign Indaba Expo

1- Diana Ferreira Ceramics | 2 – Liesel Trautman Ceramics | 3 – Africa Is Now Exhibition |
4 & 5 – Artymiss | 6 – Calvera | 7 & 8 – Run Rabbit Run | 8 – Skermunkil

Blog MakeOver – Marianne Jonker Photography

Happy days – Marianne Jonker Photography’s website went live – another very successful Blog Makeover.

Working with so may amazing photographers really has left me feeling very blessed – flip there are some amazingly talented folks out there and getting to design for some of them really has inspired me in all aspects of my work – Marianne Jonker being one of these super talented peeps. Not only is Marianne a gifted photographer, but she is also a mega Mum and really super sweet gal. I am so lucky to have such uber cool clients!

I had great fun working on Marianne’s website and I am so impressed with how her photos now sit so beautifully within her new online presence – a stunning match.

Below you can see the initial mood board I put together before starting any design work – I do this for all my Blog MakeOver clients, it’s such a fun part of the job as the client is normally very involved in selecting imagery to best describe their style – beside who can resist a good afternoon spent in Pinterest land.

Are you interested in giving your much loved blog or website a little MakeOver? Why not give me a shout and lets make it happen. Check out my portfolio for more examples of work I have done

Marianne Jonker PhotographyMarianne Jonker Photography

Check out Marianne Jonker’s new portfolio

Interested in a Blog Makeover or any other Digital Design Work? Check out my portfolio.

An evolutionary marvel – Dirds

Okay, you know how somethings on the interwebs just make you chuckle and you have to share them, well these Dirds did it for me.
They livened up my Wednesday completely! I hope they put a smile on your face too.

I know Stripes (#bestcat) licked her lips when she saw these tasty little critters.

Found via Lost at E Minor

Dirds

Dirds

Dirds

Dirds

Dirds

Found via Lost at E Minor

Amy Judd’s Recent Avian

While doing another late night Pinterest insporation session, I stumbled upon the brilliant work of Amy Judd. To quote her website, Amy’s latest pieces entitled Recent Avian “draw inspiration from the enchanting and imaginative relationship between women and birds found in traditional mythologies and folklores”.

This London based artist’s bold compositions create a whole new world of mythological creatures, where feathers and flesh are seen as symbols of strength and bravery as opposed to the stereotyped fragility.

Be sure to visit Amy Judd’s website for of her gorgeous work.

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Amy Judd

Read more about Amy Judd here.