How did I name Spikey Mouse Photography?

I am often asked how I came up with ‘spikey mouse photography‘ for my business, I have to admit that it is all thanks to a boy called Ben who wanted to buy his mum a birthday present. Ben is my eldest son and one day when he was out with his grandmother he decided that he was going to buy me a present for my birthday, I think he was around 3 or 4 years old at the time. They finally came up with a ceramic ‘Hedgie’ hedgehog and Ben has been buying me 2 or 3 of them a year ever since. It is an understatement to say that I now have quite a collection and when I was naming my new business adventure everyone suggested using ‘Hedgehog’ but I wanted something a little different and found that in Bengali Hedgehog was spikey mouse and a business was born! Strange how things happen, I have a great and memorable company name and am reminded every business day of my little boy Ben and my lovely Mum who has sadly passed away now. Ben is now a grown man and a father himself and is really happy I chose to use him as my muse, thank you Ben. x

Fractals

Did you know that the word ‘Fractal’ was first used in 1975? By definition a Fractal is; ‘any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size’. “Fractal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fractal. Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

If you look close enough you can see fractals occur everywhere, in a head of broccoli to the milky way, from the Mersey estuary to snow flakes and thanks to the wonders of Adobe Photoshop i can produce my own fractals in no time at all.

Snowflake Fractal

I stumbled upon a beautiful pattern on instagram and after a little research found hundreds more so beautiful and full of colour that it made me want to experiment myself.

Fractal or Twirl https://www.instagram.com/p/CBiIb7iDIYe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Instructions.

  • Select a suitable image preferably with a dark edge
  • In Adobe Photoshop open the image and duplicate the layer, turn the original layer off
  • Turn new layer to a Smart layer
  • Choose Filters; Pixilate; Mezzotint. I use Medium lines but experiment with the various settings
  • Choose Filter; Blur; Radial Blur; Zoom; 100. Do this three times
  • Choose Filter; Distort; Twirl; 120
  • Copy smart layer by dragging it to create new layer
  • Double click Twirl on copy and move slider to -120
  • Change the blend mode, upper left of panel, to either darken, lighten or pin light
  • Shift Control Alt E to merge smart objects to layer 1
  • Choose Edit; Transform; Flip horizontal or vertical for mirror image, change the Blend mode to create the image
  • Import into Adobe Lightroom to edit

Now when i have spare time i am going back through my old photographs to find an image that will make the perfect Fractal and i am totally loving what is coming from those images.

My website dilemma

I’ve never been sure if i should have a website dedicated to showing off my photography, i use flickr and Viewbug to show some of my work but i don’t pay, by choice, for the privilege. In fact i object strenuously to having to pay for a website because i dont think i actually use them to their best advantage. I think my money is used in better ways, like for food, than hosting a website i forget to post on. I have had several attempts at building a website on different platforms, wordpress, wix but i never can make my mind up how they are supposed to look, which coloured background is the best, which font and dont get me started on Google Analytics! How do you use it?

Poppies

My attempt on Wix was, i think, my best effort to date but i had to pay for the website and the domain name, the first year was cheep, the second year was not, i designed the thing and then forgot to post anything on it, so it went. WordPress is free but you need to pay for a domain name, I’ve made a couple of different websites but they got forgotten because of ‘life’. It makes me wonder, do i really need my own website, well actually i do and i need to get it seen by people and shared about. What’s the difference this time you may ask, well two things really, the first is that i have more time to myself now, my Mum passed away in December last year and having nursed her through cancer i now have so much time on my hands, the second is, I’ve found i have access to a FREE website builder, yes FREE and it’s the bees knees!

New Brighton Lighthouse

I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and have a photography subscription which allows myself and my aspiring artist daughter use of lots of different Adobe programs for our art. In the package is Adobe Portfolio, its free and you can get a domain name through namecheap where i managed to get a .com domain name for something silly like £8 a year. Its a lovely website builder, easy to use but its quite limited which is actually a good thing for me, i dont get bogged down in trying to decide which looks best for my site. I am building it slowly, i have to decide which photos are good enough to be shown and that is hard! I also find it difficult with all of the metadata, keywords, long keywords etc its so time consuming but i am making myself do it this time.

This amazing FREE website is www.spikeymousephotography.com and i am really quite proud of my efforts so far. If you would be so kind as to go and look through it yourself and leave a comment and share i would be very grateful, thank you. My answer then is a resounding YES i need a website, just as long as its FREE!

seascape; sunset over hilbre island from the spartina grass mid way between west kirby and red rocks

9 Reasons to let a Cat into your life

9 Reasons to let a Cat into your life, do we need 9 reasons? If you are a cat lover and you own a cat then you already know about the benefits of such a friendship but if you dont have a furry feline friend then perhaps you need to read on.

We live in a very stressful time at the moment and we all have different ways of dealing with that stress but for me the best way to relax and shut off my mind is with my feline friend. So the 1st reason for letting that cute ball of fluff into your life is; Therapy, there is just something so therapeutic in sitting somewhere quiet and gently stroking the soft downy fur of a kitten.

Kitten Love

2 They give comfort to you just by lying there and being stroked. Whether they have long fur or short being allowed to pet your pet, just being allowed to hold another living body brings enormous comfort.

3 We all know that when you pet your cat they reward you with their rumbling purr but how do they create the sound? Your cats’ muscles move their vocal cords as they breathe in and out, air hits the vibrating muscles which creates the purring, you know your doing a great job when you hear that rumble. Stroking your cat gives comfort to you both. Domestic cats are not the only cat to have a purr, Cougars and Cheetahs also purr, they are the only wild cats that have the ability, the bigger cats roar instead. Did you know Elephants purr too?

4 Whether you friend is sitting on your knee or on the sofa by your side it is remarkably easy to let your mind wander while your fingers slowly move through their silky fur. Drifting in a flurry of malting loose fur you are free to daydream of the days before lint rollers, of the days when wearing black trousers didn’t mean carrying that lint roller around with you where ever you went, the days when black meant black not black and lots and lots of individual strands of fur that stick to you like glue and wont come off. But a good reason for me to have a cat is the opportunity it allows me to daydream.

5 We all have someone to care for at some time, be it a parent, sibling, partner or child but having a cat to care for is a whole other ball game. We are ALLOWED to care for our cat because THEY own YOU, we may think the opposite but we are reminded most stridently at meal times when that normally quiet, calm and collected fluff ball unlocks their voice and fiercely demands to be fed, right now! Having a cat to care for is, in my opinion, one of the easier things in life, having seen to his or her’s every need, pet them, brushed them to get rid of all those pesky loose hairs, and having been allowed to use them for your own form of therapy, they show you how much they need you by waltzing out tail up, nose in the air off to find their own adventure without a care in the world. I’m sure that if they had opposable thumb’s they would open their food pouches themselves and order their own toys from the pet shop. Having a cat to care for, who waits for you to come home and greets you at the door, weaving in between your feet as you try to carry your bags into the kitchen, gives you something to come home to and a reason to care about going home.

6 Whether your cat is a timid little kitten or a battle scared rescue your cat will love you. Every time the treats come out, your cat will love you, open the tin of salmon for your dinner, yep, your cat will love you and they will show that love with their loud purr, their rubbing between your legs, their head bops as you try to get your fork to your mouth without that sneaky paw stealing your dinner, by sitting on your knee and offering their belly for a rub that they know will end up with your hand being savaged by their needle sharp claws and teeth. Your cat will show you their love in so many different ways and that is an important reason to be owned by a cat, they love, well i was going to say unconditionally but i know that’s not right, they love and that is all that matters.

Reasons 7, 8 and 9, they are fun, watching their antics as they chase the tiniest fly around your living room, jumping over you and your furniture and bounding across the window ledge until they have caught it and you can’t help but laugh at them, after, you have picked up everything they have knocked off the table and sideboard first. Their play is unselfishly shared with you or you are their plaything. There is so much fun to be had batting a tinkling plastic ball around the floor, once it’s been found under the couch, of throwing a catnip laced mouse at them just to see them rolling around with their face buried in it getting high, of fluttering the feathery string keeping it just out of their reach until you allow them that last death leap before they are on it and ripping and shredding and down right killing what ever is on the end of it. And they make you heart soar and ache with love for them. When you hold them in your hand for the first time as a kitten and you melt into a puddle of mush, when they purr for the first time for you, when they meet you at the front door after a difficult day, when they are ill and you worry for them and when they die because they are old and you took such good care for them.

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons not to have a cat in your life but i am equally sure there are plenty more reasons than these to let a cat become part of your family. There are so many unwanted cats today, with owners not neutering or spaying their pet, with cats living wild or feral. It is up to us as responsible pet owners to make sure our pets dont continue to produce litters of kittens we cant re-home and to go to shelters to find our new friend, below are links to several UK cat adoption sites. Adopt dont breed!

https://www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome/cat https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet/process

In loving memory of all the cats that came before and for Hobi who i miss very much.

You can’t NOT write about Covid 19

How many weeks have we been in lockdown in the UK now? Feels like its been MANY months to me! You know when you suddenly realise you can’t actually remember the last time you actually worked, well that’s me, I no longer recall my last sale, now that is a SCARY thought!

Last year was, you could say, quite a year. I have cared for my Mum for over 8 years as she battled cancer and last year, after being in remission, it came back. She passed away in December thank God as i know she would not have made it through Covid 19. But i hadn’t been earning even before that as i was a full time carer, so when and what was my last sale? Who the hell knows but i would like to know what and when my next one will be so follow the link and have a browse around my FAA website, support the small businesses, a small sale goes a long way. Thank you.

https://karen-lawrence.pixels.com/

Posting in the form of a story.

Do you story tell? It really is something you should think about. Is your story from the heart and interesting, will it strike a cord in other peoples heart or lives?

But what will your story be about?

I have an interest in photography, have had ever since I went to art college. I had one of those tutors that was kind of a hippy I guess you would call him, very into the beautiful young students but happy to help everyone and share his knowledge.

I learnt my photography on a Pentax K1000 and Ilford film and darkroom techniques from wonderful technicians. My first camera was a Zenith TTL which was so heavy and robust you could drop it from a height and it would still work.

However I was never ‘good enough’ at the technical side so I kept my photography as a hobby which eventually died a death. It wasn’t until I borrowed a Canon D60 from a friend that I finally ‘got back into’ my hobby some 20 odd years later. And now here I am wondering what the hook is going to be for my new photography blog.

Positive Posts

When you begin blogging it is always best to have something to ‘say’ and its in your best interest if you know what your talking about so you can blog it without the fear of someone cutting in and saying what a pratt you are for posting it. Be positive about your posts and in the knowledge that people WILL read them, even if its just a skim through, if its interesting to you and has something that speaks to them as a person they will keep skimming your posts with the end result them becoming an avid follower. Start telling people about the products that you use, what its like, how it works and by joining their products affiliate programs you could earn money from click through and any subsequent sales. Share their product offers and write reviews, if you find it interesting others will too.

I’m sitting here perspiring, sod it no, i’m sweating over this post as this mornings first hot flush sweeps me from head to toe. Hold on it wont last long, just going to open a window…….. My office is only small and my computer acts as a constant heat source so i’m battling that too. I’m thinking of today’s meal plan and have come up with the following. As i’m following the slimming world diet and eat healthily you can follow these recipes without gaining weight if it’s done correctly.

This morning we had the usual Overnight Oats

Ingredients

40g porridge oatsOvernight oats

200g fat free natural yogurt

Mixed blueberries, strawberries and raspberries

Method

  1. Layer the porridge, yogurt and fruit in a jar or bowl. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight so the porridge absorbs all the yogurt.
  2. In the morning stir so all the layers are mixed together and top with more fruit.

Tip: Swap the berries for different Speed Free Foods – pear and blackberry, orange and peach, or apple and cinnamon.

Very easy to do when your eyes are half shut at midnight and very tasty in the morning. I’m thinking we will go with a hearty soup for mid day and pulled pork for dinner tonight as it’s my eldest son’s favorite and he and his family are coming for dinner tonight. Perhaps if i can bribe him with his favorite food he will do some work in the garden while i think of my next post 😉