Thursday, 12 September 2013

Thoughts on Instagram

I was a slow starter with Instagram. I blame this on my phone, which is an Android model that is a little dated and on which the camera is not brilliant to say the least. I am saving my pennies for an iPhone! But anyway, my phone camera was my excuse not to Instagram. I rarely used the camera on my phone at all... This is definitely because I am in love with my DSLR and bring it almost everywhere with me. I  adore the brilliant quality and creative control of changing the aperture and shutter speed. Why would I need to take phone pictures at all?

However, in recent months, my attitude has changed. I am beginning to embrace my phone camera. I like the fact that I can use it to capture the things I wouldn't usually take photos of, like a meal I've made from a new cookbook, or an ice-cream in the car, or a coffee while I work on my laptop. These photos of the little things document the normality and routine of everyday life, not just day trips or holidays or adventures. I love flicking back through my Instagram photos to see the changing seasons and the mix of the exciting and the mundane.
An Instagram collage... First row (L-R): autumnal blackberries; summer lemonade; birthday flowers from Australia; cupcakes in my county colours. Second row (L-R): share a coke with Sinéad; Jamie Oliver's new book; boiled egg tea; Havianas for my holidays. Third row (L-R): coffee and Macbook; sunny road trip; cross stitching; stripy pumps and turned up jeans. Fourth row (L-R): hurling match; aquarium visiting; peas from the garden; first '99 cone of the summer.

I also really enjoy the social aspect of Instagram and the immediacy of it. It's like a cheekier, more in-your-face version of blogging, and I love the fact that I get a window into the daily lives of friends, bloggers, famous people and everyone in between!

You can follow me @sineadkirby, if you're so inclined :D What are your thoughts on Instagram?

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Cautious Cappuccino Drinker

My sister is not a coffee lover. Tea, on the other hand, she will drink all day long, strong with just a dash of milk, served in a big mug she can wrap her hands around. Sometimes, when we're in town, she will try coffee for a change, usually a light and milky latté, but even then, she usually regrets not getting tea!

I guess I am the coffee drinker of the family. Don't get me wrong, I could drink tea for Ireland, and when I'm at home, the kettle is rarely off the boil. But I do love my afternoon coffee for the boost it lends to a frazzled and tired mind. And when we were in Italy, I drank lots of coffee, from smooth americanos to frothy cappuccinos and powerful espressos.

On our last night on holidays, I convinced my sister she had to try a cappuccino. It would be a crime not to, in a place where the heavenly scent of whole-bean coffee lingered in the air every morning, and business people in posh suits drank espresso like it was water.
When the little chocolate dusted cup arrived topped with frothy milk, she was definitely sceptical (as you can see from the middle photo) and very cautious. The first few sips were tense... But I'm pleased to say she drank it all, and enjoyed it! Maybe I'll convert her to espressos yet!

This layout came together easily enough, using mostly supplies I got from my most recent Two Peas order (my favourites being those little star-shaped paperclips!), mixed in with a few older bits and pieces. Sometimes, I struggle with using this many photos on a single layout, as I find it difficult to fit in my journalling, title and embellishments, while still leaving a little white space. I think 3x4 cards are the answer - not only for Project Life! This is third layout I've done using these cards, and I'm happy with the effect. Also, by using small letter stickers rather than my customary favourites, Thickers, the title doesn't take up too much room.

What have you been scrapbooking recently?


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Storytelling Sunday: A Holiday Journal

Today, I am taking part in Sian's Storytelling Sunday. On the first Sunday of every month, Sian encourages bloggers from all over the world to tell the story behind the things that are precious to them. Climb up to see her High in the Sky and read the tales of other talented storytellers. This is my story of a holiday journal. It is not old or battered or dog-eared from thumbing through and reading. Actually, it is still new and clean, with crisp pages and neatly adhered memorabilia. However, it is still precious to me, and I hope that as time passes, it will only become more important and treasured.
I had never written a holiday journal before this summer. Since I started scrapbooking (and probably even before), I have collected things like tickets and memorabilia when I go anywhere new with the idea that I may use it on a layout one day. Of course, as time passes by, I often forget the story behind the precious receipts and little pieces of paper I amass during a holiday, and they often end up lurking at the bottom of a folder or basket of supplies, never to be used. Sad times!
This year, when we went to Italy for the first time, I was determined to keep a journal of some kind. This was partly because I wanted to remember all the little details, and partly because I had seen so many beautiful travel journals from scrapbookers and bloggers online that I wanted to get a piece of the action! I knew that if I brought loads of supplies with me, I wouldn't have the time or discipline to keep up. My scrapbooking style is slow and detailed, and this journal was all about the memories and journalling, not the design. So I set off with this lovely Papermania journal (which I got from a sweet friend for my birthday), a Freckled Fawn/Studio Calico green arrow washi tape and my favourite American Crafts journalling pen. Minimal supplies that fit neatly in my handbag.
And during the fabulous week we spent in Italy, I set aside some time most nights (usually when everyone else had collapsed into bed exhausted!) to sift through and record the tales behind the bits and pieces I had gathered during the day. Before I knew it, the pages were filling up with stories: the dramatic story of an expired passport, the story of a expensive and beautiful island, the story of the many cocktails we enjoyed, the story of a sweet Englishwoman that worked in our hotel, the story of a place steeped in history... Accompanying the stories were countless receipts, tickets, maps, postcards, stamps, brochures and even a sachet of sugar from a café on the isle of Capri that charged €7 for an orange juice. Yes, really!
I'll be honest. I didn't get it all finished when we were in Italy. I didn't write every single night. I definitely had some catching up to do when we got home. But the result is worth it. When I had written my last story and adhered my last ticket with that lovely green washi tape, I knew there was something else I wanted. Something that would make this journal really precious. So I went to my family and begged them to write something, something that would sum up their experience of the holiday. Having my Mum's love of family, my sister's humour and my Dad's almost illegible scrawl (!) as part of the journal make it even more important and special to me.
I am so doing this again!