Monday, 19 March 2012

Week 10 ~ A Faceless Self-Portrait

Still Life with the Faceless Woman

I'm running behind with my posting, as this is already week 12... Week 10's theme was "a faceless self-portrait" and I really did take it quite literally.  The image is made up of 3 separate images: the flowers in vase image, one of me sitting in a chair and one of the decorative paper. All images were then composited in PS where several more texture layers and a border were added. I was really happy with the final result, as I don't do a lot of this sort of compositing. It's always a buzz when the image in my head matches the result on the screen. As an added buzz, the group on Facebook that I follow and who is running this Project52, Photographer's Connection, chose my portrait for their image of the week - you have to be pleased with that!
Image used as cover image for the group!

The image is available as a greeting card, canvas, mounted print, poster, or framed print over at Red Bubble.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
Decorated with store bought and prepared icing mixture. This is optional.
Phew - now that's a mouthful of a recipe name and I thought I'd share this variation with you. Several weeks ago, the Teen was having a birthday and at his request I baked some mini Oreo cheesecakes. Now, I have to say that Oreos aren't my favourite biscuit, so I wanted to try an alternative cream biscuit and see whether the result would be as popular in our household.

To start with, I found the Mini Oreo Cheesecake recipe over at the Hey Gorgeous Blog and I've made this version a few times - they never last long in our house. For my version, I chose Arnott's Raspberry Shortcakes, but any round cream biscuit will do. I would have chosen Arnott's Monte Carlos but their oval shape meant they wouldn't sit nicely in the round patty tins.

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
Tip: Place the patty tins inside muffin pans or the mixture will distort the thin paper patty tin and you'll end up with an oddly shaped mini cheesecake.

Making the Raspberry Shortcake version, simply substitute the 2 packs of Oreos for 2 packs of Raspberry Shortcakes. As I don't have a food processor, crushing the biscuits means placing them in a zip-lock bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. That will definitely crush the biscuits to the right consistency but what makes these biscuits differ to the Oreos creamy centres is their jam centres - they won't crush due to their gelatinous nature. I didn't let that deter me as I placed the jam centre on top of the shortcake biscuit already in the base of the patty tin.

Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes
The gelatinous centres of the Raspberry Rounds - added an extra sweetness to this mixture.
For my next dastardly trick, and this is to ensure that I get to sample these mini cheesecakes, I also threw in a handful of sultanas. Obviously, if your family likes sultanas in their cakes and slices, this trick won't work and you'll have to think of something else to add that only you enjoy (eg carob and/or dark chocolate buttons, extra coconut, perhaps some cinnamon...).

 Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake Mini Cheesecakes

There are so many variations possible with this simple yet delicious recipe. Grab a couple packs of your favourite round cream biscuit then follow the link and start baking.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Week 9 ~ A Childhood Memory

Week 9 ~ A Childhood Memory ~ so long ago ~

I struggled in the lead up to this theme. What childhood memory to portray and how to portray it? As always, I like to try something new to really push my own creative boundaries. I started by looking through some old family photos, the discoloured 70's variety. Can I suggest, if you have old family photos in those 'magnetic' albums - the slightly sticky backed pages with plastic over-sheet type - to remove your photos before they discolour and become completely stuck to the pages. This is particularly important if there are details written on the backs of the photos; you won't be able to cleanly remove the photos, and not only will you risk not being able to read the notes on the back of the photos, you also risk damaging the photos themselves. The worst thing for your old photos is to leave them in the magnetic albums that were so fashionable during that time, instead here are some suggestions for storing your older photographs.
Back to the photo. I have seen the photo held within another photo around the web and I've always liked the concept but never really had an opportunity to try it. So while I was looking through old family photos and looking for inspiration, I came across this photo of my dad swimming in Cattai Creek at Mitchell Park. It had been an age since I'd visited Mitchell Park, so last weekend I headed out there to try and find the spot where this would have been taken. I was a little shocked at the condition of the park. It's terribly overgrown and certainly not the place to go and have a family picnic the way we once did all those years ago. I'm hoping that it's because we've had a ridiculous amount of rain and not because the National Park and Wildlife Services have decided to stop maintaining it altogether.
Back in the 70's, Mitchell Park was a great place to spend the day with family and friends. There were BBQs, trail rides, the creek to swim in, an in-ground pool (my preferred choice), a kiosk, open parkland to kick a ball, and bushwalks. Today, well, there's lots of very tall grass, no pool, no kiosk, and I only saw one picnic shelter. There was only one other couple and they were packing up their kayaks and heading off. I remember Mitchell Park as being a vibrant noisy place, with lots of families enjoying the great outdoors. Last week, was a very different experience. Of course with all the rain experienced in the Hawkesbury region this week, I would imagine that a lot of Mitchell Park would be totally waterlogged.
Re-visiting old memories don't always yield the results you expect. And that of course can be both good and bad.
Mitchell Park ~ Impressions 1 Mitchell Park ~ Impressions 2 Mitchell Park ~ Impressions 3
Other images from the day. The effect was achieved in-camera.

Friday, 2 March 2012

How to Add the "No Pin" Code to Blogger Site

I've been feeling more and more uncomfortable about the whole Pinterest thing and not only have I removed all the pins from my Pinterest account (except for one), I have also revoked my sharing permissions on Flickr and now on Blogger. This really is such a shame, as I really like the concept of being about to catalogue images and snippets into various categories for further reference purposes, but not at the risk of serious copyright breach. So, if you're feeling uncomfortable with Pinterest's TOS, then you can add a piece of code to your Blogger site that prevents others from pinning your images without your permission.

 This is how:

1. Go to Template > Edit HTML
2. Select "Proceed"

3. Tick "Expand Widget Templates"

4. Now look for the following piece of code < /head > (actual code won't have a space between symbols and letters)

5. Paste in the following code just before the < arrow in the code:

< meta content='nopin' name='pinterest'/ > (remove the space between the < and > keys)

6. Select "Preview" to make sure it's not broken then "Save".

Now if someone tried to pin an image from your Blogger site, the following message shows:

This site doesn't allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!

While this is only a bandaid solution, I hope that Pinterest will look at their very unclear, unfair and contradictory TOS.

Update: It appears that Pinterest have updated their TOS but they are still to alter their TOS enough to answer the copyright concerns of many.

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