This is the year penguins will fly.

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Computer Troubles

I’m sorry for my quietness as of late, I promise I haven’t been lazy (in fact i’ve been more productive than usual) but my laptop decided enough was enough and stopped working completely.

Unfortunately for me it was the hard drive that had gone and I also had some unsaved work on there which I stupidly forgot to back up. 2 videos nearly completed (1 with animations and everything!) and a couple of photoshoots. All gone. But it’s my fault for not making sure I had extra copies of them, I can’t really blame my laptop as it is 5 years old.

I did go to the Apple store. Their customer service was amazing and the guy who saw me was really nice and friendly. But unfortunately it would  cost about £200 for them to fix my laptop, something I just can’t afford at the moment. I probably had a very peculiar look on my face as then he suggested I refit it myself, showing me which to buy, and how to refit it. Instead of spending over £200 i spent £32!

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My new hard drive is very shiny and pretty and I even fit it in myself, which, by the way, is super easy.

So now my laptop is up and running again, soon I’ll have photoshop installed again too and then maybe I can re-make the videos. I’ve now renamed it the FrankenMac as it’s been brought back to life with odd parts!

In the mean time I have been sewing. I’m in the process of using all these old t-shirts i collected whilst working the pub job to make a picnic blanket. Not much more to do!

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In other news : I snuggled with a baby penguin. It was the cutest, softest and smelliest thing ever!

Obviously I was working hard at the same time, actually I find talking to the keepers is the best way to learn about all the animals. It really is the best job ever, I learn something new (and usually amazing) every single day! I seriously don’t want this summer to end.

Claire x

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The Importance of Understanding your Camera and Sloth Babies!

I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.

I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.

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Both unfortunately blurry and dark. 

I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.

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I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO

Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.

So what exactly is ISO?

ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.

Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.

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It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!

But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.

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I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!

Claire x

Date H – Beach Hike

Ash and I have finally been able to go on the next of our Alphabet Dates. We had such a long hiatus as we completely ran out of money. We do usually try to keep our dates on the cheap side anyway, but we really didn’t have any money spare or much time as I was working  quite long shifts at the time. But now we are back, with better paid jobs, and have lots of dates lined up!

For Date H I wanted to take advantage of the good weather and decided a Hike would be fun and pretty. We both like a good nature walk and pretty scenery and I thought it would be great to get out and about. I knew of a few walking trails along the south coast near Brighton and was originally planning to take us there, but then, with the weather so gorgeous, I thought that a hike along the beach itself would be nice as we could even go for a little swim.

We started a bit further up the coast from Brighton and had a really lovely wander. We had some bread and made little sandwiches for a picnic which we ate close to the sea, staring out at the vast expanse of water.

I’ve always loved the sea. It’s terrifyingly powerful and vast but it always calms me and makes me feel quite peaceful.

We wandered for a few hours and stumbled into a little patch of forest with birds chirping overhead, it was nice to get lost in nature for a while.

But soon our legs were tired and it was time to head home. The walk to the car wasn’t as fun as the walk away and so in hindsight maybe we should have done my original route as it did circle around, but it was still a very nice and relaxing day.

Have you gone on a walk recently? Did you see anything interesting?

Letting Out Our Inner Rebels

As I said in my last post, it was myself and Ashley’s 3 year anniversary!

On the day itself we didn’t do much although I had made plans for when we had more time. Unfortunately the last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic, that and getting used to actually having a proper routine for the first time in 2 years had me very sleepy with my body being a little confused (hence the lack of updates i’m afraid). But eventually we had a day where we were free to actually celebrate!

As a surprise for him I took him to a graffiti workshop. He sometimes seems to think he’s a bit of a ‘bad boy’ with his love of drum and base and gangster movies, but he is really a big nerd so I thought it might be fun to embrace his inner rebel.

The workshop was near portobello road in the Westbank Gallery and was lots of fun. We learnt about different tags, styles and effects then created our own tag before being let lose with the paint.

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It looks so easy on paper...

We both somehow managed to create something that looked like our images, but wow is it difficult! I’ve always admired the more elaborate graffiti as I never assumed it was easy, and they really can be a work of art, but I never thought it would be quite that difficult! Our instructor made it seem so easy, moving the can in elegant arcs and making it do precisely what he wanted it to. When we tried the can seemed to have a mind of it’s own. As we practiced more we started to get the hang of it and Ash seemed to gain some fans in the two lovely middle aged ladies next to us who admired his, actually quite precise, can control.

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Eventually we both managed to create something that almost resembled what we’d had down on paper and we quite pleased with ourselves.

It was a great workshop and the instructor was very helpful, I would definitely recommend it. Ash said he really enjoyed it too so i’d say the present was a success!

We spent the rest of the day wandering around portobello road and trying to resist buying things before buying some cider and sitting in park soaking up the sun and meeting some friends for more drinks.

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My gift from Ashley was a tablet! I bought myself a case and keyboard for it as well so now it’s like a mini portable laptop. It’s going to be so useful for updating all my social media where ever I may be , and on the commute to work, which should hopefully mean a lot more updates!

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I still can’t believe we’ve been together for 3 years, it’s gone so quickly and we’re still as loved up as ever. As soppy as it sounds, I really couldn’t imagine life without him.

I’ve got lots of new posts on the way for you over the next week or so. Alphabet dating is finally coming back with date H, new youtube projects, more sewing and drawings. It’s going to be a lot of fun. :)

Claire x

Anniversary Giveaway!

Myself and Ashley have been together 3 years today!….or tomorrow. You see we don’t really know when we got together as I agreed somewhere around midnight so we tend to celebrate over two days! However we’re not doing much today as we have very little money and so just spent a long relaxing morning and afternoon together and both have work tomorrow. I have bought him vouchers for a graffiti art lesson though, although we can’t book it for a few weeks as we’re too busy!

Still, it’s been really nice to spend some time snuggled up together thinking ‘how on earth have we put up with each other for 3 years!’. Of course we’ve had our ups and downs like every couple, but since we’ve both finally got new, well paid and enjoyable jobs things have been really good and we’re as loved up as ever!

To celebrate our anniversary i’ve decided to give away one of my Penguin cards to one lucky winner, so they can share their love with someone special.

I am actually giving away an extra large card, a size not available in my shop, featuring the adorable picasso and lots of fish (above)! This was my most popular card design over valentines and so is sure to be the perfect way to make someone feel a little special.

To enter to go over to my facebook and then like and share my competition image here.

You have the rest of today and tomorrow (the length of our anniversary) to enter!

Good Luck!

Claire x

Cute Penguin Nails Tutorial

Ever wanted to have adorable penguins on your finger tips? Well want no more as I help you paint your own adorable penguins on your nails!

My first penguin tutorial to celebrate this months ‘May There Be Penguins’ celebrations shows you how to turn your nails into your own adorable penguin colony.

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Paint your nails with me right here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkFDQW_QxdU

Keep your eye out for more tutorials (with better video quality) later on in the month as I keep on celebrating the wonderful world of penguins!

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Also, join me on facebook for even more penguin fun, games and even competitions!

And don’t forget to enter my latest competition which closes at midnight tonight (gmt). Find it here on my facebook page

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Who will be Crowned the Queen of May?

The Penguins Are Here! For the whole month of May here at The Penguin Theory we are celebrating all things Penguin with our month long event : May there be penguins!

To kick it all off and to celebrate the first of May and the Mayday bank holiday I am giving away this gorgeous, handmade, flower crown to one lucky winner! 

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May day traditionally involves Morris Dancing, May poles and crowning one lady the Queen of May, so I am giving away one gorgeous ‘Queen of May’ flower crown to one lucky winner, but there’s a catch. You can’t enter for yourself. Instead I want you to nominate someone to be crowned ‘Queen of May’.

Comment in the comment section or on my facebook page with the name of your nominee and why you think they should be crowned the ‘Queen of May’! 

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This can be anyone, family or friends, boy or girl, for any reason. Maybe they helped you, maybe they’ve been through a lot and need some pampering, or maybe they’re just an extremely happy person who always brings a smile to your face!

You have until the end of the May Day bank holiday (Monday 5th May, 12pm gmt) to nominate your Queen and I will announce the winner on Tuesday 6th May.

Good Luck!

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365 Challenge : 17th – 23rd March

Sorry, I wrote this post a week ago and completely forgot to post it! I’m so silly sometimes. 

It’s Monday again and time for the weekly update! Here’s last week in pictures, sorry they’re mainly phone but it was all a bit hectic with well over 40hrs at the pub in the first 4 days followed by starting my new job at London Zoo! I also have the most horrendous cold (perfect timing for the new job) and had barely any energy.

Monday saw me tucking into the most amazing toastie ever. Steak, cheese and deliciousness! Yum! (and yes I like my steak rare!)

On tuesday I noticed this gorgeous creature towering above people outside the local garden centre. I just had to snap a picture to send to a close friend who loves gorillas!

Wednesday had a cool looking sky at sunset. I seem to notice the sky a lot more often these days as it looks so pretty through our windows!

Thursday I was nominated for these Cancer awareness #nomakeup selfies. I never wear make up anyway recently as I’m always at work (it would just sweat off in the kitchen) or too tired from work so I went all out with a kitchen hair net and carrot cake!

On Friday I started my new (although temporary *sob*) job as a presenter at the zoo. I was mainly sorting out all my paper work, given all the things I needed to learn and watched some of the presenters show me how it was done. Little did I know I’d be taking on the role of Giraffe feeding the very next day, and getting licked all over the face in the process.

On saturday I shadowed another presenter for the whole day and got to have a few more interactions with all the animals. It was so much fun! I love these Emperor Tamarins with their awesome moustaches. I can’t wait to have a day to visit with my DSLR! I hope to take some really awesome photographs which could help me raise money for ZSL.

Today I noticed this gorgeous plants (I think they’re grape hyacinths) growing in our window boxes. It’s a shame, but I will be completely replacing the soil in these soon. Maybe I can try and save these plants.

‘Action Expresses Priorities’ – and why people who get bored are not my thing.

Fwaire:

I think we all have points in our lives where we feel deflated, we can’t seem to find to motivation to do anything as nothing good will come of it. If you’re currently going through one of these phases then you should read this blog post by a very talented artist. Get yourself out there. See the world and all it has to offer. Life is just too short to let it, and the things you want to achieve, go to waste.

ACT on your priorities.

Originally posted on Katy Jade Dobson ART:

‘Action expresses priorities.’

-Gandhi

 

On a busy week, I can clock up around 70 hours painting. Especially recently, with so many commissions as well as ideas I just can’t for the life of me hold off, I have to timetable my work and stick to it, and it pays off every time. 

I do this because I love painting, I am passionate about making good quality work. I am also business savvy and love organisation, lists and generally being busy. Proudly, one thing I never, ever am is bored.

A friend of mine sent me an article, there was a long passage written by Richard Dawkins called, ‘To live at all is miracle enough’ (which I urge you to google) which puts into perspective greatly just how miraculous the universe is, how even just existing right now through such slim circumstance is such an underrated and unappreciated…

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Wild Job, Wild Nails

I’ve finally got myself a new job (although only temporarily) and am now working at London Zoo! I’ve only had a few shifts but it’s amazing. Everyone is so friendly and happy, plus I get to be around animals all day long and really spread the word about conservation and protecting the animals we have in the world today! It really is a dream come true!

It’s been in the news recently that the Female Sumatran Tiger has had 3 cubs, I haven’t managed to catch a glimpse of them yet, but hopefully soon I can,  you can follow their progress on London Zoos facebook page and their youtube.

To celebrate the new job, where I’m allowed nail polish, my nails can actually grow, and the arrival of the new cubs I decided to paint my nails!

Tiger Themed of course!

They came out so well! I’m super proud of myself. Last time I went to London zoo as a customer (for zoo lates which is awesome by the way) I also painted my nails ‘big cat’ themed with these leopard nails.

 

Unfortunately I still work at the pub on thursdays and I’m only at the Zoo for the summer (fingers crossed they take me back next year!) but i’m so so happy with my new job and just know I’m going to love every minute of it!

I’m afraid there might not be many crafty updates for a little while as I have a lot of scripts to learn (I am one of the presenters for the animal talks) and all my spare time is spent reading lines. But do not fear! I have loads of projects in mind, both sewn and photographed. Until then I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite pictures from the zoo so far!

I treated myself to a cool keyring for getting the job.

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches are so much cooler than most people think.

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Two of my colleagues demonstrating one of the talks. Yes I get to feed giraffes by hand.

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A Sloth out for a morning stroll.

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