This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “the penguin theory

The Drawing Bug

It seems like recently I have caught the drawing bug, probably largely helped by a sudden avalanche of sales for my Penguin Valentines Cards! It really has been rather exciting over here at Penguin HQ!

I’ve found that I really do love drawing cute little animals and it seems like i’m getting better and better every time i open up photoshop! I’ve even started recording my drawing process as i think it does help to watch back when i’m not concentrating on drawing, plus i think it could be quite a nice little addition to my youtube cannel that’s been lying dormant for so long! You can watch all my time-lapses here!

I drew these seahorses as another option for valentines day, but ended up not really liking them enough to put up in my shop. I do think they’re cute but, gosh, are seahorses hard to draw! Maybe i’ll revisit them once i’ve improved a bit more.

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I started to relax into my drawing a bit more and drew this adorable Hippo! This has to be one of my favourite drawings to date! He’s wearing a cute little party hat and singing ‘Hippo Birthday’, because Hippo’s are obviously amazing singers! 😉 I think my shading improved so much on this picture and I just love the hippos character!

You can buy my Hippo Birthday card here!

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Ashley then gave me the idea of drawing a shiny-object-loving magpie stealing a ring for a wedding or engagement card and I thought it was a great idea! I wanted to add a little simple background to this one and love how it turned out although i think i will tweak my shading tomorrow as it isn’t as good as on my Hippo.

You can find my Magpie Thief card here!

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What do you think I should draw next?

I also have some other exciting plans for my youtube so do keep an eye out for more learning, projects and other fun things!

But for now, it’s time to sew!

Claire

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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


365 project – Days 27 to 32

On the 27th I finally finished this tie I’d had in mind for far too long and I love it! It’s already available on my etsy here

On the 28th I opened the kitchen for the second time ever and first time on my own (5am starts! Ouch!) but as I was lighting the grill I noticed it looked kinda pretty. Obviously being at work I only had my phone on me, but the picture still came out pretty cool…or should I say hot 😉

On the 29th I was playing with this adorable fabric! I think I have to buy more soon!

On the 30th I dressed up all Chinese style for a photoshoot to celebrate the new year! Ok, so I didn’t actually take these photo’s but I did think of the concept, the styling, modelled and directed the shoot so I think it still counts. You can find the post I wrote here

I did actually take a photo myself on this day (sort of, it was after midnight but I was only just leaving work and hadn’t slept yet so I guess it counts). The weather was super foggy and looked awesome so I just couldn’t resist!

The 31st I had finished the adorable-fabric skirt and it really is cute! I took some bad phone photo’s as my camera’s battery had died and I’d lost the charger! Oops! Lots of photo editing later and you can find the skirt in my shop here

On the first (wow February already!) I had my last day of work for two weeks! Yey for being owed holiday! I also went and bought a new charger as I will be needing my Camera on Sunday! This charger not only charges my old styled DSLR battery (my camera is a very old model) but also AA, AAA (etc.), newer camera batteries, phones and has a car adapter! It’s going to be perfect for holidaying!

Today is Sunday and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the photo as I’m probably out and about taking it! I’m  adventuring to the centre of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and hoping to get a few really good shots! I’ll definitely update with a blog post when i’m back and the photo’s are fully edited so keep your eyes peeled!

What have you been celebrating this week?

Claire xx


Sparkly Infinity Scarf

I have a new endeavour to go hand in hand with my wildlife photography in progress and so set out to Alexandra Palace to see the fallow deer that will be featuring in it. Unfortunately they had all disappeared! I assume they are inside and away from this bitter, cold weather, but it was quite a disappointment. I do have some ideas for what I can do with some other creatures, though, whilst I wait for their return.

So as not to waste our trip, I got Ash to take a few photographs of me in my newest creation! A sparkly, flowery, cosy infinity scarf! It really was very warm and cosy.

The outer fabric is the same as with my cape, and beautiful black, shimmering fabric I just adore. Hopefully I can buy more of it soon as I’ve more or less run out!

The inner fabric is a gorgeous, silk-like fabric which feels lovely against the skin and features a pretty flower design.

The scarf can be worn in the depths of winter with a thick coat to keep you nice and toasty warm, but it is also a good match with a simple t-shirt in slightly warmer weather.

I wore it with a plain black top, and big black waisted belt finished with this gorgeous blue skirt. I felt that the flower patterns in the skirt and scarf complimented each other well, plus I am just in love with this skirt (a bargain £3 from Primark!)

As it was a rather cold day I also wore tights with knee length socks to keep my legs warm, and these adorable fluffy boots!

Finally I finished the outfit off with some earrings I made for myself ages ago (more like I loved them so much I couldn’t bare to part with them). The blue matched perfectly and the chain drops gave a sense of elegance to the outfit.

My make-up was simple. Just a light pink on my eyes with some winged liner and a hint of pink on the cheeks and lips.

Hopefully the Fallow deer will return soon, but for now you can find this scarf listed in my shop right here

Have fun!

Claire x


New Year, New Start.

I know this is something which is said every year, but for the first time I feel like it is actually true for me.

This year will be so much bigger and better than last year and it really will be a new start! I’ve just moved house, far bigger and better than the last place and I actually have a place I can call an office (I will have to take photographs soon!). After 2 years I finally seem to have a way out of the day job, which was only meant to be temporary in the first place, and seem to have bagged a job which actually excites me and makes me happy to go to work. And I’m more determined than ever to make The Penguin Theory a success.

Last year i’m afraid I only managed to reach one of my goals, but luckily I think that goal will be crucial for success this year. I am finally a lot more organised than I’ve ever been in my life, keeping to deadlines, sorting out paperwork, keeping notes in my diary. There is still a lot of improvement to be done but i don’t think myself or my family have ever seen or expected me to be quite so diligent.

I thought I should have some goals for this year as well, but this time maybe actually manage more than one. I decided to narrow it down to 5 big goals of things that definitely have to happen.

1) Make The Penguin Theory more successful 

Regularly update my blog and other social media. make an item and/or go on a photography adventure every week. Make more sales on Etsy and at craft fairs. I don’t have to be living off it (although that would be nice) but i definitely want to make visible progress.

2) Get a Job I actually enjoy

I need a day job to fund my penguin theory adventures (unfortunately) but whilst I can’t survive of The Penguin Theory for the moment, I should at least be in a job I enjoy. My current job was never meant to be permanent and yet i’ve been there for almost two years.  It’s time to move on to something I can look forward to everyday and I think I may have already found it! A couple of months ago I worked at Legoland for a week and loved every second of it. It’s a longer commute but so much more enjoyable which makes it an obvious choice for me. Not only are the hours more regular but they’re actually during the day!  The only problem is that Legoland closes for a few months every year as a lot of the rides cannot be operated during the winter months. I am still trying to decide if I should keep the pub job for 1 day a week so that I can definitely have work in the winter or just to quit altogether and hope that I can find a temp job or make enough money through penguin theory for the winter months.

3) Go travelling

I want to go on holiday and explore somewhere I haven’t been before. In all honesty even somewhere in the UK would be fine, but it would be amazing to go abroad.

4) Enter Wildlife Photographer of the Year

It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with and in these last few months i’ve realised that I really do love to take photographs. I’ve always followed Wildlife Photographer of the Year and seen the exhibitions whenever possible. This year I’m determined to enter. It doesn’t matter if I don’t win, or even get a mention, I just need to try.  I will most definitely be viewing the exhibition at the Natural History museum this year as well.

5) Pay off Debts and Start Saving

I wont lie, the end of this year has been horrendous money wise. Ash, unfortunately, had to leave university as we couldn’t afford for him to continue and with this difficult time in the job market he had to rely on me for a few months, the problem being that minimum wage is barely enough to cover my costs. Luckily I had a lot of savings but they are completely wiped now and we’ve even had to borrow money from my mum and our housemates. But now that Ash has, not one but two jobs ,we are slowly paying everyone back and can hopefully build up some savings between us again.

So did you reach your goals for last year and what are your goals for this year?


Infinity Scarf

Now available in my Etsy store is this lovely woollen and Burberry patterned infinity scarf.

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It’s a shame I wasn’t able to make this sooner as i will no longer be able to make and ship it in time for christmas, but i’m sure there will still be lots of cold necks around in January! (along with Etsy gift cards which I now accept thanks to my amazing sister)

This scarf is the perfect addition to any outfit as its colours and pattern make it very versatile.

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One side is a thick woollen material for comfort and warmth. The other side is a stylish, burberry-esq material to add a pop of colour and interest (as well as being nice and smooth against your skin).

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It is the perfect scarf to keep you cute and warm, but it also suits a more grown up attire. I also believe that it would look just as fantastic on men as it does on women!

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So don’t let your neck get cold in this wintery weather! Wrap up warm with this cute and cosy infinity scarf!

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Nutty Christmas Stuffing

One of my housemates is going home to his parents house soon for the Christmas period and so we decided to have a little christmas meal of our own. I was in charge of food and decided to make it a real feast. We decided to go for turkey with all the trimmings and also bought a joint of Pork for Ash who isn’t that keen on Turkey. Our other housemate, Jack, is vegetarian and so had his own little ‘meat’ roast to put in. Jack also ended up roasting all the vegetables and making mashed potatoes and swede. Yum! I made the Yorkshire puddings, Gravy and decided to make some stuffing from scratch too!

I’ve made stuffing before, a traditional sausage, sage and onion, but needed to cater for Jack and so looked around for a vegetarian stuffing recipe. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one that I really fancied and so decided to create my own concoction to bring some festive cheer to our meal! I ended up with a delicious (and yes it really was tasty!) mushroom, walnut, cranberry and apple stuffing and thought it was so tasty that I just HAD to share my recipe.

And yes it was given the thumbs up by Jack.

So here’s how you can make your own, Vegetarian approved, stuffing this Christmas:

You will need…

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For the seasoning I just used Sage, but you can obviously season to your tastes. I also used chestnut mushrooms to add a nutty, mushroomy flavour and walnuts to add a creamy, nutty flavour. Apples are there to add a hint a sweetness and I also thought they would go quite well with Ashleys pork. I bought a loaf of Tiger Bread because it is delicious, but any bread will do. Slightly stale bread would be best as you are just using it to make breadcrumbs. Cranberries are christmassy and I felt that it wouldn’t be a christmas stuffing without!

I’ve not given you many measurements because I don’t really measure, i prefer to just do what I think looks right for me,  you can add the amounts to suit your tastes too.

First off you need to grab a blender, or a ‘whizzy stick’ as I have, to make bread crumbs. Just throw the bread in there and blend away.

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Next chop up your celery and half an apple into chunks. Do what you want with the other half apple. I ate mine, It was delicious. 😉

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Throw the breadcrumbs, celery, apple and cranberries into a bowl and put to the side for later. I only put half of my packet of cranberries and it seemed to be enough.

Top tip : If you can’t find fresh cranberries (as I couldn’t), by some dried ones and pop them in a bowl of water so that they will be nice and juicy!

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Next off its time to chop up the mushrooms (i used half my punnet) and onion. I also chopped 2 cloves of garlic. Throw all these into a frying pan.

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Grab a knob of butter and soften them all before adding 100ml of water.

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Add this mixture to the breadcrumbs etc. in the bowl and mix together. Then add the nuts and seasoning and stir again.

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Put the mixture in a baking tin and throw in the oven on 180 degrees for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top.

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And there you have it! A yummy, nutty, vegetarian stuffing. The perfect festive accompaniment to your Christmas Meal!

Just for fun, here’s the spread we ended up cooking (served in pots and pans because we don’t have enough serving things)

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And yes, i did manage to finish that gigantic plate of food. I may or may not have had to lie down for about an hour afterwards 😉

Please let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it, or even share your own take on this festive stuffing!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!!


Festive Penguin Stocking!

Picasso is getting all excited for Christmas and already has his stocking out! Although he’s having a lot more fun inside it rather than hanging it up 😉

Have you got your stocking out yet?

If you haven’t even got a stocking yet you can get your very own Penguin stocking just like Picasso’s in my Etsy Shop! (Click the image to follow the link!)


London Print Collection Now Available!

Now available in my shop is your choice of 4 of my London 6×4 prints for only £6!

Choose from any of my london prints (priced at £3.95 separately) to create your own collection. There are lots to choose from and even more to come!

Express your love for this iconic city with your very own set to decorate your shelves. These 6×4 prints would look great in frames for any London Lover.

All are printed by a professional photo lab on archival paper. Watermarks will be removed and replaced with a small logo on or around the print.

Other sizes of all photographs as well as mounting, laminating and canvas prints are available. Please contact me for more details.

I really do love london (although living here is maybe a little too expensive). I think my favourite place to go is the natural history museum. It’s just such a beautiful building and holds so many weird and wonderful things! I also love the south bank as there’s always so much going on! And you can’t forget the many parks dotted around for nice relaxing summer days!

What’s your favourite thing to see and do in London?