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Moving…

We’ve moved!  The new and improved Barefoot in the Kitchen is here.

The blog and Daily Photo are now sharing a website, something I’ve wanted to do for a while but not had time for.  Thanks to today’s snow and Joe’s afternoon off, we’ve had time to do it.

Having a self-hosted WordPress site also gives us greater control.  We’ve got a new theme which wasn’t available on a wordpress.com blog, and lots of shiny plugins back here where you can’t see them.

Let me know what you think.  My contact details are listed on the new About page, and the Daily Photo will be going up at midnight, as usual.

Enjoy!

Katherine

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Big Fat Eric Cat

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Apologies for lack of posting yesterday, we spent the day in London and the weekend at my parents’ place; I’ve come back slightly more insane than before.  The answer to yesterday’s question?  Falafel.  Could NOT live without the stuff now.  Anyway, today’s post is about the best change we made to the place we live.

Eric.  Introducing him into our home and our family has been the most wonderful thing.  He and David are growing up together.  They sleep next to each other, play together, and annoy the crap out of each other.  They cause me equal amounts of worry, and have roughly equal numbers of hugs!  (Eric is a very snuggly, clingy cat and I’ve worn him in a sling so I can work before now.)  They are both in this lovely in-between stage: David is neither a baby nor a toddler, and Eric is no longer a kitten, but not quite a cat.

The older cats have mostly accepted him.  Snowball still dislikes him, but then Snowball doesn’t like anyone or anything apart from Joe.  Wily puts up with his adoring attentions with great patience and grace.  “Oy boss, have you been outside, where’ve you been, did you catch any mice, will you teach me how to catch mice when I’m big, oh please, please, PLEASE…”  He will catch mice when he’s allowed outside: Snowball has brought the occasional live one inside, which he’s finished off, but I still don’t want my little baby boy going out.

So again, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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Heaven

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

See this little boy here?  He doesn’t sit still, like, ever.

This is often a problem.  We still live in a small flat; it’s winter, so we can’t use the garden; David’s bedroom is David-safe, but everywhere else he has to be either strapped down or closely supervised.  The weather is horrible at this time of year, and he’s only just walking, so trips to the park happen once in a blue moon.  This is why we spend most afternoons in the best place in the world, ever: a soft-play centre a half-hour drive down the road.

I know I come across as slightly obsessed, but most of the pictures of David at the Daily Photo are taken there.  They have the biggest baby and toddler area in the country, with lots of lovely sensory things for babies.  It’s incredibly well thought-out, and David adores it.  His absolute favourite are the fish in the bubble tube.

I love it too, of course.  It’s very reasonable to get in.  The food is good: standard soft play centre fare, but just really, really nice.  (There’s a nice balance of healthy and unhealthy: David has started asking for chocolate buttons when we go there.).  The most wonderful thing is that he can run, well, high-speed crawl around in complete safety, and tire himself out nicely.

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.

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Blog Find of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Today, it’s the Blog Find of 2009: “…that gem of a blog you can’t believe you didn’t know about until this year.”: also, the post that it’s impossible to write without feeling a little bit stalkerish.

Despite the lack of time to read books, I’ve had plenty of time to read blogs this year.  It’s probably because I spend most of my work-time on the computer, and Aperture takes so long to even think about doing anything that I have aeons of time to do what I want to on the Internet.  (Note to Apple: the Mac Mini might not be top-end, but it’s not bad spec, so WHY can I only run Aperture, Safari and iChat at the same time?  If I add anything else I get stuck with spinning beachballs…)

This brings me to my blog find of the year: Tales from the Dad Side.  It’s wonderful to hear a different perspective on parenting: as a mother who spends most of her time at home, it’s very easy to forget how hard it is for Joe to walk out of the door in the morning and leave David.  SciFiDad’s son Buddy is a few months older than David, so it’s interesting to see the challenges we’ll likely be dealing with in a few months.  His daughter Munchkin is four, and VERY like I was as a child; also, again, it’s interesting to get a glimpse of what life with a four-year-old might be like.  (David is NEVER going to be four.  He’s not even going to be one in a few weeks.  La, la, la, I can’t hear you…)

Tales from the Dad Side is very well thought-out, very well-written.  This challenge has made it a lot easier for me to come up with material every day, but to do it all the time without prompts, and never be boring?  That takes talent, which SciFi Dad has in oodles.  So don’t hang out here any longer, go!  Go and read!

In other news, the Daily Photo is up here, as usual, and it’s of a little ginger kitten-cat.  (Neither “kitten” nor “cat” suit him in this phase of his development, much like neither “baby” nor “toddler” fit David quite right.)

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Best Article Of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

For me, by far and away the most useful article this year has been this photographers’ rights guide.  I keep a printed copy in my camera bag, just in case I’m stopped when I’m out and about with my camera.

Photographer’s rights are a massive issue for me.  I take a lot of photos in public places, and a lot of photos that are likely to have other people’s children in them.  In the last week I’ve read about photographers being stopped for taking photos of Christmas lights or sunsets at St Paul’s Cathedral, supposedly for “terrorism prevention”.

Photographers may legally be stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Prevention of Terrorism act.  It’s a catch-all clause that lets the police search anyone they like, regardless of whether they have reasonable grounds to suspect that that person is involved in terrorism.  Security guards often have the same attitude: the leader of Hull City Council, Liberal Democrat Carl Minns, was stopped whilst taking photos of a shopping centre: he had every legal right to do so.  Question: with so many high-resolution cameraphones on the market these days, and when the police seem to be so quick to react to photographers, would a potential terrorist likely carry a light, easily-hidden cameraphone, or a big, noticeable DSLR?  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t yet heard of anybody being stopped and searched simply for using a cameraphone.  And aren’t detailed photos and area photos of any area, especially those popular with tourists, available on Google Maps and Google Street View?  Why go out and risk being discovered when you could, quite simply, open your web browser?

The other stick used to beat photographers with, of course, is suspicion of paedophilia.  I am a young woman, with a child of my own.    I have had my non-existant criminal record checked by no fewer than four organisations for volunteering and for work, and am about to pay to be CRB-checked AGAIN through my own company.  When David and I go somewhere, I usually want to take some pictures of what we’re doing.  Our local council prohibits photography on leisure centre property, so I can’t take pictures of David swimming.  Of the three soft play centres we’ve attended, I’ve been asked not to take pictures in one (we didn’t go back), and told that I should only be taking pictures of my own child in the second and the third.  (All credit to the third play centre, the only one we visit now.  The staff are fantastic, I can take as many pictures of David and whoever he’s playing with as I want, and I have never been asked to stop taking pictures by a member of staff there.)  The labelling of all people who take photos of children as potential paedophiles is as ludicrous as the suggestion that everyone who takes “too many” photos in a public place is a terrorist.  And again, I have never seen anyone stopped for using a cameraphone in either a soft play centre or a leisure centre: equally, the Plymouth nursery paedophile Vanessa George took her disgusting and vile pictures on a cameraphone, not an SLR.

This paranoia affects me professionally, too.  Most of my work involves taking childrens’ portraits.  I’m about to pay a not insignificant amount of money to show potential clients that I’m not a padeophile; I have to have express signed permission from the parents of any children I photograph to both take and use the images, until they reach the age of eighteen.

Part of the reason for the disproportionate reaction is down to Daily Mail-type public hysteria.  If you believe that every person with a camera in the park is a padeophile, or every Asian a terrorist (thank you, tabloids!) then you’re not going to want them to take photos of your children or your home or the city where you work, in case something happens to you or your family.  But here’s the truth: there has been one, just ONE, terrorist attack in the UK in the last ten years, before the mass public hysteria.  The kind of anti-terrorism crackdowns we see today just didn’t happen during the IRA bombing campaign, and the 7th July bombings weren’t carried out with tripods and cameras.  Children are still most likely to be molested by someone they know, not some random strange woman whose camera just happened to be expensive and specialised.

It’s getting harder and harder to be a photographer in this changing world, with this changing climate of public opinion.  Articles like the photographer’s guide to rights are extremely helpful in clarifying the situation and helping us to retain some of our dearly-held liberties.  I don’t believe that we live in an Orwellian society, but I do value the freedom to take pictures of whatever I want, and to share those pictures, without being suspected of evil and awful crimes.

If this is all too depressing for you, head over to the Daily Photo, where there’s a lovely picture of a ginger kitten to cheer you up.

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Announcing…

Internet, here is the reason I’ve not slept the last three nights:

I’ve decided to challenge myself.  For the next year, I’m going to take a picture a day, every day.  I’m going to try to capture a wide range of subject matter, to learn new techniques, to push my artistic boundaries.  There are so many times that I see photographic potential in an object, but don’t have my camera with me.  That is going to change.

So, head over to the new Daily Photo website, and let me know what you think.  Feedback is appreciated!

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Working Late, CSS, and photos

Posting is going to be light here over the next few days.

Why’s that?  Well, I’m working on six different clients’ photos and a major project.  I’m in the middle of writing an article about post-natal depression and how it affected our family.  There is cooking, cleaning, and shopping to be done, and the Boy to be looking after.  I have approximately three hours’ work time on a good day now that our childminder is on maternity leave.  Lack of childminder + metric shedloads of work = working at 2.30am, also taking pretty pictures at 1.37am.

I’ll admit now that I have very little web design experience.  Design, yes.  I can design you a website, and take you some pretty pictures to go on it.  I can tell you which colours and fonts and graphics to put where in order to make it look nice.  The one, rather crucial thing that I can’t do is build it, or make it function.  I have never build a website in my life without the help of iWeb.

Until today, this hasn’t been a problem.  I’ve been perfectly fine bumbling along, creating websites in iWeb (and ten years ago, Microsoft Word…).  I can do simple things like change colours and fonts on a CSS stylesheet.  Today, however, I had a template.  The columns were 70ish pixels narrower than the pictures that needed to fit in them.  Resizing the pictures was not an option.  Every time I changed the width of the column, it broke the rest of the design.  I have been working on this for seven and a half hours, and I still am not capable of making it work.

So, I gave up, and stuck to what I can actually do.  Here are some pretty pictures.

I’m fairly sure that even the Cadbury Duck knows more CSS than I do.

Next time I have a lot of work, remind me to buy the Diet Coke in bulk.  Well, more than usual.  (I would not be functioning right now if it wasn’t for this stuff.)

I would also not be functioning if it weren’t for my snuggly little kitten, although, Eric, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t crash Aperture next time.

It’s now 3.05am.  I’m heading for bed, with a DO NOT DISTURB sign pinned to my chest for Joe’s benefit in the morning.  If anyone wants to help me with CSS, please drop me a line.  I’ll pay you in beer and cookies!

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