Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Friday 28 February 2014

Table Top Sale At The Forum In Greenwich

I'm a bit broke at the moment and I feel like I've outgrown my flat. So much stuff, not enough thinking space. So after seeing a sign for a Table Top Sale at my local community centre I decided to seize the moment. I signed up instantly, went home and started bagging up some of the things I no longer need: clothes, accessories, books, CDs, random bits and bobs...even a jar of unopened coffee and lots of unused toiletries and make-up.
The Forum is a brilliant space, it has a cafe, loos, baby changing facilities, a hall and various rooms for hire, a bit like a village hall only this is South East London so it's harder to find places like this that still exist!
My prices ranged from 10p-£10.
I had an entire suitcase filled with clothes and accessories for just 50p each!
But some of my 'posher' clothes in good condition were sold for a fiver.
I'm not sure why Jumble Sales turned into being called Table Top Sales, but I've always been an avid fan of rifling through other people's unwanted things so it was a fun way to spend a few hours being one of the sellers for a change.
The other stall holders were really friendly, I particularly liked this girl's merchandising.
And this gentleman was clearly a pro as he knew exactly how to make the most of his space.
This lady was selling handmade items as well as signed copies of a book she's written.
Stall hire at the Forum's Table Top sales is £7. They take place monthly on Saturdays 11am-3pm, to book one, pop in and sign up at reception or call 0208 853 5212 - the next one takes place March 29th.

As for how I got on, I did well for a first timer. Unused beauty products followed by games did the best - though I didn't sell any clothes or accessories. I made enough to pay for a 1/3 of a course I want to do. My idea was to Swap Clutter for Creativity - a mantra I'm going to keep repeating to myself. It also means I'll probably return to do it again soon...after all I still have some more money to make to pay for that course! 

Sunday 16 February 2014

Book review: DIY Fashion Photoshoot Book

Photoshoot in Brighton 2010 Image by: Nick & Jolekha Shasha
The aspect of Selfie culture I like the most is these days the average person is so much more creative when it comes to taking photos. It's no longer just about standing in front of a building to remember you went somewhere, even if you're not a photographer, photography is an accessible form of creative expression. I'm not on Instagram but I do enjoy taking and starring in photos; especially when there are colourful backdrops involved. A few years back I directed myself in photoshoot just for fun one Saturday afternoon in Brighton (my brother-in-law and sister had the honours of being behind the camera.) This was a random wall we discovered down a random street, which just happened to have half my name on! Sometimes you can't plan for when and where a great photo could take place....but with a little help from this brilliant new book, you can make sure you're prepared for it. 
Aimed at the teenage market this is the book I a) wish I had when I was younger and b) wish I had written! Filled with kooky, crazy pictures and ideas, craft projects and inspiration about creating your own fashion shoots, it's the ultimate book to put to use over the school or college half-term holidays. It's written by We Are Photogirls, an organisation that engages young girls through the media of fashion, style and photography and is run by Emily and Celia who met at art college. Printed on sketchbook style matte paper and with a clean yet quirky design, it's good for flicking through as well as reading page by page.
These are some of my favourite sections. Be warned. After reading, you most likely will want to grab the nearest camera and take some photos!
The first page in the book sets the tone. There is no right or wrong in photography, it should be treated as a full-on creative experience without ever feeling intimidated by the professional industry who they point out is all airbrushed anyway. It's a positive message and one you can read over and over again.
Every page in the book has ideas but the one that I remember the most is this - taking a drawing and trying to recreate it just because of this remarkable example - a live installation of what was originally a children's sketch. I absolutely love this concept. 
Make-up isn't just about contoured cheekbones and false lashes...I've always been a fan of make-up but for this age group, it's often not explored in the right way. Instead of copying celeb looks as most mainstream magazines talk about, the books looks at make-up in a much more creative way like experimenting with face-painting techniques. 
Craft Projects
There's also an informative section about Art Direction which explains about the visual composition of an image like considering whether it's indoors or outdoors, what backdrops may be needed and if you can't source the props, tips on how to make them yourself. 
It couldn't have been easy deciding which imagery would make it into the book but their choices are spot on. They've selected some seriously cool pictures to provide the visual eye candy. 
I love this concept too. Rather than just keeping scrapbooks filed with ideas from magazine clippings they, suggest taking one photo a day of something that grabs your interest. No need for flashy snaps either a quick mobile phone pic does the job. I need to follow this advice myself.
Finally they haven't overdone the street style element. They could have filled pages with it but limited themselves to the best street fashion in the world, Japan....oh how I wish I had a rubber duck necklace!

DIY Fashion Shoot Book by We Are Photogirls is out now and is published by Laurence King

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Sunday 9 February 2014

Bins of Kolkata

I wasn't expecting to ever publish a blog post about public litter bins, but since Kolkata has a lot of unique 'garbage cans' I thought it was worth a share. 
These images were mainly taken in a particular park but that was only because the light bulb clicked at that moment to capture them. I had previously spotted creative bins around town, particularly in public spaces. 
The jaw shape on this croc isn't the most practical of designs...
Not all the public bins in India are overflowing with litter as one may be led to believe
This one would have been happier stationed at a swimming pool rather than a park
Conclusion? The bins in Kolkata are far superior to the bins we have in London! 
I should point out. Indian fire extinguishers are pretty cool too: