just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Final Hour

I´m happy that spring is on its way. It´s a time of new beginnings and I always feel at my most optimistic when the days grow gradually longer and there´s some warmth in the sun. Winter for me is the dead season when I´m at my lowest ebb. But autumn can be the great deceiver as I discovered one sunny day in November when it was so warm that it seemed as if summer were about to return. These are two of the photos I took that day which symbolise for me how nature clings to life even in its final hour.

I created the above page using a grungy kit I´ve been working on lately as an antidote to the prettier Summer Past. The paper bird is distantly related to the one in the summer kit but dressed in different and much drabber feathers. The clock doesn´t actually have the seasons written on it but it does have both the word art and its hands in separate files so that the time shown can be anything I like, even 4 minutes to winter. This kit hasn´t got a name yet. Pretty Grungy might be appropriate or Nature Diary as it has lots of birds and flowers in it. On the other hand, to continue the theme, Autumn Past would also do, but any suggestions would be gratefully received. I´ll post a preview of the kit as soon as I´m quite sure I´ve finished it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Summer Past

Here are the previews of Summer Past. I´ve posted them here rather than among my other kit previews because the kit won´t be released until either "summer future" or I find a new scrapping home, whichever comes first. I hope you´ll like it as much as I enjoyed creating it but it´s time to move on and I´m currently working on something entirely different. I´ll show you a sample soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Capturing Spring

Here on the Dutch/German border the temperature is gradually rising, the frost and snow have gone and the evenings are drawing out. For each of us the signs of reawakening life are different. For Wordsworth it was the sight of "a host of golden daffodils". For me it´s a pool of white snowdrops. This is snowdrop country and they´ve suddenly sprung up everywhere, in their hundreds in my garden and in their hundreds of thousands in the surrounding countryside. They lie in little puddles under trees among last year´s dead leaves and in large lakes in grassy fields and along the river bank and to me they´re the harbinger of my favourite season. For me summer here is too hot and humid, Autumn the sad dying back before the icy chill of Winter but Spring is a fresh green time of new beginnings and I wish I could capture and keep it.

(click for a larger view)

If you´d like the floral gold and glass frame I´ve used to capture my snowdrops, you´ll find it HERE

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Have A Heart!

After I´d posted that simple tutorial yesterday, it occurred to me that your own PS font browser would be especially useful for previewing dingbat fonts as the PS preview is of even less use for them than it is for viewing conventional fonts. If you take the time to spell out the entire alphabet, you´ll be able to see all the dingbats on one page. When I did that myself I discovered lots of useful dingbats which I´d never have found by the usual trial and error method because it simply takes far too long to try out one after the other until I´ve found something I can use. I´ve been making gold and glitter styles just for fun recently and had been considering creating a Valentine kit using them. Well, I found the ideal dingbats to practise on, namely 2Peas GGs Love Me. I had so much fun trying out my styles on them I got quite carried away and ended up with a whole pageful of glittering Valentine motifs. It seemed such a shame to delete them I thought I´d offer them as an early Valentine Day gift. So, if you like them....have a heart. In fact, have 14 hearts! You´ll find them HERE with love from me to you.

Almost forgot to say that these elements are all on one page so you´ll have to cut them out yourself but, don´t worry, I´ve left plenty of space between them so it shouldn´t be difficult.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Create Your Own Font Browser

I was looking through my fonts this morning when it struck me that the preview in Photoshop is far too small to be of much use in choosing the perfect font for a layout. Add to that the fact that I´m constantly adding to the collection without paying any attention to the name of the fonts and it´s not surprising that I can never find them again without a lot of trial and error. After a frustrating half hour of trying out one unsuitable font after another I was about to give up when I stumbled upon the ideal solution. It´s so easy I´m amazed I didn´t think of it before and just had to share it with you. So, for all the other disorganised font addicts HERE´S how to go from this...

...to this
with no effort at all!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tea With The Bedouins

This is another of the photos from our holiday in Tunisia which I converted from a slide. It needed quite a lot of restoration work but it was worth it as I´m unlikely to get another chance to wear a Bedouin wedding costume or to drink tea with these hospitable people, so this will be a memory to cherish. I think the photo still requires a little more editing, especially to bring out the green of the tattoos on the older wife´s face without affecting the rest of the photo. I´ll need to experiment with that as I´ve no idea how to do it.
Tea Tunisian style is unusual to say the least. On this occasion the water was boiled in a can over an open fire - I had to extract the tea set from another photo. A handful of tea is put into the teapot followed by a handful of sugar then the water is added and everything is mixed thoroughly and allowed to infuse for several minutes. The addition of the sugar puzzled me at first until I discovered that no saucers or tea spoons are provided and, since it´s assumed that everyone likes their tea strong and sweet, it seems quite practical to put the sugar directly into the teapot. As you can imagine, the resultant brew is very sweet indeed and an acquired taste for anyone who doesn´t have a sweet tooth! I do, so I enjoyed it and, anyway, making tea this way is no more eccentric than adding milk or lemon to it. I´d say that asking for milk wouldn´t only have been rude but might also have presented a problem since the only animal in sight was Fortuna, the camel we arrived on, and supermarkets are few and far between in the desert...

(click to enlarge)

I used quite a few gold elements from Summer Past to reflect all the gold jewellery adorning the three of us, and I recoloured a floral background to suit. I´ll show a preview of the kit just as soon as I´ve finished converting and editing my slides.
Almost forgot...no prizes for guessing which of the ladies is me.