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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

For Margaret

This page is for my cousin´s wife, Margaret. She liked the first page I made of her daughter´s wedding so much that she asked for a larger version to print and frame. This photo shows Amanda with her father, Neville. Hope you´ll like this one too, Margaret.

I created this page using the – as yet unnamed - kit I´m currently working on. The spatters symbolise champagne bubbles and the tiny ladybird (Am. ladybug) is for luck.

By the way, the outer frame is actually a vintage clock and the floral strip part of a frame.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fall Freebie

There´s very little I like about autumn. I don´t like the night frost which turns my lawn white and blackens my roses. I don´t like the mist which makes everything grey. The only saving grace it has for me is when it turns the leaves to rust and gold so if you feel as I do perhaps you´d like this little fall freebie.

You´ll find it HERE.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Knowing When To Stop

When it comes to restoring old photos I don´t pretend to be an expert. For me it´s been – and still is – a learning process but one important thing I have learned is knowing when to stop. Now that´s the problem with being a perfectionist. I just can´t do things by halves. “Good enough” isn´t even half good enough for me. It´s got to be perfect. Or at least it used to be like that because I´ve learned that perfection can sometimes be not only inappropriate but even bland and boring. Take this photo of my aunt for example...

Its major flaws are obvious. There´s a huge white blotch on her sleeve and in several places like on her skirt and shoe there´s a sepia discolouration which is repeated in the bushes behind her. I managed, with some difficulty, to edit out the blotch by using a combination of the patch and the healing brush tools. Ditto those distracting white cracks on her right. The sepia stains on the skirt and shoe were more difficult until I came up with the idea of making a feathered selection around them, copying them and then adding a colour overlay sampled from the skirt and set to “color”. It took some trial and error to get the colour right but I think that worked out pretty well.

I deliberately left the sepia tinted bushes because I think they give an impression of sunlight which would be missing if I altered the colour. There was a time when I´d have cropped the photo and added a pristine white border but, as I said before, I´m gradually learning that perfection can sometimes be out of place and I think that the original imperfect border reflects the age of the photo. It´s not perfect but it´s good enough. Anyway, here´s the resultant scrapbook page.

As you can see, I´ve cropped the photo but the only further alteration I made to it was by using a warming filter on it to heighten its vintage look. Just one thing I wish I could alter is the coat she´s got bundled up beside her. Uh oh, I haven´t learned my lesson yet. Stop me someone before I reach for the cloning tool!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Making Assumptions

I´m sure that like me you sometimes come across old photos, turn them over and are disappointed to find little or no information about what I think of as the 3 Ws, namely who, where and when. Often we have to make informed guesses based on prior knowledge. For example if we know who the people are we can often guess when the photo was taken by their approximate age at the time or the style of their clothes. Where it was taken can be more difficult unless, for example, it´s on the beach and we know of a favourite family seaside resort. I recently found a photo on the back of which someone had simply written “Luss”. It may sound cryptic but it turned out to be the only clue I needed because from that place name I was able to fill in all of the gaps.

To begin at the beginning, my maternal grandfather started the first bus service in Glasgow driving day trippers from the city to Loch Lomond in the Trossachs, the region between the Scottish Lowlands and the Highlands.

As you can see by clicking on the map, the town of Luss is on the west bank of the loch. The fact that my grandpa is wearing a bus driver´s uniform in the photo tells me that this was obviously a business trip. Apart from that, the 5 people in the photo are split into 2 distinct groups with my grandparents and my mother on the right and an unknown lady and a girl on the left. I can assume from this that the 2 unknowns were passengers on the bus and the photo was very likely taken by the lady´s other companion, maybe her husband. Finally, from the approximate age of my mother, I can guess that the date was 1926.

I created this page using a background and some elements which may eventually morph into a kit. As you can see, the original photo, which I´ve tucked under the frame, is faded and rather blotchy. However, I did a little restoration work on the family group by removing the worst of the blots and scratches and I also heightened the contrast. I´m quite pleased with the way it looks now that I´ve cropped it...just as if it was meant to fit into that frame! I may also create a page sometime using the unknown lady and her daughter(?) She´s so stylishly dressed in the latest fashion - at a time when ladies thought nothing of hanging dead animals around their necks - and the girl is holding a doll which is also wearing a 1920s costume complete with a dropped waistline and a cloche hat. What a treasure this photo turned out to be!