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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

From The Sublime...

In most of the photos I have of my aunt she´s unsmiling, composed and elegantly dressed in the height of 30´s fashion. However, just occasionally the façade slips and shows her to be more than just a perfectly groomed fashion plate.

  Click on image to enlarge

The first photo is typical of many I have in which she´s looking her most elegant which is why I chose that particular one for my present blog header. As you can see from the second photo, at some time during the 30s she seems to have become a victim of a truly bizarre fashion and in the third one she´s lost her cool entirely as she scrambles around the beach on all fours with my mother and a friend on her back. Good to know that the family sense of the ridiculous didn´t pass her by. Now you know who you got it from, Neville.

I created this page from the kit I´m currently working on. That is when I´m not in my garden waging war on the snails that infest my veggie patch. I probably cut a ridiculous figure myself as I scatter crumbled egg shells around while muttering strange oaths under my breath. Thank goodness there´s nobody around to take photos of me while I do it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Creating A "Real" Scrapbook

It´s been typical April weather here recently, a horrible combination of torrential showers which flatten the daffodils in my garden, and sudden gusty winds which turn even the sturdiest umbrella inside out. After a thoroughly unpleasant walk with Dora I needed something to do indoors to take my mind off it. There´s nothing better than difficult and tedious work to make me forget everything but the task in hand and there´s nothing more difficult and tedious than restoring photos so I dug out an old album which is my own personal chamber of photographic horrors. All the photos in it are in a sad state and the one I decided to tackle was so badly scratched, blotched and faded it took me the best part of the morning to restore it and several cups of strong coffee to restore me. Having finished I felt a sense of anticlimax. A glance out of the window showed that the weather hadn´t improved in the meantime so I cast about for something else to do. Then I remembered a battered old scrapbook which pre-dated digital scrapbooking by many years and which had stood neglected on a shelf for so long I´d almost forgotten about it. When I opened it it took me back to the days when I used to draw frames and little motifs to decorate my photos. I never actually stuck on buttons and other “real” embellishments so I suppose it wasn´t a scrapbook in the usual sense of the word. Anyway, it gave me the idea to create something which you might call a hybrid, a cross between a traditional scrapbook and a more modern one which would be particularly suitable for displaying my recent restoration work. The following layout may give you an idea of what I mean.

  Click on image for a larger view

The photo second down on the right is the one I´ve just finished restoring. All the others were edited some years ago and in each case I´ve shown both the original and the restored version though this very small format camouflages the worst of the wear and tear on the originals. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this page though it´s not all my own work. As you can see, I had a helping hand, not to mention an eraser to correct my mistakes as I went along. I think that by now you´ll have gathered that a cup or three of strong coffee is essential to the creative process and is usually accompanied by some drips and splashes so I´ve replicated these too. Now, quite literally, back to the drawing board...

Creating this kit is going to be so much fun!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vintage Whimsy Is Now In The Store.

Here´s the preview of my latest kit, Vintage Whimsy. As with all my heritage kits it´s a mixture of old and new, vintage and modern and, as always, with a sprinkling of bling and precious stones.

Click on image for a larger view. Click back to return here.

I´ve just released Vintage Whimsy and it´s now available in my store. You´ll find more info about it and other kits plus a new kit freebie HERE.

And talking of bling, I´ve also released a favourite of mine, Floral Bling. Any of these flowers would add an eye-catching accent to any heritage or floral page.

Thank you for looking.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Distracting The Baby

The thing that struck me when I first saw this photo – apart from its battered condition - was the expression on that poor baby´s face, and after all those years I can´t quite define it even now that I´ve removed the blemishes which partly hid it from me. It´s not exactly fearful and it´s not exactly pouting but it looks to me like the lull before the storm and I can well imagine that she probably burst into tears the very moment after the shutter clicked. She´s obviously not looking at the photographer so I can only imagine that the look is directed at her mother. Maybe it´s an appeal for help which says, “I´m being a good girl and sitting as still as I can but I can´t keep this up much longer.” So I thought I´d try to distract her from the ordeal by giving her something fun to look at, but showing her the girl on the swing doesn´t seem to have done the trick. Maybe she´ll cheer up when the girl with the dog runs past her. Hmm. But then again, maybe not, and the pensive child clutching those original defaced images seems to be entirely in sympathy with her.

I created this whimsical page using mainly the teal, blue and turquoise elements in my new kit which is a heritage kit with a difference in that it´s possible to use it for either elegant or playful layouts, hence the name Vintage Whimsy. I´ll be releasing it soon and I hope you´ll like it when you see the previews.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tante Anna

Anna was the oldest of the four Schwerdhöfer sisters of whom the second youngest was my husband´s mother. I never knew Anna and know very little about her apart from the fact that she was born in Marktheidenfeld in Bavaria and died in Mainz in Rheinland-Pfalz at the age of 89. As for the age of this photo, it´s difficult to be exact about the date, but judging by the hairstyle and the dress which doesn´t have a dropped waistline, I originally guessed it was probably taken during the early 1920s. My husband thinks that Anna died about 25 years ago which would mean that she was born around the end of the 19th century so my guess is probably pretty accurate. I´d even go so far as to assume that this lovely studio portrait may have been taken to commemorate her 21st birthday. It´s obviously a special occasion anyway as she´s decked out in all her finery and wearing some beautiful jewellery and she´s certainly looking a lot less solemn than the subjects in most of the studio photos I have from that era. I think this is a perfectly beautiful photo and it´s still in such remarkably good condition that no restoration was necessary, thank goodness!

The kit I´m working on at present is mainly in warm sepia and cool teal with cream, gold and silver accents. I´ve used mainly the warmer shades for this page with a little pale gold and silver to echo the colour of her dress and the artificial roses she´s holding.