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.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Perfect Day

Perfect days in life are few and far between and for me today certainly isn´t one of them. It´s dull and rainy and seems more like October than June. All the more reason to look forward to my summer holiday when good weather is forecast.

I love the sea and most of my perfect days have been spent on the coast. One of my favourite North Sea resorts is Domburg on the Dutch Zeeland peninsula where I rent a small cottage near the shore every summer, mostly just for Dora and myself as Herbert´s too busy to spend more than a few days with us. I get up early every morning as I particularly love the beach at that time when it´s abandoned by everyone except Dora and me and the seagulls. It doesn´t take much to keep us happy for the rest of the day. When I´ve had enough of lounging around reading I´ll go off to the high tide line to see what new shells the sea has washed up overnight and Dora will follow me carrying either her ball or the cork toy I made for her, and being Dora, sometimes both! 

  Click on image for a larger view.

I know that this isn´t everyone´s idea of a perfect day so, while we´re away, I wish you whatever makes you happy this summer. Hope you´ll have lots of perfect days.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Tribute To Stanley Unwin

This is my tribute to Stanley Unwin who would have been 101 years old today. What? You´ve never heard of him? The man who could explain absolutely anything in such clear and precise language that even a child could understand?

Here´s a short video of one of his educational lectures.

Now you can´t say that wasn´t informative.

One of his many fans has described him as “The masterlode of Stanfoolery of the verbally thrips oratory.” He went on to say, “Stanley lived in a little village in Northampton called Long Buckby, which was known for the boot and shoe bespokey all lock stitchy in the leathery uppers, deep joy of the footwear.” ...and that just about sums him up.

“Deep joy” was one of his favourite expressions which is why I chose it for my tribute page. Also, it perfectly describes how I feel whenever I listen to his Stanfoolery.

In fact you could say he liked this phrase so much that he took it with him when he died.

But let Sir Stanley himself have the last word. He usually did anyway because anyone talking to him would have been incapable of speech after listening to him.

Friday, June 1, 2012

When All Else Fails....Colourize!

Whenever possible I prefer to scan old damaged photos myself, especially very small ones which can be difficult to restore unless scanned at a high resolution. However, not all the photos in my scrapbook belong to me and I often have to rely on other family members to scan them for me. In this case the original was scanned at 300 dpi which is the absolute minimum for a single photo and may even have been all right if it hadn´t been just one of half a dozen scanned together on one page of an old album which meant that all detail was lost. At first glance I was struck by the composition and decided that by adding contrast and then sharpening it I might manage to revive it. As you can see, that was a definite improvement...but still not enough. I felt that what it really needed was an immediate focal point. The beach ball, which was just a blur in the original version, looked like a good choice and I think that colourizing it worked pretty well but there was still something missing. I think it was at this point that I realised I was never going to be able to make a presentable photo from it – there simply wasn´t enough detail - but that it might make a really good impressionistic painting so I applied the Paint Daubs filter. Having done that it seemed to me that the parasol merged too much into the sky so I added a color overlay. It took a while to get the right shade of blue but I´m quite happy with the result. A little more contrast was all it took to make it perfect or at least as perfect as I could make it. All I had to do after that was to remove the stained border and create a new one using an off-white shade sampled from the photo itself. (Among my simple tutorials you´ll find instructions on how to do this.)

 Click on image to enlarge

I think you´ll agree that the final result is a lot more interesting than the original. As you can see, I made a note of all the steps I took to transform it from a pale blurry image to quite a presentable little work of art. If, like me, you´re also a beginner in the art of photo restoration I hope this will help and encourage you!