Monthly Archives: February 2016

For the Love of Beer

Digital restorations of old photographs can be tricky. Some can be outright nightmarish. The more one zooms into the image, the more damage becomes visible. Somehow it becomes quite obsessive to fix ‘everything’ and I have had nights where I’ve been dreaming in pixels after a long session at the computer during the day.

In this beer advertising from the 1950s, the very pretty model with the very elegant hands holds this for today’s standards very unbeer-ish glass in the air, a bit like a chalice. It’s a fine piece of photography, but the 8×10″ print has suffered over time.

Resto

As always, my main goal is to get the digital restoration as close to what the image would have looked like on the day it was printed as possible. There’s a fine line in overdoing it.

In the original, the only things in sharp focus are the hands and the glass, the bottle was deliberately left slightly blurry, and the face of the model was totally out of focus. I did not change that, but made sure I worked very neatly on the hands and glass, which are the main focus.

In the close-ups you can see the damage, the scratches, all the little spots and specks, that needed to go.

Restob

And the fingerprint. It always makes my heart skip a beat, when I find fingerprints on photos. Yes, paper and inks back then were different, but please, please, please don’t ever handle photos, old or new, it doesn’t matter, unless you hands are clean and dry, and hold by the edges only. The white glove thing is a myth, I have attached a link to that here, if you’re interested in reading up on that.

And I have done some research on the beer, which is a fine brew from the Swan Brewery in Perth. You can purchase this very label for a reasonable amount on e-bay, if that takes your fancy.

Love the history part of old photos 🙂

 

Advertisements

Melting Crayons

Crayon4

Yes, it seems they are everywhere, certainly Pinterest is brimming with photos of great and successfully created Melted Crayon Art.

The madeit blog kindly did a ‘how to’, in their first of hopefully many more monthly DIY project how to’s. I had been mulling this melting crayon idea around in my head for some time, had wanted to tackle it in the school holidays, but alas ….

On an otherwise rather middle range exciting Wednesday I could have done the accounting and some cleaning and tidying but the ‘Crayation’ beckoned.

Since the kids are no more little there are no more bits of crayons in the house. I got two packs at the last grocery dash. And I already had a canvas, an oblong shape which I’ve had for ages with no real idea what to do with it. Now it time had come.

As a photographer, I like negative space, my cropping is usually such that the subject is not in the middle, but rather off center and even to the very sides of the image. It’s a thing.

And on Pinterest I spotted a few melted crayon images using negative space as well, negative space as in shapes and outlines of names etc. As the oblong shape of the canvas kind of lend itself to something longish I attempted a dolphin.

The blog also had pointed out that chasing bits of half melted crayon on kitchen bench and floor was an undesirable side-effect once the hair dryer is getting its work-out. Duly noted, which is why I decided to not break my crayons into pieces but somehow stick them on the canvas. Good old blue tac helped with that. Before that, I drew a rough outline of a dolphin with pencil on the canvas, and peeled the paper off the crayons. THAT was a really annoying and time consuming part … almost went back to accounting …. almost.

Crayon1

Crayon2

In sections, I went around the canvas, sticking complimenting colours of crayons on and, with the hair dryer on low, started melting the crayons. Generally, it worked really well, however, eventually the crayons just melt too much – and yes, blue tac melts, too – so the angle of the hairdryer did matter a lot. Regardless, many times bits of breaking off melting crayon just flew across the canvas.

You can see the trails of these runaway pieces in the picture.

After I finished the whole outline of the dolphin, I used some crayons to put some extra drips and swirls into the paintwork. Crayons melt really quickly, and dry really quickly, too, so one has to be reasonably fast.

I took a few photos before, but got totally absorbed during the process, and quite dirty, and my camera and dirty fingers are a no no. Plus I was literally running out of time, as this dolphin took me a good 2 hours to finish …. dinner and sports drives were waiting.

Whilst I love the pools of melted colour, really cool actually, I would not recommend doing this activity with children. I burnt my fingers quite a bit and still have crayon blue under my fingernails today. And if you’re not careful and are holding the hairdryer too sideways or too low the hot wax does splatter everywhere.

Crayon3

But I’m quite pleased with this attempt and the dolphin now keeps me company in the office and makes me smile while I do some bookkeeping.

 

 


madeit in Australia

madeit.com.au is an e-commerce site dedicated to showcase handmade items created by crafty people who physically reside in Australia. It doesn’t matter whether sellers do create for a living or as a hobby, as long as it’s their creation, it can be listed in their store on the madeit website.

As the world is big and I’m not quite ready to expose myself to it, I liked this idea and so az pictured set up a store about a year ago.

I was still doing some markets in 2015 and spending a lot of energy to get my stall stocked and a lot of time being present on said markets. Unfortunately, I think, apart from a few very successful upmarket designer-type markets, the down the road once-a-month small to middle-size market is pretty much dead, a lament repeated by countless other market stall holders I became friends with. Market insurance and market stall fees keep going up, customers continue to be happy spending money on food and anything to do with the kids, but by large, they hold their purses tight. And if they shop they expect to be able to use their credit card, pay wave, chip and what not … all of which is not that easy and uncomplicated and seldom free and mostly not feasible for small businesses.

Anyway. Since I was still focusing on markets I didn’t put too much effort into my store on madeit and – no surprise – had a bit of a slow start.

Towards the end of last year I stepped it up, and madeit itself has undergone some changes and began the new year with some well thought-through and exciting changes, with a new look newsletter, improved blog and quality presence on social media platforms. All makes sense and looks awesome and it’s so exciting to be a part of it.

And to top the excitement, January has brought me a couple of features in the shopping guides and a stint as a guest pick-editor plus a few sales … insert happy little dance emoticon.

Following madeit more closely has also exposed me to the craft and creativity of other sellers and their fabulous products. A few birthdays are already sorted 🙂

If you like to support handmade in Australia, check out madeit.com.au  🙂

madeit

 

 


Love Pulses

Since 1960, the United Nations promote international awareness and action on certain issues by creating special observances designated to days, weeks, years or decades. Scrolling down the list, one can find such wide ranging topics as Human Rights, Co-Operation, Anti-Apartheid, Volunteers, Thanksgiving, Microcredit, Physics, Freshwater, Rapprochement of Cultures, Natural Fibers, Family Farming, Crystallography, the Potato and many more.

While 2015 brought us the Year of Light and Light-based Technologies as well as the Year of Soils, 2016 is the Year of the Pulses. I confess, I didn’t see it coming. I should have remembered an interview I saw years ago, where Matt Preston, the well-known, mostly colourfully suited and tied food critic and judge on Masterchef, was raving about ancient grains and announced Quinoa as the true trend for the upcoming (then 2012) year, and sure enough, we got the International Year of Quinoa in 2013.

Maybe I should have paid attention to the recipes in magazines over winter, and the ‘super home-cooking ideas’ from a certain supermarket, because, looking back, there were a lot of peas and lentils and the like. Hm. Well, we know now why.

Funny enough when I googled ideas for images for the Year of the Pulses towards the end of last year, I found quite the confusion, as many times it was the Year of the Pulse, or the Year of Pulses, a funny little translation mishap possibly, which in most cases seems to have been rectified by now.

Pulses4

In any case, 2016 and Pulses it is.

Stock up on your pulses, ‘get creative’ with green and yellow peas, lentils, chickpeas and eat ‘delicious, nutritious and sustainable’, as the slogan of the Global Pulse Confederation tells us. Yes, there is such a thing.

Well, I’ve started off with a little bit of creativity, we’ll see how it translates into the kitchen.

Pulses3