Saturday, February 26, 2011

feb self-portrait @ arms length

I’m including a self-portrait each month in my 2011 album but hadn’t taken one for February yet.  So when I saw mentions of tips on arms length self-portraits  I followed the links.  The post is full of great tips and ideas for the popular method of holding the camera at arms length and clicking.  I’ve used this method myself with mixed results so was keen on some idea.  There are lots of different ideas in the post but I latched on to 2 of them to try out.  I often find I do this – alight on two or three ideas from the many on offer because its too much to take them all on board to try.

First, use the light from a window, especially in the morning because it provides a sympathetic light for skin.  Its a nice sunny day today so I tried this out.  Leaning my arm and camera against the window had the added advantage of keeping it stable, something that I’ve found problematic in the past.  I did some looking straight at camera and some to the side, with the camera held in one hand.  One consequence of this approach that I liked was that the background tends to be dark, so less worry about what is behind me in the room.

The other tip I absorbed was to crop the photo tight onto the face, and to straighten it is necessary.  I also tried a few photoshop actions on the portraits but in the end left them as they came from the camera – the light from the window is gentle and warm.

I took 36, kept 22 and here are my 4 favourites – I haven’t decided which to use in my monthly album. 


the stitch frame is from Karen at Design House Digital

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I’m slowly unpacking all of my craft supplies from their boxes.  I was pleased to find this in one of the boxes last week.


I made the 6 letters in 2007 for fun and to remind me to take time to be creative.  I now have them on the wall by my crafting area and am adding more ‘create’ words in different styles

Each letter is about 12cm high.  I used a different crafty medium for each letter – reflecting what I was doing in 2007

The C is seedbeads threaded onto wire which is wound around a wire frame. I really like this kind of bead sculpting to create hangings

R is papermache.  The R is recessed and made from tissue within a purple ‘tile’ made from normal paper.  I must do some more papermache as I like the process and using up scrap paper

E is crocheted using multihued wool – fun to use crochet for something so sculptural

A use scrapbooking techniques and a photo of purple feathers – I had only been scrapbooking for about 6 months at that time

T has a bead embroidery top bar and 3 bead dangles.  I find bead embroidery very soothing to do - it easier to thread small beads onto a needle than you would think

E is polymer clay canes.  I love what polymer clay artists can do with the stuff but never managed the control of the clay needed for the detailed designs.  i don’t do it anymore and gave away my equipment when I was packing up to leave NZ.




Are there any crafty mediums that you no longer pursue?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

variations on a theme

Last year, somewhere in blogland, I saw a crocheted cotton flannel in a logcabin pattern from patchwork.  I liked the look of them but didn’t persue.  When I was unpacking my stored supplies I found a selection of cotton yarn in a range of colours so decided to give it a try.


I was pleased with the result, and liked the way it feel.  So i decided to make some more and use up some of the small balls of cotton – the central square only needs a short length

So I made another 7.  But, as is often the case, I was not content with using the same pattern and providing variation through colour combinations.  Instead I played with the basic design so that each of the others is different.  I like variation and find repetition boring, which is probably why I haven’t made socks or gloves and prefer sweater patterns that include the sleeves with the body.


How about you? Do you tend to try variations on a theme?  or replicate a winning formula? 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One Little Word–images

My word for 2011 is RHYTHM – in terms of seasons, routines, patterns.  One of the few things that I miss from my days as an academic is the pattern to the year, the changes from month to month in terms of teaching, examining and research.  Having moved hemisphere and changed job and settled down after a year of travelling around, I need to establish some new patterns. 

When I was unpacking my scrapping stuff I found a note I’d written at a Stacy Julian class I attended in NZ in 2008 – ‘ rhythm and routine enables rather than shackles; it provides the structure for doing what you want; remember all houses are built in the same order – don’t waste time thinking of the order in which to do things’. 

I’ve joined the Ali Edwards year long class related to one little word at Big Picture and the task for February is to take 9 images related to your word – literal and/or figurative.  Here is what I have taken in week one:


waves – regular and recurring pattern of movement

brick wall – regular and recurring structure – and relates to the Stacy idea about houses




dancing – this is from a poster for footloose

a weather vane (texture applied) for activities relating to context and knowing what the context is




arched bridge over river – regular, repeated shape gives strength.  Also ‘water under the bridge’ and ‘river always flowing’

tide out at the beach and also the regular pattern in the wooden structure


Trying to describe visual metaphor is hard, I just realised.

I also intend to have photos of spring flowers to indicate seasons and also a symmetrical, intricate pattern when I come across one in a stained glass window or some such decoration.  I’m also keeping a lookout for other dancing images.  I want more than 9 so that I can select a good range at the end of the month for my album.

Any other suggestions?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monthly album - January


In The Monthly template (Cathy Z) there is a layout for each month of the year.  I added the strip at the bottom when I turned it from 8.5 x 11 to A4 size.  I also changed the colour behind ‘january’ from black to a grey that matches the sand in the big photo.

I intend to have a self-portrait each month.  I’ve seen quite a few people use this method so decided to give it a try.  I’m sitting on a dining chair backwards with my hands resting on the back.  My camera, on timer, was on a pile of books at the end of the table. 













The last page for each month has room for about 250 words.  Cathy nicely provided a heading saying ‘my month’  as well as the ‘our month’ that comes as standard. 

I haven’t written the journaling yet because I’m waiting for publication of the monthly weather review so I can include those details, something I want to do each month.

I decided to include part of the image of me with wings because the things that I play with on PSE are part of what I do during the month. 

I’m enjoying this format, including the mix of portrait, landscape and square photos.  I have 21 photos for the month.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Monthly album –progress on my flat

I decided to devote a whole page in my monthly album to progress on my living room and kitchen.


The big lump on the left in the middle row is how my sofa was delivered.  Within the plastic were all the cushions and the pieces of wood that went together to create the sofa – on the right.  Very satisfying to put it all together.

These templates for The Monthly are by Cathy Zielske, including a new set of templates for filler pages.  The template comes as 8.5 x 11 so I changed it to A4 by adding the strip at the bottom – which I am really liking as a place for a caption and some digital embellishment.