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A Rummage Through Edinburgh

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Yesterday, Kirsten and I met up in Edinburgh for a good rummage through the vintage shops. I may have taken this as an excuse to go a little overboard with Photoshop filters…

We started by heading through the Gardens and over the hill to vintage central: The Grassmarket.

Kirsten’s first purchase was a skirt from Godiva. We loved the size label:We also stopped by the lovely Barnardo’s vintage shop but Armstrong’s was where we had the most fun – and it was so nice to be there on a weekday when we weren’t fighting through hordes of people!

I got a couple of belts and a headscarf with parasols on it. Kirsten got the loveliest green hat.

We stopped for cakes and hot drinks at Hula on West Bow. Hot chocolate with honey and cinnamon in it? Yes, please!I love this one – me taking photos and Kirsten checking in on Foursquare; sums up our day pretty well!

We made our way round a couple of other shops including Analogue Books which is a fab shop with the best old sign above the door:Some more pics from our wanders:

We stopped off for dinner at Tiles on St Andrew Square:

There was also tea and pear tart at the lovely Centotre. I was too busy enjoying the food to take pictures but wanted to rave about the remixed Italian language tapes being played in the toilets – genius.

How to Make Digital Fabric Prints

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The one thing I’ve been asked time and again since showing off my pictures is how I do the vintage fabric illustrations like these:

They’re super-easy to do, so I thought I’d show you all how.

We’ll start with a distinctly tatty 70s T-shirt with an amazing nautical print:

I love this T-shirt which was a hand-me-down from my then-flatmate in 1999. It’s mis-shapen now and has teeny little holes dotted all over it… it’s about time it got recycled into something else. But the good thing about this project is that it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do with your T-shirt (or curtain or pillow case or whatever) is stick it in your scanner.

So, one scanned bit of fabric:

Now all you have to do is draw on it. This can be done is MS Paint or any other basic drawing package, but I use Photoshop; unless you’re absolutely confident of your ability to draw well first time, the layers in Photoshop are invaluable.

Create a new layer and draw your image on it. I actually prefer to draw my image on several layers, one piled on top of the other, as it allows me to move different bits of the image around and delete or filter just one part at a time. For this image, I used one layer for the boat, one for the body and one for the head.

You could also draw a stick figure on a separate layer to use as a guide, then delete it when you’re done. I don’t often do this because my illustrations are scrappy, but it can be useful if you want nice, tidy lines!

Happy with your drawing now? Good.

In the layers palette, hold down CTRL and select all the different parts of your drawing (not the fabric background), then right click and select “Merge Layers”. This will leave you with one solid line drawing.

Colour your drawing in using the Paint Bucket tool.

I still wasn’t completely happy with this one; the background was a little too sharp for the dreamy effect I was trying to create. I selected the fabric background layer and applied a radial blur filter at a very low setting:

Still on the fabric background layer, I then used the gradient tool set at 20% opacity to add a sky blue corner. And that’s it – from tatty old T-shirt to illustrated print:

Look What I Got!

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Steve was fast asleep this morning and the mountain of dirty dishes was clattering and chinking in the kitchen, trying to get my attention; I donned my jacket and headed for the charity shops instead.

And look what I found!

Binoculars!

I’ve been wanting a pair of battered brown binoculars for ages – there’s a great view from my flat and my grandfather’s old telescope is a bit too unwieldy. I was so pleased, I decided to take a heap of pictures of this one pair of binoculars from assorted different angles; it’s only now occuring to me that, for some of you, this might not make much of a blog post… but look at them! I struggle to believe that you’re not as excited as I am; I shall put a lack of comments down to envy. That’s it. There’s no more likely explanation.

And, because I don’t want to be selfish and keep all the fun for myself, here, I’ve even made it possible for you to see through them:

Shiny Bright Baubles

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One thing I love about this time of year is all the bright, pretty colours everywhere! Even though I wasn’t looking for decorations, I found myself rooting through a huge box of Christmas tree baubles in the Salvation Army shop on Thursday just because they were shiny. At 25p for a bag of eight, I couldn’t resist buying these old thread baubles to decorate future presents with:

 

10 Things Which Make Me Happy

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A few days ago, Lola and I swapped blog challenges. She is to post about all the ways in which her life is better now than it was on her last birthday (mid-December), and I was to post a list of ten things which make me happy.

So here’s mine:

  1. Flowers where I wasn’t expecting them.
  2. A good book.
  3. A freshly made bed at the end of a long day.
  4. Cats and kittens. All of them. Even stroppy ones. Sometimes even especially the stroppy ones.
  5. Unplanned trips to the cinema.
  6. Exploring unfamiliar places.
  7. Good Humor by Saint Etienne.
  8. Bold, brightly coloured artwork (and imagining I’d bother to make something similar myself).
  9. Beautiful vintage dresses which fit as though they’d been made for me.
  10. Dancing around the kitchen with Steve.

What about you? Which ten things put a smile on your face? Or, alternatively, is there anything you’d like to challenge me to blog about? Comments are Things Which Make Me Happy #11.

The Week (of Birthdays) I’ve Had (12th Dec 2010)

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A random snap from Monday lunchtime.

This week, both my boyfriend, Steve, and I had birthdays. Steve’s was first and started with drinks in the Brewdog pub on Monday evening. Brewdog are a local artisan brewery producing some incredibly strong drinks; we were not the prettiest of sights by the time we stumbled home! Good thing we had both booked Tuesday – his actual birthday – off work!

How great is this vintage wrapping paper? I found it on Etsy about five months ago and have been hiding it away ever since. His birthday card was written in invisible ink (idea stolen from here) with the decoder pen wrapped up and buried in amongst his presents.

I felt like I should be spending the day making a fuss of him, but he seemed quite content to muck about on his Xbox instead! In the evening, we went out for dinner and then to a one off showing of Lemmy at the arthouse cinema. Steve’s a big Motorhead fan so the timing could not have been better!

Another random – this one from my walk to the dentist’s on Thursday.

And one from my walk home from work on Friday.

On Friday evening, we went to see Pendulum in concert. I was one of the few people paranoid enough to obey the No Cameras rule, but I did get a shot of Condensation Steve enjoying the bus journey home.

And today is my birthday!!! One of the downsides of having a birthday in December is that it’s almost impossible to get everybody together at one time to help you celebrate. One of the upsides of having a birthday in December is that you end up needing to have multiple celebrations so that everyone can be included!

Last night, a bunch of us were supposed to be going to a castle in the country to see a festive lightshow and magicians; alas, it was snowed off so we had a party at Steve’s and my flat instead, complete with regal attire and sparkly crowns. It gave me a good excuse to do some baking, too – Mars Bar crispies and Earl Grey cupcakes – yum!

And tonight, a few of us are going to the panto, which this year is Sleeping Beauty.

All in all, a wonderful week!

 

Vintage Crockery Haul

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On my lunch hour today, I went to my favourite charity shop on the hunt for pretty vintage crockery for tomorrow night’s sparkly birthday party. It did not disappoint:

I’m particularly smitten with the bowl and serving dish filled with autumn leaves, but cupcakes in shiny gold paper cases will look lovely piled on the plate with green flowers.

Birthday Wish List

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It’s one month yesterday until my birthday – squeeeeeeeeee! Both my sister and my boyfriend have been asking for up to date wish lists, so I thought I’d highlight a handful of things I like:

(click on the images to take you to the shops)

  • A new mobile phone. Yeah, I’m getting the expensive gift out of the way first. But, really, one I can obssess over my emails on and which doesn’t switch itself off at random times would be nice. I’m not getting my hopes up!!! 🙂
  • A complete letterpress alphabet. Yes, it’s a cliche.
    or a lovely little word…
  • Some of Tickette’s doodle jewellery. How cute?!
  • One of Theaterclouds’s boat prints. I love the hand shadow ones, too, mind you…
  • This cushion because there were scraps of this exact same fabric in my mum’s sewing box when I was little and I loved playing with them. Even if it does remind me a bit of Monopoly.
  • Another sewing book to never use, just because it’s retro:
  • Countless pretty vintage dresses and knick-knacks which I don’t know exist yet. Surprises make the best presents!
  • This print from Tea and Ceremony:
  • Too many books to mention, but with an emphasis on big, shiny hardbacks full of very pretty pictures and good ideas!
  • Swarms of kittens.
  • Another cup of tea.

Saturday Thrifting

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A few days ago, Elsie at A Beautiful Mess blogged about her quirks and guilty pleasures. Ever since, I’ve been trying to think of some (illustratable ones) of my own but… you know… what with being perfect and all, it was kind of difficult.

Comedy arrogance is certainly not one of them.

Anyway, this morning I was wandering around the Salvation Army charity shop down the road from my flat. It’s one of the few left in town which doesn’t realise the value of its own stock, so it’s still possible to get a gorgeous vintage bargain in there!

And… that’s one of my guilty pleasure habits.

Not getting a gorgeous vintage bargain exactly; getting a gorgeous vintage bargain I neither need nor intend to use. For example, today I came home with two books of sheet music (when I can neither read sheet music nor play an instrument), a knitting pattern for wombat-shaped toys (I haven’t knitted a stitch in my life) and a single bed sheet (when our bed’s a double):

Look at that dapper moustache! How cheerful he looks with his cavalcade of happy songs! Look at the song titles! Sheet music joy!
I’m not so clear why I wanted the Beethoven one…

I would quite like a knitted wombat toy…

Of course, some of this will get re-purposed for my shop. The sheet music will probably turn into paper “song birds” and the fabric has multiple uses (and might help justify having bought Things to Make from Odds and Ends because I liked the hideous lampshade on the front).

More usefully acquired were these Avon playing cards (50 pence!). How cute are they? And seasonal, too…

I bought them planning to turn them into gift tags or business cards but, now that I’ve got them out of the box, they’re not going anywhere; I’m far too smitten with them.

Things I did resist buying included a funky pyrex casserole dish (as I already have a stack I never use) and this blanket (because it was itchy):

I also resisted this fab old suitcase. The catches don’t hold any more and it’s too big for the “I need a cute retro suitcase” photo shoot I have in mind, so I thought I was being sensible leaving it… Then I got home and realised it’s the perfect shape, size and colour to turn into the coffee table our living room is sorely lacking; I’ll be going back on Monday lunchtime to see if it’s still there!

I love that it still has the name tag attached!

In other Saturday news, our new (working!) TV was delivered today. Here we are, watching it scan for new channels:

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