Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A vintage suitcase is transformed

Hi everyone - as a teacher / private tutor, summer holidays brings time to relax & do things I love - like painting, sewing & other things.

I had already started to paint this suitcase before realising I had not down a 'before' picture.

It is a vintage case that had come out of a relatives loft that was being cleared & it came back with me as a carrier for random objects. While sorting the contents, I thought …. 'Mmmm I wonder how that would paint up? I could do with something to store my hats in ….'

I put down the protective coverings of sheets &  cardboard on the conservatory table on a dull Shropshire summer day & got out the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. A quick wipe down to remove dust & I got started on it.

The paint seemed to take fine but took on a pinkish hue with the dark red showing through. I left it to dry overnight then did a second coat which covered it.

After it dried, I looked through my fabrics & decided on a few decoupaged flowers to add detail to it.

A single flower was sufficient inside ….

The handle had a long fabric strip glued to it while the colour code was added for detail ….

A much improved suitcase - vintage to chic,  a perfect storage place for my much loved hats.

Filled with hats which I love - they will not be squashed now while being stored - perfect!

What do you think of it?  Have you done anything similar? Thanks for stopping by - I value your time & comments
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Recovering some cushions …..

Hi all
I am officially on my long summer holidays & have switched off the alarm clock but am still wide awake at the usual time - the crack of dawn.

I am a great list maker to keep focused on the things I need to do & the things I want to do …  Our house is a largely a haven of neutral background walls - Natural Calico - because I am always changing things about.

Somehow a vintage family duck down quilt had made its way to our home to wrap up some things & I was rather reluctant to have it since it is …. dated …. but while tidying my fabric stash (yes, everyone has a fabric stash …. ) I thought it would look much better with a new cover so the machine came out in the conservatory on a dull day …

I am rather partial to paisley & this is a lovely neutral one, perfect, especially when teamed up with this fabric ….

The second project is a cover for a cushion that sits on great grandmas long bench - the bench came from Hubbies great grandmas home when she married & it is now with us … a lovely bench but not the most comfortable so it always has a long full size cushion on it. The cushion cover was past it so a new cover was made with the same fabric I used on the reverse of the quilt.

This was a much quicker sew than the quilt - much better.

The bench has taken up residence in daughter's bedroom - at the foot of a bed; its traditional place!

It is revived for now & is much improved by the new cover …

The quilt … we are used to lightweight, modern quilts so this heavy down single bed quilt is best suited to cushioning my vintage Lloyd Loom chair at my desk …

Just enough cushioning at the space where I write my letters & keep my special bits ….

Two transformations that have now repurposed two vintage items - surely a job well done! What is on your to-do list? Do you make an accusing list - one that stares at you, willing you to work your way down it?

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment or share the post!

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 20 July 2015

Time for some banana bread …

Hi everyone

Do you hate wasting food?  I looked at my fruit basket this morning & realised that the bunny & I had not munched our way through enough bananas this week. Vivaldi absolutely loves them but somehow ours have gone soft & neither of us like soft ones.

A quick peek confirmed that we had everything needed to turn them in to banana bread.

This is my tried & tested recipe that can easily be doubled & bits added to it. I use it as the base for my date, banana & cranberry muffins too so it might look familiar - it is a recipe that works well!

Banana bread (I doubled up to make a loaf & 12 muffins)

125 g salted butter at room temp
120 g of soft brown sugar (add less if doubling & it works just fine)
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
240g flour (I used wholewheat & white organic mixed)
1tsp baking powder (I used self raising flour so left this out)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (I added 1tsp mixed spice too)

I also add about 100g of other things depending what I have in the cupboard
                                       - dates
                                       - dried cranberries
                                       - nuts

today I added about 100g of ground almonds as that was the only nuts I had & it was good!

Line a loaf tin with paper (I buy the ready made ones) & line a 12 muffin tin with papers (I doubled the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 175C
Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs with a couple of tablespoons of flour if it looks like it is separating
Sift in flour, BP (if using normal flour) the spices & the mashed bananas.

Spoon in to the tin / muffin pans & bake the muffin size for about 30 min, the loaf for about an hour.

They are done when a sharp knife comes out clean. Cool or just eat right away hot with butter as we did today.

These freeze well - slice your loaf before freezing then you can have a slice anytime you want ….

We ate some hot out of the oven with some butter over tea with friends & it was good. What is your standby recipe?

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 17 July 2015

'For me, the camera is a sketch book ….'

Hi everyone

For some talented people, they sketch things, but for me, my camera is my sketch book - I am seldom without a camera of sorts. I have some favourite photographers whose style I aspire to - I have been a huge fan of  Steve McCurry  from the moment I saw his Afghan Girl years ago on the cover of the National Geographic 

I thought I would look at some of my photos through the eyes of one of the most important photojournalists  ….

For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity. - Henri Cartier-Bresson
[1908 – 2004] A French photographer. He is considered to be the father of modern photojournalism.

In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Of course it's all luck. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography appears to be a simple matter, but it demands powers of concentration combined with mental enthusiasm and discipline. It is by strict economy of means that simplicity of expression is achieved. - Henri Cartier-Bresson 

A photographer must always work with the greatest respect for his subject and in terms of his own point of view. That is my own personal attitude; consequently I have a marked prejudice against “arranged” photographs and contrived settings. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Of all forms of expression, photography is the only one which seizes the instant in its flight. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography as I conceive it, well, it’s a drawing. Immediate sketch, done with intuition and you can correct it. If you have to correct it, it’s with the next picture. But life is very fluid; sometimes the pictures disappear, and there’s nothing you can do. You can’t tel the person, ‘Oh, please smile again. Do that gesture again.’ Life is once, forever and new all the time. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Composition must be one of our constant preoccupations, but at the moment of shooting it can stem only from our intuition, for we are out to capture the fugitive moment, and all the interrelationships involved are on the move. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

We seldom take great pictures. You have to milk the cow a lot and get lots of milk to make a little piece of cheese. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography appears to be an easy activity; in fact it is a varied and ambiguous process in which the only common denominator among its practitioners is in the instrument. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

What reinforces the content of a photograph is the sense of rhythm – the relationship between shapes and values. -
Henri Cartier-Bresson,

The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

The picture is good or not from the moment it was caught in the camera. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

In photojournalistic reporting, inevitably, you’re an outsider. Henri Cartier-Bresson

I am very critical of my own photos - I aim to be better technically & study images that catch my eye to develop my skills & challenge myself.  I aspire to be a better version of myself …

Thanks for stopping by,  school's out for summer for me & my students - I look forward to the time to catch up with friends, family, chores & projects …
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A fairytale wedding ….

Oh my word - what a fabulous time was had by all at the very stylish wedding of N & N this week.I did the preparatory church visit last week even though it was a church I had been in several times. I wanted the day to flow from our side as their photographers.

We met up with the older girls at the hairdresser in the morning & what a buzz was already in the air …

Gorgeous long hair being beautifully styled (another of my ex students)

Off to their home for coffee & time to start all the photos. I love photography but admit to nerves when I have to do a wedding - it is such a huge responsibility to capture as much of the day as possible while staying out of the limelight & not intruding on the events - no one wants the photographer to interrupt the flow of the day ….

My style definitely leans heavily towards photojournalism - capturing moments in a relaxed, natural way with minimal direction & intrusion.

I was thrilled to see the vintage, photojournalism style was used by Mario Testino who did the Christening photos of Princess Charlotte  - this is a popular style, a move away from very formal ones.

Our first glimpse of all the lovely dresses & before long, they were being filled by excited people & their lovely parents - many of whom I knew well.

Some of the fairytale entourage of lovely little ones - all looking so stunning - the attention to detail has made it simply lovely - tiny details that are special ….

Off to the church with the entourage of stunning girls of all ages while the bride finished her preparations & to catch up with the waiting groom & his entourage.

Well - I take back my words about a camera shy groom - he oozed confidence, taking all the photos in his stride, suggesting photos & happily obliging photos with a gaggle of girls & more.

How lovely is this waiting group? The older girls all looked so grown up (5 of them are ex students) and the little princesses - well, what can one say?

The little ones were all so brilliant at being on display all day - perfectly behaved & very obliging for photos - perfectly lovely …. The little ones doing a 'We're looking at you' photo with the Groom

The essential meeting with the priests - photographing the bride as she walks up the aisle then no closer than the back row of seats (10+ rows back),  challenging as the front of the church is way down as shown in our preparatory visit but we are always respectful of the wishes of the Clergy so a quick chat between us & we were ready for the bride.

Modern day challenges also include just about everyone having a smart phone & the modern trend of large iPads / screens used by eager guests & in evidence in some photos. Technology is evolving …

A beautiful & sincere church service in a packed church with so many familiar past & present students & their families - all glammed up & looking so grown up.

An absolutely stunning bride & groom, a beautiful wedding & most importantly - a very happy day for everyone with lots of smiles, fun moments & genuine warmth ….

This is just a glimpse of the wedding A Wondering Star daughter photographed with me - I am truly grateful for her amazingly engaging personality & giving up her time - I am blessed.

Camera info - We both needed our zoom lenses so used our Canon EF70-300mm & EF28-300mm
                Canon 5D mk11 with EF 24-105mm f/4l lens 
                Canon 40D with EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens 
                Canon 650D with EF 28-300 lens
                Canon speedlite 580EX11 flash
Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment & a link back to your blog so I can return the visit.

Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Preparing for a beautiful Shropshire wedding …

I am so excited to be preparing for the wedding of an ex student.  I have known her & her family for a long time, having tutored 4 of them, so being asked to share her big day is very special.

I am an enthusiastic photographer who has done a handful of weddings for friends.

My A Wondering Star daughter will be alongside again, supporting me - here are some of our previous weddings

- Behind the scenes for a Shropshire wedding  & the wedding photos 

and a friends wedding in Ludlow

-  A preparatory visit for A beautiful Shropshire wedding  with some black & white photos 

Tomorrow's bride is a lovely, confident young lady who is a credit to her Mum who has been instrumental in keeping her grounded & yet ambitious enough to pursue a modern apprenticeship in hair & beauty. I know that she will go confidently in to her new life, knowing that her family & community are firmly behind her.

You will 'know' her Mum as the lovely generous lady who makes sure I have a beautiful wreath for my front door each year as a most welcome gift  that heralds the festive season in my home.

I met with N to talk through her expectations for the wedding photos. How fab are her shoes - this is a stylish person …

Her hubby is rather camera shy but one thing is certain - they will make a very handsome couple ….

They are marrying in a local church & so I popped there for a pre visit this week …

I didn't get in the steeple as I was looking for clear textured backgrounds …

A lawned area for photos?

The canopied entrance …

The absolutely lovely interior of the church

The interior

Don't you just love the domed ceiling & the wooden beams?

It is a very good choice of church - in the heart of the local community.

The cameras are charging, memory cards are being cleared & lenses are being selected …

We will be using:

Canon 1D with EF50mm f/1.2l lens / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens 
                Canon 5D mk11 with EF 24-105mm f/4l lens 
                Canon 40D backup with EF135mm f/2l prime lens 
                Canon 650D with 50 mm 1:8 prime lens
                Canon speedlite 580EX11 flash

N & N's wedding will be a fabulous experience & you will all get a peek soon of this very special occasion ….

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment
Dee ~♥~