Friday, 31 May 2013

The Best of May

Lots of fun things happened in May - it's been a very busy month! Here's a few of my favourites on the blog:

>>> The start of my Dream Interiors feature.

>>> 10 Simple Photoshop Tips

>>> Photo projects like printing on brown paper and how to make use of ruined film prints. 

>>> A pretty DIY hairband with little felt flowers.

>>> My Dad featured on Weekly Art! Along with a feature on Annette Messager

>>> A Party in a Box

>>> I shared some Wedding Invitations that I designed and made. 

And off the blog I.... 

>>> Got a new job for the next six months.

>>> Designed one of my favourite performances to date! 

>>> Started making proper plans for my new shop... coming soon.... 

Hope you have all had a fantastic month! 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Happy List

Elsewhere on the web: 

>>> Kids science experiments that adults can enjoy too. 

>>> Banana s'mores and other things you didn't know you could grill. 

>>> I've organised my Pinterest boards properly and it has made me very happy!! 

>>> How to make an ottoman out of a tire... 

And in real life:

>>> Our show last night for the centenary of The Rite of Spring went fantastically - a big big success... Very proud of all involved! 

>>> I'm blogging from my new work right now..... hooray a job that allows sneaky "own-work" time!!

Hope everyone is having a happy Thursday! 

x Rachel 

Weekly Art: Oriol Angrill Jorda

Images by Oriol Angrill Jorda via Trendland.

I am in LOVE with the beautiful work of Spanish artist Oriol Angrill Jorda. He works with charcoal, pencil, watercolours and pastels to create realistic drawings with a dreamy feel to them. His latest series Blendscapes could be mistaken for double exposures - I can't believe they are hand drawn and not photographs! 

Also - the flowery top in the top left... I wish I had that! 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Photo-a-Day May

I'm a little thin on the ground for my Photo a Day this month.... It's funny how some months are just more photogenic than others! Hopefully some sunshine in June will make for some prettier pictures.... 

x Rachel 

Monday, 27 May 2013

DIY Flower Hair Band

Here's a fun little project for summer: a flowery hair accessory that you can make with scrap fabric in less than an hour... I have been wearing mine non-stop!

1// You will need: a plain hair band/alice band, felt, scrap fabrics, buttons, glue gun, needle and thread. 

2// Cut out a few layers of petal shapes. As you can see, mine are quite rough... I think when you layer them up it looks a bit more realistic if the petals are different shapes. 

3// Cut out some leaves out of green felt and position the different layers how you would like them. 

4// Sew the pieces together and then stitch on a button for the centre of the flower. 

5// Use hot glue to fix the flowers on to the hair band. I also added a couple of strips of felt to the back to give extra support. 

Hope you like this sweet little project. I'm thinking of making some little brooches in the same way... Felt flowers for everyone!

x Rachel 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Party in a Box

I love the idea of a party in a box. I've seen a couple of great posts on them recently, especially this one by Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky. It was my mum's birthday this week, and as I had to send her present through the post I thought this would be perfect! 

I lined the box with tissue paper and filled it with silly little presents like pens that look like pencils, beads, washi tape and key-rings. Then I added another layer of tissue paper, some mini bunting and a card. It made quite a sweet little parcel. 

As you can probably see, I got most of the gifts (and the box) from Tiger. I am absolutely obsessed with this shop and can never come out empty handed! It's so great for little bits and bobs... 

This is definitely one trend that I will be trying out again! It's fun to put together, and hopefully a lovely surprise when the post arrives :) 

Has anyone else made their own party in a box? 

x Rachel 

Friday, 24 May 2013

10 Simple Photoshop Tips

Editing is a massive part of my photography process. Every one of my images gets processed through photoshop before I post it on here, so it's a pretty crucial step for me! I've shared some simple photography tips before on the blog, but I haven't really touched on editing yet. I am by no means an expert as there is an unlimited amount of things you can achieve with all sorts of editing software, but I thought I'd just share some general tips I have learnt along the way. Most of these tips are related to photoshop but some of them are transferrable to any program.

1// Shoot in RAW if possible. I swear by my RAW setting on my camera because it means that I can correct things like exposure errors that would have been impossible to correct in a jpeg (see below). My flat does not get a lot of natural light in the day, so I always have to brighten my pictures. If you want to read more about shooting in RAW there is a great article here.

2// Adjust the image settings in RAW processing first. If you shot your image in RAW, when you open your image in photoshop it will automatically take you to the RAW processer. This is the place to adjust all your light and colour balance settings because the RAW file holds much more information than a jpeg. I always spend a little while playing with the exposure, white balance and colour temperature in RAW before opening it as a jpeg to do the more artsy part of the editing.

3// Crop Sensibly. Cropping can really enhance the focus of a photograph, but it can also ruin it. I try not to rely on cropping too much and focus on getting the composition right on the camera, but clever cropping can be a great image saver!

4// The clone stamp is your friend. Sometimes I am just too lazy to move that wire or dust that shelf (shock horror!) so I am forever using the clone stamps to get rid of unsightly things. I also use it to repair details lost in over exposure - like the little faces of the dolls above!

5// Take advantage of actions. Actions are sets of editing tools grouped together under one handy button! You can make your own or there are loads of free actions you can download and plug-in to photoshop. I have a few that I use all the time... One of my favourites is "Quick Edge Burn" which creates a vignette around the edges and really makes the focal point of the picture stand out.

6// Experiment with curves... Creat a new layer and make adjustments to the curves on that, then you can always start again if you need to. I often use curves to give a photo a muted vintage tone. 

7// Adjust the vibrance rather than the saturation. The vibrance tool boosts the dull tones and protects the bright ones from getting over saturated - so your colours will pop without being too much.

8// Sharpen your images.  There are lots of different ways to sharpen up your images, I tend to use an action or the sharp filter tool. This is almost always a necessity for me as I make a lot of focus mistakes (shhh).

9// Create light effects  using the fill and brush tools. On a new layer play with different brush settings and literally paint light on to your photograph. Change the opacity levels to make fun misty effects. Violet from Blythe Ponytail Parades uses this method in her gorgeous photoshoots!

10// Don't be afraid to put your own stamp on things! It's great to develop your own style with your photos, and editing is a big part of that. For example, I like mine to be quite sharp and vibrant, but I also love looking at dreamy faded pictures by other people.

This is barely the tip of the iceberg with Photoshop, but I hope it gives some sort of an insight into my editing process... Do you have any favourite editing tips? 

x Rachel

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dream Interiors: Eclectic Bohemian

From top left: 1//2//3//4//5//6//
Inspiration Image: Bohemian Tent

In Dream Interiors I create a styling mood board for a room inspired by an image. Today's styling has an eclectic bohemian feel, with bright colours, mismatched fabrics and travel inspired objects. I love this style and would really like to incorporate more of it into my home, although I think the look is a bit more authentic if it is built up over time. The idea of layering pretty finds from lots of different adventures makes me smile. 

If anyone has any suggestions for the next inspiration image for Dream Interiors please leave a link below, it would be really fun to get a little collection going :) 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A Beautiful Mess App Review

This is probably quite predictable... but I am loving the ABM photo editing app! I was really excited to hear about it's release and was certainly not disappointed when I started using all the pretty features.

What I love about the app:

- Cute doodles, borders and fonts.

- Very simple and satisfying user interface.

- Typical "Elsie" style phrases and handwriting.

- Easy sharing options - uploading to instagram couldn't be simpler!

I'm not so fond of:

- The saved image quality is not great...

- Not being able to switch between editing elements - meaning you can't fix mistakes.

I've seen a lot of reviews complaining about having to purchase upgrades within the app. I'm sort of on the fence about that, because yes I would rather just pay once, but I don't think the upgrades are actually that expensive. I haven't purchased any yet, as I have had plenty of fun with the original pack anyway! I'm also a big believer in charging things at the value they are worth. A lot of hard work went into that app, why shouldn't they charge an extra 69p for it?

All in all, it's a really sweet app - those girls have done it again! 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Snapshot 19/5/13

Loving>>> Being in beautiful Derbyshire for the weekend.

Watching>>> Game of Thrones and Summer Heights High. 

Reading>>>  Mollie Makes - I have finally subscribed! 

Listening to>>> A Fine Frenzy.

Wearing>>> Long flowery dresses with my Docs.

Looking Forward to>>> Starting a new job next week! 

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend, I escaped to the countryside for a few days... very much needed! 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Weekly Art: Good Light Hunting

Today the star of Weekly Art is Ian Good..... My Dad! As you can see, he is a fantastic photographer - and a very handy person to know when I need tips on how to improve my photos. That first picture - taken in Oregon - is my favourite, I love the colours. 

Be sure to check out his blog Good Light Hunting for more beautiful fine art and travel photography. 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

New Wedding Invites

I'm really excited to share these with you today! I've been working on these pretty wedding invites over the last few weeks (the cause of all the creative mess!) and they are finally finished and in the post to the lovely bride :) 

It's a summer wedding in a barn, so the invites have a sweet whimsical feel and reflect their yellow and white theme... The backs of the pages are all stamped by hand! 

The above picture shows the front and back of the pages that are piled up and tied in a little parcel with yellow bakers twine. I hope the happy couple are as chuffed with them as I am! 

There are lots of busy shop-related plans happening around here at the moment... More on that later, but expect to see these invites and plenty more pretty things again very soon! 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Creative Mess

This week I have been working on some lovely wedding invitations! They are in the final stages, which means lots of mess all over the place as I keep going with the production line. I've learnt a lot through making these, especially ways of cutting labour time by being as efficient as possible. It's all about "batching" tasks - this post has some really helpful info about it. 

There's something fascinating to me about projects in their messy unfinished stages and I am going to be celebrating that in this mini series. If you'd like to show some of your creative mess, go ahead and join the link-up below! It can be like a "what I'm working on now" party! Be sure to link back to this post so others can join in. 

Let's embrace the mess! 

x Rachel 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Reuse "Ruined" Film Photos

I recently shared my very first roll of film from my Diana F+ camera, and as I said in the original post - I definitely need more practice! Some of the photos came out very dark and blurry, and while I quite like that effect, some of them were barely recognisable! 

I thought it was a shame for these (ahem - very expensive) prints to be wasting away under the bed, so I decided to turn them into little quote pictures instead. I used a white marker for one and my trusty Dymo for the other... I'm really pleased with them now! 

I'm going to make enough to cover the door of our record cabinet, each with our favourite lyrics on them. Fun :) 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Happy List

Elsewhere on the web....

>>> A stunning look into the illustration process.

>>> 9 Clever uses for spaces under stairs... 

And in real life...

>>> I'm feeling much more healthy this week! Which means more motivated, productive and happy. 

>>> New office supplies... I love pretending that my dining room table is my studio. 

>>> The thought of picnics on Hampstead Heath, may there be many more this summer! 

What's on your Happy List this week? 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Weekly Art: Annette Messager

Image sources: 1//2//3//

French artist Annette Messager is one of my favourites. I was lucky enough to visit her retrospective exhibition "The Messengers" at the Hayward Gallery a few years ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. I find her installations so fascinating, especially Dependence/Independence (pictured above) with it's hundreds of details suspended on colourful threads. 

Her work is both lighthearted and monstrous, sometimes evoking the sinister side of childhood, other times sending messages of feminism. When asked to describe The Messengers she replied: "Two kinds of people look at my work... those who find it funny, droll, and those who find it very morbid, very sad... I think it must be both."

One of my favourite rooms in the exhibition was one that was completely enclosed, but you could peep in through slits in the wall to see piles and piles of sketchbooks and journals. It was a collection of every sketchbook she had ever worked in - a whole room full of them! I haven't been able to get that image out of my mind since, I think that's probably why I can never through a sketchbook away... 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Dream Interiors: Enchanted Garden Bedroom

I'm starting a new series today, which is sort of a just-for-fun styling challenge for myself... In each Dream Interiors post, I'll pick out an image and create an interior styling mood board inspired by that image! To start off with I have styled a bedroom inspired by The Secret Garden. 

From Top Left: 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//
Inspiration Image: Enchanted Garden.

This is a fun game! Would anyone be interested in joining in with posts like this? I might run a link-up challenge... If anyone fancies coming up with their own stylings based on this image then leave a link below.. It would be quite fun to compare different interpretations! 

x Rachel 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Printing Photos on Brown Paper

This month I will be running a series of photography themed posts here on Pointless Pretty Things! To start off with, I thought I would share a little experiment I tried out today... Printing a photo on to brown Kraft paper. 

I used these A4 sheets from Paperchase which you can just feed into your printer as normal... I found that black and white photos work best as without white ink (most home printers don't use it) the colours come out quite dull!

I know this is probably the simplest idea ever, but it's something I hadn't thought of before and I really like the result. Jake and I have started a scrapbook (well... it's mostly me just trying to force him to get involved with it).... maybe brown paper photos can be a running theme! 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hello May

I'm really excited about this month! I've got some great posts coming up on the blog, plus it's lovely and sunny in London at the moment... All in all, Hooray for May! 

x Rachel


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