Monday, 28 October 2013

Blurred Vision

I have managed to get photographing my layouts down to a fine art:
  • place them on the floor in a good light (by my patio doors)
  • stand over the page and zoom in slightly, squaring the shot with the viewfinder grid lines
  • edit the photo in Picasa (straighten, crop, adjust colour & contrast, retouch ...)
  • resize for the web with PixResizer
  • upload to my web storage
  • share on my blog/UKS gallery
However, just recently I've noticed a bit of fuzziness creeping in.  No matter how good the light, how still my hands, how clean the camera lens ... something is just not right.  And I *am* wearing my glasses.  Strangely, the macro shots are just fine!

Jimjams - Fuzzy page

My beloved Canon Powershot A700 is well used.  It has received a quite few knocks over the last seven years: there are two scratches on the lens that catch the sunlight sometimes; there's a chip in the housing near the battery compartment; most of the symbols on the back have worn away.  BUT, since its return from a month's sojourn in the rainforests of Costa Rica and the orphanages of Nicaragua, documenting Child No.3's summer expedition, it's struggling!

I finally made time to experiment and was amazed to find that the fuzzy area is only in one part of the photo.  Rotate the camera and the fuzzy area moves too!  I took a closer look at the camera:

Jimjams - Photo - Dented Canon Powershot A700

Hmmm - definitely an interesting shape to the lens housing.  And a new dent on the top corner by the flash.  That could explain a lot!

Staying on the subject of things that can blur the vision, here's a page made from my September Counterfeit Kit:

Jimjams - Layout - Alcohol Rules

Sweden has a state run chain of alcohol shops called Systembolaget which fascinated me when I worked there 30 years ago so I wanted Hubby to see one during our Scandinavian road trip.  In my day, you had to select each bottle of wine/beer/spirit from the current brochure, take your order to a counter and the assistant would fetch it from the storeroom for you.  Nowadays, once you have been allowed into the store by the security staff (over 20s only), you can fill your basket from the price-ordered shelves yourself, though there are still no multi-buy offers allowed. Better for the wallet that way to be honest!

You will notice that there is NO blurring of the layout photo.  Well that's because I treated myself to a replacement Canon.  As with computers, camera technology has moved on; so for much less money than my old A700, I have more than 3 times the zoom and twice the mega-pixels.  It helped that I was happy to settle for the SX240 HS which is the 2012 model and therefore ⅔ the price of this year's SX270 HS.  Just got to read the manual and work out what to do with all the other new features that have been introduced since 2006!  Happy Days :-D

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Going Dutch

Jimjams - Layout detail - ribbon curl & bunting title
Welcome to the final post of the October CKCB Members' Blog Hop; if you didn't reach me from Bridget then you might want to start at the beginning here.

This month Challenge #1 asked us to take inspiration from  jewellery in some way.  I've never really scrapped about my jewellery.  I don't have a lot.  A burglary back in the early 90s cleared us out and made me reluctant to invest too much emotion in valuables.  One thing that the "bar stewards" didn't steal (because it was ON my person) was my gold wedding band.  Hubby has a matching one and it was safe on his finger too :-D

It's about time I scrapped the story behind them:

Jimjams - Layout - Going Dutch

We adopted the Dutch custom of wearing matching wedding bands on the "wrong" ring fingers during our engagement and tranferring the rings across to the "correct" hand on our wedding day.  I'd totally forgotten, but Hubby still remembered that the design we chose was called "sneeuwklokje" (snowdrop).  What a great memory for useless information he has!  Strange name for the pattern though, as to me it looks like a cicle of xxxxx around the edge.

Supplies are from my October Counterfeit Kit with the addition of some blue cardstock, brads and a little orange & gold organza ribbon. The page is 8.5"x11" to fit into my Book Of Me album and it started life as October's sketch over at Purple Pumpkin - thanks Samantha & Sandra - great inspiration as always! (Still time to join in - deadline October 31st)

If you've missed anyone on the CKCBMBH you can find the full list over on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog - why not join in yourself next month?!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Quick Grid Page

Jimjams - Layout detail - title & butterfly die-cuts Challenge #3 over at the CKCB this month was to use a grid.
I love grids.  I think I'm naturally a straight lines scrapper and have to occasionally force myself to angle things on the page.  Even then ... I sometimes use grids!

This page is the sixth, final and fastest one I made at my recent scrapping retreat.  Originally I'd been thinking of using these small photos on a double page spread about Skansen in Stockholm, but, in truth, I have enough shots for a triple or quadruple page ... so I decided to put the photos of buildings onto one dedicated page.

Jimjams - Layout - Living With The Land

A few strips of patterned paper from my October Counterfeit Kit and a little butterfly punching (!) later and it was ready. I may add a date and place but will probably just leave that to the journalling on one of the other pages from the day.

P.S. Since there's no journalling on the page - you may be interested to know that the buildings on stilts are from Swedish regions where they get a LOT of snow!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Green City

Jimjams - layout detail - embellishment cluster 
It already seems like an age ago, especially now that the autumnal wintry weather has kicked in, so it was lovely to spend last weekend scrapping with my Scandinavian summer holiday photos.

I managed six pages which is seriously fast scrapping for me!  Some ladies managed 15+ in the same amount of time.  Perhaps they spent less time chatting/eating/drinking/ogling other people's supplies?  Perhaps they were better prepared beforehand?

For my retreat preparation I had printed out a selection of holiday snaps in various sizes and jotted down some page ideas for some of them.  I had also put together a couple of Counterfeit/page kits but somehow once I'd selected these two photos of contrasting verdigris sculptures, it was more appropriate to grab my scraps bag to make my layout:

Jimjams - Layout - Green City

Jimjams - layout detail - embellishment cluster The journalling reminds me that, despite being the capital of Denmark,  Copenhagen's self-contained centre was easy to walk around as  it was full of parks and cyclists, keeping the motorised traffic sparse and calm!

An added benefit of scrapping with friends (apart from the shared chocolate) is that if you need a certain something, someone will surely lend/give it to you.  While I was cutting my title with my Sizzix Go Go Boots dies, left out to share on the "tools" table at the weekend retreat, I had a chance to browse through a friend's copious die collection and found the perfect flower to add to my page!  Thanks Jayne :-)

The page is based on this month's sketch over at Sarah's Cards and coincidentally conforms to a monochromatic challenge over at The Studio - haven't played along there for a while!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Going, Going, GONE!

I'm going to a retreat with friends from UKscrappers this weekend and it's going to be a lot of fun.  While I'm gone I thought I'd share the first page made with my October Counterfeit Kit with you:

Jimjams 8x8 Layout - Going, Going, GONE!

It's an 8x8 page to go into the album about our home and the changes we have made over the years.  This was a sad day for us because one of the trees we planted when we moved here has had to come down.  The neighbours were concerned about their fence, the branches that hung over their garden, the leaves that fell on their grass and the shade that dappled their grass.  We were concerned about staying on good terms with them (and the costs of repeatedly trimming the tree every few years) and decided enough was enough.

Jimjams - Layout detail - hand stitched, faux cut-out title

Twenty years to grow and twenty minutes to come down!  Now we can see that our neighbours have a very large tree, but at least it has short branches and is evergreen!

Have a good weekend :-)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Coming Up Daisies

Welcome to the October Master Forger Kit Reveal Blog Hop which started with our Guest Designer Stacy.  If you're following in order you'll have popped over from Dawn (if not, the hop order is on the CKCB today).

Now one of the really BIG things I love about counterfeiting, apart from the (lack of) cost, is that I can make my kits up with half an eye on the photos I'm likely to be scrapping.  Talk about tailor made!  So when I was looking at the inspiration kits from Cocoa Daisy I was thinking about the photos I've just ordered from our holiday in Scandinavia: blue skies, green trees, making new memories, catching up with old friends, revisiting old haunts ...

I loved the multi-coloured geometric shapes in the 5th & Main kit and Flower Stand add-on started off with a sheet from Echo Park's All About A Boy collection and went from there (apologies for the poor focus - my camera hasn't been quite right since Child No.3 took it to Central America for a month):

October 2013 photo October2013CKCB600x507.jpg

Echo Park All About A Boy Adventure (orange hounds-tooth reverse)
Wholesome from Basic Grey's Granola collection
Urban Prairie Harvest by Basic Grey
My Mind's Eye's Follow Your Heart Blue Doily (grey hounds-tooth reverse)
Cosmo Cricket's Get Happy: Snappy (distressed yellow reverse)
Fusion Tangerine by Basic Grey
Ursus Paradiso Motif 69 (blue floral reverse)

Basic Grey Color Me Silly alphas
Crate Paper Storyteller stickers
Simple Stories Sn@p! Happy Sayings Quote Cards (bright coloured patterned reverse)
My Mind's Eye Follow Your Heart decorative brads
Kaisercraft Blue Heaven alpha stickers
I was also inspired by the EP Beautiful Life Rulers paper from the original kit to ink up some plain white ruler tape.

October Tape Tapes photo October2013tapes300x400.jpg

If you're happy hopping please visit ... Julene ... I wonder what she has put together for this month?!
ETA: If Julene's post isn't up (I think she may have had a scheduling failure)  then Lesley's kit IS ready!