Friday, 30 September 2011

Developing your eye part 2

Yesterday was the second of my photography classes (part 1 here). This week's assignment was 'black and white' and it was certainly a challenge.
I tried to look at objects which were obvious with colour, but in black and white became more abstract and maybe a little odd looking.
Once again, I'd welcome some input - last week's comments were very helpful!

Shooting in colour and then desaturating in MS photo editor made things tricky and half of what I thought would work really didn't. I've also had a busy week, so I've ended up with some shots I can't say I'm all that happy with, but they provoked some interesting discussion so I guess that makes them successful in one regard?
I have learnt something valuable - namely that I'm all about colour when taking photos normally. Although I might experiment some more with black and white, I have to say it doesn't do that much for me.

Next week's assignment is about narrative - 5 pictures that tell a story. I'm totally stumped!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Night on the tiles

As I mentioned yesterday, I went out with some very lovely ladies for one or two drinks in Bristol this weekend.
It just so happened that, only hours before getting the invite, I had been passing through Primark (honestly - it runs between 2 streets) and accidentally started buying things. Many of these things are lovely and very, very vintage, but one of them was totally suitable for a night on the tiles.

This dress has a waist that comes to a point at the bust and cape like sleeves. The fabric really looks like vintage rayon too, and the self covered buttons are a lovely touch. I tried this on in a 10 and couldn't get it done up over my bust so went hunting for a 12...only to find a rail crammed with 50 of this dress, all in 8 and the skilled shopped I am though, I hunted until I found the only other dress in the shop, in 14. It's a little on the roomy side, but the cut of the dress disguises that well, and I'm chuffed to bits!

I threw on some 30s style hair and makeup stylings, packed my lippie and headed out!

After a couple of drinks, a game of foosball (turns out I suck at all sports, even pretent ones) and much laughter, we headed up Park Street and turned into a slightly dingy side road. One of the girls rang an annonymous looking doorbell and the door to another world opened before us...

Hyde and Co has to be Bristol's best kept secret. It's a prohibition themed bar (though in reality it's much more than this) and the whole place is decked out with quirky vintage items. Sadly it's too dark to get many good photos inside, but believe me, it's special.
It's been open for over a year and no one I know has ever heard of it, I'm stunned, and actually, pleased. It's mainly a cocktail bar, where no one stands (once the seats are full people get turned away) and you're served at the table by the cocktail waiters, decked out in tweed waistcoats and ties. They were very attentive and really knew their stuff, we felt very well looked after!

I'll leave the finer details out, as it's worth experiencing yourself, suffice it to say I spent my evening grinning like a loon! If you are looking for somewhere in Bristol to have a special drink, Hyde and Co is just abotu as special as it gets!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Hair today...

When I was invited out for a night on the tiles this weekend, I knew I wanted to wear my new 30s style dress (more on that later) and obviously had to do some styling to suit it.I've had Vintage Hairstyling for a while, but hadn't yet tried any of the styles from it yet. One of the hairstyles is the 1930s faux-bob, with curls at the front immitating waves and the back pinned under.

The instructions were very clear and easy to follow - I put a row of curlers along the top of my head, and several round the back, and wandered around all Saturday looking glam in curlers and a headscarf!

I was in a bit of a hurry when it came to taking the curlers out etc. so sadly I didn't quite get the look from the book!
I also don't think I should've used foam rollers since they made the ends of my curls very tight, velcro rollers next time I think!

I was very pleased with the results though, and I got several compliments while I was out! A bit of setting lotion and a ton of spray and it all stayed in place for most of the evening.

This is definitely a style I'd try out again, and take a bit more care with next time! If you don't already have this book, I suggest you get it PDQ - there's a lot of useful information about methods and techniques for curling your hair and then lots of different vintage styles explained in detail. As a hair novice (seriously, I can't even french plait or do a bun) I found the instructions very easy to follow. 

Can anyone spot my deliberate mistake? That's right, I did my hair before taking off my hoodie... doh!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

I need never leave the house again

Which is just as well, since autumn has blown in with cold and wet being the new daily default, all day, every day. Bleugh. Roll on winter I say!
But, as I was saying, I need never leave the house again, having discovered Shop Style. I expect I'm the last person to hear about this website, but not reading magazines or high street fashion blogs or shopping anywhere but eBay of late, I'd been in the dark until an accidental googling brought me there this week.
Shop Style seems to just be a massive catalogue of a good portion of high street through to high end clothes, which are searchable. Thus I could look for capes, filtered by colour and price and see offerings from dozens of different shops.

In looking for some wintery clothes recently, I discovered that I've actually forgotten how to shop. I tried eBay, then Marks and Spencer and then hit a brick wall, where else sells clothes? Duhhhhh...
So Shop Style is a bit of a life saver. Not a money saver though; after a happy half hour looking at lovely things I'd placed orders with 3 shops. They'll probably be totally wrong for me but I was tempted by the offers of free delivery and free returns. I'll probably send them all back. Right?
I thought I'd share some of my favourite items so that I don't have to apply for bankruptcy alone. You can thank me later.

I'm having a cape moment. The catwalks were full of belted capes (Dr's waiting room mag - very informative) and these seem to be getting picked up on the highstreet too. Love this House of Fraser one, though it ain't cheap.

House of Fraser cape
 This jacket with a removable cape is a bit quirky but I'm very drawn to it. Mad Granny or stylish vintage?
Tweed cape jacket

Why is a basic rain mac so hard to find? I've spent hours looking for a smart and stylish coat. This one from Zara is nice, but it's a bit short - my legs'll get wet!
Zara raincoat
Better length but dreaded camel colour. If anything makes me look seriously ill, it's wearing camel.
 Zara trench
Now this is much better. A distinctly 70s style, but it looks flattering, is a reasonable length and has big pockets. I'm not sure about the colour, but I've ordered one. Report to follow.

ASOS trench
Having had some success with the coats, I started looking for dresses. I'm always on the lookout for flattering dresses, particularly for winter. This New Look skater style dress has heavy vintage overtones and the princess seams might make it a flattering fit. This too is on its way.
Newlook skater dress
Not one for me, sadly, but I thought someone else might fin this tempting - it's plus size only (UK20 up), jersey and in a very 40s style cut. Just with they did a smaller version!
ASOS plus sized dress
Still on the hunt for jersey, I came across this. Simple but really quite nice. I love the colour, and the longer length on this too. I may order one of these...

BooHoo jersey skater dress
Red is obviously very much in my winter pallet since I couldn't resist this top. It's limited edition and comes in 3 colours.
New Look blouse
And finally, accessories. I didn't really get into the shoes, since any regular reader will know that I have a small 'substance abuse problem' as Carrie Bradshaw would put it. I love this bag though, and have in fact had 3 bags very much like this before but for quite a bit more than they're charging. Ostrich is also my favourite. Black would be more practical, but the tan would go well with my new trench...
BooHoo bag
OK, I lied. There are shoes. But just one pair. And yes, these also went into my shopping bag. They're perfect for winter, though, and RED!

New Look desert boots

Ah, new season shopping. Got to love it.
Are there any other good style websites out there that I've missed? I'd love to hear how to shop a bit better from the experts!

Friday, 23 September 2011

'Developing your eye' part 1

 I'm taking a 6 week course in developing your eye for photography at the moment. Each week we're being given an assignment and have to bring 5 pictures with us to the next class for discussion.
The first week's subject was our daily routine, and I chose scenes from the start and end of my day at work.
I've tried to take fewer pictures than I might normally, and spend a bit longer composing the shot and considering what works. The five I've picked out are below, and I'd really appreciate your comments.
My camera is a very humble point and click, so things like exposure are out of my control, but in terms of subject, composition etc. I'm really trying to improve, so please say it like it is!
I know that several of you are very skilled photographers and I suspect that many more of you are arty types. I'd honestly value your input, good and bad!


Thursday, 22 September 2011

New blog

I've started a new blog - Costumes by Lauren - to chronical my costuming exploits.
Most of them will be historically based, but with some creative license allowed. There's nothing much up there yet but I'm hoping to get posting there in the next week or so, so pop over if you think it might tickle your interest!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Awards are like buses... don't see one for ages and then 2 come along at once!The versatile blogger award is one I've seen doing the rounds for a while now, and then in the last (several) weeks Reana Louise and Jen but never Jenn both sent it to me. Thank you very much ladies!

So, I need to tell you 7 things about myself. Fortunately I love to talk about myself, so here goes...

1. As well as sew, I also know how to tile, lay lino and drill holes in things (including tiles). I am also the IKEA queen, which would account for the reason our house looks like it was decorated by Tyler Durden. When our kitchen was being installed, it was me who ripped the old tiles off the wall - so satisfying! I am a She-Hulk.

2. I have a very short attention span and trouble sticking to one hobby for any length of time - I normally do it long enough to buy all the equipment and then give it up. This makes blogging (1yr, 5months) and Sewing (2yrs) the longest running activities in my life. There's a reason I don't have a dog...

3. I am a girl gamer - my shoot-em-up skills outstrip most of my male friends' and I spend many a happy hour supporting my husband with sniper overwatch while he breaks into army bases to kill the bad guys.
4. I have been vegetarian for 17 years. As a result I'm not a very fussy eater, veggie options being somewhat lacking throughout the 90s. I do hate quiche though, too many parties where it was the ONLY non-meat item available.

5. I'm pretty body confident - the result, I think, of a very sensible mother giving me a healthy mix of praise and general disinterest in outward appearance. While I would be happy to be a bit thinner, or have thicker hair, or look less tired (this especially), on the whole I love the way I look and wouldn't wish to be any other way.When I was at University I did some amateur modelling. I think that helped to make me more confident in my looks, since with good make-up, lighting and a skilled photographer, most people can look amazing and that's a real boost. When I see photos of myself looking awful it helps to know that actually neither shot really shows the truth.
Sometimes I look like this
More often I look like this
6. I am a compulsive list writer. I have half a dozen in my bag at the moment, and I keep a notebook with constantly changing lists of things to do, to buy, measurements for bits of furniture and other useful lists I might need while I'm out. Nothing happens in my life if it isn't on a list!

7. I have a modest collection of jugs. Most of them are charity shop and flea market finds but there are a couple I've picked up from pottery studios and craft fairs. I don't know why I started collecting jugs, but I love them, and I'm always on the lookout for more!
A few of my jugs (phnar phnar)