Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WIP Wednesday

Did you know there are colouring books for adults?  I didn't until I saw this book by Art Therapy at Paula's house at our Thursday sewing group and loved it straight away.

Wouldn't this make a great quilted panel?   There are so many ideas for applique and quilt patterns and even just admiring the pretty pictures!  This section of the book is called doodling and is full of really cool filler designs.

I'm really taken by this sun and moon!  Endless possibilities with free motion quilting, really makes me want to practice more!  And I love the message on the spine of the book.  Use your creativity to de-stress!

That's not happening around this neck of the woods at the moment!  I've had a tummy bug since last Thursday, my crafty space is a right mess and I've a deadline August 1st for a pattern I'm putting together for a baby quilt!

So WIP this Wednesday - get this mess sorted, so I can make test blocks and get on with making some stuff!

Then maybe buy some more storage boxes...

But look what I found tidying up.  Some stamps for paper crafts. Wouldn't these make really nice applique patterns?

Linking up to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, 21 July 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Swap Update

 Look what I got in the post!

So happy to see the postman with a parcel that could have been a mini-quilt!  My swap partner sent this from Alabama on the 25th of last month and we were worried it may have gotten lost in the post, delighted it eventually made it's way to Ireland.

 Isn't it just gorgeous and didn't Lisa do well with picking something I'd love?  There is even a dog!

And some fabulous handmade goodies too!

Thank you Lisa for all the effort you put in on these, I love the little extras.  The basket and pin cushion are perfect and tons of work went into this!

Now safe and sound in my sewing room (aka kitchen!)  Love them all - thanks a million!

schniztel & boo Mini Quilt Swap, round 1

Friday, 18 July 2014

Photo Friday – Workflow for sunshine in your natural light photos

Last week we looked at a bright and punchy workflow to process images.  This week how about a  warm summery workflow instead for a different look?
Out of camera on left, processed on right.
There are many different styles in photography and just like different people have different colour palettes they prefer to work with, the same is true for image processing.  In the menus of your compact cameras you will see lots of different styles that can be applied to an image.  These are not the same as the exposure profile settings like snow or pets or fast moving objects, that pick the best ISO, Shutter speed and Aperture for your photo that we covered earlier.  Picture styles will boost contrast, sharpness and saturation and can affect exposure in some cases also but the intent is to apply a preset to your images to give you a certain look rather like using Instagram as opposed to capturing a perfectly exposed image.

For dSLR’s, Canon has 5 standard picture styles for colour images +1 Black & White.  You can even download the picture style editor and create your own recipes if you want.  I prefer to use the Neutral or Faithful setting on my camera and do the processing myself in software.  On compact cameras there are some weird and wacky styles like miniature which I think is great fun!  (Always reminds me of Lego for some reason.)

Photographs express your vision of the world and you may want to play around with some of these to find styles you like.  Coming from B&W photography I tend to like bright with contrast, sharp edges and a bit of punch.  You may prefer vintage or low contrast images with subtle colour.  This photo, taken in West Cork with the camper van and signposts, was processed for the punchy look we explored last week.  Applying a sunny day processing workflow, in the second image, gives us a different feel which is quite vintage looking and suits the old van really well.

Which do you prefer?

And yes that sign does say no dogs allowed!  Sheep wander about the place and they are concerned about dog worrying.  Not someplace Gordon and I are taking Charly & Wilbur anytime soon!

The Sunny, Summery look suits natural light photos.  Use it on well lit and well exposed photos.  They won’t suit every picture but for those that do, it works really well.  The easiest way to achieve these looks is with Lightroom or Camera Raw if you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

If you shoot RAW, then when you open your image in Photoshop, Camera Raw opens automatically.  If you shoot JPEG, you can open an image in Camera Raw by clicking on Open As in the file menu and making sure you have camera raw clicked in the drop down.

Select the image you want to open and it will open up in this menu below.  This simple image of a life ring has been auto processed and white balance straight out of camera.  To apply a summery look to an image there are a few key adjustments we will want to make.  The settings below show the auto adjustments on the file straight out of camera.
Life ring std auto
Lightroom panel = Camera Raw
The first thing we want to do is to warm up the image quite a bit, so put the temperature slider away from blue towards yellow.  In this case I used +15.  Play with the tint slider, usually  a figure of 3-5 towards magenta or -8 to -10 towards green usually works quite well.  This is not the same thing as correcting white balance for incorrect colour which we looked at in our very first post.  This is applying a certain style or look to your image, which though it will affect colour, it does so in a pleasant way when used on the right image.

We need to add light to get that summer feeling.  In this case I added a whole stop from the auto correction above (usually anywhere from 0.65 to 1.2 works) and we need to keep contrast, adjusting up to 20 looks good for this.   Finally we need to give a colour boost by adding saturation.  As we are not interested in protecting skin tones I didn't use Vibrance but added +10 to Saturation.  Now the life ring looks super sunny and just shines out from the white railing.

The sunny workflow can be applied to your outdoor craft shots too.  If the effect seems too strong you can tone it down in Photoshop elements.  Save the image under a new name then copy the image using Select all, control C to copy.  Reopen your original image.  Then  paste into the original file as a new layer using control V.  You can then adjust the opacity of this layer to allow the original to come through and reduce the effect to something more natural if you wish.
Hexie Baby layers

If you want a less saturated more vintage look here is another example.  This photo of my friend Mary taken in Tramore, Co.Waterford was taken in bright sunlight but is a bit harsh looking.  Taking photos in very contrast light (usually around midday) is very challenging.  Applying the workflow as above, increasing the temperature (this time to +16), adding a bit of magenta to offset the green tone (+5), and increasing exposure (+0.75) gives us the full sunshine look.  To make this vintage  and less full on summer we need to reduce the saturation quite a bit and as we don’t want it too drained of colour I added a bit back in on Vibrance.

I thought this might be a good candidate for negative clarity (which can be flattering on skintones) and reduced this to -11 to soften the image (we spoke about Clarity in the last post here).  It has a softer feeling to the photo still looking nice and summery and a good bit more realistic.  Finally reducing the contrast gives the faded soft look of vintage film.  A very different look from the original straight out of camera!

Vintage Mary low contrast

Here's another example with Gordon and Ben at the Atlantic coast in Kilkee, West Clare.
 Miss that dog every day!  Ben was an abnormal Basset Hound (too tall would you believe?)

Hello Sunshine!

Hello Vintage!

Which do you prefer?  (I have this one framed as a B&W at home!)

To get the Vintage look, I started with the sunny treatment and warmed up the image.  Then added a bit of exposure but this time I increased the shadows a good bit and decreased the highlights to keep some of the blue sky from washing out.  

This time around I added something called a split tone. It's basically a colour wash on your image and I have a warm tone of 34 affecting the highlights and a cool tone of over 200 in the shadows.  It can give a lovely Vintage feel to your images.  It is great fun to play with the split tone panel in Lightroom.  You can add all sorts of colour washes to your images.

If you can't be bothered with all that faffing around and prefer to have a recipe on hand for a certain look, you can download presets for Lightroom or actions/plugins for Photoshop.  This will give you a Vintage look at the click of a few buttons.

You can find lots of free presets on the Internet for Lightroom that will give you all sorts of looks.  Some of the links that I like to use are On One Software, Lightroom Killer Tips Contrastly, and Presetlove.  You load them into Lightroom and can file them in the Develop module to have on hand when you want to apply that certain look!

For Photoshop and Photoshop elements you can download actions that you can load and apply to your images.  Some professional photographers will even sell you their recipes.  Paint the Moon have some gorgeous actions for Photoshop that are worth taking a look at, even if just to see what you can actually do with imaging software.

Plug ins are separate programs that you can buy that are designed for use with Photoshop and Lightroom.  My favourites are Nik Software (recently purchased by Google and they have dropped the price!) and Topaz Labs.  Nik has a brilliant B&W plug in that helps you create B&W images with gorgeous tonal contrast and they even have a new program specifically for Vintage looks called Analog Efex Pro.

I hope this workflow was useful to you and you have fun with it and checking out all the different styles available to you in your images!

This is the last week of the blog hop but I'd like to do one more post to get to #10 so if there is anything you'd like me to cover next week in my last Photo Friday post of this series please let me know and  I will do my best!

Plum and June

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Let's get acquainted, week 4.

Plum and JuneIt's the last week of Plum and June's blog hop for new bloggers!

If you would like to get acquainted with some new bloggers, there are blogging tips and quilting tips on every post as well as introductions.   Please check out the blogs on the hop today and don't forget to visit Beth at Plum and June to enter the giveaway she is running to support the hop!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Quilt Blocks and more Quilt Blocks!

I realised in all the mayhem of the last weeks busy-ness that I forgot to post some photos and links to Junes Bee Blocks.

Barb picked this strip block, called Liberated Wedding Ring, for our Global Scrap Bee.  The tutorial for it is on Little Miss Shabby's site.  The block is made up of 4 rectangular units with strips sewn to a paper template.

I used normal printer paper and a stitch length of 1.8.  Sometimes on strip blocks I get a bit of bowing when the paper is removed but it does pull back into shape when the blocks are sewn together.

Little Miss Shabby's tutorial gives you directions on how to make a template to use to cut the 4 rectangles to give them pointy ends!  Then you sew on triangles from the background fabric to each rectangle to make a quarter block.

And finally all 4 corners together.  I really like the look of this one and I think it will make a really cool scrappy quilt!

Irina from Modern Irish Bee designed her own block based on a star shining out from the block centre.  Each block is made up of 4 quadrants and we had to make 2.  You can imagine what it is going to look like, very creative!  I used 4 different fabrics for the red squares which are tiny!  Plus Kona White for the background.

Irina made up a pattern for us to use with very clear instructions on how to put it together - thanks Irina it made making these great fun!

Lastly for Stash Bee, Shari asked us to make some blocks from Fresh Lemons Quilts Solstice Stars series.  This one was lovely and quick and was 4th of July themed.  I had fun pulling out fabrics for this one and 2 of the reds in this were used in Irina's blocks too!

It's made up of half square triangles and 4 solids for corners and they go together so quickly.  If you are looking for a quick quilt top this could be the block to use!

You need 3 HST per colour for the block and seeing as I made mine using the drawn line method of 2 at a time I had one left over so I thought might as well make 2 more and a second block!

So that was June's blocks.  Now to start July's!

Linking up to
Sew Fresh Quilts

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Finish-A-Long quarter 3 goals

It's time for Finish-A-Long again and I have been busy in my head all weekend trying to put together a doable list for this quarter!

I managed 2 finishes from my quarter 2 list, so this quarter is pretty much a carryover on almost everything and I've added in things I really, really want to get done!


I knew this wintery quilt wasn't going to be something I wanted to work on in the spring but I'm not taking it off the list, as I do want to have it done for Christmas this year!
  • Wilbur!

This one is nearly done - just needs the final push to get finished!

I have no excuse for this one really.  I bought the most beautiful Tula Pink backing fabric from Craftsy on sale and have a half bolt of wadding on hand and it's still not done!  This quarter definitely!

  • Medallion QAL with Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland.  
I did manage another border on this and am in repetitive block hell on the last round.  I'm paper piecing stars, which probably would have been done quicker if I had template pieced diamonds and sewed them EPP style.  Oh well, live and learn!

  • Modern Irish Bee Quilt
There are 2 more of these 20 beautiful blocks on the way to me so I've not finished and am glad to have this one to look forward to.  I just love these!  Thanks to all my Modern Irish Bee hivemates for these gorgeous blocks.
Using Patchwork Prism by Anna Maria Horner as inspiration this quilt top is a rainbow of fabrics from Minimalista and Florence.  I've got some of it pieced - 2 more rows to go.  Can't wait!

  •  Colour Wheel

I did make a colour wheel for my mini-quilt swap so I'm re-considering on these hand dyed fabrics.  I'm open to suggestions - thinking of lots of wonky houses maybe?

And because that's not nearly enough to be getting on with how about a few new ones?
  • Global Scrap Bee

I received these lovelies from my Global Scrap Hivemates.  I'm piecing them all together along with 6 more to complete the quilt top.  The block is from Clover & Violet and is really quick and fun to do.  This is going to be such a cute quilt!  Lots of people gave extra- much appreciated!

  • Picnic Quilt
I've been thinking of a picnic quilt with laminate fabric backing and this field of summer flowers seems just the thing.  These are blocks from Stash Bee Hive 10.  Thank you ladies!  I'm thinking of a double border on these guys to grow the quilt.  What do you think?  Double border or more flower blocks?  The pattern is Spring Blossom from Charise Creates.

And finally remember this Coastal Cruiser (pattern by Tula Pink)?  Well it's finished!  And a cousin of mine likes it so much she wants 3 of them!  

  • So on the list are 3 more

That's it, that's the list for this quarter!

Linking up to 
Finish Along 2014
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