04 July 2015

Double exposures

I've been seeing a lot of double exposure photos around recently. I started getting into the idea of doing my own when I saw some double-exposure self-portraits that Vivienne had done on Be Your Own Beloved. I'll be showing you some of my own double-exposure self-portraits tomorrow in my Sunday Self-portraits series, but today I'm showing you some from my travel photos.

My favourite is the photo of the maiko above, on which I overlaid a photo of a carpet of golden fallen ginkgo leaves in autumn.

These double exposures were really easy to do. I used this tutorial that I found through Pinterest. I used Photoshop, but I'm sure you could do the same in any photo editing software that lets you work with layers. You'll need a photo that is quite silhouetted, e.g a person or building, and another photo that is quite patterned, e.g. flowers or leaves.
It's really fun trying to choose photos to use, and seeing what works best. In future I will be taking some photos specifically for this, but it's great going through all my photos to look for ideas.

Blogger Tricks

02 July 2015

Retrocraft: Art

I've had these scanned in for years with a view to putting them on the blog, but seeing Marceline's posts about her art history reminded me of them, so here they are!
Most of these were done when I was in my late teens, I think. Some of them are watercolours, and some are chalk pastels. They are no great artworks, but they give me a real feeling of nostalgia when I look at them.
This self-portrait was from a favourite photo of myself, and I'm sure I've attempted to draw it various times! I will have to try to find some more self-portraits I've drawn - it would be interesting to see them all together!

01 July 2015

The Clangers in Clay: Clangers' planet

Today I'm starting a series of posts which will continue through the rest of this month and will show you how to make your very own Clangers scene from polymer clay! I'm starting today with the base which the figures will sit on - the Clangers' planet.

Here's a little video showing the completed scene:

The Clangers was one of the first TV shows I ever watched, and is one of those childhood shows that I remember with great fondness and nostalgia. I was worried when I heard that the BBC was planning a remake of the show, having seen other remakes which changed childhood shows beyond all recognition. But I needn't have worried! This is not some fancy modern CGI remake, instead it has retained the original hand-craftedness of the characters and sets, and still uses the traditional technique of stop-motion animation. Michael Palin's narration is spot on, and the show has kept its original charm. As a die-hard fan of the original series, I was going to be hard to please, but the show is every bit as good as the original and I'm glad that it's being brought to a new audience (and delighted that it's come along at the right time for my young nephew!).
Over the course of July I'll be showing you all the techniques I used to make my Clangers scene. Please remember that this is an ornament for nostalgic adults or older children - it's not a toy as it has many small and breakable parts. If you did want to make it for a young child's room, I'd recommend gluing the pieces together and mounting the scene in a box frame which could hang on the wall.
To make the Clangers' planet you'll need:
  • Polymer clay (e.g. Fimo or Sculpey) in grey. I used various different shades and textures, which I'll explain below, but you could use a plain grey if you want to keep it simple. I used silver for the lids, but you could use grey for these and paint them.
  • Something circular e.g. a fat pen lid, brush handle, or small bottle.
Also useful but not essential would be:
  • A ball-shaped clay tool or embossing tool
  • Varnish
Let's get started! There are a lot of steps here, but it is actually very easy!

1. If you are using more than one colour of clay, marble them together until you are happy with the effect. I used various colours of clay to make the planet - it was mainly Black Granite Sculpey (which has a fantastic grain running through it) with a little Anthracite Fimo (which gives a lovely sparkle) and any loose bits of grey or black clay I had hanging about left over from other projects. I didn't completely mix them, but left some marbled lines running through for interest.
2. Flatten the clay out into a very rough circle on a tile. It should be a bit lumpy on top and round the edges to give the effect we are looking for here, so don't try to make it perfect!
3. Run a finger gently over the surface of the clay until it has a smooth buffed appearance and any fingerprints have disappeared.
4. Dampen the end of your circular object (lid, handle or bottle), place it on on one of the more raised areas and press it down slightly.
5. Using a ball tool or your fingers, press the clay around this upwards and inwards, to create the crater shape.
6. Twist the object and pull it out of the indentation. If the area under it has been disturbed, use the clay tool or your fingers to flatten it back down. Make more craters if you like, of various sizes!
7. Bake the clay according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you've mixed brands of clay, try to average the temperatures and times given on the packets.

8. Once it has cooled, give it a buff with a soft cloth or a thin coat of a suitable varnish (I use Johnson's Klear floor polish!).
Right! That's the base planet made, but the Clangers need some lids for their caves! Here's how to make them:

1. Make small circles of silver or grey clay, the same size as the end of your circular object.

2. Roll a small snake of the same clay, flatten it and fold it, and attach as a handle.
3. You can use a slightly smaller pen lid to make an indentation around the edge.
4. Bake the clay, then check it fits in the crater - you can sand the edges if it doesn't!
I hope you've enjoyed seeing how to make a Clangers' planet (it could be used for other scenes too, for example with some Lego spacemen, or a Little Prince made from clay!). Come back this time next week, when I'll be bringing you the next part of this series on making a Clangers scene!

30 June 2015

This month on emuse

This month has mostly been about photography! I started a new feature, Sunday self-portraits, with some 1940s style photos, followed by some in a French sailor style and some Pretty in Purple ones after I'd had a makeover.
I also combined photography with getting out and about, starting with my days at Spa in the City (week 1 and week 2 and free stuff) and Hidden Door, a walk at Ravenscraig Park in Kirkcaldy, a visit to see the Outlander set in Dysart, and the Rob Roy re-enactment event at Falkland Palace. I had an evening at local business Love Restored. And I had a "shooting from the hip" challenge while walking around my own neighbourhood.

Another new feature this month was My collections, which I started with a look at my Japanese dolls.

I showed you a few cards that I'd made:
There were some other craft related posts:

And a couple of thrifted items:

29 June 2015

This month I have been mostly...

I went to Edinburgh early in the month, where I visited the Edinburgh College of Art degree show, the Pringle exhibition at the museum, had lunch at the Mosque Kitchen, and got my makeup done at the Urban Decay counter. The next day I went to a Jacobite re-enactment at Falkland Palace. And I spent a lovely evening at local shop Love Restored.

Danish drama 1864, The Truth about your Teeth on BBC1, The Musketeers which my Mum has got on DVD, and, of course, the new series of The Clangers! Which might just be inspiring some craft projects soon, stay tuned for that!

I've just finished the TUC Health and Safety Reps Stage 1 course.

Listening to:
I bought Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance by Belle and Sebastian, so I've been listening to that whenever I can convince myself to take God Help the Girl out of the CD player in the car! I've also got a bit hooked on Cambodian Space Project after watching a documentary about them.

28 June 2015

Sunday self-portraits: Pretty in Purple

One of my freebies from Spa in the City was a makeover at the Urban Decay counter in Debenhams, so a few weeks later I headed off there!
Having a makeover at a makeup counter was something I've wanted to do for ages. I did get my eye makeup done at Benefit a few weeks beforehand, also as part of Spa in the City, but I felt that it was a bit rushed and didn't create as bold a look as I'd been hoping for.
I was pleased to find out that it was the same lady I'd seen doing the demonstration at Spa in the City who was going to be the one doing my makeup. She asked me what sort of look I wanted, and I really felt that she listened to me and took on board everything I said. She asked lots of questions about what sort of makeup I like to use, and kept stopping to check that I was satisfied with what she was doing.

I wanted a smokey purple eye makeup look, and luckily there was a picture on the counter that was exactly what I was looking for, so I was able to show her what I wanted. I was still a bit nervous that it would either turn out not bold enough, like my previous experience, or a bit bolder than I wanted (her own makeup was purple and blue with glitter, which worked well with her skin tone but would have been too much for me). In the end I was absolutely delighted - she got it exactly right!
I got a glass of champagne while I was having my makeup done, and a voucher to go back another time. And I didn't ever feel pressured to buy any of the products, although I did buy a brush that I had wanted anyway.
I took photos of my look once I got home. By then the lipstick had worn off, so I decided to add some purple lipstick to match!

27 June 2015

Falkland Palace Rob Roy weekend

Sunny Sundays are my favourite time to visit nearby Falkland, so earlier this month when I heard that there was an interesting event happening at Falkland Palace, and the weather was lovely, I had to head up there!
The event was the Rob Roy Jacobite weekend, marking 300 years since a raid on the palace in 1715. This was the first time I'd ever been to a re-enactment event, and it was a lot of fun! I love photographing people, especially when they are wearing interesting clothing or costumes, so this was the perfect event for me!
I paid for a garden ticket, so I was able to visit the Redcoat camp which was set up at the orchard, but not the Jacobite camps which were inside the palace. I spent some time looking around and taking photos, then I headed to the Keeper's Lawn where there was a skirmish timetabled for 1pm, so that I could find myself a good spot.

The skirmish was a lot of fun to watch and photograph, with lots of bangs and smoke from the guns! Afterwards they gave a talk about the weapons and clothing which was really interesting too!
It was interesting to talk to the people involved in the re-enactment, as they were all very knowledgeable and passionate about history. I also met some other keen photographers.
I continued to explore the gardens for a while afterwards (they were looking beautiful as always), but decided not to stay for the later skirmish at 4pm. I had a great time, and I'm really glad I went!