Posts tagged thrifting
A Very Useful Collection (aka Thrifting For Photoshoots)

IMG_0895Amongst the many things I collect, I have a special place in my heart for pillowcases.  I make a bee line for the textile section of the charity shop and often leave with 2 or 3 - at 29p each - its hardly an extravagant spend. While, vintage cases do bedeck our pillows, I have to admit to hoarding the best of them in my office for use as backgrounds for photos for the blog and my work as a product photographer - a tip I learned from my awesome stylist for the book. I can spend ages artfully arranging yarn or exactly positioning cufflinks.  Working with models is great as well, but I like the quiet of simply placing and photographing in my studio.


It can be really tempting to take photos of products or crafts on a white background for shops or blogs.  This can be nice on shopfronts like Etsy where white is the culture or if you need white cutouts for magazines, but truth be told, the images can look a bit flat and they can be hard to do well with white often overpowering the images (and throwing off your exposure).



Adding fabric can really change the colours of the objects - bring out the hues and highlight certain colours, as well as fabric can add depth and movement to the image and create a mood.  They can add a sense of luxury, or a sense of fun.


Fabric can be hard to get perfectly flat, so that is where I use my other collection - tea trays.  These are great for a perfectly flat background that is really portable. I often set them on a stool near a window, just the perfect height from photographing from above. IMG_0907


I also use painted wood and even our chalkboard for backgrounds.  The black of the chalkboard can really set off light items and there is always the fun that is adding writing to the image  - either by hand or in photoshop.


So, see Kevin?  That pile of "stuff" I keep IS super useful and not clutter at all*! Yarn is from Libby Summer's soon to launch yarn line.  Its scrumptious, I tell you. Scrumptious.

*its totally normal to use one's blog to finish household arguments, right? RIGHT?!?!!?

(interested in Product Photography?  Capturing Childhood is running workshops in Edinburgh and London this autumn on how you can Rock your Product Shots).

In the Name of "Props"





With a number of massive photoshoots coming up in the next few months, my other thrifting ambition has been to gather props.  When working with a stylist, props are usually rented from prop houses - enormous warehouses full of stuff.  However, being a one woman show and operating out of the semi-back of beyond, I tend to use what I have.

In many ways, the back of beyond is what helps me.  There doesn't seem to be the same market for vintage here as there is in other parts of the country, so I can keep to my very modest budget.  The bicycle above--- £5. With its dark green and gold paint, I was smitten as soon as I saw it and it took only a small bit of begging for Kevin to agree that we NEEDED it. IMG_0519


"But wait", I hear you say, "Don't you already have a vintage raleigh?" Well, yes, I do.  But its blue and been photographed to death, so I *needed* another one...Obviously. IMG_0525



Plus look, it can store important work stuff.  Multi-functional as well as beautiful.IMG_0546


I am not sure I can say the same for the accordion I bought a few weeks ago.  Its sole purpose is to be a constant source of amazement for my children.  All they want to do is play it...much to the delight of the neighbours, I am sure. The vintage suitcase, on the other hand is exceedingly useful as it store all of our shoes in the hallway. IMG_0590


And act as perch for weary souls eating their ice cream while Mama  tries to take pictures. IMG_0580


Little Hunk of Tin

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This gem of a tin pedal car is the newest and most-prized possession around here.  A find at the car boot sale, wars have been raging about who gets to sit in it at any given moment, in fact I just had to have a discussion with Miss Georgia that no, she could not eat her breakfast in it. 

Incredibly rusty, but still sound, Kevin and I nearly bit the guy's head off when we saw it at our favourite "Man with a Van" stall on Sunday.  There was no doubt about he fact that our entire budget for the morning would be spent on this beauty, with a bit of change for some fire engines and marbles.  

It is intended for a photoshoot prop, but really that is just an excuse to have this little hunk of tin around. 

I Seem to Have Blinked

...because there is no way possible my baby girl is ready for a big girl bed.




But whether I want to believe it or not, Miss Georgia Grace moved to a futon underneath her brother over the weekend. The decision was quite sudden after she found a thrifted duvet set I'd bought and declared "Mine!"



She is so pleased with her bed and every guest has been brought to see it.  She carries around the spare pillowcase. The babies are all put to bed about 50 times a day. When a bout of late night wakefulness caused me to suggest that she go into a cot, tears and sobs followed with her broken declaration:

"No! Me! Bed!"


She's only been in it a few days, but it is alrady littered with her most treasured things. Baby dolls, toy cars, trains and every book she can drag up the stairs and into the bed.


And as Ellis used to sleep with a 10in omlet pan at this age, we are counting ourselves lucky.


Bringing the Crazy

Aren't these sweet? I am not really into the whole Cath Kidston floral and polka dots thing, but I saw these in a charity shop and had to have them.  They sung to me and at £4, unmissable. 

They were supposed to be £4.50, but I had all 3 children with me, creating havoc with the shop and as I was paying. Georgia was trying to climb into a tub of scarves, Ellis was playing swords next to the ceramic egg cups and Theo was screaming.  When I couldn't easily find the extra 50p, the shop attendant waved her hand to say forget it.

That happens to us a lot.

I have never been organised. I am great at other things, totally crap at organisation.  I always thought/hoped that motherhood would bring out a ruthless efficiency hidden somewhere within me.  Uh, er, nope.  Not a sausage.

In fact, the level of crazy we bring with us as a family of five is starting to become awe-inspiring.  In the last week, I have forgotten nappies 3 times when we've gone out for a few hours.  How many children do I have? 3. How many are in nappies? 2. How long have I had at least one child in nappies? Almost 5.

My friends are very tolerant.  They sigh and hand over their spare wipes/nappies/drinks/snacks/change, knowing that I am good on my debts...or we just confound them with our craziness and dazzle them with our smiles.


A couple of catchy- up type things:

- I have released the North Sea Herringbone Hat pattern for free.  It is here.  My 3rd pattern for knitting! Woo-hoo!

- I am in the process of a big bloggy overhaul.  Liz from Violet Posy is sorting out some layout issues and I am going back through and recategorising my old blog posts and creating sections for patterns, etc.  Please bear with me. There are likely to be new logos and a new banner as well.

- I have set the date for my first crochet workshop on the 25th of Feb called Crochet and Cupcakes.  Places are booking up quickly, so if you are interested I urge you to book soon.  I will be running more workshops, both beginners courses and on specialist days on hat design, flowers and cabled crochet, so watch out for those.



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Anyone who lives far from family knows that friends are crucial.  They become surrogate aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. The are the ones who come in an emergency and pop round at exactly the right moment for a cup of tea.

In this department, Kevin and I could not be luckier, as we have people who do wonderful things like:

- cook for tired parents who have been living for weeks on the catagory of meals that ends in "On Toast"

- give the small children sugar and deal with the consequences

- let those same small children trash her house AND then clean up after them.

And give a sewing mama a wonderful gift of beloved things, including this:



I want to make dresses and pinafores and aprons and headcerchiefs out of it.

I want to redecorate my house to match.

I want to cut off a small square to carry around in my pocket like a comfort blanket, I love it that much.

And with 3 curtains measuring 5x2 meters each, I should be able to do all of that with some left over.


Fabric is good...



...but friends are better.


Score: Them 0, Me 1

We used to live in Stirling.  

Stirling is a nice place.

However, we moved to our wonderful house, which happens to be in another town.

New town has a bit of a reputation.  When I tell people from Stirling we now live in this place, we are met with looks of disdain.

"Why would you live there?"

"Umm," we stammer, "it has a lot of things for kids, nice parks and cheap housing"

"Oh.  Of course. The housing." They reply, as if nothing else could draw us here.

Well, I am adding something else to the list.  We have the best charity shops here.  Seriously brilliant.

After we lost our luggage, I found jeans for Ellis for 50p, which in Stirling would have cost me £3.  I also recently found an immaculate Spiderman costume for £2...again in Stirling it would have been £7.

This morning, feeling considerably poorer after shipping off 3 orders at nearly 3x the cost of postage I had estimated, I still needed to find materials for the backlog of wing orders I have.  I wandered around, worried about the possibility of not finding anything and having to go further afield...until my last stop where I hit the motherload.

2 single red striped duvet covers and pillowcases



A pile of pillowcases, and duvet covers in pink and brown (as well as a retro cool spiderman duvet cover)


And my favourite: these simply gorgeous pillowcases that are so worn and silky, they are going straight onto the bed in the studio.



And the cost...£7. I even had change left over for a soy latte with an extra shot of coffee to fuel more of this


and this



Have a wonderful weekend.