Friday, October 24, 2008

ode to old postcards

Alright, as promised, your weekend starts here!
It's Friday (hooray!) and time for our second challenge.

There's just something really nostalgic and cool about vintage postcards. The art/photos on the front, the handwriting on the back - stories from vacations, notes from pen-pals, words of wisdom from friends. Short and sweet but full of memories.

My dad is my favorite postcard writer. He still sends them to us when he goes on trips. He mails them to my daughter after we visit. He's old school, uses words like 'davenport' instead of 'couch' and doesn't have an email account. I love that. He also has the best handwriting ever - these notes are a very cool thing to have and I'll keep them forever.

So our challenge for you this week is to dig up some vintage postcards. From your childhood, from your parents and grandparents, from an old box in the garage or basement. Or go to a thrift store and dig through their boxes of old paper treasures. I was lucky enough to score several of these postcard folder-mailers at one of our local shops.

There's some amazing artwork on these things. If you find something too special to use, just scan it and use a print. But there's something extra nifty about using the real deal and feeling the 'oldness' in your hands.

Now anything goes!

* Use two vintage postcards as front and back covers to make a little pocket journal.

* Pile up a whole stack to make a mini book.

* Take just one and make a small scrap page - maybe write a postcard to yourself.

* Use masking tape to stick a postcard in your journal, and use your handwriting all around it.

* Find vacation photos and postcards from the place you visited to make a little book about your trip.

* Collect special family postcards (or funny ones from friends) and compile them with notes about what was said and the memories associated with them.

* Find a cool old postcard, write a note to a friend and mail the sucker. Real mail rocks.

Here's what I made. It's a vacation mini book about our trip to San Diego this past summer. I used one of the postcard folder things as the cover, and used several postcards as pages inside. [Believe it or not, I packed 50 photos into this baby.]

(wow! how amazing is jen's book! blimey!)

And here's Kim's project!

I just made a little address book for myself, using some old postcards I found at my local charity shop. Some of them are of where I live, but decades ago. It's really interesting to see how Bristol has changed.
(i'm sorry for the poor lighting on these guys.)

(Genius idea, Kim!)

Now go on and make something of your own. Link it up here before Friday, November 7th for a chance to win this super retro prize pack, including some goodies from HeyJenRenee.

We'll post the winner with our next challenge!

Don't be shy, soulies - add your projects to our Flickr group! And if you didn't have a chance to get to our first prompt this time but want to do it later, please still link up your projects - any time! We absolutely love, love, love to see what you've made!

Oh yes, and our winner from our first challenge? (No, we didn't forget!) We chose hollysarah for her stellar photos on this gorgeous page.

(but we loved everyones, it was so cool to see how different everyone's responses were!) Email your addy to Kim at kim [at] and she'll send you some of her fabulous Vespa-pa-pa papers + Banter. [You lucky girl!]

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And here we go!

Hey all you soulies, we’re coming in with a bang, and first we’d like to introduce you to a few of our favourite friends in black and white.

Have a seat ‘ol love, and I’ll walk you through how you can get this great (David Bailey) look at home.

David Bailey Tutorial;
I have a really simple tutorial that is going to make you feel like a super model, or fashion icon, whichever you prefer! (it looks wordy, don’t worry, I ramble a bit!) You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a digital camera and a wall.

Step One- to get the ‘studio’ look, you are going to need a blank wall. Sometimes, if all the walls in my house are covered up- I take some pictures off the wall, and photoshop the hooks out, afterwards, or hang a sheet on a curtain railing.

Step Two- GET LIGHT! I do suggest that you shoot either in the morning or in the middle of the day, because you want as MUCH LIGHT as possible- so stand near a window, it’s best if the window is to the side, because you will get nice definition of shadow that way, and it’s slimming. :]. Whatever you do- don’t have a window behind you, because you’ll turn into a silhouette. If natural light is an issue, (I know it’s hard in England lately!) find a nice strong lamp and angle it till you are happy.

Step Three- Set that camera up! Hook up your digital camera to a tripod or rest it on a flat surface, to reduce blurry images. Turn that flash off and put it on a ‘Self Timer’ setting, if you can’t persuade a loved one to click the shutter for you.

Step Four- SHOOT! This is the fun part! Put on your favourite top (darker for light backgrounds) and do your hair, and just have fun with it! Try some really silly faces if you’re nervous- it will relax you! You want to try and connect with the camera, to get that fashion look. Try staring straight into the lense, dead centre, and keep checking what you look like, so you can tweak the camera till it’s just right.

Step Five- Put your grandfather’s paintings back on the wall and plug your camera in!

So, while you’re waiting for your photos to upload, I’ll tell you a little bit about this fantastic photographer, David Bailey. He was around in the 60’s and 70’s when all the hip photographers (like Richard Avedon) were moving into minimal styles- using simple white backgrounds and sticking to the cameras and format that they knew and loved. Black and White and Medium Format. (A Medium Format camera is often a lot bigger than the standard 35mm film camera which you or your mum probably had in the 70’s.) Medium Format is still quite popular in today’s fashion industry, but Bailey was one of the pioneers that took photographing celebrities and stripped it down to its gorgeous, simple core. So in a tribute to their genius, let’s turn the attitude up, and the saturation way down. (most, but not all of the photos at the top of this post are by him.)

Step Six- Choose the photo(s) you want to edit and open it in photoshop, or some editing program. There should be a ‘desaturate’ or ‘black and white’ option somewhere (under Image>adjustments in photoshop). A little tip- to get the best black and white, you might want to brighten your image, or increase the contrast. Here’s a screenshot of using a layering technique, but Image>Adjustments>Levels or Image>Adjustments>Curves works just fine too.

Step Seven- Crop that baby! Medium Format cameras use a square crop; so to give it a more authentic feel, go on and be a square. (:D)

Step Eight- Save!

Here’s a couple of my takes. They aren’t perfect or anything, and they don’t have to be- if you want to go for a more old-y look, try adding a ‘film grain’ filter in photoshop or purposefully leaving it a bit too light or dark.

If you don’t feel very pretty today- dig into your files and find a picture that you like and apply the same techniques.

Okay, I’ve talked a lot now, so to spice it up, our real first Challenge is to use a studio-like photograph (it can be one that you’ve taken, an idol, or a magazine cut-out) in a project, or scrapbook page, or journal. We want to see what you’ve got, and there will be a full set of Vespa-pa-pa-pa papers and Banter for our favourite!! (because i love you!!!)

here are my projects!

And check out what Jen did!!! I love her photos too!

Please post your submissions with a link in a comment and we will post the winner when we announce our next prompt! Have fun!!!

p.s. We've started a flickr group too, so you can share there as well!
p.p.s. We were so impressed with all the response we got, just from the first post! we can't wait to see what you do!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'Allo! What 'ave we 'ere?

Howdy Hi, and boy have we got a terrific start for you this week! We are a brand-spanking-new challenge blog, so what’d you say we kick off things with an introduction of our two leading ‘Go-Go Girls!’.

First we have the lovely Kim Smith!

She’s a killer with her camera and a true dedicated follower of fashion. You might want to pop along to her blog or take a butchers at her flickr.

":] I love everything old! As a student, studying my A-levels in England, thinking about university in London- I just surround myself with Vespas, and vintage clothes and some old soul and ska and 60’s brit pop music. It’s so hard NOT to get inspired by all of this. I moved to England about three years ago- because I’m so in love with The Who and I wanted to learn about the culture and things. On the plane over here, I never would’ve guessed that I’d be so lucky to find the perfect spot and settle straight in. My journey from being just another teenager to a bit of a mod (if I do say so myself) has been the best ever! And I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned and how I apply all of this to my love of photography and art journaling and general craftlove!"

And the second half of this crazy pair is Jen Geigley!

You may have seen her with the ‘in crowd’- working on design teams, like Red Velvet Kit Club and the Creative Type - she is the cat’s meow and really digs some flash furniture (who doesn’t!?!) You’ll want to check out her blog.

"I'm a graphic designer, a lover of mid-century modern furniture, architecture, patterns, fabrics, textures, and graphics of all kinds. I'm nostalgic; I love old dishes and the mini-dresses my mom sewed in high school. Even more, I love old photos. Pictures of my grandmother and her sisters dressed up in mens' suits and hats, acting silly for the camera. I adore photos and illustrations in old magazines and catalogs and on album covers. And don't even get me started on music - The Kinks, Bob Dylan, what's not to love? I love new things that look old, and old things that look amazing. I'm a wife and mama and a kid at heart. I'm a crafty scrappy rocker nerd ... I love doing what I love."

Here at WORK YOUR SOUL, we really dig old! We dig the vintage, the retro, the classic and the funky. And most importantly we like taking inspiration from the past and adding our wild style to make something that really goes! (and we hope you do too!!) So we are inviting you to hop on our inspiration time machine and take a trip back to the 60’s and 70’s and all things retro!

Us Go-Go-Girls are going to bring you Challenges and Photography tutorials and Ideas and Prompts to get you throwing some shapes all over your scrapbooks and journals! In true northern soul fashion, you can expect one every other Friday to start your weekend off right! And we don’t just want the ‘faces’ on here. We want all your ‘numbers’ and ‘tickets’ to show us what you’ve got and play with us.

Stayed tuned this Friday for our first trip!