Ruffled bootees

I always wanted to make a pair of these bootees having seen them on Ravelry a while back. Here is the first of the two. Delish. Frou-frou, frilly dilly and lovely. Like leg warmers from Fame!

I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as I didn’t want to do all the front post, back post stitches for the upper shoe and used the pattern from the crocodile stitch bootees that I like.  That made the shoe part super easy. The ruffles….. oh the ruffles.

Lovely as they are, like a southern belle’s frothy underskirt,  I found making them (I’m still only a rookie hookie, don’t forget) fiddly and very, very exacting. I got them, and me, into more positions than the Karma Sutra. What a labour of love.


The wool is from Elann (via Amazon) : Pippi Longcolors : ‘crystal spring’.  I love how gently the shades blend into a smooth gradation but have made each row of ruffles a band of colour.  They were made using a 4.5 mm hook. The sole length is 8 cm with a width of 4 cm. The height of the bootee (measuring right up to the top of the upper row of ruffles) is 10 cm.

The pattern can be found on B.hooked crochet page or on Ravelry – click the link below:

Crocheted ruffled bootee pattern

I shall go make a pot of tea as a reward for the effort. I will be baking lemon and lime cupcakes this afternoon (recipe). Then, after a sweet treat and a bracing cuppa, will begin the next bootee.

Create a white background for your images in Photoshop

When I took this picture it was on a sheet of white paper. There was no additional lighting and was taken indoors. It was a grey day so there was no sunshine to help out. It was a recipe for disaster but by the power of Greyskull, well, Photoshop, actually, the image was taken from this to the above:

Whether you’re trying to improve the presention of individual items for posting on online shops or to make your blog look cleaner and sharper, the Color Range technique works wonders. (Singing **Flash! Ah-aaa** to myself while typing this).

I removed ALL of the shadows in the second image purely for the purpose of demonstrating how effective the Color Range technique can be. Want to know how it’s done? View or download the tutorial and try it yourself.

Free Create a White Background in Photoshop Tutorial .

Just so as you know that Anglicised spelling is the norm here and my speeeling is verry gud.

I’ve been reading up on taking pictures and staging them to make my blog look pretty. I have a ‘proper’ camera and know Photoshop pretty well. I’ve been using Photoshop (and Illustrator) over ten years now so I should have picked up a thing or two.

I thought I’d share some of the tips with you and you can make of them what you will. I haven’t tried them all but intend to when time allows.

Firstly, there are definitive lists of things to observe, include or fuss about. Just like there are seven signs of aging (female) and five signs of tiredness (male). If you believe the ads…

**As an aside, there is an advert for a company that sells you spectacles with the tagline: “We are defined by what we see”. Really? Unpack it and make sense of it. Total tosh.

Adverts try to mesmerise or lull us into some state of false consciousness that suspends or paralyses our critical faculties. Like the skin care products that say ‘clinically proven’. Clinically proven to do what? That is not stated. Illusions of meaning are carefully crafted. Beware the harbinger of the false premise! Think and question! Here endeth today’s rant, lol. **

Anyway, if these ‘definitive’ lists are to be believed there are certain fundamental elements for staging a scene. First find your focus and find ways to direct the eye to that focus by:

  1. Including distinctive shapes into the composition – vectors – lines of shapes and planes that lead towards the subject. For example, position the subject in a natural circle – eg, a spray of flowers behind around the subject (but not so as it looks like they grow out of somebody’s ear or top of the head). I, of course, have a natural halo and aura. (Please, I’m joking!).
  2. Choosing images that have similar  styles so you don’t combine, say, very minimalist images with graphics overload or lots of shots using natural materials like leather, sand, hessian, etc, with shiny plastics. Cohesive imagery are the keywords here. I can’t be any more definitive as it’s like everything – context and purpose dictate what can or is appropriate.

  3. Making sure colours complement  to create the effect and atmosphere or brand you want to achieve.
  4. Ditto pattern and texture.
  5. Including something called ‘needs’. This basically means essential things… (I don’t have a scooby what this means, really.) Food, water, light, comfort – I don’t know. Elements that suggest these things? Certainly not directly pertaining to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs unless they are expressed semiotically using symbolic meaning. Maybe that’s it.
  6. Adding some bling – Photoshop a sparkle, include a shiny trinket or piece of glittery jewellery.
  7. Including botanicals into the scene. Flowers, leaves, flora and fauna. Apparently they add that je ne sais quoi to a composition.

There. You know as much as me about it now.

Taking pictures (these are tips and techniques gleaned from courses, books and some experience while standing on the bunions of giants):

1. Be experimental in with the angle and distance you take pictures from. Include close-ups of whole and partial  areas of the subject. Include wide angles shots and think about taking aerial views and almost horizontal pictures to show surface detail or texture. Take landscape and portrait shots to vary layout and add interest.

2. Good lighting can save hours of editing. Can’t always get it and not all of us have studio lighting. If there’s good, natural light, though, use it.

3. Staging (see above – too many elements to go over again!).

4. My photography books say ‘fill the frame’ – so… fill the frame.

5. Make sure the pictures are clean. I take pictures of crochet and only when I look at the photographs do I finally see the single cat hair on, beside or in the baby booties. Gah.

6. Symmetry is somewhat frowned upon if graphic design advice is anything to go by (which I do), as is having the subject dead-centre. Arrange your picture using the rule of thirds to shift the central focus slightly off-centre.

7. Read up on depth of field and use it to blur the background so as to not distract the eye from the main subject. Or select the area in Photoshop and apply a Gaussian Blur.

8. Use a tripod, especially, if not always in poor light. I have one but often believe I can stand stock-still without the slightest muscle tremor and achieve perfect shots. I am invariably disabused of that belief when I see motion blur although I do wonder if my camera is on the blink first. Thankfully, not. It is me and the proof of the pudding is the end picture. Lesson learned is set up the tripod for picture perfect clarity.

Then what?

Well, a good place to start is to think about where your images are going to end up. If on your blog then you don’t need images that are bigger than the content width of your blog. They can result in slow load times when rendering your web pages. How big is that? Want to know?

Go to your blog, click on the three strip (‘hamburger’) on the browser menu at the top of you page. Click and select ‘Developer’ – to display a drop-down list which includes ‘Inspector’. Click on it and a panel will display at the bottom of the web page.

On the far left you will see an icon, a square with an arrow in its bottom right corner. Click on it then click on your web page – it will show you the structure of the page as defined in HTML and will give you values including ‘content width’ in pixels.

Mine is 739 px wide. Do I size my images up in PSP to this size? No. I’ve never been bothered. But I think I should. I know these things but don’t do them. *Sigh* What a pudding I can be.

By the way, DPI and PPI are not relevant to what the web displays. What is relevant is that they should be 300 PPI if they are to be output in hard copy, ie, printed.

Well, I’m exhausted now and want to go get a coffee and some lunch. Bye for now. I’d love to know if you have any tips or wrinkles you’d like to share.

Crocheted elephants

Did you have a happy Easter? We were quiet (not that we are normally like Everyone’s Upstairs Neighbours) and futzed about in furry slippers and smeggy gear like we yugé do when we’re not going out and likely to frighten dogs and those of a nervous disposition.

The mantlepiece was bedecked with fresh flowers and chocolate eggs and bunnies. It was pretty much a chocolate lunch for me.

I sat and surfed and ate chocolate for a good part of the afternoon (call it an extended lunch) as well and found the sweeeetest little appliqué crochet elephant (E is for elephant) and soon had a small herd on the table.

** Oh, the aim of our patrol
Is a question rather droll
For to march and drill
Over field and hill
Is a military goal!
Is a military goal! **

Like the single leaf at the front? Another free pattern: One Green Leaf

All the photos and postings reminded me of basic layout and photography rules for blogging generally and other applications which I will write up, mainly as a reminder to myself but you might find useful, too. I get too lazy to bother and take pictures and post them with just a bit of Photoshop editing in between. Really, need to do a more, like sort out dodgy backgrounds and clean up the images better.

I came up with the following reminder to myself to up my vibrations and remember to plant good thoughts in my head. It might also be useful to you.

Until we meet again, Happy Easter Monday!


Crochet heart with popcorn stitch middle

I’ve been enchanted by wonderful crochet things again. I saw a  s-i-m-i-l-a-r  crocheted heart to the one above on the wormhole Pinning Place. You see a pin you like, click on it only to be hooshed along to another page of pins and it becomes a chase-your-tail endeavour. It’s very Alice in Wonderland where she falls down a rabbit hole. Just pi**ing in the wind. Don’t you wish people would put their blog address or their name on the image so you could visit their page directly? There were loads of images on That Place with no direct links. The siren call of the design would not let me give up – ‘Make me I’m Yours’ – so I was on a mission to track the pattern down. It was not easy. So, pouting with a mouth like a sink plunger, I carried on.

The end result netted me pretty much Diddly Squat though I sort of found a pattern for a similar heart but didn’t like the start. Or the middle. And, the less said about the last round the better (there wasn’t one…).

So, the morning was spent frogging (not sure if that term is the right one for unravelling crochet, it’s used in knitting) hooking and reshaping until I got the shape I wanted. Finally, I have a pattern that I think is bullet-proof – I made a few more to check and refine it and am happy with the results.

So, am tooting my horn and my halo is so big you’d see it from Mars but am so delighted with it and myself (my first ever proper reshaping and design) that I’ve got a bit of a bloaty head and excity pants! Much better than excity head and bloaty pants.

I’d share the pattern but it’s written by me for me so probably not in the convention savvy hookers know and you’d laugh at my naivete!

The side view gives a better look at the popcorn stitch flower in the middle.

And in two colours, really pops. Oooh those scrappy balls of wool are looking very attractive… much more attractive than the lawnmower and that unruly lawn…

Though plain white has plenty of charm:

But, as we all know, crochet is addictive and there’s always something gorgeous calling…

I’m starting on a small blanket gift – it’s called Butterfly Garden and the pattern is free from Chris Simon here: Ravelry.   Mine has made an 8″ square (using a 4.5mm hook and Cotton Creative yarn) which is pretty sizable and will make up a blanket relatively quickly. The close up of the corner shows  a couple of the eponymous butterflies.

Have a very Happy Easter.

Best laid plans and all that

Well, so much for my plans to have a jolly seaside jaunt. Too many things got in the way on Saturday so – as the weather forecast predicted an even hotter day on the Sunday – thought I’d postpone it till then. Huh. There must have been some huge butterfly flapping its wings somewhere to create such chaotic perturbations as to destroy a whole glorious weather system in less than twenty-four hours.

It went from Hot to Not. The sky was grey, the air was cold, the fire was on.

I went looking for a potted plant for when The Room gets done. This is how it’s referred to now. We KNOW which room we’re talking about as there’s so much to do in there.

Luckily, the day had it’s bright sides. Went into Halfords for new hub caps. The price said €42 but came up at €24 at the till. That was a nice surprise, thank you.

Went to a local garden centre – saw a rather handsome Anthurium but its price was handsome, too, at €35.00. Hmmm. Had to have a think about that. That money buys a lot of wool…

Went to B & Q and had a mosey round their garden centre. Hugely cheaper on all garden bits and, in the clearance section, was this spiffing Anthurium – reduced from €19 to €9.50. It was mine in a moment. I bought the pot there, too. That was €21.00 but the two together were still cheaper than the plant alone from the other place.  And their pots and planters were very pricey. Anyway, they look well together and when The Room is done will look lovely near the fireplace.

I popped to Lidl on the way home and bought some cut flowers. I needed some colour! The garden was so green and boring and the sky was so grey.

A bunch of red roses in the Polish pottery teapot did the trick. Tea roses, anybody?

Looks nice in watercolours, too.

Made me feel so  much better.

Along with the other couple of bunches of flowers… as you can see in the rather twee vignette below (the fade away hides the eyesores of the drop cloths, paint tins, ladder, brushes, caulking gun…)

They sit on the fireplace and give me something nice to look at in the middle of what is really Paddy’s Market at the moment.

Well, Easter Sunday next week – let’s hope the weather is good and the sun shines for the weekend. Depends  on those flapping butterflies.

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