Thursday, 19 January 2012

Kitschy Kitchen

Recipe album kit by Melissa Francis: Kitschy Kitchen...the name says it all!

I found this cute kit in my stash after having bought it ages ago- typical me! And as my favourite recipes are mostly scribbled on scraps of paper and chucked in a kitchen drawer I thought it was about time I did something about it. 

As well as the album, I’d bought some of the coordinating bits: tags, cardstock stickers and extra recipe cards: they definitely added a little something. As an experienced crafter I felt afterwards that I could have easily made this album up myself with a couple of D-rings, some chipboard and a few papers, which would have been cheaper and given me more creative freedom (the covers come already printed), but I like how it turned out and that’s the main thing! 

I added some of my own ribbon, a frame sticker and a paper doily to the album to personalise it more. I’m not usually one for kits, but this one was fast and fun so maybe I’ll try a few more…

Friday, 6 January 2012


 I've always been into papercrafts, but started scrapbooking in earnest about a year ago. Due to time constraints, I haven’t managed to complete that many layouts, but I've had real fun putting pages together, preserving photos in a way that will be lovely to look back on in years to come! The two layouts here are from photos about 4 years old but scrapped at the end of 2011. I have included vintage styling in both, but the effect is completely different! 

With neutral colours and lots of stamping and distress inking, the Mad as a Hatter layout looks like an old piece. There is hidden journalling and another photo behind the main picture: I love to include interactive elements in pages. On both pages I've used Graphic 45 and Tim Holtz products. Both brands are great for vintage-look/ distressed-look pages, Graphic 45 producing exquisite papers, and Tim Holtz specialising in altered art products. I wanted a dramatic look for the Love Story layout, so while the page elements are still mainly in a neutral colour, a black textured background was used, with red accents to compliment the photo. I've also included some mushy journalling about my friends in the photo!

I didn’t want to fill up my posts with product and technical info, but if anyone would like information about the specific products or techniques used, I’m happy to share. Also, this is the first time I've photographed my scrapbook pages, so I'm still getting used to that and the photography isn't great! Still, you get the idea. Now I’m off to think up some scrappy ideas for the collection of Graphic 45 papers I bought recently, gorgeously entitled Steampunk Debutante!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Dressing Marilyn

For Christmas I received, after more than a little hinting, the beautiful book "Dressing Marilyn: How a Hollywood icon was styled by William Travilla", by Andrew Hansford. I'd seen it in a bookshop, rifled through and thought "Ooh, lovely pictures," but when I started to read the book it opened up a whole different world.

The golden age of Hollywood was all about its stars; big names, big movies, the transition from evocative black-and-white to glorious Technicolor. But how often do we think about what goes on behind the scenes? How many average movie fans have even heard of William Travilla? Yet without him, Marilyn Monroe could have faded into obscurity long ago. Without the couture of Travilla adorning her curves, maybe Max Factor wouldn't have decided she needed a striking platinum blonde do to complement her wardrobe? Without that white Travilla dress and that scene from the Seven Year Itch, what iconic shot of Marilyn, if any, would replace it?

I'm still in the process of reading this book, but for me the most interesting part has been the introduction and biography about Travilla, his life and early work. When one looks a little deeper into the stories behind these dresses, one realises that while it is certainly a glamorous career to dress the likes of Monroe, Jane Russell, Elizabeth Taylor and so on, it is not all silk, sequins and fairytales. There is little in the way of bohemian fancy-free artistry here: each garment is a precision-engineered piece of technical wizardry, keeping Ms Monroe's famous assets in check. The lovely thing is that these parts are photographed as well: an inbuilt girdle here, a steel bone there. And it was not until the structure of the dress was perfect could the sumptuous fabrics and exquisite artistry be brought into play. 

As a fan of Marilyn Monroe, this is a great book. But as someone with a love of the styles of the golden age of Hollywood and a fascination with both the technicality and beauty of costume, it really is exceptional.