08 May 2012

How To Tuesday // Make a Chalkboard Table

I've been drooling over anything with chalkboard paint on it pretty much since that scene in 500 Days of Summer. Needing a table in my studio finally gave me the opportunity to try it (someday I will have my chalkboard wall). I converted a camping table and old brown chair that my boss kindly gave to me into a pretty tiffany blue work space with a chalkboard table top.

Here's what you'll need.

*Newspapers (to line the floor).
*Some small sections of lace for the chair (I got mine in a dollar store, they're net kitchen curtains)
*Spray paint (mine is Montana Black in Tiffany Blue)
*Chalkboard paint (from Opus, an art supply store)
*A paint brush you don't need to use again.

For the table:

1. Wash down your table and chair. Let dry.
2. After lining the floor and walls, spray paint you table.
3. I didn't bother painting the whole table top as I was covering it in chalkboard paint afterwards. This saves on spray paint.
4. I lined the entire rim of the table in masking tape that I deliberately ripped on one side and stickers to create effects on the paint line. This is optional and up to you if you would like a design like this. Use unripped masking tape for a clean look or none for a 'brush stroke' look. Apply chalkboard paint.
5. Before it dries, peel off whatever you have used to decorate your paint line.
6. Allow to dry. It takes 1 hour for it to be touch dry and 24 hours for it to be completely dry and ready to use.

And now for the chair:

1. Spray paint the entire chair.
2. Cover the back and even the seating with paint.
3. Fold over lace netting and place over the seat. Twist the ends and sew underneath the seating, out of sight (you will need to use some sort of fabric over the spray paint. Trust me from years of graffiti I know skin on spraypaint over vinyl is not comfortable).
4. Repeat on back of chair. I twisted the remaining fabric in a knot and sewed into a pretty ball.

There you go! My pretty productive work space. I love the chalkboard paint, I have my to do lists on it and when I get an idea it goes straight onto the table.

Plus, who doesn't love writing with chalk on a chalkboard? :D

Aoife x

05 May 2012

Personal Photography Project // Diana Toy Lens

One of the things I have been making myself do lately is try different lenses for different photographs. I used to use the same lens repeatedly on my old Nikon, but since buying my new Canon I've been spurred to breakout of my lens rut.
Lately, I've been trying toy lenses. Simple, cheap, plastic and lo fi, yes, but creatively stimulating. You have very little control and they can be unpredictable, which I love, and I find it makes me think about the scene in front of me rather than the buttons on my gadget.

I purchased the Dreamy Diana lens after seeing a post about it on A Beautiful Mess.
I'll admit it's pretty fun, but the price stuck in my craw a bit. I feel that $60 for this lens is steep, considering before you could easily purchase it for $12 (alas, I could find none at this price anymore). I have also ordered the Holga lens this week, which set me back $15 (with the Canon adapter and free shipping) and I honestly feel it gives far more interesting results. That's a big price difference.
Anyway, I got over paying $60 for a piece of plastic, ordered it and had fun.

Here are a few quick examples of what the results can be with the lens. There's no photoshop adjustments except for the watermark.

This is a snap taken near the Vancouver Convention Center. The detail in the mountains is pretty good and the lens really brings out the greys and whites beautifully in the clouds and snow. Dreamy indeed :)

Below are two photos of the same scene, the view from the side of my living room, but in different lighting. The first, taken on a sunny evening after a rain shower and the second, on a grey rainy day with speckles of clouds.

Here are a few photos I took of the buildings again from my living room. I wanted to show you guys how the lens captures soft light and shadows...

...and golden pink sunsets reflecting off buildings.

Here is a snap of a corner near my building at nighttime. I'm a little in love with how is picked up the lights.

They don't call it the Dreamy Diana lens for nothing! It's pretty good, better than I expected from a toy lens, but you need to have the right scene settings for it to come alive. Bright sunny days and twinkling nights seem  to bring out it's best. Indoors, cloudy days and run of the mill photographs do nothing and simply result in poor quality photos from a plastic lens. Again though, this makes you think about your scene and forces you to add something extra to it to get that dreamy quality.

If you're saving up for lenses I would suggest keeping your money and putting it towards a high quality, decent lens. But if you're just looking for something fun then pick this little thing up (though shop around on ebay and amazon for cheaper, I tried and couldn't find anything, but ya never know!).

Aoife x