26 August, 2009

Workshops & Broadway and stuff

On Friday I will be going to Cape Town to attend a workshop by one of my favourite photographers, Christine Meintjes. This is kind of a huge deal for many reasons:

1) Christine's photography kicks ass, so I'm nervous;
2) This is only the second time I've flown and arrived somewhere alone;
3) I have to pick up a rental car;
4) I have to DRIVE said rental car in a city I've never driven in and have only been to twice in my life. And I'm a person who gets lost a lot. The GPS had better be fanfrikkintastic to me. I don't think I'd GO if I couldn't take Mr Ruby Slippers' GPS.
5) The last workshop I attended kind of sucked in many ways, so I don't want this one to as well.

In other news:
I'm doing a Broadway musical revue with my community theatre group (remember Allo Allo?), and I'm LOVING it. Singing is one of my greatest passions. Broadway musicals - heck, any musicals - are another! Sister and BFF Ruby Slippers are also in it, and I'm making lots of new friends! Nothing like three-part harmony to help you meet people. The last two rehearsals we've been learning the dance for "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray, and let me just say that they don't call it "You can't Stop to Breathe" for nothing. You can barely breathe in the song itself, let alone breathe while dancing. I have the greatest respect for all those performers who sing and dance and make it look easy.

I'm hoping for some solos. I have my eye on "Le Jazz Hot" and "Don't Rain on my Parade"...I'm also singing the role of Link in "You Can't Stop to Breathe", because, well, there are no men in the show. I don't know about you, but I've found men are notorious for NOT coming to community theatre...oh well, now we get two dressing rooms! Whoohoo! And we get to be Broadway Babes.

And now I'd better go wash some dishes. Peace out, and stuff.

23 August, 2009

I ♥ Faces Fix-it Friday

I swore I wasn't going to go a week without blogging, and yet here I am again. I've been really busy editing and rehearsing this week, though (yeah yeah, excuses excuses). :-)

Here is this week's Fix it Friday Entry.

Because I did this yesterday I can't entirely remember what I did. I know I lightened and increased the contrast with something like TRA's Oh Snap! action, and then ran the boring selenium tone over it. Um, yeah, something or other like that. Obviously I fixed skin imperfections, sharpened the eyes, and cropped too.

This was a great picture, actually! A really expressive face. Nice.

15 August, 2009

I ♥ Faces Fix-it Friday

I loved this week! I love really having to FIX a problem photo, rather than just playing around at improving an already good one. This week's little boy has a skin condition on his face, so I set to work to clear that up!

Here's the original:

And my fix:

It's still not perfect, but it's a start.

First, I cropped the image. I decided to keep it in colour because I didn't want to waste those beautiful blue eyes on black & white! Then I went around with the spot healing brush. Anywhere there was flaking white skin or little red bumps, I took them out. Once that was done, I was still left with a lot of red texture around his mouth and cheek, so I made a copy of the layer, then applied gaussian blur to the bottom one. I made the top one a layer mask, and then just painted over the bits where I wanted the gaussian blur to show through.

So now I was left with a smoother face, but still very red. I made another layer copy (I flattened the last two first) and adjusted the red balance on it till the red areas looked normal. This left the rest of the picture very blue, but that's okay, because I just made that top layer into a layer mask again and painted off the blue I didn't want. Flatten again.

I used the clone brush at 20% opacity to paint over areas on his face that still looked uneven. This is a long process! Then I sharpened his eyes and applied a warm layer. The End.

11 August, 2009

Get along, little dawgies

My in-laws are part-timers at a dog obedience school, so a few weeks ago I went along on a cold Sunday morning to see if I could get some doggy shots. And boy, was it not easy. Those little canines move FAST. However, I did get a few shots I like!

This is Rolex. Why is he called Rolex, I hear you ask?

Wait for it....

Because he's a Big Watch Dog.

*cue cringing at bad pun* But he's a very sweet dog. And only seven months old. Yikes.

This guy was just waiting patiently outside the clubhouse (ok, he was tied there with his leash, but he looked patient!

I love Weimeraners. So graceful. Now don't go and tell me this isn't one! He's still graceful, okay!

This lady/gent (never got up; couldn't see, didn't ask) was very good at posing. I got about eight shots of her/him looking exactly the same.

I like what I did on the editing on this one.


This is Thelma or Louise. They're sisters, and I couldn't tell the difference. SO ADORABLE.

Adorable tongue!
Adorable mouth!
Aw, look at this little guy concentrating on walking the plank:


I love the jumping shots!

"I did good, mom? Huh? Huh?"

"I'm just gawna sit over here..."

Aw, look at the little one jumping over the same height pole as the big dogs. "Wheee! I'm flying!"

Did I ever mention I love dogs? Man. If people ask me if I'm a dog or cat person, I firmly say "BOTH". Sure, cats are less work, they're cleaner, less smelly, and they make that really cute throbbing sound when they sit on your lap. But dogs are so loving and happy, and fun to DO stuff with. You can't take your cat for a run round the garden, that's for sure. So I love them both.

09 August, 2009

Top Ten Movie Lists

Ages ago, I decided to do a bunch of top ten movie lists. And then never completed it. If you've noticed my wedding theme at all, you might have spotted that, well, I like movies. So it's pretty hard for me to narrow stuff down into a list of favourites. Therefore, thus and ergo, the only way to do it is have a ton of categories! I present you with Ruby Slippers' Top Ten movies (times many, many lots, etc):

  1. The Mirror Has Two Faces
  2. Just Like Heaven
  3. Love Actually
  4. Return to Me
  5. Down With Love
  6. Sleepless in Seattle
  7. Bridget Jones' Diary
  8. Wimbledon
  9. My Best Friend's Wedding
  10. Notting Hill

  1. What's Up, Doc?
  2. Foul Play
  3. Snatch
  4. Ruthless People
  5. Clue
  6. Much Ado About Nothing (bit of a stretch but it is a comedy of sorts)
  7. Dogma
  8. The Addams Family
  9. Clueless
  10. Junior

  1. Sense & Sensibility
  2. Stranger Than Fiction
  3. American Beauty
  4. The Truman Show
  5. The Prestige
  6. Dead Poet's Society
  7. Fight Club
  8. The Majestic
  9. Being John Malkovich
  10. V For Vendetta

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Back to the Future
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (ignore the 2 crap sequels)
  4. Peter Pan (2003)
  5. Hook
  6. Stardust
  7. Galaxy Quest
  8. Jumanji
  9. Mirrormask
  10. Catch me if you Can (another stretch but it is adventure-ISH)

  1. Singin' in the Rain
  2. Moulin Rouge!
  3. My Fair Lady
  4. Chicago
  5. In the Good Old Summertime
  6. The Wizard of Oz
  7. Mary Poppins
  8. The Sound of Music
  9. Hairspray
  10. Top Hat

  1. Beauty & The Beast
  2. Team America: World Police
  3. Wall-E
  4. The Little Mermaid
  5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
  6. Ratatouille
  7. Shrek
  8. Aladdin
  9. Hoodwinked
  10. 101 Dalmatians

  1. It Happened One Night
  2. Bringing Up Baby
  3. Rebecca
  4. Some Like it Hot
  5. Pillow Talk
  6. Stage Door
  7. Monkey Business
  8. Jezebel
  9. Sunset Blvd
  10. Witness for the Prosecution

  1. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
  2. The Parent Trap (1998)
  3. Three Men & a Little Lady
  4. Father of the Bride
  5. Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events
  6. The Butterfly Effect
  7. Centre Stage
  8. Frequency
  9. Se7en
  10. Pride & Prejudice (1995)
I guess most of these would be "family comedies", perhaps? Pride & Prejudice is technically a miniseries, not a movie. And is Frequency a drama with a sci-fi twist? Ditto The Butterfly Effect? And I couldn't leave Se7en on a list of serial-killer cop dramas all by itself...

I have to warn you this is just the tip of the iceberg of movies I own.

07 August, 2009


I was reading a post on Good Finking earlier about choosing books, and I got to wondering why I'd never really mentioned my book collecting thing on here. It's weird that I haven't, because books have been a really huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I had a bookcase earlier than I can even remember getting it, and it was filled with picture books and comics at the bottom, and Enid Blytons and Roald Dahls on the top two shelves. I practically existed on a diet of Blyton for the first five years of my reading life. My mother would read me a short story every night before I went to bed (thanks, Mom!) and the first story I ever read by myself was a Blyton story called "Colin is a good policeman". Sigh. Those were good days.

It's come to my attention since then that Enid Blyton really didn't happen in the USA, so some of you might not know what the heck I'm on about. But if your childhood lacked the Faraway Tree, where a different magic land appeared at the top every so often, the crime-fighting Famous Five (or Secret Seven), the jolly fun at Malory Towers or the enchanted toys and fairies of many of her stories, then, well...I don't want to say I feel sad for you, because I'm sure your childhoods were perfectly happy, and not filled with a Blyton-shaped void, but I don't know *what* I would have been doing if I hadn't had her books, so I'm glad for myself. :-)

Anyway, I carried on reading these well into my teens, under cover, of course, because The Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid you are a 15-year-old reading about kids catching smugglers instead of Sweet Valley High. But at some point I'd had enough of them. Not because I was tired of the delightful happiness of them all, but because I was literally tired of reading the same books over and over and over and over and over. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I reread some of my favourites, but it must be well over a hundred.

And it was round about this time that I discovered the delight of BRITISH SCHOOLGIRL STORIES.

Mostly written between the 1920s and 1950s, this type of boarding school story, where everything revolves around hockey matches, midnight feasts, playing tricks on the French Mistress, and being bound by the schoolgirl code of honour, lost impact in the 60s, and as a result, most of the titles have been out of print for over 50 years. Which makes it even more fun to collect them, because you can't actually buy what you want, you can only buy what you find! That, my dears, is the excitement of it all. Not to mention that (a) I still really enjoy these old-fashioned stories, and (b) some of the rarer titles are worth a truckload of money. Except that I'd never sell them, of course. So I spend my life hoping for duplicates to come along. :-)

Now I'm a collector by nature. I have to have a complete set of something, all pretty and (hopefully) matching on the shelves, so you can imagine how this drives me nuts. The holes in my collection keep mocking me, I tell you. They cry out to me in the night, and I dream about finding that elusive copy of The School in the Woods or The Chalet School in the Oberland. Which is probably never going to happen, considering how impossible it is to find these books, and how much they COST on ABE (which, by the way, is the second-hand book-buyer's best friend).

Here's a quick shot I took of one of my bookcases. There are more, but some of them are still hanging out at my parents' house because we keep thinking we're going to move and then don't.

They're so PRETTY. I love the old dustwrappers and the thickish, browned pages. They smell so delicious.

One of my favourites.

Oh, and if you were wondering where I got this book-collecting thing from, take a look at my parents' house:

And I promise you this isn't all of the shelves. I also feel the need to apologise for the photo quality - it was very dark in there and I hadn't brought my flash with me. Pop-up flash is not cool.

06 August, 2009

Now what?

Guys, I'm in that place. That place where I just don't know what to blog about anymore, despite the fact that I do totally want to blog! Really. I love it. It's just that this blog started out as my wedding planning space (it was my own little version of Weddingbee, because, you know, I didn't get accepted onto Weddingbee itself!), and now that the wedding and the endless recaps are over I don't know where to go from there. I even got over featuring photos I liked because I got into photography myself! Does that make a difference? Maybe I should feature them anyway. I do still love them and look at them all the time!

Right now, I'll just tell you some random things about myself, to get the ball rolling. The thing is, I do live quite a boring life, to be honest. No family drama or weird things happening at work!

At the moment I'm addicted to this chocolate:
Cadbury's coconut and cashew milk chocolate. The words "heaven", "perfection" and "I don't ever want to eat any other kind of regular chocolate* again" come to mind.

*obviously I'm not referring to things like Lindt or Cote D'or or any kind of Belgian truffle yumminess, but, you know, chocolate that I can afford to buy and eat daily.

The problem? They seem to have STOPPED MAKING IT. It's a calamity. I have to go into every shop I pass in case they have old slabs still. I could cry. No, really. You have noooo idea how much I love chocolate of any kind, let alone the squares of heaven kind that this flavour is.

At the moment I'm also addicted to Stephen Sondheim. I just play those soundtracks over and over and over. Kind of weird because in many cases I've never seen the shows to which they belong, but hey, that never stopped me being addicted to Wicked.

Speaking of Wicked reminds me. I've always wanted to go to Broadway. It's a desire that's always there, and sometimes it's just "oh, that would be cool", and sometimes it's a full-blown "I would give my first-born child to go to Broadway" obsession. Ok, it's never that bad. But it does make me want to spend every cent I have, and since I barely have any cents, this is what I would call A Bad Thing. I'm just going to lay it out there: I'm getting heartily sick of never having any money. I didn't expect to have any money this year; you don't when you're starting a business and you have to buy expensive equipment for it without seeing any monetary returns, really. I thought I could handle it, and for the most part, I have been. But I had to go to the doctor the other day and buy medication worth R500, and while I was at the mall where the doctor's rooms are, I made the mistake of going window shopping. And it just killed me that I couldn't afford to buy anything, but I'd just had to spend R500 on drugs. And there were all these pretty summer clothes with ribbons round the waist and rouchy lacy bits, and I wanted to cry. I went to look in my cupboard to confirm, and do you know what clothes I've bought this year? A pair of black ballet flats for comfy wedding shooting (R60) and I purple satin blouse, also for wedding shooting (R70). That's IT. I'm still wearing clothes I bought last decade. (Ok, only one or two awesome pieces, but in most cases my clothes are happily three or four years old).

I feel so despondent. I've never made a lot of money (in fact, I've only ever had poorly-paying jobs), but this is really starting to get to me.

Bet you wish I hadn't blogged now :P

01 August, 2009

I ♥ Faces Fix-it Friday

It's that time again...yesterday :-)

Here's the original pic:

They wanted a more 'vintage' look to tie in with the little girl's outfit. This is what I came up with:

Problem is, I tried so many different things that I can't remember what I did! I'm fairly sure in the end I used Pioneer Woman's Heartland action but adjusted some of the layers so that it was less washed out. I darkened it with a darkening/dim the lights kind of action, and sharpened. I think I might have added a warm layer as well. Then I did an edge burn. I think!