Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005 - Part 2

Black and White

Posted October 16th, 2014 by

B+W 1/5
B+W 2/5
B+W 3/5
B+W 4/5
B+W 5/5

Earlier this week a Facebook friend invited me to join a 5-day black and white photography challenge. Black and white is, indeed, a challenge for me because I am so in love with color!

I took her up on it, though, because I have been considering doing a month of b+w for November, despite it being outside of my comfort zone. I thought this would be a good trial run.

The verdict? I am happy with most of my photos, and I have to say I enjoyed looking for subjects where color took a back seat to texture, lines, and composition. I am always on the lookout for good composition, but with color photography I find that I don’t think as much about texture or other elements that provide visual interest. I usually let the colors lead me, and the rest is often a happy accident. Or, if I want to give myself a little credit, I could call it intuition.

By the way, you may have noticed that a few of the images are not truly black and white. They are monochrome, but they have a slightly warmer tone than true black and white. This was not intentional in the first two photos, and in fact, I didn’t even notice my mistake until I went to process the third image. I have to say, though, I kind of like it. I liked it enough to dial a bit of warmth back in to image 4, albeit with a lighter hand.

If you’re a photo-processing nerd (like me) and would like to know how I managed to accidentally get a warmer black and white look, I used the Black + White section of the Basic panel in Lightroom’s Develop module, and tweaked all of the settings to get a monochromatic image I liked. I had forgotten, though, that by default I have LR set up to add a small bit of yellow to the highlights in the Split Tone panel. Oops!

One thing about black and white photography: I feel like I should take pictures of old things. Because b+w has such a vintage vibe to me, I’m drawn to capturing images of things that are either truly old, or have an antique vibe to them. I’m rather surprised with myself that I didn’t photograph my old typewriter. Guess I can save that for November…

What do you think about black and white photography? Do you find yourself drawn to it, or is it all about color for you?

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Posted October 12th, 2014 by

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

Striped Yoke Cardigan

I’ve been designing sweaters again.

I started this back in June, and I took my time working on it throughout the summer.

It’s based on the Everyday Cardigan in shape and basic construction, but the yoke is done in stockinette stripes rather than ribbing; the collar, cuffs, and hem are worked in a contrasting color; and the button bands are added last.

So, what do you think? Is this something you would knit if there were a pattern available? Because I would definitely consider writing one up if there’s interest!

I can imagine it with more subtle color differences like light brown stripes on beige. Or maybe in three colors, where the sweater is tan, for instance, the stripes are red, and all of the remaining trim (collar, cuffs, hem, button bands) is blue.

If I wasn’t so bored Bored BORED with stockinette stitch right now, I’d probably knit a couple of samples. But no. Time for this girl to do something more challenging for a while: like cables!

TWiP: Purple is a Fall Color

Posted October 11th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

Red, orange, brown gold. Those are the colors I would have named as “fall colors” if you had asked me in the past. But more and more, I am feeling like purple belongs in there, too.

Sometimes the dried up leaves take on a violet tint all on their own, and sometimes I bump up the tendency toward purpleness in post-processing. It’s all good.

Monday of this past week, the twins went home. We do miss their fun little four-year-old selves around here, but I won’t lie: Tuesday was glorious in it’s do-nothingness. Babysitting for six days while simultaneously dealing with a cold can be a challenging prospect, so I gave myself Tuesday off.

When I say “off” I mean I barely got dressed. I barely moved off of the couch. I watched multiple episodes of Marple and Mad Men while knitting – during the day! How rebellious and irresponsible of me. Yes, Tuesday was well-deserved and well-enjoyed.

I did end up finishing a long-term knitting project this week, and I am looking forward to showing that to you in the next few days (so keep your eyes open for it). Friday I cast-on for a new project – this one with cables – for my mother-in-law for her November birthday. I ought to be able to finish in time, particularly when you take into account my weekend plans.

What are my weekend plans, you ask? Oh, pretty much the same as last Tuesday: Netflix and knitting. Yay!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. October’s them is Fall [of course!])

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: Fall 4/31 – It’s a rainy Saturday.

Instagram: Saturday afternoon snack: ginger tea, maple leaf cookie, and Tylenol Cold :-)

Sunday

365: Fall 5/31 – Leaves in the path.

Monday

365: Fall 6/31 – One of my favorite things to do in the fall: cozy up with a handmade blanket, a cup of coffee, a mystery on the DVR, and a knitting project.

Tuesday

365: Fall 7/31 – Almost time to open a new bag of coffee. This one seems appropriate.

Wednesday

365: Fall 8/31 – Such a pretty day today. It was impossible to resist a quick stop at the Swamp on the way to Trader Joe’s.

Thursday

Fall 9/31

365: Fall 9/31 – A little bit of red.

Friday

365: Fall 10/31 – Ah, fall. That special time of year where we take turns staying home sick with colds. Today it’s Flufy’s turn. I offered him a cup of tea with honey, but he preferred a mug of warm-ish chocolate.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted October 10th, 2014 by

Whoa, where did that week just go? I really didn’t mean to leave this poor place languishing for six days like that. I hope you didn’t miss me too much!

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites

1. Rudbeckia, 2. Green, 3. DOON HERITAGE VILLAGE 2014, 4. .., 5. leftovers, 6. Today’s menu, 7. knitting, for me., 8. Happy Weekend ☆.´ `. ☽¸.☆, 9. EP52 35/52 {fruit or veggie}, 10. EP52 37/52 {nostalgia}, 11. Monday morning…, 12. Mood lighting, 13. Big Elm IPA, 14. Hello!! (color version), 15. Neuseeland – New Zealand-1299, 16. Spätkauf Goethe (explored), 17. Untitled, 18. Untitled, 19. Untitled, 20. Botanist in me wins ;) these are the leaves of a tulip tree or whitewood or yellow poplar. Good to know! #fall #autumn #botanical #goodtoknow #vscocam

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • 5 Tips for Photographing an Older Only Child – by Allison Jacobs, via Click it Up a Notch. I love these tips, and I think they apply to older children who are not onlies as well. Siblings aren’t always interested in being together in the same room. I find there are a lot of opportunities, the older they get, for me to capture one of my boys alone.
  • Make a Distressed Wood Photo Backdrop – a tutorial from Mandi Johnson, via A Beautiful Mess. I’m having a Why Didn’t I Think of That? moment. I am always wishing I had a table of a particular color and style for photographing things… making a smaller, portable wooden backdrop, painted exactly as I would like is a perfect solution!
  • How to Sew Multiple Items Quickly + Efficiently – 12 tips from Wendy Buss, via Sew Mama Sew. I’ve had this niggling little voice in my head, prodding me to drag my sewing machine back out, and now that I’ve read this post about assembly line sewing, the voice is getting louder. And it wants me to sew some shirts for fall.
  • A Cold Day Outfit Kits and Pattern – new stuff from Posie Gets Cozy. Oh my gosh. I am so not patient enough to make these outfits, nor do I really have anyone to make them for, but I still find myself captivated by Alicia’s woodland creatures and all of their sweaters and dresses and boots, and now they have adorable little overcoats, too.

Happy Friday!

TWiP: it’s girly in here

Posted October 4th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

Most of my creative energy this week has gone into first preparing for our 4-year-old friends to visit, and then entertaining them when they’re here. And with whatever energy I have had left, I’ve been blowing my nose and sneezing. Oh, joy.

I rarely get sick these days, so I suppose I was due to catch a cold, but the timing really couldn’t be worse.

Oh well!

Fall is in full swing, as you can see by the colors in this week’s mosaic.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. For September it was mugs: a month of my morning coffee and other delicious drinks. October is Fall [of course!])

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365: Mugs 27/30 – Today’s coffee is in a mason jar, so I can try out the jar cozy I crocheted on a whim last night.

Sunday

Mugs 28/30

365: Mugs 28/30 – Aidan dragged me to the gym this morning, and then we negated our hard work with croissants :-)

Monday

365: Mugs 29/30 – Enjoying a quiet cuppa before my busy day with the long to-do list begins.

Tuesday

Instagram: My Friend Mandy (and my sister’s Friends Jenny and Becky) freed from their plastic bag prison and wearing dresses my mother made them 30+ years ago. #vintage #dolls #fisherprice

365: Mugs 30/30 – Ok, maybe I’ve been wrong all of these years. Girly stuff isn’t so bad. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a doll to dress up.

Wednesday

Fall 1/31

365: Fall 1/31 – I had some help with today’s Fall photo shoot.

Instagram: This box was supposed to be a distraction for them, but I seem to have ended up doing most of the coloring ;-)

Thursday

365: Fall 2/31 – Well, it is definitely pumpkin season at Trader Joe’s. And this is just the stuff we brought home with us. I’m going back for more when I don’t have to fit two 4-year-olds in the cart :-)

Friday

Instagram: Just one more hour until the big boys get home. Not that I’m counting #yesiam

365: Fall 3/31 – My fall napkins.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

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