From achy-breaky to arty-farty

A couple of ladies from Wellington made the headlines last week, by offering a free workshop to help Christchurch folk turn their smashed and broken china into jewellery.  It looked lovely, and hundreds of people took advantage of the offer.

If you didn’t get to the workshop, or if you fancy yourself a bit of an arty-farty person, here’s some other suggestions of things you could do with your earthquake ‘debris’:

(warning: highly technical craft language below)

  • build a mosaic thingummy for your house or garden, with all that broken dinnerware.  We have some truly outstanding books on mosaic-ing just about anything you can get to stand still for long enough.
  • make a hanging mobile or windchime, or other sculpture, by gathering up ‘found items’ and having at them with number 8 fencing wire and pliers (just make sure you’re only gathering your own stuff!).
  • bead a necklace or bracelet, using techniques in our wirecraft, beading and jewellery books, and incorporating (you guessed it) something precious to you.
  • take a wander through your neighbourhood and take some photos (of happy or sad things, it’s up to you).  Then get the photos printed and journal or scrapbook them.
  • host a knitting or quilting group – grab some friends, dig out those UFOs* that fell out of the wardrobe during the big shake, and sit down together with coffee and cake.
  • if your friends don’t craft, or you’d like some more professional help, check out our community information directory CINCH, for heaps of listings of local groups that offer all sorts of great opportunities to learn, make and do.
  • If all of this just sounds like too much work, or you are more realistic about your ability to finish (or even start) craft projects, why not take the opportunity to venture out and find some hidden treasures at your local craft shop or farmers’ market?  That way, you are supporting others’ addictive craft habits, and local business, and you get to meet new people and buy stuff all at the same time!

(*UFOs = unfinished objects.  Don’t tell me you don’t have them.  I know you do).

Driving with trucks

book coverI have to venture out on the roads from time to time for work and I’m finding the “new normal” is sharing the road space with lots of big scary trucks.

When they are parked and being loaded with rubble and silt it’s comforting that work is being done but then they lurch off onto city streets – another road user to share with.

There are several hundred trucks a day working in the CBD alone and the police are enforcing new speed and weight limits which is good to know. If  you are planning a route across the city (and who doesn’t check the map these days) the trucks heading to the landfill are going this way:

•    Madras Street (return Barbadoes Street)
•    Bealey Avenue
•    Whitmore Street
•    Hills Road
•    Akaroa Street
•    Marshlands Road
•    Prestons Road
•    Landfill Road

Other traffic management measures are under way – read more about them here. And just in case you are a  big truck fan – or have one in the family – Christchurch City Libraries has  some safe indoor viewing for truck enthusiasts of all ages.

The further confessions of a happy snapper

coverYou can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and you can’t turn a poorly composed, badly lit, out of focus photo into an award-winning photo. That doesn’t mean I don’t try.

The libraries‘ computers have Picasa. This free download is so easy to use, and is designed to be a photo sharing tool, however I use its photo editing capabilties as well. These are divided into three categories: ‘Basic fixes’,’ Tuning’ and ‘Effects’.

‘Basic fixes’ allow me to do things like crop, correct red-eye and straighten the horizon. ‘Tuning’ is for changing the amount of shadow and highlight. ‘Effects’ allow me to be a little bit creative. I like using Soft Focus, which blurs the background, while keeping the main focus of the photo sharp. I also enjoy using  Focal B&W. It retains the colour in the centre of the photo, and the background fades to black and white. Picasa is something that you can click around and experiment with. If you need help, find books on Picasa at your library.

If you want a whole lot more than what Picasa has to offer, you might like Photoshop. I had Photoshop on my old computer. I would spend ages cropping and colour correcting my old photos. Then I would turn them into oil paintings.  To get the most of Photoshop, you need a manual. The library has quite a large selection; just make sure you choose one that matches your version.

Remember one thing, you can improve your photo to a certain extent with photo editing and you can have fun with special effects, but sometimes the best thing to do is use delete.