Monday, January 31, 2011


snowy chicago

I've had so much on my mind these past couple of days. A thousand thoughts a second so I have accomplished very little. I feel tired and snowy just like the picture I took earlier today. I'm hoping to rest, sip some tea and relax tonight and get back on top of things tomorrow. For now a list of links I've really been enjoying lately.

- i just stumbled upon this photo stream that I love, photos by Johanna Wallin!
- possibly the most subtly whimsical Flickr stream and I love it!
- His & Hers, the blog of a talented photography couple Dave and Whitney! Polaroid and fog goodness galore!
- we live in a teenie tiny apartment so I'm always looking for small home inspiration and I'm in love with this cube concept!
- a wonderful color inspired weekly blog by two best friends, Jodi and Dani - sixty four colors.
- i love seeing familiar Chicago sights through the lens of this gal.
- Brooke is an incredible photographer. I spent a few hours looking at all of her stuff and I think you will too.

I am working on a January wrap up post to. What were your favorite parts of this month about to pass?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011



Does anyone else get in these ruts where all they can think about are the things that they want? Well, I've found myself in that place. Since I can't very well go on a crazy shopping spree at the moment the best I can do is share my wishlist with you.

- PZ 600 +UV This film makes my heart go pitter patter. I want to try some double exposures on my Spectra camera.
- Lomo LCA I'm always on the look for the perfect pocket camera- this might be it.
- Billingham Super SEXY camera bag.
- Bando I want the sequined heart pin and a few headbands so badly.
- Field Notes I love my Moleskins but these look to be the right size for keeping Polaroids so a switch might be in order.
- Epson V700 I currently have a 4490 but want to scan more frames at a time. Also this scanner reminds me of Flight of the Navigator for some reason.
- An apartment that does not face the "U" of a building so I can experience SUNLIGHT again.
- Doc Marten bag I had something like this in grade school and forever have been on the hunt for something similar again....FOUND IT!

A pretty dorky list isn't it?

I'm thinking of doing a monthly wrap up post- looking back on each month and reflecting on accomplishments, things that happened that made me smile and things to be grateful for. What joys has January brought to your life? While you're at it, what are your latest wants? Maybe I can add it to my list too!


A big thanks to everyone who has purchased cards from my shop! From now until February 4th for each card purchased in my shop I will be sending one to Etsy to hand out to lonely seniors on Valentines Day. The pile to send to Etsy is slowly growing thanks to you guys! You can read more about it here.

Monday, January 24, 2011


polaroid ejecting glitter

I am so happy to announce that some of my cards will be sold in The Impossible Project space in Soho! I literally squealed when I heard the news from the lovely Annie. I am a huge fan and supporter of what The Impossible Project is doing to keep analog instant photography going, (and very beautifully) so I am incredibly flattered that they would carry my cards! Speaking of which if you live in New York you should head on over to The Impossible Project space and check out Autumn de Wilde's work large and in charge there on January 26th! I would love to see this in person so please snap a picture and send it to me!

Just when I thought Winter might start melting away and making room for Spring we've had some of the coldest Chicago days this past weekend. I am going to make a serious effort to get out there, camera in hand and photograph Winter before it does pass because Chicago is so beautiful dressed in white.

I hope you are all as well and excited about 2011 as I am!


Friday, January 21, 2011


scrabble heart polaroid 4x5 card

I am very excited about my line of polaroid heart cards. I've been wanting to create these for quite some time now and am so happy with the result.  Each of them inspired by a friend of mine (and I'm sure you ladies know who you are) so they are very near and dear to me. I'm super stoked to share them especially with Valentines Day right around the corner!

I am writing this because I just read about this very sweet community service Etsy is putting on. They are asking people to create Valentine's Day cards and to send them to the Etsy Labs. Etsy employees will give all the cards they receive to lonely little seniors in New York. If you have just a few minutes to make a card or two please do! A card can mean so much to someone who is lonely. If you don't have time to make a card, you can use the discount code "xoheart" in my shop and receive 20% off of your order. Additionally from now until February 4th for every card sold in my shop I will send a card to Etsy for this sweet cause. You can read more about what Etsy is doing here.

I have some VERY exciting updates to share tomorrow!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


study time
Add caption

Everyone seemed to be enjoying 1.11.11.  We all know the REAL special day will be 11.11.11 which also happens to be MY 30th BIRTHDAY!  Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little weird entering my 30's - I still think of myself as a 25 year old but I'm excited to enter a new decade with a bang!

That being said- I recently came upon these two blog posts which I just loved and inspired me to make a list of 30 things to do before 30!  Here we go...

 1- shoot a roll of film a week
 2- scan in all of my negatives (holy cow)
 3- visit friends in Europe
 4- take the remaining 3 classes I need for my degree
 5- keep learning French
 6- drink less soda
 7- learn to cook a few meals
 8- drink less sugar in coffee and tea
 9- write more letters
10- be better about answering my phone
11- work on two new calendars
12- get a lomo lca (I want one so badly!)
13- blog once a week
14- write in my physical journal more
15- create books with keepsakes from our trips
16- make a phone photo book
17- make a phone photo book for tessa
18- visit new york again (and photograph it well!)
19- portraits of my family in puerto rico
20- go to puerto rico!
21- photograph the houses I lived in in Florida
22- get out to the wonderful Chicago museums more
23- drink more water
24- look people in the eye more during conversations
25- teach our rabbits tricks (it's possible!)
26- visit Mel & Juls in San Francisco
27- explore more neighborhoods
28- display photos in a gallery of some sort
29- take a trip with my mom
30- read a book a month

I realize my ambitions aren't monumental but hopefully I can achieve most of my goals.  I've got ten months to work on it!  Do you have a list like this?


Monday, January 10, 2011


Let’s make some pictures!

I remember when I was first introduced to photography thinking how magical and out of reach the process of making negatives seemed. It wasn’t until years later that I learned how incredibly easy it is.  I felt bummed that I could have been shooting B&W film and developing it myself all along so I thought I would write a little How-To on developing your own B&W film.

I am going to try to be pretty comprehensive but just so that all is understood well.  I was always the little kid that asked, “but why” and “but how” so I will tell you as much as I can here in hopes that you have no questions at the end, but feel free to email me if you do! Don’t let the length of this tutorial overwhelm you. Just do it step by step and you’ll be fine. 

Here's what you’ll need:

35mm B&W film (make sure it does NOT say C41 or it won’t work) *Ilford HP5
Developing tank with reels (I like the plastic ones best)
Can opener
Developer  *Ilford Ilfotex DD-X
Wetting Agent *Kodak Photo Flo
Fixer *Ilford Rapid Fixer
3 Measuring cups
Something to hang negatives from (clothes pins will work if you can hang a line in your house somewhere)
Negative Sleeves
A completely dark place or a changing bag
Photo Clips (clothes pins will work here too, but clips are inexpensive and work better)
A timer of some kind

* Indicates what I personally use.  This is just a guide there are many many options!

Sexy Extras:
Stop Bath
2 Gallon Containers (for storing your diluted chemistry)
Photo Clips
Anti Static Cloth

I created a wish list at B&H, the site I recommend purchasing your supplies from to make things a little easier on you!  Click here to go shopping.


Shoot a roll of B&W film. I like to shoot Iflord HP5 because it’s inexpensive and forgiving. 


You’ll need to find a completely light free place to put your film onto the reel.  Even the smallest amount of light will make your negatives foggy and gross. A closet or windowless bathroom will usually work. If after sitting in the dark place you’ve chosen for a few minutes you can still see, it’s not dark enough.  Tape up the door or wherever light is coming from.  If you can’t find a dark enough place, use a changing bag- that’s what I do.  

You’ll need to grab your scissors, can opener, roll of film, and developing tank.  The tank has 2 reels, a rod, a funnel like thing and a lid. 

I would suggest practicing loading the reel in daylight with your eyes closed a few times before working with an actual roll of film you care about.  Without practice this step that should be fairly easy with practice can be really frustrating so set yourself up for success and practice first! You won’t be sorry. 

Okay, go to your dark place or changing bag with your items. Place them in a way  you will remember them because it will be completely dark and you’ll need to feel around for these things. 

1.    Use the can opener to open the film canister top and bottom. 
2.    Use your scissors to cut off the leader of the film.  This is a piece of film that is not flush.  If you use a practice roll you’ll see this and know what I’m talking about.
3.    Lead the film onto the reel.  You’ll be able to feel the reel grabbing the film’s sprockets (those little holes at the top and bottom of the negative).  Once the film is secure twist the sides of the reel back and forth, gently, with one hand on each side. This will ravel the film onto the reel.  Once you’re at the end of your roll cut the film off of the canister core it’s stuck to. 
4.    Place the reel on the rod and then place it in the tank. Make sure the funnel is secure because if not when you remove the lid to the tank your film might be exposed to light, which will ruin your film! Once you’re sure the funnel is secure (usually just by twisting it until you feel it lock) put the lid on the tank.
5.    Voila! You’re ready for some chemistry.  You can venture out into the light now.


Take your tank to a sink and get ready to mix some chemicals.  Follow the directions on your chemicals to dilute them.  I use Ilford chemicals and they are diluted 1+4 which means for every part of chemistry I use to dilute it with 4 equal parts of water.  I usually develop 2 rolls of film at a time and have found that if I dilute one cup of chemistry with 4 cups of water that’s just the right amount of chemistry for 2 rolls of film.  Dilute your chemicals with whatever temperature water it says on the packaging.  For the chemicals I use it’s 68 degrees.  It is VERY important to get the temperature right because water that is too cold or too hot can damage your negative or even completely erase your negatives!! So make sure to use that thermometer and be patient!  


Go ahead and take the lid off of your tank but make sure that the funnel is secure! 


1.    Fill your tank with water, replace the lid and shake your tank for one entire minute. Dump the water out completely.  This step is preparing your negatives for the chemical goodness that is coming its way.
2.    Turn your tank upside down and see how much liquid you should use for each roll of film you’re developing.  The tank I use says to use 10 oz for one roll or 20 oz for two rolls.
3.    Remove the lid (make sure that tunnel is still secure, sometimes it may shift after agitating the tank). Add the appropriate amount of developer for your tank, replace the lid and lightly turn it up and down for 30 seconds.  You don’t want to shake it too much because the developer will become sudsy which isn’t good for your negative so be gentle! After the first minute -shake your tank the same way for ten seconds each minute.  Look on your developer bottle to see what the suggested time is.  For the llford Developer I use I have to develop my negative for 9 minutes total.  Use a timer for this.  The more accurately you do this the better your results will be.
4.    When your 9 minutes is up dump your developer down the drain (this is okay- it won’t ruin your pipes) and rinse your tank with water that is 68 degrees.  Fill your tank with water and shake it well, dump the water and repeat. Do this for one minute. Make sure your tunnel is still secure to your tank! Light would still be bad news at this stage.


1.    Dump the water from your developer rinse and fill your tank with the appropriate amount of fixer for your tank.  Put the lid back on.
2.    Gently shake your tank for 30 seconds when you first fill it with fixer and then shake it for 10 seconds every minute for the recommended amount of time the bottle of fixer says.  My bottle of fixer says 9 minutes for the film I use.  Again you’ll want to use timer for best results.
3.    After your time is up you can either save your fixer to use again if you plan on developing more film within a week or two.  If you want to save your fixer you need to store it in a dark bottle.  These are pretty cheap from B&H (my favorite) and can save you money in the long run if you plan on developing a lot of your own film. If you don’t plan on developing anytime soon put the developer in an old soda bottle and take it to your local CVS.  The fixer contains tiny pieces of silver that needs to be both recycled and disposed of properly. 


1.    This part is easy peasy.  Make sure your water is 68 degrees.  This is VERY important because like I said earlier, water that is too hot or too cold could damage or completely ruin your film.  I usually let the water run into a cup with a thermometer in it. When the thermometer reads 68 degrees you’re ready to rinse.
2.    Most people suggest filling your tank with water, shaking it for about five minutes to make sure all of that fixer comes off, emptying the tank and then letting it run under 68 degree water for 20 minutes.  I usually take the tank filled with water put the lid on and give it a shake every five minutes for a few minutes, dump the water, then let it sit under the faucet with water running for five minutes. Use a timer so you don’t have to do too much guessing.
3.    Your negatives are almost ready!!

1.    Before you unreel your negatives dump the whole reel into a container with some kind of “wetting agent” in it.  Photo Flo (what I use) is a magical formula that helps keep your negatives from scratching or streaking.  It also promotes even drying.  Basically it’s awesome.  One bottle should last your entire life.  You can store it for quite a while and it dilutes 1 part Photo Flo to 200 parts water!
2.    I have a large measuring cup that fits two film reels perfectly and has a lid for storage (!).  Drop your reel into the wetting agent you’re using for one minute.
3.    After a minute (use that timer!) grab your reels and you are ready to take the film off the reel!!!


1.    Shake off the as much wetting agent as you can and then gently pull your film off the reel.  Try to make sure it doesn’t touch anything and that you are doing this in a generally dust free area so dust doesn't stick to your negatives. 
2.    Place the negatives between your pointer and middle fingers to wipe off excess wetting agent.  Do this gently, as not to scratch or smudge your film.
3.    Hang your film up to dry! I use a laundry mobile looking thing to dry my negatives.  If you have photo clips put them at the bottom of your negative to weigh it down a bit.  This helps the film from curving and clinging to other film.  If you don’t have negative clips- just add a clothes pin or two to the bottom of your negative.
4.    Let your negatives dry for at least 4 hours but 8 hours is what is most recommended. 


            When your negatives are all dry grab a negative sleeve to store them in.  Carefully cut your negatives about five frames per cut.  Holding them up to the light helps or if you have something that can act like a light table that is also extremely helpful.  Try to always handle your negatives only by the sides and never directly touching the surface.  The grease on our fingers easily shows up on negatives and it’s never very pretty and can sometimes be hard to get off so try to avoid it if you can.  I use a microfiber cloth to lightly wipe my negatives and scanning bed before scanning.  I’ve had mine for about 6 years and it works like a charm.  Just keep it in the sleeve it comes in and you should be good to go.

You’re all done!!! Now you can either scan your negatives or make a print in the darkroom! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


film heart

One of three hearts I made for Words To Shoot By ! Gosh I love this blog and being a contributer!  I am working on a few more hearts for my shop for Valentines day.  Hopefully the sun will appear tomorrow and I can go ahead and make the photos I need!

I really hate to admit it but I'm a wonderful procrastinator.  In an effort to motivate myself I've been making lists of things I want to accomplish each week. This has been great for organizing my thoughts and helping ease the insanity but hasn't quite forced me to get things done!! Does anyone have any helpful tips for me?

I hope all is well in your worlds!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


i love glitter- so what?!

I love glitter so and I'm so glad it's found in such abundance in clothes, cards, bags, EVERYTHING right now!! 2011 is going to be so good.

This polaroid is my first entry to a Flickr group I am excited to participate in - The Saturdays Of 2011.  Pretty simple- take a picture on Saturday and post it to the Flickr group!  Groups like these and photo projects are really great motivators to keep shooting especially during the Winter when every part of me just wants to hibernate like a bear.

Just wanted to say a quick hello.  I am hoping to have a fun tutorial up in the days to come.  I just have to wait for the sun to show up to take some quick photos for it :)

Cheers and Happy 2011!