Archives for the month of: November, 2009

If you drive…you need to know about this!

I drive…quite a bit…alone….and it gets bo-o-o-ring! 

So I do what my parents did on long drives – listen to books on tape!

And no…I don’t get them from Crackerbarrel like I used to when we were little…and no they aren’t on cassette.  Books on tape get a bad rap and I just can’t understand this.  I get mine for FREE from the library.  Yup, one more reason why I love the library.  I can get tons of great book downloads right from my local library.  I only get the ones I can put onto my iPod, but they can usually be put on any MP3 player.  Some can even be put on CDs if you want or played right from your computer.

I like to play them in my car as I drive and it’s a great way to pass long drives or boring drives or drives you don’t want to make (like work commutes!)  I listened to some really amazing things on my drive this weekend (more on that later).

Now, my car doesn’t allow me to directly play my iPod, but I have one of those converter thingies.  It plugs in to my cigarette lighter and plays through my FM radio.  These aren’t perfect for those of you who don’t have them already so don’t be surprised about a little static.  But I personally don’t mind it much.  Some converters are better than others…I have the Monster converter now and that’s so far the best I’ve found.

Other reasons I love books on tape:

1. I can listen while doing laundry

2. I can listen while cleaning my house

3. I can listen while editing photos

4. I can listen while cooking dinner

5. I can listen while painting my toenails

6. It brings books to life in a whole new way.  Even if I read the book before it seems like it’s brand new again.

7. I can get them for free

8. FOR FREE!!!

So get out there…and find out if your local library gives your access to free books on tape.

I love antique stores!  I love old things (I think I’ve mentioned this before).  I like to incorporate vintage items into my house and wardrobe.  In fact sometimes it seems that more of my jewelry is antique than anything else.  I also love to take apart old jewelry and put it back together again in a more modern, wearable way. 

Anyhow…I tend to drag many of my friends along with me on these antique-ing adventures.  It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes as well as someone to help you carry heavy things 🙂

Yesterday I went to Lebanon, IL with my friend Amy.  I knew I may not find much open since it was Monday and Monday’s are antiquers Sunday’s (or something like that)

But look at the treasures I found at Aunt Bea’s Antiques.  (Oh and might I add that a few of these came from the same store on an earlier trip…and I didn’t post some things as they may be Christmas gifts…don’t want to give anything away!)

And look…I even found vintage Christmas ornaments!  Won’t these look fabulous and sparkly on my Christmas tree!

Not sure what my plans are for all these items yet – but I sure do love old door-knobs and skeleton keys and brooches!

Can’t wait to head home to my parents house for Thanksgiving.  I’m planning to leave early and hit some antique stores on the way home!  Hope I don’t find anything too heavy since I’m traveling solo!

I know I know, I’ve rambled enough about how I’m book-obsessed for the past two days.

I know I know, this blog is for posting photos

I know I know, I’m getting back to it

He he…so I cheated a little.  No one said I couldn’t post photos I took in a library!

I took this photo on real old-fashioned film and processed and printed it myself in a darkroom.  It was part of my college photography class.  I still have this print framed and hanging over my computer desk.  I still love it.  I think black and white photography was perfect for newspapers which were haphazardly stacked in a dusty corner of a beautiful old library.  (P.S. I didn’t mess them up for the beauty of the shot – this is how they were went I found ’em – I swear!)

This photo may not be perfect but I feel such a special connection to all the photos I printed in the darkroom.  You become so intimately connected to that work maybe because you stare at it for so long.  Printing the old-fashioned way is not as quick or easy as you may imagine.  But I loved every minute of that darkroom!

I also was blessed to be able to show several prints (including this one) in a student-exhibit in St. Louis, MO!  I know I was so excited to have a “gallery-opening” in the big city.  Complete with wine and cheese!

What girl doesn’t love wine and cheese?

So I told myself I could only check out one book at a time.  This is partially because I didn’t get a few books back on time and I had some late fees. My mamma would not be proud!  It wasn’t a lot of money but boy did it make me feel guilty!  So I decided I can only check out one book at a time so that I don’t hog up all the library books.

This reminds me of a story…

      When I was little my mother took my brother and me to the library all the time during the summer months.  I got my first library card at age 5.  You had to be able to write your name in order to get your card at age 5 and I was so excited to be able to check out books all by myself.  But there was a stipulation, you could only check out 3 books at a time.  Well that was ok until I was about 6, then 3 books just wouldn’t cut it.  So my mom had to check out the rest of what I wanted.  *Note – see I’ve ALWAYS been a book-nerd…blame my mother 🙂  I couldn’t wait to be an “adult” and be able to check out lots and lots of books at once!

Ok back to today…

So I went to the library today because  I finished my 1 book and I went to get one more book…and I came home with this

Opps…I think I have a problem!

Ok..So I don’t have a real book club.  But I do love to read!  And I thought I’d share books with you that I love from time to time.   It’s my version of Oprah’s Book Club and no offense to Oprah, but I prefer different books than what’s on her list. 

So how do I find books? I wander the aisles of the local library and pick up those with interesting covers. I love the library!  Oh how I love the library.  I know there are people out there who like to buy books, I prefer to get books for free!  What a great thing…it’s FREE! 

And yes, I know I break all the rules by how I select books and I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover…so sue me!

I just finished this book by Jill Smolinski

I don’t consider myself a book critic by any means, but I really did like this book.  It was short but had some meaning behind it.  It made me want to get out there and do something!  It also had it’s humorous moments, love moments, and family moments.  It was a light, but touching read.  You should check it out of the library for FREE next chance you get.  It’s not Oprah approved (probably too light for her liking), but I’d love to know what you think?

I love Christmas!  It’s not about getting presents (although those are good too).  I love seeing family, I love the smells, the sounds, decorating.  I love seeing little kids writing letters to Santa and I especially love going shopping for presents for everyone on my list!  I love when I figure out a great gift that I know someone will love.  It’s the best feeling! 

But maybe one of my favorite parts of Christmas is ornaments!  I know, it’s strange.  But ever since I was little I loved to help decorate the tree and hear all the stories behind each ornament.  I love to buy the perfect ornament for people, or to make ornaments!  Just ask my friends and family, they all have received at least 1 handmade ornament, and I’ve got quite a few ideas up my sleeve. 

Well this morning, I was searching my favorite site…Etsy!  And I ran across this amazing store (CutNGlue), I’ve seen her things before but haven’t found her since.  Anyways – I was glad I found her so I could share these amazing personalized ornaments!  Wouldn’t they make great name tags on gifts! 

I just love Christmas!

Okay! Back to this…


During my photography class in college we were learning how the darkroom worked and how to develop prints and a little about the enlargers.  Ok I should stop here and explain a tiny bit about enlargers for those who may be scratching their heads.  Basically enlargers are the machines which the negative goes in which then uses light and light-sensitive paper to create the print.

The print above was created by layering different items (ie. feathers, sequins and lace) directly on the photo paper (which is sensitive to light) and in the spot typically reserved for the negative.  This is called a photogram – or a method of creating a picture in a darkroom without using  a camera.  This reminds me of those crafts I did with my mother on hot summer days in our driveway where we used light-sensitive paper and put things like rocks, pennies, and paperclips on top and set the whole thing outside in the sun.  After several hours the paper turns blue and everything that was shaded by an item remains white.  Do kids still do those crafts?  They should because it was the best!

Anyways – I was fascinated again by this process in the darkroom.  I was reminded of this technique when I ran across PolaroidsandPinholes on Etsy.  She creates beautiful prints and other things using various darkroom and alternative photography techniques 

Look at this beauty:


I just love interesting techniques – She does lots of neat things…check out her work!

And if ya got kids – get some light-sensitive paper and get em’ outside while there’s still daylight!

Take a look at this gorgeous couple…


My friend, and fellow Streator girl, Brandi is getting married to a great guy – Cody!  Although getting married seems to be a common theme among my good friends, I can’t wait until Brandi and Cody get married because the wedding is in Vegas!  But before the ceremony, flowers, and dresses come engagement pictures.  Although we started this process a while ago (sorry about the wait!) the pictures are almost finished!  

My friend Maggie and I shot this session together.  It was a first for us working with a pair simultaneously and I think it went pretty well.  Here are a few pictures that I particularly love.  I hope Brandi and Cody love them as well.




This is one of my favorites!


Look how amazing Brandi is!  Brandi and Cody made it so easy to shoot!





The last photo was taken at night time, under a flickering street lamp…but I think it turned out great!


Brandi and Cody, congratulations again!– I can’t wait to see you two again soon (it better be before the wedding!).  Sorry about the wait.  I would say all good things take time or something cheesy…but I’ll spare you  🙂


sequinsfeathers&laceMore on this later…


If you listen close…you can still hear the wedding bells!


My incredibly awesome and amazing friends, Maggie and Zac, just tied the knot a few weekends ago at this amazing little white chapel in Galena.  If you wanna get hitched in Galena, IL – this is the place!!!

I took this photo as we were leaving the rehearsal.  I love the color of the sky, the antique feeling of the chapel, and the speckles from the old camera glass.  Although this shot is a little “dirtier” then I usually prefer, to me it looks antique and beautiful.  It also brings up such great memories of that very special day!

I want to congratulate the newly-wed couple again (P.S. read Maggie’s blog here).  And also thank them for letting me be a part of their special day!  It was so much fun! 

For amazing pictures of the day (or if you need the most fabulous photographer you can find) check out Erica Turner.  She was awesome!

P.S. Have you hugged your photographer today 🙂