life

30 x 30

30x30

Something I’ve wanted to post for a while now is my 30 by 30 list. I first heard of this concept sometime last year, before my 27th birthday, and I thought it was interesting but at the time I didn’t feel moved to make my own. Then, right before my birthday, everything kind of turned to crap, or at least, it almost did. So, over the last few months I have spent a lot of time evaluating my life and the choices I’ve made that have led me to where I am. I don’t want to say that I regret anything, but I can see where I maybe… missed a few important opportunities, or could have maybe acted differently and completely altered the course of my life. More so than regretting the things I have done, I feel a great anxiety over the number of things I haven’t done. For almost my whole life I’ve been very much “all talk” and full of great ideas with no follow through. I haven’t been a terrible person, but I also have not made any kind of meaningful contribution to the world and I’m done with feeling like wasted space. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety thinking about the fact that I was hurdling quickly into my 30′s with nothing great to tell about my 20′s. Eventually I decided to stop panicking and start working on a solution, and hence started jotting down a 30 by 30 list –  specific goals I want to carry out by my 30th birthday.

Now, some of the items on my list are major milestones, some of them are things big things I’ve dreamt of for a long time and just haven’t had a big enough fire lit under my ass to pursue them, but i think most items on my list are silly and easy to do. The reason why they are important enough to be on my list is because they are all things that I have been casually mentioned that I’d like to do for years, but if I don’t set a timeframe in stone to just freaking do them, then I’ll probably keep putting them off forever. Then I’ll be sad and old and full of regret, and nobody wants that. So, I will post here on my blog, for the sake of posterity and personal accountability, my 30 goals to accomplish by age 30, and hopefully in about 2 and a half years I will come back to revisit this and happily be able to say that I did it all.

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illustration life

Puppies Portraits

just a quick update to share some of my recent pet portraits that some friends have commissioned from me.

I am really enjoying doing these simple paintings of pups and i’m getting more comfortable with gouache. It’s tricky, but the more I learn the proper technique, the more I really enjoy using it.

cashmere toby&zekei’m also enjoying this almost child-like and soft illustration style i’ve been developing. I’m really thinking hard about attempting a children’s book (something thats always been in the back of my mind) but with so many other projects ahead of me, I may put it off a little longer. who knows?

I think that in the next month or so I may open up an etsy shop for commissions, I just haven’t figured out a price structure yet. It feels so strange and awkward to ask people for money for something I genuinely enjoy so much and i’m not comfortable yet putting a price tag on something that for me just feels like happy playtime. Hah, I guess its just a foreign concept to me to make money doing what makes me happy. Time to start adjusting my thinking?

 

Anyway! thats all for today. <3

 

 

life

long overdue

Well, I haven’t posted in an incredibly long time. I’ve had my reasons, I promise. This past summer was a whirlwind for me and with my 27th birthday arrived an explosive return of Saturn which has left me in a state of reflection and rebuilding since July. Unfortunately, this blog was very low on my list of priorities for the past few months, but never did I completely forget about it. Now, thankfully, ever since November i’ve finally started to find some clarity and balance. In the last few weeks I’ve rediscovered my passion for arts and crafts with a violent ferocity that cannot be held back. Now that i’ve had a few weeks of filling sketchbooks, making Christmas decorations, wood-burning everything wooden that I can get my hands on, editing 2 year old film projects, and some good old-fashioned painting, I’m finally yearning to get back to this blog.

 

So, for right now, I just wanted to say “hi” and “I’m still alive” and “I can’t wait to blog again” and I will leave you with a sample of my recent work. A few weeks ago, a friend and coworker of mine commissioned some art from me. She wanted something for her holiday cards that she would be delivering alongside all her beautiful, handmade knitted gifts. All she asked for was a little bear and a little fox, as “Bear” and “Fox” is what she affectionately calls her two little boys. Here is what I came up with for her. winter fox and bear

 

My sister helped me print these on some 4×6 card stock and we fell in love with the way they came out. I also got a lot of positive feedback from my friend, and others who saw the cards. With that in mind, my sister and I have projects and potential prints and stationary for sale coming up in the new year. I won’t give away too much, but i’m excited.

More projects, crafts, pictures and nonsense coming soon.

 

thanks for reading!

 

love,

Gabbie

diy

monday morning craft: painted sticks

 

Happy Monday. Or not.

Here’s something different: I don’t like Mondays! Kidding. Unlike many people, Monday isn’t even the start of my work week, but there is something about the way Mondays feel, or maybe it’s everyone else’s anti-Monday ‘tude, that makes me want to stay in bed. Whatever it is, I woke up this morning determined to defeat the day. Before even getting out of bed this morning, I listened to a guided meditation on my phone. It made me feel good but the subliminal messaging of the mediation kept telling me to envision what a productive day I was going to have. It really drilled it in there and, once I got out of bed, all I could think about was a hundred little projects I wanted to accomplish.

 

sticks

 

What I did not expect was that I would find my inspiration while taking my dogs out for their AM bathroom break. I was staring at the ground, still trying to wake up, when I noticed the large quantity of perfect looking sticks everywhere. My mind flashed back to a million pinterest boards filled with decorative stick mobiles, stick side tables, stick jewelry holders, stick people dolls, stick centerpieces, sticks for dinner. Sticks everywhere! Sticks for days! Anyway. I felt thrilled at the prospect of having an endless and *free* supply of crafting materials so I started collecting the few that looked the most clean and usable which, by the way, really annoyed my dog because she thought it was play time and she does not understand crafting.

I know I’m not the first person ever to paint a stick, but I am impressed at how quickly I put this craft together while simultaneously rushing to get ready for work this morning. In total it took no more than 40 minutes to complete, but my favorite part of my new decor is not even the sticks, its the fancy erlenmeyer flask I used to display them! I received this flask and a small glass beaker as part of a wonderful christmas gift from one of my best friends a few years ago. I am not a scientist, but I do so love to find new uses for everything, so the beaker immediately became a tea light holder, but the flask has sat on my bookshelf without a purpose for a very ling time. Until today!

Congratulations, mr. flask, you are now part of a new decoration in my home that makes sense to nobody but me.  read more »

life photography

iPhoneography: My Cinco De Mayo

Hi, friends!

I’m working on some exciting projects right now that I can’t wait to share with you, but while i’m finishing on those I just wanted to post a quick update about my weekend, because it was fun and I remembered to photograph most of it – on my iPhone.

I’d like to start by saying how ironic it is that as someone who is painfully addicted to mexican food and tequila, I had neither of the two on Cinco de Mayo. But let’s be serious – I don’t need a fake holiday to have an excuse to indulge in those things, and i’m sure I will end up making up for it sometime in the near future.

I did have a pretty busy and exciting day, nonetheless. From juicing for the whole family for breakfast, to tiny spanish sandwiches and sangria, to amazing antiquing, the dog park, and an evening of editing videos.

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Time for a public service announcement: If you ever stumble upon a 100 montaditos and you love tiny, delicious, spanish sandwiches and cold, imported beer or sangria, please stop there. Albert won’t stop talking about it, and I can completely back his new obsession. They have about 100 sandwich combinations to choose from, so, unless you’re an incredibly decisive person, make your life easier and order a sampler, like we did.

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After lunch we did some light thrifting. The picture above is from my favorite section of my favorite shop, Paris Market on the second floor of Adjectives Market in Altamonte Springs. If you’re ever in the North central florida area, please stop by here as well. This the classiest, snazziest, kitschiest, antique/thrift type shop i’ve ever been in and all their different dealers sell incredible and unique items.

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After antiquing for a while and being sad because I can’t buy all the things,  we stopped by Lowe’s to look at succulents and cacti for a few projects I have planned. Then we picked up our crazy dogs and headed to the park.

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our dogs are almost too well behaved at the dog park. after playing for about 10 minutes, they come find us and then barely leave our side.

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A shot from the tired drive home. a) i love how super washed out I look in the sunlight except for my glasses b) starbuck in the background with her tongue dangling out of her mouth. lol.

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That about wraps up the most active part of the day. I did find some amazing treasures while gallivanting around town. The first is a new, blue yoga mat. Not the most exciting thing, but my dogs destroyed my old one by taking naps on it constantly, and this new one was only $10 at tj maxx. While we were there I also found an adorable little owl mug and these shiny, aqua  steve madden sandals that I just fell instantly in love with. The antique deer planter was the last magical find of the day, at Adjectives Market. It was half off. Its a deer. It is now mine. All is well.

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Oh – and i can’t forget that we finished the day off at home with some video editing and my mom’s empanadas for dinner. if you didn’t know, my mom’s empanadas are the best- and now you know. thanks, mom!

diy my favorite things tech stuff

DIY washi tape apple decal

Hi, friends!

Albert and I have recently upgraded our very old and outdated family of computers. I’m super excited about it because I can finally get a lot of creative work done in applications where our old dinosaur macs used to crap out on us.

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I traded up my old vintage white macbook for a beautiful 13″ retina macbook pro and, I have to say, it is the prettiest computer I have ever owned. Of course, I didn’t buy it to be pretty, I bought it to be able to edit in Lightroom and update my blog, which so far has proven incredibly valuable. But before I can get started on any super involved projects with my mac, I have to finish customizing it and making it feel like my own… by covering it in stuff.

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life photography travel

Our February Road Trip Part 1: Two Nights in TN

Now that we’ve had a couple busy weeks of work, unpacking and catching up on sleep, I finally have a chance to sit down and share a few pictures and stories from part of our February road trip.

It started in mid-January when we decided, kind of suddenly, that we wanted to use some of our vacation time from work to visit Albert’s family in Wisconsin. Plane tickets were a bit higher than we would have liked to pay so, without another thought, we decided to drive instead. Some people think a 24 hour drive across the US sounds like a nightmare, but we had already made this same trip once before, about 2 years ago, and we were excited to try again. We took about 12 days off of work and decided to bring one of our dogs, Starbuck, so that she could experience life on the farm. We felt pretty prepared for the drive but decided to do things a little differently than our first road trip (when we drove straight through) and planned for a 2 night stop in Tennessee. I had originally wanted to visit Nashville but I had hard time finding a big-dog friendly hotel where it was going to be okay to leave Starbuck alone in our room if we decided to go out and explore the city. I was worried that the plans wouldn’t work out until my many hours of googling led me to research a different type of lodging: cabins near the Smoky Mountains.

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I really loved the idea of getting to stay in a larger, more comfortable place with a kitchen and a hot tub (which I found out many cabins are equipped with) and having more privacy than we would in a hotel. I also loved the thought of being closer to the country and a national park. However, I spent about two weeks searching for cabins in the popular Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas of Tennessee with no luck- I could not find the perfect one. Every cabin I fell in love with was either in the middle of a ravine and impossible to get to without 4 wheel drive or too expensive with ridiculously high fees for pets. A lot of places advertised as being “dog friendly” but did not even allow dogs over 20 lbs (which reminds me of a Ron Swanson quote.)

I was about to give up on Tennessee until just days before our trip when I stumbled across Cramer’s Creekside Cabins in Cosby, TN – a town about 20 miles from Gatlinburg. I was immediately able to find a perfectly sized 1 bedroom cabin that was completely dog-friendly and welcoming to Starbuck, and the priced was the best I found- I even got an awesome discount for liking their page on facebook. And yes, it had a hot tub.

I’m incredibly thankful we found this place and that it worked out because we loved it and the short time we spent in Tennessee was unforgettable- our only regret was that we didn’t stay a few nights longer. We arrived on a friday night, a bit later in the evening than we had planned and we were a little bit stressed from our delay, but as soon as we arrived and enjoyed a relaxing evening and a bottle of wine by the fireplace, we instantly forgot about everything else I knew that the hassle of finding this place had been completely worth it.

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The next morning I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and daylight breaking through the window. I’m not going to lie, I was confused for a few moments, I thought that the night before and arriving to the cabin had been a dream, but as soon as I reconnected with reality I jumped out of bed, eager to get the day started and go out exploring.

I bundled up and ran outside with Starbuck, who was just as excited and confused as I was, while Albi slept in. The temperature was about 20 and I was excited to find everything outside covered in a thin veil of sparkly frost, something you rarely see in Florida. Once Albert got up we started thinking about breakfast and having really no idea about the area we were in, he turned to the Around Me app on his iPhone for suggestions. We discovered a place not more than 5 minutes down the nearest road, an apple orchard and restaurant known as Carver’s Apple House Restaurant. Situated on a bit of a sloping hill, the charming restaurant and adjoining shop overlook an apple orchard which I imagine is incredibly picturesque when the trees are in season. There were even a few horses roaming amongst the trees while we enjoyed our breakfast.

Breakfast, by the way, was incredible. The restaurant lives up to it’s Apple House namesake and along with our hearty country breakfasts of eggs, bacon, biscuits, and grits, we also were provided with apple fritters, homemade apple butter, and delicious apple cider. After breakfast we stopped at the store where, of course, there were a multitude of fresh apple varieties to chose from along with an assortment of other produce, nuts, and locally made goods like jams, butters, relishes, and cider.
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Breakfast was so incredibly satisfying and exciting that we headed back to the comfort of our cabin for a rather long nap (I mean, this was a vacation after all.) Once we were awake again and ready for more exploring we got in the car and drove towards the Gatlinburg entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National park.

I had not done a lot of research on the area before our trip nor had I planned any activities, we were completely winging it, so I was surprised to see how busy downtown Gatlinburg was as we drove through it. The strip is filled with shops, bars, restaurants, old-timey photo studios (the kind where you can dress up like a frontiersman or woman and have corny sepia-toned portrait taken) and some big attractions like a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and a huge aquarium. It was also packed with tourists and traffic. I would have loved to stop but it was late in the day and we really wanted to make it to the park before dark.

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I have no idea how big the park is and how many places there are to visit. I mean, I know its huge, but we were short on time so we parked at the first visitor center we found and followed the signs for a nature trail. I am far from being a master-hiker but I love going on trails and frequently go for impromptu hikes here in Florida, but the scenery here was amazing and completely different from back home, and we were only at the entrance to the park. We passed a few creeks, a billion trees (guesstimating) and even a couple small waterfalls.

 

 

 

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We walked at least 2 miles into the trail and pretty far up the side of the small mountain (or hill? how do you tell the difference?) until we reached a stream of water we couldn’t easily cross and decided to turn around. The scenery the entire way was breathtaking, and I collected a handful of pretty river stones to take home as souvenirs, which I’m not sure is even allowed but, oh well. Then, on the way back down the trail, something wonderful happened – we saw a deer.

I know that in places like this, and most of the US, deer are probably incredibly common, but I still freaked out. I kind of have a thing for deer, and all woodland critters, so to see a buck like this one in the “wild” was awesome. And he was so close to us! He just suddenly crossed the path in front of us, stopped to chew on some leaves, looked at me like I was a huge nerd while I stood there frozen and frantically snapping unfocused pictures of him, then he just calmy turned around and disappeared back into the trees.

It was magical.

 

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I needed to settle down from the excitement of my encounter with Bambi, so we headed out of the park as the sun was setting and made our way back towards the downtown main street. Earlier in the day I had seen a flier for free tours and tastings at the Ole Smoky Mountain Moonshine distillery and we decided that if we had time to stop anywhere else, it had to be there.

The Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler was bustling and a live band was playing folksy mountain music to onlookers in rocking chairs. The tasting and sales room was crowded but there were numerous counters and we made our way up to one where we got to sample about 7 or 8 different varieties of moonshine and their moonshine-soaked cherries. They were all great, but my favorites were the classic 100 proof “white lightning” and the amazing apple pie moonshine. If you love apple pie and imbibing alcohol and can manage to get your hands on some of this stuff, do it!

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After leaving the holler we realized that we were also standing beneath a Mellow Mushroom – one of our favorite pizza places back home. Except, this was a two-story establishment with a downstairs gift shop and a huge, flashy “moonshine lounge” (bar) unlike our quaint and adorable location in Winter Park, Fl.

Whenever I’m on vacation I try to avoid any place I know from back home, but the amazing thing about Mellow Mushroom is that each location is unique, so we HAD to stop there. We shared a small Mediterranean chicken pizza that was topped with tzatziki sauce and I had a cocktail made with Ole Smoky Apple Pie moonshine called “The Dolly Parton.”

Now, I love Dolly Parton and, as I had just discovered, I also love apple pie moonshine, so of course I love this cocktail. Since you can probably get ahold of Ole Smoky at any large liquor store, or even online, I will share the easy recipe with you, as copied from the menu in the restaurant.

The Dolly Parton

Equal parts Ole Smoky® Apple Pie MoonshineTM
and ginger ale, splash of lime juice, garnish
with 2 Ole Smoky® Moonshine CherriesTM

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After an exciting evening we headed back to our cabin, soaked in the hot tub and enjoyed a frozen dinner and saturday night live. The next morning we packed our things and said goodbye to Tennessee, promising each other and Starbuck that we will go back – we have to go back!

Check back soon for part 2 of our road trip adventure and lots of pictures of snow. <3

For more pictures of our trip to Tennessee, check out my Flickr page!

life

valentine’s day

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I hate that I don’t have anything major to post about at the moment, but I wanted to chime in quickly on this silly holiday. Albert and I are currently on a bit of a vacation, mostly visiting his family in Wisconsin, and a few other adventures along the way. I’ve been enjoying myself in the snow and playing with all the animals on his mom’s farm and I have to admit that I’m not exactly looking forward to going back home to “reality” in a few days. Trips like this always make me a little introspective but this one has been so nice that it has got me looking inward and wanting to reevaluate my life/work/living situation more than usual. But, I am thankful for everything I have and that we are able to take time off and make fun trips like this one in the first place, and mostly that we can still enjoy each other’s company this much after this long. So, I’ll hold off on the impending quarter-life crisis for now, and just enjoy my last few days as a free-spirited wanderer as much as I possibly can.

That’s all for now! I will have plenty of pictures and videos to share when I’m back home. <3

 

life photography

new years eve

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I can’t believe we are already 18 days into the new year. It’s been good so far, and busy (surprise?) but i’m forcing myself to make dedicated time to work on some creative projects. I have a lot of really fun crafty projects i’m going to be working on this weekend so before I get nestled into that I wanted to post some photos from my New Year’s eve.

It was very tame but still awesome. Every year, I imagine that somehow i’ll end up in a fancy dress at a fancy NYE party on the roof of a huge building surrounded by beautiful people toasting with expensive champagne, when, in all honesty, that would probably give me a panic attack.

Instead, I am so much happier spending an evening with good friends and lots of laughs and cheap booze. Our friend’s Sam and Cliff were amazing enough to host a get-together in their lovely home and even though Albert and I were the only ones who could make it, we still had a great time. Sam and Cliff recently got engaged (on Christmas! yay!) so we were excited to celebrate that with them as well.

Sam still had all of her incredible holiday decor up, she served up some amazing champagne cupcakes, cheese balls, and other treats, we lit some fireworks in the yard, made smores, cuddled her puppies, and played cards against humanity.

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I don’t subsribe to many of the common new years traditions and superstitions out there, except for this one: however you spend your new years eve is sure to set the tone for rest of your year. I’m glad I spent mine with people who make me smile.

diy life

Happy Thoughts

SO… I have been missing in action for a while. Eek! I’ve thought about wanting to update every day for the last few months but I always succumb to the exhaustion and stress of other life happenings. This weekend I was supposed to go out of town, but an unpleasant accident at work that ended with a bad bump on my head made me cancel those plans.

I’m fine, thankfully, but still a bit woozy so I’m stuck at home with a couple days off work to breath and catch up on things that i’ve ignored for too long. Who knows, maybe it was the universe’s way of telling me to sit back and relax and reevaluate life? So that’s what i’m doing this weekend instead of running around like a madwoman.

I have a very simple post to share with you all as I ease my way back into crafting and blogging. This is a great idea I have seen circulating around tumblr and I decided to make one myself: a happy thoughts jar.

I love this project because it can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it, but even at it’s most complex it is probably still very easy. It is also very personal and sweet. The idea is that you take a jar, decorate it however you wish, and set it down somewhere that is easily visible and accessible in your home/bedroom/office/wherever you spend the most time. You also set a little notepad or stack of post-its and a pen next to it.

Throughout the following year write down every happy thought, moment, memory you have- then drop it in the jar. It can be major life events, or maybe a nice evening you spent with a loved one, or just a funny thing that happened that brightened your day. Anything that makes you smile at any point in the next year.

Now, you save all of these up until next New Year’s Eve, when you empty out your jar and read all your happy thoughts from the previous year!

Simple, right? But such a cute idea!

I know, personally, that it’s easy to remember the handful of majorly great things that happened throughout the year: a promotion at work, a wonderful vacation, a great birthday party. But it’s also way too easy to remember all of the crappy, unpleasant and stressful things that happen to us and, more often than not, the negative memories can outweigh the great ones. We forget the little things that happen every single day that make us smile and I think this a great way to remind ourselves of what a wonderful year we had and ring in a new year on a positive and open-hearted note.

 

I made my jar very simple and I did it while I was watching TV the other night:

I took a wide-mouth Ball mason jar and swirled some acrylic paint and water around the inside. I didn’t worry too much about getting a solid coat of paint because I like the weathered and faded look. I set the jar upside down on a paper plate to dry overnight and let the excess paint drip out. I finished the jar by screwing on the original metal top and adding a cute ribbon with a hand stamped label reading “Happy Thoughts 2013.”

I will place the jar on the bookshelf right next to my front door, where I usually drop off my mail and keys, and Albert I will start filling it with happy thoughts this New Years Eve.

I can’t wait to start this new tradition, and I can’t wait for the two of us to sit down next NYE and laugh and smile together as we reflect on how great 2013 was :)

 

beverage

drink up! cucumber, melon & mint

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photography

adventures in instant film

oh my word. It has been WAY too long.

 

It may seem like I fell off the face of the earth after we returned from our boston trip, but what really happened was that I got a promotion at work that same week (yippee!) and everything has been a bit busy since then and i’ve just been trying to play catch-up with my life.

 

I haven’t even had a chance to finish going through and editing the rest of the photos from our trip *sad face*. but, I think I finally have some time to get back on track.

 

Now, before we get back to our regularly scheduled program, I wanted to share with you my most recent misadventure.

 

I did something silly this week, something i’m a little ashamed of. something I’ve done before and I think I should know better about by now… I came home from work one evening completely exhausted, parked myself on the couch with the computer, cracked open some wine… and started ebaying.

 

Guys, in case you’ve never had the opportunity to figure this out on your own, I’m letting you know now: don’t drink and ebay.

 

seriously. i’ve done it a few times and luckily I have enough sense to not go crazy overboard (with the amount I spent), but I have ended up with such ridiculously unnecessary items as fur coats, wigs, and decorative japanese washcloths. I don’t even know how I do it, I just start clicking and all of sudden there’s a pay pal receipt in my inbox.

 

so, earlier this week I came to a realization that, for a person who considers herself to be a camera collecter, I don’t own nearly as many cameras as I should. With that thought lodged in the back of my mind I started browsing the internet for goodies and, with no resistance from Albi who is an terrible enabler, I ended buying an old polaroid ee100 special.

I’ve never owned an instant film camera before but always reaaaally reaaaally wanted one, especially one that takes peel-apart pack film. so, unlike some of my other ridiculous drunk ebay buys of the past, I was actually pretty excited about this one. I immediately purchased an inexpensive lot of various packs of fuji fp-c100 that were close to expiration so that I could have lots of film to play with once the camera arrived.

 

from the limited research I did, I found that these cameras were produced by polaroid in the 80′s, so this one is probably about as old as I am. I’ve been playing with it for a few days now and burned through about 3 packs of film.

 

the good news is that the camera definitely works! it’s in great shape physically, the bellows are completely free of any light leaks, and the battery compartment is corrosion free but, sadly, I just can’t get it to take a decent shot.

 

At first I thought something was wrong with the shutter because my first few shots were completely black, but after some research and playing around with it I realized that the built in light meter (which is also the lightness/darkness knob next to the lens) controls the shutter speed automatically, and mine has a mind of its own.

the camera only has two film settings so you have play with the lightness and darkness knob to get the right exposure. The problem is that the light meter doesn’t really like bright light.

 

In any kind of significant brightness, it tries to open the shutter way too quickly, or it doesn’t open at all, giving you an unexposed or mostly black picture. To get around this glitch you can shoot in a darker location or override the light meter by covering it. unfortunately, this keeps the shutter open for-ev-er and you get a super blurry shot. hence:

 

I’m sure that if I tinkered with it enough, I could get it to take some amazing pictures, but it’s so hard to find that sweet spot with the perfect exposure.

Luckily I didn’t spend much on the camera, so worst-case I have another cute addition for the camera collection on the shelf- only problem is now i’m itching to buy another one!

somebody should disable my ebay account before I do something crazy…