My beautiful friend Jenni Radosevich is a DIY guru (remember her amazing monthly DIY column for InStyle Magazine?) and she has just published a genius book for the fashionista meets craft maven. I was so thrilled when Jenni invited me to shoot some of the beauty images and cover for her book, I grew up doing DIY projects with my Grandma in Texas so it was a lot of fun seeing how home projects have come along the past 20 years!

Below are some outtakes from the shoot and if you have some time to kill this summer, why not make something?!

Continue reading “I SPY DIY”

Shooting the Brownie’ B

You’ve seen them in nostalga stores, on tables at flea markets or even in your grandparent’s attic: little box cameras from byegone days like the Kodak Brownie-

Super easy to use, all you need is some 620 film!

Open the camera back, pull the winding nob out to release the film container from the box camera:

Put your film in the holder at the top, pull out just enough to wrap around the container and feed into the existing empty film spool on the bottom, put film container back into camera box and push the winding nob back in so we can advance the film:

Close the back of the box and wind until you see “1” in the back window and you’re ready to shoot!

Follow the exposure chart on the side of the camera to know what settings to use. For the example photo at the bottom, a very dark cloudy day, a used setting “40”:

How the film came out– The view of the Hudson River from West Point Military Academy:

The Art of Black & White Film Processing~

There is something to creating an image with your eye, your mind, and the camera, then taking it home and finishing the creating process by developing the film into a negative with your own two hands. I never feel more connected to photography than when I do it all myself. Bonus, after the initial investment you’ll save a ton of money on black & white film processing and you can do it any time of day or night! 

10 easy steps to home developing!

What you’ll need:

Some exposed black & white film with images captured that will change the world…

Developing tanks & reels~ these I’ve had since high school! I’ve processed hundreds of rolls of film so it’s natural for me but something you should practice before tackling if you’ve never done it or it’s been awhile. I like this video on how to roll 120 film and this video for 35mm

Containers for Chemicals.

A bottle opener for opening the flat side of a 35mm film canister to get the goods out.


Graduate for mixing chemicals

Film changing bag or tent (not photographed)~ I have had the cheapest one for 10 years, works great. This is where you’ll load your film onto the reels and into the developing tanks.

Chemicals! Here is what I buy. Kodak D-76 Developer, Ilford stop bath (ILFOSTOP), Kodak Fixer, Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent, & Kodak Photo-Flo

Mix the chemicals to their simple instructions. Always mindful of the temperate listed and making sure it is all dissolved before you stop stirring. 

Be very organized. Label everything!

And if your obsessive like me, cut the instructions off of the packaging and tape to the bottle.

How it works (in a nutshell):

1: in your film changing bag load your film onto the reels into the developing tank and make sure the cap is sealed. If any light leaks in… disaster. 

2: with your developer at the correct temperature (I have to put mine in the fridge for a bit to cool it down to 68 degrees) fill the developing tank up, agitate for 30 secs, you MUST tap it on the side of the sink or slam it down to release the bubbles off of the film, if you don’t you could have spots! Then for the time specified develop the film agitating for 5 secs every 30 secs.  As you can see in the image below I keep the sink filled with the coldest my tap water will go to keep the temperate as stable as possible. Dump out developer when time is done.

3: Rinse with cold water

4: Fill tank with stop bath. Leave for 30 secs

4: Rinse with cold water

5: Fill tank with Fixer. Leave for 5-10mins. I agitate this the same as developer. Do Not pour Fixer down the drain! You can re-use it or put in a separate container to dispose of at a local photo-lab.

*After the film is fixed you can open the canister and peek at your developed negatives! I always do this because I’m impatient. 

6: rinse with cold water for 30secs. 

7: Full tank with Hypo Clear, leave for 1-2mins.

8: rinse with cold water for 5mins. *I just leave an open tank under the running cold water as in the image above.

9: Fill tank with water, add two drops of Photo Flo, agitate then dump out. This helps your film dry without water spots.

10: In as close to a dust free environment as you have (I use my bathroom) hang your film to dry with a clip on each end (I use cheap office clips). You’re supposed to use a squeegee down the length of your film, I use my fingers. 

That is it! There is a variety of brands you can use, you can start pushing or pulling your film, over agitate for effect, process it in hot water to alter the images, all kinds of fun when you do it yourself. There are different ways to process film, this is just how I’ve always done it and what works for me. 

Want to really save money?… you can omit Stop Bath, Hypo Clear and Photo Flo for much longer rinses with water but I find a cleaner more archival image by not omitting those steps. 

DIY: Grandma’s Potato Beads

Much of my childhood was filled with DIY projects with my grandma from pillows to puff paint to iron on tee shirt designs. This year in my stocking I had one of my grandma’s potato bead necklaces and while I was home a quick tutorial on how-to make these wallet friendly pieces… though I prefer the ones made by Grandma.


Peel a potato and cut into 1 inch cubes. Thread them onto a skewer to dry which also makes the hole to slide on ribbon (or stretchy jewelry cord) later. Let dry for about a week. Paint, thread, tie & gift! I wear mine as a necklace, hair accessory, belt, and bracket! 

Voilà! A little twist here, tuck there and the beads hit the town! Thanks Grandma!

Dinner Party for the Holidays

Seared scallops with lemon butter sauce, rye bread and a bottle of red wine on top vintage linens and good conversation.

Styling and Art Direction by Jessica Soga. Food Styling & recipe by Molly Shuster. Dipped antique salt & pepper and homemade napkins from the DIY article by Christy Pitre. Images and outtakes from our table top collaboration shot in Brooklyn this past Autumn for Working Class Magazine.

Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce (2 servings)

10 large scallops
canola oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. In batches, place the scallops in the heated pan (they should immediately start to sizzle). Once they have a nice golden color, flip and cook the other side. Each side will take about 2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallop. Set scallops aside and reserve.

In the same sauté pan, make your sauce. First discard any extra oil from the sauté pan. Add the lemon juice and boil until it has reduced to about 1-2 tablespoons. Remove pan from the heat and add two pieces of the chilled butter, stirring to incorporate. Return the pan to the stove and cook over very low heat. Add the remaining butter one piece at a time, stirring to create a thick, creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, evenly divide the sauce into two shallow bowls. Place the scallops on top of the warm sauce and serve immediately.

Recycled Lovelies

This past weekend I received a package in the mail from Deanna over at Recycled Lovelies, a fantastic blog about recycling old clothes into something new as one person’s contribution to the environment and a year long commitment to not buying new. This also includes making gifts from recycled items such as the charming apron she gifted to me! It’s a lovely and simple DIY project she lays out step by step for anyone to do… well, except me because I don’t own a sewing machine! It was through my bellyaching she sent me the apron and I’ve cooked every meal in it since! So thank you Recycled Lovelies for the apron, for all the other fun DIY projects and for inspiring us to consume less and creatively recycle more.