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DIY B&W Developing

Slowly but surely we collected all the materials and chemicals needed to start developing our black & white film at home. While I helped out with the first few rolls of Kevin James’ film, mostly measuring, timing, and keeping temperature, it wasn’t until I got to do my own roll that I realized how great, and easy, it is to develop at home. Check out this post for some of the resources and instructions we used.

I think the most stressful part of the process is loading the film onto the developing spool in the dark. No matter how many times you practice with your eyes shut, it’s never quite the same as doing it in the pitch dark. I may (I did) have dropped the film onto the floor once, maybe twice, trying to load it onto the spool, so some of my negatives have some fluff marks. I’m still learning! Once the film is developed, we use our DIY DSLR film scanner to create digital copies of the negatives that we can upload to Flickr. We’re working on finding a better, yet still affordable, solution to the scanning process.

Here are some of the negatives from my first home-developed roll of B&W. More to come soon!

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DIY Holiday

I can’t believe it, but it’s already December. As it gets closer and closer to the holidays, I thought this would be a good time to highlight some of my favourite holiday DIY gift ideas. I’m definitely going to be making use of some of the tutorials and recipes for my own gift giving – it’s inexpensive, fun, and it adds such a nice personal touch to each gift!

Are you going DIY for the holidays this year? What recipes or tutorials are you using?

Here are some of my favourites:

Paint chip wall art

Tote bag

Maple, citrus, and ginger cranberry preserves

I’ll try to build on this list as it gets closer to the holidays, so stay tuned!

Why pay for cable when you can make your own digital TV antenna?

It’s true, you can and you should make one of these. It’s much less expensive than purchasing the prefabricated product from a store, it uses materials you can find easily/around your home, and it will be great when tv signals switch from analog to digital (September in Canada).

I’ve made two of these now, one for myself and one for a friend. Interested in making one for yourself? Here’s how, as adapted from this tutorial:


  1. One piece of wood, 3″ wide x 20″ long x 3/4″ thick (I bought a long piece of wood (3″ x 3/4″ and had it cut by the store into 20″ sections – most hardware stores should do this for you)
  2. Four wire coat hangers
  3. Ten round head wood screws 3/4″ long
  4. Ten washers (screws should fit inside and they should be wide enough to hold the coat hangers/copper wire in place)
  5. Two 22″ lengths of insulated copper wire
  6. One 75 to 300 ohm matching transformer with spade clips on one end and female F connector on the other
  7. One coaxial cable (available in a variety of lengths)

All of the above items are readily available at any local hardware store.

Instructions (open this .pdf instruction file obtained from this website to go along with the below instructions – note that I have made some modifications to the instructions, which are reflected below):

  1. On your 20″ piece of wood, mark out the dimensions making note of the placement of screws.
  2. Pre-drill holes for your screws using an electric screw driver (if you have one) to make assembly easier.
  3. Screw in the screws half-way, with the washers in place.
  4. Cut the corners of your coat hangers to make 8 “V” shapes with each part of the “V” being 8″ long.
  5. Sand the area where the “V”s bend to ensure contact with the copper wire.
  6. Bend the copper wire around the screws as seen in the diagram and make a 1″ mark on the plastic covering at each contact point.
  7. With an exacto knife, cut out the 1″ pieces of plastic covering on the copper wire to make the actual wire have contact with each of the screws.
  8. Attach the copper wire and coat hangers as seen in the diagram, holding them in place with the washer on top. Tighten the screws to secure everything.
  9. For the middle screws that don’t have coat hanger “V”s, attach the two ends of the transformer – the tips of the transformer should be between the copper wire and the washer. Tighten the screws to hold them in place.
  10. Finally, attach one end of the coaxial cable to the transformer and the other end to your tv.

Now that you’re all hooked you can prepare yourself for some awesome digital viewing. Use the “tv tuner” on your tv (located in the menus) to “search” for digital signals. Try a few times, placing the antenna in different locations, to find the best results.

I hope you try out this project. It’s definitely rewarding when you can build something yourself and, with the additional benefit of no monthly bill, you’ve got the best hook-up in town!

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Is there going to be an auction nearby? Make sure you go!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do a post. A long while – sorry!

I went to Saskatchewan last week and was it ever fun. Feeding cattle, going to a farm show, eating buffalo (yummmm)… There was one particular event that stood out, though, and I have to share.

The auction! It was an estate auction in Laird, Sask. and while I was told it was small in comparison to the others that often happen, it was still fantastic in my books. There were lots of household items including furniture, bakeware, appliances, books, and toys, but also farm equipment, trees and even a house. The main reason I wanted to share this is because of the creative potential that can result from an auction. Depending on where the auction is and who else is there, you may very well be able to pick up a great piece of furniture (or another item in which you may have an interest – craft supplies, bakeware, fabric, etc). While the item you pick up may need some refinishing or sanding or cleaning, you could easily turn it into a re-sale product or something great for your home or apartment. The potential is there folks, so go check out an auction! Fun and worthwhile.

If you live in Ontario, you may want to check out this link for auctions near you.

Ottawa Ravenswing – TODAY!

Today’s the day!

Today is Ravenswing – the DIY festival. You’ll find it and me at Minto Park (Elgin and Lewis) or the Jack Purcell Community Centre (across from the park, in the case of rain) from 10AM to 4PM.

I’ve got earrings, necklaces, headbands, aprons and a BUNCH of baked goods! Be sure to stop by and check it out… All profits made are being donated to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.


More DIY jewelry & getting ready for the festival

There’s only a few days left until ravenswing – Sunday, May 29 from 10am – 4pm! Be there! It will be great and fun. Great fun!

My life has been saved thanks to a friend who was kind enough to drop off a sewing machine for me to borrow. I’m so excited to be able to get started on the aprons and wall organizers. Everything’s ready to go, so I’ll be getting started on that tomorrow.

While I decided to save the sewing for tomorrow, I still got quite a bit accomplished tonight. I prepared my business/product cards to hold my earrings, pushing the earrings through the cards… I did something similar for a few pairs of feather earrings… and I finished another button necklace:


I already explained, in a previous post, how I made the button earrings. I made the feather ones by attaching feathers to three-sided earring clasps with hot glue. To make sure everything stays in place, clamp the two outer edges into the middle. Finish them off by attaching the desired type of earring hook. I added a little something extra to a few of the pairs by putting a few links of thin chain between the clasp holding the feathers and the earring hook. There are lots of ways to experiment with earrings… Try it!

I finished off my business/product cards by adding short lengths of hemp string and writing the name of the blog on the front. On the back I included my website, email address and name. I had to experiment with a few different pens (I know, such excitement..!), and finally decided on a gel pen to avoid any bleeding of ink. I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Anyway, things are actually starting to come together. I’m really excited to see how the aprons and wall organizers turn out. The aim is to have everything done by Friday, so that I’m ready to bake my Saturday away to oblivion.

More to come soon!

DIY button necklace & homemade business cards

Well, my sewing machine has temporarily failed me again. I was all optimistic after my last post because I got the bobbin holder to stay in place. Now, though, it turns out the bobbin holder is missing a “notch” or “groove”, necessary to keep the tread in the right place while sewing. Anger! Rage! Okay, it’s not that bad, but I’m bummed that I won’t get to sell many sewn things at ravenswing next weekend…

On a more positive note, I did get a few crafts done today for next weekend’s DIY festival. I finally found a way to successfully make a button necklace that stays together well. I “simply” wove a long piece of medium-thickness metal wire though the button holes. I have “simply” in quotes for a good reason, though – it takes a long time to do this well and is very finicky. I had previously made this type of necklace by weaving a stretchy plastic string through the button holes, then lining the back with a thin wire attached by hot glue. This method will eventually fail and fall apart. It’s far better to spend the extra time to weave with wire from the beginning. I would recommend a pair of needle nose pliers to help keep the wire in place while you’re feeding it though the button holes.

Aside from the button necklace, I also got started on making some business and product cards to be attached to the items I’ll be selling at the festival. I used water colours on plain tags that can be found at any office supply store (around $4-$5 for 100 tags). I tried to use a colour/style similar to that of the blog and will write the price, website, etc on with a fancy pen once they’ve dried. Attach them to the product with some ribbon and you’re set! I think this is a great way to make sure people know who they’re purchasing from, without having to spend to spend very much at all. It’s simple and definitely goes with the theme of the festival – DIY.