the best part...

Even though I had my fair share of turkey dinner (and leftovers), I still kind of want some more Christmas dinner tonight. It's just so good! Turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce, fresh bread and butter... all the classics totally worth indulging in.

What are some of your traditional dishes for Christmas?

Photos: My own, from film.

cinnamon swirl...

Sugar. Dough. Such a great Christmas treat...

Photo: My own, from film.


home for the holidays...

And with a flash... Christmas has come and gone. Can you believe it? I wish it had lasted a little longer, but there was plenty of relaxing, sweet treats, and delicious dinners enjoyed with family and friends. My parents house twinkled with colourful lights, vintage ornaments, and gifts wrapped under the tree. We opened everything Christmas Eve, and just relaxed the next morning... with cinnamon buns being the perfect Christmas breakfast. The new year coming up is going to be a big one, with so much to look forward to and new traditions to begin. I'm excited to get 2012 started...

How was your Christmas? Did you do anything special?

*Also, happy to share today that Jay is the winner of the Grain & Silk calendar giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more "For the Love of Film" posts in the new year.

Photos: My own, from film.


have a very merry christmas...

It took me up until 3 days before Christmas, but i'm officially excited. I can't wait to have some time off and celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Christmas Eve will bring dinner at a friend of the family's, Christmas Day eating lots of yummy food, and then dessert that evening with Rick's family. After Christmas, it's an annual meetup with my best friend including spinach dip and exchanging gifts. I'm hoping those 4 days off feel like a really, reeeally long weekend.

I took these photos last time I was at my parents house. Can't wait to get back and add some more gifts under such a colourful tree. I plan on taking a lot of Christmasy photos as well... so hope you're still in the holiday mood up until New Year's, lol.

I hope you all have a great time celebrating over the next few days. Stay warm, eat some good food and enjoy some tea or cocoa! Also, thank you for joining me this year on my new blog. I'm really liking the direction it's headed in, as well as posting more of my own photos. It's been much more creative and personal, and i'm glad I made the switch. Have a good one!

Photos: My own, from film.
P.S. Don't forget to enter Katarina's 2012 Grain & Silk calendar giveaway! I will be drawing a winner after Christmas.


tree farm...

I can hardly believe Christmas is this weekend. It came up so incredibly fast!

I thought i'd share a few more photos from my trip to the tree farm a few weeks ago, before the holiday completely passes by. I'm sure most people have trimmed their trees by now, fake or real. I finally brought up a mini tree of mine with twinkling lights for the loft. The extra little sparkle at night definitely adds a nice cozy element to my space.

Over the lunch hour today I went for a walk in the forest and finally clipped some winter greenery... pine, winter berries, fallen twigs and pinecones... all for wrapping Christmas gifts with kraft paper and twine. I can't wait to get started!

How are you wrapping gifts this year?

Photos: My own, from film


for the love of film {no.5} + a giveaway...

Today I'm happy to be featuring Katarina from Grain & Silk for this week's For the Love of Film. Katarina's photography always has such beautiful texture, while completely capturing nature's essence. I especially love the grain in her photos.

Below are Katarina's answers to my questions... be sure to pop by her blog and read below for a special giveaway.

First off, what do you love the most about film photography?

I think for me it'll always have a bit more magic. There are tones and subtle details I'm struggling to get with my digital camera (even after a few modifications and tweaks of the camera). Maybe after a lot of processing... but that seems like a waste of precious time and lot less fun, when I already know precisely what I want, and how to get it. But that's just me - it's what I found works for me best.

I have this little obsession too, with getting new rolls of film - it's like unwrapping a pack of sweets each time I open that 120 mm film pack. It's little Christmas, including getting the results, there is always something unexpected waiting for you, small and big surprises, beautiful imperfections that make my heart jump with joy.

What kind of camera(s) do you use? Do you have a preferred brand/type of film?

I love my Mamiya C330 - it's a twin reflex I got at a flea market in a small English town - the advance lever is missing, it's heavy, but it creates beauty. For my 35mm shots I use a Nikon FM2. I also have a Polaroid SX-70 camera which I now use with Impossible Project's films, and a Polaroid land camera.

What would you say inspires your style the most?

It's very intuitive and spontaneous. With portraits I'm always inspired by the person itself, when we start talking during the shoot, their gestures, style, the way they express themselves. Then the surroundings, atmosphere, their spaces and lives and mine, little moments, emotions, colours, light, things I want to remember. Childhood memories, films and books, too.

How do you go about setting up the perfect shot? Do you have any photography "rules" that you keep in mind?

It depends on the situation, sometimes I plan basic things like location, sometimes it just happens. I don't think I have any rules - except I try not to repeat myself too much, which I don't always manage, as I'll be drawn to certain subjects and themes over and over again I guess.

What would be your best tip for beginners?

Passion, practice and patience :) Learn to understand the light and your camera, experiment.
Connect with people who are at the same stage of learning, as well as with those who can give you some guidance.

Who are some of your favourite photographers?

Keith Carter, Eva Bertram, Francesca Woodman, Vicky Slater... just to name a few.

What would be your dream location or subject to photograph?

About thousand places come to mind with this question... but probably somewhere with mountains, lot of water and gorgeous light. There are quite a few people I'd like to take portraits of too. I'd love to learn how to approach strangers on the streets with a camera and without freaking them out. I see so many interesting faces that tell stories, every day.

And lastly, do you have a favourite photo you've shot so far?

I don't think I've taken that one yet, but this one I like a lot...

Katarina has also generously offered one lucky reader a 2012 Grain & Silk calendar! You can either choose one the calendars from the Grain & Silk Etsy shop or pick your own photos from her flickr, blog, and Etsy site for a totally custom calendar!

Enter by leaving a comment below, and if you'd like an extra entry you can "Like" the Grain & Silk Facebook page, and leave an extra comment below. Good luck! A winner will be chosen next Tuesday, the 27th, just after Christmas. And thank you Katarina!

Photos: Katarina of Grain & Silk, 1 & 8 digital, all others from film. That rose is too pretty to not include!


sunday night...

Sunday nights are always so bittersweet. It's relaxing and calm, as we wait for our rosemary chicken and potatoes to roast in the oven, but I hate knowing i'll be up early tomorrow morning. For now, we're burning 'fireside' and 'marshmallow' candles together (smells amazing), and drinking a little Baileys with heart-shaped ice. Ahh Sunday...

How was your weekend?

Photo: My own, from film.


cookie exchange...

This past weekend and few friends and I decided to get together for a little Christmas visit with our guys. We decided to have a cookie exchange, and I knew I had to make my favourite Christmas cookie – whipped shortbread. Soft and fluffy, I much prefer this shortbread to the denser classic kind (although I wouldn't pass up a piece of that either). The best part though... they are beyond easy to make, so you can whip up a batch in no time.

Whipped Shortbread

1 cup of softened butter (not melted)
1 & 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 a cup of icing sugar

Blend all the ingredients together, then form small drops of batter by hand and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten the tops a little to hold some sprinkles, then bake at 350˚F for 15 mins, until edges look lightly golden brown. Enjoy!


I made a few batches for our party and headed to Sandi's place to find peanut butter bacon cookies (yes, you read that right, lol), lemon cookies (yummy Amanda!), crushed candycane chocolate cookies, and little peanut butter ones topped with chocolate rosebuds... so good!

Do you ever participate in a Christmas cookie exchange? I'd love to know your favourite kinds.

Photos: My own, from film


wedding wednesday {no.14}...

Lately planning for our wedding has slowed down a bit. A lot has been booked, so we're happily ahead of schedule, which is nice. I've had people ask how the wedding plans are going so far, with an unintentional "It must be so much work" look, but it's been pretty great so far! I think if you both know what you want and if you start planning early, it's actually really enjoyable. As it should be! We hit a bit of an issue with the number of people on our guest list... a typical problem for many i'm sure, but it's all been worked out and now we just wait till the new year before having to really do anything else. It hit me yesterday though, that soon it will be 2012. Rick and I got engaged this past May and I just can't believe how time has flown by! I'm so glad i've been documenting the process here on the blog.

With that said, there is one thing I do need to start working on – our save-the-date cards. Being a graphic designer I think this part, the stationery, is practically harder than finding the dress. I've been going back and forth with a lot of ideas... Do I want to incorporate colour? Should I go with a more detailed, "flourishy" design or keep it simple? What paper should I use? What kind of envelopes? What fonts? etc... etc... the list goes on. The only I do know for sure is that the set will be letterpress printed. I think because I'm a designer that I think people will expect something spectacular, which is probably unnecessary pressure to put on myself. Simple and classic is my thing, and I think if I just stick to what I love, I hope i'll be able to figure out the rest. Now I just need to sit down and actually do it... yikes.

for the love of film {no.4}...

This week i'm super excited to feature Amanda Gilligan of Mocking Bird blog. I just finished taking Amanda's Shoot by Design photography course and it was completely inspiring! I've learned so much, including how to keep working on developing my style and how to stay inspired. If you're looking to take a photography course I highly recommend it, as it's the perfect mix of creativity and the "technical stuff"...

Amanda's photography is so beautiful, always telling a story and capturing such perfect moments. It was so hard to pick my favs! Read her answers below and be sure to pop by her blog and flickr site for more...

What do you love the most about film photography?

I mostly love the way it looks and I do because to me it feels more artistic, more like a painting, more like magic... what I can create with film just feels more like what I see in my head. It helps me to tell a story the way I want to tell it. I love that you never know what you're going to get and that often there are magical little accidents that make my images a little messy and a little less than perfect. I'm not a perfect kind of girl, so film suits me fine.

What kind of camera(s) do you use? Do you have a preferred brand/type of film?

I use a Nikon FM3A, Polaroid Sx70, Polaroid SLR680, Yashica FX3 and Yashicamat 124. For Polaroid I use Polaroid 600 and Impossible Project PX680 and PX600. My film of choice is Kodak Portra 400.

Your photos are so soft and dreamy, while each telling a story. What inspires your style the most?

I'm inspired by nature and light. I love all the textures, tones, colours and softness of the sea, forests and the environments around me. I am very fortunate that I grew up and lived in beautiful Australia where the light is always warm and the ocean so blue. And I now live in gorgeous British Columbia where the forests are green and full of glorious pine trees and there are snow capped mountains at every angle.

How do you go about setting up the perfect shot? Do you have any photography "rules" that you keep in mind?

My mind thinks about light and composition first and foremost. I look for the perfect light or as my partner calls it, "Amanda light". He spots it for me now too. I know all the photography rules that I trust and that are ingrained in my mind, but I don't always stick to them. Art is about breaking the rules. As long as the composition is strong and tells a story, I'm happy.

What would be your best tip for beginners?

Shoot as often as you can. Wanting and doing are too completely separate things. You need to just get out there and shoot every day. And believe in yourself. Believe that you have something important and original to say. You are the only one who can tell your story.

Who are some of your favourite photographers?

Mikkel Vang, Osamu Yokonami, Anton Corbijn, Aya Brackett, Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Ditte Isager. And I'm constantly inspired by peers and friends.

What would be your dream location or subject to photograph?

Clich├ęd it may be, but I've been dreaming of wandering around Paris with my cameras for as long as I can remember. Polaroids and Paris sounds kinda perfect to me. Japan is second on my list. I just want to spend a good month there exploring the culture and photographing the people.

And lastly, do you have a favourite photo you've shot so far?

I'm still working on that but I always cherish the shots I take of my sister.

Thanks Amanda! I especially love your tip to get out and shoot every day, so true!