Easy and Inexpensive DIY Light Box

Photographing product shots of the journals and various items I create is one of my least favorite parts of selling my work. It is often hard to chase the natural light around my house and the “ideal time of day” to shoot outside rarely coincides with my ideal time of day for shooting.

Add to that my desire for plain backgrounds and little to no shadows and reflections and I knew it was time to get a much needed light box into my studio. I found a  simple set-up online for $99 (including lights) and was preparing to buy one when I decided just to try making one with a few inexpensive materials.

My DIY light box ended up costing me just under $3.00 to make—not including any lighting. It may not be the prettiest thing but it works just fine.

Want to make one for yourself? Here is how I did it.

Materials
Cardboard Box (any size suitable for the objects you want to photograph)
White Muslin Fabric (this was $1.99/yd at my local fabric store, measure your openings with a little margin to determine how much you need)
White Bristol board or Poster board (to create a seamless background)
Packing Tape
Utility Knife
Ruler or Straight Edge
Marking Device (pencil, marker, etc)

Directions

  1. Cut the top flaps off of your cardboard box.
  2. Cut windows out of the front and two sides of the box. I left about a 2.5 inch border around the edges to help keep the box sturdy and to provide a bit of space for securing the fabric to the box.DIY Light Box
  3. Cut the muslin slightly larger than openings for the two side windows and the top of the box.
  4. Stretch the muslin tautly over one of the side windows and secure all four sides with tape. Repeat for the other side.
  5. Cut the white poster board to fit width-wise and slide into the top of the box sloping it to the front to create a seamless background. Trim the excess board off the top. I secured the top edge of the board to the box but this really isn’t necessary.
  6. Once your backdrop is in place you can put on the top of your light box. Stretch the last piece of muslin tautly over the top of the box and secure with tape.

DIY Light Box

That’s it! Now light it from the top and/or the sides for a nice diffused light. Don’t forget to use a daylight balanced bulb and to not mix lighting types for easier control over color casts.

Results? Below are a few shots taken with the camera on my phone (except the last shot which was taken with an SLR). Box is lit from the top with a single light. Not bad for a $3 light box, eh?

DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot
DIY Light Box Sample Shot

 

Forget the Stroller, I’ll Wear My Baby Instead

I have fallen completely in love with babywearing. I’m even talking about babywearing at Curvy Girl Guide today.

Some might call it an addiction.

I cannot deny that logic.

I kind of—okay definitely—addicted to wearing my baby. So much so that I regret not discovering the wonders of babywearing when G-tot was a baby. Thankfully I discovered how much I love it while Huggy Baby is still small. Even better is that Huggy Baby loves to be worn.

doublehammock

Double Hammock in a Hoppediz Chicago woven wrap

What I love so much about babywearing is the sense of closeness and security I feel with having my baby so close to me. Chest-to-chest and close enough to kiss is perfect for sweet baby snuggles. High on my back in a double hammock and he can see the world from my point of view and still snuggle up against me. Plus, when you wear your baby you don’t have to worry about finagling a stroller through crowds and tight spots or up and down stairs. At the park a few weeks ago Huggy Baby and I would have been stuck on the shore instead of skipping stones and exploring the dried up spots of the Maumee River with Josh and G-tot had we not been babywearing.

park

Exploring the Metroparks

At the zoo

At the zoo

See, babywearing brings families together. Plus, the different carriers seem to come with sleepy dust. Huggy Baby is so comfy when he is worn that he falls asleep almost every single time. It’s magical.

sleepy

Sleepy Dust in woven wraps

It started with the Moby wrap which I wore sporadically for the first six months or so of Huggy Baby’s life. It was great but I knew I was barely scratching the surface of babywearing with it. Little did I know just how many options were out there when it comes to babywearing. Mei Tais. Woven wraps. Podageis. Wrap conversions. Ring Slings. Soft structured carriers.

happybaby

WAHM WC Mei Tai (left) & GMBB gauze wrap (right)

And then there are all the different types of carries you can do depending on the type/size/length of carrier you are using. Front cross carry. Poppins hip carry. Double hammock back carry. It goes on and on.

Like I said, I LOVE it.

I even belong to a handful of babywearing groups on Facebook (and on the internet in general) these days. These groups have been a valuable resource when it comes to learning about babywearing. Sure, it takes a minute or two to learn all the different acronyms for the carriers and carries I mentioned above. But no worries, the ladies in these groups are fabulous. So many of them are fiercely passionate about babywearing and are more than willing to share their knowledge with newbies and seasoned babywearers alike.

FRbiglittle

Front wrap cross carry (left) & Rucking the big guy (right) in Girasol's Fire Rainbow woven wrap

And although I’m far from a seasoned baby wearer, I even made a little YouTube video on how to do a FWCC for a colleague who babywearing curious thanks to the influx of photos I’ve posted on Facebook.

Do you have any experience babywearing? Do you have questions about babywearing? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

No Need to Be Koi, Roy

koi

There must be fifty filets to leave your lover…

Yes I know it’s coy. And 50 ways. It’s a pun folks. A very bad pun.

I just wanted to share the photo and figured I should write something.

29 Weeks

You guys!

Seriously.

This face.

I can hardly stand it.

Dimple

Smile

The cute. It burns.

Gypsy Boys

Nestled in my stocking this Christmas was a beautiful scarf. It’s purple and black and really soft.

I have no idea how to wear it.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did wear it like a wrap yesterday over the tank top I was wearing. Because face it, December in NW Ohio doesn’t really bring tank top appropriate weather. And sure, there are all sorts of tutorials on how to tie/drape/origami a scarf on Pinterest so I can probably figure out how to wear one.

I’m not quite convinced I will be able to pull it off.

My boys however, look striking in it.

IMG_2744

IMG_2746

IMG_2752

I mean seriously. Don’t they look like gorgeous gypsy children?

Wishing You…

Whatever you may celebrate this time of year, my family and I wish you the happiest moments and memories with the ones you love—today, tomorrow, and always.

2011 Christmas Card—probably my favorite yet.

2011 Christmas Card—probably my favorite yet.

Climbing Out of My Hole of Depression

I have been suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with a knock-down case of depression. I’ve wept every day for an entire week. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach has left me barely interested in eating. I lost 4 pounds last week alone. That probably isn’t a good thing.

I just cannot shake this horrible sadness. It has consumed me.

So very sad.

And helpless.

I cannot feel the foggy veil of depression lifting. I don’t know how to make it go away.

This is the first time since March that I have felt like I might need to see my therapist.

It was just one year ago this past week that I had my second miscarriage and had to re-evaluate the idea of taking anti-depressants because therapy didn’t feel like it would be enough.

I stopped taking Prozac when I found out I was pregnant with Huggy Baby in January. Three months later I stopped going to therapy.

Sure, the pregnancy was at times stressful but I was doing okay. I had my support system in place and for months I didn’t feel like I needed therapy—or drugs—to feel “right”.

Then a couple of weeks ago it started creeping in. A week ago it hit me hard and full on.

I wrote that six weeks ago.

I’m better today. Not perfect. Just Better.

I think I was trying to stuff my feelings and pretend there wasn’t anything wrong. Talking about it? Talking about it would inevitably lead to uncontrollable tears.

Tears that embarrass me in my inability to turn them off.

But addressing that there was problem despite the tears has been a really important step towards healing for me.

What I’ve come to realize is that I need to be open. I need to be a better communicator. I need to learn to nurture myself.

I have no idea how to do that.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from my family to yours.

IMG_2400

IMG_2478

Enjoy your tricks and your treats tonight!

Pumpkin Man

IMG_2312This is Isaac.

He is part of my husband JQ’s band, The Eight Fifteens.

They have a show tonight and this is part of what he will be wearing. Sure, the pumpkin is definitely a nod to Halloween but trust me, this is not the first time Isaac has dressed up for a gig. It won’t be the last—holiday or not.

The Eight Fifteens. Catch a gig if you can—you never know what you might see.

One Photo

As I scrolled through the literally tens of thousands of pictures on my laptop Sunday evening, trying to pick one photo that captured a particular meaningful moment, something dawned on me. The big moments in life—birthdays, weddings, holidays—are important, but it’s the little everyday moments that make life meaningful. Don’t save your camera for a special occasion—capture the everyday and those moments will be special occasions when you look back on them.

IMG_2282sm

Taken on Sunday, this is an “outtake” of sorts from a series of photographs I take of my children to document them growing up. Each week—up to their first birthday and then each month—I take a picture of my kids sitting next to a stuffed monkey. Each one has their own monkey and it serves as a constant in the photos to see how the kids grow over time. Those weeks and months quickly add up, and these photos are evidence that time really does fly by.

On Sunday Huggy Baby turned 6 weeks old and as I snapped a few shots of him and his monkey G-tot sidled up next to his brother. So I took a few more shots of the two of them.

And when I look at that photograph I see a moment of pure love.
A new baby.
A new big brother.
The beginning of a life long friendship.
My two boys who will grow up too fast all the while experiencing countless everyday moments with each other.

I plan to capture as many as possible.

This post is sponsored by Kodak. October 17–23 is Free Kodak Prints week—a week long event designed to help you unleash your photos from your hard drives and Facebook albums by offering 20 free 4 x 6 inch prints when you “like” Kodak on Facebook. Additionally, to help celebrate Free Prints Week, Kodak is partnering with the popular Tumblr blog, My Parents Were Awesome, as a way to encourage people to print and share recent photos and those of the past.