Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cheap Shots II

Oh Ann Arbor Area Crappy Camera Club, how we miss thee! After all, it was you in such a short time that turned our curiosity of plastic cameras into a much enjoyed hobby.

We are thrilled to have our two images above in the Cheapshots II: Recycled & Reloaded Exhibition.

This was a really neat idea for an exhibition. Find a camera (crappy, of course) at a local thrift store, take some photos (film, of course), and then find a recycled frame to showcase your best shots. Both of the above photos were taken with a camera that hardly broke the bank. At 40 cents, the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim was a true bargain. It continues to be one of our favorite "go-to" cameras.

Happy shooting & Happy New Year! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's been a long time!

Sail away with me honey | I put my heart in your hands | Sail away with me honey now, now, now | Sail away with me | What will be will be | I wanna hold you now

Crazy skies all wild above me now | Winter howling at my face | And everything I held so dear | Disappeared without a trace | Oh all the times I've tasted love | Never knew quite what I had | Little Darling if you hear me now | Never needed you so bad | Spinning round inside my head ...

~David Grey, Sail Away with Me

*Just thought we'd post a little something before we all coast into the holiday season. We promise we won't sail away for too long again this time. We plan to be much more active on this blog, as well as on Twitter and Etsy. Stay tuned for upcoming details, posts and listings. Happy day to you and yours! :o)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Accidental Entrepreneur

The accidental entrepreneur - now that's a killer title. And, as far as I am concerned, it may be the first breath of fresh air I've seen in the media about what positive outcomes can come from struggle (aka the recession). The New York Times just printed an article about how Unemployment can Lead to Entrepreneurship. I find it fascinating and inspiring.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

"... [T]he lack of a steady paycheck, often-inadequate health insurance and the sheer emotional stress of being unemployed, may prevent many people from setting out on their own.

But research on what is known as post-traumatic growth has found that some people become more resilient when faced with adversity, says Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher. Creativity surges, he says, as they adapt to a new situation.

“Their brain is actually learning at a faster pace than when they are not challenged,” Mr. Achor says. “As a result of this, some individuals, the accidental entrepreneurs, they are the ones who in the midst of crisis actually respond with growth.”

In a report this summer on innovation, Ernst & Young wrote, “Experience shows that entrepreneurs should not give up on start-ups in a down economy.”

Makes you wonder: If unemployment knocks on your door tomorrow, what would you do? Would you try to find a job similar to the one you just left, or would you summon your inner creativity and take the huge risk of starting your own business?

While I can't say I've started my own creative business during this recession, I do know I've exercised my creativity more than usual.

In an effort to save money, we've tried to be more mindful of extraneous expenses. We decided that instead of buying beer, we would make it; instead of going out, we would entertain; instead of buying gifts, we'd make them; and instead of hotels on trips, we'd crash on family & friends' couches. Not only has this method been a great success, but we've certainly had our share of fun along the way.

Maybe some day we'll all be Accidental Entrepreneurs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Creativity: Refocused

About this time last year, I got really into Etsy. While I still dream of crafting up new items to post - the reality is ... I don't. It was exciting at first to get new views, post new items & connect to the creativity community that exists on the internet. I guess my interest waned. Maybe it was that views never really became sales, and that there was never a direct "connection" with other makers. (Truth be told: There was just never enough time (or energy) at the end of the day that I could work with.)

I have, however, got very excited about home brewing. I have also rekindled my love for baking. These two activities have, as of recent, replaced my need to "make things." And, the glory is they both require a similar level of creativity.

My blog is going to be undergoing a face lift, and a slight change of course. Life's been busy - and change is good.

So here's a quick 30-minute recipe for a delicious citrus cake:
Slice of Summer
1.5 c flour
2/3 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 c milk (or 1 lemon/vanilla yogurt)
1/4 c butter
1 egg
1 tsp orange extract
zest of 1 lemon

Combine, mix, blend. Grease pan.
Preheat oven to 350, bake for 30 minutes. Great with whipped cream on top - enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Creative Hiatus

Thought Blockage in Progress, indeed.
How can you get back up on the creative wagon?
My head has been spinning, but my motivation has been puttering out.
The summer breeze and roadtrips have been distracting, but refreshing.
I'll get back up on the horse shortly...
Yes, I will.
Shortly, indeed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food for Thought

We've been running a mile a minute these past few weeks, and I think my brain has been running faster than that.

I am still filtering through all the information and ideas I got from the Maker Faire in San Mateo a couple of weekends ago. I must say I was extremely impressed by the quality, uniqueness and diversity of everything (and everyone) that was there. I have never been to a venue that better captures arts, crafts, science and technology and their symbiotic relationship. This expo did a terrific job of bringing together geeks, innovators, & creatives all into one location. Not to mention it captured the true essence of just how powerful the DIY movement is traveling the globe, while appealing to people of all ages.

This faire has sparked many new ideas for me. Some of which involve trying new things, experimenting with new items and using as many recycled / reclaimed products as possible. (Now I just need to find the time to actually sit down and get started ;)).

Although in the "big picture" it made me think about how society and our educational system approach science and technology. Why don't we do a better job of infusing the arts into these programs? Why do you have to choose to go either the highly-academic route or the liberal arts route when in college? There has to be a better way to keep our minds curious, urging us to learn more and explore new topics and overcome boundaries.

I recognize I could write much more than just a blog post about this topic, but it's something that has been on my mind a lot. Yes, some of it may have to do with the current economic state - especially here in Michigan - but I really think it's time to start thinking outside of the box.

Students should be able to learn about technology while being able to dissect a mother board and make artwork from it. Adults should be able to experiment and dabble into topics and subjects that don't appear on their resumes.

Now more than ever - it is time to be creative. It's time to share ideas and ride the creative energy wave.

Hope there are lots of people on board.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Car talk (with ampm)

Edsel, originally uploaded by Pangie.

I will get better about updating this blog. I will get better about updating this blog.

We've been thinking about a lot of new craft projects in the last few weeks; we've also had high hopes of completing some of our more current projects. I'd blame complications on the sewing machine and other shortages of supplies, but the true excuse is that we've been busy enjoying the sunshine. Hope you have been too!

Thought it's about time I wrote about something relating to the auto industry. We certainly read about the perils of the industry on a daily basis. Now it's time to look at it from a different lens - though the eye of the photographer.

I am not fascinated with cars. In fact, I can't recognize most cars by their brand. (Unless of course it happens to be something that I once drove ... tear for the Civic). Instead, I find it easiest to refer to cars by their color and their size. Rather than referring to a car by its name - '02 Toyota Camry - it may just as well be that blue average sized car to me. Anyway, I digress. For as much as I don't really seem to care about cars, I really do enjoy the photographic qualities that older cars offer my imagination. [Note: I do also appreciate cars for their ability to get me from Point A to Point B, even if I dream of the day when my life does not depend upon or require a vehicle.]

Cars seemed to be such much more intricately designed and manufacturing back in the day when the automotive industry was booming. The headlights, front end and overall detail of most older models always seem to attract my attention. Cars truly were an art form.

These photos, while of different models, are composed in a similar fashion. The Edsel was taken with a 35mm camera, hand developed and hand painted in 2005. The Plymouth Valiant was taken with a Holga and scanned at home just last week. Four years have gone by, more cameras have joined the collection, and I still like how the results have come out.

Will update more frequently - hopefully with some new digs.

Rusty Plymouth

Rusty Plymouth, originally uploaded by mbpics.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stick 'em up

I just have to reminisce about the sheer awesomeness of green army men. They sure are harder to find around these days, but these plastic wonders provided an ungodly amount of entertainment for my brothers and me when we were growing up. (Found @ ReUse Center in A2)

My most favourite (yes, favourite like the Brits, even though favorite is spelled correctly in American blogger!) activity involved wooden blocks, army men and marbles. We'd set up complete obstacle courses in our living room. The marbles would be the "bombs" or "shots" from the opposing armies. This game could last hours, and when my dad got involved it became even more intricate and strategically planned.

I always had this game in my 'bag of goodies' when I went to babysit, and in fact, I think it's why I got so many jobs with younger boys. The kids would often miss curfew because of this game - whoops. (Although, I think mom & dad would be happy to know that the kids (big & little) all had a good time. :P)

We're going to be doing a series of army man shots - so stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for what our photographic eyes capture. (And, yes waiting a couple weeks may be necessary, as most will be shot with film. Yea yeah!)

We got some new digs for crafting - if it would just stop being so nice outside maybe we'd be more enticed to do something new. It's come... we promise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photo Slide Magnets

The world is going digital and these photo slide magnets are a perfect keepsake magnet for all you film lovers out there.

Each magnet contains an original photograph (Photos mostly from medium format cameras -holga & seagull;and 35mm film cameras - Olympus OM1 & Argus c3). Magnet is made with a 2" x 2" glass slide and metal binder.

Photo slides aren't readily available any more, so when these magnets sell out - they sell out. Get yours before they're gone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Lazy Sunday

I have noticed a trend with Sundays. They always seem to be rainy, dreary or overcast (or all of the above.) It's a good excuse to take some time to relax and enjoy that one last day before the work week begins.

It couldn't have been more enjoyed today.

We have been crafting away like crazy for the last month (hence no posts :P) for our first craft show. While the show wasn't what we had planned, the positive is we're ready for the next and don't have to spend countless hours working on inventory. We'll have to see what shows are coming up. It was definitely nice to meet some fellow Michigan vendors and we're hoping our paths cross again soon.

We've been doing a lot of playing with patterns lately. The image above not only shows some of our patterned magnets, but also a delicious breakfast with some Spanish influence (mmm natillas!).

They are super easy to make and here's a good recipe. Enjoy!

4 eggs, separated
1/4 c. flour
1 qt. milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Make a paste of egg yolks, flour and 1 cup of the milk. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and salt to the remaining milk and scald at medium temperature. Add the egg yolk mixture to the scalded milk and continue to cook at medium temperature until it reaches the consistency of soft custard.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the custard. Chill before serving. Spoon custard into individual dishes. Sprinkle each with nutmeg before serving. 6 to 8 servings.

(Note: Adding lemon rind while heating up the milk adds a nice flavour too!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

R.I.P. Jaws

Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust


Sadly, our feisty beta fish passed away today. How we can keep plants, including a bonsai alive, but not a very low maintenance fish still baffles us. We'll master it someday, I hope.

Growing up we almost always had some sort of "tank" pet - whether it was fish, chameleons or guinea pigs. They lived forever. In fact, I clearly remember one of the beta fish we had making multiple suicide attempts -- jumping out of the tank into scalding hot water, jumping out of the tank and into the dusty window sill and practically breaking its neck by attacking a mirror (or our fingers.) No such luck this time around with Jaws. *sigh

Anyway -- the event reminded me of a recent creation. I thought now would be an appropriate time to make the fish magnet public.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moo Cards

Moo Cards, originally uploaded by Angela&Martin.

I don't know that anyone really likes "shameless self-promotion." It is, however, something you have to do sometimes to get the word about about yourself; and, by nature of the game - what you are selling. :P Our most recent business card order is all self-promotion without an ounce of shameless.

We just received our Moo Cards and couldn't be more happy. They are high quality, unique and really help artfully represent some of the photos we've taken that are up on our flickr site. I don't know if I'm going to want to hand them out!

The ordering process is really easy, and with these helpful coupons, you can actually get a pretty good deal. (Considering that they are not your average business card).

We'll see how well they go over soon.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A case of the Mondays...

Monday snuck up again; after all, it was a busy weekend. In fact, it was a very busy DIY (do-it-yourself; and yes, you already knew that!) weekend, as we successfully bottled two home brews: Chocolate Bock & Smashing Amber Ale.

We did the chocolate bock first, and without having done this one first our amber never would have even been named. It would have just been "amber ale." The bottling of the amber turned out to be glass shattering event.

We have a real system down with bottling. AM does the siphoning and pouring into bottles, and PM does the capping. (The capping takes more strength; the pouring more patience.) Two of the bottles must have had weak necks, otherwise the strength we gained from the chocolate bock was just too much for two said bottles. Lucky for us no one was injured. Unlucky, however, because we lost four bottles of the brew.


So hear I find myself on a Monday wondering what the next brew batch should be. Any suggestions? :)

Anyway, I have a case of the Mondays; and we have more than one case of home brews. Guess life could be worse. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Swing, originally uploaded by Angela&Martin.

Hanging around Burns Park with the significant other and the mighty Olympus OM-1 with the 50mm f1.4.

Monday, March 9, 2009

ampm hits the town!

It's official - we're going big time. Okay, not really. Although we are preparing for our first upcoming craft show.

In doing so, we wanted to create some unique signage that captures the essence of what we do.

We like to find "recycled" materials and we like to work with different colored threads and strings.

So - viola - here you have it! Naturally, it's just a sneak peak, but you'll see more of this to come.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Creativity wins again!

Start of a new year (well kind of) with new ideas and projects in mind.

This blog will capture some of the ideas of our imaginations, and document some of the projects we'll be working on. Be sure to check us out on Etsy at

Come back often.