Day 5 of Giving: Surprises!

This picture will be used appx. 3,267 times before Dec. 25th, I am sure.

This one’s quick, because we just finished shooting the Coffee By Design Holiday Party at Empire (p.s. it was awesome).  I found this on a friend’s Facebook page yesterday and was struck by the wonder these people created just using the element of surprise to the umpteenth degree.

Surprises are great because they make normal things special.  A candy bar?  Not that special if you’re buying gas and do an impulse buy at the counter.  However, if your coworker shows up with your favorite candy bar, that’s special!  Going to see a choral concert with a friend?  Nice, but not totally strange…  Sitting at the food court in the mall and having the chorus come to you?  Surprise!  So special.

P.S.  I cried a little every time the camera panned to a little kid watching this.  They have no idea the world isn’t like this normally!  If that ain’t some Xmas magic, I don’t know what is.

Day 4 of Giving: I spent 4 bucks on you!

Whoa!  What a day.  I tried my hand at barista-ing again after a few month hiatus at Coffee By Design on Washington Ave. today.  There’s really nothing like a short shift in a customer service position in a neighborhood of people you think are great.  Today I talked to Colleen from Silly’s, Ernie, my landlord, Tiff, Marnie of Red Eye Vintage, Jan from WMPG’s “Local Motives” and so many more.  Then I walked down Congress St. for the East End Stroll stopping off, getting stamps, spending little bits of money that were easy to part with and finally entering my raffle in the box at the Yoga Studio at 72 India St.

My window shopping/under $5 spending afternoon got me to thinking about another really easy way to give.  Spend $4 or less on someone you love!

Here are some ideas:

At the coffee shop, people were treating each other left and right to coffees.  Ask a friend to meet you at your favorite cafe and when it’s time to order, foot the bill!  Better yet, if you know a friend’s favorite drinks (Kate loves mochas, Jason loves red eyes, etc.) then on your way to see them, pick one up!

Needle Felted Wool Star Baby Sula by moondogfarms. Click to view Etsy listing!

I landed at the Portland Fiber Gallery on my roundabout walk back home, and for under $5 you can get an ounce of wool and a felting needle.  The woman there was so helpful and didn’t make fun of me at all when I kept on liking wools that were not good for felting.  Woops!  She showed me a good one and I think I’m going to try my hand at making a snowball.  If I do alright, I might make a snowman.  So if you have a crafty friend who has never tried it before, what a nice way to say:  “Here…make something for me!”  😉

Little Eye pins custom made for Metal Feathers (band). Click to view all pin listings at my Etsy shop!

PINS!!  I bought one at Ferdinand for $.50 and felt so good giving Diane my money and at the same time being able to put something cool on my sweater.  It’s so much fun to root through pin baskets in stores and at craft fairs to find pieces that are perfect for people you didn’t even know you wanted to give a little gift to!  Even better that pins are normally under $4 unless they’re a brooch, in which case it’s totally fine to spend more, because they are so classy.

There have to be a thousand ways to show someone you were thinking of them without breaking the bank.  Which is good, because just a week after Christmas and it will be *dun Dun DUN!* tax time!

Day 3 of Giving: Love in your Heart

I wasn’t sure what to do today about the next free or near-to-free thing we can give.  As the day wore on, though, some interesting things happened to me that shed some light on the subject.  Warning:  this entry is quasi-religious in tone, but friends and close family I assure you I am as discerning and agnostic as always.

insanely large amounts of toilet paper (Watertown, MA, 2008)

It’s all very domestic, because the first thing that happened was at CVS while I was getting an insanely large package of toilet paper.  The second thing happened while I was on my way to Hannford to pick up medicine, chicken broth, saltines and goodness knows how many other Mom-type-things (note:  I am not a Mom, I have just always been ‘a Mom’) I would have gotten if I wasn’t trying to get home to my pajamas right quick.

Eraserhead. Would also be okay to turn right around if you saw this guy coming...if it could walk...if it were real.

Thing #1.  I began walking down an aisle in CVS where someone who I absolutely did not want to see was shopping for something-or-other.  Reason?  Not important.  But important to know that in this situation I was the one who could have brought forth forgiveness, perhaps just not ready yet.  I turned on my heels mid-aisle and went the other way, lingering in the back of the store until I knew she had finished her sale.

Greenlight: Go. (Winter 2008-2009)

Thing #2.  I had to run a second errand much later in the evening.  As I was at a stoplight on the way to Hannaford I spaced at the light and was watching a couple standing on the corner, not really realizing in the dark (with my astigmatism!) that I was staring straight at someone who has done some terrible harm to my nuclear-family-fortress-of-solidarity.  The light changed, I accelerated and left them in the snowy night.

The whole thing left me a bit sour by the time I got home for good and plopped the grocery bags, dappled with melted ‘snow’ (it only lasted a few minutes, phew!).  It didn’t bother me who I’d seen and what their own trajectory has done to my own, what bothered me was the feeling left inside was a very bitter and obstinate one.  Bad!

Sometimes it’s fun to be angry, and it can be hilarious to be dramatic.  But at the end of the day, if you don’t give yourself love in your heart and (hey, if you’re feeling generous) a little compassion to others (however terrible they’ve been!) then you’re not giving yourself the gift of feeling good and feeling right.

It may not look totally relaxing, but it is.

I broke out a batch of bottlecaps that were waiting for their found and photographed circles and I painted each one with mod podge, inserted the image and sealed them.  As the ‘finished’ pile got bigger my mind was calmer and it began to go to a place where I started asking questions about why these people had done what they’d done.  And what a stroke of luck that I would skim by them both in the same evening so I could remember how important compassion is in growing as a person.

Think of someone who has wronged you...

This month, hell, any month, take some time to think about someone who has wronged you.  Maybe they told someone something you had explicitly asked them to keep a secret.  Maybe they took advantage of you.  Whatever it was, it’s not worth harboring hate inside your own body/mind.  So ask the questions, get the bad out, and give yourself the gift of filling the holes with love for something, anything.

Day 2 of Giving. Photographs and Small Drawings.

It’s day two of “25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying” and I’ve been thinking all day about what to write about.  After some deliberation, a drink and some fudge at Angela Adams‘ jewelry collaboration opening and an evening of clipping coupons (such a dork) I’ve finally decided:

Give photographs and/or small drawings to people.  Real ones.

little eye loves photography!

It’s no secret that I love photography.  If I didn’t, it wouldn’t make very much sense to come home from nine hours working in a photo studio to clip out 1″ diameter circles of photographs and found images to put in to jewelry.  That’d be psychotic if I really, really loved, say, football.  Then I’d spend my days coaching and my evenings at Sports Bars.  But that is someone else’s path, not mine.  So I’m sure you’re not shocked that I think it’s a nice way to give!

guaranteed sunshine when you send pictures of cute kids

The no-brainer is to send updated kid photos to family members who haven’t seen them in awhile.  Easy enough to do over email or Facebook, but why not go the extra mile and order a print, stuff it in an envelope and mail it out?  That way Aunt Emmie can put it on the bulletin board by her desk, on the fridge, or anywhere she might need a little brightening up throughout the course of the day.

What about the single and/or childless?  Seasonal pictures or just genuinely good photographs are always nice, too.

You'd be so pumped right now if this was yours.

When I was a bartender in Boston I worked with probably one of my favorite people in the world, Maryanne.  In addition to being just about the most sensible, forgiving and compassionate person I’ve ever met she’s also freaking hilarious.  She would draw ‘greeting cards’ made out of folded receipt tape with animals and slogans drawn on them.  I know I have some in boxes somewhere, and one day when I find them I will come back and post them here.  But how sweet to open up an envelope or folded piece of paper someone hands to you to find a drawing, personally scribed for you?  So good.

For prints, I’d suggest Photo Market’s really easy-to-use online ordering at www.photo207.com.

look out, little stick figure girl!

December Kick-Off: 25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying

L.L. Bean Nalgene tree a couple years ago...

Call it…a happy holiday ritual.  Or chalk it up to my need to regroup and refocus at the beginning of winter, the end of a year.  However the story goes, Audrey gets really methodical this time of year.  Married with an effort to do a better job of tending to my little blog garden in my personal patch of the interwebs, this month I’ll be bring you 25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying -or- 25 Ways to Show People You Care About (Including Yourself) That You Actually Really Do.

None of this really has anything to do with money (er..until sometimes at the end of the post).  Which is funny, because here is the perfect internet forum for me to generate revenue for myself on top of the day job (which is essentially a warehouse sized closet, which I will have to tell you about later!  It’s terrific).  So while I’m out busting my buns making monies at craft fairs and holiday events I’ve decided to use the internet for good this year…not that I’ve ever used it for evil.  That I can remember.  (Hint:  never Facebook drunk).

So, without much further ado, WAY #1!:

Visit with someone. For me, my friends and family are a diaspora of busy-body workaholics.  As you can imagine, this doesn’t leave a lot of time to visit with each other which, c’mon people, is really what this time of year is all about.  Even if just for the body heat!

Shira is so god damn gorgeous.

It doesn’t matter how close or how far away they are.  Last year, Shira and I were planning on visiting Jet in California.  That woulda been nice.  But the months zoomed by and we all forgot.  Well, I live in Portland and Shira’s in Boston and even THAT has been a struggle.  Seems forgivable?  Leshbomb lives TWO BLOCKS AWAY from me and we haven’t had a visit since our impromptu get-together one night when I ‘had to get out!’ and she ‘had to get a ride!’ home from a night of clinicals at the hospital.  That was…two months ago?  Seriously, what is stopping me from walking up there with a plate full of gluten-free cookies and saying a quick hello?

L to R: Shira, Jet (in frame), Audrey

Think of someone you adore, close, far, or really far away.  If they’re tooooo far away why not try a phone call just to check in and see how their life is going?

In business news today (because obviously I can’t go without) I was featured in this bone-chilling but completely beautiful treasury on Etsy:

“Bare Branches” pin, $3.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cf6f217567a8eefab459eb7/baby-its-cold-outside

December. Lots of work, lots of bottle caps…

Phew.  There are some big things coming up.

PICNIC.  Yes!!  Dec. 11th + 12th at the Irish Heritage Center.  Visit them at www.picnicportland.com for all the details!  Kate and I should be pretty close to the State St. entrance.  Come see us.

Biddeford Art Walk. Totally random but fit this in at the last minute.  We’re going to be set up in the abandoned Reny’s storefront which totally sounds like the beginning of a plot for a Maine-themed Scooby Doo episode.  Hint:  the innkeeper is actually the ghost!  Saturday, Dec. 18th.  Biddeford has an awesome downtown, in case ya didn’t know.

Custom Birth Announcements by Little Eye Designs

Custom work.  My favorite!  I’ve already received several inquiries about custom orders and it’s not even December yet (err, for another few hours).  I’m working on an adorable photograph of a new born in a set of 12 magnets ($20 for 12) and a necklace ($10 each).  Pictures of this to come!  For now, see my custom magnet photo above of the equally adorable Penny brought to you by Em and Dylan Verner.  So cute.  Email me at:  littleeyedesigns@gmail.com  with pictures for your own custom work!

These are the PJs I will literally cut you for. And that baby. Not exactly the Christmas spirit, but comfy PJs are the lifeblood of Northern people.

Other amazing things happening this month:  I’m getting a DSLR camera (yikes), Christmas, vacation in VT after all the holiday dust has settled, CBD holiday party, First Friday December, buying pajamas, crocheting another afghan, and hopefully posting one small post a day about thoughtful ways to give without actually having to spend any money.

 

Also, in case you don’t know where to find me on the web, here are some ideas:

Etsy.  http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com

Facebook.  Search “Little Eye Designs”

Email.  littleeyedesigns@gmail.com

Twitter.  littleeyedesign  (no ‘s’, that’s weird, I know)

 

OK, go forth and prosper!