I Spy With My Little Eye: The Herbal Revolution

Looking back, maybe that last entry was a little pessimistic.  Maybe I just needed to complain a bit so that I could complete all of the following yesterday:  grocery shopping (twice), living room tidying, cooking dinner, finishing a book and updating The BIG THAW website.  Now that the steam’s let off, I’ve got some energy for a really positive shout-out to Kathi Langelier at The Herbal Revolution.

I first met Kathi at the Handmade Holiday Fair in Biddeford in December.  We joked about how it’s always so expensive to travel in state and have to stay in a hotel if you want to be somewhere longer than just a day trip.  Then we volunteered each other our ‘spare spaces’ in our houses whenever one was longing for a change of scenery.

While I’m a ‘city girl,’ The Herbal Revolution quite naturally has its home in Lincolnville, ME, where excellent things grow in gardens and forests.  Kathi harvests and forages the herbs and plants needed for her products and makes good use of them without gross chemicals or stuff that makes my skin all red.

 

I am so excited! Click to buy this Halloween Costume for yourself!

The first product I bought from Kathi was the Better Than Botox clay mask ($9) which is more than a bang for your buck.  The jar itself is pretty sizable, but the contents are powder, not pre-mixed, so by adding your own water (or yogurt, lemon juice, tomato juice or whatever else works for you) you can get the consistency and longevity out of BTB that you’d like.  Above is a picture of me looking so excited for how great my skin would feel in a little bit.  The kelp powder tingles as there is mint and rosemary mixed in the clay and it has a very light, pleasant smell.  The mask also includes nutritional yeast for acne prone skin (that’s me!)  When I wash it off my face feels younger, fresher, and definitely more firm.  Yay to 10 minute, natural face lifts.

After making some Etsy sales last week and a Paypal balance burning a hole in my pocket I revisited The Herbal Revolution as a repeat customer.  I bought a St. John’s Wort oil (for pain relief in my bum!  Sciatica boo, herbal remedies yay) and a small pot of Rose Lotion.

 

A lotion by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet!

The Rose Lotion ($8) is light and smells exactly like you want it to.  Feminine, breezy and subtle.  The lotion itself is not pink, but a buttery yellow and that’s super refreshing.  Not all roses are pink, people!  And I don’t need any dye in my product to make me more convinced it has roses in it.  Kathi done good.  This little pot is portable and a tiny bit goes a long way (like a pea size for my whole face or two pea sizes for my leathery old man hands).

 

Pinched nerves don't stand a chance!

Kathi recommends using the St. John’s Wort oil ($12) with her St. John’s Wort tincture ($11)which (Thanks, Kathi!) she sent me as a special gift in my package.  Although it tastes herb-y I mix the tincture (20-30 drops) in green tea and apply the St. John’s Wort Oil to my rear end which, for any of you who know me, is constantly ache-y.  I’ve recently begun massage therapy and am retraining myself to sleep in a proper position but the St. John’s Wort battery combining forces with a heating pad don’t hurt, either!

 

St. John's Wort Tincture, $11

St. John’s Wort is also indicated for depression.  Mainers, I’m looking at you.  It’s been freezing cold for near three months now, fresh snowfall has lost its nostalgic charm and we’re playing the ‘can we make it to April with that much heating oil?’ game.  So:  you’re depressed.  Even if you don’t admit it I know you’re climbing in to bed with a book at 7pm and snoozing by 8.  I know you’re ordering delivery for the second time this week and it isn’t even Wednesday.  Depression has many relievers – this just happens to be my favorite one right now!  Also look at my awesome teacup in that picture up there.

 

Look at my awesome teacup. And that tincture for $11.

The St. John’s Wort Oil is distinctly herby but the odor is only apparent when you stick the vial up your nose (don’t do that).  Plus, after a few days the aroma is actually growing on me!

 

Babies and Springtime are the best.

I’m really quite psyched to have found something natural (and effective) right here in our home state.  Kathi’s products leave my skin feeling great and my derriere comfortably soothed.  I’ve got my eye on Calendula Oil next because I don’t think there is much of anything in this world that is more soothing than calendula.  Maybe it’s because all our Mommies used it on us as babies.  Maybe it’s because it smells distinctly and undeniably like Spring.  Either way you slice it, you’ll be hearing from me soon, lady.

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Hibernator

 

We Are Safe While Sleeping print by PhizzWizard on Etsy, $18.

This is just a formality. My terribly lonely little blog has been gasping for air, and attention, in the last few weeks.  My cats have been pawing at the bedroom door wondering what the heck happened to everyone (they can’t go in there, boyfriend is allergic).  The pile of dishes, mail and clutter has been steadily growing.  What happened to Audrey?

Truth be told, in the late days of February I become a hibernator.  I’ve done nothing, literally nothing creative for about two weeks.  This is a dry spell for me.  I lurk around my house in the dark after reading chapters and chapters of murder mysteries, glancing at the unattended to-do-tasks (open mail, put laundry in hamper) as if it’s the novel incarnate, but this time the killer is a seeping sense of domestic failure and artistic gloom.

Oh, so sad, Audrey!

So what have I been doing, then?

In addition to dreaming of summer, we’ve been indulging in reliving the Sopranos from Season One.  I’ve been reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I’m 20 pages away from finished after staying up until 3:30am last night (on a school night!)  We’ve ventured out in to the not-that-cold to visit pizza joints, Indian food oases and dive bars with delicious breakfast.  On Saturday I lived vicariously through a MECA student who photographed Kate with  her Toyo (I miss my Toyo!) field camera at her apartment.  Like an arty vampire, I watched her frame photographs, direct her subject, snap — and probably feel super satisfied with herself.  Jealous.

After some guilt I expressed about being a puddle of inactivity, boyfriend reminded me that no one should expect anything of me at this point in the winter.  God damn it, he’s right.  I’ll tend to my Etsy responsibilities as needed but much energy needs to be stored so I can hit Spring with the full force it deserves.  I think I may start drawing because it’s non-committal and totally fun.  Dishes be damned:  I just won’t throw an elaborate dinner party any time soon.  Kate lent me the second book in the series I stayed up like a zombie reading and I will absolutely finish one (tonight) and dive right in to the other (probably tonight through 3:30am again).

Then there’s the matter of The BIG THAW.  Wow, I am so excited about it but at this point there’s nothing I can really ‘do’ until February 28th when all the applications are in.  My amazing artists are working on the poster design as we speak, applications are coming in daily (all are amazing, I hope we have room for everyone!) and I’ve already divided up the floor layout to figure out the numbers we can accommodate.  But this is what I need to focus on, this is the big deal of 2011.

I refuse to feel guilty about sink scum or scattered shoes this week.  If I get to them, I get to them — if not, who really actually cares?

Then there’s the matter of feast and famine.  I learned long ago (after four intense years of art scholarship) that you can’t go-go-go all the time at art.  Some people can, but they are totally insane and don’t have the best living/hygiene/sanity standards among us creative people.  After art school I took an entire year and a half not touching anything creative before coming to my senses.  Perhaps a busy December marked with the flourish of creating a craft sale out of thin air in January made this relaxation in February completely necessary.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.  Perhaps in a few weeks something will pour out of my hands so freaking fantastic that not washing my hair for three days seems totally justified!

I encourage everyone reading this to join me in a night of sloth, eat potato chips off a bowl perched on your stomach, wear the same shirt to bed that you wear to work the next morning.  Hibernating solidarity! The bears would be proud.

Breeding Reading

Thank goodness.  You know when there’s something you care about but you keep on forgetting to be enthusiastic about it because you’re so damn tired from being enthusiastic about 50 other things?  I learned, this morning, that for me that thing was reading.  Not reading like “Oh, here’s a book by my pillow, I’ll read that as a substitute tranquilizer,” but reading like “Why are my hands glued to this book?  I can’t put it down!  I love to read its pages!!”  That kind.  Fabulous Allie from Broke207 wrote this post about LibraryThing based in Portland, Maine.  Wahoo!  I read her post, clicked the link, half-heartedly signed up and then saw what the website had to offer.  All of a sudden, I remembered how much I like to read, learn about new authors, new lifestyles, cry irrationally at bad romance novels and laugh (and snort) obnoxiously at short stories while boyfriend is trying to cook dinner, play video games, write a song, etc.

In addition to offering conversation forums on any and everything book-y, LibraryThing lists local events and has a library feature where you can list ‘your books’ which at this point I’m just starting with January and tracking my bookwormy progress through the apple of literary selections throughout the year.  Some genius obsessive compulsive candidates on there have fantastic numerical goals for this year:  “75 books in 2011!”  “13 books this month!”  “I’m going to read 5 books today!”  You… inspiring… asses.  Let’s just say I’m going to read a MILLIONTY books this year and if I don’t make it then at least I will have read very close to a millionty books.  LibraryThing (in addition to all its other offerings) will be the visual progress to this end.  Let’s bring it full circle and say I’ll even try to write a little about them here on my L.E.D. blog so that you all know I don’t just hide in my attic like Bart’s Twin Brother hunched over a workbench and bottle caps all the time.

Outside Lies Magic, by John Stilgoe.

Wow.  I’ve literally been reading this book for 5 years.  And it’s not even that long, page-wise.  Here’s the scoop:  John Stilgoe is a Harvard professor who teaches ‘wandering.’  Which is a pretty ding dong damn hard subject for a bunch of 18-year-old over-achieving pencil pushers to wrap their steel-trap minds around.  (Settle down, I love Harvard AND her crazy students who don’t know how to look both ways in while jaywalking). Hard for them mostly because it involves unlocking the door on the steel trap.  Stilgoe explores the methods of observation while wandering and elaborates on histories as they relate to infrastructure: railroads, the interstate, fences, power lines ad infinitum.  Or so it seems – this book is seriously less than 150 pages but every time I finish a few pages I have to think for a long time about the implications of its content.  I’ve fully digested most of this and am about 10 pages away from finishing (and probably starting again).

How did I come to know about this book?  My sophomore or junior year in college our teacher assigned it as required reading for the class as the subject matter really speaks true to photographers and artists, if no one else.  I spent the entire four years of secondary education as a Wandering Major.  I remember a keen sense of time/space as I walked Huntington Avenue my first weeks in Boston – to look up and catch a woman shaking a white blouse out of her window (wrinkled?  freshening up?) against a dark gray rain-wet roof and pale gray sky.  Trains intersecting as a stranger in a red coat walks towards me.  Photographer on a walk without a camera:  sad.  This is what Stilgoe starts to get at but he approaches it in a much more Harvard-y history way.  Can’t blame the guy for playing to his audience!

Slow Eddie, by Bruce Jones

You may have seen me drooling uncontrollably about this book before.  Thank you, Kate Sullivan-Jones‘ Dad, for writing a book that combines all the things I love about serious, thoughtful novels that contemplate overarching lifelong concepts AND soap operas a la Twin Peaks.  The book starts off by piquing the intellectual’s interests in very compelling ways (suicide, lust, longing) and finishes with some serious “Oh yes!  I love romance and cute things!” without going Danielle Steele on me.  It turns out, Kate says, that his Dad is secretly a teenage girl.  Awright!  Once when I went over to my father’s house and saw the really fantastic mess he’d created he said he was regressing to age 9 for awhile (awright!) but nothing as juicy as regressing to a 17 year old girl.  That is unique, and that person should be a writer.

In addition to being well-written and introducing characters that you become really invested in, Slow Eddie takes place on the Cape and in my book that’s local, so I love it.

~~~

That’s it for now.  Kate lent me The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  It’s a murder mystery that takes place in Sweden and that’s really all you need to know for now.  I’m excited because this book is huge, or huge-ish so it will make me look smart when I read it in public places, which I plan to, because that is what being a Booky McGee is all about.

A Heap o’ Accomplishments

Oooh-la, what a week.  About Wednesday (blizzard day) I got hit with the winter doldrums, big time.  Really honestly for the last four days it’s all I can do to get out of bed before noon and make food for myself.  I’ve been infected by Kate’s love of cheesy lifetime movies and it’s really not helping my case at all.  In fact, I’m watching one now.

While I learn the real life story of Andrew Luster, MAX Factor Heir (and sex criminal) I thought I’d jot down my progress this week… to remind me that no matter how lazy I am I’m still pretty darn productive!

Weddings! Oh, I’d like to book some more 2011 dates – if you know anyone getting hitched, send ’em my way — here’s what I’ve been working on this week:

Boutonierre Fastening

Newly Married!

All About the Details

I’ve been working on prints, framed pieces and albums from orders from a wedding I shot last year.  Fun!  It’s like reliving the day and all its touching moments — I’m not afraid to admit I am the wedding photographer that cries every time (every.time.) the bride walks down the aisle.  Hormones or just naturally sensitive – who knows?  🙂

New things. For awhile now I’ve been thinking about (and talking about) trying something new with the jewelry.  I love my bottle caps, and I’m going to be churning them out in magnets and pins to no end… but I wanted to class up the necklaces and rings a bit… and also try out earrings!  Here are some pictures from the first run:

Birches and Blue Sky Ring and Earring set – $18 by Little Eye Designs on Etsy.
Dill Shadows – The Herbalist’s Ring $9 by Little Eye Designs on Etsy.
Lights and Lines Filigree Pendant and Drop Earrings Set – $25 by Little Eye Designs on Etsy.

Craft fair. Super sweet!  The BIG THAW applications keep showing up on my doorstep and it’s amazing to see all the talented people who want to spend a whole day with me!  Click here for The BIG THAW website.

Also… I’m guilty more than anyone of keeping to myself in the winter time.  No matter how good your intentions of ‘finally taking up snowshoeing’ or ‘getting out more this year’ at the beginning of December you will always, always be holed up in your second-story apartment waiting, just waiting for the cold to go away.  This weekend I overcame!  It was Kate Sullivan-Jones‘ birthday and we had lots of fun (and whiskey) at her apartment.  Here’s a pic of me there with friends and wearing an awesome t-shirt (that got lots of compliments) that I traded a photograph for with Repurposeful Punk.

Click for Carmenmerie of Repurposeful Punk’s Shop.

Oh!  And here is a shot of my photograph in her living room.  Looks great, Carmenmerie!

Brighton Lights in Winter - $25 Framed Print by Little Eye Designs.

OK, everyone, back to work for me tomorrow morning so time to hit the hay.  What have you all been working on this week?  Leave links below, if you’d like!

Love. Coffee.

 

Coffee love for your locks. Only available at Coffee By Design by Little Eye.

Ooh-ee!  Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away and lucky you, there’s no need to stress about what to get your loved one.  If you’re anything like me and my boyfriend, holidays that make people extra lonely or feel like they need to propose give you the creeps… but you still want to make a little gesture to show that special someone that you really, really like them – hey!  Maybe you even LOVE them, and you’ve been listening.  You know what makes them tick.  Caffeine.

Coffee By Design and Little Eye partnered in June of 2010 to create a line of unique, handmade Java Jewelry pins, magnets and jewelry.  These little gems are available at all four retail locations in Portland and Freeport and, for you cyber-folk who are joining me far from the North East, they are available at their website, as well.

Java Jewelry designs come in six unique images:  latte rosetta, latte heart, CBD logo, coffee cherries, coffee flowers and coffee beans (some of which contain real beans in the epoxy!).  Each image comes in the following:  magnet, pin, hair clip, ring and necklace.

Little Eye has a long, loving relationship with Coffee By Design having slung lattes for three years as a barista and manager before venturing elsewhere.  Next time you’re in for a fix pick up something sweet for the one you love!

 

Latte Love. Like looking in to your mug for the first sip. Only available at Coffee By Design by Little Eye.