Etsy Shopping: The Golden Rule

Lately, thank goodness, I have been making some sales in my Etsy shop.  Where I normally depend on wholesale and consignment “brick and mortar” shops to keep Little Eye Designs afloat, this year is showing me already that there might be an internet market for these little bottle cap things!

It’s all fine and good to reap the benefits of a put-together shop and a network of customers who appreciate quality work.  But I realized this week that in order to truly be a part of the community and keep Etsy (and my business) strong, I’ve got to shop there, too!  It’s a good thing I’ve been looking for some summer essentials this week.  Please ogle all the goodies I got:

Pinecone and Chickadee - Click Image for Website

Ladies’ Wolf Tee, $28 from Pinecone and Chickadee.  A lightweight, airy tee with a suspiciously poet-y design is perfect for throwing on over a bathing suit after an impulsive river swim in the summer.  I spotted this at their table at The BIG THAW and couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Coupled with the fact that I just found a metallic, leopard print gold and black mini skirt at Find (the perfect match) this just had to be mine.

SJohnsonPhotos on Etsy

“Searching the Dial” set of 3 Postcards from Shaun Johnson, $5.  Don’t forget to write!  I don’t know where I’m going on vacation this summer but wherever it is I think jotting down some notes to friends on the backs of these is just about right.

Bread and Butter Vintage: More than just the basics.

Vintage Italian Sunglasses, $28, at Bread and Butter Vintage.  O.K., don’t get me wrong, everyone knows I’m a cheap lady who scoffs at ‘marked up’ items at Goodwill ($7.99 for a dress??!  Only if it’s Pucci!) but these glasses are so unique, so perfect, so interesting, so… mine.  I bought them a couple days ago which unfortunately means you can’t have them.  But you CAN have any number of things sold at Bread and Butter Vintage’s Etsy shop, which is awesome, and the photography is magnificent.  Besides, summer ladies can never have too many tortoiseshell glasses.

So basically.  Next time you think to yourself “I need to get some sunglasses” or “a lightweight t-shirt” or “postcards” or really any luxury (or even essential) item turn your computer’s internet browser towards Etsy rather than jumping in the car and heading for Target.  I mean, we all love target and you can’t beat clearance underwear for $1.25 but I’m really thinking now (with the boost in sales and the happy feeling I get when the mailman comes) that giving back is a huge element in being a part of it all.

Craft Sale Alert!: West End Craft and Treasure Fest

Well, well, well!  Still reeling here in East Bayside from this weekend’s BIG THAW and so excited about how it turned out.  So excited, in fact, that I decided to hop on, last minute, to a craft fair that will be held in a couple of weeks (May 7) in Portland’s West End at the really lovely Williston West Church on Thomas St.  I remember taking a Tai Chi class there when I was super little with my dad.  What a lovely neighborhood for a spring walk and a stop-in at the fair!

There will be about 15 vendors and the proceeds from the tables will go to The Children’s Nursery School, located in the West End.  Given these are my old stomping grounds I’m happy to help old neighbors out while I peddle my wares!

Please stop by between 9am and 1pm for some good times for a good cause!  Here is some of what I’ll be bringing:

Emergency Instructions - Found images from airline pamphlets

BIG THAW magnet and pins, left over from last weekend!

Music Caps in Pins, Magnets, Necklaces and more!

Set of 6 Bottle Cap Wine Glass Charms

Ooohhh and so much more.  It’s my first ‘solo’ craft show so I’m going to have more room than I know what to do with!  I’m hoping to have my beer bottle medallions (inspired by Mike Cunnane of the Rattlesnakes, Huak, and Sunset Hearts) finished by then, too — a ‘working class’ twist on the wine glass charms above.  See you there!

I Showered: Woohoo!

Planning a craft fair is a little like having a newborn infant in the house.  The free time you used to have for little things like cooking dinner, watching a movie, laundry, going on a walk, etc. all take a backseat to the huge responsibility you have.  Instead of a little baby I am responsible for the happiness of 30+ vendors at tomorrow’s BIG THAW Arts, Crafts and Vintage Sale at 10 Mayo St (Mayo St. Arts Center) from 10am-4pm.  Annnnd in some ways it’s easier than being a Mom because it’s not like if I don’t feed the vendors they’ll cry but in a lot of ways I’ve found myself foregoing daily luxuries (showers, leisurely strolls) to paint a sign, make a blog post, etc.

Good news, though!  I showered this morning!  After getting up extra early to do an epoxy pour for the THAW magnets and pins I was like “Hey!  I could be clean today!” and jumped in the shower for a few, glorious minutes.  You’ll all be thanking me tomorrow for my powdery fresh scent.  The thought just occurred to me:  what will I do on Sunday??  Empty nest syndrome, here I come.  Might as well start planning for The BIG FREEZE… haha…

Metal Feathers in the Bollard

Local band and friends o’ mine, Metal Feathers, landed the cover of The Bollard this month with some photographs from Little Eye Designs (aka Audrey Hotchkiss).  Here are some shots from the shoot:

Cover Photo, on its side. Woops!

Althea and Jay

Destroy Derek!

Inside Photo (Original) that got chopped up (artfully)


For the record, photographing bands or really any number of people larger than ‘1’ and it’s pretty much like trying to wrangle cats.  I’d like to work on that (placing multiple figures in the frame) and see how their placements affect the overall product.  But, for now, I just have some awesome pictures of my friends.  That’ll do just fine!

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Donation

Lights and Lines, 5"x5" Photograph by Little Eye

Many thanks to Judy Babin from JudyB on Etsy for bringing a donation opportunity to my attention.  Oftentimes I can’t afford to donate money to the organizations that I support, but being able to give art for silent auctions, fundraisers and other events is a real great thing.

Judy came by tonight and picked up the photograph “Lights and Lines” at the top of this entry (framed), and a matching necklace (pictured below).  In all, it’s a $35 value which will hopefully rake in even more than that at their silent auction for the New England chapter coming up.


"Lights and Lines" Necklace, $10 by Little Eye Designs

I also had the opportunity to donate for the second year in a row to Mayo Street Arts‘ “Art With Heart Hootenanny,” a Valentine’s celebration that is meant to raise funds for the Center to make improvements to their venue.

I’m not sharing all this to toot my horn and decree the excellence-that-is-my-bountiful-giving-heart.  No, no!  I mean, we already know that so there’s no point in being redundant.  I am posting about giving of yourself in hopes that other people who are as financially limited as me see their time or talents as a way to give without writing a check!

If you or anyone you know is looking for arts and services donations to worthy causes please be sure to contact me at:  littleeyedesigns-at-gmail-dot-com.  I can donate framed photographs, jewelry, gift certificates, custom magnet and pin sets (for families, weddings and baby showers) and am also a portrait and wedding photographer.  No job is too small for Little Eye!


Here’s me making a bunch of signs for The BIG THAW:

Step 1: Paint fumes

Step 2: Mess up the living room

Here’s my cat, Cash, snuggling with my friend, Kate.  Awwww!:

Kate has a great jacket

The Silliest Paws

Here are some bottlecaps that Kelley gave me.  Thank you, Kelley!

Future Little Eye Designs

Photo Shoot

Have not used my twin lens camera in months, now. Is it because metal gets so cold in the winter or is it because I’m cheating on her with a DSLR?

In any case, I’m looking to take pictures of someone this Sunday. 2+ people for about 24 exposures worth. I’m either going to need you at sunrise or sunset… so let me know if you’re interested!

Maine Hardware and Pom’s Thai Restaurant: Thank You!

Ehm.  Back story!  Let’s dive right in:

Since time immemorial, Audrey (me) has been in customer service positions of various kinds (restaurant, movie theater, salesperson, specialized client relationship, small business, artist) and, really, all jobs are ‘customer service’ jobs.  At an early point in my ‘career’ (when it was on the food service track and not what I’m doing now) I had been elevated managerially a number of times (only to come tumbling down again due to age and inexperience) but one thing I was ALWAYS fascinated with was superior customer service.

Some interesting things to note:

Perception vs. Reality:  have you ever been waiting for a table at a restaurant and you think it’s been, like 45 MINUTES and you’re eyeing the hostess creepily in hopes that will magically make other customers, completely unaware of you or her, leave?  Well, she has a little piece of paper at her desk that has your name, the time you entered the building and the wait time she quoted you and generally speaking (in my experience) people perceive that they have been waiting 2x longer than reality.  Also – customers with drinks in their hand (thus, some kind of service) are less likely to worry about food taking too long.  I digress.  This is just really interesting.

Mistakes vs. Opportunities – some places you go to just have shitty service.  One example:  city and state buildings (generalizing here, not true EVERYWHERE).  Why?  Because you haaaave to go there and give them money for things.  Judges in courts don’t have good customer service either.  There are plenty of examples.  Anyways – for the most part, though, you’re going to places that want to have good customer service (whether they pass this on to their employees is another question).  When someone makes a mistake in this chain of command it’s not a tragedy – it’s actually an opportunity to make things better.  Handling a ‘sticky situation’ famously will often make your customer even more satisfied after having been upset if you do right by them in making it up.

Enter:  Maine Hardware.  I had a strange experience the other day which I won’t go in to detail about (unless you get a few whiskeys in me and like boring stories told by people who are easily excited) at their establishment on St. John’s St.  After much deliberation (with Kristina, my Dad, and potentially more people) I decided to get in touch.  Lodge a complaint.  Stick it to the man!

I was so delighted this morning to receive a kind, well-worded and concerned email from the president of Maine Hardware himself.  He expressed concern about the incident, illustrated what he would do to fix it and thanked me for my correspondence and my honesty.  WHOA!!

So now instead of being sour about a very, very, very, very, very minor thing I am as happy as a clam and want to recommend Maine Hardware to all you locals as the place to go for all your hardware-y needs.  Sure, spray paint costs $1 less at Wal-Mart but they also discriminate against women and lock their employees in their stores to keep them from leaving at the end of the day so it’s totally worth it.  Not to mention that driving through the mall on a Sunday is balls.

I’d also like to mention that I’ve been a mistake-magnet for the last 24 hours, it seems.  I hope it wears off.  But today at Pom’s Thai Restaurant on Western Ave. in South Portland they were BUMPING during the lunch hour, wow.  And those servers were busting around the dining room like roller derby champs on speed.  We had all gotten our lunches except for one (3/4) and couldn’t leave.  Wow.  The last lunch TOOK FOREVER.  I don’t know if we had a nutty look on our faces, if my chopstick drumming renditions were too much for them, or if we just looked nice and they were sorry to keep us waiting on our paltry 45-minute lunch break but the server approached us just before the last lunch came out with a gift card for us to use on our next visit!  Not only did this make us positive/excited/distracted from our rumbling tummies but it TOTALLY sealed the deal as far as us going back there again… probably before the week is over.

Now I have the opportunity to fix a mistake in my Etsy shop (more details later) and I want to do right by my cohorts Pom’s and Maine Hardware.  Wish me luck!