SWAP Maine Shoot – Clothes, clothes, clothes!

The jury has reached a verdict and just as all the pundits were expecting:  citywide clothing swaps are indeed GUILTY of being totally awesome.  A room full of clothes and women may not be everyone’s picnic, but I had a ball spending 4 hours shooting at SWAPMaine last Saturday, May 21st, 2011.

For the full album, please check out my Picasa album here or my Facebook album here.  But for those of you with lazy clicking fingers, here are some of my favorites:

Earrings (I snagged the green and yellow pair in the middle!)

Freaking 40+ People waiting to be let in!

Hanger Helper - this little boy went under the racks and retrieved all the fallen hangers for us!

Mandy and Kate in the sunlight


Heyyyy, do you need someone to prance around and casually photograph your event?  I accept all forms of payment, including money, a huge sack of clothes and snacks.  Check back if you’re interested in the next SWAP because you better believe I’ll be getting super excited about it when it’s comin’ up!

Hedwig Barometer

I was wishy washy all day about spending 20 bucks to go see Hedwig.  Was it going to be like that time I went to see Cat Power after she released “The Greatest” and she basically just played the album cover to cover then a few more songs at the end?  (Still awesome).  Was it going to be like the movie or its own thing?  Would I be able to sit through two hours without having to pee too much?

Good news, folks, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT and you should probably go tomorrow night for their last performance.  If you haven’t seen Hedwig then you’ll be a little lost but still entranced.  If you did see it a long time ago and can’t remember it all you’ll be so psyched to remember all those songs.  20 bucks can be easily justified by “well, it’s just one bill so it’s not that much” or “I just won’t go out to eat three times this weekend,” or “Oh, the fam will just have to eat vegetarian (aka carrots, lettuce and celery only) this week,”

On a very related note – I will now be explaining and justifying everything through tracks from the score, which is also known as my “Hedwig Barometer.”  i.e.  The reason marriage equality should exist is because “when the earth was still flat and the clouds made of fire and the mountains stretched up the sky sometimes higher folks roamed the earth like big rolling kegs…” and any number of reasons that candy and sex are inextricably linked. 

I need to find my red glitter lipstick and blue eyeshadow, but for now you can enjoy with me famous trans movie endings that make me cry:


SWAPMaine: The real post.

You'll Do Good

So, all week I’ve been hinting and whispering about SWAPMaine, an excellent, local event that is happening TOMORROW at Head Games salon on Free St. in Portland from 10am-4pm.  First, a little background:

A handful of ladies who are Portland, fashion and all-things-good bloggers got together months ago and had a loosely woven idea of something that would be really cool to do.  Being that their expertise in writing and life is looking ravishing, a clothing swap was really a natural outlet for all that creative energy.

Coincidentally (or, not really, because they are movers and shakers, all of them!) some of these women have done wonderful things to help me out in the past.  Kate Sullivan-Jones, of A Sweet Disorder fame (and of dancing-really-crazily-at-Geno’s-shows fame) has helped me tremendously just by being a cool friend and shooting weddings and events with me sometimes.  Annnd, when I was organizing The BIG THAW, Forefront Fashion and Sweeter Salt did promotions on their sites for me, Sweeter Salt had their debut craft fair experience by being a vendor at The THAW and Allie Munier of Broke 207 (and a guest blogger on many other blogs) was the most excellent volunteer during the day of the event, not even letting a trip to the emergency room in the middle of it all get her spirits down (don’t worry, she’s okay!)

So when the opportunity arose to help these excellent women as well as Goodwill of New England (who they have partnered with and for whom all proceeds and clothing donations will benefit) I was like “Oh yeah!  Donatin’ time!”

So while, yes, I anticipate bringing a bag of clothes with me and taking another bag of clothes home (yeahh!!) I will also be shooting with Kate Sullivan-Jones to document peoples’ new, pretty outfits.  But the real donation comes in here, with my bottle cap-y expertise:

pins pins pins pins pins i lost count pins pins pins pins

Every SWAPMaine customer who leaves (or at least the first 250 of them) will receive a swag bag full of goodies from local vendors.  I have spent some time and resources this week towards making a limited edition run of SWAPMaine pins!  There’s even information on the pin card about custom orders through Little Eye as well as a 20% off coupon code to my Etsy shop for all the swappers.  So — advertising opportunity?  Yes.  Fashion-friendly people are my #1 niche.  More importantly, it’s an opportunity to give back to women who have helped me and who are helping an organization that deserves all of our attention (and most of my paycheck after rent and bills, which they get, almost every week when I feel like ‘browsing’ aka buying 5 dresses).

Printed Pin Cards, Awaiting the Chopping Block

Pin Cards, Packaged and Ready-to-Go

The Swap will be taking place at Head Games salon at 116 Free St. in downtown Portland (near the Children’s Museum and across the street from Marcy’s Diner – yum!) from 10am to 4pm tomorrow.  You can get a couple of ways:  either bring a bag of gently used, fashionable items and pay $5 at the door or bring nothing and pay $10 at the door.  Proceeds will benefit Goodwill of New England and … pssh, whatever… $10 for a bag full of clothes?  That’s nothing to shake a thrifted, rhinestone studded clutch at!  We hope to see you there!

Swapalong Cassidy, Spread the Word


This is me, not even trying!


Today has been brilliant.  I had the day off and spent most of it huddled over bottle cap pins that I will be donating to the swag bags at SWAPMaine tomorrow (stay tuned for more information).  But!  I did interrupt my glorious day off to head over to Bang! on Congress St. (next to the Cryptozoology museum) to see Sierra, aka the master of making my hair look cool.

I downloaded a fuzzy picture of what I wanted and told her that I wanted something I didn’t have to do anything to to make it look cool when I get out of the shower.  My hair was really long and huge and thick (as you can see from my previous post) and really difficult to wash.  If I wanted to straighten it it took about 30 minutes and sometimes my hair would still be wet the morning after taking a shower the previous night.

So!  She was super excited about the cut, explained to me what I could do with it (how it would look when it was straight, curly, etc. etc.) and then we began.  It was super fast, took about 20 minutes and then she put a little bit of really awesome smelling stuff in my hair… but just a little bit.  She didn’t want to do anything that I wouldn’t normally do.

On the plus side — S. said that this was the kind of haircut that ‘you can let go for days without washing’ which, conveniently enough, works in with my schedule of never having enough time to wash my hair.  She also put something in my hair (salt spray?  hmm?) to ‘add a little dirty’ and I totally love that I’ve found someone who gets what I’m trying to do with my hair… which is to basically neglect it and look awesome.  Yes!

As suspected, my hair got super curly when she thinned it and cut layers in it.  Sometimes I forget that I have wavy to curly hair, and having a haircut to compliment is just about the damned best thing I can think of.  Lots of people always want a different kind of hair than they have — people with beautiful, stick-straight Nico hair want thick curls.  Lusciously curled goddesses always want a cut that just doesn’t work for curlies.  But I’m so happy with what I got, and rockin’ what you already have is sooooo much easier than paying to get something you don’t!  (Dyeing, perming, bleaching, etc. etc.)

If you didn’t catch my drift already, what I’m saying is is Sierra is the best and if you like looking great then you’ll probably go to her next time you need your ears lowered.  As for me?  My head weighs 100 lbs. less and I feel like 1,000,000 dollars.  So yeah!

Long, Beautiful Hair

But not for long…

Shinin', Gleamin'

Enjoy this while you can.  I have an appointment at noon tomorrow to see Sierra at Bang! on Congress St.  I’m relatively confident that this, my first ‘official’ hair cut in three years, will be awesome.  Mostly because every time I ask someone whose haircut I like where they got it they say “Oh, Sierra at Bang! did it!”

Yessss… stay tuned for the ‘after.’


My favorite: "Swapalong Cassidy"

You know me, just working 8 hours a day then coming home to work for 8 more hours.

Tonight it’s especially fun:  I’m finishing the SwapMaine pins and printing out their jewelry cards for presentation in the swag bags at this super duper awesome event at Head Games on Saturday.  Click on “SwapMaine” to learn more (and come!  and benefit a good cause!  and get awesome clothes!)

While You Were Sleeping…

One of my New Year’s goals for Little Eye was to get myself on the front page of Etsy.  I feverishly curated treasuries all month in hopes of the favor being returned, and although I did ‘get it’ once (a friend in a different time zone told me) it was at 4:00 in the morning on a weekday.  C’mon!  Well!  Tonight I was noodling around Etsy and found an easier way to find out if you’ve been in any treasuries that made it to the FP that your friends just didn’t see!

Step 1:  Select the ‘treasuries’ button from the front page to do a treasury search in the field at the top of the screen.

Step 2:  Search your shop name (in my case, littleeyedesigns) just as it appears on your account.

Step 3:  Click on all results with 100 or more comments.  If any of those comments say:  “Congrats on the FP!” well then, kiddo, you were on the FP.

Phew!  So for all that feverish worry and work it turns out that I’ve been gracing the front page of Etsy since I really started taking my shop seriously in October of 2010.  Although it’s the exception and not the rule, sometimes things are easier than they seem!


There was a impromptu gathering of very excellent bands last night in an undisclosed location at an undisclosed time that kept me dancing until about 2:30 last night.  Foam Castles, Soft Pyramids (Boston), Brenda, and The Rattlesnakes played through the wee hours in a dimly lit room and it was the best. show. ever.

Here is a little video that Mike from Brass Cankles took of Brenda playing a new song.  This, and the blurry picture of the room I took with my dinky cell phone above are all you’re going to get!  Click on the band names to hear/learn more.

Finding My Visual Language

Any handmade, small business adventurer will tell you the hardest thing about start up is choosing a name and choosing a brand.  Although I found my name almost two years ago and am still quite pleased, it’s been a process finding the visual language that is appropriate for the product, appropriate for me, and can be used in multiple ways to accentuate not just one product, but many.

There are more than a few Etsy shops that have a visual language that they stick with that truly works for them.  Two of my favorites (and Etsy superstars who also happen to be part of the “MaineTeam“) are Rocky Top Soap Shop and Long Winter Farm.  Just visit those links and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So when I was preparing displays for a craft show last week a big, fancy light bulb went on above me and all of a sudden I knew it!  It had been right there all along.  The finish on the back of my bottle caps is a dappled paint in a variety of colors meant to complement the image on the front.  If photography and that pattern exist side by side in my product why wouldn’t I feature it in my background?  Yes!  So I spray painted some tins from the holidays and set them up to sell last weekend with considerable success, since it was a super nice day and not a lot of indoor craft shoppers were milling around.

Then, this weekend when I sat down to shoot some more product to put in my Etsy shop I was pleased to discover the tins work just as well as a background!  Observe:

Milwaukee's Finest Set of 2 Barrettes - $10 at Little Eye Designs on Etsy

Beasts of Burden - Set of 2 Barrettes, $10 at Little Eye on Etsy

The Good Samaritan - Set of 2 Barrettes from Little Eye on Etsy $10

 So, see?  I think it works.  The cool thing is I can spray paint new backgrounds to change with the season and the items themselves as needed.  Really looking forward to playing more with this, but I finally feel like I’m on the right track with my shop ‘look’ and branding.

I would love to know what you think!