Love Like Hers and a Lobster Boat, too.

It wouldn’t matter if I went blind tomorrow because the ancient expression on her young, young face has been scratched in to my memory.  I don’t generally post little kid pictures on the internet because there’s this thing where they have no choice, yet, but already by the time they are ready to be interested in the internet they have an internet presence.  It’s weird!  Like a million little child stars or something.  But I had to make an exception because I like the composition, K’s expression, and the fact that even in bright mid-day sun one can still catch amazing light with enough tiny, little curls.

This picture comes from a series of images I took when the Northhaven/Isle au Haut branch of our family was in town.  Family visit got coupled with boat-buying excursion and my 15-year-old cousin purchased a lobster boat with the money he’d earned hand-hauling traps for the last three years.  Congratulations, Ethan!

Captain Ethan

We’re so proud of him and I’m looking forward to playing sternman for a day if I can manage to get over the bucket-as-a-bathroom system and invest in a gallon of sunscreen before we head out.  Either that or I can come along and take pictures like these:

The Wheel

Some Levers


Half-Off Hi Bombay!

Tandoori Spice Kit, $14, from cookoutsidethebox on Etsy

Thank goodness, because it’s been a whole 4 days since I last had their samosas, garlic naan, malai kofta, uhhh, basically everything.  If you’d like to save 50% off the best Indian food in Portland (divisive, I know!  It’s my opinion, people, relax) then click here and go get you some tandoori deliciums.

Hi, Bombay! is awesome if you live in Portland, like good food, are a little lazy sometimes, or live outside of Portland (Portsmouth?  Bangor?  Bar Harbor?) but want to save some money on vacation eats next time you’re in the Forest City.

Additionally, break the ice on a first date by sitting underneath their flat screen TV that is constantly looping Bollywood vignettes with outlandish storylines.  Great atmosphere, greater food, and a mindblowingly good deal.  Yeah!!  I don’t know which I love more, Hi, Bombay! for always having coupon offers or The Portland Daily Sun for offering it up this time.  Good teamwork, guys!

From the Archives: Moody Art Student


Would that I could show you the rest of this picture without breaking some questionable content rules that WordPress most likely has.  This, a self-portrait, was taken in the Brighton apartment right off of Commonwealth Ave.  I’m glad of it and the reason are threefold:

1)  Being a photographer, I rarely have good pictures taken of me.  This is unfortunate, because I love looking good and having it frozen forever in time.  Even here, I had to do it myself.  Somehow I always end up dating musicians and not photographers…

2)  Look at my sassy attitude.  That was a good time for me because it was about three months after a break up so the bad parts were over and the good parts (being a sassy lassie) were starting.

3)  The part of this picture you can’t see is smokin’ and should be printed and posted somewhere around, on or near my running sneakers.  Seriously, what happened to my body in the last four years??  Buffalo chicken happened.

Independence. Security. Quietude.

Independence. ("Sinister Tabby" sewn print by tastesorangey on Etsy)

Reading an article on Handmadeology today, I was struck with a bolt of lightning of clarity.  Damn, I love it when that happens!

Let’s go back 12 hours.  Last night I had a major migraine (sinus headache?) and was waist-deep in bottle caps (as you can see from my previous blog post).  Around midnight I reluctantly ‘went to bed’ (watched Sopranos) and woke up again at 6am for work.  While putting together my purse/outfit/food for the day I knocked my frankenphone on the floor and it broke in to two pieces.  Nooo!  I found out at work that a computer-purchasing-assistance program that I was going to apply for (I just bought a computer) was canceled on Jan 1st.  Woops!  French fries dipped in mayo for lunch.  Shitty day, right?

Thank goodness I spent a bit of my lunch break surfing the crafternet.  The words of wisdom as imparted by Handmadeology, as imparted by some lady at O magazine, ask the reader to think of the ‘why’ and not so much the ‘how’ of goal-getting.  Yeah!  Read the article, do the exercise, you’ll love it.  When I opened my eyes I realized all the things I’ve been doing are a means to obtain:  independence, security, and quietude (aka peace, but ‘peace’ is a dorky word).

Independence.  Financially, yes, very important.  But I’ve always been partial to being a ‘loner.’  I love my friends and family but when it comes to working I really thrive best on my own.  The stakes are higher when it’s just you doing the thing you have to do.  There is definitely a time and a place to partner with others, but for the most part I REALLY enjoy my own company.  Solo walks, solo movie watching, solo work.  It really is true that you can’t even begin to think of loving someone else until you love yourself.  I have a huge freaking crush on me, and it’s not an ego thing, I just think I’m super to pass the day with!

Security. ("Pillow Land" sewn print by tastesorangey on Etsy)

Security.  Well, yeah, that’s what all women want!  This is financial, too, but it can mean so much more.  It’s safe to say that when you own and run your own business no one can fire you.  My success is only as good or bad as the effort I’ve put in to it.  I love being in an apartment, no, a home!, for more than a year.  I love living in the same city I grew up next to.  I love walking down the street and knowing the first name of about half the people I see.

Quietude.  Don’t get me wrong — I can get down with the noisiest of ’em (and regularly do) but a staggeringly brilliant side effect of independence is the amount of peace I get from not having to answer to anyone for my lack of work, overworking, missing a deadline, etc. etc.

Quietude ("Sea Level" framed painting by tastesorangey on Etsy)

By outlining these emotional results I’ve gotten a better handle on what my goals actually are.  The first order of business (once I ship off this order!) is to set up my studio.  There’s an entire attic up there just waiting to be utilized!  I need a permanent workspace, shelves, cups and drawers for organization, a comfy chair, and a good light.  That one falls mostly under quietude so I can stop messing up the living spaces downstairs.  I’ve also realized I need to outline better financial goals for 2011 to cater to my need for independence and security.  And all this from an article I read on lunch break!

All in all, I think Tuesday’s trajectory has become a little more savory.  Even if I don’t get to all the things on my list it doesn’t mean they won’t stay there for me to do tomorrow.  Now… if anyone finds two, short matching bookcases and a slab of wood I can balance on top of them I’ll be your best friend!


Images used in this blog entry have been pulled from the pages of Etsy seller, tastesorangey‘s shop.  I encourage you to take a peek because it’s all beautiful, high quality and handmade.


my living room might as well be a tenement in brooklyn circa 1922

When I was in college I had one of the coolest jobs ever.  I worked for a woman who had launched her own greeting card business and my job was to pick up a huge stack of cards, photographs, envelopes, plastic bags and labels, take them home with me, turn on awesome history channel and nature documentaries, assemble the cards/packaging while I learned cool stuff, put them in a box, deliver them to her and then get paid.  Yes!

The thought of doing piecework (I was paid per piece, not by the hour) was super exciting to me.  The more I streamlined my process the more money I would make.  If I could make 100 cards in an hour and was being paid 10 cents for each – woah!  Ten dollars!  But then if I learned how to economize my motions (combine like tasks and repeat them as opposed to making each piece from start to finish before starting the next) then I could make 300 cards in an hour.  $30 an hour for a college student??  Yah!!

So my skills have come in to play this last month while churning out bottle cap after bottle cap after bottle cap.  It’s glamorous.  I’ve been watching a lot of cop shoes since I’m sick of Netflix petering out all the time.  I brew up a pot of tea, set up my workspace (coffee table:  sorry, boyfriend) and my hands get to work.  My mind wanders and I come up with new ideas while mixing epoxy.  I don’t need to talk to anyone which keeps me focused on drilling little bitty holes in the caps.  Then I come up with something like the picture above at the end of ‘a batch,’ breathe a sigh of relief and think “Oh my God I think I might be crazy!!”

That’s not really something the product development department needs to worry about.  Human resources, though, better make sure there’s an ice cream cone and a walk up the Eastern Prom for employee wellness as soon as this order is over!

The spread above is my normal workspace.  I’m brainstorming how to move it upstairs so the live-in, very tolerant boyfriend doesn’t kill me.  In any case, for any of you interested in epoxy process here’s a little rundown:  Underneath that big ol’ tupperware is a grid of bottle caps in various stages (some are drilled with jump rings in them, some are empty caps that have just been half-filled that will be drilled after they are dry.  The half-filledness supports the drill and makes them break less frequently).  Once I’ve mixed and poured the epoxy (with the windows OPEN!!) I put the tupperware on top to keep naughty little cats out and to prevent dust (and naughty little cats’ fur) out of the caps.  Then I use the top of the tupperware as a workspace for my next task (gluing images in, assembling charms, gluing pins and magnets to the backs).  That’s how I manage not to usurp the entire dingdong coffee table.  If you have more questions about pouring epoxy please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Audrey, Where Have You Been??

Hiding! Ok, actually just giggling.

Short answer:  busy!

Long answer:

Since The BIG THAW completed its wonderful, whirlwindy, nutso course I’ve been doing a few excellent things.  In no particular order… celebrated three birthdays, spent quality time with family, got really, really, really, REALLY sick, got better, got sick again, can’t hear out of my right ear for 48 hours (current), have been working on an enormous wholesale order, have been building stock for tomorrow’s craft fair (9am to 1pm at the Williston West Church, Saturday May 7th, Thomas St. in Portland’s West End) and desperately trying to clean my house… only to mess it up again very quickly with the previously mentioned wholesale order.

Bottle Cap Wine Charms, $10.00 for a Set of 6

It’s pretty cool.  A beer and wine novelty supplier out of Washington State saw my work online, contacted me, and enlisted me to make a bunch of these wine charms.  One of the really great things about making things with my hands is that oftentimes my window shoppers and customers are the most inventive with ideas for new products.  Without them I wouldn’t have made pendants (necklaces), wine charms, earrings, custom magnet and pin sets, wedding favors, alphabet magnet sets, and on and on.  This is the latest addition to my line up.  What’s next?  Mike Cunnane (of Brass Cankles, Huak, Rattlesnakes, Sunset Hearts fame) suggest ‘beer medallions’ as a beer drinker’s alternative to the wine charms.  I am so on it.

Together, at last

Talk about a whirlwind month.  After 8 years of us not being in the same room, college buddies and bestest ladies in the universe (myself included) met up in Boston.  The reason we were able to do this was that Jet (center) was visiting with her boyfriend who is the director of photography in upcoming film Bellflower.  It’s going to be in theatres in August and we got to see the flame-throwing car that Evan built for the film.  And lit it up in the parking garage outside of Boston University!  Rock.  Well, anyways, she lives in Ventura, CA and Shira (right) lives in Boston and me (left), I’m the yokel who decided to move away from any major metropolitan area.  I love Portland.  But I think I might love Jet and Shira more.

Brunch! Family!

You know what else I love?  The Good Egg.  It’s even better when, once a year, my grandmother (on the left side of the table) visits with her brother and his wife.  This year I joined them along with my aunt, uncle and two cousins who were down for the weekend from North Haven.  My cousin bought a lobster boat with his own money saved up from hauling traps by hand for 5 years – he’s 15!  Pictures of that to come.  🙂

The BIG THAW Pictures are coming soon!

I got some awesome pictures of vendors, shoppers, helpers and purchases from The BIG THAW.  The images will be up on the website shortly (finally!!) as soon as I can get twenty minutes to do it.  So bizarre to look back at them and think how smoothly and wonderfully the day went.  Yesss.

Clothes are Awesome! Share them!

That’s Kate in an awesome dress at Althea and Jay’s marriage celebration.  Coincidentally, she’s involved with a team of Portland fashion bloggers who have organized Swap Maine, a citywide clothing swap to benefit Goodwill of New England.  It will also benefit you because you get to pick out clothes you like just for donating your own!  Or paying $10 at the door.  It all goes to Goodwill and you get to fill a bag with awesomeness.  The first 250 shoppers will receive a swagbag, and included in it will be your very own Swap Maine/Little Eye Designs bottle cap pin.  I’m excited to work on this, support great writers and support Goodwill of New England.  Yes!  Please click here for more information about how you can join in the fun.

That’s all for now, I’m sleepy and I have to sell a bunch of stuff tomorrow!  Seriously.  My craft fair dream is to sell half the stock I bring… if I did that tomorrow maybe I could finally catch up on my student loans.  Which I just deferred.  For a year.  Thank you, pro-credit score governmental initiatives.  Maybe I’ll start looking at grad schools now…?