The Big Chill

Well, I’ve been up to it again!  Applications for The Big Chill arts, crafts and vintage sale are now up at The Big Thaw website.  Is that confusing?  I just didn’t want to make a whole new site to re-name the winter fair.  It will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from 10am-4pm (9-5 for vendor set up, break down, etc.) at Mayo Street Arts Center at 10 Mayo St. in Portland, ME.  Applications are $45 for upstairs spaces and $35 for downstairs spaces – and spots are limited!  So send in your applications!  🙂

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Peaches in the Summertime, Apples in the Fall

If I can't have the one I love, I won't have none at all

That’s the boyfriend, about two years ago, picking apples with me at Apple Acres in South Hiram, ME.  We went again, today and apropos to those “Shady Grove” lyrics, there was a bluegrass festival happening at the orchard, and the apple festival in Cornish, ME.

And it was annoying!

The more I’ve come to know myself, the more I love solitude in places that should be solitary (apple orchards, mountains, beaches) and I love streets teeming with people where they should be (cities, lines at city hall, grocery store deli counters).  So, our day trip west to the rolling hills of Hiram turned in to more of an epic walk from a satellite parking lot, a mad dash to get our apples, and a disappointing wait for apple pie in a line that snaked around the gift shop.

15 lbs. of Apples!

Enter:  good news.

The apples we bought (15 lbs give or take) were a LOT cheaper than we were anticipating – so that was good!  And we had a really excellent drive around route 160 through the hills and along the Saco river, which you really can’t shake a stick at.  And I managed to get some awesome shots of apples before my camera’s battery died:

Dangler

Bumper Crop: Everything was pick-able

Cortlands!

 

So now, a few hours later (ohh, just 11:40pm) I have an apple pie in the oven and still, an enormous bag full of apples for various sauce, butter, crisp, salad, sandwich and more purposes.  So despite the crowds and the mad dash for apples we’ve got this year’s supply in hand and have officially begun the ‘summer winding down’ process.  Although it was warm enough today for the beach, I’m already unpacking and folding my autumn sweaters for these excellent, crisp days that are coming our way.

Hiking Log: Speckled Mountain

A sunny hello to everyone!  I’ve been quite busy climbing mountains, preparing for location shoots, going on location shoots, filling orders and designing new products this week — I wanted to recap a little from last weekend.

We climbed up Speckled Mountain last weekend to kick off a series of Autumn hiking trips.  Ahh, the perfect season for sweating your way up a mountain.  As I type, I’m watching a squirrel hide something yummy in my neighbor’s flower bed.  Definitely getting colder!

Speckled Mountain is about 1.5 hours away by car, and be sure to bring $3 with you to donate/get a parking pass for the day.  The elevation is not bad at 2,906 feet, but the first hour or so of the hike is GRUELING.  I’m a good long-distance hiker, but endurance climbs over steep rocks and lots of leg-lifting is NOT my thing.  Ouch.  Once we made it past that point, though, I about stopped swearing and was able to enjoy the exercise, pace myself, and stop for delicious blueberries on the trail.

At the top of Speckled Mountain we were joined by some hungry/curious gray jays (see end of video!) that will eat out of your hand if you stand really still!  Rondo (the dog) doesn’t stand very still so that was an issue.  We were also joined by a friendly couple from Maine at the summit who just passed through, and a homophobic man and two pre-teens he had brought with him who were also fans of the other ‘f’ word and one of whom was referred to as a ‘Nancy’ when he got scared when a gray jay flew at him.  Nice parenting, guy!

As usual, the walk/run down starts out awesome until your neck starts to hurt from watching the ground and your knees start to weaken from the impact.  Don’t forget to stop for water on the way down, even though you don’t feel like you need it as much.

The hike was 8 miles covered in 6 hours (or a little less) and T and B had a crock pot full of chicken and goodness waiting when we got back to Portland.  Yessss.

Recycling Clothes at Its Finest

Click to View Listing from Hand Me Down Designs, $35

You know that really awesome piece of clothing that you can’t live without but then you start… expanding… then it’s a little too small.  Then it gets a stain.  Now there’s a hole in the zipper.  Oh, darn it – now your favorite skirt is a weird, swiss-cheese sausage casing that you try to wriggle in to once a week with no luck.

I finally parted with my favorite red corduroy skirt, and I’m glad I did.  I donated it to Malaika of Hand Me Down Designs and she made a fantastic Fall bag out of it (see picture above).  The skirt was cut on the bias and I love that that shows in the body of the skirt, with the contrast of having it run vertically up the strap.  Great browns were added – it’s so cool to see my favorite skirt renewed and possibly someone new’s favorite bag!

Great job, Malaika – keep up the good work!

If you’re interested in donating your weird, swiss-cheese sausage casing clothes (or just ones you’re tired of) to Malaika to give them a new life shoot me a note and I will get you her contact information, or you can convo her on Etsy.  Making old in to new is a sense of satisfaction only topped by the fact she gives you a coupon for a $5 credit to her shop when you donate a bag of clothes!

Where are your feathers coming from? A few reasons you might want to consider skipping the extension trend…

Roosters, actually. Thousands of euthanized, uneaten roosters from Colorado. Photo copyright Audrey Hotchkiss of Little Eye.

I’ve had something stuck in my craw for a few months now, and perusing Etsy’s tips from the Merchandising Desk (September edition) I decided it was finally time to resolve some unanswered questions and feelings I have about feather extensions.

About halfway down the page in the “Trending Topics” category they state:  “Feather earrings:  still going strong.”

Yes…so it seems.  Ok, crazy Audrey, why is that a problem?

Well — if you run a search for “feather earrings” on Etsy you get over 30,000 results.

When you run a search for “feather earrings humane you get exactly 72.

~~~

Whoa!!  I was expecting there to be a discrepancy but that is just f-ing ridiculous.  The real kicker is that now, about a century and some thirty years after feather fever swept America in hat-form, no one actually seems to be aware that millions (yep.  millions.) of birds are being plucked/bludgeoned/slaughtered in the way of that“Ooh, that would look so pretty attached to my scalp!” mentality.  The Audubon Society took great pains at the end of the 19th century to inspire legislation against the hunting and killing of birds like great blue heron and egrets that were otherwise destined to rest, sometimes in full-on taxidermied form, on the macabre coiffures of the gentle lady-folk.

~~~

Let’s back up a little, here.  I am not, by any means, discounting that there are people out there who are responsibly collecting and crafting feathers in to earrings, or whatever.  I’m not saying that those 30,000 feather earrings are created by monsters.  I eat meat.  Sometimes I even eat meat from 7-11.  I wear leather.  Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and my cats are scurrying around my feet I kick them (nicely…?) out of the way in my sleepy stupor.  So I’m not riding around on this high horse saying it should stop – I’m just saying we all need a little awareness that feathers have always and will always come from being attached to the skin of a bird.  What you want to do with that information is up to you.

~~~

If you just gotta jump on this trend, though, I suggest perusing the selections (and doing your reading) from the ‘humane’ search and see what you can find.  Here are some lovely ones from LoveLifeWear:

No bird died in the making of these earrings... but strangely, 3 people did. Freak feather-wrapping accident! Joke. Click to View Listing from LoveLifeWear.

And, for a little extra reading on the topic I’ve found these informative articles about feather fever:

-Stylist Kristin Jackson explains why she’ll never offer feather hair extensions in her salon

-Ke$ha and Steven Tyler are totally stealing food out of the mouths of fishermen.  Way to go, crappy ‘musicians’!

Just Listed

Chicken Barrette, $6 from littleeyedesigns on Etsy

‘Ello!  If you haven’t peeked in to my Etsy shop lately (click there), you’ll be blown away at all the new items.  I’ve been hemming and hawing about new listings and I realized that when you sell tiny, little specialty objects it really is a numbers game:  the more I pack in there, the more chance there will be someone who connects with the artwork featured in the bottle cap!  Many new listings still to come, but I especially like that chicken barrette.

I’m also offering FREE SHIPPING on any order over $10, all you need to do is enter “ISPENT10” (all caps, no spaces) at checkout and the shipping charge will be removed.  That’s neat!

http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com