bulls, bears and bees


Last year, rounding the calendar I decided to apologize less.  A lot less.  Not the really real apologies, where they are truly meant or needed, no:  the “sorrys” on the chopping block were casual, numerous and daily.

“Hey, did you do this thing that I haven’t asked you to do yet?” (co-worker)

“Sorry, no!  I’ll get right on it” (old me)

“I haven’t!  But I’d be happy to.”  (new me)

So this year I’m taking it one step further and making myself comfortable with saying No.  And not necessarily saying it, but doing it – as excited I get about every project everyone is working on I am going to focus by saying “Nope!” to tasks that aren’t directly related to my personal goals.

A-ha, now the fun part:  what are my personal goals?

This year I’m going to focus on two pretty substantial projects:

-Bees.  (Yes, real ones.)  I’m going to build them a home and share honey with them.

-Understanding the stock market.  Maybe even using the stock market.  Maybe.

So there it is, propolis and residual honey and portfolios and residual income.

happy new year, folks.

water bugs

My heart!  Going back through pictures in 2014, I found these ones from when brother took his daughter to the pool on our Grammie’s most recent visit to Portland.  The littlest one spent the summer getting used to swimming where her toes can’t reach.  Although she looks like a baby chimp clinging to her Mama in these pictures, the little woman now kicks and glides and floats after all this year’s practice.

blog5 blog9blog8 Her dad’s always been a dolphin, scaring everyone when he would jump in the deep end without hesitation at the mature age of two.  Even still, his method of teaching her to swim was a lesson in trust, bonding and total security in the water.  My heart swells to know what an awesome father he is.

marlo, our newest



Our little guy!  Obviously this little bit of web space has not been updated in awhile, and as life is wont to do there have been changes, changes, changes.

Change #1:  We bought a house.  Yes!  It’s awesome, and terrifying.  More on that later.

Change #2:  We are increasing our chances of becoming crazy cat people, the population has grown from 2 to 3 since we last posted.

A warm, July evening my husband met me in the driveway as I came home from having 12 inches of hair chopped off.  He held up his phone with a picture of a kitten and said “Wanna go get him?!”

Of course, husband, of course.

So we picked him up from a friend’s farm in the countryside and rode home with him in my lap in the dying light.  I remember the temperature was the perfect kind when you can’t tell where your skin stops and the air starts.  Marlo was trembling in my lap so I wrapped him in my hoodie and held on tight.

A friend recently reassured me that in order to graduate from ‘cat people’ to ‘crazy cat people’ the ratio of cats to people needs to be 3:1.  So frankly we’re three cats away, and considering husband’s allergies’ reluctance to adjusting to Marlo I think 3 is going to be the number for awhile.

Welcome home, buddy!

new in the shop!

I’ve been stocking up my shop in anticipation of Picnic Holiday Sale, which will be Sunday, December 15th (for any of you who might want to shop the bestest craft sale in Maine before the holidays).

This year I will be selling under the name of my new project, Maine Forager’s Field Guide, which will feature not only goods from Little Eye Designs but some products from friends/Maine makers as well as oodles of vintage sweaters, plaid shirts and vinyl.  I’m pretty excited about it.

So Little Eye has been up to some new things.  In no particular order:

Harbor Seal blank greeting cards, set of 5.  $12.00 on Etsy

Harbor Seal blank greeting cards, set of 5. $12.00 on Etsy


Airstream Greeting Card – Blank Inside. $12.00 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer.  $14.95 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer. $14.95 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer, $14.95 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer, $14.95 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer, $14.95 on Etsy.

Seed Stitch Ear Warmer, $14.95 on Etsy.

It’s so nice to have pulled the knitting kit out of storage and cast on these projects.  For me, late fall and early winter is inspiration for curling up on the couch and knitting a few inches.  Know what I mean?

wild things

smDSC_5284smDSC_5273 smDSC_5262 smDSC_5245 smDSC_5306Some shots from the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine this past weekend.  Our local wildlife is so much more impressive when it’s up close and not rustling through the garbage bins, making a mess.  The Maine Wildlife Park is a rehabilitation center, so these animals wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild.  For the most part, their enclosures are pretty big.  I’d love to see the mountain lion get a little more room to wander, but the coyote had quite a running space, the moose and bears, too.

Last pic isn’t an animal on display, but she’s native to Maine and definitely very wild!


IMG_1731Remember all that garden talk last week?  Mother Nature sure has been working overtime and now there are actual things that we can pull out of the ground and eat.  I’ve never actually prepared rhubarb before, so the burgeoning leaves signaled a challenge for me:  what to do with these strange, red shoots?

As usual, I took my inquiries over to Tastespotting.  If you haven’t used it, you should.  Just enter an ingredient or a recipe and gorgeous pictures and delicious recipes populate the screen.  A search for “rhubarb” didn’t disappoint.

rhubarb01wmFrom left to right, I made lemon-infused rhubarb syrup, started the clock on a batch of rhubarb liqueur (that ain’t water, it’s vodka!), and an orange zest rhubarb compote.

The syrup and compote recipes were derived from the instructions here, and the simple (yet totally in another language) directions for the liqueur can be found here (there’s a bit of English at the bottom).  As I am wont to do I totally screwed around with what actually went in to each one, because let’s face it:  recipes, assembly instructions, authority figures, et. al. are totally boring.

The syrup is going to make its way in to something yummy tonight, relaxing with the peepers and the fireflies on the back porch.

rhubarb05wmWhat’s your favorite rhubarb recipe?  Seriously, tell me!  Because there’s a monster in the backyard and it needs to be eaten!

buddha of the mesclun mix

Threat of frost over.  Things are finally happening in the garden, with a little prodding from us, a spade, a hoe and a rake.  Here’s a little peek at all the activity happening lately:

blog07 I put a prosperity Buddha in with the mesclun mix seedlings.  No garden is complete without mysterious thingies in it.  Yesterday we found a little, blue marble that had probably been underground for 15 years or more.  JR thinks he could have lost it there when he was a kid.

blog06Prosperity working already.  These salad greens take 3-6 weeks to mature.  So far we put 30 in the ground!

blog02Muddy boots.  Requisite Maine gardening gear.

blog09These are the guard cats.  The photo is deceptive – they look like they are on the lookout but the gray one is actually sulking because the brown one just hit him in the face.

blog04Rhubarb already growing with some perennial seriousness.  A gift from the past gardener, so years of pie + jams to come.  Plus, these bright, yellow surprises that woke us up out of winter slumber a couple weeks ago:

blog03So good + yellow.  When they wither I’m going to make a summer flower garden on top of them with sunflowers, hard red wheat, coneflower, cosmos, marigolds and more.  But secretly I’m waiting for the daffodils to come again.

blog05Despite some nighttime visits from the deer over the snowy months, the blueberries we planted in September are doing fine and buds are already sprouting.  You can see a little nibbled bit to the left of the triple bud.  Evidence of ungulates!

blog01Spinach beginnings.  Can’t figure if these are going in the garden or will stay on the porch.  Nice to have some greens extra close to the kitchen.

And, in closing, I’m sorry, but in lieu of children I just have to:


What are you growing this year?  Do you have any planting traditions for good luck?

easy as rocket science

DSC_4667Yes, someone very new became a little wiser today (yesterday, actually) and yours truly was in charge of the confections.  Initially, I had delusions of grandeur:

zoe bakes, click for link

But after an unpleasant run-in with the standing mixer (okay, it wasn’t the mixer’s fault) JR took an emergency run to the only gas station with frosting (thank resurrected Jesus!) that was open on Easter.  The cottage cheese textured frosting, which left me sitting at my kitchen counter laughing maniacally at 8 o’clock this morning, was quickly ‘fixed’ with a little food coloring and piped edges to make it look a little less, err, regurgitated.

DSC_4657Yes, ‘before’ pictures do exist and no, I’m not going to post them, it’s just too revolting.  I think the lesson in all of this was that we all screw up sometimes in ways that are truly, truly unimportant.  Granted, the texture of the sour cream butter cream left much to be desired, but the taste?  Oh, the taste!

DSC_4695Plus Brother’s girlfriend reminded us all that there’s an inverse relationship with flavor and looks:  “The uglier the cake, the tastier it is!”  So while I’m not quite in the running for cake wrecks, I do know that if you can’t make a gorgeous cake you ought to at least be able to whip something up that can make everyone laugh.  And ultimately, this is all that matters:




printborn02As far back as I can remember, selling has always been super exciting for me.  When I was in first grade, my friend and I bought erasers, pencils and other junk and set up a combination lemonade stand/gift shop at the edge of the yard.  I don’t think we made too much money, but I do remember a rather substantial stack of ones about 6″ thick (folded) that I would cram in my little pockets whenever I was ready to open up shop.

In my teen years my dad used to take my brother and I to thrift shops on weekends in the city and we could always get one or two things.  This is an especially exciting adventure for young people, because the price tags are reasonable when your income is essentially zero, plus it is WAY more interesting than picking one of twenty barbies off the shelf at a big box store.  Thank you, Dad, for that thrifty training.

In college, I followed my heart rather than my wallet to art school where I gained tremendous satisfaction in turning real, lived experiences in to frozen works of art using photography as a medium.

Now, as my interests focus on sustainable practices I’ve found that two pastimes  one education have effortlessly meshed in to the perfect amalgam of supplemental income.  The satisfaction of the hunt, then the find in thrift stores, yard sales and other various windfalls is exciting.  Then the sculpting, brushing off and photographing the artifact, making it new again.  Lastly, the thrill of the sale and of course the economic benefits of doing so.  Just perfect.