Brick and Mortar Opening: pinecone+chickadee

Hey!  Don’t you guys just love Picnic?  Hasn’t it made living in Portland just that much cooler?


Well, some of the brains and adorableness behind Picnic (pinecone+chickadee) are having a Grand Opening of their brick and mortar shop for First Friday:  tonight!  Amy and Noah will have delicious wine and snacks, but it really doesn’t matter booze or not, since you can purchase a purse shaped like a taco, a funny looking head of a tiger roaring (vintage), a weird lamp with fake plants in it that ‘rains,’ designs by Kris Johnsen (Emblem Studio), Meagan Anderson and more.  Big, chunky jewelry, the memory game from Merchants Row and, of course, your favorite designs from pinecone+chickadee.

There are a myriad of other reasons to head to Free St. tonight.  First of all:  Friday afternoon coffee at Arabica will ensure that you’ll be peppy and awake for the FINAL Marie Stella Show at Empire Dine + Dance with Hi Tiger and the Sunset Hearts.  P.S. They’re all good.  Secondly, pinecone+chickadee is situated between your caffeine fix and Find, which has the wherewithall to sell MY products (yeah!) as well as vintage and gently used clothing selected with impeccable taste.  Perfect!

Fine Feathers Make a Fine Bird by Meagan Anderson

Strength in Numbers: A 4th of July Collaboration with Mollie Ann from Rough Magic Creations

Eureka!  This week has the important distinction of being the week I finished a collaboration with another talented crafter, Mollie Ann, of Rough Magic Creations.  It all began when the Etsy Maine Team came up with a 4th of July Team Challenge, to create (by yourself or with a partner) a holiday-themed piece for Independence Day.  Being the enormous fan of red, white and blue that I am (my photo background has been only that, lately!) I was super psyched.

I got in touch with Mollie, knowing that she was way more talented with metal than me.  I’ve been thinking for a long time about branching out of the bottle cap bezel world, and this was a great first opportunity.  Mollie and I put our heads together to make a star-shaped earring and pendant with a circular bezel hammered right in the center.  Here is our initial sketch:

And by 'sketch,' I mean image of a star I copied and drew elements on!

From there, we agreed that sheet aluminum would have the right color we were looking for (Mollie usually uses copper, but the silver color and price point of aluminum worked well with our design) so she ordered it and I waited with much anticipation to receive my new bezels in the mail!

Empty Bezels, Waiting for their stars + stripes

Finally (okay, I say ‘finally’ but it was so fast, like a day later!  I was just like an excited kid on Christmas morning) I received the lovely pieces (pictured above) in the mail, ripe for the epoxy-ing!  After cutting some custom size circles, gluing and mixing epoxy Mollie and I were the proud parents of the pieces you see below:

Stars and Stripes Earrings, $26 on Etsy

Stars and Stripes Pendant (You pick stars or stripes) $24 on Etsy

Stars and Stripes Earrings and Pendant Set, $48 on Etsy

Mollie and I are so pleased at how these turned out!  The photo prototypes are our ‘rough drafts’ so we’ve made some changes, including making the bezels deeper so that the epoxy doesn’t bleed around the edges of the circle … which you can kind of see in the picture but won’t be an issue on any further runs of the sets.  If you’re interested in ordering a pair of earrings, a necklace, or a set of earrings and a necklace please know you can specify what combination of stars and stripes you’d like!  Order from either Mollie or I in our Etsy shops (you can click on the images to link to the listings) and let us know what you’d like!  We can also do the stars with totally different images, not just stars and stripes.  🙂  The stars and stripe sets are made of lightweight charms with a nickel ball chain for the necklaces and sterling silver ear wires for those of us with sensitive ears!

All orders received by June 22nd should be shipped to you in time for the 4th of July.

June 2011: First Friday Picks

Wondering what to do tonight?  Here are some items definitely on my to-visit list:

GRAND OPENING of The Merchant Co., a ‘flea market’ of nearly 50 Portland and Maine artists, crafters and vintage resellers.  I am selling here – woo-hoo!  Music, wine, snacks, and a raffle tonight.  Don’t miss it!  656 Congress St., where Coast City Comics used to be!

Launch of Beaux&Arrow, a collaboration between Emblem Studio and Ponomo featuring screen printed leather… and more?  I dunno.  Go to the Portland Museum of Art to find out.  Swanky, huh?

Fore River Gallery celebrates 2 years, why not check out what they have on the walls?

Racy Photo Shoot and Storm Watch Skies

Hi, hi.

Let’s start off with the really fun bits first.  I’ve always been an advocate of self-portraiture.  Photography, painting, drawing, songwriting, what the hell, whatever — internal introspection can sometimes lead to growth and development but actually having a physical image, product, sound as a result of the process is really motivating.

This month I’m going to restart shooting myself which has gone undone for wayyyyy too long.  Sure, there have been a plethora of PhotoBooth captures but those aren’t much work at all, are they?

3/4 Portrait

A good place to start is photographing just your face.  I like to see all the angles of what I look like and I like to see what the expressions I make look like to others and not just how they feel showing up on my mug!

Go adventuring to outside locations and set up a tripod, focus on the ground near where you think you’d like to stand, and set the timer on the camera to 10 seconds or so, however long it takes you to get over there.  Be sure to turn auto-focus off if you have a DSLR.  What locations move you?  What places reflect your personality?

Photograph yourself in your home doing something normal, but style it like you see yourself in your imagination.  Are you doing the dishes?  No one says you can’t do ’em in high heels and a cocktail dress.  This is your fantasy.

Now comes my favorite… which I can’t actually share any images of because I have a strict no-showing-my-ta-tas-on-the-internet rule.  But really — photograph yourself completely naked.  The advent of digital photography makes it so that you can shoot and print your very own boudoir photos without involving the creepy guy with the ratstache at the Photo Center in Walgreens.  You don’t have to show them to anyone, and they might be COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS but why live this life without trying every ding dong thing there is to do in this world?  Trust me, it’s fun.


Now on to the skies…

Yesterday the sunset cast a gorgeous hue on East Bayside.  It’s doing it again now, too.  I’m very afraid of tornadoes, but the one thing I live for in this world is gorgeous light.  Why can’t the skies be like sunset all the time?  It’d get old, you say?  No, no it wouldn’t.

Here are a few captures:

Looking up Oxford St (Up Munjoy Hill)

Out the Attic Window towards Bayside

Write Words Every Day

Fire Portrait I made Kristina take of me. Stay tuned for more Fire Portraits, one day.

Just recently my good friend and co-worker, Anna, helped me figure out that I don’t really feel the need to do anything unless I am accountable to other people for it.  That’s kind of extreme – there are certainly days when I treat myself to cleaning my closet or painting my toenails, but for the most part my truly fabulous accomplishments happen when there are brick and mortar stores, craft fairs, or others that are relying on my elbow grease.

Same is true for keeping a journal.  The only reason I would write anything (that wasn’t a children’s book or a novel… one-day-dream that I hope I can accomplish before kicking it) is to have others read it.  Thus begins my efforts to post something here every day, art-related or not, a little link or an epic tome, just to get the fingers moving.

Let’s recap this utterly insane weekend.

On Friday, Kate of A Sweet Disorder and general awesome-lady-ness announced she was going to get married on Tuesday.  Yeah, like yesterday!  Being that she’s the light of Portland it was imperative to put together something weird, fun, quirky, and kinda expensive (but not too expensive).  And swanky.  Definitely swanky.

Brain-Shatteringly Amazing Women in front of a pretty cool vehicle

Enter:  white limo.  Kate came over on Monday night and we surprised her (well, kinda, of course I spilled the beans 20 minutes before it got there, what an asshole) while drinking frozen white russians and talking about weiners.  Yeah, bachelorette party!  Sierra brought a sweet-30 rack of High Life that we poured in to the champagne-of-beers flutes in the limo and cruised around, stopping momentarily for pees around Portland and french fries at Wendy’s in Saco.  Mmm.  Also, p.s., props to Bayside Limo for being the bestest, cheapest limo service off the peninsula!  Definitely recommend.

See: Jerk Chicken at top left of grill

Saturday (going back here) was nice and quiet with errands and a Goodwill trip ruling the day.  We also picked up $15 worth of chicken and started marinating for a party at 6pm on Sunday.  When it comes to jerk you want that shit to be dredged, marinated, and SPICY.  P.S. it worked and peoples’ mouths were burning up.  Kate even said the inside of her ear was tingling!

Sunday we went to Tara and Brian’s house after I met with Elise of eden. and Kate of Kate Sullivan-Jones to finish our space at The Merchant Co. which is having its grand opening First Friday on Congress St., across from Bang! and the cryptozoology museum.  It’s freaking awesome in there.  The Merchant Co. will have a swanky space for classes and crafting in addition to housing goods for your purchase of nearly 50 Maine (and mostly Portland) artists, designers and vintage resellers!

Summer is Here

Tara and Brian’s house on Sunday, per usual, was great.  A manicured backyard, delicious chips and dips, a smorgasbord of meats and veggie options and oodles of people who mostly make things out of instruments, art and fabric when they’re not slaving away at their 9 to 5 jobs.  I helped Tara put up Christmas lights just before everyone arrived and Brian lit a fire when the sun went down and aren’t night time parties freaking gorgeous?  I want a house, mostly so I can have a back yard.  Le sigh… one day…

Yeah, yeah, and Monday I didn’t have to go to work but I did go to Michael’s and buy a Yudu with Jason which I’m pretty sure is super cheesy but the results look pretty good and it’s a good start to learning screen printing.  It’ll come in handy for a number of reasons, but the one I’m most excited about is helping Mom get away from the clutches of Cafepress and start selling on Etsy.  Step away from the dark side, Momma!

The Daisy Buchanan Dress. Click the image to go to the listing.

I’m also psyched because I just started listing some of the dresses that I buy at Goodwill going ‘this is cool, I can probably sell it on Etsy’ that have been piling up in my closet but either don’t fit me, aren’t exactly my style, or are so far out there (but still excellent) that I couldn’t help but purchasing.  The newer ones (I have lots of Banana Republic for some reason) will go on Ebay and the vintage items get a nice, little corner in my Etsy shop.  Hoo-rah.

Kate & Mike's 'Ceremony' officiated by the lovely Kristina Balbo

Then on Tuesday night we kind of impromptu went over to Mike and Kate’s, not realizing they were going to get married in their apartment, and witnessed them tie that knot real tight!  Above is my favorite pictures from what I took.  More to come soon!

How was your long weekend?  As nutso as mine or did you get to relax with a mojito and wiggle your toes in a kiddie pool for three days?

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!