New to my Etsy Shop: Beachy Photographs. Also I ate at a fancy restaurant.

Sometimes, covered in bottle caps, I forget that I’m actually a photographer.  It’s refreshing to dive in to the archives and see what might look nice in my shop display:

Mussels and Seaweed - Click to View Listing

Washing Ashore - Click to View Listing

Lighthouse. Dirty (Negative). Click to View Listing

All these were taken about a year ago at Preble Light in South Portland, ME.  My friend, Kendyll and I went driving around looking for a place to shoot pretty photographs of her.  There was a rainstorm during our drive and we were like “Aw, crap,” because no one particularly wanted to get wet (although in retrospect:  good photo op).  But then the skies parted, the sun shone through the mist and all the photographs came out with this vintage-y light and soft, smooth lines.  Too bad my negatives were so dirty… but I think it adds to them.  Some more will be going up tomorrow, along with some fireworks pictures from Boston and some other random ones I found.

Click on this picture to vote for the Maine Team 4th of July Challenge

In other news:  the Maine Team 4th of July Challenge is officially up and voting goes through July 3rd.  Visit the Facebook album here and “like” your favorite listing.  I’d implore you to vote for Mollie and my’s aluminum star earring and necklace set, but in the spirit of the birthday of democracy I just urge you to vote whichever one you like the best.

~~~

Also — tonight we ate at the Salt Exchange, because our LivingSocial deal was up.  Hmm.  The food is so freaking good that it’s a shame the front of house isn’t as well trained as the back of the house.  I’m not in to trashing restaurants that I eat at because I’m generally a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl so I will start off by saying that the 4 dishes we split were just about the most well constructed flavor parties I’ve tasted ’round these parts, and this girl’s even been to Fore Street.  The proportions are perfect and you really don’t need to eat that much to feel satisfied (we were fine splitting four dishes).

Only problem is I’ve got handfuls of years of front of house restaurant experience under my belt, and I have a problem not projecting ‘what I would do’ when I see someone making service mistakes.  We kept on hearing the hostess tell people that she would seat them as soon as she can, that she was just waiting for menus to come back.  Now, I get this — because sometimes that is what it is but it doesn’t make sense to your average diner.  They think to themselves “Oh, well we can just sit down and get our menus after,” or, worse — she suggests you sit at the open seats at the bar and there are two menus right on the counter when you get there … just too much information.  Less is more.  “Your reservation was for 6:15, I will seat you as soon as I can.”  (We were there early).  Serious lag between our ‘1st course’ (first 2 dishes we ordered) and ‘2nd course’ kind of truncated the delicious mouth and tummy experience.  Because the portions aren’t huge it’s really easy to move from course to course pretty quickly, so when you’re caught waiting 20+ minutes between salad/mussels and pork/seafood the stomach starts to grumble again.  Same thing when we were finished with 2nd course – the check came right away but we waited for a good while (at least 5 passes of the server by our table) with the check hanging off the table with my card right in sight.  We opted to switch it out for cash and took off after we decided we just couldn’t wait any longer.

So about the food!  So excellent.  J. and I decided that Salt Exchange is probably best if you’re going out for drinks and want ‘a snack’ because the $8 Mussels is pretty excellent.  9 mussels plus some bread, pork and onion was really flavorful and totally worth our money.  I didn’t see the dessert menu (if they have one) but it’d also be really nice to sit at the bar, split a dessert and have some coffees.  The caesar salad was great, and pretty good portions considering they ‘warn you’ ahead of time about ‘small plates’ and how that means you should order ‘3-4 per guest.’  Uhh… they must be making that recommendation based on the average American’s consumption at meal time, cause we were totally find with the 4 total that we picked.

Mmm pork tenderloin was our main course and we had a crab crostini to pair with it.  It had the best damn lime reduction…sauce…uhh… ever to dip the crab in.  And here we are, hours later at 10pm and I am still content.

So, there it is – trying something new.  Not that I’m snitty about my food at all – generally speaking we are most frequently diners at Rosie’s, Ruski’s, Hi Bombay!, Sengthai and Marcy’s.  But it’s nice to dress it up a little every now and again…

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.

Serious Dress Habit #2 – Skirting the Issue

Hmm, I seem to have found myself, yet again, with more vintage dresses and skirts that I need to clean out of the attic.  I swear that closet is the doorway to Narnia… here are some new dresses and skirts – click on the image to be taken to the Etsy or Ebay listing!

Gosh darn it, I wish this one would fit me. So gorgeous, but more for a size 4 than a size Audrey!

This is a double-lined stretchy number from Banana Republic – weird how my Ebay items always end up being BR!  Stylish, but often too small for yours truly.  Hope someone out there with less of a penchant for pad thai and ice cream will love it as much as I do!  Click here for the listing.

Olive Green Wool Blend skirt by Banana Republic.

This one’s actually been in my personal collection for over 10 years now — I bought it back in high school when I worked a Christmas season at BR (p.s. worst November ever, don’t recommend doing that!) in the stock room in the basement.  In any case, I was a size 2 in high school, then a 4 in college, then a 6 the years following and still squeezing my woman-y body in to it until this last year when it’s basically an invitation for acid reflux if I squeeze my torso in to this skirt!  I’m so sad to see it go, but again, I’d be more sad to stop eating ice cream and pad thai and am totally. fine. with the few extra pounds I have to carry as a result.  🙂

Vintage Ultramarine Pencil Skirt, 100% wool from Jones of New York.

I found this one yesterday and thought the high quality, U.S.A. construction and 100% wool skirt was too much to pass up.  Currently listed in my Etsy shop, this one’s a size 10 for some more realistic expectations.  I kinda hope no one buys it so I can wear it around!

Vintage 1980s L.L. Bean Maxi Skirt in Farquharson(ish) Plaid

Awesome!  I love it when I find plaid things with old L.L. Bean tags.  This’ll be a dream to wear around while I wait for someone to pick it up out of my Etsy shop.

Don't Even Think About It

Okay, at first I was going to make this an Ebay listing.  But on second thought I’m going to add this one to my permanent collection.  Pretty white pin prick polka dots on a flowy black skirt??  I just can’t resist.

Little Eye Destash – Audrey Cleans House

Ceramic Owl Beads, Set of 4

Or, “Audrey Cleans Bead Drawer” is more like it.  Probably not enough to make boyfriend completely elated (I would start getting rid of clothes and shoes if all his wildest dreams were to come true), but it’s a start!  Spring cleaning has to begin somewhere.  Throughout this post I’ve peppered images from listings just recently posted on Etsy.  Keep in mind if you want to buy the whole lot of them and call it good I’d be happy to quote a price for you at a pretty substantial discount.  I just want them gone!

Now, to rant…

For the fifth day in a row this week I managed to sleep in.  This time it wasn’t just the 10 or 20 bewildering minutes that I’d been snoozing extra at the beginning of the week,… no.  A good, solid 30 minutes AFTER I was supposed to be at work I heard the boyfriend’s alarm go off (not mine) and jumped out of bed like a bat out of hell running madly around the house collecting articles of clothing and bits of breakfast, hoping that it would come together in a whirlwind as one full outfit and meal.  No dice.  By 9am I was sweating in unseasonal clothes and my tummy was grumbling hardcore.  Good thing boss brought in donut holes.  Yes!!

I’ve been wondering all day after this, the most egregious of sleep-ins, what the hell is causing my new exhaustion.

Gold and Enamel Autumn Leaves, Set of 2

Mononucleosis?  That’d be a trip, considering I’m not a 13 year old girl.  I used to fantasize about kissing the wrong person and getting out of school for a month.  Basically my main objective through middle and high school was to be as manageably and convincingly ‘sick’ for as long as possible.  What can I say?  I’m an independent learner.

Warm weather?  As a clammy, weird, pale Irish girl I’m somewhat prone to the moister months of March and April.  I was born in San Francisco where fog replaces snow in the long ‘winter’ season.  So when it starts to get hot and humid I basically soak in the atmosphere and get all puffy and sweaty.  Attractive?  Yes, obviously.  The only other benefit is that it makes me sleep deeply once I can manage to ignore my weird, pale Irish cheek sticking to the pillow.

Must Be All That Sun

Party Girl?  Granted, our downstairs neighbor had a real rager ’til 2am on Tuesday.  That’s weird!  So maybe it jumpstarted my week in a bad kinda way?  It explains Wednesday, at least.  But the only other ‘partying’ I did was to split a 6-pack with boyfriend last night which should hardly put me so under that I can’t hear the dang alarm in the morning.  Either that, or I’m becoming a lightweight.  Thank goodness!  It’s so much less expensive when you’re drinking out…

Both Ends of the Candle Are Burning:  That’s definitely true.  I hardly have a minute… scratch that, I don’t even want a minute!  So naturally there comes a little exhaustion with that.

I suppose it could be any of these or a combination of them all.  I’m just glad the weekend’s here, the alarm clock’s off, and I can catch up on all those beauty Z’s and internet duties I’ve grown so accustomed to.  Hope you enjoy yours as much as I know I’ll enjoy mine!!

Jointed Fish Pendant from China Trip 1999

A Week in Favorites: I’m a Drug Addled Hippie

Etsy has the charming feature of making something ‘a favorite.’  Which isn’t always favorite so much as it is ‘neat’ or ‘memorable’ or ‘something someone I know would like.’  But it does have the benefit of being basically a photographic memory version of window shopping, so no one’s complaining here (unlike usual!)

I’ve picked some of my favorite ‘favorites’ this week and the prognosis isn’t good:  somehow I’m reverting back to 16-year-old patchy-pants, long-hair, patchouli-princess Audrey.  Oh well, what the hell — here goes nothing:  (click on the images to view the shops/listings)

Vintage Poppy Embroidered Throw Pillow from kaftansarafan

Ooh-la-la.  The haze of an opium daze never looked so stylish!  I’m mostly in love with this because of the color combination, but there’s a counter culture wannabe in me that just can’t resist poppies in any form.

Hippie Chic Long Sleeve Vintage Dress from OhSweetJosephine

Here’s a number.  A large number.  Of flowers.  Although I’m not normally an elastic neckline kinda girl I’ll totally take it with this listing.

Vintage Rhinestone Butterfly Brooch from OhSweetJosephine

OhSweetJosephine is 2 for 2!  If you didn’t take mushrooms before you hallucinated this rhinestone brooch it’s high time for a schizophrenia screening.  Speaking of mushrooms…

Zen Girl by elsita

 This here’s my favorite favorite from this week.  Look at how happy she is!  It’s probably because her hairdo is so cute.

Serious Dress Habit

The Ultimate Stockpilers: SWAP Maine.

Ok, ok.  I go through these cycles where I stockpile then liquidate.  Until very recently I was in stockpile mode… here are some details about the ebb and flow of stockpile and liquidate.  Does it sound familiar to you?  Creative people are crazy.

Stockpile.

I go in to stockpile mode when I’m well in funds, successful in business (2 Etsy sales?  Time for a Goodwill shopping spree!!) or when the opportunities arise (SWAPMaine, anyone?)  It usually starts with a theme in mind (“Ooh, I really need to stock up on kitchen utensils”) and inevitably ends up with a series of purchases of shoes and dresses, mostly not in my size, that I think are ‘awesome’ and ‘can totally be resold on Etsy or Ebay.’  As a result I end up with one or two gorgeous dresses and pairs of shoes for me (Yay!) and a pile of shoes in a box collecting dust or a section of dresses on hangers in my closet making it tricky to get to the more functional, less profitable clothes.  Hrm.  Enter:  liquidation mode.

Liquidate.

Once I’ve stockpiled enough things that don’t make any sense for me to keep in my apartment I seek outlets that are fitting for the items’ trajectory.  Items that I got for free or nearly free that are longer calling my fancy are either re-donated to Goodwill or a clothing swap.  Jeans, shorts and other hardy fabrics are collecting in a bag for Malaika at Hand Me Down Designs.  T-shirts and knit tops that are not for resale are collected for Laura from Sweeter Salt and her t-shirt necklaces.  Items I purchased with the intent of wearing but er… didn’t really fit *cough* toomuchpadthai *cough cough*… are slated for Ebay or Etsy.  Items that I bought specifically because they were awesome and ‘might sell online’ join them.  Great!  Now I gotta photograph these things.  Wait two months and then… ta-da!  It finally happens.

Ta-da!

So, I’ve been listing vintage dresses in my Etsy shop and newer, Banana Republic Goodwill finds on Ebay and would love to share them with you all.  It should also be said that I don’t jive with the trend on Etsy in charging exorbitant prices for vintage – ok, people, we do deserve $$ for finding and curating a line of vintage clothing — but if you got it for $2.50 because you had the right color barb on the Goodwill racks you should pass the savings on to your customers a little!  My Etsy dresses are in the $20 range and the Ebay items start at $0.99.  Start ogling!

Navy and Orange Silk Links Wrap Dress - by Banana Republic

Skinny Girls Navy and Burgundy Striped Banana Republic Dress

Handsewn Sailor Dress (also for skinny girls!) ca. 1980s. Fresh!

Daisy Buchanan 1920s Style Dress from the 80s.

The Mint Julep Swing Maxi Dress... Barely Vintage! But still fabulous.

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?

Craft Sale Alert!: West End Craft and Treasure Fest

Well, well, well!  Still reeling here in East Bayside from this weekend’s BIG THAW and so excited about how it turned out.  So excited, in fact, that I decided to hop on, last minute, to a craft fair that will be held in a couple of weeks (May 7) in Portland’s West End at the really lovely Williston West Church on Thomas St.  I remember taking a Tai Chi class there when I was super little with my dad.  What a lovely neighborhood for a spring walk and a stop-in at the fair!

There will be about 15 vendors and the proceeds from the tables will go to The Children’s Nursery School, located in the West End.  Given these are my old stomping grounds I’m happy to help old neighbors out while I peddle my wares!

Please stop by between 9am and 1pm for some good times for a good cause!  Here is some of what I’ll be bringing:

Emergency Instructions - Found images from airline pamphlets

BIG THAW magnet and pins, left over from last weekend!

Music Caps in Pins, Magnets, Necklaces and more!

Set of 6 Bottle Cap Wine Glass Charms

Ooohhh and so much more.  It’s my first ‘solo’ craft show so I’m going to have more room than I know what to do with!  I’m hoping to have my beer bottle medallions (inspired by Mike Cunnane of the Rattlesnakes, Huak, and Sunset Hearts) finished by then, too — a ‘working class’ twist on the wine glass charms above.  See you there!

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Donation

Lights and Lines, 5"x5" Photograph by Little Eye

Many thanks to Judy Babin from JudyB on Etsy for bringing a donation opportunity to my attention.  Oftentimes I can’t afford to donate money to the organizations that I support, but being able to give art for silent auctions, fundraisers and other events is a real great thing.

Judy came by tonight and picked up the photograph “Lights and Lines” at the top of this entry (framed), and a matching necklace (pictured below).  In all, it’s a $35 value which will hopefully rake in even more than that at their silent auction for the New England chapter coming up.

 

"Lights and Lines" Necklace, $10 by Little Eye Designs

I also had the opportunity to donate for the second year in a row to Mayo Street Arts‘ “Art With Heart Hootenanny,” a Valentine’s celebration that is meant to raise funds for the Center to make improvements to their venue.

I’m not sharing all this to toot my horn and decree the excellence-that-is-my-bountiful-giving-heart.  No, no!  I mean, we already know that so there’s no point in being redundant.  I am posting about giving of yourself in hopes that other people who are as financially limited as me see their time or talents as a way to give without writing a check!

If you or anyone you know is looking for arts and services donations to worthy causes please be sure to contact me at:  littleeyedesigns-at-gmail-dot-com.  I can donate framed photographs, jewelry, gift certificates, custom magnet and pin sets (for families, weddings and baby showers) and am also a portrait and wedding photographer.  No job is too small for Little Eye!