Super Sunday

Socks for Sale!

Yes!  I finally took the pictures I wanted of my favorite new thing to make:  socks!  The above foot warmers are made with 100% Peruvian wool and are SUPER warm.  Don’t worry about sweaty feet, though, because the wool will wick away moisture while keeping your toes warm.  The ankle-high sock is $29, and the high top sock is $34.  Each pair is made to order, and if you have any special requests I am happy to try and accommodate.  Please specify shoe size (or foot length, from back of heel to tip of big toe) for perfect fit (or, if you’re not sure, ‘small’ ‘medium’ or ‘large’).  These will be going up in my Etsy shop before the weekend is up so come check it out!

Delicious Treats Only Take 30 Minutes

I’m excited, because tonight we’re going to Brian and Tara’s house for a fire.  Because I love fire so much, it doubles the fun of hanging out with friends.  I am going to bring my camera and do weird things with it!  I made the brownies above for the event, and because Brian and Tara are in a band called the Rattlesnakes this concoction is now called ‘Rattlesnacks’ in my mind cookbook.  All you really do is add Reese’s peanut butter chips to brownie mix, but sh, don’t tell.  I did these while I was simultaneously making chicken salad/chicken broth – so with a total of maybe one hour in the kitchen I managed to make lunch, a food staple and dessert in one sitting.  Plus I got to wear one of my vintage aprons so… totally worth it.

Lots of bottle caps

Lots of bottle cap work yesterday, today and tomorrow.  See how each of those has a little jump ring in them?  Well.  Each jump ring must have a hole made for it.  Then the hole needs to be sealed after the ring is put in.  Le sigh…

More Socks on the Way

Started this pair to fill the monotony between bottle cap batches.  A typical day goes like this:  come home from work (7am-4pm), throw stuff on a chair, sit on the couch, turn on the Cosmos, lean over bottle caps, every hour take a stretching, sitting up, dry time break and knit.  Eat dinner at some point, bottle caps, knit, repeat.

If you haven’t seen that applications are open for The Big Chill this December 3rd, then you should click on this to download your application now!

I must be manic today.

Your Custom Little Eye Magnets

A couple of months ago I was delighted to receive custom orders from Malaika of Hand Me Down Designs and Laura Duplissis LeBrun of Sweeter Salt for two very different wedding-related orders.  Malaika needed gifts for bridal showers (magnet sets with the couples’ images and two bottle cap charm necklaces of the same) and Laura wanted some unique, DIY-type gifts for all her wedding guests.  Tonight, I want to illustrate the custom option that Little Eye has to offer for wedding favors, birthday presents, stocking stuffers, Easter hide-ables, baby showers, etc. etc. – the sky is the limit!  I love working with people and their designs, making them fit in bottle caps, and working together to color coordinate the caps for maximum customization.  It’s all about you, guys!

Laura wanted little wedding favors that were affordable and memorable – the first thing you should know about custom work from Little Eye Designs is that bulk ordering (100 pieces or more) is priced wholesale.  If I can get a whole bunch of work done at once I’m happy to pass the savings on to you!  So, Laura’s graphic design-savvy fiancé (now husband!) designed the perfect graphic to describe them, illustrated it in their wedding colors and passed it on to me:

Ross and Laura Sailing, Waving

Yes!   Ross sized the image in to a circle for me, but most of the time I am working with raw images and I will do a few crops and submit to my customer’s approval.  Some images are better at being ‘circled’ than others – I usually recommend that people send 2-3 images of the thing they might want in their custom caps, that way if one picture is not as good as the others for the crop then there will still be plenty of options.

After receiving the image, Laura and I decided that sunshine-y yellow backs for the bottle caps would be the perfect color to complement the image on the front as well as their wedding colors.  Coordination is everything, no?  Now, Audrey — get to work!

Custom Images - Printed and Cut

First, I made templates and printed out the design Laura and Ross wanted – then I cut them all out and stacked them up in little columns.  I am a bit specific about my process…

Prepared Caps and Fixed Images

The little Rosses and Lauras are then put in to prepared bottle caps (backs painted, half-filled with epoxy) and fixed with a crafters glue to prevent any color bleeding.  Then I did this about a 100 more times while I watched silly programs on television – most likely “The Cosmos” with Carl Sagan because I don’t have the right kind of attention span for “The Bachelorette.”

Ahh, finished!

You can see from the shiny-ness above that these are the finished caps.  The glued images were then covered in a layer of epoxy and let to dry and cure for maximum strength.  .5″ diameter ceramic magnets are then attached to the back using jeweler’s glue (pretty powerful stuff) which makes for a strong hold (3 take out menus?  One exceptionally heavy macaroni craft?), good functionality while not being too bulky.  You can also see the bright, yellow finish with white dappling which is my handy-dandy “Little Eye” technique.  Now put these babies up on a vintage ‘Frigidaire’ door at the entry of your wedding’s dining hall and you’ve got a really cool way to help your guests remember you, your wedding day and how much fun they had every time they open up their refrigerator door.

Here are some applications for custom Little Eye magnets.  (I make pins, necklaces, hair clips and rings, too!):

-Bridal Showers (photographs, wedding date, a ‘set of 12’ as a gift)

-Bridal Party Favors (flowers, images of the bride (and groom), sayings)

-Wedding Favors (illustrations, photographs, wedding date)

-Baby Shower Gifts and Favors (ultrasound images, illustrations)

-Stocking Stuffers (inexpensive gifts for everyone)

-Baby Announcement (set of 2 with photograph of baby and birth date/weight) in addition to greeting card announcements

-Birthday Presents (do your friends really like Twin Peaks?  How about a magnet set!?)

-Band Pins (your band’s logo or photo to sell at shows with other merch and music)

-Anything else you can dream up in your noggin!

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you’re interested in any of the above or more!

You can reach me at the ol’ gmail at:  littleeyedesigns

Metal Feathers Band Pin with Bumper Sticker Graphic - Click to See Their Page!

Finding My Visual Language

Any handmade, small business adventurer will tell you the hardest thing about start up is choosing a name and choosing a brand.  Although I found my name almost two years ago and am still quite pleased, it’s been a process finding the visual language that is appropriate for the product, appropriate for me, and can be used in multiple ways to accentuate not just one product, but many.

There are more than a few Etsy shops that have a visual language that they stick with that truly works for them.  Two of my favorites (and Etsy superstars who also happen to be part of the “MaineTeam“) are Rocky Top Soap Shop and Long Winter Farm.  Just visit those links and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So when I was preparing displays for a craft show last week a big, fancy light bulb went on above me and all of a sudden I knew it!  It had been right there all along.  The finish on the back of my bottle caps is a dappled paint in a variety of colors meant to complement the image on the front.  If photography and that pattern exist side by side in my product why wouldn’t I feature it in my background?  Yes!  So I spray painted some tins from the holidays and set them up to sell last weekend with considerable success, since it was a super nice day and not a lot of indoor craft shoppers were milling around.

Then, this weekend when I sat down to shoot some more product to put in my Etsy shop I was pleased to discover the tins work just as well as a background!  Observe:

Milwaukee's Finest Set of 2 Barrettes - $10 at Little Eye Designs on Etsy

Beasts of Burden - Set of 2 Barrettes, $10 at Little Eye on Etsy

The Good Samaritan - Set of 2 Barrettes from Little Eye on Etsy $10

 So, see?  I think it works.  The cool thing is I can spray paint new backgrounds to change with the season and the items themselves as needed.  Really looking forward to playing more with this, but I finally feel like I’m on the right track with my shop ‘look’ and branding.

I would love to know what you think!

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!

You Either Stay Up Late or Get Up Early

…or Both.  Sometimes I do both.

I’ve been rather neglectful of this little corner of the internet.  I like to think of it as the cyber equivalent of my bathroom which, up until I had guests over exactly seven days ago, had been ignored in the same, increasingly inconvenient way.

A little recap, here is what I’ve been busy on:

Poster by Meagan Anderson and Kris Johnsen. $8 on Etsy!

The BIG THAW Portland – she is coming to a Mayo Street Arts Center near you and it’s going to be just brilliant, I am sure of it.

Shallots, $6.50 for 5"x5" Print

I’ve been listing photos on Etsy, which while not totally profitable is getting my work included in lots of treasuries, so I cannot complain.  Above is one the community just couldn’t get enough of the first couple of days it was up.

Metal Feathers is Good.

The ‘busy season’ has started at work again, so I’ve spent less time trolling the internet for awesome things.  But in the meantime, you should probably just check out Mike’s tumblr.  Which is fun to watch because Metal Feathers, my boyfriend’s band, is on their sometimes playing, sometimes heckling the people who are playing.  All in good fun, much like their new album, Contrast Eats the Slimey Green, which is so worth listening to.

Set of 6 Bottle Cap Wine Charms, $8 on Etsy

Lastly, but not leastly, I’ve been working on a new project do develop bottle cap wine charms.  I’m also in to the idea of flipping these guys upside-down and doing custom orders for weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, etc.  The wedding market is truly untapped by Little Eye Designs.  Why, oh why?  First of all, I love weddings.  I love shooting weddings.  So why wouldn’t I furnish them, too?

This is just a little dose for now.  If you’re jonesin’ for some smarmy writing it’s probably better if you go visit The BIG THAW for awhile until all the dust settles in mid-April.  That’s where most of my efforts are, these days!

End of Year Clearance SALE!

Our own little Cyndi Lou Who surveys the surprise-decorated living room!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  Ours was full of excitement and noisy toys, what with the advent of our newest, youngest family member.  Quiet Christmases are a thing of the past for the next dozen or so years…thank goodness!

To clear room in my studio and start 2011 fresh, I am having a clearance sale at my Etsy store.  Also feel free to get in touch to visit the studio and select items in person.  Here’s how it works:

"Mint" necklace and casino lights pin set, soon to be listed. $11 (before discount)

Go to my Little Eye Designs shop at http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com .

Choose one or two or twenty listings from my Etsy store.  When you are ready to checkout, enter the coupon code “GETITGONE” during the purchasing process.  40% will automatically be deducted from your total.

Each shipment will contain a special gift for your helping me to clean out my studio space!  Sale runs from Sunday, December 26th through Monday, January 3rd.  Shipments will go out beginning Tuesday, Jan. 4th when I return from vacation.

Bare Branches Set of 3 pins $7.00. Click for listing.

Happy shopping, everyone!

Visit:  http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com to shop!

Holds Water

There are some things in this world that are iconic and undeniable – usually perched high above the world and offer some function of survival.  Windmills might be an example of this, the pretty kind in Holland (although the new ones on the coastline are pretty remarkable, too).  Power lines connect most every one of us and energize our homes.  But today I’m talkin’ about water towers.

This lovely lady from BK put together a water tower treasury featuring my Water Tower Bottle Cap Necklace which is on sale in my shop for $10.  Click on the image of my necklace to be taken to the treasury!

Click me for watery goodness!