Music to Your Ears

found image clef earrings by little eye.

Just listed in my Etsy shop, a pair of treble and bass clef earrings made with found images from a Jimmy Buffett songbook, of all places!  The little cut out sheet music bits are set in 14mm antiqued brass bezel post earrings.  These are a great seller at the craft fairs, so I’m hoping the internuts like ’em, too.

I’m also kinda happy with the fabric in the background – I can’t tell if the flowers are too distracting yet but they seem just fine for now.  What do you think?

Speaking of music, time for me to go practice guitar — our band has a show in like a week and I’m super rusty!

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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.

Little Eye Shopping Spree: Bezels!

I think I’m going through an identity crisis.  Truly, I knew that bottle caps wouldn’t be my end-all, be-all for the rest of my life.  Wouldn’t that be awful if it was!  At the turn of 2011 I found myself craving a new adventure and I have decided to take a step-up by honing my skills and investing a little more time, money and finesse making rustic, unique pieces that stem from my original vision.

First off:  don’t worry!!  Bottle cap pins and magnets are still in the wings and I’ll be churning those bad boys out forever.  And I’ll definitely keep on creating the necklaces and hair clips as those do very well for my customers.  But!  Stay tuned at my Etsy shop and at retail locations that sell Little Eye for some bronzy, brassy jewelry that I’m so, so excited about.

I went on a shopping spree yesterday and picked out some pendants, rings and earrings (earrings!!)  I can’t wait.  Bottle caps were a little prohibitive in the earring department as they’re super heavy and not all ears can handle the weight!  These findings are dainty but bold, light but substantial:

 

Click for bunnysundries shop on Etsy. Findings galore!

Right?  Right??  I also got something similar in post earrings that come a little smaller.  I’m so freaking excited.  Did I say that already?  The biggest challenge with these and the rings will be to find a method of pouring the epoxy so that the bezel itself is on an even surface.  Otherwise I am afraid I may ruin yet another coffee table.

There are also some filigree, antiqued pendants with enormous bezels that I’m really excited to try out – I am picturing black and white photographs and oval crops that harken to an older age of photography.  Oh!  Also this new line will only be my photographs, no found images – save that for the quirky bottle caps!  Check back for the results in a couple of weeks…or a few weeks.  Or a month.  Let’s just say be safe and check back a bunch because most likely I’ll have funny things to say in the meantime.

Honing the skillz, people, honing the skillz.

I F%#&ed Up, But Don’t Sweat It

Tonight I had a turn around in my ‘business strategy.’ (If you can call sitting on the man chair in the living room watching The Wire DVDs while endlessly editing images and posting listings on Etsy a ‘strategy’)  It’s cool.  I’ve spent the last two months really pushing my ‘online presence’ following instructions to leave thoughtful comments on other blogs, ‘favorite’ other sellers on Etsy, etc. etc.  But really – the #1 reason I started doing all this bonkers bottle-cap-and-photograph stuff was because it was fun!  And when I go to a blog I like to see content!  Not to mention my entries with the highest hits are the ones where I tell funny stories that have nothing to do with jewelry.  SO!  I thought tonight I’d revisit other times I’d fucked up and my forgiving and understanding nature got me right through it with a smile.

This article had advice in it that made me smart again...

#1 – The time I dropped my camera at a wedding. Not only is this horrifying, but the wedding was just teeming with photographers.  OK, RIT alum, what the heck are you doing in Blue Hill, ME, anyways?!  The bride’s photography I’d seen before the wedding was beautiful.  Her friends had super snazzy cameras that put my Mamiya TLR to shame.  Then, just as the sun set and the guests made their way to the reception tent, ahh…I dropped my frigging camera on the ground and broke the flash mount! Cool, Audrey, real cool.  I spent the next hour trying to figure out a new camera (fail), borrow someone else’s camera (fail) and eventually settled on Macgyver-ing the damn thing and not being able to let go of my flash for the entire night.  Here are some pictures from that night:

Melting Cake Topper

Sweet Vintage-y Dancing Shot with my metallic flash thing I made

#2 – I drop things at Craft Fairs. The first time was at the end of the fair, so that was really no big deal.  But last summer when Kate and I were rolling our wares to Lincoln Park for PICNIC we lifted this dumb little thing we’d rigged up to carry a bunch of stuff at once, tipped it right, and smash!  All my candles that I’d been testing out crashed on to the pavement.  Some were spared.  Most were dangerous to touch.  We just laughed a lot, though, because it was so silly.  And besides later on I learned a better way to get the soy wax not to pull away from the vessel.  So it’s a good thing I didn’t sell them, anyways.

At this particular fair I DIDN'T drop anything. Phew!

#3 – I’ve probably ruined three huge batches of bottle caps in the last year. Due to impatience and improper measuring.  The weird thing about epoxy resin is that if you eyeball it, you’re probably in good shape.  But if you eyeball it and haven’t slept much or maybe have been in a small attic with too much paint, epoxy and mod podge fumes for too long then maybe that won’t be so good.  Botched epoxy pours are obnoxious because they’re kind of like melted saltwater taffy, in texture.  You go to touch one to see if it’s ‘ready’ and then BAM your finger is covered in sticky junk.  Then it kind of ends up on everything as you try to get all the bottle caps safely in the rubbish bin.  Then you get it on your shirt as you’re trying to wash it off your hands and you think to yourself  “God Damn it, that’s the third shirt I’ve gotten epoxy on this month, now I need to go to Goodwill.”  (Another silver lining!)  In any case I’ve wasted probably 20 hours of my life fucking up something that I should be relatively good at doing by now.  Oh well!  Just crack open the windows next time…

A lot of man-hours to be screwin' around with, Audrey

That’s all you get for now, this has been embarrassing (but enlightening!) enough.  For the record, though, all of my posts up until now have been sincere and well-thought out.  But my redirection leads me more to a self-centered place that’s less about telling and more about doing.  I’ll leave comments when they matter, ‘tweet’ thoughts that are thoughtful or pertain to the business, and let Facebook be the conduit of these things.  Off to bake a pie, take a bubble bath or knit a sweater.  Ahh, much better already!

Java Jewelry at Coffee By Design

The biggest business news of 2010 for Little Eye Designs is the launch of Java Jewelry at Coffee By Design.  When they approached me at the beginning of this year about an exclusive line of jewelry for their website and four amazing locations in Portland and Freeport, Maine, I was tickled pink.  I had worked at CBD wearing various hats for three years and could not be more excited about tailoring a line of bottle cap jewelry to the company that I know and love so well.  (P.S. The biggest personal news of 2010 is that I became an aunt.  That little girl is a spitfire.)

The fruits of these labors can be seen here, at the Merchandise page of their snazzy new website.  Seriously, Tugboat Creative have outdone themselves.  The java jewelry features six images, my favorite of which is the flowering white Caturra plant from Jardin, Colombia, the prettiest stage in the coffee consumption process (other than maybe the part where we get jazzed up on caffeine and make art!)  This is the picture:

Installation of jewelry cases and necklaces, hair clips, rings, magnets and pins happened at the end of last week in all three Portland locations.  To see these epoxied confections in person check Coffee By Design’s website for directions.   You can also order the jewelry online for the non-Portlanders out there.  Hint:  you can also buy a pound of Coffee By Design’s micro-roasted which basically gets me through early mornings, late nights, after-lunch snacks and pretty much everything else without falling asleep.  I recommend the Costa Rica La Minita which is not only delicious, but coffee from an estate whose philosophies you can feel good about.  I think one day I’d like to visit them to take the creative process one step further and photograph my own images of cherries and flowers…something we’re a bit wanting of here in the cold North East.  Cameras and Costa Rica?  Why, yes, thank you very much!

I think it’s safe to say any time I begin a new, challenging undertaking (like whipping up dozens and dozens of these necklaces!) new ideas are formed and add to the overall craftsmanship of the work I do.  Because I didn’t want beer brands sullying the purity of the coffee images I decided to make some attempts at finishing the backs in CBD’s signature orange, white and black color scheme.  Well, I thought it was so great that now all the Little Eye Designs bottle cap jewelry will be sporting bright colors with splits and splats and gradiants of all colors.  Some experimenting with paints, sealants and finishers guarantee that none of this stuff will rub off on your decolletage!

Annnd if I do say so myself these are pretty much the perfect gift for coffee lovers everywhere.  Matching latte art hair clips, a ring with a big ol’ coffee bean in the middle of it, or a set of magnets for the fridge or pins for your messenger bag.  To boot, the folks at Coffee By Design have decided to make it easier for you to stock up and are offering 10% off of 4 or more magnets or pins.  Perfect!

So excited to share with you this new development after two months of hard work and creativity.  I love coffee, I love staying busy and I love doing custom work so this was truly a pleasure.  Please share any feedback or questions you have about the product or the process!