Day 11 of Giving: Pay it forward, pay a compliment.

Hey guys, …WOW!  Firstly, let me say that the first day of Picnic was excellent.  Kate and I ended it with an embarrassing trip to McDonald’s but seriously – who wants to sit in a place after 8 hours of selling and who wants to cook?  The friendly staff at the McD’s on St. John St., that’s who.  Mmm.  Will we see you tomorrow?  I hope so!  12pm-5pm, come find us and enter the Little Eye raffle!

Secondly, today’s way of giving without really trying is to tell someone something you really like about them.  You could know them really well,  you could just see them walking down the street.  Positive reinforcement worked so well when we were little kids, right, so what’s the difference now?

“I love your coat,” “I noticed you hold the door open for that lady, it was very nice of you,” “You’ve always been a really good listener to me when I have had problems,”  etc. etc.  They may sound cheesy, but if they’re sincere the recipient can really tell.

There was no shortage of complimenting today at Picnic.  What the heck?  Did you guys dress up for this craft fair on purpose?!?  Either that or people were just coincidentally stylish today.  However you slice it, I am doing 2x the amount of planning for my outfit tomorrow, so I look awesome, too.

Time to hit the pillow, I’m beat!

Day 8 of Giving: Naughty or Nice

Bedroom eyes!

I suppose it’s normal that this year the top items on my list are boringly practical:  I need a sweet pair of pajamas to keep me warm, socks to do the same, and a truckload full of underwear so that I don’t have to do laundry for two months if I don’t want to.

But then I got to thinking:  Man, underwear is the best present ever.  Whether you’re the wearer or the watcher, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  Let me explain.

We all know that men are like butter in the pan when we don those extra-special drawers.  The ones with the little details that couldn’t possibly be worn practically under skinny jeans, the ones that are a tad-too-scratchy with lace for a full 8-hour-shift at the office.

But too often we forget that for the ladies, wearing a kick-ass pair of skivs underneath (or as) our outfit is like having a special little secret that only we (and maybe someone else lucky) will know about.

Personally, I’ve decided to treat myself to new underwear at least three times a week until Christmas.  This is easy, because I work in Westbrook a short hop skip from the strip, so all these underwear places are readily available.  Might I also suggest you do a search for handmade undies on Etsy?

Here are some possible genres of underwear we should all be treating ourselves to:


Lace. Ooh-la-la! By chickippie.

Silky Satin-y Slippery! By Hopeless.

Sustainable! By brookthere.

Day 7: Swap It!

December is a great month, hands down, probably second only to October.  October’s great because the trees are bright, the air is crisp, and the weather changing is pretty darn romantic.  Oh yeah, and my birthday’s in October.  But December’s great because people are unquestioningly nice at the end of the year.  The crosswalk on Washington Ave. is all of a sudden visible where motorists used to zoom by.  People let each other have parking spaces even if they were there first.  Lots and lots of giving.  Giiiiiive!

But with all this giving of one’s self, giving lovely gifts to other people, you absolutely can’t forget about giving yourself something new, or at least new to you.

So:  swap!  Organize a clothing swap with three of your closest, most fashionable friends.  Have a cookie party and everyone bakes a huge batch and everyone gets to bring an assortment home.  Get together with crafty people and trade unique handmade items with each other. OR do what Heidi Finn and I did tonight…


It's not weird to kiss a camera, is it?

I’m so excited for my new Nikon D80.  And she loves her Toyo 45 CF.  And it’s like we just gave ourselves the best freaking Christmas presents.  EVER.

She and her mother met me in Newburyport, MA tonight (halfway point between our houses) and we traded excellent pieces of equipment.  It was so good to see a Mass. Art face again, and especially lovely to meet her mother!

Visit Heidi’s website and get excited for the future digital love that you’ll be seeing on my blog!


Day 4 of Giving: I spent 4 bucks on you!

Whoa!  What a day.  I tried my hand at barista-ing again after a few month hiatus at Coffee By Design on Washington Ave. today.  There’s really nothing like a short shift in a customer service position in a neighborhood of people you think are great.  Today I talked to Colleen from Silly’s, Ernie, my landlord, Tiff, Marnie of Red Eye Vintage, Jan from WMPG’s “Local Motives” and so many more.  Then I walked down Congress St. for the East End Stroll stopping off, getting stamps, spending little bits of money that were easy to part with and finally entering my raffle in the box at the Yoga Studio at 72 India St.

My window shopping/under $5 spending afternoon got me to thinking about another really easy way to give.  Spend $4 or less on someone you love!

Here are some ideas:

At the coffee shop, people were treating each other left and right to coffees.  Ask a friend to meet you at your favorite cafe and when it’s time to order, foot the bill!  Better yet, if you know a friend’s favorite drinks (Kate loves mochas, Jason loves red eyes, etc.) then on your way to see them, pick one up!

Needle Felted Wool Star Baby Sula by moondogfarms. Click to view Etsy listing!

I landed at the Portland Fiber Gallery on my roundabout walk back home, and for under $5 you can get an ounce of wool and a felting needle.  The woman there was so helpful and didn’t make fun of me at all when I kept on liking wools that were not good for felting.  Woops!  She showed me a good one and I think I’m going to try my hand at making a snowball.  If I do alright, I might make a snowman.  So if you have a crafty friend who has never tried it before, what a nice way to say:  “Here…make something for me!”  😉

Little Eye pins custom made for Metal Feathers (band). Click to view all pin listings at my Etsy shop!

PINS!!  I bought one at Ferdinand for $.50 and felt so good giving Diane my money and at the same time being able to put something cool on my sweater.  It’s so much fun to root through pin baskets in stores and at craft fairs to find pieces that are perfect for people you didn’t even know you wanted to give a little gift to!  Even better that pins are normally under $4 unless they’re a brooch, in which case it’s totally fine to spend more, because they are so classy.

There have to be a thousand ways to show someone you were thinking of them without breaking the bank.  Which is good, because just a week after Christmas and it will be *dun Dun DUN!* tax time!

Day 3 of Giving: Love in your Heart

I wasn’t sure what to do today about the next free or near-to-free thing we can give.  As the day wore on, though, some interesting things happened to me that shed some light on the subject.  Warning:  this entry is quasi-religious in tone, but friends and close family I assure you I am as discerning and agnostic as always.

insanely large amounts of toilet paper (Watertown, MA, 2008)

It’s all very domestic, because the first thing that happened was at CVS while I was getting an insanely large package of toilet paper.  The second thing happened while I was on my way to Hannford to pick up medicine, chicken broth, saltines and goodness knows how many other Mom-type-things (note:  I am not a Mom, I have just always been ‘a Mom’) I would have gotten if I wasn’t trying to get home to my pajamas right quick.

Eraserhead. Would also be okay to turn right around if you saw this guy coming...if it could walk...if it were real.

Thing #1.  I began walking down an aisle in CVS where someone who I absolutely did not want to see was shopping for something-or-other.  Reason?  Not important.  But important to know that in this situation I was the one who could have brought forth forgiveness, perhaps just not ready yet.  I turned on my heels mid-aisle and went the other way, lingering in the back of the store until I knew she had finished her sale.

Greenlight: Go. (Winter 2008-2009)

Thing #2.  I had to run a second errand much later in the evening.  As I was at a stoplight on the way to Hannaford I spaced at the light and was watching a couple standing on the corner, not really realizing in the dark (with my astigmatism!) that I was staring straight at someone who has done some terrible harm to my nuclear-family-fortress-of-solidarity.  The light changed, I accelerated and left them in the snowy night.

The whole thing left me a bit sour by the time I got home for good and plopped the grocery bags, dappled with melted ‘snow’ (it only lasted a few minutes, phew!).  It didn’t bother me who I’d seen and what their own trajectory has done to my own, what bothered me was the feeling left inside was a very bitter and obstinate one.  Bad!

Sometimes it’s fun to be angry, and it can be hilarious to be dramatic.  But at the end of the day, if you don’t give yourself love in your heart and (hey, if you’re feeling generous) a little compassion to others (however terrible they’ve been!) then you’re not giving yourself the gift of feeling good and feeling right.

It may not look totally relaxing, but it is.

I broke out a batch of bottlecaps that were waiting for their found and photographed circles and I painted each one with mod podge, inserted the image and sealed them.  As the ‘finished’ pile got bigger my mind was calmer and it began to go to a place where I started asking questions about why these people had done what they’d done.  And what a stroke of luck that I would skim by them both in the same evening so I could remember how important compassion is in growing as a person.

Think of someone who has wronged you...

This month, hell, any month, take some time to think about someone who has wronged you.  Maybe they told someone something you had explicitly asked them to keep a secret.  Maybe they took advantage of you.  Whatever it was, it’s not worth harboring hate inside your own body/mind.  So ask the questions, get the bad out, and give yourself the gift of filling the holes with love for something, anything.

December Kick-Off: 25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying

L.L. Bean Nalgene tree a couple years ago...

Call it…a happy holiday ritual.  Or chalk it up to my need to regroup and refocus at the beginning of winter, the end of a year.  However the story goes, Audrey gets really methodical this time of year.  Married with an effort to do a better job of tending to my little blog garden in my personal patch of the interwebs, this month I’ll be bring you 25 Ways to Give Without Really Trying -or- 25 Ways to Show People You Care About (Including Yourself) That You Actually Really Do.

None of this really has anything to do with money (er..until sometimes at the end of the post).  Which is funny, because here is the perfect internet forum for me to generate revenue for myself on top of the day job (which is essentially a warehouse sized closet, which I will have to tell you about later!  It’s terrific).  So while I’m out busting my buns making monies at craft fairs and holiday events I’ve decided to use the internet for good this year…not that I’ve ever used it for evil.  That I can remember.  (Hint:  never Facebook drunk).

So, without much further ado, WAY #1!:

Visit with someone. For me, my friends and family are a diaspora of busy-body workaholics.  As you can imagine, this doesn’t leave a lot of time to visit with each other which, c’mon people, is really what this time of year is all about.  Even if just for the body heat!

Shira is so god damn gorgeous.

It doesn’t matter how close or how far away they are.  Last year, Shira and I were planning on visiting Jet in California.  That woulda been nice.  But the months zoomed by and we all forgot.  Well, I live in Portland and Shira’s in Boston and even THAT has been a struggle.  Seems forgivable?  Leshbomb lives TWO BLOCKS AWAY from me and we haven’t had a visit since our impromptu get-together one night when I ‘had to get out!’ and she ‘had to get a ride!’ home from a night of clinicals at the hospital.  That was…two months ago?  Seriously, what is stopping me from walking up there with a plate full of gluten-free cookies and saying a quick hello?

L to R: Shira, Jet (in frame), Audrey

Think of someone you adore, close, far, or really far away.  If they’re tooooo far away why not try a phone call just to check in and see how their life is going?

In business news today (because obviously I can’t go without) I was featured in this bone-chilling but completely beautiful treasury on Etsy:

“Bare Branches” pin, $3.