Just Listed

Chicken Barrette, $6 from littleeyedesigns on Etsy

‘Ello!  If you haven’t peeked in to my Etsy shop lately (click there), you’ll be blown away at all the new items.  I’ve been hemming and hawing about new listings and I realized that when you sell tiny, little specialty objects it really is a numbers game:  the more I pack in there, the more chance there will be someone who connects with the artwork featured in the bottle cap!  Many new listings still to come, but I especially like that chicken barrette.

I’m also offering FREE SHIPPING on any order over $10, all you need to do is enter “ISPENT10” (all caps, no spaces) at checkout and the shipping charge will be removed.  That’s neat!

http://littleeyedesigns.etsy.com

FREE SHIPPING from Little Eye on Etsy

Click Here for Shopping with Free Shipping!

Hey duders — guess what!  If you spend $10 or more on any order in my Etsy shop you can get free shipping by entering “ISPENT10” at checkout.  All one word, all caps.

Music to My Ears… and My Hair.

OK, I’m going to try my hand at being a nice lady to my Etsy shop again.  I fell in to a lull this summer when sales were slumping and the beach was getting warmer and warmer.  But now that the Picnic busy-ness is over, I’m on top of my wholesale order (yet again) and the only real ‘extra’ project I have going on is knitting socks it seems like a pretty good time to start taking pictures again.

Non-sequitur:  I am in need of someone with size 7 feet who would like to trade modeling socks for… a pair of hand knit socks.  I’d need your toes for modeling by mid-September and then I’d have a pair of socks (in your choice of color and calf-length!) ready for you by the beginning of October.

Ok, but now to make sense of this post title:  I experimented with making post earrings with bottle caps before Picnic — this is not something I would wear (I like little posts, big hoops, or super dangly ones) but I’ve noticed a lot of people walking around with the chunky, ‘clip-on’ style earrings so thought I’d give it a go.  It did pretty well!  I sold three pairs at Picnic which was half of my experiment stock.  Here are two listings that will be music to your ears (and hair):

A Pirate Looks Under Starboard - Click on the Image to see listing.

Bass Clef Hair Clip - Click on image for listing.

Chalk the Walk – To Craft or Not To Craft?

Serious Bakery Eagle. Also, click on this image to apply.

I just got, er… found… an email in my much-neglected inbox about Biddeford’s Chalk the Walk coming up Saturday, September 24th in downtown Biddeford, ME.  A few thousand people generally meander their way through this event that is looking for craft vendors (apply here) or artists to actually design chalk paintings for local business sponsors.  Vendors pay a fee ($25?) but artists play for free (obviously) while businesses pay the sponsor money, some of which goes towards prizes for the best work!

Pretty cool.  I’m deciding right now whether to craft fair it up or not – I’m a busy wholesale lady these days but I do love me some ground paintings, that’s for sure.

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!

Little Eye’s Newest Employee

Ahh! It's happening again!!

Ahhh, nepotism.  I’ve taken a cue from our daring-do governor and hired ‘one of my own’ at a very lucrative per-piece rate where he can work from the comfort of his own home.  No, it may not be a public office and no, I’m not paying him over $40,000 for a previously-fictional entry level position – but the motivation is the same.  If I can save myself an hour of work and dole out some cash to Jason so he can go buy me flowers then I am all. for. it.  Without further ado!:

Jason, Bottle Cap Jockey

The month of July has basically been a series of bottle-cap fueled weeks trying desperately to keep up with orders that my client is getting.  Wahoo!  Thus, the need to hire our some labor and get a little R&R myself – what with me somewhat ridiculously holding down a ‘9 to 5’er, coming home after 8 hours of work, messing around with recyclables for four hours, it’s actually getting to be like working two job with no weekends.  So this is pretty freaking great with the added bonus that when I’M bottlecapping, HE’S bottlecapping, so we can have fun time together instead of me being hunched over Budweiser crowns in the corner while he frolicks through the fields and does whatever else I’m sure other, none-incredibly-busy people get to do with their evenings.

I’ve all but abandoned my Etsy shop, but I’ve managed to get my bottle cap hair clips in to the most adorable children’s boutique in South Portland, on Route 1.  It’s called Dahlia’s World, it’s across from Governor’s restaurant, and it’s AWESOME.  If you have wee ones or wee ones to buy things for or wee ones whose clothes are too small for them now this is basically the only stop you need to make.  Plus now they carry adorable hair clips – I’m about to go make a huge handful of strawberry ones for the little ladies – stay tuned!

My Employee, Jason (left), is pretty handsome. I plan on sexually harassing him at some point.

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…

This Will Be Mine

Anne Klein Bikini - Rowr!

After much deliberation and some serious soul-searching, this is my new summer bathing suit.  Woo hoo!  Won it for a great price at an online auction and it’s on its way to me in the mail as. we. speak.  The trick will be looking as toned/emaciated as that armless mannequin.  “Puffy days” will be happy to know I have a handful of one-piece, full coverage maillots to ensure greatest beach happiness levels.  Ok rain, go away now!

Your Three Favorite Farm Animals?

I can’t sit still for long.  I get going really smoothly on one thing (bottle caps, much?) and then get all excited about another!  I’ll keep my lips zipped for now, but would love if you’d comment below your top three favorite farm animals.

This informal market research will grant me hours of Photoshop fun.  Stay tuned!  And thank you.  🙂

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.