rhubarbarian

IMG_1731Remember all that garden talk last week?  Mother Nature sure has been working overtime and now there are actual things that we can pull out of the ground and eat.  I’ve never actually prepared rhubarb before, so the burgeoning leaves signaled a challenge for me:  what to do with these strange, red shoots?

As usual, I took my inquiries over to Tastespotting.  If you haven’t used it, you should.  Just enter an ingredient or a recipe and gorgeous pictures and delicious recipes populate the screen.  A search for “rhubarb” didn’t disappoint.

rhubarb01wmFrom left to right, I made lemon-infused rhubarb syrup, started the clock on a batch of rhubarb liqueur (that ain’t water, it’s vodka!), and an orange zest rhubarb compote.

The syrup and compote recipes were derived from the instructions here, and the simple (yet totally in another language) directions for the liqueur can be found here (there’s a bit of English at the bottom).  As I am wont to do I totally screwed around with what actually went in to each one, because let’s face it:  recipes, assembly instructions, authority figures, et. al. are totally boring.

The syrup is going to make its way in to something yummy tonight, relaxing with the peepers and the fireflies on the back porch.

rhubarb05wmWhat’s your favorite rhubarb recipe?  Seriously, tell me!  Because there’s a monster in the backyard and it needs to be eaten!

orange you glad

teacup01

vintage teacup from little eye on etsy

It’s February, which means the only thing sustaining any of us until the first 50 degree evening brings us a downpour to wash all the road salt away is pretty much junk food, our favorite tv shows streaming, and bright pops of color almost constantly.

Even though the fresh, white snow is beautiful (and will continue to get taller and taller and still beautiful after the coming three-day Nor’Easter we’re supposed to get, it’s still white.  So white.  So endlessly white.

I’ve been knitting with bright colors on my needles (most recently:  turquoise and orange) and listing brightly colored objects in the Etsy shop to keep my eyes open.  They’ve put me in charge of revamping the kitchen at work at possibly the most daring time of year for me, colorwise.  I think I’m using Stefanie Hiebert’s retro living room as my color inspiration.  Lunch break won’t know what hit it!

gumshoes05

ladies size 7.5 tan/navy gumshoe from little eye on etsy

duck, duck, goose

beanboot03There is nothing I love finding more on our thrifting outings than Bean boots.  Growing up in Maine, a pair of weathered duck boots (that is, the rubber moc, the low style) is a badge of honor.

Of course most of the time I don’t find them in my oh-so-ubiquitous size (7.5, message me if you find some!) so they get photographed and put in the shop.  The great thing about them is that they get better with age.  Leather with a patina, rubber soles with character and a color that can’t quite be matched by any factory.

These never stay long in the shop, but do check back frequently as I seem to have quite some luck finding pretty much any size (other than 7.5!) in my travels.

beanboot04

shake shake shake

anthropomorphic oranges, what else?

anthropomorphic oranges, what else?

New energy in the shop!  We rifled through the collection to find some bright sunshine for these dull, gray days.  Found a theme just waiting in the stacks of items waiting (patiently, ahem) of salt + pepper shakers, and we’ve listed three in the Little Eye Etsy shop!  Click on the images to take yourself whizzing across the internet to the listings.

love bugs by Ruth van Tellingen Bendel

love bugs by Ruth van Tellingen Bendel

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think these little love bugs are mine.  They were designed by Ruth van Tellingen Bendel in the 1950s for the Regal China Company out of Illinois.  Ruth cut her teeth as a children’s book writer, but her visual language translated very nicely to seasoning delivery vessels.  Aww, here’s their cute little behinds:

lovebugs03.2You can see the little holes in their head for salt and pepper to come out of!

picnic in style

picnic in style

These are also from the 1950s, hand painted strawberry blossom shakers, oversized, excellent for a retro picnic or camping excursion.  The paint is in awesome condition, but there is just a little wear on the very tops of the plastic lids, presumably because this is the only part you should wash (or wash insides of globes very careful not to get the outside wet).

Just a little snippet!  We spent some more time in the studio snapping pictures of goodies that will be in the shop soon.

master of none

photo by derek lobley

photo by derek lobley

Last week our band, Bath Salts, had an awesome show in the basement of this huge house near USM.  I was pretty psyched, because it was the first time I played in front of people when my fingers didn’t feel like they were little shaky sausages (it’s true, that happens).  I’d like to think it’s because we practiced, or that we’ve had a half dozen shows already, or that the basement was filled with really enthusiastic people… but it was probably.. most likely.. the fifth of scotch I’d tucked away in the front pocket of the guitar case before we left.

The whole thing got me thinking about the tremendous amount of extra things I’ve got heaped up on my plate.  If life was a buffet I’d be the dude with the Close-Encounters-of-the-Third-Kind-Potato-Mountain and I wouldn’t stop there.  I’d have mountains of all kinds of food, and keep going back for more.  Ok, metaphor over, since the ‘food’ is actually:  playing in a band, knitting, crafting with bottle caps and photographs, wedding photography, styling, creative photography, blogging, maintaining an etsy shop, maintaining a day job, picking up 5-20 hours a week at a performing arts/community center, promoting shows, experimenting with cooking, etc.

It all sounds pretty enriching when it’s right there in black and white, but the day to day manifestation of it is pretty hectic.  Being a jack of all trades and a master of none can be challenging and exciting, but it can also split your head open and leave a lady really unfulfilled at the end of the day.  I know a lot of crafters, artists and musicians who are like me and can’t seem to stop glomming on to this project or that.  It’s awesome.  The alternative is boring.  But at some point you gotta know when your plate is about to buckle under the weight of all those food mountains.  (Metaphor’s back!)

Lately, the balance has been off.  When I finally get to do the thing I’ve been thinking about all day at work (knitting, finishing up a bottle cap order, going to photograph a rock show… and on and on) I’m not excited.  Sometimes I’m even a little resentful at first, even though I always end up enjoying myself.  What gives?  It could be the inevitable motivation drain we here in the North East experience most every Feb/March.  It could be that I have little time to just be with friends without having to be doing something else at the same time.  Ultimately, it could be that by casting the net wide I’m not actually doing my best at anything and not succeeding as well as I should in any of those things.

All of this is fine when I breathe my way through it.  Fact of the matter is, I feel like I’m a good knitter, a unique photographer, a competent worker, and a ..er.. dedicated musician.  But it’s when I start to think of the list of all the things I’ve got to do, would like to do, am supposed to do, that I get this feeling of being trapped in my skin.  Maybe not quite as big as an anxiety attack, but on its way.

What is all this about, anyways?  Maybe I realized it in my sleep, I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately… or I could have known it all along.  Or more likely it’s that I’ve been reading the lives of contemporaries, via perfectly edited blogs made to look like all of life is the moment food is brought to the table, or when children’s hair catches the light just so, or the last stitch on a month-long project.  And then I look around the living room and there are three unfinished knitting projects draped over the back of the sofa, the coffee table is covered in unwashed tea mugs and cocktail glasses, and the cat, the older one, is hiding in the closet with about half of her fur missing off her back and underside.

This is probably a weird, frustrated extension of my new year’s resolution to simplify.  I think the end result of this diatribe will be to a) more accurately reflect real life as opposed to idealized in this webspace and b) pick one thing (or two or three?) to put on the shelf so my world isn’t so fuzzy and wild.

thanks for listening..

on this day: jan 21

wires and pedals

wires and pedals

on this day jan 21, 2012 (okay, i’m a day late):  we were crowded in to geno’s, huddling up against the stage and drinking rolling rocks to keep warm while our friends filled the room with feedback.

~~~

on this day is a way to look back.  pick one photograph (or five or ten!) from this day one, two, twenty years ago… a way to be mindful of memory.

if you’d like to participate, please feel free to add a link in the comments below or provide a link back to the little eye blog on your website.

for more webby photo projects, might i also suggest {this moment} from soulemama and the 52 project from ché and fidel.

construction

farty1017

completely unrelated photography i took a few years ago with my medium format camera. there were literally no pictures in my portfolio I could describe as ‘simple.’ that will change.  see for yourself by clicking on this picture to view my picasa pages.

Doing a little New-Year’s-cleaning around here, so don’t mind the mess while I get the site sorted out.  I made no resolutions (I never do) but I decided that the word to keep reminding myself in 2013 is simplify.’  It is so righteously the opposite of everything ‘Audrey’ but every time I find myself loving something aesthetically it’s usually because it’s clean, crisp, fresh, open.  Simple.

So that’s why the website needs to look this way.  It’s also why I needed to go through our hardware drawer (read:  pile) on Sunday to intricately sort half of it and give the remaining half to the recycling man.  Also why I pulled all my shoes out of the closet and decided which majority of them was going to our local clothing charity.  I have too many things, too much noise.  The idea is that I’m going to systematically go through my entire closet from the feet up:  socks are next, then I will be doing pants and skirts.  This keeps the task simple, and in the end, the entire closet will be a reflection of where I want my head to be.

I’d also like to openly invite any of you out there in the ether who have some service, product, or talent that you’d like to have shared in another space.  Musicians, artists, Etsy sellers, chefs, travelers, non-profit organizers, and anything else you can think of.  After all, I can’t really fit a week’s worth of content just talking about myself… c’mon.  I’m not going to pretend I didn’t watch three Law & Order episodes back to back last night.  And totally started viewing the entire series of Arrested Development again in anticipation of the coming season.  I digress.  Just leave a little comment on this entry or email littleeyedesigns at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

’til next time,

audrey