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


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!


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.


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.



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,



Two Weeks in Pictures: 5/16/12

bean boot shaped pick up truck, preferred vehicle of Mainers

Phew phew phew.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as illustrated by my lack of sharing ‘a week in pictures’ for two weeks.  Here’s a short update.  #1, working for an icon of Maine certainly has its upsides (as shown above).  You’ll maybe remember these awesome duck boots that I listed in my Etsy shop a few days ago.  Is there anything more comfortable than slipping in to (or climbing behind the wheel of) a Maine hunting shoe?  I don’t think so.

goofiness runs in the family

I’ve rather withdrawn from the world, lately, and am working pretty hard to get back in to it.  It’s especially easy to recharge when I’m hanging out with the littlest goofball, aka my niece, aka such a funny, independent, defiant little three year old.  She’s finally decided to call me by ‘my name’ which is “Chuvvy” (pronounced CH-uh-VEE) which is damn close enough to Audrey but way funnier.  Dad was laughing randomly last weekend and when I stopped him he said it was because he realized I was “Ant Chuvvy” or anchovy, which suits me just fine.  The whole family is one goofy laugh away from the madhouse.

present for moominmother

Of course I was up there, visiting, to deliver this present above which I, of course, forgot on the side table by the door when I left.  Mom is still waiting for her Mother’s Day present but a sneak peek never hurt anyone.  I picked it up at The Big Thaw which was quite fun, despite it being upstaged by a freaking gorgeous day in Southern Maine.

Bath Salts T-Shirts

We worked hard over an infuriatingly simple Yudu machine to make these pretty wonderful Bath Salts t-shirts.  I have them for sale in my Etsy shop for $10.00 if you want one, or if you’d like to hear our music you can visit our Bandcamp page.  We played a show on Saturday night with The Outfits and Nuclear Boots at Bayside Bowl.  It was pretty fun, despite not being able to hear anything I was playing probably due to inexperience because I could have just asked to have my level turned up.  There’s also the surreal feeling post-show that fills you with doubt about your creative adventures, even if friends and non-friends are approaching you and saying ‘wow, awesome!’  Sun was much needed on Sunday (as shown in the previous entry) to repair from a crazy Saturday full of craft fairs and on-stage exhibition.

J. Crew Dress, beautiful white seersucker

I also when ‘thrifting’ on Sunday and got very thrifty, indeed, when I found this J.Crew sun dress with its original tags.  It’s on sale in my Ebay store now, and the bidding is at $6.50 currently.  There’s nothing more rejuvenating than finding a good deal and passing it on to those who it might fit a little better (certain parts of me refuse to fit in to a 6 anymore.  Pshaw.)  It’s white seersucker, which let me just say, it’s probably my favorite fabric as of late.  The lining is 100% cotton, too, and the whole thing is a flowy, airy piece that I wish I could squish my gazongas in to but oh well, right?  Better not force a good thing.

Truncated, brief two weeks in pictures – but better than nothing.  Yeah!

A Week in Pictures – 5/1/12

gift wrap, smith street style

Gift-wrap.  It’s usually best if you use things that you have lying around the house, which in our case clearly is some kraft paper, sharpees, a leftover Christmas bow and a patriotic gingham ribbon used to dress up one of the presents we brought to the birthday girl’s Minnie Mouse themed party on Sunday.  Presents are about three things:  anticipation, surprise and usefulness.  Nothing like a sweet wrapping job to get ’em excited!!

party favors for little mickeys

H. did an amazing job at decorating the house with Minnie decorations.  There was also one little boy at the party and his gift bag looked like Mickey’s characteristic red underpants.  So awesome!

and for little minnies

And these, for all the little girls (sooooo many little girls!) little Minnie favor bags.  Cute little presents inside, too!  My niece wouldn’t put her Minnie stickers down until the coloring book, coffee table and two cats were covered in them.  It certainly brightens up the place.

making Portland beautiful, one flyer at a time

Also, J. and I spent Saturday walking around downtown Portland and flyering for The Big Thaw (May 12) and the Pussy Riot benefit show (tonight, at SPACE Gallery 538 Congress St., Portland) he and his band are playing.  You should go – oppression stinks, and seeing Metal Feathers for the first time in a few months in order to fight it is a pretty win-win situation.

time to start practicing

Lastly, Bath Salts (that’s me, Tara and Jason) have a show on May 12 at Bayside Bowl.  That’s the same day as the Big Thaw.  May 13 is gonna be awesome and relaxing.  Also cause it’s Mother’s Day, and mine is lovely.  Wait – focus.  Bath Salts has a show, and that means we need to start practicin’ big time!  I wrote a song about the summertime and we have a bunch of other new songs, but if you want to listen to the ones we already recorded you can do it at our Bandcamp page by clicking here.

Tea Cup Candles

espresso-sized tea cup candles, click for listing

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time… is it because I have a bad habit of turning old things in to new things?  Or is it my insatiable search for the perfect vintage tea cup?  Whatever it is, I don’t mind.  The kitchen is covered in wax and now I have a bunch of new, pretty things to share.

this tea cup is everywhere

These are retailing from $8.95 to $12.95, and will be listed in my shop over the coming days.  The tea cups and saucers are enhanced with an unscented soy wax and wick, and are suitable for washing and reusing for tea time once the wax is gone.

my favorite so far

Each one of these is different, the one just above is my favorite so far.  Navy blue and orange tones are so nice, and contrasted with the whiteness of the porcelain and the wax.  Simple pleasures!