Serious Dress Habit #2 – Skirting the Issue

Hmm, I seem to have found myself, yet again, with more vintage dresses and skirts that I need to clean out of the attic.  I swear that closet is the doorway to Narnia… here are some new dresses and skirts – click on the image to be taken to the Etsy or Ebay listing!

Gosh darn it, I wish this one would fit me. So gorgeous, but more for a size 4 than a size Audrey!

This is a double-lined stretchy number from Banana Republic – weird how my Ebay items always end up being BR!  Stylish, but often too small for yours truly.  Hope someone out there with less of a penchant for pad thai and ice cream will love it as much as I do!  Click here for the listing.

Olive Green Wool Blend skirt by Banana Republic.

This one’s actually been in my personal collection for over 10 years now — I bought it back in high school when I worked a Christmas season at BR (p.s. worst November ever, don’t recommend doing that!) in the stock room in the basement.  In any case, I was a size 2 in high school, then a 4 in college, then a 6 the years following and still squeezing my woman-y body in to it until this last year when it’s basically an invitation for acid reflux if I squeeze my torso in to this skirt!  I’m so sad to see it go, but again, I’d be more sad to stop eating ice cream and pad thai and am totally. fine. with the few extra pounds I have to carry as a result.  🙂

Vintage Ultramarine Pencil Skirt, 100% wool from Jones of New York.

I found this one yesterday and thought the high quality, U.S.A. construction and 100% wool skirt was too much to pass up.  Currently listed in my Etsy shop, this one’s a size 10 for some more realistic expectations.  I kinda hope no one buys it so I can wear it around!

Vintage 1980s L.L. Bean Maxi Skirt in Farquharson(ish) Plaid

Awesome!  I love it when I find plaid things with old L.L. Bean tags.  This’ll be a dream to wear around while I wait for someone to pick it up out of my Etsy shop.

Don't Even Think About It

Okay, at first I was going to make this an Ebay listing.  But on second thought I’m going to add this one to my permanent collection.  Pretty white pin prick polka dots on a flowy black skirt??  I just can’t resist.

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.

Racy Photo Shoot and Storm Watch Skies

Hi, hi.

Let’s start off with the really fun bits first.  I’ve always been an advocate of self-portraiture.  Photography, painting, drawing, songwriting, what the hell, whatever — internal introspection can sometimes lead to growth and development but actually having a physical image, product, sound as a result of the process is really motivating.

This month I’m going to restart shooting myself which has gone undone for wayyyyy too long.  Sure, there have been a plethora of PhotoBooth captures but those aren’t much work at all, are they?

3/4 Portrait

A good place to start is photographing just your face.  I like to see all the angles of what I look like and I like to see what the expressions I make look like to others and not just how they feel showing up on my mug!

Go adventuring to outside locations and set up a tripod, focus on the ground near where you think you’d like to stand, and set the timer on the camera to 10 seconds or so, however long it takes you to get over there.  Be sure to turn auto-focus off if you have a DSLR.  What locations move you?  What places reflect your personality?

Photograph yourself in your home doing something normal, but style it like you see yourself in your imagination.  Are you doing the dishes?  No one says you can’t do ’em in high heels and a cocktail dress.  This is your fantasy.

Now comes my favorite… which I can’t actually share any images of because I have a strict no-showing-my-ta-tas-on-the-internet rule.  But really — photograph yourself completely naked.  The advent of digital photography makes it so that you can shoot and print your very own boudoir photos without involving the creepy guy with the ratstache at the Photo Center in Walgreens.  You don’t have to show them to anyone, and they might be COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS but why live this life without trying every ding dong thing there is to do in this world?  Trust me, it’s fun.

~~~

Now on to the skies…

Yesterday the sunset cast a gorgeous hue on East Bayside.  It’s doing it again now, too.  I’m very afraid of tornadoes, but the one thing I live for in this world is gorgeous light.  Why can’t the skies be like sunset all the time?  It’d get old, you say?  No, no it wouldn’t.

Here are a few captures:

Looking up Oxford St (Up Munjoy Hill)

Out the Attic Window towards Bayside

Write Words Every Day

Fire Portrait I made Kristina take of me. Stay tuned for more Fire Portraits, one day.

Just recently my good friend and co-worker, Anna, helped me figure out that I don’t really feel the need to do anything unless I am accountable to other people for it.  That’s kind of extreme – there are certainly days when I treat myself to cleaning my closet or painting my toenails, but for the most part my truly fabulous accomplishments happen when there are brick and mortar stores, craft fairs, or others that are relying on my elbow grease.

Same is true for keeping a journal.  The only reason I would write anything (that wasn’t a children’s book or a novel… one-day-dream that I hope I can accomplish before kicking it) is to have others read it.  Thus begins my efforts to post something here every day, art-related or not, a little link or an epic tome, just to get the fingers moving.

Let’s recap this utterly insane weekend.

On Friday, Kate of A Sweet Disorder and general awesome-lady-ness announced she was going to get married on Tuesday.  Yeah, like yesterday!  Being that she’s the light of Portland it was imperative to put together something weird, fun, quirky, and kinda expensive (but not too expensive).  And swanky.  Definitely swanky.

Brain-Shatteringly Amazing Women in front of a pretty cool vehicle

Enter:  white limo.  Kate came over on Monday night and we surprised her (well, kinda, of course I spilled the beans 20 minutes before it got there, what an asshole) while drinking frozen white russians and talking about weiners.  Yeah, bachelorette party!  Sierra brought a sweet-30 rack of High Life that we poured in to the champagne-of-beers flutes in the limo and cruised around, stopping momentarily for pees around Portland and french fries at Wendy’s in Saco.  Mmm.  Also, p.s., props to Bayside Limo for being the bestest, cheapest limo service off the peninsula!  Definitely recommend.

See: Jerk Chicken at top left of grill

Saturday (going back here) was nice and quiet with errands and a Goodwill trip ruling the day.  We also picked up $15 worth of chicken and started marinating for a party at 6pm on Sunday.  When it comes to jerk you want that shit to be dredged, marinated, and SPICY.  P.S. it worked and peoples’ mouths were burning up.  Kate even said the inside of her ear was tingling!

Sunday we went to Tara and Brian’s house after I met with Elise of eden. and Kate of Kate Sullivan-Jones to finish our space at The Merchant Co. which is having its grand opening First Friday on Congress St., across from Bang! and the cryptozoology museum.  It’s freaking awesome in there.  The Merchant Co. will have a swanky space for classes and crafting in addition to housing goods for your purchase of nearly 50 Maine (and mostly Portland) artists, designers and vintage resellers!

Summer is Here

Tara and Brian’s house on Sunday, per usual, was great.  A manicured backyard, delicious chips and dips, a smorgasbord of meats and veggie options and oodles of people who mostly make things out of instruments, art and fabric when they’re not slaving away at their 9 to 5 jobs.  I helped Tara put up Christmas lights just before everyone arrived and Brian lit a fire when the sun went down and aren’t night time parties freaking gorgeous?  I want a house, mostly so I can have a back yard.  Le sigh… one day…

Yeah, yeah, and Monday I didn’t have to go to work but I did go to Michael’s and buy a Yudu with Jason which I’m pretty sure is super cheesy but the results look pretty good and it’s a good start to learning screen printing.  It’ll come in handy for a number of reasons, but the one I’m most excited about is helping Mom get away from the clutches of Cafepress and start selling on Etsy.  Step away from the dark side, Momma!

The Daisy Buchanan Dress. Click the image to go to the listing.

I’m also psyched because I just started listing some of the dresses that I buy at Goodwill going ‘this is cool, I can probably sell it on Etsy’ that have been piling up in my closet but either don’t fit me, aren’t exactly my style, or are so far out there (but still excellent) that I couldn’t help but purchasing.  The newer ones (I have lots of Banana Republic for some reason) will go on Ebay and the vintage items get a nice, little corner in my Etsy shop.  Hoo-rah.

Kate & Mike's 'Ceremony' officiated by the lovely Kristina Balbo

Then on Tuesday night we kind of impromptu went over to Mike and Kate’s, not realizing they were going to get married in their apartment, and witnessed them tie that knot real tight!  Above is my favorite pictures from what I took.  More to come soon!

How was your long weekend?  As nutso as mine or did you get to relax with a mojito and wiggle your toes in a kiddie pool for three days?

SWAP Maine Shoot – Clothes, clothes, clothes!

The jury has reached a verdict and just as all the pundits were expecting:  citywide clothing swaps are indeed GUILTY of being totally awesome.  A room full of clothes and women may not be everyone’s picnic, but I had a ball spending 4 hours shooting at SWAPMaine last Saturday, May 21st, 2011.

For the full album, please check out my Picasa album here or my Facebook album here.  But for those of you with lazy clicking fingers, here are some of my favorites:

Earrings (I snagged the green and yellow pair in the middle!)

Freaking 40+ People waiting to be let in!

Hanger Helper - this little boy went under the racks and retrieved all the fallen hangers for us!

Mandy and Kate in the sunlight

Excitement!

Heyyyy, do you need someone to prance around and casually photograph your event?  I accept all forms of payment, including money, a huge sack of clothes and snacks.  Check back if you’re interested in the next SWAP because you better believe I’ll be getting super excited about it when it’s comin’ up!

Etsy Shopping: The Golden Rule

Lately, thank goodness, I have been making some sales in my Etsy shop.  Where I normally depend on wholesale and consignment “brick and mortar” shops to keep Little Eye Designs afloat, this year is showing me already that there might be an internet market for these little bottle cap things!

It’s all fine and good to reap the benefits of a put-together shop and a network of customers who appreciate quality work.  But I realized this week that in order to truly be a part of the community and keep Etsy (and my business) strong, I’ve got to shop there, too!  It’s a good thing I’ve been looking for some summer essentials this week.  Please ogle all the goodies I got:

Pinecone and Chickadee - Click Image for Website

Ladies’ Wolf Tee, $28 from Pinecone and Chickadee.  A lightweight, airy tee with a suspiciously poet-y design is perfect for throwing on over a bathing suit after an impulsive river swim in the summer.  I spotted this at their table at The BIG THAW and couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Coupled with the fact that I just found a metallic, leopard print gold and black mini skirt at Find (the perfect match) this just had to be mine.

SJohnsonPhotos on Etsy

“Searching the Dial” set of 3 Postcards from Shaun Johnson, $5.  Don’t forget to write!  I don’t know where I’m going on vacation this summer but wherever it is I think jotting down some notes to friends on the backs of these is just about right.

Bread and Butter Vintage: More than just the basics.

Vintage Italian Sunglasses, $28, at Bread and Butter Vintage.  O.K., don’t get me wrong, everyone knows I’m a cheap lady who scoffs at ‘marked up’ items at Goodwill ($7.99 for a dress??!  Only if it’s Pucci!) but these glasses are so unique, so perfect, so interesting, so… mine.  I bought them a couple days ago which unfortunately means you can’t have them.  But you CAN have any number of things sold at Bread and Butter Vintage’s Etsy shop, which is awesome, and the photography is magnificent.  Besides, summer ladies can never have too many tortoiseshell glasses.

So basically.  Next time you think to yourself “I need to get some sunglasses” or “a lightweight t-shirt” or “postcards” or really any luxury (or even essential) item turn your computer’s internet browser towards Etsy rather than jumping in the car and heading for Target.  I mean, we all love target and you can’t beat clearance underwear for $1.25 but I’m really thinking now (with the boost in sales and the happy feeling I get when the mailman comes) that giving back is a huge element in being a part of it all.

Wedding Planner #2: Mustard and Midnight

Holy mole-y!  Funny how when you’re being a good aunt, working a full time job, cooking dinner every night to be a good girl and not spend money on take out AND planning a craft fair (shh!) the blog seems to get pushed to the side.  Don’t worry, I’m here now.

And we’re gonna talk wedding colors again!

Wedding Guide #2: Mustard and Midnight

Today’s palette is bright and punchy (YELLOW!) while chic and sophisticated (BLACK!)  It’s a bumblebee wedding and you’re invited.

Lovely Yellow Bridesmaids Cake Toppers, $18.99 from onecozynest on Etsy.

Yellow is a genuinely innocent color.  It’s heartwarming, opens your eyes and has a vintage feel to it no matter what.  You try wearing something yellow and not feeling the slightest bit ’70s!  These cake toppers are super sweet, and although I can’t imagine putting the whole darn wedding party on the cake (unless you have a buche de noel or something) I would venture to say your WEDDING DRESS should be yellow and one of these pretty ladies should stand up there.  With hopefully a cake topper with a groom dressed like this:

Antique Victorian Tuxedo Jacket, $85 by getupvintage on Etsy.

Although your hubby’s arms should be about a half an inch longer to pull of this look, this antiquated tuxedo jacket paired with floppy bow tie is modest, lovable and reeks of the quality tailors used to put in men’s dress-up duds.  Who says everyone’s tux has to match?  Quality over quantity, I always say.

Gamboge Silk Skinny Tie, $18.95 from rabbitstop on Etsy.

But if bow ties aren’t your thing, you can coordinate the man with the rest of the scenery by pulling honey mustard in to his neckwear.  Skinny or traditional, a pop of color will resonate in wedding photos, especially when it’s designed to make Mrs. Wedding Day look totally coordinated and gorgeous.

You are My Sunshine Print, $15.00 from FarnumInkStudio on Etsy.

Let’s talk wedding presents.  If your friends are anything like mine, they’re getting hitched left and right with utter disregard for my bank account.  A piece of artwork meant to coordinate with their colors (just ASK, you know she won’t stop talking about the differences between every kind of yellow if you act even remotely curious!) framed with an inexpensive, but classy frame from Michael’s will remind them of their wedding day every time they pass it on the way to the loo.

Click on the image of the entire treasury above to see all the excellent treasures I could definitely write for hours about.  Also, each featured item’s image will bring you to its listing when clicked.  Happy planning, kiddos.

Vendor Spotlight: Find

Beautiful Logo, Beautiful Vintage

If you haven’t been to Arabica in the last year you are going to be SO PSYCHED to discover that its exposed-brick interior and warm lighting now house Find, a clothing exchange shop new to Free St. where you don’t have to wait 6 weeks to get dollars for your gently used collars (and shoes, and pants, and oh heck, you know).  And because I’m such a huge fan of instant gratification, you can imagine my delight when I learned that Laura had moved in and would give 30% of appx. value to you in cash or, get ready for this shoppers, 50% of appx. value in store credit!  Wowowow.

Costume Idea: Brightly Colored Photographer Lady

Find’s been on the brain lately because with Halloween coming up I’m planning a little costume reconnaissance before the weekend comes.  A lot of girls use Halloween as an excuse to show some skin one day before November but me?  It’s my excuse to buy some new clothes.  Besides – how different is a costume from an outfit?  Last week when I was getting ready for Tara and Brian’s wedding J. goes “You’re wearing that, it looks like a Halloween costume!”  Yes, oh yes, that’s because I planned it that way!

Find is also great because it supports local artists – lots of jewelry can be found there from Rusty Petals, to Kate Sullivan-Jones to… Little Eye Designs!  Aww yeah.

Visit find online here or at 16 Free St. 7 days a week.  If you’re looking to get rid of threads, check their website at the bottom to see if they’re buying before you lug 10 boxes all the way downtown.  🙂