Saturday, December 31, 2011

Appreciate the Moment

"It’s sad to me when I see people who are with their significant other or their children and they are not really understanding how critically important it is to appreciate that moment. Because that’s all life is. It’s little moments pasted together. The only thing that’s important in your life are relationships." - Peg Reiter, widow of Jerry Schad

I recently read an article in the San Diego Union Tribune about the widow of Jerry Schad and how she is coping after his death earlier this year. Schad was a legend in San Diego for his series of hiking guides which encouraged city dwellers to get out and explore the beautiful San Diego back country and even the urban canyons. The quote above, was from the closing of that article. It resonated with me so much and was a great reminder about prioritizing and capturing all the little moments of life.

As I reflect on all the adventures and projects that happened in 2011, I feel very grateful. From starting my own business, to checking things of the life list, to seeing a live seal birth, to great memory-making visits with friends and family. These just scratches the surface.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to 2012, to make more memories, to learn new things, to push myself, to say yes to things that are scary, and to enjoy the journey. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts for your Sweetie

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Etsy sellers that might be a fun gift for your sweetie. This is my last post in my Handmade for the Holiday series. I hope you all have a great holiday season and are able to support artisans and crafters this season.

Eye Chart Print ($13)

CJ Prints makes a variety of fun prints that are a take on the typical eye chart. This one says "You are the cookies to my milk". Last year I got Bob one that says "You are the ketchup to my fries". Those of you who know me, know I really love ketchup. Lots of different themes and colors to choose from.

Felted Penguin ($22)

New Jersey-based AdoraWools makes sweet felted wool creations. I thought this was a particularly charming little penguin with an over-sized heart.

Gourmet Cocoa and Marshmallow Pops ($15/ four servings)

Nothing like a good cup of steamy cocoa and a warm blanket fire side to make for perfect nuzzling with your sweetie. You can always add a little Bailey's to your cocoa to make it more grown up . This gourmet cocoa kit is from Danielle's Sweet Shop has everything you need on a stick to make cocoa. Just swirl it in warm milk and enjoy.

Hans + Leia Key Chains ($30)
If your sweetie is a Star Wars fan, then this key chain set may be the perfect gift. Hand stamped and featuring a line from the Empire Strikes Back. You can choose aluminum, copper or brass. San Diego-based Spiffing Jewelry makes these, as well as a lot of other fun metal jewelry items.

Leather Journal with Heart Key ($29)
 How about a pretty journal to write shared memories of your time together. Each person takes turn writing a little note, memory or sweet thought in the journal. Bound By Hand is based in Santa Cruz and makes a variety of leather journals in different colors and styles.

Chocolate Saffron Romance Box ($28)

Red Ambrosia is based in Northern California and makes a variety of all natural luxury botanical items for massage. This kit contains body oil and love balm. Celebrate romance with this fun little gift.

There you have it. Some of my gift picks for the sweetie on your list. You can see all my other gift picks from the last six days by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom. You will find  gifts for kids, pets, map lovers, the guys, the girl and even gifts for the home. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade.

Note: Photo credits belong to each of the Etsy vendors listed in this post.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts for Pets

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Etsy sellers that are perfect for your pets.According to an poll, about 50% of pet owners will buy gifts for their pets this holiday season. If you are part of that 50%, perhaps you might consider some of these cute little hand made items below. I have picks for dogs, cats, birds and even hamsters.

Copper Dog Tag ($16)

Tessa Long is based in Montana and makes stylish pet tags that put those old plastic ones to shame. Tags are available in a variety of styles and metal options.

Carrot Dog Treats ($6 for two dozen)
Keep your dog's tail wagging with some delicious homemade dog treats. The carrot dog treats from Wagging Tails Gourmet contain carrots, banana, homemade applesauce, oats and whole wheat flour. Yum. Other flavors, including cheese, graham, peanut butter and pumpkin are available.  I will also give a non-Etsy plug to one of the local farmers in my town who makes Ranch Bones. Our dog loves the peanut butter Ranch Bones.

Dog Collar ($24)
Arizona-based Fairy Tail Collars make all sorts of fun collar for pets, including holiday-specific styles. She has both quick release and Martingale styles, which are great for skinny headed dogs like greyhounds. Hop on over to her page and take a look at all the fun styles.

Cozy Pet Tunnel ($19)

Nature's Adornments has a complete pet shop filled with over 200 items for your pets, including lots of cute doggie coats as well as cozy pet tunnels, as pictured here. Lots of size and color options available.

Cat Bowl ($22)

Twister River Clay in based in Connecticut and has beautiful pottery, including some adorable pet bowls. Have a look at their beautiful Etsy shop, you may find something for yourself too.

Natural Sisal Scratcher ($69)

Save the furniture and pick up a hand crafted scratching post instead. Mountain Cat Trees make a variety of scratching posts and cat trees in the Massachusetts studio. They are offering free shipping through December 15th.

Spider Cat Toy ($5)
Here is a crochet spider cat toy get get the hunter instinct going in your feline. Includes long string to shake it and drive your cat crazy. These are made by Esty seller Lukesmom6. In addition to cat toys, she has all manner of sweet crocheted items, including hats, purses and baby items.

Bird Toy ($12)
Here is a colorful wooden bird toy for your feathered friend. Etsy seller BMDmemories makes a variety of colorful wooden bird toys.

Cozy Hamster Bed ($5)

Cozy Hamster Bed ($5)
OK, I had to feature this product with two photos not only because I know people that have sweet little rats and gerbils, but also because these picture is so freakin' cute. Rachel Schell is based out of Spokane and has a variety of crafted items. 

11 X 14 Custom Pet Portrait ($95)
Capture your pet forever with a pet portrait. I guess this isn't really a gift for your pet, but more a gift for you. Kristen Dougherty is based in Colorado and has original paintings in her Etsy shop, as well as the option for custom pet portraits. There are quite a few pet portrait artists on Etsy. If you click here, you can see lots of options and styles from different artists.

There you have it. Some of my picks from Etsy that would fun gifts for the pets on your list. Check out my previous posts on Gifts for Kids, Gifts for Map Geeks, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and Gifts for the Home for other Etsy ideas. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade. Tomorrow, December 1, will be my final post and will include picks for the sweetie in your life.

Note: Photo credits belong to each of the Etsy vendors listed in this post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts for Kids

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Etsy sellers that would be fun for the kids on your shopping list. Some of these things are so fun, you might wish they were available for "grown ups" too.

Custom Superhero Cape ($25)
Every kid is a super hero. How fun would it be for a kid to have their own little  custom cape with their initials on it. Pip and Bean makes fun capes for kids in a variety of colors.

Kids Apron ($13)
Do you have a little helper in the kitchen or want to get your child more interested in food preparation. Well, a sweet little apron might do the trick. Michigan-based Sweet Apronz has fun kids aprons in a variety of prints. These are not just for the girl either. Some of the best cooks I know started out as toddler boys in the kitchen.

Art Tote ($25)

A great way to keep art supplies organized and ready for a trip to grandmas house. Different fabrics and size are available from California-based Bells and Whistles.

Robot Tee ($15)

Based out of Kansas, Red Brick Wall has a variety of fun printed kid tees in all sizes and colors. This cute robot is just a sample. From narwhals to cupcakes to hearts and flowers, there is sure to be the perfect shirt for your little cutie.

Craft Kit ($10)
This little craft kit contains everything that is needed to make five clothespin crafts. Other craft kits from Pretty Paper Factory are available.

Learn to Knit Kit ($32)
This little learn to knit kit from Sew Unique contains everything needed to start a kid on a knitting project. It includes a little booklet that describes how to cast on, cast off, and basic stitches. It also includes bamboo needles, double knit wool, sewing needles and a few other little items.

Board Game ($30)

I remember playing a similar game like this when I was younger. Sometime called Aggravation, sometimes called Wahoo, this one features a hand-made birch board, and the 16 marbles in a carrying bag. Made by English Woodworks.

Felt Owl Mobile ($69)

Love Felt XOXO makes sweet mobiles out of felt with a variety of animals. This one has four baby owls and a tree. All made by hand.

Nefarious Ideas Journal ($10)
Here is a spot where older kids can journal and write what is going on in their world, including their nefarious ideas! Studio Zen has a variety of art items, including cheeky journals.

There you have it. Some of my fun  picks from Etsy that would be good for the little ones on your shopping list.  Check out my previous post on Gifts for Travelers, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and Gifts for the Home. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade. Coming up on November 30th, unique and fun gifts for the pets! Check back to see what I have picked out for you and your furry or feathered friend.

Note: Photo credits belong to each of the Etsy vendors listed in this post.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts forTravelers + Map Geeks

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Esty sellers that would be great for those on your holiday list that love to travel or love anything related to maps. Maps are great for repurposing into many art objects.  There are lots of things that will get your inner cartographer signing in today's picks.

Also, a little tip: I buy large maps really cheap at yard sales and use them for unique wrapping paper. You can often pick up old Michelin travel maps for a quarter or so. Much more interesting than typical holiday wrapping paper. Now, on to my Etsy picks for today:

Custom Map Magnets ($16/ set of 4)

Calgary-based Dombot will made square glass tile magnets for you customized with the cities of your choice. A great way to remember a past adventure or stay inspired for a new one.

Passport Cover ($5)

Utah-based TwoPolkaDots has vinyl passport covers decorated with fun papers. They are durable and thin enough to slide through the passport reader machines so you don't have to remove your passport. This Etsy shop has tons of other styles available. If you are looking for other types of passport covers, perhaps fabric or leather, just click here.

Topography-Inspired Papercut Art ($40)

Crafterall  is based in Minnesota and works magic with paper and a sharp blade making layered artwork that looks like topographic maps. She can customize it by a specific place and a specific color. Pretty impressive and detailed work. There are also note card-size works available tool.

Vintage Map Cuff Links ($119)

Anne Holman Jewelry Designs makes all sorts of lovely jewelry that incorporates maps. When I look at her pieces, they all seem to have a story to tell. In addition to cuff links she makes lovely necklaces.

Map Clutch Bag ($15)

This small unstructured clutch is made by Sew Ecological and would be great for carrying your phone and some cash for a quick trip to the market. Based out of Michigan, Sew Ecological puts a little love in each item they make.

Vintage Map Butterfly Art ($189)

London-based Bombus takes vintage maps and turns them into little works of art. I love these butterflies, so delicate! The cool part is that the artist will customize the butterflies for you to reflect any special place you want. How cool is that? Check out their shop for other artwork incorporating maps.

Kraft Airport Journal ($9)

Jet Set Paper customizes journals and note paper with airport codes. A fun way to jot down travel memories. Each Moleskine Cahier notebook contains 64 lined pages.

Hemp Toiletry Kit ($28)

Sarah Winter Clothwork combines hemp, hand dyeing and sewing to create bags and wearables. I like this toiletry kit because it is compact in size and has a bright interior which makes it easy to find things.

There you have it. Some of my favorite picks from Etsy that covers Gifts for the Traveler or Map Lover on your list. Check out my previous post on Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, and Gifts for the Home. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade. Coming up on November 29th, unique and fun gifts for the the kids on your list.  Check back to see what I have picked out for you!

Note: Photo credits belong to each of the Esty vendors listed in this post.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts for Her

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Esty sellers that would be great for the ladies on your list. From cozy things, to sparkly things and pretty paper goods, perhaps some of these will fit the bill for your shopping needs.

Neck Cozy ($18)
Knitty Kittie is based out of Pennsylvania and makes all sorts of great knitted neck accessories. I am a fan of this neck cozy style because it keeps your neck warm without adding the bulk of a full scarf. I purchased one of her items a few years ago and it is still going strong. Lots of colors are available.

Silver + Gemstone Necklace ($54)

Jennifer Casady makes lovely necklaces and other items, with a primary focus on silver and gem stones. There are several necklaces available in a similar style to the one I have shown, with different prints embossed in the silver and with different color stones.

Zipper Pouch ($12)
Zippered pouches are a girl's best friend for keeping her purse organized and everything in it's place. Maddie Kay Handbags makes cute zipper pouches and writstlets in a variety of fun fabrics. These are made, with love, in Melbourne, Florida. If you wanted to give a little more with this, you can always tuck in a coffee gift card.

Gourmet Green Tea Cake Pops ($35/dozen)
Elizabeth, based out of Ladera Ranch in California, makes tasty cake pops. This is a fun gift for someone who already has everything, but likes a sweet treat. Other flavors of pops are available, including the very tempting triple chocolate. Gluten free cake pops are also available.

Soft Crochet Slippers ($20)
California-based Five Sisterz made a variety of item, including crochet slippers, booties and animals as well as a few jewelry items. I thought these were just the sweetest looking slippers. Would also fold up small to tuck into a travel bag. They also have Mary Jane styles.

Personalized Letterpress Cards ($34 for 20)
I love the feel and look of letterpress and giving someone a personalized gift certainly let's them know you went the extra step. Aloha Letterpress is based in Hawaii and has a variety of letterpress correspondence items in lots of pretty design. These feature a deep red dahlia, but there are lots of other design options. Take a look, you might even find something for yourself.

Pearl + Oxidized Silver Earrings ($14)

Holly Gems has a good selection of simple and well-priced jewelry items. I have a few pairs of her earrings and received excellent customer service. At one point, I lost one of the earrings from a set and asked her if I could just order a single one. She said not to worry about it and dropped the replacement in the mail to me for free. This is an example of the great customer service you can get when you deal directly with the artist.

Letterpress 2012 Calendar ($25)
There are lots of 2012 calendars available on Etsy and it was hard to pick just one to feature. Since I am already confessed my love of letterpress, I figured I would feature one in that style. This one is by BGrace Designs and features the artists personal designs on each sheet. For more 2012 calendars from other artisans, just click here.

Body Scrub ($12)
A wonderfully-scented body scrub is a great way to give winter-weary skin a boost. Michigan-based Wicked Soaps carries a wide variety of scrubs, soaps, oils, lip balms and more. I selected this pumpkin vanilla chai to feature, as I am still in a bit of a fall/Thanksgiving mode, but there are plenty of lovely scents to choose from.

Recycled Sail Tote ($75)

You have to love it when creative people can take a used item and turn it into something else. Brooklyn-based Reiter8 makes bags and totes out of used sails. They often feature a fun number or stripe that was part of the sail design. This bag is lined with organic cotton canvas with sturdy webbing strap. Other styles and color options are available. Hooray for upcycled wares.

There you have it. Some of my favorite picks from Etsy that covers Gifts for Her. Check out my previous post on Gifts for the Home and Gifts for Him. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade. Coming up on November 28th, unique and fun gifts for the travelers and map geeks in your life. Yes, this is a big nod to my geographer roots. Check back to see what I have picked out for you!

Note: Photo credits belong to each of the Esty vendors listed in this post.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Handmade for the Holidays - Gifts for Him

Welcome to my Handmade for the Holidays series. Today I am featuring some handmade items from Esty sellers for the men in your life. Aren't guys always the hardest to buy for? Perhaps some of these fun finds will be perfect for the gents on your list.

Deschutes Brewery Soap ($20 for six pack)
For those who love their beer so much they want to bathe in it, I present to you a six-pack of fun soap from Scarlet Ivy Soaps. This artisan is based out of Bend, Oregon and makes a variety of hearty soaps and other bath goodies, like bath salts and fizzy bombs.

Metal Stamped Custom Luggage Tag ($24)

Personalized gifts are great, because they show you took the extra step to make it unique unto the receiver. These distressed leather luggage tags are made by Michelle Verbeeck. In addition to luggage tags she makes a variety of custom leather jewelry. These are crafted in Pennsylvania. 

Tree Money Clip ($32)

Jane Roberti is based in Fort Collins and makes accessories from mixed metals. This money clip is made from hand-formed aluminum and a mixed metals tree. The money clip can also be custom stampled with a monogram name, or short phrase on the back.

Chocolate Whiskey Sandwich Cookies ($9 for six)

If he has a sweet tooth, these might be the perfect gift. A sandwich cookie made of bittersweet Scotch Whiskey-infused Madagascar chocolate filling between two hazelnut and chocolate chip cookies. These are from Whimsy and Spice and they have all sorts of delicious sweet treats.

Handmade Distressed Leather Satchel ($399)
This certainly falls in the "splurge" category, but isn't it great. I love how it looks like it is broken in and has a story to tell. Luscious Leather NYC makes beautiful bags, backpacks, journals that are hand cut, hand punched and hand stitched. There are lots of colors and styles available. This specific bag is designed to carry a laptop and more. All the hardware is repurposed, which gives it a great “upcycled” factor.

Waxed Canvas Satchel ($199)
If leather is not your thing, but you still want to get him a nice computer bag/satchel, here is a great vegan option. This is a brown waxed canvas satchel that is very durable. The interior is lined with water tight Cordura. This is made by Nikolette Bags out of Portland.

Wool Phone Sleeve ($16)

Wicked Cozy makes bags and accessories for fiber enthusiasts. I liked the simple construction of this wool phone sleeve. This one would work for an iPhone, Droid, or similar shaped phone. This case provides basic protection in a classic material.

There you have it. Some of my favorite picks from Etsy that covers Gifts for Him. Check out my previous post on Gifts for the Home. Happy shopping and hooray for supporting handmade. Coming up on November 27th, unique and fun gifts for the ladies. Check back to see what I have picked out for you!

p.s. Photo credits belong to each of the Esty vendors listed in this post.