Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth
Radically Natural Gifts...Some of My Favorite Things
I love to support artisan, cottage industry handmade goods. As much as possible, I try to avoid mass-produced, cheap consumer goods (especially those made with slave labor and sold by megastores that use unethical business practices). So I find myself frequenting Etsy for unique gifts and even for our necessities, like cloth diapers, napkins and clothes. I imagine that whatever your heart desires can be found in the artists' shops on Etsy, the web's international arts' festival and vintage market.
I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of my favorite Etsy finds/gift choices from 2012. I hope you are inspired to peruse Etsy's seemingly endless offerings. Whether window shopping (which is fun to do late at night when you are too wired to sleep and too tired to read) or gift shopping, Etsy fits the bill. (Please forgive the odd page formatting...I couldn't get the picture insert function to play nicely, LOL.)
Designer and seamstress Andria Higgins, from Eugene, Oregon, makes my new favorite piece of clothing...knee-length skirts in linen, corduroy and cotton. Her design is flawless: simple, flattering and comfortable. Her garments have a professional finish you often don't find anymore in commercial clothes, and she will customize your garment for a perfect fit. Andria is diligent and accommodating; her shop offerings also include beautiful beaded jewelry.
|Andria Higgins Designs|
Lauren of little house of colors makes the most adorable baby shoes, the perfect gift for all the tiny tootsies you love to tickle. The shoes fit from infant to toddler feet, and come in fun colors and patterns for girls and boys. Lauren also sells changing pads, burp cloths and bibs. It's an easy stop for baby shower gifts.
|Little House of Color|
Ludimondo toys from Germany offers brightly colored, handcrafted maple children's puzzles. If you want heirloom-quality, unique artisan toys for your children, check out Michael's offerings. You can purchase his fine puzzles individually or in sets.
If you love bags...if you need bags (and what mom doesn't?!)...and if you want to carry a handmade, unique bag made from lovely recycled fabrics, look no further than Hobbitbags. Blessed with an artists' eye for color and an attention to detail, Jeanine creates pieces that will lift your mood and meet your carrying needs. My favorite is her patchwork bag pieced together from designer fabric samples and accented with a stylish button (covering a magnetic clasp) and a charm. She offers shopping totes, messenger bags, eyeglass cases, wallets and more.
But honestly, who has enough bags? LOL If you want a stylish way to transport your laptop and carry some books and other necessities as well, check out The Artist Tote designed and sewn by Kelly Hillis, and the "I carry everything, even your phone and ipad" wallets from Mr. and Mrs. Wallet. Both ladies are immaculate in their creations' finished products.
|Kellie Falconer Designs|
Looking for something pretty and practical for the little princess in your life? How about posies for head and toesies? I love the felt posy-adorned headbands created by designer and seamstress Kellie Falconer (and her half-circle skirts are swirly, feminine and comfy). The chic, comfortable and ecofriendly shoes by aniamelisa will keep your little girl twirling on her toes. And for a whimsical, sweet finish to any outfit, check out the owl skirt made by Paige at OAKscarves. She also makes the headband and scarf as seen in the photo. And what little girl doesn't fall in love with baubles eventually? Why not gift your favorite little one with a pendant from One Small Story. The story-inspired locket-like pendants are designed and created by a dear friend of mine. She crafts a tiny narrative with the pictures and words she chooses from old-fashioned books, postcards, photos and other "found" print materials.
|One Small Story|
|The Spotted Barn|
|So Many Colors|
Speaking of scarves, it is that time of year to keep the chill off our necks and out of our moods. To add a splash of colorful fashion to your winter wardrobe, stop by So Many Colors and admire the hand-dyed ecofriendly bamboo/cotton infinity scarves, as well as the scarves, aprons and totes at the Julie Marie Shop and the crocheted infinity scarves at Olive Koza. And while I'm thinking of domestic arts and ecofriendly supplies, I recommend that you browse the offerings of JAQS Studio, where you'll discover charming, sophisticated and silky cotton napkins. The size is just right for keeping laps and hands tidy during meals. And while you're shopping for napkins, go ahead and check out the colorful and fun organizer fabric bins at The Spotted Barn. You can never be too organized or inject too much color into these dreary, dark winter days! And for adding spurts of color to your life, you can't go wrong with the new twists on that vintage art, tie dye. I love the Happy Yiayia shop, full of clothes, cloth diapers, toys and textiles for the home. As an amateur tie dyer, I enjoy seeing excellence in the art. Kimberly's pieces are delightful.
For the men in your life, why not choose a handcrafted leather macbook or ipad case by Picaso Lab? Using a solid-edge technology that he patented, Alex constructs fine napa leather into a slim profile envelope-style case with strong and rigid outer edges. And your little man may enjoy swinging into action with medieval play armor from The Tree House Kid shop. And don't neglect to start your young man's craftsman obsession with an antique tool chest. You never know what handiwork artistic heights he may reach!
|Wool and Watercolors|
To round out any gift giving session, I love to include note cards. The art of letter writing is a dying craft that desperately deserves revival. What better way to inspire your loved ones to send you hand-written notes than by gifting them with art cards? The only drawback is the possible hesitancy to use said cards due to their desirous art appeal. Some of the artists' work I enjoyed sharing in 2012 were Amber Alexander, Kerry Wilkinson, and Wool and Watercolors. Believe me, I have my eye on many others...but you have to start somewhere, right?