Uniquely handcrafted items make thoughtful and lasting gifts
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Bringing exposure to wonderful artisans whose shops have gone unnoticed or under appreciated.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cross My Heart

Cross-stitch is one of the oldest forms of embroidery and Gail at CrossStitchCards on ArtFire has a line of greeting cards that incorporates these elements in her exceptional designs. Her enchanting cards will certainly be treasured and their cherished messages reread over the years. Some of her cards even have removable cross-stitch ornaments that can be used year round as thoughtful reminders of your kindness.

Gail has a passion for cross-stitch and has been making superbly stitched art for many years. The peacock avatar she is currently using is magnificent. Her exclusive cards are certainly not for the casual well-wisher, and a disposable store card is good enough for that. A handcrafted card designed by Gail lets the recipient know you are genuinely thinking of them by your unique card selection.

Gail precisely counts her stitches in California, ships internationally, has a website, and can be found on Facebook. I stitched an announcement when my first was born, and it took such a long time to finish. I understand the countless hours she invests in her art work. If you are looking for a card to truly convey your heartfelt sentiments, visit Gail for a cross-stitch treasure!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Star Wars Amigurumi Crochet

Amigurumi is the Japanese art of creating small-scale cuteness by knit or crochet. Fantasy crochet patterns abound at LucyRavenscar on Etsy. Whether you are looking for your favorite Star Wars character, rabbits, wizards, or other fantasy folk, Lucy has the roadmap to creating your own amigurumi. The little gnomes, or any of these wee wonders, would make such a fun hide and seek game. The seeker leaves the room while the gnome is hidden, but part of it must be visible from the center of the room. I played this fun I Spy game as a child with little pocket rabbits my mother knit.

Her patterns range from beginner to intermediate crochet level, and I can only imagine the hours of trial and error that have gone into creating them. I was once asked how I create crochet patterns: simply write each row down as you work, and when you make a change, tear it out, cross it out, and continue on. Did you know that crochet nomenclature differs between the US and UK? Lucy provides both terms in her directions.

Lucy has painstakingly crafted her patterns in the United Kingdom, can be found on Facebook, and by e-mail her patterns are available via PDF worldwide. Visit her blog where you will find darling little eggs to delight any egg hunt, as well as free patterns and links to free patterns that you can try your hand at. Keep in mind that her pattern designs are available for personal use only. She has spent great time and care in preparing them. I wonder what she will come up with next!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Paper Cuts

Few things are quite as exciting as passing down the skills of a traditional art form to the next generation. This gentleman was fortunate enough to have grandparents mentor him in the art of paper cutting and painting, and the amazing results can be found at swipxa, on Etsy. When my husband saw the country road, he thought it was an ink work.

Steady hands and painstaking attention to detail allow this artisan to create his delicate paper lace designs, which come ready to be framed and will certainly be the conversation piece in any room. These incredible art works can be prepared in a single color or hand painted to please after they are cut out. Zhang can turn a photo into a paper cutout to commemorate a special person or event, so be sure to contact him for custom orders.

Zhang skillfully maneuvers those sharp blades in China and ships internationally. You will also find him at Bonanza, where I am in awe at the zebras through a chain-linked fence.

See him at work in a YouTube video, although the audio is in Chinese.

I have admired this artist for quite some time and have seen great growth in his shop offerings. I hope he will be able to continue his family heritage and pass this craft on to his daughter.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What's Bugging You?

Well it certainly won't be any of these cute little bugaboos from the LuckyBugs shop on zibbet. Daresa has populated her very own colony of Lucky Bugs in a charming array of colors and designs. The flowing antennae and lacey legs give each insect an elegant appearance, and those little faces staring back are precious!

Camouflage bug has got to bring a smile, and the Silver Bug lapel pin is an eye catcher. Every one of her handmade creatures is a true one-of-a-kind work of art with personality, sure to be enjoyed and treasured for many years to come.

This lady absolutely loves playing with polymer clay, and her cheery creations are evidence of her joy. Discover her second shop on zibbet, Daresab, for more examples of her inventive creative energy. She truly upcycled a tobacco tin in a stunning beach themed trinket box, and the hummingbird is amazing!

Daresa models her menagerie in South Carolina, ships internationally, can be found on Facebook, and also has an Etsy shop. Would you like to see a Lucky Bug in your favorite, school or team colors? She enjoys the challenge of custom orders, and will gladly work with you bringing your unique ideas to life. Here is a wonderful surprise for the avid gardener on your gift list – bugs that won’t need spray!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Plarn Creations

As many of you know, recycling is dear to my heart. Anything we can do to keep materials from our landfill is a benefit to all, and the creative recycling and upcycling of these materials, turning them into beautiful and useful items, is very satisfying.

There is a shop on ArtFire doing just that, KConkle.
Karen crochets a line of beautiful bags and totes made from 100% recycled plastic shopping bags in a range of lovely colors and designs. Her husband Terry offers wonderful support and collects bags from coworkers who know of Karen's marvelous creative talent.
Karen hooks her eco-friendly creations in Kansas, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. Like me, she has recently opened a shop at ShopHandmade, and should have it stocked with more of her wonderful recycled treasures shortly.
Plarn is soft, strong, waterproof, and has marvelous insulating properties. Be sure to stop by her ArtFire blog if you would like to know the secret to perfectly cutting a bag into a long usable length of Plarn to crochet or knit your own upcycled item. Thank you Karen, I applaud your efforts!