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, November 27, 2011

Taming Temari

The traditional art of Japanese thread balls has its modest beginning as an ancient recycling project. Not wanting to waste precious kimono remnants, Japanese women fashioned balls for their children to play with. Over the centuries these toys evolved into prized possessions given to commemorate important events. We enjoy this incredible art form today at suzik on etsy, where you will find an impressive collection of colorfully decorated temari balls.

Susan creates her balls in the time-honored tradition, not relying on Styrofoam forms, making each of her handmade creations a true one-of-a-kind treasure. Some of her balls even have rattles, although these decorative pieces are not intended for children’s play. Whether hanging from a Christmas tree or proudly displayed in a curio cabinet, these beautiful works will captivate onlookers for many years.

Susan wraps her wonders in Louisiana and ships internationally. If you see a design you like, but prefer a different color scheme, please contact her. She is also very familiar with Feng Shui and can coordinate the perfect colors for your living space. This unique art form is still on my list of things to try one day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Foaming Flowers

With a rich family heritage, this Artfire artisan at Gingers-Garden is continuing the ancient tradition of soap making. Irena grew up mentored by traditional soap makers, and although she no longer has to save rainwater, grease, and lie, she takes great care in selecting the ingredients for her products. I am impressed by her scope of work, colors, shapes, patterns, and scents. Her novelty soaps, flowers and fish, would make lovely stocking stuffers and hostess gifts, and are too pretty to use! In looking at her photos, it appears she has quite a soap dish collection as well.

Irena is a licensed holistic health care practitioner, and also finds time to teach. Besides the marvelous myriad of bar soaps, she offers soothing shower gel, and shaving soap. I found the Sleepy Time aroma inhaler an interesting idea. There are lip balms, body scrubs, and lotions. Take a few minutes and explore this interesting shop.

Irena brews her batches in California, sends to Canada, and can be found on Facebook and at her website. If you would like to try one of her handcrafted soaps, Irena has a reasonably priced sample soap offer, which will get you whatever she is working on. She is able to take special and wholesale orders. How charming would little soap thank you gifts be at a wedding, shower, or birthday party? If you have any questions, please contact her. She loves to talk soap shop!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Frostless Flakes

I live by San Francisco and we have been dusted with snow a few times in the last 60+ years. Those who live where it regularly snows may not consider my experience anything close to snow. I found a husband and wife shop, grahtoestudio, on etsy, with the kind of snowflakes I prefer. As individual and unique as the real thing, these handcrafted wooden flakes will grace a Christmas tree for many years. Ash, hickory, koa, teak, walnut, and zebra are some of the domestic and exotic woods transformed by Stacy’s table saw and router. The ornaments are finished with lacquer to show off the natural color and grain patterns.

This shop also offers a selection of bold and functional hair combs, forks, and sticks from an array of premium woods and antler. These designs are ready to grace your stylish updo, holding long hair with ease. Curly koa is stunning and my husband would love to make a guitar with this wood. Stacy is a true wood whisperer and works magic on a lathe, bringing forth wondrous bowls hidden in blocks of wood. Their new line of hand and pocket mirrors is making its debut.

Stacy and Kim collaborate in Utah, send internationally, and can be found on Facebook. If you are not sure how to use a hair fork, several videos can be found on their blog. Do you fancy a particular wood, pattern, or embellishment? They are happy to take custom orders. This is the perfect way to own a piece of exotic wood!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kick Up Your Heels

This fine arts artist works on an unusual canvas – shoes! LoveMirandaMarie on etsy embellishes shoes with her beautiful drawings. Here, commonplace shoes have been touched by an artist and magically transformed. You may be hesitant to wear these works of art out of the house. Imelda Marcos surely would have appreciated the matchless beauty of Miranda’s fancy footwear, as any true collector would.

A newcomer to etsy, Miranda hasn’t been able to contain her creativity to shoes, and you will also find a retro-style painted handbag. Visit her blog for an insider’s glimpse at her creative process, and follow as her pieces come to life.
Working with gently used canvases, she is a true upcycler! This fashionable footwear comes from Arkansas, and ships worldwide.

If you have a design idea or would like to commission a themed piece for a special event, Miranda Marie is the one to see. She will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!