Black Mascara

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One drawback to ordering handmade goods is that they are not always in stock. As a consumer, I appreciate that this means everything I do order has been freshly produced. However, I choose not to live without black mascara.

I have become a fan of the mineral mascara that Myra makes at Funkey Monkey company. But the last time she listed it, it sold out before I got around to placing an order. And the mascara that I had was about to run out.

I was happy to discover that Lucy at Mum Mum’s Crafts, whose lip balms I tried and liked several weeks ago is also making mascara now. So I tried it. Like the other mascaras that I have recommended it is non-toxic and expires in three months.

The black natural lash building mascara is smooth and creamy. It slides evenly onto the eyelashes. I let it dry, then combed out a clump. I was very pleased that the clump went right onto the brush in one piece, and did not splinter and make a powdery mess on my face, or get into my eyes.

I reapplied the mascara later, for a touch up. And I am pleased about that too. It went on easily, and the brush did not stick or make lumps.

I have not had any problem with the mascara running or flaking. And I even took a shower with it on one day. I tried not to get my face wet. But that usually does not prevent mascara from turning into a splotchy mess. I do not expect that from mineral mascara. I expected to have a wet mess on my face from the steam, to clean it up easily, and then need to reapply.

My past experience has been that any mascara mild enough to provoke no irritation on my skin does not stay on in the shower, or even on humid summer days. So I’ve definitely found my new summer mascara (months away I know.)

One other positive note. I received this mascara five days after I ordered it. I mean exactly five days, not five business days. And yes, I am so ridiculously detailed that I keep track of the shipping time for every handmade order that I place and only recommend those which ship within two weeks.

Happy holidays everyone.

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  • Interview with Victoria of LavenderField
  • Handmade wedding rings, invitations and flowers

Leopard Print

The new fall trends have been announced, and animal print is in this season with leopard print leading the pack. Living in Hawaii, I typically miss out on the fall and winter fashion trends, but this one may be a little easier to incorporate into my wardrobe. Adding a small touch of animal print with the right accessories will instantly make a simple outfit chic and exotic.

A leopard print purse is a quick way to add a little sass to your little black dress, or any dress for that matter. This envelope style option from Hmmm…by Melanie includes a black chain strap, magnetic closure and is lined in black sequined fabric.

A leopard print hat may be a bit fashion forward for most, but this vintage-style cloche hat by The Millinery Shop is just too good to pass up. It is hand blocked, made from long haired felt leopard print fabric, and completed with a Bakelite buckle and hat pin. This would look amazing with a fall cape or winter coat.

Using black, brown, tan, creme and white yarn, this scarf is hand-knit by Crickets Creations to create the look of leopard print. Paired with a fall blazer or winter coat, it is sure to keep you warm and make a statement well beyond this fall’s animal print trend.

This turban-style headband from ChiChi is the perfect get-your-attention accessory for girls who love to be glamorous. Perfect for a night on the town or just pulling your hair back while running errands.

As the weather becomes cooler, embrace this year’s fall trend and incorporate a little bit of leopard print into your wardrobe! I’ll have my eye out for a leopard print bikini!

**The Leopard Shoes fine art print featured at the top of this post was created by Karcharz Photography.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • G Street Fabrics
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Waveform wedding rings by Sakurako Shimizu
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Interview with Victoria of LavenderField
  • Handmade wedding rings, invitations and flowers

Interview with Camilla of Stil Novo Design

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What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?

We are a family business focused on the creation of eco-friendly home décor, ‘green’ gift ideas, custom made furniture and original specialty pieces. All of our products are made with reclaimed white oak that we recycle from French wine barrels. It’s a material that hasn’t stopped impressing us for its beauty, charm and distinctiveness

How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?

Our beginning was quite fortuitous; while visiting a local winery in the north of California, we noticed a bunch of unused barrels, piled up in a corner and ready to be discarded. We asked a few questions and learned about the chemical properties of oak itself and how it plays a significant role in winemaking, affecting the color, flavor, and texture of the wine.

Over time many of the oak properties get “leached” out of the barrel and after 3 to 5 vintages the barrel is ready to be discarded.

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My husband is an experienced and passionate woodworker, so he could immediately recognize and appreciate the quality of the chosen oak the French barrels are made of, and felt that we could turn that unfortunate waste into a ‘green’ idea.

The more we worked with this wood, the more we could notice and appreciate the uniqueness of each barrel, the different grain, quality and character that every stave presents; for us every dent, discoloration and mark is a very valued and honored sign of age that we have a lot of respect for.

It makes us quite happy that we are able to give this wonderful material a new life in our customers’ hands.

Is there a story behind the name of your shop?

In Italian ‘stil novo’ means ‘new style’ and it’s reminiscent of the ‘dolce stil novo’, which was a very important literary movement in Italy during the 13th century. Somehow it seemed to fit with our vision and stylistic choices.

Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?

Every piece we make is the direct product of a ‘family effort’, from the conceptualization of the idea to its realization; we all have to ‘endorse’ it or it doesn’t make it to the catalog and we all take pride in putting our name on it.

Even our 10 years old twin girls often participate to the whole process, giving suggestions or sharing their personal preferences.

My beloved husband of 18 years, Stefano Capaccioli, is an accomplished woodworker/furniture maker; he possesses endless creativity, amazing abilities and meticulous skills that allow him to take on tricky challenges and to turn them into achievements.

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I, Camilla, take care of orders, customer service, packaging and shipping. I hand paint our decorated items, which I enjoy doing a lot and create all of the listings. I also do the necessary ‘foot-work’, networking and marketing, in order to get Stil Novo Design noticed and appreciated. Last, but certainly not least, I am the one who does all the ‘nagging’ about every little detail, deadline and such, a very essential role in any family business!!!!

Our business has become for us another way to exchange our views, taste and choices with each other and to spend time together, sharing every moment of the creative process; We have a lot of fun doing it and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to make it into such a special family experience.

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When either of us comes up with an idea, having an architectural background, my husband easily sketches it on paper, we discuss it further and define the details; after that he makes a prototype and we decide if the design needs more options or adjustments, and if it gets ‘promoted’ it’s added to our inventory.
Also, often our customers offer suggestions or request a custom piece that gives us the opportunity to explore our creative potential even further.

When the high season puts us under pressure we are often forced to involve some of our friends (and our girls!!) in any possible way: making labels, polishing the pieces, wrapping, boxing etc… and our home turns into a busy ‘beehive’.

Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?

We have most of our inventory available at our fabulous Etsy store. We have opened other on-line stores, but Etsy is the one we favorite.

From time to time we participate to street fairs and art shows; although I enjoy selling and meeting in person with our customers, explaining the process involved and the history behind every piece, every show has become such a time and funds demanding enterprise, that we are becoming very cautious in choosing the ones to attend to. We’d love to expand our ‘FaceBook family’.

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Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?

These are some fellow Etsians sellers that I truly admire for their awesome work, eco-creations and professionalism:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/innovationdesign
http://www.etsy.com/shop/happyhoundcreative
http://www.etsy.com/shop/wolfartglass

What inspires and motivates you?

Being a family business, our first and true source of motivation for us is to be and to work with each other, appreciating the commitment, the care and effort invested by each of us and sharing the joy of every achievement; I think that it’s somehow reflected in the harmony and warmth that all of our pieces seem to convey.

The recycled material that we use also offers endless inspiration; the natural arch of the wine barrel staves ‘spurs’ us to play with shapes and designs in a very imaginative way, while the singular grain of the French white oak bestows a quite unique quality on every piece we make. We believe that there is a lot left to explore, learn and discover.

People’s resourcefulness is quite inspiring as well; to witness what people are able to create and the resilience demonstrated by many of the true artists we had the fortune to meet along the way, have given us great encouragement and boosted our passion. We are very thankful for that.

What do you wish I had asked you?

I ask my self, almost every day: “Is it worth?”. The answer becomes clear every time we experience that moment of blissful gratification when, what we have created makes someone else happy, someone who seems to love it and appreciate it as much as we did while ‘giving birth’ to it… it’s quite an addicting feeling.

Thanks Camilla! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.

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  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • G Street Fabrics
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Waveform wedding rings by Sakurako Shimizu
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Interview with Victoria of LavenderField
  • Handmade wedding rings, invitations and flowers

Holiday Shopping for Artisan Made Gifts

UPDATE: 1000 Markets and byhand.me both folded, so I had to remove the links from this article. Where possible I have linked to current shop locations.

The holidays are coming up fast for many of us who have committed to having a Handmade Holiday. Now’s the time to find and order those handmade gifts that will bring originality to your holidays as well as brighten the season of the artists you’ve chosen to hand make your gifts. But where to start?

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There are innumerable blogs and sites with handmade gift choices, but you can spend hours browsing before you find one that gets you. I personally am partial to the markets of 1000Markets in part because the curators/market managers tend to pick the best available handmade work in their particular area, and it’s easy to pay through Amazon (with their A-Z Guarantee). In addition, you don’t have to sign up at the venue to purchase. So bearing that in mind, here’s my go-to list of especially well curated gift guides:

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The Try Handmade Market is curated by our own Erika Jurney. She personally adds each item so you can be sure they’re the best artisan goods available. The work is organized into collections for easy browsing, and there’s a forum if you have a question or need some help. Payment is through Amazon, and you don’t have to sign up to purchase if you already have an Amazon account.

The Succulent Wife’s Marketplace is a gift market that has it’s own Cheery Holiday Gift Guide, with original gifts chosen by the Succulent Wife herself. If you don’t find something in the guide, check our the other collections organized by type of gift recipient, for easy holiday shopping. Payment is through Amazon.

Holiday Gifts the Artisan Way is the gift guide curated by 1000Markets. It’s divided into numerous collections of gift categories that are fun to browse, including ‘Artisan Gifts Under $50′ that will help you stay on budget. Payment is through Amazon.

Etsy has the granddaddy of handmade gift guides. The Etsy Gift Guide is a good place to look if you’re already an etsy member or don’t mind signing up to purchase, and have loads of time to sift through it all. The Guides are organized by price, and by just about every other category imaginable, which is great if you like tons to look through but can be a bit overwhelming if you’re in a rush. Payment is normally through PayPal although other options are available through individual artists.

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If you’d like to purchase a gift that’s shipped directly to your gift recipient with a hand written note, try searching any of the major handmade venues for the term “GiftShipper”. These are artists who will create and ship your gift, with a note of your choosing, directly to the person you designate. Often they will gift wrap as well (sometimes for an extra charge). To narrow things down you can add search terms such as “giftshipper jewelry” or “giftshipper pottery”. Don’t forget to mention GiftShipper when you order, and specify the contents of your note.

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If you’d like to search all of the major handmade venues at the same time for specific items, try the search at byhand.me. [UPDATE: byhand.me is now gone – try Best of Handmade instead.] It’s powered by Google but lists items only from handmade venues, with photos and pricing. It’s not a complete listing, but is good for those who prefer less exhaustive search results. If you know what you’re looking for, this search will give you a good variety across all of the handmade venues without overwhelming.

Do you have a favorite Gift Guide? Is there something that would make handmade gift shopping easier for you? Tell us about it in your comment below!

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  • G Street Fabrics
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Waveform wedding rings by Sakurako Shimizu
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Interview with Victoria of LavenderField
  • Handmade wedding rings, invitations and flowers

Silk Dyed Easter Egg Kit from The June Bride

These Easter eggs from The June Bride { previously featured here and here } look like a million bucks. I’m not sure who first figured out that you could use silk prints to dye your Easter eggs, but that person deserves some sort of prize.

The problem for me, and those like me who would love to try this craft, however, is that I don’t have a bunch of patterned silk items laying about the house. I’m pretty sure that my husband would not look kindly upon me slicing and dicing his ties for the good of the eggs.

Enter The June Bride who has put together a kit containing 16 thrifted/recycled silk scraps that can be used (and reused, the scraps work more than once) to create ART eggs. Also included are the additional supplies you’ll need for this fun and surprisingly easy project. No hunting all over town and through your closet for sacrificial silk and no more ordinary pink and blue eggs for you and your kids! You’re going to have so much fun!

The June Bride also donates $1 from the sale of every kit to the American Cancer Society.

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • G Street Fabrics
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • Waveform wedding rings by Sakurako Shimizu
  • Spring Organization: Workspaces
  • Interview with Victoria of LavenderField
  • Handmade wedding rings, invitations and flowers