Stephanie Weber of Pickle Things has lived in Portland for the past five years. In her own words, ‘I love it here. Of all of the places that I have lived, I feel the most at home here. I like that it is so beautiful, has a great neighborhood/community feel, progressive and eco conscience and has fabulous restaurants.’ She lives with a dog, birds, fish and soon a cat and roommates who actually own all the animals. A self-described independent, perfectionist who cannot sit still, Stephanie loves fabric (specifically vintage patterns), cool glass jars, 70s embroidered wall hangings, screwball comedies from the 30s-40s, macaroni and cheese, vegetable gardens and rain. Don’t miss Stephanie’s shop and her blog.
So, you’ve taken a pledge to give only handmade gifts this Christmas. Your ornaments and decorations are all one-of-a-kind creations gathered from the local craft fair and visitors to your home are going to be treated to local artisan cheeses and breads before being sent home with homemade fudge and gingerbread from your own kitchen. It sounds like you’ve got the bases covered…but you’re not planning to use boring old store-bought wrapping paper, are you? Of course you’re not!
I have always been a proponent of the fabric gift bag. Not only do they look so cute under the Christmas tree, they are almost infinitely reusable. Considering the cost (and waste!) of paper wrapping and plastic ribbon, fabric bags will pay for themselves within just a couple uses. These colourful, reversible gift bags by Pidoodle are doubly-good for the environment because the fabric used to create them was repurposed from thrifted garments. A dedicated thriftier and “fickle crafter”, Carissa seeks out used (and sometimes damaged) pieces at charity shops and gives them a second life by dying, silk-screening and sewing them into gift bags. She even includes a piece of tulle to replace expensive and fragile tissue paper. How clever!
When I was a kid, we got in the car and drove my dad out to a nearby town to take a hot air balloon ride. I remember watching the balloons gliding through the sky. These earrings remind me of that day.
Elle got started in handmade when she was struggling with depression and loneliness. Jewelry-making was her way to be totally immersed in something that was not only positive, but kept her mind off of what she was going through. She fell in love with jewelry making and never looked back. Her style incorporates vintage pieces with modern beads.
Encouraged by friends and family she jumped into selling through her shop Elle’s Beads. After taking a blind leap, she learned as she went setting up up a business strategy, goals, and a budget.
I’ve met such great artisans, both in real life and through venues like Etsy, and I feel like I have a sense of community and belonging now.
Elle’s grandmother is a huge influence. She uses her antique sewing machine and vintage buttons to make a lot of her creations. She’s also inspired by items that people cast away as trash. She has a way of viewing things not as what they are, but what they could become with a little bit of fabric, paint, or beads. She’s also started sewing now due to her grandmother’s influence (she was a seamstress) and makes a point to only use eco-friendly materials in the accessories she makes.
My favorite item is my Vintage Sapphire and Silver Glass Pearl Necklace. It’s the first eco-friendly piece I ever made and it’s from an old vintage earring I repurposed as a brooch. I’m really passionate now about reusing old materials and making them into something beautiful and new. This necklace is a constant reminder to me of the beginning of that journey.
Elle supports the views that many of us handmade artisans have, even though handmade goods can cost more than mass-produced goods, especially those imported from overseas, they’re so much more valuable! When you buy something handmade, you’re supporting an artisan – a small business and an entrepreneur. You’re supporting a craft and a subculture that values the importance of keeping craftsmanship alive. Each handmade item is a little bit different and Elle, like all handmade artists puts her love and a part of herself in every piece.
These adorable vintage birdies are my personal favorite!
Elle is a full-time paralegal working for a non-profit in North Carolina. When not working at her day job or on her business, you can find her relaxing in front of the television, catching up on the latest book club book, or talking on the phone with her family. Online you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.
Pastel Hippy Upcycled notecardsThese 4 darling butter yellow cards measuring approx. 2.5 x 2.5 inches (6.5 x 6.5 cm), are accented with salvaged wrapping paper in a pastel, retro motif, a crumply distressed paper bag square with a heart hand stamped on the front and a lovely pastel pink bow.4 matching… → details
Rainbow BrightThree strands of multicolored small glass beads – no particular pattern or order. Approximately 7″ → details
Fireworks Barrel BagThis bag is hand knit in a cylinder shape, black yarn is used throughout and mixed with a rainbow of colors (gold, orange, red, pink, purple, blue and green) all of pure wool. It is then topped with a fluff black eyelash yarn to give it a flirty look.… → details
“LEMONADE” Mixed Media Collage Print, by Linda Woods
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” When Dale Carnegie first spoke those pithy words of wisdom, his intent was to remind us that no matter what comes our way, it is up to us to make the best of it. For me, though, as soon as I hear “When life hands you lemons…”, I think “Lucky me!” That could be because I always associate the cheerful little yellow fruits, not by their sourness, but by their powerful mood-lifting effects. And, it’s not just me; research has proven that just a sniff of fresh lemon really can boost moods and increase optimism in test-subjects. It sounds counter-intuitive, and I stumbled upon it completely by accident, but the tart juice of the lemon is actually an age-old remedy for nausea, too, and is commonly recommended by naturopaths. I can vouch for this first-hand; when I was pregnant with my son and deep in the throws of
morning all-day sickness, the only thing that could calm my tummy and allow me to function was to (literally) suck on a lemon.
So, when life hands you lemons, here are a few ideas for what you can do…
”When life hands you lemons, wash your socks!” Can doing laundry make you happy? It can if you use an eco-friendly product with an uplifting fragrance like the one pictured above by Maylee’s Garden. Scented with pure lavender and lemon essential oils, this all-natural, vegan laundry soap is made by hand by the always effervescent Libby, and contains absolutely no palm oil or harsh detergents. It’s also great in cold-water and suitable for HE/front-loading machines.
“When life hands you lemons, go shopping!” …and be sure to keep your positive eco-karma intact by bringing along a handy reusable shopping bag. This reversible one, pictured above, handmade by Charity of Lil Hipsters, features a cheerful lemon print on one side and a fresh green solid on the other.
“When life hands you lemons, take a bath!” Scrub your troubles and bad mood away with the zesty Lemon Slice soap made by DeShawn Marie The handmade, 100% vegan soap contains a triple-squeeze of lemon (lemon peel, lemon essential oil and lemongrass essential oil), along with nourishing coconut milk and exfoliating dried chamomile flowers. After you’ve toweled-off, visit DeShawn’s website for details on her soap club, which offers a different soap every month!
“When life hands you lemons, rub it in!” Into your cuticles, that is. The next time you find yourself in a seemingly endless line-up, instead of impatiently tapping your fingers, massage Pure Intox’s conditioning, lemon-drop scented balm (above) into your dry cuticles instead. The uplifting scent of lemon will energize and relax you while you wait (patiently) for your turn.
Of course, when all else fails, go ahead and make that lemonade.
Old Fashioned Lemonade
1 cup Simple Syrup (recipe below)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups cold water
Ice and lemon slices, to serve.
Directions: In a pretty pitcher, combine simple syrup, lemon juice, and water. Adjust sweetness/tartness by adding more sugar or more lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices.
Simple syrup: In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.