Athens, Georgia, known for its enormous college and crazed football fans, also has an engaging artist community. One market is not enough to contain them all. Athens Farmers Market, in Athens, and Oconee Farmers Market, in nearby Watkinsville, feature fresh produce, and handmade goods from March to November each year.
The cold winter months can drag on when you’re stuck inside all day, but sometimes the best thing to do is get out and embrace the chilly weather. The ice rink in downtown Chicago has some of the best views of the city and I would try to go at least once a year to take it all in. It was always crowded and I was always wobbly, but, if nothing else, I would have a good laugh at myself and enjoyed some hot chocolate at the end of it all.
If you’re ever looking for an excuse to put on a twirly dress, ice skating is it. This knit dress by Jessica Rose Design features a full skirt that’s perfect for 360 spins or just trying to stay on your feet. The classic design, v-neck and full skirt are figure flattering for women of all shapes. And, since it’s cold outside, the knit fabric is perfect for layering with sweaters and scarves.
These amazing screen-printed leggings by Pretty Penny Designs are truly going to set you apart on the ice. Made of a cotton Lycra blend, you’ll be able to move around the ice with ease and stay warm as well. The blue and white fireworks pattern is a surprising accessory to your classic blue dress.
Of course, your legs are going to need a bit more warmth if you’re going to be out on the ice all day. These speckled blue leg warmers by Uniquely Chic for You are a great accessory, both on the ice and off. Made of wool and viscose yarn, these are sure to keep your legs warm and the relaxed fit ensure that they will fit right over your ice skates.
The cute and eco-friendly ice skates featured at the top of this post were created by Recycled Parts.
Heather and Kerry Alice Collins, Silversmiths
Twigs and Heather is Kerry Alice and Heather Collins, twin sister silversmiths and casters. We opened our studio in 2000 and have been creating one of a kind sterling silver jewelry ever since. Using the lost wax casting method, and a few new tricks of our own, our pieces are cast from plant life native to the Atlantic Northeast, and hand carved wax models.
Heather’s earthy and natural pieces are subtle reminders of just how wonderful something as simple as a twig can be.
There is nothing subtle about Kerry Alice’s pieces. They are bold, modern and urban. Made for the person who isn’t afraid to express themselves.
Our collection incorporates our different styles and personalities with a complementary mix of natural and modern pieces.
Gorgeous sterling silver jewelry by Twigs and Heather.
- Big Spiney Heart Pincushion
- Maple Seed Earrings
- Sterling Silver Beaded Square Green Sea Glass
- Sterling Silver 6 Pin Pincushion
- Lovely Sacred Heart
- Star and Safety Pin
This will be the last post this week as I’m taking time to be with the fam and have good times involving hot cocoa, letters to Santa, and frantic, last-minute toy-assembly followed by (or perhaps accompanied by) cocktails. Wishing similar happiness for you :)
Are you ready for a fiesta? I know I am! Cinco de Mayo (if your Spanish is rusty, that means the Fifth of May) is a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican army’s defeat of the French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. So, now that you know what you’re celebrating, let’s get to the handmade stuff!
What is Cinco de Mayo without some good Mexican food? Kitchen Stories has an easy solution for you! Not only will their Mexican Spice mix make your enchiladas, tacos, and fajitas easier, but the cute graphic tin will look great in your kitchen!
Now your food is looking good, so it’s time to make sure you look good too! I love this Fiesta Brooch from Frank Creations. What a colorful way to show your Cinco de Mayo spirit!
From a Mexican feast to Mexican elements for your home, this cool handmade mosaic shrine by Blue Terracotta was inspired by funerary temples in Mexico. It would look exceptionally beautiful in an entry way or living room.
Another way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is by supporting Mexican artists. I found two wonderful illustrators whose fabulous work will help to make any room feel more cheery. First up is Geninne’s Art Store. This wonderful print of a puppy has a cool collage feel.
Next is Rosie Music whose shop is filled with fanciful watercolor illustrations. This example of her work, from her umbrellas series, is just the right thing for that empty bit of wall that you have.
Another piece that was inspired by Mexico is this amazing photograph from Jen Murray Photography. The vibrant colors could liven up even the darkest space.
Last but not least is my favorite item of this week’s batch, an eco-friendly Frida Kahlo softie created by Sew Sew Suck Ur Toe. What a fabulous way to bring Frida Kahlo, and the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, into your home!
I hope that you all have a fabulous Cinco de Mayo fiesta! Join me next week when we send some not so subtle hints to spouses and kids everywhere as we spotlight some of the best handmade Mother’s Day gifts!
In a little more than one month hundreds of people will descend on a Michigan city just a few hours north of us in search of a good time at a festival known throughout the country; a festival that, as it so happens, depends wholly on Mother Nature’s cooperation. That festival is The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. And the word on the street is that this year, like too many years in the recent past, they will once again have to ship in cherries in order to make the festival the success everyone expects it to be.
This, in and of itself, is not a deal breaker for most people. Locavores don’t wait around for a festival in order to buy their in-season foods and those who are coming for the fun and only the fun likely don’t care exactly where the cherries in their pies came from. The festival will move forward regardless of the area’s crop in any given year, but the problem is not one unique to festival organizers and is all too familiar — and much more complex — to many who like their food fresh and locally grown.
Year after year mass media makes it known the world over when major crops are damaged or wiped out entirely in their primary growing regions. Florida’s citrus crops probably hold more headlines than Paris Hilton. Prices always reflect the severity of the damage the country over. Navel Orange prices in upstate New York and North Dakota pass the pain of the season from farmer to consumer, state to state and in the case of imported foods even country to country. But what does a wiped out, or dreadfully light, crop mean for locavores in the regions hardest hit? The difference can be between eating well and barely eating; between living purposefully and abandoning one’s ethics in order to eat, to survive.
The cause and effect doesn’t have to be quite so drastic though. There’s no fooling Mother Nature, but with a few small safeguards in place we can live in relatively peaceful — and local — quarters with her and her bounty.
Support Small Farmers – I know, you’ve heard it and you’ve heard it and you’ve heard it again, but the message still rings true. Tending thousands of plants, trees, and animals requires a zero tolerance program for inefficiency. Big farms may offer lower prices in good years, but in bad years they also lose their crop and leave a locavore wondering what’s for dinner. Small farmers on the other hand, with a little less rigid standard for efficiency, may have taken the time to protect at least a portion of their crop from the inevitable. Especially if the crop-killing culprit was frost.
Keep a Little In Reserve – Even fruit trees can be grown in pots these days which means if you’ve got so much as a balcony a small helping of your favorite foods could be at your fingertips. Certainly, when available, you’ll still want to purchase much of those foods from the farmer’s market and pick-your own farms, but if you can’t live without a few blueberries every year a couple of patio-friendly bushes can make that happen even in the case of a total loss in local agricultural circles.
Know Your Substitutes – Start experimenting with possible substitutes now. In the case that blackberries are nowhere to be found and your friend has a craving for your world famous jam, it’s good to know that mulberries will do in a pinch.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start safeguarding! You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature’s wrath.
Way ahead of me? How do you cope with crop losses and disappointing harvests? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!