RADCOW: I got Interested in Leather craft about a decade ago, when I was a teenager hitch hiking across Canada. On my travels I met a wonderful old hippy man named Longevity John. He was nearly 7 foot tall, with hair down his back, and eyes all full of kindness. He lived in a shotgun shack with no running water, or electricity, but made incredible and inspiring leather crafts and sold them on saturdays at the farmers market in town. John showed me a few things, and got the seeds of inspiration planted in me. The thought of someone making their living with their own 2 hands from thier crafts made my heart swell. Later, I got a job at a leather craft store, and began spending most of my pay cheques on tools, and most of my time playing with leather. Since then, the seed has grown, and I too make my living this way, selling here, and at festivals and craft fairs. I feel like I am on my true path, and I am eternally grateful to etsy, and to all of you who support hand crafters. You allow the creative instinct to grow and flourish. Thank you!
You’re in for a treat today — a guest post from my friend Casey at the Moosh in Indy blog. She’s always fabulous but especially so last month when she was in New York for Fashion Week. Read on to hear how she styled herself in handmade for this high-power event, and love her for helping spread the word that handmade is better and more beautiful and closer to the heart than mass-produced.
There was the most wonderful crocheted hat at the most unique little boutique on Pier 17 in NYC. I had it in my hand ready to purchase when a little sticker came out that read “Made in Taiwan.”
If I’ve learned anything from living part of my life on the internet it is that I don’t need to stand for “Made in Taiwan.”
In February I went to New York during fashion week for a “work thing.” I have no shame in admitting that my first thought was “WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?” It was at that moment I decided to go handmade for my trip.
I first gathered up all of my own etsy and farmers market purchases.
I then put the question out to my followers on twitter, “Anybody on here make stuff?” Simple as that. Even if someone didn’t make something themselves they knew somebody who made something or had purchased something from someone and were more than willing to brag about their wares.
Suddenly the internet became my own little personal boutique.
And you know what? No one else had what I had. When I was asked “Where did you find that?” I was able to answer a real person’s name and hand them a card rather than answer a big box store. I’ve met a lot of these people, I’ve had conversations with them, had things custom made or tweaked. There’s nothing quite like getting a compliment on an item when you know yours is the only one in existence.
Now I’d like to present to you the handmade items that made me feel unique in a city of chain stores, trends and a million other people. I can vouch for all of them, some I’ve known for years, others only a month, but they are all fantastic.
Accessoire. This girl is just down the road from me in Indianapolis, all of her lovely wool flowers have feminine names and she warned me that Lillith must put out and that’s why people like her so much.
Pere Custom Handbags. I was told by a New Yorker that out of towners stand out most when they bring a big handbag to evening events. She said a leeedle teeny clutch was key in not standing out like an unfashionable sore thumb. I’m addicted to jewel tones so her pinch puff clutch stole my heart immediately. The thought of carrying one of her other handbags actually gets me more excited than going out in the first place.
Necklush. I. LOVE. SCARVES. Necklushes are even cooler than the coolest scarf I own, which is why I own two. Everytime I wear one I can’t go out without at least two or three comments on it (complete with touches, I don’t even mind the touches if that says anything.) There’s a dozen different ways to wear one and all of them are awesome.
Cheryl’s Jewelry. Another local. I have admired her intricate wirework from afar for awhile but never had the occasion to wear such art around my neck. She picks the most amazing jewels for her work and the hours spent on each piece is apparent. Wish her luck as she tries to get into the local art market scene.
Studio Jewel. Ever built an outfit around a necklace and then spend the day with your hair up and your chin up showing off the necklace? That’s how I feel in my Studio Jewel necklace. It just feels good. And pretty. And what’s even better is since she’s the boss, she was able to size it down for my puny little neck.
Round House Designs. Not only did she make a custom ring based off of my blog for me, she and my husband went into cahoots for Valentine’s Day. Not to rub it in, but my Valentine’s gift kicked your Valentine’s gifts’ trash.
What’s fantastic about this? I just told you about all of the secrets in my closet but you’ll never be able to duplicate exactly what I have. Why? Handmade, that’s why.
Does your baby love balloons? Are they just spellbound by how they magically float over head. Unlike a ball, a balloon moves slowly, gently, perfect for little hands & eyes that want to bat that thing back up in the air. But there is a problem with balloons and babies. They are a choking hazard. They can pop and eject the latex into the mouth, blocking the airway.
I’m always anxious when babies & toddlers are around balloons. Of course my kids have all adored balloons to distraction. Even though I sometimes wonder if my own risk of heart attack from the stress of watching babies bite balloons is worse than the actual choking risk, I still cannot get over the fear and worry every time I see an infant bite a balloon. Makes my blood run cold!
Fortunately, there is a simple elegant solution for us all, from SDK Designs that brings balloons back into play. Fabric balloon slipcovers! These are so clever I do wish I’d thought of it myself. The balloon goes in, you blow it up, you slip the knotted end inside and you have an attractive, covered, and safe balloon for baby to bat at. Genius. It’s a neurotic mommy’s best friend and a great gift as well!
Many natural soaps take advantage of herbal ingredients for fragrance and medicinal properties. Some herb and plants are believed to heal or soothe a number of skin ailments without the use of chemicals. Three worth mentioning are tea tree, lavender and calendula.
Tea tree essential oil, which has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, also smells great. It can be used alone, or combined with other ingredients in soaps that are friendly to irritable or acne-prone skin.
Lavender has been traditionally used in aromatherapy and bath and body products for everything from potpourri to candles to soaps and creams. It is also believed to be calming and helpful to those suffering from headaches and depression.
Calendula comes from the marigold plant. It promotes skin healing and repair. And it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Of the herbs mentioned above, I find calendula to be the most soothing and gentle. Tea tree fragrance is my favorite in the morning for its energetic scent, or at the end of a hot day – especially if sunscreen needs to be removed.
During the summertime I am able to enjoy fresh lavender. I am fortunate to have a large, healthy lavender plant. So I dry the lavender and make the oil myself, then use it as a moisturizer all winter. In soap, it’s a great fragrance to hand over to sweaty children. They smell better almost immediately.
Dr. Flowers’ store has a great variety of natural soaps. They smell wonderful and arrived promptly, wrapped in embroidered cotton sleeves. The soaps have a wavy cut, which makes them pretty to look at and shows off the herbs within. And I appreciate the eco-friendly packaging.
My order from Dr. Flowers also included small heart shaped soaps, that look nice in the bathroom. And they are very appropriate to have this time of year with Valentine’s Day coming up.
Red and White Heart Valentine Quilted Fabric Postcard
This red and white Valentine from FabricGreetings is simplicity in itself. It features a red heart appliqued to a red and white floral background. The applique is done with a decorative machine stitch and features a small heart. A printed “happy valentines day” ribbon is also appliqued to the… details »
Garnet and 14k gold filled hoops
Small 14k gold filled circles have been wire wrapped with smoothed, faceted garnet rondelles. Each circle features 15-16 of these gorgeous magenta red gemstones. They remind me of little raspberries. Each hand formed and hammered circle drop hangs from small hand formed and hammered 21 gauge 14k gold filled… details »
Kangashrew the flannel monster
Kangashrew is flannel with securely stitched felt detail and measures 12″ in height. Like all of the flannel monsters, Kangashrew was designed to be cuddly yet durable. I make all of these adorable monsters with the same care I put into the original monsters I made for my son’s… details »