Jill Popowich Designs: Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved jewelry and was intrigued with designing and making it. I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where I received a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. Since 1994 I’ve been working as an Environmental Graphic Designer having the opportunity to travel the world working on large scale retail environments designing signage, sculptures and architectural details. It is this large scale 3-D work that re-sparked my interest in jewelry design and the opportunity to build something that can be interacted with on a personal scale.
All of the jewelry in my shop is handcrafted by me. Since each piece is hand made they will all vary taking on a personality of their own making each one unique and special. Please wear and enjoy each of my creations for its individual personality, shape, texture, material and craftsmanship.
Graduating from college is a big event in one’s life. At the time it’s happening you realize it’s important, but it’s not till 10-15 years down the line do you fully appreciate what was being left behind, and what opportunities and life experiences you have ahead of you. And just like no two college experiences are exactly the same, neither are the grads, and the gifts you give them to celebrate the special event should showcase who they are now, and what they want to be when they grow up.
Many grads take the ‘summer off’ and travel. Whether its backpacking through Europe, driving cross-country, or volunteering in Africa, your grad will love this travel journal to record all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences they’re about to have.
Less sentimental, and more practical is this passport cover. It’s an easy and organized way to help them keep track of perhaps the single most important thing accompanying them on their trip.
Maybe your grad isn’t taking any time off and is going straight into the real world–suit, office, commuting and all. If that’s the case, an inspirational coffee mug to get their day started right is something they’ll use daily. This one can be customized with any text you want, the grad’s name, inspirational quote, or even an inside joke.
Get your grad in the habit of sending handwritten notes. A personal, monogrammed note card set like this simple, sophisticated one can be used for any occasion, including thanking a potential employer for an interview.
Of course, jewelry is a big hit with most grads. Make it special by personalizing it with her name, graduation date, or birthstone. This necklace can house all three in a charm-like design.
Whatever your grad does or doesn’t do after college, be sure to praise them for how far they’ve come. It’s an accomplishment worth savoring before continuing the ride.
I am writing this week’s article from a hotel room in Toronto. Earlier, while I was waiting in a seemingly-endless line at the check-in desk, I had a few moments to peruse the hotel’s “environmental pledge”. It got me thinking; as diligent as we are to remain environmentally-friendly at home, it seems that many of us slip into bad habits as soon as we check into a hotel. How soon we forget that the little things, like leaving the light on when exiting the room and taking extra-long hot showers, can quickly add up. You probably don’t wash your bed sheets every day or use a fresh towel (or two) for each shower that you take at home, so why should you expect it elsewhere? I’ve compiled a few tips to help you “go green” and reduce your impact when you travel. Of course, I’ve also included a few eco-friendly, handmade items to make your trip a more pleasurable one, too. (Upcycled suitcase, above, by Get Ready, Set Go!)
Have you ever wanted to throw a dart at a map and travel to the spot that it hits? While that idea has a certain spontaneous appeal, perhaps a little more thought should go into not just the location, but the timing of your trip. Traveling during the high-season can mean a higher stress level for the traveler and for the destination itself. By shifting your travel plans to even just a month after a peak period, you allow the area to recover and rejuvenate itself. Plus, chances are that you and your family will get to see things that high-season visitors don’t and you will be get a more authentic experience. It’s a great way to get to see a culture at it’s relaxed and natural best. (Passport holder, above, by My Paper Garden.)
Eco-conscious travelers choose tour operators and facilities with strong environmental sustainability policies Before you book, do a little research and ask questions about the property that you intend to visit. If they have good practices in place, then they’ll be happy to brag about them! You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your hotel composts kitchen waste, or that they are taking actions to conserve water and energy. Ask about low-flow toilets, water-saving showerheads and earth friendly housekeeping, then reward companies that put these polices into practice by giving them your business. And, don’t forget to write home – recycled map stationary (above) by Dote.
As the old saying goes, “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. While those little single-use shampoos and soaps are cute, they tend to generate more garbage than they are worth. Before you depart for your adventure, buy small, refillable containers to port your own toiletries. Not only will you reduce waste, you’ll be using products that you know are good for you, rather than leaving it to chance. Even better than bottled, the Lemon Basil shampoo bar (above) by Beautiful Soaps contains conditioning rose hip seed and neem oils and is 100% spill proof – perfect for the suitcase or backpack.
Whether you are hostelling or staying in 5-star comfort, you can always try to make a positive impact on the places you visit. By treating your home away from home with the same care that you treat your own, you help to ensure others who follow will be able to experience and enjoy it, too. We can all can make a difference, especially if we take the steps, both large and small, together. What else can we do? I would love to hear your eco-friendly travel tips – please comment and share them with us. (Travel journal, above, by Blue Toad.)
I read something recently at zenhabits that has stuck with me. I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit, lately, much of my online reading has come to an abrupt halt. I suppose this is why coming across a gem like this — so simple and yet so true — meant all the more to me. It was discovered in one of those rare moments where I was just being with me; myself. It was written, not about food, but about wanting very little in life. Yet it applies so beautifully to the journey we often travel in finding artisan food that I had to share.
Don’t be meaninglessly minimalist. Be purposeful and deliberate in your quest…
In the weeks leading up to The New Year holiday I thought extensively about where I wanted to go with this column; what I wanted to accomplish in 2010. All I was able to come up with was to ‘Have Direction’, but struggled as to what that really meant. I knew that in 2009, in its very infancy, I had felt pulled this way and that; I had wondered if anything good was actually being done with the words I was writing here. I struggled in December to know how to fix that until I was confronted with the direction of meaning.
In seeking an artisan or handmade existence, especially in the food industry, being meaningful is a complex and oft times misdirected effort in an of itself. There are so many camps of foodies out there. Local, organic, artisan, simple, slow, complex and fanciful — knowing which is right, which is meaningful for your individual situation is never clear cut or easy.
In 2010 I hope not just to ‘have direction’ but to be meaningful and to promote the importance of meaningful decisions in the food industry. That means uniting for the cause. Whether local or organic, simple or complex it means understanding and accepting that meaningful food choices come in many colors; under many schools of thought.
Here’s to meaningful food in the New Year — for one, for all!
When I first came across this shop, I immediately was reminded of the Japanese animated film My Neighbor Totoro. So it should come as no surprise that Jacqueline, the artist behind UsagiRabbit is infatuated with Japanese culture. A student slowly working her way toward a college degree in linguistics, one of her goals is to learn to read Japanese. These whimsical bunny creatures are part Totoro and part Care Bear and so cute! Some are just for loving and cuddling, while others are put to work protecting your small electronic devices.
Jacqueline got her start in handmade when she couldn’t find the things she wanted in the stores. Though her shop has only been open since May she’s been creating art since she was old enough to pick up a coloring book – from making clothes for her dolls to patching up her jeans.
I used to knit scarves and a friend suggested I try selling some of them at a small local craft fair. I took the plunge and it was a blast! I loved meeting all those other crafters and artisans. Artists are some of the nicest people you can be around. Finding Etsy really got me thinking that I could make a go of this. It’s full of so many inspiring stories and helpful fellow sellers. I really want to try my best!
Her skills have been honed over the years with help from her mother (a lifelong seamstress) and various friends and teachers along the way. Isn’t it wonderful how the creative community came together to help this artist learn the skills to realize her vision?
There’s something about the feeling of the wool in my hands and the slight hum the thread makes that fills me with satisfaction.
Jacqueline first starts planning her creatures with a drawing and some key concepts.When she’s inspired a piece can come together very quickly; sometimes the process can take days or weeks. Once a design is decided on, she chooses colors and felts and cut out the pieces. The most time consuming part of the process is sewing the pieces because it takes a long time and the stitches have to be just right! Lastly, her creation is stuffed with pure cotton and sewn shut. Thus is born the latest addition to the UsagiRabbit family!
Well, I love all my finished creations (even though some of them can be quite beastly during the making) but if I had to choose just one I guess my favorite would be the orange rabbit with a yellow flower on its belly. It makes me smile when I see it.
Born and raised in New Jersey this Texas transplant is inspired by her travel and experiences of other cultures. She has no sales so far, so let’s get her started – shall we?