Archive for the ‘Special Find’ Category

I spent a zillion hours making this 360-page leather journal the other night, and I fell in love with it.  I figured out how to inlay the impressed rectangle, and triple supported it, so it should last 500 years.  It’s big and heavy and wonderful.   And I love it.

The question is, should I keep it or should I sell it?


Read Full Post »

Meet Julie.  She’s a wonderful friend, a writer, a poker-playing comedian and a philanthropist with a heart big enough to fit us all inside.

She’s also the Pumpkin Queen of Las Vegas.

Julie and I became friends in high school, and on any given day you could find us together writing poetry, listening to music, making trouble, confiding secrets and dreaming of what we’d someday do.  After more than ten years, we reconnencted and  I’m ecstatic!

High school buddies are great, but teenagers haven’t really developed into who they really are yet.  Ten years later, I know Julie as the real gal that she is: she’s dedicated to her friends and family, her sense of humor has only grown, she’s one of the most goal-driven, optimistic people you’ll ever meet, and she’s an entrepreneur.  She’s so wonderful that I have to share her with you.

The (fan-dubbed) Pumpkin Queen of Las Vegas recenlty started her business via Etsy.com selling Aunt Helen’s Pumpkin Bread.  This bread is a perfectly-spiced, moist piece of heaven that is perfect toasted and slathered with butter.  It comes in skinny loaves and muffins, and is worth the 2-3 day shipping wait.  I bought two loaves: one for Ty and me to apparently devour in one night, and one to give as a gift.

Julie’s bread is special for so many reasons, but my favorite is that she bakes with her heart.  Baking is a love instilled in her from her grandmother, and each time that she bakes she’s honoring a family tradition.  She combines this love with her memories and all of the ingredients into her craft.

In honoring crafters who sink their heart and soul into their craft, I thank Julie.  And I encourage you to check her out!

Aunt Helen’s Bread And Muffins

Read Full Post »

During the holidays, shopping for gifts can be a trying task.  Of course you want to get that special person just the right gift: a gift that they’ll love.

Let’s remember the reason that we give gifts: It’s way of expressing our love and gratitude to someone.

A gift says a lot about the giver and the recipient: the personalization of the gift shows that the giver pays attention to the recipient’s interests, wants and needs, and the gift can reflect the giver’s values and needs, as well.

I suggest that this year, you consider giving a handmade and recycled, or green, gift.

Why is a green, handmade gift extra special?


A handmade gift has a quality to it that commercially-made items don’t have.  It’s been the sole focus of it’s creator, and is often better made, has better detail and better stands the tests of time.


Purchasing handmade items generally supports the artist who made it.  You’ll be supporting the artist, the local art communities and you’ll be saying “Yes!” to independent art.


Purchasing recycled items encourages a healthy world:  purchasing even one product that is made with recycled materials can save a tree or replace a purchase of an item made with non-renewable materials.  It’s a small (yet effective) statement to the world that says you care about the environment.


Most green, handmade items are easily shoppable and shippable.  In fact, on Etsy.com, most artists will custom-make your order, gift wrap it at no charge, send it to you or your recipient and charge minimal shipping fees. (Multiple items from the same seller are often shipped at a discount rate, as well.)  Whether you want a coffee mug, a statue of a golfer, a journal or a pair of baby’s moccasins, I dare you to look on Etsy.com and not find a great gift.


When you purchase green, handmade items, you pay for what you get.  Not only are items equally or less expensive than store-bought items, but the item’s price generally includes the cost of the artist’s materials, the artist’s wage and shipping.  Your money won’t go to corporate mark-ups, sweat shops or other invisible charges.


People love a handmade gift!  Whenever I give a handmade gift, I include the artist’s business card and make sure to note: Made By Hand.  It’s an extra touch that your special someone will admire.


A handmade item it sure to be unique, and will tell your recipient that you care about their interests and values.  A scarf from Old Navy is nice for a special guy, but a handmade scarf, made to your specifications with his favorite colors and designs is much more personal.


Buying a green item, such as a onesie made with organic cotton, is not only better for the environment, but better for the baby! (www.greenasweegrow.com) Companies spray chemicals on clothing items to give them a starchy feel, to retain shape.


Even one purchase makes a difference: You have power as a consumer.  Spending your hard-earned money to buy green gifts is a wonderful, political and powerful act.


You get to feel good!  Seriously, you’ve supported a local artist, supported a great cause, given a super-special gift, put your money into a worthy market, let people know that you are a savvy consumer and gift-giver and now you’re the hit of the holidays.  Brag! Boast! Be proud!

Do you have other reasons to buy green and handmade?  Comment on this list, and I’ll post them!

Read Full Post »

Lauson: Creative With Heart

While shopping through pumpkin bread on my friend Julie’s etsy site, I noticed some darling beaded earrings and necklaces for sale.   Crafted by Lauson,  Julie’s 8-year-old neighbor, these pieces are a fun way to gift yourself with an accessory that shines, teaches and helps.

Julie’s teaching Lauson about business.

They’ve decided to donate half of his profits to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

For more information go to http://www.jewelofthelion.etsy.com.

Read Full Post »