These are a few of my favorite handmade things...
MY PHOTO PENDANTS
Soon after Sarina was born, I bought a photo pendant of her to wear on my necklace every day. Unfortunately, it fell apart. The silver stem fell out of it, and the finish on the photo itself was sticky and got dirty. Lots of sellers handmake these types of photo pendants, but not all of them know what they're doing. I went through four sellers-- I think-- before finding the one who I will (heart) forever and ever.
I found Rebecca Shaw on etsy. About every three months, I get a new pendant from her... and they keep turning out better and better. She's a perfectionist (like me), so I always know they're going to be cut and finished just right. And even better, she does these for just $9, plus $1.75 shipping and handling. A real labor of love.
Everywhere I go, people stop and ask me where I got my necklace. I actually asked Rebecca to send me business cards with one of my orders, and I ran out of them.
Makes a great gift for moms, grandmas, aunts, and so on. Just visit her at www.love-to-clay.com and request a custom order.
It's Linda Formichelli's fault that I got into handmade soap. She sent me some as a gift, and ever since then, I can't bring myself to go back to the commercial stuff. Good handmade soap is so much richer, more moisturizing, and nicer smelling than the stuff you'll find in big stores.
The very best I've found is also on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MartinsvilleEmporium
Martinsville Emporium makes amazing cold process soaps. Try their sampler pack. My favorite scents of theirs are Ginger Lime and Sugared Lime (see the trend?). They stay ever so lightly on your skin, and my skin never feels dry and tight the way it used to with commercial soaps.
I was trying to find an original thing to give my sister last Christmas-- something that could be inscribed with a message, but not the usual suspects at the silver kiosk in the mall. I stumbled onto a brand new etsy shop called Lacewood:
And I had a spoon made. And I was tickled pink. The artisan went back and forth with me to create the perfect gift-- and I'm fairly sure it remains her strangest request. When Sarina was just a year and a half old, she used to wake up many mornings and talk about whether she thought her "Aunt Peeka" was happy or sad that day. One day, she woke up and said, "Maybe Aunt Peeka is happy today because she has fruit snacks and a duck."
It was so extraordinary that I had to capture it forever on a wooden spoon. So Akire made a spoon with flying fruit snacks and a sun on one side, and a rubber ducky and more fruit on the back, with the words written on the handle and the back of the spoon. I'm not sure if you have to be signed in to Facebook to see this-- let me know. Here's the front of the spoon:
and here's the back:
I hope its awesomeness is self-explanatory.
During the lead paint freak-out of 2007-8 (which, by the way, is still ongoing), I wanted a way for my daughter to be able to play with pretend foods, without having to worry about chemicals in plastic or wood sets. So it was etsy to the rescue again, this time: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Creativetouches1.
I bought a really well-made fruit set that's still holding up just fine. Great on the mornings that Sarina decides she's going to make breakfast.
Disclaimer: No, I ain't shillin'. These sellers don't even know I'm writing this. I just think that the world should know about craftspeople who make awesome things.