Whenever I shop, I love to buy from the makers. Like many of you, I like to browse the variety of shops on etsy for gifts for my family. The above are some of my recent favorites. Click on the photo for more information and photo credits.
It is so lovely to come home after work to see a package waiting for me in my door. I bought myself a gift from Regina's Creative Kismet Etsy shop last week. What a treat! I love making purchases directly from the artist...I feel so spoiled by the care and love that went into this package. Where I was just expecting to find the two small paintings I got, I found this inside.
Lovely cards + thank you tag + bird magnet. What a surprise!!
And I can't even begin to describe how sweet these two little paintings are. I had the great joy of taking Regina's e-course last summer and so while I not only learned from her by watching her hands in motion, creating layer after layer on canvas to create a beautiful painting...I also came to really appreciate the amount of work that goes into each piece.
"Keep" is a gift, but "Green eyed girl" is for me...after all, I am the girl with Aquellos Ojos Verdes.
My Jennifer Davis painting from The Enormous Tiny art show arrived yesterday and I was so excited to see it in person, I couldn't open the box it arrived in fast enough. Original paintings are like that. The magic they hold in real life never translate from the computer screen. This is not where it will stay. I wanted to see it on the wall immediately, so stuck it on the first available nail. It's perfect.
For any of you who live locally and are interested in seeing more of this artist, you are in luck. The work of Jennifer Davis, along with that of another highly celebrated local artist, Amy Rice, can be seen in Delightful 3: A Pop-Up Art Gallery starting today in downtown St. Paul and ending on Saturday. Go here for more information (be sure to scroll down to see their collaborative works...they are wonderful!!).
Saturday night was the first of three summer scheduled art parties hosted by the wonderful Jen. She really puts together the most thought-out and creative themes for these craft nights. This time we painted ceramic tiles and white pottery with special paint and pens. You really should see Jen's post on it...she has all the details there. I love that Jen even put together an inspiration board to help get us started with some great visual ideas. I was not feeling particularly creative so just copied what I liked and made the same birds Jenn did...I did use a different color though.
And i made one crazy colorful trivet...such fun to make this...reminded me of spin-art for some reason.
While at Jen's house I did a little shopping because when I heard she was making prints of some of her polaroids, I literally held my breath hoping I would see my favorite one in her shop. And sure enough...
...it was. And now it's just waiting for a frame before it goes on my wall. You'd be missing out if you didn't stop by her shop to see her wonderful prints.
Just a couple of random things...
...I was thrilled to learn that this post inspired two friends to do the same...Michelle and her daughters and Jenn and her co-workers have been busy cutting up old towels, t-shirts and sheets to do their part to help in the clean-up
...childhood friend Polly Letofsky who walked around the world to raise awareness for breast cancer has just published a book. For anyone in the neighborhood, she will be at Stella's Fish Cafe tomorrow to do a book signing...please come and show your support!!
Her work is beautiful. I love my tulip cards she made. She took gorgeous polaroids of hand-selected tulips, printed them on water-color quality card stock and is offering them to us. You can find them here. They are just so, so pretty, I had to frame one to keep.
Last weekend Jen hosted another one of her fabulous pARTy's. It is so great for my soul to spend an evening with other women who have a passion to create. And I love that I can actually sit down, and start and finish a project in one evening. Doesn't happen too often with two young boys always within arms reach. This time we made these sweet and colorful pocket organizers.
If you're not familiar with Jen's work, she creates beautiful books and albums and journals and cards. Just peek around her etsy shop and you can see. She is a master with paper and I always love to learn her techniques. Like this binding of the organizers pages...just brillant!
We also made paper wreaths.
These were quick and fun. Kind of reminded me of the felt ornaments I made a couple of years ago...but no sewing! Read about her inspiration behind creating these wreaths and her very clear instructions on how to make these here. Also, Anna made some beautiful ones that you can see here.
No Black Friday shopping for us. We are all still in our pajamas enjoying eachothers company and working on projects. 'Tis the season for ornament making and I've been busy cutting and stitching and stuffing. I think I will dedicate next weeks posts to all the ornaments I've put together. First in line though are these sweet little angels I made for Sarah's First Annual Ornament Swap.
Seems like I have a tradition of making dolls for at least one swap of ornaments. First there were Pixies then my red-haired angels and now these. I didn't come up with this design, Julie Collings did.
I remember when she first blogged about her book, Pretty Little Felts, but it wasn't until I picked it up at Joanns and flipped through it that I knew I had to have it. I wanted to buy directly from her, and that's exactly what I did. Here.
It came signed and so prettily packaged and she included such fun kits of felt and trims to play with. Such an inspiring treat to get in the mail.
It was the angels in Julie's book that first drew me in (although ALL of her projects are WONDERFUL!). It was something about the glittery heads...I just loved them!! And they made me think of vintage swim caps.
I needed to make ten of these girls and decided production line style was the way to go.
They were fun to make, and I'm sure my house will have glitter floating about for some time.
I've been completely spoiled rotten lately. So much love and generosity has come my way and boy do I feel like one lucky woman. I celebrated my birthday last week and although I was quiet about it here, I received many email wishes thanks to my dear friend Jen who sent so many friends my way when she wrote such a sweet message to me in this post. And to accompany such a lovely wish on that day, this sweet gift arrived in my mailbox from her.
"Spend some time with me." I love that. And boy Jen, I sure wish I could right now.
My sister is really good at spoiling me. She's been doing it my whole life. I'll never forget my eighth birthday when she took me out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Fuji-ya. It was such a huge day for me. She must have had her driver's license already, but for some reason we took the bus to the restaurant downtown. I felt so special. And so grown up. And I will never forget such a unique treat. (Don't worry Sistah, I'll leave out the part about how it was snowing buckets out when we left the restaurant and I was completely unaware you hitched us a ride home from strangers. Don't worry, you said, they're just some nice people from church...get in the car. I felt like a princess not having to go home in the bus.) This year was no exception. She showered me with gifts.
Another gift I just have to show off since Shari doesn't have a blog is this beautiful purse.
Silk and wool. Lined with cashmere and velvet. I don't know whether to put my phone and keys in the bag or just use it to keep my hands warm.
And speaking of silk and velvet, I treated myself to one of Jackie's beautiful embroidered cuffs.
It actually arrived ON my birthday...I love, love, love her work. Check out her shop here.
And yesterday when I saw Jen, I could hardly believe my eyes when I unwrapped this beautiful gem from her.
Jen does such incredible work and this is a piece I will treasure forever. And how appropriate given I am a pisces. (Her photo is so much better.)
Finally...lucky, lucky me. I got to have a "bring-a-blogger-friend-to-work-day" on Tuesday. Dear, sweet Sarah was in town again. She willingly wanted to join me at my school. Actually, it was perfect. We had plently of time to catch up while the children played and I enjoyed a little break as she did (what she does so well) story hour.
What an energy boost she is. She lifted my spirits and brought smiles for all the children. Her humor and laughter is completely infectious. I loved sharing this part of my life with her and now my school holds the memory of her visit. What a special day for us all. Check out the beautiful photos she took of my boys. She also came bearing gifts. Some delicious smelling candles came inside one gorgeous bag that she made.
I almost cried. All the pretty fabrics, most of them vintage. And her sewing is quite enviable. One day I keep telling myself. One day I will learn how to run that sewing machine of mine.
...these perfect mini photo albums that Jen makes. Just the right size for photobooth photos, which we seem to have a lot of.
She sells them right here. At three bucks each they make the best stocking stuffers. I couldn't resist all the beautiful colors and got one of each.
I fell in love with this beautiful yarn last month and knew I had to give the scarfette a try with it. It's a gift for a very special someone, but I think I should have enough yarn left over to make one for myself.
I'm still loving making my ornaments. Good thing as I have quite a handful to make yet. These are needlefelted hearts, once again using my favorite angelina fiber to give them some sparkle.
And our new favorite thing in the house...the lamp I made at Jen's pARTy over the weekend. Such fun! I love how the lamp looks one way when the light is on and another when it's off.
With so much to love I can almost ignore the below zero temps we're getting slammed with. Hope you're staying warm!
(Edited to add that the yarn I used for the scarfette is yearling mohair locks plyed with a silver thread. It is by Garden Party Fibers and can be found here.)