Crafty Love! Handstamped

I’ve always been a big fan of personalization, and these days personalized jewelry is all the rage. Unfortunately there is a lot on the market that is either ugly or looks the same as fifty other products. Browsing on Etsy, I found a few personalized items that are a bit more unique and interesting. Lately I’ve been trying to suppress the urge to get a tattoo, so maybe a personalized key chain or something would be the regret-free way to go. These are some things I would actually purchase for myself or a friend…since I have a tendency to develop catch-phrases with people. ūüôā I mean, what fun would life be without nicknames and catch-phrases??

Recycled Silver Initial Ring
$24 by Two Chicks Too

Suede Monogram Wrap Bracelet
$64 by jp style

Copper Pet Tag
$7.25 by Ao Designs

Custom Cuff Bracelet
$60 by Metal Pressions

Family Totem Key Chain
$55 by Silver Me Pendants

Custom Key Chain
$14.75 by The Copper Poppy

Crafty Love! Guitar Stuff

As y’all have probably noticed, I’ve been playing a whole lot of guitar lately. I kinda go through phases with it and play nonstop for weeks, but then I burn myself out and have to stop because my fingers are blistery and in so much pain I just can’t play anymore. I really enjoy playing an instrument that I can actually use to entertain my friends and make them laugh and smile, as opposed to the classical violin and piano I played growing up. I’m just not interested in the seriousness of that anymore. There were a lot of reasons I stopped playing those instruments…I don’t have a piano anymore…I got burned out after playing violin every day for 17 years…I wanted to learn something new…I was sick of being defined as “the girl who plays violin”…I wanted to be able to play popular music and sing and try to have a voice people might actually enjoy listening to that doesn’t sound like a 13-year-old in the church choir.

Nowadays if I play violin, I mainly play Old Time Appalachian tunes that remind me of songs my great-grandpa Phin learned growing up in the mountains of North Carolina and used to sing to me when I was little. I would lay in the floor on my back in front of where he sat on the couch, and put my knees on my forehead and my feet on his knees. He would sing, “Shady grove, my little love, shady grove I say…shady grove, my little love, I’m bound to go away.” And then he would push my feet towards the TV and flip my legs back over. It was the greatest game, and he had to sing that first verse of “Shady Grove” every time before he flipped me — it was required.

Check out this cool  guitar stuff on Etsy!

5×7 Fine Art Print, Las Guitarras
$9 by Zuppaartista

Recycled Guitar String Pendants
$26 by Plucking Pendants

Handmade Picks in rosewood, ebony, bone, and horn
$29.95 by Brossard Picks
*Disclaimer: I gave my dad these picks for Christmas last year, and he loved them. He actually gave one to a covetous picking buddy, whose response was, “Gee, at least I got one thing I wanted for Christmas this year!”

Acoustic Guitar Pick-Up
$35 by Mojohound Music

Personalized Note Cards
$18 by Dean Penn and Paper

Crafty Love! Sea Turtles

I’ve always had a thing about turtles. Native Americans had animal totems (or guides) to symbolize certain qualities in themselves, so I suppose if I were Native American, mine would be the turtle. Turtles teach us to take things slow and give ourselves time to figure out if we need to protect ourselves or plunge forward. My mom gave me a silver turtle ring when I was very young with movable arms and legs, so maybe she knew about my turtle totem before I did! She always comments on my life-long trait of cautiousness and careful deliberation and says I was even hesitant to be born. I tell her I was probably comfortable in there and didn’t see any reason to move!

Turtles remind us that it’s okay to retreat into your shell for a little while and wait until your thoughts and ideas are ready to be expressed. Anyone who knows me can tell you that as an only-child and an artist, I need a lot of alone time to balance myself emotionally. I retreat into my shell pretty often so that when the time comes to socialize, I can do it successfully and enjoy it instead of daydreaming about what I’d rather be doing in that moment. Other turtle lessons: Be patient in reaching your goals. Be careful in new situations. Be adaptable to your environment so you can find harmony in it. Live at your own pace.

On a side note, now that I’m talking about turtles, I can’t stop thinking about Aesop’s Fables. Was I the only kid on the planet who hated them and found them annoying because the morals were so freaking obvious? Anyhoozer…

What’s your animal totem? (I think I may have more than one…)

Sea Turtle Woodcut, Mono Print
$100 by Brian Taylor

Borosilicate Turtle Pendant
$75 by Jewels by L Designs

Sea Turtle Sushi Tray
$26 by Island Girl Pottery

Batik Turtle T-Shirt
$11.50 by Batik Creations

Baby Steps – 8 x 10 Print
$29 by A2Sea Photography

Crafty Love! India

Last weekend I finally finished unpacking my house and got my craft/sewing room all organized. And I realized that my bedroom is in need of some serious decorating help. It’s pretty much the one room in my house with zero personality because I was more concerned with blocking all light from the windows so I could sleep than making pretty curtains or hanging art or anything. I’ve always wanted to have either a Moroccan- or Indian-themed bedroom — I even have a book on Indian decorating elements. Actually I wouldn’t mind if my whole house was decorated in that fashion. But right now it’s my bedroom that needs it the worst. So I am going to start there. I started looking for things on Etsy, but of course I found other cool things besides just home decor, so I had to share them all. I need about five more jobs!

Traditional Mehndi design hurricane candle holder
$55 by All About Henna

Guitar Strap Woven with Recycled Sari Silk and Cotton
$40 by A Spinner Weaver

Aqua-Lime Brocade Stripe Cushion
$20.50 by Behirah

Bohemian Sunset Earrings with Carnelian and Caribbean Blue Chalcedony
$29 by The Stella Blue Gallery

Elephant Parade Matted Print
$12 by Signet Studio

Crafty Love! Geese

I am a closet animal lover. I’m closeted because I don’t really go for cute. I am not the type of person you are going to find squealing over a baby bunny. I will be squealing with delight on the inside, but you’ll never see that. There are several non-domesticated animals in particular I find most adorable: otters, elephants, squirrels, gorillas, raccoons, calves, goats, turtles, kangaroos, reindeer, bears, hamsters. Lately I’ve realized there’s a new addition to the list. Geese! There are many, many wild Canada geese in my city. I don’t know why. I grew up two hours from here and can’t remember ever seeing geese back home. I do live near a bird sanctuary, and there is a small lake in my neighborhood a couple blocks away (complete with Goose Crossing road sign). So maybe that explains it.

I LOVE THE GEESE! They show up in the oddest places, like in a gaggle on the corner of an intersection. The other day I had to wait a couple minutes to turn into my driveway while a family of five waddled slowly across the road. I love to see them up close because they’re so huge and amusingly disproportionate. They look like hockey-sticks on a beach ball. I love how you hardly ever see just one. I love the strangely funny honking noises they make. It always makes me laugh. I love to see them flying overhead, because it seems to defy the laws of nature that something so big and goofy could actually take flight. And I love seeing their formations. It makes me marvel at the wonders of science and nature that they all know exactly when to synchronize a turn, when to lift one wing just a hair. I like the fact that they waddle around with this complete air of narcissism. It’s like they think the entire world exists merely for their benefit. I’m really, really happy that we share a neighborhood.

And, um, have you SEEN the Larry the Goose SNL sketch? It’s the small things in life, people. This is still making me laugh, months later. Mainly because when I was telling my mom about how cool the geese in my neighborhood are, she said, “Isn’t that what flew into Captain Sully’s plane and made them crash?”

Here are some great goose-related finds on Etsy.

8 x 12 Photograph, Goose in Flight
$19 by Rebecca Kier

Handmade silver necklace, Migration
$60 by Camilla Luchesi

Fine art print, White Goose No. 3
$25 by Sharon Montrose

Greeting Card, Honk Honk Hiss
$3.00 by Rue Renee

Free Necklace by Dote Handmade Goods

I’m giving away this handmade necklace over at On the Search for Hidden Treasure. Now’s your chance to win some of my art work! Go over there and enter to win!

Crafty Love! Festival Accessories

I’m getting pretty excited about my musical summer, which began last weekend with an Acoustic Syndicate show in High Point, NC. Next up is the Phish 3D movie this Friday. We’ve got a whole group going, and with any luck we’ll have the theater to ourselves. Or else I might be really surprised at how many closet Phans there are in the Triad and possibly meet some hot hippie boys. At the end of May, we have a weekend-long music festival, Smilefest, up in Stokes County. Looking forward to seeing Michael Franti & Spearhead, as well as more Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel, Barefoot Manner, David Via, and others. Also looking forward to camping amongst hundreds of my closest friends, playing some music before hitting the world’s comfiest sleeping bag, and eating camp stove grilled cheese. In July, I’m going to the two North Carolina Phish shows on summer tour (Charlotte and Raleigh). After that…who knows what else will present itself as an opportunity for more fun. Since I’m daydreaming about shows today, I’ve got some Etsy love for the hippies in my audience. (I know there’s at least one!) You need these things for your next show/festival. You need them bad.

It goes without saying that you’re gonna have to have a cool t-shirt or two. I have to say I’m probably one of the world’s pickiest people when it comes to t-shirt designs. There are just so many that are funny but don’t really work as shirts. For example, this one is hilarious, but I don’t want to wear it. I am somewhat of a tomboy hippie, because I prefer coverage as opposed to backless apron tops and whatnot. I am modest, I prefer to be comfortable above all else, and I think some things are better left to the imagination. I like the simplicity of this Grateful Dead reminiscent dancing skeleton batik, with what could be confetti or maybe glow sticks or stage lights.¬† And, as many people forget, it’s all about the music, man –and dancing and having fun and being amongst others who find happiness in that. $26.50 by Cracks in the Wax

Next you’re gonna need some accessories. Hemp is always good. Trippy glass is always good. I love staring at hand blown glass, and this artist is one of the best I’ve seen. (And I’ve seen a lot.) This necklace reminds me of one my friend got for trading his extra ticket when Trey came to Asheville back in our college days. I love the colors in this, and the craftsmanship is excellent. $50 by Vonbeads

For the festivals at least, this is my favorite toy/activity — hula hooping the night away to some good tunes. I have a basic stripey one that is pretty and functional, but I’m seriously coveting these LED ones that are like glow sticks on steroids and more fun to operate. I can’t quite afford one yet, sadly, so I’ll have to stick to my plain Jane hoop for now. But this is definitely the Cadillac of hoops. $190 by Midnight Star Glass

Crafty Love! Random Stuff I Like

I was never that big on dollhouses as a kid (except for my Barbie Dream House with elevator and rooftop terrace). But I really want to get this dollhouse kit and put it together and paint it for some lucky child, since I would have absolutely no where to put it once I finished. It reminds me of the Victorian house I grew up in, although ours was much less ornate. $87.95 by Victorian Doll House

I already own a vintage¬†apothecary bottle like the tallest one in this set. I use it for holding incense sticks on my kitchen counter. I love it so much I want an entire set of them. I love containers. I’m trying to get organized at the moment and do Spring Cleaning, so that’s what inspired this selection. $34 by Lack Luster Co

This past Saturday, I went to a pottery show in Hickory, NC. There was so much great stuff there, and it was so crowded that it was slightly overwhelming. I really racked up, with a huge salad bowl, some Christmas ornaments, and a necklace from Odd Designs, whose beautiful irridescent Raku work was something that really stood out as being unique at this particular show. The pendant I got is¬†irridescent and leaf-shaped with abstract organic carvings. I love it. After I bought it, though, I had this thought: “This is totally something my mom would buy for herself.” So, apparently I am already turning into my mother. It’s a bit early for that. $18 by Odd Designs

Crafty Love! Random Stuff I Like

I can’t get over the innovation of these cool cuff bracelets. First of all, the embroidery is really detailed and colorful, but to make it even more interesting, it’s done on recycled men’s neckties. I really love these, and there are about four different ones I’d love to have. I also appreciate this seller’s pledge to donate a portion of the proceeds to a non-profit pet rescue in San Francisco. $45 by Madrigal Embroidery

As someone who works in marketing and advertising, I really love nice graphics. Somehow the color combination in this cat-and-bird print is unexpected, but it works. Love the inclusion of pink in the forest — reminds me of spring and blooming dogwoods! Also, since my pupper is named Birdy, I kinda have a thing for birds. $20 by Simply Fine by Karin

I am one of those people who has cases for everything. My purse is full of cases. Ipod case. Ipod cords case. Reading glasses case. Cell phone case. Change case. Camera case. Flip case. I even have a case of paperclips. Hey, even if my apartment is one big pile of stuff (but I know exactly where everything is), at least my purse is organized. This little felted case would be perfect for a cell phone. It sort of defeats the purpose of tiny technology when you can’t ever find it in the depths of your bag and spend half an hour digging around for something that feels like it could be a phone. Meanwhile you’ve missed 4 texts. I have a phone case already, but my two complaints about it are that it’s a little too big, and it has no closure, so the phone still falls out sometimes. This one would solve all of that, plus I LOVE the color and design! $25 by Sircu

Crafty Love!

I love zipper pouches. I have used these as my wallets for years. I absolutely love the addition of the clip on this one! So often, I grab my wallet and leave the rest of my purse in the car while I run in somewhere. Or I leave the house with only a wallet and keys when I’m going somewhere that requires my arms and hands to be unencumbered — like on thrift store Saturdays. I’d love to have a little clippy wallet attached to me¬†instead of cramming it in my jacket pocket! $10 by Goody Handbags

I am so ready for warm weather, it’s not even funny. My favorite thing about warm weather is being able to go barefoot as much as possible, and wearing flip flops when bare feet are just not possible. I am very addicted to my Teva Olowahu flip flops and own them in several different colors. They last forever, and the support is so good I’ve even done some light hiking in them. However, every once in a while you need something that’s a little bit nicer to wear out. And I am loving these! $45 by Sandali

Have I mentioned yet that blue and green is my favorite color combination? Oh, I have?¬†A thousand times, you say? This necklace is making me want to go to the beach and walk in wet sand,¬†search for sea glass fragments, wade through tide pools, and eat shrimp and oysters at sunset with the ocean as background music.¬†I¬†swear if¬†I see one more snowflake, I’m¬†moving to Caribbean to sell hemp necklaces to tourists.¬†$19 by Creatively Tangled

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