Etsy Crush: For my birthday

Since my birthday is next week (!), my Etsy Crush post this week is a wish list of presents I’d love to receive 😀 There are so many pretty things!!

Yellow + polka dots = one fun clutch by FA2u!Yellow Polka Dots - 8 inches Large Silver Frame Clutch

I love this lavender necklace by LavenderField!Lavender Crochet Necklace

Yaaarrrrrrrn! hehehe… I would rock this temp tattoo by Twinkie Chan!YAAARRRN temporary tattoo

I want to dress in style with a purple wig from Miss Violet Lace!SPRING FEVER SALE Purple Passion // Light Purple // Super Long Straight One Length Wig

I’m also still crushing on terrariums, and I love the yellow pop! By Sea & Asters:Tillandsia and Billy Buttons Part 2

I want this gorgeous skirt by YYStudio, too :)50s Audrey Hepburn Rainbow Red Green Yellow White Cotton Pleated Full Circle Skirt E FREE SHIPPING International

And this adorable “hello” necklace by Joanna Rutter, since I like to greet everyone I see 😀Custom Name Necklace

And I think I’ll take a pair of these satin pumps by La Plume EtherePurple Satin Peacock Pumps .. Size 7 1/2

And finally, I’ll need a place to put the cake 😉 by Aedriel Originals:Mini Cake Stand- Perfect for Cupcakes

Well, looks like I’m all set! Seriously though, my favorites list is getting rather long ♡ Maybe I’ll take a little shopping “trip” for my birthday….;)

10 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Wow. Good thing I have been working like crazy! I’ve finished 5 Christmas gifts this week, and already have a couple more started 😀 I just can’t wait for people to open them!! Since many of my lovely family and friends read my blog (I found out, even though they rarely comment 😛 *hint*), I can’t actually show you what I’ve been working on :(

Instead I’m going to share some fabulously festive photos I’ve taken using Instagram 😀

Alex at the festively decorated Hula Hut
Sweet Treats Tree at Toy Joy
Santa has a parrot
Chase snoozing
Our 4' Christmas Tree :)

I seriously love Christmastime. Everyone’s so festive and happy, and interested in helping other people…you know, how it should be all year ’round 😉  I hope all of your presents are coming along smoothly and that you’re enjoying the season, too!

Decorated Gift Boxes

Here are a couple quick ideas to make regular gift boxes look grand!

Starry Box

Add a shiny ribbon and embellish with glittery, stick-on stars (I found these at Hobby Lobby). It’ll glisten under the tree!

Ric Rac Gift Box

Give your box a little flair with brightly colored ric rac and/or lace. Layer in different ways for fun textures.

Trim Gift Box

Add some vintage fun with vintage trim in festive colors. Wrap it crossed or in layers and include a candy cane as an extra treat!

Now just add a great gift tag and you’re ready to go. Remember, the simplest touches make all the difference in the world!

Handmade Gifts: Ideas

Here are some ideas for gifts to make and give this holiday season :) [Click the photo to go to the tutorial!]

Holiday baked goods: Cookies, brownies, bread…it’s all golden! Just make sure to package it beautifully :) [I’ll be uploading a delicious holiday bread recipe later today!]
Easy Gingerbread Friends Recipe
Mixes in a jar. Layer dry ingredients for cookies, soups, bread, etc. in a Mason jar. Attach the recipe with a ribbon and a handmade card. Add a wooden spoon or measuring spoon for an extra touch. It’s a great, old-fashioned gift!
Cowgirl Cookies
Terrariums in vintage containers (or ornaments!). A little plant brightens up any room :)
terrarium party favorsterrarium ornaments
Reusable fabric shopping bags. Everyone goes grocery shopping – why not spread the environmentally-friendly love? Choose interesting fabrics, or upcycle old cloth into useful bags!
Quick fix grocery bag :: a tutorial
Accessories. A girl can always use an extra headband, bracelet, scarf, or ring. (At least I think so ;)) Whip up a little cutie for each of your friends!tutorial: fabric flower ring

Handmade Holiday Blogathon

And so begins my Handmade Holiday Blogathon! I’ve already written a couple posts (1, 2, 3) about why I think we should strive for handmade holidays, despite the reasons against it. Today it’s all about making a handmade holiday 😀 Stay tuned all day for tutorials, recipes, pretty photos, and more!

And now for some eye candy to get you in the handmade holiday spirit!

(as always, click on the photo to go to the source)

Felt Gingerbread StarssnowboyChristmas Tree Table CenterpieceMy true love gave to me...Petit Four Yarn Wreathdog w/antler ornamentcrocheted valentine garlandUnveiled: 180 pop-up cards

Coming later today: ribbon stockings, homemade peppermint marshmallows, printable gift tags, ready-to-mail holiday bread, gift wrapping ideas and more!

Handmade Gifts: Or Buy Them

Though I’ve surely convinced you by now to make gifts this holiday (;)) there is another option to having a handmade holiday. Another great way to give one-of-a-kind gifts is to buy handmade! Especially this time of year, there are tons of craft shows, which are a lot of fun to peruse and have great goodies for everyone in the family. Etsy Austin’s Craft Riot last weekend was a huge hit, and there are several more fairs coming up in December!

If you can’t make it out to a craft show, there is, of course, always Etsy and other online craft marketplaces. Obviously, as an Etsy seller, I’m going to recommend it first. But I also think the Shop Local feature is really amazing! It’s a quick and easy way to find vendors from your own area. And of course there are always stores that sell local goods. Luckily for me, Austin is a great place to find local goods :)

And buying local is great for the community! It spurs the local economy, helps out entrepreneurs, and you get to know your neighbors! So if you can’t make all your gifts this year, at least try to buy some, and have a happy handmade holiday 😀

The Homemade Stigma

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of homemade gifts? Maybe your first thought is kitschy. I remember the silly tie I made my dad at age 6, the terrible vest my grandmother made me that I couldn’t bear to get rid of, and there’s always the cliched fruitcake. But what about the ones near and dear to our hearts? There’s the portrait my friend drew for me, the beautiful scarf my mother-in-law knit, and so many more I cherish. So why does “homemade” have such a stigma?

There are different types of handmade gifts. There are the ones Great Aunt Myrtle makes for everyone, whether or not she knows anything about them. There are the ones people slap together just to save time and money, with no real concern to the craft. And then there are the ones we can make with care, thought, and skill. What is most important is to make something that is beautiful to the person receiving it. What’s the best handmade gift you’ve received? Why do you love it?

We don’t have to be experts to make a present worth giving; we just have to be personal. Let’s erase the “homemade” stigma by hand-making gifts with care and thoughtfulness. Let’s create something better than any mass-produced product could be. Let’s have a handmade holiday :)

Etsy Finds: Anniversary

(photo by Our City Lights)

Today’s Etsy Finds are dedicated to celebrating the first year with my husband 😀

I have to start off with this amazing t-shirt by pinkvelvetpress (Alex totally needs this):I heart My Wife T-Shirt

Since the first anniversary gift is traditionally paper (and I love papercutsbyjoe), here’s my fav piece:Kissing Couple on Bike

This sweetheart tree & tweet pair by urastarhouse is adorable (just like us ;)):Sweetheart Tree and Tweet Pair

I’d love to have a custom cartoon of us by jordyluxe!2-Person Custom Cartoon

I want to give him this card by hellojuliamade because it’s true:You Light Up My Life

I’d get him these cufflinks by tinytokensdesigns so he can’t forget the date 😉 [not that he would]KEEPSAKE CUFFLINKS

An embroidery is the best way to tell a person how you feel :) (by monkeyandsquirrel)home is wherever i'm with you

I would love love love to get a custom Skunkboy Creatures order!!Owl Couple

Because we’re graphic designers who love ampersands (by fifiduvie)Ampersand Love

And because he is my sunshine (and he likes pink), this print by jessgonacha:you are my sunshine PINK

Oh, they’d all be such great gifts!

PS: Win a print of your choice and some handmade goodies – enter now!