Stiksel

Stiksel, a.k.a. Karin Röling, was working as a graphic designer in the Netherlands when she decided to try freelancing. Fast forward two years and now she is the proprietor of a thriving etsy shop filled with creative pieces that showcase her design background.

Karin says, “When I make something, I don’t have a clear vision of how it should look like. I throw my table full of materials and start working and combining. Textures, colours, shapes. Things evolve by starting making them. I mostly get inspired by the material itself.”

I love the way she uses materials with a previous life in new and interesting ways — and of course I love the element of vintage typography!

Karen’s Soap Co.

I’m a sucker for any unique letterform, so of course I instantly loved the SOAP soap from Karen’s Soap Co., but the more I browsed her shop the more clever soaps I found.

$2 from the sale of each Puzzle piece soap set is donated to Autism Speaks
$2 from the sale of each Puzzle piece soap set is donated to Autism Speaks

Her handmade glycerin-based soaps are luxurious and moisturizing, but more than that, they’re fun to give and use. I love the Fish-in-a-Bag!

Shop Local: Chicago

You know who’s awfully crafty? The folks down in Chicago. I could probably blog for a year about Chicagoans’ handmade goods, but here are a few of my faves:

Maine Lichen Ringcatcher
five trees' Maine Lichen Ringcatcher

I crochet here and there — I’ve made several blankets and more scarves than I can wear in a winter — but that’s nothing compared to five trees fiber arts. Amy’s shop is full of assorted neckwarming devices, of course, but what really sets her apart are her clusters of crochet bowls and stuffed critters. Something for Mom and Baby in the same shop — love it!

five trees Maxwell
five trees' Maxwell

Also using fiber — this time of the fabric variety — is cookoorikoo. I love this necklace made of fabric yo-yos: now that is a statement piece!

cookoorikoos partly sunny yo-yo necklace
cookoorikoo's partly sunny yo-yo necklace

And one more for the kids: Les Tissus Bows. Handmade bows, nursing necklaces, children’s decor and more all handmade by owner Heather. I just love the fluffy hand-trimmed tutus — enough to make any terrible two-year-old look like an angel!

Les Tissus Bows tutu
Les Tissus Bows' tutu

Peace

Thanks to Dawn, who left a comment asking for help finding gifts for her eleven-year-old daughter who is obsessed with all things peace. I remember this middle school phase, in which “Peace, Love and Happiness” was the coolest saying ever and the ’70’s were like, totally awesome. While I have a lot less self-doubt these days, I still think peace, love and happiness are pretty great, so here you go, Dawn:

Lavander Peace Sign Earrings for Sensitive Ears from pink dotties

Lavander Peace Sign Earrings for Sensitive Ears from pink dotties

peace necklace from automaton

Vintage Scrabble Tile Dictionary Word Pendant Necklace from DLK Designs

Vintage Scrabble Tile Dictionary Word Pendant Necklace from dlk designs

Triple Peace Sign Distressed Tshirt

Triple Peace Sign Distressed Tshirt from 2 Dish Designs

Sterling Silver Love and Peace Earrings from Bead Designs by Ellen

Sterling Silver Love and Peace Earrings from Bead Designs by Ellen

Promote Peace bracelet on hemp by bella chicks

Promote Peace bracelet on hemp by bella chicks

Good luck deciding! I love them all — gotta go for that t-shirt for sure, it’s so unique!

If you would like suggestions for handmade gifts, leave a comment and I’ll do my best!