I love shopping for my friends—I basically just buy them something I want in their personal style—easy, right? But if you’re feeling like this is the year to pick up something a little different, I’ve got some ideas for you!
ALL MONOGRAMMED EVERYTHING! Whether it’s your sorority sister or favorite southern belle (I know, total stereotypes, but they do just love monogrammed things!), personalized goodies go a long way this time of year. Less than two weeks left to order stationery, so get in touch soon! Here’s where to find everything: Initial Necklace by Tom Design, Monogram Coaster by 622 press, Stationery Sets by 622 press, Script Stationery by 622 press.
Then there’s that friend who is always cold. We’ve all got one, we’ve all told her to eat a cheeseburger and all will be well, but since that hasn’t yet happened, you should get her a huge super cozy cowl. I actually wore mine constantly when I worked in an office that kept the AC on well into November in Wisconsin. The unique crochet pattern keeps you warm while staying breathable enough so you don’t get all claustrophobic and hot.
Making a new house feel like a home can be a challenge. So for a friend that moved this year—especially if it’s a big upgrade from their last place—help cozy up their new spot. Kitchen accessories, artwork and flowers should do the trick! Bonus points if you find out their ideal decorating color scheme. Citrus Coaster set by 622 press, Hand-crocheted dish cloth by 622 press, French 75 original painting by 622 press, Bulb Teapot by Maia Ming Designs, Floral Initial by 622 press.
And then there’s that friend with the boho style you just can’t seem to nail down. For her, I’ve gathered unique accessories that come with a story. This incredible walnut and brass ring comes all the way from South Africa, courtesy of Zeal Living. It was hand-carved by a local jewelry artist and is sure to become the recipient’s new favorite piece!
I love supporting etsy shop owners—especially those that are just starting out. This gold-rimmed agate pendant and tassle bracelet—which I’ve been lovingly calling a friendship bracelet for grown ups—both come from women-owned shops with less than 20 sales. An order would make their holidays!
Speaking of, an order for one of my new custom floral crowns would make mine! Shown here is the Maxi Crown, but there’s a minimalist version as well (see previous post). They’re only available for custom order at the moment, so get in touch here to order one!
Take one part graphic designer and add one part woodworker. The result? A fabulous jewelry company called Miju and You. Canadian artists Judy Lawrence and Mike Giles are like many etsians—running a small passion business on the side while working full time jobs. Here’s how they make it work.
What prompted you to start making jewelry?
I am a graphic designer by day and love what I do, but the company I work for is very corporate (in other words, not alot of room for creativity).
My partner/boyfriend Mike, is a woodworker and designer. He acquired a laser machine a few years ago and at that point we decided to utilize our mutual talents to create something together and give me an outlet to vent my creativity.
Tell us about your process—start to finish.
We do all the laser cutting ourselves. I design and create the digital files for the laser machine and then pass them on to Mike who prepares the wood, laser cuts it and brings it home to me where I paint, wrap, assemble, package and ship accordingly.
Initially, we began working with acrylic plastic but found it very brittle and pieces were getting damaged too easily.
We then move on to working with walnut. With Mike being a woodworker, off-cuts are plentiful!
I find the walnut has a much richer quality to it than the acrylic and much more resilient.
Where do you work?
The lasering and wood preparation is all done in Mike’s studio. He shares that space with a number of other designers of various backgrounds which gives it a wonderfully stimulating vibe.
Most of what I do for miju is done in our home. I have a small space set up in our basement. Not the most stimulating but it keeps me focused and is readily accessible.
What is your greatest challenge?
What inspires you?
We draw inspiration daily from numerous sources but i find we are both the most creative while traveling.
There is so much more going on it the world besides what immediately surrounds us and when you immerse yourself in a new environment, ideas start to flow – for us at least.
How did you discover etsy.com? Any beginner mistakes? Is etsy your full time job?
We have a number of very talented friends that were selling on etsy long before we were. When we decided to start making our own creations back in 2008, our friends were great resources for direction and tips on making our store more visible.
Our beginner mistakes were probably most prominent when it came to shipping products. The acrylic that we initially began working with was very delicate and we had a few items arrive damaged. After a few revisions to packaging, we sorted that out but have since moved on to other materials for that very reason.
Being full time workers (we both have “day jobs”) and full time parents often makes it hard to put as much focus in to miju as we’d like although, we’ve both been tailoring our schedules to try and give it a little more time as it’s treated us well thus far.
Where else can readers find your work?
We have a few independant boutiques that sell our goods throughout Canada, USA & France.
Some days are harder than others. On the hard days, I usually skip blogging because I’d prefer to keep the energy I’m putting into the world positive. But today I decided to harness that energy into putting together a little collection of encouragement for your own dark days.
Since I’m not feeling too chatty, just click on each image to see more from each vendor—here’s to a better day tomorrow!
Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this blog you’re probably pretty darn crafty and you’re thinking about making some of your gifts yourself. Here are a few great ideas and tutorials to get you started!
First up: for your dad, uncle, brother or husband, a tie is always a great choice. But why not put a little extra love into this standard gift by making it yourself? Easy instructions are available at the Purl bee blog.
I’ve been spending some time at Higher Fire, a local ceramics studio, throwing mugs and bowls of all sizes. Most towns have a studio that offers this type of thing—or classes if you’re just starting out. If you’re not feeling ambitious or clay isn’t your thing, check out your local paint your own pottery place.
A few years ago, my sisters bought me a necklace pretty similar to the one above. Now, the Bayside Bride blog offers easy instructions for how to make it!
Last May, we featured a great ribbon-and-chain necklace in a BRAVA fashion shoot. While everyone from the models to our fashion coordinator coveted the lovely piece, I sat back and thought, “I could make that.” As with most things on that list, it took me months to get there, but finally, I have that perfect mix of hard and soft embodied in a piece of jewelry!
The project was so easy to make, I thought I’d share the super quick instructions with you!
•60″ length of 1.5″ wide satin ribbon
•ubiquitous tacky chain necklace from the ’80s (I’d venture to guess you could substitute a light chain from the hardware store instead!)
Step 1: Lay the necklace flat, making sure the links fall as you’ll want to wear it. Thread the ribbon through the first link. Leaving about 20″ of ribbon at the end, tie a knot.
Step 2: Weave the ribbon through the rest of the links, making sure not to flip any so the necklace will hang nicely around your neck.
Step 3: Keeping the necklace flat, tie a knot at the other end of the necklace to ensure the chain doesn’t slip down the ribbon.
Step 4: Tie the necklace around your neck so it hangs at a length you like and voila!