Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Gifts for the Most Important Person in the World

By Jeff Ambroz

It's Cyber Monday, and the online holiday shopping season is now in full swing.

The holiday season is a time to consider and celebrate others.  And yet, with all the stresses of online and in-store shopping, cooking, baking and visiting it’s easy to forget about one very special person.

And that special person is you.  Far from being self-indulgent, self care ensures that you’re healthy and able to fully participate in life.

So together, let’s start a new trend:  From now on, we’re also going to take care of ourselves during this delightful season.  Let's start with online shopping for ourselves at some of the HandmadeMN Etsy shops.

A smart way to start the day is with some ground rules, beautifully presented in this 12 Steps to Self Care Card by evebrown.  Personally, I like to frame and hang greeting cards, and this appears to be a perfect candidate for the picture frame treatment.
Wise rules, for this season and all seasons.
While you’re in the self care state of mind, it’s time to relax.  A fun way to indulge in the shower is with this trio of beer soaps by AllThingsHerbal.  Remember, it’s okay to keep all 3 for your personal enjoyment.
Invigorating and special:  handcrafted soaps made with beer

With your neck and shoulder muscles loosed up a bit, why not take it all the way?  A neck heating pad by WarmHugsCornBags will take you to new depths of relaxation.
Winter relaxation never looked so good!

Winter can be tough on the lips.  Try a bees wax lip balm by SweetBeeHoney.  The balms are made with unrefined, filtered beeswax from the owner’s hives.
Mind your own bees wax with these soothing lip balms.

Now that you’ve taken care of your body, it’s time to recharge your spirit.  This State Fair After DarkCanvas by gieslahoelscher will help your mind drift to the free-spirited fun of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  It’s a perfect stress reliever on a cold Cyber Monday, or on any day.
Minnesota State Fair memories will boost your spirits.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already:  refreshed, inspired and re-energized.  And maybe I've talked myself into buying two each of these items:  one for me, and one for someone on my gift list.  Let’s start celebrating!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Handmade History: Gratitude

This time of year in particular, one's thoughts turn to gratitude - with Facebook challenges to list things you are grateful for, holiday cards being written and sent, not to mention Thanksgiving Day itself.

Thanksgiving pin back button set, XO Handworks

American Thanksgiving traditions dates back to the Plymouth Colonists' first successful harvest in 1621, as they happily prepared for a winter where food would not be scarce. They shared a harvest feast with the Wampanog people, who had helped to make the colonists' harvest a success. For the next two hundred years, colonies celebrated individual dates of thanksgiving and harvest festivals. Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving to take place every November (although several states had established annual thanksgiving days prior to 1863).

Gratitude, of course, is something that is timeless and certainly shouldn't be restricted to one day a year. Gratitude has the ability to make you healthier, reduce depression, and help you sleep better.  It's history is certainly as long as humankind, and the expressions are varied. How will you choose to express gratitude today?

A formal note Emily Post would be proud of:
Vintage filigree thank you card, Apple Berry Ink

Or, a cleverly worded card:
Thanks for putting up with me card, Plays Nicely With Paper

A daily gratitude journal:
Leather journal with ceramic button closure, Wayfaring Art

Cooking a meal for friends and family:
Wooden spoon, Wood Chucks Wood

Or, even just sharing a simple cup of tea:
Set of 2 porcelain Yunomi tea cups, Diane Gamm

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hostess Gift Ideas

by Cindy Lindgren
Stand out among the guests who predictably bring wine or flowers to a party. Check out these handmade items by our members to get you through the upcoming social get-togethers.

Auntie B's Wax Rock Legends Set of 6 Drink Charms is a conversation starter. Who will represent you? Check out the numerous alternative sets including Gone with the Wind, Ken and Barbie, Star Trek and Harry Potter.
A special snowflake ornament made by Deeder the Beader. The red beads are made by Rwandan Women and a portion of the purchase goes back to them. 

This small Succulent planter will be appreciated beyond the holiday season. It is a kit even your kids will have fun putting together with you, by Emily Ruth Designs.

Mayfield Lane offers a monogrammed hand towel for a specific party host. Won't they be surprised by this custom gift?

A fun and functional set of 2 hand dyed kitchen towels by Palette Passion. There are many colorful options available to chose from.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Thinking Happy Handmade Holiday Thoughts

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Perhaps especially during times of uncertainty (you know, like, this Tuesday, and whatever happens after that) it's good to remember that human beings have been celebrating light and joy just as everything seems to be getting darker for millennia — ever since our ancestors figured out that the winter solstice means the sun isn't going away after all.

So, yay for the tilting of the earth's axis and the eventual lengthening of days once again!

And now let's all leap ahead and think happy holiday thoughts, with a little help from the makers of HandmadeMN.

Holiday joy bunting from Spread Love

Because, you know, it's really not too early to start gathering your holiday decorations ...

Felted acorn ornaments from Rainy Day Yarn Shop

Upcycled glass holly leaf from Western Art Glass
And sending good cheer through the mail ...

Peace and Joy mistletoe card from Cindy Lindgren

Bright Lights holiday card from RetroFutures Designs

Wild bird greeting card from Open Cupboard Designs

You can find more Minnesota handmade items for the holidays by clicking on the topic headings to the left, which will take you to a selection of things from Minnesota makers on Etsy. 

If you like to shop in person at events where you can meet the makers, check out our page of arts and crafts shows here.

And be of good cheer! It'll be fine! Really!