Friday, June 23, 2017

Boho Bounty from HandmadeMN Artisans

by Jeff Ambroz

This summer, boho-inspired looks continue to heat up fashion, accessories and home d├ęcor.

Boho is associated with the 1960’s and 1970’s counterculture.  The look is relaxed, casual, earthy and handcrafted.  It’s inspired by a vagabond, multicultural and nomadic spirit.  Looks are layered and flowing, and pattern mixing is encouraged.

In short, if you think Stevie Nicks would like it, you can probably call it boho.

Now that you’re familiar with the style, are you interested in adding a little boho inspiration to your summer?

A beaded bracelet by RestlessArtMpls perfectly captures the boho spirit.  Earthy colors abound, and the artisan’s detailed handwork is evident throughout the piece.
Hand-beaded beauty for the wrist.
This beautiful, boho-inspired wish box by NoelleRollinsArt will help you state your life’s intentions, and manifest them to reality.  It also makes a thoughtful and hope-filled gift for someone undertaking a significant life change or transition.
This summer, bring forth love and peace.
Earrings by mynaptimejewelry will delight the eye, and nose.  In addition to being beautiful, these earrings act as oil diffusers, letting you lend a subtly peaceful scent to wherever your spirit may take you.
The beauty of natural materials, with the bonus of a subtle scent.

Speaking of gorgeous scents, are you familiar with DeepMidnightPerfumes?  This Shangri-La perfume oil is one of many original scents available via Etsy.  Select from a wide range of handcrafted options, from earthy to exotic.
Scents for the earth goddess in you.
Every boho outfit benefits from an eye-catching bag.  This bag from PineNeedleDesigns adds a carefree, artistic flair to your wardrobe, and its thoughtful design makes it a practical choice as well.
A gorgeous and practical addition for your carefree wardrobe.
As you ease into summer, let the relaxed boho lifestyle lead the way.  Be sure to visit the Etsy shops of these designers, and be on the lookout for other boho-inspired pieces from the many artisans of HandmadeMN.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Head to the Lake

by Cindy Lindgren

With 10,00 Lakes to chose from, it's a difficult choice to pinpoint our favorite. I asked our HandmadeMN members to share their favorite lake and an item from their shop with a lake theme. Click the photo description for more details. From fishy pouches to lake stone jewelry, here are their offerings:

 Western Art Glass
"My favorite lake is a little pond at The Hennepin Overland Railroad a couple blocks from my house on East 38th Street."
Stained Glass Pumpkinseed Sunfish
Shawn Jeanne Originals
"I'm ready to do some snorkeling in Minnesota lakes. The fish aren't as colorful as these Hawaiin beauties but it's still fun. I love Bay Lake and Lake Harriet."
Hand Painted chiffon silk scarf
"My favorite water spot is the Minnehaha Creek!"
Decorative anchor pillow cover

Chatter By Hammer
"My favorite lake is Potato Lake in Park Rapids."
Custom Lake Art Jewelry
"I'm not really one for favorites, and how could I choose? There are so many! I'll enjoy whichever body of water I happen to be at in the moment!"
Blue Fish Coin Purse

Candyce Westfield
"My favorite lake is Lake Superior but I also love Leech Lake which is very close to my home!"
Lake Superior Beach Stone with Textured Copper Necklace
"My favorite nearby lake is Medicine Lake."
Watersky Statement Necklace

Naturally Unique Rock

"Most of our products are made from Lake Superior rock and driftwood."
Lake Superior Rock Rain Gauge
Susie B Handicraft
"There's nothing like the North Shore."
Recycled Beach Bag

Margaret Mousley
"My daughter researched names of lakes in Minnesota, not all 10,000 but a lot! "
Land of Lake Minnesota Tee Shirt made of performance fabric.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Select Handmade Wedding Gifts that will Please the Bride and Groom

Wedding banner by The Mad Stamper
By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Aren't summer weddings just grand? Refreshments on the lawn, photos in idyllic garden settings, fluffy clouds overhead and a breezy 72 degrees ... 

At least, that's how I imagine it at the beginning of June. What sticky 90+ degree days? Thunderstorms and tornado warnings? (That's when the old-fashioned church basement reception starts to look like a pretty good idea.)

Never mind about the impossibility of predicting the weather. When you're a guest you don't have to pick the date, so it's not your problem. But you do get to pick a gift, and you're thinking it would be cool to surprise them with an unexpected handmade gift — and still have it be something they'll like. Know what I mean?

Personalized wedding favor tile coasters, from My Little Chick
Even if you don't have insider knowledge of the kinds of things they want or need, you can still find something that suits them without just selecting an item off the registry, and here are a few ways to do that.

1. Give a keepsake that commemorates the occasion

Is the wedding taking place at a local landmark? Or perhaps the proposal occurred at such a spot. You might find a lovely print of their special place on Cindy Lindgren's Etsy shop, like this one of the Stone Arch bridge.  You can use the search box at the top right on her shop's main page to see if she's got one of the landmark you want — many Minnesota and Wisconsin sites are featured. She offers them not only as frameable prints, but also as cards.

This custom embroidered throw pillow features a charming tandem bicycle and the couple's names plus the wedding date, from Authentic Embroidery. 

You get eco-friendly bragging rights when you purchase this personalized glass heart sun catcher, because it's made to order from repurposed glass. Go ahead and start an engaging conversation with the maker, Brian Western, to get a custom made keepsake for the happy couple. 

Personalized heart sun catcher made from upcycled glass, by Western Art Glass

2. Think of the registry as a guideline

One thing that I like to do is study the couple's registry (or various registries, as is often the case), and make notes about their color schemes and styles (Midcentury Modern? Traditional? Rustic? Boho?), then look for something unique that goes with that.

Porcelain serving bowl by Diann Gamm

Or select something in a sleek timeless style that goes with any decor, like a white porcelain serving bowl or a black pepper mill.

Wood pepper mill from Just Turned
Are they book lovers? I can assure you, as half of a bibliophile couple, they can never have too many bookends or book shelves!

Stone bookends cut from one rock, by Naturally Unique Rock

Maybe they're coffee aficionados who would really appreciate a special handmade pour-over pot for their leisurely weekend brew.

Handmade ceramic pot and cone for filter drip coffee, by Nicole Baxter Pottery

3. Go Full Practical

Sometimes (maybe even oftentimes), people have established households before getting married and really don't need the traditional things like housewares and home decor. In that case, consider something that tends to wear out or get old — kitchen linens. I remember my sister-in-law giving us new kitchen towels after we'd been married a few years. It was a treat having fresh new ones, and so practical.

Cloth napkins made by LyricCol Designs

Not sure of their color preferences? Try something neutral, yet anything but dull, like these mixed pattern gray-and-white napkins.

Cloth napkins by Shaggy Baggy

Do they live in a classic Midcentury rambler? Then they'll surely get a kick out of these retro dinner napkins.

Retro '50s napkins by Mary Littfin

Or consider ever-so-useful kitchen towels, in fun mixed colors like these.

Hand-dyed flour sack towels from Palette Passion

Kitchen towel from Bethie Ann Designs
Have you noticed how quickly pot holders get grungy, burnt and stained? 

Pot holders by Handmade Bits 4 U

4. Cash gifts can still be special

So maybe this is a couple that really does have all the stuff they need, or they don't want stuff because they'd rather travel and keep their home base lean and simple. In other words, they want cash. But a cash gift can still be fun to open, and to give.

Here's a really unique memento, and it's only 10 dollars, so you can afford to give cash along with it. It's a fabric fortune cookie with a custom message stitched inside. You tell the maker what you want it to say, whether it's your good wishes or their wedding date and place. (You'll just have to click on the caption to take a closer look to fully appreciate this clever gift idea.)

Fabric fortune cookie with message inside, by Relaine

The "cookie" comes in a small plastic takeout box, in which you could put an enclosure card with a cash gift. These sweet peacock enclosure cards, which come in a set of five, are the size of a business card and come in a pretty aqua coin envelope in which you could insert folded paper money or a check. 

Peacock enclosure cards by Michelle Brusegaard 

For a truly unique handmade card, have a look around at Plays Nicely with Paper. The maker, Aliya, crafts several versions of wedding cards that are tailored to the individual couples, such as this card for a same-sex marriage, which comes in a male or female version.

Cake topper wedding card by Plays Nicely With Paper
Letterpress notecards offer a certain understated elegance, and this one seems perfect for a Minnesota wedding. It's blank inside for your personal message, and comes in a set of 6.

Love from Minnesota greeting card by Vandalia Street Press

This hand cut multi-layered heart card would also make a nice keepsake displayed on a dresser top. It's blank inside, so you get to write something personal, from you to them. This artist, Marnie Karger, also makes hand cut topographic dimensional wall art of favorite lakes in Minnesota and elsewhere, and many other places around the world, so if the happy couple has a favorite lake home or a favorite place they've visited, you may find the perfect gift for them here.

Hand cut art card by Crafterall

So now you see how that upcoming summer wedding presents you with an opportunity to do some fun shopping while keeping it both handmade and local. You may even discover your new favorite local artist, and end up buying a little something for yourself as well.