Monday, March 12, 2018

Showing our Irish Colors: Handmade and vintage Irish items from Minnesota with love

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

You probably expected this blog post to be all about green. I did too.

But then I learned that the color we most associate with Ireland has not always been so emblematic of the island nation. More often, it was blue.

For example, the early mythological sovereign of Ireland, Flaitheas √Čireann, was represented as a female figure dressed in a blue robe. Early depictions of St. Patrick had him also clothed in a blue robe. And when the chivalric Order of St. Patrick was established by King George III in the 18th century, its emblem incorporated a golden harp on a blue background, a combination that also forms the current Irish presidential flag.

Still today, many Irish sports teams wear blue uniforms.

So how and when did green supplant blue as the color of Ireland? No one seems to know for sure, but a few explanations have emerged.

One speculation is that the color reflects Ireland's image as the Emerald Isle (the grass being greener on their side of the fence, so to speak). By the way, that nickname was coined by the poet William Drennan.

Irish nationalism of the 19th century may have had more to do with it, though. The color blue was associated with England, so the Irish nationalists embraced green as a way to distinguish themselves from their neighbors.

(Irish?) tea note card from Cindy Lindgren, $4. 
The Irish national flag, which was adopted in 1922, has three vertical stripes: green, white, and orange. The green represents the Catholic nationalists, the orange is for the Protestants, and the white in the middle stands for the peace between them.

You could wear all the Irish colors with this hand-painted silk scarf from Palette Passion,  $35
Or it may have been earlier nationalist movements that positioned green as a quasi-official Irish color. The leaders of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1641 adopted a green flag with a harp as their banner. And another movement in 1790 inspired by the American and French revolutions was led by the Society of United Irishmen, who wore green-and-white uniforms.

Vintage Miss Ireland doll, $18 from RetroAmyO
I think we all have a natural attraction to the color green, anyway. Doesn't it make you think of nature and walks in the woods? It's worth noting that the style influencers at Pantone chose a blue-green shade they called "emerald" as their 2013 color of the year, and then another green hue, "greenery"  in 2017.

Vintage green-and-white cotton napkins, $16 from Preserving Home.

Psychologists say that green has a soothing effect on our moods, largely because of its association with nature. 

St. Patrick's Day banner from Sheri Sew Sweet, $14.99 for 32", $19.99 for 48"
Green is said to stimulate our creative thinking, too, according to some who insist that there is research to back this claim. (This blogger did not bother to track down the research, though, so it's up to you whether to believe it or not.)

Handmade women's T-shirt, $30 from Margaret Mousley
Here in the frozen north, green is certainly a welcome color after months of winter white. And before too much longer, we'll be seeing green grass and shamrocks (clover) in the lawn. In the meantime, you could hang this one in your window — and it's green in another sense, too, because it's made from recycled glass.

Recycled glass shamrock, $40 from Western Art Glass

Happy St. Patricks Day — and happy greening!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Celebrate Purple in 2018

by Jeff Ambroz

Purple is the color of royalty, and it evokes dignity, wisdom and peace.

It's no wonder Pantone selected Ultra Violet as the 2018 Color of the Year.

Here in Minnesota, we also associate purple and violet hues with the Minnesota Vikings and our hometown musical hero, Prince. 

Want to get in on this hot color trend?  Don't worry if painting your living room purple, or wearing head-to-toe violet, seems too daunting.  The artisans of HandmadeMN have created a variety of items that will help you integrate this magical color into your day-to-day life.

Purple enhances the beauty of every skin tone.  This bracelet by DragonflyAdornments is made of purple amethyst and orange carnelian, gemstones recognized for their healing properties.
Violet hues are offset by stunning orange in this fashionable bracelet.

Imagine the light from your favorite window pouring through this iris-shaped suncatcher.  It's made by westernartglass from specially-ordered antique glass.  It'll be worth the wait!
Antique violet glass catches the light in this handcrafted stained glass suncatcher.

A mobile from StoptoSmelltheFlower is created from felt flowers in various shades of purple, lavender and lilac.  Its dreamy design is perfect for a baby nursery, but why limit yourself?  Imagine these beautiful flowers hanging above your own bed, nightstand or favorite reading chair.
Bring the beauty of flowers indoors, all year long, with a handcrafted, hanging mobile.

Love the idea of violet, but worry it may not coordinate with your home's color scheme?  Order a soy candle by Frostbeard in a pretty shade of purple.  You'll love the little accent of color, and be amazed by the unique scent.

The violet and purple tones of nature continue to inspire artists from across the globe.  You can bring an artistic vision of purple to your own home with this floral print by DevonDesignCo
Nature produces violet and purple tones of the most beautiful variety, captured here in an affordable art print.

As you can see from the items above, there as many ways to integrate purple into your life as there are shades and hues of this magical color.  Be sure to check out all the Etsy shops of the HandmadeMN makers team for even more violet-inspired beauty.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Handmade dog things for Year of the Dog, from Minnesota with love

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Crochet small dog sweater by Susie B. Handicraft, $10.  
Right on the heels of Valentine's Day this year is the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. It happens on February 16, and begins the Year of the Dog.


Dachshund paper clips from Pickle Dog Designs, $5 for a set of 5
Here are some fun facts about Chinese/Lunar New Year, interspersed with nifty handmade items from Minnesota makers to help you commemorate the Year of the Dog. Click on the caption beneath any of the photos to view (and maybe buy!) on Etsy.

Pet diffuser for dog collar or kennel, from Pretty Puppies MN, $10 alone or $30 with essential oil
The traditional Chinese calendar is based on the lunar month (28 or 29 days), with the first day of each month occurring on the new moon. But, it is modified by inserting a leap month every few years to keep it in sync with the seasons, which makes it a lunar-solar calendar. (See this article in How Stuff Works if you want to really geek out on this topic.)

 (FYI, the Jewish calendar is also organized this way, which is why Jewish holidays move later and forward again on the Gregorian calendar. In comparison, the Islamic calendar is strictly lunar, so each Islamic holiday and the holy month of Ramadan occur, over a period of years, during every season.)

The calculation for the start of a new year is complicated (kind of like Easter); but there is a simplified way of understanding it, which is that it (usually) falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Cross stitch pattern with "Love," a heart and a dog paw print, PDF download $2.50, from Hop Stitch Designs
This Year of the Dog begins on February 16, 2018, and ends on February 4, 2019.

People born in the year of the dog are said to be loyal, honest, friendly, kind, and cautious. 

But, custom has it that your animal zodiac year is unlucky for you because your mere existence during that year offends the god of age. To mitigate this propensity for bad luck, you should wear something red given to you by a friend or relative, or a jade accessory, which is OK to buy for yourself. 

Bow tie for person or dog! Adult size $20, medium dog size $13. See listing for more sizes. From Guys and Ties.
You can also turn your back on the imaginary star Tai Sui, which represents this cranky god of age. In 2018, Tai Sui is hovering in the NW; so, if you are a dog (in the zodiac sense), you should look to orient yourself to face SE whenever possible; this includes the placement of your bed and favorite chair, your desk, or where you sit during business negotiations. 

Have fun with that.

Keeping in mind that birthdays in January and February may belong to the preceding lunar year (of the rooster), prior years of the dog include:
2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910

All you need is love and a dog, 8 x 12" wood sign with vinyl letters, $12.95 from Primitive Gifts


Monday, January 22, 2018

Will You Be My Handmade Valentine?

by Jeff Ambroz
Color Texture Studio

Handcrafted items from the artisans of HandmadeMN make perfect Valentine's Day gifts because they're wonderfully unique and made with great love.  Even better, you can order online and have them delivered directly to your door!  Here are few items to consider for your holiday purchases.

A Cupid-themed card from LochNessMPLS will shoot a message of love directly the heart of your Valentine.  With romantically colored art on the front, it's blank inside so you can write your own personalized message.  This card is sure to be saved and cherished for years to come.
A cute Cupid is ready to help you express your love and admiration.
Red items that can enjoyed all year long make much-appreciated Valentine's Day gifts.  These earrings of Picasso Jasper by gemstonetalisman happen to be various shades of earthy, rusty red.  Unique color variations in both stones make them even more special.  Set in sterling silver, they'll be a great complement to a variety of outfits, at a very affordable $20.
Tones of red suggest love and passion.
Celebrate your best gal pals on Galentine's Day!  When is Galentine's Day, you ask?  It's anytime you like, but how about February 13? (Ask Leslie Knope from the hit TV comedy show Parks and Recreation!)  Make your own Galentine's Day sign or cake topper with this fun and festive digital download from ElvaM.
'Tis the season to celebrate your friends!
Do you know a special child who is the king or queen of your heart?  A crown of leather and rhinestones from madebyalejandro is a perfect way to say, "I love you!"  It will last for years, and only look better with age and wear.
This crown will offer hours and hours of imaginative play, and is sure to become a treasured possession.

Despite a heartbreaking loss, everyone still has Vikings fever these days.  You'll always remember Valentine's Day 2018 and an incredible season of Minnesota football when you view this handcrafted wall art.  Its striking design by 1728Designs makes it a perfect gift for casual and die-hard fans alike.
The spirit of Minnesota football is perfectly captured in this expertly designed wall art.
As you can see, the makers of the HandmadeMN Etsy team offer Valentine's Day gifts ranging from the traditional to the wonderfully creative.  Take some time today to view these Etsy shops, and all the HandmadeMN shops, to find the gifts that speak to your heart.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Purple Pride Gift Guide

by Cindy Lindgren

Serve up your favorite game day treats with a SKOL dock tie serving tray by Cellar Co.
Skol! A cheer we heard loud and clear at the Viking football game last Sunday as our player made a miraculous catch and scored in the last few seconds to win the game. After losing many close play-off games in the past, we are down right giddy. The stakes are even higher this year as Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl on February 4th. Dare we dream so big as to see our Vikes play in the Super Bowl?!

We honor our team spirit with a Minnesota purple and gold themed gift guide.
Show your pride with Spirit Wear by Palette Passion.

Susie B Handicraft has the perfect party Wreath for the fan who bleeds purple & gold.

A royal purple Suede Bag is the perfect accessory by Sewing For The Harvest.

These charming Skol Viking Ornaments by Uffda Uffda Uffda also make great 
gift tags or wine bottle accessories.

Viking Good Luck Cheer Dolls are a fun party favor. A perfect way to celebrate or get rid of some frustration.  Check out the listing for the poetic instructions by Sock Monkey Angel.
Bring it home, Vikes!Minnesota proud to host 2018 Super Bowl. A Minnesota pendant byMetaling Susie