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Posted by: Jodi Flood

Christmas Gift Idea--Fun & Stylish Handcrafted Purses  

Posted by: Jodi Flood

Well, the Thanksgiving turkey has been picked clean and Christmas now glows brightly on the horizon!

If you're like me, you're shopping for presents and are hoping to get it all done so you can enjoy the parties and celebrate the true reason for the season without worries and "To Do" lists on your mind.

I have one suggestion for the free-spirited, stylish woman on your list--a beautiful handcrafted by Maruca Design Studio in Boulder, Colorado.

I discovered Maruca purses when I was on vacation this summer--on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina. One of my favorite shops there-- Over the Moon --carries a large selection of the Maruca Design bags. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have one. And I stood in front of the display for about 10 minutes--before finally giving in buying two handbags. They're tres chic momentos of that sunshiney, sandy summer day!

What's I love about Maruca purses is that they are handmade by a fun quirky collaborative of artist is Boulder. They do everything from designing the gorgeous fabrics to assembling the bags. They've even posted a the hillarious-yet-informative video online that shows how they create these wonderful handbags-- YouTube - Maruca Design's Studio Tour.

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Happy Thanksgiving!  

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Yay, Thanksgiving Day is here! I love watching the Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day morning. I've got a cup of Joe in hand and the TV's set to NBC--where you can see all the live performances. (And since I'm a native New Yorker I call it the "Macy's Day Parade" -- no Thanksgiving in the name.)

Today, I know of friends and cousins who are out there braving the cold to watch all the floats--from Tom the Turkey at the front of the parade to Santa at the end--but I'm watching from a cozy hotel room about an hour away from Manhattan. I'm in my slippers and my hubby is next to me with his matching cup of coffee in hand. It's a great way to start Thanksgiving Day together.

This year Rick Astley performed his hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." What a surprise! A blast from the rockin' 80's -- when music was good!

The Smurfs also had a float in today's parade. I'd say they're a not so great blast from the '80's--at least their signing left something to be desired.

We also watched a special on the History Channel called "Inside Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." It explained how floats are made--and I've decided that when I'm tired of making jewelry, I'm gonna have to get a job at Macy's Parade Studios. It sounds like so much fun--carving models for floats from clay, making plaster casts, marking off where there will be seems in the fabric, constructing and inflating the huge finished balloon.... What a job!

Colorado's Wonderful Bead Shops  

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It's been a while since I've been home to see my parents in Colorado. And Mom has been wanting to show me some of her local bead shops. Colorado is such an earthy, inspirational place--so it's not surprise that the bead stores here are something special.

First, we visited The Bead Lounge in Longmont. This spacious shop offered unique handcrafted jewelry--made using beads, natural stone, polymer pendants, dichroic glass, and wire. They also had a wide selection of flat cut stones that can be used in bezels.

I picked up turquoise and purple agate slices with gorgeous colors and striations. I can't wait to get into the studio to design jewelry with these pieces.

Then Mom took me to see the Bead Bling Beads Co. in Loveland.

There, I met shop owner Donna Sena Keirns, who just happens to be a fellow Etsy seller. She explained that her father, Ralph Sena has been a silver smith for 40 years, and that he has been teaching her his secrets to making beautiful silver jewelry. Originally from New Mexico, Donna's pieces reflect the spiritual nature and earthy colors of the land there--many include the turquoise stones that are the signature of this region. To see her work, visit SenaBeadBling.etsy.com.

Bead Bling Bead Co. is housed in a small space, but they carry a very nice selection of glass beads, pearls, and natural stones. I was lucky enough to stop in on a day when they were having a 25% off sale. (And Donna told me that in the next few weeks, they'll be slashing prices even more to prepare for a move into a larger space!)

I like to pick out pearls in person, as opposed to ordering them online sight-unseen. At Bead Bling Beads, I made some great finds and came away with elegant pearls and bold green turquoise chips.

Thanks Mom, for showing me such wonderful bead shops! Now to decide what to create with my beautiful finds.

Rose Buds Vintage Market & An Etsy Artist  

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Oh what a fun day! Visiting with my parents in Colorado, my Mom took me out to see the artsy shops in Longmont. We rambled along Main Street and into Rose Buds Vintage Market & Gathering Place and found so many beautiful, handmade treats at amazing prices.

I couldn't resist these sweet, summery scented soaps made exclusively for Rose Buds by Serenity Naturals. I brought home one of each--Lavender and Mt Clover scented.

And Rose Buds has so many gorgeous, homemade aprons... I couldn't pick just one!

While looking through all the remixed vintage jewelry and artwork, I was excited to come across the work of a fellow Etsy artist, Heide Murray of AllGoodWishes. Her wonderful collage jewelry--which she makes using vintage optometrist test lenses--is on display in the store and can be seen on her Web site.

At Rose Buds they even offer jewelry making & altered art classes. And on Wednesday afternoons they are a gathering place where people can play Scrabble and Mahjong.

What a cool place! I wish there was a store like Rose Buds in my town.

"Tea for Two" or "And Then There Were None"  

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It's official, the first snowflakes of Winter 2008 fell in Virginia today! When the alarm clock went off this morning, the weatherman was talking about flurries. And at noon, when I looked out the window, the first lacy flakes were drifting in the air. How exciting! Time to think warm thoughts.

I usually like to chase the chills away with a cup of strong coffee or a steaming mug of cocoa, but one day while I was working in my studio and listening to Alison Lee's Craftcast podcast, I learned about another cold-weather treat--Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea. With a generous spoonful of honey, this becomes a sweet, smooth, comforting concoction. (The caramel is the key to it.)

Unfortunately, I only bought one box of these delicious tea bags and my stash is now dwindling. To make it worse, I can't find them at my grocery store anymore.

I'm so worried about running out of these silly tea bags that on Sunday I actually did a tea bag taste test--looking for a replacement. I bought several teas with "vanilla" in their mix, and while my husband watched football, I was in the kitchen pouring cup after cup of tea for myself. Ughhh... yuck. I felt like Goldilocks -- this one is too nutty, this one is too orangey, this one is too spicy... Despite all the beautiful packaging, none of them was "just right."

So my search continues. I did go directly to the Lipton Tea online store and placed an order, but the site is a bit clunky--so I am not confident that I'll ever actually receive any tea bags from them.

Oh, Vanilla Caramel Truffle Tea you're so sweet and good. Who's gonna warm me up on cold days when you're gone?

Santa Baby, Slip Some Etsy Under the Tree for Me  

Posted by: Jodi Flood in

I woke up this morning thinking that I really ought to make gift certificates for my Etsy store--for anyone who wants to buy handmade gifts, but isn't sure what their giftee would really like.

To get started, I cruised around Etsy for a while to see how other artists handle gift certs. Then I spent the day designing my own. I just finished posting them online, and I'm thinking they look pretty sharp. = )

After seeing all the amazing products on Etsy, it dawned on me that I should start putting other artists' gift certificates on my Etsy Favorite list. And then when people ask for my wish list, I could tell them to go to my Favorites list for ideas. Wouldn't it be awesome to wake up Christmas morning to find an assortment of handmade goodies and gift certificates from Etsy under the Christmas tree?! Oh yeah!

Etsy sellers with gift certificates:
Brass Hussy
Mama Beth Bling
Shop Marigold
Mom Potter

Bazil Essentials
Sweet Petula
Lemon Oak Studio
Mud Stuffing pottery
Sweet Grocery Bags