I cracked up. I hope you did too! I love getting my little curated newsletters from Etsy…especially around major holidays. Two years ago (I skipped last year) I featured a Valentine’s Day gift guide from Revolve, but this year I’m enjoying all of the creative and personal Valentine’s Day gift ideas from Etsy! In fact, I should probably feature these more often! Significant others can be notoriously difficult to shop for, especially around Valentine’s Day when everyone’s expecting chocolate, fancy dinners and gemstones. Well, maybe not everyone, but it can be tough to find the perfect non-cliche, personalized gifts every time a holiday centered around love, family or friendship rolls around when our lives are as busy as they are. Rushing out to a fancy dinner also means dealing with packed restaurants, difficult-to-come-by reservations and slower service, and chocolate or jewelry often just seems so thoughtless or forced. Some people opt for DIY gifts, but why not go for something unique and thoughtful crafted by someone who specializes in such a thing, when our creative juices, time and energy are fried by our daily grinds…especially when there are adorably convenient options for personal customization?
Blanket the Homeless with Sackcloth & Ashes
I was extremely tempted to post another collection of pre-Christmas holiday sales, but I figured I would do something else. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sale during the holidays! But, I find it funny that as I get older, Christmas becomes more exciting when I have something I am excited to give. So, I thought instead of a sale post, I would share this company I just found, which has a mission of giving year-round. Sackcloth & Ashes, which was inspired by founder Bob Dalton when his mother found herself living on the streets in 2013. After realizing that many end up this way despite their best efforts in life, Bob decided he wanted to do his part, and called homeless shelters around his area asking what they they needed the most. Blankets was the answer, and Sackcloth & Ashes was born. For every high-quality blanket purchased, the company will donate one to a local homeless shelter near you. Since their inception, they have given over 4,500 blankets, and was helped with the generous promotions of InStyle Magazine.
Favorite Finds from Etsy
As I’m sure many of my readers know by now, I am a huge fan of Etsy. I love the big brands…they are fun and exciting and all, but I really have a high respect for the struggling independent artists and love to give them exposure and support as best as I can! I have purchased many items on Etsy and am always super impressed by the obvious quality and love put into them. I’ve favorited so many items and shops on Etsy and continue to do so every day, even though I know there’s no way I’ll ever be able to get to all of them! So I figured for a fun Friday post I’d make a collection of some of the cool items that have been hanging out in my Etsy favorites for awhile. Many are clothing items (mostly from artists who craft with organic cotton, bamboo or hemp), but there are several gift items in there like jewelry, posters and more. I think I might do this on a regular basis with other items I obsessively bookmark, not only with Etsy but in other online shops as well…now that I’ve discovered this neat little slider plugin! You might recognize some items that I’ve blogged about before (like MeDusaBrand) and they were definitely special enough to me that they needed to be mentioned again. So without much more ado, I hope you enjoy my little culmination of twenty (oh there are many more) of my favorite finds from Etsy!
Denim Surfboards by 3×1 and Token
It might be obvious right now that I appreciate just about anything made from denim…the fabric is so versatile it’s easy to expand it over to furniture, sunglasses, art, watches, shes, and many more, as I illustrated in a post this February! The list seems to go on and on and I thoroughly enjoy seeing innovators get creative with denim. While perusing Rawr Denim, an online blog for everything raw and selvedge denim, I ran across this neat little item: selvedge denim masters 3×1 are currently showing us just how radical you can get with the fabric, teaming up with Token Surfboards to celebrate a new store opening in Southampton, New York. Each board is handmade and has selvedge denim insets from 3×1, some complete with some really neat fraying effects! Buyers can head to the Southampton store for a custom board, with the options of board shape, size and style of denim. According to Observer, these boards will take up to six to eight weeks to be made, so anyone without specific custom preferences can choose from three premade boards right from 3×1‘s online storefront. There was a time when I thought I would get into surfing…even went for a brand new board, but failed pretty miserably…these kind of tap back into that old desire to hit the waves! Although, I think I’d be too afraid to use and abuse these…especially for the price—these special items start around $2,250.
Natural Wood Home Decor
I like any kind of furniture or decor that’s original, classic and innovative. I guess you could say I have a soft spot for modern design. But, as with any toned-down, minimalistic artwork, it’s not easy to stand out! Less is always more in this case and it’s tough to constantly keep up the creative juices with so little to work with. But, this is why it’s impressive, right? Add to that, simplistic designs done with natural elements. I remember as a kid, finding bits of driftwood lining the beach was always a pleasure after spotting several pieces of artwork in local studios done with this abundant medium. Now, I just appreciate infusing nature with my everyday living space. Recently I’ve discovered two artists that really stand out to me in terms of innovation and creativity: Siiren, a “fair trade gift superstore,” and Hilla Shamia, a Tel-Aviv artisan.
Crafting with Denim at Michael’s
I miss being a crafty kid. I usually now just enter craft stores for a specific purpose, like if I have a recent snag on a sweater I need to cover up with a pretty patch, or a frame I need for a new island-themed poster to post as my own kind of dream-catcher above my headboard. The last time I really hit craft stores hard was when I needed a new batch of acrylic paint every week for my color theory classes in college. I miss those days…as I get older and life gets busier it just seems that anything real creative takes a back seat. One of the things I loved doing so much was sewing denim scraps from my mom’s old jeans together into quilts, bags and other projects after learning how to use her sewing machine! I was fairly happy to see Michael’s recently added a denim section to their Make Market projects, and there are some super cute items! I always had some strange fascination with making or collecting containers and bags, so the above image of the Floral Embellished Gift Boxes caught my attention! All projects are stated to take up to 15 minutes or less to over an hour, all at a beginner’s level. Here are a few more of my favorite projects from this collection. I figure I’d enjoy all of these, with my own personal touches, of course!
Denim is a staple in your wardrobe and now it’s a trend in your home. For an of-the-moment take on denim, use it for décor or a DIY project. Colorful denim-finish paints, papercrafts, and textiles reimagine your favorite fashion fabric in new and exciting ways.”
View all denim projects in Michael’s Make Market here, which also includes a place setting made from a denim pocket and a pocket wall organizer!
Nudie Jeans turns Recycled Jeans Into Furniture and Rugs
I love posting about the big brands, and the small brands, and everything in between…but one thing I always am attracted to is sustainable fashion. As popular as the style industry is, it’s refreshing to see the occasional earth-friendly initiative pop up, and it’s becoming not so “occasional” as time goes on. Nudie jeans, best known as one of the top brands for incredible raw denim, also has their own program to reduce their footprint: the Recycle Denim Maniacs Project, which collects and recycled old worn out Nudie jeans. This time around, they are recycling approximately 2,700 pairs of jeans into their popular Rag Rug from a past recycling project and the In-and-Out Seam Camper Seat, in two colors. Due to the complexity of a pair of jeans, not all are entirely recyclable. According to Nudie, “back pockets, rivets and buttons, waistband, were components that we couldn’t use for these two projects. But they’ll be used somewhere else, for another project.” This time around for their initiative, 90% of the pairs of denim they received were able to be recycled.
WE BELIEVE that the right way to go is to reduce, reuse and recycle. We wanted to visualise our passion for the Nudie Jeans denim and to make a statement for a sustainable future. That’s why we lead a creative project to recycle old denim samples into new creations made by young designers.”
Each In-and-Out Seam Camper Seat camper seat is made from the inner and outer seams from nine pairs of jeans, one belt and a leather patch. They are inspired by the popularity of camping in Sweden! The Rag Rugs are constructed with all the remaining parts. Each seat is braided by hand, and only 250 are available for purchase. They come in either dark blue or light blue, and measure 45 cm high, 40cm wide, and have a 39.5cm depth. Each of the Rag Rugs are made from shredded leg pieces of all the recycled Nudie jeans, in two sizes. The Lill-Mats are 140 x 70 centimeters, with a limited quantity of 275. The Stor-Mats are 240 x 170 centimeters and there’s only 75 of them made!
I love repurposed stuff, and I wish I had a little more time to do this kind of stuff on my own! I have a few denim scraps lying around, but I like to keep them for any possible repair needs. These pieces are so artistic I’d be afraid to use them! I wonder how fast these are going to sell out, seeing as how they are highly limited, but it will be exciting to see what Nudie’s Recycle Denim Maniacs Project comes up with next. For now, I’d love one of those rugs and the light blue camping chair! Out of the hundreds of jeans I’ve been able to own or try out, Nudie is one of the brands I haven’t had a chance to yet. I’ve heard nothing but great things about them though, and this only makes them stand out even more in my eyes!
Read more about this recycled collection by Nudie and shop it here.
Trippy 3D LED Lamps by Zinteh
“If you’re open to innovation, and want to avoid standard thinking, you will definitely like the idea of this 3D effect light.” I think that’s the best way to sum up these stunning designs by Bulgarian brand Zinteh…I couldn’t say it any better. I spotted these on Tough of Modern recently (unfortunately, the sale has ended but I’d bet it will be back) and I had to share them! These are LED strip lights mounted on acrylic, and are energy-efficient, lasting up to 50,000 hours without overheating…but perhaps the most amazing thing about these, is that they aren’t 3D at all, but rather flat! I want to see one of these in person! Zinteh lamps are all hand-crafted, made-to-order, and are available through an Etsy store.
The Tumbleweed Gets a Classy Upgrade
“By taking the old and turning it into something innovative and new, it’s like I’m giving life to a piece of history. I never know when I’ll come across my next revival but I know it when I see it.”
My mother told me that when I was little, it would take a whole hour to take one lap around the block, because I had to stop at EVERYTHING I saw on the ground to either examine or collect. Now, I’m not too different (sometimes to the playful ire of my hubby). Take me to the beach and I’ll come home with a handful of pretty rocks. I love appreciating things around me…especially things that would otherwise be seen as junk…I remember in school re-purposing things I found around the schoolyard like pencils, pens, erasers, you name it (Lana, thy name is packrat). I’ve always admired nature, particularly deserts…so “dead,” and untouched, and open. The desert staple, the tumbleweed, is something that represents isolation, abandonment, and maybe even death, but I always kind of thought the image of a tumbleweed bounding across a desert represented life, albeit small, or hope amongst a “barren” landscape.
A Scoutmob newsletter alerted me to this awesome artist that struck me due to the above reasons. Same Tree is made up of Nicole, Robert, and Jayne Boles, who all believe in repurposing — taking otherwise unneeded items and recreating them into something special. Everything is made in the USA to support independent artisans, local manufacturing and small business too! Same Tree offers all sorts of artwork to add to your interior decor project. Check out this repurposed wood made into furniture! They also make all kinds of different lighting, and my focus in particular here is on one of them — these beautiful tumbleweed chandeliers as part of their Native collection. Look how alive they look! I love them…they make me want to have a special room in my house dedicated to the ruggedness of the outdoors.
All chandeliers can be purchased here!