Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Molly Recommends - handmade holiday shopping guide

A few years ago I decided to do an entirely handmade Christmas - it was a lot of work, but very rewarding. I have since expanded it to buying handmade as well. I love to support handmade artisans! The quality is amazing and the items unique. And if you can't find *exactly* what you are looking for, chances are you can ask someone to make it for you.

For this post I've collected items from some of my favorite handmade shops - all run by small, independent business owners - and listed them below to hopefully encourage you to buy handmade for not only the holiday season, but every occasion hereafter.

I admit most of this is girly stuff - I may try putting together a manly version to post soon.

My Bunnies 3 (Etsy) and there's a ton more in her ebay store
Owner/operator: Sandra
Location: Oregon

I "discovered" this shop after her sister and I began communicating via Etsy over purchases with each other. I love, love, love her paintings.

How cute is that?!
I especially love this one. I love her use of blue and orange.


Gypsy Mare Studios 
Owner/operator: Jennifer
Location: Pennsylvania

Okay so I like horse art. I "met" Jennifer during the annual Halloween blog party hosted by A Fanciful Twist and quickly fell in love with her beautiful (and whimsical) art and stunning photography. We both love horses and gardening too.

She has an Etsy shop (linked above), she sells some originals on ebay, and she has a CafePress shop with ornaments, cards, etc.

Armadillo Dreams
Owner/operator: Dustin & Amanda
Location: Oregon

I can't remember how I found this shop but their fantastic creativity with wooden toys tickles the kid in me.

I saved a few dozen of their product photos but had to limit myself to using two - visit their shop to see the amazing selection of all natural wood and painted wood toys.


Hooks & Whiskers
Owner/operator: Melissa
Location: North Carolina

I met Melissa through blogging. Her absolutely adorable work with felt has inspired me to work with it as well, and she can crochet all sorts of cute things. Plus she adopts kitties.

She also has a love for the 80's and a super creative way of expressing it.


Lyndsay Go Rawr 
Owner/operator: Lyndsay
Location: Oregon

I met Lyndsay when she came to my house with her boyfriend to watch Top Shot every Tuesday last season. She'd always bring fabric, stuffing and needle and thread so I got to watch a lot of these cute critters come to life before my eyes. She makes up all her own patterns and does a fabulous job making them look like their game/cartoon counterparts.

This Scyther plush has moveable arms!

Because these are work intensive be sure to get your orders in early!

By String Theory 
Owner/operator: Amanda
Location: Alabama

I discovered Amanda's shop only recently when Grey reviewed her nail polish and I was super impressed with the shop, packaging and product.

She just released a set of mini bottles - look at that beautiful packaging, ready for gift giving!

I love the name of this collection: From Spaaaaaaace! Ha ha! :)


A Beau Ideal 
Owner/operator: Katie

I discovered A Beau Ideal when I was searching Etsy for "Molly" items. I love her clever compilations of felt blossoms, each a style with a name. Headbands, clips, ear warmers - all super cute and wonderfully affordable.

Below - the Molly style headband!

Don't you feel like you should be sipping tea in a garden and reading Jane Austen?

Ruffles 'n Such
Owner/operator: Jill
Location: Oregon

I met Jill when we lived in the same house at college - she was crafty then too. Now she runs her shop and fills it with things she makes with her insane sewing skills. I love her new lace overlay inifinity scarves.

Or how about a cute fabric pouch? A perfect clutch or money holder.


Owner operator: Holly
Location: Canada

I can't remember how I found this shop but I am SO in love with her gorgeous cuff bracelets. They are the perfect combination of ornate and colorful with natural simplicity.

The detail, the design, the colors! The patterns!

And how awesome are these leaf hair clips?


Crafty Tokyo Mama
Owner/operator: Janine
Location: Japan

I "met" Janine when I favorited one of her foldable shopping bags and she sent me a message to let me know she knew just where in Oregon I lived because she grew up not 20 minutes away! She's wonderfully clever with her sewing machine and one of the nicest people I've never actually met.

I really love using her shopping bags as opposed to most because: stunning fabric choices,

And look how small this folds up! I have two of these in my purse at all times and they hardly take up any room at all.

I also like these chopstick carriers which are as beautiful as her bags

And also roll up to take up as little space as possible.


Gourmet Soaps & Sundries
Owner/operator: Pam
Location: Alabama

I discovered Pam's shop when I was searching for a Lychee scented soap. When I read her profile I HAD to buy from her because she knows what she's doing and she is hilarious and a bit devious. If you have never bought handmade soaps before, you don't know what you are missing. The quality is incredible and your skin will thank you.

She also makes these travel soaps, haircare, and some pet and household items.


If you're looking for indie makeup (and there is a ton) I personally own product from Shiro Cosmetics, Darling Girl Cosmetics and Evil Shades and love it all!

If you're looking for happy modern ragtime piano music and lyrics I love the music by Emma Wallace. She has 4 CD's out and I own one and have a few songs from the others on my mp3 player. She's one of the nicest artists I've ever encountered and she has fabulous taste.

When you shop handmade be sure to note a company's TAT (turn around time) and make sure you plan accordingly. Know that if you have a problem you can usually contact the owner personally. Most have twitter and facebook accounts and are not only easy to work with, but are happy to help. And most shops mail items in packaging so pretty you can give it as it comes - less work for you!
There are a lot of people selling handmade goods these days and I really encourage you to shop them first, it's not only a wonderful support financially but to know someone thinks your creativity is worth spending money on is one of the best feelings in the world.

If you have a favorite shop feel free to leave the link in the comments!


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love shopping on Etsy! I even made my own little wish list treasury this year just for fun! Now I'm off to look at these links! Nothing better than handmade...nothing! Hugs! ♥

Anonymous said...

Molly, you always find the best-est goodies on Etsy and this list is no exception. I was so happy with the items I ordered from seller's you featured last Christmas. I trust your judgement completely.
And everyone, don't forget Molly's jewelry!! She makes the prettiest things at the best prices. Definitely Christmas present worthy! Thanks for the shout out too. Love ya!

Buccaneers and Ball Gowns said...

Holy crap, I must have Don't Blink nail polish immediately!!!

Jill said...

Oh Molly! Thank you so much for featuring my shop!!! And I LOVE Armadillo Designs. Just spent some time looking through their items and wishing for some for Jace :)

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

THANK YOU so much for the mention! You are awesome:) I love the My Bunnies 3, beautiful paintings.