Celebrating Handmade

I’ve been obsessed with the world of handmade lately. Obsessed. I’ve always been a big fan of crafty things and homemade gifts. Throughout my life I’ve gone through stages of jewelry making, sewing, photography collages, paper craft, graphic design, and more. Creativity has always been one of my greater strengths, but until recently I’ve never thought that much about OTHER people’s creativity. It’s this whole world out there that is amazing. People are so incredibly talented and blessed with amazing gifts. I’ve really been appreciating the awesomeness of this lately. In honor of what I’ve been obsessing over lately, I thought I’d share some of my favorite handmade shops.

 Jewelry is what first lured me to the world of handmade. Lisa Leonard is my all time favorite because her jewelry is all so unique and can be personalized in so many ways. I think I own at least ten of her necklaces, two or three bracelets, and a couple pairs of earrings. Above is the sundrop necklace, my favorite one to wear with anything (except mine have a C and S).
The Vintage Pearl is next on my list of incredible handmade jewelers. As each shop continues to evolve I find myself drawn to Vintage Pearl designs a lot more. I LOVE this bird necklace. I don’t yet own it, but I loooooove it. I’ve been drawn to birds for a long time and this color matches pretty much all my clothes. Love it.
Pangea Handmade is a local artist I discovered at an urban craft fair earlier this year. I love how all of her designs are kind of antique and vintage looking, which is something I’m really into right now. I own a handful of her jewelry already. The barn swallow bracelet above is one of my favorites. 
I’ve never bought anything from Gussy Sews, but I read all of her blog updates and love to hear about her views on handmade treasures. She makes all these cute little ruffled bags that I don’t really have a use for, but I think they’re cute nonetheless. I’m mostly just encouraged by how easily she turned her love of sewing into a genuine and very successful business. I hope I can eventually do the same. 
Old Ragdoll Cupboard is what sparked my huge obsession with primitive Raggedy Ann dolls a mere eleven months ago. I saw her booth at a craft fair and was amazed at how unique and cute all the dolls were. That’s where I bought my very first one. Her dolls tend to be a little less polished and actual ragdollish, but some of them are adorable.

Okay, I practically worship Raggedy Old Annie. She is an AMAZING dollmaker and the total inspiration for my own dolls. Two of her patterns (filled with very detailed instructions) are what got me started in my own business. Her dolls are so beautiful and filled with amazing details. I love every single one of them. And own like twelve of them, including the specially ordered family set Greg got me for Christmas last year. She is awesome.
This has been one of my newest stalkee’s. On facebook she posts all these pictures of amazing primitive animals she creates. I’m totally and completely in love with this elephant. I wish she still sold her patterns so I could make one on my own! So cute. I love the look of primitive dolls and toys. 
I first discovered some Bit ‘o Whimsy prints on Mackinac Island last summer. I didn’t buy any, but thought I’d be able to find more choices online. I was unsuccessful. Then by total accident earlier this week I found her on etsy! I love the way these mixed media prints look and feel like it’s something I’d never be able to replicate on my own. Definitely beyond my realm of creativity. It just so happens that this week she was having a buy one get one free 8×10 print free, so I ordered this one for myself. I love the message because I’ve been feeling lately that I’ve just learned to fly. This new world has been unlocked to me (by learning to sew) and I suddenly have an infinite amount of possibilities of what I can do with it. I love it.
Well, I could probably go on forever with some of the shops I’ve found most recently, but the ones above are my favorites so I’ll stop at that. It’s been so exciting learning how to sew and expand my own possibilities in the last few weeks. Annies are still my favorite and I really hope I can make a go of Hearstring Annie. So far I’ve only sold three dolls, one to my mom and one to my mother-in-law, so I don’t think those really count. 🙂 But I’m hoping for more as I continue to get my name out there. In the meantime, I’ve been having a lot of fun this week learning some new techniques on softies and stuffed animals. Above is the bird I made. I’m not too thrilled with my color choices, but at least it actually ended up looking like a bird!
Next I made a dachshund. I’ve had this pattern for weeks and finally worked up the courage to try all the new steps involved with this one. I think it turned out pretty well.
And finally a teddy bear! This is what he looked like before I did the paint staining. I really like the way he turned out and can’t wait to try some more bear designs. I collected teddy bears growing up (until Jack, my cat, peed all over my collection and I had to throw most of them out 🙁 ), and they still have a special place in my heart. 
Well, that’s it for my handmade celebration! For today. 🙂 I’m sure I’ll have much more to share in the coming months. Two of my favorite craft fairs are approaching, as well as a new one in Chicago I’m excited to check out, and I’m sure I’ll find plenty more to exclaim about. I love handmade! 🙂

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