|There's a new Melissa Joy
Manning shopping page at Heartful Village, with loads of beautiful new earrings,
rings by this talented designer. There are even some Melissa Joy Manning cufflinks
boxes. All told, there are over 300 new
pieces. There's something in this collection for
everyone, with many pieces under $100.
Triple Drop Earrings - Aquamarine, Chrysacolla & Stalgtite
Melissa Joy Manning is a "green" designer whose jewelry is made from conflict-free stones and recyled gold and silver. As you would expect, Manning's respect for the earth is reflected in her choice of materials and in her production practices. But her love of mother earth is also reflected in Manning's design aesthetic. When you browse the extensive Melissa Joy Manning collection of sustainable jewelry, you'll see that many of her designs make use of such interesting natural elements as fossils, petrified wood, and stones in their raw natural state.
Take these Triple Drop Earrings for example. They're constructed (from top to bottom) of freeform raw pale aquamarine stones, cabochons of free form chrysocolla, and slices of stalagtite. They're a beautiful wearable mineral show, and a very real connection to nature and to the natural history of our planet.
Many of the pieces in this collection are one-of-a-kind or limited edition, so click on over now and check out the Melissa Joy Manning Shopping Page.
You need to check out the Heartful Village mash-up page. That's because it's the place in the Village where you can find out what's happening everywhere in the Village. Everything is brought together in one big happy mash-up. And I really mean everything: This blog, the News Portal, Twitter tweets, Facebook postings, the Shopping Portal, and the Handmade Directory all come together on a single page.
Actually, the mash-up consists of multiple pages that are accessed from a single page. For example, the current mash-up page has tabs to additional pages with
topical information for May: Mothers Day Gift Suggestions, and Emerald
Birthstone Jewelry (emerald is the May
birthstone). Note also that many of the links are to articles (such as DIY tutorials) on other sites. This image gives you a feel for the mash-up, but if you click the image you can go to the actual
This platform is ideal for presenting curated collections of handmade products, featured artists, and links to interesting articles I want you to see. And the mash-up page makes it easy to keep tweets and Facebook posts easily accessible as long as they remain relevant. Both Twitter and Facebook tend to be "of the moment", but very often the information conveyed has a longer shelf life than those platforms are able to handle. For example, a tweet about a three-day sale has no more "stickiness" than a tweet about a one-hour sale. But the Heartful mash-up page will keep the information about that sale easily within reach for the whole three day period.
The mash-up page is a cool way to keep you current. And you can sign up for a daily email update. Just click this link and enter your email address to get alerts.
P.S. The Heartful mash-up is powered by RebelMouse. Here's an article with a bit more information about this.
|The Heartful Handmade Directory has been
lubed and oiled and is running better than ever. Its
tune-up came as part of the overall site redo that's
happening at Heartful Village, but Handmade Directory got a
little extra work. The directory menu is now
expandable so you can select subcategories directly.
Or you can continue to select just the top level category to
see all items together. Either way, the breadcrumb
menu lets you easily retrace your steps.
This curated directory is an excellent resource for finding great handmade products. It contains hundreds of websites offering thousands of high-quality artisan wares: Handmade jewelry, handmade clothing, handmade home & garden, and more. In fact, most of the artisans I write about here have entries in the directory. So click on over now and check out the Heartful Handmade Directory.
P.S. It's always fun to select from the 25 random sites presented on the Handmade Directory home page.
Buying handmade products is a great way to honor Mother Earth. That's because handmade products are usually one-of-a-kind or they are produced in limited quantities, helping to mitigate some of the environmental damage and waste that can result from large-scale manufacturing. In fact, many artisan products are only produced when ordered. On the other hand, the manufacturing, shipping, storage, and ultimate disposal of mass-produced products is pretty hard on the environment. Annie Leonard explains it all in this informative and entertaining 20 minute video, The Story of Stuff:
It's easy to think along the lines of "me buying handmade products is not going to stop all that," but that's not true. We tend to underestimate the power we wield with our buying decisions. Buying handmade is like buying local, recycling, readjusting our thermostats, and all the other things we do to eliminate waste and support sustainability. It all adds up. And every time a new person joins the movement, the balance is tilted a bit more in favor of Mother Earth.
And buying handmade offers an additional and very powerful way of helping. It's the connection you create between yourself and the person who made the product you buy. By buying their products, you encourage artisans to continue making them. You validate their desire to create and you sustain their ability to continue. It's real, it's direct, and it's empowering.
Earth Day is everyday. April 22 is just a reminder. And my everyday mission is to help you find good handmade alternatives to common mass-produced products. Heartful Village has all the resources you need, and the About page will give you the full scoop.
I was going to ask if you could guess what these three things have in common. But then I gave it away when I added the title to this post. But, what the heck, play along with me and at least pretend you're trying to guess. Because if you do, I won't have to change the last paragraph and start all over again.
|A clock makes a great gift, especially if
it's also a work of art. This pretty Tuscan Wall Clock by
Janna Ugone and Justin Thomas is a handcrafted artwork that
was created by mounting an archival quality pigment print of
Ugone's designs onto a wood body. The edge has been hand
painted in a combed texture and the clock is signed, dated
and hallmarked with a cast pewter charm. It uses a Seiko
clock mechanisms that runs on a standard AA battery.
|Originating from Native American culture,
dream catchers are said to filter out bad dreams and allow
the good ones to float through. And mom will love a dream
catcher that you made just for her. And this this tutorial
from P.S. I Made This makes it easy for you to do.
|This pretty little wearable cairn is made of
natural beach stones. Mom can take a bit of nature with her
everywhere she goes.
Give up? Ok, I'll tell you. They're all excerpts from my Mother's Day gift suggestions article. Just click the title (or an image above) to read Do-it-Yourself (or Do Not DIY) Mother's Day Gift Suggestions.
|I told you about a Boris Bally
mail box a couple of posts back, when I was writing about cool storage
containers. My current
quest is for interesting garden decor, but I didn't include
any of his work in my recently updated collection of handmade garden furniture and decor. That's because, even though Boris
Bally creates beautiful, artistic, and visually engaging chairs and tables, I didn't see his pieces as having been designed
for outdoor use. So I was a bit surprised to see that along
other talented furniture designers, Bally is taking part in a gallery event showcasing outdoor studio
furniture. You can read more about it in this
article I published on the event. Bally is offering indoor/outdoor
chairs from his 'Transit Series', street signs recycled
functional artworks. So I decided I had to feature one
of them here.
Emergency Stop Broadway Street Sign Chair by Boris Bally
|The chairs, tables, and other products Boris
Bally creates are one-of-a-kind. So when you see one
pictured, it's not necessarily the one you'll get when you
order. But the "Flash Gallery" event
underway lets you buy the actual chair that's
pictured. This one, Emergency Stop Broadway, is one of
five in this event. But they will only be available
through April 21, and there is only one of each. So follow this
link to click on over and check them all out now. If you want to see the whole Flash Gallery lineup, follow this link.
|Spring has finally sprung and I've updated my
popular garden decor
collection. I included one of these wonderful
metal bird sculptures (the meadowlark) in that collection,
but I wanted to expand on them here
because they deserve more exposure than that format
allows. These little artworks are great garden or
balcony or house decor. The metal is unfinished, so it
will continue to rust, creating interesting changes in the
surface patina over time. The birds are all life size
and each arrives with the necessary mounting bracket and
screws. They're made by B.J. Lewis at WriteDesign.
|The meadowlark is 7 1/2 inches beak to tail
and 5.5 inches base to beak, and will look great mounted on
a post or along the top of a fence.
| This pileated (crested) woodpecker is cut
from heavy gauge recycled metal. It's 14 inches beak
to tail and 6 inches base to crest. If you don't
have a tree for Woody to peck, he'd work well on the
house or garage near the eaves. There's also a
slightly smaller woodpecker
without the crest that's very nice.
This sweet nuthatch is the smallest of the
three, at 4.5 inches chest to tail and 4 inches inches base
to beak. Besides a post or tree mounting, this
nuthatch will look great on the side of the house or garage.
Whatever happened to the paperless society we were promised way back when? Everyone was all over it at one time. Business writers, tech writers, science writers, green writers, the guy at the newsstand, everyone was talking about the dawning paperless society and how it was going to change the world. I always figured it would make wrapping presents difficult, but that's neither here nor there.
And much of what was
predicted has actually come to be. Email has pretty
replaced paper letter writing. We can now receive
pay our bills online. e-Commerce websites are
the modern-day catalogs. And some of
us have even traded in paper books, magazines, and
newspapers for e-readers. But more junk arrives in
the mail today
than ever, and the Kindle and Nook brigade are powerless
stop it. So, what you need is an eye-pleasing way to
keep the mail clutter out of sight until it gets tossed,
which is usually right after you open it. And this
beautiful metal box is the perfect solution.
This hip and arty box was made by Boris Bally as part of his 'Transit Series', street signs recycled into functional artworks. Each box is unique and yours will be made from a different sign. But it will be the same roomy 18 inches wide by 9-3/4 inches high, and 8 inches deep. And it will be just as well constructed with copper rivets and fasteners. Click the image for details. Because the junk mail is piling up and there's more on the way.
|Storage containers that let you keep things
out of sight, but close at hand when you need them, are
much needed in our modern world of gadgets and
contraptions and whatnot. We used to be able to
blame all the clutter on the kids, but nowadays pretty
much everyone has a gazillion gadgets and projects to keep
up with. We're knitting and quilting and
photographing and painting and DVD watching and gaming
and doing all kinds of things that give us
pleasure as they add to our clutter. So
containers that keep this stuff out of sight when we're
not using it, but make easy to get to when we are, is
the order of the day. And if the container can do
its job and be nice to look at too, you've pretty much hit
Cedar Wood Storage Trunk
|This pretty cedar wood storage trunk by
Lori Sanders is a perfect example. It has thoroughly
rustic charm, and at three feet long and 17 inches in
height and in depth, it's a perfect size for storing
linens or the wool throws you don't use during the warmer
months. And you can easily stash away your handwork
projects to clear space on the couch for
guests. Lori also does this
same storage trunk in a natural wood finish, so
she's covered a wide range of decor options.
You need to plan ahead if you can see this trunk in your space. Lori's trucks are made-to-order and it'll take a couple of weeks or so before yours arrives. So click the image or link for more views and the details. Or go to Lori Sanders' TrunkSpot storefront and navigate around from there.
This recent Etsy Blog post on jewelry boxes gave me the idea of featuring some handmade storage containers. Spring has sprung and the best way to start spring cleaning is to get rid of the clutter. I'm no expert on cleaning or clutter clearing, but I can write the book when it comes to stashing things away in pretty boxes and baskets. So that will be my contribution to your clutter clearing efforts. I'll find some really nice storage containers and you figure out what to put in them.
This lovely storage bin by Dagmar is made from 100% organic cotton canvas. And Dagmar hand painted the pretty field flowers design using a non-toxic ink. This is a made-to-order bin, so you have some customization options available. For example, you can request a different lining color. Or you can request that a tag be added so the bin can be hung from a hook. At 6 inches tall, this bin is suitable for storing small items. But Dagmar has several sizes of bins in her shop, and she has lots of equally beautiful designs. And Dagmar is also open to custom orders, so don't be shy about letting her know what will work best for you. All it takes is an email message to Dagmar to get your clutter clearing ball rolling. And besides lots of lovely handmade storage bins, Dagmar also has pillows and housewares and more. So be sure to check out the rest of her shop, too.
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