A Handmade Christmas

2010 was my first year as an Etsy seller, and in addition to running my own shop I also spent plenty of time purusing the shops of many other talented Etsy sellers. Throughout the year I discovered so many unique handmade items unlike any I'd ever seen before. I was itching to share them with the people I care about, so it was an easy decision to do most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy. Now that all of the gifts have been opened by their new recipients, I want to share some of the handmade items.

I bought two lovely pieces of jewelry from TeakaAndZoe, the turquoise earrings for my grandmother and the orange necklace for a friend of mine. I love all of the bright colors in the shop (and I hope to someday add one of these pairs of flower-shaped earrings to my own collection: in red/teal or in lime/turquoise).

The garden markers, made from hammered vintage spoons, were a gift for my mom. She's an exceptional gardener. And the Midwest seed bombs were a gift for my mother-in-law who lives in Illinois and who also enjoys spending time in her garden. The "bombs" are actually little balls formed of wildflower seeds mixed with clay. You just throw 'em and grow 'em (and add a little water too).

5. OhYum :: Sampler of homemade marshmallows

I also ordered several food items from Etsy sellers for the first time this holiday season. The best one was by far the homemade marshmallows made by OhYum! I ordered these to bring to my family's house to share with everyone for the holidays. My sampler pack included eight flavors: pistachio, lemon, cherry, chocolate, coconut, orange, vanilla, and almond. After tasting them all, the cherry and orange were my favorites. I will certainly be a repeat customer of OhYum!

I picked out a popcorn spice kit for my husband, including unique flavors like beer, southwest jalapeno, chocolate caramel, and dill pickle. We tested a few of them out at our New Year's party, and they were a hit. Also for my husband, I ordered some unique bacon treats: candied chipotle bacon, and then a sampler pack of other types of candied and chocolate-covered bacon. So far, we've just tried the candied chipotle flavor (very tasty!), and I'm sure the others will be interesting.

And continuing with the bacon theme, my husband and I selected a bacon tie for our bacon-loving and fashionable friend. If you've never visited ToyBreaker's Etsy shop, do it now! It's packed with clever and edgy neckties, bowties, and scarves, and I picked out three of them a few years back as a wedding present for my husband.

10. LinenLaidFelt :: Handbound photo album

One of the hightlights of this handmade giftgiving was surprising my husband with this baseball card book made by erinzam. We're both really big fans of her work (see my previous post about her here). The covers of this book are made from a vintage, 1955 Bowman baseball card of Willard Marshall of the Chicago White Sox. My husband loves baseball, and is a huge White Sox fan. And coincidentally on our drive down to South Carolina before Christmas, he was talking about baseball cards, and specifically the 1955 Bowman cards that show the player surrounded in a television-like frame. I love the assortment of different papers used for the pages, and the baseball seam stitching style is especially clever. I ordered this gift in June, and I've been waiting anxiously for Christmas so I could give it to Tony.

One of the handmade gifts I gave this year was one that I made myself. My dad has become intersted in photography these past few years since moving to Charleston, SC and each time I come to visit he has a new stack of photos to show. So I decided to make him a handbound photo album for Christmas so he'd have a more elegant way to store and display his pictures (rather than the cardstock envelopes from the photo store). I'll be posting more photos of this book in a future blog post, but here's a sneak peek for now.

And last but not least, my husband picked out a faux-taxidermy creation for his younger brother. His brother's Christmas wishlist included a few books, CDs, and movies, but at the end he listed "something weird for my room." Of course Tony couldn't resist this challenge, and turned to the "everything else" and "weird" categories on Etsy to find this little critter.