13 February 2010

Indie Handmade Love

"Whoever said 'money can't buy happiness' simply didn't know where to go shopping."
~ Bo Derek

I don't know about you, I love to shop online. But let's face it... I barely have time to know where to start.

Etsy is, of course, my go-to for great handmade artisan gifts and supplies. But have you ever wished that there was one stop where you could find the coolest stuff all in one place?

There are several sites that I turn to every single week to clue me in to the best there is to be had in the handmade universe. To help me make my own business the best it can be. Or simply to inspire.

These sites are written so extremely well, and have hostesses who are fun and witty and engaging. If you like to win things, you should definitely check these sites out...they almost always have something going on. I have actually had the pleasure of winning on two of them (three, if you include my latest score... see below).

In no particular order, here are some sites worth checking out:

Indie Fixx

I recently participated in an online auction that Indie Fixx held to raise money for the Haiti earthquake victims. Lucky me, I won a $100 gift certificate {unfortunately, for less than the face value...I totally thought that I would be outbid. Don't worry, I spent more than the certificate to thank them for their generosity} to sponsor The Vintage Pearl. I keep coming back, because I love the self-professed "indie design love" that hostess Jen Wallace dishes out. I just used my gift certificate for The Vintage Pearl and was able to order a special keepsake for my sister with her kids' names and something wonderful for my mother for Mother's Day that includes names from the entire family. And, okay, you caught me, a little something for myself! Check the example of the one I just ordered for my mother {shhh...don't tell!}:

Such beauty that Jen showcases on her site. Definitely check out the Indie Fixx Galleria filled with all sorts for loveliness. I can only hope that one day I might be there.

Makeunder My Life
Jess is a Chicago jewelry designer by night, living a corporate life by day. She is making moves to move into the next phase of her life. And she defines "makeunder" as "any action that improves one’s life through addition by subtraction." I think that is a little slice of brilliance. There is so much I can learn from Miss Jess. She writes regularly about the following: Designing Your Life (featuring really intriguing guest bloggers),End of the Week Exfoliation (where she gives up or gives away one thing that isn't working in her life - could there be a more brilliant idea? I should start with all the boxes in my garage!), Small Business Advice (having been an entrepreneur for ten years - since she was a freshman in high school - I need all the help I can get! And it sounds like she offers it!), Dressing Charlotte (her trusty dressmaker dummy - which happens to be the middle name of my Tiny Dancer and my favorite aunt!), Easy Recipes (can't have too many of those!), and Off the Chain (new developments in her jewelry business). I encourage you to check out Jess and her quirky, fun, successful and inspirational world.

Modish is one of the first sites that I followed. I love the eclectic mix of handmade artistry that Miss Modish features. For awhile there, Miss Jena, the hostess with the mostess, was also offering a blog called Modish Biz Tips which I really embraced. She is no longer offering those tips, but Modish continues to be a site that has a pulse on the handmade market. Sometimes I just like to come here to gawk at the gorgeous photos and color inspiration out there in the world.

This is the home of Polarity + Uncorked. I have been fascinated by both of these storefronts on Etsy for sometime. I have concocted elaborate schemes whereby I get one of everything in each store front. But since that isn't likely to happen, I started reading this blog. Catherin Ivins is the goddess of repurposed. Her Polarity pendants are genius and feature a tiny automotive part that would have cluttered up landfills. She even uses the artwork of other Etsians in a most incredible collaboration.
Now it is paired with illustrations from some of the best indie artists around. They are interchangeable and unique. And her Uncorked goods are just as clever. A variety of styles including earrings, necklaces and other lovelies all imprinted on corks.
These Robot Love earrings are seriously funky. And those Etsy artists' whose work appears on the Polarity lockets are just too cool for words. What are you waiting for? Go check them out!

Recently I won a contest on OliveBites of a gorgeous inital pendant by the most talented Alona of Rafya from Israel who sells her work on Etsy. All I had to do was leave a comment. {I am proof that you don't need to have multiple entries to win!}
I ordered an "e" of course, and haven't received it yet, but I can barely contain myself at the amazingly juicy color palette.{One of my major goals this year is to embrace color, and this will be a great way to start!} I will be ordering more of her wares for sure.

Etsy Stalker
Last, but certainly not least, are the intrepid curators Beatrice and Violet, who fearlessly travel Etsy to find the best and the brightest. They are art-lovers and want to encourage us all to buy handmade and regularly seek out the coolest things out there. I appreciate the witty style in which they write, and their interviews, called Solo Exhibits, are top-notch. They have giveaways all the time, and early on in my following I won an 8x10 photography print of some absolutely stunning chain maille from Crescent Maille. Keeps me coming back for more!

I don't know if you follow these sites but I think that they are worth popping over to have a look-see. Even if you don't choose to follow them all, find the one that speaks the most to you and add it to your reader. You never know what wonders you will find!

What is your favorite site to go to for handmade inspiration?
Do you buy handmade items online?
Any favorite sellers or storefront sites for selling or buying?
Please share your favorites in the comments! Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Davinia said...

Thanks for all the linky love Erin, I'm off to check them out.

Relyn Lawson said...

What a great bunch of inspiration you offer here. I wanted to wish you a happy Valentine's day. A wish from me:

On this day, may you know, really know how much you are loved. May you recognize love in all it's forms. May you be grateful for the love of children and pets, old friendships and your husband. May your heart swell with all the beauty this life brings. Happy Valentine's Day, my friend.

peacockfairy said...

These sites sound amazing! I am definitely going to check them out! I do, I do buy handmade online - mostly on Etsy right now though.

I will have to look for that card at Target - thanks for thinking of me! Target is a great place for peacock finds - I most recently got a great hobo bag there with feathers on it!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Angelia Sims said...

Beautiful pieces! Thanks for sharing these sites.

Cindy said...

Erin, thank you for sharing these links...some a brand new to me and will be fun to check out! :-)

roseworksjewelry said...

Those sound like some awesome sites!

Jess LC said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my blog- I really appreciate the shout out and I'm glad you like the topics I share.

By the way, I'm actually a jewelry designer by day (full-time entrepreneur) and blogger (MakeunderMyLife) by night. :)

Shay Stone said...

Thanks for all the great links! I love it when we can all share the love!


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