Go Vote!

My site was nominated for Best Shopping Blog!

People Who Love Us

Support Me!

Grab Our Banner!


My Weekly Wish List

Get on it..

Get on it..
The Handmade Highway!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bliss Candles


I decided to go easy on you and not make the whole day really freaky. As much as I thought the nasty finger clip and the jaw bone bowl were cool I think there's some of you that would much prefer me to just stick to normal stuff like some neat candles!

I found a candle jar trio from Bliss Candles that caught my eye because of the warm and fuzzy Autumn scents they were made into. Each jar is 16oz. That's 3 lbs of candles! The scents included in the trip are Pumpkin Spice, Vanilla Hazelnut Pumpkin, and Hot Apple Cider. Now, if that doesn't sound good then I don't know what does!

Mother Macabre


I'm bringing out the creepy stuff this morning. It's almost the big day, tomorrow to be precise. I was awoken this morning to two kids pouncing on me.. reminding me that today was their big Harvest Party. Yep, that's right. No more Halloween in the schools. Too many people don't believe. Ugh.

We plan on having a million trick or treaters if it isn't pouring down rain on us. Our neighborhood is one that gets slammed and I so wish I would have found this crazy bowl from Mother Macabre sooner. My boys are with me this morning as it's not time for school and they have the biggest eyes as they are looking at the pictures of this jaw bowl. I wish I would have found it earlier. This is one of those things that treat or treaters would just love!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Me Jewelry


Really? I actually got the shivers when I first saw this early this morning. I was so grossed out that I had to share so that you can could all get grossed out with me. Terrible right? See, I do love you!

At Just Me Jewelry, if I would have been more on the ball and shared this WEEKS ago, you could have creeped out the entire world with this bloody finger hairclip. Ew. It's so realistic and.. severed?

Totally gross but so appropriate for this time of year.

They Clay Pony


Ok, well now these are only appropriate considering Halloween is 2 days away. Too bad I didn't find them earlier because these earrings totally would have had people doing a double check at them.

At The Clay Pony you'll find this totally creepy Ouija Board Earrings. They are made with polymer clay and hand painted with acrylic paint, and sealed with a gloss finish. The pictures in the center are a printed images of my own digital drawing which is sealed with resin to protect it.

The Ouija Boards measure 1" high by 1 1/2" wide and hang from silver plated hooks. Spooky!

Theme: Candy Corn

What is Halloween without some candy corn? I love the stuff, but cannot eat more than a few pieces at a time, so here are some much better options:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Elpy


In September Elpy joined the Little Black Box with these tiny wooden hand burned magnets. I was completely amazed that these magnets were not stamped like they appear to be, but actually designed by hand and done so beautifully. Many of my box buyers got to check out how cool they are and now I'm taking the time to show the world some of the neat things that Elpy has for sale.

I can seriously never decide on a set of coasters that I want to purchase. Every single time I finally make up my mind there's another set that I want almost immediately. I found these Puzzle Pieces Woodburned Coasters and just had to share. Each coaster is sealed multiple times to protect the wood and make clean-up easy. There is cork on the flip side.

Way too cool!

Jojoelle is in the Box!

Jojoelle is one of the b&b companies talked about often on b&b boards. I have never ordered, but their scrubs have me drooling. Since I love scrubs so much, I keep looking at their Mini Bubble Scrub Set which includes 5 2 oz scrubs in a large choice of scents. In this month’s TLBB, they had samples of their lotion in Pumpkin Lavender, which, while I am not a lavender fan, was a unique take on two popular scents.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Otis B


Lately I've turned into a personal shopper for people via all of my networking sites and email. I get a handful of emails a day from shoppers asking me where to find this or where to find that. I think it's pretty amusing and also a lot of fun because I do get introduced to lots of really cool businesses because of my line of work.

I spend an awful lot of time on Etsy and yesterday I was asked about great birthday present ideas and I found these earrings at Otis B that I want for myself! Screw buying them for someone else! Why oh why must my boys need Winter coats and Halloween costumes?! Mommy wants earrings from Otis B!

These earrings are composed of baby blue hued faceted turquoise from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona. These turquoise briolettes are different from regular turquoise as most know it because it has much less matrix (the black lines that run through turquoise), it's harder and has much higher luster, so when it's faceted, as these are, they sparkle like no other!

Wah!

Intentions


I think I might have a new favorite soap company. I was sent a message on Facebook yesterday asking me who my favorite companies were. I have a couple but when I went back to look at my top 3 or 4 I was reminded of who I thought my true favorite must be right now.

Intentions truly does it for me. I haven't had the funds available for a splurge but I have seen their samples and they are top notch. I mean just look at how beautiful they are! They are like true works of art! The Berry Me soap is so pretty and fruity. I've actually sniffed this one and it's really good. However, for the holiday season I'd probably pick up the Holiday Pear. Just look at how pretty it is?!

Don't even get me started on the Pink Sugar ones. Ugh! I want them all. Anyone listening that just might be looking for something great to get me for Xmas - I'd be thrilled with a bar of this from Santa!

3 Things I Would Buy From: Restina

As I have mentioned numerous times already, I love anything fantasy, which is why I fell in love with the jewelry at Restina. Each piece has a unique bit of fantastical whimsy:

Romeo and Juliet Miniature Book and Charm Necklace

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Black Box Giveaway


For the past 2 months I've been collecting samples from each of the businesses that have signed up to participate and keeping them in a box. I plan on doing this with both the November and December Little Black Box participants as well. Then on December 3rd I'm going to pull a winner and that person gets the contents of everything I've collected.

How do you win? The person with the most comments on our blog entries is totally going to be hooked up! Go get commenting!

Starborn Alchemy


I love all the little perfume shops that are popping up all over the place. The most recent one I discovered was Starborn Alchemy.

Starborn Alchemy's goal is to try to achieve making the best scents possible all while attempting to use just essential oils. I know lots of my readers prefer essentials oils over the oils that both bath/body and candle businesses are using. Another plus about this particular business is that they are located right in Seattle so shipping would be like snap!

The oil that I'm choosing to feature today is the Girls Don't Fart Essential Oil Perfume. I think the name is hilariously funny and totally unique. I wish I had the chance to take a whiff of this.. or maybe with a name like that taking a whiff of it might not be the best idea. However, it's described as smelling like dark amber mixed with luscious smell of jasmine.

The Gilded Lily


It's raining. It's pouring. Aww, part of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! It's that time of year and I don't think it's stopped raining in 24 hours. As I sit here in my office I hear the cars racing past on the wet pavement and I'm thrilled to be sitting here with you all.

I don't mind the rain because with rain brings rolling rivers and streams all over near where I live. After you've been gone for some time you begin to appreciate the things that make you crave being home. At The Gilded Lily the jewelery designer creates the coolest jewelry from tumbled rocks. The rocks look just like river rocks to me which made me just have to take an extra peek when I was introduced to this business a few weeks ago.

There's some cool rock rings that caught my attention. I think they are absolutely adorable and totally earthy. I love how unique they are and most likely they'd catch the attention of anyone who sees them. Great shop!

I Want: Peacock Costume Adult/Teen/Child

I am not really going as anything this Halloween (although I am going to a costume contest for favorite Stephen King character - just don't know what to wear). However, if I was going to actually get a real costume, I love the colors in this Peacock Costume which just happens to be in my size (although MeadowLion1120 can custom make it to fit any size). I also really love the peacocks feathers incorporated into the design.

Friday, October 23, 2009

January Little Black Box


I wanted to start the new year off with a bang so I decided to kick it back old school style and have the products in our January box be bath, body, and candles only. Our sponsor is Lemon Lollipop so I figured it was only appropriate.

I am going to be contacting these type of businesses like crazy extending them an invite to join in the fun but I need you, my faithful followers and readers to comment here showing your support for this box. I need you to stand proud and tall and show your support for handmade and the products they create so that the businesses I contact will see that The Little Black Box is one of the founding fathers of sample boxes. We've been around almost the longer then any other box so bringing it back to how it was for just one month will be an absolute blast!

I'm thinking I'd also like to step out on a limb and have it so that the participating businesses who do want to sign up sort of think outside the box and only create products with custom blends for scents or flavors. I think it'd be so cool to have a sample box for one month only that you'll find stuff that you won't find anywhere but in the January Little Black Box.

So who's all with me?! Who do YOU want to see in our theme box for January. Speak now!

Ricki’s Pick of the Week: Clippie from 3 Little Monkeys

3 Little Monkeys specializes in cute items for little girls. However, that does not mean that big girls cannot like their stuff, too. For the past few months, they have contributed samples of their clippies to TLBB and I have received a few. Last night, I wore a bright purple polka-dot one in my hair to add a little flair to my work outfit, and I got so many compliments. If you were not lucky enough to get a clippie in your LBB, then you can order them in packs of 25 (or more) and can either specify your colors or let it be totally random. These are cute for long hair or short hair (and little or big girls).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bliss Candies


All the rage in this past months Little Black Box were the delicious caramels offered by Bliss Candies. I'll admit. I did stash a pack for myself so that I could write a review on them. I think nearly 50 boxes were fortunately to get to sample the goodness and boy were they good.

I don't know about you all but my mouth is watering again as I read about their individually wrapped Spiced Apple Cider caramels. Oh yum! Hold me back! This deliciously chewy caramel is creamy and sweet with the flavor of Apple Cider. They start off with fresh cream, butter and 100% pure Apple Juice. To round out the flavor we infuse the caramel with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger; just divine!

This is a cruel joke. Now all day I'll be wanting to try these ones.. as if the pumpkin ones weren't bad enough already now I want to try the Apple Cider ones!

Yume Blush


Yesterday's mail was so full of goodness that I've been licking myself for the past 12 hours. I'm not the only one licking myself in my household either. I've seen the twins licking each other too. Now usually I'd be afraid and most likely call CPS on myself for not stopping them but if you got a package from Yume Blush you'd be licking yourself in the privacy of your own home too.

Yume Blush has this neat product that's a body cream but at the same time it can be used as a body lotion or a massage oil. It's all very strange but if you had it in your hand you'd see what I'm talking about. Best of all you can lick and eat this stuff! It's 100% Vegan and all natural. Man, I wish I had a cute shirtless boy to test this on. My arm is getting boring!

This product would be absolutely perfect for a bridal shower gift or even gift bags for a bachelorette party. The packaging is super professional and you'll be sure to please anyone who's looking for something something for the one they love.

Theme: Ghosts

Halloween is in just over a week, but tonight The Haunting of Hill House opens at my work, so I thought ghosts would be a perfect theme for today:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rachel Rose


We had a brilliant jewelry designer in the boxes this past month. Rachel Rose was kind enough to email me late Monday night to tell me that she was already getting sales from her samples! I love success stories.

Her email made me go back to her Etsy shop and of course I found something I just couldn't pass up and ended up purchasing these little lovelies. These Turquoise and red coral sterling silver earrings are now mine! I can't wait for them to arrive. I'm an accessory whore as we all know. I have a million and ten earrings to adding these beauts from Rachel Rose won't be a problem at all.

Check her out!

White Fluff Designs


Can you believe October is nearly over? I drove by Rite Aid yesterday and their sign outside had a giant 50% off all Halloween stuff blinking. I can't believe it's almost here and nearly gone. That just means we all get to start concentrating on the fun stuff, like buying people gifts!

If you're going to buy gifts then you need to package gifts and also buy gift tags and greeting cards. At White Fluff Designs I found these really cute Candy Cane mini cards. This is a fantastically fun set of four candy cane and peppermint mini cards. These conveniently sized cards are perfect for gift giving or to use as tags, thank you notes, love notes or for hidden journaling in your scrapbooks.

Adorable and only $2.50!

Woebegone is in the Box!

The art at Woebegone has a haunting yet magical quality to it. I had a promo bookmark of Delve that I pretty much used to death because I loved that little Owl so. I was very excited to see notecards in this month’s TLBB so that I can easily share this wonderful art with others. I keep looking at Haunted which has just the right creepy quality to it (although I could never afford an original painting).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shebas Secrets


Friday this super ginormous box that weighed almost 50lbs arrived via FedEx smelling like heaven in a box. I opened it up and found 4oz bath bombs in a variety of scents all labeled and packed just perfectly for my Little Black Box hardcores. I knew immediately that the October box was going to be off the hook and that all my little lovelies were going to have the time of their lives opening their bags.

Shebas Secrets totally spoiled us this month and to think they'll be back next month to do it all over again. Now, I have to let you in on a little secret. There's this direct buy list on their site where you can get 7.5oz bath bombs for only $1.49!! Don't be a fool! Check it out!

Bubble-Up Girlz


I was cruising around Facebook yesterday and found a local boutique that carries a local woman's products. I instantly fell in love and would love to purchase but everything seems sort of expensive. Especially now that I've had time to fall in love with other sites. I think it's great if your target audience isn't hardcore online buyers and don't know you exisit but if you're trying to rub elbows with some of the top notch online stores you may have a problem if you don't lower your prices.

Bubble-Up Girlz has a crazy cute site and the products truly do look yummy. I love the labels and the overall appeal of the site however I wish they'd do more custom blends that I wouldn't find on all the other online websites. I can get a Country Berry Hotcakes scent on a million sites, you know? Being as that I'm a scrub nut you know I went instantly for their body polish. They sure do look neat!

3 Things I Would Buy From: Shawna Erback Studio

I love fantasy artwork so I was smitten the moment I laid eyes on the prints at Shawna Erback Studio. All of the them have this haunting quality to them as you only see the back of a girl in a white dress with long hair, most of the time accompanied by a heart with a tree and/or the moon:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cozy Moments


I need a shower. I need a shower badly. Only my shower would be so much better if someone wouldn't have purchased what I was going to purchase this morning from Cozy Moments.

Cozy Moments had this drool-worthy looking Vanilla Candy Canes foaming sugar scrub that I literally want to sniff right on my monitor. I hope you're all paying attention because something like this would make an absolute perfect gift for moi this holiday season.

I'm a bath and body freak! I want to smell like cookies, marshmallows and especially vanilla candy canes. The boys can't resist. I'm delicious!

Simply Sentimental


It's not too late to pick up some fun greeting cards from one of my favorite greeting card makers. Greeting cards are a simple reminder to a friend or loved one that you were thinking of them and the ones from Simply Sentimental are inexpensive and super cute.

I usually purchase most of my theme cards from this business and even had the owner design special hockey invites a few months ago for the kid's 7th birthday when I took everyone to a Phoenix Coyotoes hockey game for their birthday. That was a blast.

The Halloween collection at Simply Sentimental comes with 5 cards for $15. You can't beat that! As soon as the winter holiday themed ones are up you better believe I'll making my purchase for this year.

I Want: Halloween Dracula Meerkat

I am not a big vampire fan, but this Halloween Dracula Meerkat is just so darn cute. The listing makes it clear that it is not a real meerkat vampire, just a (knitted) baby meerkat dressed up as a vampire (and the vampire costume is fully removeable). Nifty Knits has a ton of totally cute knitted meerkats and other creatures.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Interview with Adina Martinez

I emailed my other year long box subscribers to find out their opinions on the black boxes and what advice they could offer black box participants and here's what Adina Martinez of Las Vegas, NV had to say:

1. Jewelry is my favorite box item hands down. It can usually fit everyone, and a lot of items I have loved so much I just had to go online and shop more! It can be something small, but whenever I get jewelry I light up!

2. Packaging is the most important thing. I live in a very hot climate, and I can't tell you how many times candles and such have melted. Luckily, these have been packaged separately so they didn't ruin anything else in the box.

3. As a year-long subscriber, I tend to get the same things over and over. I have enough hotel-sized soaps to last me a LIFETIME! But some of them have caught my eye, so make sure your product is eye-catching, and always leave a card.

4. Discounts go a BIG way! I'm way more tempted to look at someone's site if they include even something little like free shipping or 10% off.

You can't cater to everyone, but you can cater to as many people as possible. Make sure you have a card or tag clearly marking your store or how to reach you, a carefully and originally packaged product, and possibly a discount and I'm sure your business will boom!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interview with Angela Edwards

Today, a regular sample box customer directed me to her blog where she posted her thoughts on the sample box business. I didn't ask her to do this. She did it all on her own and I'm just thrilled to pieces!

There's the long version and then there's the edited one. I posted the edited one but feel free to read the long one here. I fell in love with the whole thing instantly and decided to post it here.. well edited for space. If you are a black box participant or have ever thought about participating you should read this.

1. Ingredients are important. in ANYTHING going onto or into a body. Especially if pine, nuts, certain foods, etc are used, PLEASE List them.

2. Whenever possible, include instructions. Not everyone is familiar with sugar scrubs, wickless candles, melting body butter, paraffin hand treatments, that special kind of tea blend you just sent, or whatever. instructions put you HIGH on the "repeat buyer" list.

3. food scented bath and body products make a lot of people nervous. Especially chocolate and/or sugary treat products.

4. propaganda of any type is evil.

5. the best things to include in samplers are things that need to be purchased relatively regularly. Give us just enough to be addicted (for me it takes about a week). When we run out, we will run to your store and buy.

6. Make it easy for us to find you. Clearly label where your items come from, even when including a free sample in a previous purchase. Sometimes, those purchases are a gift.

7. Free samples (especially coordinating ones) tossed in a box with a purchase are awesomeness.

8. Sampler packs are the best way for handmade aficionados like me to find you. We may not always BUY from you, but at least we will know who you are. I have a whole file of business names from companies I have gotten great products, service and/or samples from and what type of products they have. If I need a gift, and it is not something specific, I frequently go to this list.

9. If you send something scented, please wrap it up, at least in a Ziploc bag so the scent doesn't get everywhere. I will get sick of the scent before I use the item.

10. Packaging is important. If your promotional sample looks a mess, what will your product look like??

11. Again, this is the most important thing on the list: INGREDIENT LISTS ARE IMPERATIVE!!


So there you have it! This is from a legit handmade customer that has a subscription to our boxes and purchases handmade EACH and EVERY month based on what comes in her Little Black Box. I'm going to ask other year long subscribers to do the same thing so maybe it will help businesses who are creating samples lead them toward success.

Ricki’s Pick of the Week: Bruxia the Halloween Fairy from Fairies by Nuria

Every year, my husband and I take a fall drive to a small town around St. Louis. This year, we chose Herman, Missouri where we found a craft fair. We stopped by this wonderful booth called Fairies by Nuria. These fairies are simply adorable and I had the hardest time choosing one. She has a lot based on professions and hobbies, but alas, no theatre one (yet). She also had some great Zodiac sign ones, but was out of Libras. There were also monthly flower ones, but I could not tell you which flower is for September, so, since Halloween is my favorite holiday and is coming up soon, I chose Bruxia. She is even cuter in person, hanging out on my living room mantle.

October Little Black Box!


Yay! Today the October Little Black Box is on sale at our new discounted rate of $17! Come check out the site for loads of handmade samples and gift worthy goodness!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heathen's Hearth


I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Heathen's Hearth in August and then the business was also our box sponsor for September and I've heard whisperings that they are also committed to contributing again in October. The soaps are wonderful and the owner is a sweet heart.

I especially love Heathen's Hearth because of their Candy Corn soap, afterall today IS candy corn day. Just like the traditional Fall candy, this delicious smelling soap is perfect for yourself or your little trick-or-treaters! A warm vanilla candy with top notes of butter with a slight down of almond.

Must. Remember. Do. Not. Eat. I'm hungry.

Crafty Mama Designs


Tis the season for candy. LOTS of candy. Caramels, candy corns, and candied apples. Since April I've been working out a lot. When this time of year comes around I sort of cringe because I know that no matter how much working out I may or may not do I'm going to put on a pound or 10. Great.

Thankfully at Crafty Mama Designs I found something that is calorie and fat free but still extra yummy. Now, pay attention all of you with little girls at home. Yeah, I'm talking to you. Make that little girl feel special all day long until she puts on her princess costume and rushes out the door to go trick or treating with these super cool Candy Corn Clippies. For only $2.25 plus shipping you'll make that little girl feel like a star all day long.

I love candy corn, it's my favorite candy year-round!

Theme: Spiders

I don’t like real spiders, but I love spiders for Halloween – they are so much cuter than the real thing. Just look at these cuties on Etsy:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oktak


A girl can never have too many cluches. It's like one of those things that become a priority accessory wise right after shoes and jewelry. Women spend so much on clutches and handbags. It's ridiculous! The perfect clutch though will make you stand out in a crowd all while holding your valuables.

At Oktak there's this creamy pearl like clutch with ruffles and a hint of sage. It is perfect for carrying cosmetics, ipod, digital camera, cell phone and everything else that fits in your palm. It measures about 8x5x2 and would happily carry whatever you could find to put in it.

So many fabric choices too, but I think I'll stand my pearl colored one. It's the best!