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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bye Bye Blogger

Well that was fun. It's been almost 2 years since I started my 1st blog here on blogger. Blogger has unfortunately became a thing of the past and most big blogs are now Wordpress blogs so we have switched over.

You will now find me and the gang posting only at http://handmadeguru.com

Follow us there!!

Recycling: Funky Style


One of the neatest concepts that I have come acrossed since becomming obsessed with handmade goods is repurposing. It's so amazing to see all the different ways crafters take materials that would either be thrown away or recycled and make them into something beautiful and unique.

Funky Recycling is one of the neatest shops of this nature I have come acrossed. Funky Recycling breathes life into old aluminum cans with their imagitive jewelry, ornaments, and magnets. I love their Hello Kitty Monster can necklaces and Coke cow magnets. If you live in the Las Vegas area stop by a Funky Recycling craft fair booth and bring a used aluminum can, you will be rewarded with a free gift. Hooray!

Simple Stitches 101



Think I'll stick with the whole Valentine's Day theme I have going on so far today.

Give yourself or someone you love a candy kiss this year! This quilted bag and matching accessories are made using the Candy Kisses line of fabric from Moda. The red, white and soft pinks are perfect for the season! You can pick up this bag at Simple Stitches 101. There's many different fabric choices to pick from but this one just hit the spot considering which holiday is upon us next. 

It's a very user-friendly bag, with 5 large pockets on the inside, and a slot for a pen. It's roomy, measuring
10 1/2 x 15 x 5 inches with 25 inch reinforced straps. It's made of 100 % quilt store quality cottons, and the batting is cotton as well. The interior has been fortified with heavy duty interfacing, giving it structure and durability. It will stand on it's own. It has a magnetic snap closure for easy access, yet it's secure. Along with your new bag, you'll receive a matching checkbook cover, credit card wallet and wristlet key leash. It's so fun when everything matches.

So Stinking Sweet

Valentine's Day is looming near and I know that I've already been looking for cute stuff that give to the boys on their special day of love. Actually, I was just sitting here in awe of how cute the item is that I wanted to write about this morning that I just splurged and purchased it. I'm ashamed to admit that I have no resistance.

So Stinking Sweet is so stinking cute that I even called them that on our list of participants and sponsors for our Little Black Box this year. This is a bath and body shop that will be around for a heck of a long time if they keep this cuteness factor up. The two juicy ruby red grapefruit soaps I just acquired will be just darling to give to the boys along with their other items this year on v-day.

There's so many other items in this shop that you pretty much won't be able to say no!

I Want: Green Neck Warmer

I like that scarves keep my neck warm, but I hate that they have the long ends with get caught in car doors and create extra bulk inside my coat. This stylish Green Neck Warmer from Vogue Knitting would solve that problem. My neck would be toasty but there would be no tails to create problems.

Now I won't have to go through multiple scarves in a season because they got ripped or stained by grease and road debris. Thank goodness there's venues who have thought to save the day with ideas like this. I owe them big time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jelene

I know I've written about Jelene a few times but there are a few of you.. ok more like a whole bunch of you that are new to our blog. We like new! I felt like today was a great time to reintroduce Jelene to the masses. Jelene is an amazing pop art artist that resides on the east coast. She's also the girl that I trust with most of the graphics I have made for all three of my businesses. I know and trust that when I'm looking for something fresh and fun that Jelene will be able to whip it up for me. She's just that wonderful. She's also the genius behind our Handmade Guru graphic. She drew our girly guru girl!

Today I'm bringing you fun cupcake shoes for kids from Jelene that she's selling her in Zazzle store. Yeah these are pricy but oh my gosh they are cute! Makes me want a little girl all over again!

Happy Bubble Bath Day

Any excuse to celebrate is good enough for me and today's "holiday" is one I can totally get into. It's National Bubble Bath Day! Weather it's a long soak after a hard day of work or a dip in the tub to pamper oneself before a big date, bubble baths are one of life's greatest pleasures. A girl can never have too many options when it comes to her bubble baths. I would like to share with you today my recipe for a perfect bubble bath.

One Part Bath Soak:

Solstice Scents on Etsy offers some of the most tempting bath soaks I've seen in a very long time. The blends from Solstice Scents are phalate free and a moisturizing mixture of dea sea salts, coconut milk, and oatmeal. Paired with wonderful scents such as Lemon Pink Sugar, Victorian Tea Room, and Spiced Cranberry and Spruce, there is sure to be a Relaxing Bath Soak scent for every palate.

One Part Bubble Bar:


I found this gem from Flowering Tree Botanicals on Etsy. I am a sucker for foody scents and Flowering Tree offers a nice variety of yummy dessert scents such as Chocolate Fudge and Pumpkin Spice. Twilight Fan? Flowering Tree has a line of Twilight inspired bath products such as the Alice Bubble Bar, a mixture of Lady of the Night orchids and wild honeysuckle. The bubble bars are a whopping 6oz, enough for more than one delightful soak.

One Part Scrub:


To pamper your skin while you soak in bubbly delight check out these delicious scrubs from Villainess. Smooch! is a moisturizing scrub packed with grape-seed oil, shea and cocoa butters, and coconut oils to hydrate, and raw sugars or sea salt to exfoliate. Villainess offers a vast line of delectable scents such as Paradise Misplaced: creamy coconut, mango, and crisp green tea. Villainess also offers seasonal scents such as Frostbite, described as jasmine and lily of the valley frozen with fir and green apple. An incisive bite of citrus, and a chilling wooden core.

Add another part of relaxation and pampering and fill with hot water and there you have it, the perfect recipe to celebrate National Bubble Bath Day in Style.

Julie Meyer



I wish I had an office job. Wait, who am I kidding? No I don't. I think I much prefer my little handmade loving job over your typical office job. If I did have to leave the house daily to work in the real world I know there are little things that would make my day much better. Especially if I was able to shop at Julie Meyer's on Etsy. No, she's not related to Fred Meyer's.

Pack your lunch in eco-friendly Reusable Snack & Sandwich Bags and toss them into a hip Insulated Lunch Bag. These items are available in this one of a kind shop. I was telling my mom this morning how bummed I am that I don't have a reason to pick one of these insulated lunch bags up! These things are pretty major!

Enjoy brown-bagging-it with this reusable insulated lunch bag. Made with vinyl this lunch bag is fully insulated, waterproof and closes with Velcro. Measures approximately 11" x 7" fully opened. Wipe clean and air-dry. Pattern placement may vary slightly.

Grumpy Girl Soap Winner!


As promised here's the winner of our Grumpy Girl soap giveaway! The winner was comment number 19, Oceana Blue!

Contact me to claim your prize!

Ricki’s Pick of the Week: Parma Violet Soy Wax Melts from Purple Sparkle Crafts

I participated in an international profile surprise Christmas gift swap on Swap-Bot and was luckily enough to get the owner of Purple Sparkle Crafts as my partner. She sent me these adorable (and very strong) Parma Violet Soy Wax Melts. They look even cuter in person than in the picture (hard to believe, I know). I was so impressed by them that I set Etsy to let me know when her shop reopened, which it did this week. I might just have to order something when my tarts run out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Howdy Fellow Handmade Connoisseurs



It is my absolute pleasure to be a new guest blogger for the Handmade Guru. I have been quite a the fan of handmade goods for as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl I remember quite fondly the joys of exploring craft fairs for one of a kind finds. As a not so little girl I spend more hours then I care to admit trolling Etsy for treasures to indulge in. I hope to be able to share some of the companies I have already come to know and love with all of you.

Haus of Gloi is one of those companies that I simply cannot get enough of. Haus of Gloi is ran by the exceedingly talented Britton with help from her husband. Haus of Gloi offers deliciously scented bath and body products that are 100% vegan and cruelty free. Opening a package from Haus of Gloi is a pleasure and you can tell right away that it was packaged with love.



I am a huge fan of Haus of Gloi's Sugar Creme Scrubs. They not only smell wonderful but they are moisturizing too. The scrubs leave a light layer of moisture on your skin that is not at all sticky. The scent lingers on your skin for literally hours. I cannot say enough about how wonderful Gloi's Sugar Creme Scrubs are. I reserve my scrubs for special occasions because they are just that great. Another plus for me is the wonderful smell that I can smell lingering in my bathroom after a Gloi shower.





Britton cooks up some delicious scents for her products over at Haus of Gloi, no run of the mill fragrances here. One of my personal faves is Elevenses, described as orange cakes, sugar coated toasty almonds, and a bit of black tea. Gloi also offers Limited Edition scents that change with the seasons. One of my favorite Yuletide scents that is currently in the lineup is Parkin: brown sugar, oat flour, white spices, and roasted chestnuts coated with a bit of icing. To die for!

If you are thinking about trying Haus of Gloi act fast, Britton is currently offering free shipping to first time customers with the code: FIRSTORDERUSA

If you are international fear not, if you enter code : FIRSTORDERINT you will be hooked up with 3 free sample scrubs or perfume samples as a thank you for your first order.

These codes expire today (1/8).

Enjoy!

Baby, it's COLD outside!

Anyone who lives in the Midwest and is suffering through this Arctic cold snap (not to mention the piles of snow) we've got right definitely has my sympathies. Tonight, I bring you handmade goodness to help combat the cold - things to warm you up and keep you warm!

When it's this cold outside, I enjoy sipping on a steaming mug of hot tea or hot cocoa. My finds on Etsy tonight made my mouth water! For starters, check out the variety of hot cocoa mixes offered by tetoncocoacompany. I would personally choose my favorite flavor - hazelnut. You can order cocoa in 1 lb, 1/2 pound or even sampler packets! What flavor would you order?



Of course, you need marshmallows for your hot cocoa! TheFoodSnob offers a few different flavors. Don't these chocolate swirl marshmallows make your mouth water?! You can also choose from vanilla or peppermint.

My feet are always cold, even if it's 90 degrees outside. So, slippers are to me like shoes are to many other women. There's so many adorable crocheted slippers out on Etsy. This pair, from piccoladonna2006 is one of my favorites. Sadly, she is closing her shop, so now is the time to check out her offerings! She's got a half-price sale going, too.


Finally, who doesn't love to cozy under a snuggly blanket or afghan to keep toasty? Etsy is a great place to find handmade blankets & afghans of all sizes. I personally like this afghan from Crafty Crocheting. I love everything purple!



Now that I've shared some of my favorite things that I use to keep warm - how about you? Got any tips or secrets to share with us? I'd love to hear!

Comment Contest


We're going to be doing another comment contest like we did over the last few months. The person with the most thoughtful, regular comments over the next few months will win an extreme Little Black Box. This little black box will contain every single sample sent in from January, February, and March. That's a whole lot of samples! Winner will be picked March 20th.

Get to commenting and show our new guest writers Alisha and Heather some love! We now have 3 guest writers plus myself bringing you stuff all day long. We are committed to handmade love so show us some!

Kristi Mcmurry Photography


One can never have too many greeting cards on hand. I can think of numerous reason why it's a good idea to have multiple types of cards around your home. I'm one of those people that forget until the day before that I need something for an event and by then I have to get all ready to head out and spend a fortune on a typical Hallmark greeting card. There's no fun in that! There's so many great handmade cards on the net right now. Support those guys! Oh, and because like I mentioned before, I procrastinate and it's my dad's birthday on Saturday. Happy Birthday dad!

At Kristi Mcmurry Photography many of her photographs have been turned into unique cards that can be given to people for no reason at all. Maybe you just want to say hello or that you're thinking of them. These are fun cards that will make most people giggle. I like the Hungry Policeman cards. The donuts make me hungry and the policeman sprinkles make me laugh. Perfect!

Windy City Glassblower

Some people collect beer bottles or liquor bottles. Some people collect beer cans, hello Hoarders on A&E the other week! Ugh! I do not collect either. I actually don't have a collection but anything besides soaps and wickless candles but I certainly don't have enough to call it a collection. Actually, it depends on the definition. Moving on..

At Windy City Glassblower all of the glass is recycled and made in the traditional style of soft glassblowing and is often made to order. 100% of the bottle used to avoid waste, and each product is dishwasher safe and Eco-Friendly.

My favorite glasses are the Boylan Grape Soda glasses. The bottles were opened up and turned into drinking glasses. You'll get a set of four of them with this listing. I just think this is the neatest idea. The beer bottle glasses would be a great addition to any get together when you have friends over too!

Theme: Snow

It snowed last night!:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


It's winter time and for many of us that means cold temps and, of course, snow! I'm a freeze baby so winter is definitely NOT my favorite season. So, I logged on to Etsy tonight to see what I could find with a theme of snow flakes.

Growing up, my parents have had this set of drinking glasses that are frosted, with white dots all over and some houses and trees wrapping around the bottom. They are my favorite glasses to use around the holiday time. I even told my mom I was going to smuggle one back home with me this year...that didn't go over too well!

So, imagine my delight when I found these lovely glasses on daydreemdesign's shop! These glasses (and everything in her shop) are hand engraved. The detail on each of these is amazing. Each design is drawn by freehand - not traced. The end result is an individual (and signed) piece every time. Just like every snow flake is unique.

Daydreemdesigns does not just offer these glasses, though. You'll also find shot glasses, votive candle holders, champagne flutes, mugs and more! This shop even offers a FREE votive holder with a purchase of $35 or more. Cheers!

Intentions

I know.. I know! I've written about this company numerous times already. The problem is that they currently hold the award in my heart for most beautiful cold process soaps. Well, actually it's a close call but they are pretty far up on my list. They participated once before in the Little Black Box. I wasn't all that familiar with them at the time but now that I am I'm sad that I wasn't as enthusiastic about this little gem at the time. I would have been singing praises such a long time ago. Maybe if we all beg we can bring them back this year!

Intentions is said business. Intentions fully intends on making me spend money on them quite often in 2010. I'm sad to say that I haven't had the chance to purchase from them yet. Their soaps are on the spendy side but they are worth it. Just look at them!

Now, right now a vote is going on over on Etsy and Intentions is listed in their Favorite Sellers category. Go vote! If they win, maybe it will encourage a sale or something? A girl can hope, right?

The Salty Peanut

It must be coaster week! I found another set of super cool coasters that I want to add to my collection of coasters that I don't actually have but would have if I was loaded and had unlimited amounts of money to blow.

At The Salty Peanut there's a few hundred sets of coasters to pick from. There's so many that you'll truly have no problem finding a set that matches your home. I think funky coasters are an absolutely great housewarming gift. Heck, they are a great gift anytime really. I'd be stoked to get some fun ones!

I'm a fan of their Caitlyn set. The back to school feel is really neat and would have been the perfect gift for the twin's teachers this year. I wish I would have seen these sooner. I wish I was creative enough to do things like this. They are so cool!

Deaf Chick is in the Box!

I have never heard of Deaf Chick before seeing the shop listed in TLBB contributors, but her soaps sound simple and wonderful. I really have my eye on her Kama Sutra Sheer Seduction bar. It’s a pretty pink slice that smells of African violet and lily of the valley. Heavenly!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

City Chic Country Mouse

Housework doesn't have to be boring and drab. It certainly doesn't need to be ugly too. Funk it up with girly household accessories and maybe the things you dread the most will become a thing of the past.

At City Chic Country Mouse I found things that will make all your chores fun! Especially stuff like ironing, bleh! Pick up one of their aprons and find a fun cover for your ironing board. I love this black and white one! It really will add a touch of elegance! Put one of these covers over your existing board and it's just like you have a brand new one, only so much prettier!

The material is made of 100% cotton by Michael Miller. It has a drawstring cord for easy adjustment and a secure hold and also fits standard sized ironing boards. I'm loving these!

Rae Dunn

If you're one that big into entertaining and always trying to keep your party guests guessing then I totally think that you need to pay attention to this find for the day. Don't wait until it's the day of your party to impress. Purpose one of a kind extra added touches beforehand. It'll make your get togethers the talk of the office on Monday.

At Rae Dunn you'll find one of a kind custom napkin rings. You can purchase your choice of 4 or 8 custom word printed chunky napkin rings at this shop. Just think of 8 unique words and make sure you put those in the notes at checkout and 3 to 4 weeks later you'll have a family keepsake that is sure to dress up any table you're serving. 

3 Things I Would Buy From: Pine Blossoms Repurposed Goods

Wool is such a nice, cozy fabric, but sweaters and coats have a tendency to shrink over time. It is nice to see an old garment put to new use like what you can find at Pine Blossoms Repurposed Goods:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Corkey Creations

I'm a wino. I admit. My new favorite is Pasek Cellars Loganberry wine. It rocks my world and I'm the first one to say so. It's probably not the best thing to be consuming while I'm in the midst of some serious weight loss but oh well.

Maybe if I start collecting all the corks from the bottles of wine I plan on consuming I can make cute cork coasters like the ones found at Corkey Creations. These wine cork coasters are absolutely perfect for the wine lover in your life or even for yourself you big lush. Because each coaster is custom made, the coasters you receive may have slight variations from the ones shown.

There's other wine cork items available in the shop. You'll also find place card holders and funky napkin rings. The place card holders look like a great addition for a dinner party or even a wedding reception. Super cool!

The Loose Leaf

Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. I haven't been truly happy in a very long time. After my separation with my husband this past year I sort of felt I needed time to heal and recover from the constant turbulence that my life seems to be in. It seems like things started going down hill right after the kids were born and it's been a constant struggle since then to find inner peace. Many of you that know me know that since March I've lost a ton of weight. I had the luxury of living in Arizona and using the pool to shed the weight and also completely changed my diet at the same time. I think when you want something to change bad enough you just do it. Now, I'm sitting here listening to the rain pouring on the pavement and wishing I had my pool back. I've managed to continue my weight loss but it's slower now that I'm not spending time in the pool every day. I want my pre-baby body back! Pre twins! Lord knows what twins does to ones body..

I found this organic weight loss tea on Etsy and I wonder if it really works. I'm a huge tea drinker and I wonder if it'd work to kick the last 20 or so pounds off? I'm a big tea drinker and but I don't venture from the iced tea. I'm not really a hot drink drinker. Let me know! It's supposed to give that metabolism a boost. If this works then The Loose Leaf will have a customer for life!

I Want: Gray and Blue Gloves

Fingerless gloves are all the rage at my workplace because the majority of the offices are freezing. My office, on the other hand, is small and by itself and has absolutely no airflow, so it gets unbelievably hot. If it was cold, though, I would want a pair of stylish fingerless gloves (also called scroogies) like these Grey and Blue Gloves by Unique Be Thea.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!


Wow, we made it! First, can I be the first one to say that I'm like super grateful that 2009 is over and that I can start my fresh start today. Lord knows I need one. Out with the old and in with the new. Things are changing for this girl this year. Perfect timing too. I had an amazing birthday yesterday and thank you SO much to everyone who blessed me via Facebook, email and phone. You made my day. I also appreciate my girl friends Toni and Crystal for setting me up with a delicious lunch and cupcakes from a cute local bakery. I got my hair done and pretty much just took it easy the rest of the day. It was the perfect ending to a horrible year.

As most people may or may not know 2009 brought a move back to Washington for me and my boys minus my husband. I left him in September and moved back to also help take care of my mother who was having a rough time financially. Things were just rough all year. The economy took a toll on all of us.

Whiff and Sniff Candles reopened under the helm of my husband but that only lasted a few days when I was forced to take it back over. Thankfully, my old customers were still on board and that put a little fire under me to improve a product that I was in love with. We finally have a glossy clear label that doesn't peel off and sticks to the clear shooter cups! Yay! We also have a site we think is beautiful!

With my move back to Washington I also rejoined forces with my mother and her candle site. I'm the brains behind the business and she's basically the brawn. I couldn't do it without her and I appreciate all her ideas and helpfulness that she supplies.This year I plan on finding more wholesale accounts and hopefully getting our items into stores. I would also start to like doing large fairs.

Our blog, The Handmade Guru, has now officially been around on this domain for a year and a half! At least running using Blogger that is. I can't believe it. Sure I miss days here and there but for the most part I blog Monday through Friday and with my girl Ricki's help we are now averaging 60 posts a month! Thank you SO much Ricki for your help. I appreciate it more then you know. I'm also going to be looking for one or two other writers who are handmade lovers to also join us this year. I think the more that we update the more that traffic increases. I also would like to start writing more personal stuff that is business related here. I think I've been around long enough now that I have some pretty important advice to offer all the unique handmade businesses that I encounter. Look for more of that this year! I would like to do more giveaways and also a reader of the week segment on Friday's. If you're interested in being a guest writer just let me know! I love meeting new people who are eager to spread the word.

The Little Black Box has had it's ups and downs. The problem with the economy is two things, 1 businesses are struggling so much that they don't have the extra funds to create samples to send in to ventures like ours and 2 handmade buyers are financially struggling so they can't splurge a little each month on the extra things in life. Instead we're all wondering how we're going to make it and pretty much living month to month. I dropped the rate on the boxes nearly $5 this year. I love what I do. I absolutely whole heartedly LOVE The Little Black Box. I love doing it. I get out of bed each day excited to see what emails I may have in my inbox. I love scouring Etsy and Artfire, interacting with people on social networking sites, and just being at my computer loving handmade. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else with my life right now. I feel full. It makes me feel alive.

Something changed a few days ago, I woke up and was even more determined to plug away. I will not let this business fail like all the rest I see folding around me. I fully believe that our sample boxes HELP the handmade community, not hurt it. This past month I sold 60 boxes locally. 60! 60 boxes as gifts to people who had never heard of handmade or had the appreciation before. I have one customer locally that has been back every month since I got home. I have another who not one comes and grabs her boxes but also snags candles for her and her girlfriends or just shows up with others in tow. I makes me warm.

The people who purchase from The Little Black Box are people who drive handmade. One woman emails me every single month and tells me personally what she thought of the items and also who she purchased from that month. Another woman blogs and takes pictures of her box each month and then emails me a link to her latest blog entry which has since allowed for her friends and family to start purchasing. It's just all so positive and heartwarming.

I just want to let everyone know that I appreciate each and every single person who visits this blog daily, participates or purchases a black box, and scents their homes with our candles. I do it for you. I do it for my boys so they are proud of their mother, and I do it for handmade. Please continue to support local and handmade instead of the large big box retailer. Handmade does not equal junky or poor quality. Handmade is love.

Here's to an amazing 2010!

Ricki’s Pick of the Week: Snow Solid Lotion Bar from Flutterby Beauty

A few months ago, Flutterby Beauty was offering a sample pack to Facebook fans. One of the items contained in the sample pack was a lip-balm sized stick of solid lotion. The one I received was scented in Snow which is a great crisp clean scent that is rather unisex —my husband even used it without complaining of it smelling “girly”. The lotion itself rubs on very smoothly without having to be warmed in your hand first. My mom loved mine so much (and the scent, too) that she asked me to order her one whenever I placed an order, so I went and got her one of the big Solid Lotion Bars.