Category Archives: Custom Work

Shadow Play – Found On A Friday

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Le Grand Carnival, Shadow Box Diorama Frame by LaBoom, Etsy.

Paper is such a wonderful thing, it can become so many different things in as many different hands. When we are children, we are given paper and crayons or finger-paint, and let loose to make a mess. When we learn to look at books, we can see magical images on the same flat plane of paper. When we begin to read and write, we form letters and numbers with pencils and pens and begin to express ourselves in a non-verbal way that other people can understand. But by far, my favorite use of paper is to alter it from it’s usual one-dimensional form, and to create something entirely different.

3D Pedestal Display – A Day In The Island – by LaBoom, Etsy.

By layering, gluing, scrunching, folding, cutting, painting, and any other number of manipulations, we can turn paper into magic. We see the world in dimensions, though we may not be as aware of it as we are when we sit in a movie theater looking at that flat screen with those goofy 3D glasses on. There is perspective all around us, some things are closer, some things are farther away. When light moves over the land, be it natural or artificial, different things are highlighted. We see shadows, we see new items illuminated that we didn’t notice before, and everything can change in the span of a few hours. Think about your favorite place to be, it looks different based on how much light there is, and where you are in that space.

Handmade 3D Display – Ludella On Stage – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Shadow boxes and dioramas are becoming a lost art, and that is a true shame. Children create their art on a tablet or computer screen, and it never achieves the same quality of a hand made work. If you never play with sizes and shapes of cut out paper arranged closer or farther from your eyes, and with different light sources, you will never fully understand the magic of perspective. No matter what technology comes along, there is nothing that can beat a plain old arts and crafts kit full of scraps of paper, trims and findings, glue, paint, and colour.

3D Shadow Box Frame – The Journey of a Teapot –, With a Light by LaBoom, Etsy.

Today I stumbled upon the most magical of things, a wonderful Shadow Box Diorama created by the very talented hands of Tatiana Kontouli. Tatiana’s Etsy Shop, called LaBoom, contains a bounty of wonderful examples of 3D sculpture, shadow boxes, dioramas, lighted boxes and other magical hand crafted paper creations. Tatiana’s creations vary in price quite a bit, from $12.00 US for smaller shadow boxes, to $55.00 US for her most intricate creations. This makes them affordable for almost anyone to add to a collection of curiosities, or as a perfect gift for that person that is impossible to buy for.

Handmade 3D Frame Display – Miss Nagg’s Kindness Spirit – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Comprised of vintage ephemera, paper cutouts, fabric trims, wire, glitter, cardboard, and illusion, Tatiana’s work is fascinating to look at, and really makes you want to take a closer look inside the box.  From grand multi-figure displays, to simple seeming light boxes, each piece is so very special. You can see the careful combination of elements, the thoughtful placement of text and hidden creatures, and the small touches of magic that make these more than just crafty little items, it makes them something very special indeed.

Handmade Shadow Box Frame – Peachy Wonderland – by LaBoom, Etsy.

A close look at the individual listings I have selected to show you, or any of the dozens of others in the LaBoom shop, will show you different angles and close-up views that will enchant you utterly. Tatiana Kontouli’s “whimsical wonderland” ships all the way from beautiful Antiparos, Cyclades in Greece, one of the most magical and mythical places on the planet. It all just makes the story come together for me, Greece is the seat of a great deal of the historical evolution of sculpture and art.

Light Box Diorama Display – Watch Out Girls – , Light Off by LaBoom, Etsy.
Light Box Diorama Display – Watch Out Girls – , Illuminated by LaBoom, Etsy.

I urge you to take a closer look at LaBoom, and hope you see something so special you simply must bring it’s whimsy and magic into your home. If nothing else, it will have you heading into your old scrap box of bits and bobs, grabbing an old cigar box or cardboard frame, and planning to spend a little time with a glue-stick and some newsprint in the near future. Dioramas should not be on the endangered list of folk arts, too many things have already gone that direction.

3D Shadow Box Frame – Party Dog –  by LaBoom, Etsy.

So hit up the local craft shop or dig into your old stash of findings and create your own shadow box, and include the children in your life in the process, they will be enchanted by the magic that can be found in paper. Don’t let them think of paper as relegated to school work and books alone, as much as I love books – they need to learn to see possibility in all materials, and not just take them for granted. In the time before television, computers, and video games,it is too easy to forget about real creativity.

Shadow Light Box 3D Frame Diorama – Hippolyte – by LaBoom, Etsy.

Where will our future sculptors, crafters, designers and architects be without knowing the magic that can be found in 3D? I am so glad I found Tatiana Kontouli‘s Etsy Shop, LaBoom on a Friday, and now you can be too. Have a great weekend everyone, do something creative with paper and rediscover the magic.

3D Shadow Box Frame – Fox In The Woods – by LaBoom, Etsy.

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Humane Anatomy 101 – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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Lungs Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

As a nurse, I always have an eye out for alternatives to standard methods of teaching about the anatomy and human body, especially when it comes to teaching kids. Visual aids, interactive digital applications, and medical illustrations have come so far in showing us the structures we seek to know more about, we need no longer go through the act of dissection to understand them. Unless you are planning to become a medical practitioner or coroner, an embalmer or funeral director, you need not see an actual cadaver either.  So when I spotted these fabulous and fun items from Your Organ Grinder on Etsy, I was smitten. I know dozens of doctors and nurses that would love to have a pin like one of these attached to their boring white lab coat, not only cute and funny, but also a visual aid they can use to describe things to their patients. WIN – WIN!

Rainbow Hand Screen Printed Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

  

Plant Cell Embroidery Hoop by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

I remember my Grade 11 Science Lab well, not so much for the students or the teacher, though I do remember him, he was a real hardcore nerd.  I remember the room itself. There were dying plants on the window sill, there were boxes full of slides showing the various stages of mitosis and cell structures, and then there were the jars and cases containing preserved specimens. Slices of a cancerous lung, and various strange creatures, from insects to sea creatures. Oh yes, and then there were the fetal pigs that we had to dissect in pairs. I was luckily absent due to illness, in hospital actually, at the time of that section, and didn’t have to participate beyond the final day, when all the class had their piggies out on trays, the smell of formaldehyde was overwhelming, and we had to label a paper diagram with all the organs and major structures.  I aced it, proving to me at once that you need not dissect a poor helpless fish, frog, or piglet to learn about anatomy.

Kidneys In A Jar by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

 

Pelvis Brass Necklace by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

 

I went on, as many of you know, to become a registered nurse. I not only studied human biology in my Community College Diploma course, but also at the University level as I got my Baccalaureate Degree.  I went further and studied Neonatal Anatomy, specifically, as well as work on my Master’s Degree and learn Anatomy and Physiology on par with any medical student.  I never had to harm so much as a flea, and never saw a cadaver. I studied in books, I had hands on experiences in the Operating Room and with post-operative patient care, including wound care.

Animal Cell Brooch Biology by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Placenta Jar Anatomical Curio Specimen by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

After having my own series of surgeries, starting at the age of 16, I also understood from a patients perspective and through long discussion with my Health Care Team, what was going to be done, how the body heals, and what tissues would be involved in the trauma of surgery.  I am always thankful for the great care I received, but I strongly object to the use and abuse of animals to learn about anatomy. I am now a vegan, and find an even more compelling rationale for this belief  rooted in compassion.  This is where compassion, cute, and fun geekery all meet up.

Breast Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Pancreas Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

  
Your Organ Grinder is the amazing creator of all of these fabulous and smart “soft curiosities”, and I was a fan from the day I first spotted the shop on Etsy.  Self described as;

“Handmade Specimens in Jars, Brooches and Displays. Anatomical Curios, Medical Marvels, Taxidermy in Felt. Felted Brains and other Organs and Parasites.”

the items are handmade in felt and hail from Australia. This shop offers pure fun, and makes for a great gift for the medically inclined people in your life, be they physicians or nurses, science teachers, med students, or even a friend recovering from surgery.

Appendix Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Heart Specimen Jar by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

I find this use of felt to be absolutely genius, frankly.  It takes “guts” to wear a Colon as a brooch on your jacket, pun intended. The newer brass editions to the line are fabulous too, giving a brilliant framework for skeletal projections. While many items are ready made, some are made to order, and Your Organ Grinder is willing to work with you to fulfill custom organ orders too. There are also plenty of tongue in cheek zombie organs, perfect to add to your own collection of oddities and finds, without harming a single zombie in the process.

Zombie Brain Specimen Jar, Green Brain by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Tooth Cross Section Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

 
Brooches and Jewelry, Hair Accessories, Pillows, and Jar Specimens are just a few of the fabulous items on offer. Make sure you take a look into Your Organ Grinder on Etsy, and see if you can’t find the perfect specimen to add to your wardrobe or curio cabinet today, and show everyone that you have a heart, a spleen, an ovary or a prostate, or even a brain for that matter.

Eyeball Hairclip Green Iris by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Gall Bladder Brooch by Your Organ Grinder on Etsy.

Marvelous Mounts – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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Rhinka The Rhino – Amigurumi Rhino – Faux Taxidermy Crochet Wall Decor by Sanda, Pepika Amigurumi Patterns on Etsy. [Pattern Only]

When I was a child, my parents purchased an old but formerly grand small hotel in cottage country. After one season in that strange structure with a giant kitchen and tiny winding staircases, creaking floorboards and peeling white paint, my father had that sad hazardous fire trap of a building torn down and worked with an architect to build a modern winterized cottage in it’s place.

Faux Taxidermy Rabbit by Sabine Alpers, FAUX FAUNA on Etsy.
Custom Mounted Animal, Hand Sculpted OOAK by Ashleigh Burbidge, The Burbs on Etsy.
Yellow Pig – Mounted by Taylor Hart, Nothing But A Pigeon on Etsy.

One thing I remember distinctly from one of the drawing rooms in the place was the two mounted Stag Heads on the wall. They had been there for decades likely, with sad looking glossy glass eyes and majestic raised heads.  I am not now nor have ever been a fan of taxidermy. I don’t know anyone who actually owns a gun, much less hunts, and I care far more for the ecosystem and all it’s creatures to ever dare approve of hunting for sport alone. But there is something very rustic and traditional about having these sorts of items in a cabin or cottage setting.

Orange & Robins Egg Blue Dear Head Wall Mount by Hannah Reed, Banana Tree Studios on Etsy.
The Hooper – Blue Raspberry Resin Shark Head – Chic & Trendy by White Faux Taxidermy on Etsy.  
Captain Moose-Stachio – Faux Taxidermy Eye Patch and Mustached Deer/Moose Trophy by Bree Y., Anatomically Incorrect Creatures on Etsy. [Made To Order]

Our family, though no longer cottagers, still has one of those mounted stags, long ago named ‘Charlie”. It resides in my sister’s family Ski Lodge, with a place of honor. It reminds us to respect the animals, wild and otherwise around us, and makes us aware that the number of those majestic animals is in serious decline.

Custom Mounted Deer Head – Animal Friendly Taxidermy by Stephanie Garcia, Pockets with Posies on Etsy.
Custom Mounted Animal, Hand Sculpted OOAK by Ashleigh Burbidge, The Burbs on Etsy.
The Calhoun – White w/Silver Glitter Horns Resin Rhino Head – Chic & Trendy by White Faux Taxidermy on Etsy.

However you feel on the subject, you cannot deny that sometimes a little reminder of the traditions of the past, the whimsical side of our natural environment is often something we are missing.  We mostly live in the city and rarely see wild animals, unless you consider the odd squirrel or chipmunk, even a raccoon raiding your garbage bin ‘wild’.  Today’s strange stuff post takes a fun look at a much more magical ‘faux’ taxidermy that while strange to some, definitely has it’s share of charm.  Check out these wonderful offerings and consider if there is a place in your home for a little faux friend on the wall.

Wilbur Head Mount OOAK by Ghoulie Girls, Shop Ghoulie Girls on Etsy.
Needle Felted Cow Head, Style Faux Taxidermy by Sabine Alpers, FAUX FAUNA on Etsy.
Foxy (Orange & White) by Taylor Hart, Nothing But A Pigeon on Etsy.    

A Rainbow In A Box – Wacky & Wonderful Wednesdays

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ECO Kids Handmade ll Natural SOY CRAYONS – Love Hearts by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.

Think back to when you were a child, do you remember the first time someone placed a chubby wax stick into your little fist and gave you a scrap of paper. Do you remember someone taking your hand, and placing that waxy stick down against the paper, moving your wee arm so that suddenly, like magic, there were marks on that paper, and they seemed to come from the end of that wax stick. Maybe it was red, perhaps blue, or even green. but a crayon was likely the first writing instrument you held in your hand and put to paper. It is a powerful moment, whether you remember it or not, the moment you discover that you can create scribbles and dashes of colour with your own hand.

ECO SOY CRAYONS Farmer’s Market – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 8) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
ECO SOY CRAYONS People Skin Color – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 4) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
Recycled Rainbow Crayons – Jumbo Heart Rainbow Crayons (Set of 3) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.

Some of us had this experience at home with a family member, maybe it was mom or dad, or an older sibling… perhaps your aunt or uncle, a grandparent. Sometimes, we were given our first wax crayon by a nanny, daycare worker, or teacher.  Whoever gave it to you, gave you a gift, the gift of learning that you could create something that was ‘art’, something that could be hung on the front of the fridge, or framed, or tucked into an album or scrapbook and kept for years to come.  Our crayon creations were the cleanest and fastest way of not only being entertained, but of learning fine motor control and hand eye coordination.

FORTUNE COOKIE CRAYONS – Set of Six with Gift Box by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Colorful Autumn Crayons by Central Treehouse Studios on Etsy.
Pastel Hello Kitty Mix – MuckyPup Recycled Crayons, Favors, Eco Friendly by MuckyPup Crayons on Etsy.

Do you remember the joy of getting a new box of crayons? I do, I loved that smell, that clean waxy odor, and the sharp tips ready to go. Not a broken or unwrapped crayon in the box, and they were all mine.  Sure we had plenty of crayons in my house. There were four of us kids born within five years, and all those crayons literally required a plastic dish basin to hold all the broken bits and pieces, the peeled paper bits.   At some point along the way, companies like Crayola introduced toddler sized crayons, larger diameter sticks made for smaller hands.  There was also that mega-box that I adored, it had something like 64 colours in it, and a sharpener built right into the back of the box.  That was joy in a box.

24 Cupcake Crayons (12 Sets) with Personalized Labels and Coloring Sheet or Ribbon Cello Bags or Easter Eggs by Lil Creative Creations on Etsy.
1 KIDS Bling Crayon Ring – ONE Ring – Size 4 by Oh My Lucky Star on Etsy.
LEGO Men Style Crayons Party Favor, Party Bag Filler, 20 Sets of 5 by Ashgate Crafts on Etsy.

Since it is Wacky & Wonderful day, a day for all those geeky fun and fabulous things, the collectables and the vintage childhood fun, I decided to dedicate today’s post to the humble and hardworking crayon, an item I still adore, by the way.  I love sitting with my nieces or nephew and revisiting the fun of colouring books full of cartoon characters or games,  I still colour the same way that I did as an older child, I do a dark line of the colour inside the shape I am about to colour, then I gently shade in the whole area with the same colour. Habits are hard to break.The smell of that wax always brings me right back to being a kid.

Ponytail Holder, Orange with Green Crayons Ends by Fancy Things and Such on Etsy.
Crayon Colors Loopy Hair Bow – Back To School – Primary Colors by Hair Bows by Marsha on Etsy.
7 Embroidered Crayons – Craft Felt Embellishments For Scrapbooking, Hair Bows, Etc. by Lovmy3grlz on Etsy.

I love teaching kids my favorite crayon magic tricks. The one where you fill an entire sheet of paper with random color scribbles, edge to edge, then cover the entire sheet again with thick black crayon.  A random coin in hand, and you can then scratch out a picture, removing the black wax from the page with the coin to produce a really magical effect. Yes I know they sell something similar, and that it is much less labor intensive.

CRAYON BOX RECYCLED NOTEBOOK/Upcycled Journal – Eco Friendly by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Recycled Crayons – Rainbow Crayon Travel Tube (1 Recycled Crayon Travel Tube) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.
Altered Colors Art Crayons – 100% Non-Toxic Recycled Wax by 6Blue6 on Etsy.

What really is wonderful about crayons these days, is that they are very much the same deal as they always were, they are still the first writing instrument many of us use, they still come in tons of amazing colours, you can still create amazing ‘art’ with them, and they are a cheap anytime activity that is fun for anyone at any age. What is even better about crayons lately, is just how different they can be.

Crayon Art by Clarissa Webb on Etsy.
Monogram Crayon Art – Great Teacher Gift by Handmade by Leah on Etsy.
Vertical Rainbow, 16″ x 20″ by JK Create – Melted Crayon Art on Etsy.

If you are browsing Etsy, you will see just how amazing crayons can be. There are handmade crayons, recycled crayons, crayon art, crayon caddies, crayons in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, and more.  This entire post is full of these lovely rainbow hued items, and there is just so much to love about them.  Even just a photograph of crayons or the image of that old familiar yellow and green box makes for happy memories. Why not grab yourself a box, or bag, or frame full of wonderful rainbow memories today. Share a little time scribbling, you might be surprised how much you have missed it.

Mini Me Owls in Pink – 8 Crayola Crayons Included – Great Gift by Kate Williams Designs on Etsy.
Whispered Dreams – Crayon Apron [Holds 32 Crayons – Included] by Childish Thoughts on Etsy.
Hand-Made Crayon Roll for 24 Crayons with 24 Crayons by Mrs. Dressup on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Products In This Post are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of their respective creators and the Etsy shop in question. No Infringement is intended.  Please follow the links beneath the image for more information, including price, availability, and custom orders if available.

Wooden Crayon Train – Crayon Holder [Holds 38 Crayons] by Grampa’s Workshop on Etsy.
A Digital Photograph of Crayons in All of The Colors of the Rainbow – 5×7 by Tara, A Pocketful Of Photos on Etsy.
Crayon Box Handplied Bulky Yarn by Jennifer, Otter Moon Patterns on Etsy.

Behind The Mask – Motley Mode Mondays

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Victoriana Mask in Gold Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

 Are you ready for the party? Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, and revelers are ready to celebrate. Worldwide, Carnival celebrations typically begin at any point after the religious observance known as Epiphany and carry on up until the Ash Wednesday, but most people really see it as a time to to celebrate. From wearing masks and costumes, dancing, and parades, it is celebrated differently around the world, but no matter how outrageous the party gets, it is the last chance to go big or go home, so to speak, before Shrove Tuesday, which isassociated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins. After a night of partying Mardi Gras style, I imagine some have more to confess than others, if you know what I mean.

Mardi Gras Special — Swirly, Victoriana, and Muse by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.
Turquoise and Silver Feather Masquerade Carnival Mardi Gras Fancy Dress Mask by Hilarys Bazaar on Etsy.
Elegant Peacock Teal & Green Masquerade Mask with Feathers by Vanessa Rockey Del Bono, AloraLocks on Etsy.
Purple, Green, and Gold Feather Mardi Gras Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masks Special — Totem, Electro, Decaflor Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

Since Monday is about fashion, style, and accessories here on the Fab, I am glad to take advantage of the Mardi Gras fever as an excuse to showcase some absolutely fabulous masks.  Each and every one of these masks I have hand selected to feature in this post, all found on Etsy, was chosen because they are so visually striking, they would make a great wall sculpture even if you don’t plan on wearing them. When you think about it, there are precious few opportunities to wear masks once we become adults. I was going to say “grown up”, but does anyone really ever grow up? You may get the chance at Halloween, maybe there is a New Year’s Eve party that calls for masks, but rarely do we find engraved invitations to masked balls in our in-box.

Flame Leather Mask by Rebecca Dixon, Up From The Ashes on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Mask Forest Nymph by Aph Custom Leather on Etsy.
Big Cat Jaquar Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
Lady of the Glade Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
MADE TO ORDER – Leather Greenman Mask, Wearable Art, Display, Labyrinth Mardi Gras Renfest Wiccan by Parkers and Quinn on Etsy.

Wearing a mask can be a liberating thing, if it is made well, it almost becomes a part of you, and while your eyes are visible, it may take people a few looks to sort out who is really behind the mask, if they can at all.  But it is rather romantic to partially conceal your identity, to dress up and play at being someone, or something else. Venetian style masks are extremely popular, particularly during Mardi Gras, and have historically been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer’s identity and social status.

Butterfly Venetian Masks – Customizable by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Peacock Feather Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Turquoise, White and Gold Venetian Feather Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Old Orleans Dame Mask for Mardi Gras/Costume/Masquerade/Halloween/Prom by Elisha Miller, Effigy Masks on Etsy.
Pink Butterfly and Flower Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.

A mask allows it’s wearer to act more freely in a circumstance where he or she wants the opportunity to interact with others outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. Even today a mask is useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.  It is delightfully fun to enjoy the perceived anonymity that a mask can provide. No wonder they are so popular at Mardi Gras, where any number of mildly scandalous event might occur.

Mardi Gras Harlequin by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Masquerade Mask Carnival Mardi Gras Halloween Costume 9Mardi Gras Madness) by Levy Wallace, Turntable 2 Treasure on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Fleur Mask by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Peacock Mask – Paper Mache – Masquerade – Absolutely Beautiful – Hand Painted by Pirates Quarters on Etsy.
Rhinestone Mask – Venetian Style – “Temptress” by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.

I have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras celebrations, but many of my family members have gone, and of course traveled home again with stories of the sheer number of people jammed into the streets of the French Quarter, the noise, the celebrations, the beads, and the strong coffee and beignets the following morning.  My mother has a particular talent for getting beads, bringing home huge shopping bags full of the baubles that have become favorite dress-up staples for her grandchildren.

Papillon – Rhinestone Masquerade Mask by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.
Pearl Shard Mirror Gaga Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy.
Spiral Masquerade – OOAK Purple and White Leather Mask by Jyn Donham, The Mummers Cat on Etsy.
Venice Pink Lace Butterfly Glitter Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy
Antennae Feather Mask by Regina T, Aveanart Feathered Masks on Etsy.

The three colours designated for New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, Purple, Gold, and Green, besides looking deliciously decadent actually have been said to have significant meaning.  Purple is said to signify justice, gold stands for power, and green means faith.  Whether you subscribe to that notion or not, these are the colors most often seen during the Mardi Gras season, and particularly in the last five days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

Purple and Green Harlequin Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Jester Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.
Gold and Blue Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Momus Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.

While these colours are often seen in masks worn on the day, there is no limit to the design or coloration of masks for Mardi Gras or any other occasion.  While I may not be celebrating Mardi Gras, in the traditional sense, I would likely choose a mask that features more traditional Venetian elements, or perhaps a Harlequin style.  And if you are like me and have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras season, or have young children and can’t travel easily, there is no reason not to start your very own family tradition of having a mini-masked ball in your home. Invite your friends and family, decorate the house in the traditional colours of green, purple, and gold, and make your own King Cake. Make a list of fun party games and hand out some throws [traditionally beaded necklaces].  What a fun memory you will be creating, and a great photo opportunity too.

Gold and Black Lace Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mayqueen Masquerade Mask, Handmade by Karen, Grin, Grimace & Squeak! on Etsy,
Venetian Feather Carnival Mask in Gold with Purple Ostrich Feathers, Mauve by Lady In The Tower on Etsy.
Lace Adult Mask Design For Mardi Gras New Years by Lanette, Lanette’s Designs on Etsy.
Gold Fairy Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.

Today’s selection of masks are all available on Etsy, and while they may not make it to you in time for this year’s celebrations, it may be wise to pick up a mask to have on hand when the next opportunity to wear one may arise. A wild bachelorette party would be one occasion where a mask might come in handy, or a bachelor party for that matter. There is no reason at all that you cannot have a masked party in your own house, be it a birthday celebration, a grown-up Halloween party, or your next New Year’s bash. Masks make a wonderful conversation starter, and the range of style, from traditional to outrageous, can be a very personal expression of your own character.

Cardinal Leather Mask, Child Size – Made to Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Rabbit Brown Patchwork Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.
Fox Leather Mask, Child Size – Made To Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Snowy Owl Leather Mask by Annie Libertini, Libertini Leather Accessories on Etsy.
Gold, Brown and Teal Leather Dragonfly Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.

So grab yourself a strong cup of coffee and a slab of King Cake and settle in to search for the mask of your dreams. King Cake, by the way, is a coffee cake, oblong and braided, and iced with a simple icing then covered with purple, green and gold sugar. Each cake contains a hidden bean or small plastic baby. Different traditions hold for the one that finds that little trinket in their slice of cake. Martha Stewart has a particularly easy recipe for King Cake that you can make at home, and you can decided what significance you want to add to the finding of the hidden prize.

Gradient Purple and Silver Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.
Intricate Alphonse Mucha Inpired Leather Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Waves Mask, Masquerade Mask, Luxury Venetian Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Dragon Days – Leather Dragon Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Black and Silver Metallic Masquerade Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.

Your mask may be among the selection showcased here today, or you might want to head over to Etsy to have a closer look at the amazing mask creations of the artists that combine the skills of a sculptor with that of a milliner, combining elements of paper, leather, metals, feathers, and beads to produce the most magical and pleasing results.  You never know when your next occasion to wear a mask might come along, and you might as well be prepared. Have a marvelous Mardi Gras everyone.

Green Macrame Mask, Masquerade Mask, Elegant Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Columbina Venetian Masquerade Eye Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Burlesque Mask, VAMPIRE Masqurade, Headband, Victorian Hair Accessories, Gold Shimmer Princess Queen – DANCE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.
Eyes Wide Shut Bauta Masquerade Venetian Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Mask, Pink Feather, Vampire Queen Ball Mask, Princess, Hair Accessories, Pink & Black Shimmer – PRETTY ONE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Creations in this post are Copyright and the Intellectual Property of the Individual Artists and their Respective Etsy Shops. No Infringement is Intended. Please follow the Link under the image in question for further information including price, shipping costs, and availability. Some items are Ready-To-Ship while others are Made To Order.

Getting Under Your Skin – Wacky & Wonderful Wednesdays

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Pocky iPhone 4, iPhone 4s Skin by Killer Duck Decals on Etsy.

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our phones. We love being able to get information or contact others when we need to, yet at the same time, we hate having to carry these expensive little gadgets around and always be accessible to others.  There was a time before cell phones, yes kids, it’s true.

Don’t Spread The Dead iPhone 4, iPhone 4s Skin by Killer Duck Decals on Etsy.
Deluxe Knit Pattern iPhone 4 AT&T Version Decal Skin by Killer Duck Decals on Etsy.

We once used these things called “pay phones” when we needed to get in touch on the go. We would actually sit in our cars and listen to the radio as we drove, or better yet, have a conversation with the people riding along with us.

iPhone Skin 4 Design 010-013 by Pigologist on Etsy.
iPhone Skin 4 Designs 001-005 by Pigologist on Etsy.
iPhone Case Designs 008-018 by Pigologist on Etsy.

Movie theaters didn’t have to remind us to turn our ring tones off, and no one’s wedding was interrupted by the ring of a phone.How did we survive without our phones? Quite nicely thank-you. On more then one occasion I have wished we could go back in time and never have invented the darn things, on others, I am glad to have them. So as I said, it’s a love hate thing.

Music Tapes – iPhone Decals Sticker Mac Decal/Macbook.Macbook Pro/Macbook Air/iPad/iPad2/iPhone 4 by IAngel Sticker on Etsy.
Beautiful Tree – iPhone4 Decal iPhone Skin Sticker iPhone4 Vinyl Decals Stickers Macbook Decals Apple Decal for iPhone4 by IAngel Sticker on Etsy.
Game Boy – iPhone3 Decals iPhone Sticker Mac Decal/Macbook/ Vinyl Apple Decal for Macbook Pro/Macbook Air/iPad/iPad2/iPhone4 by IAngel Sticker on Etsy.

Whether you love or hate your smartphone, e-reader, or tablet, they are in-fact an extension of your person.  If you are a generic person, you can throw your gadget into your purse or pocket and go. If you long to personalize and decorate your things and claim them as your own, there are a number of wonderful options for you, and many of them can be found on-line, go figure.

iPhone 4 Skin: biPolar by Marlene Freimanis at kellokult on Etsy.
iPad 2 Skin – Acoustic Guitar by Nidhi Chanani at kellokult on Etsy.
iPhone 4 Skin Etch on Wood at kellokult on Etsy.

Skins are the easiest way to add a lot of personality without a lot of bulk, and they have the added attraction of being semi-permanent and removable, leaving no damage to the case.  You can find simple colored skins, or kitschy retro designs, some are artsy and quirky, and more still can be completely personalized.  Today’s Wacky & Wonderful post is all about getting your skins and making your phone your own.


Amazon Kindle Fire Skin Cover – Doctor Who Tardis Police Box GLOSSY MATTE LEATHER Option by Skunk Wraps on Etsy.
Apple iPhone 4 4S Decal Skin Cover – Vintage Paisley by Skunk Wraps on Etsy.
Apple iPhone 3G/3GS Decal Skin – Poppies by Skunk Wraps on Etsy.

 Just because it is “the enemy” to some, and to others a treasured extension of their being, doesn’t mean it can’t be made more appealing. If you have to tote it about, you might as well like it.  You are less likely to confuse your phone with a friends if you have a unique skin on it, and it won’t get lost in a pile of gadgets on your desk if it is covered with one of these lovely skins.

One Phone Skin / iPod Touch – Hold On A Little More by Rupydetequila on Etsy.
One Phone Skin/iPod Touch – I Just Want You To Find Me by Rupydetequila on Etsy.
iPjone Case/ iPhone (3GS, 3G) – Doll Little Dog Carrousel and Cute Butterfly Panda Toy by Rupydetequila on Etsy.

Most of these skins are for the iPhone, but I have found skins for my Blackberry, Kindle, a variety of laptops, e-readers, tablets, and android phones. It is just a matter of running a search for your specific model and device and you will find a bounty of gorgeous skins to choose from.

Rolleiflex Vintage Camera Apple iPhone 4/4S Gel Skin Cover by Stickitskins on Etsy.
Bob Ross Happy Tree Inspired Apple iPhone 4/4S Gel Skin Cover by Stickitskins on Etsy.
Samsung Phone Skin Cover – R2D2 by Stickitskins on Etsy.

I personally like the artsy styles, it’s nice to make something so high-tech look pretty at the same time.  I can definitely see the appeal of the geekery skins, there are oodles of Star Wars, Nintendo, Zombie Apocalypse, and other skins that are just hysterical. Some of these skins are just so smart, using textures or images that transform them into something else entirely. Whatever your personal taste, know that you can find just what you are looking for, or even have custom skins made featuring your initials or images of your loved ones.

PERSONALIZED Cell Phone Skin with Matching Wallpaper Design by MizzMonogram on Etsy.
CUSTOM PHOTO Personalized Cell Phone Skin with Matching Wallpaper Design  by MizzMonogram on Etsy.
Personalized Cell Phone with Matching WALLPAPER Design by MizzMonogram on Etsy.

Some of these items are available for many models and a variety of gadgets, others are specialized for one type of gadget only, so please follow the links provided to check on the details and contact the seller(s) directly with any questions you might have.Have a Wacky & Wonderful day!

iOTA – Mr Bentley Learns To Read – Chihuahua Dog iPhone Skin (Original, 3GS, 3G, 4S, 4) by iOTA Illustration on Etsy,
iOTA – The Monkey Drummer – illustrated iPhone Skin (Original, 3GS, 3G, 4S, 4) by iOTA Illustration on Etsy,
The Flamenco Cat iPhone Case/ iPhone – (3GS, 3G, 4S, 4) – iOTA by iOTA Illustration on Etsy,

Note: All images and content presented in this post is the intellectual property and copyright or the individual creators referenced and their Etsy shop. No infringement is intended.

Owl iPhone 4 Skin for Back & Front by LilyPang on Etsy.
Wild Poppies and Birds iPhone 4 Skin for Back & Front by LilyPang on Etsy.
In The Flower Mountain Girl Deer Laptop Decal by LilyPang on Etsy.

In The Fairy Garden – Teeny Tiny Tuesdays

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Elfin Garden Set Custom Order by Pandora Jane on Etsy.

 My Mother’s garden is infested with fairies, it’s true. Not only do they live in her garden, they magically know exactly what the children who visit are up to. The fairies have been known to leave tiny “notes” under a series of rocks on a small wooden ledge in the back of the garden where they live. Each child has their own rock of course and if my nieces and nephew leave a note under those rocks, the fairies actually reply.  Reading of these notes is a secret and special activity, and the only one who reads the children’s notes are the magical wee folk that reside in this backyard garden.

Fairy Door – Round Elf Style by Casualee on Etsy.
Made To Order Custom Fairy Doors by Muddy Muse Pottery on Etsy.
Oak Path [Goes With A Fairy Door] by Casualee on Etsy.
Gnome Home by Shanas Woodland Whimsy on Etsy.

The children, ranging in age from 6 to 14 are absolutely certain of this fact. They all know that the fairies are there and that they seem to know details about their lives that only those who possess magical qualities would know, such as when a tooth is lost, or a report card is received.  In the summer sunshine, you can see the flashing lights  that flicker across the trees and fences indicating that the fairies are about.  When the children arrive for a visit with their grandmother, they often insist that they have to go “check on the fairies” before any conversations can be had, they have their priorities straight, obviously.  Even my eldest niece, now just into her teens, has not forgotten the magic that is ‘real’ and alive in our lives.  She once asked me, “are they really real fairies”? I answered her, “what does your heart tell you?”  We both agreed that even if other people don’t believe, there is no harm in us believing in fairies, magic only lives in the hearts of true believers, as does faith in anything.

Fairy Tale Toad House by Clay Soul on Etsy.
3 Mushroom Garden Stakes – Ceramic Fairy Purple Amanita Muscari Fly Toadstools by Enchanted Mushroom Land on Etsy.
Garden Fairy Door Curlycue with Acorn Porch Light by Enchanted Pumpkin Art on Etsy.
Little Nook City Fairy Door by Sunny Side Up Studio on Etsy.

 So how do you know if you have an enchanted fairy garden on your patio, in your planters, in your backyard or garden? Simple, you need to put out the welcome mat and let them know they are welcome to stay.  It is as easy as placing a note in the right place, or providing the Fae with a wee portal, a doorway through which they can magically enter our world for even a few moments. Creating a fairy space is just that easy, a few tiny items, whether made by your own hands or purchased from the amazing artisans who specialize in fairy accouterments, and the whimsical fun can begin.

Hobgoblin Portal by Faekeepers Fairy Doors on Etsy.
Miniature Gnome/Faerie/Fairy/Elf/Hobbit Rustic Garden Arbor Archway by Nothin’ But Wood on Etsy.
Wooden Fairy Door, Daisy Magic Gnome Door or Portal, Maroon, 10 inch Tall Wood Door by Lovinglee Crafted on Etsy.
Miniature Garden Fence Pair – Goes With A Fairy Door by Casualee on Etsy.

 Today’s Teeny Tiny post is dedicated to the magical thinking of childhood, and how you can bring just a little bit of whimsy and magic into your life with tiny Eco-friendly touches that turn out to be a great way to get children interested in nature, in protecting all the tiny creatures in their backyard, and someday, understanding that our world is worth the effort to save.  Create your own fairy environment in your neighborhood, and use it as a launching pad to have a discussion with your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, about what is going on with the plants and animals around us.

Green Man Faerie Door by Faekeepers Fairy Doors on Etsy.
Miniature Garden Stove Pipe – Goes With A Fairy Door by Casualee on Etsy.
Miniature Garden Small Rock Bridge – Goes With A Fairy Door by Casualee on Etsy.
Mushroom Garden Stake by Hollyrocks on Etsy.

 There are many wonderful creators on Etsy, the home of the most lovely and accessible hand-made and vintage items for your home or garden, and some of them have a magical connection to fairies.  They have an exclusive license to build and share the portals, landscaping items, and decorations for a perfect [and perfectly easy] fairy garden.  Some of these items are meant for garden fairies, others are for the city dwelling wee folk, because let’s remember, fairies can live anywhere.

Miniature Garden Fairy Door, 7″ Tall Sunshine Door Garden Kit  [Window, Door, Bench] by Casualee on Etsy.
Tree Stump Pond Miniature Hand Made Dollhouse Garden Decor – For Fairy Gardens by Enchanted Mushroom Land on Etsy.
Pre-Order Very Cute Small Fairy Door – 3.25″x2.25″ – Die Stone Cast by Nirkin on Etsy.
Miniature Sign Wood Burned Dragonfly Rides Mixed Media Art Original by Walk Softly 13 on Etsy.

 Many communities are creating bylaws banning the use of pesticides and herbicides, added chemicals that not only get into our water system, but can harm the natural order of the Eco-system. What does this mean? It means you will have a wilder garden to contend with, perhaps a few more dandelions or wild flowers, and you will have a lot more wee pollinators buzzing about. Our environment doesn’t need the chemicals, and neither do the children who love to roll in the grass and pick tiny budding flowers. So embrace a little less order in your garden and use it to your advantage. Weeds and moss at the base of a tree make the perfect place to tuck a small fairy portal, it will be naturally camouflaged.  Fairies are more partial to wild spaces, or so I have heard.

Leaf Green Round Wooden Fairy Door with Blue Morpho Butterfly (4 1/2 Inches) by Entrance2Enchantment on Etsy.
Gnome Doors, Fairy Doors, Faerie/Elf – 9 Inch by Nothin’ But Wood on Etsy.
Fairy Door – Hobbit Purple by Enchanted Pumpkin Art on Etsy.
Fairies Live Here – Little Sign Marker Stake for Garden, Plant Pot, or Terrarium – Custom Made To Order by Sunshine Ceramics on Etsy.

 Why do the fairies in my Mother’s garden leave notes for the children? I think it is because they know my mother, a former teacher, appreciates that the children have to read the notes and respond to them by writing back.  It is a lovely little tradition she has started with them all, and it is a secret activity that makes the kids enjoy the visits to her backyard even more than you might expect. I have seen how thrilled they were to find these secret letters, and how upset they were when none was found for lack of their writing back in a timely fashion. My mother has to be quite stealth sometimes in being certain these letters are ‘in place’, sometimes the printer in her office begins magically producing multiple small notes on a single 8 1/2 x 11 page of paper, all in the most charming pastel coloured ink, just ready to whisk away and into place under the specific rocks on the ledge.

Toad Abode and Patio Stone Miniature Folk Art by Walk Softly 13 on Etsy.
Miniature Garden, Fairy Door 7″ Tall Kit [Includes Door, Window, Foot Bridge] by Casualee on Etsy.
Gnome Home Kit [Door, Window, Mailbox Stake, Welcome Mat] by The Gnome Shack on Etsy.
Fairy Garden Fence – Rusty Fence – Miniature White Picket Wooden Fence 2″ x 18″ Long by Teresa’s Plants & More Store on Etsy.

 This is a small sampling of some of my favorite fairy garden must-haves, and the links to the shops where you can buy these itty bitty magic-infused items.  Start planning for your spring garden now, and you will be all set once the nice weather arrives here in the Northern Hemisphere.  If you don’t have a garden, or live in an apartment or condo, as I do, think about a planter or a terrarium. There are many items on Etsy, not shown here, that are far more detailed and fragile, and not meant for outside use.  If your child has severe seasonal allergies, or is hyper-sensitive to sunlight, then consider creating a plant free fairy environment. Even the tooth fairy needs a small doorway into our world. Some of these doors can go in a child’s room or hallway, and there are many decals available as well that can give you the look of fairy inhabitants without the 3D profile. Make room for some Teeny Tiny guests and have a little fun with your green space.

Fairy Travelers Caravan Custom Order by Pandora Jane on Etsy.
Gnome/Fairy/Faerie Door, 12 Inch Rounded With Lion Knocker by Nothin’ But Wood on Etsy.
Miniature Garden Fence by Seeded Eucalyptus on Etsy.

Non Pro-Tip 

A Fairy Light Catcher

In my Mother’s backyard, the most magical feature of her “fairy garden” is created by the most unbelievably simple process. In my first pass on Etsy, I didn’t come across any of these Fairy Light Catchers, but I can tell you how to make them in a snap. And give you a link to a supplier than can provide the raw materials you will need.

Items Required: Small mirror pieces (Clear or Colored), any shape, approximately the size of a quarter or smaller and one or more reflective glass beads or clear/plastic bead from your stash. Fishing line or other clear string, if you prefer to use a natural thin rope that is weather proof, you can still achieve a similar effect.  A paper clip or ornament hanging hook. Hot glue gun or strong permanent weather-proof adhesive.

How To: Take two pieces of mirror (or a reflective glass bead) and place the two pieces so that the non-reflective sides are together. Create 5-8 pairs of mirrored pieces. Take a long piece of fishing line, approximately 2 meters (2 yards) in length. Place a bead (any sort) on the string and fold the entire string in half. Knot the string, or tie it, so the bead is secure.  Open one set of mirrors and add glue to both back (dull) sides of the mirror. place the string over one of the mirrors, just a few inches (8cm) from the bead, then place the paired mirror over the string so both reflective sides are facing out.  Continue this pattern, adding mirror pairs up the length of the fishing line string.  Finish the strand by placing the ornament hook or paper clip at the top end of the string, tie it firmly in place.

 You now have a strand of reflective garden fairies or Fairy Light Catchers. Hang from a planter hook, branch, or other object in the garden so that the strand can move gently in the breeze and catch sunlight. Light reflected from the mirrors will appear to “dance” over your garden, fence, and trees, and plants. It gives the appearance of small  moving “fairies” over the surfaces in your garden.  You can experiment with length of strands, beaded accents, and size and number of mirrors to achieve the effects you desire.  These Fairy Light Catchers hard to detect from a distance, as they blend in with the leaves and trees around them, and that is why they appear to be so magical.

If you are big on the Upcycling, and we all should be, try using broken shards of old DVDs or CDs, or any other reflective do-dads instead of mirrors. You can also create really long strands, several feet in length, that you can drape over a long tree branch or fence post or wall. It really depends on what you have to work with in your area. Enjoy!

Hot Couture for Kids – Motley Mode Mondays

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Madras, Chevron and Stripe Peasant Dress, with Japanese Import Echino Print Skirt, Sizes 12m – 8 by Kiki Fluhr, The Measure on Etsy. $45.00 USD.
 I love to see children dressed in clothes that are special and unique, stylish, yet still very much appropriate for their age. I don’t think that children need to look like small versions of adults at formal events, they still need to look like kids. I am a fan of colour on kids, I love when clothes have a clattering mix of prints and textiles. I appreciate small details that make children’s clothing beautiful, and I admire the skill and creative talent of designers who specialize in kids “Couture”. 
Girls Dress. Black and White Dress with White Polka Dots in Cotton Lycra Jersey Knit (Girls Sizes 6-10) by Teeny Bunny on Etsy. $78.00 USD.
Boy’s Suspender Outfit – Black Pin Stripe Outfit – Bow Tie, Cuffed Pants, and Suspenders by Rebecca Wilding, Apple & Ivy on Etsy. $46.00 USD.
Spring Tweed Cowl Neck Dress by My Sweet Emma on Etsy. $35.00 USD.

I know there is an official definition of Couture, set forth by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris no less.  It goes something like this;
  

Couture refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute Couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.

Girls Dress – Round Shaped Pattern Stripe Print – Sizes 2-3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10 years by Sarit Lalae Nukile, Nukile on Etsy. $45.00 USD.
Perfect Pink And Brown Paris Party Dress by Kimberly Critel, Simplicity Couture on Etsy. $34.00 USD.
Personalized Navy Blue Tie T-Shirt – Pick Print, Name, Age, Initials, Phrase – 12m – 8 by Rosie, We Choose Joy on Etsy. $25.50 USD.
Girls Dress Children Clothing Pink Cream & Brown – 12-18, 18-24, 2T/3T, 4T/5T + by Donna Ware, Zoe Girl Designs on Etsy. $38.00 USD.

To me, Couture means that a garment is an exclusive design of the creator in question, it involves hand-made elements, and it may well be one-of-a-kind [OOAK]. It is usually ordered to suit the size requirement of the customer, and it is made to order.

Spring Dress Coat – Available Sizes 6 Months to 4T (Girls Sizes 5-14 Available) by Brookie’s Closet on Etsy. $65.00 USD.
New Limited Chic Cocktail Swing Coat – Charcoal Black [12/18, 2/3T, 4/5T] Ready To Ship Jacket by Heidi And Finn Studio on Etsy. $45.00 USD.
Hobbit Hoodie. Warm Elf Style Hoodie, Handmade, Cosy Hobbit Outfit for Boys by Agnese Vajevska, Hobbit Friendly on Etsy. $54.00 USD.
Girls PiXiE COATS (Deposit Only). “Over The Rainbow” Custom Made Sizes T2 – 8. Upcycled Sweater Couture by Sweet And Blue on Etsy. $29.00 USD.

Today’s fashion centered Monday post is a sample of some of the most lovely, quirky, and fabulous children’s fashions to be found on Etsy. This is as usual, just a minute sampling of the fashion available on Etsy, but these are the items that caught my eye, and my heart. These are garments I would love to see my three nieces, aged 7, 9, and 14  or young nephew, age 6, wearing.  The items for younger children are simply favorites that I had to share because you may have younger children in your lives that you love to dress.

The Juliette Dress by Corinna Couture. Sizes 6 mos to 6 yrs. [7-8 for Additional Fee] by Corinna Hyde, Corinna Couture on Etsy. $58.00 USD.
Neck Tie for Boys – Infant/Toddler/Child – Four for 46.00 – Choose Your Patterns & Colors by Ashley Hollis and Mary Tiede, Two Sisters Originals on Etsy. $46.00 USD.
No FUSS Black Satin Slip Dresses with IVORY Tulle Overlay, Comes With Couture Bow Kit in Black by Fairy Wonderful on Etsy. $79.95 USD.

Pink and Black Twirly Girl Party Dress – Sizes 7, 8, 10, and 12 by Best Little Dress/Mapletree 2000 on Etsy. $48.00.

Maybe you are shopping for an upcoming occasion or holiday, such as Easter or Passover, or perhaps you have a family photograph planned and want to dress the kids in something special that will be a memory forever.  If there is a Wedding in the future, select one of these amazing designs over what the fashion industry assumes little girls and guys want to wear.  Whatever your needs, you can find something appropriate from among the many Etsy fashion designers, but the act of ‘window shopping’ on a blog may just help you make the leap out of the “same-old same-old” children’s wear staples, and push you into a place where you can see children’s clothing as something more than merely functional. 

The Avery Wrap Top and Pant SET – Corinna Couture Spring 2012 by Corinna Hyde, Corinna Couture on Etsy. $65.00 USD.
NEW Children’s Boys Toddler Snap Shirt – L/S Blue by Feanna Otta, Kait Emerson Designs on Etsy. $38.00 USD.
Rose Bloomer Set with White Lace – Size 4 by Linda Carman, Linda Marie Stitchery on Etsy. $49.95 USD.

Innocent Crush Lace Ruffled Dress [Matching Bloomers Sold Separately, $39.00] by My Sweet Emma on Etsy. $70.00 USD.

When I look at these clothes, my youngest sister comes to mind. Her nine year old daughter is always impeccably dressed and dare I say “styled”. Right now she is learning classical ballet from a very strict Russian ballet teacher and happily focused on her skiing each weekend which is her passion (she races, downhill). My youngest sister, a fashionable gal herself,  always pays attention to what her daughter is wearing, and she has always taken care to select clothing that is really unique and lovely. I know that my niece would look amazing in any of these looks, and so would most children.

Flower Girl Tea Party Dress – Custom by Amanda Pillow, Amanda Rose Bridal on Etsy. $100.00 USD.
Moody Vintage Floral And Red Stripe Peasant Dress, with Ann Maria Horner Print Skirt, Sizes 12m – 8 by Kiki Fluhr, The Measure on Etsy. $48.00 USD.

Oh Nautical Baby One Shoulder Dress [Sizes 12m – 7] by Christina, Little Wellies on Etsy. $39.95 on Etsy
TuTu Dress in Black Polka Dot, Pink Tulle Skirt for Baby, Toddler, or Girl by Lover Dovers Clothing on Etsy. $44.00 USD.

I choose to include the prices of these items, along with the usual title and shop link, because I want you to see the amazing quality of clothing you can get for your money.  It certainly is far more reasonably priced than any kiddy boutique I have ever been in, and the plus here is that many of these sellers will do the alterations you require based on your child’s specific measurement.  You can actually ask questions about the fabric, the fit, the sizing, and the options with these clothes.  There is no rushing to the mall or the dressing room, you can take a child’s measurement when they are in the best mood for it, and then get them the perfect outfit when you are in the best mood for it. So forget Haute Couture, and go for these Hot Couture looks for the kids in your life.

Blue and Brown Ribbon Trimmed Designer Tu Tu Set  by Angela, Npictures Boutique on Etsy. $125.00 USD.
Boys Vintage Inspired Outfit from The Vintage Carnival Collection by Vintage Child Modern by Brianne, Fleur and Dot on Etsy. $185.00 USD.
Girl’s Party Dress and Bloomers [Ready To Deliver] by Candy Austin, My Cotton Candy Designs on Etsy. $80.00 USD.

Custom Girls Peasant Dress – Tunic. Violet Chevron [Ruffle Pant Available Separately] by The Fresh Stitch, Corinne Citrolo on Etsy. $32.00 USD.

Please Note: Not All Shops Offer Items In All Sizes. Please Follow The Links Provided To Determine Sizing Availability. Many Items Are Best Seen From All Sides, These Images Are Available In Most Etsy Shops, So Follow The Item Link for Closer Inspection.  Turnaround Time Varies, Please Read Listings Carefully And Inquire With The Specific Vendors Involved. Images and Designs Featured In This Post Are The Intellectual Property and Copyright of The Designer/Etsy Shop in Question. No Infringement Is Intended.

Retro Girls Party Dress. Denyse Schmidt Prints. Available 3m to 4T by Sweet Pea and Co. on Etsy. $44.00 USD on Etsy.
Boys Outfit – Rock N Roll Guitar Set (Shirt and Pant Set) by Sarah Brown, A House In The Woods on Etsy. $28.00 USD.
Girls Luxurious Dress and Bloomer/Pant Set – Very Limited 12m-3T by JuJuBee Baby on Etsy. $38.00 USD.

Mad About These Hatters – Motley Mode Mondays

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Winter Top Hat, Navy Blue by Olivia Royale.

You can try to deny it, but I know the truth. In some manner or other, you watched the Royal Wedding coverage this past year. You wanted to see the dress that Kate wore, you wanted to see the pomp and circumstance, and if you are anything like me, you wanted to see those fascinating hats. Living in Canada, most people wear hats for practicality as opposed to fashion. When it gets cold outside, we pull on those wooly wonders and cover our ears. We make sure the kids have the sun hats they need at camp, and we would never let our babes be out in sun without a bonnet.  But you have to admit it, there is nothing so beautiful as a scene stealing hat. Purely fanciful, cheeky and full of fun, or classic and elegant, hats are more than just practical. It’s time we brought the hat back into the fashion spotlight. Where to start? Well… Etsy of course!

Black Ragged Edged Napoleonic Hat with Ostrich Feather & Vintage Watch Face Pin by Amy Ward, Award Design.
Green Wool Felt Bowler by Joanne James, Two Little Sunflowers.
Classic Woman Hat Woll Felted ROSE CLASSIC OOAK Fall Fashion Velentine’s Love by Irina, IS Felted Design.
Cloche Hat – Contemporary Ble/Cream Tweed Women’s Hat by Julie Taylor, Moaning Minnie.

Movie stars are starting to catch on, and hats are becoming red carpet staples for many. Everyone remembers Sarah Jessica Parker at the premiere for Sex And The City, the movie. Parker’s green hued acorn shaped hat with a tower of tall feathers was stunning and sensational. Sexy songbird Rihanna loves her hats too. Lady Gaga is perhaps the most daring when it comes to hats, and just about everything else fashion-wise, even if you aren’t a fan of her music, you have to admit she knows how to cause a stir with a hat. The Brits wear their hats often and well, why are we letting them have all the fabulous fun?

Alexandra Cocktail Hat by Love Charlie with Bold Peacock Feather Mount and Veiling Details by Love Charlie.
Blue Feather Cocktail Hat by Alice Hart, Alice Hart Couture Millinery.
Ivory Mini Top Hat with Burgundy and Green Feathers by M. Carriere, Mielcoeur Accessories.
Cocktail Hat Leather Citrus Roses and Harris Tweed by Pheigi Sugahara Macdonald, Red Dragonfly Aka Tombo.

Women cling to their Little Black Dress [LBD] as a party-going staples. We have our favorites, and we wear them as often as we can get away with, but imagine wearing a great hat with that same-old LBD. Not only will people be focused on that hat, but you have instantly added a whole lot of personality and what’s more, a great conversations starter.

Steampunk Seamstress Mini Gothic Fascinator Top Hat by Jenkitty’s Closet.
Bridal Fascinator, Flower Head Piece, Ivory & Blush Pink Flowers, Bridal Haircomb, Wedding Hair Accessory – KAITLIN by Powder Blue Bijoux.

Magic Moon Black & Silver Mini Hat Fascinator by Nyla, House of Nyla.
H A R L O W – Ivory Beige Hat Fascinator NBB by Jesslabelle Avelar, Natural Born Beauties by Jesslabelle.

Men have good reason to embrace a stylish hat as well. Think of the most iconic men in film, did they have a signature hat? Where would Humphrey Bogart be without that dashing Fedora. Harrison Ford was devastatingly handsome as Indiana Jones, but we all know that it was that hat that made him beyond cool. Pop sensation Will.I.Am is rarely seen without his hats. Johnny Depp may have played The Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland, but he is rarely seen without one when out and about town, and there is nothing crazy about that at all. Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake are known for their flat caps and newsboy styles.

Brown and Cream Plaid Cotton Fedora Hat: Mens, Womens Hats – XL by Sara and Phil, Rocks and Salt.
Manly Custom Mens Hat For Those Hard-To-Please Fellows. Handmade Eco-Friendly Pure Wool Felt Hat In A Style and Color of His Choosing by Nora Swan and Sam Stone, Little Hill Woolworks.
XL Military Style Corduroy Hat by Jeffrey Bailey, J BAILEY BRAND.
Natural Off White Linen Wrap Cap by Anni, Consciously Altered.
Wool Fedora Trilby Hat – Fall Fashion – Men – Women – Winter Accessories by Katarina, Katarina Couture.

So lets celebrate the art of the Milliner this Monday. This amazing selection of one-of-a-kind [OOAK] hand-made hats are all available on Etsy, and there are even some fabulous looks for kids that will make your heart flutter.

Jewel of The Nile Mini Hat Fascinator by Lisa Tice, Lisa’a Mini Mad Hattery.
Upcycled Star Corduroy Boys Cap Reversible Hat – Choose Size by Small Smalls.
Red Bows Bows Bows Felt Rosette Fascinator/Headband by Bree Johnson, CoCo rose couture.
The Chic Fedora Hat Boys Hat by Corrie Bakker, Chic Bébé.

If one of these hats isn’t quite your style, or you just want to see more, I assure you that by checking in these creators shops and the other Hat Sellers on Etsy you will find the perfect hat. Whether for your everyday look, or that special party or event that you will be attending soon there is something for everyone in every price range. You may just find yourself going ‘Mad for Millinery‘ and starting a whole new collection or a trend amongst your circle of friends.

Charcoal and Red Plaid Cloche Hat by Catherine Soucy Designer.
Street Hat/Costume/Burning Man/Feathers/Fedora by Amelia, Hotel Etica.
An Upcycled ‘Cosmopolitan Blacks’ Kepp Jones – S,M, or L (Made To Order) by Sparky Jones.
Mini Top Hat – Corset by Shiverz, Shiverz Designs.

Note: All Images & Designs Are Copyright of The Creators Indicated And The Associated Etsy Shops. No Infringement Is Intended.

Best Friends Forever – Sweetness Sundays

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We have all, at some time or other, been grateful for our true friends. Not just our acquaintances, but the people who know us sometimes even better than our own families do.  If you have a best friend, or several, you know that these relationships are very special. Sometimes these relationships start in childhood, others form later in life. Our best friends can be neighbors, sometimes they are actually family members, a close aged cousin or sibling, and sometimes they are even our spouses.  Whomever you call your best friend, make sure they know how very special they are to you. [All Item/Image Credits And Details Follow At Bottom of Post]

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We did it easily in childhood, we would ‘claim’ our best friends as such in front of classmates or contemporaries. We would hold their hands, share secrets, have sleepovers, and they would be the person we saved a seat for at the lunch table or at our birthday parties.  As adults, it is somewhat more difficult to express publicly our friendly affections without it feeling a bit odd, we may hug them hello or give them a quick squeeze when we say goodbye, but we often assume they understand how much they mean to us.

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 Sometimes they do know, and that is perfectly wonderful. But no best friend ever complained that they heard too often how much they mattered in another persons life.  Often the times we most rely on these friends are the hardest moments in our lifetimes.  When we suffer the loss of a loved one, when we go through a trauma, when we end a significant relationship.  During those times, we are often not in a place to be aware just how much we are dependent on our very best friend.

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These are the people that make us laugh at ourselves and know just what to say to make us know they are happy just to be with us when we are miserable. Think about the last time you laughed till you cried, laughed so hard that your sides hurt and you doubled over, was it your best friend that made your sides split?

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Real friends would never complain of it being a burden, they understand that the nature of the best friend relationship is based in the reciprocity it allows. We are there for them when they need us, and they are there for us in our hard times, that is just the way it works, at least with true best friends. One-sided relationships are often exhausting and rarely last, but a true best friendship is one of the most sacred bonds we may ever know.  Therefore, today’s Sweetness Sundays post is dedicated to that sweet relationship known as the Best Friend.

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Children have become hooked on the term “BFF“, meaning Best Friends Forever. We can blame that lovely little bit of terminology to the likes of Paris Hilton, who popularized it on her TV reality show. Teens often refer to their best friends as “Besties“, I hear that term quite frequently from my neices. Adults tend to drop the “Best” part, we know who our closest friends are and don’t want to make any of our general acquaintance feel awkward by pointing it out.  Whatever we call them, whoever they are, make sure you make a point this Valentine’s Day of telling your best friend(s) that you love them.

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Valentine’s Day, in my mind, is a day we celebrate love in all it’s forms, not merely romantic love.  We are expected to send cheesy cards to our spouse, partner, or significant other. Parents often remember their children on St. Valentine’s Day, and children often pepper their entire classroom full of peers with themed printed Valentine’s Day cards.  If you want to really show your friends you care, take a lesson from any parent of young children, there is nothing more precious than something hand-made with love and care.

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If you aren’t crafty, well that’s where the good news comes in, there are lots of people who are. You can find heaps of lovely best friend ‘themed’ gifts and cards on Etsy and other on-line sources.  Personally, I choose to feature Etsy vendors often because I find the process of shopping Etsy to be so simple. The descriptions are usually very clear, you can see what you are getting and the images are often so beautiful and attractive that you can get a real sense of the objects special qualities, and you can almost always pay securely by PayPal.  Today’s post is packed with amazing items celebrating the special friendships in our lives, and no matter what your age, you can never tell your friends enough just how much they are valued.

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If your child has a best friend, or if you know a child that does, make sure you encourage them to acknowledge the relationship for how special it is.  We may have many best-friends throughout a lifetime, but the value of the relationship is a certainty.  Call your best friend today and tell them how much you care and how much they mean to you. Now isn’t that sweet?

  1. BFF Chain Link Hat & Wristmarmer Set Crochet PATTERN Fits 4T – Preteen PDF 121 by Kristine Mullen, Ambassador Crochet on Etsy.
  2. Little Girls’ BFF Matching Hand Bags by ZeeaDarling, FilthyCute Boutique on Etsy.
  3. Best Friends Necklaces BFF – Oreao Cookie Necklace – Cute Necklaces – Kawaii Heart Charms – Best Friend Jewelry by Kawaii Desu Ne, oh, it’s cute! on Etsy.
  4. Best Friend Art Print – Home Room Decor – Gift For Friend – 8×10 Print by Jordan Eaks, Something Beautiful Photography on Etsy.
  5. Best Friend, Sister Art Print – HUMAN NATURE by Shira Sela, Shirae on Etsy.
  6. Best Friends Necklace – Two Necklaces by Mary Beth Heishman, I Adorn U on Etsy.
  7. Friendship Art Print – Best Friends – Archival – Limited Edition Print -8×8 – 2 divided by 2 equals by cori dantini by Cori Dantini, corid on Etsy.
  8. Best Friends Art Print Room Decor – You Are My Best Friend Ever – 8×10 Art Print by Ortal, 2010 Gifts For All on Etsy.
  9. Set Of Two Best Friend Enamel Owl Necklaces – Hand Stamped Necklace Best Friends Gift by Kristen, Kikiburra Beads on Etsy.
  10. B.F.F. 11×15.5 Giclee Print – Best Friends, Girlfriends, Sisters, Contemporary Art, Friendship, Love by Jahna Vashti on Etsy.
  11. Best Friends – Boys – 8×10 Archival Print by Rosy Designs Online on Etsy.
  12. Two Peas in a Pod Best Friends Necklaces, Mother Daughter Necklaces, Sisters Necklaces by Dragon Fly Tears on Etsy.
  13. Best Friends Handmade Fabric Dolls by Laura Hunter, Roving Ovine on Etsy.
  14. Custom BFF Best Friend Art Print Set // 8×8 by Kate Gabrielle, Flapper Doodle on Etsy.
  15. Hand Stamped Bestie BFF ONE WORD Best Friends Cuff Bracelet Aluminum Set of 2 Friendship by Kitty, Always A Memory on Etsy.
  16. You Plus Me Equals Awesome, Awesome Print, Wedding Print, 8×10, Best Friends. Custom Colors Available by Rose, Pumpkin and Butterfly on Etsy.
  17. Best Friend Greeting Card by Alisson Burda, Artsy Fartsy on Etsy.
  18. BFF Necklace Set in Teal by Jessica Marshall, Jessica Marshall Jewelry on Etsy.
  19. Greeting Card… Best Friends by Christa Howard, C Howard Designs on Etsy.
  20. Available for Pre-Order Only, Set of 2 Best Friends Initial Letter Bow Necklaces, Limited Edition by Indie Meadow on Etsy.
  21. Best Friends Postcard by Sophie Parker on Etsy.
  22. The Best Friends Girls Art Print by Claudia Tremblay, Print Illustrations on Etsy.
  23. Seahorse Buddies – Best Friend Necklace Set by Wishbowl Jewelry on Etsy.
  24. Gumby and Pokey Best Friends Black and White Wall Art Mexican Framed Print by Michael Dexter, DexMex on Etsy.