Category Archives: Hand Made

Love At First Bite – Sweetness Sundays

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Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Cookie Varieties

As a newly born vegan for 2013, I can tell you that the transition to vegan cooking has been a purely pleasurable experience for me. I love getting in the kitchen and being creative. Making hot cereal masterpieces with whole grains and fruits, delicious cold grain salads for lunch with decadent avocados and black beans, discovering a million ways to use my newly stocked spice rack while making slow cooker creations for dinner. It takes me back to all the things that landed me in Culinary School at college, that one year of knowledge has never left me, although I did move on to Nursing, my true passion.

Almond Crescents, Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

The only thing I have yet to attempt is vegan baking. Not because I don’t like baking, or because I lack the equipment. Although I must admit that the top of my wish list is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a new Cuisinart, as I have neither. What has stopped me is all the ingredients you need to stock up on, many not found in any regular grocery store, in order to make something that is comparable to other home baked fare. I have stocked up on things like Molasses, Organic Cane Sugar, Flax Seeds, Dates, Dried Fruits and Nuts, and Organic All Purpose Flour. I have hunted down Almond Flour, Brown Rice Flour, and Agave Syrup. I have the Maple Syrup and Vegan Margarine in my fridge. I even got the Egg Replacement Mix and a spice grinder in order to make some of the more tricky ingredients. But for the life of me, I have yet to find a recipe to which I can say, “yes, I have all the ingredients I need, let’s bake this baby up!”

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

My brother, being super thoughtful, came for dinner a few weeks back and came in with a few groceries I had needed, surprised me with a box of vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were in a shelf stable box, looked pretty decent on the package, I read the label just to be sure they were vegan, and dove in to try one. Well, they were pretty good, not great, not like my mother’s baking, which is legend – wait for it – dary. But they were certainly the most treat-like thing I had had since going vegan. The problem, the box contained exactly 12 cookies, no bigger than a dollar Loonie coin, and it cost more than six dollars, with tax included. Twelve tiny cookies, average at best, at that price? It seemed insane to me, I knew that I either needed to find a new source of baked goods, or I had better make them myself.

A Platter of Delicious Cookies from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

So as I have been collecting up vegan cookbooks, and looking at the list of ingredients I need to have on hand, I have also been spending a lot of time searching the web for a recipe to start out with.  I have been grabbing up the ingredients I find when I shop, and have got a good number of things in the pantry now, but not everything, not yet.

Boxed Love from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Now, many of you know I spend way more time on Etsy than is healthy for my pocketbook. I am always on the lookout fabulous items that I then must have in my life. After all, what would Foraging For Fab be without Etsy and all the other handmade sellers of wonderful. So every now and again I have a look for vegan goods, particularly from close locations, and when it comes to edibles, Canadian sellers are a must.  So there I was, searching out vegan sources of yummy, and up popped a new seller. The pictures looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to me, and gosh, they were from Montreal, Quebec; right here in Canada. And so I discovered Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Sunflower Oats British Biscuits – Organic, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

These cookies, or little bites of heaven, as I now refer to them come in a variety of amazing flavors and types, and are made to suit many dietary restrictions or needs, not just vegan.  Pina also bakes up batches of Sugar Free, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free treats, in addition to her Vegan offerings.  The cookies are just like the classic home-made versions you love at Holiday Parties or Special Events, but they are something you can enjoy any day of the week with a cup of coffee or a herbal tea.

Vegan – Fruit & Spice Cookie Collection, $42.00 USD on Etsy.

I ordered up a mixed box of cookies, Vegan Fruit and Spice Mix, which held at least 75 biscuits, and a smaller package of 12 Chocolate Pistachio Squares. I quickly got a message back from Pina saying they would be baked up first thing the next morning and then sent out as soon as possible that day.  I have never ordered bakery products through the mail before, so I promptly forgot when to expect them, and went on with my day.

Irish Coffee Whiskey Sandwich Cookie – Vegan, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

When the package arrived before lunch time, just 3 days after my order was placed, I was doing a little happy dance in my apartment. They looked absolutely lovely, just as they were pictured in the Etsy Listings. There was even a little surprise inside the box, a new sandwich cookie recipe a Vegan Irish Coffee Whiskey delight, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It was all so perfectly packaged, I even took some pictures with my phone to show my friends and family, or make them drool, either way I was too happy to notice.

Vegan – Chocolate Pistachio Squares, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I decided to try one of the Chocolate Pistachio Squares right away. I am not very good at delaying gratification when it comes to cookies, or most other things to be honest. I was hooked from the very first bite. These cookies are special, they have that perfectly home made love baked in feel to them. They taste delicious, they look so pretty yet in-perfect, the way homemade cookies do, and they just hit the right spot with all that I was looking for in a vegan treat. I had to read the label again to be sure it was in fact a vegan product, it was just too much like a crumbly buttery chocolate refrigerator cookie from my pre-vegan days.

Love Lemon – Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

I quickly headed to my office so that I could leave feedback for Pinaloves Organic Bakery on Etsy, just too happy to wait a minute longer to tell everyone how very special these cookies are. I also checked out the Pinaloves Organic Bakery Website and Shop, where I got even more thrilled to learn about all the other wonderful things going on at Pinaloves, and got a lot of great information from the shop’s FAQ page. There is very specific information about the ingredients and the different dietary specialty cookies that they bake, among other yummy looking cakes and pastries. There are different package sizes, box combinations, and varieties available to suit any need.

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

I then caught a ride over to the shop’s Etsy Page, and left a little thank-you note with Pina and company, just so appreciative of the speed and professionalism ascribed to my order, and the joy these cookies brought me.

Cholesterol Free, Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Loaves with Chocolate Ganache

I think the best thing about these cookies and treats is that they cater to some very specific dietary needs, but they are so delicious that everyone will love them, and no one has to feel left out. The Diabetic can have their Biscotti with morning coffee. The individuals with  wheat allergies or Celiac Disease, can have their pick of amazing cookies and treats. Those who are Lactose Intolerant or have milk allergies can indulge without fear. The Vegan can have her cookies and love every single cruelty-free and nutritious bite!

Spelt Hazelnut Almond Cookies – Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Now, before you get all suspicious about the excessive compliments I am sending the Pinaloves people, I will balance things out a little by saying that these cookies are not free, they are priced in my mind accordingly for the quality of the ingredients, and the time and love put into every one.  They are likely not the thing you will be able to have on hand just for nibbling on any old day of the week. They would make perfect hostess gifts, and would be an impressive thing to put out at parties. The smaller packages of a dozen or so cookies are more likely to an indulgent weekday treat for you and a friend or two, the boxes are a brilliant luxury for special occasions. If you happen to live in Montreal and can get access to these cookies without having them delivered, I think you will find yourself making frequent trips to get your cookie fix.

Sugar Free Biscotti by Pinaloves, $14.00 USD on Etsy.

The only other issue is that these cookies are just to good to last for long in your home. While my large order of goodies lasted about a week, shared with company and my sweet-tooth aside,  they are hard to resist or put away, they are just too delicious, and my sweet starved inner vegan-child pretty much dictated how many of these delicious bites I dove into at a sitting. It is best I not mention that, it’s embarrassing how little self-control I have most days.

Gluten Free – Pistachio Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Don’t let that stop you from ordering them though, and don’t delay in checking out Pinaloves Organic Bakery’s Website, Etsy Shop, or Facebook page to catch even more pictures of the delicious offerings available freshly baked and directly to your home. I can assure you they will be baked and shipped with all the love and care you could hope for, and they will become fast favorites of anyone who is lucky enough to sample them.

Vegan Rosemary Raisin Sables, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

You can either buy through Etsy, or shop the online store, whichever mode you happen to prefer.  I have every reason to believe that the service and kind customer care that you will receive, even if it is just asking a question, will surpass your expectations. If you have a local vegan or specialty bakery, by all means give them a visit, the point is to support the small bakeries that are working very hard to establish themselves and serve quality goods made with care, conscious, and attention to detail, and stop buying shelf stable and overpriced goods where possible. Going local isn’t just about produce at the farmer’s market, it means buying things that are made close to home to avoid all the damage that can be done to the environment by shipping boxes of boxes from country to country over land and sea.

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I am now going to resist temptation and skip ordering another batch of Pinaloves goodies, at least for today, no promises about tomorrow though. Maybe one day, when I have been making my own vegan baked-goods, I can hope to be as good as the crew at Pinaloves Organic Bakery. If not, well, I am going to get very friendly with the mail-person bringing me boxes full of love on a regular basis. Hope you enjoyed your own Sweet Sunday!

Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Logo & Website Address.
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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.

Keeping Me In Stitches – Wacky & Wonderful Wednesdays

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Can you identify these stitched up quotes and sayings? Are you ready to take a little quiz with me here at the ‘Fab’? Put on your thinking caps, or tinfoil anti-alien helmets, and get a pencil. Each numbered image is a quote from a Television Show, Broadway Spectacular, or Movie. How many can you identify all on your own, no cheating – close that Google tab down!

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Are you a movie buff, a pop-culture vulture, or a chic geek? Do you quote famous lines of dialogue, get all those obscure references and ‘in’ jokes? Do you have a catalog of expressions that comes in handy in almost any situation, giving you instant hipster cred? There are 24 fabulously stitched up quotes in this quiz, so you are bound to know a bunch of these.

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Sometimes the best way to find a kindred spirit in a crowded room, at a party, or on the first day of work or school is to go with an inside joke that only those in the know will appreciate. Some of them are stolen from TV, Movies, or Broadway, but they all have one thing in common. Said in the right place at the right time they are absolutely hysterical and instantly bring to mind the scene of the line, the origin of the speeches, if you will.

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OK, enough with the puns and on with the fun, here are a heap of awesome quotes, all you have to do if figure out where they are from. They come in one of my favorite forms of geekery, crochet and cross-stitch. A very traditional medium with a very modern twist, it is the hipster equivalent of chalk and cheese, at least in my way of thinking.  Two things that are different, particularly two things that are superficially alike but very different in substance, or rather the opposite. Two things superficially different, but somehow alike in a hipster substance kind of way. Never mind, it’s hard to explain. It just works.

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I have numbered the images, the answers to the question “where did this quote come from?” can be found at the very bottom of this post, along with links to the fabulous Etsy shops where you can snap up these little bits of wonderful. Some of these hoop sayings are ready made, some are made-to-order, and others are patterns for you to download or receive and stitch up yourself. So read the individual Etsy listings to find out for sure what form of funny you are checking out.

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Whether hanging in a group on the wall near your entertainment section, or placed on a side table with your favorite family photos, you will surely have room in your home for a little awesome in an embroidery hoop. Now get cracking at my little test, and let me know in the comments just how many of these quotes you identified on first reading.

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Answers and Links To The Etsy Listings:

  1. Suck It, Trebek. [Quote from SNL Skit, Will Ferrell as Sean Connery on Celebrity Jeopardy Parody, 1999] Embroidery Hoop, Blue Fiber Art Home Decor, 4″ Hoop by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  2.  Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. [Quote from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean Luc Pickard] Cross Stitch PDF Pattern by BetaStitch, LadyBeta on Etsy.
  3. Suck It, Nerds. [Quote from Liz Lemon, 30 ROCK] Simple Home Decor, 3″ Art by StitchCulture on Etsy.
  4. Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner [Quote from Dirty Dancing, Johnny Castle played by Patrick Swayze] Beautiful and Charming, Hand Stitched, Ready-To-Hang Dirty Dancing Quote by My Heart & Anchor on Etsy.
  5. I Gave Her My Heart, She Gave Me A Pen. [Quote from Say Anything, by Lloyd Dobler played by Jon Cusack] Embroidery Hoop Art. Embroidered Quote, Ready To Ship by Gracey May on Etsy.
  6. I Saved Latin. What Did You Ever Do? [Quote from Rushmore, Max Fischer played by Jason Schwartzman] Embroidered Wall Art. Movie Quote by Gracey May on Etsy.
  7. There’s No Basement At The Alamo! [Quote from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Movie, voiced by Tina played by Jan Hooks to Pee-Wee played by Paul Reubens] Hand Embroidery Hoop – Pee-Wee by moxiedoll on Etsy.
  8. Does Barry Manilow Know You Raided His Wardrobe? [Quote from The Breakfast Club, John Bender played by Judd Nelson] Quote Framed Cross Stitch Sampler by Snarky Little Stitcher on Etsy.
  9. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. [Quote from The Office (US), voiced by Jim Halpert impersonating Dwight Schrute] Pop Culture TV Quote Hand Embroidery Hoop Art, Office Decor Wall Art by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  10. Stay In The House, Carl. [Quote from The Walking Dead, said by pretty much every other character on the show, but he never stays in the frippen house, does he?] by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  11. You’ve Got Red On You. [Quote from film Shaun of the Dead] Halloween Hand Embroidery Hoop Art, Zombie Blood Movie Quote Home Decor, 3″ by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  12. I’m Not Crazy. My Mother Had Me Tested. [Quote from The Big Bang Theory, said by Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons] Hand Embroidery Hoop Art – Television Quote Comedy Hoop by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  13. I Don’t Have A Square To Spare, I Can’t Spare A Square. [Quote from Television Comedy “Seinfeld”, Episode ‘The Stall’ #76, dialogue between Elaine Benes played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jane played by Jamie Gertz] Cross Stitch PDF Pattern by BetaStitch, LadyBeta on Etsy.
  14. No Day But Today. [Quote from the Broadway Musical “RENT” by Jonathan Larson] Hand Embroidery Hoop – Another Day by moxiedoll on Etsy.
  15. I Am So Smart. S – M – R – T. [Quote from Television Animated Comedy “The Simpsons”, Homer Simpson voice by Dan Castellaneta] Embroidery Hoop – TV Quote – Funny Television Home Back To School Dorm Decor by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  16. You’re A Virgin Who Can’t Drive. [Quote from the 1995 film “Clueless”, said by Tai Frasier played by Brittany Murphy to Cher Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone] Hand Embroidery Hoop Art – 1990s Teen Movie Bright Pink Home Decor: Hoop Art by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  17. Clear Alcohols Are For Rich Women On Diets. [Quote from TV Show ‘Parks and Rec.’, uttered by Ron Swanson played by Nick Offerman] Hand Embroidery Hoop Art – Parks and Rec TV Quote: Kitchen Home Decor by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  18. And I Thought They Smelled Bad On The Outside. [Quote from STAR WARS: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, said by Han Solo played by Harrison Ford] Star Wars Embroidery for Tauntaun Lovers by Water Penny on Etsy.
  19. As You Wish. [Quote from the modern classic movie “The Princess Bride”, uttered repeatedly by Westley played by actor Cary Elwes] Cross Stitch Quote From The Princess Bride by (not so) Modern Millie on Etsy.
  20. There’s Always Money In The Banana Stand. [Quote from TV’s “Arrested Development” yelled by George Bluth at his son Michael Bluth, Season 1, Episode 2.] Cross Stitch Quote From Arrested Development by (not so) Modern Millie on Etsy.
  21. You Stay Classy, San Diego. [Quote from Comedy Film “Anchorman” starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. This is his classic signature sign-off at the end of the News Broadcast.] Personalized Hand Embroidered Hoop Art – Customize to Your State, Home Decor by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  22. Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try. [Quote from STAR WARS: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, said by Yoda, voiced by Frank Oz, to Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill] Hand Embroidered Hoop Art – Yoda Movie Quote/Motivational Embroidery Home Dorm Decor by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  23. You Rush A Miracle Man, You Get Rotten Miracles. [Quote from “The Princess Bride”, uttered by Miracle Max, played by Billy Crystal] The Princess Bride Embroidery Hoop – Philosophical Movie Quote Home Decor – Made to Order by Stitch Culture on Etsy.
  24. My Name’s Not F#@!ing Warren. [Quote from 1995 Teen Flick “Empire Records”, said by “Warren” played by Brendan Sexton] Embroidery Hoop – Empire Records Movie Quote Home Decor/Mature by Stitch Culture on Etsy.

How did you do kids?  I had to look up five of these classics myself, though one of them was on the tip of my tongue and I was so close to getting it. Meanwhile, looking up all the details for you made this one of my most research dense Blog posts yet. Who loves you? This Gal! Have a fabulous Wacky & Wonderful Wednesday everyone.

Tuck Away Those Treasured Teeth – Teeny Tiny Tuesdays

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Custom Wee Fleecey Tooth Fairy Pillow with Name Embroidery by Hannalah Designs on Etsy.

The summer my nephew was 5, he started to get the ‘wiggles’. No, not those annoyingly happy men that sing a song about pretty much everything, but rather the toothy kind. His middle bottom teeth started to get lose, and with them, all the excitement of the impending visit of the fabled ‘Tooth Fairy’, and all her magical money and gifts. I am not sure when the trend to leave big cash and even gifts in exchange for a child’s milk teeth began, all I remember is that I was thrilled to get a whole twenty-five cents!

The Tooth Monster [Not Too Scary Tooth Collector, SO GREAT!] by Judi B Designs on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillow, Cottage – Children’s Toy, Open the Door, Keepsake, Mint Floral by Apple White Handmade on Etsy.

In any case, as those little teeth got more and more wobbly, his anticipation of the blessed event of their loss became all consuming. Enter after school ‘Timbits’ Soccer League, a spanking cool yellow and black jersey with the lucky number 13 on the back, and a gaggle of hyper five year-olds that would trail after the small soccer balls like a herd. There was no strategy, no keeping score, the boys would orbit the general movement of the ball – some closely, others in wide looping circles. Basically, it was hysterical.

Girl’s Tooth Fairy Pillow, Felt Bird Door Pillow by Baby What Knots on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillow For Girls with Custom Hand Embroidery [So Lovely!] by Dolce Dreams on Etsy.

At one such ‘game’, and I use that term rather loosely – pun intended, my nephew was off circling the herd like a wee buzzard, when all the sudden he collided with one of his best friends [I am still not certain if they were on the same, or opposing teams]. He seemed to recover well, as kids do, and just kept going, until suddenly he stopped, stuck his filthy [I am certain] finger into his mouth, and suddenly burst out in tears.  He ran over to us on the sidelines, sobbing so terribly, we at first had no clue what had happened. Soon things became very clear.

READY TO SHIP — Sale — Sweet Elephant Tooth Fairy Pillow (Blue – Turquoise – Teal) by Sweet Treat by Claraiuribe on Etsy.
Personalized Tooth Fairy Pillow, Lost Tooth by a. e. wilder on Etsy.

I was there with my brother-in-law, filling in for my sister, my little guys ‘Mama’, and ready to tend to snack duty. When my nephew came over, we had to calm him down to get him to speak clearly and explain the problem. It was quickly revealed, much to my nephew’s horror, that he had somehow swallowed his first loose tooth. It was gone, likely never to be seen again, at least I wasn’t going looking for it, if you know what I mean.

Plush Cat Tooth Fairy Pillow – Irma by NERDSICLES on Etsy.
Monogrammed Felt Tooth Fairy Pillow by Little Birdie & Me on Etsy.

My brother-in-law was frantic. He isn’t really great at calming his son, particularly in the face of new uncharted mini-disasters. He tried to tell him it would be okay, and not to worry, but my nephew wasn’t buying it. He was distraught, certain that the tooth fairy would never ‘pay up’ without the treasured tooth, and how would he explain that he had swallowed it? It was definitely a dilemma, but I know my nephew well, I am very close to him, and I know the way his mind works. He needed reassurance, and he needed an explanation that would seem rational.

TOOTH PILLOW Bird Parade – Name Personalization, Perfect Keepsake Pillow by Gifts Define on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillow – Denim & Dots by shawnz on Etsy.

Enter ‘Super Auntie’, I just need the cape. I took his quivering little hand, noting that his coach was looking for his lost player, and I pulled him to stand right in front of me. I was calm, I was smiling, and the answer came to me like magic.  “Honey”, I said reassuringly,”there is nothing to get upset about. People swallow their teeth all the time. Don’t you know that swallowing a tooth is the fastest way to get it to the Tooth Fairy? When you swallow it, it is like a direct deposit!” He got a slightly confused look on his face, so I continued. My brother-in-law hanging on my every word, nodding his agreement. “When you swallow a tooth, it goes right to the Tooth Fairy, it’s magic after all! She just suddenly feels a tug in her pocket, and when she looks inside, your tooth is right there with her, and she knows who it came from, too!”

Personalized Medium Patchwork Owl Pillow Plush Stuffed Toy [with Pocket] – Great Gift, Lilac and Gray by Angie Baby Gifts on Etsy.
Pink Tooth Fairy Pillow for Girl, Pink Chenille with Shabby Chic Yellow Pocket by The Paisley Moon on Etsy.

He looked at me, too smart not to be skeptical, but he seemed to accept my ‘brilliant’ [though I say it myself] explanation. His only concern, “how will she know to bring me my presents.” Yes, he said presents, as in plural, I don’t know who he was talking to, but I opted to let that be his parent’s problem.

Tooth Fairy Red Monster Pocket Pillow by Mitzibell on Etsy.
Girls Tooth Fairy Pillow Tooth Fairy Gift in Woodland Forest Owl Print by The Tooth Fairy Pillow Shop on Etsy.

“She already has your tooth, so she doesn’t need to make a trip to come get it first, she will know to bring you a special treat, you just have to leave her a note to be sure”, I said with authority. And so it was, a scribbled 5 year-old’s note  left under his pillow, no drama, no fuss, and sure enough his parents came through, in spades. Seriously, he actually got cash AND a new game for his Nintendo Wii. What is that all about? I am beginning to think I was low balled when I was his age.

Puppy Tooth Fairy Pillow in Graphite Gray and Light Blue, For A Boy by meme & saysay on Etsy.
Green and White Paisley Tooth Fairy Pillow with Embroidered Saying by A Roo Cha Cha Designs on Etsy.

In the mean time, a suitable tooth fairy pillow was found and placed by his bedside for future reference. However, at this point, he was more than happy to just swallow the teeth, and repeated the ‘Soccer Game Bump’ swallow with the next tooth too.

Denim Jeans Pocket Tooth Fairy Pillow with Hand Stitched  Tooth and Handle [AWESOME CUTE!] by Country By Design on Etsy.
Kitty Tooth Fairy Pillow by The Sterling Cat on Etsy.

Kids are hysterical, people without kids have no idea. I don’t have any of my own, and still I find that they are endlessly entertaining, they all have their pet issues and silly quirks, and they have really unique little minds that have entirely unique ways of processing information. And information comes flying at them at an astounding rate in those early years, far faster than most adults realize and certainly faster than most could accommodate once they hit their early twenties and beyond.

Tooth Fairy Pillow – In Remix Fabric by Anne Kelle for Robert Kaufman, Blue Pink Yellow Daisies by Little Birds Boutique on Etsy.
Log Cabin Pillow, Tooth Fairy Pillow, Balsam Scented – Boy’s Bedroom Decor by Cecil & Clyde on Etsy.

The point of this favorite true tale of mine is that those precious little Teeny Tiny teeth are as rare as pearls, and if by chance you end up with a wee one that does not swallow them all before the Tooth Fairy can arrive, the very best thing you can do is get them a special little pillow or door ornament that has a small pocket where that tooth can be placed in anticipation of the magical visitor in the night.  Now adults will know that most active and healthy kids sleep like logs, they won’t even hear you, must less recognize you sticking your hand under their pillow to *ahem* be certain that the tooth is in position for the night. But for those of you who have light sleepers on your hands, a pillow that hangs from a door knob or hook on the wall is the ticket. The Tooth Fairy can’t possibly miss it, and it is easy for her [or him] to get to as well.

Girl Fairy with Dark Brown Hair – Hand Painted Tooth Fairy Pillow [Personalized Free, MANY VARIATIONS!] by Gracie Mae Designs on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillow Girl’s and Boy’s, Handmade – Custom Made To Order by Coco Mia on Etsy.

Etsy to the rescue once again, with heaps of precious and unique, often personalized pillows especially for the collection and trade of Teeny Tiny teeth.  I remember my mother making one for me back in the 1970s, it was pink gingham, it had eyelet lace around the edges, and the tiny pocket had my initial hand-embroidered upon it. I actually still have it, come to think of it, it stayed inside my bedside table drawer for more than a decade, and when I moved out, I just couldn’t bear to part with it. It held the magic and the memories of being a little girl, of believing in fairies, and of a mother who wanted to make the whole process special, even if it was just a shiny quarter left in the pocket come morning. That was enough for a packet of POP ROCKS, or a Lik-M-Aid, just what ever kid needs to bath those new adult teeth coming in, sugar!

Tooth Fairy Pillow – Star Wars Yoda Pillow with Pocket by Tooth Fairy Works on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillow, Sweet Cupcake and Heart with Pocket, Hand Stitched by Neskatoo on Etsy.

Make memories with your toddler or preschooler that will last them a lifetime, whether they keep the pillow itself, or just a picture of it stuffed with that first prized tooth. The days of believing in magic, be it the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or Elijah on Passover – those days are gone before you know it, so be prepared by grabbing up the perfect Tooth Fairy pillow before you need it. And remember, swallowing a tooth is ‘Direct Deposit’ and a wonderful feat in itself. Just make sure they know this special circumstance applies only to baby teeth, and no other animal, mineral, vegetable, or plastic do-dad that they can fit in their mouths.

Boy Tooth Fairy Pillow – Red Dump Truck by Creative Mind Boutique on Etsy.
Tooth Fairy Pillows, Your Choice of Colour by Rikapanda Crafts on Etsy.

There are pillows for every bedroom decor, personal taste, and price point – from the $6 to $25 USD range for the most part, but some as dear as $50 USD or more for special touches like personalization. These images all contain links to the Etsy store in the caption, so click on whatever strikes your fancy, and explore these amazing Etsy Stores and many more with equally fabulous Teeny Tiny tooth treasures

Personalized Tooth Fairy Cupcake Pillow [MADE TO ORDER] by KIDDCHELEEN on Etsy.
One CUSTOM Rockin’ Tooth Fairy Pillow [Choose Fabric For Back] Girl Punk Tattoo Guitar by RockerByeBaby on Etsy.

Up [Cycled] With Kids – Motley Mode Mondays

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Children’s Clothing Summer Girls Dress – Upcycled 4-5YR by BlumenKinder on Etsy.

I love dressing little people. I love it so much that the minute I learned that my siblings were expectant parents, I was out in the mall looking for those special little onesies and booties for the new special people coming into my life. As an Obstetrics Nurse, I have handled with care a lot of itty bitty new born babes, and given lots of first baths, and helped with first diaper changes [men are hilarious when faced with their first sticky meconium coated tushie]. I rarely get a chance to choose the clothes that these little ones wear home, so when my siblings had their little bundles, I was adamant that I be in charge of their “I’m going home in this outfit ‘Outifts’.”

Cool Up-Cycled Jumpers for Autumn/Spring by SCRAPPY KIDS on Etsy.
The Kenna Coat – Green Velvet Cocktail Coat w/ Black Satin Lining [Various Sizes, From Drapes!] by gibsonsANCHOR on Etsy.

One of the most wonderful things about having little people is giving them comfortable clothes that have lots of personality, that are made for play or special occasions, that are completely unique and even one-of-a-kind [OOAK]. You have to move fast, before they get into grade school and start demanding specific colours and styles, and before they hit their teens and just want to look like everyone else. It is a very small but special window, that time when you can have fun with your kids wardrobes, and it doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money. You just need to think outside of the ‘brand name’ box, so to speak.

Friends 4 Ever – Archie Super Cool Upcycled Pieced Dress, Size 8 by OKEE DOKEE KIDS Boutique on Etsy.
Recycled T-Shirt Skirt, Shreddies – Size 7 by Tricycle Crafts on Etsy.

One fabulous way to be sure your kids are looking their one-of-a-kind best, is by nabbing some great handmade clothes, or better yet, handmade and Up-cycled clothing. What does that mean? Clothes made special just for your kiddo from what used to be other clothes, scraps of fabric and findings, and re-cycled or re-made into an entirely new and wonderful garment.  Not only are these clothes Eco-Friendly, they are also usually extremely comfortable made soft by previous use, and also unlikely to warp, shrink, or fade.  They can also be hella cute, and very funky, made to fit both personality and body type both.

Poor Pitiful Pearl “Do Not Conform To The Patterns of This World” Bib by Poor Pitiful Pearl on Etsy.
Girl’s Pink Dress, 2T Toddler Clothing, Green Floral Print – Eco Friendly Upcycled ‘KARA’ by My Fair Maiden on Etsy.

This amazing selection of Up-cycled Kids Clothing was all found with a quick search on Etsy, my favorite place to find amazing goodies for one-of-a-kind kids.  There are high-cost brands that try to make their clothing look like it is all mix-and-match Up-cycled gold, I am thinking of brands like Oilily, but they will end up costing you their weight in gold too. Better to buy something that is actually the real deal that you can get for a steal, and have a real person, the seller and creator, that you can speak to about your child’s actual measurements and needs. You can often request custom items, or specify colours that you are looking for, it is like having a personal stylist work with you to make your fashion dreams come true. Almost like a fairy g-d mother, if you will, taking those tattered rags and turning them into Cinderella’s ball gown.

Johnny Cash Upcycled/Recycled ShorTEEs Kung-Fu Pants, 4T by shorTEEs on Etsy.
Upcycled Girl’s Skirt Age 6, Size 6T Recycled Fabrics Patchwork Design by Martisanne Handmade on Etsy.

Make sure you check out these very special “Up-cyclers” on Etsy, many of them make adult clothing as well, and find something just as one-of-a-kind as your adorable, hilarious, and talented kids are.

Reef Spirit Boy T-Shirt, Boy’s Clothing – Australian Art Print Upcycled/Recycled Clothing OOAK, Size 3 Years by ALUMA for KIDS on Etsy.
Quirky Coat Girl’s Size 2-4, Must Like Hand-Me-Downs, Handmade 2nd Life Jacket – Ready To Ship by WiseSewcialTies on Etsy.

Bohemian Bangles Galore – Motley Mode Mondays

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Hippie Bracelet/Bohemian Gypsy Style [Pink & Mint] by One Of A Kind Jewelry Designs, Etsy

I spend a lot of time on Etsy just window shopping, browsing, basically foraging really. I discover new things I never knew I wanted or, *sigh*, needed and had to have. It’s a rather addicting thing really, looking at all these amazing hand-made or vintage items, seeing others creativity and brilliance, and knowing that no matter how much the world is changing, there are some things that remain blissfully unchanged. People still have an attraction to things that are one-of-a-kind [OOAK], items that are made by hands with love and intention, treasures that are truly irreplaceable. As I look at these amazing items, I am always drawn to something that seems to speak to me in a way that is very unique. I know what I like, I just couldn’t really tell you exactly what that means until I see it.

Friendship Bracelet Bib Statement Necklace or Choker, Vintage Rhinestones and Swarovski in Hot Pink, Blue, Purple – Prom Necklace OOAK

Ibiza Chic Hippie Cuff Bracelet – Friendship Bracelet Cuff With Studs and Swarovski, Hand-stamped “Peace Love Joy” – OOAK

Swarovski Flower Earrings in Coral, Orange, and Khaki, Antique Silver and Gold OOAK

This entire blog is a testimony to that fact, everything I blog, every item I share, is something special and has something wonderful about it, be it a story, an artistry, a craft, or a soul.  Often I can pick one or two items special items out of an Etsy Storefront, the various individual shops set up directly by the creators or curators, but every now and then, I find myself adding a heap of little ‘love it’ hearts to an entire shop because I am simply in love with everything I see. Every heart means that it is a favorite item, something I want to keep an eye on, look at again and again, something that I may very well eventually buy, bank account willing. But when you find an entire shop full of those amazing things that you love so very much, the best thing you can do is to share the love, and let people know about it. So that is exactly what I am doing. 

Bridal Hair Comb Lavender Moonstones, Vintage Rhinestones – Shabby Chic Wedding OOAK

Romantic Chandelier Earring with Vintage Pear Drops OOAK

Peacock Wedding Bracelet, Shabby Chic Vintage Style Cuff – Bridesmaid Gift OOAK

Karin van Rijn, from the Netherlands, is one such creator and shop owner.  Her self described ‘young and edgy Dutch jewelry brand’ is very special indeed. These amazing handmade pieces of pure genius are like looking through your grandmother’s old jewelry collection, and then mixing and matching the best bits to make totally new and unique bits of wonderful. Rhinestones, acrylic flourishes, paste jewels, metals, leather, woven threads, glass beads, and semi-precious stones abound in astounding combinations of shine, bling, and colourful clashes of fancy. If you are into minimalist and architectural jewelry, I am afraid this is not your day. But if you are into bohemian flair, bangles of brilliance, and wedding jewelry and accessories that are as one-of-a-kind at the Bride herself, then you have just hit the mother-load of awesome.

Bridal Sash Brooch, Vintage Flowers and Sparkling Rhinestones [MADE TO ORDER] OOAK

Bridal Headband – Rhinestone Wedding Hair Piece, Art Deco Style OOAK

Bridesmaid Set of Three [or More] – Shabby Chic Wrist Corsages, Bridesmaid Gifts

One Of A Kind Jewelry Design is exactly what it sets out to be, and van Rijn’s talent for mixing and matching elements and textures is masterful. Never have I seen such a skilled hand at pulling together beads and baubles into harmonious and unique creations that are somehow still very personal and have a note of heirloom quality about them. These are the items you will pass on from one member of your family to the next. This is the gift you give to the one-of-a-kind woman in your life that speaks more than words. A friend would consider herself very lucky indeed to be in possession of one of van Rijn’s creations, or re-creations as the case may be.

Bohemian Hippie Bracelet, Wide Crystal Swarovski Friendship Bracelet Cuff OOAK

Bib Statement Necklace, Hand-painted Neon Pink Ombre Vintage Rhinestone Necklace OOAK

Wedding Cuff Bracelet in Vintage Collage Style, Statement Cuff OOAK

If any of these items tickle your fancy, then you had better get ready to be tickled to death, there is so much more to see at van Rijn’s Etsy Shop. Currently, there is a 50% off sale on some of her collection, so if you are looking for the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love, don’t hesitate to snap up some pretties.  Prices for these items range from 11.50 Euros, about $16.00 US/CDN Dollars, up to
398.00 Euros [$550.00 US/CDN Dollars] for the most intricate and large pieces. Really there is something for every budget and every taste, from smaller items like earring or rings, to bangles and bunches of bohemian bracelets, necklaces, headbands, and other amazing bridal accessories. One Of A Kind Jewelry Design also has some amazing sets for bridesmaids, where you can get three of the same look for one great price, so that all of your bridesmaids can match and still be the only ones in the world with that particular design.

Vintage Collage Bird, Romantic Soft Leather Cuff OOAK

Vintage Flowers Necklace – Blue Wedding, Shabby Chic OOAK

Native American/Aztec/Navajo Inspired Friendship Bracelet Cuff OOAK

Stop in to check out all the amazing looks at Karin’s Store, and check back often, as new things are added almost every week. With a stock of almost 200 items listed for sale, there is just so much to look at and I have no doubt, something will reach out at grab you in that special one-of-a-kind way.

What Women Want In Bed – Motley Mode Mondays

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Linen Pajama Pants With Cotton Eyelet Lace Trim by Sandmaiden Sleepwear, Etsy.

If one were to watch the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, it might seem perfectly natural for women to want to parade about in skimpy and barely there lingerie. Who wouldn’t want to look like those goddesses, with expertly applied make-up, complete with opalescent glitter and a set of wings. They really do resemble angels, good and naughty ones, but angels not of this earth.  Most fashion editorials that feature lingerie or sleepwear also seem to suggest that there is nothing that makes a woman feel more sexy and powerful than a killer pair of stilettos and some thigh-high stocking, a thong, and a demi-shelf bra with overflowing cups.  Models, with fiercely sexy bedroom eyes, looking somewhat far away, somehow almost like feral felines can be seen pawing across a satin sheeted bed, a chaise lounge, or a fur rug in front of a roaring fire.

Nighty Set “Mirena” by Queen B. Lingerie, Etsy.

Dottie Babydoll 1950s 1960s – Cotton Nightie Sleepwear Lounger by The Domestic Dame, Etsy.

I can totally understand it, I was there once upon a time. In my early twenties (a long time ago in the early 90s), I was the girl who dressed that sexy for my man. I wore french seamed stockings, garters, matching lingerie sets, fluttery silk bikini bloomers, the odd teddy, and even a well loved cat-suit. I was a curvy girl, and I liked the sexual charge I got from showing off those curves to an appreciative man.  I spent a lot of money on all that satin, lace, and silk, and it was fun to surprise my fella with a new outfit on me on special occasions, or just for fun.  But even at the time, I was very well aware that all that corsetry, underwire, and elastic – especially those tricky thigh high stockings and garters – were for fun, and hardly practical.

Lingerie Set Babydoll & Boxer – Organic Cotton and Soy by Luva Huva, Etsy.

Pyjama Cami Top and Quarter Pants Set in Lady Blu Print by MaybeBlu, Etsy.

Looking back, I should have saved my money, I wore those sexy looks very few times for the relative expense of them, and they really don’t do for everyday wear.  I know I could never have actually relaxed in any of that stuff, it was not sleepwear, nor was it shape-wear, and it was appropriate for a very short time in my life.  No woman looks at a skimpy push-up bra, a thong, garters, and thigh-highs and thinks to herself “now this is one comfortable outfit, I shall sleep like a dream in this puppy!”

Pyjama “Anemone” by YUTA Shop, Etsy.

Bermondsey Lace and Cotton Sleeveless Peephole Nightie by Penny Face, Etsy.

So that brings me to my favorite Valentine’s Day related topic. The things men buy for women, and what they think the message they are sending is.  Normally I would never presume to address a post assuming that all couples are heterosexual, but if two women are buying for each other, they have a different idea of what each other wants, so for the sake of argument here, just go with me on this. If a man was to buy his lady a look such as those seen in a lingerie add or on the VS runway, he may think he is saying to her “you are as sexy as all of those girls and I want to see you looking like my very own goddess.” A very sweet thought indeed, and perhaps the most innocent of motivations for such a purchase, *wink wink, nudge nudge*. But men, be warned, when you buy a woman lingerie without her input you are likely to buy the wrong size or style, and you may make her feel like she is just not sexy enough as she is. Don’t kid yourself, it will go through her mind no matter how much you assure her she is perfect ‘just as she is’.

Pajama Lounge Pants With Drawstring Waist BAMBOO Sleepwear Range by Sandmaiden Sleepwear, Etsy.

Grecian Goddess Bridal Nightgown Wedding Lingerie, White Nylon Angelic Honeymoon Gown – Romantic Sleepwear by Serafina Dreams, Etsy.

Pro Tip: Even the most confident of women likes to decide for herself how she displays her own body.

Amber Chic Maternity Hospital Gown/Dress – Amy Butler Fabric – Custom & Ready To Ship by CHIC MAMA BOUTIQUE, Etsy.

Elise Robe Silk Lingerie by Angela Friedman, Etsy.

Now, imagine that you give her a gift card to her favorite lingerie shop, and let her choose what she wants and needs. Do you think her purchases would be different from yours? You betcha, for sure! She may purchase a new selection of panties, a few new supportive bras to keep the ‘girls’ happy, and maybe even a new nightgown or robe.  What is the difference, you ask? Comfort! Say it with me now boys, a woman loves to be comfortable. I am not talking about her wearing your old T-shirts and a pair of sweat pants here, I am talking about something she can feel sexy in, that flatters her figure, but lets her express herself while being comfortable enough to cuddle, take care of the kids, get the morning paper off the lawn, and still feel like she can be your vixen in bed.  Yes, what women really want in bed is to be comfortable. That can encompass a wide range of styles, some very sexy indeed, other more modest, but all meant to fall softly over the body and let that most feminine, delicate, and smooth skin breathe.

Pyjama Gift Set Including Sleep Mask – “Hello Sailor” in Blue & White Stripe [Made To Order] by dollydripp, Etsy.

Asphalt Grey Sleep Set Pajamas With Wide Sleeves and Pants by Comfortissimo, Etsy.

So what can you buy your special lady, and this goes for both the fellas and the same-sex partners, to make her feel perfectly sexy and comfortable all at once, and be reasonably sure you have the perfect fit… lounge wear and/or sexy pajamas of course. If you want to make her feel fabulous, get her something she can wear on any given Sunday, watch the game with you, and still get in and out of in a flash for sexy times.

Sleepwear Jumpsuit by Poplin Homewear, Etsy.

Lingerie Nightgown – Cream Organic Cotton Sleepwear by Luva Huva, Etsy.

Searching out great comfortable PJs and lounge wear on Etsy is easy as pie, and you can get some really unique and lovely looks, with custom hand made touches of brilliance. You can pick your favorite colours, or hers, or go with a classic white linen nightgown with a little bit of sheer and a whole lot of sexy.  The point I am trying to make is that the head-to-toe matchy matchy lingerie set is so passe, unless you are planning your wedding night look, a “third date” seduction, or a Playboy Bunny Centerfold shoot.  It may be fun when you are twenty to play sex-goddess, but when you get past that little right of passage, you know that sexy is all about what is on the inside and what you can inspire in your partner by virtue of your confidence, your sense of humor, and your knowing just what ‘look’ will have them hauling you over their shoulder and rushing you into the bedroom on a Thursday night.

Skeleton Long John Onesie by DadyBones, Etsy

Nightshirt in Lady Blu Print by MaybeBlu, Etsy.

Mondays here at the Fab are all about fashion, the trends, the finds, the accessories, but it is also about being honest about what is really something that can be as simple and easy as a great set of pajamas that makes you feel wonderful, whether you are in a relationship or not. Ask any woman, the best part of her day is when she can finally take off that torture device known as a brassiere, the one with the elastic and wires that has been cutting into her tender flesh since she put it on that morning.

Sophy Romper Jumper Playsuit One Piece Loungerie [Made To Order] by Under The Root, Etsy.

Silk Pyjama Pants With Lace Trim and Elastic Drawstring, NOELLE Sleepwear Range by Sandmaiden Sleepwear, Etsy.

Please check out all of these fabulous looks I stumbled upon on the fabulous and ever changing Etsy, and think about the Valentine’s Day gifts you are planning for your sweetie, your kids, your pets, and your loved ones. Buy them something they would never expect, something practical and lovely at the same time, and believe me, you will be well appreciated for your efforts. Any of these featured items (with links and credits under every picture) would be perfect, and if it is too late for Valentine’s Day, there is always an anniversary, birthday, or holiday coming up that would suit just as nicely as an excuse to spoil your lover.

Nightgown – Valentine Red Supima Cotton Short Gown by Simple Pleasures Sleepwear, Etsy.

Low Rise Wide Leg Cotton Pajama Pant With Cropped Three Quarter Length Sleeve Cotton Knit Pajama Top by Serafina Dreams, Etsy.

No woman (or man for that matter) needs another heart-shaped box of chocolates, wilting bunch of over-priced roses or (*gag*) carnations, or g-d forbid a silly little teddy bear with a heart in it’s hands.  If they sell it at the local convenience store, it is not going to cut it. Instead plan a night of great takeaway food, get a few softly glowing unscented candles, a fabulous bottle of wine (with a real cork in it), and some comfortable clothing to start the night in. Believe me, by the end of the night, you will have forgotten all about that silly lingerie and just be thankful that you took my advice.

Flora Robe in Blue Ombre – Size Medium by Sabine + Sailor, Etsy.

Lingerie – Sarah Flirtatious Ruffled Top & Palazzo  by Simple Pleasures Sleepwear, Etsy.

You may disagree with me, so feel free to comment – I mean obviously someone out there is still buying that binding, lacey, ruffled, frou frou lingerie, it can be a lot of fun and very sexy indeed, there is lots of that to be found on Etsy as well, some from the same vendors I have highlighted here.  But I imagine that more women would admit to secretly desiring a slightly sexy yet comfortable piece of lounge wear, or a soft and light nightie, than a pair of cellulite pinching stay up thigh high stocking and stilettos… in fact, I would bet my blog on it. Have a fabulous Valentine’s Day everyone!

French Kiss Kiss – Sweetness Sundays

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French Macarons Are A Sweet Trend, 4/6/2010. Photo Credit: Tony Bock/Toronto Star

In recent years, there is one sweet patisserie treat that is not only as beautiful to look at as it is to savor, and is also endlessly suitable to personalization. It synonymous with the luxurious life and real culinary credentials, simultaneously attaining an almost iconic image as well as a modern gustatory revolution. The French Macaron is just such a creation, with a deep rooted history, and a modern enthusiastic following at the same time. As early as 2010, they started popping up in my Toronto area bakeshops as something you could pick up on any given shop day. 

LOVE Ceramic Macaron Sachet – Fragrance Object by Hideminy, Etsy.

Valentine Jewelry Macaron Necklace by Miniature Patisserie, Etsy.

This is no easy feat, particularly for what is, when you come right down to it, a sandwich biscuit.  I somehow can’t imagine an Oreo cookie starting such a revolution on the European Continent as the Macaron has in the United States and Canada both, as of late.

Dreamy Macarons Facial Scrubs [2 Pack] by Mrs. Browns Bath Bakery, Etsy.

French Macaron Hand Soap [2 Pack] by JAKEALA, Etsy.

There is just something so fragile and special about a Macaron that cannot be mass produced. It is this fragility, the candy like colours, and the endless combinations that make up the lure of the Macaron. Movies like Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst have given a new spotlight to the over-the-top decadence and girly prettiness of this petite confection.

Blueberry Macarons [Box of 12, Custom Orders Welcome] by Madeline Bake Shop, Etsy.

Parisian Macaron Stand for French Macarons/Cupcakes/Wedding Cake – Peach Cake Stand 16″ by The Roche Studio, Etsy

 
If you look at a well made French Macaron, not to be confused with what North Americans call a Macaroon [a moist coconut based drop cookie], you will see the subtle beauty of the treat.  Put together from two smoothly topped baked round wafers, with a crumbled edge called the foot, these pieces share many of the characteristics of a meringue.  Powdered sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds make up the basic recipe, but endless flavor concentrates and colorings make them absolutely breathtaking to see.

French Macarons – Set Of Three [Felted Merino Wool] by woollyduck, Etsy.

DIY Felt French Macarons [Felt & Instructions For 18 Felt Cookies] by sweet emma jean, Etsy.

 
The exterior wafers of the Macaron have a natural opalescent shimmer over the surface, almost evoking images of fairy wings, and they are soft and moist and melt in the mouth in the most delicate of ways.  I rather predict that the cup-cake craze, while not over, will give way to the pleasures of the Macaron very soon. Similar to cupcakes, the filling, or ‘icing’ between the two wafers can take many forms.  It can be a delicious butter-cream, jam or preserves, or ganache filling.

French Macarons – Pastel Pink 10×10 Size [Home Decor] by Filamento TGS, Etsy.

French Macarons/Macaroons Fine Art Photograph 8×10 Size [Home Decor] by Keri Bevan Photography, Etsy.

While traditional flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry combinations, cutting edge pastry chefs are busy inventing brilliant alternative flavors from the familiarity of lemons to the sublime Matcha green tea flavorings. Whether flavoring the wafers or the filling, they are served in a sandwich mode, with two rounded smooth ‘caps’ with the foot facing the filling, and a thin but ample layer of filling piped or spread in between. 

Macaroon Cakes Upcycled Tea Towel Cushion/Pillow Cover by Emma Mount, Etsy.

French Macarons – Hemp And Organic Cotton Cushion 12×12 by Sarah Smile Design, Etsy.

The popularity of the French Macaron in North America is blossoming, and confectionery shops have windows full of towers of these jewel like biscuits and special long narrow boxes with ribbons, ready for Valentine’s day sales.  French Macaron are a much sexier and cleaner on the fingers ‘eat’ than an icing covered giant cupcake, with just 88 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrate for each delicate and sweet sandwich.  The average small specialty cupcake has 178 calories, 5.3 grams of fat, and a whopping 32.5 grams of carbohydrate in all that over-sweet sticky goodness.

Raspberry And Pistachio Ganache Macaron – Silver Plated Ring [Polymer Clay] by Pink Island, Etsy.

French Macaron Necklace With Eiffel Tower Charm by Plushable, Etsy.

 Macarons have reached epic popularity in France, being offered on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants in that country.  This new status of the french treat is making waves in the fashion world, as well as art, sculpture, and crafting.  Pastel colours are all over the runways, and the garments seem to look as delicious and light as the cookie itself.  There are heaps of photographs of French Macarons, in wild and enticing colours, as well as ‘fake’ props for your home, soaps, toys, and accessories.

Set of 2 Funny Macarons In A Pretty Box – Tea Party OOAK Art Doll Sculpt by Sandra ArteagaA, Etsy.

Sweet Treats Dessert Hand Embroidery Pattern [PDF] by Wild Olive, Etsy.

So much of what we eat, and crave, has to do with what it looks like.  Seeing the sheer volume of jewelry, trinkets, dollhouse sized treats, and non-edibles inspired by the lovely French Macaron, you can see that people have fallen in love with this iconic ‘cookie’, and though they may be a bit complicated for the baking novice to master, they are actually not impossible to make right at home. It takes a bit of practice with the piping bag to get the exterior meringues to shape up perfectly and match in size, but then you have the fun of eating all your ‘mistakes’, which may be the best part.

French Macaron Trinket Box – Mint Green/Pistachio Polymer Clay [Limoges Style] by The Mermaid Articles, Etsy.

Macaron Mercerie Sewing Accessories PDF Pattern [Pin Cushion, Needle Case, Scissors Fob] by Quilting Gems, Etsy.

So grab a great recipe for a French Macaron from a cookbook or the internet, flavor it any way you like, be it pomegranate and orange, or espresso and match tea, and whip up a batch of sweet French Kisses for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Now if I can just sort out a vegan version of this amazing treat. That would be truly fabulous my darlings!

Vanilla Macaron Perfume AMUSE Perfume Oil [Spray or Roll On] by Theme Fragrance, Etsy.

French Macaron Water Transfer Nail Sticker Set by Js Utopia, Etsy.

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.

Cleaning Up With Kindness – Found On A Friday

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SewEco Reusable Snack Bags on Etsy

As a newly born “vegan”, I am looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint, reduce my use of chemicals and natural resources, and still maintain that fabulous air of geek chic that I have cultivated for myself. Sometimes, there are challenges in the way of finding that perfect new time-saving and Eco-friendly object of desire for your home, but luckily, that is not always the case. Here are a few fabulous finds that you can easily put to work in your home and they will make you feel all green and fuzzy all over.

SNACKABY Eco Friendly Dishwasher Safe Reusable Sandwich Bags on Etsy.

The first area where you can make a quick and easy change is swapping out all those plastic sandwich and snack baggies you use in your own, or your children’s lunch kits.  Yes they are convenient, but they cost a fortune and end up in the trash.  There are heaps of options that you can make yourself, or take advantage of the many fabrications and expert touches that can be found on Etsy. Many of these bags can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and certainly in the washing machine, and have well “Serged” edge details that will stand the test of time. Unlike bulky plastic containers that are forever losing their lids, and take up room in a lunch bag or backpack, these collapse flat, and are perfect for smaller snacks like dry cereal or raisins, without offering a challenge to little hands.

Inspired Stitchery Unpaper Towels, Selection Of Colors on Etsy.

Paper Towel is another product many of us are forever buying, and once used, tossing out. Unlike a kitchen cloth, which may harbor bacteria after a single use, a paper towel offers the ease of a clean wipe for window cleaning, and can be used in a variety of ways. So how do you replace something so indispensable? You buy or make yourself some reusable toweling that does the same job but can be washed endlessly, maintaining it’s lint free surface, and absorbency.

Sew Happy Designs by Abby Custom Reusable Cloth Paper Towel Roll With Snaps on Etsy.

Personally, I wash all my lettuce and leafy veggies like kale as soon as I come home from market. I then place the leaves on toweling, and roll it up before placing it in the fridge crisper compartment or a storage bin. This is a huge waste of paper towels, but it makes perfect sense for a re-usable thin toweling that can be used week after week.

Kootsac Reusable Bulk Food and Produce Bags on Etsy.

We have all been a party to the movement to replace plastic and even paper grocery bags with cloth or canvas reusable bags, and many of us have embraced this change. But take it a step further and you can replace a few other shopping bags on your trip.  For instance, if you buy bulk foods, particularly dry goods, nuts, or candy, you are likely forever looking for that roll of plastic bags and twisty ties near the bins. How about using your  very own cute baggies that you can easily stash into those reusable grocery totes.  You can use them over and over, and they won’t add any weight to your scales or garbage to your bins at home.

The High Fiber Reusable Produce Bags on Etsy.

Similarly, you can get yourself some reusable vegetable bags that can go from market, right into the fridge when you are in a hurry. Made of linen or mesh, you can pop these directly into the fridge and not worry about things going mushy in an air-tight plastic bag, and they look really cute too.  Easy wash and stash for your next shopping trip, they are the perfect thing for veggie lovers.

Clean Sypria Wool Dryer Balls by Tara Fletcher-Gibbs on Etsy.

Want to replace your fabric softener and have some fun at the same time? Pick up a handful, a half dozen, or more of these fabulous all natural wool dryer balls. They average about the size of a tennis ball, and can be found in colored or natural tones.  They are safe for handling around the kids, and can be scented with natural oils to impart a yummy scent to your laundry loads.

Moss Creek Wool Works Wool Dryer Balls on Etsy.

They actually do more than just soften your clothes, they draw in moisture to speed your drying process, therefore reducing the amount of energy you use per load. Reducing static naturally, they contain no harsh chemicals, and are safe for your household pets to play with should one roll away. They are especially perfect for drying cloth diapers, and can even do double duty for play when teaching your toddler about colors.

Sew Much Style Reusable Eco Friendly Bowl Covers on Etsy.

My final kitchen miracle worker is one that is equally stylish and very smart, whether you are baking bread or storing leftovers.  Bowl covers have been around for a long time, they usually resembled mini-shower caps, but were still plastic which become greasy and aged poorly over time. When looking for a plastic wrap replacement, or even to foil the aluminum foil trap, using fabric covers is the perfect option. They breath a bit to let out excess gasses and prevent spoilage, but still keep things crisp and fresh.

chez-sucre-chez Bowl & Container Covers Set [Various Sizes & Colors Available] on Etsy.

These are just a few of the great Eco friendly and washable kitchen essentials, and a laundry essential that will save you time, money, and most importantly your conscious when it comes to reducing your environmental impact. They may seem like small things, and maybe they are, but they are just a small part of a bigger trend.  All of these items are produced by hand, made by crafty artisans that believe in their products and are more then happy to work with you to meet your needs. Many will create custom orders just for you, and you can often find very local products made in your own area to reduce your shipping costs too. There is no reason why your kitchen can’t be the center of your new Eco conscious self, just as it it the center of your home.  Fabulously kind and chic items like the ones featured above are not only great for your personal use, but make brilliant gifts for friends and family too. I love finding a reason to blog on Fridays!