Category Archives: Hand Made

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.    
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Imagination Factory – Found On A Friday

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Double Rainbow – Miniature Ceramic Rainbow Factory Duo by PearsonMaron on Etsy.

 Thank goodness it’s Friday, and thank goodness I am feeling more like myself so that I can share today’s Fab find with you all. It’s been a while since I have blogged, about 2 weeks actually. Being sick is never part of ones plans or on the schedule, it happens, often out of the blue, and it forces us to pay attention to our bodies and get better. Sometimes when we are feverish and in that half sleep state, we get wonderful inspirations for work we want to do, unfortunately, we are often too ill to remember to write those ideas down or follow through. Just as well, I suspect some of those feverish great ideas are actually not so great.

Chartreuse Sea Lion with a Toy Top – Ceramic Figurine by PearsonMaron on Etsy.
Rolling Blue Cat Fish – Miniature Ceramic Sculpture on Wheels by PearsonMaron on Etsy.

Today I want to show you some absolutely wonderful and whimsical sculpture work that seems born of that fevered dream state. Not to say that it is exceptionally odd or strange, just that it is quite magical. The “Handmade Curiosities” of PearsonMaron on Etsy are wonderful little bits of inspiration and ingenuity, all wrapped up in a bundle of kitsch.  Colors pop against pure white ceramic backdrops, small creatures come to life with spinning wheels and a healthy dose of whimsy.

A Nuclear Love Story – Miniature Nuclear Cooling Towers With Hearts – Geeky Wedding Cake Toppers – White Ceramic Sculpture by PearsonMaron on Etsy.
Bigfoot Diorama – Limited Edition Ceramic Mini Sculpture by PearsonMaron on Etsy.

Married couple Adam and Quincy together produce a marvelous menagerie of urban legends, sweet and poignant statements, and playful creatures from a blend of ceramics and other mixed media. While they work collaboratively on many items, some are the work on one or the other alone.  The Etsy Shop of PearsonMaron is chock full of an amazing array of items, from Prints and Paintings, Buttons, Magnets, Sculptures and Figurines, Dioramas, and even some Housewares. What that adds up to is a whole lot of wonderful.

Green One Eyed Octopus on Wheels – Mini Sculpture by PearsonMaron on Etsy.
Black Birds On A Wire – Miniature Ceramic Telephone Pole Sculpture by PearsonMaron on Etsy.

Adam and Quincy, who reside in Southern California, have a good thing going on in their Etsy Shop, and it is definitely worth a click on over to check it out. Prices range from just a few dollars for their Pin Back Buttons, to a whole lot more for one of the amazingly detailed sculptural pieces such as the one below. Most of the items featured on this page range from $20.00 to $95.00 USD, so there is a wide range of prices for any budget, whether you are a collector yourself, or looking for a unique gift for a special someone.  Thank goodness I found PearsonMaron on a Friday, and thank goodness I am back in the blogging groove once again.
 

The Astronaut – Space Exploration – Sculpture by PearsonMaron on Etsy.

Small Art Big Love – Found On A Friday

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“Jake The Tortoise” Hand Sewn Brooch, Felt Badge, Tortoise Pin by Jess Quinn.

 Sometimes in my travels I stumble upon something that is so many wonderful things in one shop that I can’t decide upon which day of the week to feature it. That is why I am thankful for Fridays, where anything goes here on the Fab.  When I cam across the Etsy Shop of Jess Quinn, I knew the only place to do her amazing stash justice was to place it in a Friday feature.  Simply called Small Art, Jess’s shop is full of the most fabulous items, from paper goods, cloth dolls, clay creations, felt accessories, original oil paintings, and so much more. If this is Quinn’s idea of ‘small’, I can’t imagine what she considers to be ‘large’. With almost 150 items in her Etsy Shop, I would say there is nothing small about the work of Jess Quinn at all.

The Woodsman – Art Doll, Soft Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Alphabet Fairy – Wood Art Doll – Beatrice by Jess Quinn.
“Higgety Pop” Vintage Altered Art Doll by Jess Quinn.

What is really special about Jess’s Shop is the way she presents her fabulous items.  The photos are precious and engaging, and they make you want to look closer.  She will create a whole tableau of items around her dolls, brooches, and other items, often using dollhouse furniture or toys that not only add a sense of playful whimsy, but also indicate the scale of items for sale. 

Easter Bunny Hair Band/Fascinator – Pink Felt Bunny Rabbit by Jess Quinn.
Spring Bib Necklace, Fabric Pink Clown – Blue Pom Poms – Embroidered Textile by Jess Quinn.
Little Indian Head Dress, Dressing Up, Head Band – Native American by Jess Quinn.

The little [ and big ] pops of colour against a white background are perfectly styled. Her accessories are often worn by adorable kiddies with naturally silly smiles or honest pouts, and her paper goods and artwork are presented in the perfect lighting to make them appear as magical as you know that they are.

“Isabelle” Girl In A Yellow Dress – Illustrated Greeting Card by Jess Quinn.
“Girl With Apples” Illustrated Greeting Card, Printed Drawing, Black & White by Jess Quinn.
“Knitting Queen” Illustrated Greetings Card, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

Items in Jess Quinn‘s shop range in price from less than $2.00 USD to just over $200.00 USD. That means there is something  for every budget and every taste.  Shipping from Bristol, England in the UK, shipping cost are excessively reasonable. The cards are frame-able art, the dolls enchanting, the brooches would make brilliant gifts, and the accessories are instant one-of-a-kind treasures.

“Bitsy Boo” Fabric Art Doll, Red Felt, Little Girl, Linen Cloth Doll by Jess Quinn.
“Miko & Molly” Hanging Fabric Decoration, Printed Cotton Sweethearts, Vintage Silk by Jess Quinn.
Cloth Art Doll, Soft Sculpture, Textile, Square Clown Blue by Jess Quinn.

Jess takes great care when describing her items, often including little anecdotes about their inspirations, the materials used, and the dimension of the items.  All essential information when you are buying handmade goods online. I have to commend her on her presentation style, her shop feels intimate and you get the distinct impression that you are getting a peek ‘behind the curtain’.

“Miss Bird” Clay Brooch, Circus Pin – Hand Painted Small Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Clown Art Doll, Clay – Textile, Felt Fabric, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
Clay Brooch, Wearable Art, Hand Painted Pin – Green, Lettuce by Jess Quinn.

Jess has divided her shop into specific categories of items, so I decided to present a few of examples of her work that reside under each category heading so you can get a good idea of the range of whimsical items she offers.  As always, I showcase items that tend to appeal to my taste, but there is so much more to be discovered in Jess’s Small Art shop. Jess herself calls her items Unique Artworks and Original Gifts, I would stress the unique, I haven’t seen anything quite so fantastically outside of the box in my recent travels.

“Clown Miko” Felt Brooch, Pillow Pin Portrait, Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.
“Bunnyhoot” Small Art Doll, Purple Felt Brooch, Plush Forest Creature by Jess Quinn.
“Matilda Mouse” Felt Brooch – White Mouse Bow Tie Pin, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

You really must take a closer look at the work of this Art School graduate and mother of three, who says she comes from a family of ‘makers’. I rather like that statement, I can identify with it completely. For more information on her captivating work, you can also swing by her Blog and check out what Jess is currently up to. You might also like to know that Jess is offering a “Free Shipping” code until March 11th, 2012 and that currently she is having a small Spring Clean Sale on selected items in her shop, as if you needed more reason to head over and check it out. It may be Small Art, but I have big love for it. [In particular, that “Jake The Tortoise” Brooch at the top of the post, how incredibly sweet it is!]

Small Oil Painting on Canvas, “Sisters” by Jess Quinn.
“Infanta Margarita in Moonlight”, Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.
“Mary” Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.

Links:
Small Art – Etsy Shop
Jess Quinn’s Etsy Profile
Jess Quinn’s Blog

“Tom & Nancy” Wooden Art Dolls, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
“Lulu” Wooden Brooch, Wearable Art – Hand Painted Pin by Jess Quinn.
“Eric” Wooden Badge, Hand Painted Pin – Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.

Note: All Designs and Images are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of Jessica Quinn and QUINN. No infringement is intended. Please contact Jess Quinn directly with inquiries about her work. Follow the links provided under each image in this post  for further information about the items featured in the post, including price, payment options, availability, and shipping information. 

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.

Pop Quiz: Spot The Tiny Treasures – Teeny Tiny Tuesdays

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 As part of my daily routine, particularly since starting up this blog, I browse through the newly listed items on Etsy to see what new treasures catch my eye and may end up in a future blog post.  Normally, I respond to the images I see immediately, and am pretty sure what I am looking at. But today, I got ‘taken’ so to speak. I thought I was looking at a shabby chic cottage style desk, but when I actually read further into the listing, I realized I was in fact looking at a miniature. I admit it, I was totally fooled, this miniature desk looked so perfect and so real, it was hard to believe it could fit in the palm of my hand. Since today is ‘Teeny Tiny‘ day on the Fab, I thought it would be the perfect day to spring a little pop-quiz on all my fellow tiny fans.

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Throughout this post, you will find 12 images of great Shabby Chic Furniture. The kicker — wait for it — only some of them are doll house miniatures, others are full size people home decor.  You get to give it your best shot, get out a post-it note or piece of scrap paper, and make your guesses. The images are all numbered, 1-12, so scribble down which are “SO TINY” and which items are “NO TINY“.  Then head to the end of the post for full item credits and links to these fabulous Etsy shops, and the list of answers. Challenge your friends, see if they can spot the itty bitty treasures that are so great, they look just as ‘real’ as their full sized counterparts. Ready, steady, GO!

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Here are the fabulous details about all of these items, the truly tiny for your doll house and the truly Shabby Chic for your home. If you want to see how you did on the quiz, the answer code is tucked just below this list.  If you want to share your scores, feel free to do so in the comments, I would love to know if anyone else got ‘taken’ by something tiny today. Happy Tuesday!

  1. Distressed Wood Shelves – Shabby Chic by Paula, Pollygots on Etsy
  2. Dollhouse Shabby Chic Painted Wooden SIDE TABLE Miniature Furniture 12th Scale by Ladies Mile Miniatures on Etsy.
  3. Chicken Wire Kitchen Cabinet – Rustic Miniature by House of Artistique on Etsy.
  4. White Washed Cabinet by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  5. One Inch Scale Narrow Chest of Drawers by Storybook Miniatures on Etsy.
  6. Shabby Chic 32 Inch Bench – Furniture by Dale, Dales Wood and More on Etsy.
  7. Dollhouse Miniature Coffee Table – Shabby Chic by Denise, Deesware Miniatures on Etsy.
  8. Cabinet 1:12 Scale Shabby Chic Style by Marta, MartaPellise on Etsy.
  9. Lazy Couch, To Go With The Lazy Chair by Dienke Cazemier, Bell Jar Mini on Etsy.
  10. Doll Dining Table and 4 Chairs Set in 1/6 Scale, Shabby Chic (Blythe, Barbie, Bratz, Momoko) by buildingIDEA on Etsy.
  11. Wood Wall Vase Shelf Key Hook Shabby Chic Distressed Wood by Michael Hutton, Twigs2Whirligigs on Etsy.
  12. Shabby Chic White Wood Wall Shelf With Peg Hooks by ShabbyNChic on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 21/2012 – Pop Quiz: Answer Key, Foraging For Fab.

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.

No Strings Attached – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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Hand Puppet – Jack (Rabbit) by Nicole Ponce, Ponster on Etsy.

I have a very long and somewhat bizarre history with hand puppets. I find them to be a very interesting form of art, but there is something almost creepy about them, and sometimes I find them a little bit off putting, I am not sure why.  It really depends on the individual puppets, and who is making them speak. Perhaps that is why they make the perfect subject of today’s Strange Stuff Saturdays post. 

EMMETT Hand Puppet by Megan, Furry Guys on Etsy.
Henry the Hand Puppet Made of 100% Recycled Wool by Margaret Nathon, The Creative Frog on Etsy.

Hand Puppet – Dog – Pink by iasio on Etsy.

In my earliest recollections, I know that I watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on television, perhaps it was the mid-seventies. I was just a little girl, and children’s television was a new genre.  I remember when Mr. Rogers would transition into the land of make-believe by following that little trolley car, there were the creepiest looking puppets in this “make believe” land. Even as a child I knew it wasn’t really a dream state, it was just that dude Mr. Rogers in another part of the studio, talking to a bunch of creepy puppets.  I was particularly weirded out by King Friday. I have no idea why, but I knew his voice was the same as Mr. Rogers.

Forget-Me-Not, A Bunny Handpuppet by clothmoth on Etsy.
Gorgeous Hand Felted Puppet ‘Donkey 1’ by Gladys Paulus on Etsy.
Troll Hand Puppet of 3 Billy Goats Gruff by Mary-Ellen O’Neil, at Meoneil on Etsy.

At the same time, Sesame Street was taking off in popularity. I found those puppets, a version of hand puppet, to be really adorable, and I was always trying to figure out how they were controlled. I understood that they were puppets, but I often got lost in the magic, since the voices seemed so original and the characters were all very well defined. They didn’t bother me at all, and to this day I love Muppets in all forms.

Fairy Godmother Puppet by Jessica MacLean, Geeky and Cheeky on Etsy.
Roofus Dog Hand Puppet or Ventriloquist Puppet Custom Order by Bob Wolanin, Bob’s Imagination on Etsy.

Handmade Large Green Octopus Hand Puppet by Mike Artelle, Artelle Puppets on Etsy.

My mother was always very crafty, and we did several projects that involved making puppets.  We used wooden spoons to make a very simple puppet with a face on the spoon end, wrapped up in a tea towel. I remember her buying “DAS“, which was one of the first commercial clay products for home use. It would air dry to a solid but light finish, and then you could paint it. My mother had us all make “Clown Heads” out of DAS, with small plastic eyes and mouths you could stick right into the clay before it dried. We then painted them, and she actually sewed up a bunch of tiny clown costumes for the puppets. It was a bit creepy, but still a fun activity. You can apparently still buy DAS. Who knew.

Klotild, The Witch – Handpuppet by Agnes Abraham, AgneShop on Etsy.
Hedgehog Glove Puppet by Ruta Staseviciute, rstaseviciute on Etsy.
Figgy The Upcycled Bird Puppet by Amy Hofacker, Funamals on Etsy.

For one of my siblings birthday parties, my mother decided that my twin sister and I should provide the entertainment, in the form of a puppet show. I don’t remember what the story was, perhaps it was “The Frog Prince”, but my father built a huge puppet theater for us to stand behind and work our magic, I can’t imagine it being a very successful show for an audience of children no older than 5 years. 

Subhadra Puppet by Leslie Howard, Govinda’s Peace Farm on Etsy.
Bird Eco-Puppet Made With Upcycled and Post Consumer Waste, Handmade Felt by Natasha Henderson, HendersonArt on Etsy.
Yellow Monster Hand Puppet or Ventriloquist Puppet (BigOOdle 49cm) by PuppetOOdle on Etsy.

So here we are, I have a mixed bag of childhood memories involving hand puppets. Some good, some weird, and some just strange.  So I decided to take a look about Etsy to see if anyone had some great hand puppets, made by hand, that I could share with you and thus redeem myself from ‘puppet ambiguity’ in decades past.  I was surprised at just how much I loved looking at these charming and odd puppets, they just look like a whole lot of fun. I could see them being used to make up some silly and fun stories with children and family members, or perhaps used in a classroom setting.  I could also see a drama department at a local high-school going crazy for some of these puppets, I can only imagine how insane that puppet show would be. Some of these sweeties would just be fun to use for play.

Hand Puppet Large Aqua Blue Monster with Moving Mouth by Sarah, OnHandByHand on Etsy.
Bitsy The Rug Monster Hand Puppet – Promises Not To Bite by Anne M. Thorson, THE PUPPET REGIME on Etsy.
Sarah the Foamie Puppet by Sharona Reouveni, Raisinlike on Etsy.

However you see yourself using hand puppets, if in fact you can see it, I just had to show you some of these amazing Etsy finds.  If for no other reason than to make you smile, you need to check out these amazing puppet makers. This is just the smallest collection of puppets, there are many more to be discovered at these and other Etsy shops, so take a wander over with the links provided under the images and take a little look-see at what other marvelously strange and wonderful puppets you can literally get your hands on, and in, as the case may be. Call me a puppet convert, I just can’t help but love this crazy band of characters.

Pukeko Hand Puppet by Sara L Johnston, NZ Creatively Crafted on Etsy.
Hand Puppet Awesome Cute and OOAK Green Creature From The Blackberry Bush with A Sweet Little Violet Cloak by Holle La Luna, Priestess Design on Etsy.
Deborah The Trophy Wife – A Sock Zombie Puppet with Pink Hair and Aqua Eyes by Erin Glaser, Underroos on Etsy.

NOTE: All images and products in the post are the intellectual property and copyright of the individual artists and Etsy stores indicated. No infringement is intended. Please follow the link under each image for more information on each puppet, including price, availability, and shipping rates.

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.

Sweetness That Lingers On Your Fingers – Sweetness Sundays

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Vanilla Mint Mousse All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

  Today’s sweet post is achingly tempting to look at, these images look good enough to eat. If I told you I had a big thick bar of wonderful handmade chocolate – you’d be drooling – if I added the word “soap“, you would look at me as if I was insane. Maybe I am a little insane, but luckily that is not the topic of this blog post, today it all about the amazingly beautiful art of handmade soap.  Often made with the most pure and natural of ingredients and scented in any number of combination, these stunning blocks of bliss are all about getting hands on. 

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by SV Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Vanilla Soap Vegan Cold Processed Butter Blend Handmade Olive Oil Shea Butter Romantic Cottage Style by A Breath Of French Air on Etsy.
Gardenia and Fresh Honey Handmade Soap UK by Soap Dragon on Etsy.
1 Bar of All Natural Blushing Jasmine Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by Ocracoke Soap Company on Etsy.
Anise (Licorice) Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Maple Pecan Streusel Soap – Sweet Vanilla, Warm Syrup, Southern Pecan by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.

We live in a suddenly germ phobic society. We have managed to add “antibacterial” ingredients to just about every home product, from dish soap to all purpose cleaners. Do you actually know what constitutes that “antibacterial” property? You guessed it, it a bunch of harsh chemicals kids! As a nurse, I actually had to study how to properly and safely wash my hands, and I can tell you, the most important part of hand washing is not the chemicals in the soap, it is the length of time you spend lathering and the friction of rubbing the bacteria and dirt from your hands.

Lemongrass Mint Essential Oil Soap / Cold Process Handmade Soap Bar / Chunky by barebare all natural on Etsy.
Sweet Red Clover Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Sweet Grapefruit Vegan Soap by Gold Creek Soap on Etsy.
Japanese Peppermint Soap – Handmade Shea Butter Vegan – Perfectly Pink for Valentine’s Day by Kreated by Karina on Etsy.
Sweet Summer Rose Soap Bar – 5 oz. by Gourmet Soaps on Etsy.
Handmade Soap – Brown Sugar & Fig – Wild Figs, Maple Sugar, Musk (Cold Process Soap) by Petals Bath Boutique on Etsy.

It doesn’t matter how much antibacterial soap you use, if you have handled the taps and and door knobs with dirty hands, and you don’t spend enough time scrubbing your hands, drying them, and touch only ‘clean’ surfaces after washing, you are just wasting your money and throwing a pile of chemicals down the pipes into our water system.

Green Apple Handmade Soap by Pink Parchment Soaps on Etsy.
GINGER SOUFFLE Scented, Natural Vegan and Handmade Glycerine Soap with ALOE Vera by Olivia Morgana on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap, Sweet Almond Cookie, 5 oz. Scrub Bar with Rolled Oats and Almond Oil, Handmade Herbal Soap by Hammer and Coil on Etsy.
Sweet Oranges and Cinnamon Spice Handmade Cold Process Soap by Dogwood Rose Studio on Etsy.
Pomegranate Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Groovy Garden Cold Process Soap – Palmarosa, Patchouli, & Sweet Orange Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.

I don’t use antibacterials in my home, it is a conscious decision. I am not interested in adding any more chemicals to my life or the ecosystem.  Not only that, but I have done my own research into the issue, and even the FDA has acknowledged that the use of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers has not been linked to any sign of a decline in infection rates among it’s users, not any statistically significant shift in all the years since it’s proliferation. Not one bit of evidence suggests that using an antibacterial soap will make you any less likely to become ill or shorten an illness period. In fact, many anecdotal studies suggest that the perceived benefits of antibacterials and hand sanitizers actual has led to less effective hand washing.

Sticky Sweet Caramel Soap – Caramel Apple Scent by AJSweetSoap on Etsy.
Sweet Orange and Vanilla Soap by Annie and Elmo on Etsy.
Apple Cider Soap – Eden’s Allure Handmade Soap – Juicy Apples and Sweet Spices Scented Soap by Body Language Soaps on Etsy.
Lime and Herb Handmade Soap with Shea Butter by Hidden Blessings on Etsy.
Satsuma – Japanese Mandarin Handmade Goat’s Milk And Shea Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Rhiannon, Handmade Soap – Lavender, Bergamot, & Lemon – Cold Process, Essential Oil Bar (Natural, Vegan) by Sacred Suds on Etsy.

If you wash your hands before meals and as needed, and you do it properly, you will have an edge over any anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soap sold in the grocery store.  We are more likely to pass on infections if we put our faith in a bottle of soap as opposed to the common sense that says to slow down, do the job right and well the first time. Our grandparents used the most basic of soaps, many times simple glycerin soaps, and they were often much healthier than we are. We seem a society intent on creating super-bugs, germs that can foil our most basic cleansers and bacteria that make antibiotics useless for those who desperately need them to work.

Soap – Sweet Orange Salt Bar Circle Bar – All Natural Glycerin Soap by Sunbasilgarden Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Indulgence Soap – Made With Shea Butter and Sweet Natural Chocolate Valentines Day Gift by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.
Cranberry Orange – Handmade Goat Milk and Cocoa Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Sweet Lemon Cream Soap Handmade Cold Process, Vegan Friendly by Blushie on Etsy.
Sea Salt Caramels Handmade Cold Process Soap – Soap Bar by Lippincott Soap Co. on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Soap Handmade Soap by Comfort and Joy Soap Co. on Etsy.

So back to these beautiful bars of soap, and a simple question, why buy the bottled soaps that all contain chemicals for fragrance, bacteria reduction, and color, when you can  buy a gorgeous bar of Eco-friendly soap in a color or fragrance that is naturally lovely, and does the job just as well, if not better.  Washing your hands becomes a pleasurable experience when you slow down, roll the bar in your hands, develop a bit of a lather and that lovely scent begins to build.

Sweet Orange Patchouli Soap by Body Luminosity on Etsy.
Green Tea Citrus – Handmade Soap by Dirty Deeds Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Dream Handmade Soap with Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, and Goats Milk by EcoSations on Etsy.
Fresh Orange and Papaya Clear Glycerine Soap, Luxury, Delicate Feminine Fruity Sweet Fresh – Yellow Perfect Gift by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
All Natural And Vegan Sweet Orange Clove Soap, Two 5oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.

Whether it is the lightest of vanillas, or a rich patchouli, a citrus twist or a floral bouquet, you can find a handcrafted bar of soap to match your personal tastes. Perfume does go “off”, the alcohol it it turns, and you may be wasting your money by spending a fortune on a scent you rarely wear. Using a naturally scented soap will leave a lovely scent on your skin or body, and it will linger in that gentle way that good fragrance should. People that get close may notice it, they may wonder what smells so wonderful and can’t pin it down, and they may begin to associate that scent with you and you alone. Not a scent lover? There are also plenty of unscented all natural bars available too.

Almond Marzipan Poppy Seeds Goats Milk Glycerin Soap, Scrub Peeling Moisture – For Him or Her by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
Creamy Pear Handmade Vegan Soap Large Bar by Crown of Rue on Etsy.
Goat’s Milk Oatmeal and Honey Cold Process Soap with Shea Butter – Sale Benefits the SweetBea Fund by Lake House Soapworks on Etsy.
100& Natural Orange Honey Blossom Soap Bar – 5oz. Organic & Fair Trade by ZABANA ESSENTIALS on Etsy.
Sweet Honeysuckle – Shea Butter Handmade Soap by Loves Lather on Etsy.
Hot Process Apple Sauce Soap – Old Fashioned Sweet Apple Cinnamon Hot Process Soap Super Sudsy by Soap For Your Soul on Etsy.

If you have been scrolling through these amazingly gorgeous photos of some of the most appetizingly sweet bars of soap, you might like to know that not only are these soaps gentle to the environment, but gentle to your body. Some are organic, others are vegan friendly, but whatever your reasons for buying handmade soap might be, never allow the perceived cost to hold you back. Most of these bars are priced around the $5 USD per/bar range, depending on the ingredients and the size of the bar.  It works out to about $1 per oz. of handcrafted soap, there are few artisan goods that are this affordable in price. You can sometimes get bars for much less if you purchase a sampler or multiple bars at a time.  Find a vendor that is located close to you, in the geographic sense, and you will not only save on shipping, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Sandalwood Vanilla Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Papaya Handmade Shampoo Bar, Vegan by Sweets N Things on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Goats Milk Soap by Country Soaps By Marlene on Etsy.
Lavender Oat Face & Body Bar (100% Organic Oils.Butters) by StoLat Organics on Etsy
Coffee Soap – Kitchen Soap – Exfoliation Soap – Cold Process by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Canela & Vanilla Cream – Cinnamon – Goat’s Milk Soap by Five Sisters Soap Company on Etsy.

These soaps would make the most welcome of home-warming gifts, and there is nothing better to give a new parent who has their hands on the delicate skin of a new baby all day and night, or to a friend who is under the weather.  These soaps are great gifts for teachers, friends, and the people you love. Everybody needs to wash their hands, this is not just a ‘girl’ thing, men deserve fresh smelling natural soaps too.

Mango Shea Butter Soap by So Stinking Sweet on Etsy.
Orange Cream Cold Press Soap – Warm & Sweet – 100% Natural by Get Clean on Etsy.
Honey Almond (EO) Handmade Soap 4oz. Bar by FB Essentials on Etsy.
Peach – Handmade Cold Process Soap by DECA Candle and Bath on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Scented Organic Cold Process All Natural Soap by Rustico Natural on Etsy.

If you have a fragrance free workplace, and can’t wear perfume, it can be hard to find unscented soaps and shampoo. Many of these artisans offer unscented natural bars that are lovely to look at and use, but so very gentle to the skin with only the scent of the body friendly ingredients left behind. If you knit, sew, or crochet, thing of how often your hands touch those delicate wools and fabrics, wouldn’t you rather have a mild and natural scent on your fingers when you work on something so precious for someone equally precious?

Grapefruit & Marzipan Handmade Soap (One Bar) by Chemical Teatime on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap “Monkey Bars” Handmade Cold Process (Banana, Strawberry, Kiwi, & More!) by Moeggenborg Sugar Bush on Etsy.
Sugared Almond Exfoliating Handmade Soap by Silver Maple Soaps on Etsy.
Miss Maple – Organic Maple Syrup / Soft Golden Sugar Soap Handmade, Natural – Plus Beautiful Postcard by Soapstar Canada on Etsy.

Sweet Cherry Almond Oatmeal Handmade Soap by Pegasus Soaps on Etsy.

 Treat yourself to a bar of handmade soap today, there is no reason to wait. Pick one that is appealing to the eye as well as the nose, and don’t be afraid to give up the “anti-bacterial” chemical soap.  The only people who need to use harsh chemicals to clean their hands are surgeons and other healthcare workers when they are AT WORK.  Even this nurse will tell you that once I walk into my home after work, the last thing I want to see is yet another bottle of harsh soap.  Give me a bar of gentle soft butter smooth soap that makes me remember I am a person whose hands do more than perform various procedures, give me a scent that makes me smile with pleasure, the simple pleasure that we all deserve to enjoy. Grab yourself a bar or two of lovely handmade soap and be sweet to yourself, your family, and mother earth.

NY Black and White Snickerdoodle All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

All-Natural Sweet Tea And Honey Soap, Two 5 oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.
Spice Cake – Clove, Cassia & Sweet Orange Cold Process Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap Bar – Spice Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Cold Process Soap – One 4-5 Ounce Body Bar by Long Leaf Soaps on Etsy.
Yellow Mandarin, Sweet Orange Peel and White Peach – All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.