OK...let's do this!
First up is Twisted Metals shop on Etsy. Based in Charlotte, NC, Twisted Metals is the home of The Original Spoon Fish Windchimes. At this point, you may be (understandably) asking yourself...what the hell is a spoon fish windchime? Let me give you a visual.
Next is CanCraftsHeaven on Etsy. To understand how I discovered this amazing talent down in Puerto Rico, you first have to know that Neal's former commander in Iraq is also a director at Coca-Cola in Atlanta. In September, she retired from the Army and we were fortunate enough to be in town for her retirement ceremony. I picked this up as an add-on to her gift because she loves Coca-Cola. No, I mean she loves it . She won't eat at a restaurant that serves Pepsi products. If we are entertaining her, we call ahead to make sure they serve Coca-Cola only. And every time I stumble upon a Coca-Cola machine with the woodgrain front and the credit-card sized push buttons lined up across the top, I email her a picture. When Blue was born, she brought over a gift basket of Coca-Cola items. And it was no ordinary gift basket.
Our next Etsy artist helped me create the most adorable sippy cups for my favorite twins living outside of The Windy City. She specializes in Mickey Mouse designs with Disney writing. And to be very honest, she nails it. GavinandEmma on Etsy only offers 3 items: Mickey/Minnie Mouse sippy cups, Mr. and Mrs. wine glasses, and a set of shabby chic hair clips, but what she does, she does well. This is an example of the sippy cups:
BellaTara on Etsy is next up and they offer customized printed burlap that arrives ready to frame. I realize that Pinterest is brimming over with how-to-print-on-burlap pins, but honestly, it's worth it to me to pay the $18 and receive this in the mail a week later:
Perhaps one of my favorite Etsy artists to work with has been Cheralyn at CheralynsWoodworks out of Virginia. Last Christmas, I started craving tiny tokens to represent each duty station. We had been collecting linen dish towels with the maps of each state embroidered across the front, but I needed something for the Christmas tree. Enter Cheralyn and her woodworking studio where she made this:
Representing our 3 duty stations so far: Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky, with a tiny heart carved in the geographical location where we lived, I simply adore these bird's eye maple ornaments. If we hadn't returned "home" for 3 years, I would order another one this Christmas. But one Kentucky is more than enough on the Miller tree. Cheralyn is so easy to work with and is extremely accommodating. If you want to show some hometown pride this Christmas, I suggest you look her up.
There is something heartwarming about receiving a thank you card in the mail. Just a note of appreciation and perhaps a mention of how they are liking the gift I sent...that's all I ask for in this world. Likewise, it makes me a bit bananas when people (especially adults) just blow them off. Emily Post says Get thee to a stationary store and purchase some thank you cards. But stop texting, emailing or ignoring your thank yous. And perhaps you've never noticed, but people will like you more if you send thank you cards. You get invited to more things and you generally receive more stuff. Like at Christmas. Oh, speaking of which, how adorable are these thank you cards from Owlalwaysloveuprints? (She started out on Etsy but it looks like she has moved onto her own website. Way to go! Woot!)
Lastly, Kelsey at Antsy Pants on Etsy took great care of me last year as I scurried about searching for a holiday outfit for Blue. I discovered her shop and the most adorable onesie ever. This is the precious babe featured on her listing:
I could go on, but then everyone would know what they are getting for Christmas this year. So I'll have to feature those stores next year. I hope that your Black Friday was productive, but I hope Small Business Saturday receives the lion's share of your shopping this year. There are so many talented craftspeople and artisans out there....and not a single one of them sells their goods through Walmart.
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend, gobblers! I've eaten almost an entire pecan pie in the past 3 days. But my Fitbit says I've earned my helicopter badge, so maybe it will all even out in the end.