Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday: My Etsy Crushes

It's 10:40 PM on Black Friday so, technically, you still have plenty of time to read this and cash on the excellent advice during Small Business Saturday. And if you have crushes to add, please do so in the comments. Most of my Etsy shopping is for supplies so I know I'm just barely putting a scratch in the scratch of the surface of Etsy (or otherwise local) artist awesome.

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.
The fish are made from antique silverware, dating back to 1786! However, the entire piece is created using upcycled materials. The wooden boat is actually natural driftwood from the depths of Tennessee's lake Watauga. I purchased these singing, playful fish for Neal in celebration of our 7th wedding anniversary this year. The 7th anniversary, which is copper (although I tried like the devil to convince him it was diamonds), is a tough one for gift-giving. After sifting through dozens of customized wallet cards and men's jewelry, I decided this was the ideal gift for us. On a breezy day, the chimes are nothing short of enchanting to Blue and they add the perfect amount of whimsy to our tiny backyard oasis. Purchasing from Nevastarr was flawless and within a week, I had our very own set of original spoon fish windchimes. I think they are on to something.

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.
That bear is still bigger than him. So what do you get the woman who buys your newborn a bucket, a bear, a bottle, and a boatload of clothes bearing the Coca-Cola logo on them?
A Coca-Cola Army jeep ornament, of course! Yvonne took great care of me as I had this little brainstorm about a week before her ceremony. I contacted Yvonne and she promised I would have it in time. About 4 days later, I was holding this hot little beauty in my hand! Yvonne only uses recycled cans for her crafts so there may be a scratch here or a dent there, but I prefer that in my upcycled purchases. Imperfection is not the gold standard. Yvonne's prices are absolutely reasonable and she has so many designs from which to choose. And don't tell Neal's commander, but she uses Pepsi cans, too. Ssshhhhh!! She's an equal opportunity upcycler.

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:
I know...I just die. And, per your request, she will add a bow on Minnie's head, free of charge. The cups come in a variety of colors and you have several color choices for the name, as well. The shopowner says they are dishwasher safe, but me and my OCD tendencies would probably still hand-wash it. But not everyone is as ridiculous as I am. And here's a tiny hint: sippy cups come into play sometime around the 1st birthday, just in case you have someone on your Christmas list who fits that description.

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:
This is just one of the many designs she can print using your last name, address, wedding anniversary, or favorite phrase. I purchased this print as a housewarming gift for a dear friend. Heads up though, this print is intended for a 8 x 10 frame and trying to ship an 8 x 10 frame safely is an enormous pain in the hippocaboose. It's worth it to throw in a $10 Michael's gift card so they can buy the frame once the print arrives.

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:
 and this...
 and 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!)
We had 3 owls instead of 4 and I requested a mama, a daddy, and one baby. These were such a hit last year that I'm tempted to use them again this year. The file is purchased and emailed to you in a PDF format. It is then ready for you to print at your local office supply store or on your own color printer. They are postcard size but can be written on both sides. Now that is something to be thankful for!

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:
and this is how Blue rocked it last New Year's Eve:
(We have a rule in our house that pants are optional after 4 PM.) I crushed on this outfit so hard and for so long last December, that I'm tempted to purchase the 2T t-shirt size for this year. Not that I dress Blue to get attention from the ladies (because, let's face it, sometimes he goes out with Daddy and we don't need too much ogling of the Miller boys going on), but he got tons of compliments on these duds.

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.


  1. You didn't mention my favorite small business - Daisy and Elm - when the proprietress makes wonderful jewelry at very reasonable prices, and with good service. I bought a pair of great, custom bracelets that i get compliments on every time I wear them! Definitely a keeper.

    May the orders be with you!

  2. Great is good to be reminded of Etsy as a source for holiday gifts. Thanks!


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