PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

handmade delights

I have to admit I’ve been a bit slow to appreciate the appeal of buying handmade, mostly because I’m usually guilty of seeing something and thinking “I could make that!” Well, yes, I probably could, given many hours/weeks/months of time, learning a new skill, and investing in new equipment and tools to do it properly… Now I’ve started to actually buy beautiful things that have been individually made by talented people, I can appreciate them for the lovely treat they are, instead of feeling like I have to challenge myself to make everything.

Of course, receiving a handmade gift is even more of a pleasure! I’ve been absolutely spoiled recently by some of my best crafty-blogger friends. Just look at this gorgeous grey-blue shrug that Kari (Crafty Ginger) made for me. It’s so beautifully knitted – a skill I have never picked up – fits me perfectly, and I just love the colour:

knitted shrug by crafty ginger

Kari also spoiled me with lots of other treats too, but they were dispersed before I thought to take a picture. Thank you, Kari – I love everything!

Alice (futuregirl) sent me a huge pile of lovely origami papers to use – I can definitely make good use of those for Folding Trees! But, even better, she sent me a handmade by futuregirl Birdcage Handbag! It is just beautiful. Alice is currently in the process of writing up the patterns for some of her bags, so head over to the futuregirl craft blog soon if you’d like to make one for yourself. In the meantime, take a look at mine:

crocheted handbag by futuregirl
Sorry for the strange angle of this pic – I was trying to show the embroidered birdcage on the front AND the bird fabric lining on the inside!

Thank you, Alice – I shall treasure my bag!

I’ve also been doing a bit of shopping on Etsy and ArtFire. As a buyer, both were easy to use, although if a seller has a store at both venues, I’m choosing ArtFire, because I know the artisan won’t be paying commission fees on my purchase that way! I thought I’d put together a little showcase of things I’ve bought and would recommend if you’re looking for gifts or to treat yourself. In no particular order:

I have been intending to commission a portrait of Maui from ArtFire seller Christy DeKoning for a year, but I was having difficulty selecting the perfect source photos (difficult choice with such a photogenic cat… yes, I know I’m biased!). I’m so glad I finally made my mind up… Christy has painted the most adorable little watercolour for me, and she also e-mailed me a proof and was happy to correct the one little line that originally didn’t look quite like my boy (now it’s perfect). Christy also documented the process on her own blog (update: no longer online) – wow! The result is a beautiful work of art:

original watercolour painting by christy dekoning

This adorable carved wooden chickadee comes from Etsy seller and talented artist Sandra Healy. Sandra has a huge range of over 270 species of wild animals and birds, and she individually carves and paints each one. If you like animals, you really must check out her store. Here’s my darling chickadee:

handmade wooden chickadee by sandra healy

I bought this beautiful polymer clay covered crochet hook from Etsy seller Jenn Edwards, aka The Fanciful Feline. Jenn also sells polymer clay beads and more in her store. Jenn has taken my favourite type of hook (Susan Bates) and added a comfortable smooth handle complete with floating flowers and intricately caned butterflies. It’s my new favourite hook:

handmade crochet hook by the fanciful feline

Lip balm is one of my vices – I never wear lipstick, but you’ll never find me without my trusty lip balm. ArtFire seller Bohemian Rose (update: now Barefoot Hippie) makes handmade soaps and sugar scrubs, and also has a lovely range of deliciously scented lip balms. If you feel in need of a delicious little treat to pamper yourself, check out her store. I picked up her Pele lip balm, which is a yummy fruity pineapple flavour, and a steal at only $5 for two balms (I also chose the Cuticle Balm – much more convenient than a bottle of moisturiser for those emergency dry cuticle situations):

handmade lipbalm by bohemian rose

I hope I’ve inspired you to look into buying handmade items for yourself and your friends and family. You can find beautiful, original, high quality handcrafted merchandise from forums such as ArtFire.com and Etsy.com, and the knowledge that you are directly helping to support the artist/artisan will give you that warm glow that you just don’t get from a trip to the mall. Long live handmade!

9 Comments »

  1. Awesome finds!! I used to make & sell vegan lip balm on etsy, but ran out of time!

  2. zakka life said

    I actually let out a gasp when I saw that crochet hook. very pretty

  3. Cocoa said

    Yay! I too have been reluctant to buy handmade for the same reasons…but being another handmade online shop-owner, I also know how important those sales are! So, I’ve started buying handmade online, too! And I also love artfire! I just started my shops there, but I’m super excited that the venue is getting more exposure because I do think it’s a better deal for the seller. And hey, if you have a minute, feel free to pop in and check out my shops! (shameless self-promotion here!) http://cocoacatspetboutique.artfire.com and http://cocoacreamcrochet.artfire.com

  4. linda p said

    you finally convinved me to order some of those hooks (i’ve been admiring for a LONG time!). i hope they are nice to crochet with, I’ll take your word (I’m especially excited about the teeny steel ones).

    thanks for the roundup. a lot of times people ask if i made something and i reply “no, but xyz did. i like to make things, but i like to support other makers too.” i don’t need to be an expert at everything (even though sometimes i try!) and it’s so nice to help someone else do what they love.

  5. puglette said

    Hi June! Thanks for the links to some great stuff. I have looked at those crochet hooks before and wondered it the handle was bulky or if the edge would make my hand hurt. I love Maui’s portrait, such a cute kitty. I may have to see if she can paint pugs!
    hugs,
    puglette

  6. Robyn said

    Love everything! Everything is awesome and well made.Will have to go check out these sellers. Love Maui’s painting.She did an excellent job! I was wondeering June How did Maui get his name? After the place? That’s what I was thinking.Lol. You are such an amazing artist. Keep up the great work. With love from Minnesota!

  7. Amanda said

    SENSORY OVERLOAD!!! AAAH! Everything is adorable! I’m jealous! 😉 I’m SO getting one of those hooks though! Does it feel good? Is it going to slip when I sweat? (yes, it’s humid here by the river in Cincinnati, Ohio) Beautiful stuff. …I want that knitty top too! Yeek!

  8. Ann said

    I have just gone on a mad Etsy shopping spree and it is entirely your fault. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it…. thanks for the links. I had never seen Sandra Healy’s work before and it was love at first sight.

  9. Hi June – I grew up in a household where I never got to buy ANYTHING that my mom could make. She made my Barbie clothes, my clothes, etc…I resented it so much as a child, but it sure made me learn how to make my own stuff too. Now, like you, I’ve realized that even though I CAN make it, that doesn’t mean I SHOULD. I’d much rather support another Artisan than feel pressured to make it myself. I’ve got other, more important things to do. Like make tea (lol)
    Great post!
    buy handmade.

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    June Gilbank

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