WINNERS UPDATE: Congrats to Toni Micai who won the Vintage Home Studio prize, Beverley Gent who won the Cashmere Calligraphy Prize, Michelle Lowes who won the Diffuser Babies prize, and Lori IIngle who won the Zeep Bath prize!!
It’s time for my favourite blog post of the year…. my annual “Handmade Holiday Gift Guide!” Being a ‘maker’ myself, I come across so many artisans online who are working really really hard every day to give the gift of their creative expression to the world. Here is this year’s fabulous line up of 4 incredibly talented women who will inspire you! At this time of year, let’s remember to support small business and handmade xo
And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post by leaving a comment!(Your comment might not show up until it’s approved).
Meet Danielle Raffield of “Cashmere Calligraphy” @cashmerecalligraphy
Danielle has always enjoyed working with her hands and is a self-taught, fourth generation woodcrafter and second generation calligrapher and hand lettering artist. She has been practicing the art of hand lettering and calligraphy, mostly as a hobby since her college years, but really took an interest in it becoming a business when she became a stay-at-home mom looking for a flexible schedule. Wood came naturally as her medium of choice, and she now fills her soul cup by creating carefully crafted wood sign home and front porch and whimsical door hangers. She believes in the art of free expression and says joyfully and wholeheartedly that she can “letter on anything!” She also brings her flirty and bouncy style to fabric, ornaments, office windows, school walls and wedding envelope calligraphy.
“There is a part of using wood as an artistic medium that fills all my senses. The feel of a freshly cut sign’s jigsawed edges, the smell of sawdust filling my garage and sweat pouring off my brow. That’s a piece of me in everything I make and I honor the generations before me in working with my hands and putting my heart and soul in every piece. I feel very connected to my family from the smell and feel of wood, as I come from a long line of skilled and artistic woodcrafters and artists. Integrity of work is part of my DNA. I don’t let anything leave me and go to anyone else unless I absolutely love it,” she says.
Not only does creating your own wood product from start to finish allow virtually a limitless possibility of shapes and sizes, Danielle has complete creative freedom to make something unique and special to be loved and treasured by its owner for years to come.
“I’m so thankful for my customers, many of them are repeat buyers, who trust me with their ideas and know I love what I do and that comes out in my finished products. I’m so inspired by them and their faith in me,” says Danielle.
Danielle currently lives in sunny Florida with her husband, daughter and two dogs, who are her daily worktable companions.
Meet Michelle Gann of “Vintage Home Studio” @thevintagehomestudio http://www.thevintagehomestudio.com
My Journey – “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on its own wings.”
It took me a while and some tough times to figure that out. It also took a wonderful community with unconditional love and caring to show me that out of struggle comes strength. Many kind people gave me opportunities to be creative and chase my dreams. Today, my life as a business woman and mother of two wonderful adults is at times hectic and chaotic; I couldn’t be more grateful. The business continues to grow and many days I find myself working around the clock. But the joy that comes from creating beautiful items for you to enjoy is worth every late night!
My Work – “Look at usual things with unusual eyes.”
The Vintage Home Studio is my creative outlet. Through the business, I’m able to create custom, handmade and hand crocheted decorative towels that are vintage-inspired with a fresh and modern twist that can work with any style décor. And…unlike the expensive “look but don’t touch” designer towels, mine are affordable and meant to be used and washed again and again.
The very best part of the process is picking fabrics, colors and patterns that are on-trend and maybe even a little ahead of the curve. Mixing the fabrics with my signature crocheted finishing touches is what makes a towel from The Vintage Home Studio unique. I especially enjoy keeping the assortment fresh and distinctive so most are limited quantities. My collection currently includes kitchen and bath hand towels.
My Passion – “You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.”
I will never forget where I came from and the people that helped and supported me along the way. The faith and resilience that come from those life experiences are wasted if not shared to help others. So as my business grows, so will my commitment to my community…to help bring people together, to provide employment opportunities and to honor my “Made in the USA” pledge. I also intend to give back by helping women who are struggling, find confidence in themselves and believe that it’s never too late to chase their dreams. In addition, I look forward to bringing women together to share and celebrate their ideas and successes. I’ll always be grateful to those who share their love for my designs and will look for opportunities to do the same for others.
Meet Mai Garcia of “Diffuser Babies”
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/
Hi I’m Mai, the creator behind Diffuser Babies. I come from a long line of women who love to work with fibers… from knitting to sewing, embroidery, macrame, and crocheting. My mom learned to knit from a very young age and then taught me at the age of 10, but what I loved the most was to look at the crochet books at the craft stores. It was a dream of mine to be able to learn to crochet since that age, but it always seemed so hard and impossible.
Fast-forward to 16 years later, my toddler was the one that give me the push I needed to learn to crochet and make amigurumi cuties. I am self-taught, and it was pretty hard to learn on my own. It took months of practice and failed projects but it was so worth it.
What is Amigurumi? Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a combination of “ami” meaning ‘crocheted,’ and “nuigurumi” meaning ‘stuffed doll.’
I started out making stuffed animals for my son with a specific area to add our essential oils onto. This then grew into me starting my Etsy shop and making stuffed animals for others, which was the birth of Diffuser Babies.
It’s incredible to see how yarn can be transformed into something so amazing and into so many different things. I love that I’m able to create these little stuffed animals and share them with so many others. The best feeling is receiving customer pictures of their little ones hugging the stuffed animals I made for them. ***********************************************************************
Meet Ashley Dewey of “Zeep Bath” @zeepbath http://www.zeepbath.com
I bet you’re wondering what is Zeep? (Literally, like, what the heck does that mean and how do you even say it??) Zeep means “soap” in Dutch and is pronounced Z-ay-p (like Say-p but with a Z), get it? =) The name came about when I met this Dutch guy (now known as the boyfriend) when I was interviewing for Physician Assistant school.
I am a PA-C (physician assistant) turned full-time maker. I’ve always enjoyed incorporating my scientific side into my creative side and began making soap during PA school as a relaxing hobby. I’ve always enjoyed the way that scent evokes memories and creates emotions and began to experiment with other mediums such as wax and candles as well. After PA school, while waiting to be credentialed to work in the hospital, I began to grow the business to the point where it became a full time job (and then some!) and made the decision to make the leap from practicing medicine to living my dream! Now I get to be creative and spread the happiness of scent to everyone!
All of our products are made from recipes we have developed, tested, and try on all of ourselves. If we don’t love it, we don’t make it! We love to blend fragrances to come up with unique scents that will spark old memories or can create new ones. We try to tie all of our scents to a moment in time, a thought, a feeling, or an emotion.