a very etsy mother’s day

Since moving four hours from my mom, I’ve begun to realize just how much I miss her (something I’d never have admitted when I threw my car door shut and shouted dramatically “I AM NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVERRRRR COMING BACK HERE!” the day I moved away). I’ve come to pick up the 99 cent cards for meaningless holidays (hello, Columbus Day) and sending them out with little colored dots all over the envelope whenever I get the chance. They’ve really became less of the Lisa Frank style and more trendy than anything, haven’t they? I haven’t been disappointed in quite a while with my finds.

So, when it came to find something for the upcoming Mother’s Day, I began sauntering around my favorite online haunt: Etsy. For anyone who is new here: I’m definitely a person with a budget in mind. If I can find something of great quality for a decent price, I’m doing a little victory dance in front of my computer. While my mother is worth countless dollars to me, I still wanted to find her something that wouldn’t have me scrunching up my eyebrows in concern. So, keeping that in mind, here’s a few fun ideas I found!

Shelley’s Glass Studio | Playful and vibrant glass decorations
Price range: $7 – $30

This cute little Etsy shop boasts handmade glass art for your home, garden, and windows. I bought a bumblebee, ladybug, and snail garden stakes for my mother’s garden. You can choose your mom’s favorite color or ask for a custom color that may not be featured in her shop.

katied

The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy | Beautifully illustrated prints of inspiration in many colors
Price range: $18 – $30

While I haven’t actually purchased a print from this shop, I’ve gazed from afar for years. If your mother enjoys bright, pastel colors and adorable illustrations, Katie has literally a zillion and one to choose from. Her artwork embodies spring itself and would look perfect in anyone’s home regardless of their taste. That’s why I enjoy checking out her shop so often — there’s something for everyone at all times, it seems.

Modern Radar | Screenprinted pouches and prints
Price range: $15 – $22

The pleated pouches featured in this shop immediately caught my eye — I love how playful they are, yet durable as they’re made out of a sturdy cotton canvas material. It appears as if she can take custom requests if you had a specific color or quantity in mind, as well.

Amber Alexander | A unique twist on nature and animal illustrations
Price range: $10 – $35

My mom loves anything that has to do with nature — so when I came across these paintings by Amber, I immediately clicked “favorite” and put them on my list of potential gift ideas. Her shop features everything from rodent to landscape to feather illustrations and also a small array of cute “critter” cards for any occasion.

There’s also several single items in various shops that caught my eye:

Want to make something yourself? Take inspiration from other Etsy sellers and branch out on your own.

Finally, a simple card always does it best.

Embroidered Card by Quill and Fox
Scanatron Card by Besty
You Complete Me by Paper Michelle

Not Raised By Wolves by Pigeon Pie Design

Advertisements

small business monday

I’m a big fan of handbags, as evident by my (give me these) purses board on Pinterest. If my budget allowed, I’d have every single one of them displayed in my closet. A few years back, I went on a “designer binge” where I spent a startling amount of money on Kate Spade bags (much in part to their addictive flash sales that they have every now and again — so, in retrospect, I spent far less than what they were worth). My bank account was definitely shaking in its boots in fear of what I’d splurge on next. I’m a bit embarrassed by this. I thought that a “brand name” was a necessity in my professional environment and, admittedly, I transformed into someone else for a bit and neglected my own personal style.

Flash forward!: I recently purged myself of every single designer bag that I owned. I sold all of them on eBay in an effort to rid myself of clutter. It was startling how many items of clothing, wallets, and shoes that I was holding onto purely due to the memories connected to them and not because of their utility. While I did sell quite a few things (ah, if only my student loans disappeared), it felt marvelous to drop off four crates overflowing with items to Goodwill.

One important note in my purse adventures: I did keep every single bag that I’ve ordered from my favorite little Seattle-based online shop, Stitch and Swash.

After my first purchase just over three years ago, each (ahem: I have three) have withstood the test of time, raindrops, accidental rubs against my filthy car, and subzero, snowy Midwest weather. Angie Bowlds, the shop’s owner, achieved Internet fame nearly overnight by having one of her designs featured in the popular vampire saga — but her leather goods definitely shouldn’t be clouded by the “teen” aura stereotype that surrounds the Twilight films as evident by the reviews of her craftsmanship. They are definitely appropriate for any age or environment and you’re able to customize your leather accessory every which way: be it leather color, thread color, hardware color, or print color. Sometimes, she even creates items from reclaimed leather — such as one of the purses that I have that was crafted from a vintage jacket.

A few of my favorite designs include her famous Peacock bag (someday!), cosmetic bag (how lovely would that be for traveling?), and the satchel (again, perhaps it’s just the feeling of spring in the air, but airports are coming to mind — how perfect for a sturdy carry-on). Personally, I think it’s pretty fun to be able to design whatever you would like. It makes your own purchase feel just that much more unique.

stitchandswash

Perhaps I’m silly, but there’s something about me that just feels good carrying something around nearly every waking hour that supports a small business.

mineLearn more about available designs at:

Note: This post isn’t sponsored by Stitch and Swash in any way whatsoever. I’m just a fan and thought anyone that is leather-friendly and enjoys buying handmade would enjoy a glimpse at some really crafty goods. Enjoy!

things i found while looking around

I waste too much money on my dogs:

  • Island Mutt: I find their idea of using creating dog leashes/collars/toys with the nylon rope that’s used on docks really economical. I’d think keeping their Monkey Fist Dog Toy as an outside dog toy would be nice for the summer and dog park adventures.
  • Parapup and RuggedByDesignME: Etsy shops that offer leashes/collars made out of parachute cord. I’ll likely try this out for my next round of collar buying. It seems they would be far more durable than what I currently use which isn’t holding up to a rambunctious puppy.
  • Bergan EZ Steps Big Dog Dual Leash: I normally try to buy items such as this on Etsy or from a Farmer’s Market vendor since they always have such great patterns that stores do not (and they’re often cheaper or very similar in price — chain stores are such a ripoff for collars!), but I haven’t found anything similar in my searches. I need something that’s durable and tangle-free for both Quinn and Riggs and, while I’ve never, ever tried a dual leash, this one looks to be one the best I’ve found in terms of reviews.
  • ID4Pet: Unique, durable dog tags. I’ve purchased two already (one for Quinn and one for Riggs) and will definitely be returning to this shop in the future. They ship quickly and come with a really shiny gloss on them that doesn’t peel off.

Since we’re approaching spring, I definitely have “spring cleaning” on my mind. This includes getting rid of all the cans that have been in my pantry for weeks (just kidding — months!).

Deeeelicious recipes that have helped me do so:

  • Lazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole: I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream and a can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes & Diced Green Chilies for the salsa and diced green chilies. I also threw remaining bits of the packages of shredded cheese we had in our fridge. No corn, either. This was fast, easy, and definitely ohmygod-I-have-so-much-crap-in-my-fridge friendly.
  • Lemon Yogurt Sugar Muffins: Minimal ingredients that I normally have on hand. This has been my go-to recipe if I feel the urge to bake.
  • Spicy Sausage Pasta: Um. This tastes like a dish I’d get at a restaurant and my “I swear I followed the recipe!” meals never come out to anything resembling that. I usually steer clear of any type of sausage, but this is really quite tasty.
  • Mexican Chickpea Salad: Why did I have three cans of garbanzo beans in my pantry? For this recipe, of course! I used red onion and RealLemon lemon juice from my fridge. I also didn’t include the avocado that’s suggested — that wouldn’t keep well. Divided into one cup containers and I had lunch made for work for three days. Warning: it’s really that good.

Random handmade goodies:

remodeling laundry area on a budget

I’ve been attempting to focus on paying my student loans off before I’m 92, so I’ve been keeping a close eye on my expenses and have created a new (extremely tight) budget with the help of PearBudget’s free downloadable spreadsheet (highly recommended to spend half an hour tackling this beast yourself) and by being inspired by Em for Marvelous’ Marvelous Money series.

I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time on Mint.com and other finance tools, but resorted to the old-fashioned way of “doing it myself” after reading a few Dave Ramsey articles featuring the envelope system. Since the idea of using paper envelopes is up my dear grandmother’s alley and certainly not anywhere near my preference, I use the free version of the EEBA iPhone app to help track my expenses.

I’d been bored with my laundry room area for quite a while, particularly due to its lack of functionality. The woman who lived in our home prior to us was over 6 feet tall and, clearly, the shelves pictured below weren’t meant for someone my height. I’d have to awkwardly climb on top of the machines to gather any items we haphazardly threw up onto the shelf. Very inconvenient and I found myself being far too comfortable with hanging millions of clothes on the shelf just to make the room less bare. My work wardrobe was constantly on display for all of our visitors.

After being inspired by Kelly’s laundry room remodel via a pin on Pinterest, I decided to take action! I wanted to spend less than $100 on the remodel, including getting our closet/hamper area in order.

Plan: I’d count absolutely everything that I purchased.

 Image

Image

We took two awkwardly-placed shorter shelves from the closet and disposed of the previous shelf. Since I didn’t have the money to rebuild shelves or purchase a cabinet for the wall (and trust me, I scoured Craigslist for one), I decided to use handy-dandy spray paint for plastic. I didn’t prime them, but did let them dry for an entire week before placing them on the wall. I also decided that I wanted/HAD TO do this remodel in the middle of winter so, hey, spray painting in my storage room in the basement totally wouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. We had to leave the house for an hour with the dogs as the scent wafted throughout the entire house. I’m smart.

I bought the mirrors at IKEA five years ago to use in my “chic Minneapolis apartment” that never actually happened — they’ve been sitting in storage ever since. I just threw them on the wall with no idea in mind (fun!). Lighted branches will stop us from needing to turn the light on all the time when we entered the house from the garage. The print is from Etsy and is meant to serve as a daily reminder when I leave the house to stop worrying so much and enjoy my day. Sometimes, it does the trick! If you like it, I’d suggest joining the seller’s mailing list as she frequently has promotions — I didn’t purchase it at full price.

  • Deep teal spray paint for boring white wire shelves: 2 cans @ $2.50 each
  • Dark gray paint for wall (satin due to moisture in room): $20
  • Laundry cart for between machines: $25 (via Amazon)
  • 3M Command Strips for behind mirrors: $12
  • Divided pop up hamper (closet – not pictured): $8 (via Amazon – previously on sale)
  • Shelves on wheels (closet – not pictured): $12 (on sale at Target)
  • Broom organizer (closet – not pictured): $7 (via Amazon)

    GRAND TOTAL:
    $89

It was fun to challenge myself into re-purposing the random decor that was in storage in my basement for years. This little project helped me realize that I have far too much clutter and, since completing this, I’ve gone through everything from my messy bathroom closet to everything under my kitchen sink and disposed or donated items that I’d been keeping “for a rainy day” or “what if this unrealistic event happened?” — it has been quite liberating!