I recently attended the Handworks Holiday Market at the Mississippi Trade Mart and saw a lot of interesting handmade creations that inspired me to begin decorating for the holidays and thinking of special Christmas presents that I could make for friends and family. Here are a few things that stood out to me. At the end, you can see what I picked up at the event. I didn’t catch the name of the artist who creates these unique jewelry pieces by combining elements of vintage jewelry, but I think they are spectacular. And I love how she attaches them to old photographs to emphasize their vintage appeal. I was hoping Santa would bring me the interesting necklace or pair of leaf earrings above. Check out these wooden angels made by Mississippi craftsman Billy Lay. I love the colors he uses and his vision of using simple pieces of wood and cut tin to form the body of an angel. Perhaps that’s a door knob used for the head? Here’s a set of Mississippi-shaped pottery dishes by …
I just got finished decorating for fall, and now it’s time to decorate for Christmas, so I decided I needed a wreath for my front door. I searched Pinterest for wreath-making ideas and and found many creations made from a variety of materials. Here are some that gave me inspiration, and at the end, you can see what I created. A Bright Idea – This colorful bulb wreath was first spotted on a blog called Layers of Meaning that also offers other holiday decorating ideas. Pine Comb Wreath – This is simple, but with all the right touches. It is featured in an Internet article on the Better Homes & Gardens website called Creative Christmas Wreaths that offers a few other unique ideas. Burlap Wreath – There’s a step-by-step guide with instructions for this one on the Craftaholics Anonymous blog. Green Trio – I really like the way that these simple wreaths in descending size are displayed with ribbon on this door. The idea was pinned from a blog called Stina Ballerina. A la Natural …
I like creating things, so I make frequent trips to craft and fabric stores to buy materials for various projects I start (and often don’t finish, truth be told.) The last couple of times, I’ve noticed several substantial shipments of an item I tried to purchase at an affordable price about a year ago. Luckily, while searching for an antique dining table at The Flowood Flea market, I spotted one and got it for a reasonable price – about a third of what they typically cost in stores and online. What I’m talking about is a dress form. The man who sold it to me didn’t know the term, which might explain why it was a bargain. Dress forms, models of the torso used to help fit clothing that is being designed or sewed, seem to be becoming more popular. Maybe more people have become interested in sewing because of the economy, because they have been creatively inspired by shows like Project Runway, or because they are bored with what the fashion industry is producing. …
The search for unique ornaments continues, and I just found this by Maine seller PsAndQs. Each Einstein ornament is $12. Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
I’m always on the lookout for unique and beautiful Christmas ornaments during the holiday season, and I found these frighteningly funny monster bulbs on Etsy. St. Louis seller Monsteropolis sells a set of two hand-painted ornaments for $20. According to her bio, the former nanny has a bachelor’s degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
Jackson-based Esty seller TheRustyWing creates these marble coasters with romantic messages. A set of four costs $15. The artist says: “I am really fond of things that are imperfect and rough around the edges because, after all, that’s life.” Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
I saw this ring on Etsy and it tweeted my name. Seller Missbluebirdandoscar describes her creation as “happiness for your finger.” The bird is a photograph of a vintage ceramic bluebird printed on shrink plastic. I await its arrival. Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
I ran across a cool decor article today on the Ready Made blog about a Brooklyn native who moved to Starkville and furnished her new business with patchwork chairs. Because architect and designer Annie Coggan couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money on new seating for her restaurant, she scavenged for sturdy old chairs, refinished them and pieced some together to form unique works of art. The result gives the Little Building Cafe originality. She painted the chairs with Mythic paint (a company based in Hattiesburg) “Medicine Blue, described as “a hue that matches the peculiar color the Mississippi sky turns as storms are gathering.” Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Photo credit: Caleb Crawford
They’re supposed to scare people, but how could anyone resist one of these adorable Mississippi monsters? Ocean Springs artist Stacey Johnson creates blue monsters using clay and a cookie cutter. You can find them for $13 on Etsy.com, and they can be hung anywhere. Etsy seller Iris1980 in Gulfport creates these wool felt appliques and stitches them on monster T-shirts that cost $16. Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.
Last weekend it was snowing. This Saturday, it reached a high of 80 degrees. Does this make sense? Not really. Unless you’re a Mississippian. We know to keep both our winter coats and sandals handy for any given day. Since warmer weather “seems” to be headed our way, I stopped by the Ridgeland farmer’s market today to see what plants and vegetables they have for sale. That’s where I spotted this gigantic, metal, folk art grasshopper waiting for someone to take him to their garden. He’s about 3 feet tall. Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
I’m a fan of the bird motif, and today I ran across this vintage-style pillow with blue birds made by Hattiesburg Etsy.com seller AvalonSewingCo. I also found this pillow featuring caged birds by Jackson seller CottonColors. Click here to read previous posts about bird and tree motifs. Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
In the 1980s it was lame, even downright bogus to be a nerd. Nerds and geeks were a persecuted segment of society who sought revenge in a popular movie of the day, but thankfully times have changed. Now, a quarter of a century later, the intelligently elite traditionally known for having more brain than brawn have embraced their nerdiness, and it’s chic to be geek. Just ask Mississippi State University graduate Brittany Forks, who conceived an idea that combines fashion and computer parts. Kilobyte Couture was born in May of 2006 while Forks was working for her stepfather, Jeffery Wyatt, a researcher at MSU’s Simrall Electrical Engineering Building. To read more, click here. Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.
Every once and a while, I run across products online that are just too weird not to post, such as this severed head birdfeeder. If you ask me, this is pretty strange, and reminds me of Sloth from “The Goonies” with a little Ed Gein thrown in, but if you feel compelled to hang a decapitated ceramic head in your yard and the birds don’t mind, I say go for it. “Little Pink Houses for you and me,” you know? The stonewear birdfeeder head from Modern Artisians even has a name. For $84.99, you can buy your very own “Bob.” Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
I blogged about the return of 1800s-style baby bonnets in another post below, and I’ve also noticed lately that 19th century- and early 20th century-style toys seem to be making a comeback. I’ve seen many crocheted and hand sewn bunnies, bears and dolls posted on Style Hive that look very old-fashioned, and I think their revival signifies a rebellious cultural move. My belief is that sometimes, when our popular culture is saturated with something, society has a tendency to collectively move in the opposite direction. We are currently being bombarded by technology and are learning to quickly adapt to change. (The new iPhone below is a good example.) I think the old-fashioned toys represent a desire to return to a simpler time and expose children to wholesome, basic products without all the bells, whistles and memory cards. I even found a crocheted robot online that marries both ideas. Got a comment? E-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save
This is a neat idea, particularly if your grandmother was from a generation of women who made their own clothing. A company called Art Effects is crafting rings from vintage buttons, like the ones your grandmother had in her sewing box. The company mounts its own buttons on rings. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity, and they sell for $48. It’s a cool idea, but would probably be more sentimental to make your own button ring, if you still happen to have some of grandma’s. Got a comment? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save