How To Do At Home

06/24/2017 02:40 AM
DIY Your Garden
This is the excerpt for your very first post.
06/23/2017 03:00 PM
Modern Toddler Bed DIY
There comes a day in the life of every mom when the crib can no longer contain their...
06/23/2017 09:12 AM
Stovetop Double Berry Dumplings
Summertime in southern Missouri where I live is packed FULL of so many good things, including: days spent...
06/22/2017 09:54 AM
5 Cold Brew Coffee Recipes
The warm summer months are finally upon us! It actually gets quite hot and muggy in southwest Missouri...
06/22/2017 09:11 AM
Win Our NEW Collab Camera Bag!!!
We are in full-blown celebration mode over here! In case you missed our announcement last week, we just...
06/21/2017 02:57 PM
Flavored Simple Syrup—Four Ways
Nothing adds a touch of whimsy to a hand-crafted cocktail like flavored simple syrup. These flavor-infused syrups are...
06/21/2017 09:15 AM
Tousled Topknot Tutorial
I’m always looking for easy styles that will add some volume or height to my hair (if you have...
06/20/2017 10:12 AM
Mid-Century Play Set
Hi, friends! As you know I am in full on nesting mode. I’ve become quite good at inventing...
06/20/2017 08:55 AM
Make Your Own Nontoxic Dry Shampoo!
One of my favorite things lately has been replacing beauty products in my bathroom with DIYs that I...
06/19/2017 02:53 PM
Hairpin Leg Breakfast Tray DIY
Let’s talk for just a minute about how luxurious it feels to stay in bed just a bit...
06/19/2017 09:14 AM
DIY Cactus Oven Mitts
Cactus oven mitts! You guys! I, Kara, am so excited to share these DIY cactus oven mitts with...
06/23/2017 01:00 PM
The Start of Summer + Best of the Web
Summer is my favorite season. I would much rather be too warm than too cold. I’ve always liked celebrating the official start of summer and I question everyone that starts drinking pumpkin spice lattes and wearing scarves at the end of August. This year especially, the high temps have made it feel like summer since April and […]
06/23/2017 12:00 PM
In the Kitchen With: Nopalito’s Traditional Spicy Shrimp Ceviche
Summer is here and the heat index in Rome has inched past 100F degrees! Never one to let the heat discourage the pursuit of good food, I’ve been on the search for refreshing dishes that don’t require much heat from the kitchen. When reading through Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando’s new book, Nopalito, the Ceviche […]
06/23/2017 10:00 AM
12 Cozy Breakfast Nooks
Growing up, I was obsessed with breakfast nooks. One of my best friends’ had a great one covered in 70s-era wood paneling and it felt like the coziest place in the world to settle in for some pancakes in pajamas. Breakfast nooks are still one of the parts of home tours that grab me the […]
06/22/2017 12:00 PM
An Old Farmhouse Becomes the Project of a Lifetime
Every week we share amazing homes here on Design*Sponge — whether they’re small studios or larger family homes, I’m always left in awe of the amount of creativity and passion that goes into turning various types of spaces into personal and inviting homes. Today I get to share a home with you that I think […]
06/22/2017 10:00 AM
Studio Tour: Wood Artist Yukihiro Akama
When the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster hit Japan in 2011, many people that artist Yukihiro Akama knew along the coast were directly affected. Although the mountain home that Yukihiro shared with his wife Ryoko, an artist and composer, and their children Fue and Honori, wasn’t in the inundation zone, there was still a risk […]
06/21/2017 12:00 PM
Design from A to Z: J is for Juxtaposition
While Design*Sponge believes there are no rules when it comes to designing a personal, beautiful home, most of the design world disagrees. There’s a method, reason and rule behind almost every piece brought into a design. Rules on color, era, scale, style, texture and material keep things from feeling off. The most curious and fun loophole […]
06/23/2017 04:13 AM
Beauty Buys for Every Astrological Sign handmade and vintage goods

Photo by orglamix

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering “Am I more of a Va-Va-Va-Violet or a Perky in Pink?” then you know the paralyzing effects of choosing a signature shade of nail polish or lipstick. With so many beauty products promising to plump and lift, soothe and soften, how can you know which ones will truly make you feel like your most fabulous self?

We say, let the stars be your guide. Whether you’re pampering yourself or a friend, our Zodiac-inspired shopping list has just the right beauty items to make every astrological sign shine from the inside out, from the edgiest Leo to the most meticulous Virgo.

Aquarius (Jan 21 – Feb 19)

Mermaid lagoon highlighter by Glory Boon, $28

Stylish Aquarians love making a splash and will delight in dabbing a vibrant highlighter over their cheek and brow bones for a bold, iridescent shimmer. This cream’s trendy mermaid lagoon hues are particularly well-suited for the water carrier sign.

Pisces (Feb 20 – Mar 20)

Unicorn dreamer sugar scrub by Mod Bath and Body, $12

Pisces is all romance and sweetness, so consider this whimsical whipped sugar scrub the gentle exfoliant of their magical bathtime dreams.

Aries (Mar 21 – Apr 20)

Botanical facial steam by Palermo Body, $32

If there’s one thing pioneering Aries isn’t afraid of, it’s trying a new beauty treatment. This innovative botanical steam is the perfect way to channel their creative energy: with a DIY facial. Afterward, add the floral water to a clay mask for a full at-home spa experience.

Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21)

All-natural lip tint by Pacha Mama Body Care, $8

Once Taurus finds a reliable product, they tend to stick with it. They prefer an understated look that’s tried-and-true and will be most comfortable in a natural lip tint in a classic coral pink.

Gemini (May 22 – June 21)

Constellation nail decals by jsfrn Nail Art, $10

Communicative Gemini goes for style that makes a statement, and these versatile space-themed nail decals say “fun” and “youthful” (and “Gemini,” if you’re going to be witty about it).

Cancer (June 22 – July 22)

Pink Himalayan pink sea salts with organic rose petals by Homemade Simply Mom, $22 for 16 oz

At the end of a long day, sentimental Cancer just wants to go home, slip into a warm bath, and soak up their thoughts. Add a dash of therapeutic pink Himalayan sea salts with a loving sprinkle of organic rose petals, and you’ve got the recipe for Cancer’s ideal night in.

Leo (July 23 – Aug 21)

Glitter powder kit by orglamix, $18.99

With their trademark flair for the dramatic, fearless Leos can’t resist spicing up their beauty regimen with a touch of stylish sparkle. This dazzling cosmetic glitter is bound to turn heads when applied on top of a sleek cat eye or a pouty pucker.

Virgo (Aug 22 – Sep 23)

Marbled makeup bag by Creative Leather Bro, from $35.99

Perfectionist Virgos thrive on routine, so it’s important to have all their cosmetics lined up just-so. This elegant leather makeup pouch will keep all the necessary brushes and balms organized in one place, even on the go.

Libra (Sep 24 – Oct 23)

Roll on perfume (choose your own scent) by La Mia Casa Nel Vento, from $21

Nothing says romance like a delicate floral perfume, and this sweet little roll-on delivers just the right touch to Libra’s pulse points, making it the perfect complement to their polished, ultra-feminine style.

Scorpio (Oct 24 – Nov 22)

Love + Salt beach mist by Olivine Atelier, 8 oz for $26

Magnetic Scorpio loves pulling off looks with a sexy edge. A spritz of sea salt spray will give their locks a sultry, sun-kissed texture that’s sure to make waves.

Sagittarius (Nov 23 – Dec 22)

Black amber and lavender shea butter soap by Formulary Fifty Five, $10

The Zodiac’s sportiest sign is also its most good-humored. After a day playing hard out on the field, Sagittarius enjoys rinsing their cares away with a fun spin on soap. This cheeky skull practically winks back at you.

Capricorn (Dec 23 – Jan 20)

Mini rosemary and clary sage facial serum by Mullein and Sparrow, $36

The latest trends are of little concern to conservative Capricorn. Instead, they prefer an understated approach to beauty that begins with disciplined skin care. No routine is complete without a high-quality facial serum to keep the complexion balanced and even.

Shop bath and beauty

Jackie Buddie is a part-time writer and wilderness explorer working full-time at Etsy HQ in Brooklyn.

The post Beauty Buys for Every Astrological Sign appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/22/2017 10:02 AM
Celebrating Pride With Tate Britain handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Slinky Links

At Etsy, we believe in celebrating people for who they truly are—regardless of how they identify, and whom (or what) they love. We’re grateful for the diversity of perspectives and experiences that keeps our community strong and vibrant, and we’re proud to be a place where everyone is accepted and warmly welcomed into the fold. Whether you’re a maker, a collector, or just really into cats, whether you identify as LGBTQ+, as non-binary, or as a jeweler, whoever you are, and whatever you’re into: You belong on Etsy.

Mixed media statement necklace by Baked by Lou, $26

That’s why this Saturday, June 24, we’re proud to be hosting the You Belong Here Etsy pop-up marketplace at Tate Britain’s Queer and Now festival. Kicking off Pride in London, the family-friendly festival will feature wares from 16 UK-based Etsy sellers, in addition to talks, tours, music, and dancing from a host of LGBTQ+ artists. Festivalgoers will also be able to enjoy Tate’s landmark exhibition Queer British Art 1861-1967 at a reduced ticket price; the festival itself is free to attend and open to the public.

We asked some of the participating sellers to share their thoughts on Pride and the pop-up.

Rainbow glitter purse by Pup Tart Handmade, from $39

Hannah Frew, Pup Tart Handmade

What motivated you to sell at the pop-up?

Hannah: In a time when the world is becoming a much scarier place it’s amazing to be part of something that represents togetherness and love.

Concrete succulent planter by Hi Cacti, $20

Sabina Palermo, Hi Cacti

What does the theme You Belong Here mean to you?

Sabina: You Belong Here is a beautiful sentiment and is exactly what Pride is about to me: communities and people from all walks of life coming together and welcoming everyone to the party. Especially in our current climate, it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity and fear, but Pride is about not allowing the past to dictate our futures. You Belong Here is meaningful to me as an Etsy seller because I’ve worked hard to put myself and my work out there, and being invited to such an exciting Etsy showcase at such a fantastic place as the Tate Britain feels like a real achievement.

Make Today Amazing cross stitch kit by The Make Arcade, $13

Ruth Oliver, The Make Arcade

Aside from selling at the pop-up, how else will you be celebrating Pride?

Ruth: I will be embracing my trip to London and will grab the opportunity to visit the Queer British Art exhibition at the Tate—looks like a great show!

Chick’n card by Shoshy Cadoodle, $5

Shoshana Bratton, Shoshy Cadoodle

Why are you excited to be involved with this event?

Shoshana: I was instantly over the moon at the thought of being involved, firstly because the Tate is such an iconic institution—I was lucky enough to grow up with it. School trips to the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain were always highlights of my school years, and as an adult, they continue to consistently provide me with inspiration.

Secondly, I was thrilled about the crossover of two things that I love: Etsy and Pride. As an LGBT person myself, and a person who aims to support other LGBT people through my illustration work, the opportunity could not be more exciting for me. Pride is about embracing who I am, embracing who others are, celebrating diversity and inclusivity, challenging heteronormativity, and having fun while doing all of the above!

Rainbow cat print by I Like Cats, $20

Toby Oliver Dean, I Like Cats

Why does You Belong Here resonate with you personally?

Toby: You Belong Here is such a powerful statement! I’m sure that every person at some point in their life has had moments of insecurity and a feeling of being different, whether it’s because of their sexual orientation or any other reason. When other people stand up and show acceptance, it allows you to feel free to be as you are in the world.

I am so fortunate to live in Brighton, a city where diversity is celebrated and everyone is accepted as they are. I know not everyone is as fortunate as me, so events like You Belong Here are a real demonstration of solidarity, hope, and of course Pride, which is what I’m all about as an Etsy seller.

Show your Pride

Katie Hawley is an editor at Etsy. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

The post Celebrating Pride With Tate Britain appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/22/2017 05:15 AM
Featured Shop: Industrial Jewellery handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Aya Wind

“I’ve always been a little bit different,” says Israeli-born, UK-based jewelry designer Hila Rawet Karni. “When I was a teenager I hated it, but I don’t anymore. Every person has a distinct view of life, and the more you can connect to it, the better.”

For Hila, her unique worldview finds physical expression through Industrial Jewellery, the unmistakably modern line of original handmade accessories she founded in 2009. Inspired by traditionally industrial materials, Hila’s pieces defy expectations of what jewelry should be. Forget pearls and gemstones—these chunky cuffs and sleek, versatile chains are crafted from materials more likely found on a factory floor (think: springs, ropes, and rubber). By combining these seemingly unrefined materials with natural elements like wood and resin, Hila’s resulting products are both delightfully unexpected and undeniably feminine. “They’re modern, streamlined, and clean,” she says. “And if they’re not feminine, I’m not doing a good enough job.”

Hila’s pieces may seem to almost forcefully assert their individuality, but their maker insists she knows no other way. “I can’t be anyone else,” she says. “I can only be me.” Over the years Hila has learned to embrace what sets her apart. “Sometimes when I’m at a show, someone will come by and say, ‘Oh this is so different!’ To which I like to say, ‘Thank you! There’s enough of everything else.’”

Read on to learn how Hila’s product designer roots inform her approach to jewelry making and shop the collection.

Tell me about your creative background. Did you grow up making?

I was born into a creative family. My dad is an industrial designer, and his father was a carpenter and a jeweler. Growing up, my dad’s workshop was in our backyard so I’d spend my afternoons out there, using their super cool markers. The whole studio would help make me make costumes. It was big part of my life—I grew up surrounded by design and art. It’s always been very present in my house.

When did jewelry enter the picture for you?

I studied product design in university, which I chose because I felt like it was the widest field in design. If you choose fashion design or graphic design, for example, you’ve already chosen a product, but if you study product design, you can design a car, a chair, or a piece of jewelry.

I tried to make the most of my four years at school, and at the end, I decided to do my final project on jewelry. I was inspired by my grandfather’s pieces; I didn’t know him, but I’ve always been very intrigued by the stuff he left behind. That was the beginning of everything. I made two lines for the project: one out of silicon and one out of paper.

Photo by Aya Wind.

How does your background in product design inform your approach to jewelry making?

For a long time, when people asked me I’d say, “I’m not a jeweler.” I don’t weld, and I’ve never studied jewelry design. The way I think about designing and creating is industrial. It start with the materials—with rubber, springs, and stainless steel—which aren’t seen in most jewelry lines.

But it’s also the way I think about making things. A lot of our different pieces are made with the same parts—take our springs, for example. We’ll use the spring as is, or we’ll connect it with different silicon endings: a straight one that connects the spring to a tube, or an angled one that turns it into an earring. Or we’ll stretch the spring and put it over a PVC cord or a cotton rope. For me, it’s an industrial way of thinking about things: to take take one component and create different things from it. It’s very similar to product design.

Your say your pieces are a “manifestation of contradictions.” What do you mean by that?

I think it’s linked to an element of surprise. When people touch our stuff they’ll say, “Oh, it’s so light!” Or, “Oh, it’s so soft!” These are the contradictions I look for when I make our pieces.

If I’m working with something that’s quite strict or structured, like an aluminum tube, I want to find something softer to mix it with. Because I’m drawn to more industrial stuff, I always look for natural materials to combine it with—it adds to the element of surprise and interest. We work with lava elements, for example, and with wood, and clear resin, which is very airy and soft. I feel like if I only used industrial components it would be quite dull and a little expected. It’s when you do those unexpected combinations that the magic happens. That’s where things click.

Photo by Aya Wind.

What’s your favorite kind of item to make?

I like the pieces that are more complicated, like the ones that have ropes incorporated. There’s some sketching involved with those, and also sewing, which I love, so that line is definitely my favorite. I also really love stretching the springs, so anything that has that stretch in it is a favorite, like the Olivia necklace and bracelet. Those have different parts of springs stretched and unstretched—I love the fact that you have different textures in one item. It really shows what the material can do; it’s almost like we paused the movement of the spring.

Do you have a specific type of person in mind—an imaginary customer—that you think of when you’re designing?

First of all, I design for myself. My husband always says I made a business of making nice jewelry for myself, and I think it has to be that way. Especially when you become a mom and you work until 8 or 9pm, the business needs to be your child as well. I love what I do and I love the pieces—I think that comes across in my work.

The person who buys from us is an individual. I think it’s someone who’s curious, because curiosity is what draws you to the jewelry in the beginning before you even pick it up. It’s someone who’s a bit more confident, and isn’t trend-driven, who’s looking for something that puts the last finishing touch on what they’re wearing. I’ve grown to know more and more that it’s usually older women, but sometimes we’ll do trade shows and have a twenty-year-old woman and her sixty-something-year-old mom stop by, and they’ll each find something in the collection. That’s when you know you’ve done your job.

Photo by Aya Wind.

What’s next on the horizon for your shop?

About a year ago I felt like the the studio reached its zen mode. Things were cruising in a good way, but I felt like if I didn’t challenge myself, it wouldn’t be good anymore. I’d achieved a lot of the goals that I’d set for myself, and I needed to figure out the next move. I came away from that process knowing I wanted to expand beyond jewelry—I love it but I think there are a lot of other personal accessories that would be interesting to explore, and it’s important to challenge yourself. So the idea is to gradually become more of a lifestyle brand.

I know how to make jewelry my way, but I need to figure out how to make other products my way. I like that we provide the cherry on top of an outfit, but there are more ways to add that finishing touch. Right now we’re working hard on a line of leather goods, and we’ve started making simple scarves and fasteners, too. Because we’re growing, I also think about opening an atelier. I’d like to move out of the house and into more of a retail situation, where I can offer more than just jewelry. I want to offer my world to my clients.

Follow Industrial Jewellery on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs by Industrial Jewellery unless otherwise noted.

Shop Industrial Jewellery

Katie Hawley is an editor at Etsy. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

The post Featured Shop: Industrial Jewellery appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/21/2017 09:23 AM
Crafting a Community handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Bethany Schrock

Walking into the Golden Rule, a maker-focused boutique in a converted 1920s house in Excelsior, Minnesota, is like stepping into a dreamy, light-drenched, and expertly curated Instagram feed. There’s the ever-evolving gallery wall of abstract paintings, the portable jungle of potted plants (#jungalowstyle), and the jewelry and accessory displays descended from flat-lay heaven.

Erin carries paintings by Minnesota artist Missy Monson and ceramics by Amy Hamley, Solid Manufacturing Company, and From Donna’s Hands in her shop.

The sunny main room at Golden Rule in Excelsior, Minnesota.

But for all the care Erin Duininck puts into selecting and styling the handcrafted home goods and small-batch beauty products that fill her shop—many of which she sources from makers in Etsy’s wholesale marketplace—actually selling items is secondary for the boutique’s founder, curator, and animating force. “It’s not about retail,” Erin says. “I care about the existence of art and beauty in the world, so that part matters to me, but the act of selling things doesn’t. It’s this community space, this place where people feel welcome even if they can’t afford to buy, or don’t want to buy—that’s what Golden Rule is about.” For Erin, that sense of community is both lived experience and life principle, not a marketing ploy or mere talking point, and it’s what sets Golden Rule (and most of Erin’s other endeavors) apart.

Golden Rule owner Erin Duininck on the shop’s front steps.

The gallery wall at Golden Rule, which Erin updates often.

The daughter of ministers and musicians, and a singer-songwriter, artist, and jewelry designer in her own right, Erin was raised to appreciate the unique challenges in and value of leading a creative life. So much so that throughout her first foray into running a gallery space, in a 450-square-foot outbuilding on her property back in 2010, she didn’t even charge a commission on artwork sales. “I felt like it was my mission to get these artists’ work into people’s hands,” Erin says. “And at that point I also didn’t really know what I was doing, so it was like, don’t pay me for this, I’m just making it up as I go.”

Next, Erin graduated to a pop-up shop in downtown Excelsior in 2013. That experience clarified her unique vision for the role a brick-and-mortar retail space could play in a community—and in her own life. Recovering from a series of personal heartbreaks, Erin poured herself into the project, and got back far more than she bargained for. “The pop-up was supposed to last three months, and it just kept going,” Erin recalls. “It was so fun and successful and brought me life—and, honestly, distraction and perspective as well. I realized that everyone who came in had a story, and it was so helpful to be able to meet people where they were and to get outside my own skin a little bit.”

Sentimental photographs line Erin’s mantel at home.

Erin and her husband, Ben, combined three rooms to create their home’s open kitchen/dining area.

A bright nook in Erin’s dining room, formerly a wood-paneled space that served as a TV room.

Blurring boundaries between the personal and the public, home and work, art and commerce is all part of Erin’s modus operandi. “That’s my life, it all spills over into everything, and everything is interconnected,” Erin says. Fittingly, Golden Rule’s aesthetic—and its come one, come all ethos—are closely mirrored in the home Erin shares with her husband, Ben, and children, Lillian and River. The first order of business when Erin and Ben bought the place back in 2008? Adding three more bedrooms and an extra bath to accommodate (and encourage) out-of-town guests. “I feel like everyone has a personal calling and a vocational calling, and maybe a family calling too, if they choose to delve into that. And I think as a family our calling is to invite and host and gather,” Erin explains. “We want people to stay with us and celebrate with us; people have even had their weddings here. And we love that—it feels really good.”

Art hangs everywhere in Erin’s home—including the colorful kitchen.

Erin’s husband, Ben, found this midcentury dining table on Craigslist, and Erin had the chairs reupholstered in rich emerald velvet.

Expanding the kitchen, naturally, was also high on the couple’s renovation agenda. “I love big groups; I don’t ever have just a couple over,” Erin says. “If I’m going to cook, it’s going to be in bulk.” To make more space for Erin’s feeding-an-army ambitions, the couple knocked down walls to combine three rooms into one connected cooking space, then added blush-pink walls, white
cabinets and marble countertops, and a vintage island to use as a prep station. From the large window over the sink, Erin can look out over the front porch and yard where the family often entertains. “We have huge parties where we take up every room; we’ve even done house concerts here, where everyone buys a ticket and brings a beautiful homemade dish to share, and we all get to hear some local bands and have a big feast.”

Celebrating two years in business with the Golden Rule crew.

In the dining room—formerly a wood-paneled TV room that downplayed the lakeview windows on three of its sides—Erin whited out the walls, brought in a long midcentury modern dining table that Ben found on Craigslist, and reupholstered its worn-out chairs in the emerald green velvet that’s become a style signature in both her home and her shop. As for the family’s favorite spot in the house? That would be the spacious, sunny living room, with its pink velvet couch (snagged on sale at a local outlet) and a striped play tent in the corner for 1-year-old River. “That couch definitely sets the tone,” Erin says. “It gives everyone permission to be playful. We’re not taking ourselves too seriously here.”

The Duinincks love to read, and it shows.

A pink velvet sofa sets a playful tone in Erin’s light-filled living room.

Erin and Ben’s bedroom

If anything truly defines both Golden Rule and Erin’s home, it’s the focus on art. “The heart of our house is the artwork that’s everywhere. Every room is an art gallery,” says Erin. A lot of that art comes from family, friends, or folks whose work she carries in the shop, but it doesn’t stop there. “My walls are filled to bursting with treasures, stories, and mementos of lives intertwined with mine,” Erin says. “I have my mother’s paintings, my father’s lyrics, my husband’s high school baseball team photo, a mitten my mother made for me as a child, framed and hung.” Even the kids’ rooms are decorated with original paintings, including Lillian’s own abstract watercolors (Erin runs a kids’ art camp every summer, and has a knack for identifying beginner-friendly mediums for frame-worthy results). She describes her style as nostalgic and personal, and herself as ‘a maximalist trying to be a minimalist.’ “I assign meaning and value to objects that might otherwise be thrown out,” Erin says. “Of course, this puts me in a precarious perch leaning into hoarder territory, but it’s where I naturally reside.”

The family hangout spot, complete with toys for 1-year-old River.

River at the family piano.

The Duinincks outside their Excelsior home.

For someone like Erin, a home—or a shop—is not something that is ever “done.” It changes, it grows, it adapts to the people who inhabit it. Since opening Golden Rule in 2015, Erin has bolstered her business, and her connections with her local maker community, through a steady stream of creative collaborations: seasonal pop-ups, annual parties, and rotating art shows. She’s forged relationships with artists she had long admired. (“I buy from all the people that I respected and had art crushes on,” Erin says.) She’s also launched an upstairs event space that hosts private gatherings and open-invitation DIY classes alike, and built vital bonds with a crew of young women (dubbed “the Golden Girls”) who work in the shop, meet regularly for meals, and even vacation together. But of all the unexpected returns that running the shop has yielded, one of the unlikeliest outcomes is unfolding now, very close to home.

The “tiny house” on Erin’s property.

Alex and Dan Cordell, who moved into Erin’s tiny house in April.

Alex and Dan opted for downsized, apartment-scale appliances in their 450-square-foot home’s L-shaped kitchen.

Earlier this year, Alex and Dan Cordell, Etsy sellers and the creators of home goods brand Solid Manufacturing Company (one of the first product lines Erin sought out when stocking her then-new shop), began renovating the former studio and gallery space behind Erin’s Excelsior home. The duo, who are now expecting their first child, converted it into a fully functional and warmly minimalist abode, and have been living there full time since April, in exchange for helping Erin and Ben manage the sometimes-wild land on which both houses sit. It’s cozy but not too cozy. “On a city block we’d be about eight houses apart,” says Alex. The families coexist easily, meeting spontaneously on the lawn for coffee or to dream up new ideas for their respective and overlapping businesses.

“For me, community is almost part of my theology,” Erin says. “It’s this main, central thing and everything else falls away for me but: How can I make a space for you? How can I bring you into this fold? The way I show love is to bring people into my home and to share with them everything that I have, whether it’s a living room to dance in, a shoulder to cry on, whatever is in my refrigerator, or the extra furniture I have stacked up. This house has definitely been a tool for that, and all I want is to sharpen this tool and make it better.”

Erin Duininck uses Etsy Wholesale to source one-of-a-kind handmade items for Golden Rule. To learn more, visit

Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.

The post Crafting a Community appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/19/2017 10:13 AM
Welcome to the Etsy Journal handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh


For the last 10 years, we’ve used this space to tell the stories of Etsy’s global community of makers, collectors, buyers, and sellers. We’ve had a few names in that time, but we’ve always been a publication with big ambitions, covering far-ranging subjects like cosplay culture, the tiny house movement, and even sustainable seafood. We’ve shared expert tips and ideas on everything from artistic living to kitchen makeovers, and our obsession with DIY has yielded hundreds of original craft projects, including terrariums made of candy and a pressed-flower phone case that went positively viral. Through it all, we’ve shared the stories of inspiring creatives and focused on the conversations that matter to us most: innovation, design, entrepreneurship, and artistic practice.

Today, we’re embracing new formats and mediums to tell Etsy’s story—including a digital magazine—and we’re giving the Etsy Blog a new moniker that encompasses our evolving focus. Welcome to the Etsy Journal, your source for ideas and inspiration for creative living. Join us as we visit artists’ studios and learn their stories, highlight emerging trends, and share DIYs to bring out your creative side. Explore our digital magazine below and tell us what you think in the comments.

Alison Feldmann is the head of editorial and brand content at Etsy. When she's not trawling Etsy for pottery, folk art, and vintage oddities, she enjoys traveling, historical nonfiction, thrift store shopping, and cooking (poorly). She loves a good cat video.

The post Welcome to the Etsy Journal appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/19/2017 05:28 AM
Featured Shop: The Letter Loft handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Simon Wild

After 20 years (and perhaps as many false starts), British designer Jodie Bond is the owner of successful home and event decor shop The Letter Loft. However, Jodie’s journey to get here was a long one. “I’d wanted to work for myself, so I tried painting, being a holistic practitioner, even selling cleaning products door-to-door,” she says.

In 2012, after creating the perfect set of mossy “Mr. and Mrs.” table toppers for her wedding, Jodie saw yet another career opportunity: selling moss letters. Six months later a business was born, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Constructing moss letters proved difficult, and a short-lived attempt at outsourcing bulk letter frames to China didn’t sit right with Jodie. Feeling frustrated, she turned to her dad, Robert, a retired electrician living in Spain. “I told him, ‘It’s not working, I think I’m going to have to pull the plug,’” she recalls. “And he said, ‘Well, let me have a go.’

In 2015, Robert officially joined the The Letter Loft team, and today the company has a beautiful new headquarters to its name. But there’s still one thing Jodie doesn’t have: a business card. “I promised myself I wouldn’t print another business card until I was a success,” she says. “In the past, I’d get really excited, print loads of business cards and then before I even had a sale, I’d change my mind.” With the help of her dad—and a beautiful collection of bespoke wire letters and cake toppers—the duo have shaped The Letter Loft into the business of Jodie’s dreams.

Read on to learn how this father-daughter team found their groove making industrial-botanical decor, and shop the collection.

When your father joined The Letter Loft, he lived nearly 1,000 miles away. Logistically, how did you manage?

Until eight months ago, I was running the business 50% from Spain, 50% from England. My dad would make a huge batch of letters and post them to England, and I would finish them off with coloring, mossing, and packaging. But now that my parents moved back to England, we actually just bought a house together—me and my husband, Mum and Dad. Now Dad and I have workshops right next to each other—a his and hers.

Your business is truly a family affair. Was it easy figuring out how to divide the workload?

My auntie Debbie crochets the letter cushions, my mum helps with packaging. But mostly it’s me and Dad. You have to respect the different roles you play. I started the business first and then Dad came on board and we established our roles from the get-go. So I’m the owner, and we consider him a sort of contractor, and that arrangement works really nicely for us.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

Can you describe your workflow?

Dad makes all our wire products out of stainless steel. For the cake toppers, he’ll write out a word—like you would with a pen, but using a hand-held tool. And for the letters, he bends wire around wooden boards to get the shape he wants. When he turns the wire over to me, it’s bare with welding burn marks, so then I powder coat it and bake it in the oven for about ten minutes. The paint melts onto the wire and leaves a beautiful finish. If I’m doing a moss letter, I’ll stuff the wire frame with dried sphagnum moss, which is long-lasting. At first it’s really big and fluffy, so I press it and mold it into shape, and then I cotton it all tight. Once they’re made they’re really sturdy.

What’s one of the greatest challenges you face as a small business owner?

Comparing yourself to others. Especially in the world of social media, you see all these successful businesses that seem to churn out amazing idea after amazing idea. Everything looks perfect and it seems like everyone’s day is butterflies and rainbows. But it’s important not to judge your shop based on what everybody else is doing. You have to recognize your own skills and strengths, find your niche and evolve within it.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

What would you say has become the defining feature of your products?

They’re top quality from the inside out. Most moss letters on the market are wood or foam underneath, and a lot of cake toppers and wire letters are either aluminum or copper, which can easily bend. But stainless steel is tough, which makes our letters a nice keepsake. The powder coating is also really durable, unlike spray paint, which chips easily.

How do you put a price on quality?

I had an email from a customer who said, “I want to order this, but you’re 10 pounds more expensive than anyone else.” A year ago, I probably would’ve felt I needed to apologize and desperately try to match prices, but I’ve come to recognize that we’re not like those other people because we don’t have machinery and we’re not mass producing. Everything is handmade by either myself, my auntie, or my dad. And I value our time and my business for that.

Photo by Yeshen Venema.

The handwriting for your cake toppers is so joyful. How did you come up with your style?

In the first year, Dad was obsessed with fonts. If I visited him in Spain he’d point at a sign and say, “Ooh! Look at that A!” He was learning what letters flowed well together and would try to recreate the more old-fashioned fonts. But writing in wire is different than writing in pen; where one letter would join up nicely if you wrote it, in wire it would look awkward. So he gradually just evolved his own style with little loops to hide behind the letter so it flows easier. I also came up with a more modern handwriting that we use for the “Yay” cake topper, for example, which is probably our bestseller.

What’s the best part about working with your dad?

He really is so good at what he does. I try to remember to tell him, “This is amazing what you’re creating.” Every time I have an idea for a product, he always makes it exactly like what’s in my mind. Our creative vision is very similar.

On a personal level, my parents lived abroad for fifteen years, so to actually have him here is really nice. To spend time with your dad every day—not everybody gets that opportunity.

What have you learned about yourselves through your business partnership?

His love of perfection has definitely rubbed off on me. For instance, originally my packaging was fine, but now I add touches like petals, stickers, and a little thank you note. We agree that it isn’t just about the product, it’s about the entire customer experience. And although this is a business and it supports us financially, it’s so much more than that to us. We’re passionate about it, and we do it because we love it.

Follow The Letter Loft on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Photographs by Simon Wild unless otherwise noted.

Shop The Letter Loft

Jackie Buddie is a part-time writer and wilderness explorer working full-time at Etsy HQ in Brooklyn.

The post Featured Shop: The Letter Loft appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/16/2017 05:37 AM
Discover a One-of-a-Kind Design Hotel in the Pacific Northwest handmade and vintage goods

Photo by The Jennings Hotel

As is the case with any good art project, reviving the century-old Jennings Hotel in Joseph, Oregon, has been as much about the process as the end product for founder Greg Hennes. After keeping tabs on the Main Street mainstay—which began as a hotel, and later housed offices and apartments—throughout four years’ worth of weekend trips to the area, the Portland transplant purchased the building in 2014. Since then, he’s been working with a rotating cast of likeminded creatives and local artisans to renovate one room after another, funding the work with a Kickstarter campaign and giving individual collaborators complete control of a single space’s aesthetic. An early wave of artists-in-residence contributed handmade details, such as the dinner plates in the communal kitchen made by ceramicist Haley Ann Robinson and custom quilts stitched by Brooklyn’s Zena Verda Pesta. It’s all been a bit like an extended barn-raising, only with more design cred.

The Wallowa Mountains near Joseph, Oregon.

Artist Christina Mrozik working on a piece for the hotel’s permanent collection.

The Jennings has been adding rooms on a rolling basis since the first one opened its doors in 2015; a new batch, including one conceived by Etsy seller Lisa Garcia, the designer behind the home goods shop Soñadora, will be available for booking this summer. With the renovations nearly complete, Greg will have more time to focus on his next great adventure (and fundraising campaign): building a workshop for the non-profit Prairie Mountain Folk School, also in Joseph, which he launched in March 2017 to host weekend workshops in natural dyeing, metal forging, spoon carving, and more.

We asked Greg and Lisa to tell us about their creative collaboration at the Jennings Hotel.

Room 8 at the Jennings Hotel, designed by founder Greg Hennes.

Greg, what were you looking for in a hotel collaborator?

Greg: I was really just looking for someone with a strong sense of design; I wasn’t attached to a particular aesthetic. All the rooms have a distinct personality and are distinct experiences, but they’re all connected by the thread of good design.

Lisa: Greg was so open and allowed us to really explore and have fun—it’s been awesome.

How did you two first meet, anyway?

G: We met in 2012, when I was launching a holiday shopping event in Portland called the Portland Bazaar. Lisa reached out to us about her band playing at the event.

L: We just became friends after that.

The Jennings Hotel’s communal kitchen and library space

Lisa, you’ve done hospitality design before. What appealed to you most about working on this project?

L: It seemed very, very special from the start. I visited about two years ago and got to see the bones of the hotel and help Greg with the very first room; at that point, I was hooked. I realized that he had stumbled upon a real gem out there: The community was amazing, the location was incredible, everything about it was dreamy. When he asked me to design a room I didn’t hesitate.

We’ve had some unique challenges, but overall this has been one of the more rewarding projects I’ve worked on, and I think that’s in large part because of how great it is to work with Greg and his team. He surrounds himself with wonderful, talented people who get things done.

Will you tell us about the idea behind your room?

L: I went back to the drawing board quite a few times, thinking about what would be best for my room that would also fit in nicely with what the other designers had done. Eventually we settled on a concept that I’m calling the INFP4 room. INFP is a Myers-Briggs personality type, and the 4 is an Enneagram type, which I loosely translate to being “the introverted artist.”

It’s such a magical space out there in the Wallowa Valley: The landscape is really conducive to creativity and unblocking, and both times I’ve gone it’s been pretty cathartic. With that in mind, I wanted to design a room that would be a conduit for future works of art.

Room 3b, a collaboration between Phloem Studio‘s Ben Klebba and Matt Pierce of Wood&Faulk

Zena Verda Pesta pieces a custom quilt for the Jennings Hotel.

So how did you bring that concept to life?

L: Mainly, I wanted the room to be a blank palette for someone. The desk was key—we ended up doing a built-in for that. We also created a gallery fixture with shelves to display art made by different artists.

To get at the idea of reflection, I made large mirrors a prominent element. I also sourced a field easel that you can take out on the trails to work on, and I started a weaving wall, which will slowly turn into a large tapestry as guests contribute to it over time.

Greg, what do guests seem to love most about the hotel in general?

G: I think the sauna and the combined kitchen/library have been the two most important aspects of the hotel, both from a guest perspective and from a personal one. It’s incredible to see how people gather in and use those public spaces: to have conversations, listen to records, look through books, and sit by the fire. Yes, the guest rooms are all unique and that’s super-special, but bringing people together and creating conditions for conversations, that’s the thing that really makes the project stand out.

Room 3b, with original artwork by Christina Mrozik

A Shaker peg rail runs around every wall of designer Tom Bonamici’s room, 4.75.

Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.

The post Discover a One-of-a-Kind Design Hotel in the Pacific Northwest appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/15/2017 01:59 PM
Featured Shop: Kai Samuels-Davis handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Kai Samuels-Davis

If every artist’s arc had a single-sentence takeaway, Kai Samuels-Davis’s might well be: Never underestimate the power of figuring out what you don’t want. It’s a theme that’s played out in the Bay Area painter’s experience more than once, often in life-changing ways. The first big boomerang came in art school, when Kai, who had dabbled in everything from printmaking and photography to drawing and sculpture as an undergrad, enrolled in the graduate film program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Almost instantly, he realized his mistake. “I didn’t know what the film industry was,” Kai explains. “Going to film school just made me realize I wanted to be a painter.”

That realization wasn’t without its woes. “I had a mini mental breakdown, because I was already way in debt for the program,” Kai says. “But I slowly transitioned to painting, and started taking more and more painting and drawing classes instead of my film ones.” While Kai ultimately completed the film program, he managed to get the thing he needed most from the experience: an artistic focus to build his life around (nevermind that it wasn’t the one he got a degree in).

Today, Kai’s distinctive style of work comes out of competing and conflicting desires: his compulsion to create realistic, beautiful, and traditionally and technically flawless work, and his greater urge to mess up that work before the paint has even dried. Kai’s decision to turn his back on that first impulse is precisely what makes his work so compelling—just ask his 47,000-plus Instagram followers.

We chatted with Kai to learn more about his path to becoming the painter he is today. Read on to discover his story and shop the collection.

How did you get started with painting? Were you always artistic?

I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid; in first grade I made a whole series of weird pencil drawings of these toucan-penguin hybrid birds, and I would sell them for a quarter apiece to kids in my class. Then I’d use that money to buy the junk food I wasn’t allowed to have at home. I was like, “This is great!”

I like that you were monetizing early—you weren’t just in it for the love of art.

I was in it for the junk food. But yeah, art was the only thing that ever held my attention, and the only class I ever cared about in school. There was never a question in my mind when people asked me what I was going to do. I’d say, “I’m going to make art.” I grew up in upstate New York in a pretty small and sort of sheltered town, so when I’d say that, people would look at me like I was crazy, like, “Well, okay, you’re going to make art, but what are you going to do to make money?”

What about your parents, what did they think about your chosen path?

They were really supportive. For my 16th birthday, they got me four classes at the Woodstock School of Art; I spent that whole summer going to art school and doing sculpture and painting and drawing. It was the first time I’d ever been really immersed in making art instead of just a class here and there for half an hour. That’s what clinched the deal.

What led you to open an Etsy shop?

When I finished grad school, I met my wife, Clare, who is also a painter, and got a job working for a really successful artist. That was the first time that I’d pursued a job in art. He had, like, a 10,000-square-foot space in Santa Monica and sold paintings for $100,000. To be working in that sort of environment was surreal. I was like, “Making art got you this? Holy crap!” I got to sweep that room, and he got to paint there. That was a good kick in the pants to really get my own stuff going.

When we moved to the Bay Area in 2009, Clare and I each set up Etsy shops while we were looking for work—just any kind of jobs to pay the bills. We got a couple sales on Etsy, then we got a couple more. Clare’s work started to get a lot of attention: She was a Featured Shop on Etsy and she got some mentions on big blogs, and it just took off from there. All of a sudden, we were like, oh, we have jobs now. We don’t have to keep looking for crappy jobs.

Today, most of my income comes from selling paintings, and the prints subsidize things. At the beginning, it was really hard to justify working on a painting for months when I didn’t know if or when it was going to sell. Etsy made it so I could afford to just focus on my painting. Without Etsy, I don’t know what we would have done.

Do you and Clare give each other feedback on your work—or advice on running your Etsy shops?

Yeah, both. I think I gave Clare more advice on Etsy in the beginning and now she gives me more advice. We’ll brainstorm together and give each other advice and feedback; I think we’ve each really helped the other’s work grow a lot. It’s great to have someone right there who can relate, that you can bounce ideas off of. And with Etsy, neither of us had done anything like that before. We’re always talking about pricing structures and the logistics of shipping; we ended up where we are now through a lot of trial and error.

How long have you been working in the style that we see in your shop today, and how did you arrive there? Has your work evolved a great deal over the years?

I always had intentions of my paintings being in between representational and abstract. I wanted them to be expressive, sort of a balance between chaos and order, where you had to figure out what it was. For some reason, a few years back, one side of my brain was winning over, and my paintings started getting more representational and just very literal. I think I kind of lost focus. Around the end of 2012, I got really fed up with myself. I’d look at the paintings and think: These are boring, this is not what I want to be doing.

So I was like, I’m going to paint a blurry, messy face—I’m going to paint it just for fun and to break me out of my funk. That was the painting “The Beginning,” and that pretty much started the style I have been working in since. It was such a eureka moment, to be working on a painting and having so much fun. I got to explore while I was working on the painting, and then that translates to the viewer, where there’s more for them to explore.

As things got more fragmented in my work—the blurs, the places where the background and the subject sort of merge and break apart, things like that—I felt like I was getting my intent across more, translating the emotions better. You’re not looking at it as if it’s a portrait of a specific individual, it goes past that. And everything has evolved from there.

Even now, though, there’s a part of me that says, make that eye look perfect. I have to remind myself that it can be messy and still be good. But I still hear that voice in the back of my head telling me to make it look pretty, and it drives me nuts.

How do you combat that voice?

One big thing I figured out was that I was spending too much time trying to get my paintings perfect before I could start messing them up. I would go crazy for days in the studio trying to get one proportion right, and I didn’t like that struggle. I do like some struggles with painting, but that one didn’t feel worth it.

So I got a projector, which I was always very against—it felt like cheating to me—but when I tried it, it was fantastic. I could project a very simple outline to get the basic proportions, spend a few hours blocking in the whole painting, and have my nice realistic painting done so much faster. And then take a squeegee and destroy it instantly. Instead of spending weeks getting to that point, I could skip the not-fun step and just get it out of my system—like, alright, I painted a realistic face, there it is, and it’s boring, just like I thought. Now I can put it aside and have the starting point for the actual painting.

What’s your workspace like?

I work in a studio that used to be the garage of our house. All the walls are covered with paintings in progress, and the easel where I work is in one corner. In the opposite corner, there’s a sitting area with a couch and coffee table and mini-fridge, where I can sit and see everything at once. It’s great to be able to scan the room and notice what’s working in one piece that I could carry over to another, whether it’s an element or mark or line or color. I also have a small wood table for working on watercolors. I’d like to get back into inks and watercolors more, maybe do some studies for larger paintings and put those on Etsy too.

Is there a particular piece that has seemed to resonate with buyers the most?

My most popular piece used to be “The Disappearing Boy“; for a long time, that was 80% of the prints I would sell. That phased out, and then it became “The Beginning,” and another one called “The Decision,” which is kind of a blurred, shaky face. It’s a little more graphic, just black and white and flesh tone, and fairly neutral so it works in a lot of spaces. Plus, they’re not too specific; a lot of people don’t like having portraiture in their house, because they don’t like looking at a stranger.

Has there ever been a buyer that you connected with in a special way?

I sold a small oil painting to a woman in England years ago, and then she contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in showing paintings in a gallery shop she owned called the Cold Store in Norwich, England. I’ve gotten a lot of those requests before, and it’s usually a cheesy touristy gallery, someplace my work wouldn’t fit at all. But I went to check out her shop online and it looked really nice—very simple and clean and a very small selection of stuff. I liked the other artists and artisans, so I said yes.

That was 2010, and we’re still working together today. We’ve never actually met or talked on the phone—she did an interview with the British Homes & Gardens and described our relationship as being like old-school pen pals. It’s been a great connection to have. I think we’re finally going to meet this summer when she comes to the Bay Area. In the gallery world, it’s hard to find people you really get along with and who are honest, so if a relationship like that develops, you try to hang onto it.

What’s next for your work and your Etsy shop?

I’ve known for a while that I want to have some smaller stuff in my shop, and I’ve done one batch of watercolors already. I think moving forward I want to start doing some studies and sketches and smaller pieces on paper that I think will be nice to have on Etsy. I like having the prints of my larger paintings, because it makes my work accessible to more people, and we got a large format printer so we can have substantial, good-quality prints. But I think my goal for the next year is to have a smaller selection of prints for select paintings, and then a lot of studies and smaller originals.

The whole last year was consumed with crazy house renovations and working on my last show, and my wife and I also just had a baby, so the last six months have been about trying to keep another person alive. It’s been pretty incredible, but neither of us has gotten much done in the meantime. I have a solo show coming up next April though, and I need to have half the work ready by the end of September. I thought it would help to start doing some smaller pieces as warmups, and I’m going to start listing those in my shop soon.

Follow Kai Samuels-Davis on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs courtesy of Kai Samuels-Davis

Shop Kai Samuels-Davis

Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.

The post Featured Shop: Kai Samuels-Davis appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/14/2017 10:30 AM
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Depression Glass handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh

It’s official—pale pink is the color du jour. Ever since Pantone named Rose Quartz a 2016 Color of The Year, barely-there pinks ranging from blush to bubblegum have been popping up everywhere from the runway to the restaurant counter. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no wrong place to splash it, but these days we’re especially smitten by vintage glassware in this soft, unapologetically feminine hue. If you’re in the market for dainty blush glassware brimming with old-school, romantic charm, look no further than Depression glass.

Made in the United States in the 1920s and ‘30s, Depression glass was a mass-produced, low-cost style of molded glassware. Pressed by machines in staggering quantities, Depression glass provided an affordable alternative to the more expensive hand-cut glass that preceded it, allowing cost-conscious consumers to add some much-needed cheer to their homes (without breaking the bank). While Depression glass was available in most colors of the rainbow, one of the most popular colors, then as now, was pink.

We sat down with Etsy seller, Antiques Roadshow appraiser, and all-around vintage expert Jeni Sandberg for a crash course in sourcing and collecting. Read on for Jeni’s top four beginner-friendly tips.

Vintage pink Depression glass from Jeni Sandberg Vintage, $25. Shop similar. 

Tip 1: Know your history

With more than 20 manufacturers across the US producing nearly 100 distinct patterns, Depression glass pieces run the gamut, but a few identifying characteristics shine through across the category. “Depression glass tends to be very thin,” says Jeni. “And there are lots of typical Depression-era patterns: the wheel-cut decoration was very typical of Depression—where you get these little wheel-cut flowers etched into the glass—and you also get very lacy patterns.”

In the ‘70s, Depression glass enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with collectors, prompting companies to begin churning out copies. When it comes to telling the newer pink stuff from the older pink stuff, color and feel can provide helpful clues. “That warm, blush-champagne color was a big deal in the ‘30s,” says Jeni. “If you think about the clothes of that era—all those silk bias-cut dresses and ruffles—everything was soft and feminine. Later pieces from the ‘70s will veer more towards a purpley-pink.” The feel of a piece of glass can also be telling: reproductions tend to be thicker and heavier, while glass from the ‘20s and ‘30s is usually thinner and softer, and more susceptible to chipping.

Vintage Anchor Hocking Depression glass plate from 1350 Northvintage, $38. Shop similar. 

Tip 2: Check for quality

No matter what kind of glassware you’re shopping for, condition should be your guide for purchasing. Because many vintage items were used daily in the homes of their original owners, wear and tear is to be expected. The degree of damage can vary drastically, though, so it’s a good idea to give everything a careful inspection before taking it home. Run your finger around the edges of a piece to feel for chips, and hold each piece up to the light to check for cracks. If you’re purchasing online, be sure to inspect the photos carefully, and don’t be afraid to request additional shots if something seems suspect.

Keep in mind that some kinds of wear may be more acceptable than others. “A cake plate is going to have utensil marks,” explains Jeni, “but if I have a wine glass that has weird bubbles or a scratch or a chip, I’m not going to be as okay with that.” While some pieces may just need a good scrub, other damage can’t be undone. Permanently cloudy glass (also called “sick” glass) is best avoided, along with anything chipped. “Cracks are a serious problem,” warns Jeni—when in doubt, it’s best to steer clear.

Chelsea Cavanaugh

Shop pink Depression glass

Tip 3: Do your homework

Whether you’re chasing down a rare Depression-era butter dish or browsing the racks at IKEA, when it comes to purchasing glassware, a little research goes a long way. For starters, understanding how common a piece is will help you gauge how much you should be willing to shell out. Rare color-pattern combinations or limited-run pieces, for example, are worth more than their more manifold counterparts.

And with Depression glass, it’s important to know what you’re looking at, as later-twentieth-century reproductions run rampant. Before you whip out your credit card, turn to the internet—or dare we say, crack open a book—to ensure you’re paying a fair price and making an informed purchase. (Gene Florence’s Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass is a widely-used resource.) It may seem tedious, but by cross-checking the identifying attributes of a piece with known patterns, makers, and dates of manufacture, you can definitively weed out the fakes. Remember: Information is power, especially for a new collector.

Vintage Depression glass goblets from Jeni Sandberg Vintage, $75 for set of 4. Shop similar. 

Tip 4: Follow your heart

Ultimately, when shopping for glassware, what matters most is what you think. “Flaws” can add character to a piece and reproductions can be beautiful—as the buyer, you get final say. By doing a little pre-purchase homework, you can ensure you’re paying a fair price and making an informed decision, but the rest is entirely up to you.

“If it’s in good condition, and you like it, buy it,” says Jeni. “Enjoy it! Buy what you like, buy what’s pretty, buy what serves your purposes.” After all, at the end of the day, you’re the one taking it home.

12 vintage Depression glass champagne glasses from Copper and Tin, $138. Shop similar.

Cheat sheet

Terms to search

If you’re kicking off an online search, these terms will steer you well.

Start general:

Get specific:
Try searching for well-known manufacturers (Jeannette, Anchor Hocking, Indiana Glass Company) and patterns (Mayfair, American Sweetheart, Royal Lace).

Styling tips

Keep it simple: If you’re looking to add vintage glassware to your collection but aren’t sure where to start, consider a simple pair of wine glasses. “Pretty stemware is always fun,” says Jeni. “You can use it every day, or just on special occasions—I never fail to amaze people with my rotating collection of unusual wine glasses.”

Mix and match: When it comes to purchasing vintage glassware, buying larger quantities can be tough, and you’ll pay a premium for it. If you’re having trouble finding a complete set—or want a more unique look—try buying one or two pieces at a time, building up a mismatched set all your own. “If it’s all the same color, it’ll look great together,” says Jeni.

What to pay

The good news? Vintage glassware tends to be pretty affordable. Reproductions from the ‘70s and ‘80s will typically cost much less than their earlier counterparts, but you can usually find even the best, most fabulous Depression glasses from the ‘30s for $20 to $25 a stem. “For not a ton of money, you can buy beautiful glasses that will be lovely forever,” says Jeni.

Shop Depression glass

Katie Hawley is an editor at Etsy. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

The post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Depression Glass appeared first on Etsy Journal.

06/13/2017 12:54 PM
A Day in the Life of Hecho en Harlem Jewelry handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Cody James

Jewelry designer. Photography teacher. Museum educator. Airbnb host. With a CV like this one, we’re not sure when Ifétayo Abdus-Salam of the Etsy shop Hecho En Harlem Jewelry sleeps. But then Ifé, who started selling her original jewelry designs in the gift shop of the Studio Museum in Harlem when she was still in college, has never really been short on ambition. After she graduated, Ifé spent 10 years working in non-profits and teaching art at a public high school in the Bronx. In 2014, she returned to the medium that first captured her imagination as a young girl, and she’s been honing her style ever since, crafting simple, statement-making pieces in copper, silver, and brass. “There’s something so cool about working with fire and metal—watching it go through the stages from a piece of wax to a finished, beautiful thing. That whole process is magical to me,” Ifé says.


Today, Ifé juggles jewelry making with teaching photography and leading tours at New York City’s International Center of Photography, along with a slew of other pursuits. It helps that her biggest sources of inspiration are right at her fingertips in her Harlem neighborhood. From its rich hip-hop and jazz heritage to the inimitable style of the women in the community, “the cultural aesthetic of Harlem is all about being bold and never afraid to experiment,” she says. “I’m so inspired by that.”

We tagged along with Ifé on a typically atypical day to see just how she does it.

7:30am First things first

As soon as I wake up, I feed Farai, my cat, make some tea, and start checking email to make a plan for the day. Before I begin working in the studio, I need to mentally prepare for the tasks of ahead of me: Do I have orders that need to be filled or shipped? Do I need to restock inventory for an upcoming market? Is it time for me to start working on a new line?

9:30am Into the studio

I’m really, really lucky to have a home studio. I have a three-bedroom apartment, and I use one room to do my design work, which includes fabricating and polishing my jewelry and building the wax models for my cast pieces. I usually carve out four-hour blocks of time for studio work: one in the morning, and another in the afternoon if I’m not teaching or leading a tour.

Earrings by Hecho en Harlem, from $40

1pm Mid-day break

I have lunch at home as often as possible, but when I go out for a lunch date, Chai Wali is one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. The food is healthy and affordable, and the space is gorgeous. I’m so impressed by how perfectly they’ve executed their design aesthetic. I also love working out in the gym and riding my bicycle around Central Park; it’s a great way to push aside the pressures of running my business and focus only on what I’m doing in that moment. Afterward I feel strong, accomplished, happy, and ready to dive into the next item on my to-do list.

2pm Nature fix

I live across the street from Morningside Park, which is an ideal place to walk and think—there’s so much texture and visual inspiration there. I detour through the park whenever I can. When you live in New York City, the chance to surround yourself with greenery is priceless.

3pm Supply run

For some of my jewelry pieces, I carve molds out of wax and send them out to be cast in metal. The caster I use most is in Midtown Manhattan, a block away from the photography school where I teach. I love when I have weekday classes there, because I can drop by the caster and then go teach, all in one trip.

4pm School’s in

Currently I’m teaching two beginning black and white darkroom classes at the International Center of Photography. Throughout my life, being in learning spaces with other people who have the same natural drive and passion has been important for me. Hands down, the thing I get the most gratification from in my creative life is the opportunity to build community.

7pm Time to unwind

I’m a member of my local community garden, and I love planting vegetables and herbs to cook with. It’s all kind of the same idea: exploring the possibility of what we can create. I typically water my plot in the afternoon or evening, when the sun has passed its peak. Ending my day in the garden is one of my favorite pastimes.

8pm Nights and weekends

Running a small business can be overwhelming, so every now and then I have to give myself a break to be inspired by someone else’s craft. I often check out museums on the weekends—I love Uptown Fridays at the Studio Museum in Harlem, a summer series with a dance party in the courtyard, free guided tours, and live performances.

Photographs by Cody James.

Shop Hecho En Harlem

Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.

The post A Day in the Life of Hecho en Harlem Jewelry appeared first on Etsy Journal.