Fun Friday: Jewels from the Broke Down Barn

Well, all, it looks like this is the last post of the year (more than likely, anyhow). Isn't it amazing that Christmas is Tuesday? I hope everyone has plans to see family and friends.

For our final treats of the year, I've selected two colourful pieces of jewelry from the Broke Down Barn. The artist is selling her work in an attempt to save, literally, the family farm from being sold off at auction. She'd like to save it and eventually turn it into an animal sanctuary.

First up is the very cheery ring, featuring handmade lampwork beads atop a sterling band. It reminds me of the hats worn by the in habitants of MunckinLand in Wizard of Oz, to tell the truth. Regardless, it's smile-inducing, don't you think? $65.

The other fun little goody is this owl necklace. His sweet but mildly befuddled expression is what really gets me...those eyes! He hangs from a 14 karat gold filled findings & chain. Very cute and full of personality, don't you think? $40, and both from the Broke Down Barn.

In case I actually do decide to not pop on before then, do have a very, very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year's! Stay safe if you're going to be on the road, and enjoy the time with your family and friends. May God bless you with His love and peace for this and the coming year.

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Lush Hair Jewels

These elegant hairpins (about 3 down) from Jeweled Elegance bring to mind a beautiful, vibrant garden...perhaps one in England, traditional and stately, or something a little more unrestrained, maybe one in ancient Persia or Egypt. Amazing how such a small thing can stir such vibrant imaginations, isn't it? Wonderfully, you too can be swept away with these hairpins, because they're just $12 — far less than a plane ticket (unless you're already there...).

Handmade and easily yours from the lovely Heather of Jeweled Elegance, one of my favourite indie designers.


Well, it's a print, all right

In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this vintage dress. The cut is beautiful and classic, of course, so I've no beef with that; slightly off the shoulder; a nice clean, long sheath; a kick pleat long enough to be useful; the belt. Even the label is adorable!

I think it's the print that's throwing me off, though the more I look at this dress, the more I like it. The print itself is made up of a golden knit stretched out over the silk dress in a pattern reminiscent of fish scales. Really...it's quite pretty (like I said, it grows on one). Definitely unique, this lovely dress' base colour, a pale aqua, flatters many skin tones is definitely not for the hourglass figures out there with its measurements of 35-33-36. The dress is fully lined, and bidding starts at just $20. Unfortunately (kind of, I suppose), it's an eBay listing that ends Friday evening, so if this looks to you like the perfect New Year's party dress, hurry and snap it up!

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Blooming Cloche

It's that time of year, isn't it? You know, when it's bitterly cold and windy and miserable outdoors? We're often told that during such weather, most of our body heat is lost through our head; some say as much as 80 percent! If that's not enough to start you on a hat-search, I don't know what is.

To help you out, I've found this darling cloche from Counting Stitches. Cloches have been classic since they first appeared in the 20s; winsome and flattering, their simple but sweet shape still allows for them to display some flair. This one is made from a vanilla-coloured wool blend that is thick to keep you warm but still lightweight (can't crush that coif, right?). Bedecking our little hat is a big removable wine-coloured bloom. Just $25, and there are 2 other cloches in different colours at the Counting Stitches shop. She sells some very snuggly-looking scarves, too, so if you're updating your winter warmers or buying some for someone else, definitely pay her a visit!


Perfectly Pretty

Oh, these polymer clay pendants from Block Party Press are simply lovely, are they not? The trees almost look as if they're dancing to me. Each pendant is just $18 and you can choose from a variety of colour combinations or suggest your own to the Baltimore-based artist. The pendant is also available on pins, magnets, or even as part of a collage art. The rubber cord necklace on which to string your pendant is just $4.

Am I the only one who can't believe Christmas is just a week away? Goodness! I'm cranking out last-minute gifts and goodies (including cookies, of course), as are many of you, no doubt. Anything special you've made or purchased from an indie artist that you just can't wait to see the recipient open? I've definitely got a few things...but of course they can't be disclosed just yet. ;)


Fun Friday: Leopards in Small Doses

Not everyone can (or wants to) wear an item of clothing that features a riotous leopard print. For some, even a skirt or top or cuffs are far too much. But what if you still want that fun jungle flair once in a while? Well, why not this leopard ring in a cool turquoise instead? It's small, cute, and chic without being too much for even the most print-phobic among us. $19. This and other lovely fused glass treats are available from Sour Kitten Glass (fabulous name).

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Wear It, Don't Eat It

Don't berate me for dispensing cruel diet advice. I'm merely trying to save your dental work, because despite appearances, this necklace is just that, not what it looks like...a fabulous piece of chocolate. Perfect pink dots rest prettily atop the chocolate-coloured base, all made of fused glass in the home studio of Funky Chic Boutique. The yummy-looking pendant hangs from an adjustable satin necklace. I especially like the chocolate base; if you look closely at the image, the colour has a slight feathered look that really adds texture and depth to an otherwise smooth piece of jewelry. $32.


Snuggly Hoodie

The temperatures here are presently hovering in the balmy-for-December range of 50 to 60 degrees. Despite the thermometer reading, though, the damp and the wind can still leave one feeling a bit chilled even if it's too warm to haul out the woolen coat and gloves. This weather, during fall, is typically referred to as "sweater weather"; designer Lorigami comes to the rescue with this very pretty garden hoodie.

First of all, the colour is delicious, somewhere between mulberry and rose wine. This is a flattering shade, one most women can wear without trouble. Lorigami has turned what used to be a plain sweater and added yarn-like flower appliques to the sleeves, pockets, and hood, then added a vintage buckle closure made from mother of pearl. The hoodie features bell sleeves, which I happen to think are very pretty and romantic; the hood, of course, will keep you extra-toasty and (let's be honest) protect your hair and skin just a little better from the dry winter air.

This hoodie sweater is a large, though with sweaters like this size isn't quite as vital since it's meant to be worn over already-warm clothing. The bust is 48" and the sweater itself is quite long, appropriate for traipsing about outdoors, whether it's in and out of stores or just going in to pick up your crumb-crunchers from school.

$45 from Lorigami.


Long Batik Skirt

We all know her. She can take a forlorn-looking skirt, a 70s tie with a frightening resemblance to elephant vomit, and a rather plain top and somehow show up at a party having transformed it most fabulous, amazing outfit you've ever seen, one that leaves every woman in the joint saying to themselves, "She is just so amazing. I wish I see the beauty in otherwise hideous clothes and do that." Sometimes its the jewelry she adds, or she adds lace to the top or a fun fringe to the hem of the skirt, but she never fails to take things most of us would see as inappropriate for the occasion and makes them amazingly apropos for it.

Now, if you ask me, this long vintage batik-print skirt is just one of those items, waiting for the right lady to come along and see the perfect piece for her New Year's outfit or the company Christmas party. It's got a free hip measurement and a 30" waist. The skirt itself is a deep blue, almost indigo cotton, and just $17.99 from Future Vintage.


Snuggly Winter Blossom

This cherry blossom clutch is perfect to give as a gift or for you to carry to parties this year. Yet it needn't be stashed away once Christmas and New Year's are over: why not use it every day as a cosmetics case, to hold your cellphone and PDA in an easy-to reach spot in your purse, or to carry your camera with you during the day? It's a little bigger than 8 x 6, and on sale for a mere $20. Hand-knit with merino wool before being felted, the zipper-clutch features a pretty flower pin made of felt that you can wear on your coat, sweater, or scarf when it's not on your charming little clutch.

From My Jenny Wren, where you'll also find very cute gingerbread ornaments for decking your home and tree.


Fun Friday: Calling Errol Flynn...

Sometimes these Fun Friday treats just make me giggle. This adorable cupcake-themed tote is just one of those items! This black cotton tote big enough for all of your day-to-day necessities, craft supplies, library books, even some baking supplies home from the supermarket. It features white screenprinted cupcakes, all clearly aware of their deliciousness: vanilla, chocolate, and...pirate! Just $10 from Dog Bone Art, making it a sensible splurge (no, that's not an oxymoron) for yourself or a cupcake-loving friend.

If you like this print, you can also get it in a tee, vinyl sticker, and notecards. There's even stickers and miniature plushies featuring the dashing pirate cupcake all by itself.

Do you wonder if anyone ever had the temerity to call Errol Flynn "cupcake"? Something tells me "no", not even Olivia herself.

I've just got to tell you that Dog Bone Art is pure cute overload. Artist Laura's shop is jam-packed with whimsical treats that won't even come close to breaking the bank and encourage smiles all around. It's a great place to do some Christmas shopping, too.

My mother-in-law will be here this weekend, and I'm running to the craft store to create what I'm sure will be a monstrosity of a feather boa wreath for the house (the idea is in my head, and it just won't go away). I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm, and I'll see you Monday!

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Hawaiian Flair?

For some reason, these earrings remind me of the trips my grandparents would take to Hawaii. They were always bringing little things back that fascinated us, including that dark, carved wood. The vintage carved lucite beads dangling from the pretty jade daisies on these earrings definitely remind me of those exotic carvings, and especially the kinda-creepy but mostly cool mugs they brought home one year. The colours are bright and cheery but not so much that they'll be out of place this time of year. $30 from A Sweet Magpie.

Also, if you like these but prefer something a little more classic-subtle, be sure to take a look at her beautiful, sophisticated tea petal earrings in a soft blue and pale mocha. So pretty! Her whole shop is full of earrings ranging from funky to mod to beautiful; there's a lot to look at, so get clicking! ;)


Icy Cool

This vintage dress is a definite stunner. Straight from the swank Sinatra-fied 50s, this blue wiggle dress has metallic roses all over its pretty little self. Definitely a classic look, this dress will, trust me, never be out of style; it's not hard to imagine Deborah Kerr in this beauty. The pale, icy blue is flattering to many different complexions, and would be set off beautifully by silver or blue jewelry. The original matching belt is included; the previous owner of this dress must have really loved and treasured it. It looks to be in mint condition.

I'd say this would fit a medium to a large, with its measurements of 40-32-44. It's great for winter weddings, the company Christmas party, New Year's Eve, you name it. Bidding starts at $49.99, but you've only got until Saturday (the 9th) to make this yours. Good luck!

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Sherbet in Winter?

You're being asked about sherbet because that's what this luscious-looking wool scarf reminds me of: orange sherbet. Or perhaps a Creamsicle. Of course, the idea of downing ice cream when it's below 30 degrees, flurrying, and windy outside isn't on most people's minds; nor does it sound like something we want to do this time of year. Snuggling up with a hot cocoa or some fondue sounds much better, doesn't it?

Still, there's something special about that soft orange and creamy white combination I find pretty irresistible, and this girl can't be the only one. Orange is a very cheerful, enlivening colour anyhow, and during the next few grey, morose winter months, wouldn't it be fabulous to have a soft, cuddly-feeling scarf like this one to perk up your mood and your coats? Hand stitched, not only is this woolen beauty going to keep you toasty warm, it's a nice long, wide scarf — all the better for wrapping around your neck and snuggling into. This is cute enough to keep wrapped about you even after you remove your coat (hey, where I grew up in Detroit, this is pretty common; it's COLD!), and the joyous colours are probably going to encourage you to do so. $35 and handmade by TJT Design.

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Another Gorgeous Holiday Party Dress

The 50s meet Indian tradition in this delightful party dress. Handmade and one-of-a-kind, this one is made of a fabulous retro-style satin in a chocolate and gold dot print. The bodice has been lined with taffeta, and creator Katy took the time to hand-sew shisha mirrors onto the neckline, making it absolutely perfect for all of the Christmas, New Year's, and other holiday events you've got on your agenda this year. Shisha mirrors look as if they're woven into the fabric, and are quite common in Indian wear as well as bellydancing attire (more examples here). The effect on this dress is beautiful, and reflects, quite literally, the polka-dotting at the dress' hem.

I'd say this dress is a small-medium, with measurements of 32.5-28/29-free waist. $80 from My Little Empire, and that's quite a bargain for a dress this fashionably pretty but still modest and ladylike. You'll find a few other dresses as well as blouses and skirts at Katy's shop, everything handmade with loving care. That said, if you do want this for the already-here social season, order soon; it ships from the UK ($5 shipping), and I wouldn't want you to be dress-less.