MarfDaze’s Second Annual List of Handmade Gift Suggestions

In search of holiday gifts to give your lovies?

I’ve once again scoured the Web for good stuff just for you, Gentle Reader. And this time, it’s personal. I’ve road tested each of these products and I am in love.

In no particular order:

1. These fancy ear baubles from ElegantEarCuffs

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Back in the late 20th century, there was a curious invention called the earcuff — a punky bit of cartilage-crunching flair for young‘uns who couldn’t commit to piercings. I had one with a little dangly cross when I was about 14.

Anyway, Fiona, a fabulous craftslady with 21st century taste, has reimagined edgy earcuffs as elegant statement pieces that can be worn to the office, parties, or to one’s sewing studio for late-night stitchery. And they are as comfortable as they are pretty. They are shapeable and rest nicely on your lobes, so there’s no need to squeeze your poor ear in any way.

2. This shiny, shiny nail polish from LynBDesigns

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I am a fan of the BBC’s Sherlock, but that’s not why I love this James Moriarty-inspired nail polish. It’s the colors. Rich blues and blacks with sparkles that mesmerize in the sunlight. I don’t care that I look like a weirdo waving my hand in front of my face, catching the light, because, Oooooooooh. Spaaaaaaaarkly.

3. These amazing crafting doodads available at Cloth and Bobbin

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Ok, technically, not a handmade thing, but I promise you that your sewing friends will love you bunches more if you get them Wonder Clips. They come in handy when working on materials that would be damaged by pins, such as leather and oilcloth. I like to use them when I’m sewing at craft fairs because they’re much easier to keep track of than straight pins.

4. This unbelievably cute Droid Apron from PandorasProductions

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Pandora makes clever and meticulously constructed aprons for cosplay. (While they are certainly built for stamina and the rigors of the kitchen, I would never put my precious Pandora creations (I have a TARDIS, too) in the line of fire that is my, um, ebullient cooking style.) Her stuff is simply the best.

5. This surprisingly rugged ring from Simply Charmed 21

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I like rings, but I have chubby fingers and it can be hard to find rings that fit. Happily, Etsy is teeming with ring makers who make custom sizes. I particularly appreciate the amethyst wire-wrapped ring I got from Simply Charmed 21 because it has stood up to its share of punishment. I’ve worn it almost everyday for six months straight. It’s just fine after hiking, weight lifting, craft fair tent set ups, dish washing, etc.

Plus, it’s cute!

Happy Holidays! I’ll be back next week with tales of my adventures at this weekend’s Walker Stalker Con.

Stay tuned! Irving and I are getting ready for WalkerStalker Con in NJ/NY, December 13-14.

Steel Magnolias and Lady Cassandra

To quote the incomparable Truvy Jones (Ms. Dolly Parton) from Steel Magnolias:

“Oh Spud! I’m a chain!”

That’s right. Sam Sheppard I built another (virtual) shop for my bag-making enterprise.

So, now, MarfDaze at Etsy has a new buddy in MarfDazeGeek at Storenvy.  MarfDazeGeek is the new home for my bags featuring fan art fabric, which I buy from the artists themselves.

For the moment, it’s only going to feature a handful of the most popular designs and a few new ones (like Lady Cassandra, below), but it will grow soon.

Lady Cassandra's not crazy. She's just been in a very bad mood for several thousand years.

Lady Cassandra’s not crazy. She’s just been in a very bad mood for several thousand years.

And please check out the new logo made by the wonderful Renée Guie, who made the original MarfDaze look, too.

As you can see, my colors are eggplant and violet. (Though M’Lynn insists they are purple and purple.)

See it all at http://marfdazegeek.storenvy.com.

Stay tuned! Irving and I are getting ready for WalkerStalker Con in NJ/NY, December 13-14.

Stay tuned! Irving and I are getting ready for the zombie-focused WalkerStalker Con in NJ/NY, December 13-14.

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Going all in

The most exciting workplace in America.

A glamour shot of the most exciting workplace in America.

Four years ago, this week, I opened my Etsy shop. I just wanted a new hobby. Something to fill a few weekend hours.

This August, I filled my 3,000th order.

It turns out that I love making silly bags that make people smile.

I get a kick out of emailing back and forth with people who want me to make them something special for a husband’s birthday, a gaggle of bridesmaids or a child’s first day at school.

I delight in writing little thank you notes on cards that I happily stamp myself.

I relish trips to the post office, my arms full of packages headed all over the world.

And so, last week, after 15 years of being a writer, editor, social media manager and website strategist, I gave my notice to the wonderful folks at Hollister Creative.

That’s right. I’m leaving my day job to do MarfDaze full time!

I’m excited and scared and full of joy. It’s hard to find words for what I feel right now. So I’ll make some up. I’m territhrilled by this new journey. Exhilarfrightened, even. But I know from experience that those jumpy-jumblies in my belly mean that something amazing is about to happen. And I can’t wait.

So, starting September 22, I’ll be cutting fabric and sewing and emailing and stamping notecards and tying ribbons and heading to the post office with my arms full of packages. Please envision a full 1980s movie montage of hard work here. What do you think, Pat Benatar or Tina Turner? I’m thinking “Love is a Battlefield.”

There will be new products, new fabrics, and I’ll be exploring new craft fairs and arts festivals.

In the coming months be on the lookout for:

  • New fabrics
  • A new line of tablet/reader sleeves
  • A new line of wristlets
  • A new line of wallets
  • Easy-to-order wedding party gifts/wedding favors for themed weddings

I also look forward to sharing my adventures as a entrepreneur craftsperson with you.

Stay tuned!

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A Walk from Dusk to Dawn

I’m busy training for an 18-mile overnight walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and I’m excited for two reasons:

  1. It’s a great cause that means a lot to me. The AFSP does research, education, outreach and helps people in crisis and people who are grieving.
  2. The walk will be a big mental and physical challenge. The poetry of an endurance walk with a goal of reaching sunrise should not be lost on any one who has struggled with depression, anxiety, substance abuse or other mental illness, or watched a loved one struggle.

Continue reading

And the winners are…

Earlier this week, I posted a sewn scarf tutorial. I also promised to give away the two scarves I made to two lucky winners chosen at random. Without further ado, the winners are…

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Janell and Jennifer!!! I’ll be contacting you to see where to send them.

And a big thank you to everyone who commented on the post and shared it with others! If you use the tutorial, I’d love to get pictures of your masterpieces!