Handmade Treasures From Contexture, Yokomono Studio, Piano&Scene and TLC Bags

3:00 am

In hunting around for the perfect gifts, it seems I have been drawn to the handmade, the carefully sewn together or printed gifts that have been made with heart and soul and in many cases, found materials.

Perhaps it's that I can't really make anything myself, so I see the labour involved and think, how in the world do they do that?

I have found some extraordinary treasures. Whether you buy these for yourself or for someone else, either way someone's going home very happy.

Contexture Design

Nathan Lee and Trevor Coghill are Contexture Design. They create pieces that use sustainable, reclaimed materials. Their work is visually stunning, yet so clean lined. That is part of their brilliance - making such an impact in such a small space.

Take their award-winning As the Crow Flies Mobile, for example.

Laser-cut from recycled black paper (30% post-consumer waste, the highest percentage available) and salvaged outdated roadmaps, the seven two-sided hanging pieces depict 14 crows and a large hand-folded tree. The crows are realistically rendered in black while the flipside reveals the colourful travel maps.

This handmade mobile is a way to bring a family of crows into your home safely. So whether you want a postmodern look for your child's room or your an Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft fan, this is the mobile for you.

Crows kind of have a bad rap to us city dwellers. But as it states on the mobile's brown paper packaging: "This handmade mobile portrays a family of crows returning to a communal rookery. Family is important to crows. They mate for life, live in family groups, and even though offspring may travel the country and live elsewhere, they return often to visit."

Awwwww!

Thanks to these guys, now I am a real crow lover (who would have thought?). So much so that I'm putting this over my bed so that I can see them when I wake up and when I fall asleep.

It's beautiful AND meaningful. And just wait 'til you see the rest of their stuff - you're going to want at least two of everything...

Yokomono Studio

Japanese design always floors me with its simplicity and grace. There is such a modernity to it, yet it is steeped in rich history and culture.

And Yoko of Yokomono Studio is creating fantastic well-constructed pieces that feel both contemporary and authentically Japanese.

As you can see, the fabric used looks Japanese and simultaneously from both the old world and the one we currently live in.

I got the beautiful Polpolo Large Tissue Box Cover in Yellow Mustard.

I love that it's made to order - it makes it that much more special, don't you think?

And finally, I don't have to put up with those awful graphics on the tissue box.

The case is made from printed fabric (rayon/cotton) with interfece attached, solid fabric on the sides and inside (cotton twill) and an elastic strap on the bottom, allowing you to easily slide it over the tissue box and hiding it's carboard facade forever!

While you might just see this as one more accessory for the office, kitchen or living room, once you see it in person, you'll realize what a handcrafted gem this is and with each item, Yoko puts a little piece of herself.

So, you can imagine - here I've gone on and on about a tissue box cover and just wait until you get to the bags... Mmm!

Piano & Scene

Books mean as much to me as people. Certain books can transport me, change me and put me on a path that I never knew was possible.

And authors create those possibilities. How they do it, I don't know, but over my lifetime, I have come to treasure certain authors and books (and now I'm going to be one myself).

And now, thanks to Jennifer Cacicio, the woman behind Piano & Scene
I can share my love of authors with the rest of the world with her Original Author Buttons.

You can view some of them here.

Who you choose will say a lot about you. Will it be a contemporary scribe or someone from ye olde days? I love that Jennifer has selected a really vibrant bunch of folks that are bound to excite you and that she puts them on colourful and interesting backgrounds - so you are wearing art as much as admiration on your sleeve, jacket, bag, etc.

These are as personal as the jewelry you wear. And ten times more affordable.

Jennifer lives and breathes books, and then writes about them and makes wonderful buttons so that you and I can show our love.

It's just about the best thing ever.

TLC Bags

I wrote about Tracy Crandall's TLC Bags about a year ago, but a lot has changed since then.

First of all, she has become incredibly successful and sells out at The One Of A Kind and other shows that she attends. Last OOAK, she sold out on the first day! It's no wonder - each bag is painstakingly handmade from found, reclaimed materials and each bag is completely original. You are your friend will never have exactly the same bag - which is just what you're looking for, right?

The other thing is that you can finally see Tracy's collection and order through and her website and etsy! Woo hoo!

She has a new bag - The Doctor's Bag - which I am honoured to be one of the few that have been made. It is a gorgeous, sumptuous treasure that is soft and feminine and yet, so practical (read: it holds everything I need to carry with me - which is A LOT!). Mine has a mossy green body with black trim and flap . It is handknit and crocheted and then felted to create" a dense, durable 'fabric'." A handmade pottery button adds pizazz to an otherwise ordinary function and the shoulder straps are made from a beautiful, gently worn (though it is perfect condition) sofr leather black belt that makes for ultra comfortable wear.

And then you get to the inside. One of the most special things about Tracy's bags is the inside - it is always as spectacular at the outside. Using designer fabric samples, she lines the bag in beautiful upholstery or clothing fabric that just knocks the wind out of you. Each time you open your bag, you'll say, "Wow!"

Each and every time.

The lining in mine is a beautiful large floral print that works for any season. And for that extra special touch, the inside pocket is done in a different fabric.

Wow!
And the Mini Tee Clutch is just fabulous, as well! This truly affordable, one of a kind bag is made from different materials all woven together into a purse that everyone is going to clamour after. Mine is a mix of black, white and bits of silvery ribbon all finished with a with a sweet little white glazed handmade pottery button. So natch, it goes with everything...

TLC Bags - these are one of a kind items from a one of a kind lady. Tracy's bags are unbelievably amazing, and if you meet Tracy in person, you'll see how much she puts into each and everyone and how she just wants you to be happy and have a bag that you love.

Tracy, I absolutely do.

Now go get yours and spread the happiness!

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