Handmade Collective in Costa Rica

My husband and I just went to Costa Rica on an adventurous eco-tourism honeymoon! Inspired by City by the Sea Ceramics‘ blog entry about her and her husband’s anniversary tradition , I was hoping to find something memorable during our honeymoon trip as well.

During our visit to Monteverde, an area known for its Cloud Forest Reserve, I read that a great place to pick up souvenirs was at CASEM which is filled with products all made by local artisans.  CASEM stands for “Committee of Aristans of Santa Elena and Monteverde.”  It was started in 1982 by a group of 8 local women – and now it has grown to 94 artisans, 3 of which are men.  The goal of CASEM is “to enhance the economic and social well-being of local women artists” and their community.


Monteverde & Santa Elena Reserves are famous as a wildlife reserve with 100s of species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 2,500 species of plants and tens of thousands of insect species!  So you can imagine why so much of their artwork are of various flora and fauna of the region.

During our visit we were so lucky to catch a glimpse of the elusive Resplendent Quitzal! Unfortunately, my photo does not do this gorgeous bird justice!

But because of that rare sighting – we definitely wanted a fun memento of this bird in what we pick out for a souvenir as well!

These magnets are all made out of leather and hand-painted.  Definitely was excited to get the Quetzal one to spice up our new bare refrigerator!

I also love to collect Christmas ornaments – ideally one a year symbolizing a special place or memory from that year.  So you can imagine how excited I was to find this adorable felted Quetzal ornament!  It will be sure to stand out in our tree this year!

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Trinkets of Martha’s Vineyard

One weekend in July, I went with some of my friends on a daytrip to Martha’s Vineyard.  It was a fantastic day of sunshine, ocean breezes, sandy beaches, and visiting the familiar sites of Aquinnah lighthouse, the gingerbread cottages, etc.  However, what really caught my eye this time around were all the funky art for sale in various boutiques around the island. I admired the nautical themed pieces, items that hinted at Boston/Massachusetts pride, the fanciful and inspirational handcrafted decor, to the outright funky and silly.

fun seashell mirror and decorations

Haha keeping the rivalry alive!

I just love the colors and design of this table and the little sayings!

Signs with sayings on them were sold in all shapes, sizes, and designs!

Wow, very unique trinket!

Portland’s Saturday Market

I just recently returned from a short trip to Portland, Oregon.  Nestled within a state known for its natural scenery, Portland is a funky city that has been ranked as one of the “greenest” cities in the USA.   Not only does Portland seem to be environmentally conscious, but there seems to be very strong support for local businesses and an expanding and thriving handmade community!

During my visit, I had the opportunity to check out their famous Portland Saturday Market – and it was quite a site to behold!  The sheer number of handmade artisans was already awe-inspiring and to see how well-attended it was, so very exciting to see!


It wouldnt be Portland without some tie-dye!

Some neat signs made out of saws

impressive ideas for lawn ornaments

You can even buy some gourmet catnip here!

I just love how colorful this booth was

very cool wooden sculptures

These were only a small sample of the 250+ vendors that were there!  Definitely worth checking out!


Landing on Plymouth Rock

The other weekend I was in Plymouth, MA doing some errands, and just had to wander over to find the historic site of Plymouth rock!  Although I didnt have anytime to experience Plimouth Plantation , I did take a stroll to find a replica of the Mayflower and some other statues and memorials for the Pilgrim settlers and Wampanoag Native Americans.

If you look carefully you can see 2 little bears on his pipe!

Of course it wouldnt be a trip to a coastal New England town without a visit to one of the ubiquitous antique shops!

A few hours in Rockport

“A Few Hours in Rockport”

by Jennifer Tang of MaJenta Designs

IMG_4796

IMG_4774On a sunny autumn Friday, my fiancee and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and go on a mini-trip. Having only heard great things about the North Shore, we decided to go explore Rockport for a few hours.

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Its such a cute little town, similar to other New England coastal towns, with plenty of art boutiques to explore and peruse. I love checking out all the unique creations and the local scenery-inspired paintings too!

Happy Lunar New Year!

(photo of decorations for sale during my trip to Singapore in 2006)

Most of us celebrate the new year on January 1st, counting down until midnight, singing auld lang syne, and making resolutions to lose weight, particularly all the pounds gained from all the holiday feasts with family and friends.

Well just around the corner is the Lunar New Year, which as you can guess, is based off of the lunar calander; therefore the date changes year to year, but this year, it will be on January 26, 2009.   In Mandarin Chinese,  you will often hear people greeting each other with “Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gong Xi Fa Cai!” which translate to “happy new year” and “wishes that you be prosperous”!  

Its a time to wish each other a happy new year that will be filled with good fortune and blessings! Wikipedia lists out many of the exciting traditions in details, but one of my favorite traditions of the holiday is when elders give the younger children lucky red envelopes “hong bao” with money inside! I find it a great concept, to wish that prosperity would come to your loved ones, and literally to give them some money to kick start the year!   In addition to the envelopes, you are sure to see everything decorated with red and gold, including lanterns, auspicious sayings postings on doorways, etc. because Chinese view red as symbolic of good luck and ward off evil, and gold of course to symbolize fortune.

Another thing you might see during this holiday is the Chinese character 福 (“fu”) meaning  “good fortune”, sometimes you might even see it upside down!  The reason for it being upside down, is Chinese love play on words! The Chinese word “dao” (3rd tone) for “upside down” (倒) sounds similar to the word for “arrived” (also “dao” but 4th tone: 到). Therefore, the word upside down is also symbolic to mean “fortuen has arrived”!

This a great holiday that brings generations of families together and eat traditional foods that are also symbolic of good fortune for the new year, like fish, oranges, noodles, sweet sticky cakes, and much more! 

cow1Also, it being the new year, brings on a change in the zodiac as well! This year will be the Year of the Ox/Cow!  The ox is symbolic of being hardworking, patient, with a logical mind.  I am trying to put out new pendants in my Etsy shop that you can purchase to give to all your friends who’s Zodiac symbol is the cow! (i.e., anyone who will be turning 12, 24, 36, etc. multiples of 12. )

 

~Best wishes to all of you in the new year, and that despite the state of our economy, I hope you all will be blessed with good fortunes to come!~

 (Glass magnets with 4 Chinese blessings of long life, health, good fortune, and peace)
 

 

Photo of Paradise – Featured

My “Sail Off to Paradise” 8×10 photographic print has been featured in an Etsy treasury!

This photo was taken in Phuket, Thailand, one of the areas that got hit the hardest during the tragic Tsunami of 2004.  This photo was taken in Phuket almost exactly a year later, with its resilient community still thriving.  The beaches in Thailand are lined with soft white sand, warm ocean breezes, and crystal clear aqua tinted water – truly paradise!

This print can be purchased at my eboutique at www.majentadesigns.etsy.com.  The photo is listed here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=7887703 but feel free to browse all my other items as I sell handmade jewelry and houseware as well!