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!

handmade bonding

Planning a wedding can be a very stressful time, with lots of decision-making and organizing.  During my own wedding, I try to find things we can do ourselves – not only to cut costs, but it seems more personal when I get to really be a part of the process.  I have found the process to be fun and a bonding time for my fiance and me as well as my family members and good friends that I’ve recruited to help out!

Above is a picture of me printing out all our wedding invitations – we later had to assemble all the pieces and wrap with ribbon.

Here is a picture of my fiance Evan working so diligently on our wedding favors gift tins.

Here are my friends helping to assemble our wedding programs that double as fans! 😉

These butterflies will soon become place cards at the reception – and will rest on the wine glasses!

Hopefully next month, I’ll be able to share some more photos of the final products displayed during the big day! 🙂


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!


Shop Local!

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, shopping malls are packed with massive crow, dsand for those who support handmade and local artists, there are also plenty of exciting holiday craft shows and markets coming up and Boston Handmade’s Downtown Crossing Gallery too!   However, for those who want to avoid the crowds and still want to support handmade by shopping from the comforts of their own home – there is still yet another option!   Etsy’s “Shop local” function!

Its very easy to do, just go to Etsy’s homepage, then click on the tab on the left hand side called “shop local” and then you can just enter your town or state and it will find some of the Etsy shops closest to you!  This way you can feel good about supporting local artists and buying unique handmade gifts, and rest at ease that you can get your items sooner in the mail too!

Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery!

Boston Handmade - Downtown Gallery - Poster

Come shop handmade and support local artists by doing your holiday shopping at Boston Handmade‘s own gallery store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing district!  Here are the details:

~ NOVEMBER 27 – DECEMBER 24, 2009 ~
“Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery”
Wednesdays – Sundays
11am – 7pm
505 Washington St.
Boston, MA
Downtown Crossing

Boston Handmade - Downtown Gallery - store

Come find something for everybody!  Photography, notecards, pottery, baby clothing, children’s toys, fine jewelry, and more!

BH Gallery closeup

MaJenta Designs will also be selling her glass pendants, keychain bottle openers, pocket mirrors, magnets, and portable purse hooks, and more!

purse hooks - variety mix

BH outside

OCTOBER craft shows

BH SOWA flyer

OCTOBER 18, 2009 (Sunday)
“South End Open Market”
10am – 5pm
540 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA

I’ll be at Boston’s outdoor handmade market in the South End with my lovely fellow Boston Handmade artisans!

DSC01785

***And in case you’re planning ahead, here are some of my other upcoming shows for the remainder of 2009 ***


NOVEMBER 1, 2009 (Sunday)
“Design Hive Market”
10am – 5pm
Maria Baldwin School
28 Sacramento St. (off Mass Ave.)
Cambridge, MA

DECEMBER 6, 2009 (Sunday)
“Bizarre Bazaar”
12-7pm
BCA Cyclorama
539 Tremont St.
Boston, MA
$1 admission


Seasonal Items

keychain bottle opener - $6

Those who’ve seen my Etsy shop or my booths at craft shows will likely know that I have a crazy eclectic mix of designs for all my jewelry and housewares – I just love to offer my potential shoppers a large range of fun possibilities!

However, I have recently noticed that its also good to have seasonal items too, as often those surfing the net or shopping around will want to find something that may make the perfect accessory to their Fall wardrobe, or perhaps a great display to use for a holiday party, for examples.

portable purse hook - $20

Therefore, for the oncoming Autumn season, I tried to find paper patterns that were rich in Harvest colors – crimson reds, burnt oranges, golden yellows, etc. much like the colors of the gorgeous New England autumn foliage!

However, it is not only important to have items that are rich harvest colors..but it is also good to be mindful of each month’s birthstone colors too.  I learned this last month, as in August, I saw several of the Etsy.com homepages treasuries that said “shades of Peridot” which is August’s birthstone…and most items were NOT just jewelry using the actual birthstone, but various clothing, paintings, toys, etc. that were just that shade of green.  So for September, for example, it is important to keep in mind items that are shades of Sapphire blue too. They even have a Etsy Gift Guide devoted to “Shades of Sapphire

glass pendant necklace - $15