Monday, December 1, 2008

Your Mother Was Right...

A handmade gift is the very best kind. I used to make and give them all the time -- always to great accolades and gushes of hugs and kisses. And I can still find the glazed ceramic top hat bank I sculpted for Father's Day sitting atop my Dad's bureau. The eggshell-covered plastic juice bottle "vase" made for a long-ago Christmas is on display nearby, holding a fresh seasonal sprig. Never mind that my eggshell application technique hasn't exactly stood the test of time, or that I had to initially convince my Dad that the bank was indeed a hat and not a freakishly thick-stemmed mushroom. My parents cherished these one-of-a-kind creations that were made especially for them, and have kept them to this day.

Alas, what was charming in Kindergarten does not a good gift make once you're an adult. With my crafting skills leveling off at about a third grade level, I went to mass-produced presents. I didn't like it, but I didn't feel I had any other options.

Luckily, the fog has lifted. A wonderful discovery has brought renewed purpose to my shopping and giving: Handmade gifts can bring great joy even if (or in my case, especially if) they are not made by you.

There are so many talented, creative folks out there making beautiful things that you, your friends, and your loved ones will use, enjoy, and ultimately cherish. And that's what gifts are all about, really.

I have many favorites to share, starting with some gorgeous goodies whipped up by a few of our own Poperatives:

With their whimsical retro images, Cari Marshall's delightful transferware pots and ornaments could be treasures your adventurous Aunt collected when she ran off to Europe for that year after finishing school. Several of my friends back East will be receiving some of Cari's cool California-themed ornaments this year to remind them of what they're missing out here!  If you don't have an adventurous Aunt, or if your own family heirlooms are more Franklin Mint than Paris Flea Market, you'll want to start a new tradition with these:

Laura Crawford combines bits and pieces of nature with meticulously crafted metal work in her line of Tangerine Treehouse jewelry.  The seeds, petals, leaves and bark that are her hallmark "precious gems" are paired with 100% recycled sterling silver. I gifted my seriously stylish cousin in NJ with a Tangerine Treehouse bracelet last Christmas; she mentions how much she loves it pretty much every time we talk:

I own an awesome leather clutch from Jennifer Alden Designs, and whenever I take it out on the town I get approached by women who want to know where I got it. What gal doesn't love that feeling? Once you see her ethereal hand-felted flowers, scarves and custom-fashioned leather hair accessories, you may need one of her larger totes to hold all of your new favorite things:

You can find these and other equally special items for sale at the LB Pop Up Shop on Saturday, December 6th (that's this Saturday -- goodness, time is flying!) in front of the Art Theatre on 4th Street in Long Beach.

We'll be there from noon to 6pm as part of the Annual 4th Street Holiday Event, and we hope that you will, too.

Warm Regards, 
The LBP's.

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