Handmade Gift Guide 2016

The holidays are approaching more quickly than I would like to admit, and this year I'd like to use my shopping dollars to support small businesses and handmade artisans as much as possible. Being an artist or maker is a notoriously difficult way to make a living, and many rely on the surge from holiday shopping to tide them over during leaner times. Plus, handmade wares are simply beautiful! 

Handmade Gift Guide 2016: 27 Beautiful Gifts that Support Handmade Artisans

Many small shops are featuring sales this week, so it's a good time to buy. And since these are small businesses (read: there could be just one person filling all orders!) it's smart to get your order in early, so you can be assured of a prompt delivery.

Pin the image above to save this list for later, or scroll down for details on all 27 finds...

Handmade Gift Guide 2016: 27 Beautiful Gifts that Support Handmade Artisans

Top row: Hooded baby alpaca sweater from Ingugu; Linen pinafore apron from Not Perfect Linen; candle holder from Snug Studio.

Middle row: Striped infinity scarf from Ingugu; Cat Cave from Agnes Felt; Knitting bag from Aika Felt Works.

Bottom row: Baby bonnet and mittens set from Ingugu; Lunch Tote from Artifact Bags; Cat Lambswool Scarf from Sara Carr.

Handmade Gift Guide 2016: 27 Beautiful Gifts that Support Handmade Artisans

Top row: Baby bunny doll from Timo Handmade; Bear Breadboard from Snug Studio; Rag Doll from Simpli Jessi

Middle row: Bearded sailor backpack tote from Depeapa; Plywood Dollhouse from Milky Wood; Go Bananas Sweater from Paul and Paula.

Bottom row: Nursing necklace from Freja Toys; Bunny by Oh, Albatross; Winter Garden Dollhouse Furniture Set from Milky Wood.

Handmade Gift Guide 2016: 27 Beautiful Gifts that Support Handmade Artisans

Top row: Bamboo Weaving Loom Kit from The Unusual Pear; Linen Apron from Not Perfect Linen; Felted House Shoes from Agnes Felt.

Middle row: Heart Coffee Cozy from The Cozy Project; Joshua Tree Neck Tie from Amelie Mancini; Fox Tote Bag from Gingiber.

Bottom row: Your Child's Drawing on Cuff Links from Mu Urban Jewelry; Cream and Sugar Set with Wooden Spoon from Julia Paul Pottery; Crochet Circle Scarf from iDNi.

I had such fun pulling together this collection; the whole process reminded me of the early days of blogging, and the joy of discovering all of the beauty Etsy has to offer...I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! :-)

Slow the Season: A Month-long Free Course this December

Hello my lovelies! I am as pleased as punch to be finally able to share this with you, because it's something I have been working on behind-the-scenes for quite some time now...it is Slow the Season, a FREE month-long course running during December. The course will include lessons delivered directly to your inbox three times each week, with inspiring podcasts, meditations, a mindful gifting planner, juicy journaling prompts, and more goodies (coloring pages, anyone?).

There are no assignments, nothing you must "do" - this course is (refreshingly) all about catching your breath, slowing down, and simplifying. Topics we will cover include mindful gifting, easing stress, creating a hygge home, and finding your joy. Oh! And there will also be a private Facebook group where we can all gather online and chat :-)

If you tend to feel stressed or pressured over the holiday season, or if you wish you could slow time down a bit so you can really savor your favorite parts of this busy month, I hope you will join us. Sign up for Slow the Season right here. We begin on December first!

xo Laura

Slow the Season: A free month-long course December 1 - 31

Ideas for Warm and Cozy Gatherings with Friends

I'm an introvert, yet I also love nothing more than having a few good friends over to my house for a cozy gathering: to me, this feels so much more comfortable and fun than going out. But with little time to plan, and knowing that herds of children will soon inevitably be running around the house causing chaos (e.g., drowning out the carefully chosen soundtrack with dinosaur roars, injuring one another, and/or breaking stuff) it's hard to find the line between what will make our party feel special...and what's just more trouble than it's worth. So I was delighted to find Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring's new book out, Decorate for a Party, which recently hit the shelves. Here, take a peek...

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

Especially as the weather turns chillier, I find myself craving more time spent cozying up indoors with good friends and family. Even if it's just uncorking a good bottle of red wine and making a pot of grandma's bolognese on a windy Sunday afternoon, the combination of warmth, good food and drinks, and the pleasant hum of conversation is enough to make any old week feel special. 

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

I love that the book is filled with ideas that are easy and budget-friendly, yet feel special. Like giving plain black balloons a sophisticated twist with gold stickers, or setting out a bunch of fresh green garnishes at a DIY cocktail bar. I can do that! 

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

Some of the warm-weather ideas I'm bookmarking for next year include dressing up plain kraft paper lunch boxes with pretty fabric scraps at a "forest and family" picnic party, giant paper flowers, and an adorably embellished piñata. 

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring

But I also find myself drawn to some of the more elaborate party ideas, which has me dreaming of starting a new monthly tradition with girlfriends...a tea and cake club, perhaps? Or wine and craft night? Just a little time carved out, without children to worry about, when we can enjoy the little things that make life sweet: good friends and good (uninterrupted!) conversation. 

p.s.: I also wrote about Decorate for a Party on Houzz, where you can see a few more shots from the book along with tips & excerpts.