Buy D.I.Y.: Some Recommendations

February 22, 2006

For Valentine’s Day, my husband bought me some cool handmade goodies. I love getting handmade stuff as gifts (and I love buying it for myself as well). There’s tons and tons of online craft businesses out there–here’s a few of my personal favorites:

Young and With It Industries is the “home of the chicken butt.” I have the chicken butt matchbook notepads (a Christmas gift from Tim) and the chicken butt stationery (a Valentine’s Day gift from Tim). Clint and Dixie are super-nice–they’ve included extra goodies in both of Tim’s orders, and they always send a very nice handwritten note as well. (This really impressed Tim, especially since they remembered him when he ordered from them a second time.) Really clever stuff, made by nice people!

Emily Martin describes herself as a “curiosity peddlar and picture scribbler.” I purchased a print from her (the Smiths Girl), and she created a fabulous custom painting, which was my Valentine’s Day gift to Tim. I gave her a rather sketchy idea, and she brought it to life, fabulously. She’s very sweet and super-pleasant to work with. Besides, what’s cooler than having your own custom-made piece of art?

I found Pixelgirlshop via someone’s link to their Lego Man Bracelets, which are super-funky. Because I have absolutely no willpower whatsoever, I also bought a set of hair clips (sorry, no link–they don’t have them any more). I ordered right after the holidays, so they were low on Lego Man bracelets and my order took a while to ship. Though it definitely wasn’t necessary–I was expecting the delay!–I received an extra set of hair clips with my order, along with a really nice note apologizing for the delay. Now that’s customer service! Pixelgirlshop has a diverse array of items for sale in a variety of price ranges. If you like handmade stuff, you’ll probably find something good here.

Yankee Girl Designs sells pretty jewelry. I found Lindsey through The Sampler community–she was having a sale, and I took a look at her web site, found something I liked, and sent Tim an e-mail saying “hey! Here’s a good gift idea if you were, uh, thinking about buying me a gift!” (Yes, he took the hint, and I got a lovely bee-themed necklace for Valentine’s Day.) I’ve got my eye on the bird’s nest necklace–maybe for my birthday. Lindsey is a fellow library worker, so that’s another bonus!

Emotion Lotion is the best (and, perhaps, only) place to purchase a set of buttons based on R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet.” I bought three sets–they’re great gifts for people who are amused by R. Kelly and his so-bad-it’s-brilliant lyrics. Emotion Lotion also sells a wide variety of non-R. Kelly-related merch, includng a number of buttons featuring Morrissey/Smiths lyrics and lines from the classic television comedy series Mr. Show. If you really want to advertise that “five-inch taint” you’ve got going on, you can get the button (or magnet, or ring) here. They’ve also added some buttons featuring quotes and photos from Arrested Development, which (in my not-at-all humble) is the best comedy since Mr. Show. I remember April and David from back in the Amplified to Rock days–they’re great people, and their store kicks ass. It looks like they’ll take requests and suggestions, and they can hook you up if you need custom buttons.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good grab bag, and The Sampler is a monthly grab bag of “samples” from various online D.I.Y. shops. Last time I subscribed (back in November), a 3-month subscription went for about $50. It’s been well worth the money, as I’ve received some real treasures. (And yeah, I’ve received some not-so-great stuff as well, but the good stuff makes it all worthwhile.) If you’re not so sure, you can check out the “sneak peeks” section of the web site–Marie posts photos of all of the contributions, as well as links to their web sites.

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