Treasury Happy

If you’ve never visited Etsy, you may not understand the fervor that is the excitement of a well put together treasury. But if you have then you understand that Etsy treasuries are like mini gallery collections, and offer people the chance to play “curator”. I managed to snag a treasury myself recently and figured I’d repost a screen shot here. I usually don’t like pink at all, but everything just went so well together. Check it out as well as the rest of the etsy treasuries to get a look at what many consider to be some gorgeous goods!

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Local Lake Erie Artists

OK, since Higbees turned into Dillards, and then Dillards closed a few years back, I must say I haven’t visited Tower City as frequently as I used to, other than say to walk through during St. Patty’s day or something. There really is a good reason to go back and visit however. Inside Tower City Center on the first floor you can find the Lake Erie Artists Gallery, which is a cooperative of local Cleveland artists. If you’re looking for an entire collection of local art this is a fabulous place to begin your search. Visit to find jewelry, paintings, photography, accessories, sculpture and more.
Lake Erie Artists

Put your Money Where Your Mouth Lives

You may have heard the idiom, put your money where your mouth is. Well, more and more people are saying put your money where YOU live. Recently I posted a blog about shopping locally and supporting the community. As part of the blog, I mentioned that shopping locally is a way to boost your local economy. A visitor posed the question about why there would be any difference between the economic impact of shopping at big box (aka chain) stores versus locally owned stores. I thought that it was pretty evident that more dollars will be put back into the community if they are being made by local merchants who have ties to the very economy that supports them. However, I knew I’ve seen actual statistics before so I decided to do a little more research to find some more facts and figures. I was not surprised to see that the numbers did indeed show that money put toward local sellers does get put back into the local economy. What was somewhat surprising was the rather large percentage that actually went back to the regional community in comparison to chain stores!

In a nutshell, local businesses tend to pay their employees more, support other local businesses, and tend to spend their profits in their own communities. This may not sound like much, but it really adds up. In one research study I discovered that when a consumer shifts some of their spending from a chain to a local business the same amount of money spent has three times more economic impact when it’s spent locally. Check out this Civic Economics study for liveable city.

Do you really want to take an active stance on supporting your local community?
Visit the Big Box Tool Kit for fact sheets you can download and distribute, speaker recommendations and even a slide slow presentation you can request.

In researching more about this I came across all sorts of great related links.
The Big Box Toolkit was indeed one of the more comprehensive and informative resources.
On a more regional level Midwest Environmental Advocates also looks like a good resource.
Cities for Progress has a bit of an reformist angle, but nonetheless is worth a read.
Check out a blog of a Seattle Resident, called Local in Seattle who is trying to live at least three months by shopping primarily from only local merchants. Hmmm…perhaps it should be tried in Cleveland (I’m not sure I could give up Target though, as I’m a bit of a shop-a-holic there–any other store, no problem!)

When it all comes down to it, I think I’d love to walk along more tree-lined shops, tuck my head into some interesting local shops and businesses, and see a community that is somehow friendlier, more unique, and more like home.

“Screening” for the local goods!

While screening (looking for) some more local handmade goodies to highlight I came across Sarastar77 which was yet another great find on Etsy. Since I have many DJ friends I try to get to read this blog may I point out her turntables men’s shirt. It’s not a bad idea for a tough to buy for guy. It’s fresh and stylish and really affordable! ($22.00) I also thought her corkscrews screenprint could add a cool modern flair to home decor. The color and design really catches the eye without being too bold. It comes as a limited edition 8X10 with a white matte.

 

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Give back by giving a local gift card!

Want to give back to your community by giving local gift cards this year? Here are just a few great ideas of places to get one from:

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The above is one example of a gorgeous gift certificate from Smashing, a charming local artist, whose shop is located on the website Etsy. You can order a lovely gift certificate in any denomination or even request an e-certificate (online code) to allow your recipient to pick a modern jewelry piece of their own choice.

La Petite Libellule, also on Etsy offers online gift certificates as well. It’s a perfect shop to find that one-of-a kind item for a fashionista!

You can support local arts and music and theater by giving a gift certificate for the Cleveland Orchestra or a gift card for the Playhouse Square Theaters.

Or, if it’s an artist you need to buy a gift certificate for you can pick one up for your favorite knitter for Stitch Cleveland, where they can take classes or pick up supplies.

Perhaps, they’re not an artist but still want to learn something new? Consider a gift certificate to the Cleveland Wine School. They can be used for tastings and other events too. (Hint to the authors husband!)

Visit any number of your favorite local restaurants and request a gift certificate. You’d be hard pressed to find any restaurant that doesn’t offer them

I love Handmade!

By I love handmade, I don’t only mean items that are handmade, but items from the shop of the same moniker on Etsy! Handmade is a darling shop that sells all sorts of items from really funky catnip toys, to conversation-causing tees and buttons, and even children’s toys. I think my favorite item (must be the teacher in me) are the owner’s handmade “build your own” plush playsets. First of all, I love the fact they are plush, and not made out of some disgusting plastic molds. Secondly, instead of toy burgers, or cookies as are so often frequently found as children’s play food, they are baskets of fruits and veggies. Not only that, YOU choose the items you want in the basket, and you can pick up to six darling things! It seems almost like a steal at $35.00, considering the price of many mass produced toys on the market today. Check out the shop @ Handmade on Etsy today!

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Shop Local! Support your Community.

Here is my encouragement to you to shop local whenever you can. What’s the big deal you may ask? (Other than do you really want to give your money to Wal-Mart? Seriously?!)

Do you need some good reasons why? Here’s a few thoughts for you to consider:

1. Shopping local means your dollars stay in your community. The people you buy from can then turn around and buy from other locals in your community. This also means more local tax dollars going back into your own community as well.

2. Shopping local means there will be a greater diversity of products and services in your area. Sure, you may argue that a large retailer offers more choices. But as more and more locals are supported through purchases you really are encouraging creativity and local entrepreneurship to thrive. With time will bring in a much greater diversity of good than a few big box retailers, as well as items targeted to your community’s identity and needs.

3. Shopping local gives you the opportunity to have better access to personable and reliable customer service. In many cases you can deal with a seller face to face instead of over a phone many hundreds of miles away. Independent and local sellers often are more likely to care about providing you with the best service as their reputation depends on it. Take the time to consider many local sellers you probably already even personally know!
4. It’s more environmentally friendly. By shopping locally, goods don’t have to be shipped as far and therefore reduces the amount of wasted resources (e.g. Gas!) and causes less pollution. In addition, local merchants usually take up little space in comparison to major chain retailers causing less loss of habitats.
5. By shopping locally you are giving members of your own community jobs and sometimes even helping new jobs to be created as businesses grow!

With all that being said keep posted for some great ideas on where to buy local made goods and services this year and give something back to your own community. I will be doing a series of spotlights on local handmade items in the coming weeks.

“I’m Dreaming of a Black and White Christmas”

 

There is nothing I find more chic than black and white. I especially love the colors together with swirls and art nouveau patterns. That’s why I’ve put this collection together of some fresh and stylish items for the holiday (or the new year) that are a departure from the traditional red and green colors. You can find these fabulous items and more on Etsy, a site in which all things handmade are bought and sold. Link to any photo to visit the seller!

Begin your holidays by sending some beautiful Christmas Cards by Digital Paperie

 

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Get that tree decorated with striking ornaments such as the Icy Snowflake ornament by surly

 

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Looking for a gift for a precious little one? Check out the darling Polar Paulie by LazyMama Designs.

He’s absolutely charming!

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For those stylish gal pals consider black mod ball earrings from smashing or black stained glass filigree earrings by ramona. Of course, you might just want to treat yourself since they’re so lovely!

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Get on the bosses good side by purchasing a high-powered 17″ laptop briefcase by Jane King Designs. The $69.00 you spend might translate into a well-earned raise later!
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And since we never know what to get the men in our lives other than a tie, why not give him a play on words with the catstooth (as opposed to houndstooth) tie from the toybreaker.

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Once you’re done shopping and have everything all wrapped up, make the finishing touch a snowflake gift tag from elles studio. At $3.50 for 22 tags, they’re a steal!

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‘Twas an Artsy Afternoon at the Art Craft Building

This afternoon the hubby and I popped over to the Art Craft building for the annual open studio holiday sale. I was kind of interested in checking out Pulsar Papers one day a year sale to the public, and looking for something to do for the afternoon. I also thought I’d make a visit to Chris of Copper Leaf Studios since she’s one of the gals who posts on the Cleveland Etsy Street Team forum I so frequently visit lately.

It’s so nice and easy to get to right off of 90, and we found a parking spot right up close (nice!) Once we got inside the building we checked out all the signs indicating all the studios and artists to visit throughout the building. We decided to check out the Pulsar sale first as I’m looking for some new background paper to photograph my jewelry on. Turns out, I didn’t find quite what I was looking for but it would have been a scrapbookers heaven! They had tons of scrapbook kits at very reasonable prices with all sorts of papers, embellishments, ribbons, cards and other doodads. Plus they had free popcorn!

Then we decided to explore the rest of the building. The artwork in the studios was displayed in all sorts of unique ways, and was rather diverse in style. We perused rather quickly but there were lots of people enjoying a leisurely afternoon munching on snacks, sipping wine and inspecting, admiring or purchasing work. A piece depicting Lake Erie throughout the seasons particularly caught my eye.

There was an invitational event on the 6th floor that was juried quite well. It reminded me a lot of the caliber of art one might find at the Cain Park Arts Festival, though there were definitely plenty of items in a reasonable price range as well for gift giving. The categories of work represented were varied so as to remain interesting. It was in this area I ran into the designer of Copper Leaf Studios. I was pleased to find that my husband (a bit picky with his art) liked her work. Eventually I imagine we’ll add one of her pieces to our collection. (Of course, as we’re looking for a new home, that may wait until I know what walls I have to fill). Other highlights for me personally were the industrial-style jewelry of Brandon Holschuh, the origami of Ginger Folds, and Alisha Merrick’s enamel work. I also came across the work of Dave Williamson, who I took a jewelry class from in college, whose work is just amazingly unique. It incorporates fabulous metal work, and found art, and has a very earthy, organic and antique style in my opinion.

All in all it was a well-done show, and there was plenty of unique items to see.