SHOP SPOTLIGHT : Farizula Designs





I’m happy to be dropping by today to say a cheery hello on the blog and to showcase the minimalist, whimsical cups from Farizula Designs of Indianapolis, Indiana. Designed by Raechel Amey, you’ll want to check out her shop, which has loads of others cups beyond those pictured above. Many have downright cheeky words or quotes that will be sure to make you smile with your morning coffee or tea. 

(all photos from Farizula Designs)

Reading Lately…




Super Natural Every Day
Goodbye to All That


The Honest Life
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

My bedside table has taken a much needed break from novels over the past few weeks as my schedule has been go, go, go recently. Instead, I’ve been enjoying two cookbooks that were recommended to me a few months ago. The recipes I’ve tried so far have been delicious, healthy and satisfying, and the beauty of the food and the narratives around the recipes have made both cookbooks enjoyable reads. I love hearing about others’ experiences with and memories of certain dishes, often from their youth, and how these memories live on in the recipes they cook.  I highly recommend both. 

In an effort to become more educated about how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, I picked up The Honest Life. It has been an eye opening look at the products we use and ingest on a daily basis and describes them in an easy to understand way. I appreciated its practical advice on how to make certain changes to live more environmentally friendly without overhauling your life. 

Ah New York. It’s been my home for over five years but we may be saying goodbye in the next few months. I picked up Goodbye to All That to lessen the blow of leaving my fourth love (after my fiance and two dogs, of course). The book is full of experiences that we all face while in the city, the good, the bad and the ugly. While it certainly hasn’t made me want to pack my bags just yet, it has been helpful to hear others’ journeys from the city. 

I’m happy to report that I’ve been getting some great shop submissions lately, and I’m excited to share a few with you next week. Wishing you all a great weekend, and for those on the east coast, stay warm during our next winter snow storm. 

(top photo by Explore Handmade)

Reading Lately…




Super Natural Every Day
Goodbye to All That


The Honest Life
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

My bedside table has taken a much needed break from novels over the past few weeks as my schedule has been go, go, go recently. Instead, I’ve been enjoying two cookbooks that were recommended to me a few months ago. The recipes I’ve tried so far have been delicious, healthy and satisfying, and the beauty of the food and the narratives around the recipes have made both cookbooks enjoyable reads. I love hearing about others’ experiences with and memories of certain dishes, often from their youth, and how these memories live on in the recipes they cook.  I highly recommend both. 

In an effort to become more educated about how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, I picked up The Honest Life. It has been an eye opening look at the products we use and ingest on a daily basis and describes them in an easy to understand way. I appreciated its practical advice on how to make certain changes to live more environmentally friendly without overhauling your life. 

Ah New York. It’s been my home for over five years but we may be saying goodbye in the next few months. I picked up Goodbye to All That to lessen the blow of leaving my fourth love (after my fiance and two dogs, of course). The book is full of experiences that we all face while in the city, the good, the bad and the ugly. While it certainly hasn’t made me want to pack my bags just yet, it has been helpful to hear others’ journeys from the city. 

I’m happy to report that I’ve been getting some great shop submissions lately, and I’m excited to share a few with you next week. Wishing you all a great weekend, and for those on the east coast, stay warm during our next winter snow storm. 

(top photo by Explore Handmade)

Shop Spotlight: Xuanqi







I’m excited to showcase the raw Herkimer Diamond Rings from Xuanqi on Explore Handmade today. The Singapore-based jeweler’s rings feature a pitch perfect combination of modern elegance and natural classic beauty and will look great paired with pastel nails this upcoming spring. A few of my favorites from Essie’s spring and resort 2014 collections are above. As a reminder, if you have a handmade shop, consider completing a submission form to be considered for a feature of your shop on Explore Handmade in the future. 

(photos from Xuanqi)

A Perfect Saturday

Happy weekend. It’s been a long week for me with some days feeling like a juggling act with one too many balls in the air. Forget about balance, this week was about simply getting through it. We’ve all had these weeks I’m sure, but I’m thankful to be feeling a sense of relief today as we approach the weekend.  In anticipation of this upcoming weekend and the recharging I have in store, I’ve been dreaming of my perfect Saturday, which for me goes a little something like this…


 

9:00 a.m.

Wake up. Coffee & Reading the Paper in Bed. 

Gold Polka Dot Porcelain Mug Blue from Silver Lining Ceramics $36.00




 

11:30 a.m. 

Take the Dogs on a Walk in Central Park. 

RESQ Leash “The Skinny” Rope from RESQCO $46.00



 

1:15 p.m.

Grab My Bag and Head to the Farmer’s Market.

Marble Print Bag from Hokoda $39.00



3:45 p.m.

Edit My Photography and Work on the Blog Editorial Calendar. 

Oree Board Leather Pouch from Oree Design $42.18


5:30 p.m.

Get Cooking a Delicious Dinner.

Test Tube Spice Rack from Meriwether of Montana $42.00




8:00 p.m.

Relax and Enjoy a Good Read. 

Minimalist Book Shelf from Tumai $32.00


10:30 p.m.

Take a Long Relaxing Bath with Fragrant Salts. 

Nightingale - Mineral Bath Soak, Lavender Scent from Fabled Soap Co. $20.00




 

11:30 p.m. 

Cup of Tea & Off To Sleep. 

Hand Blown Clear Glass Infuser Teapot with Steel Filter from Unihom $49.99

Wishing you all your perfect Saturday this weekend.

Makeup DIY: Brush Cleaner


I adore the glamour of makeup, but one of the most important parts of my makeup routine, and indeed one of the least glamorous, is the regular cleaning of my makeup brushes.  Not only is it helpful to avoid a skin infection, but it’s also key to preventing skin breakouts.  When I begin to experience breakouts with greater frequency, I know my brushes need a good scrub. After all, makeup is great, but a radiant, blemish free complexion sans loads of makeup is even better.  




When my brushes contain color pigmentation, as shown above, that does not wipe away after swiping on the back of my hand or on a paper towel, it’s another sign my brushes should be cleaned. 



My DIY makeup brush cleaner solution couldn’t be more basic. I fill a small bowl with 2 parts liquid dish soap and 1 part olive oil. Then, I give the solution a good mix.  I take each brush individually and swirl in the solution for a few seconds. 



After swirling in the solution, I wipe the brush several times on a paper towel to remove the makeup residue.  



I then swirl the brush in some cold water. I wipe the brush again on a new paper towel to make sure all the residue is removed. Once finished, I place the brushes, bristles down, propped against the side of a colander while any remaining water drips from the brushes and leave there until the brushes have fully dried.  If you invest in more pricey brushes, you should definitely make sure not to dry them with the bristles facing up.  Doing so will cause the bristles to fall out as the water dripping down will damage the bristles’ attachment to the brush’s base. 

(all photos by Explore Handmade)

Handmade Steals & Deals


Ah, that surge of satisfaction upon finding a deal.  It never really gets old for me.  Winter is winding down (at least I hope so!), and that can only mean one thing: sales to unload some excess inventory before spring. They couldn’t come at a better time with my wallet still feeling a bit lighter after the holidays. Below are handmade items currently on sale that have made my short list.



Labradorite Bead Necklace currently on sale for $39.00 from Close Up Jewelry 



Set of 2 Wood Wick Lavender Candles currently on sale for $30.00 from MoodyWicks



Infinity Scarf from DailyAccessoriez, previously $28.00 now on sale for $19.00



Vera Leather Shoes in Grey from abramey now 20% off $269.00 with coupon code INLOVE20 at checkout



Personalized Bamboo Wood Circle Keyring from Clara and Macy marked down 30% to $15.31 



Emergency Kit Greeting Card Set from Carrie Can Shop marked down 30% to $17.72



Ranunculus, Pink and White Art Print now 30% off $30.00 from ChelseaVictoria with coupon code Valentine14 at checkout



Gold River Pendants originally priced at $78 now on sale for $69 from Close Up Jewelry 


Want more? If you’d like to find out about more handmade deals in the future, subscribe to Explore Handmade’s newsletter

DIY Coffee Yogurt Facial Scrub


A facial scrub is not part of my regular facial skin care routine. A cleanser, toner and moisturizer is about all I have the patience for on a day-to-day or semi-regular basis. Occasionally though, when I notice my skin getting a bit duller or some sloughing of dead skin, I’ll whip up a handmade facial scrub as a remedy. It does a great job without a lot of effort on my part.  This past weekend I noticed that the cold, dry weather has been taking its toll on my face so I made my go-to handmade coffee yogurt facial scrub. Happily, the ingredients are pretty basic and were already in my kitchen. 

1 /2 Tbsp coffee grinds 

1/4 cup greek yogurt (not fat free)

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice 





Once the coffee and yogurt are well mixed, I add about 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice (use less if you do not have oily skin). After mixing in the lemon juice, I slather a thin layer on my face in a circular motion and let it set for about 20 minutes until it is dry. The cool soothing feeling of the yogurt is heavenly, and if I’m having any face puffiness this mask does wonders because of the caffeine in the coffee. Once dry, I rinse off with warm water. Facial complexion improved, I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the lingering scent of lemon. 



(all photos from Explore Handmade)

Explore Handmade Gets A New Look


I’m thrilled to debut the redesigned Explore Handmade website today.  In addition to an updated fresh look, there are several new features that make this site that much more fun to use. Some of my favorite new features include the Pin It buttons located now on each blog photograph to share on your Pinterest boards, new submission forms to submit your handmade shop’s goods, promotions or handmade events for consideration to be featured on Explore Handmade and the ability to sign up for periodic Explore Handmade newsletters to receive the latest quality handmade goods and promotions. Be sure to also check out the new Events tab above that will be regularly updated with new handmade events. The site redesign comes just in time for a few new exciting projects in the works in the coming months for Explore Handmade that I hope to share with you all soon.

(Photograph by Explore Handmade)

SHOP SPOTLIGHT : 10 ante meridiem

I had to share my latest paper goods crush today—10 ante meridiem. Based in Athens, Greece, this shop is full of wonderful illustrations and paper goods from its designer, Olga. I’m particularly drawn to the colorful, fun journals, which are shown above. These would be excellent travel journal gifts or the perfect addition to your bedside table—a lovely place to store your thoughts and dreams. 

(All photos from 10 ante meridiem

As a reminder, don’t forget to follow Explore*Handmade on Etsy Pages, Pinterest and Twitter to get even more handmade goods ideas and for those on Tumblr, be sure to check out the blog page