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9 Gorgeous Puzzles and Games to Keep You Entertained

3 Apr 2020, 12:00 pm | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Atelier-D

At the end of another day hunkered down at home, it’s safe to say we could all use a little social distance from our devices. One unexpected upside of spending our evenings indoors? Shutting off our screens, and rediscovering the magic of old-fashioned, unplugged entertainment. Whether you’re settling in with a glass of wine and a 1,000-piece puzzle or gathering around the table with a stack of dominoes and your closest kin, finding extra-special ways to unwind and reconnect with loved ones—even if through a screen—is always time well spent. To help you add some fresh ideas to your rotation, we’ve rounded up nine exquisitely crafted, heirloom-quality puzzles and games made by Etsy artists. They’re as delightful to behold as they are to play—and we call that a win-win.

A deck of illustrated playing cards from Jungwiealt
SHOP: Illustrated playing cards from Jungwiealt, $14

Thanks to an illustrated deck of playing cards featuring whimsical jokers, jacks, and queens, you’ll be surveying every hand of Rummy, Go Fish, and Crazy Eights with an extra-playful wink.

Children's 12-piece panda puzzle from Megan Bakke Art, $35
SHOP: Children’s 12-piece panda puzzle from Megan Bakke Art, $35

Lovingly painted with a parade of playful pandas, curious chameleons, and tropical toucans, these parent-approved chunky wildlife puzzles are sure to find a welcome place on any toddler’s toy shelf.

A laser-cut wooden domino set from Atelier-D
SHOP: Laser-cut wooden domino set from Atelier-D, $52

Whether you’re playing your favorite game (Chicken Foot, anyone?), or just lining them up to tip off a magnificent chain reaction, these laser-cut wooden dominoes are a refreshingly modern take on a classic. Etched with an original geometric design and sanded smooth, each elegant tile is as satisfying to stack as it is to topple.

A 500-piece impressionist painting puzzle from Karen WB Artist
SHOP: 500-piece impressionist painting puzzle from Karen WB Artist, $35

Nothing quiets the mind quite like tackling a jigsaw puzzle at a leisurely pace, and what could be more soothing than watching this kaleidoscopic landscape spring to life piece by stunning piece?

An animal portrait memory game from Berkley Illustration
SHOP: Animal portrait memory game from Berkley Illustration, $20

Featuring an animated cast of furry characters including a sea otter in a bowler hat and a kitten with heart-shaped sunnies, this wildly imaginative memory game is a perfect match for kids and adults alike with its extra-large cards and unforgettable original artwork.

A recycled skateboard cribbage board from Adrian Martinus.
SHOP: Recycled skateboard cribbage board from Adrian Martinus, $60

Talk about a conversation piece! The decorative chevron pattern on this one-of-a-kind three-player cribbage board is crafted from a surprisingly sporty source material: upcycled skateboards. 

A pocket-sized tangram puzzle from Oh Little Wren
SHOP: Pocket-sized tangram puzzle from Oh Little Wren, $16

Cut from birch wood and painted in two sunny colorways, this pocket-sized tangram puzzle makes a delightful diversion for curious kiddos, who’ll love solving for nine pre-defined animal shapes—and creating their own custom configurations.

A wooden cube block puzzle from Shannon Richardson Art
SHOP: Wooden cube block puzzle from Shannon Richardson Art, $98

With six possible picturesque solutions based on the artist’s original oil paintings, this beautiful brain teaser is a quirky and colorful way to keep any creative thinker engaged. Mix and match the 20 wooden blocks to complete each frame-worthy image, and put your favorite on display in an heirloom-quality keepsake box.

A marble solitaire board from Marble Board Games
SHOP: Marble solitaire board from Marble Board Games, from $55

A stylish and sophisticated marble solitaire board fashioned from reclaimed hardwoods offers hours of strategic solo play, and looks great left out on the coffee table at the end of the day—and that’s a combination that can’t be beat.

Explore more indoor activities

Jackie Buddie is a writer and wilderness explorer working full-time as a content producer at Etsy HQ in Brooklyn.

The post 9 Gorgeous Puzzles and Games to Keep You Entertained appeared first on Etsy Journal.

How to Make an Edible Terrarium

2 Apr 2020, 9:00 pm | Etsy Journal

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Photo by Heather Baird

Editor’s note, April 2020: We’ll confess we’ve been so busy working on our embroidery kits and reorganizing our pajama drawers that we’ve worked up something of an appetite—which sent us in search of some of our favorite food crafts from the archives. One forever-favorite? This edible terrarium from Heather Baird of SprinkleBakes:

Terrariums are an easy, adorable way to add greenery to your space. Simply add your favorite plants to a few layers of rocks and charcoal—with the requisite cute miniatures, of course—and you’ve created a verdant paradise that grows on your windowsill.

So, how do you make a terrarium even better? By making it out of chocolate and candy, of course! Inspired by all things terrarium, this edible faux-terrarium begins with a foundation of candy-coated chocolate rocks, and cacao nibs are a tasty stand-in for the typical charcoal layer. Mini-chocolate cupcakes are baked and crumbled on top to mimic potting soil, and candy succulents are planted on top.

Edible Terrariums

For the chocolate cupcakes, you will need:

Yields 8 mini cupcakes

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk (or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Mini cupcake tin and 8 liners

For the candy clay, you will need:

You may also substitute ready-made fondant or marzipan.

For the terrarium, you will need:

  • 42 ounce food-safe jar with tight-fitting lid
  • 2/3 cup candy chocolate rocks
  • 2/3 cup cacao nibs
  • Miniature plastic terrarium decor (optional)
Photo of edible terrarium supplies

Step 1: Make mini chocolate cupcakes.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line 8 cups of a mini cupcake tin with paper liners.

Cupcake ingredients in a bowl

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in milk and oil until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake papers.

Cupcake batter in mini tins

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Step 2: Make candy clay.

Place the candy discs in a microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave at 100% power at 30 second intervals until the discs are melted and can be stirred smooth (about 90 seconds total). Add corn syrup and stir well.

Candy discs in a microwave-safe bowl
Melted candy discs and corn syrup

Turn mixture onto waxed paper. Place another sheet of waxed paper on top and roll the candy to 1/4 inch. Let stand until firm, or transfer to the refrigerator to speed setting.

Candy clay will be hard at first; knead a quarter of the clay until soft and pliable. Repeat with remaining clay. Store in a zip-top bag with the air removed.

Rolled out candy clay

Step 3: Sculpt the succulents.

To create “hens and chicks” succulents, roll the soft clay out between two sheets of waxed paper to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a fluted pastry wheel (or one edge of a scalloped cookie cutter), cut a line through a 6-inch piece of the candy clay. Cut the piece with a straight-edged knife 1/2 inch below the zigzag line.

Rolled out candy clay and fluted pastry cutter

Roll the piece jellyroll style. If you have trouble getting the clay started curling, wrap one end around a toothpick and use it to roll up the clay. Roll two 6-inch pieces together for a large “hen,” and roll one piece up for smaller “chicks.” Gently squeeze the bottom portion of the candy succulent to cause the zigzag edge to fan slightly.

Clay candy succulents in progress

Dust with purple color dust, if desired.

Assembled succulents and purple color dust
Assembled succulents dusted with purple color dust

To create “green fingers” succulents, roll candy clay to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut a piece to roughly 6 x 2 inches. Cut the piece into “fingers” using a straight edge knife.

Green Fingers in progress

Roll the piece up jellyroll style, as before.

Rolling the clay candy

Place the succulent upright and place it in a cupcake paper to hold its shape. Some succulents have a naturally occurring powdery appearance; dust with powdered sugar for this effect, if desired.

Finished green fingers

To create “aloe vera,” roll candy clay to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut four 3-inch triangles from the clay with the fluted pastry wheel. Gently press the leaves together at the bottom. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.

Aloe Vera succulents

Step 4: Assemble the terrarium.

Layer the chocolate rocks evenly in the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle cacao nibs over the rocks. Crumble the cupcakes in a bowl and layer the crumbs on top of the cacao nibs evenly. Arrange the succulents on top of the “soil,” and add miniature decor, if desired.

Assembled edible terrariums

Now, revel in your candy terrarium creation—and dig in.

Finished edible terrariums

All photos by Heather Baird.

Explore more DIY ideas

Heather Baird is an accomplished painter and photographer, but her passion is creating eye-popping, mouthwatering desserts. She writes about her adventures in the world of creative dessert-making on her award-winning blog, SprinkleBakes. She is the author of the new desserts book, Sea Salt Sweet, and her previous baking book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire your Inner Artist was published in 2012. Heather lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband Mark and two mischievous pugs, Biscuit and Churro.

The post How to Make an Edible Terrarium appeared first on Etsy Journal.

Let’s #StandWithSmall Together

1 Apr 2020, 1:00 pm | Etsy Journal

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At Etsy, small businesses are at the heart of everything we do. If you’re an Etsy shopper, chances are good that supporting independent makers, artists, and curators matters to you too. 

Whenever you come to Etsy to give your home office a little love, upgrade your loungewear collection, or send a thoughtful gift to a friend who could use a pick-me-up, you can feel good about supporting independent sellers while also bringing more goodness to your everyday.

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Here's the meticulous process of arranging pressed flowers by @kmpressed. Many of the flowers she uses to create her gorgeous wall hangings come from her own garden or are sourced from local growers. 🌿🌼 #EtsyProcess

A post shared by etsy (@etsy) on

This is a challenging time, and many of us are looking for new ways to stay creative and inspired at home. As always, we’ll continue to bring you original DIY projects, compelling maker interviews, and creative inspiration every week here on the Etsy Journal. Etsy’s Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest feeds will keep surprising you with small moments of all-too-welcome delight (like this behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a pressed-flower wall hanging from kmpressed comes to life). And our sellers will continue doing what they do best: capturing our imaginations and pushing our favorites lists to the limit with their irreplaceable creations.

Let’s stick together in the coming weeks, and #StandWithSmall whenever we can. 

Valerie Rains is a writer and editor at Etsy.

The post Let’s #StandWithSmall Together appeared first on Etsy Journal.

A Colorful DIY Dessert to Make Easter a Little Sweeter

27 Mar 2020, 9:00 am | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Heather Baird

Whether you’re adding some extra love to your Easter baskets or just looking for a colorful DIY to try at home with your kiddos, this candy-loaded chocolate bark is sure to brighten everyone’s day. The best part? The recipe is deceptively easy. All it takes is a playful set of cookie cutters, a canvas of melted candy wafers, and a sprinkling of your favorite seasonal sweets, from neon jelly beans to pretty pastel nonpareils. Finish with a cellophane bag wrapper and a bit of ribbon and you’ve got an unbeatable homemade treat they’ll never believe is not gourmet. Ready to give it a whirl?

Colorful Chocolate Bunny Bark

Yields five pieces

You will need:

  • Assorted candies (such as pastel jelly beans, Easter-mix candy corn, and sprinkles)
  • 4 ounces each of white, blue, pink, and yellow candy melting wafers
  • 5 metal rabbit-shaped or spring-themed cookie cutters
  • Aluminum foil
  • Toothpicks
  • Baking sheet
  • Cellophane bags (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
A neatly organized spread of assorted unwrapped Easter candies

Step 1: Remove the candies from their packaging and ensure they’re readily accessible.

Chocolate melting wafers divided into bowls by color

Place each color of candy wafers into separate microwave-safe bowls. Heat each bowl in 30-second intervals until the candy is melted and can be stirred until smooth.

Heather wraps aluminum foil around the edge of a rabbit-shaped cookie cutter

Step 2: Lay a cookie cutter in the center of a small sheet of aluminum foil. Fold and scrunch the foil tightly around the edges of the cookie cutter shape.

Heather smooths out the foil on the inside of the cookie cutter

Using your finger, smooth the foil on the inside of the cookie cutter to ensure the chocolate will lay flat. Repeat with remaining shapes, then place the prepared cookie cutters on a baking sheet.

Heather dollops multi-colored globs of melted candy wafers into her cookie cutters

Step 3: Using spoons, dollop alternating colors of the melted candy wafers into the prepared cookie cutters.

Heather swirls the chocolate with a toothpick to create a marbled effect

Shake the baking sheet gently to level the melted chocolate. Using a toothpick, swirl the colors together to create a marbled effect.

Colorful candies are sprinkled into the melted chocolate

Step 4: Sprinkle your assorted candies on top of the melted chocolate. Once you’re satisfied with the appearance of each figure, transfer the entire baking sheet to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set.

The cookie cutters are left to set

When the candy is firm, gently remove the aluminum foil and push the chocolate through the bottom of the cutter. If the bark won’t budge, gently bend the edges of the cookie cutter outward until the chocolate is released.

Finished chocolate bunny bark on display

For an extra-festive presentation, place the chocolate bark in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon—or nestle your treats directly inside an Easter basket.

All photographs by Heather Baird. 

Discover more ideas for Easter

Heather Baird is an accomplished painter and photographer, but her passion is creating eye-popping, mouthwatering desserts. She writes about her adventures in the world of creative dessert-making on her award-winning blog, SprinkleBakes. She is the author of the new desserts book, Sea Salt Sweet, and her previous baking book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire your Inner Artist was published in 2012. Heather lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her husband Mark and two mischievous pugs, Biscuit and Churro.

The post A Colorful DIY Dessert to Make Easter a Little Sweeter appeared first on Etsy Journal.

5-Star Buys: Cozy Linen Robes for the Whole Family

22 Mar 2020, 11:00 pm | Etsy Journal

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Photo by BelEcoFlax

In our 5-Star Buys series we spotlight popular Etsy items that recently struck a chord with shoppers—and let their rave reviews do the talking.

From tried-and-true yoga pants to perfectly broken-in college tees, “comfy clothes” mean something different for everyone. But no matter what your personal version of cozy looks like, a stone-washed linen robe from Belarus-based shop BelEcoFlax makes a welcome addition to any loungewear collection. Available in 20 calming shades ranging from olive green to cornflower blue, plus two gorgeous floral prints, these custom-made belted robes come in a broad spectrum of unisex sizes—including a version for your mini me—so there’s a just-right option for every member of the family. Whether you’re stepping out of the shower or curling up on the couch for movie night, there’s nothing like a crisp layer of lightweight linen to make the ordinary things feel extra special. Just take it from a few of the many customers who have fallen in love with this line:

Stone-washed adult linen robe and stone-washed child's linen robe, both from BelEcoFlax
SHOP: Adult stone-washed linen robe, $93, and child’s stone-washed linen robe, $56, (also available as a set, $129) both from BelEcoFlax

“If I didn’t have to get dressed every day, I would never take this off! It is fabulously comfortable, beautifully made, and the color (deep aquamarine) is stunning—it’s just perfect. Considering I live on the other side of the world, delivery was surprisingly quick. Thank you so much.” — KC 

“Absolutely beautiful and amazing workmanship! The seller asked me for measurements and I am impressed by how perfect it is. I love It!” — BO

“Divine. High quality linen and expert sewing.” — MF

Shop more from BelEcoFlax

Katie Hawley is a senior editor at Etsy. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

The post 5-Star Buys: Cozy Linen Robes for the Whole Family appeared first on Etsy Journal.

Stylish Shoes You Can Wear All Day From Katz and Birds

18 Mar 2020, 4:30 pm | Etsy Journal

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Photo by Michael Topyol

In our weekly Featured Shop series, we shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.

No matter where you’re headed in life, chances are, you want the shoes beneath your feet to be both cute and comfortable. And whether you’re more of a strappy suede sandal or a patent leather-tipped loafer kind of person, the exquisitely crafted designs from Tel Aviv-based label Katz and Birds brilliantly offer the best of both worlds. “When I was younger, I thought the only shoes that could be sexy were high heels,” says designer Hadas Katz. “Now I understand that even the Oxford style can be sexy because it’s strong, confident, and edgy.” 

Explore the Katz and Birds collection

Today, Hadas believes that “confident” and “edgy” have many chic interpretations that come in varying heel heights: There are her paint-splashed peekaboo slides that earned her a spot as a finalist in last year’s Etsy Design Awards. There are her asymmetrical snake-print slip-ons that look just as good with ripped denim as they do with a midi dress. And of course, there’s her just-released summer sandal collection, featuring one-of-a-kind patterns she painted herself. The common thread throughout Hadas’s line, aside from supple leathers, uncompromising quality, and all-day comfort? A sense of playfulness. “Life is too short to be dressed boring,” she says. “If I can make a person feel good about what they look and feel like, I have done my job.” 

Read on for Hadas’s styling tips and pointers for finding the perfect fit, then shop the Katz and Birds collection

Portrait of Katz and Birds seller Hadas Katz

How does comfort factor into your designs?

I use the best materials I can find. My leathers are very soft, so they adjust to your foot. We also use comfortable cuts, and our heels are very thick, which means you can walk in them the entire day. I would never make something that you’d wear one time for an event and that’s it.

What are some of your most popular styles?
On Etsy, my most popular styles are more classic, like the Sparrow or the Oxfords; at my brick and mortar in Israel, the boots and the Stockholms are selling like crazy. Our Stockholm style has a special sole—it’s shock absorbent, surprisingly lightweight, and keeps you away from the cold ground. I use it with a form that gives you height, yet feels like a flat shoe. My Bermuda style also does well.

Can you share some styling tips for wearing your shoes?
My boots look great with both narrow and wide trousers, especially if they’re three-quarter length. The pointed toes make your legs look elegant. My Berlin and Tamarisk shoes are great for work. Both make an all-black ensemble a bit more sophisticated. 

Block heel leather Oxfords from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Block heel leather Oxfords from Katz and Birds, from $364
Photo by Michael Topyol
Hadas at work in her Tel Aviv studio
Orange print slip-on leather sandals and slingback brown printed leather sandals both from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Orange print slip-on leather sandals, from $300, and slingback brown printed leather sandals, from $300, both from Katz and Birds
Hadas holds a piece of paper painted with her orange pattern
Shoe forms in Hadas's studio
A pair of sandals-in-progress on a shoe form
White snake-print leather flats from Katz and Birds
SHOP: White snake-print leather flats from Katz and Birds, from $255
Photo by Michael Topyol

Tell us about your design process.
I design with my customers’ wardrobes in mind. I think about what would be flattering and how the shoes will be mixed with different outfits. I make around 200 sketches for each idea and we try the prototype on as many women as we can, getting feedback for improvements. I believe an interesting design must be properly executed, and I can really stand behind my product.

Do you have any repeat customers or buyer stories you’d like to share?
There are so many! I have a lot of customers who return after one purchase and get five pairs. Some of them get one new pair per year and some get four in one buy. Sometimes people ask me to make something specifically for them, like taking the Oxford style and changing the colors.

Brown leather Oxfords from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Brown leather Oxfords from Katz and Birds, from $289
Photo by Michael Topyol
Hadas pages through her sketchbook
Asymmetrical leather loafers from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Asymmetrical leather loafers from Katz and Birds, from $289
Photo by Michael Topyol
Several pairs of shoes arranged on a table in the Katz and Birds studio
Slip-on leather heels from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Slip-on leather heels from Katz and Birds, from $364
Photo by Michael Topyol
Hadas packs finished shoes in their boxes
Textured lace-up leather boots from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Textured lace-up leather boots from Katz and Birds, from $450
Photo by Michael Topyol

What’s your advice for buying shoes online? How do you help your customers find the right fit?

I recommend taking the time to measure your feet. I have a size table in my shop, so with my customers, my first question is what size they normally wear and if they have any issues I should know about. Every shoe I make has a slightly different design, so I also take this into consideration and if it requires making adjustments, I make them. In that sense, every order could be a custom order, even if it’s in a style and color that’s already in my shop.

Where do you find inspiration?
I design for people who appreciate style, art, and tradition. I love graphic lines and geometric shapes, and I draw inspiration from all kinds of arts and crafts and small details; I love traditional handwork, architecture, graphic design, paper cuts, and fabric manipulation. One of my biggest inspirations is nature—in fact, most of my designs are named after different birds. For me, birds aren’t only a visual inspiration. They also represent gentleness, freedom, courage, and elegance.

Brown animal-print leather boots from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Brown animal-print leather boots from Katz and Birds, from $310
Photo by Michael Topyol
Hadas at work on her studio computer
Blue suede sandals from Katz and Birds
SHOP: Blue suede sandals from Katz and Birds, $255
Hadas packs a pair of suede sandals
A pair of printed sandals-in-progress
Hadas models a pair of printed sandals

Tell us about your new collection.
This season will be all about prints! I love mixing two different prints in a single design. From afar, they look like one color, so they’re easy to match to your clothing. To make the designs in my latest collection, I painted the patterns myself. I think the result is sophisticated, well-balanced, and fresh.

What are some of your goals for the future?
My process is so visual. When I design, I have an image in my mind of the clothing each shoe will be worn with; for each photo shoot I sew a few items that match my vision perfectly. My dream for the future is to have a fashion house where I could design shoes and clothing together from the same inspiration. I want to tell the same story from head to toe.

Follow Katz and Birds on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Photographs by Ira Prohorova unless otherwise noted.

Shop Katz and Birds

Aleksa Brown is a writer, editor, and brand storyteller based in Brooklyn, NY. Some of her favorite things include burgers, bike rides, and being outside with friends on sunny days.

The post Stylish Shoes You Can Wear All Day From Katz and Birds appeared first on Etsy Journal.

8 Jewelry Trends to Elevate Your Everyday Look

17 Mar 2020, 7:30 pm | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by The Silver Wren

In 2020 we’re being extra intentional about how we accessorize our lives—right down to our stud earrings. And when it comes to selecting some special new gems for your jewelry box, the latest crop of popular designs are proof that you can be purposeful about what you wear and still embrace your playful side. “This season, it’s all about enhancing your outfit with a few fun pieces that showcase your personality in a meaningful way,” explains Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. Whether you’re drawn to the eco-conscious inspiration behind a recycled silver signet ring, the sweet symbolism of a necklace engraved with your birth flower, or the youthful sparkle of a belly button ring, this spring’s standout styles give you the chance to celebrate what matters to you most. Read on to discover the trends, then share in the comments which one speaks to you.

Birth flowers

A collage of birth flower necklaces available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): April birth flower pressed daisy necklace from Pretty Pickle, $22; August birth flower engraved poppy necklace from Gold Crush Jewelry, from $57; birth flower pressed flower necklaces from Echo by Abigail, $25 each; engraved birth flower necklaces from The Silver Wren, from $41 each

Do you know your birth flower? While most of us have our star signs and our birthstones down pat, the blooms associated with the month we were born are also said to reveal something unique about our personalities. Coming up this spring: sunny daffodils for March, tender sweet peas for April, and peaceful lilies for May. “Wearing birth flower jewelry makes me feel like I’m carrying a special birthday bouquet every day of the year,” Dayna says. From delicate line drawings etched onto golden discs to resin pendants preserving dried petals, charms featuring these fashionable florals are a sweet and personal reminder of our connection to the natural world.

Belly button rings

A collage of belly button rings available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Diamond and ruby belly ring from Abhika Jewels, $350; moon and star belly ring from Anna Siivonen, from $27; faceted belly ring from Anna Siivonen, $30; minimalist belly ring from Elemental Soul, $13

Calling all free spirits! The quintessential ‘90s accessory has gotten a modern makeover and we’re the first to admit we’re here for it. That’s right: Belly jewels are officially back, and today’s grown-up interpretations feature dainty, tasteful designs crafted from precious metals and in-laid with fine gemstones. Intrigued by the young-at-heart style but not sure about an actual piercing? “Try experimenting with a clip-on first,” Dayna suggests. “It gives you all the cool vibes with none of the commitment—crop top and low-rise jeans optional.”

Ear cuffs

A collage of ear cuffs from Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Bohemian statement ear cuff from Shirli Classic Jewelry, $150; minimalist multicolored ear climber from Hedgehog Project, from $15; hammered gold ear cuff from Sarah Hickey Jewellery, $35; pearl mini cuff from Emmanuela, from $47; floral statement ear cuff from Aleishla Lopez, $156; turquoise ear climber from Chlo Monroe, $133

Designed to hug the curve of your ear cartilage—no piercing required!—ear cuffs extend beyond the humble lobe, with the boldest designs claiming major accessory real estate. “There’s something undeniably edgy about this look, and there are so many creative ways to rock it according to your personal style,” Dayna says. Start small and pair a minimalist gold cuff with your go-to hoops and studs to build your own curated ear stack, or make a dramatic impact with a sculptural piece that encircles the entire ear. “There’s nothing more eye-catching than an ornate cuff adorned with florals and crystals,” Dayna says.

Grandmillennial style

A collage of grandmillenial jewelry from Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Vintage owl brooch from 7th and Grace, $20; enamel heart locket from Sasha Samuel Jewelry, $125; gold eyeglass chain from Veronica Deore, $75; gold shell locket from Nerya Jewelry, $75; embroidered butterfly brooch from Home Sweet Brooch, $45

Also affectionately known as “granny chic,” grandmillennial jewelry gives fresh life to the most beloved, over-the-top styles from grandma’s closet. “We’re talking vintage bedazzled brooches, chunky eyeglass chains, oversized clip-on earrings—all those familiar favorites,” Dayna says. Whether you’re perusing a seller’s vintage collection or seeking out heirloom-inspired creations, Etsy offers endless possibilities to make most of this trend. “And thanks to the return of maximalism, you’re free to mix colors, patterns, metals, and textures to your heart’s content,” Dayna says. Go all-out and layer finds from multiple decades over an oversized cardigan, or wink at the trend with a retro heart-shaped locket fitted with a sepia snapshot of your dearest Mimi.

Recycled metals

A collage of recycled metal jewelry from Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Recycled gold teardrop studs from Misluo, $94; minimalist recycled gold pendant necklace from Favor Jewelry, $88; recycled silver botanical signet ring from Peg and Awl, from $96; recycled silver drop earrings from Ash Hilton, $95

We’ve dubbed 2020 our “year of purpose,” and as we shop sustainably for thoughtfully designed, lovingly crafted pieces, recycled gold and silver jewelry is topping our wishlists. “There are so many eco-minded sellers on Etsy who are aiming for greater transparency in the sourcing and making process,” Dayna says. Build your own intentional collection with one small, impactful purchase at a time—beginning with a few elevated staples. Our current recycled recos? A textured pair of hammered gold teardrop studs and a silver signet ring with a beautiful botanical engraving.

Enamel accents

A collage of enamel jewelry from Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Geometric enamel stacking ring from Shlomit Ofir, $60; enamel signet ring from Paula Lapidot, $45; enamel bumblebee locket from Verabel, $81; upcycled enamel bib necklace from Blonde Peach Jewelry, $89; color-blocked enamel pendant necklace from marmar Modern, $100; sculptural enameled stacking ring from Melissa Y Jewellery, $110

It’s no wonder classic enamel jewelry is enjoying a major comeback moment: These glossy, lacquered pieces have a pretty, painterly quality that’s always good for a mood-boost. “One of my favorite things about this timeless trend are all the innovative ways sellers are bringing it to life,” Dayna says. From minimalist geometric stacking rings splashed with soft pastels to chunky color-blocked pendants in vibrant palettes, these decorative designs bring a little retro shine to any outfit. To level up the vintage vibes, try an enamel-coated, upcycled locket embellished with a brass bumblebee or a floral bib necklace fashioned from repurposed brooches and rhinestone-encrusted costume jewelry.

Beaded earrings

A collage of beaded jewelry from Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Patterned beaded fridge earrings from My Beads Jewelry, $30; beaded heart earrings from TSUNJA, $47; beaded tassel earrings from Soft Gold Co., from $210; beaded pink moon fringe earrings from Pazamor Jewelry, $95; minimalist beaded ombré hoops from Goldeluxe, from $64; beaded pearl statement earrings from Anit Fragile Jewelry, $50

“I’m calling it now: Beaded earrings are going to be the ‘it’ accessory this spring,” Dayna says—and it’s easy to see why. Available in a colorful parade of face-framing styles, these intricate works of art offer something for minimalists and maximalists alike. Tiny beaded cluster earrings add dimension and texture to a simple stud, while oversized geometric danglers make the act of wearing earrings feel like a celebration in and of itself. “If you ask me, no occasion is too ordinary to warrant adding some party-worthy pizzazz to your ears,” Dayna says. In fact, we recommend pairing your brightest shoulder dusters with your coziest yoga pants and settling in on the couch to watch TV in style—just because you can.

Feminine forms

A collage of jewelry inspired by the female form available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Goddess necklace from MAZE handmade, from $104; “breast friend” rings from Anethum Jewelry, from $75 each; enamel mountains pendant from Little Woman Goods, from $24; figure form earrings from MAZE handmade, $51; breast cancer survivor necklace from Emery and Opal, from $26; wooden pendant necklace from Woolf BK, from $35

What better way to make a sophisticated statement this Women’s History Month—and every month—than with ornate jewelry inspired by the female form? “Our sisters around the world are proudly embracing this trend, which is all about self-love and women’s empowerment,” Dayna says. Keep it subtle and gift your closest gal pal an abstract “breast friend” ring, or go full-figured and don a set of cleverly shaped wire earrings that celebrate every curve. “Women are beautiful, brilliant, strong, creative, the list goes on. By wearing these pieces, we’re showing the world—and reminding ourselves—that we love who we are.”

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Sharon Steel is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her heroes are Jane Austen, Carson McCullers, Lindsay Weir, Shirley Jackson, Lillian Ross, and the renegade crew of the spaceship Serenity. Read more of her work at sharoncsteel.com.

The post 8 Jewelry Trends to Elevate Your Everyday Look appeared first on Etsy Journal.

5-Star Buys: Botanical Candles to Spruce Up Every Room

16 Mar 2020, 3:00 pm | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by by Tamara Mayne for Brooklyn Candle Studio

In our 5-Star Buys series we spotlight popular Etsy items that recently struck a chord with shoppers—and let their rave reviews do the talking.

With 10 refreshing fragrances, ranging from a fruity, farmers market-inspired fusion of bergamot and pear to an exotic bouquet of wild lavender and jasmine, poured into portable 4-ounce brushed-gold tins, it’s no surprise Brooklyn Candle Studio‘s mini mood-boosters are filling homes around the globe with their uplifting aromas. Mix and match your own custom gift set of four scented candles, or choose one or two to sample before committing to a larger jar. Either way, you’ll feel great knowing each unique blend is made from renewable soy wax and infused with soothing essential oils. Take it from a satisfied shopper who couldn’t pick just one: 

A soy wax travel candle in a brushed gold tin from Brooklyn Candle Studio.
SHOP: Sunday Morning travel candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio, $16

“Order arrived quickly and sustainably packaged! Love Potion (very floral, like the inside of a rose, without being powdery or musky) and Sunday Morning (fruity floral, bright but not overwhelming) smell great. Looking forward to the full sizes.” — NK

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Jackie Buddie is a writer and wilderness explorer working full-time as a content producer at Etsy HQ in Brooklyn.

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8 Kits That Will Make You Fall in Love With Embroidery

11 Mar 2020, 5:00 pm | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Rikrack

When it comes to activities to help you pleasantly pass the time, quiet the mind, and generate a totally one-of-kind piece of home decor, it’s hard to beat embroidery. And thanks to a talented crew of Etsy sellers offering original kits fully stocked with all the materials you need to get started, there’s never been a better time to dive in. From perky plants and friendly critters to motivational mantras and hot air balloons, today’s DIY options are as unique and varied as they are delightful to complete. To help get you inspired, we’ve rounded up eight obsession-worthy embroidery kits shoppers can’t stop talking about. Who’s ready to start stitching? 

Pilea & Snake Plant embroidery kit from Sew Botanical
SHOP: Pilea & Snake Plant embroidery kit from Sew Botanical, $30

Why we love it:

This charming kit from Sew Botanical is based on a hand-drawn sketch of two of our favorite house plants, pilea peperomioides and snake plants, and expertly introduces novice crafters to a smattering of stitch types through a comprehensive step-by-step guide. 

Why shoppers love it:

“This was so much fun and I’m so happy with how it turned out! The instructions were clear and the kit had everything I needed.” — EB 

Lunar Moth embroidery kit from Rikrack
SHOP: Lunar Moth embroidery kit from Rikrack, $28

Why we love it:

We’re crushing hard on the saturated teal fabric background of Rikrack’s bestselling kit, not to mention the on-trend design featuring a magical moth and dreamy celestial accents.

Why shoppers love it:

“Fantastic kits—I opened it and five minutes later, I was stitching away. Great guides on the website and lightning-fast shipping. Very happy with this purchase!” — VG 

Chinese Takeout embroidery kit from mipomipo handmade
SHOP: Chinese Takeout embroidery kit from mipomipo handmade, $31

Why we love it:

Unconventional subject matter for an embroidery kit, maybe, but who doesn’t love takeout? The pattern for this comics-inspired kit from mipomipo handmade is printed right on the fabric for ultimate execution ease. Plus: that beagle!

Why shoppers love it:

“This is my second purchase from this seller. As expected, I received the kit promptly. The accompanying instructions were color-printed and the printed cloth was of good quality. One of my favorite shops.” — HAJ 

Show Up embroidery kit from Cozy Blue
SHOP: Show Up embroidery kit from Cozy Blue, $26

Why we love it:

Words worth remembering offset by Cozy Blue’s gorgeous floral pattern and the sweetest pastel palette we ever did see? Yes, yes, and yes, please! 

Why shoppers love it:

“Perfect kit. Had everything I needed, and everything was so lovely and pretty. The little artistic and personal touches made a big difference. There’s even a note about how embroidery can be a really mindful and relaxing practice. Loved it!” — MM 

Sea to Sky embroidery kit from Diana Watters Handmade
SHOP: Sea to Sky embroidery kit from Diana Watters Handmade, $31

Why we love it:

There’s something undeniably soothing about this streamlined cross-stitch pattern, inspired by the sea-meets-mountains landscape of British Columbia and exquisitely brought to life by Diana Watters Handmade. Bonus: All the thread you need arrives pre-cut so you can skip the snipping and get straight to stitching. 

Why shoppers love it:

“Prior to this, I had never cross-stitched anything but I wanted to have a piece of decor in my daughter’s nursery that I made myself. I’m a little over halfway done and I’m impressed by how easy this kit has made the experience so far! Everything you could need is included, and the diagram and color chart are so easy to follow. If you’ve ever wanted to try cross-stitching something, I’d highly recommend buying a kit from this shop!” — ASR 

Autumn Leaves embroidery kit from Tamar Nahir Yanai
SHOP: Autumn Leaves embroidery kit from Tamar Nahir Yanai, from $21

Why we love it:

This crowd-favorite design from Tamar Nahir Yanai can be purchased in three versions: a printed fabric pattern only; the printed pattern with needle and thread; or all those elements plus a hoop for hanging, so there’s something to suit every kind of crafter. 

Why shoppers love it:

“My first embroidery project and I loved using this kit! The packaging is very well done and included everything I needed. The amount of thread you receive is generous and the fabric feels high quality. Took me three days to finish and then I immediately ordered another kit. Very happy with this seller.” — CA

Balloon embroidery kit from Nelly Makes Embroidery
SHOP: Balloon embroidery kit from Nelly Makes Embroidery, $27

Why we love it:

A bonus needle, an illustrated stitch glossary, and a practice fabric swatch are just three of the many reasons we can’t get enough of Nelly Makes Embroidery’s thoughtfully assembled kit featuring a classic hot air balloon floating calmly among the clouds. 

Why shoppers love it:

“This is probably the best embroidery kit I’ve bought on Etsy. You can see how much care is put into this. It’s beautifully packaged, the instructions are very clear, and the materials are fantastic quality. You really get your money’s worth. Thank you so much for the love you’ve put into your work.” — SN

Geometric Fox cross stitch kit
SHOP: Geometric Fox cross stitch kit from Velvet Pony, from $33

Why we love it:

This clever geometric pattern from Velvet Pony comes together to reveal one fully adorable pointy-eared fox who almost looks ready to prance out of the hoop.

Why shoppers love it:

“This kit is fantastic! It was my first try ever at embroidery and it got me hooked right away. It contains all the necessary equipment and supplies and the included threading system is hassle-free and easy to use. I highly recommend this artist!” — MB 

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Katie Hawley is a senior editor at Etsy. She's also an aspiring weaver, a perpetual snacker, and head-over-heels obsessed with her dog.

The post 8 Kits That Will Make You Fall in Love With Embroidery appeared first on Etsy Journal.

Standout Statement Earrings to Buy or DIY

5 Mar 2020, 3:30 pm | Etsy Journal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Birthday, big date, or just your average Sunday at the supermarket: wherever you’re going, with an eye-catching pair of statement earrings you bring the party. From the bold and colorful to the glimmering and dangly, the wildly creative options available on Etsy will have you looking for any excuse to celebrate.

Six pairs of festive earrings made by Etsy sellers
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Acrylic chandelier earrings from My Moon Seeds, $37; 18K gold starburst studs from Rosa Tejada Joies, $804; leather pom-pom earrings from Cold Gold, $45; gold paper-bead earrings from Papermelon, $37; brass demi-hoops from Aleishla Lopez, $38; upcycled leather confetti earrings from Scandinazn, $50

If you’re feeling extra-playful, why not try crafting your own festive pair from scratch? These DIY confetti earrings are super easy to make and add an instant pop of cheer to any outfit. Read on to see how it’s done.

At a glance:

Time: Approximately 4 hours (including drying time)

Difficulty: Beginner

Supplies needed for DIY confetti earrings project on Etsy

You will need:

Step 1: Mix resin in cup

Rachel combines resin and hardner in a cup.
Rachel combines resin and hardner in a cup.

Combine one part resin with one part hardener in a plastic cup, being careful to use equal amounts of each. If you’re using two molds, make sure there’s enough mixture in your cup to fill both. Stir for two minutes using a wooden stick.

Step 2: Transfer to new cup and keep mixing

Rachel continues mixing her resin with a wooden stick

Pour your mixture into a new cup and stir for an additional minute, making sure to scrape the sides of the cup to ensure resin and hardener are thoroughly mixed.

Step 3: Pop any bubbles

Rachel places her cup of mixed resin into a cup of hot water to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.

To remove air bubbles, place the cup into a slightly larger cup filled with hot (not boiling) water and let sit for two minutes. You will see the air bubbles rise to the surface and pop. You can also use a hair dryer, but be careful not to melt the plastic of your cup.

Step 4: Pour and place confetti

Rachel pours her resin mixture into a circular mold.
Rachel pushes individual pieces of confetti into her resin mold with a wooden stick.

Pour a thin layer of resin into each mold and then, one piece at a time, add your confetti. Push each piece down in place with your wooden stick so that the confetti is entirely covered with resin. Let cure overnight. Tip: Position a darker piece of confetti toward the top edge of each earring. This will help conceal the earring posts when glued on.

Step 5: Remove from molds and add earring posts

Rachel glues posts onto the back of hardened earrings
Finished handmade confetti earrings with posts affixed

Remove the hardened resin from the molds. When adding the posts, be sure to align them with the darkest piece of confetti so they don’t show through on the front of the earring. Glue them in place, let air dry, and presto! Your brand new earrings are ready to hit the town.

Rachel models handmade resin confetti earrings

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Rachel Mae Smith loves do­able DIYS and strives to make life colorful and fun on her blog, The Crafted Life. Named by the Huffington Post as one of the top ten DIY Instagrammers to follow, her work has also been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple and more. When she's not brushing glitter out of her hair, you can find her exploring and Instagramming in her current home of Philadelphia, PA.

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