While I was gone, Etsy helped me do my job for me (THANKS!). Their front page artist a few features back was Fantastic Toys from, as I was happy to learn (as always), Minneapolis! I can't imagine how anyone couldn't fall in love with the style of the designs. I love their shape, colors, and illustrative style. My favorite is definitely the deer, and everything from his (or her?) fluffy Bambi tail to the scalloped edge hoofs (love scalloped edges!!!) to the large eyes set against the oh-so-adorable little nose. It's got me falling in love with stuffed animals all over again.
Last night I stumbled across Cupcakes for Clara on Etsy, and I absolutely fell in love with her little stuffed animals dubbed the "Softies". They're highly stylized, heartbreakingly adorable little critters like the Mummy and Baby polar bear (above, $100 for the set of two). Each is handmade with wool felt and is part of a limited edition.
If the appearance of these cuties weren't enough to extract an "Awwwww..." out of you, then read the copy that accompanies each one. They all have their own individual backstory blurbs. My personal favorite? Poor little Albert the Crocodile "who has not yet learnt how to snap. He does try very hard though, but it often comes out as a squeak." I love you anyway, Albert. Never you mind. Never. You. Mind.
There's a lot of great areas of the independent design community that aren't part of the staple industries, which is why finding stuff that really makes you sit up and take notice feels even more inspiring and rewarding. They may not be part of the usual categories people shop for, but the fact they're unique makes them all the more worthwhile to check out.
Butter Cream Cup by Greenware Design: I'm a sucker for a well-styled succulent terrarium. I love the fact that the ceramic planter it comes in is also crafted by the person who planted it - the amount of passion that clearly went into this is completely evident, and is utterly inspiring.
Red Delicious of the Fruit Head Gang by Sewing Stars: How heartbreakingly adorable is this? A super sweet (or tart, if you would prefer its Granny Smith counterpart) take on the traditional stuffed animal, all the different Fruit Heads have different expressions and outfits and take on their own personalities. I love the details and the style!
Cute Doggie Collars by Retro Pet: Dogs may not be as finicky as cats in general, but that's no reason to give man's best friend a boring collar! Retro Pet has a lot of really cute patterns to make your furry friend fashionable, and many have matching leashes for the ultimate trend-right pooch.
Designer Collars by Kitty Cat Boutique: Does your feline "speak" with a British or Scottish accent? Lucky for them, Kitty Cat Boutique is on their side of "The Pond" and offers a lot of options where mass retailers are lacking - cute, trendy patterns that will make any cat feel like a million bucks one half of a million pounds.
I posted earlier that I had purchased a number of cat toys on Etsy from Jezzi4Ever, and I thought I'd take this opportunity on Bright Ideas to update you because, we'll, it's an awesome product. I got the first two a while back, and the cats loved them so much they started hiding them from me - they started stashing them in various places, including under the couch (you're not taking them from us, Mommy!) I started emailing Jessie, the shop owner, back and forth about them, and she ended up making several of them for me in custom colors. They turned out so cute, and I wanted to share them with all the other kitty owners out there - these are phenomenal! They're little two-colored felt goldfish stuffed with Marlow and Jocko's favorite catnip, Cosmic Catnip, which is some powerful stuff! They're simple, affordable, and cute - unique as well, as they're much different from anything else in my kitties' extensive collection of cat toys.
They shipped in little Ziplock bags, with two toys per bag. I decided to slowly introduce one toy after another, but as you can tell from the above photo, my impatient little Jocko decided he wanted all of his toys now.
Jocko enjoys / stares down one of the added bonus toys Jessie sent their way. The kitties (and I) were very grateful for the thoughtful extras! They were a big hit, as well - instead of being a more dimensional goldfish, these were more graphic.
Marlowe, hoarding his goldfish (not like he doesn't have enough, but after all, what's his is HIS.
A little bit unbelievable but my naughty little kitties little angels are exactly a year old. Well, they're not so little anymore. In fact, the boys are sort of, well, ginormous, especially Jocko (who's sitting rather fabulously in the picture above). Jocko's named for my boyfriend Devon's favorite stuffed animal when he was younger as well as partially after my late grandfather, Jack. Marlowe was named after Philip Marlowe and because the name was pretty. They're Bengals, which is a mix between a domestic tabby cat and an Asian Leopard Cat, the latter of which gives my babies their spotting.
Even though they've already got a huge assortment of cat toys (between their mommy and daddy, and both of their grandmas, their toy collection has reached Motherlode status. It's sort of astounded more than a few people), we were planning to get a few extra toys as well as some other supplies as treats today - but that's on hold because our car has been in the shop for longer than expected. Out of curiousity, I seached Etsy this morning to see if anything interesting was on there because, after all, got everything that's in your average pet store (I think their feather wand count is at, like, 5 or 6?). Etsy brought me back this from jezzi4ever:
It's adorable, it's felt, and it's filled with (drumroll please) Cosmic Catnip. My cats' favorite. I don't buy organic anything except for milk and that catnip. For whatever reason, my cats go even crazier than crazy with Cosmic Catnip, so when I saw that, I knew I hit the jackpot. Plus, it's only three bucks - perfect. I'll take two. Apparently there's also a photo of another happy Bengal playing with it, which is always a good sign. Marlowe and Jocko have a tendency to get "overzealous" with toys they really, really like, so they have an unfortunately early death. I'm interested to see what happens with these ones...
Okay, so in (yet another!) moment of weakness, I purchased this Art Shool Dropout necklace from the blog Modish's new store, Modishoppe. It was featured on her blog as a new item, and even though I saw it a day late, it was (somehow!) still there - definitely a too good to be true moment. My more frugal side made a compromise with my "needitnow!" side and I decided that if it was still there after three hours of back to back to back meetings at the end of the day, I'd treat myself. Clearly, my needitnow side is quite pleased with itself, and after receiving my "order shipped" email today, it has been making me refresh the tracking number every couple of hours or so.
Clearly, I'm quite excited that I even got to an Art School Dropout necklace I liked in time, but to be fair, Modishoppe has got a lot of other interesting stuff in the shop. I definitely give it a thumbs up on the diversity of the offering - there's a lot of different aesthetics within the categories of merchandise so there's really something for everyone. It's a true reflection of the blog, and I certainly can't wait to see what comes out next!
EDIT: I received it today, and it's gorgeous! Jena did a great job with the wrapping and presentation, and I even got a quick little thank you note from her, which was a very nice personal touch. It's probably my best experience shopping indie so far, and I plan on emailing her to let her know that!
Okay, so now I'm disappointed that I didn't hold out to get my kitties (Marlowe and Jocko, 7-month old Bengals) collars. Yeah, yeah, I fell for the allure of making them fabulous little boys by snatching up some glittery collars when they were oh, four months too young to wear them. I wish I knew about Lindsay Designs sooner so I didn't waste my money (because yes, knowing me, I'll end up buying these anyway).
What's great about the collars here are the variety. They feature various hip and cute patterns to choose from, and there are lots of color choices as well. Since we lovingly call the kitties "the Twinsies", I'm really geeking out over the fact I can match the boys but color scheme or by pattern while still letting them have unique collars. It sounds a little lame on my part, but I'm hopelessly in love with the cats who own me. If you know that feeling, and you always give them nothing but the best, I'd definitely suggest you check these out. They're between $10-$12 for the cat collars, $10-19 for dog collars (depending on the dog size), and leashes are $21-26. They're also having a sale from now until the 30th of December, so check it out soon!