Did you watch Will & Grace live tonight? At Karen’s wacky birthday party, Will fussed over how much he loves to pickle food yet no one appreciates all the work he suffers to do it (a guest spit his pickled shrimp out behind the fireplace screen, ut oh). He mentioned having to locate a barrel for the pickling process, and how amazingly hard it is to buy a barrel these days. Along these lines, he then added, “I’d go to Crate & Barrel to buy a barrel, but of course, they don’t carry those, and they certainly don’t carry crates either. Remind me to tell them the next time they decide to open a store, they should just name it ottomans + wicker crap!”. It was quite funny, especially since he is such a drama queen. But, the whole thing got me thinking, why would you name a store after items you don’t even sell? (Maybe because everything comes from China in either a crate or a barrel, perhaps?)
Then, enter The Container Store. They actually sell containers (who’d have thunk it?) of all shapes and sizes, colors and errr….languages! Check out this fresh buy. It’s called, “Translations” , a bright wastebasket covered with genuine Japanese newspapers – each one is truly one-of-a-kind. For $24.99, can you pass it by? There’s also a magnent board, to boot. Wait, do you hear that? A song coming on… “I think I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so!”
The Container Store seems to stock every possible container that you’ll ever need in life, outside of a casket. Heck, I bet they even have crates and barrels for our poor friend, Will. Gosh, he was in such a pickle. (Photos: TOP: translation wastebasket, BELOW: translation magnent board)
Stop laughing. I may lose all credibility posting a $20 owl pillow vs. some amazing $300 felt find from Hable Construction, but, you know what? I have to be true to my colors and post the darn thing anyway, dang it. We all have a 2-year-old trapped inside of us, and in my case, I’m willing to confess that I’ve got a thing for owlette. Look at him over there, eyeing you, wanting you, needing you so. He’s sooo cuuute. He’s soft. He’s handmade. He senses you’re attracted to his little retro self. You know you want to take him on the sofa right now and… (quick, cover your eyes!) totally cuddle him in front of your favorite movie!
This little guy can be your main squeeze if you surf the Etsy website, search for “pillow” and scroll until you spot him and his little owl buddies. Haven’t heard of Etsy? It’s the eBay for independent artists to just go nuts selling their indie line of cuteness along with some more serious hand-crafted items too, like fine art and furniture. Some sellers have $5K paintings up for grabs. Others, crochet kitten iPod holders with google eyes. The selection varies, but the heart and soul of the seller doesn’t – you can tell everyone’s got passion for what they do on Etsy. If you need another thing to do today at work, other than um…actually working, check out Etsy. It’s only in it’s beta stages now, meaning I’m not sure how established they are, but I’m willing to take a gamble and say that it’s gonna be big. Really big. So big… oh nevermind. Besides offering unique finds, I’m psyched that it’s not an auction site. You like it, you buy it. Period. Perfect for impulse buyers that don’t want to sit around waiting all week for an auction to close, only to find that you got beat out by giantpurpleeater27, some maniac eBay sniper. On Etsy, you can get your craft on instantly. I’ll always enjoy the thrill of the hunt on eBay, but Etsy is a lot more laid back and 100% tailored to the handmade crowd. It’s free to sign up, and when you do, you automatically have your own free storefront at username.etsy.com. If you want to know how they stick it to you, well, it seems they don’t. There’s no unreasonable fees for listing something, no fees for your images; they simply charge a .10 listing fee and a flat 3.5% fee on the final sale price. Yup, that’s all there is too it. It’s a great place to support, so I say, hop to it! Tell everyone about Etsy, too… I’m all about supporting the small guys… even little Owlette, here.
“Owlette, do you think our readers think I’m nuts?”
“Why quite frankly, I do dear, and you are.”
“Hey, don’t be so wise!”
If you’re not frequenting eBay for art, please tell me why, and then change that immediately. (Sorry, that sounded like Marcus Brewer’s mom on, “About a Boy”, or maybe even your mom.) But seriously gang, I can’t tell you how many talented self-representing artists on eBay need our love and support. Okay, I will tell you. These amazing people inhale toxic fumes and ruin many an American Apparel T-shirt, all in the name of love (first) and passion (second), and okay, money (but a far third). Artists are your friends. Support them. Sure, you’ll never see a Chagall on my wall (mostly because I can’t afford one), but you will spot a few artists like Michelle Caplan displayed proudly in my space. Seeing someone else express themselves in a way that is totally relatable and moving, that’s the ultimate high. Yes, we all purchase things that speak to us. Starbucks, for instance. I swear lattes call my name every time. That groovy new plasma spoke to you, your cute new puppy, that iPod case. Art, however, speaks on a different level than mass-produced toys (love my toys, thank you very much, but still…) There’s nothing quite like the experience of looking at something another person created and seeing yourself in it. Not a mirror, silly. A collage, a photo, a painting… What I mean is, and I’ll get to the point eventually so stay with me, is that most of us can create stuff to hang on our walls, but when we see work that another person put their heart into and feel emotionally touched by it, that’s a major non-verbal interaction with another human being and is amazing to me. Artists put their most intimate feelings out there creating genuine connections with others, without words. Beautiful. That’s how I felt when I first spotted Michelle Caplan’s, “Helga”. I now own Helga, and I’m debating whether to have her framed in Birch with a 1 3/4″ deep frame and a 1/2″ border around the actual piece (your thoughts?). I can’t tell you what I paid, since price varies according to complexity and size, but you can easily pick up a 24″ x 24″ Michelle Caplan collage for under $500; some smaller pieces as low as $100. In addition to Helga, I now own “Caitlyn”, which I purchased just today. I can’t wait to see it, I’m so excited. Michelle will even commission something using your photos, transforming the finished piece into fun cards and paperweights,too. There’s a great article about her in Hoboeye, and of course, here’s her website. She also sells prints (less investment than her work on canvas), paperweights, t-shirts, stationary, and some really cool throw pillows on CafePress. Enjoy! (photos: TOP “helga”, BELOW: michelle’s space + “caitlyn”)
I have to write about the Hable Construction girls. In my opinion, they’re both the best thing since french toast, Paris in the summer, and jeans that make your butt look good. I’m not exactly sure how they moved to NYC and became these amazing textile artists, but they did it and not only do they rock when it comes to textile design, but they rock it out so we can all take part in purchasing. They design bags, pillows (wool felt applique, linen, jacquards, canvas) throws, fabric by the yard, stretched canvases; too many to mention so I’ll just let you drool as you surf their site. The best part, they refresh their line each Spring and Fall, so there’s always new goodies that you can save up for. My next purchase will be a Hable felt pillow. I’m just not sure which one to select, they must have 50+ cute styles. If you want to learn more about Hable Construction, or view my latest obsession in felt, click here. By the way, I am quite serious when I say that I have to save for a mere pillow, but after you see them, you may understand why they’re must-haves and worth every tall latte mocha you have to sacrifice to own one.