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Category Archives: Red Letter Loves

8 great hostess gifts

November 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

8 great hostess gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And I’m not just talking about those December holidays. November brings Thanksgiving and family and Black Friday shopping (if you’re into that — and perhaps you should be *cough*) and snow and hot chocolate and togetherness and more chocolate…

But the best thing about this time of year is spending it with family and friends. Holiday parties abound and, as you pack and plan, one thing you’ll want to consider is a hostess gift. If you’ve ever been a host or hostess, you know exactly how much work goes into having guests — cleaning, cooking, decorating, perhaps even silly party games. Showing your appreciation for their efforts is a must.

So here are seven great hostess gifts from small, indie businesses that will guarantee you’re invited back next year:


you are here stationery set

1. Give a unique set of cards to your host or hostess to help them stay in touch with family and friends. And when you get a set of cards from us, they already come tied with a bow for gift-giving.


2. Personalized gifts are always best. If you know your hostess well, these map necklaces by Brass & Chain could be the perfect way to recall the place where you grew up together or went to school together.


tomato envy apron

3. I LOVE THIS APRON. I mean just look at the color. And it’s hand-sewn and HAND-DYED. I bet your hostess would love it. They probably got their other one all gross making dinner for you anyway. Get this one or a pretty butter yellow version from Tomato Envy.


I love you more than Pyrex

4. An art print also makes a great gift, like this “I love you more than Pyrex” one that would go perfectly in the kitchen. Customize it with a frame of your choosing and voila, personal, thoughtful gift.


gourmet dog treats

5. Don’t forget the pets! All pet lovers consider their furry friends as family members, so when you remember them, you’ll really impress your host or hostess. Look how adorable these gourmet peanut butter paws are from Two Tails Dog Bakery.


chocolate mint loose leaf tea by artful tea

6. Since it’s getting colder, you can’t go wrong by giving your host or hostess a luxury loose-leaf tea blend, like this chocolate mint blend from Artful Tea. Perfect for after dinner. Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll share.


organic soap by mirasol farm

7. Soaps, lotions and other personal items are traditional hostess gifts, but you can give them an extra twist by ordering organic items in unique scents. Soaps and lotions are excellent gifts for those times when you don’t know your hostess very well. This cute soap sampler set from Mirasol Farm will even let them try out a few different ones and pick their favorites.

8. If in doubt, or you really have no idea what your host or hostess would like, bring food or drink. A nice bottle of wine, your favorite loaf of bread from a local bakery, or even a restaurant gift card for a night out after their guests leave. If you have time to make your best homemade specialty, that’s even better. If it’s a special recipe and you’re willing to share, include a card with the recipe and an oath of secrecy, making it clear this recipe only goes to really special people.

Above all, have fun, be thankful, and cherish the time you spend together. Cheers!

2014 Valentine’s Day card + gift guide

January 23, 2014 | 1 Comment

I did this last year and you guys are still pinning it, which is awesome, so I figured I’d update it with a few different cards from our collection and some new gifty gifts for your giving pleasure that are all handmade. Enjoy!

Valentine's Day card + gift guide for your better half Card: Thank you for the way you love me

1. Love wood block by Bubblewrappd
2. “Love is freezing in bed in the middle of the night because you hijack all the covers”
art print by Yellow Heart Art
3. Love heart hand-embroidered hoop by Milo and Molly

Valentine's Day card + gift guide for your best friendCard: One card isn’t enough to say everything

1. Hand-painted color-dipped dangle earrings by Acute Designs
2. iSanctuary chevron silver necklace from Paisley Print Boutique
(all products bought from Paisley Print Boutique are making a difference in the world — giving women jobs in Africa or empowering survivors of human trafficking, among other causes)
3. DIY succulent terrarium by 7StyleGuides

Valentine's Day card + gift guide for coffee loversCard: Love has caffeine

1. Cup of Love latte mug by NS Pottery
2. Cappuccino lip balm, vegan and made from scratch by The Gnarly Whale
3. Let’s have coffee together forever hand-stamped vintage silver spoon by JessicaNDesigns

Valentine's Day card + gift guide for the techieCard: {not sent from my iPhone}

1. Real wood iPhone case by axMen
2. Circuit board heart necklace by Circuit Breaker Labs
3. Design-your-own iPhone wallet by BetterLifeBags

Valentine's Day card + gift guide for the guyCard: Hubba hubba

1. Gift set with shaving soap cubes and aftershave lotion by Red Leaf Bath and Body2. Bamboo wallet by BoundTight Wallets
3. Red heart cufflinks by Gémeaux Designs

Valentine’s Day gift guide + card pairings

January 22, 2013 | 3 Comments

If you have a hard time finding the perfect card and the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, this guide can help. It pairs a greeting card with a couple great handmade gift options for the coffee lover, the techie, the guy, your bestie and your significant other. Happy shopping!Valentine's Day Gift Guide for your love

Card: In your arms is my favorite place to be

  1. At Last wood block decor by Bubblewrapp’d
  2. You and Me venn diagram print by Yellow Heart Art
  3. Red Velvet Cookie-wiches by Tookies

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for your best friend Card: You are here <3

  1. Paper flowers by FlowerThyme (you don’t have to throw them away in a few days!)
  2. Dark chocolate bow cuff by Small Anchors
  3. Floral spring clutch by rouge + whimsy

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for the coffee lover

Card: Love has caffeine

  1. Handmade stoneware coffee mug by NSPottery
  2. Red chevron coffee sleeve cozy by bamcraftymommas
  3. Gimme Some Sugar hand-stamped vintage sugar spoon by jessicaNdesigns

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for the techie

Card: {not sent from my iPhone}

  1. Personalized chalkboard iPhone case by Arete
  2. <3 handmade keychain by BFFGIFTS
  3. iPhone/cell phone cozy with genuine leather by Better Life Bags

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for guy

Card: Hubba hubba

  1. Handmade shaving soap by Red Leaf, in scents from orange sherbert to basil lime
    (Note: My husband has used a few of these and loves them!)
  2. Captain America cufflinks by Cool Cuffs UK (ships from the UK, order soon!)
  3. Men’s latitude and longitude bracelet by Gunmetal Gems


Red Letter Loves: Love!

January 30, 2012 | 9 Comments

Welcome to this special edition of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy. This time, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts as part of the Etsy Greetings Team Blog Hop!

You’d think it’s easy for a cardmaker like me on these card-giving holidays. But the truth is, not so much. See, I already put my heart into my cards. The things they say are inspired by my family and friends. My real life. But when it gets to be Valentine’s Day and I need a card for my husband, giving him a card he’s seen all year long just doesn’t feel right. Even if I did write it for him.


So here are some other gift options for the people who inspire my art. And just to make it fun, let’s keep it under $25 a pop, shall we?

Calligraphed Bookmark in Blue - One Must Be An Inventor To Read Well

For my husband: Love this bookmark. My hubby loves to read and has a degree in creative writing. So this sparrownesscript hand calligraphed quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson would be perfect.

BFF Best Friend art print set by Kate Gabrielle

For my best friend: Love these prints by flapperdoodle! Wouldn’t be AWESOME to give one to your bestie and have one in your own house? Like modern day best friends bracelets!

Chocolatie Peanut Butter Creme Cookie-Wiches-1 Dozen

And for my mom: Chocolate and peanut butter. She would probably kill me, but I would GLADLY help her out with these cookie-wiches by Tookies. It’s their brownie cookie (yeah, seriously) recipe with hand whipped peanut butter buttercream. I mean c’mon. Y. U. M. (If you have the hankering to buy me a Valentine’s Day present, I’ll just say this: I am my mother’s daughter.)

Time to hop! Click on the links below to see other participants in this blog hop, featuring lots of good Valentine’s Day gifts. You might just find something you can’t live without!

Red Letter Loves: Christmas ornaments

December 8, 2011 | 2 Comments

Welcome to this slightly-delayed installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

When my husband and I got married, neither of us had any long-standing family Christmas traditions. We decided to make one. So every Christmas, we buy a new ornament for the tree. It can be something representative of the year, something from a vacation, or just something we both really liked. This year, we thought it would be fitting to buy a handmade ornament off Etsy, since I’ve spent a good bit of my time on the site managing my own shop and browsing through others, as well as building friendships with other sellers. Oh, and even my husband has made a few purchases off Etsy this year after I turned him on to it. I’ll show you the one we bought in a minute, but first I thought I’d show you some cool ones we also considered.

Glass Christmas Tree Ornament Signature Series Amber Retro Multi Stripe Etch

I love the dark amber color and the etching on this hand-blown glass ornament by Wolf Art Glass. And, even better, they’re environmentally conscious, using a “low-energy consumption hot-shop powered in part by renewable wind energy.” Awesome!

Turquoise Beveled Stained Glass Star Ornament Three Dimensional with Copper Lines - Small

This three-dimensional ornament by SNL Creations is cool. Make sure you click through so you can see all the different angles. I like that it’s not just a traditional ball, and could be hung as a sun catcher at any time of year.

Colorado Blue Stain Pine Wood Ornament

This wooden ornament by I’ve Got Wood gets bonus points for its unbreakableness. (It’s a word. At least, it is now.) Isn’t it pretty? Again, I like the 3D-ness and the simple but beautiful pattern cut into the wood.

It was a tough decision, but in the end, this is the one we bought:

Horse Hair Christmas Ornament

It’s made with horse hair! And while we have absolutely no link to horses, we love the stark wintry look of this ornament and the uniqueness of it. It’s made by Cherie Ramsdell of Dakota Bones, and you can — no, SHOULD — go read more about the process of how it’s created. Fascinating.

So that’s this year’s ornament! And the end of this installment of Red Letter Loves. What are your Christmas traditions?

Red Letter Loves: Hurricane preparedness

August 26, 2011 | 1 Comment

Welcome to this week’s installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

You’ve probably heard there’s a ginormongous hurricane headed for the East Coast. We’re battening down the hatches here and praying it doesn’t get too bad. On the 17th floor, we’re not too worried about flooding, but we’ll be taping up our windows to guard against wind damage. So anyway, I thought maybe in this edition of Red Letter Loves, we’d look at a few things you should have on hand in the event of a hurricane.

1. Extra water. Does this beautiful, water-filled teardrop pendant from thestudio8 count? I think so.


2. Non-perishable food. We made sure we’re stocked to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, since we don’t have to heat them and we’re cool if the electricity goes out. (I realize the jelly should be refrigerated, but it’ll live.) These peanut butter and jelly pillows from FIApdx would also give us a comfy place to rest while we read books since we can’t be on the Interwebs if the power goes out. Aren’t they cute? I just wanna smush them. And really, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with pb&j?


3. Candles. And I love these tea light holders by MiscKDesigns. Simple but so elegant. And even better, made of reclaimed wood. As it is, we’re probably gonna head down to the dollar store and stock up. They won’t be nearly as pretty as this.


4. When all else fails, pack your bags and get outta dodge. (Unfortunately we don’t really have that option this time. No car, can’t take German Shepherd on public transit, and our usual refuge is gonna get hit just as hard as we are.) But if we WERE leaving, I would love to pack in this gorgeous canvas handbag by CamillaCotton. I am in LOVE with those ruffles and I love the simple gray color. Oh yeah, and it’s called the “sweet tea canvas handbag.” Way to sell to a (formerly) Southern girl!

In all seriousness, I hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Irene stays safe this weekend. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and we’ll see you in the sunshine next week :)

Red Letter Loves this couch

August 17, 2011 | Leave a comment

Okay, so usually my Red Letter Loves are a couple things I’ve seen on Etsy that I love. This is a RLL blast — just one item. And it’s not even the item for sale.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love this chandelier vinyl decal by singlestonestudios, and I think it’s a great way to spice up a room, especially if you’re renting and can’t hang a chandelier from the ceiling.

But for me, the star of this photo is the SOFA. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’m big into everyday items that double as art (we have a HUGE wall clock that tells the time but also serves as artwork). Isn’t it amazing? SO. COOL.

Red Letter Loves: Modern Christian

July 26, 2011 | Leave a comment

Welcome to this week’s installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

I thought it might be fun to take a look at some other artists who produce modern Christian work — like me!


I love this adorable art print from Hop Skip Jump Paper. It would be so cute in a nursery (not that I have or expect kids anytime soon) but could be a great gift for a friend’s nursery! It’s bright and happy and a great message whether you’re young or old…er.


For many many years, I’ve been wearing a sterling silver ring on my left thumb that is etched with crosses all the way around it. This is the first cross ring I’ve seen that could give mine a run for its money. I love the implied cross design, and it seems like it’d be a cool conversation piece. Really neat ring by Elisa Gomez.


Everybody needs artwork on the walls. And how cool is this painting inspired by the sun described in Revelation 6:12? The ProclaimHisName shop also donates 100% of the purchase price to Amazima Ministries, “helping to educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love.”

That concludes this edition of Red Letter Loves. But there’s always more to love, so stay tuned!

Sharing the love

June 10, 2011 | 2 Comments

Welcome to this week’s installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

I’m part of a team on Etsy called Etsy Entrepreneurs. “We are a team of business and creative professionals who are dedicated to helping our team members to be successful. We are a well organized, motivated, positive, and an encouraging team. We are movers and shakers. We are do-ers and active participants. We do not just sit around and let good ideas fade. We get results.”

We’ve been charged with challenges that help give each other exposure and make our shops better. We’re doing a challenge right now where we choose some of our favorite items from team members and share them. So for this edition of Red Letter Loves, here some some of my favorite items from Etsy Entrepreneurs team members:

I actually tend to wear the same pair of earrings every day. But I love these by Sweet Pea Friperie. Wouldn’t they be great with a little black dress? Or a sun dress? The perfect pop of color.

I wish I had known about these bridesmaid and groomsmen cards when I got married. (Which, for the record, was seven years ago Sunday!) KP Designs can customize colors, dress cuts, backgrounds, probably anything you can think of. Aren’t they cute?

You know that little black dress we were talking about before? Yeah. It needs this. I love this simple yet stunning freshwater pearl necklace by Christine’s Jewelry. And guess what? It comes with matching earrings!

Beauty and strength? No problem with this metal flower charm pendant from Studio11Charms. A little hot glue, and you’ve got a great brooch or barrette.

And last but certainly not least, check out this painting by EBN Art Studio. It was inspired by New York City freight. I can totally see that. And I can totally see this on my wall.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these Red Letter Loves from some of my Etsy Entrepreneurs team members! Always remember to check Etsy when you’re looking for a creative gift. Tons of AMAZING handmade and vintage products from artists and small-business owners … like me!

Law of the Letter: Part II

May 30, 2011 | Leave a comment

Welcome to this week’s installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

This is Part 2 of 2 about typography. So much to love. See Part I here.

I mentioned in my last post that I love the ampersand. Apparently I share that sentiment with CursiveArt, who recently added a couple of these beautiful hand-printed linocut ampersand cards to her lineup. I think this is a great idea for a wedding card. So simple, but says so much.

We know from my own card that I’m attached to 1 Corinthians 13. So is DefineDesign11, whose print is an awesome take on the verse. Think LOVE statue meets typography. Love. It.

And last but not least, this typewheel ring from Zanne Avenue boggles my mind. I could never wear it because, well, I would kill someone with it (or at least seriously maim — them or myself) but it’s SO COOL. I just want to own it, even if I don’t wear it. I mean really. Isn’t it awesome?

That concludes this installment of Red Letter Loves: Typography. But don’t think that’s the last time you’ll be seeing typography as something I love.

Law of the letter: Part I

May 6, 2011 | 1 Comment

Welcome to this week’s installment of Red Letter Loves, where I share some of my favorite items from artists on Etsy.

I’ve always been a words person. Always aced the spelling tests and had a penchant for correct grammar. (When I was in fourth grade, I used to stand behind the supervisor in the after-school program and make kids say, “May I please use the restroom?” instead of “Can I go to the bathroom?” before he’d let them go. Seriously.) So becoming an editor was a fairly natural progression for me, and I’ve also acquired a taste for making those letters look pretty. This is Part 1 of 2 about typography. So much to love.

This laptop sleeve by NottyPooch is made out of a recycled billboard banner. How cool is that? As we’ve learned before, I’m a sucker for orange. And I love the big letters that don’t really say anything, but kinda hint at what this used to be.

I actually came across this set of cards a while ago, and promptly showed it to a friend, who showed it a friend, who bought it. Kudos to a. favorite for what I think is the closest thing to fonts actually speaking out loud. Besides looking good, I love the tongue-in-cheek-ness.

I’m not sure what it is about the ampersand, but I like it. (So much, in fact, you might see it in a new card soon.) But anyway, I love the simplicity of this ring by Mélanie Favreau, which says both “I’m fashionable” and “I know my typography” at the same time. What more could you want?

Stay tuned next week for more typography favorites…

My commute, in art

April 27, 2011 | 2 Comments

We have a name! From here on out, I will be referring to this “stuff I like” feature as Red Letter Loves. All the posts will be tagged as such for easy access.

This week’s … er, last week’s … Red Letter Loves are an homage to my commute to work. I live in New Jersey, literally just across the river from Manhattan. Here’s the view from my apartment window:

The commute takes about 30 minutes in total: 7 minutes on the train, and 15-20 minutes walking, depending on how slow the tourists in front of me are moving that day. So here are a few things I love from Etsy that represent my mornings. (Well, “morning.” I work in the evenings, so my morning starts around 11 a.m.)

I love chai. And my mornings might be a little bit better if I could drink it out of this beautiful hand-painted travel mug by Yevgenia on Etsy. I can’t help but think the soft and simple design might make a hectic morning a little more relaxing.

I mentioned that my commute is 7 minutes on the train. This train. I never thought a photograph of my commute could be so fetching. Amazing job by funflash.

Finally I arrive at work, where I edit and design newspapers. This super-cool necklace is made of rolled and wrapped paper. I love the colors and the look achieved here by Halibu Valley. It’s amazing what you can do with paper!