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Friday, December 14, 2007

Gifts to reduce the waste, increase the love...

I will confess that I am what my mother generously calls a "gracious gift giver." That means that I want to find the very best, most perfect present for the ones I love--and even the ones I just know. A great deal of energy goes into producing these perfect gifts. A G*R*E*A*T* deal. Why do you think I am so tired all the time?
The best gift that anyone can get oooh and ahh when I reveal the gift that I have either:
a) Scaled Kilamanjaro
b) Sold my left kidney
to procure.
Not really, but you get the idea. I guarantee I have laid awake at night wondering if I did the right thing and I have probably cried anguished tears of self doubt, knowing that whatever I bought, made, scaled a mountain for could have been more perfect if only I had thought about it a little bit harder and cared a little bit more.
I have just described one downside of the condition. The other is that I kind of expect other people to care the way I do, so when I open a random gift of lima beans or mustard-colored wellington boots, I am more sorely disappointed than any self-respecting adult should be. My attitude is something like, "Yes it is the thought that counts. Where was the thought?"
This is a disease.
I believe it is hereditary, but not contagious.
You should be fine.
In this holiday season, I am working on worrying less, buying less, using less.
My family will not be receiving an assortment of gifts, each wrapped in coordinated papers chosen specifically for the person by considering their tastes, age, and what they wanted Santa Claus to bring when they were three.
They will be receiving gifts of use--most handmade, many of them things that used to be other things. WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT.
And how could they not with options like these:

Lorena Barrezueta creates these containers (and lots of other shapes and sizes) from molds of take out containers and other disposables. I think they are brilliant and the perfect reminder that when we rely on a throwaway culture, we miss the opportunity for quality and color in these yummy glazes.

This darling print is by Arian. Is there any sweeter way to represent the principle of fair trade? I am dying to hang this in my office--but I won't blame you if you get there first.

Talking Squid made this purple pillow from recycled t-shirts. I have mentioned before that my husband likes to wear his until they fall from his back. Now he knows that even the scraps can be useful. And in this case, they can accent a chair beautifully.
He may never give up his old ts.

And speaking of t-shirts, look at this darling reversable(!!!) dress for baby by Texas North. It is made from recycled adut t-shirts and solves the age old problem of the spare outfit--at least in some cases. Brilliant!

Proof enough that lots of things can be reinvented...even my Christmas consumer additude.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A new me

On the 26 thousandth day of Christmas, my true love (the computer) failed me and I couldn't keep up with the daily features. But now we are both back and how.

I thought maybe it was too late to offer you any buying advice. However, judging from the hopping nature of our etsy store (thank you thank you, one and all!), people are still buying holiday gifts. You might ask why I am surprised. After all, I have a long list left to buy and I started in APRIL. Yes APRIL. In fact, the first Christmas gift I bought this year was also the first thing I bought on etsy and the beginning of the journey toward a Love & Squalor store that keeps me up late at night--in a great way. Here was my inaugural purchase:

It is from a series of photographs by Alicia Bock, entitled Sing a Song of Distant Shores and in about a week it will be given to my brother-in-law, who lives near and loves a very distant shore. I am not a fan of the beach, but this photograph makes me want to love the things that do not come natural to me--like open, empty, boundless spaces, like salt and light and golden skin, like fearlessness and grit and solitude.

Tonight I had every intention of writing a blog about gifts that recycle, that make new. But as soon as I saw this photograph again, I was made new. I was transported. And on the 26 millionth day of Christmas, when my list of things to do and buy just surpassed neverending, I needed the renewal. And the grit.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

For the RECORD, these are great gifts...

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to CDs. That's right. These lovely gifts are made from those things called records that some of you may remember. If you were not born in after 1991, like most teenagers. (Seriously, i don't feel that much older than I was when I was seventeen. Well, my internal monologue hasn't changed much. But I must be older because I was born when Mr. Rogers was not only alive, but only middle aged.)
But back to our regularly scheduled program. Each of these little beauties is made from an old record. Just look what incredible things a creative mind can do with a piece of vinyl. Music lovers, I think the words you are looking for are "shock and awe."
Love the vintage, toile-ish feel of this cuff in combination with the more rocker vinyl base.
Definitely know a couple of people for whom this combination is heaven.

Aren't these the height of cool?
I am imagining my teenage brother-in-law, a university student who is very sweet AND the height of cool (seriously, he's 6'5''). Wouldn't these look great with snacks on his coffee table during parties? Wait. He is in college. What do you think are the chances that he has a coffee table? Or party snacks?
What time is it? Same time as always. Time to ROCK n' Roll.
ooh an added bonus, check out this fab listing by Retro Grandma. Now this little beauty knew Mr. Rogers when he was just a boy.

Retired Records
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but this is A-MAY-ZING.
I don't think there is a better gift for the connoisseur of music--or wine. Again, I am reminded of my in-laws. They know lots about all the stuff I know nothing about. I may know how to recognize cool, but like this wine rack, they just know how to be. And that is cool.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What a Card! (a brief pseudo-diversion)

Okay okay. It looks like I have abandoned my holiday gift guide march to Christmas day. But looks can be deceiving. In reality, I am providing a gift for those of you (read: me) who might have yet to send (read: purchase) holiday cards for your nearest and dearest (read: the thronging masses.)

It turns out that on the 5th day of Christmas--this girl realized that she had better get it in gear if she wants to update the whole world on her comings and goings this year AND offer warm wishes of love and happiness. Or the thronging masses could start reading this blog.

On to the guide...

I have loved this card for ages. I have been waiting for the holiday season so that I could feature it. That is how much I love it.

I found this card when I was in the etsy forums, offering people the opportunity to be featured. I had lots of people respond. Heidi's "Tonttu" card, featuring a Finish version of a Christmas elf, was love at first sight. I can't ever resist pig-tails.

Kiss 'n Tell Handmade Correspondence

What an appropriately named shop to be selling this mistletoe card. Love the sentiment. But this one goes to a more discriminating audience. My darling husband--yes. My aunt Edna--no.

Pepperina Press

Pepperina press is a perenial favorite here. Love the colors. Love the sentiment--though cold, it ain't, here in Austin. Love the whole image!


Because some years you feel like a grinch. Some years you don't.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

For those who are feeling a little KOI...

You know who you are. You don't blink. You bat your eyelashes. You aren't shy. You're koi. I mean coy.

Have you ever seen something like this?

Because some babies are shy and some babies are koi.

Elyssa & Heather

Okay, I know this is a shark, but it's a pretty cute shark and that is a feat in itself, no?
The scales are added individually!?!

Amy Giacomelli

Simple, elegent, a bit of a suprise....koi.

Monday, December 3, 2007

For the foodie (or anyone who enjoys eating sweet treats)

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me... felt food, of course. My two-year-old nephew loves to "cook" and grocery shop. I have included some things he might soon find in his cart or his kitchen.

And then, I also feature some meal related jewelry because...well, it caught my eye. Personally, I don't have anyone to buy a utensil bracelet for but I do so hope that someone does. It's awesome.

Posie and Me

Mermaid Sparkle

(I l*o*v*e the vintage button "frosting" on this brooch)


(this one is richard, the vegetarian's, favorite. yay for veggie pitas! yay for felt pitas, too!)

And finally...

Told you it was awesome!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

For the PRICKLY people in your life...

On the second day of Christmas... our holiday gift guide suggests gifts for the more prickly people you know. Be honest. You know who we're talking about. Everyone has a somebody in their lives who is just a little bit...spikey.
Hope you enjoy!

Zesty beads

Mary Ink

Sleeping Forest Studios

The Black Apple

(Don't you love a diptych?)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

L & S Inaugural Gift Guide

Welcome to the Love & Squalor inaugural gift guide. In the spirit of the old advent calendar my sister and I loved when we were kids, we'll offer you a few treats for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Today, gifts for your Golden Girl:

Willarie: a modern take on children's clothing

Sojourn Curiosities:
wearable journies of the mind, body, and soul

Modern Printed Matter

and finally, our inspiration for this first edition: the original Golden Girls

that's right, all four lovely ladies are here thanks to Kezzaroo