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Tag "handmade"

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I recently discovered Australian ceramist Jane Kelsey and her line, Dot & co., thanks to a friend who tagged me in one of her Instagram photos. I am smitten. I had planned to include a couple of pieces in an upcoming post I’m working on about my favorite new ceramics, but I knew it would impossible to narrow it down! Dot & co. deserves a whole post.

All of Jane’s work is made by hand in her Melbourne studio, and the ceramic range includes planters, dishes, salt cellars (I especially love the Black Flag set, pictured above), vases, and the prettiest, most delicate spoons imaginable. She makes gorgeous woodblock prints, too.

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Clockwise: Mini Flag planter, Flag salt set, Lunar spoon

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Photos from the lovely Dot & co. Instagram

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White porcelain with an unglazed matte black finish: the Lunar dish

(I would like one of each, please!)

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I’m SO happy and excited to announce the official launch of Schoon Soap! For the past few months, I’ve been working on designing the branding and packaging for an amazing new line of vegan soaps. (It’s been hard to keep my mouth shut about this project, believe me!)

Stephanie Klose has been making soap since 2005, but it wasn’t until this year that she decided to fully immerse herself (literally and figuratively) in the business of creating the perfect lather. After a lot of experimentation, she’s come up with a initial line of 12 varieties of soaps, including fragrance-free and fragrance-ful options. Schoon means “clean” in Dutch, and the name pays homage to the Dutch heritage of the New York regions both Stephanie and I have called home: Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley, the latter of which was also my inspiration for the mountain-y logo.

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One of the best things about working on the packaging for these soaps is that in order to fully appreciate their characteristics, I (naturally) had to use them. I’m usually a no-frills, unscented, liquid castile soap kind of gal when it comes to shower time, so making the switch to these truly luxurious bars was a pretty big upgrade for me. The first soap I tried was Bay Rum & Vetiver, which passed my smell test immediately: warm, earthy, spicy. The coconut oil and shea butter base felt so great on my usually dry skin, and I had no irritation at all from the essential oils used to give it its wonderful fragrance.

Most recently, I’ve been using the Pure/Unscented bar, which still feels fancy and luxurious even though it’s fragrance-free! Great news for anyone who can’t tolerate any kind of perfume. ALL of the varieties are free from any synthetic fragrances, parabens, or preservatives, and the entire line is totally vegan. (And they’re all made by hand right here in Brooklyn!)

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I realize I’m totally biased in saying this, but they also look great in my bathroom—wrapped and unwrapped. Each soap wrapper has its own unique pattern and color, so they feel really special and personal. That was the most important thing to me in designing the packaging—I didn’t want the individual varieties to blend into one another visually (though they do also look nice together in a group!). The coolest part of the project? Seeing the logo I designed for Stephanie embossed into a finished bar. So satisfying.

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To celebrate the launch of Schoon Soap, Stephanie and her husband, Rob (who handles the customer service side of things), are offering a 20% discount on all of their soaps until October 6th! Just use the code SCHOONTIME during checkout at Etsy.

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And just for extra fun, let’s do a Schoon Soap giveaway! There will be THREE winners drawn at random, and each winner will receive any three bars of their choosing from Schoon Soap. Yay! International entries are welcome. Deadline for entries is 11PM EST on October 12th.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. I’ll announce the winners here and on Twitter tomorrow. The winners will also be notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Here’s how to enter:
✚ Visit the Schoon Soap website.
✚ Check out the soaps!
✚ Leave a comment below letting us know which three varieties sound the most wonderful to you.
✚ That’s it! Thanks for entering. ♥

Congratulations on the launch of Schoon Soap, Stephanie and Rob! It was an honor to work with you.

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For much of my adolescence, I lived in a house without a shower. The house was built in 1820, and when indoor plumbing was added, a bathroom was built on the second floor. It had a toilet, a chrome-legged sink, and a cast iron pedestal tub. My mother, two of of my sisters and I took turns taking baths every morning. The tub didn’t have a spray handle, so we kept a big plastic cup next to the tub for rinsing shampoo out of our hair with clean water. I’m not going to romanticize things: It sucked. It made getting ready in the mornings a huge hassle, and it sucked. I loved staying over at friends’ houses so I could take a real SHOWER. (And also so I could eat microwave popcorn and watch cable TV.)

When I was 16 or so, we got one of those shower enclosure conversion things, and life immediately got better. Showers! Every! Day! So! Clean! And do you think I ever took a bath in that house again? HELL NO.

Anyway, that was in 1991. Fast forward 17 years to 2008, when we were renovating the downstairs bathroom. Taking that shower out of commission meant that we were limited to taking baths in the upstairs bathroom for however many months (six…) it took us to finish the renovation. Fortunately we do have a hand-held sprayer so no plastic rinsing cups were necessary, but let me tell you…taking daily baths as part of regular grooming and personal upkeep is one thing, but bathing after a long day of demolition and sweaty, dirty renovation work is quite another. One bath to get the grime off, another bath to get the dirty water off, and then a cleaning session to get the haze of grime off of the tub. There was no lazing about in mounds of bubbles while listening to Mets games on the radio with the window open. No, none of that. All business, no pleasure.

So, naturally, once the downstairs bathroom renovation was complete and the shower was back in order, I quit baths like a bad habit. Until last month, I think I’d taken a grand total of maybe five baths in the past five years. How pathetic is that? We put all of this hard work into renovating the bathroom and spent a bunch of money having the clawfoot tub refinished, and I’m not even taking baths in it?!?!

Well, that’s all changing now, and you know what the incentive was? No, not a desire for relaxation, but packaging. Beautiful, minimal packaging from Herbivore Botanicals, who I first discovered via their Etsy shop. Seattle-based Julia and Alex started Herbivore Botanicals three years ago, and everything in the line is totally vegan and completely natural. Now, I don’t want to stereotype too much here, but as someone who is increasingly doing a lot of shopping in health food stores’ cosmetics aisles, I can tell you that “vegan” and “natural” are not usually words that I associate with incredible packaging design. And that stuff matters—it matters to me as someone who cares about design, and it matters when it comes to the perception of animal-friendly and natural products as being part of the world of luxury skin care.

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Let’s talk about that Coconut Milk Bath Soak. It’s amazing. It doesn’t make bubbles or anything like that, it really is a soak. It has the most gentle, calming coconut/vanilla scent imaginable—not like one of those gross, chemical-y “birthday cake”-scented bubble baths. It doesn’t make the tub (or you) weird colors. After getting out of the tub, my skin feels so super-soft…not coated or oily, just soft and fresh. There is a subtle fragrance that lingers, but it’s nothing that would interfere with another perfume (if you’re into stuff like that). The Coconut Milk Bath Soak has turned me into a bath devotee. I am committed to taking baths in the evenings on weekends now!

I bought a couple of other products at the same time as the bath soak—Vetiver Cardamom Luminous Body Oil for me, and Men’s Face Elixir for Evan. We love them both! I use the body oil almost every day now, right after I get out of the shower (or bath). It’s much more viscous than body oils I’ve used in the past, so I do need to apply it while my skin is still warm. It’s done an incredible job of keeping my legs from turning into crocodile skin this winter. The cardamom vetiver scent does linger for a while, but it’s exactly the kind of warm fragrance I love when it’s cold out. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll probably switch to the Neroli Blossom version. Evan really likes the Face Elixir! He uses it every night, and was able to give up the very unnatural nighttime moisturizer he’d been using previously.

I have to admit that after having struggled for so many years to find a facial skin care routine that really works for me I am hesitant to change anything about it. I don’t think I can walk away from my prescription medications without my skin freaking out (the emotional distress of adult acne is something I’ve discussed before, I won’t get into it again now…), but I am going to try to phase out the other products—and phase in more natural, animal-friendly ones. I’m going to start by ordering the Pink Clay Soap and see how it goes. My skin is far too dry and delicate for anything like the Bamboo Charcoal.

How about you? Are there any natural, vegan, non-irritating face washes you’d like to recommend I try? Preferably ones that work well with a Clarisonic (not all cleansers do)—and bonus points if the packaging is nice. Of course.

I was recently invited to become a member of Etsy Pages, which is sort of like Etsy favorites but specifically for bloggers and brands (or, to use a word which sounds to me like a type of breath mints, “tastemakers”). This past week I finally started getting the Door Sixteen Etsy Page in order, and man…it’s FUN.

There are lots of social shopping sites all over the place now, and I don’t use any of them (or Pinterest, for that matter), but for me this is a natural. I already post my Etsy wishlists here on the blog, so it makes sense. Anything I add to my Etsy Page links directly to that item in the seller’s shop, and no third party is taking away any of the profits. I like that.

You can follow Door Sixteen on Etsy here:

Door Sixteen on Etsy

When you follow Etsy Pages, the stuff I add to my lists will show up in your activity. I never used to follow people on Etsy because I didn’t really understand the point, but now I get it. MORE STUFF TO BUY!

I have a bunch of lists set up already, but my favorite one to look at is my black + white collection. I want all of these things…

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curated by Door Sixteen on Etsy

Door Sixteen on Etsy Pages

For the 7th year running, I have made a personal commitment to buy gifts for my friends and family from local and independent artists, designers and crafters this holiday season. As I have done in previous years, I’d like to invite independent hand-makers to post links to their shops in the comments. Please refer to the guidelines below before sharing your link. Thank you!

Door Sixteen Support Independent

Share your shop link:
Please keep all links limited to the spirit of handmade goods from independently-run businesses.
To make things a little more streamlined this year, please follow this format:
✚ NAME: Your shop’s name
✚ URL: Your shop’s address
✚ DESCRIPTION: Briefly tell us what kind of goods you sell
✚ DISCOUNT CODE (if applicable): If you are running any kind of promotion (discount, free shipping, etc.) for the holidays, please include the details and discount code. Codes specific to Door Sixteen readers are welcome.

(If I don’t approve your comment right away, that probably means I’m away from the computer. Don’t fret!)

Share this page with others:
You are welcome to share the above graphic on your blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or elsewhere, but please do not alter it in any way. Links should point to doorsixteen.com/handmade, which will automatically redirect to this page. Using a redirect URL will prevent any links from becoming outdated in future years.

If you would prefer to have a smaller button to display in your sidebar, here you go!
Independent Holiday button

Small Print: Door Sixteen/Anna Dorfman does not personally endorse any of the shops linked to the comments section of this post. Links have been tested for functionality and to ensure that the goods for sale are in keeping with the spirit of handmade goods from independently-run businesses, but beyond that no verification or endorsement is implied. All comments are moderated. Comments containing faulty URLs or which are not in compliance with stated guidelines will not be published.

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Mountain and Tooth cushions from Three Bad Seeds

I’m a sucker for a cute cushion, and Three Bad Seeds in Washington make so many good ones! My favorite is their Three Sisters mountain range pillow, inspired by the Three Sisters Wilderness area in Oregon. As you may know from my Instagrams of roadside dentist offices, I have a thing for anthropomorphic teeth. I can’t explain it, I just do. Evan knows to pull over when I see a really good one. I’m also kind of horrified by teeth at the same time…it’s a complex obsession. Anyway, these Sweet Tooth pillows have a little pocket on the back for kids to put their baby teeth in for the Tooth Fairy (shudder), but I’d really like to have whole row of them lined up on a chair in my house. Just not anywhere near where I sleep.

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Gone Hunting pillow from Bark Decor

I’ve had these Gone Hunting pillows on my wishlist forever, along with a bunch of other things from Boston-based Bark Decor. I keep picturing a big pile of them on a deep, white sofa…they just look so soft and natural. Ideally, I’d be lounging on that pillow pile while wearing a Wild Catalope cardigan. Perfect, yes?

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Zippered linen pouches from Indigo Bird Design

Indigo Bird Design in Toronto make pouches. Lots and lots of pouches. I own pouches. Lots and lots of pouches. Too many pouches. And yet…I still want more pouches. I’d like to have this Emergency linen pouch (with a neon zipper!) for carrying band-aids and aspirin in my bag, and this teal Polka Dot pouch would be perfect for holding my lipstick, cash, ID and MetroCard when I don’t feel like taking a whole wallet out with me. Plus it matches my blog. POUCHES.

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All kinds of dog accessories from Grey Paw

I tried to narrow down my Grey Paw wishlist to two items, but I couldn’t make it happen. Too many nice things! I have to admit that I’m not one of those people who buys a bunch of dog stuff — Fritz and Bruno have one well-fitting sweater each for when it’s really cold outside, and they sleep on the sofa, bed and floor. That’s kind of the extent of it. Suddenly, though, I’m finding myself wanting to get them (I mean me…) a few nice things. Grey Paw is based in Portland, as evidenced by their use of Pendleton fabrics in much of what they sell — including this Camp Mat, which I’m sure Bruno would love to stretch out on while wearing this ikat-patterned neckerchief. REALLY. I’m also having a hard time resisting these natural leather dog collars, which Grey Paw will custom-stamp in any number of stamp designs. Plus signs for Fritz and triangles for Bruno?? And finally, the rope leash. Nothing says overkill like walking a 7lb dog with a rope, but man, so nice-looking.

OK, now it’s your turn: What’s on your Etsy wishlist? I always love seeing new shops!

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I probably don’t even need to write anything after that photo, right? I don’t think it’s possible to look at a pair of bright green clogs and not immediately want to put a pair on your own feet. At least that’s how I felt when I saw first these shoes at Lily, a very sweet little clothing store near my apartment in Brooklyn. It was insanely hot and humid out and the last thing I felt like doing was trying anything on any part of my body, but these green clogs beckoned like only green clogs can. And so they were on my feet, and then they were mine. The end!

For the last few years, I’ve been making an effort to only buy shoes that will last for many years. To that end, the shoes must be not only well-constructed and made of good-quality materials, but they also need to be repairable (I ♥ my cobbler) and relatively timeless style-wise. To gauge the latter criteria, I usually ask myself whether I would have worn the shoes I’m interested in 20 years ago. Would I have worn bright green clogs when I was 18? HELL YES! That’s a pretty good indicator that I’m still going to want to wear bright green clogs 20 years from now, when I’m 58. Orthopedic shoes FTW!

(The other thing I do when I’m looking at shoes is ask myself WWMD? What would Mommy do? If my mother would wear them, they’re probably a good choice.)

Two years ago, I bought this exact same style clog in natural leather, and I wear them all the time. That pair was made by the relatively new Swedish company Hasbeens. They took a while to break in because the leather is very thick and hard, but eventually they became very comfortable. I got mine on sale, but Hasbeens are on the pricey side normally. This new Herringbone Green pair was made by another Swedish company, Cape Clogs, who have been hand-making clogs in Småland for 150 years. They are much cheaper than Hasbeens ($89 vs $179 for virtually the same shoe), and they are super-comfy right out of the box. Seriously — I could have walked in these for hours on the first day with no issues. Plus, they’re GREEN!!!

In short, there are several Swedish clog makers who are all making their own versions of classic clogs, ’70s-style clogs and contemporary designs, and, at least as far as I can tell, they’re all more or less the same. I’m sure there are differences in the type of wood used and the grades of leather and so forth, but I honestly can’t tell them apart upon visual inspection, not to mention actually wearing them on my feet (podiatric inspection?).

And did I mention they’re green??

p.s. As of last week, Lily still has a few pairs in stock in you’re in the area! Otherwise, they can be ordered from Cape Clogs.

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Mary Meyer clothing

I’ve been on a perpetual hunt for summer-appropriate clothing for my entire adult life. I am forever the one wearing a cardigan, jeans and boots in 90° weather. I don’t have seasonal wardrobe changes — my only concessions to outdoor temperature are sandals in summer and heavier scarves in winter. I own “summer scarves.” I don’t like to show much skin, and I just don’t think I’m ever going to feel like myself in a dress or skirt (and believe me, I have tried). Wearing a regular t-shirt without anything over it is WAY too risqué for me. So. Many. Issues. I embrace them. Why fight your anxieties?

Enter Mary Meyer clothing, handmade in Brooklyn! I love, love, LOVE Mary’s stuff. So far I’ve only bought one dress, but her summer 2013 collection is so fantastic that I’m going to have to pick out a couple of things to add to my (tiny) wardrobe. I’m having a hard time narrowing down my wishlist, but my top contenders are the Beach Biggie, this Cap Dress and Sahara Pants (probably the closest I’ll ever get to wearing shorts). The dresses are actually the length I like my shirts to be, so I can pair them with skinny jeans and ankle boots, oxfords or sandals and feel totally comfortable. In the fall and winter, I can just put a cardigan on top! See? There’s no such thing as seasonal clothing in my world. Layers ahoy!

p.s. Yes, there are Mary Meyer clothes for boys, too! I’ll sneak a tee shirt for Evan into my order, too. I have a feeling he’d like this Black Ascent one.

Anna + Mary Meyer dress

And on a more personal (and highly tangential) note…

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, the only thing I could think about was that the Supreme Court was going to be ruling on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure. It’s no secret where I stand politically, socially and ethically when it comes to equal rights, and I wanted to dress for the occasion — one I hoped would be a celebration. And so, this Mary Meyer dress covered with pink triangles was IT! (This particular print isn’t available anymore, but it’s the “Biggie” style for fit reference.)

Kind of a funny segue from a post about clothing, I suppose, but that’s alright. Whatever gets you there.

It’s been two years since I wrote this post about the New York Senate legalizing gay marriage in my state, and it feels SO good to know that my friends in California are now afforded the same rights. The death of DOMA has set the stage for the remaining 31 37 states in the US to follow us down a path of greater humanity. Let’s do this.

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Thanks to a retweet from Kate, I just discovered the beautiful home goods store Cotton & Flax. Run out of Los Angeles by artist/textile designer Erin Dollar, Cotton & Flax has a product line that is pretty much demanding to climb into a box and fly across the country to my house. I just spent about half an hour clicking through the shop, and I think I may have marked every single item as a favorite.

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Clockwise from top left:
 ♡ Black Diamonds Tea Towel
 ♡ Confetti-Patterned Wool Felt Coasters
 ♡ White Plus Tea Towel
 ♡ Linen Brushstrokes Pillow

Erin also writes a Cotton & Flax blog, where she shares some of her own favorite handmade goods, as well as behind-the-scenes peeks at her studio. PLUS!! She also shares freebies for download, like these insanely cute patterned iPhone wallpapers. I don’t know about you, but I like to try to match my phone to my tea towels.

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EEEEEE! Postcards!! I used to send postcards out all the time because they’re so low-hassle: Cheap stamp, no envelope, small space = fast writing, not to mention the fact that anyone can and will read the back keeps me from saying anything too dumb. I don’t know why I stopped, but I need to order a couple of packs — because who doesn’t like to get a little real mail every now and then? Especially if it’s neon pink.

All photos © Cotton & Flax

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When I was in San Francisco, I visited the new Little Paper Planes storefront, run by my friend Kelly Lynn Jones. Kelly has such a good eye for art and design, and I’ve been a fan of her online shop for ages — it was so cool to see it all come to life in one beautifully curated space.

I must have touched/admired at least two dozen objects while I was in there, but the ones I was drawn to immediately were the pieces by Brooklyn-based Small Spells, created by ceramist Rachel Howe. I picked up a crescent moon cup as a thank you gift for a friend, and made a mental note to check out Small Spells online later in the day. I’m so glad I did, because Rachel’s work is really up my alley — that perfect combination of bold geometry and soft, organic shapes and muted (yet rich) colors. I want everything in her shop!

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These planters are so sweet. I’m a notoriously black-thumbed when it comes to indoor plants, but lately I’ve been trying to practice by caring for a few smaller plants at once instead of one giant, potted creature that’s basically like having a pet. These little pots are perfect for putting on a windowsill or a small ledge in the kitchen, and I’m going to need to get a hanging planter for our bathroom. I love that wee cactus peeking out of the top!

And finally, a few pictures from the Small Spells Instagram! The mudcloth-inspired cup on the top loft is from a new series Rachel is working on. I can’t wait to see more! I’m feeling a Small Spells collection coming on…

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