Friday, November 23, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals

Vintage Red Nose Reindeer in my shop.
Cyber Monday is a great day to find online shopping deals.  Mainstream retailers have lots of great deals to be had but I suggest you steer toward the small shops that provide unique gift items.

There are over 800,000 active shops all rolled into one shopping experience on  It has become one of the most popular places to shop online.  Items are restricted to handmade craft items (made by the shop owner), vintage (items 20+ years old), and supplies.  Etsy shop owners take their businesses very seriously and often provide perks such as gift wrapping, gift boxes, etc.  Why not mail a gift directly to a friend or family -- I'm happy to include a nice holiday card signed by you!

Pretty "like new" Gown in my shop.
I've been an Etsy vintage seller for 3 years now and have sold over 300 items.  On Cyber Monday I will be having a 20% off sale in my two Etsy shops.  All items in and miscellaneous Eyewear items in my optical shop, will be 20% off on Cyber Monday.  To receive your discount in ForsythiaHill use COUPON CODE: CyberMonday.  The discount in DontUWantMe is already taken in the listed price for select items.

Decorative Wine Rack for YOU in my shop.
You don't have to buy a "new" item for a gift.  There are many vintage items that are "like new" and far better quality than what is currently made.  Prices are often lower for vintage than new manufactured merchandise and have a history to share.

Don't forget about entertaining this holiday season.  There are wonderfully unique items to be found on Etsy that your friends and family will most definitely comment on!

I hope you will support alternative small business owner shops this holiday season, it might just open  your eyes to a whole new way of shopping.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Artisan Studio Tours

A cow greeting at Nedra Smith Gatehouse Studio 
Early November is a wonderful time to trek into the colorful hillsides of Central Virginia. Each year two counties, Rappahannock and the area surrounding Albemarle, host Artisan Studio Tours.

I don't know what I enjoy more, seeing the interesting art or touring around the hills soaking in the majestic scenery.  The fall foliage provides a breathtaking background for charming art studios nestled in the hillsides.

Fish by Far Ridge Ceramics
My husband and I checked out the Rappahannock studios.  I found the tools of the trade and studios themselves quite interesting.  It seems there are not enough tools made to supply an artist in their trade.  Wide assortments of bits, clamps, and brushes are needed to satisfy the never ending creativity of an artists mind.

Beautiful view from Rick Meyers studio
We drove up rugged roads into the hillsides surrounding Washington, Virginia in Rappahannock discovering fine crafted studios where artists can become inspired.

Apparently it helps to have an incredible vista outside ones art space.  With each passing studio, I would think, I want to work in a place like that... only finding the next studio to top the prior one!

Jackie and Anthony with peeping Ducks

The River District Arts Gallery in Sperryville, Virginia is a restored Apple Packing Plant that houses numerous artists and a warm cozy restaurant.  We specifically went to check in on Jackie Bailey Labovitz's recent addition of animals to her photography collection of Native Plants. On first sight of her work, it appears to be painted.  The printed surface has a sheen to it and her images are so crisp and clean that you can almost reach out and feel the animals fur, feathers, or scales.  I've yet to be disappointed and not down right amazed at her serenely beautiful works of art.

Necklace by Goodine's Designs
I was glad my husband got a chance to talk with Jackie about her process and learn a little bit more about this fascinating woman.  Jackie's theory, based on personal experience, is that art is created from somewhere in your memory - consciously or unconsciously.

Jackie's lovely Native Plant Exhibit, Understory, will be on display most of next year at the U.S. Botanic Garden on the Mall in D.C.

Amazing view from Rockfish River Pottery
This past weekend a friend of mine and I hit studios in Nelson County.  It's fun traveling with someone that has an equal appreciation for the mountains and glowing colors of the Autumn season.  We could not get enough of the colors and the wonderful views artists have right outside their door.

Thanksgiving will be next week and that will officially be the end of Fall... I hate to see such a beautiful season come to an end once again.


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